Conferences and Speakers: A Partial Primer

Oct 16, 2004

So here are some questions you need to worry about on this issue:

  1. What arrangements are we making for the guest to stay? To wash? To make Wudu? To shower? To eat and drink?

  2. Who would get him a glass of cold drink or a cup of hot tea or coffee when he needs it in a hurry?

  3. Who will assist him to move about? To go from place to place? To pick him up and escort him to and from the speech venue?

  4. What arrangements are being made for him to rest? To be able to prepare for his session? To have privacy when he needs it?

  5. Having travelled hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of miles, your guest may be tired, hungry, thirsty, sleepy. Or he may have a headache – or leg cramps. Be in touch with him. Ask him if he is ok or if he needs any thing. Show solicitation and do so at the highest level. That means at the level of the top management of the organization.

  6. Tell him how nice it is to have him. Thank him for his troubles. Oh yes, it is all right to thank people in Islam. The Islamic formula in fact is: If you don’t know how to thank people, you can forget about thanking Allah.

Islam is a beautiful system, Muslims! It is beautiful to behold, beautiful to believe, beautiful to talk and write about, and beautiful to put into practice.

It is just that some of us have strayed so far from it we can barely recognize it. This brings us a full circle, as it were, in our new state of Post-Islam (the new Jahiliyyah) to return to our former state of Pre-Islam (the old Jahiliyyah).

So, let us turn it around: one little thing at a time. And let us join hands with all those who are making the effort in this direction in an open, lawful, peaceful and democratic way – Billatee Hiya Ahsan and Kalimat Sawaa’.

All this is routine stuff. Good Muslims always knew it. Modern corporate culture thrives on some of it. It is some of us new breed of Muslims in the West who somehow seem to have forgotten it. Many of us seem to be neither here nor there. We seem to have forgotten the better parts of our old Muslim culture and failed to learn some of the better things of the new Western culture in which we now find ourselves.

However, good planning requires that you go beyond the routine, and think about the likely as well as the not so likely. But that is higher level planning. And I am talking here about the simple things.

Subhanallah! I am beginning to sound like a surrogate for corporate America. But in some ways that is what Islam is: the best that there could be. And corporate America right now seems to have some of the best of what it takes for success in this world.

There is however a larger issue. If corporate America has borrowed it from Islam – it would be nice if corporate America owns up to it – it is because the world at the highest level cannot work without some of these things. As a matter of fact, there are those at the highest level in corporate America that are not oblivious to this fact.

In any case, if Allah gave some of this stuff to us human beings in the form of Islam, it is because he loves us and wants us to have nothing but the best. As the Qur’an says: Innaddeena 'Indallahil Islam.That means Islam works – and nothing else can or will. Whose fault is it if corporate America has been driven by sheer necessity to embrace some of it to get ahead in life in this world?

And whose fault is it if we Muslims sit around and do nothing and just wonder if it is Islam or part of the “Kaafir culture” as some of our ill-informed and misguided younger brothers and sisters seem to put it so glibly? The questions, in any case, are endless. And they are very exciting.

And guess what? They are all very, very Islamic. This is how Islam works in practice – in daily life. Also these are some of the things many of us have lost touch with. We need to relearn many of them. And that is what we are trying to do in this book: retrain, re-educate and rededicate ourselves to some of our lost ideals and to some of the higher principles and practices that run this world even today. May Allah help and guide us!

So, returning to the theme of the likely and the not so likely, what if your guest, Allah forbid, is taken ill? What arrangements have you made? Or did you even think about it? Do you have a doctor on call? Do you have a first-aid kit ready and handy? Do you have a bottle of aspirin within reach? What if there is an accident? Who will you call in his behalf? Who will you talk to? Do you know what to say and how to say it? Do you know what to do?

Islam gets better and better as you understand it more clearly. It gets more exciting all the time. It is you and I who have made it such a dull and sorry affair. If you want to change our condition, if you want to turn things around, if you want us to get out of the mess we are in today, and if you want us Muslims to claim our share of success in this world, just take this one simple thing from me: If you are Muslim, you have got to be the best. If you are not the best right now, you at least ought to be trying all the time.

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