by SUBHANAH WAHHAJ
ON SUNDAY, April 30, 2006, hundreds of Muslims flocked to York College, eager to attend the third, annual Seerah conference.. About half the attendees were sisters.
Over three hundred books and audio and video materials, in seven languages, on the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) were exhibited. Photo by Ali Rahman
This year's conference was titled, "Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Mercy to Mankind." Put together by York College's Muslim Student Association, the New York Chapter of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Society of New York (MSNY), Bangladesh American Islamic Society (BAIS), and Arab Muslim America Federation (AMAF), this event attracted Muslims from all different backgrounds and nationalities.
The Seerah Conference took place in the theatre building of York College, located at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, Jamaica, Queens. At about 6:00 p.m., the president of Muslim Student Association of York College, Brother Mohid Hussaini, kicked off the conference by welcoming the attendees and introducing the speakers lined up for the evening. After Brother Khursheed Ahmed Khan, president of ICNA gave the introductory address, a a variety of speakers graced the stage with words about the beloved Prophet and the phenomenal accomplishments that he made during his era. Each speaker touched on a different aspect of the Prophet, from his qualities of high morality to his work as a social reformer. Though the style of every talk was different, an emphasis was placed on Muslims learning the Seerah (example and lifestyle) of the Prophet and implementing it into their lives as much as possible. The lecturers were Imam Shamsi Ali, Wael Mousfar, president of AMAF; Bawa Jain, secretary general of the World Council of Religious Leaders; Imam Ashraf uz Zaman Khan, president of BAIS; and Khalid Lamada, director of Outreach Program at MAS. Paul Findley, former member of the U.S. Congress; Sister Rehana Abdulla, co-principal of the Islamic Community School in Maryland; and Imam Kalid Yasin also addressed the crowd. A video of Dr. Jamal Badawi was presented, and Imam Alamin Abdul Latif concluded the program with Dua. The materials sold outside the auditorium reflected the mood of the conference. Over three hundred books and audio and video materials, in seven languages, on the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) were on display or sale.
The Seerah Conference ended with a resolution put together by scholars, Imams, and prominent members of Islamic Organizations. "Prophet Muhammad was sent as a benefactor for mankind," said Brother Shamsheer Ali Baig, who read from the resolution. "He raised the status of women, advocated for the poor and constantly made sacrifices for the betterment of others. He was a perfect human model."
Imam Kalid Yasin seized the essence of the conference by reminding Muslims of their everlasting obligation and challenge. "We have to inspire people through our conduct and productivity," said Imam Yasin. "We must personify the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) legacy with commitment, strength, unity and courage, assuming and striving for leadership and excellence."