Friday Nasiha Today:
Reflections on the Celebration of a Decade of Service
Ten years of ceaseless research, content development, and editorship.
Over 500 published issues.
Thousands of themes featured.
More than 65,000 subscribers across the globe, from Tanzania to Thailand, from Singapore to Switzerland, from Palestine to Poland.
Countless lives touched and positively changed by the highly-anticipated weekly newsletter.
Friday Nasiha, an e-newsletter featuring short tidbits on Islam aimed at English speaking Muslims, has indisputably served as a virtual guide and spiritual companion for thousands of people over the past ten years.
As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Friday Nasiha, we would like to first acknowledge that all success and praise is attributed to God alone, who inspired and sustained the passion, patience, and creativity in the Friday Nasiha Team.
A heartfelt “Thank You” goes out to you, the subscriber of this listserv, for your dedicated readership, constructive feedback, and sincere encouragement throughout the course of our publication. Many of our content ideas were stimulated by your messages.
How it all began…
Our readers are often curious about the brains and history behind the Friday Nasiha publications. Very few people are aware of its humble beginnings.
It was on a gloomy, cold Friday night of February 1999, when a teenage Muslim, a first year student of the University of Toronto, witnessed a flash of a creative concept, as he pondered over the affairs of his friends, local community, and the world.
This spark ignited a burning desire to educate and change the world around him through the medium of email, at a time when people in Canada and around the world were just beginning to tap into the potential of internet for education and social networking.
Within a matter of minutes he picks up the phone and shares his enthusiasm for this idea, still an abstract in his mind, with his close friend, who was a young visionary.
By the end of this inspiring two-hour phone conversation, the initial spark of sharing the messages of Islam in a creative and thoughtful way transformed into a flame of exciting ideas that kept glowing in the minds of these two restless Muslim youth for a few days.
After a few sleepless nights and email exchanges, on February 19, 1999, the idea of Friday Nasiha was finally ready to shine and illuminate the hearts of a little over 300 subscribers.
While the names and faces behind Friday Nasiha may or may not be known to most people, what is certain is the growth of this global project over the years involved feedback, ideas, and contributions from dedicated volunteers and readers like you.
Why Friday Nasiha?
The name “Friday Nasiha” was chosen after a lot of deliberation. The Arabic word Nasiha has several positive connotations, including sincerity, concern for other’s wellbeing, and genuine advice.
The sense of a sincere advice to a fellow reader certainly radiated from its catchy themes and concise message.
The primary aim of this newsletter was to relate the message of Islam to people in a simple language by unearthing the pearls of wisdom from existing Islamic literature in English and exploring the pressing issues of our times and context.
A typical weekly message consisted of three to four different sections: Quranic commentary, lessons from the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and an excerpt from a book, usually of a motivational nature.
Evolution and Expansion
Within a matter of a few months of launching Friday Nasiha, its success went beyond the initial target audience (Canadian Muslims). The subscription sky-rocketed as the word got around and people began to forward the newsletter to friends and relatives around the world every week.
In addition to the overwhelmingly positive response, we began to receive a barrage of emails from readers across the continents requesting counselling on a range of family, youth, and social issues, as well as solutions to complex Fiqh (legal) issues.
This was clearly beyond the scope of our original intent of this service. Our volunteers spent hours every week responding to such pressing requests and referring them to qualified scholars and counselling services as needed.
As humanity witnessed more catastrophic events in the name of Islam and the Islamophobic rhetoric spiked, our resolve to enhance the quality and relevance of the message became ever intense.
As a result, we realized how seriously and personally our message was read and absorbed by our readers. Many felt as if a particular week’s Nasiha was written specially for them, addressing a personal problem they were facing in their lives at the time.
Top Ten Reasons People Read Friday Nasiha:
Based on the subscribers’ feedback since its inception, here are the top reasons Friday Nasiha still enjoys popularity among its ardent readers:
- Quranic Commentary: Friday Nasiha is still the only weekly e-newsletter that offers a thorough exegesis of the Quran in the light of our contemporary context
- Comprehensiveness: Presents a rich variety of topics and perspectives
- Balanced Approach: Features opinions and positions of various scholars and specialists in an area, regardless of their ideological or theological background
- Empowering: Evokes both an emotional and intellectual response in the reader, allowing him or her to form independent opinion on issues based on evidence
- Simplicity of Language: Uses modern English and easy terms to simplify complex concepts
- Practical Themes: Emphasizes the need to act on what is learned by offering practical tips on a particular topic
- People Centric: Focuses on a common Muslim and his or her religious, spiritual, and social development
- Brevity and User-Friendly Format: Packs a lot of information in easy to read format broken down in categories
- Ideal Content for Discussions: Offers great topics for family or Halaqa discussions every week
- Relevant: Contextualizes the text from classical or modern literature for our time; shows how to apply the guidance from our sources to our society
The Way Forward…
Today, while our social and global challenges are drastically different from what they were ten years ago, our need for spiritual guidance and development is still the same.
Friday Nasiha Team is now at a critical cross road of its development, as the world further plunges in turmoil.
We are constantly thinking of innovative ways to take Friday Nasiha to the next level. Once again, we will rely on our valued readers’ advice and suggestions.
Friday Nasiha is a success story of ordinary Muslim youth accomplishing extraordinary things for the betterment of society.
It is an achievement of Canadian Muslims providing a unique Islamic learning service to the world.
It is an inspiration to anyone with a living heart to positively influence the increasingly deteriorating state of humanity.