September 21st, 2003 by

The annual _________ Fair is the 149th year in its running. Each year, they have 8 days of absolute havoc planned out for the entire town, from Demolition Derbies to artists of various genre performing. In the past years, the town has hosted Dave Matthews, Hootie and the Blowfish and sadly enough, even Michael Bolton has been a main attraction, for the lovers, for the haters.

We’re located indoors, our booth stall is. It’s a simple setup, four tables covered with pamphlets and home-made information packets. We’re giving away Suzzane Haneef’s book for free, if you sign up for it though. Our qurans are beautiful orange paperback editions, translated by Yusuf Ali. The table hides behind it 8 metal chairs that we drove an hour to pick up. The large TV blares lout a video repeatedly, about what is Islam. Next to it, is a large pitcher of coffee that we’re giving away to any. Black strong Maxwell.

We just sit behind the table, our Discover Islam poster hanging from the metal ceiling above. Be courteous, naturally. Smile, sincerely.

Yesterday, we recorded over a hundred people actually interacting with us and the material in front of us. Over an 8 day period, we’re hoping to reach hundreds more. But we’re not out to convert, we’re simply out to inform. Just know that we exist, in this part of Pennsylvania.

The MSA at PSU has been quite helpful, volunteers driving down for hours to help us out. I’m the only local townie here, living but 6 blocks away. The rest of the people take hours to drive down. Walking one of them to their car at my house, he speaks to us, passionately wanting to only inform, and let God do the rest.

“We have these sweets we give for free, yes? So people take, let them take, baklava and other things. They don’t pick up material, that’s ok yes? yes it is, it is perfectly ok. Because then, they’ll like what they eat and want more. Who knows, years later, they see Arab or Turkish restaurant and they want to try. They go in to eat, at a muslim store. Who knows. There, they may want to learn the recipes of the food they eat and enjoy, and remember the baklava they once had. Who knows. Who knows that there, they may start to talk to someone, a muslim brother or sister, who just talks to them and they learn and want to learn and then the truth will be clear to them. Who knows.
All because, you see, we gave them a sweet with no strings attached and let Allah do the rest. Who knows our reward in all of that then, yes? Yes, i think so”.
His south African British accent spoke with winds of an Islam i have never seen in a continent I’ve never been to. He spoke of his love, his Islam.

We sit together, us muslims at this booth in this giant fair, under the protection of Allah. We don’t even know each other’s name, that’s ok. We don’t need to. We’re laughing, joking with each other, our ice broken because someone called the adhaan and we instinctively stood together, brother to brother, shoulder to shoulder, united, in front of a God one.

YUSUFALI: To you be your Way, and to me mine.
PICKTHAL: Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.
SHAKIR: You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.

12 Responses to “fairdayOne”

  1. Owl Says:

    At the risk of sounding too much like a girl… this was such a cute entry. I can just hear the South African British guy saying that “ok, yes?”

  2. Faiza Says:

    Hahha, yeah, that IS cute. :)

    On a different note, isn’t wanting somebody to revert to Islam because you want a reward (“thawab”) kind of, sort of umm… selfish? Shouldn’t you be helping people out because of the goodness in your heart? For their sake. For Allah’s sake. Well, not that Allah needs people to worship Him, but yeah… shouldn’t be helping people for your own gain, right?

    No, I’m not questioning anybody’s intentions. Like I said, this is kinda, sorta unrelated to your post, Waleed.

  3. Waleed Says:

    Faiza: Firstly, is it possible to dissect all your intentions into simple boxes? Can you clearly say that there is only, say, 8 set intentions for which why you are doing dawah or whatever the action be?

    Secondly, my relationship with God is as such. He’s given me everything, alhamdulilah. I want to please him and I’ll do things that will insha-allah please him. If I get rewarded for pleasing Allah, all the better. If that reward means He’s more pleased with me, subhan-allah! And how He choses to reward, allah wa alam.
    As for helping out people because of the goodness of our heart, yes most definitely yes. I have found the most incredible revelation, an enlightenment indescribable, and a God Most Merciful. If this isn’t the best thing to share and help others with, then I don’t know what is.

    Thirdly, as a dawah group at the fairgrounds or anywhere else for that matter, we, muslims in general, are not out to convert or revert anybody. Allah says in the Quran to simply spread information about Islam. Acceptance or otherwise of this deen is then the choice of the listener.

    Unfortunately, there do exist people who end up calculating religion in terms of ROI. I don’t agree with the lifestyles of such.

    =) Well, I hope i answered or at least partially satisfied you there Faiza. I realize, you’re not questioning my intentions or actions.

    Owl: A dangerous question, yes, but what age do you be?

  4. Abez Says:

    Baklava. Yum. Salvation too. Baklava and Salvation is a good combination.

    (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it)

  5. adnan Says:

    baklava alone is pretty good too… :p

  6. nicole Says:

    mmmm, conversion by baklava. This sounds like such a nice booth. Your friend seems to have a good handle on the whole dawah thing. I know lots of people who’s eyes light up when they meet my husband because he “converted” me. (If you read his weblog you would know how funny that is) It seems like some of them are restraining themselves from rubbing his belly for luck or something, others actually ask him how he ‘made me Muslim’. There seems like alot of dawah people are in the dawah biz to get notches on their miswaks, or something, and they lose sight of what dawah really is, a subtle invitation to a way of life and a way of looking at life. And like any invitation, it can be accepted or denied.

  7. Owl Says:

    Not so dangerous a question since I posted it on my blog not too long back. I’m a month over 21, and boy does that sound OLD.

  8. adnan Says:

    it’s all down hill after 21 you know…

  9. Waleed Says:

    The entire day, I’ve had a single thought, waiting to be said in this comment box:
    Faiza – if you “entice” someone to convert with one thing or another (‘hey! convert today and we’ll throw in a free duffel bag!’), the question will always remain: why did you really accept Islam?

    Even as someone born in a muslim family, I often times think of myself as someone who accepted Islam, after having lived a ghost of a life. And I know why I’m muslim. Alhamdulilah.
    My personal search began, interestingly enough, when a hindu friend of mine simply stated that I was considered hindu by her. Self definition followed, so I quite understand what you mean Nicole.

    Owl: You’re 21? huh. For some odd reason, I pictured you older. much older. late 20’s, a dash of early 30’s, a faint hint of earlier 20’s and a giant sprinkle of ages 2-4.


  10. Faiza Says:

    “I have found the most incredible revelation, an enlightenment indescribable, and a God Most Merciful. If this isn’t the best thing to share and help others with, then I don’t know what is.”

    That’s beautiful. :)

  11. yasmine Says:

    alhamdulillah, Waleed, it seems to be going well. Tell us about Days 2-8 too. :)

  12. Owl Says:

    It’s cuz I’m just so *cough* mature, and *cough* wise. Right.

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