WOW this post is looooong overdue! SubhanAllah, we’ve been back from Texas for like a month! I started writing this post like a day after I got back, and have been so lack about finishing it! I was having trouble with uploading the photo album, but it’s working now Alhumdulilla!!
Over winter break my family was blessed with the opportunity to attend Texas Dawah Convention. This was our first visit to the convention and to Houston. How many miles are between the DC area and Houston, TX? According to Google Map we covered 1, 391 miles, which was ideally supposed to take 21 hours and 22 mins. Our trip was longer than that, but Alhumdulilla it was a good experience 🙂
It took us two days to drive, so we stopped over in Birmingham, AL. Alhumdulilla, while in Alabama, we got to attend Fajr at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center. The masjid was converted from a church and Mash’Allah a nice facility. The Qir’aat was amazing and the whole feel of the Masjid was blessed. While praying I couldn’t help but think about how far Islam has spread around the world.
We also got to visit a masjid in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on our second day of driving. The Islamic Center of Hattiesburg was not as glamorous as the last masjid by any means.But Subhan’Allah, just knowing that Muslims were here, worshiping Allah,was really amazing. It’s hard to describe in words.
We arrived in Houston two days before the convention for “sightseeing.” I put that in quotes because our concept of sightseeing is a little different. We didn’t go the Gulf of Mexico, the NASA Space Center or the San Jacinto Monument.(In fact I’m not sure if those are tourist “hotspots,” I’m guessing) Instead we went “masjid hopping,” Alhumdulilla 🙂 The term “masjid hopping” refers to the act of going around to different masjids just for the heck of seeing masajids and Muslim communities 🙂
The first masjid we saw in Houston was the Adel Road Masjid, or Masjid Bilal. (AKA “Adil” Road Masjid to the local aunties) It was undergoing renovation, but Mash’Allah another magnificently built mosque. We went in and Alhumdulilla we hear children reviewing the Quran 🙂
Other masjids we visited included Masjid Hamza and Masjid El-Farouq. My brothers and dad also got a chance to visit the Stafford Masjid.
Both masjids were amazing! Masjid Hamza had been damaged by Hurricane Ike and was getting re-carpeted. There was a halaqa going on upstairs in Arabic.
Masjid El-Farouq made you feel like you had stepped into an Arab country. Mash’Allah I’ve never seen such a magnificent masjid in America. It was landscaped beautifully and was probably the cleanest masjid I’ve ever seen. The Qiraat there made your heart melt and it gave you an eman rush 🙂 It was right next door to Dar us-Salaam bookstore, which we also visited 🙂 I got a nice abaya from there 😀
We got to downtown a day before the convention started and got to visit the Islamic Dawah Center. I think it was nice to have a masjid right in downtown, Mash’Allah. The guy who worked there said it functioned more like a non-profit organization, instead of a masjid. So it wasn’t open for daily salah, it closed at like 5. It was converted from an old bank and one of the main proponents of the masjid was Hakeem Olajuwon, the retired basketball player. The vault in the basement had Islamic artifacts, definitely not the typical masjid.
The convention was in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Alhumdulilla, the convention was awesome. It was different than other conventions I have been to, because there was more of a focus on attending the lectures. The bazaar was definitely smaller than other major conventions. This was a good reason for people to go listen to the lectures, instead of loitering in the bazaar.
We got a chance to hear lots of speakers including Yasir Qadhi, Abdulbary Yahya, Ibrahim Dremali, Yaser Birjas, Nouman Ali Khan and Waleed Basyouni.
One of my favorite lectures would have to be Sh. Ibrahim Dremali’s. His topic was called “My Ummah, My Ummah.” He talked about how the Prophet (s) loved this ummah, and was worried about us getting into Jannah. He was so concerned for us and cared so deeply for us, it’s sad to see the Muslims throw Islam behind their backs and still claim to love the Prophet (s). It was a moving lecture; you had to be there. By the end of the lecture the whole auditorium had tears rolling down their eyes. In fact, he himself started crying while delivering the speech.
One thing which was unique from other conventions was the “Chai Chat.” This was a night session where Sh. Yasir Qadhi and Sh. Yaser Birjas discussed the meat issue. “The meet on meat.” It was good, and both Shaykhs gave alternative view points, mainly about eating chicken. However at the end, very few people ended up changing their minds about the meat they eat 🙂 On a side note, both shaykhs happend to wear the exact same shalwar khameez and that happened to be unplanned!
Another thing which was unique about this convention was the talent show. The winners were four cute kids who were really good at rapping! I didn’t catch the words the main “rapper” was saying, because it was waaaaay too fast. But Mash’Allah they were cute and invited back to perform the next day during the night show. Also during the talent show, someone accepted Islam, Alhumdulilla. He had left his family’s Christmas dinner to come to the convention center and take his Shahada, according to Sh. Yasir Qadhi 🙂
Alhumduilla, it was a fun trip and I definitely miss the weather a lot! 😦 Hope everyone likes the pics! 🙂