Two-day Personality Development workshop at Mysore

The Institute of Higher Learning, Bangalore, recently conducted one of its periodic personality development workshops aimed at raising a sense of awareness among sections of the Muslim youth in the city and elsewhere. The objectives of the workshop were manifold:

1. To inculcate in the participants an idea of what role Islam had to play in the moulding of their personalities,
2. To enlighten them regarding the importance of time management in their lives and future careers,
3. To infuse in them a sense of higher purpose without which a complete personality is quite impossible and
4. To let the young participants know from the speakers, who worked at various levels for the cause of Islamic Da’wah in society, about the best manner in which other faith communities in India are to be approached.

With the above stated objectives, the Institute of Higher Learning arranged for a two-day workshop at the Siddiqia Madrassa campus, at Mysore on the 23rd and 24th of July, 2005. The workshop which attracted around sixty young participants from Bangalore, Mysore, Hassan and Kakkinada in Andhra Pradesh provided for an intellectually stimulating event for all those who attended it. The list of well-known speakers at the event which included names like Mufti Ashraf Ali, Dr. Habibur Rahman of Unity Hospital, Mangalore, Dr. Taha Mateen of Accura Hospital, Bangalore, Shareef Kottappuram of Wisdom International School, Bangalore, Syed Iqbal Zaheer, Chief Editor of Young Muslim Digest monthly, and Mushtaq Ahmed, head of a leading Islamic missionary movement in Andhra Pradesh, ensured that the event had the hallmark of versatility with regard to the presentation of the relevant principles of Islam where it dealt with the personality development of its believers.

The workshop was also characterized by the early morning sessions on the Qur’an which were conducted by Syed Iqbal Zaheer immediately after the Fajr prayers on both days. Sessions in hadith held by Mufti Ashraf Ali after the Maghrib prayer of the first day and the Fajr prayer of the second day also proved to be memorable, enlightening classes for the participants. Dr. Habibur Rehman’s interactive lecture on Management principles and history which basics of management, and into the history of the contributions of the early Muslim scientists to civilizational progress, Dr. Habibur Rehman rightly lamented the fact that Muslims, in departing from the true principles of Islam, had today fallen from the highest pinnacles of human achievement. What is needed today, he stressed, was a complete paradigm shift, or, more precisely, a reverse paradigm for Muslim revival.

In the areas of comparative religion, participants of the first day of the workshop were provided with a powerful demonstration of methodology suited to effective Da’wah work amongst the non Muslims. This session was conducted by Br. Mushtaq Ahmed who heads a leading missionary movement that has, over the years, successfully presented the Islamic faith to members of other religious communities in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere. As such, his presentation had the distinct impress of his own personal experiences in the making of reverts to Islam a concrete possibility even in these decadent times.

Dr. Maher Sultan’s presentation of the life and times of Hassan al-Banna and Shaheed Syed Qutb, two outstanding figures in the revival of Islam in the 20th century, proved to be more than just a description of their lives. Dr. Maher’s speech – the last session on the first day of the workshop – was an intellectual yet emotional appeal for a just appreciation of the contributions made by these towering figures of the Islamic revival movement. His presentation opened up to the audience a panoramic view of the history of the Islamic movements and their ideologues of the last century.

The second day of the workshop was noted for the presentation made by Dr. Taha Mateen on the critical need for a higher purpose in life, particularly in the context of personality development. His highly interactive session, in which there was a high level of participation from the young audience, did not miss the point that personality development must centre around the principles of Islam which alone are true and which alone are lasting. Without a sense of purpose and mission, all Da’wah work will be rendered passive acts, which the Daees engage in only to meet with partial results.  Shareef Kottapuram’s presentation on the need and methods for effective inter-personal communication skills proved to be yet another interactive and interesting session of the second day. He demonstrated quite literally that effective communication always meant effective comprehension first and foremost.

With the ever-growing reality of a western cultural invasion among the youth in India, the relevance of such a workshop for young graduate and under graduate Muslims can hardly be over emphasized. Indeed, what is needed today is for an increased number of such workshops to be held throughout the length and breadth of the country.