Am i proud to be a Muslim? Yes! What do I do to display that pride though? Nothing really. I mean I don't have a beard, I don't wear a Kurtah all the time, I don't wear a hat to work besides Friday, I'm not a part of any charity organisation, in fact I don't really have that extensive an Islamic knowledge to be honest. Yes, I'm a good person and probably show to people that Islam isn't as bad as people make it out to be, but thats about it.
I went to an Islamic conference (From Medina to Millennium) over the weekend, and what was funny before I went to it is that I thought I would feel out of place. My reason being that my Islamic knowledge is very limited, everything I had learnt prior to couple years ago were through Friday Lectures and the basics in Madressah. Obviously this is my own fault so I attribute no blame to anyone for my ignorance.
The conference was incredibly different to what I expected, moreso because I have never been for any conference before. A conference it seems basically has speakers who come and speak on a set topic and afterwards people ask questions. I expected a more conventiony type thing, so luckily my lack of knowledge wasn't put to test.
I learnt alot and there were alot of mindset changes for me. I couldn't possibly discuss everything I learnt and I think alot of stuff was on a personal level, in terms of self realisation but there were 2 points that resonated with me through the weekend.
1. Humility of the true scholars and ambassadors of Islam
We met Zain Bhika on Friday before he went on stage for his concert. He was the star of the concert yet he spoke to us as equals and with respect. Not only us, but the volunteers who were there to assist him and tend to him.
The sheiks(shayukh it seems is the actual plural of this word) at the conference with their immense knowledge and power were incredibly humble. There are 2 specific people I would like to mention. Firstly, Sheik Salman al Ouda, the main speaker at the conference, whom I feel incredible honored to have seen. He earned the respect of everyone at the conference, I think, with his sensible and detailed answers and talks. Initially the language barrier was a problem but I think Sheik Abu Yusuf did a great job with his translations. Secondly is Dr Ashraf Nasser who after delivering an awesome talk went to sit in the audience as if he was just any ordinary person even though I'm sure the panel would have accepted him with open arms.
I think humility makes people more relatable. If you behave as if you're holier than thou, people are gonna treat you as such, and you don't earn respect, you are given status, which I believe is not the same thing.
2. Islam is wasted on some Muslims
You know that saying that 'Youth is wasted on the young', well similarly I think Islam is wasted on some Muslims i.e. some Muslims don't appreciate the beauty of Islam. It was obvious at the conference that some people seemed to have ulterior motives for being there, which led to the disrespect of the sheiks. If there was one message that resounded in the conference, it was one of brotherhood and unity and that we shouldn't look down on someone for their ideals, color, caste or nationality. Something that alludes the realisation of some people is that your Imaan(faith) is incomplete until you love for your Muslim brother what you love for yourself.
There was one question I wanted to ask regarding the views held by Shiites. Even though I didn't ask it I think I have my answer. We shouldn't argue about the 1% of issues makes us different but rather embrace the 99% that makes us the same and ... Allahu Alam.
Till next time in Waseem world