IECRC Organizes Second Annual Women’s Conference
By Shagufta Ahmed


Dr. Syeda Saiqa Zubeda, Executive Director of the Canadian Women Counseling Center (CWCC) and Syeda Zille Humma Qadri, Chair of the Women’s Committee of IECRC deliver their addresses

The Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Center (IECRC) held its Second Annual Women’s Conference on April 22, 2007 at the Mehran Restaurant in the city of Newark, California.
The Conference was attended by over 250 women who came from far and near to attend the grand Milad Shareef gathering dedicated to the esteemed grand daughter of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Syeda Zaynab bint Ali.
The term Milad Shareef refers to the celebration of the noble birth (570 CE) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the Light of Guidance for humanity in general and women in particular. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is believed by Muslims to be the last and final Prophet of Almighty God sent as a “Mercy to all the worlds” with the Divine Message of upholding truth and fighting evil both at the spiritual and social levels.
Muslims believe in and love all the Prophets of God including Prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus, and Moses (peace be upon them all). The Pure Mother Mary (may God have mercy on her) is one of the four perfect women in Islam.
Those present at this year’s Conference included Dr. Syeda Saiqa Zubeda, Executive Director of the Canadian Women Counseling Center (CWCC), British Columbia; Syeda Zille Humma Qadri, Chair of the Women’s Committee of IECRC; Sister Sohab Hamdani of the Hamdani Brothers Foundation in El Cerrito; Sister Jasmine Bath of the Yuba City Islamic Center; Sister Fatima Mirza of Union City, Hajja Sabnam Khan of the American Muslim Association in Hayward; and speakers from various organizations.

Children present naat
A section of the audience

Dr. Syeda Saiqa Zubeda delivered a poignant and erudite speech on the life and sacrifices of Hazrat Syeda Zaynab (may Allah be pleased with her) exhorting the audience to follow in her footsteps. She explained how Hazrat Syeda Zaynab’s knowledge, virtue, intelligence, eloquence, truth, patience, submission to God Almighty, and steadfastness are exemplary. Dr. Syeda shared the pages of history detailing the historic event of Karbala on a comprehensive Powerpoint presentation.
Syeda Zille Humma Qadri gave a moving speech on the importance of loving the Blessed Family of the Holy Prophet (Ahle Bayt). Sister Sohab Hamdani delivered a scintillating address in which she emphasized that Hazrat Syeda Zaynab could serve as a role model of courage for contemporary women.
Sister Jasmine Bath and Sister Fatima Mirza narrated the great events that occurred on the night of the Blessed Birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Hajja Sabnam Khan spotlighted the importance of loving the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
There were several poetry (Naatkhwani) performances by both adults and children. Amongst the recitations was a group naat recitation led by Sister Adiba Iqbal of IECRC Canada on the traditional Daf of the famous Burdah Shareef (Poem of the Cloak) of the great Egyptian scholar and Saint of the 13th century CE, Hazrat Imam Shareefuddin Busiri. The presentation in five languages - Arabic (the original language of the poem), Farsi, Urdu, Saraiki and English - was very well received.
There was also an Arabic Daf performance on a poem for Hazrat Syeda Zaynab.
Those who recited the naat included Sister Amber Imran of IECRC Canada, Sister Atiya Sanaullah, Sister Yasmeen Azam, Sister Mumtaz Begum, Sister Hamidah Mohammad, Sister Ashiyana Riaz, Sister Aysha Ali, Sister Randa Bader, Sister Youmna Saad, Sister Nadine Sawaf, Sister Bushra Chaudhry and Sister Fareeha Bari.
Also on display was a beautiful PowerPoint presentation showcasing the multicultural nature of Islam through clips of 58 Muslim countries from around the world. It was prepared by Brother Ahmed Rana, an active youth of IECRC Canada.
The children’s performances moved the audience.
Childcare was organized and seamlessly managed by Sister Shaheen Rasheed.
Awards were presented to the participants by the Women’s Coordinator of IECRC’s Sacramento Chapter, Sister Fatima Sharaaz Qadri.
The event was free and open to the public and attended by women from around the Greater Bay Area and beyond including Canada, Yuba City, Sacramento, Richmond, Berkeley, San Francisco, Union City, and Fremont. It was an evening of spirituality, knowledge, poetry, community building, and friendship.
By holding the annual women’s conference IECRC intends to highlight the contribution of Muslim women that warrants attention in the modern age and that can serve as a source of inspiration and healing to women, both within and outside the fold of the Islamic faith and practice. Amongst the most distinguished women in Islam are those of the Blessed Household of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as they drank directly from the spiritual and intellectual waters of His Blessed Company and Teachings.
The IECRC is a non-profit, non-political, 501(c)(3) community service organization based in Northern California. It holds many conferences and spiritual gatherings throughout the year for women, children and the entire family. More information can be obtained by visiting www.iecrcna.org.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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