Like all other activities in the world, this year’s Ramadan may likely be observed mostly at home as a result of COVID-19 scourge.
But anyone living in Muslim dominated countries knows that Muslim faithfuls observe the holy month of Ramadan with several activities.
Some of these activities include listening to the translation and commentary of the glorious Qur’an (Tafsir), attending Night prayers as well as lectures on various issues.
Following the stay at home order issued by authorities in Nigeria, this means that there is every likely hood that the Ramadan will be observed without conducting Tafsir, lectures and Tarawih prayers.
Thankfully, with several tools and platforms available, organisations can take advantage of their availability to conduct their activities seamlessly.
Against this background, this short piece presents three Inexpensive tools that we can leverage to attend our lectures and tafsir.
It shall be known that these tools are not the only tools that people can leverage to conduct their activities; nonetheless, I chose these three based on their ease of use, cross-platform advantage and popularity.
Of all the live streaming services there, StreamYard is my number one.
The reason being, it is inexpensive and straightforward to sign up and allows someone to get started on the go.
It is a browser-based, and it allows live or recorded streaming which can be aired to existing social media platforms.
For example, a person using StreamYard can broadcast live to own’s Facebook page, Facebook Group, Facebook profile, LinkedIn page, LinkedIn profile, Youtube channel and Periscope channel, among others.
Another exciting feature about StreamYard is it allows users to share screen and be seen at the same time.
In our context, StreamYard can show the Mufassir (the translator/commentator), the Qari (the reciter) alongside the portion of the glorious Qur’an in which the Qari is reading from as well as display the part in which the Mufassir is reading from. StreamYard is also suitable for Muslim organisations that organise Ramadan lecture where they bring a panel with a Chairman of the occasion, speakers, moderators and reviewers to discuss issues passionately.
But, it shall be noted that although ten people can be in the StreamYard virtual studio, only six active speakers can be shown on the screen.
In essence, the advantage of this tool is, there is no need for the Mufassir and Qari to sit side by side to conduct the Tafsir session.
So, it leaves no room for anybody to complain about lack of social distancing by our Ulama.
Nonetheless, as amazing as this platform is, users that can broadcast for more than 20 hours in a month must consider upgrading from its free version to a basic ($20) or a professional plan ($39).
If StreamYard seems exciting to you and you want to have a go at it, you can find ‘how to get started guide’ here.
For starters, YouTube is one of the most popular video-sharing platforms that allows users to upload, share and live stream their sessions for free.
By default, if you have a Gmail account, Google will add YouTube to your account.
As such, if you wish to take advantage of this free service to live streaming session such as Ramadan Tafsir or Lectures, all you need to do is to head to YouTube and sign in.
Following that, you will need to enable your channel 24 hours earlier (if you haven’t done so) before the time of your event.
To do so, you will be required to provide proof that you own the account and share your phone number with them.
One of the exciting thing about YouTube live streaming is that it is free, and can take up to 8 hours of continuous streaming.
Besides, a host has three alternatives for live streaming events.
For example, a host can go live using a webcam, a mobile phone or an encoder.
But for those using mobile phones, YouTube allows users with a minimum of 1000 subscribers only.
Otherwise, you will need to use a webcam or an encoder.
In the context of this year’s Ramadan Tafsir or Lectures, organisations can take advantage of YouTube live to air their live sessions.
However, this means that two or more people will have to be in one place to make the event seamless.
Another platform that Ulamas and organisations can take advantage of is Facebook Live.
It is free, easy to use, and it leverages on the user’s existing followers.
It also sends automatic notifications to followers every time the user goes live.
People and organisations considering to use it during Ramadan must know that it has an 8 hour and 4 hours limit per session for users using a webcam and mobile phones respectively.
Unlike Youtube, Facebook live videos don’t appear in search engines beyond the Facebook graph search.
Users interested in leveraging Facebook Live streaming service can learn a step by step guide from HubSpot’s blog.
I am aware of various limitations associated with the use of tools and platforms.
It is a non-disputable fact that some of us lack the devices (smartphones, tablets and PCs), others require the money to subscribe to enough data to watch the live sessions.
Yet some doesn’t even have the electricity to power their machines (smartphones, tablets and PCs).
Nonetheless, our organisations can take advantage of Telegram and create channels for sharing the recordings of the Tafsirs and lectures after converting them to MP3.
Telegram is a free social messaging application such as Whatsapp, WeChat and Google Duo.
The rationale is, Telegram channels can accommodate an unlimited number of subscribers.
By doing so, millions of Muslim faithfuls around the world can benefit from what they missed during the live sessions.
Nevertheless, I chose to feature StreamYard, YouTube live stream, and Facebook.
The reason being they are inexpensive, easy to use, and the popularity of their user base in my side of the world.
Please, feel free to suggest other tools and platforms that suit my criteria.