Bismillah Rahman Raheem - Salam alaykum (peace to all who seek truth and guidance):
From: Sheik Yusuf Estes
University of Colorado - at Boulder, CO
Several Muslim groups cooperated in bringing us out to the Mile High City (Denver is over 5,000 feet above sea level) for a series in presenting Islam to the non-Muslims. Our first stop was (last night) Wednesday in the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Muslim Student Association had planned, organized and conducted a program on campus in conjunction with the annual "Islamic Awareness Week" activities there.
Lecture: "Jesus In Islam"
We had a great turn out in Boulder, Colorado. Many in attendance were not Muslims and all had braved the cold and extremely windy elements in order to participate in what started out to be one of our most successful and productive programs ever. Originally, the Muslim Student Association on campus had planned for a talk on "Jesus in Islam." However, we observed many in the audience would benefit more from the very basics of Islam. So, we spoke on the meaning of the words "Allah", "Islam", "Muslim" and "Quran." Everyone seemed to love the program and enjoy our humorous way of presenting a one hour special all about Islam and its relationship to Christianity, Judaism and the Books of all three religions. There was a keen sense of positive reaction and participation between all present. Everyone was smiling and happy - that is, until we came to the question and answer portion of the program.
Christian Chaos in the "Q & A"?
Most of those who know me and have attended our programs, understand why we do not take questions from the floor but rather, we have everyone to write down their questions, comments and suggestions to provide for easier handling of personalities and keeping the focus on the topic of the evening. There was no way at this time to find paper, pencils and distribute and gather the questions. Even though I insisted we couldn't do it, she persisted. The result - negative as it was - is detailed below.
I had completed the lecture and was prepared to shut down my laptop, pack up our remaining CDs and head for the hotel, when our sister in Islam walked up on stage (without any hijab) and told everyone we were going to have 15 minute question and answer series. I told her I would not like to do that and if there were going to be any questions - someone else could answer them. She insisted and told the audience that I was going to do it.
I went against my better judgment in hopes we could satisfy our hosts (the MSA students) and close out the program as gracefully as we had begun.
The first questions were excellent examples of well thought out propositions and considerations. The audience was indeed intelligent and had been taking notes. I must say, I was quite impressed with the level of brilliance and comprehension of those first few questions. This gave me the opportunity to make even more clarification about the basics and principles of Islam. The topic of "Jesus" was introduced, thereby giving me the opening to explain who exactly, the "Jesus of Islam" actually is, according to the Quran and sunnah of Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Several members of the audience had been patiently holding up their hands and trying to get my attention, so I decided to allow one more before quitting for the night. Amazing, isn't it? The statement, "Quit while you are ahead." (I can only look back now and see my mistakes)
A tall man with his head shaved clean had been standing at the top of the steps and said he had a statement and no question. His "statement" offered opposition to almost everything I had said regarding the revelation of Quran and its unique qualities. The man would not stop talking and even walked up on the stage and facing the audience, he began his own program of putting down the Quran, lying about the Quran that is preserved in the British Museum, putting me down and saying they had listened to me long enough and now it was his turn to speak.
NOTE: This man said he was an Arab and knew how to read Arabic. He had some limited knowledge of the existance of the ancient Qurans at the time of 'Uthman (although he didn't know when or where they had been written). He seemed to represent only himself and not any of the others present. Indeed, after the program an Arab Christian from Lebnon came up to me and thanked me and said we had a wonderful program and told me not to worry about people like this man. Other Christians also came up to me thanking me and one young man hugged me and asked me if I thought it were possible for someone to be a "Christian-Muslim." I told him I had been a Christian and then became a Muslim - so if he meant by succession then, yes, it would be possible.
FURTHER NOTE: The worst part is - it could have all been avoided and it was my fault. I have had a number of similar encounters like this from enemies of Islam (some of them from women). I know not to let people stand up and contradict our programs, especially those who are there for no other reason than to cause dissention and disharmony. I have published a document online for those who would like to book events with us, in it we clearly state: "All questions must be in writing and then read by me as time provides." Also, we offer a free service for answering questions about Islam by writing to: [email protected] This makes it clear to me, we can never again allow audience members to stand up and give "statements" or ask questions without writing them down and sending them to the lecture platform. And - I should remember to take the advise of our beloved prophet, peace be upon him, when he told us, "Do not become angry." And of course to follow his actions, when people said bad things to him, he did not retaliate and try to argue with them - he would remain silent for the right opportunity and then only say what was appropriate to carry the message. I blew it. I ask Allah and all those who had to endure this from me, to forgive me and ask Allah to make me do better.
COMMENT: From now on our hosts must provide security to avoid such outbursts and displays of improper behavior.
THOUGHT: If a Muslim will not speak up when someone is lying about the Quran - or worse, if he encourages the person to continue, even if his claim is to demonstrate Muslim tolerance (tolerance or ignorance?), then how can there be any committment to the propagation and preservation of truth?
Chatroom Shahadahs - LIVE online in our chatroom
Amazingly enough, Allah has been using our chatroom to bring people to His Deen (way of Islam). A man named Thomas was asking me some questions in our chatroom the other day and while we talked he decided to accept Islam and made his shahadah live - using his own camera and microphone and we were able to tape the whole thing, Al Hamdulillah.
NEW - "Muhammad: A to Z"
While traveling around giving dawah we are also working on a new video and audio program called, "Muhammad: A to Z"
Check it out and let me know what you think, inshallah: http://islamalways.com/muhammad/
We humbly request that you pass along our sincere thanks to all who are working and supporting the effort of sharing Islam in plain English and ask them to continue their dua for us and for the dawah for Islam, inshallah.
And we ask Allah to Bless you and your family and we send you big "salam alaykum" ya'all,
PS please include this link at the bottom of all your emails, inshallah and ask everyone to do the same: