ICNA Convention Spiritually Uplifting

For many Muslims from across the US and Canada, the annual convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is far more important than just a get-together.

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For many Muslims from across the US and Canada, the annual convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is far more important than just a get-together.

“It is great to be surrounded by thousands of Muslims. It is not only the Islamic knowledge and lectures that attract us, but the Islamic environment in the first degree,” Noha Hilali, a Californian mother of two, said after attending the MAS-ICNA convention in Dearborn, Michigan.

“We come here to learn, to renew our faith and to see people that we haven’t seen for years.” Hilali maintained.

More than 3,000 Muslims from across the United States and Canada huddled together in Dearborn. “[They] participated in the different parallel programs that varied between English lectures, and Arabic lectures, intensive courses, in depth series, youth programs, special events, and children’s program,” said Samar Bondok, the convention’s program chairman and vice president of the MAS Cincinnati Chapter.

This year’s theme of the five-day convention, which wrapped up on December 25, was “Muslim Americans for Revival and Reform.”

“The theme emphasises the message of Islam and the mission of Muslims wherever they are, and to reinforce both the identity and the role of American Muslims,” said Dr. Souheil Ghannouchi, MAS executive director.

“Indeed, the mission of revival and reform is what defines the Muslim ummah/community and unify its members,” he told IOL.

“The theme was also meant to get Muslims out of isolation and out of the defensive approach.”

There are between six to seven million Muslims in the United States, making up less than three percent of the country’s 300 million population.

Awatif Hassan, another Californian mother of four, agrees that MAS-ICNA convention is a great chance for Muslims to wash their hearts.

“It is very hard for anyone who attends the convention not to come back in the next year,” said the Libyan-born mother.

“I always wait for December to go to the convention. I feel like I am in Libya among my family,” she added.

“It is nice to feel that everyone around you looks, dresses and talks like you. It is where I don’t feel stranger and I don’t get these uncomfortable stares,” Hassan said.

For Hassan al-Alamy, a member of MAS Board of Trustees, the convention is a special time for him and his family.

“It is a great opportunity to live a full Islamic life. Hearing the azan (call to prayer), performing prayers, learning from scholars, seeing lots of Muslims and socializing are great opportunities that come all together in the convention,” he said.

Alamy believes that the MAS-ICNA convention is a spiritual time for him and his family.

“It is spiritually uplifting. I see my friends and keep in touch. I get to learn from good scholars and I support the Islamic work,” he continued.

This convention is not only important for grown-ups but is also a joyful time for kids. “For me and my kids, it is the best time of the year,” said Hilali, the California mother. She said her kids enjoy going to the convention because they meet their friends and practice their culture.

More than 3,000 Muslims from across the United States and Canada attended the five-day convention. Hilali said that the programme was a success and that the lectures were very interesting and beneficial.