I spent almost the entire day on Saturday at the Gaylord National Convention Center at the Malaria Fundraiser hosted by Islamic Relief. It was the largest fundraising event that I’ve ever been to aside from those done specifically during conventions and although the turnout wasnt as large as I had anticipated, the organization- from registration, program management, and speaker services- seemed to be handled very well, walhamdulillah.
The program was scheduled to begin at 10AM but they ran a little behind schedule to start the morning. I was able to sit in and listen to a few speeches throughout the day- I heard Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s speech where he spoke on the future of our ummah in America, most of Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s speech where he addressed the same issue, heard the majority of Imam Zaid Shakir’s speech which was focused on our need to donate to this cause, and listened to Imam Siraj Wahhaj’s speech which was very heartfelt.
Alhamdulillah all were good…actually, they were better than good, and I would say that each speaker has set such a high standard when it comes to addressing the Muslim Community that their speeches, in a sense, offset one another. Perhaps in a speaker lineup of less esteem each individual speech would have garnered more attention/praise, but all were generally considered good speeches alhamdulillah.
The one speech that was head and shoulders above the rest was the final speech of the night delivered by Shaykh Humza Yusuf. It garnered the largest attendance, and he was able to speak not only on the need to donate, but addressed the social and political ramifications of disease and what causes lead them to come about.
His charisma and articulation was unmatched, and that’s not a knock on anyone else, but rather a testament to his ability to captivate a crowd through his speaking ability. I, like hundreds of others, sat in the room completely at awe by his critique of the growing political order in America; his analysis of wealth and poverty was also spot-on, as was his mention of the psychological disorder present in our society versus others.
As someone who is occasionally asked to give speeches, I didn’t notice him refer to his notes a single time during the entire speech which spanned about an hour (not even sure if he had any). His hand gestures were completely fluid, voice inflection appropriate for each point being made, and his word selection was, as always, very well done.
Simply put, it was a phenomenal speech, and at the end of it all, I thank Allah for having been able to attend yesterdays program and ask Allah to accept from all the efforts of those present. May Allah preserve our masha’ikh in this country and Guide them to that which pleases Him. Ameen. W’Allahu T’ala A’alem.