In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Every self will taste death. We test you with both good and evil as a trial. And you will be returned to Us. (Qur'an, 29:2-3)
VOA-ISLAM.COM (Jakarta) baru-baru ini di wawancarai oleh surat kabar Islam terbesar Malaysia. Alhamdulillah. Voice of Al Islam dalam kunjungan silaturahim ke Malaysia mendapat dukungan surat kabar Islam terbesar di Malaysia, Tim Voa-Islam berkesempatan melakukan interview dan sekali gus juga mempresentasikan visi dan misi dakwah kami...
Da’wah (calling) to Allah is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman, as long as he has certain knowledge of the issue at hand. The Prophet (peace be upon him - pbuh) said: “Convey from me, even if it is one verse.” (Related by al-Bukhaaree from Abdullaah ibn Amr)
In today’s world, Muslims can use modern technology to share the message of Islam; one good example is the Internet. It’s a pity many Muslims do not recognize the unique opportunity the Internet offers for conveying Islam.
The ICT leap is great for John Naisbitt (1990) had said: “In telecommunications we are moving to a single world wide information network, just as economically we are becoming one global market place. We are moving toward the capability to communicate anything to anyone, anywhere, by any form – voice, data, text, or image – at the speed of light.”
Realizing this fact, a young Indonesian, Rojul ‘Alal Khot, 29, and two of his friends set up a news portal, its office based in Jakarta, by the name of ‘Voice of Islam’ (http://www.voa-islam.com) to capture the attention and minds of Internet users in South East Asia; especially in Indonesia with 32 million online users and in Malaysia with 15 million users.
Rojul was in Kuala Lumpur recently to promote his news portal; and among the places he visited was this writer’s office. He said based on his team’s studies, people are too preoccupied with their work (including travelling) between 7 in the morning and 7in the evening so they are not bothered about anything else.
“Imaging for 12 long hours most of the workers had only thought about work in their minds, but for me it was not proper. They had to be reminded from time to time about their responsibilities as a Muslims. They should break for prayers and have some time to ponder about their life. That’s where, we would try to fit in; it’s our responsibility to do the da’wah work,” he said.
Da’wah work and message could be done via traditional media but there are many limitations. For example newspapers in which there are religious articles probably would be read in the rush by workers in the morning before they go to work or after work in the evening and during weekends.
It was a general rule that workers should not read the papers at work, but in today’s world of ICT, almost every office worker had a PC or a laptop or has access to it; and Rojul saw great opportunity for him and his team to get workers and people to have a look and then get hook to this Islamic news portal during their free time or lunch and tea breaks.
They too could browse and read items posted in the news portal when they were stuck in traffic jams, during long journeys on public transport and while waiting for meetings, seminars and appointments to convene.
Other than Muslims workers, many non Muslims searching for truth also benefit from the Internet including news portal set up by Rojul. But Rojul acknowledged that the Internet will never replace face-to-face da’wah but it will continue to broaden da’wah opportunities in new ways.
By utilizing the Internet, Rojul and his team’s work could reached audiences all over the world, so that other than Malay (bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia) users, they would try hard to make their news portal a bilingual one. They hope Muslims writers especially in South East Asia region could contribute articles to them.
Rojul said he wanted to practice using the Internet to convey the message of Islam for there are many benefits of electronic da’wah or E-Dawah. Using the Internet, traditional means of communication are transformed into electronic messages. The Internet allows easily and inexpensively way of communicating with people from around the world.
He said for da’wah purposes; some offices had to invite preachers to their premises. So much time and money had to be spent calling people and staffs to classes and sessions. The Web makes learning more accessible. People are no longer totally dependent upon a teacher, classroom, or library.
Rojul said the duty of da-ee (those who do the da’wah work) not only for people who spent their time in Islamic study field, but it include whole ummah of Islam and da’ wah to non-Muslim bringing them to the right way which is Islam. So anyone can start from basic ways such as writing Islamic article on web-site, conveying Islamic knowledge to our friends, including the non-Muslim and informing about Islamic web-sites or audios of Muslims lectures in order to make them know Islam in the positive way.
Voice of Islam was launched on 1st June 2009. It has 15 staffs made up of journalists, writers and technical persons in Indonesia and features news and reports from various Southeast Asian countries, targeting an audience of 400 million internet users.
For Southeast Asian voices, the news portal has sections for reports from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. Most of the postings are in bahasa Indonesia but Rojul had plans to broaden the usage of English as it used and understand worldwide.
“Insya Allah we will broadcast in Arabic after Hari Raya,” said the confident Rojul who quit from his advertising and show business job of several years to do the da’wah work.
He said to tap the market of younger generation, his news portal has a section dedicated to teenagers, and for women; they could explore the Muslimah section in which there is a Mujahidah section where stories on renowned Muslimah figures are posted. The Voice of Islam too has sports section and a gallery of photographs on happenings amongst the ummah.
Rojul had featured his visit to Malaysia in his news portal.
He hoped readers would help in promoting his news portal because he believes it could help Muslims and citizens of the world to understand more about Islam.