IECRC Conference Highlights the Status of Women in Islam
Pictures above: Glimpses of the Milad Sharef organized by IECRC
The Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Center (IECRC), a non-profit, non-political, 501(c)(3) community service organization based in Northern California, held its Third Annual Women’s Conference on March 16, 2008 at the elegant Mehran Restaurant in the city of Newark, California. The Conference was attended by over 300 women who came from far and near to attend the great Milad Shareef gathering dedicated to the following great female personalities:
Hazrat Umme Hani (may Allah be well pleased with her), the dear cousin of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him, His Family and Companions) who was also known as Fakhta which means dove, the bird of peace. She was a great transmitter of Hadeeth literature and was dearly loved and trusted by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him and His Family). She is also famous as “Hind”.
Hazrat Syeda Sakina (may Allah be well pleased with her), the precious great-grand-daughter of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him and His Family) who witnessed the somber battle of Karbala at a very tender age and suffered its aftermath.
The term Milad Shareef refers to the celebration of the noble birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him, b. 570 CE) as the Light of Guidance for humanity in general and women in particular. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is believed by Muslims to be the final Prophet of Almighty God sent as a “Mercy to all the worlds” culminating 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.
Through its annual women’s conferences, IECRC intends to bring to light the shining female luminaries of the Islamic intellectual and spiritual tradition whose contributions are immense and warrant attention in the modern age as a source of inspiration, guidance, 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 (may God be pleased with them all) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as they drank directly from the spiritual and intellectual waters of His Blessed Company and Teachings.
Those presenting at this year’s Conference were Dr. Syeda Saiqa Zubeda, Executive Director of the Canadian Women Counseling Centre (CWCC), British Columbia; Dr. Malek B. Moosa, Medical Practitioner in Vancouver, Canada; Ms. Benazir Bath, Lecturer at Yuba City College; Ms. Floretta Kukoyi of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, San Francisco; Ms. Fatima Mirza, Founder of the SABA Center; Syeda Zille Humma Qadri, Chair of the Women’s Committee of IECRC; and young Abdullah Muhammad Ayyaz, 9-year old son of Syeda Zille Humma Qadri.
The opening session of the Conference was conducted by Sister Fatima Sharaaz Qadri, Women’s Committee Chair of the IECRC Sacramento Chapter. She informed the audience of the great creation of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the miracles related to His Blessed Birth. She eloquently invited guests to present their knowledge and spirituality to an eager audience.
Dr. Syeda Saiqa Zubeda delivered a comprehensive and academic Powerpoint presentation on Famous Muslim Women: A historical, spiritual, social and cultural perspective. She inspired the audience which consisted of both the old and the young through her knowledgeable narrations of the great women of Islamic history of the by-gone era - how they were scholars, warriors and women of great courage and patience. She emphasized the educational imperative for women and the need to return to the pristine teachings of Islam through connection with its Divine Text – The Holy Qur’an.
Dr. Malek B. Moosa of Vancouver, Canada delivered her inspiring speech explaining the need to connect with the Divine Source of all healing energies in order to remove the pervasive modern ailments of depression and anxiety. She shared with an eager audience how reciting some specific Blessed Names of Allah Almighty has brought healing to her patients even with terminally ill diseases such as cancer. She praised the audio CD by Prof. Dr. Mohammad Ahmed Qadri, the Founding Director of the IECRC: “Allah ke Namon se Ilaj Kijie” or “Heal Yourself with the Blessed Names of Allah Almighty”.
Ms. Benazir Bath of the Islamic Center of Yuba City highlighted the difference in the social condition of women not just in pre-Islamic Arabia but also around the world. She explained how with the advent of Islam over 1400 years ago, women were bestowed their God-given birthrights, rights which the West received only recently such as the right to suffrage and property. Ms. Fatima Mirza of the SABA Center eloquently presented a similar message on the role of women in Islam.
Ms. Floretta Kukoyi of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, San Francisco emphasized the importance of “staying connected with our roots”. She said that we should take the best from our home countries and the best from this country (the United States) and be the best we can.
Syeda Zille Humma Qadri of the IECRC USA delivered a moving speech on the two great personalities to whom the Conference was dedicated. She informed the audience of the piety and great status of Hazrat Syeda Sakina (may Allah be well pleased with her) who despite being only five years of age never missed her prayers. And for whom Allah Almighty sent the Leader of the Women in Paradise, Hazrat Syeda Fatima Zahra (may Allah be well pleased with her) to protect her when once she had become lost. Syeda Zille Humma also talked of the great reverence and respect the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had for Hazrat Umme Hani (may Allah be well pleased with her). She emphasized the importance of loving the Blessed Family of the Holy Prophet (Ahle Bayt), may Allah Almighty be well pleased with them.
Nine-year-old Abdullah Muhammad Ayyaz, oldest son of Syeda Zille Humma Qadri, eloquently presented on the love for and teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). He exhorted the audience to honor and love our parents and be good Muslims. The IECRC always encourages its children and youth to participate as much as possible in all of its events.
The Holy Qur’an was recited by Hafiza Nadia Bath of Yuba City who memorized the entire Holy Qur’an at the tender age of 14. Those who recited the religious poetry (Hamd, Naat and Manqabat) were Sister Riffat Saeed, Sister Mumtaz Begum, Sister Aysha Ali, Sister Ashiyana Riaz, Sister Benazir Bath, Sister Samina Bath, Sister Amina Bath, Sister Sohab Hamdani, Sister Wasia Mobeen, Sister Naila Naz, and Sister Fareeha Bari. Some of these women traveled from as far as Woodland and Yuba City to participate in this noble event. The recitations were in Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic, Farsi and English. There was also an IECRC Powerpoint presentation detailing to the audience the history and services of the IECRC.
Children presented beautiful recitations as well including an enjoyable tablo of the famous Children’s Prayer of Hazrat Allama Iqbal (may Allah have mercy on him): “Lab pe aati hai dua”. There was also an English/Arabic presentation by the young sisters Aneesa Rehman, Nisma Khan and Sahar Khan on the traditional Daf to the delight of the audience calling out to the beautiful city of Madina, The Radiant. Other young participants were Abdarrahman Muhammad Ayyaz, Humza Chaudhry, Zahara Chaudhry and Noorain Chaudhry. The youngest presenter was four-year-old Baby Zainub, daughter of IECRC’s Women’s Committee Chair, Syeda Zille Humma Qadri, who won the heart of the audience by her powerful and reverberating Naat presentation.
IECRC is grateful to its dedicated volunteers for making the program an inspiring success for all. IECRC extends its special thanks to Brother Ahmed Shareef for providing and manning the audio sound system late into the evening.
IECRC 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 and www.maulud.org or calling 510-732-6786.