Neighbor Nets (NNets) — Frequently Asked Questions

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Published May 29, 2024

By Mansoor Syed

An article about NNets posted the beginning of May described what NNets are and how they can deepen one’s understanding of Islam and foster spiritual growth. Below are the answers to some questions that have been asked about NNets.


I’m currently engaged in multiple activities; I can’t find time for Neighbor Nets (NNets)?

Neighbor Net (NNet) is not just another activity; it is a foundational pillar that helps us strengthen our relationship with Allah and foster brotherhood and sisterhood among community members. One of the essential components of a successful Islamic activist is a strong relationship with Allah, and NNet serves as a vital platform to nurture that connection.

By engaging in NNet, we develop a deeper understanding of our spiritual selves and learn the importance of humility. It serves as a reminder that no matter how much we contribute to various activities, there is always room for growth and improvement.

I could listen to any scholars instead of participating in an NNet. Why should I attend NNet?

While listening to scholars is valuable, attending a Neighbor Net (NNet) offers unique benefits that enhance your understanding and retention of Islamic teachings.

  • Active engagement: NNets encourage members to reflect, ponder, and discuss learnings from the Qur’an and Seerah. Discussions often draw from tafsir (exegesis) and scholarly explanations, fostering a deeper understanding.
  • Interactive learning: Unlike one-way communication with a scholar, NNets involve reading, reflecting, discussing, and sharing, which help register the learnings more effectively. Statistics show that active engagement improves retention and understanding.
  • Community support: NNets provide a supportive environment for members to connect, share insights, and grow together in their spiritual journeys.

By participating in an NNet, you can benefit from interactive learning and community support, complementing the knowledge gained from listening to scholars and fostering a deeper connection with Islamic teachings.

I am an Islamic activist/scholar with knowledge, understanding, and multiple responsibilities and engagements. How can my local NNet benefit me? What’s the value of Neighbor Nets (NNets) for Islamic activists and scholars?

Even the most accomplished Islamic activists and scholars can benefit from participating in a local Neighbor Net (NNet). These gatherings provide a humbling experience that encourages growth and self-reflection, regardless of one’s position within societal or intellectual hierarchies. Engaging in an NNet offers several advantages for activists and scholars:

  • Promotes humility: By taking part in an NNet, you’ll gain a fresh perspective on your knowledge and understanding of Islamic teachings, reminding you that there is always more to learn and apply in your daily life.
  • Uncovers knowledge gaps: Participating in an NNet may reveal areas where your understanding is limited, providing opportunities for further study and growth.
  • Encourages application of knowledge: NNets promote not only the acquisition of knowledge but also its practical application, ensuring that wisdom is actively integrated into daily life.

Through active engagement in a local NNet, Islamic activists and scholars can experience personal and spiritual growth, developing a deeper connection to their faith and strengthening their commitment to the community.

I don’t want to take time away from my family. How can NNet benefit my family?

Participating in a Neighbor Net (NNet) can significantly benefit families by providing each member with a dedicated space for spiritual growth and fostering unity within the household.

Consider the following approach:

  • Individual spiritual growth: Fathers should attend Men’s NNets, mothers should join Women’s NNets, and sons and daughters can participate in Young Muslim Brothers NNets and Young Muslim Sisters NNets, respectively. This allows each family member to focus on their individual spiritual growth.
  • Establish a family halaqa: In addition to individual participation in NNets, create a dedicated halaqa for your family, known as a Family NNet. This helps strengthen the spiritual bond within the family unit and encourages shared learning experiences.
  • Extend the impact beyond the family: As family members grow in their faith and understanding, they become sources of inspiration and wisdom for friends and extended family, creating a ripple effect that benefits the wider community.

By integrating NNets into family life, individuals can deepen their spiritual connections and cultivate unity within their households. This approach not only enriches the family unit but also extends its positive influence to the broader social circle.

How can we establish a Neighbor Net (NNet) with limited members or supporters?

Creating a Neighbor Net (NNet) in an area with few members or supporters may seem challenging, but it is possible by focusing on personal spiritual growth and following core principles.

  • Spiritual growth: Remember that the primary purpose of an NNet is personal spiritual development. Even with just 2-3 people, you can start an NNet and benefit from it.
  • Basic principles: Adhere to the key NNet principles: preparation, consistency, communication, and brotherhood. This strong foundation will help your NNet grow.
  • Open membership: NNet meetings should not be limited to members of the organization. Welcome anyone interested in attending the NNet meeting, even if they are not a member. This could lead to them becoming a regular member of the NNet. Regular mosque attendees could be potential members.

By focusing on personal spiritual development and maintaining an open, welcoming environment, your NNet can grow from a small group to a thriving community of individuals seeking spiritual growth and connection.

The lack of knowledgeable brothers attending the NNet makes the NNet discussion less engaging. How can we handle this?

While the presence of knowledgeable brothers can enrich discussions, engaging NNets ultimately rely on each member’s commitment to personal growth and sharing their learning with others. By leveraging available resources and fostering a collaborative environment, NNets can become engaging platforms for spiritual growth.

  • Embrace the spirit of learning: Enter the NNet with the intention to gain knowledge and understanding and commit to sharing your insights with others.
  • Utilize technology: In today’s information age, numerous Qur’anic explanations are available through apps. Dedicate time to explore these resources and bring your learnings to the NNet.
  • Implement a knowledge-sharing routine: Start each NNet halaqa with a 10-minute learning session using mobile apps or reading tafsirs (exegesis). Encourage members to share their insights, sparking curiosity and inspiring others to come prepared.

By cultivating a culture of personal growth and knowledge sharing, NNets can become engaging spaces for members to deepen their understanding of Islamic teachings and connect with fellow learners on their spiritual journey.

Why is it important to embrace diversity and inclusivity in our Neighbor Nets (NNets)?

In a country where Muslims come from various ethnicities and backgrounds, it is crucial that our Neighbor Nets (NNets) are inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. To achieve this, we must be mindful of our communication and actions within the NNets.

  • Language: We should prioritize English as the primary language for discussions, ensuring that everyone can participate and feel included in conversations.
  • Food: When planning meals or outings, we should take into account the diverse dietary preferences and restrictions of our members to accommodate everyone’s needs.
  • Open membership: NNet meetings should not be limited to members of the organization. Welcome anyone interested in attending an NNet meeting, even if they are not a member. This could lead to them becoming a regular member of the NNet. Regular mosque attendees could be potential members.
What are the different stages of NNets?

There are five stages of a Neighbor Net (NNet) evolution.

  • Stage 1: Foundational halaqa – Establish a regular halaqa with consistent attendance, thorough preparation, and engaging discussions.
  • Stage 2: Community building – Supplement halaqa gatherings with family events, social activities, and picnics to foster a sense of unity and belonging.
  • Stage 3: Outreach and service – Introduce dawah activities and relief efforts, focusing on community support and engagement.
  • Stage 4: Ideological development – Host ideological sessions for potential future leadership to deepen their understanding of Islamic Movement.
  • Stage 5: Growth and division – Once the NNet reaches 20 members, split the group in two, allowing for more manageable and intimate gatherings while encouraging further growth and development.

By progressing through these stages and embracing the cyclical nature of the NNet Life Cycle, communities can continuously foster spiritual growth, brotherhood (and sisterhood), and meaningful impact.

Why should NNet extend beyond being merely a halaqa? I prefer meeting, discussing, and strengthening our relationship with Allah SWT. Why are activities needed in NNet?

Neighbor Nets (NNets) serve as a foundation for discussing the Qur’an and seerah, fostering personal spiritual growth. However, their potential extends beyond the halaqa, as they can empower members to contribute positively to the wider community.

  • Recognize collective responsibilities: As we deepen our understanding of life’s purpose, we realize our duty to support those around us. NNets can be platforms for engaging in meaningful activities and enacting positive change.
  • Leverage brotherhood: The strong bonds formed within NNets enable efficient collaboration and facilitate impactful initiatives.
  • Combine spiritual growth and activism: By engaging in both personal development and community outreach, we transform NNets into influential components of the ummah, even if it be on a small scale.

In essence, NNets have the potential to become dynamic communities that combine spiritual growth with meaningful activism. Through collective action, members can expand their impact and contribute positively to the world around them.

I feel at ease with the current members of our Nnet. Why should we consider splitting it and expanding?

While it’s understandable to feel comfortable with current NNet members, it’s important to remember the Islamic teaching of spreading knowledge. Prophet Muhammad (s) encouraged us to share even a single verse of wisdom. With this in mind, we should strive to involve others in NNets for their benefit.

  • Invite others to join: Reach out to people not currently part of NNets and encourage them to participate, fostering a welcoming environment for newcomers.
  • Facilitate discussions: As NNets grow, maintaining efficient discussions and connections may become challenging. Splitting the group ensures that everyone can engage meaningfully.
  • Prioritize spiritual growth: The primary purpose of NNets is personal spiritual development. By expanding and adjusting group sizes, we enable more people to experience the benefits of this unique platform.

Embracing growth and facilitating expansion allow us to fulfill the Islamic obligation of sharing knowledge and wisdom. Through this approach, we create opportunities for more individuals to deepen their understanding of Islamic teachings and forge meaningful connections with fellow learners.

We started an NNet a few years ago but now it’s falling apart. What’s needed for NNet’s sustainability?

A thriving NNet is built upon three essential pillars: consistency in its practices, continuous expansion, and active member engagement. To evaluate the effectiveness of a NNet, consider the following factors:

  • New member acquisition: Track the number of new members who have joined since the inception of the NNet to assess growth and outreach efforts.
  • Core team consistency: Ensure the presence of dedicated and reliable core team members who provide crucial support to the NNet Coordinator. The NNC is the lead of the NNet selected by the NNet members.
  • Mentorship and individual connections: Facilitate strong relationships among NNet members through mentoring opportunities and one-on-one interactions, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

By maintaining consistency, promoting growth, and nurturing meaningful connections, a Neighbor Net can cultivate a vibrant and impactful community that embodies the true spirit of Islamic teachings.

Avatar photo Mansoor SyedAuthor Mansoor Syed lives in Murphy, Texas and is an IT Technology Manager by profession. He is also the President of ICNA Dallas. To contact Br. Mansoor with feedback or questions, please email him at

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