Qur'an social media challenge, a hit for Muslims around the globe

(Photo: REUTERS / Mohamed al-Sayaghi)Young women, who are blind, read Braille versions of the Qur'an during a Qur'an memorization class as part of initiatives by the Society for the Blind Care in Sanaa, Yemen on July 17, 2013.

Muslims worldwide are now taking on a viral video phenomenon through a challenge known as the Qur'an Challenge.

But unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Qur'an Challenge does not have a charity to support.

The Ice Bucket Challenge raised awareness and financial support for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative condition also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The campaign nevertheless seeks to raise awareness and funds for Muslim "da'wah" or a call to share the faith by reciting verses from the Qur'an on various online platforms.

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Issam Bayan, a Palestinian artist from Germany, started the challenge nearly a month ago.

He posted his first video on Facebook and YouTube on August 30, saying, "Let's collect the rewards and challenge your friends by reciting some verses of the Holy Quran."

The challenge is a hit as thousands of videos and photos of Muslims all over the planet take part through various social media sites.

Aquila Style, a magazine for modern Muslim living, said that notable Muslim YouTube celebrities like Adam Saleh and Mohamed Zeyara have taken part in the challenge. There are also children as young as four who have participated.

Ismail Hussayn, a famous Islamic calligraphist, said, "I personally don't do challenges like these as it's not my thing, but this one was something which you can't really say no to.

"You're doing the challenge for a good cause to encourage people around us to read the Qur'an."

Issam has just recorded his second Qur'an recitation and has challenged three popular Muslim stars: multi-platinum-winning nashid artist Maher Zain and YouTube personalities Fouseytube and Karim Metwaly.

If these celebrities take the challenge, the Qur'an Challenge might become the biggest Muslim online campaign to date.

"It's a way of connecting people and making da'wah, because the Qur'an is magical," said Bayan.

Terje Ostebo, coordinator of the Center for Global Islamic Studies at the University of Florida, told Religion News that the challenge is a way to extend the public nature of reciting verses to the world.

He added that young Muslims now are caught between tradition and modernity.

"They are struggling with how to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim context and appeal to Internet and through memes to amplify their piety and identity," said Ostebo.

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