On the 24th to the 27th December 2014 at the Westin Lombard Hotel, Chicago; The Muslim Group held their 31st annual conference on the theme; ‘The Spirit of Islam.’ Attended by an exceptional lineup of esteemed scholars and keynote speakers such as Dr Tariq Ramadan; Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, Haj Hassanain Rajabali; a renowned Islamic activist and lecturer, Sister Amina Inloes; a PhD student in Islamic Studies at Exeter University, Dr Sajjad Rizvi; a senior lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter and of course AMI’s Ms Nazmina Virjee.
Founded on November 23rd, 1977 by a group of college students, The Muslim Group seeks to inspire a spiritual revival by promoting a constructive Islamic identity for Muslims across North America. With key-note lectures, panel discussions and short talks, The conference’s aim was to embark on an inspiring journey towards knowledge, truth and the Divine Wisdom that emanates from the spiritual tradition of Islam.
Speaking about “Man as a servant of God”, Ms Nazmina Virjee spoke about the various qualities of perfect servanthood towards God and how Muslims living in the West can strive to achieve a such a lofty status. She also referenced this to verse 51:56 of the holy Qurʾān in which Allah (swt) says; “I have not created the jinn and mankind except that they may worship Me.” An abstract of her presentation reads;
“Because man’s very being is ontologically predicated on the Absolute, worship (ʿibādah) is the only appropriate human response to the Divine. In fact, the Islamic worldview is grounded in the idea that mankind should strive toward perfection in servanthood of their Lord. As such, the Holy Prophet was bestowed with the title of ʿabd (servant), which is perhaps the most honorific title bestowed upon God’s emissaries.”
To view the full lecture, please click here.
Ms Nazmina also gave another talk on ‘Continuity and Renewal in Islamic Jurisprudence’ in which she spoke about the historical dimensions of ijtihād; how Mujtahids deal with new problems and the Usūlī triumph over the Akhbārī School in the 18th century, and its implications on Islamic jurisprudence. An abstract of her presentation reads;
“The world has transformed several times over since the age the holy Prophet and the immaculate Twelve Imams. Responding to new challenges, the discipline of fiqh or jurisprudence grew to cover that part of the Sharī‘a for which there were no clear answers in the Qurʾān and hadīth. The Usūlī scholars of jurisprudence consequently use a deductive method rooted in the Quran, hadith, and consensus needs of the faithful in an ever challenging globalized world.”
To view the full presentation, please click here.
Finally, she also participated in a panel discussion with fellow scholars; sister Amina Inloes, sister Nicole Correri and Hajj Hassanain Rajabali on the topic of; ‘The Nurtured Family’ which featured an engaging discussion surrounding practical strategies and tools to help parents raise children with spiritual and moral nourishment in an increasingly secularized world. The theme of the topic was derived from a verse in the holy Qurʾān (66:6) outlining the Islamic tradition which calls on believers to first “strengthen yourselves and your families” just as the Holy Prophet preached the message of Islam to his household before turning to the community at large.
To view the full discussion, please click here.
To find out more about the Muslim Group and the conference, please click here.