I am having too much fun at RIS.
First, there are the bloggers. I met a couple of bloggers I wanted to meet for some time now. And then, there were the blog readers.
Imagine if you will, me standing right outside the prayer hall, after the prayers, waiting for my friends. I being less religious of course had prayed faster, hence the reason I was waiting. And suddenly, from nowhere, this girl comes into the picture.
“Hey you are Mezba right? I read your blog! I LOVE that blog.” (And don’t worry, the next sentence was “So does my husband!”)
Repeat twice and all of this was already worth the $40 admission fee.
Sheikh Hamza Yusuf was genuinely funny. He followed the rabbi (who was good but dragged a bit near the end). When talking about the level of corruption in Muslim countries, Yusuf said that most of the world’s top corrupt countries were Muslim countries. In fact,
He also talked about how Muslims love conspiracy theories.
“We all learned that Humpty Dumpty fell from the wall and all the King’s Horses and Men tried to put him together, but they couldn’t. In the Muslim world, they believe Humpty didn’t fell, he was pushed. And all the King’s Horses and Men just pretended to try to put him together again.”
Then there was Dr Tariq Ramadan. You would have loved him Suroor! In fact, my commentator Mango Addict and I think he secretly reads your blog. He spoke about ALL the issues you blogged about for the last few days - women’s space in the mosque, the bad treatment towards converts, wives’ rights, minority rights, racism amongst Muslims, inferiority complex of non-Arab Muslims and the superior religious value placed on Arabic items, and so on. His best quote I liked was “We Muslims spend too much time idealizing the past and dreaming about the future, while doing nothing about the present.”
DrTareq Suwaidan the charismatic Kuwaiti sheikh was present too. He talked about how the Prophet was also an ordinary human being, and cited an example of where one his wives was so angry with him (her husband) that she did not speak to him from the morning to the evening, and refused to do what he asked her to do. I can so imagine Isheeta commenting here “wow even the prophets had issues with women!”
Then there was Robert Fisk (world famous war correspondent), Haroon Siddiqui (editor in chief of the Toronto Star), Dr Quick (a renowned scholar of
Dr Quick’s speech on the first day of how Euro-centric our manipulation of history has become was specially interesting. He said Colombus could not have discovered
So what did I learn from the first two days?
Well, first, some beautiful people read my blog (and their husbands).
Second, those bloggers I met are really nice and super cool people.
Third, ok, sunnah is really important, but what is important is not the ritualistic act but the message and spirit behind the act. For example, when the Prophet put on Yemeni suit for greeting a diplomat, it doesn’t mean a Muslim diplomat had to put on a Yemeni suit to greet a diplomat but rather the fact that the Prophet put on his smartest looking suit to greet foreign dignitaries that is important.
Fourth, and this was really humbling. Four of us decided to pray Isha earlier than the scheduled congregation time, so we could leave early. I became imam and led the prayer for three of my friends. When I finished saying the salam, I turned around and saw that over 50 people had joined our little jamaat.
Fifth, Union Station is really crazy at night. I overheard one girl say to another, “he is one sexy girl.”