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A ShiaChat Reunion?

Ibn al-Hussain

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:salam:

As the school-term comes to an end, and there was some time that I could spare for my self, I've thought a lot about how my views on life, religion, man's relationship with God, and the world around me, have changed over the years. This is going to be a pretty random rant - but I guess that is what blogs are for :confused:.

As of now, it has been 4 years since I moved to the seminary in Qom, and while there are many brothers and sisters here who spent many years on ShiaChat, many of them have either asked for their accounts to be deleted, with all of their posts, or have completely abandoned the forum all together or visit once in a while. I'm one of the handful of those who have not asked for my account to be deleted. All my posts from my early teenage years to now mid and late-20s are there. Personally, I never felt I had anything to hide - my posts are pretty much who I am. One can clearly see the early phase of an excited teenager learning a thing or two about the religion, with very deep-rooted presumptions about life, to a hyper kid getting accustomed to a some-what celebrity status, loved & hated by so many, to then entering university life and maturing up (some may disagree :blush:), and eventually entering into the work-force, married, moving to a different country, kids etc. While browsing through my earliest posts back in 2004, I was really able to just reflect on not just how much I have changed, but even how much influence (positive or negative) people on this forum have had on me. Of course this was not happening in a vacuum. I was interacting with all sorts of people - albeit behind a screen. There are so many real names, user-names, and names that I don't even remember - all of them - that I can recall, and in hindsight, see how each and everyone of them played a role in the development of my ideas, the stances and decisions I made in life, the open-mindedness I developed, or even the doubts I may have developed over various issues, and the questions that would remain unanswered for months and years.

This is very obvious for me even while I study in the seminary. The questions I may ask, the extent of tolerance I may show, the critiques I may mention, the willingness to really question some of our "famous" theological or historical views - some of these things make other students and at times even teachers really uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I believe this is in part due to what transpired on this forum and I am happy for it. This forum was like a large community center. It wasn't a community center for a specific ethnicity, or a culture, or converts or a specific gender. This forum for a large part was a community for those who either didn't have access to a real community where they lived, or were not satisfied with the communities that they belonged to. I believe it represented quite accurately the state of the Shi'a (primarily in the West) for a large part. It collectively represented the views that persisted and continue to persist amongst the Shi'a. Unfortunately, it is this portion of the Shi'a populous that often gets unnoticed outside of virtual reality. The inability of those leading us (for the most part) to really dissect and decipher the state of an average Shi'a's mindset, has really been one of the major issues for our communities in the West. The ignorance towards the epistemological framework that an average Shi'a growing in the West acquires through the education system or simply by living there, the delusional presumption that somehow a sub-culture contained within the 4-walls of a building will be able to preserve itself and overcome a dominant culture outside, the satisfaction of merely entertaining the audience with shallow lectures & speeches - while not addressing important and crucial matters: the cure for all of this seems to be have been missing in the last few decades, primarily due to ignorance towards it.

On a rare encounter I may have with a lost-long SCer, Its interesting to see how many stayed religious as they were, or were irreligious and become religious, or remained irreligious, or how so many are now going through a faith crisis as they have grown and began questioning and pondering over life's crucial mysteries. 

Reflecting back on what views I held and what views I hold now, nostalgia overtook me and I started browsing through old posts, old pictures, audio and video files that I still have saved from a decade ago (had a seriously good laugh over some audio files of @SO SOLID SHIA I still have with me). It is really weird how all of a sudden around 2012/2013 the forum just died. As if everyone switched off their plugs and disappeared. People definitely have to move on with their lives, no doubt about that. Of course there were some people who left much earlier, but this sudden silence is really absurd and that it wasn't replaced with a new batch of talented, and educated individuals is really hard to explain.

Perhaps those members who are still lingering around from the early 2000s ( @Gypsy @DigitalUmmah @Darth Vader @Abbas. @Haji 2003 @Abu Hadi @Wise Muslim @Qa'im @notme) and are still in touch with those who have left, maybe they can work on a ShiaChat Reunion of some sort. Perhaps get in contact with old members and request them to make a moment's appearance and leave some remarks on what they are up to in life! What changes have taken place in your lives, in your views, in your lifestyle - if any? There were some members I had such a great time with, and it felt as if we would remain friends forever. It would be great to be able to reconnect with them.

@Baatil Ka Kaatil  @Matami-Shah @Zain @Hasnain @Abdulhujjah @Peer @fyst @Syedmed @Nida_e_Zahra @hmMm @SpIzo @venusian @sana_abbas @fatimak @HR @asifnaqvi @Bollywood_Hero @phoenix @blessing @zanyrulez @wilayah @Hajar @Zuljenah @LaYdee_110 @fadak_166 @raat ki rani @Friend of All @queenjafri @Simba @Path2Felicity @3ashiqat-Al-Batoul @-Enlightened @karateka @A follower @hameedeh @lethaldefense @kaaju barfi @Friend of All @Ya Aba 3abdillah ...there are dozens of other members if I keep going.




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17 minutes ago, Zuljenah said:

Posting again.. as requested by HR!

Well, I've met a lot of ShiaChatters. I actually met more ShiaChatters when I briefly visited London in 2005 than I did when I lived there for 2.5 years! I've met ShiaChatters in London, Canada, the US and Australia. I don't think any of the ones I have met are active on ShiaChat anymore.. I can't remember all of their usernames, but just a few were Sweeter than Salsabeel, Path2Felicity, Iman, Bahlool, Baatil ka Kaatil, Curious Infidel.

Anyhow, I'm living in upstate NY and am a practicing attorney. I went from doing my graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies to a law degree, lived in London for a few years, and now I'm back in the states. And yes, Dobby is still alive, alhamdulillah! Don't know why you all are trying to kill off my masoom cat! :angry:

Salam, you wont remember me because we were never active in the same threads (I was always in the mallang-y threads). I used to be @Maula Dha Mallang I remember you though. you took one of the best names on shiachat I was so jealous lol

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Asalamunalaikum all, it's raat ki Rani ( shudders at awful username) 

I think it's fair to say we were all different people back then and have progressed (hopefully) into more mature adults. 

I am now married (6years this year) with 2 gorgeous kids (if I don't say so myself) 

Being a mother really is a game changer, everything revolves around your children. Even mind numbing decisions are made with the children mind. 

My shiachat period was wonderful, I had fun convos sometimes deep sometimes religious. I actually did learn alot about our faith on here. Made some lovely friends, some of whom I still talk to today. I'm not gona do a HR and list them though sorry...

I think something like being active on a forum can only be a part of your life for so long. Life changes with it your priorities. I loved being part of this forum and will always cherish it. 

 

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Salam 

Op thank you for starting this the way you did..your words are exactly mine...

I am somehow an old member but not that active...i used to be more active on sc when i was lost(teenager)...i posted many stupid stuff on here...most of them were deleted walhamdulillah.

I changed... just like the op described it..i learned a lot from the forum itself and from specific members as well...i will not tag them as i forgot some of the usernames...however brother ethereal is someone that i must thank for teaching me a lot about life in general and for changing some of my childish views regarding Islam! I will not tag him because simply i feel like he has changed too to become a more serious person that may not be glad to read what i wrote about him :) 

 

I wanna add that i don't visit sc the way i used to because of life responsibilies as the sister above said..marriage..my boy..moving to a different country..new culture..new challenges...and so..

I come here sometimes when i need answers to my weird inner questions..or when i feel misunderstood by almost everybody...and the good thing is that sc makes me feel better in a way or another...always :) thank you ! And god bless you all !

starlight, HR, eloquence and 10 others like this

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Did someone give me a shout-out? Are we having an India vs Pak cricket match wager again? :-P Thanks, @Ibn al-Hussain (even with that change of screen name, you were easily recognisable).

SC did force me to encounter a lot of untold truths and question several   status quos, led me to explore the richness of the fiqhi world and the diversity of beliefs held on to by the Imamis with the progression of time, and basically just added to my thirst for knowledge. One of the saddest but poignant moments (while I was still active here) - apart from @Ali Naqi's demise - was when one of the members embraced atheism, but Al-Hamdu lillah, they reverted.

I'm not really sure when I transitioned from here to FB, but when I did, it was mostly the newer lot that I had become more well acquainted with (and who would have been most instrumental in the unearthing of information formerly unknown to me), although that was a phase that didn't last long either. Perhaps I became more settled and calmer and tolerant (all my posts and exchanges on the wall too are still here, however I no longer identify with some of my earlier self) and arrived to some sort of conclusion regarding matters, perhaps I didn't exude that kind of energy anymore and preferred to instead present and/or discuss topics in my classes/lectures or on MSN/Skype, but primarily, it was my real life projects/institution amongst my community that i became involved with at the grassroots level that gained priority and time. While my SC visits are rare, once in a blue moon kind, I do visit FB more or less regularly, more in the position of an observer: it's interesting to watch/read what others have to say.

I have gone on to forge some very good friendships/acquaintances with some of the members off SC, who remain in regular touch. Off the top of my head, currently @habib e najjaar @Praetorius @Nocturne @Khadim uz Zahra @Mary_Poppins @Nida_e_Zahra and several others in the past.

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Salam all!

Great thread - am overcome with nostalgia right now as Shiachat was a big part of my life for a long time! I think life has just gotten in the way - have been busy with work and family. I'm now married with a baby girl (who I just gave birth to less than a month ago!) and been working full time for quite a few years now (although I'm currently on maternity leave). I'm still *kind of* lurking around the forums - I still visit the forum very occasionally although it tends to be brief and every 4 or 5 months or so and I rarely contribute. In terms of religion and my views etc, I'd say they've changed and matured a fair bit since I was on the forums (I was only like 16 when I first joined the forums so I've changed a fair bit as a person in the last 12 years!). I still look back on my time on this forum very fondly and enjoyed engaging with many of the SC regulars and learnt a lot from many people here. I really hope some more old timers post in this thread to let us know how they're going and where they're at with life! 

 

Eltemase dua :)

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Salam Alaikum all,

It has been ages and today somebody sent a Morgan Freeman msg that brought me to the forum just to see I am tagged and kinda remembered.  

Life has taken me to all sorts of places, alhamdulillah..

So glad to have been here and now back after so long..

Thanks HR and Ali Imran.. hope you guys are doing good, iA

Zulji..so proud of you, big hug.. 

I have grown really old I cant even tag correctly :/

 

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The reason of my disappearance was Dubai too.. the site was banned. 

And then ofcourse as we age the responsibilties keep on piling up alhamdulillah.

Ali Imran ..mashaAllah you are studying in Qum.. thats really awesome. 

Thanks for the reunion thread.. feels good to be connected.. we have seen the ups and downs of life while on the forum and lot of people were supportive at times when there was no way out.. cant thank enough..

Phoenix ..wub ;)

 

 

 

hameedeh, DigitalUmmah, HR and 7 others like this

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On 31/12/2016 at 8:01 PM, Qa'im said:

(4) Lack of new and unique conversation.

There is more to it than that. Quoting Heavenly Silk because I think she gets it right:

Quote

Could it also be that most of the "popular" topics have been discussed repeatedly

I have a lot of questions in my mind that need answering and I could start a number of discussions, but the people that would be willing and maybe capable of discussing those topics are few in number. I am sure that for you that is also the case. The subjects that you would like to discuss are too specialist for the rest of us.

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30 minutes ago, Muhammed Ali said:

There is more to it than that. Quoting Heavenly Silk because I think she gets it right:

I have a lot of questions in my mind that need answering and I could start a number of discussions, but the people that would be willing and maybe capable of discussing those topics are few in number. I am sure that for you that is also the case. The subjects that you would like to discuss are too specialist for the rest of us.

How do we encourage the excellent minds to return and, better still, encourage those who have never embraced forums to sign up?

Would it be wrong to just say that we need a new English website with a forum which promotes academic discussion (i.e. a site without  the negatives of SC which, for example, put off real scholars)? 

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58 minutes ago, silasun said:

How do we encourage the excellent minds to return and, better still, encourage those who have never embraced forums to sign up?

Would it be wrong to just say that we need a new English website with a forum which promotes academic discussion (i.e. a site without  the negatives of SC which, for example, put off real scholars)? 

They are too drawn away by the other mediums e.g. Facebook. Sunniforum_dot_com (the biggest sunni forum) and freeratio (the best known atheist forum) both dissapeared. These new forms of social media have taken people towards less intellectual discussions. At least now a greater number of people are having discussions, but the quality has decreased greatly.

This site still has some great minds, but too few to engage in the diversity of topics.

I wonder if secularisation (or a lessining of belief) is also having an impact. Are shia now becoming less traditional and more secular for these discussions? I think that if some of the older members returned, we may be surprised at the changes in their views.

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12 hours ago, Muhammed Ali said:

I wonder if secularisation (or a lessining of belief) is also having an impact. Are shia now becoming less traditional and more secular for these discussions? I think that if some of the older members returned, we may be surprised at the changes in their views.

The Shiachat community needs to have focused discussions about the secular spin some of us give to our faith's values and the solutions to this problem. People can't remain Muslim if the methods of teaching are the same as what their parents and communities received in 1980s Iraq or South Asia.

Edited by silasun
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:salam:

All those times I saw this blog popping in 'latest blog comments' and did not want to enter it thinking you guys were arranging a picnic and I wasn't invited... Only to find pearls of nostalgia from old names.

Besides, probably a sensitive topic but... No one mentioned @macisaac ? How long has he been gone ?

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On 12/31/2016 at 0:01 PM, Qa'im said:

We've been discussing ShiaChat's decline ever since I became a moderator in 2014, and the main reasons we came up with at the time were (1) Message forums are dying altogether - they're all dying, and people are preferring to use WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumbr, Instagram, Snapchat, Telegram, Viber, etc.; (2) Features at that time were not as user-friendly as most social media outlets, (3) Women felt unwelcome due to stalking and messages from guys, (4) Lack of new and unique conversation.

We tackled some of these issues by upgrading the forums, fixing the search feature, introducing Facebook integration, creating a blogs feature, making more use of the SC Facebook and making an SC Twitter, bringing the PM and chatroom post requirements down, and increasing our number of female staff. These were good moves, but more needs to be done. I'd like to see us bring visiting guests/scholars, but the people we have asked were unwilling. I also think we should add an IM feature that members can activate, where members can chat 1-on-1 with other online members (like Facebook chat), but still give the option to not get instant messaged and to block users if necessary.

There's no real way to bring SC back to its former glory. In the early days, forums were the only form of social media, there were no smart phones, and people were using MSN on their computers. I'm still active on Facebook and Skype, but most of my friends have pretty much moved on from those as well. Twitter, Instagram, and Whatsapp are just not for me.

Salams,

I've been on Shiachat since 2001 which makes it about 16 years now for me. I was there when there was just IRC. I would add that one of the major reasons why this is happening is because many of the more dedicated and mature writers got married, had kids and took on full-time jobs. What happens is that a lot of people lose their initial passion, go through struggles, breakdowns and become too busy to partake on a forum. Writing quality posts on Shiachat takes a lot of time. I remember in many of my past debates one post could take me up to 10-12 hours to write as it required lots of research. So our hectic lives simply do not allow us to contribute as much. 

I think if our communities were smart, they would hire people full time to participate and write on these platforms. The wahhabis do it, why not us?

Regardless, I don't believe quality discussions can take place on whatsapp or twitter. Those platforms do not allow sophisticated and well researched/well-sourced discussions to take place. So shiachat, I believe, will continue to serve its purpose.

I have been thinking a lot about coming back as I owe this platform quite a bit for my own growth when I was younger. I will try to make small contributions for now and see where it takes me.

Qa'im, Hassan Y and .InshAllah. like this

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