Blogs – not permissible in Islam

Interesting link emailed to me recently: ‘Sunniforums: Blogs not permissible in Islam’:http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1902&page=1&pp=10

bq.. Recently, many people have been asking about the permissibility of blogs, i.e. online diaries – I’m sure many of us have seen and read them. I submitted a question to Mufti Nawalur-Rahman about them, the ‘answer can be heard here’:http://www.shariahboard.com/fatwa/Deeds%20&%20Effects/2280.php. English translation:

_”Going to websites like these will not be permissible, because they contain personal matters and also they specify names/identities which can create a path for bay-hayaai (shamelessness), and unlawful relations, and It is a source that may leak out the faults/kharaabiyan ‘aayb’ of muslims. It will not be permissible.”_

p. Email, instant messaging, the web, just about the whole internet is basically off-limits according to the discussion, as it will lead to ‘mingling of genders’.

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Pakblogs

It’s now october… the ‘pakblogs site’:/http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakblogs has been languishing for months now without any updates. Just upgraded the ‘pablogs site’http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakblogs site to WordPress 1.3 aplpha with the ‘kubrick theme’:http://binarybonsai.com/kubrick/. It should be more usable now. There is still a long list of things to be done:

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Blogger: This darnfangled new thingamajog

Blogger just got a serious makeover: “Holy Crap! That’s Blogger?”:http://philringnalda.com/blog/2004/05/holy_crap_thats_blogger.php I’ve been using it on and off since it first started, and now it’s finally become really spiffy. Even the default templates are really nice now, “designed by bonafide rockstars of the web world”:http://www.stopdesign.com/log/2004/05/09/blogger.html. See also ‘The Great Blogger Relaunch’:http://www.blogger.com/knowledge/2004/05/great-blogger-relaunch.pyra by the Google team for the inside scoop.

The best thing now is that whenever someone asks me about setting up a _free_ weblog I can now point them to ‘blogspot’:http://blogspot.com with a clean conscience. It does just about everything – except for pictures, but how much can you demand for in a free tool?

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Reasons for Blogging

A very good reason for keeping a blog from “BackupBrain”:http://www.backupbrain.com/ :

bq.. Dori had been thinking about doing a weblog for a while, but couldn’t figure out a good reason why. She also had a brain that felt like it was exploding trying to remember where all the good stuff was that she’d seen on the web. A bookmark file wouldn’t work, as she didn’t want to have to look at them all the time; she just wanted to be able to search somewhere (anywhere!) and find things that she’d seen before. She decided one day that what she needed a “backup brain”–offsite storage of her memory–somewhere to store all those links she knew she’d want again someday.

That idea, combined with cool software from -Blogger- Movable Type, gave her the idea of what to do with a weblog. It’s now a storage place for all those cool sites that Tom & Dori come across that they want to share with each other, you, and themselves.

>> “What is Backup Brain?”:http://www.backupbrain.com/what.html

p. This is what inspired me to make this blog since it made so much sense.

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The tao of blogging

It seems sooner or later every blogger is bound to write a post about weblogging or to be more precise, “What We Blog About When We Blog About Blogs”:http://www.tenreasonswhy.com/weblog/archives/2003/06/04/what_we_blog_about_when_we_blog_about_blogs.html, “Why I Blog”:http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/archives/2003/03/06/why_i_blog.html and “what’s the point of blogging?”:http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2003/10/04#a2500

Most people find the idea of a “weblog”:http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html bewildering. For those, there are “many”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/weblog/special/0,10627,744914,00.html “explanations”:http://mamamusings.net/archives/2003/04/24/blogs_101.php. It takes work, time and effort, and in the end whats it for? Besides an elite few, a blogger is not going to make money of his weblog. There is most likely never going to be a large enough number of readers to provide a ego boost. But both these questions miss the larger issue, which is “much better explained over at Plasticbag.org”:http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2003/09/weblogs_and_the_mass_amateurisation_of_nearly_everything.shtml. “So why blog?”:http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/archives/2003/03/06/why_i_blog.html I wrote earlier on “my reasons for starting a blog”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/weblogs/2003_12/reasons_for_blogging.html, and while in itself they are reason enough to do so, “intentions evolve”:http://www.provenanceunknown.com/archive/2003/06-03_incremental.html and so has this blog with it. Originally, this place was meant to be a storehouse of the best of the internet as I came across it, a sort of backup memory till such time as we can get “AI implants with massive storage”:http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.08/pwr_superpower.html. Then, it started to grow, all by itself, and without noticing I found myself actually writing. I have written much over the years, and it all remains locked up on paper, which is probably where it belongs anyways.

A weblog is an extremely interesting phenomenon. It can be viewed as an “essentially egotist activity”:http://mama.indstate.edu/users/bones/WhyIHateWebLogs.html, building emphereal houses in cyberspace. It can be argued that weblogs, unlike real houses, don’t provide any of the many utilities/advantages of a real house to their owners, which makes weblogs useless. There are many other reasons not to blog “over here”:http://info.org.il/weblog/, ironically posted on the web using blogging software. Blogging has “risks and benefits”:http://mamamusings.net/archives/2003/01/31/blogging_risks_and_benefits.php, but unlike other real-life events a weblog is usually in full control of the author, and they have only themselves to blame for possible bad events. For some, “a weblog can lead to great things”:http://www.dashes.com/anil/index.php?archives/006890.php for some people. In America, “blogs are shaping the political landscape”:http://www.dailykos.net/archives/004513.html. The world of journalism and media in the US is learning to keep an eye on the many political blogs, for they pounce on any media bias and error. “Journalism itself is changing”:http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2003/10/16/radical_ten.html, “possibly for the better”:http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/009flofq.asp. The “American media”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/world/2003_09/the_american_media_gets_off_its_knees.html is like a massive elephant, which takes time to change tracks and the better news and political weblogs are consistently months ahead.

Salam Pax, the famous “Baghdad blogger”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/blogger/0,13814,1018987,00.html changed many people’s perception of Iraq and the war. More “Iraqi’s”:http://www.buzzmachine.com/archives/2003_04.html#003480 are “starting to blog”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/world/2003_08/baghdad_blogs.html and changing people’s perception of Iraq.

These people have stories to tell, but what about the tens of thousands of other bloggers? “Writing for the living web”:http://www.alistapart.com/stories/writeliving/ is not easy, and most people fall by the wayside. The web is littered with dead blogs, “most little seen and quickly abandoned”:http://www.perseus.com/blogsurvey/, but “more are created every day”:http://dijest.com/bc/. The only thing for certain is that “weblogs have a future”:http://www.spy.co.uk/Articles/Spiked/Weblogging/.

As technology evolves, so do people. The horseless carriage was limited to the rich till Henry Ford made mass production affordable, and the whole world jumped into the automobile. Weblogging, or to be more accurate, self publishing tools are becoming increasingly easy to use. All the buzz words in the world mean nothing in front of that. Most people have no idea how to set the clock on their vcr, but everyone has one. When blogging becomes that easy, a large fraction of the world’s internet users are going to have one sooner or later. While they might not draw large audiences, even a audience of one is a lot more than none at all. That begs the question whether bloggers are looking for a audience in the first place… while many are, many aren’t and there are arguments for either side. Some blogs end up existing more for their readers than the blogger, which can make the process of blogging a burden. As with everything else, there’s a whole spectrum, with different blogs occupying different areas, virtual worlds defined by words, with the blogger free to move his blog into whatever domain desired. Online communites have existed since the first days of the internet, and the personal blog greatly enhances the formation of closer knit communities.

Continue reading The tao of blogging

Weblogs in education as courseware

So where do weblogs fit in the learning scheme of things? Read on below for my journey into the world of educational software, and my attempt to build a courseware system using movabletype.

In reality, a weblog is just another website, but they differ from websites in that you do not need to know anything about HTML – they are very easy to update. Technically, it’s a very small step and it’s been possible for over a decade now, but this small step has caused a “paradigm shift in publishing”:http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2003/09/weblogs_and_the_mass_amateurisation_of_nearly_everything.shtml.

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(Weblogs and) The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything…

A must read article on weblogs and society.

bq.. Before the world of the weblog was the time of the homepage. Back before we knew any better, it was the homepage that was going to tranform the world. Everyone was going to have them. They were going to democratise publishing. Together we thought we were going to change the world. But we didn’t..

…why should we care about weblogs at all? What makes them different from the dying form of the homepage? How do they fit into the wider context of emerging cultural and technological trends? These are important questions because they situate weblogging within a larger shift in the way we relate to the world around us. And in the process, they gesture at our future. Where do we go from here? Through the rest of this article, then, I’m going to try and explain how weblogging fits into the wider world with an eye to showing how weblogs may form a ragged centre for our small-scale personal creative endeavours.

>> “Plasticbag.org”:http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2003/09/weblogs_and_the_mass_amateurisation_of_nearly_everything.shtml

Pakistan Blogs

This is an attempt to make a comprehensive listing of Pakistani Blogs. I’ve set up a “directory of Pakistani weblogs”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakblogs/index.html. It’s currently under construction and suggestions are welcome. Please send in blogs to add by “using the contact form”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/contact/add_weblog.html..

Pakistani blogs are different from “blogs by Pakistani’s residing in the UK/US”. We need more 100% Pakistani blogs on the Net. They present the humane side of Pakistan, which hardly anyone abroad knows about. The only knowledge a large majority of American’s have of Pakistan is through their media, which, if you’ve seen Fox News, doesn’t require further comment. Even CNN is not much better, and between these two they have the market covered. The conservative newspapers not only have a very dim view of Pakistan, they often have articles along the lines of “Should we attack Pakistan?”. A large number of bloggers also view Pakistan as a “terrorist state”:http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2003/08/pakistans_respo.html. The only news they hear is that of “nukes”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_687000/687021.stm, “military coups”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/472968.stm, “killings”:http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=8062_Honor_Killing_Watch and a whole other assortment of not very good things.

Well, the last para is not really that relevant to making a list of Pakistani’s bloggers, but it’s one of the reasons I think that more people should be blogging. It’s news/views at a personal level which no other media can convey, and portrays the human side of a country.

The following applies just as much here in Pakistan as in the Arab world:

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Weblogs and Discourse

Oliver Wrede: Weblogs and Discourse

Abstract

This paper discusses different questions of weblogs in context of higher education. It is focussing on three loosly coupled questions:

1. How can the weblog format improve discourse?

2. How it can weblogs support teaching at universities?

3. What are the insitutional benefits of weblogs in universities?

It seems obvious that these questions relate to each other and probably should be discussed in context of each other. The document grew out of a wild collection of speculative thoughts and notes. It is also based on some daily experience with weblogs in an educational setting.