Islam, as a religion, is going through the most critical and difficult phase in modern history. Politics, Propaganda and War worked at striking what the true faith of Muhammad is, which started as early as his death. In the age of information, the younger Muslim generation had many existential unresolved questions, yet they’re pressured to make up their mind, it’s quite confusing having to do so with the dazzling input of politicized religious institutions and radical Islamic Politics. Needless to say, Islamophobia has been only on the rise.
This month, around 14 million people have visited the holy city of Mecca to experience Ramadan. 2 million of them were present on July 13th to spend the day at the Grand Mosque, it’s believed on a night like this, God revealed the message of the Qur’an to Muhammad (Lailat al-Qadr).
In Muslim communities, it’s part of culture that those who had the opportunity to experience being in Mecca and praying before the focal point of global muslim prayer, the Kaaba, have a higher status. Their stories are entertainment to the hungry souls. It’s a spiritual endeavor that Muslims long to, you can see TV screens blazing with live streams of the Grand Mosque everywhere.
A Saudi digital marketer, Ahmed Aljbreen, was having his own Ramadan experience and sharing it on Snapchat when he had an idea, to call for Saudi Twitter influencers to campaign to request launching a Snapchat Story about this special night.
— أحمد الجبرين (@Aljbreen) July 8, 2015
People instantly followed Aljbreen’s lead and created a massive 300K-tweet campaign that went easily trending.
Snapchat listened, releasing a 6-minute Story on a day in Mecca’s Grand Mosque on July 13th.
The story picked up global attention as a unique, first-of-a-time message from the heart of Muslim world that didn’t involve fanatics, violence or threat. #Mecca_Live alone gathered around 1m tweets, besides the snapchat story viewership. That’s hundreds of millions of impressions, to say the least.
I'm not muslim but seeing #mecca_live made me think twice.Its beautiful ??People have really changed my perspective of islam
— Jacqueline Saleh (@Prince10Roxana) July 14, 2015
81 replies so far all because of my #mecca_live tweet & every single one is positive, loving, grateful. Tell me again how Islam is bad?
— Amanda M. Hils (@HilsAmanda) July 14, 2015
I’m not Muslim but the #mecca_live story is so beautiful! Really shows that Muslims arent how the media show them! What an amazing religion!
I may not be a Muslim, but the #MeccaLive story is making me so emotional, is just beautiful when people can embrace their religion.
#mecca_live though I am not Muslim but it is so beautiful to see so many people come together to embrace their religion❤️
— Jennie❤️Harry (@JenniferCar8) July 13, 2015
What’s mesmerizing about this story is the genuine spirituality, selflessness and submersion in the epic moment beautifully captured by young men and women in an easy, simple and internet-oriented format. You’re guided by people from all over the globe through the collective act of peaceful worship while spending an exciting day. 2 million people, one destination, one night, one word: “Allahu Akbar”.
This is the first time in modern history when Muslims allow the world into their sacred city, to get a glimpse of their genuine, pure faith.
— عبدالله بن سلمه #غزة (@AbdulBinSlmah) July 13, 2015
— Maan Imran Khan (@MaanImranKhan) July 13, 2015
From what it seems, this story impacted millions of minds, raising constructive questions and encouraging inter-cultural dialogue that can only move us, as a species, forward. It sheds a spotlight on how powerful social media can be in opposition to constructed propaganda.
On a personal note, this might be the first act of Internet that restores my faith in humanity.
— Samira (@111Wind) July 14, 2015