By Adil James, TMO
|Student performers at the Flint Islamic Center Seerah Competition Celebration and Award Ceremony.|
Flint–February 20–The culmination of the Flint Islamic Centerâ€™s 6th Annual Seerah Competition and Award Ceremony was held this past Sunday at the Flint Islamic Center mosque, bringing a crowd of perhaps 300 brave souls who came despite a huge Michigan snowstorm that made the rural roads an adventure.
The event focused on the children but benefited from the experience of the past five Seerah Competitions. This time many of the final decisions and awards had been made before the event took place, with first place winners simply presenting their essays to those assembled.
All of the presentations, from sixth grade to college, were striking in their insight and in the confidence of the presenters.
Alhasan Youssef presented a particularly beautiful essay and presentation about the tremendous greatness of Prophet Muhammad (s)–whose name was raised to be with Allahâ€™s name. He spoke of a hadith concerning a woman who lost every single member of her family on a single day and yet wept with joy when she heard that Prophet (s) had lived. Razzak emphasized the overwhelming greatness of Prophet (s), and spoke of the importance of building a relationship with him by praising him and praying for him in accordance with Allahâ€™s order, of visiting him, and of loving him more than our own selves.
Imam Aly Lela of IAGD spoke on the theme of Prophetâ€™s (s) great accomplishments with minimal physical assets–the proof even to non-Muslims of his greatness.
The imam finished by describing the overwhelming greatness of Prophet Muhammad (s) on the Day of Judgment, as the intercessor who secures Allahâ€™s mercy and forgiveness in a language never spoken before, after other great prophets such as Jesus (as) and Moses (as) and Adam (as) will explain that they are unable to secure intercession.
According to Fahim Khan, one of the Seerah event organizers, about 70 contestants had vied in the contest. He spoke of the enthusiasm of the participants, noting that one, a graduate of the Flint Islamic Centerâ€™s school, had been so eager to compete that he had done so via Skype.
The event cost approximately $10,000, and Mr. Khan explained that this had become â€œthe premiere event in the Flint community.â€ Planning for the Seerah competition had begun 3-4 months prior to the February culmination.
Leila Almunajed, another winner, spoke very sincerely and with direct insight about the signs of hypocrisy, reciting the hadith about the three signs of lying, breaking agreements, and violating trusts. She pointed out that in our time if one looks for these signs they are everywhere, including in our community. â€œThe signs of hypocrisy are so common itâ€™s alarming…. The punishment for hypocrisy is huge so we should cure ourselves.â€
Bilal Ali, another winner, also spoke very well.
Each presenter found a different aspect and argued it passionately and almost all of the presenters showed personal conviction, a level of personal belief in their arguments that rose above just well-constructed argument.
Entertainers Ali ElSayed and Bouchaib, performed Nasheeds, and the effect of these nasheeds was like a catalyst in the event, seemed to make the interaction after the nasheeds much more open and universally accepting than before. A short four songs seemed to make a large difference in the event–time was limited as maghrib was approaching, but it seemed unfortunate that these professional performers could not sing a little longer.
This event was even more successful and even better organized than the previous five, and showed the lessons learned through years of improvement, not least because of the entertainment that lightened the mood of the pious people who had gathered to celebrate the heroic history of our noble Prophet (s).
To learn more about the contest, please visit serah.gaflint.org. Please visit our website for many pictures of the event!