A Chance to Clear Misconceptions in Saskatoon

[pullquote_left]Islam Awareness Weeks are always one of the biggest events on campus here at the University of Saskatchewan.[/pullquote_left] This year’s Islam Awareness Week took things to a whole new level with the combined strength of five Muslim Students’ Associations from Western Canada and a Muslim community organization known as NYM Ink. This is how we were able to hold five exceptional lectures for every day of the week and for every single day, there was a new world-class speaker who would talk about an aspect of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) life. Thus, we were able to achieve our goal of shining, “A Light Amidst the Darkness”.

Even before Islam Awareness Week started, the Arts Tunnel became a hub for “pre-IAW” festivities. The Dawah (Invitation) Booth welcomed all with its goal of fulfilling the purpose of having an Islam Awareness Week which is to invite our non-Muslims friends, neighbours, and colleagues to learn about the real Islam and not the one that may be portrayed incorrectly elsewhere. The Dawah Booth included an insightful survey which tried to emphasize the core values of Islam including the Oneness of God (known as Tauheed) and the five pillars of Islam which are declaration of faith, prayers, charity or almsgiving, fasting during Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Makkah. It became a catalyst for many profound discussions on different topics concerning Islam.

For instance, concerning the five pillars of Islam, only 30% of the respondents were able to correctly identify all of them. Furthermore, a third of the respondents were under the impression that Muslims worshipped Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Thus, the results of the surveys helped to show the participants their misconceptions. The volunteers at the Dawah Booth were more than happy to clear up those misunderstandings including the fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) conveyed God’s Message to the people and instructed the people to worship one God. This is where everything was connected back to Islam Awareness Week and how it is a tremendous opportunity to learn about the real Islam.

Once the week started, the Neatby-Timlin Theatre (Arts 241) became abuzz with Muslims and non-Muslims alike who came to increase their knowledge about Islam. The speakers for the week were invited from all over Canada including Halifax, and one of the speakers actually traveled all the way from London, United Kingdom to be a part of Islam Awareness Week. All of them had a common purpose though which was to provide an accurate depiction of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam.

Throughout the week, many different topics were presented in relation to the life and practices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). For example, the lecture by Sheikh Musleh Khan on Wednesday was titled ‘Family Matters’. The lecture focused on how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) treated his family and how this was something we could all learn from. Sheikh Musleh Khan also talked about the role of a husband and a wife in a family unit in Islam and explained the wisdom behind having such roles. As a result, many aspects of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were addressed all through the entire week.

This year’s Islam Awareness Week was an experience to behold. Everything from the unification of Western Canada to the lineups of non-Muslims waiting to ask the speakers questions after the lectures were signs that the people of Saskatoon were receptive to the educational and learning opportunity provided by Islam Awareness Week. As we move forward, God willing, weeks such as these will continue to be a part of the University of Saskatchewan campus atmosphere. Weeks such as these will continue show how to ‘Kill them with Love’ (Boonaa Mohammed, Islam Awareness Week 2013).

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