REPORT ON DR.BILAL PHILIPS AND SISTER SARAH PHILIPS-TANZANIA


Date : 21-Jan-2011

 Introduction

A unified report prepared by TAMPRO and IOU Students (including all the IOU and TAMPRO Volunteers) concerning the visit of Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips accompanied by his wife Sister Sarah to Tanzania in December 2010.

This is a brief report outlining various events, workshops and meetings that took place throughout Dr.Bilal’s expedition. Furthermore, feedback obtained from some of the students and volunteers during the event have been stated in the report to provide a clear view on how people benefitted from Dr.Bilal’s very first visit to Tanzania. Finally, conclusions are drawn.

 

 

Dr.Bilal Philips in Dar es Salaam

On 17th December, 2010 Dr.Bilal Philips and Sister Sarah arrived at the Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere International Airport and began their expedition from the heart of Tanzania and also the commercial capital city, Dar-es-Salaam.

They checked-in at Urban Rose Hotel and the first meeting was held on the very same day in the hotel at 5.30pm with IOU students and prospective students. It was the first face-to-face conversation with Dr.Bilal Philips and also a golden opportunity for the students to get to know more about the Islamic Online University. The students were given IOU prospectus and copies of CD (Islamization of knowledge).

In Dar es Salaam many events were conducted successfully. The first major event was held on 18th December, 2010 from 8am to 1230pm in Nkrumah Hall at the University of Dar es Salaam; the oldest and largest university in Tanzania. There was a huge audience since all faith were welcome and Dr.Bilal gave an excellent talk on “Common Misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims”. He also answered questions posed by the non-Muslims and Muslims on the topic.

Thereafter, on the same day Sister Sarah gave a good talk to the ladies on “The Role of Muslim Women” in Urban Rose Hotel at 2pm.

A successful event was held on 19th December, 2010 at Diamond Jubilee Hall and it also attracted large audience since all faith were welcome in addition to that, the talk was interpreted in Kiswahili language. Dr.Bilal Philips gave a very enlightening speech concerning “How Muslims can uphold their identity in a multi-cultural society”. There were several questions posed by the audience and he managed to answer quiet a lot of them. The volunteers managed to distribute IOU brochures and copies of CD (Islamization of knowledge) as well as gave some relevant information in regard to the Islamic Online University.

The number of audience that put their names on register for the two major events mentioned above approximated to more than 800 men and 400 women.

On the same night, there was a live talk show of Dr.Bilal Philips on Channel Ten (in one of the local video channel) widely watched by Tanzanians and he gave a good talk on how Islam stands out among the other religions as well as answered questions posed by live callers. In addition to that, almost all his talks throughout the expedition were broadcasted live on Radio Iman.

Dr.Bilal visited a number of Masjids located in Dar-es-Salaam awakening the souls of many Muslim brothers and sisters through his prolific speech. Alhamdulillah, one Christian man reverted to Islam at Masjid Mtoro (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania) in presence of Dr.Bilal Philips. This was a real ‘BOOST’ to the Muslims of Tanzania. InshAllah, the number of reverts will increase to hundreds, then thousands, and then millions in the coming days, weeks, months or years.

 

Dr.Bilal Philips in Morogoro

On Monday 20th December 2010, Dr.Bilal accompanied by many Muslim Brothers and Sisters left for Morogoro from Dar-es-Salaam and once again he gave a remarkable talk at the MUM Conference Hall on the “Role of Muslim Universities in a Competitive World”.

Moreover, his trip to Morogoro was beneficial to Muslim University of Morogoro (MUM) as well as for the Islamic Online University as they agreed to get into a common understanding whereby IOU curriculum will be offered to the respective students of Muslim University of Morogoro (MUM). Furthermore, Muslim University of Morogoro (MUM) will also provide degree for IOU students eventually the spread of authentic Islamic knowledge made possible.

Return to Dar es Salaam

In Dar-es-Salaam again, Dr.Bilal Philips conducted Da’wah workshop whereby he made four groups Abu Bakr, Uthman, Aisha and Khadija as well as gave out translated copies of his book Dini ya Kweli ya Mwenyezi Mungu (The True Religion of God).

On 22nd December, 2010 after Asr prayers at Ma’mur Masjid Dr.Bilal managed to carry out a special question and answer session just for women whereby he also gave a motivating talk on “Seeking Knowledge is Compulsory for Women”. Thereafter, several questions were put forward on various topics and Dr.Bilal answered them in a brilliant manner. The session went on after the Maghrib break and came to an end at the call for Isha prayers. Moreover, the entire session was also being interpreted in Kiswahili language by Sheikh Mohammad Issa and approximately 211 women attended the session.

After the session there was a dinner arrangement made by Brother Yakub for gents with Dr.Bilal and for ladies with Sister Sarah. Making the most efficient use of time was one thing Dr.Bilal taught us at every phase such that as everyone was waiting for the dinner to be served he gave a beautiful talk on inviting others to Islam and to sort out the internal conflicts that are taking place within the Muslim society on Islamic issues. In addition to that, Sister Sarah socialized with the ladies and gave some pearls of wisdom to the ladies particularly to young women.

On 23rd December, 2010 final meeting was held with IOU students and prospective students at Urban Rose Hotel around ten o’ clock in the morning. Dr.Bilal Philip’s gave more details regarding the Islamic Online University as well as clarified many matters. Furthermore, during the meeting different recommendations were made in respect to the IOU Learning and Exam Centre as well as Dr.Bilal donated quiet a lot of his books to the learning centre (in Tabata, Dar es Salaam) under the supervision of TAMPRO.

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips also formed a task-force for IOU and encouraged the listeners to support any good cause for propagating Islam in the right way. Moreover, the task-force after his departure from Tanzania will make every attempt to create awareness about the Islamic Online University so that Muslims can have access to the authentic Islamic knowledge.

After the meeting many of the IOU students and task-force volunteers bid farewell to Dr.Bilal Philips and Sister Sarah thereafter they left for Zanzibar to complete their mission.

Dr.Bilal Philips in Zanzibar Island

On 23rd December 2010, Dr.Bilal and Sister Sarah accompanied by other IOU and TAMPRO members arrived at AAK Airport in Zanzibar.

Dr.Bilal gave an inspiring talk at Chukwani Masjid approximately 225 women and 162 men attended his lecture.

On 24th December 2010, Dr.Bilal Philips gave his most competent talk on “Common Misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims” at State University of Zanzibar.

Furthermore, he also gave a remarkable talk live on Radio Nur.

 

Departure of Dr.Bilal Philips

On 25th December, 2010 our honorable guests Dr.Bilal Philips and Sister Sarah Philips
were sent off from Tanzania leaving behind their contributions to the Tanzanian Society in terms of “CHANGING NATION THROUGH EDUCATION!”

 

Feedback from various volunteers of the event

  • Dr Bilal's trip was very successful and useful in many areas because it has served as an eye opener to the public which has not bothered to watch the Peace TV which is common in Tanzania and which often shows Dr Bilal's speeches in our country.

The trip has also touched the attention of the mass of people who have not been attracted by the IOU adverts which are displayed through the technology of the internet.

Furthermore; I have talked to some of the participants who attended more than three lectures of Sheikh and most of them said that the IOU advertisement programme was not regarded as a main agenda of Dr Bilal's visit but was looked upon as a secondary issue or an attachment to lectures which were very dominating and crowd pulling on the areas which he visited.

Tanzania is amongst the huge countries in our continent we have noted that a single visit of Dr.Bilal was actually not sufficient for the entire market therefore; there is a lot of footwork which has to be done in order to capture the majority of the people who are still not aware of our IOU. For example the variety of the secondary and high schools in Tanzania.

Due to the excellent presentation skills of Dr Bilal's speeches the number of new students on the next intake will definitely double Inshallah!

I take this opportunity to thank Mr Faiz Said for the creative charts which he prepared that self displayed on what Dr.Bilal was going to introduce on to the people who attended his presentations.

Lastly, the trip has managed to make IOU students in Tanzania to know each other better and work together dedicatedly for the benefit of ISLAM. A good relationship is built with TAMPRO, RADIO IMAN, MUM and UKWEM respectively. I also thank Mr Pazi Mwinyimvua for his guidance and Sister Nahida for her tireless efforts which covered the entire women forums during the visit of Dr.Bilal and Sister Sarah. [Hassan Ngozi]

 

·        Every moment spent during the events has been beneficial. He really has forced our minds to reflect upon the following Hadith: "The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: 'The best of speeches are the words of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam), and the worst of the matters are innovations (in deen/religion), and everything newly introduced (in deen/religion) is an innovation, and ‘EVERY INNOVATION IS A MISGUIDANCE AND EVERY MISGUIDANCE GOES TO HELL FIRE.’'" [Reported by Nisa'i and Al Albani said that it is an authentic Hadith]. Lots of innovations have been introduced into religion which has caused disunity among Muslims of Tanzania and as a result many Muslims are converting to Christianity due these internal conflicts among Muslims. While in the West (especially America) it is the opposite; 1000 non-Muslims accepting Islam daily. Lots of opportunities are being misused for the purpose of Da’wah such as attracting tourist towards Masjids and let them see what Muslims really do in Masjids. It was the right time to come and give us a wakeup call, because Muslims in Tanzania are really unaware of the things going around. We are far behind, especially when it comes to making correct use of the Modern technologies to spread the message of Islam. [Muzammil Iqbal Siddiq Alimohammed]

 

  • Meeting Dr.Bilal opened up my mind as I see myself living a poor life that of not contributing anything towards Islam (Ummah).  However, his meeting encouraged me to be an activist in Islamic programme for this generation and next inshAllah.

It seems that my dreams are about to be true. InshAllah I’m the expecting student of IOU, starting with diploma so as to have a base in Islamic studies before joining BA.[Tabia A. Mashambo]

·         IOU being introduced hence being established on process in Tanzania as a base for East Africa and neighbouring countries, it’s a big Hope no doubt that Islam will gain more chance to Muslims and non-Muslims to understand true Islam inshAllah. A lot is to be done and we have not yet begun. It is time to set ourselves as examples and show our commitment in the work of Da’wah.

Waiting for others to start is a wrong way of thinking. Better to give a start and then the changes will begin. Changing things within a night is not possible, we need to strive and make best intention that the reward for this good deed will be in the hereafter inshAllah.

The aim of this life is to strive every moment for the sake of Allah (swt) which many don’t know and have made this world their only aim which has caused enmity among themselves. Striving in this world for the sake of Allah will built for us a better place to relax for the everlasting life of the hereafter. Dr.Bilal’s talks with authentic evidences from Quran and Sahih Hadith have really boosted to work together and expect the reward in the hereafter. [Jamal and Faiz]

·         Dr.Bilal’s visit has enlightened my Islamic knowledge and has provided an opportunity to contribute to spread of Islamic education. [Zahra Ebrahim]

·         Dr.Bilal Philips has been inspiring in every way. It has opened the eyes and minds of the people on various Islamic principles as well as the importance of Islamic education. (Islamization of knowledge) [Hafsa Siddiq]

·         Just being close to Dr.Bilal has been an excellent experience. I have learnt about time management and how to spend the time during the day.[Abdul Majid Khan]

·         Creativity has no limit and Dr.Bilal Philips has just made the right use of technological innovation by coming up with Islamic Online University whereby people across the globe can access authentic Islamic knowledge at low price or one can say at no price. I have gone through the diploma courses and look forward to join BAIS program coming semester. Moreover, I shall be completing my Bachelors in Business Administration and it will be a great privilege to volunteer as a tutorial assistant for the elective module curriculum on BAIS program. InshAllah! [Aisha Iqbal Siddiq]

·         Dr. Bilal Philips visit to Tanzania was very beneficial, for the short period of time he was here he managed to bring unity among people, people gathered from different areas of Tanzania to attend his lectures. He brought knowledge and wisdom to the Tanzanians, people understood more about Islamic religion “Common Misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims”. He imparted leadership among youths; young Muslims got the opportunity to participate in this Islamic event. We also came to know about the existence of IOU and this is a great opportunity for the Muslim women since most of them are not allowed to study abroad/far. [Intisar Suleiman and Aliya Suleiman] 

Conclusion

All in all Dr.Bilal’s trip did not only create awareness about authentic Islamic knowledge but it was an opportunity for the IOU students of Tanzania to know each other and to work together effectively for the betterment of the Muslim society and for the country as a whole. Moreover, it also strengthened relations between various Muslim associations in the country namely TAMPRO, Radio Iman, MUM and UKWEM who can now work together to propagate Islam further.

However, Dr. Bilal’s one visit was not enough to cover many cities or regions within Tanzania and therefore we look forward to welcome him once again sometime soon. InshAllah!