ShiaTV vs. YouTube and Others

Youtube vs. ShiaTVShiaTV is a website that caters to a variety of audiences, young and old. Every video on the site I have viewed is educational and Islamic. I wouldn’t worry about children using the site; in fact, perhaps this site could be integrated into classroom activities in Islamic schools, considering the wealth of resources available.Youtube vs. ShiaTVYouTube has been the latest craze of the Internet, especially for youth. You can view just about anything on the website, and it’s unrated, unfiltered, and in many parents’ opinions – unhealthy. Being a married Muslimah who one day wishes to have children of my own and having viewed YouTube content, I can’t help but agree. So what about a healthy and – even better – an Islamic alternative? I was gratefully pointed to ShiaTV (www.ShiaTV.net) by a writer colleague.

ShiaTV is a website that caters to a variety of audiences, young and old. Every video on the site I have viewed is educational and Islamic. I wouldn’t worry about children using the site; in fact, perhaps this site could be integrated into classroom activities in Islamic schools, considering the wealth of resources available. It is set up similar to YouTube, with channels, groups, most frequently viewed videos, and places for commentary. One of the things I enjoy the most about ShiaTV, however, is the absence of unconstructive criticism and, quite frankly, the curse-filled comments often seen on YouTube.

On ShiaTV you will find speeches by men and women on many topics, scholarly presentations, children reciting nohas, sermons, poetry, Islam-related movies/documentaries, and so on. Below every video, you will find a statement that reads: “Please keep this site fun, clean, and real.” There are some funny videos too – that part of the site could use development, however, because there were only three videos listed. There is also the advantage of a variety of languages present: Urdu, English, Farsi, and Arabic, just to name a few. Many of the non-English programs seem to have English subtitles available, and vice versa. There appears to be a great opportunity here to disseminate good Islamic knowledge. Insha’Allah, more Shia leaders and scholars will participate by uploading content to this web site.

Obviously ShiaTV for the most part is superior to YouTube due to its Islamically-filtered content, but are there some good things about YouTube? Absolutely! YouTube was one of the first sites to revolutionize the way information is transmitted on the Internet (via video) – it is even affecting political opinion due to its high user density. If someone (a responsible adult) didn’t mind sorting through the good and bad, there is actually some very good content on YouTube. For example, an interview on National Public Radio described how YouTube has become an important resource for classical music professors, because there are old classical music performance videos on the site that otherwise may not be as readily available to the public, and therefore, their students. This idea could be expanded to other fields of study that are available by video on YouTube, for example biographies of famous people, mathematics, and physics. There are lovely cartoon shorts with little to no dialogue such as “Carried Away” by Zach Parrish, which is about a little boy who is carried away by a large bubble created from his soap bottle; the run time is less than five minutes, and it’s inoffensive. There are also video clips of speeches by great speakers such as Malcolm X (in one he makes a public statement that the Islamic religion is the best) and other civil rights activists. As far as the structure and function of the two web sites, they are very similar, and I didn’t observe any major differences.

I believe that a trend is forming with new video-focused web sites coming online, each with their specialized content. One I discovered recently is SciVee (www.scivee.tv), which is brand-new and still in testing mode. SciVee is focused entirely on disseminating scientific research and knowledge. Their tag line is “Make Your Research Known” and is right now mostly featuring topics such as organic chemistry, biology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, and computer science. Since this site is the so-called “YouTube for science”, there are some high expectations for this site, and scientists are hoping to use it to make scientific information more available and understandable to society, but mostly to present new research. As someone with a geosciences background, I eagerly await for geologists to present their research on this web site!

I believe as time continues there will be a plethora of specialized-video web sites on the Internet, but right now for general enjoyment and good Islamic content, ShiaTV is at the top of my list.

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  • Ed Abd Al-Ghafur

    Salaam Alaykum,

    You mentioned Yout-tube and its unfiltered material. So…. I’ve put together a Muslim Accountability circle on a website called http://www.no-porn.com. The idea is basically for Muslims who struggle with pornography (or any sort of haram material) to have an online support group in which they encourage each other to live up to their deen. You have to be a registered member to view this particular part of the forum, but to preserve your anonymity you can fudge the information if necessary. My idea is just to create some forum online for Muslims struggling with this problem to help each other out. To my knowledge, none exists so far, though Christians have put together some impressive support networks, and its largely Christians who run this http://www.no-porn.com website.
    Perhaps none of the visitors on this website struggle with the appropriateness with which they use the internet, and in that case mash’Allah, ignore this message. If you feel that that is not the case, and that pornography is a problem for you or someone you know, direct them over to the accountability group.
    Its located at http://www.no-porn.com. Click on forums, click on support boards , register as a member, and then click on accountability circle. There you’ll see a posting for the Muslim Accountability Circle. It’s completely anonymous. This might very well be the first support circle of its kind for Muslims on the internet.

    Ed Abd Al-ghafur

  • UmmZahra

    Assalaamu alaikom, right now I’m still using mostly youtube because I can’t find the materials I’m looking for yet on ShiaTv. I’d love to help upload videos (I’m already online all the time), but it seems quiet difficult to actually get things up if you’re new. Yes, that’s due to the great filtering they do…. I guess we just have to sacrafice the ease of quick uploads.

  • Kumayl

    Salaamu Alaykum,

    I thought it’d be worthwhile to mention another Shia-based video sharing site that I happen to enjoy, which is [url]www.shiaspot.com[/url]. What I happen to prefer is the extra organization it has, so that you can easily find lectures by language/speaker/etc, and Dua, Quran, and a bunch of the Shia movies. Best of all, of course, is the option to download everything with hassles.

  • Admin Al-Masumeen


    We have created a website: [url]www.al-masumeen.com[/url]

    At Al-Masumeen we plan to use the media tools available to provide you with high quality Islamic multimedia ranging from Dua videos to recent inspiring lectures to satisfy your needs for both media and more importantly, the quest for Islamic knowledge, ethics and spirituality. Our video projects include: translating mourning poems (Latmiyya/Noha) for the tragedies which befell the family of the Prophet as well as poems of praise (Nasheeds); creating Dua powerpoints for a range of supplications; gathering Quran recitations by various Qari’s and adding both English and Arabic subtitles to the video; compiling video lectures given by renown Shi’i scholars and providing Islamic documentaries and short series. The team at al-masumeen is also planning to embark upon a new video project, creating powerpoint videos for the Ziyarat of the blessed 14 infallibles, may Allah give us all the strength to continue serving in His path sincerely.

  • Think

    Very useful files search engine. f-torrents.com is a search engine designed to search files in various file sharing and uploading sites.

  • Wafa

    i use you tube as many times i have requested admin of Shia tv to give me permission to upload my videos but get no response.