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February 23, 2005

by Talal Sarwani

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Alhamdulillah, the time has come for a sort of Hidaya survey. This site has been up an running for about a year and four months alhamdulillah. We've survived a major crash about a year ago. We've survived writers coming and going, writers fulfilling one half their deen and writing about the other half. Heck, we even survived through mass-spamming courtesy of uninspired persons wanting to spread the word of porn.

Alhamdulillah, traffic to the site has been steadily climbing month after month, each month besting the one before it. The readers are coming in from all over the world, in search of a varied world of knowledge. Walhamdulillah, they are sticking around, getting hooked to the Hidaya rhythm.

Alhamdulillah, Hidaya has far outgrown my expectations of it, from the mashaAllah awe-inspiring work of the writers, to the thought provoking discussion with our readers.

Alhamdulillah, the time has come to kick things up a few notches. InshaAllah, I'd like YOU, the readers/writers/noisemakers of Hidaya, to come through for this site. InshaAllah this is YOUR opportunity to help shape Hidaya into something bigger, better, and greater; all for the sake of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

InshaAllah, EVERYONE should have something to say, and should use their comments to tell us:
  • what you think of Hidaya's design
  • what you think of the slogan "One God. One Ummah. One H."
  • what you like about the writing that appears on this site
  • what you don't like about the writing that appears on this site
  • how you think we can improve(in any aspect)
  • what you think, when you hear Hidaya

Alhamdulillah that this site has flourished and continues to flourish in its attempts to be a force for the Deen of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

Alhamdulillah that this site has been blessed with the enormously mashaAllah talent that comes to us courtesy of the writers.

Walhamdulillah for readers like you.

May Allah grant us all Hidaya, and may we all be among the dwellers of Jannatul Firdaws. Ameen, ameen, ya rabbil 'alameen.

barakAllah feekum,
wassalaamu alaikum wa rahmarullahi wa barakatuhu,
Editor-in-Chief, HidayaOnline.com

of and relating to...
amatullah said

As salaamu alaikum

"InshaAllah, EVERYONE should have something to say" Here's my something...

*what you think of Hidaya's design

Very Good Masha Allah

*what you think of the slogan "One God. One Ummah. One H."

Pardon my ignorance, i don't understand what "One H " stands for

*what you like about the writing that appears on this site

It's written by young muslims on issues that are affecting the youth today.From 'the horses mouth' so to say.Youth that read the articles identify with the issues discussed.

*what you don't like about the writing that appears on this site

I can't think of any complaints

*how you think we can improve(in any aspect)

noisemakers column should be monitored more closely, conversation sometimes tends to veer towards unnecessary and futile talk

it would be good if an aalim/a could moderate the site with regards to the knowledge being imparted

what you think, when you hear Hidaya

great site for marriage articles(lol)

was salaam

on February 23, 2005 3:00 PM
Justoju said

"Pardon my ignorance, i don't understand what "One H " stands for"

How do you spell the name of this website? :)

on February 23, 2005 3:33 PM
Talal said

Think "ta marboota"...

on February 24, 2005 1:41 AM
Talal said

Wowzers... what happened to the noisemakers?

Did EVERYONE go off and get married? Or fall in love? Or find the perfect cup of Moroccan Tea?

hizzle bizzle.

on February 25, 2005 2:01 AM
Don'tShootTheMessenger said

too many marriage posts. show more breadth, less preoccupation with such topics. otherwise - many thought provoking pieces as well - unfortunately most of them are on marriage though.

get over it.

theres gotta be more thats important to college aged ISRU students than the 90% of pieces reflecting an obsession with gender relations.

on February 25, 2005 2:39 AM
Justoju said

Actually, I think I am the only one who has written a series on marriage and on finding a spouse. In fact, for a looonngg time no one was writing about marriage...then all of a sudden Hidaya became marriage central. If you go back in the archives you will see a whole lot of amazing pieces on a variety of subjects (none of which are marriage).

on February 25, 2005 3:27 AM
Basel said

All credit for this post goes to the person who made that '90%' of articles are on marriage comment.
Oh, and congratulations :) you've just joined my mental list of 'people who state percentages to make their opinions seem grounded'.

There have been 226 articles/posts on the Hidaya Columns, of which 39 can be considered 'of or relating to marriage'.
And that is just over 17%
(17.25663717 to be exact)

Following are the stats, with the names of the authors, followed by
(So, sister Nadia posted 1 article 'related to marriage', out of 23 total articles)
Some of them were series-es, and I have noted that as such. Even then, each post of the series was counted as a marriage article.

nadia khan
Talal sarwani - A Genius in my Own Mind
faisal akhtar
Rami Mahmoud Elsawah
bint abdul khaliq
Hamayun Khan
Gillette aka Hassan[uddin] Khaja
(note - 5 were the devil's deception series)
Sister Ibtisam
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain
Saima Siddiqui
(note - 7 were the Mile 1-7 series)
(note1: 2 - Tawakkul & Tea Series
(note2: 4 - Hanging from a glance (not really a 'marriage' series) )
(note3: 3 - Marriage Considerations series)
As a decision that is considered 'half of your deen', one that most readers/authors of hidaya will make right about this age, I think 17% is not at all a waste of 'hidaya' time.

And Allah knows best.

wassalaamu 'alaikum

on February 25, 2005 6:56 AM
asif said

Assalaamu Alaikum Everyone!

J U M M A H---M U B A R I K!!!

to each one of you and your family.

I concur with the comment of brother Basel (which he has backed empirically).
So, can we infer that those who have written fabulous articles/series on marriage(relatively speaking)are thinking of getting engaged/married soon.

on February 25, 2005 11:17 AM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As SAlaamu Alaikum

MashAllah Hidaya made a difference in my life and I ask Allah to make this site beneficial to all and protect it from fitnah always.Ameen

Regarding the input:

'what you think of Hidaya's design '

Very good MashAllah, but I liked the noisemakers column better where it was before.

'what you think of the slogan "One God. One Ummah. One H."

Well,it's good but I think we can come up with something better (no offense)

'what you like about the writing that appears on this site '

It deals with topics that we as muslim youth have to face.Its fresh.Its funny.Its poetic.The best part is that an effort is made to keep it in line with the Shariah.This is something we always have to keep in check.

'what you don't like about the writing that appears on this site '


'how you think we can improve(in any aspect)'

nothing I can think of at the moment.

'what you think, when you hear Hidaya '


Was Salaam

on February 25, 2005 12:58 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

Brother Basel, since you took the time to do that statistical analysis, I invite you to do the same with comments. You will see the most intense and long running comment strings on hidaya are on marriage. That 17% statistic will jump to maybe over 50%.

on February 25, 2005 1:03 PM
Justoju said

"I invite you to do the same with comments. "

Not going anywhere for a while? Have a Snickers bar....

(wait, that doesnt count as spam does it?)

on February 25, 2005 3:28 PM
Justoju said

"Wowzers... what happened to the noisemakers?"

You think they got confused by the new format and are sitting someplace all depressed?

on February 25, 2005 3:31 PM
Talal said

"...but I liked the noisemakers column better where it was before."

Where was the noisemakers section before?

on February 25, 2005 6:19 PM
gillette said

"what you think of Hidaya's design"

try to do one of two things:

A) post optimal monitor settings for the website, so one wouldn't have to scroll left and right


B) change the format so it fits other screen settings.

"what you think of the slogan 'One God. One Ummah. One H.'"

Anything to take our attention away from the new design.

"what you like about the writing that appears on this site"

it's a younger perspective.

"what you don't like about the writing that appears on this site"

when i get censored.

"how you think we can improve(in any aspect)"

give gillette a co-columnist.

"what you think, when you hear Hidaya"

HidayaOnline.com, of course.

p.s. i really do like the new design.

on February 25, 2005 6:36 PM
gillette said

"Gillette aka Hassan[uddin] Khaja
(note1: 2 - Tawakkul & Tea Series
(note2: 4 - Hanging from a glance (not really a 'marriage' series) )
(note3: 3 - Marriage Considerations series)"


Marriage article ratios:
gillette ~29%
justoju's is ~35% ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

soon, i will emerge victorious, bi idhnillah.

on February 25, 2005 6:37 PM
asif said

Salaam Alaikum:

You guys are all goofing around with the web layout for aesthetic and/or functional values. Lets just junk the noisemakers column and put a chat room instead.

on February 25, 2005 7:47 PM
Abdullah said

Salaamu Alaikum,

I like the masaajid in the background design, excellento!

A little funny slogan, One God, One Ummah. One H
put Hidaya instead of H, maybe?

Writing style are excellent, maybe work a little more on diverse content on other topics
besides marriage and love and women, etc(I know I should be the first one to do this) but so far I am writing one novel out of 4 or 5 articles that has to do with the (marriage. And my marriage article talks about other adult like topics such as polygamy, mixed gatherings, betrayals, un-islaamic behavior that should not be.
Improve? I dont know bro, I am working on myself, when I got that rock solid then I'll look at other ppl's or site's improvement :)

When I hear Hidaya, I think of the good ol' days, ridign my red convertible on a highway lined with palm trees? Malibu? Nah, Madinah?

I think of all the fun and interesting discussions I had. The arguments, the bother people, the life,
the wasting time, the nice folks that I wanted to see will get annoyed but didnt

I love all the sisters on this website alhamdulillaah. And I respect everyone boys and girls, cia and ma asalaama

on February 25, 2005 11:14 PM
BAsel said

It seems that articles on marriage stick in people's heads longer than others. This helps:
1) cause the misconception (as 'Abdullah' still has) that most of the articles are on marriage
2) causes people to write a lot of comments on marriage articles.

Either way, this just shows that this is a topic which concerns a lot of us, a topic we think about a lot, yet some think it better not to discuss it in an islamic manner. I hope the same people dont end up being parents who never talk to their kids about marriage, nafs, etc, and expect them to grow up as model kids immune to nafs.

You cant just expect people to shut up about a topic, as long as they stay within the limits of Islam, as long as the discussion is meaningful. To do that would be to censor talk of an issue we all should not err in.

Which brings up to my last point: a lot of disagreements as to content on websites/magazines/newspapers/chat rooms seem to originate from some people having set notions of what 'should be talked about', even if that might be islamically acceptable to discuss.
There is a 'my way or the highway' opinion, where you feel that since YOU dont think its interesting to discuss something, no one else should. Imagine your mother not allowing you to discuss sports, or video games.
Let's just accept each others differences, and preferences, and skip the comments we would rather not read.

an example - I've learnt in my IR research that Google doesnt give you the best results, rather the snippet of text you see helps the human user filter out which links he/she finds relevant.

So do we stop using Google if another search engine gives us only the links I myself want, so that I cannot use my own judgement as to what I might find interesting to read?

(if you've lost your way.... i apologize... but I hope the majority of people will get at what I'm suggesting at, and why I'm using such an example - to show how absurd it is to force people to stop talking about a topic)

on February 26, 2005 12:55 AM
Talal said

I'm assuming most people are using 1024 x 768... if so, there should not be any problems viewing the site as long as you stick to IE or Firefox.

By the way, this site should really be seen in Firefox :) Check out the "columns" section if you use FireFox.

JazaakAllah khair Br. Basel for your analysis, it certainly put things in perspective for me :)

Here's the deal... I'd love to continue making more tweaks to Hidaya, but I'd like to know how you guys use Hidaya. How should it be different in its flow? What features of Hidaya do you use most often, and how do you use them?
I'd like to inshaAllah come up with the ultimate Hidaya interface...
ex: don't tell me you like the column archive pages, because I know they're ugly.

on February 26, 2005 1:21 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu,

The links area is getting bigger every month -- used very rarely.

The revised column area actually is pretty nice

The noisemakers section could use a backlog of some sort as (I believe) brother basel referred to.

"One H" --- not feelin it to much. I think the banner looked nice before as it was.

As I said before...a pda-friendly site would really be useful. That way I could just read on the go, or others (like my brother does) reads all the newspapers on his pda in the morning on the train going to work.

Note: their should be a warning on the site that frequent hidaya use can lead to addiction.

Waslaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on February 26, 2005 8:29 AM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

"Where was the noisemakers section before?"

bottom left under the links column.Atleast thats where I always saw it.

"Lets just junk the noisemakers column and put a chat room instead."

No brother,that would cause fitnah.


Was Salaam

on February 26, 2005 12:31 PM
Abdullah said

How come me article is not posted yet? is it an incorrect article, please email me and let me know.
Wasalaamu Alaikum

on February 26, 2005 1:35 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

As a thought, one of the great things about the usability of this site is that loads very quickly on a dialup, even hen not cached. Therefore I eould suggest in the future never to load the site up with to many pictures if you consider redoing the site.

About what I said before:
""One H" --- not feelin it to much. I think the banner looked nice before as it was."

I'm just not feelin the "H" part. Perhaps just "One Hidaya". And what I meant about the banner(with the masjid) is that it looked very nice in its original version. Perhaps the slogan can be put in a place of it's own such as the bismillah is.

I do not think there are any usability problems with this site other than the ones mentioned above. More usability can be added if anted, but as for the things that are already in place there really is no problem, insha Allah.

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on February 27, 2005 10:41 AM
Talal said

Does anyone recognize the "masjid"? or did I cut out too much?

on February 27, 2005 2:26 PM
Ibtisam said

Salaamu Alaikum,
masjid un nabawee?

I submitted me articles again, I hope in shaa Allaah, you guys have recieved them.
wasalaamu Alaikum,


on February 27, 2005 7:04 PM
Saima said

i didn't even notice the "one ummah One H" in the corner.

my eyes go straight to the article for the day.

on March 1, 2005 5:34 PM
Talal said

...and here I was thinking the whole "One H" thing was the hottest thing to hit Earth since Moroccan Tea.

Rami, I hanve't been ignoring that PDA thing, inshaAllah it'll be up soon.

on March 2, 2005 12:35 PM
Saima said

I like the simple layout of the website.

easy to read and easy to get to the main point of articles.

the different flavors of minds that write on this site is an asset.

can we have a cartoonist ? either daily or weekly ?

will the PDA thingy be MAC-friendly ?

on March 2, 2005 6:01 PM
Talal said

InshaAllah the PDA thing will be MAC-friendly.. because mashaAllah, Macs are ze hotness.
What do you guys think of this for the PDA:
- Be able to download the last 7 articles posted on the site
- There will be comments for each article as well. When you sync your pda, the new comments will automatically be added, inshaAllah.

As for a cartoonist: anyone out there with the skills willing to do this, be sure to email

on March 3, 2005 1:06 AM
gillette said

my cartoons have gotten mixed reviews, but i tried.

on March 3, 2005 1:21 AM
Donald Duck said

Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah
I love the slogan brother. I believe its time that we wake up from our lazy slumbers as br. faisal has mentioned. as long as hidayaonline.com serves Allah(SW), and operates sincerely for the sake of Allah ( SW) all readers should feel highly motivated to contribute. my dear believing brothers and sisters..... this is a pot of gold for the taking. come and try to claim as much as you can. For it is Allah to Whom all the treasures belong. Come out for the the Ummmah of the Prophet ( SW) , come out to success.

May Allah Grant us success, and May He Help us not to fall into the abyss of of hell.
Jazak Allah.

on March 4, 2005 5:27 PM
Krenarz said

I love hidaya online, its articles are great and youth oriented. Honestly I didn't even notice the format of the site had changed, because my eyes fixate on the articles first thing.

on March 5, 2005 3:52 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Advice: We've got to get much more guest contributions to this site. At the very least one guest article a week. Two would be good to keep the site continually in motion and keep ideas diversified.

Idea: record ISRU lectures that people deeemed off the hook and stick it in a multimedia section for all to see & hear. How many sites do you know where you can read a Khaja original or a Talalian epic and then watch a Siraj Wahaj/Islam Bayoumi/IbnFaqih joint.

Waslaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on March 8, 2005 3:59 PM
curious said

i second that.

on March 9, 2005 12:25 PM
Saima said

third it. excellent idea.

i used to see MANY sisters taking notes and/or taping lectures at ISRU meetings in the past.

can there be a way where we can email articles to ourselves or other people from the website ?

on March 14, 2005 9:48 PM
Amani said

"How many sites do you know where you can read a Khaja original or a Talalian epic and then watch a Siraj Wahaj/Islam Bayoumi/IbnFaqih joint"

That would be Islam ElFayoumi, Rami. :)

on March 15, 2005 4:44 PM
Talal said

InshaAllah the PDA dealie will be revealed in a few days, as will the feature to email others or yourself an article.

As for the ISRU lectures... they were being recorded this semester, but all was unforunately lost in a hard drive crash. InshaAllah they are once again being recorded, so once the audio is edited, we'll be sure to put things up.

on March 15, 2005 5:28 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Masha Allah, Masha Allah.

Waaleikum Asalaam Warahmatullah Wabarkatu

on March 15, 2005 10:40 PM
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