Published by Haseeb Ahmed - June 17th, 2007
Subhanallah! It was an honor to volunteer at yesterday’s great event. Overall the event was amazing, and I hope this is the first of a regular series of “Islam in the West” events. Here are some of my thoughts regarding today’s festivities.
Photos courtesy of Brother Tariq Subhani
- No matter how many times I see Haji Noor’s calligraphy presentation, I never cease to be amazed at how talented he is. Masha’Allah .
- Kareem Salama is one of the few performers that I have seen who sounds just as good live he does on CD. (Dawud Wharsby Ali also fits this category). He performed “Get Busy Living”, “A Land Called Paradise”, and “Baby, I’m a Soldier” along with a guitarist. I was hoping he would perform a new track from his upcoming CD, but his time was indeed very limited. It was great to finally see him perform live, and an even greater honor finally meeting and talking to him briefly at the end of the day. Kareem is a truly sincere and talented brother who i’A will go on to rise to much greater feats soon. Oh yes, his new album will be coming out later this summer as well. Stay Tuned for more info!
- No one has been working so tirelessly in the American Muslim community for as long as Imam Siraj Wahaj. When seeing him, one cant help but awe in respect to all that he has done for the couple of decades. From serving as full-time Imam of Masjid Taqwa, cleaning up the streets of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, accepting speech requests across the country, to inciting tens of thousands of Muslims across the world with his tapes - his work is unparalleled. Moreso than even that, as Imam Zaid mentioned later that afternoon, it is because of Imam Siraj that people like himself and Shaykh Hamza and other scholars and institutions (like The Al-Maghrib Institute) have been so successful and prominent today.
- Imam Zaid Shakir really stressed the importance of unity and mutual respect of all Muslims who believe in لا إله إلا الله . He reminded us of all the great work that Muslim Americans have done in the past, including those of the salafi movement in the 90s. He says while we all may have differences with one-another we all aught to respect one another. He mentioned the Salafi Movement, and the Al-Maghrib institute all in a positive light. He was very critical of Muslims of particular groups who love to criticize other groups and scholars on their websites, etc. without having the courage to discuss these issues directly with the parties involved who they are criticizing. I loved Imam Zaid’s talk and I hope more scholars can promote messages of unity and respect, especially in a world filled with such sectarian/ideological divide.
- This was my first time seeing Noor perform live, and they really can sing, m’A. They performed a couple of their songs (along with the help of some fans sitting in the front row), and then actually shot scenes of their premiere music video outside in the lobby of the exhibition center.
- Native Deen was great as usual. I must have seen them perform live at least 5 times now. Like Kareem Salama, Native Deen also has an upcoming album coming out later this year and I was hoping that they would perform a new track, but they didnt. Nonetheless, their performances were great, especially “For The Prophets” (my favorite).
- The evening was capped by an amazing lecture by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Shaykh Hamza, as always touched on many topics, ranging from his youthful days, dangers of pornography, corruption of the Muslim world, to messages of Muslim unity and tolerance. I particularly was moved by how he explained that a good deed that benefits others is worth much more in the eyes of Allah than a good deed that benefits only oneself.
It was an amazing event!! Moreover, the event was entirely organized by a few key volunteers including Sister Rubina Tareen (From Bayaan Inc.), Tariq Subhani (from MECCA), and Sister Julie Mair (Volunteers Coordinator). May Allah mercifully reward them, as well as all the volunteers, scholars, and participants for their work and grant them continued success in all of their future endeavors.