Four days of Living Islam
So after a beautiful four days I have returned from what can only be described as utopia. I spent these days at Lincolnshire Showground with around 3,500 other Muslims from across the UK and beyond. Living Islam is a holistic family festival that embodies the spirit of a truly British Islam, with families pitching up their tents, preparing to be educated, inspired and entertained. This is my 3rd Living Islam and every step that I took, every time I looked around I could not help but be uplifted. I felt my spirits soar as I watched the Scouts play and pray, the happy faces of babies and toddlers eating in the ‘Jolly Munchers’ cafe, concentration of people in the academic seminars, families playing together, sharing food and spending time together. I feel the essence of Living Islam is in the bringing together of families and friends, of the core of our society to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of modern life to cement our relationships and love for each other, for our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and for our Merciful Lord.
There was so many beautiful moments during the event, but the highlights for me included a campfire with around 200-300 young people listening to the Sound of Reason, followed by a reminder on death and Quran recitation – after it finally lit following my feeble attempts and then desperate calls on my walkie-talkie to the head organisers (brothers Jeffery Beere and Ahtesham Ali) to come and help light it! Other highlights were stargazing on a clear night, an audience with Imam Zaid Shakir with around 200 people packed into a marquee sitting on the grass with the Imam and praying Jummah in an open field with thousands of brothers and sisters in the beautiful sunshine.
Everywhere I looked I saw a manifestation of our beautiful deen, being truly lived, through love, peace and cooperation. I saw inspiration for people to take back to their communities to make a positive change and feel confident in their faith and their identity. The programme for the event was designed with the fact that people would return home to the beautiful month of Ramadan, so there were seminars, talks, Quran recitation, Tahajjud to reflect this. For me Imam Zaid Shakir’s talk on Ramadan was a superb introduction to how we should spend the holy month.
I took so much away from this event, but for me being part of the organising team provided the most inspiration for me. I was truly blessed and humbled to be part of a team of such amazing individuals, who worked tirelessly before, during and after the event to make it a success, with minimum sleep and rest, but still managing to do it with a smile on their faces! As well as organising the Student Village programme, I briefly joined the cleaning team for a shift, this involved cleaning several blocks of toilets across the campsite. It was tiring and hot and at times pretty gross! But I felt so humbled and privileged to be serving others and helping to keep the Showground clean. One lesson that I learnt was the importance of fulfilling responsibility and not letting others down – an element of brotherhood and teamwork.
I pray that God rewards everyone who was involved with the organization of this huge event with multiple blessings in this life and the next and envelops them in His Mercy. Living Islam is a truly special event, anyone who was there can testify to this, we eagerly await the next one in a few years time inshAllah and hope to see you all there!