Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Texas Dawah Day 4 (Conclusion)

Sadness started to seep in as the last words of yet another great TDC were spoken... sadness of leaving the brotherhood and the Hajj-like (well about 1% of it) environment at the Convention. The concluding session of TDC covered the title of the Convention -- "Islam, a light for all ages". Br. Sidky, Sh. Hasan Khalil, Sh. Sadakullah, Sh. Ibrahim Dremali, Sh. Yasir Qadhi, and finally Sh. Waleed took turns to make some concluding gems

Before the actual wrap-ups, a brother who had come all the way from the Caribbean JUST for the Convention presented a 5-10 minute slide-show on Islam in the Caribbeans. He started with some historical background, then broke it down with other interesting statistics about Muslims there. 10% of Trinidad and Guyana, for instance, is composed of Muslims. There are dawah activities there, Islamic schools, and of course Islamic politics! The brother closed with telling the audience that he did not want our funds, just our duas. Even though his presentation was simple and straightforward, it touched many people, and reminded us of how Allah's noor is reaching every corner of the globe.

Br. Ahmed Sidky was succinct and cool. He talked about how he was not practising Muslim, that he went to the Mosque just to pray his 2 rakahs of tarawih, then leave with his friends, but the Imam stopped him, smiled at him, and asked him to come to Qiyaam. Br. Ahmed asked, what Qiyaam was, and the Imam reply to them was, "just come". When he did come, he asked the Imam to give him advice because he was leaving for America. The Imam replied, "go to the Masjid whenever you can and as much as you can". Br. Ahmed asked him, "that's it?", because he is used to Sheikhs "talking too much" (audience enjoys that comment with a big laughter). The Imam replied with "yes". Br. Ahmed said this advice changed his life, because he would keep this commitment to the Masjid, and that this was advice to the audience.

Sh. Hasan Khalil started with some beautiful recitation. He reminded the audience that the Quran was a light from Allah. He said that Muslims want everyone to be guided with this light, but we have to do this with compassion and concern. He insisted that it will not be easy, that we need to expect hardships, but as someone relying on Allah, why would we stop? He asked the audience to apply what was learned. To do small actions out of sincerity. He mentioned that he felt like a stranger when stepping out of the Convention, due to the presence of Muslim brotherhood and love.

This was Sh. Sadullah Khan's first time at the Convention and he had many words of praise for it. He reminded the audience that sometimes we focus on rituals (which we should), but sometimes we miss the bigger purpose behind the rituals, such as the affect of prayer on brotherhood. He urged the audience to bridge the gap between values and action, between the glorious past and future. He said there was no such thing as "we live in a bad time". We blame the time for being bad, but it isn't bad, time will be what we want it to be. We are the problem, if we do good, then we will make it "good time" instead. We not only have to do Islamic activities, but also be involved in social works, such as feeding the hungry, etc. He ended with reminding us that we need to spread the light we earned here. That it was more important to be just than to demand justice.

Sh. Ibrahim Dremali started by telling the audience that his message was going to be one of optimism and positive energy. He admitted that Muslims were going through hardships. But, he also reminded us that the Mongols were far worse in their oppression. And later these same tyrants converted to the message of the people they killed, and became some of the greatest dai'as. He urged the Muslims to not give up, things will change. But things will change only if we change ourselves. He reminded the audience of the Prophetic saying, where when asked by his companions to make dua for Allah's victory, he reminded them about the previous nations, who had it so much harder, such that a hole would be dug, with the believer placed in it, and then cut into half. He ended on the note of hope and certainty, as the Prophet had said that things will progress from Prophethood to just Khilafa, to just Kingdoms, to dictators (hint: sounds a lot like our time), and then back to the khilafa upon the nabuwa (the message of Islam).

Sh. Yasir Qadhi (needs to hyperlinks for intros) said that he was stumped by Br. Ahmed's statement that Shayookh spoke too much... that he did not know whether he will justify Ahmed's assertion or cut his speech short. Good start Yasir, humor always works wonders. He also said that the Caribbean presentation reminded him of the hadith where the Prophet (S) said that Allah rolled the earth for him, so that he could see the East and the West and what he saw was this Ummah was everywhere subhanAllah...and we see the evidence of this. Who could have thought that ummah was thriving in Caribbean, he asked the audience if anyone knew where Carribean even was (the brother who did the presentation raised his hand and the audience enjoyed that). Yasir reminded everyone that the Ummah was thriving. Yes, he said, that we do live in times that can be depressing. But the depression cannot and should not last permanently. How about the story of Taif, where the Prophet was unsuccessful after 10 yrs of dawah, pelted, bleeding, till he stumbled 5 miles away! He was in shock. But right after this shock, the Prophet came across a man, who he gave dawah, and this man became a Muslim. So, he did not let one sad incident prevent the good from another. Yasir asserted that Wallahi if we are not saddened by the Muslim situation, then we don't have faith. But that we needed to use the sadness to do something positive, and not to despair. We will overcome, this is the promise of Allah. But change begins with me and change begins with you. What can we do, Sheikh asked? Some people think that they have the responsibility of the entire ummah upon their shoulders, and they get depressed, and not do anything! Think differently, what can we do to benefit the ummah, that we need to stop thinking we can fix the entire world, and start with tiny steps first, and make an impact on things we can control and/or affect. That we use our individual unique talents to do something constructive. Then, we'll see the domino effect. Sh. Yasir then set forth the parable of the ummah like the room where the lights go out. And each person takes out a small light, consequently leading to the whole room being lighted. [See the blog entry with Yasir's video on the 12x6 hijab, which was a repetition of this parable]. He questioned the audience if Salahudin knew what he will become when he grew up? No. So how do you know that you won't be the next salahudin or ibn taymiah? At the least if we can't affect anyone else, we can at least change ourselves, and save our souls from the hellfire. Was that not sufficient in itself as a reason to do something? So after the Convention, will we the same? Or will we change? Yasir concluded with the Quranic ayah, that they wish to destroy light of Allah, of surety Allah will perfect the light , even if the disbelievers don't like it.

Sh. Waleed was the last to take the podium. He took some lessons from the Seerah and spoke about the need for optimism. Once a young woman came whose name was Asiya, and the Prophet called her Jamilah, another man came whose name was Harb (war) and the Prophet said, no, you are Silm (peace), and so on. Names reflect the spirits of optimism or pessimism and the Prophet (S) did not lose the opportunity to spread the spirit of optimism. When he preached, he delivered messages, brimming with optimism. He (S) said to not say inshallah after dua, because that means you are adding some uncertainty, and pessimism in the supplication to Allah, have no doubt about it. However, optimism, Sh. Waleed, asserted was a skill that needed to be developed, and he gave several pointers: (1) Put your trust in Allah, He will deliver, because He has control over all the dominion. He mentioned the hadith where the whole mankind cannot do something or do something if Allah has not permitted it, (2) Be optimistic in appearance, look fresh, smell good [Amad's comment: esp. if you have to come to pray Jamah, so you don't have to make your brother try to steal fresh air far away from you :)], (3) Smile, it will help u get over problems, (4) Fill your heart with goodness, and it will make you optimistic. Sheikh mentioned a joke about a person who was a chain smoker, and when the local Sheikh asked him to quit, the guy gave him the proverbial "make dua for me". So, the local Sheikh took him in front of the Kabah and started making dua for more than 10 minutes, to give this smoker everything one could think of in the duniya and the akhira. The smoker, right behind him, was in high heavens, repeating amen after amen. In the end the Sheikh concluded the dua by saying "Ya Allah, don't accept any of my duas for him until he quits smoking!" The audience went into fits of laughter! (5) Choose to use positive words, (6) Be practical in your goals, so that you do not set yourself up for failure, and finally (7) Allah created us in different levels, so don't try to do everything that others do, but instead focus on your own strengths and on your own energies.

Alhamdulillah, truly, Texas Dawah was a blessed event. There were really no fights, no arguments to speak of. A few small issues here and there. But overall, the atmosphere was unmatched, the speakers were highly motivated, and the audience entirely thrilled. The number of people who witnessed this event was unofficially between 3000 to 3500. Considering that likely 500-1000 of Texas Dawah's potential attendees were at Hajj, this large number was truly outstanding. The Bazaar was great too, with a variety of Islamic stuff. It was pretty interesting to see how Islamic literature has increased and how the quality has really went up a notch. Inshallah, the CDs of all the lectures should be available soon...when that happens I'll post a reminder here. If you weren't there, and you wanted to be there, well, then there is no excuse not to get these CDs and obtain some of the light that the attendees received. And I urge all of the readers to please make plans for the next Texas Dawah, "Family in Focus: the best of you is the best to his family".


Amar Razali said...

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah,

Br. Amad,

I was looking for you during the convention. After we met during the first night, I was trying to find you again. I planned to have a short conversation with you. But nevermind, InsyaAllah I hope we can meet again during the convention next year.

I am really interested to be the Ansar member. Do you know how can I do this?

By the way, check out this video. I make it by myself. It's about TDC from my perspectives.


See you again.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah.

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu 'alaykum,

Regarding Shaykh Waleed's story of the Prophet (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) renaming the people who have names with an undesirable meaning: Asiyah is not a bad name; the woman in this story's name was 'Asiyah with an 'Ayn and a Saad.

JazakAllahu khair for your excellent accounts of what happened at TDC; it was truly a touching convention.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu Alaikum,
Masha Allah, I think that your analytical report of the TDC was very good. I was pleased to read it. I am the brother from Trinidad who made the presentation on Islam and Muslims in the Caribbean. TDC was truly a good experience. Thanks to Shaykh Waleed for his invitation and hosting. Looking froward to 2007 Insha Allah.
Br. Mirza Ali-Mohammed