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ICNA-NJ’s Great Muslim Adventure Day – Pics & Thoughts From Eid-ul-Fitr 1429 at Six Flags with Yasir Qadhi!

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So, my family spent the day of Eid at Six Flags NJ with Shaykh Yasir Qadhi & family, and oh about 8000 Muslims. A few thoughts on the event before you watch the slideshow.

First of all, kudos to ICNA-NJ for putting together a fantastic act. Organization was excellent, and the warnings from some friends that “it’s going to be a zoo”did not materialize. Folks at the event generally behaved much better than the iftaar-dinner rush. Lines were for the most part orderly and line-cutting was rare, though I did catch a young brother going twice on the Superman ride by pretending he was stuck in his seat. More power to him… one Superman ride was enough for me for the day… actually for the entire year.

Food. Well, you know its all about the food, especially the day after Ramadan. The first lunch after a month. Generally speaking, most people found food to be priced on the higher side. But the shawarmas were fairly-priced for a theme-parking setting, at $6 a pop. No wonder they were sold out by evening. My biggest cow was with the drinks. Soda and water bottles were going for a cool $4 each! I suspect that there was some park rule mandating the price, because the vending machines had sodas for the same price. Other than shawarmas, there was ofcourse the desi-mainstay- biryani with your choice of tikka, kabab or other combination. The price? 10 bucks. About a 30% premium on your average store price, not bad again for a theme-park. There was also an “all-American” stall, selling franks and other American “delicacies”. The prices were all in the same range. Folks complaining about prices have to remember that the vendors have to make money AFTER giving cuts to probably the park and the organizers.

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Enough of food. When we arrived at the park at about 945 AM, the crowd was sparse. I would say no more than about a 1000 Muslims (I believe it built up to 6-8000, my guess). A huge banner welcoming us with the salam was the first sign that we were officially in the Islamic state of six flags. At about 10:30AM, Shaykh YQ started the prayers, followed by a khutbah that patterned off the one he gave at Yale the day before. Yes, Sheikh Sahib, as he is lovingly called by MM’ers, had celebrated Eid the day before, so this was his second Eid khutbah and prayers (yes, it is ok fiqhi wise). The Khutbah was solid, strong and kept people awake, which is a hard task usually for morning khutbahs. Towards the end, Sheikh sahib plunged full-steam into the Obsession DVD and its repurcussions, telling people about the Dayton incident.  I did attempt to make a few videos with my camera, but that did not work out, for an important reason, which I will mention later.

After the khutbah, we had shawarmas for breakfast (couldn’t resist), and then started our trek through the park. What was probably the best part of going to six flags on this day, was the short-lines. We were in and out of rides within 15-30 minutes maximum, without any fast/speed passes! Awesome! After “breaking-in” on a few easy rides, especially the kids-coaster (I have to say YQ still looked fearful on it :) ), we started walking towards the big-boys’ rides. First up was Skull Mountain. Fresh from graduating from Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train (rides list here), YQ was gung-ho about trying it out. As it turns out, it was not too bad, but Sheikh Sahib was done.  He started complaining of how he has to drive a long way back. In essence, he chickened out :) and we couldn’t shake his resolve!

Next up was Batman. Two words (in teen lingo): totally rocked! After that, there was no looking back. Nitro and Superman and more. I refused to go on Kingda ka (fastest and biggest drop though my cousin, Urooj, our unofficial guide, thought it was lame)… had to leave something for the next time. I missed out on El Torro, which Urooj swore as being the best ride in the park. I should have missed out on Dark Knight, which was quite awful, basically consisting of some jhatkas (wild jerks), and that’s about it. The best ride in my opinion, for what it’s worth, Superman! That first loop sitting on your stomach, was indescribably chest-crunching!

cimg3943-large.JPGI pushed really hard for Sheikh sahib to join me on Superman, reminding him that since Batman was a better superhero than Superman, the Superman ride couldn’t be as bad as Batman (little did I know). But YQ remained unhinged, using his family and his drive back, as firm excuses to ride carousels and Ferris-wheels…

After several hours at the park, we went off to the Animal Safari, which was okay. They do have quite an interesting selection of wild animals, so animal enthusiasts probably enjoyed it a bit more. In this drive-through park, Muslims did become Muslims. Despite warnings to keep windows closed, I caught many cars with windows wide-open. And I must admit that I had to sneak open my window a few times to get better pictures ;)

After the park, we stopped by a fast-food outlet, to get a short break, and “normal” priced drinks and some nick-nakes for the kids. Here, I was able to get a bit more quality, quiet time with YQ, so I asked him to say a few words of Eid greetings for MM readers, and then used the opportunity to justify his refusal to join me on Superman. The 2-minute interview was great… I think readers would have really enjoyed it. But when I got home and transferred the files, I realized how I am just not meant to be a video-journalist. The camera did not have audio! Unless people want to try to lip-read, I had just done some silent-picture taping!  Okay, really embarrassing, but they don’t teach camera-operations at business schools! By the way, I still haven’t told YQ yet…the first time he will find out about his silent interview will be when he reads this paragraph!

Anyways, after the safari stint, we went back to the theme park. We met Imam Yusuf Islahi, who led the Isha’ prayers as well. We continued to just hang out there, watching YQ enjoying all the kids rides, and all of us devouring more and more food.  We stayed on until the organizers asked us to join the cleaning crew, or to leave. We opted for the latter, and called an end to a great day.

Congratulations ICNA-NJ for a job well-done!


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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. SaqibSaab

    October 3, 2008 at 5:35 PM

    Yasir Bhai, you’re standing under Superman. Metaphorical coincidence? Or just good product placement? :P

  2. Reem

    October 3, 2008 at 6:17 PM

    Sh. yasir did not go in superman or batman but i did… he missed all the fun!

  3. iMuslim

    October 3, 2008 at 7:31 PM

    Awww maaaan! I am so itching to go to Alton Towers now (really the only decent theme park in the UK). It’s been yeeeears! I am such a rollercoaster junky.

    There was an effort a couple of years ago to hire Alton Towers out for a Muslim Family Fun day, but it never materialised due to a smear campaign by the Sun newspaper, I think – or one of those sleazy tabloids anyway. Plus there was also some backlash from the Muslim community too! Not sure why. If they didn’t want to go, why ruin everyone else’s fun?

    However, this event was not tied to Eid… perhaps if anyone had the guts (and money) to attempt to hire A.T. again, they should follow the Six Flags model, and hold it on Eid day. Maybe I’ll suggest that to bro Jalal ibn Saeed, who’s really trying to get this One Eid thing down in the UK, insha’Allah.

    Btw, for the sisters who attended… any tips on how to make one’s hijab and jilbab rollercoaster friendly?

  4. Sana K

    October 3, 2008 at 7:36 PM

    ICNA NJ did an awesome job mashaAllah, after last year’s cancellation due to inclimate weather they came back with a bang =) My four month old enjoyed her first Eid at Six Flags, it was great to be in such a environment with halal fun and food. JazakAllahu Khay for posting these pictures, my husband and I saw our dear Shaykh having a blast with his family. It’s great to see this side of our teachers. May Allah SWT shower His Mercy on them and the Ummah. Ameen!

  5. Umm Reem

    October 3, 2008 at 8:26 PM

    MashaAllah it was a wonderful event, ICNA did an excellent job in providing this opportunity to Muslims here. My kids has a blast and this one Eid they will always remember, inshaAllah!
    I had fun in the rides, esp. with smaller or no lines, enjoyed the company and the Muslims around!

    imuslim: I had to hold my hijab on a ride and bite on to my niqab (although I really wanted to scream!). So while everyone else was screaming, I was concentrating on my hijab…it made the ride far easier though!! :)

  6. Reem

    October 3, 2008 at 9:15 PM

    i wore hijab and even in superman it did not get messed up….

  7. Abu Zayd

    October 4, 2008 at 12:19 AM

    Nice camerawork man, especially the shots of me :)

    I was hoping someone was taking pics as I didn’t see any cameras around, and couldn’t do anything myself, moderating on the stage and all.
    Did anyone out there record the khutbah? I don’t think the organizers did.

  8. Amad

    October 4, 2008 at 12:41 AM

    Abu Zayd, you did a great job moderating mashallah :) I am assuming you were the one doing the YQ intro?

    I thought the whole thing was being professionally video-taped… in fact, i caught that on camera, check out the picture where the zakat-ul-fitr box is going around… the sister behind it is videotaping.

    I was thinking of bringing my camcorder, but didn’t have a tripod… i wish I did though… next time inshallah

  9. muslim

    October 4, 2008 at 3:50 AM

    salam,

    eid mubaak to all. just make dua for brothers in iraq,palestine,and all parts of the world. How can we enjoy life and they suffering so much.
    I dont mean dont have fun in life but the scholars of today talk so much about the sacrifices and way of life of the great scholars of the past and the sahaba but hardly implement their way of life

  10. kd

    October 4, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    MashaAllah, the event was amazing! It’s such a great feeling to be around so many Muslims and makes me wish there were more events, such as this one, uniting us all throughout the year. May Allah facilitate this for the ummah in America inshaAllah and may Allah bless ICNA for their great work! Ameen!

  11. Abu Ziyad

    October 4, 2008 at 12:23 PM

    Jazaka Allahu Khayar, Br. Amad for posting these pictures and sharing your experience. Alhamdulillah! we had about 20, 000 muslim (~12,000 on the first day and ~8,000 on the second day) attended this event. Even though we had all the arrangements, we were little bit skeptical about the participation because of the weather forecast. But, Alhamdulillah, its His mercey that the whole day was sunny with warm temperature. We are also grateful to Sh. Yasir as he shared his Eid day with us at the park. We have recorded his khutba and other scenes from the event by professional camera crues. InshAllah, if we get positive feedbacks like these, we the ICNA-NJ/WhyIslam team will try to organize this kind of event more and more in future, bidnillah. O Allah give us taufiq so that we can enjoy our life in a pure halal way.. Ameen.

  12. Abu Khizar

    October 4, 2008 at 1:40 PM

    Assalam o Alaikum Muslims.

    Al Hamdo Lillah the best Eid I have celebrated in the last 5 years. With family and muslims from all over the Tri-State, it was wonderful. I felt blessed by Allah Subhana Hoo Wa Tallah. ICNA-NJ did a very good job and may Allah reward them. Allah Blessed us with good weather and the Khutba by YQ was inspiring.

    It was great to go on all the rides with out having to wait hours. Like my brother Amad mentioned I nearly did all the rides. I was at the park for 12 hours. Did the Batman, Nitro, Skull Mountain, Dark Knight, Superman, Twister, Rolling Thunder, El Toro and King Da Ka. So you can imagine how fast it was get on the rides. which on a regular day one might not be able to do. So if you did not go this year come next year.

    May Allah Bless us with more Ramadans and blessed Eids in the future Ameen!!

  13. QasYM

    October 4, 2008 at 10:21 PM

    MashaAllah what an event. This was by far the best Eid EVER! Big shoutout to YQ for that AWESOME khutbaa, and reminder that millions and billions of dollars are being spent against the muslims and because of the DVD that is going around our neighbors have a bad perception of us. So we know what we have to do.

    May Allah reward the ICNA NJ brothers and sisters for their hard work and YQ for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to spend time with us.

    What did you guys think of the Durbah booth?

  14. Amad

    October 5, 2008 at 12:25 AM

    To be honest, I didn’t even see it. I guess that’s why they say location, location, location. Or maybe I didn’t see it cuz we were in the kiddie rides area much of the time :) Did the booth see good traffic?

  15. QasYM

    October 5, 2008 at 1:38 AM

    Location was pretty bad, but alhamdulillah we got a good amount of people that stopped by, and some that signed up for the upcoming Seerah Class with Shaykh Abdul Bary Yahya the upcoming 2 weekends in Newark, NJ:)

  16. Abu Zayd

    October 6, 2008 at 12:22 AM

    Mashaallah the azan by Br Qasim blasting through the park was really nice. I didn’t notice it on Wednesday but caught it on Thursday at Maghrib time. Maybe it was only audible in certain portions of the park.

  17. imtiaz

    October 6, 2008 at 9:02 AM

    AWESOME – The one thing that would have separated me from my mothers mitaee would have been rollercoasters

    I think readers of Muslim Matters should join American Coaster Enthusiasts with me
    http://www.aceonline.org/default.aspx

    ROCK

  18. Al Iskandarani

    October 6, 2008 at 1:46 PM

    Amad-

    Reading this post allowed me to fondly recall the fun times my family and friends had at Six Flags. InshAllah next year we should coordinate and have a firm Al-Maghrib contingent to ride-hop amongst the big-boy coasters (shuyookh included!). Hope you and your fam had a great Eid :)

  19. Saimah

    October 6, 2008 at 8:16 PM

    Mash’Allah great post! :) My family really wanted to go to Six Flags in NJ, but we ended up going to the Muslim Family Day at Six Flags in MD which was pretty good overall, Alhumdulilla. I heard they might reserve it all day for Muslims next year, Insha’Allah!

    btw…abiya’s and roller coaster and very friendly! :) The most interesting ride I went on was the Batwing (the one where you end up on your back and flipped over) with an abiya, and Alhumdulilla it went ok :)

  20. Omar R

    October 6, 2008 at 8:43 PM

    AA,
    Allahu Akbar, the best Eid I had so far (I think), although I did eid the previous day.
    – The food was good, but pricey.
    – The atmosphere with Muslims from every single background, race, color, etc was awesome, including Muslims that practice and don’t practice
    – King Da Ka was AWESOME, I must have gone on it 6 times in a row, almost no lines in the evening…
    – The Safari was awesome, just remember to go early (no traffic/lines).
    – I wish we can have it on a weekend instead…
    – My fam and I ate lunch at a table with a complete stranger, Muslimah. We spent around 1 hour with her, as she shared the story of herself accepting Islam and other “grand ma stories”. This type of universal brotherhood/sisterhood can only be found in Islam, Allahu Akbar

  21. oneaim

    October 7, 2008 at 1:45 AM

    I attended ICNA-NJ eid at Six Flags and I want to say it was not only my best eid since arriving in the States, it was the best eid I ever.
    May Allah reward the organizers and volunteers for giving us such a wonderful day.
    Also, the second largest population after kids were pregnant women, Masha Allah. I was amazed at the number of potruding bellies. I am sure there will be so many tiny toes next year at eid,Insha Allah. May Allah spare our lives.
    But I dont recall seeing any pregnant woman on any of the rides.LOL. Good thing they stayed away!

  22. Alima

    October 9, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    IMuslim: There should be something like this on Eid, I think the organisers of the Muslim Alton Towers day should try again, insha’Allah ta’ala we can make it better. Br Jalal, masha’Allah he’s brill and he’s in London. We need something like this in the whole of the UK. Maybe something next Eid. Bi’idhnillah.

    I’m not a roller coaster junkie I admit, kinda got over that a few years ago… I can no longer compete with my cousins, rather do it in something better… and no more acting like I’m not scared of them.. lol. Though I know some sisters that love them, alHamdulillah It just would be sooo cool to get all the muslims together. Ahhhh on Friday, A KHUTBAH!!! Maybe get a few of the Uk Shuyook down. A COOL topic. That would be soo awesomely cool.

    lol… I’ve started dreaming. Alhamdulillah.

    You people in the US are blessed and may Allah SWT continously bless you. Aameen. The tests only strengthen us…

  23. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 9, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    innalhamdolillah. the grass is always greener on the other side of the pond.

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