28th April, 2019: Annual Islamic Conference 2019

Pakistan as Riyasatt-e-Madinah – What's Our Role?

A traditional event of IBA's Iqra Society (a student-led society which aims at character development of students), Annual Islamic Conference (AIC), was organized at the 28th of April, 2019. The theme of AIC'19 seemed new and unique this year; it was 'Pakistan as Riya̅satt-e-Madi̅nah – What's Our Role?'. The conference was able to attract an audience of more than 250 individuals from various backgrounds in terms of qualification, occupation and economic standing.

The overarching concept of the conference was to understand the expected and required roles and responsibilities of individuals, society, and some state and/or governmental officials. Some key concepts such as statehood, citizenship, rules etc. were brought under discussion in light of what God (SWT) has commanded humanity to follow in Qur'an and His Prophet (SAW) has demonstrated through Sunnah.

The conference presented a unique blend of lectures, short addresses from the organizers and pertinent ana̅shi̅d to keep the audience attuned and afresh. The division of lectures presented a comprehensive outlook on the model of Riya̅satt-e-Madi̅nah. The first segment was titled as 'History of Riya̅satt-e-Madi̅nah'; Shaykh Azhar Iqbal (DB), who is the founder of Hidaya Academy, honoured the audience by conducting this session.

The second segment focused on exploring the welfare policies of the state of Madinah, that which strived to bring into its ambit the Makkan refugees and bring them at par with the well-settled community of Muslims already living there. This session was conducted by an honourable professor of economics who had recently retired from the Vice Chancellorship of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Dr. Asad Zaman.

The third lecture aimed at exploring and demystifying some of the common misconceptions that surround the concept of Shari'ah. Mufti Irshad Ahmed Aijaz, who is currently the Chairman of Shari'ah Advisory Committee of the State Bank of Pakistan, helped to answer some of the concerns of the audience regarding (a) rigidity of Shar'iah, (b) reasons behind variance in the opinions of fuqaha̅ (Islamic Legal scholars), (c) validity of ijtteha̅d, among others.

The next segment of the conference narrowed down its focus to the context of Pakistan and helped the audience gauge the current socioeconomic standing of the country. Subjects brought under discussion included the assessment of viability of economic policies proposed by the current government that aim to bring the economy back on track, means for financing the budget deficit etc. This on-ground analysis with facts and figures was presented by a former chief economist of Sindh, Dr. Qazi Maood Ahmed. Dr. Ahmed is also serving as an econ. professor at IBA.

When there are problems brought under discussion, naturally there arises a need to bring solutions. In order to explore and understand the capacity and feasibility of this historical model of Riya̅satt-e-Madi̅nah for the context of Pakistan, religious scholars and economists shared a table in the form of a panel discussion. Some important aspects such as waqf (endowment), zaka̅tt etc. were brought under consideration and their ways to implement them. The discussion was moderated by the Dean and Executive Director of IBA, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal; the above mentioned economists, Dr. Qazi Masood and Dr. Asad Zaman, were welcomed to become part of this discussion along with Mufti Imran Ashraf Usmani, who is the Na̅zim-e-'a̅la of Jami'a Darul Uloom Karachi, and Dr. Zeeshan Ahmed, who is currently the Dean of Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL).

The last session of the day focused on what is usually the most neglected part of our individual and social lives. Shaykh Dr. Moiz Hasan, who holds a PhD in Science and Philosophy and is serving as a professor at the IBA, helped the audience realize as to what are their duties and responsibilities. He quoted stories from the lives and times of Prophet (SAW) and of Ṣؘaḥa̅ba kara̅m (RAA) as well as of the pious successors (RAA) so that the importance of those historical times is realized.

Students from within IBA and outside IBA said ana̅shi̅d particular to the theme of the conference. These and ana̅shi̅d served as an emotional throwback to one of the sacred repositories of Muslims i.e. the enlightened city of Madinah.

All the guest speakers were delighted to know that the organizers had planted trees within the main campus of IBA as a token of appreciation for their participation in this noble event. Besides this, the speakers were also honoured to receive frames of beautifully calligraphed names of God (SWT).

The conference ended with the closing remarks by the co-patron of Iqra Society, Dr. Iram Saba. She thanked the team, which had put in the efforts to bring together such a successful event.