Interviews from Youth Gathering
When the calendar shows 10th August 2009, the story starts with enormous excitement. The excitement of embracing each other from all over the world, the excitement of refreshing the ukhuwwah, the fellowship among the Ummah. No matter how easy it’s to say “We are one nation.” It is also that harder to provide it in reality. All of us know providing the unity is not as easy as saying it with the lips. But doesn’t each success start with a dream and followed by the action in itself? The UNIW has already taken a few steps for that sake by gathering the youth, opening discussion platforms for each one without fear. How to be a united Ummah again? How to raise the Ummah again from its roots? How to heal the broken branches? How to attain the treasure which was once our own? Touching your soul with their high spirit of dawah, enjoy yourself through the sentences of the promising youth. Muslim youth is coming with the power to enlighten society.
23-year old Mouna AMBARI is studying dentistry in Casablanca University in Morocco. She is also working for Al-Hıdn Foundation as a lecturer and a trainer. Let’s hear the following from her: “Before I came to Turkey, actually, I thought the Turkish people were living more of like European people. I thought there would be fewer hijabis. But now, I see there are a lot of Muslims and Muslimahs trying to live Islam in the best way. I want to thank The UNIW for its efforts to provide the information exchange among the Muslims throughout the world and trying to gather them up under one roof and one umbrella as a United Ummah. And The UNIW is trying hard to accomplish its aims. Unity dreams can come true, but the first step is to designate the problems and invent solutions for them. Just crying out of the problems doesn’t give a solution nor can help finding any. Then we must work hard, and make du’a so that Allah will send nussrah. Everything in this world is by Allah. Humans just work. If we want it Allah will give it us. If we have the spirit and the conscience to have it, he surely will give it us. The first step to accomplish something is to firmly believe to accomplish it. We have mind and we are all smart, why can’t we? We once were united, so why not again? And Allah says: “InnAllaha laa yughayyiru maa bi Qawmin hattaa yoghayyiroo maa bi anfusihim” (ar-Ra’ad: 11) “Allah will not change what is in any nation, until they all collectively make a change occur in what is in themselves.”
Apriliana from Indonesia is a representative of Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Muslim Indonesia (The United Action of Indonesian Muslim Students) on 2nd Youth Gathering. Having finished her Master’s degree in leadership, she plans to apply for Ph.D. next year insha’Allah. She is a Chief of National Muslimah group in KAMMI’s headquarters; and is handling women’s affair for KAMMI. KAMMI is the biggest Muslim students’ movement organization in Indonesia where students play an important role. We ask her feelings about being here, she says:
“It was very exciting for me to be in Istanbul that used to be “Islambol” (Islam-all), very attractive and beautiful city. I know Turkey, especially Istanbul, as one of the last Centrum of Islamic civilization, the central of Ottoman Empire.” And she makes a confession over her thoughts. “I’ve been thinking that I would have a fascinating historical journey through Istanbul, and I’ve proved it.”
During this Youth Camp a lot of Turkish sisters accompanied them; we ask her thoughts about these young people, she passes her thoughts as the following: “One thing makes me very glad during our trip is there are wonderful youths from Istanbul accompanying us and helping. I felt their spirit to raise Islam in the Muslim world especially in Turkey. The historical places and the cultural centre are amazing. The people are very friendly (this is among the most memorable things), and the lecturers really have enlightened our horizon. In Muslimah group, we have a warm discussion and succeed to share spirit among the participants. We all believe that “we are one nation.” and one day, just like Rasulullah says, this Ummah will rise again. “
Ultimately, she adds her opinions about The UNIW with great excitement: “Two thumbs up for the UNIW, “it is an international organization with a huge vision and real actions”. I’ll stand beside The UNIW for rises the Ummah once again.”
Imaan Fahdi is 21 and studies Psychology in Morocco. She is also a member of Al-Mahdi Ben Aboud fa Studies Research and Information in the youth department of sociology, psychology, philosophy. She thinks in the unity of this Ummah, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi plays an important role by saying: “I don’t think The Unity is a dream. For now it seems to be so, but it is a dream which is worked on and struggled. We are working on it. We have this dream to be one Ummah.”
Mentioning the unity Imaan says the following: “In my opinion Said Nursi is the person who matters a lot for Turkey as he changed the mentality of most of the people in Turkey and through the world. Because of past actions against Islam, practicing Muslims have been undergoing hardships for a long time. But with the enlightening studies of Said Nursi and the treatises it seems to be getting better nowadays. Hamdulillah it is by Allah, he bestowed Nursi upon Turkey to change this mentality. I love Said Nursi because he, through his treatises, touches mind, heart and soul. He addresses all these 3 at the same time. You can see and feel his struggle about this dawah in his treatises clearly. And I congratulate Hayrat Foundation which is a rooted and professional foundation as they are advocating the Arabic scripture. They are giving very important messages and setting good examples for the Unity sacrificing a lot and being steadfast in following and adhering to the Sunnah, and trying to keep it alive.”
Born in Islamabad in a family of Doctors, Dr. Saima Aleem is 28 years old. She gets the advantages of being born in a doctors family and she studies Dentistry, then she does her bachelor’s in dental surgery in 2004 from de’Montmorency college of dentistry, Lahore and her BSc from Punjab University of Pakistan. She has been working for Khubaib Foundation since April 2009 as a teacher and doctor in Khubaib College Skardu but presently is working in head office in Islamabad as an education officer. The foundation she is with, works in the areas of Education, Rehabilitation of Prisoners, Health, and Relief.
After the introductory sentences, we wish to start with The UNIW and her opinions about this organization being a member of it:
“I would like to relate my answer to the mission and vision statement of The UNIW as it ensures the cooperation, coordination , development of non-governmental organizations and ensure to protect the rights of society as well as introducing Islam and Islamic culture, I feel they have justified their mission as far.”
She explains how The UNIW tries to accomplish what it aims, why The UNIW looms large in contributing the unity: “In my view as foundation system is getting more and more popular and trustworthy in the world, The UNIW has successfully provided a common platform for all organizations from the Muslim world to come close and share their expertise and get a common vision. The most important thing is that The UNIW has given prime importance to Muslimhood and UMMAH and this is in my view is the bigger and by far the most important purpose of The UNIW that they gather everyone in the name of ALLAH which is our common identity. And all that they are trying to do is commendable.”
As it comes to ask the most memorable thing she will remember, she expresses how each moment of the camp means her a lot saying: “Well by far it’s the most difficult question because every moment I spent during camp is memorable and precious for me. If I mention one thing I feel it will be unjust to other moments.”
We want to know more of her opinions about the unity and the requirements of it. Whether it is an unfulfillable dream shouldn’t even be attempted to or it is easy to achieve with no difficulties. Her response is wise as the others: “In my view, Muslims are supposed to work together towards a common goal set by the Quran and shown by the Prophet (PBUH) through his Sunnah. They are brothers and sisters because they are bonded by the common ideology of Islam. These are the foundational principles of Islam. The Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) require Muslims work for the unity of the Ummah. “Muslims are like the body where if any part hurts the whole body should feel the pain.” (Hadith). When we are believers of one Allah, I personally believe that no matter in which part of the world Muslims live, whatever their language is, no matter how many differences there are amongst us, we are already and always united by ALLAH. When we offer prayers five times a day in each and every part of this world, when we all recite Quran, we are united. If this is the base of our life how can we be separated from each other?”
At first sight, it sounds like the classical saying of “One Ummah”, but as she goes on, the sentences reveal what is behind them and the idea and the meaning shows itself clearly. The need for speed of this notion: “As a Muslim I strongly believe that even if we are not united today, we will be inshaallah. Our youth is now more aware of the need and importance of Islam in our lives and in every part of the world they are working for this cause. By far, they have many achievements which are appreciable but there is lot more to work for and achieve because Muslim Ummah has so many problems which can’t get solved overnight so endless work and effort is required for unity which I am sure The UNIW will achieve inshaallah.”
I can still remember the glint in her eyes while saying the followings at the dinner table towards Istanbul Bosporus with the wind blazing over her face: “There is nothing impossible in this world and the notion itself says “I’m possible” so how can we quit working for the reunion of the Ummah, when every dream can come to reality when worked on in this world.”
QUDASSI SMAHANE / Morocco
Another guest of the UNIW is Smahane, a 24-year-old dentist studying in Casablanca University for dentistry in her last year. She is also working for al-Hıdn Foundation which is especially for women and children (orphans) and is responsible for groups, a lecturer and trainer. Starting her interview she is warning us in a humorous manner saying: “We learn to speak French in Morocco as the second language and we learn English as the third place so, I am so sorry for my bad English beforehand and please correct my grammar while publishing it.” Then we laughed following this sincere, friendly environment.
Confessing that she didn’t have much opinion about Turkey before coming here, she adds: “Honestly before I came here I only knew The Prime Minister, Tayyib Erdogan. I didn’t have much opinion but I know many who know about Him because of His opinions and thoughts on Palestine. I like Him very much and I think people should be like him, brave. And when I came here I think that Turkey will be one of the most civilized and modern and developed countries. And may she will be the leader of the whole Islamic World as it was in the past.”
When we ask her opinions about this Youth Camp 2009 and The UNIW, she says: “The UNIW is to connect and unite the Islamic world and connects the countries where Muslims mostly live. So that everyone in any country can know what the problems of the rest of the Ummah are. And they will see and have solutions for different perspectives and points of view and different experiences. I note three objectives of the UNIW which I discovered in my humble observations through this ten-day Youth Camp: 1- To have connection with the world. 2- Discussion of problems and find solutions. 3- To unite Muslims all over the world. And I think The UNIW is fulfilling eighty percent of its aims.” Upon this sentence we ask her why she thinks it is not 100% but 80%. She answers in a clear way: “It is because of the world. The UNIW is doing its best but the rest is up to the people. And as to the people, the unity is not as easy as they say. It is not like saying “we are one nation, and one morning we wake up to unity.” No it is not that easy. But it is my humble opinion. We must work more than that. I mean we must work more than just saying “we are one nation.” Because just telling it wouldn’t be enough for the unity.”
And when the departure time comes at the airport, she expresses her feelings with an Arabic proverb; her eyes full of tears while saying good-bye and hugging us: “I will always remember what I experienced with you in Turkey until the Day of Judgment. It is Khitamuhu Misk sister, it is Khitamuhu Misk… (It finishes so sweet as the delicious perfume and flavour of musk, heightening the enjoyment.)”