In the last five years of managing the Muslim Channel at Patheos, I’ve tracked and produced articles and op-eds on the biggest issues Muslims in America and beyond are discussing, living, engaging in and battling over. That comes on top of nearly 10 years before that of working as a journalist and editor on the “Muslims in America” beat for other websites and publications.
So, I have a fairly good idea of what stories and issues will be big, what won’t and what topics will never go away as much as we want them to. This many years of doing this work, and I’m amazed at how some stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims and Islam still persist.
And, I’ve watched and tracked with surprise and delight how other Muslims have taken the lead on bringing forth previously suppressed issues to the light – from women’s rights in the mosque to sexual health and much more.
In this era of analytics and social media marketing, the numbers sometimes tell a different story though. The articles that get clicked and theoretically read the most don’t always match up with what the hot-button issues and topics were of that year. But perhaps it shows greater insight into what really captures our attention versus what we think should capture our attention. (We talked a lot about Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim rhetoric, but we didn’t want to perpetually read about him.)
So without further ado, here are the top ten highest viewed articles/op-eds/blog posts on Patheos Muslim from 2015. I knew none of my autism stuff would make the cut, but a girl can hope!
1. Can Atheists go to Heaven? A surprising answer by a Muslim scholar. Not San Bernardino, not the Paris attack, not Malala, but the most viewed blog post this year came from the Quranalyze It blog, which featured a video by Hasan bin Farhan Al-Maliki, a Saudi-based intellectual and scholar of Islam who offered a refreshing perspective on concepts of kufr, shirk and the essence of Islam.
2. Why Prophet Muhammad Would be Deeply Troubled by the Charlie Hebdo Attacks. This post turned on its ear the justification used by gunmen perpetuated the attacks on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, arguing that though it made fun of the Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet would not have allowed for such violence.
3. Intimacy in Ramadan: How Can we Eat, Pray, Sleep and Be Intimate in the Nighttime Hours? This piece by Heartfelt blogger Nadiah Mohajir for Altmuslim’s “30 Days, 30 Writers” Ramadan series offered a great perspective on how being intimate at night between married couples should be given importance in Ramadan along with prayer and sleep.
4. Advice: Clueless About My Wedding Night. In this advice column from the Love, InshAllah blog, a reader asked Miss Sunshine how he can have a great wedding night when it will be his first time and he has little knowledge of physical intimacy.
5. A Ramadan in Las Vegas: Allah’s Nur in the City of Lights. This pleasantly surprised me. Another entry from Altmuslim’s “30 Days, 30 writers” Ramadan series, this piece wasn’t scheduled to run but came to me rather last minute, and I liked it so much that I added it as a double feature in the series. Apparently our readers liked it a lot, too.
6. The Origins of Terrorism are Geopolitical, Not Religious. With too many mass shootings and attacks this year around the world that had Muslims at the center of the violence, this post made the argument that the origins of terrorism aren’t found in religion but rather are geopolitical in nature.
7. Child Brides and the Quran – Dispelling the Misconceptions on International Woman’s Day. Capitalizing on the interest around International Women’s Day, this post on the Quranalyze It blog tackled the touchy subject of child brides, arguing that the Quran discourages the practice.
8. Six Things I Love Most About the Quran, and Why I Choose to Be a Muslim. These kinds of posts continue to capture the attention of Muslims and non-Muslims – what is it that we love so much about Islam, and why do we love being a Muslim?
9. To the Bikers Who Plan to Protest in Arizona. Nancy Shehata on the Muslimah in Progress blog nailed it here, with this letter she wrote to the bikers who planned an anti-Muslim rally outside a mosque in Arizona.
10. Three Things to Avoid in Ramadan to Make it More Meaningful. Ramadan posts always gain the attention of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and that has been consistent over the years. This post advises three things Muslims should avoid in Ramadan in order to have a more spiritual month.
I hope you’ve enjoyed, learned, agreed and disagreed with the content we’ve worked hard to produce and provide this last year at Patheos Muslim. Here’s to better and deeper content and coverage in 2016!