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In the Name of God بسم الله

Umaa 2015 ... My Thoughts

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  • Advanced Member

Al-Salaamu `alaykum.

 

In light of all the UMAA bashing, I would like to inform you all about my experience at this conference.  I am currently at the UMAA Convention 2015.  This years convention was great.  I recommend people go to this conference and attend it in earnest before passing judgment.  I think that everyone who complains about UMAA without actually having been to the event in recent years is highly distorted in their viewpoints, and is being uncouth.

 

There are two types of events at UMAA, main sessions and workshops. I didn't get to go to all of the sessions, but from what I attended, I think it was plainly obvious that a few things are true:

 

1. Hijab was observed by more than 99% of the sisters who were in attendance. Anyone who says otherwise is uncouth. "Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful." (Quran 2:111)

 

2. Every speech was about serving the 14 Masoomeen and honoring Imam Husain. No one was uncouth enough to diverge from this topic. While other religious groups, no matter how uncouth, were respected, there was no deviation from the holy teachings of the infallibles.

 

3. I feel that a larger amount of Sunnis were present in this year's convention.  They left the convention with a new understanding of Shiaism and a newfound respect for our belief. i was quite pleased to see that Sunni leaders were even on the stage.

 

4. Nadeem Sarwar.  His introduction video 

 

5. There was NOTHING about inappropriate or uncouth political theories.  Every time politics was mentioned, it was done so in the vein of supporting shia in our countries abroad, particularly bahrain, iraq, pakistan and others.

 

6.  Reza Aslan is doing a great job for our community, and those who are anti-Aslan are being uncouth.

 

7.  People on shiachat really have nothing better to do.  They sit here at all hours of the night, trying to start fights.  What is the point of this?  Why would you do? i have seen so much anti umaa hatred, but i have not seen maturity from these posters.  We need to band together as a community who does not fight over nothing. 

 

8.  It was a fun time, but very religious.  Nothing uncouth about that, am I right?

 

9.  One day, Qiyamat will come. but we need to establish our good deeds and repent for our sins.  What value will you gain about complaining about UMAA?  if you complain about UMAA enoguh, will that do anything for our community?  Will that fix our community's shortcomings? No.

 

10. Thank you for reading this and helping to mitigate the uncouth misconceptions about UMAA.

Edited by mansab.jafri
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  • Veteran Member

(salam)
 

Reza Aslan is doing a great job for our community, and those who are anti-Aslan are being uncouth.

 

 

I'm not American nor do I live there, so not sure how he does a great job for your community. What does he do?

 

Most of the things you have written - which people often attack - are generally secondary issues. It is obvious people sometimes over exaggerate things about the conference (things like there is no hijab at the conference or that it is flirting-ground etc.) or attack something where there is nothing there to be attacked. But there are a lot of other primary issues that people have raised and continue to raise concerns about, particularly politically related stances or formal invitations of people who are seen as problematic which makes one question UMAA's overall political agendas and more-so, how they implement these agendas.

 

I mean some of the responses in another thread in order to defend certain decisions, were so horrible. "The prophets also spoke to tyrants" - makes it sound like the Prophets would go grab a cup of hot-coffee with these tyrants to discuss societal issues with each other, or that the Prophets spoke to these tyrants in order to seek their assistance or something. It is such a horrible way of looking at history and then use it to justify certain actions by the UMAA committee is even more naive.

 

Also, I think you are exaggerating the amount of discussion UMAA gets on this forum (or any other conference for that matter). Most of the recent threads on UMAA haven't actually had any lengthy discussions (I don't recall seeing a thread going past 2 pages in recent years - which is nothing for ShiaChat).

 

Wassalam

Edited by Ibn al-Hussain
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Reza Aslan does a great job of trying to delegitimize the Islamic Revolution and the leadership - specially Imam Khomeini and Ayat. Khamenei - this earns him spots and interviews on PBS, and such mouthpieces of empire. Aslam self-styles himself as a "reformist" - this is why UMAA invited him, since their slogan also includes "reform."  This is fully in line with the project to "reform" Islam - and to move young Shi'a Muslims in the "west" away from the thought of Imam Khomeini and Ayat. Khamenei.  How sad that some well-meaning Shi'as have fallen for this UMAA charade.  

 

Check out the garbage that Aslan wrote a few years back:  

 

http://www.bodazey.com/Ayatollah_Khamenei_Irans_Supreme_Revolutionary.html

 

Simply put, Khamenei’s reckless and rambling Friday sermon has changed the tenor of Iran’s uprising, making it as much about his own 

leadership and the nature of clerical rule, as it is about Ahmadinejad’s presidency. He has, in other words, helped create a revolution.

 

also see: 

 

http://pmunadebate.blogspot.com/2007/06/aslan-counts-himself-as-one-of-reform.html

 

Above is just from a brief two minute google search... I'm sure there is much more on this guy's "great job."  It is so very unfortunate that Shi'a Chat chose to allow advertisement of UMAA on this site.  

Edited by skylight2
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Al-Salaamu `alaykum.

 

In light of all the UMAA bashing, I would like to inform you all about my experience at this conference.  I am currently at the UMAA Convention 2015.  This years convention was great.  I recommend people go to this conference and attend it in earnest before passing judgment.  I think that everyone who complains about UMAA without actually having been to the event in recent years is highly distorted in their viewpoints, and is being uncouth.

 

There are two types of events at UMAA, main sessions and workshops. I didn't get to go to all of the sessions, but from what I attended, I think it was plainly obvious that a few things are true:

 

1. Hijab was observed by more than 99% of the sisters who were in attendance. Anyone who says otherwise is uncouth. "Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful." (Quran 2:111)

 

2. Every speech was about serving the 14 Masoomeen and honoring Imam Husain. No one was uncouth enough to diverge from this topic. While other religious groups, no matter how uncouth, were respected, there was no deviation from the holy teachings of the infallibles.

 

3. I feel that a larger amount of Sunnis were present in this year's convention.  They left the convention with a new understanding of Shiaism and a newfound respect for our belief. i was quite pleased to see that Sunni leaders were even on the stage.

 

4. Nadeem Sarwar.  His introduction video 

 

5. There was NOTHING about inappropriate or uncouth political theories.  Every time politics was mentioned, it was done so in the vein of supporting shia in our countries abroad, particularly bahrain, iraq, pakistan and others.

 

6.  Reza Aslan is doing a great job for our community, and those who are anti-Aslan are being uncouth.

 

7.  People on shiachat really have nothing better to do.  They sit here at all hours of the night, trying to start fights.  What is the point of this?  Why would you do? i have seen so much anti umaa hatred, but i have not seen maturity from these posters.  We need to band together as a community who does not fight over nothing. 

 

8.  It was a fun time, but very religious.  Nothing uncouth about that, am I right?

 

9.  One day, Qiyamat will come. but we need to establish our good deeds and repent for our sins.  What value will you gain about complaining about UMAA?  if you complain about UMAA enoguh, will that do anything for our community?  Will that fix our community's shortcomings? No.

 

10. Thank you for reading this and helping to mitigate the uncouth misconceptions about UMAA.

 

I went ahead and listened to some speeches of Reza Aslan 

I also watched some videos of the convention and saw some of the scholars who were there including Sayyid Qazwini (Hassan and I think Mustafa), Sayyid Ammar, Sayyid Al Milani, Sayyid Ammar Nakshawani, etc. 

 

Of course, these are all respected scholars amoung the vast majority of the Shia and of course no Shia would have a problem with discussions concerning the Masoom, etc. That 99% were in hijab I am skeptical about, since even at Muslim Congress, I don't think it is 99%, but I'll take your word for that. 

 

You, and others, have not addressed the main objection that brothers and sisters are bringing up regarding this group. Lets leave aside the past issues with Wolfowitcz, going to the White House, etc. If UMMA says that they are not doing that anymore, I will give them the benefit of the doubt on that, brother to brother. 

 

The main objection is regarding the Elephant in the Room. This is the Elephant in the Room for Shia in our Times. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the issue of Wilayat Al Faqih. It seems that they do not want to discuss this issue at all and pretend that neither the Islamic Republic of Iran or Wilayat Al Faqih even exists. In a community where there is a large amount of support across ethnic and national lines for both IRI and WF, this seems disingenuous at best and deceptive at worst. If your opinion is that Iran is an evil state and they are committing crimes right and left against muslims and others, then come out and say that and bring evidence. If you support, then I understand why you can't say too much about that in the US without being targeted, but at least we can have a healthy discussion on the subject. To continuously ignore the subject, and make believe as if it doesn't exist, harms the credibility of the organization and casts a cloud of dishonesty and deception over the members who may not be that way. If you don't believe in WF and believe that IRI is a harm to the Shia, we are still brothers, we can have a civilized discussion on the issue, as I have had many, many times. 

 

I am not saying go around waving a Hezbollah Flag or an IRI flag (actually I have asked brothers and sisters in the past not to do that if you live in the US or UK) but open the subject and have discussions regarding these issues such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, which are going on now and affecting the lives of many millions of followers of Ahl Al Bayt(a.s). How an organization could speak about Imam Husain(a.s) and yet ignore the actions of the Yazids and Muawiyas of our time, I can't understand. The message of Imam Husain is universal and timeless, and we can apply it in the context of current issues. That is something we should all be talking about. Salam. 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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  • Veteran Member

I dislike Aslan because of his beliefs. I do not want such people influencing our Shias, even if what he may be discussing is true. I am not fond of westernized, non mainstream Shias / or non shias, giving talks and speeches to our communities.

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(salam)

 

I also attended UMAA and particularly the matrimonial sessions. Here's my quick take on it :

 

 

1. About 90 % of the females at the matrimonial sessions were without hijab. Some even had tight fitting and sleeveless dresses on which was appalling to say the least. Some even had the temerity to talk about their favorite music bands/groups *facepalm*

 

2. Sayed Ammar's talk on the signs before the reappearance of the 12th imam a.s was absolutely fantastic! I agree with his opinion that we should not wait for the fulfillment of these signs to become religious. He talked about the concept of Badaa' (change in Allah's decree). Sayid Qazwini's speech was beyond excellent too! I'm waiting for the speech recordings to be uploaded so that I could listen to them again.

 

3. The cost of the meals should have been included in the  conference registration cost. The breakfast food was too oily and bland and not worth the asking price. Burgers at lunch were unappealing and unhealthy, the very sight of which made my appetite go away. I could not attend the keynote speech by Aslan at the dinner banquet because my ahlul sunnah friends (who i brought with me for company ) thought it was too expensive and wanted to explore chicago/navy pier/ eat outside instead.

 

4. The books for sale at the bookstores were very intriguing particularly sheikh Rizwan Arastu's "God's Emissaries (Adam to Jesus) and a book on Irfan (mysticism) by ayt. jawadi amuli. Can't wait to start reading them!

 

5. Sheikh Jaleel's lecture after fajar salaat was very nice. Talked about Prophet Saleh and the people of Thamud. 

 

6. The discounted rooms at the hotel were sold out and I had to pay the non-discounted room rate. They should offer more discounted rooms next time. I did notice that the organizers provided rooms at the Holiday Inn which was about seven min. away but I did not want to keep going back and forth in the shuttle between the two hotels.

 

7. Moulana Athar saheb and Mehdi Hassan could not make it to the conference which was a disappointment. 

 

8. The program guide did not list the exact times when each speaker would start his speech which was very troubling. I wanted my friends to attend the speech on shia and sunni but wasn't able to convince them because the time of the speech was not mentioned in the program guide. Also, I am not sure if Abather al halawachi recited Dua Kumayl at the conference, I really wanted to listen to him reciting it! 

 

 I felt the conference was a worthwhile effort overall. I made some new friends and most of the people seemed to be from New Jersey. 

Edited by wayfarer.
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