Inaugural Life of the Prophet Muhammad conference hailed as shining success

Saturday saw the successful launch of the inaugural Life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) conference and exhibition hosted by Islam Channel and Islam Channel Urdu.

In partnership with leading humanitarian charity ILM UK, the event brought together over 2,000 at the International Convention Centre Birmingham, including scholars, community and religious leaders to honour and reflect on the Prophet’s life and teachings.

The Conference was a shining success and a celebration bringing communities together — a day filled with enlightenment, unity, lively debate and cultural exchange.

From insightful lectures to nasheeds and an engaging exhibition, attendees praised the event’s ability to inspire and educate about the beloved Prophet.  

Islam Channel founder Mohamed Ali Harrath opened the event. Notable speakers included Sheikh Dr Haitham Al Haddad, Blogging Theology’s Paul Williams, Yusha Evans of Al-Ihsan Foundation USA, and Dr. Musharraf Hussain.  

Lively panel discussions moderated by Imam Ajmal Masroor allowed for audience engagement.

Read the thread to find out more about what the speakers said.  

Thanks to the audience’s generosity at the Conference, sponsors ILM UK will now be able to build at least one masjid and 11 homes as part of their work to alleviate suffering in Pakistan following the devastating floods.  

Prophet’s legacy

The speakers talked about the Prophet’s legacy and how he’s an inspiration for modern life.  

Acclaimed author Na’ima B. Robert examined the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as a model for all relationships. “He had a clear understanding of his role,” she said. “As shepherd of his flock as well as a deep appreciation and love for his wives – as women and as individuals.”

The Imam of the Danish Islamic Centre – Abdul Wahid Pedersen – discussed the Prophet’s guidance for a happy marriage. Pedersen converted to Islam in 1982 after a spiritual journey through various world religions.

Islamic scholar and Islam Channel presenter Ustadha Fatima Barkatulla discussed how the Prophet raised the status of women: “The Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ message told women that they are more than just their bodies. They are honoured servants of Allah before anything else.  

“It [Islam] gave women property rights, the right to financial provision, access to choose and refuse marriage, access to the courts and the ability to dissolve their marriages if they needed to…”

Kyai Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, who converted to Islam in 2000, talked about the Prophet Muhammad as the “radiant character asking us all to follow in his footsteps”.  

He focused on the “divine mystery of his mercy, his gentle demeanour and loving approach”. He described how “his kindness softened hearts”. He said: “God is gentle and loves gentleness in all things.” “Let us become the carriers of divine light spreading peace and love to the world.”

Hosts Kathryn Irrgang and Mas Patel with young poet Ayman Taslim

Islam and the West

Particularly moving was former Dutch MP Joram van Klaveren sharing his journey from an anti-Islam politician to embracing the faith midway through writing a critical book.

“The truth was that all of the questions I had as a Christian – about the topics I just mentioned – were answered by Islam.”

Watch the video below to find out more about his journey.  

In one of the Q&As, Joram talked about the activism of the Muslim community in the UK when it comes to fighting back against Islamophobia: “In the UK, you do a pretty good job, because I think it’s important to have your own institutions – whether it’s media or when it comes to politics, when it comes to schools, education stuff like that… most Continental European countries, that’s not the case. You have so many, you have your own organisation. It’s a great organisation. We don’t have that.”

During another Q&A session, Ajmal Masroor spoke about his experience of standing for public office and asked a very pertinent question of the panel: “It is not easy to be a practising Muslim taking space in a secular world, how do you navigate this?”  

Sheikh Dr Haitham Al-Haddad said: “Successful people don’t think of obstacles before they think of their goal. If there is a will, there is a way.”  

Dr. Saalim Al-Azhari said: “It’s important to be part and parcel of society, we are part of the fabric and we need to be people who can influence society – we must not feel that we are not part of society.”  

Paul Williams said: “When we look at the results of the last census, we see that Christian churches are emptying, religion is in decline in society, but the exception is Islam. Our young people are engaged and they must stay firm upon the deen and not follow the path of other religions which have become secular.”

A successful event

Aside from the insightful lectures, artists and performers were on show, including Qaiser Mehmood Madni, Mikhaael Mala, and young poet Ayman Taslim.  

The event received well wishes from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and West Midlands Police were in attendance, despite having pulled out from exhibiting at the event.

This landmark event has been made possible by the support of Islam Channel’s sponsors and partners.  

Special thanks go to our headline partner ILM UK, our sponsor Islamic Centre of Britain, our community partners Birmingham Central Mosque, Exhibition Islam, Bahu Trust and Support Muslim Business Forum (SMBF).  

Thanks to our media partners – Islam Channel, Islam Channel Urdu, Islam Channel Bangla and Spotlime Media.

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