I have always heard of people going to ICNA and returning with all of these cool stories about how they got to see all of their favorite scholars. I had never been to ICNA before this year. The talk that I attended was with Dr.Dalia F. Fahmy, Sh.Abdul Nasir Jangda, and Sh. Saad Tasleem. The talk was named Islam: Deconstructing Myths and Clarifying Truths. It caught my attention because, as a Muslim, I knew the truth — but I wanted more clarity.
The speaker who stood out to me the most was Dr. Dalia F. Fahmi, a professor of political science. I had known of her beforehand, but I had never heard her speak. I was expecting a typical boring politician speaking in a monotone. Boy, was I wrong.
When she got on stage and began to speak, you could feel the emotion, the passion, and the care in her voice. She began talking about issues such as starvation in Africa, and politicians falsely accusing Muslims and misusing the idea of “Shari’a Law”. She gave uncomfortably mind-boggling death statistics. She spoke so fiercely but compassionately at the same time, with language intended, as she herself stated, not to comfort you but, in fact, to make you uncomfortable. It made me think how happy so many people are in their so-called “bubble,” with their 9 to 5 jobs, their mortgage and car payments, not even thinking twice about the atrocities happening all over the world.
It forced me to reflect with sadness on how little I am doing for the people in need. I have working arms, legs, and mind, and yet I use none of them to help. It made me angry to think that we as Muslims were not the first to jump on these issues. But the most important thing it made me think about was my own life. How am I able to live day-to-day without thinking once about others? Do I not have a responsibility to people who cannot fend for themselves?
I greatly enjoyed this talk and it forced me into a position from which lot of people insulate themselves. A position of discomfort. Too often are we too comfortable, and we find it difficult to leave behind the luxury. It’s time to get uncomfortable, and start facing these issues head on together, as a united ummah.
Photo Credit: http://islamichub.net/2015/02/the-excellence-of-generosity/