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ISNA 2008 45th Annual Convention Recap & Pics

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I’ve been to the ISNA Annual Convention about ten times now. Of those ten times, nine of them were in my back yard in Chicago, within half an hour driving distance. All ten times Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir spoke. Four or five times Imam Suhaib was there. Three times, Yasir Qadhi has spoken. And for the first year, Yaser Birjas spoke.

For those of you who have been going to this conference throughout the years, you’ll know that it has been changing. Granted I’ve only been going since the 33rd annual convention and this year the 45th, you can still see how things progress. The style of the convention is the same, but the themes kinda shift as the issues of Muslims in America move, as well.

For example, last year was a lot about unity. Yasir Qadhi shared the same main session stage with Dr. Abdul-Hakim Jackson, Altaf Hussain, and Hamza Yusuf. YQ also spoke with Faraz Rabbani about seeking knowledge and not becoming a hater of other institutions. And, finally, YQ took part in the signing of the Sunni Unity Pledge, which caused much buzz in the online Muslim world to the point where everyone had lost their Shan masala.

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This year, the theme was about Ramadan, naturally. After all, ISNA announced for Ramadan to begin on Monday and the conference ended on Monday morning. So there were Ramadan tie-ins in almost every speech, Sunday evening was taraweh, and Monday morning they provided a small suhur. It was very interesting.

I’ve never been to ISNA outside of Chicago, and was excited to attend in Columbus. Needless to say, the crowd was no where near that of ISNA in Chicago, but I kinda liked that. No insanity in the bazaar, never too much going on, and a nice change of pace from the same old Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago. Plus the infamous “ISNA Lobby Scene,” which sadly is mostly a Chicago-only thing, was really downsized this year. Alhumdulillah, it was nice.

But enough from me, you probably want to know about both Yasir Qadhi and Yaser Birjas at this convention. Yes we had the two MuslimMatters.org specialists there, and they even spoke and a few sessions together. I took a bunch of pictures and I’ve got them here for you to check out inshaAllah.

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Billboard near OSU campus. Neat, huh?

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“Defending the Prophet Against Orientalist Critique” by our two MuslimMatters.org representatives at ISNA.

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An uncle after the session said “Khazi Saab ka speech bohoth acha tha!”

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Gettin’ ready…

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…to TEAR it up! You can see MR in the bottom right corner. And O-Zak.

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Main Lobby.

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Zaytuna Institute’s booth. MashaAllah, I love their designs, very warm, earthy, and “traditional”.

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Thanks Mr. Softee. Man, Shaykh Yaser is STYLIN’! mA…

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AlMaghrib balloon at the booth, yay.

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Here’s a picture of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf at the AlMaghrib Institute booth. Here, he’s looking through the Light of Guidance binder and checking out AlMaghrib Institute in general. I took this pic knowing all you internet Muslim controversy-lovers would be drooling your beards off over the “OMG CLASH OF AQEEDAH” nature of this. I will even go as far as letting you know that one of the AlMaghrib volunteer sisters engaged in quite a long conversation with Shaykh Hamza, after which he walked away with a free copy of…

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…Light of Guidance, the newest release from EmanRush Audio! I grabbed a copy myself.

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Hijabman with his balloon-helmet… thing. :)

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Ayyat Clothing.

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Okay, now this brother on the left, mashaAllah was awesome. My wife and I walked past the Why Islam booth and he picked up the donation box, held it out to us, and without saying a word just smiled and notioned “come on, donate something!” After that, without speaking a word and continuing a noor-filled smile pointed to the Why Islam pamphlets hinting “come on, take one!” to which I told him I’ve gotten some before. Then he just smiled some more. MashaAllah cuz of that I had to take a picture of him. May Allah bless him and the Why Islam effort.

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Omair Ali from MeccaOne. I think Cleo might have volunteered a bit at the booth, too…

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An invitation to all those that swung by the booth to the first annual AlMaghrib Institute Reunion, to be held every year at ISNA. Were there refreshments there? I must’ve missed them…

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YQ speaking about IlmSummit and the future goals of the institute.

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Shaykh Yaser Birjas speaking about upcoming projects for AlMaghrib.

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Guess which one of the two won in ping pong? :P

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Socializing before Maghrib prayer.

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Shaykh Yaser speaking about how he went from studying engineering to Shari’ah.

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YQ and Abdul-Hakim Jackson, aka Dr. J!

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This brother, mashaAllah, deserved his own story. I saw him walking with some people in the main lobby and thought, “MAN he looks familiar, didn’t I see him in some video?” So I went up to him and asked straight up where he was from, to which he replied “I am from Japaaan.”

“I KNEW IT, I saw you on YouTube!” This was none other than…

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Dr. Salimur Rahman Khan. According to Imam Suhaib Webb, he studied at Imam Saud University way back in the dizzay. MashaAllah he is very active in none other than Tokyo, Japan, and was on a local news feature there on moonsighting for Ramadan in Japan. He told me he wanted to see me in Japan and gave me his card. I told him I’ll try to arrange an event for him there. If any students of knowledge or shuyookh are reading this, inshaAllah let’s make a trip out to Tokyo one day! (YQ, let’s do Sushi there, if you’re down).

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Wasat Studios recording Imam Suhaib with…

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YQ and Shaykh Yaser Birjas!

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Some brothers gathering around during the shooting.

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Engaging the youth in dialogue.

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Ginormous MSA National banner.

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The internet Muslim controversy-lovers are going buckwild foaming at the mouth right now. Imagine the endless possibilities of captions for this pic.

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“A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action.” No, not the classic Elvis song, but the title of this session featuring YQ, Dr. J, and Faraz Rabbani.

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YQ’s “advisor” for his Ph.D.

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Imam Suhaib speaking at a midnight MYNA session.

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We need more youth oriented events and organizations like this. And I’m not talking about 18 and older MSA stuff. I mean high school aged, man. MYNA, MMYC, MIST, we need more and more for our high school and middle school younger siblings.

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On to the main session. Please tell me you agree that Altaf Hussain looks a lot like…

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Like YQ! This is a picture from ISNA 2007 in Chi-town…

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Offo! MashaAllah sharp. Imam Suhaib spoke about the obsession with entertainment that’s entered the Muslims post 9/11.

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Altaf and Shaykh Hamza enjoying Imam Suhaib’s style.

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Imam Zaid Shakir after his speech.

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And finally, the staple ISNA closer, a main session speech by none other than Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. He told everyone to throw their TVs into the closet during the month of Ramadan.

Hope y’all enjoyed the pics. Next year’s ISNA’s supposed to be in D.C., and is rumored to merge with ICNA for one ginormous monster convention. Who knows, maybe they’ll get President Obama to speak there. Did I just say President Obama two months before the election?

Ramadan Mubarak to all!

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SaqibSaab is an average Desi Muslim guy living in Chicago. He enjoys videography and design as side hobbies, and helps out with AlMaghrib Institute in Chicago, Wasat Studios, and other projects here and there. His go-around vehicle is a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta 5-speed Wolfburg Edition. Originally born in Michigan, he and his wife reside in Chicagoland with his parents who come from Bangalore, India. He blogs personally at SaqibSaab.com.

72 Comments

72 Comments

  1. Amad

    September 2, 2008 at 6:39 PM

    ok, i got a caption for the YQ / Faraz photo:

    YQ: “You may be taller, but I got the looks” ;)

  2. Elzaharna

    September 3, 2008 at 7:33 AM

    LOL! I love the captions

  3. MR

    September 3, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    MR and MM are doing the talking and the walking when it comes to unity!

  4. MR

    September 3, 2008 at 9:25 AM

    Oh yeah, and just for clarification on my presence at the AlMaghrib reunion. I was invited to come and I have taken 2 AlMaghrib courses (II took Light of Guidance (seriously, i did!) and Fiqh of Love, which btw is an excellent class).

  5. fairuza

    September 3, 2008 at 9:40 AM

    You can say “President Obama”, just don’t forget the “Insha’Allah”.

    Sheikh Hamza told everyone to throw their TV’s in a closet? That’s pretty tame for him. I’m getting ready to toss mine from the balcony. Watching the RNC is very bad for my blood pressure, not to mention my emotional health.

    Thanks for the recap. If ICNA and ISNA combine for next year, I am definitely going! Insha’Allah.

  6. Amad

    September 3, 2008 at 9:50 AM

    Yeah, MR is carrying all the “other side’s” unity burden on his 2 shoulders, while we have plenty of help here at MM :)

    Keep it up!

    Imam Suhaib seems to be in quite the pensive mood… I think he needs a little entertainment :) ??

  7. Amad

    September 3, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    Talking about “president obama”, anyone notice how Israeli interests successfully excluded the former DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT of United States, a NOBEL PRIZE winner, JIMMY CARTER, from the Democratic Convention?

    How is that someone so honored, so “decorated” gets pushed off? Just because he wrote a book mildly critical of Israel’s apartheid-like policies? More evidence here then, that Israeli interests can even knock off an ex-president… so what is obama’s chance if he doesn’t kiss their behinds? The Biden nomination was part of this kissing up… and Carter’s exclusion was more evidence.

    Sorry for the tangent, but honestly, my blood boils to see the level of interference and influence non-American interests are having in this election.

  8. usman

    September 3, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    mashallah the Al Maghrib reunion looked geat…their were some incrediable session…unfoirtunantly i could not go…bu their should be some audio around…keep us all in ur duas MM u guys r doin a great job. salaam

  9. Ahmed

    September 3, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    If one takes a look at the pictures you would think it’s a male dominated event…oh wait…

  10. Omer

    September 3, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    Chilling with the shuyookh at 1am at ISNA in middle of the crowd was by far one the most fun experiences I had!!

    Or seeing Imam Zaid Shakir stop by to say salaam to Sh. Birjas and Sh.Qadhi and seeing the adab they had each other really showed me the beauty of islamic brotherhood.

  11. Farhan

    September 3, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    Maybe its cuz its Ramadan, but my eyes almost teared up with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf checking out the Al-Maghrib Institute stuff and Faraz Rabbani & Yasir Qadhi “having a moment”

    We need more of this!

  12. iMuslim

    September 3, 2008 at 11:51 AM

    Nice photos Saqib, masha’Allah… The Dark Knight one was especially… dark.

    And who are these “internet Muslim controversy-lovers” you keep referring to? Show yourselves!

  13. Hidaya

    September 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    Awww MashaAllah i would love to attend a live lecture by Hamza Yusuf..I grew up (spiritually) listening to his lectures but never had an honor to attend a live lecture by him..InshaAllah one day…(oh by the way, i am not Sufi rather a devout Almaghrib student =)

  14. Hidaya

    September 3, 2008 at 12:46 PM

    P.S. Fairuza Hamza Yusuf has an entire lecture on tossing the TV out of our homes and he mentions it quiet often in his lectures but i guess he finally gave in to the fact that most muslim households are not ready to do that …

  15. AnonyMouse

    September 3, 2008 at 12:48 PM

    Looks cool, masha’Allah… captions were definitely amusing.
    *Sigh*
    Somebody come do a lovely big conference in Western Canada! We’re so deprived :(

  16. Hidaya

    September 3, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    How about another post on what was discussed at Almaghrib reunion?

  17. Amad

    September 3, 2008 at 12:56 PM

    i am hoping for an almaghrib get-together at texas dawah… all the instructors pretty much will be there, and the conference is very much in line with almaghrib thought.

  18. Amad

    September 3, 2008 at 12:58 PM

    and where’s abu ameerah when we need him… i am waiting for some of his swashbuckling comments :)

  19. MR

    September 3, 2008 at 1:36 PM

    Yes, Abu Ameerah and Sh. Chao? Where they at?!?

  20. Harun

    September 3, 2008 at 2:15 PM

    Conventions are now all about celebrities.

  21. AbdelRahman

    September 3, 2008 at 3:10 PM

    Conventions are now all about celebrities.

    Really?! I didn’t see any celebrities there. Subhan Allah, I shoulda gotten some autographs. What celebrities did you see there?

    In other news, although Columbus is sorrrrta kinda broke as a city (spoiled from Chicago I guess), the convention was charming and enjoyable in a relaxing sort of way. It was refreshing going to an ISNA that didn’t have a billion people wading in the lobby, alhamdulilah.

    Looking forward to next year insha Allah. Check out some more pictures here.

  22. Faiez

    September 3, 2008 at 3:48 PM

    Dave Chappelle was there Murphy. But you were too busy trying to learn about fiqh of Ramadan and blunts…

    Might I add the Shaykh Hamza bought a CD set from ILMQuest called Economics and Banking. Despite what Abdullah Aikens may say, I initiated and completed the sale ;)

    For those of you who have never met brother MujahideenRyder, all I’d like to say is that he is nothing like you’d expect him to be.

    You can call him at edited

  23. Faiez

    September 3, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    “OMG CLASH OF AQEEDAH”

    Sound like something saqbib would say

  24. Na3iima 3bdelqader

    September 3, 2008 at 5:37 PM

    Masha’Alalh those pictures are very nice. I was at the almaghrib booth and wasn’t expecting Hamza Yusuf to come and talk to us. For some reason we didn’t think he would come but he came and talk to us for a min and we gave him a little gift :-)

    He came to our booth and was there for about 20 minutes looking at most of the binders. Masha’Allah he was very nice and had a conversation with me and another sister.

    More pictures from almaghrib, eman rush and ilmquest booth you can check here http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=28465

    Wassalam

  25. Hassan

    September 3, 2008 at 5:47 PM

    Who is Altaf Hussain? Unfortunately its hard to do google on him, all results are MQM Altaf Hussain.

  26. H. Ahmed

    September 3, 2008 at 5:49 PM

    Im surprised at how shocked people are that… scholars from different organizations are friendly and respectful with each other.

    anyways, alhamdulillah, ISNA was amazing. Such a diversity of scholars, topics, people… Very spiritually uplifting and rejuvenating!
    This was my first ISNA conference (after attending many ICNAs, RIS, Zonal Conferences, etc.) – and it wasnt nearly as bad as people complained (fitnah, etc.)

    I took notes of many of the sessions and will iA post them on my site within the coming days, for now u can check out Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s Ramadan Advice (from his final session at the main session) here!

  27. Amad

    September 3, 2008 at 6:15 PM

    Altaf Hussein was the ex-MSA National President. He does speak quite a bit around the conference circuits.

  28. ExEx Blogger

    September 3, 2008 at 6:27 PM

    Yes, Abu Ameerah and Sh. Chao? Where they at?!?

    اللهم إني صائم
    Oh Allah I am fasting :)

    As for the photos…one statement:

    mediocre camera lenses.

  29. Amad

    September 3, 2008 at 6:30 PM

    Ex-Ex back with a BANG, pwning all in his way :)

  30. ExEx Blogger

    September 3, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    Ex-Ex back with a BANG, pwning all in his way

    Stay tuned for an Exclusive Ramadan UPDATE on this post.

  31. fshareef

    September 3, 2008 at 7:31 PM

    AbdelRahman… you still gotta show me what you got in Chicago bro. i haven’t had anything there like graeter’s or cafe shish kabob.

    p.s. the Farhan in the comments above is not me.

  32. AbdelRahman

    September 3, 2008 at 8:58 PM

    Lol hey I like Columbus, don’t get me wrong. But walking around on a Friday at 10:30pm and not finding a restaurant open was kinda sad ;-).

    But, ironically enough, I like Columbus and other small cities way better than Chicago. Go figure.

  33. Hidaya

    September 3, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    Naima, i envy you for the fact that you got to speak to sheikh hamza yusuf =( (i wish i was there) but khayrrr next time!

  34. Mahin F. Islam

    September 3, 2008 at 11:40 PM

    Before this whole “Columbus is somehow comparable to Chicago” rhetoric gets out of hand; let me say that as someone who had a home residence in Columbus for 20 years and have spent the last 6 months in Chicago….it’s a no-brainer, Chicago takes the cake. I can’t believe it’s even a debate. I’m never moving back to Columbus…insh’Allaah.

  35. friendly shia stud

    September 3, 2008 at 11:41 PM

    Mashallah this looks great ! The Unity is beautiful! :) But question… Where are the Shi’a Shuyookh? :(

  36. SaqibSaab

    September 3, 2008 at 11:51 PM

    mediocre camera lenses.

    Actually, Br. Chao, these lenses are sub-mediocre. They’re basic Image Stablized Canon lenses, one 18-55mm and the other 55-250mm. So to get a mediocre rating from you is actually a compliment! :D

  37. Faiez

    September 4, 2008 at 12:21 AM

    umm I don’t think anyone is looking to make unity with shia’s. This is a sunni unity (people who don’t curse the sahaba :) ).

    Also, whoever editted out MR’s phone #, its not actually his phone # :)

    ex ex, the lense on the camera maybe mediocre but the eye that took the pictures is definitely not.

  38. friendly shia stud

    September 4, 2008 at 12:45 AM

    Isn’t this supposed to be a Muslim unity event? Shia Sunni we all believe in the same Lord , Allah , Azza wa Jall

    The same Prophet Muhammad , peace and blessings upon him and his family

    the same Quran Al-Hakeem

    the same Qiblah Ka3ba

    the same day of judgement

    so whats the problem?

  39. sincethestorm

    September 4, 2008 at 1:20 AM

    club isna definitely didn’t happen in the lobby! the taraweeh acoustics were horrible. such a shame because i was looking forward to listening to his recitation.

  40. Kadijatu

    September 4, 2008 at 1:50 AM

    sA i went and i feel like needed more like a week to get through that whole bazaar/Islamapalooza alone! I def did not get through all the booths/exhibits. Alhamdulillah, I think this was my 2nd ISNA conference(last DC one was in 2002, I believe), went to East Zone earlier this year, SubhanAllah, I did not expect it to be this BIG. All the speakers were inspirational and REAL, I really enjoyed the whole weekend, Alhamdulillah. Can’t wait until DC next year, iA : )

  41. Maria I

    September 4, 2008 at 2:03 AM

    Loved the pictures! As for the resemblance picture of Shaykha YQ and Altaf Hussein, they look like a perfect set of Hyderabadi brothers (or perhaps.. they are!? =|!)

    Thank you for the awesome recap!

  42. Faiez

    September 4, 2008 at 6:06 AM

    if there were no problems then we wouldn’t have a different name for u (shia). don’t be naïve. no one wants to unify with the shia. u asked so I told u :)

    maria, I believe mr. yq is of pakistani origin. not that it matters, just setting the facts straight.

  43. Na3iima 3bdelqader

    September 4, 2008 at 7:19 AM

    YQ is asli Hyderbadi…..

  44. Danish S.

    September 4, 2008 at 7:43 AM

    Hassan said:
    Who is Altaf Hussain? Unfortunately its hard to do google on him, all results are MQM Altaf Hussain.

    If you don’t know who DR. Altaf Husain is then you’ve missed out on a lot in the national Muslim scene :)

    Amad (Author) said:
    Altaf Hussein was the ex-MSA National President. He does speak quite a bit around the conference circuits.

    Masha’Allah his work goes far beyond his years leading MSA National (though he is still a mentor to so many MSAers).

    May Allah Bless Br. Altaf and his family for all of their hard work for His Sake.

  45. Maria I

    September 4, 2008 at 8:17 AM

    @ Faiez, well yea.. it doesn’t matter where they’re from, but i was just confirming the resemblance, and do kinda look like brothers ;D

    @ Anonymouse; just saw your comment and I totally agree, we’re deprived of a good convention/conference here in Western Canada, but insha’Allah a few Calgarians are working towards that goal as well. We could definitely use some annual advice/inspirations/motivations/reminders etc ;D

  46. Al Iskandarani

    September 4, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    I have to admit, I didn’t even think about going to ISNA this year because…com’on…it was in OHIO…OOOHHHIIIOO!!! You don’t get any discounts for traveling-while-Muslim, so if I’m going to shell out the dough to take a flight and stay in a hotel, the city has to be on point. So, I’m glad to hear that next year’s venue is rumored to be D.C.

    That being said, it does seem as if I missed out on some good times :/

    Yalla. Next year, inshAllah :)

  47. Na3iima 3bdelqader

    September 4, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    Come on people Ohio is not that bad. I mean we do have some farms and all but we have very good Musilm community here Alhumdulilah. I believe you missed out on a lot.

    I noticed for me Ohio is one of the best states I’ve ever been to and I love it here. I wouldn’t mind moving some other place in the future but for now I like it here. Chicago is another place that I love.

    I lived in Boston for 7 yrs before I moved here and I like it here much better.

    Wassalam

  48. AbdelRahman

    September 4, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    Chicago is overrated, I’ve got to be honest. Here’s how it breaks down.

    It’s a great city to visit/have conventions at/take vacations to. Other than that, it’s overrated. If you plan on living in the suburbs here, then any other suburb in any other medium-large city is comparable.That’s the way suburbs were meant to be…the same no matter what city you were in. You have your banks, your restaurants, your grocery stores, etc. Suburbs here and in Ohio are super similar, I’m sure.

    Now, as far as the city goes, nothing compares to the city of Chicago, downtown specifically. The skyline is beautiful, the food is great, especially Devon street for all you Desis. But it comes with a price. A standard 1 bedroom apartment downtown is at least $1000 a month, and that’s literally for a hole-in-the-wall, toilet-in-the-kitchen apartment. If you’re making a lot, and I mean A LOT of money, then downtown Chicago is a great place to live. If you’re not a multimillionaire, then it’s overrated.

    Expensive prices are also reflected in the suburbs as well, houses and apartments are much more expensive in Chicago’s suburbs than they would be in…oh I don’t know…Memphis, let’s say :-).

    P.S. if you’re a nature person, Chicago is not your town.

  49. Reem

    September 4, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    shaikh faraz rabbani was at our masjid a few weeks ago….

  50. Ilanaislam.e

    September 4, 2008 at 6:29 PM

    MYNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Al Iskandarani

    September 5, 2008 at 10:42 AM

    @ Na3iima 3bdelqader

    I wasn’t necessarily knocking Ohio as a place to live. In fact, I’m all for laid back atmospheres. I was just saying, which I think you’d agree, that it’s not exactly a “vacation destination”. :)

    I think this needs to at least be considered when choosing the site for the ISNA conference. Yeah, you get to hear great lectures, but you can do that whenever Al-Maghrib comes to town (<– unpaid endorsement). Yeah you get to see brothers/sisters from all over the U.S., but we can keep in touch fairly easily through the internet these days. And yeah the bazaar is great, but you can get most, if not all the goods offered online.

    So, for many of us who really can’t travel all that often, the location plays a big role in whether or not we decide to go.

  52. Danish S.

    September 5, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    AbdelRahman said:

    Chicago is overrated, I’ve got to be honest.

    ………………………………………………………………………

    Expensive prices are also reflected in the suburbs as well, houses and apartments are much more expensive in Chicago’s suburbs than they would be in…oh I don’t know…Memphis, let’s say :-).

    P.S. if you’re a nature person, Chicago is not your town.

    I think Wasat will disown you now…

  53. Na3iima 3bdelqader

    September 5, 2008 at 11:29 AM

    @ Al Iskandarani

    I totally agree with you. But about the vacationing part it depends on who you ask. If you want to vacation in a small city and like the quiet atmosphere then Ohio is the place to be.

    @ Danish S

    I am sure Wasat knows he’s telling the truth. Another thing I hate about big cities is everything is very expensive, and devon is not everyone’s favorite place to be ;-) you can go for shopping but as soon as those shop owners realize your not desi they’ll try and charge you double the price ;-) but I love it because I speak Urdu and that helps big time.

    Wassalam

    Naima

  54. talib

    September 5, 2008 at 4:40 PM

    what happened to brother suhaib webbs azhar gear. first time i see him without it

  55. Faiez

    September 5, 2008 at 5:20 PM

    Abdelrahman doesn’t realize the blessing he has living in the burbs of Chicago ;)

    All other places are good to visit but if you want to be with the Muslims u gotta live in or near a big city (chicago, NY, LA, etc).

    then again only way to find out is to move and see how much u miss ur old home. As for Mahin, the truth has become appearent for him.

  56. Pingback: Open Thread 9-7-08: MM Ramadan Recap | MuslimMatters.org

  57. Abu A'isha

    September 8, 2008 at 11:07 AM

    Regarding YQ’s family origins.. I have heard so many things from so many different people.

    For what its worth, he told me himself that he originally hails from Lucknow, India.

    I’m sure we can always ask him to explain to us the strongest opinopn in this messy Ikhtilaaf.

  58. Siraaj

    September 8, 2008 at 3:01 PM

    Faiez, I think the friendly shia spud is referring to the unity thing that ISNA signed with one particular branch of shi’as last year. Wallaahu a’lam.

    Siraaj

  59. AbdelRahman

    September 10, 2008 at 5:04 PM

    All other places are good to visit but if you want to be with the Muslims u gotta live in or near a big city (chicago, NY, LA, etc).

    I don’t know about that. I think it’s the opposite. With super-large Muslim communities, everyone is so focused on different groups or ideas. With small communities, the moderate size keeps everyone banded together, You saw yourself when we went to Windsor for A Heart Serene. Has Chicago put together a youth center like that? Library, game room, video game room, basketball court, computer lab – all attached to the masjid? Nope. In Windsor, there was no shortage of brothers alhamdulilah.

    Even from an Islamic point of view, Chicago is quite overrated, now that I think about it.

  60. SaqibSaab

    September 10, 2008 at 5:32 PM

    Brothers, brothers. To each his own! As for me, I am:

    ثاقب بن شفيع الشكاغوي

    8)

  61. faiez

    September 10, 2008 at 5:34 PM

    windsor feeds off of detroit. its very hard to get knowledge in small towns as well. chicago has so many people to learn. same with ny and houston and la. ur better off as a Muslim in a larger city.

    a friend I have used to live in rhode island and u ask him which he likes better, big city or small city. mahin is evidence enough :)

    u can ask bros from indiana as well.

  62. Siraaj

    September 10, 2008 at 7:05 PM

    I don’t know about that. I think it’s the opposite. With super-large Muslim communities, everyone is so focused on different groups or ideas. With small communities, the moderate size keeps everyone banded together, You saw yourself when we went to Windsor for A Heart Serene. Has Chicago put together a youth center like that? Library, game room, video game room, basketball court, computer lab – all attached to the masjid? Nope. In Windsor, there was no shortage of brothers alhamdulilah.

    Even from an Islamic point of view, Chicago is quite overrated, now that I think about it.

    I’ve been in both situations (8 years in Indiana, 4 years back in Chicago) and there’s truth in what both you and Faiez are saying. The big city vs the small cities will have certain benefits the other does not.

    Which one is better? I think for relationships within the community, brotherhood is built more strongly in smaller cities. In terms of daw’ah opportunities, and organzational opportunities, I like bigger cities better.

    I have to really agree with AbdelRahman, though, about brotherhood in bigger cities – myself, Haroon (from Windsor), and others who were not originally from Chicago have noticed discussed that across the board, whether people are religious or nonreligious, there is some sense of a lack of understanding of brotherhood. Or, perhaps its there, but it’s not as strong as in the smaller cities. I’ve yet to experience the brotherhood I experienced when I was in Indiana all those years.

    Like, people don’t go out of their way for you. It’s not that you want that, or that you expect it, but you take note of it when you see it, and you appreciate it.

    Or like AbdelRahman mentioned – the community sets up a really great recreational area for people – no one is doing it, so if someone wants it, will they take initiative or say, “Dude, I’m too busy, someone else must take this on.”

    On the other end, small cities ain’t all that either in certain areas. If you get blacklisted by the wrong people in the community, your name is mud for good and it almost never recovers. Then everyone gathers together and collectively shuns you. In a big city, you can afford to have certain people or groups shun you because there are plenty of other people to meet and socialize with =)

    Wallaahu a’lam.

    Siraaj

  63. AbdulNasir Jangda

    September 10, 2008 at 10:01 PM

    On the other end, small cities ain’t all that either in certain areas. If you get blacklisted by the wrong people in the community, your name is mud for good and it almost never recovers. Then everyone gathers together and collectively shuns you. In a big city, you can afford to have certain people or groups shun you because there are plenty of other people to meet and socialize with =)

    Br. Siraaj, I’m sure you’re not speaking from personal experience. ;)

  64. Siraaj

    September 10, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Ha, Shaykh Nasir, in big cities, yes, in small cities, I saw it happen, but I kept myself on the “good” side of the community, alhamdulillaah =)

    Siraaj

  65. AbdelRahman

    September 11, 2008 at 11:41 PM

    I don’t know, I disagree – I think knowledge is anywhere if you find it. I’ve always been a bigger fan of small communities because of the close-knit feel. And Siraaj, I feel you can do a lot more in terms of activities for the masjid. Sometimes I feel we focus on organizations and dawah to the point that we forget about our local masaajid. We should be establishing these faculties THROUGH our masaajid insha Allah. Locally grown Muslims, keep it organic.

  66. Siraaj

    September 12, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    keep it organic.

    Dear Imam Suhaib, I am permanently blacklisted at our local masjid because of hotheaded remarks I made 3 years earlier. As I mentioned above, there are many other masjids, and alhamdulillaah, if I were to move to those communities, I could do a lot more in those communities because of the good relationships I have there.

    But I’m not there, I’m here and even if I can’t lead, I’d be happy to follow – if any of our younger brothers *cough* Murphy *cough* were to take some iniitiative and lead a project, I’d be down to follow and assist. As there are none (that I’ve been invited to or am aware of), I’ve not really been doing much in the local community.

    There are also community service projects one can be a part of – I hope insha’Allah to help out at the Day of Dignity event on Sunday, but my participation depends on my wife’s grandfather’s health. Even if that doesn’t work out, I want to try and scour the community service scene in Chicago and try to find the best org for that and join up with them just as myself, and no more than that (no titles, alliances, etc), just another face in the crowd helping out kinda deal.

    And that’s another thing I like about big cities – sometimes I do just want to fade into the background and not be noticed, and if you’re looking for that chill kind of existence at times, you can have it.

    Siraaj

  67. AbdelRahman

    September 12, 2008 at 1:49 AM

    Siraaj, you think that’s blacklisted? That’s how our masjid is, *no one talks to one another*. Ever since I started coming to that certain masjid 7 years ago, I haven’t felt more than an ounce of brotherhood. Everyone’s too concerned with their bureacracy and board membership to have effective programs. That’s the baggage that comes with large communities that identify with even larger labels/groups – you have to deal with all the drama that comes with them.

    Trust me, you haven’t been blacklisted. I’ve seen people get blacklisted, they can’t come pray anymore. Yeah, you’re not blacklisted, alhamdulilah.

  68. SaqibSaab

    September 12, 2008 at 2:39 AM

    Hey Siraaj, go back to West Lafayette.

    And AbdelRahman, go back to Waffle House.

  69. Danish S.

    September 12, 2008 at 2:42 AM

    Hey Saqib, let’s go to Devon.

  70. Amad

    September 12, 2008 at 5:18 AM

    Sorry to spoil the party, but no city beats Houston as THE place for Muslims to live in.

  71. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 12, 2008 at 8:30 AM

    bismillah, laughing with hayaa, Amad, as much as i love my home, may Allah preserve it from the storm, i love madinah more, and i would probably rather live in most any saudi city than here.

    and as for how good/pleasant/religious life is here, all you haters keep your hasad to yourselves! but send us more of your best halal restaurant concessions like OC’s Jamilah Gardens! ;P

  72. Dahabo Hassan

    December 29, 2009 at 2:39 AM

    This convention seems very interesting. I’ve only been to the ICNA ones, but can anyone please email me at dbohassan@gmail.com if you know the contact info of altaf hussian .. i just watched some of his speeches, and found them very inspirational. thank you

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