The Islamic Appreciation Week 2012 (IAW 2012) is a week-long event held between 13-17 February this year. Previously known as Islamic Awareness Week, IAW 2012 aims to enable students and staff of NUS alike to together, (re)learn new knowledge that transcends mere awareness to greater understanding, comprehending and internalising the way Muslims carry out their duties, according to what is scripted in the Quran, Hadith and that which is being propagated by Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.
A week long exhibition, Three talks, One ‘Be Modest’ Movement (which encompasses a Hijab Challenge and a sharing session cum Tea Party) summarise the itinerary for the one week event.
The exhibition itself stretched from the entrance of the Central Library to the AS6 Walkway. A total of 4 booths were set up, each having a specific purpose. The first booth located in the library, introduced visitors to the basics of the Islamic Faith. This included the five pillars of Islam, the articles of Faith and the definitions of Islam and Muslims. As the visitors made their way out of the library they would then be invited to read posters spanning across the AS6 walkway, containing a deeper or more philosophical aspects of Islam. These included the Universality of Islam, the common ancestry of the Islamic Faith with other religions, the purpose of life, the Characteristics of the Last Prophet, etc. We had ambassadors stationed around the posters and booths, armed with inviting smiles and the yearning desire to share their knowledge about Islam and to clear any misconceptions.
Of course, an event about Islam would be incomplete if the Last Divine Revelation (i.e. the Holy Koran) was not at hand for the visitors to read. Hence the second booth was where we had over 4 different translations of the Koran available for visitors to sit and browse through. Translations included French, Chinese, English and Tamil. Some of the ambassadors even went out of their way and read the Holy Koran in Arabic for the visitors when requested for it. Truly, the event would not have even been possible without the assistance of our dear student ambassadors.
The third booth contained information regarding the concept of Modesty in Islam and it acted as a teaser to the highly anticipated Hijab day. Lastly, the fourth booth was where we distributed free books sponsored generously by Darul Arqam. Indeed, the books were virtually flying off the rack; reflecting the visitors’ hunger for more knowledge on Islam.
The 3 talks for the week were as follows:
“Muhammad: More than a man?” – By Ustaz Haron Hassan Akhtar. Date: 14th Feb, Tuesday. Venue: ERC Global Learning Room
“Islam: The Call towards Humanity” -By Ustaz Zhulkeflee Bin Hj Ismail. Date: 16th Feb, Thursday. Venue: LT 29, Science Faculty
“Shariah: Get your facts right”- By Ustaz Saifu-ur-Rahman. Date: 17th Feb, Friday. Venue: LT 14, Arts Faculty
Overall, the three talks had overwhelming responses, both from the Muslim and non-Muslim students of NUS, despite the fact that they were conducted well after school hours. Alhamdulillah, all three speakers were well-versed in their different fields of knowledge and managed to capture the hearts and minds of the audience.
Be Modest Movement
Part 1: Hijab Challenge
As part of the ‘Be Modest’ movement, a Hijab Challenge was organised, where female patrons were given free Hijabs by the ambassadors. Such allowed both Muslims and non-Muslims to wear the Hijab for the day, after being introduced to the meaning of being modest in Islam. It was hoped that participants could get a feel of wearing the hijab, finding out for themselves the truth to rumors and statements that claimed the hijab to be a form of oppression for the females. Besides receiving tutorials on ways to style the hijab, participants were also told of the contract signing, a self-made promise to carry themselves modestly. Because of the nature of the event, participants were only told to take it up on their own will. The significance of donning the Hijab is also being shared, and the event proved to be an attraction for many.
Part 2: Wardah Tea Party cum Sharing session
Themed Wardah (flower) and colour-coded pink and black, the ambience of the place resembled that of royalty. Only females were allowed to the Tea Party, located at Yusof Ishak House. Pillows and delicacies completed the set of presentation offered to participants. Introductory games were played, after which the sharing session officially began with the sharing of experience of the livelihood of ‘tudung girls’. An emotional sharing, ladies from all walks of life – from non-Muslims who participated in the challenge the day before, to those who have donned the hijab for years – were caught questioning their motives and aims of wearing the Hijab, and what it meant to them. It gets more heartfelt as participants shared with others their struggle to truly comprehending what modesty is all about. Various views and expressions about the event were openly discussed. The overwhelming positive feedback by participants definitely reflected the success of the event.
All in all, Islamic Appreciation Week 2012 was a blast to all who were involved in it, in one way or another. Even though IAW is officially over, we believe that there is a need to keep the questions and curiosity going, for surely, our dear brothers and sisters of Islam will not hesitate to assist, to our best ability, to answer all questions and clarify issues if need be.
17 Feb 2012 may mark the end of the event, but the religion itself never stops, and the fire in our hearts to spread the knowledge about Islam keeps on burning.
For more picture of the event, visit our Facebook page!