In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

International Milad-un-Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) Conference 1999.

The day, Saturday, July 10, 1999 (Rabi-ul-Awwal 26, 1420H), was not an ordinary day. It was an auspicious day, as the International Milad-un-Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) Conference 1999, sponsored by the Naqshbandia Foundation for Islamic Education, was held on that day, for the sixth year in succession, at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was a day of rejoicing and happiness and of reaping bountiful rewards of our love and dedication to our beloved Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam) and to Allah (Subhanahoo Wa Taa�la).

The Theme of this year�s Conference was "ADAB (Moral Excellence) in the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam).

The Conference was addressed by Ulemas from India and Pakistan and Learned Scholars from Universities in America and England who have distinguished themselves as a source of enlightenment and guidance in Islam. Continuing with its tradition of offering Naats and Qasidaas as part of its program, the Naqshbandia Foundation had invited Alhaj Siddiq Ismail of Pakistan, a noted Naat Khwaan and recipient of several honors and awards, for recitation of Naats; and Mohammad Shaykh Omar & Group of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Ilhan Aydoner & Group of Bloomington, Illinois, for recitation of Qasidaas & Zikr.

The Conference was divided into Four Sessions � Session I (9:00am � 12:30pm), Session II (2:00pm � 4:00pm), Session III (4:30pm � 6:30pm) and Session IV (7:00pm � 8:30pm). Session II consisted of three parallel independent sessions, viz., i) An exclusive Session for Women in the Main Hall, ii) A Panel Discussion Session in the Cornucopia Room, and iii) A Regular Session in the Prayer Hall.

In the First Session, after Qirat by Qari Waheedullah Khan and recitation of Naats by Alhaj Siddiq Ismail, Justice Bahauddin Baha presented the Welcome Address in which he elaborated upon different aspects of the Seerah of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam), quoting relevant verses of Qur�an and Ahaadis, with respect to Adab. He concluded by quoting Hazrat Bahauddin Naqshband who defined Tareeqat as �Tareeqat-ul-Adab�. The Welcome Address was in Persian and Br. Qazi Biabani presented its English version. Next was the Introduction of the Naqshbandia Foundation for Islamic Education by Dr. Ahmed Mirza, Secretary/Treasurer. While highlighting the goals and objectives of the Naqshbandia Foundation, Dr. Mirza gave a brief overview of its activities and future programs. He strongly urged that we should honor, cultivate, love and establish Seerah of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). After some more recitation of Naats by Alhaj Siddiq Ismail, Maulana Sayyid Jafar Mohyiddin Al-Qadari was invited to introduce and explain the Theme of the Conference. He explained the concept and meaning of Sunnah and Adab and their various connotations and usage. Respect, regard, reverence, morals, etiquette and manners, he said, are interchangeably used. Maulana narrated several incidents from the life of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) to establish that �Adab� is fundamental in every stage of worship. As Maulana�s speech was in Urdu, Br. Ahmed Abdul Hakim, the Moderator, summarized it in English. Thereafter, Mohammad Shaykh Omar & Group of Grand Rapids, who belonged to the Qadriya Margania Sufi Order of Mogadishu, Somalia, presented a beautiful Qasida in Arabic. They explained that this Qasida actually encompasses Naqshbandia, Qadria, Shadlia, Junaidia and Margania Orders (NQSJM).

Resuming speeches, it was the turn of Dr. Alan Abd-Al-Haqq Godlas, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies of University of Georgia, who addressed on the topic of "The way of being of Baha� al-Din Naqshband as a mirror of the manner of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam): the view of Mawlana Jami." In his scholarly presentation, Dr. Godlas first explained that Muslim Saints have combined in them certain aspects of the spirituality of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). He referred to the dream of Hazrat Baha� al-Din Naqshband in which he saw three Blessed Tombs of Bukhara and met and received blessings and spiritual guidance from Hazrat Abdul Quadir Ajdavani. Dr. Godlass said that Hazrat Baha� al-Din Naqshband advised that one should negate himself, abandon attachments to other than God, follow Qur�an, Hadis and Sufi Sheikhs and their Mushahidaats (Witnessing) and cultivate Suhbat (Gathering), like associating with Milad-un-Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) and such other gatherings.

The last to speak in this session was Professor Hafiz Mohammad Mahmud Hussain Siddiqui of University of Karachi, Pakistan, and his topic was "Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) as the Teacher of Morals (Muallim-ul-Akhlaaq)". After praising Allah (Subhanahoo wa Taa�la) and offering salutations to the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam), he thanked the Naqshbandia Foundation for inviting him to participate in this blessed Conference. He said that the mission of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) was to teach moral values and create awareness of Allah (Subhanahoo wa Taa�la) in men. As actions are the result of intentions (Niyyah), Niyyah is the manifestation of Belief (Iman), and Belief (Iman) is nothing but Faith and Love of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). Therefore, he argued, there cannot be any Faith in Allah (Subhanahoo wa Taa�la) and in the Hereafter without Faith in the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). He concluded by saying that the whole humanity and all the creations are under the cover of the Mercy of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) and advised us to seek a Saint/Sufi who can implant in our hearts the sparks of fire that will lit the flame of love of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam).

After the end of this session, lunch was served and Salatul Zuhr was offered. As usual arrangements for lunch and dinner were made at the expense of the Naqshbandia Foundation.

The First of the three parallel sessions of Session II, The Prayer Hall Session, was held in the Prayer Hall and included, in addition to Qirat & Naats, a speech by Mufti Hafezur Rahman Qadari on the topic of "Adab in the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) and an update on Kosova by Imam Ilaz Abdul Fetai.

The Second parallel session of Session II, Women�s Session, which was exclusively for Women, was held in the Main Hall and was addressed by Dr. Marcia K. Hermansen, Professor of Islamic Studies of Loyola University, Chicago, and by Dr. Farida Ahmed of Pakistan, on "Moral Excellence (Adab) in Sunnah: Women�s Perspective." Questions were entertained from the audience.

The Third parallel session of Session II, Panel Discussion Session, was held in the Cornucopia Room. The topic of discussion was "How to Educate and Motivate our Youth". The Panelists were: Professor Hafiz Mohammad Mahmud Hussain Siddiqui, Br. Nauman Tugan, Sr. Sara Tugan, and Br. Malik Bennett. Br. Yakub Patel was the Moderator. There was a good discussion and active participation from the audience. Various guidelines were given and it was strongly advocated that parents need to set an example at home of what they want their children to be and that they should get involved with the child from the very beginning. It was also strongly felt that nothing can be better than our own Islamic Public Schools.

The next session, Session III, was the Youth Session wherein parents were welcome. After Qirat and recitation of Naats, Dr. Abd-al Hakim Murad of University of Cambridge, England, presented a talk on "Islam in the New Millenium and Role of Muslim Youth". Tracing historically the development of the World and the thought process, Dr. Murad made an in-depth analysis of growth of Islam and Muslims over the ages, and outlined the present day situation of Muslims and the forces working against them. He strongly felt that there is a need for creating Optimism in Muslims and a dire need for good leadership (Ulemas) to harness the physical and financial resources that are in their possession. This was followed by an address by Shaykh Muhammad Masum Naqshbandi, Eminent Islamic Scholar and Religious Advisor of Naqshbandia Foundation. The Address was in Persian and Dr. Abd-al Huqq Godlas presented the English translation. Shaykh Masum congratulated on celebrating the Birth of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). He explained what the Ahle Sunnat-wal-Jamaa�t stands for and strongly advised everyone to offer Salaath and rolex replica sale to the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) as ordered by Allah (Subhanahoo wa Taa�la) and guard against animosity, jealousy and hatred developing in us as a result of our deviation from the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam). The Shaykh fervently hoped and prayed that one day, Insha Allah, all Muslims will unite and form an Islamic State Union based on Islam and develop love for each other as the companions of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) loved, respected and sacrificed for each other. Session III concluded after Dr. Murad entertained a few questions from the audience.

After Salatul Asr, the proceedings were resumed for the last session, Session IV. The only speaker of this session was again, Dr. Abd-al Hakim Murad who addressed on the topic of "From Adab to Abad". In his brief address, Dr. Murad showed the significance of Hadith Gabriel in relation to Hasan/Ehsaan and stated that Sainthood is beauty and it produces nothing but beauty. Adab (Courtesy, Humbleness & Hijab), he said is part of Vilayath, of Prophethood. He narrated the happening of Me�raj and referred to verses from Surah An-Najm (The Star) to give examples of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam)�s Adab. As a further testimony, Dr. Murad quoted the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam)�s Dua to Allah (Subhanahoo wa Taa�la) after the incident at Taaif and of His (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) forgiving everyone after triumph of Mecca. He concluded by quoting Imam Ghazali that Adab is nothing but simple humility for the Lord and Adab comes from Abad (Eternity). Next was the presentation of Qasida in Turkish and Arabic and Zikr by Ilhan Aydoner & Group of Jerrahi Sufi Order of America, which filled the hearts of the audience with peace and tranquility and invigorated their souls. The last, but the most important of all, was the offering of Salaam, and thus the Sixth Annual International Milad-un-Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) Conference 1999 sponsored by the Naqshbandia Foundation came to a close.

Salatul Maghrib was offered and Dinner was served after which the gathering dispersed.

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What a pleasant sight it was to see the people returning home with their hearts filled with warmth and vigor, their faces lit with sublime pleasure, their Belief and Faith enriched and their souls riding supreme engulfed with the fire of the Love of the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi wa Sallam) and the Love of Allah (Subhanahoo wa Taa�la).

(Mohammed Ibrahim).