Tuesday, April 28, 2009

moulana sidiq nasir

Panel Discussion held on Women Issues vis a vis Quranic interpretation.

North American Muslim Foundation recently held a panel discussion on the topic of women and their rights within the Islamic Sharia. Have you ever thought that why a woman cannot marry four husbands but a man can? Or what is the answer to the Quran stipulating a woman’s testimony isn’t equal to man? How about the way some Muslim countries treat women and rape? Have you had to drink your morning coffee by the water cooler while choking to answer some these CNN headlines?

Well on the head table last Wednesday night was a scholarly scholar visiting from Trinidad, Moulana Siddiq Nasir, who was schooled in Pakistan’s Aleemiya Institute in the 70’s. The other panelist was Nevin Reda, who is pursuing her Ph D at U of T on theology and the exegesis of Sura Baqara. Habeeb Alli was the moderator and within two hours several topics were discussed around women issues including smart questions from the floor.

This is in a series of evening seminars and discussion the Foundation seeks to do over time in order to bring key issues on the table in civil but yet interesting and intellectual manner. For more of these check out www.namf.ca

In closing Mr. Farouk Khan, the Executive Director remarked that the robust debates between the modern viewpoint and the traditional positions will continue but it’s the opportunity to talk that matters.

CIOG held their 11th Annual dinner

With almost twice the amount of Guyanese out of Guyana out and with a Muslim Diaspora from that only South American English speaking country in GTA around 50,000 you would have heard of the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana. Based in Georgetown, Guyana, with an Islamic education and social amelioration mandate, it has grown over its four decades’ life span into an internationally recognized entity with strong political leverage nationally.

The Canadian Support group has tediously labored over the last 11 years to fundraise on behalf of this NGO for various projects, especially the closest to heart- orphan sponsorship and establishing credible academic and Islamic institutions. Last Saturday the IMO was brimming with over 800 attendees as they sat glued in awe as the visiting professor Moulana Siddiq Nasir spoke eloquently about education and its dire importance in a Muslim’s life. That ended his ten days tour of Toronto, lecturing in various mosques on various topics. The Saturday before a gala dinner was held at the Malton Mosque by his close relatives, Ahmad Khaleel and Sadro Usman, in honor of his stalwart contribution towards Islam and family.

The CIOG dinner was honored by the Consul General of Guyana, Mr. Danny Doobay, who conveyed greetings on behalf of the President of Guyana and reminded the audience that the work of the CIOG is seen as an indispensable source of social security in Guyana.

Shaikh Zahir Bacchus did a sterling job in raising almost 30 K’s for the poor recipients while a number of other organizations were awarded plaques of recognition for their continued support. The food was spicy and hot; after all that’s how you describe Guyanese and their cuisine!

Interview with Islamic Scholar, Siddiq Nasir, resident of Trinidad.

Habeeb Alli, freelance journalist, caught up with Moulana at IMO after the CIOG dinner on Sat April 25th. The following is an interview. Moulana had also appeared on two local West Indian radio shows.

Tell us about your Visit to Canada and has it been successful?
I’m here on the invite of the Support Group in order to deliver the main speech on their annual fundraising dinner and to be earlier so I may lecture in several other places. It was a success not only for the fundraiser but to meet many Muslims and share knowledge with them.

What has your Islamic education journey been like?
I have studied theology and Modern thought including Philosophy and Education at the Aleemiya Institute in Pakistan, leaving Guyana at 18.

Sufism is growing among Canadians. Does your practice of Sufism seen related?
Sufism isn’t some alien part of Islam, However, if there are quacks out there this doesn’t mean the whole of this spiritual part must be rejected. One has to search for the Truth.

You have been involved in various Islamic works, can you say what you think is the need of the hour?

I have been involved in Dawah through education and the need of the hour is education. However, the maximum reach is the challenge and the internet is helpful with this. Majority of the Muslims do not attend mosque and hence to reach them one has to be innovative. Making good use of the mainstream media is also important by addressing current social issues.

How do you perceive the Islamic movement becoming in West?
The ongoing Islamophobia produces a positive impact as more interest is created and people continue to accept Islam in numbers, especially after 9/11. The challenges as in the case of all Prophets provide opportunities for the better. Despite the disunity among groups, certain crisis brings the best out of them to unite and Gaza was a good example of this. Kindness knows no labels. Dialogue within the communities will enhance this.

How do you view interfaith dialogue as its usefulness?
On the common challenge of secularism, all faiths can come together as a single force and answer this call. Coming together is for practical issues not for indefinable concepts like extremism and terrorism. This needs deeper thought.

Being a Guyanese of multi cultural background, do see this as advantageous living in the West as a new immigrant?
People who belong to a certain society are better able to understand and even teach Islam there. However, integration may be problematic when one’s Deen is compromised as faith is paramount. It’s for you to find the happy balance.

Among the programs you have attended and conducted in Toronto which one stood out for you?
The Muslims in Guyana are needy and the dinner was very promising, including the management of time. The panel discussion on women was enlightening at NAMF, However, for such programs to be effective greater detail, communication and planning is needed. Such programs are needed.

With the recent visit of President Obama to the Summit do see this having a positive on Muslim in Trinidad?
I don’t think so but there is hope!

What is your parting advice?
Strive to know more and more of Allah’s guidance individually and collectively. My visit has observed improvement of Islam and I hope it continues.

No comments: