By Rida Bint Fozi
“You really have to go and find what the truth of people is.”- Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America
The amount of people that flooded into Window to Islam at the ICNA-MAS Convention this past weekend attests to many things, among them this— that there is a relentless desire to find the truth of Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Window to Islam is a daylong conference hosted by 877-Why-Islam at the annual ICNA-MAS Convention. This year an estimated 60 non-Muslims registered for the event, and hundreds of convention-goers had filled the room to its capacity by each session’s end. Featured speakers included Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, Imam Mohammad Magid, Nouman Ali Khan, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Sh. Abdool Rahman Khan, Sh. Mohammed Faqih and Sr. Iman Badawi—a true sampling of what the ICNA-MAS Convention, and Islam in America, have to offer.
Guests of other faiths were treated to an open Q&A session, where questions ranged from the common to the curious. “How do Imams react to civil violence amongst Muslims?” “Why didn’t Islam completely abolish slavery?” “Why is domestic abuse present in Muslim households?” The speakers worked seamlessly, collaborating on questions regarding Islam while also delivering lectures on their respective topics. This year’s event comprised of speeches that tied in with ICNA’s “Save Family, Save Society” theme, along with lectures on the linguistic beauty of the Quran.
For me, Window to Islam highlighted the need to bring Islam to the public. It is a privilege and honor that Allah (SWT) has gifted me with Islam from birth; this, however, does not come without responsibility. I was moved to tears by some of the questions put forward—one attendee described him/herself as “a seeker of the truth,” who’d not yet found it. It is incredibly difficult to go outside of your comfort zone and look past what you know for the answers you’ve been seeking. Yet there are those willing to do just that, who show up to the ICNA-MAS Convention or to our masaajid or to our lectures and want to know what we have to say. Window to Islam made me more aware of what I need to be doing—learning Islam so I may share it with others.
At the close of the final Window to Islam session, I found myself hanging behind so I could catch up with Sr. Iman Badawi. A woman in her mid-to-late 40s approached Sr. Iman and was introduced as a recent revert to Islam. I couldn’t keep myself from looking at the small lines in this woman’s face, a clear indication of her age, and wondering what strength lay within her that pushed her to find Islam and latch on to it. It is admirable, to say the very least, and inspiring, to say a bit more. I realized in that moment what Window to Islam was really about—about that truth that Dr. Mattson had spoken about it. About finding it, learning it, loving it and reforming ourselves to adhere to it.