“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.”
-Surah An-Nahl, 125.
With the above verse, it can be said that da’wah is a form of obligation to each Muslim. However to carry out da’wah, one must first learn the proper ways of sharing about Islam. Islamic Appreciation Week (IAW) strongly believes that da’wah is not about converting the non-Muslims. It is simply about conveying the beautiful message of Islam and its teachings, and that is our obligation. As Muslims, we should share and convey the message that was brought down to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) to the people, and leave the rest to Allah for Hidayah (Guidance) is in His hands and whether a person converts is beyond our control. Thus, with this, IAW was organized to fulfill this obligation.
Islamic Appreciation Week
Islamic Appreciation Week (IAW) is an annual event held by NUSMS under the Human Enrichment secretariat. IAW 2013 was held in February for a whole week from the 13th – 19th February, consisting of a 3-day exhibition at Central Library Walkway, plus a two day exhibition in YIH Student Lounge. Coupled with three talks from various speakers, IAW’s main purpose is to convey the message of Islam to the mass student body of NUS, in efforts to debunk misconceptions of Islam and share the beauty of the religion. The theme for this year’s IAW, Timeless Islam, captures the magnificence of Islam as a transcending religion through time and cultures.
IAW began on a Wednesday morning with the exhibition at the Central Library walkway, with various information booths. Among the topics are Quran and the sciences, Women in Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), and the basic teachings and beliefs of Islam. Students were also given the opportunity to listen to recitations of the Quran and take part in the What Islam Means to Me poster. Our volunteers were trained to approach students and staffs who seemed interested to know a thing or two more about Islam, as well as to answer questions and doubts that they might have. For the three days, volunteers shared and explain enthusiastically to everyone and anyone who wanted to listen and know more about Islam.
On Friday, the atmosphere was most happening as Muslims and friends wore white in occasion of Wear White Day! The support for the event could be seen during IAW13’s first public talk that Friday night – Islam in The Eyes of a Convert, featuring Brother Imran Kuna.
Brother Imran shared with us his experience before and after he converted to Islam, and answered questions that were in the minds of those intending to recite the 2 Kalimah Syahadahs (Testimonies of Faith) themselves. It was hoped that through listening to his unique perspectives of Islam before and after he converted, the audience would be able to understand Islam from different perspectives, and ultimately learn to differentiate the truth about Islam from misperceptions.
After a weekend of break, IAW came back on Monday to a bigger venue – YIH Student Lounge! The mini exhibition at the walkway grew larger in the more spacious venue with many more posters being displayed. Some additions to the booths were a video screening section where documentaries of Islam and its history were played, Islam Around the World section displaying images of Islam around the globe, and the 5 Pillars of Islam section.
IAW’s second public talk, What the Financial System Has Done to Us, was also held in the lounge, where Ustaz Ibrahim Bulushi was invited to give a lunchtime talk on the financial system. This was followed by the third and last public talk of IAW 2013 held that Monday as well.
The talk was entitled Islam as Not Seen on TV, and was delivered by Ustaz Ibrahim Bulushi and Ustaz Abdul Halim Abdul Karim. The talk aimed to debunk myths and misconceptions portrayed by the media. This important talk was hoped to allow the audience to critically think about what they see and learn from the media. In order to learn about Islam’s true nature, the audience was encouraged to seek knowledge beyond their television and online media, and to seek information from Islamic scholars and asatizahs.
IAW ended with an official closing ceremony on Tuesday, an event during which sponsors and volunteers received tokens as a symbol of appreciation for their hard work and support for the entire week. IAW would not have been possible without them! The ceremony was graced by NUSMS’s development officer in-charge, Mr. Eric Au Yong from the Office of Student Affairs. In summary, Mr. Au Yong acknowledged the efforts that were put into the event, and encouraged for it to continue to foster understandings between students of different religions and beliefs.
If you wish to view more photos of the event, do visit our Facebook page & don’t forget to click “Like”! Also, don’t forget to keep a look out for other NUSMS events that will be coming your way soon(: Have a great holiday everyone!