Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference: A Family Affair

Reviving the Islamic
The Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference that was held in Toronto, Ontario, December 24–26, 2004, provided an excellent forum to raise the concerns felt by Muslims across North America and the world in general. Attended by approximately 10,000 people, one of its most striking features was that it was organized by a wide cross section of youth from various cultural backgrounds and organizational affiliations.

Under the banner “Legacy of the Prophet,” the conference drew young and old alike to listen to a wide variety of speakers spanning the popular Middle East da`iyahs Amr Khaled, Tareq Suwaidan, Bilal Philips, internationally renowned cricket player Imran Khan from Pakistan, South African scholars Abdullah Hakim Quick, Zakir Naik and Suliman Mulla and North American scholars and speakers Mukhtar Maghraoui, Munir El-Kassem, Zaid Shakir, Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Judi Muhammad, and Dr. Umar Abd'Allah, among others.

Families sat and listened to scholars and da`iyahs calling them to renew their intentions and commitment to following the legacy of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Meeting hatred with love, doing da`wah through excellence of character, and speaking the truth in all matters, especially in the face of injustice, were some of the recurring points of all speakers. The conference provided an excellent opportunity for families to focus on Islamic development and give them an opportunity to do something while the rest of society focused on Christmas celebrations.

The conference also had a dedicated entertainment session featuring Hassen Rasool and internationally renowned singer Sami Yusuf as well as a Muslim comedian. The crowd was very enthusiastic and greeted Yusuf with loud cheers and chants of “Allahu Akbar.” He in turn encouraged the entire crowd to join him in praising Allah and sending peace upon the Prophet by singing with him. Although the entertainment period was held late at night, the seats were packed as families listened and sang along with UK-based Yusuf. Positive reactions to the performance reflected a wider and growing need in the community for Islamic entertainment.

Reviving the Islamic Spirit's third convention has succeeded in increasing the anticipation for next year, when old and young will gather once again in downtown Toronto to renew their commitment to Allah and to the building of society and flourishing of Islam within North America.

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Jeewan Chanicka of Canada has been involved in working with youth, education, and social services for the past 15 years. He graduated with his BA with honors in individualized studies at York University with a focus on conflict resolution and culturally appropriate forms of mediation, and completed his BEd at the University of Toronto. He also studied Arabic at Al-Diwan Institute in Cairo, Egypt. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in education at York University. His focus has been working with at-risk youth both in and out of the school system.

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