The first sign that the convention Revival of the Ummah was well attended was the full car park at the Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna. When I pulled in on the morning of August 24th. I had to park in an adjacent parking lot.

As I made my way into the convention Hall, I was greeted by throngs of people milling around in the bazaar area. Hardware, electronics, clothing, books, toys, food, drinks-you name it, they were all on display and on sale.

But I wasn’t interested in the commercial aspect of the convention. I had come to listen to the speakers- Shaykh Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, Dr. Munir El Kassem, Shaykh Omar Suleiman, Shaykh Alaa Elsayed, and Mufti Ismail Menk.

Over the next two days I would thrill to the discourses of the various speakers. They were powerful and passionate, edifying and enlightening. The call to Allah was sincere and the desire for unity was real. In fact, prior to the Question and Answer session, Chairman Hisham Muhammad, Imam of the Santa Cruz mosque, announced that no questions pertaining to “fiqh” or “madhab”- schools of thought, will be entertained. This was the clearest indication yet of all desire to keep the convention free of controversy.
There is no doubt that this convention has fired up the imagination of the Muslim community in Trinidad. Many were moved emotionally. There was a large presence of young people, the vast majority of them being hijab-wearing, women.

It was Dr. Quick who pointed out that he last visited Trinidad in 1983 and there were not so many women wearing the hijab then nor were there so many Muslims in attendance at that time.

The choice of topics for the various lecture sessions were commendable and relevant to the 21st century Muslim: Remaining Steadfast in Times of Crisis, Creating A Wholesome Community, The Role of Muslim Youth, Revival of the Ummah were some of the lecture topics and every speaker was able to present the discourses with statistics and data relevant to the contemporary Muslim.

There is no doubt that the speakers were all inspirational and motivational. But which group is going to build on and sustain the emotional “high” the Muslims are currently experiencing.

Who will co-ordinate all this positive, emotional energy to build God consciousness (Taqwa) and move to rally the Muslims to hold fast to the rope of Allah so that the Muslims will become united?

The ROU itself has taken the initiative to do just that. A ten person committee, comprising of seven men and three women, under the chairmanship of Alyasa Abdulla has been set up to seek ways of bringing the various Muslim bodies to co-operate in their various activities.

Already I am hearing that the response of a particular group doesn’t want to be part  of this steering committee because of the presence of women in the group. I hope this is not so. I hope the committee will sit and discuss and come to common ground and present proposals for the Muslim to at least begin to co-operate with each other.

I must pay tribute to the dozens of young people who worked long and hard to put the entire convention together. These young Muslims were able to bring all the various Muslim organizations together- a feat I can’t recall ever happening before. May Allah grant them immense blessings.

And so, as the curtain came down on the ROU 2013, I look forward to the 2014 edition of the convention. Maybe- just maybe, we might see a much more united Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago. Insha Allah.