Monday, December 25, 2006

Texas Dawah Day 3

Another terrific day at Texas Dawah, although there was steep drop in the night entertainment value.

A few highlights from today:
Yasir Q.'s lectures were awesome as usual. For his second MSA lecture, the hall was overflowing to the point that they moved the lecture downstairs in the open prayer area to accommodate the large audience. His lecture on "Making Progress with Progressives" was excellently prepared. Since I attend this one, I have a few mental notes... in other words, there may be some errors, so don't quote me on this. His speech revolved around a fictional nation called "Veganapolis", where all the nationals only ate veggies, and they considered the rest of the world as "Primary", where people were uncivilized due to their eating habits (i.e. they ate meat). At this point, a man had 3 children: Salman, Khalid and Ali. When he died, his children were in a state of mental crises in their father's adopted homeland of Veganapolis. After some serious study, Salman came to his brothers and tells them that they have been duped, that Islam is indeed a false religion since all the Islamic texts are fill of carnivorous information, including the Prophet's love of a meat dish. So, according to Salman, a religion with such low 'morals' cannot be true. The brothers listen to Salman in great distress. It's Khalid's turn. He tells Salman that Salman has some valid points, but he has not done justice to the religion. Rather, Khalid says, in essence, "why do you want Allah to do everything?" That is, that the religion came for a certain time and place, and that we now have to adjust it to the new region. He further says that if you look at the madahibs, indeed the Hanafi madhab for instance disallows many types of meat from the sea, so the whole religion can and should evolve. So, Khalid tells Salman, I am a Muslim alhamdulilah, and the intellectual, 'reformed' Muslims need to adjust to the new reality of Veganapolis. It is now Ali's turn. He tells his brothers that though they stand apart in their declarations of faiths, they are indeed not that far apart. Both of them are operation from the same paradigm. Both hold the premise that meat is bad, and that eating meat is uncivilized and wrong, and assume that this must be true, and this must be the way god wanted it. But, who said so? Who makes that call? Yes, there are some things that are universally understood, like stealing is wrong, murder is wrong, etc. But, other things are different to different people. Some may like it, others may not. So, if it is not divine, then it is not an absolute reality or a firm premise. So, really, Ali tells both his brothers, both of you are indeed wrong. In fact, Ali tells Khalid, you have a bigger problem, because you have thrown water over 1400 years of scholarship and texts, so you will continue to face obstacle over obstacle as you try to blend your worldly premises with the divine messages. At least, Salman has completely separated himself from the religion, which no longer makes him accountable to be judged upon it.

Besides the 2 lectures that Sh. Yasir gave, he also participated in a get-together with AlMaghrib students. Here, we got to see another side of Mr. Q. He was asked about the conferences he attended recently, esp. about the one in Denmark alongside Irshad Manji, and other so-called progressives. And his answers were interesting to say the least. This would be considered privileged information... ask your qabeelah rep. to find out more!

Khalid, of course, stands for the progressives! They are a minority, but they are affecting people and their message is full of self-contradictions, and problems. Yes, there is some element of truth in their message. Indeed, every culture may have some difficulty in accepting all elements of Islam. When the revelations of inheritance for women was revealed in Makkah, the Sahaba had a hard time coming to terms with that, because it did not make sense to them. Similar is the case to certain things in certain places, as the world evolves, and human mentality changes. But, the message of Islam, if allowed to change with whims and desires, will no longer be the same message given by Allah. Sh. Yasir also threw water over comparisons that Progressives make with their being similar to Mutazilah. Yes, some elements of similarity exist, like rejection of hadith, like arrogance, etc. but while the Mutazilah were concerned with real matters of theology like predestination, etc., progressives complete concerns are around worldly human rights issues, like gay rights, women rights, etc. So, it is in fact an insult to the Mutazilah to be compared with Progressives!

Another speech I sat with was in the MSA with Abdur Rahman Chao, a Taiwanese student of knowledge from Maryland. He delved into many taboo topics about human sexuality, esp. as concerned with the youth. He talked about the pervasive amount of porn on the net, and how it can affect the human mind. There was much more that I am sure the teens in the crowd appreciated the frankness of.

Isa Galloway and Mohamed Elibiary talked about 'Navigating the Spheres of Influence'. Isa made some great points about influencing the different publics. He reminded the audience of the attacks on Texas Dawah by Chris Baker in 2003 due to a Shia Saudi dissident who fed the media misleading information about a scholar who was to speak to the audience via videolink. Texas Dawah passed that media test quite well, and build bridges with Baker. In fact, Baker was invited to Texas Dawah last year, and accepted but could not make it. Instead, Chris Critico came and talked to the audience. So, making bridges with different spheres of influence is an important step to get our message heard. Sh. Waleed's "In the mind of the terrorist" touched this somewhat tricky subject, and he mentioned several points to why and how the terrorists have lost touch with Islamic reality and how they have misinterpreted and sometimes even mis-translated religious edicts to suit their own message. He talked about how suicide attacks are becoming so common, and why these people don't consider the consequences of such an attack a million times before committing it. Because if they are indeed wrong, they will go to hell, so how is it that they are making this such an easy decision?

The career fair had a panel of eight guests who talked about different careers, which are in need of Muslims. A pschycotherapist mentiond how much Muslims are needed in this field. Because if Muslim kids come to a non-Muslim pschytrist to talk about problems with girls, what will the non-Muslim therapist know about this Muslim kid's values? The other reps. were from media industry, dentistry, etc.

The kids enjoyed a great showing by the Mad Scientist Show! Late night shows included a game-show, that kind of fell flat. It seems that game-shows just don't work well at Texas Dawah! However, it was followed by a fascinating short-movie production by the SEMY (Southeast Muslim youth) group that charted the story of Hajjaj ibn Yusuf and the scholar Sa'd ibn Jubeir. The movie was entitled 'the Scholar and the Tyrant'. The half an hour show was moving and well-directed. Well done!


Muslim Apple said...

What if we don't have a Qabeelah rep at Texas Dawah?

Anonymous said...

"When the revelations of inheritance for women was revealed in Makkah, the Sahaba had a hard time coming to terms with that, because it did not make sense to them."

Can you please provide some context for this statement? It sounds disrepectful to say that the Sahabahs could not come to terms with that.

Anonymous said...

As salaam alaikum,

Jazak Allah khair for sharing these posts about the Texas Da'wah convention. they are very nice to read for someone who wasn't able to make it this year.

may Allah reward you and guide us all, ameen.

Amad said...

salam... i will check the veracity of the statement I understood regarding teh sahaba and female inheritance. Rest assured, it should be clear that what the statement implied that the Sahaba did not like it, but not that they had any difficulty in putting that into action. Sahaba, after all, were humans (the best generation) but still humans, so one does not have like everything in Islam, or understand everything in Islam, but one surely has to follow it.

Amad said...

Muslim apple: I guess if you didn't have a rep., then you probably should start working on it for next year :)

Yasir said...

Salam Alaikum

Ibn Abbas narrates that *some* of the Companions could not understand this ruling (revealed in Madinah btw) and thus wanted to either ignore it and hope it would go away, or ask the Prophet (SAW) about it. When they did so more verses were reveales, spec. the first sections of Surah al-Nisaa.

They did not reject the ruling, they were hoping that it would be modified or maybe not implemented.

Hope that helps...


Amad said...

Well, anonymous, there you go... straight from the horse's mouth. Jazakallah khair sheikh Yasir for the clarification.

Abu Abbas said...

Well, what if one isn't able to even join a qabeelah in the states? :p