Wikipedia and Ahmadiyya Islam

Assalamu ‘Alaikum Warahmat Allah Wabarakatuh,
Brother peaceworld111, a regular visitor here, is one of the main contributors to the entries on Ahmadiyya found on the Wikipedia site. Alhamdulillah, he has contributed a great deal to both presenting evidenced information on Ahmadiyya and protecting that information from vandals. He has kindly written a post on his experiences as an editor, Ahmadiyya on Wiki, and how we can all get involved. May Almighty Allah bless him for both his efforts and obvious humility. Please do take his comments on board and try to contribute where you can. Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank him for all of his tireless efforts.
Jazakam Allah Khayr al-Jazaa’.
Assalamu Alaikum, May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon You,
Alhamdulilah, Praise be to Allah, we are in the last ten days of Ramadhan. It is a time when prayers are accepted the most. A time when we should be striving the hardest to beg forgiveness for all our apparent and hidden sins from The Merciful One, and to thank Him for all that He has given us. It is important to mention that we all run the risk of spiritual failings, whether we have accepted the Promised Messiah (as) and the Imam of the Age or not. With regards to this blog,  whether you are an Ahmadi Muslim or a non-Ahmadi Muslim, I am here presented with an excellent opportunity to request for prayers. Please pray that whosoever makes the opportunity to visit this blog, may it be a source of spiritual guidance, knowledge and truth for them, and a means for those weaker ones among us (whether they be Ahmadi or non-Ahmadi) to keep a watch over themselves.
My experiences
Moving onto to the main subject of my post, a few days ago I was politely approached by brother “theartofmisinformation”, the editor of this blog to share with you some of my experiences as a Wikipedian and other relevant aspects of Wikipedia with regards to Ahmadiyya Islam. Being raised as an Ahmadi Muslim in the West carries its own unique challenges, not to mention the internet dangers faced by many of the young today. As an individual I have my own weaknesses. Please pray for me, as I am always in need of His Mercy. I consider myself to be under-qualified in many respects. Seriously. I am an individual who has no background in writing articles particularly, in this case where editing requires an encyclopedic tone. Subsequently, I have not been involved in a lot of content-orientated editing, which involves expansion/creation of articles. A lot of the core Ahmadiyya related articles such as Ahmadiyya itself or Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) could be attributed to various Ahmadi Muslim users who made significant contributions, but have unfortunately become dormant. The longest article I have written is Jalsa Salana which itself shows signs of lacking professionalism. Forgive me if my tone was too demeaning. My intention here was only to make you aware that the answer to the common question “Who edits Wikipedia?” is not always “professionals”. I will come on to that more later on.
Content oriented editing, though most significant, is only one of many ways of contributing to Wikipedia. As for myself, I have been also been involved in various other tasks, such as referencing and sourcing of material intended to improve the quality of the article itself, fighting vandalism, creating Categories to organize various pages and creating/maintaining of templates such as the main Ahmadiyya template which many of you may have seen. My contributions are not restricted to a single approach, making my task of delving deeper into, and explaining my experiences and achievements quite a challenge. However, a quick search reveals that there are at the moment just over 700 articles on Wikipedia that identify with the ‘Ahmadiyya’ keyword. When I joined in late 2009, if I recall correctly there were around just half that. I am not saying all this increase could be attributed to me, indeed all success is due to the Grace and Mercy of Allah. However, it will be unjust not mention large number of editors, some likely to be Ahmadis who have stepped in from time to time making very useful additions.
I must first make myself clear before any of the opportunists try to rebuke me. Vandalism on Wikipedia is not in any way unique to Ahmadiyya-related pages. Indeed, it occurs on all popular pages, including that of religion, politics, geography and history. However it is not a serious issue. There are various ways of tacking it. Here I will not go into its details, but anyone interested can read here.  I must tell you, it takes a lot longer to vandalize a page than to remove it. Sometimes I wonder, why bother? To offer some generic examples, vandalism on Ahmadiyya-related pages ranges from complete removal of the Ahmadiyya point of view to certain issues such as that on Caliphate page to such filthy additions about Ahmadiyya, the Promised Messiah (as) and our beloved Khulufa  (May Allah be pleased with them all) that it would not permit me to discuss its details here. As far as The Cult is concerned, I am not sure how much its members have been involved or for that matter how much influence it has had. Let me be clear, I am not saying that its members have been involved, but there are instances when one could notice its influence. For example, in the last few months I have noticed an increase of ‘cult’ being added after the name of our beloved Jama’at Ahmadiyya. Indeed The Cult is the most influential in this concocted ideology. In the derogatory sense of the word, sometimes one wonders how can a cult be recognized as “the most educated, organised and disciplined of all Muslim communities in Britain.” Their fruits do not go beyond that of many anti-Islamic sites and forums. I will not go further into the details, however if one is interested they can read an informal study which I undertook a few months ago here. I am sure it doesn’t perfectly reflect the online antagonism faced by Ahmadiyyat today.
Why edit Wikipedia?
Speaking on a personal level, If I want to find out about let’s say “Berlin Wall” , I always google for a Wikipedia article. If it exists, that’s where I’d look first before reading any other website. For me that’s the criteria for most, if not all searchable ideas that come to my mind. It’s a great way to learn about many things, wouldn’t you say? For me it’s often the primary source of learning. I would be a serious anomaly if this did not extend across much of the online population.  With over one thousand new articles being created daily on Wikipedia, totaling to nearly 4million on the English Wikipedia alone and supported by tens of thousands of active editors, it is by no means a mere coincidence that it is the 7th most visited site today. It holds a huge wealth of information ranging from deepest structures in the Universe ever known to man to your local MP! Coming back to the point I made earlier, all this is due to the contributions made by people like you and me, not necessarily all experts. It is my sincere request to you all who could give time, please do not hold yourself back thinking that you are incapable of actively contributing towards Wikipedia. There are plenty of existing articles that need serious attention and plenty more that I believe should be created. For example, I would love to see good articles on most, if not all the books of the Promised Messiah (as) and that of our beloved Khulufa (May Allah be pleased with them all). Another example would be to create a large set of articles detailing Ahmadiyya by country. Off course various notability guidelines have to be met. This requires various comprehensive resources to back up the evidence and to improve the quality of the articles.
As far as the Wiki markup code is concerned it is not all too difficult. Please do not let this be cause of inconvenience to anyone who is interested. In fact, I believe for someone like myself who has no background in a programming language, difficulty only arises where one has to design something such as Templates or Portals. Lastly, I must emphasize to Ahmadi Muslims and to non-Ahmadi Muslims, that Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, intended to be a source of knowledge and information on various subjects. Unlike this blog or any other blog, it is not a place to explicitly present arguments. With regards to Ahmadiyya it is a place where one would expect to find details of its beliefs, history, books and people.
If you have any unanswered queries please do not hesitate to get into contact with me. However, anyone who is interested in contributing towards Wikipedia, I would highly recommend creating a Wikipedia account and start fiddling around – making minor contributions, seeing how various other editors contribute and reading the guidelines! Most importantly, you will be doing a small but great service for the Jama’at!
I sincerely hope this was a worthwhile read and not all too confusing!

4 thoughts on “Wikipedia and Ahmadiyya Islam

  1. I find it interesting that true honesty is only found when reading articles written by the Ahmadiyya Defenders front when comparing to Ahmadiyya Slandering front. One example is stating clearly that we are not directly blaming some blog. Another is that the statistics page on vandalism clearly states that this could be inaccurate and just trying something new.

    On the other hand one only has to look at one slanderous forum to find how academically dishonest their work is. They will try to calculate populations like children and never bother to learn already developed methods that are accurate and valid. It seems they don’t pay attention in university courses teaching about academic honesty and how to avoid bias. Neither paying attention to the teachings of Islam against dishonesty.

  2. I myself have corrected misinformation or vandalism on many occasions in articles related to Ahmadiyya on Wikipedia. I am ignorant as to the rules et cetera of it but the article on ‘Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’ (peace be upon him) should really be locked to an extent.

  3. Jazakallah, a minority of Muslims who are unfortunate enough to vandalize Wikipedia pages is to be honest a minor issue, the main issue is the lack and quality of information. Please do contribute if you have time and inform your Ahmadi friends.

  4. jazakallah , May allah bless peaceworld for his work for wikipedia . I myself contributed few times in wiki that too when theculties gathered to change the wiki information . But then seeing the work of brother peaceworld thought he is doing excellent work so let him do it alone . But dear brother I shall try my best in future in editing the wiki and helping the world to see the truth.

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