Experiencing the Islamic Society of North America
Back from a trip to Washington, DC, YazTheSpaz shares her experience at ISNA.
How many of us get the opportunity to attend an event where tens of thousands of Muslims congregate for the sole purpose of learning about Islam, interacting with new Muslims from around the country and also getting access to one of the largest one-stop bazaars for Muslim products?
If you think I’m talking about Eid, you’re slightly wrong – it’s ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America!
Held in Washington, DC with over 40,000 attendees, this year’s ISNA was one not to miss! Speakers like Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Nouman Ali Khan, Mufti Hussain Kamani and more enlightened us on topics ranging from parenting in the West to marriage in Islam.
On top of the many exciting things that ISNA presented us with this year, I’d love to share with you everything else they offered! Aside from all the great lectures that were going on throughout the day and the huge bazaar, ISNA’s other events included a matrimonial session, a film festival, an art exhibit, a men’s basketball tournament and, best of all, a live concert performance by Junaid Jamshed Khan, Salman Ahmed and Native Deen!
One of my favorite parts was the art exhibit. It showcased many talented artists and photographers, one being Riz & Lisa Photography, with whom I recently did a fashion photo shoot. They showcased their art with a huge banner shot of me! What an honour that was, to be a part of the exhibit!
Throughout my time there, I was able to network with companies from around the world – ranging from men’s jalabiya lines to Muslim women’s magazine Azizah, and even amazing accessory stores like Islamic Gems!
Besides all of the wonderful perks about ISNA, another amazing opportunity that came out of my trip was being able to meet so many wonderful people. I met girls who have watched my videos from day one, to girls who have just started watching my videos. I even got to meet mothers who stopped to thank me for being such a great inspiration for their daughters. It was such a humbling experience to be able to meet everyone, take pictures and connect with my fans!
Another special guest that I was able to meet through my dear friend Nadine with Nadoona was Ibtihaj Muhammad of the United States fencing team, and also Zainab Ismail, a well-known personal trainer based in New York. We all joined forces for an all-women fitness session one of the nights. Zainab trained us like you wouldn’t believe, but we all left there with that much more knowledge about health and fitness – and left as closer friends!
All in all, I would recommend a trip like this to anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of both Islam and society. I met people of all ages and backgrounds, races and religions, and that is what made my trip worthwhile! I hope you all get the chance to experience an event like this in your own country or city! The next event to keep an eye out for is in Toronto, Canada from December 23–25, 2012. Muslims from all around the world will unite there for RIS – Reviving the Islamic Spirit!