UK: Al-Hidayah 2017 – ‘Violent Extremism – the Counter Narrative’

26 – 28 August 2017, Keele University, England.

In continuation of the al-Hidayah project’s activities, raising awareness of issues pertinent to Muslims and non-Muslims in the West, al-Hidayah 2017 was arranged as a three day residential event. It was held within the picturesque surroundings of Keele University, Staffordshire, England on the bank holiday weekend running from Saturday 26 August to Monday 28 August 2017. As a project of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International (UK) the al-Hidayah team were proud and honoured to host his eminence Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, patron-in-chief of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International as the Keynote speaker and also presiding guest throughout the three days of the event. Dr Qadri was accompanied by Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Qadri and respected Sister Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri. The event was arranged as a combination of detailed lectures and practical teaching of the Counter-narrative to Violent Extremism from the most authentic references and sources, as well as series of interactive workshops, sports and leisure activities.

Event organisers including the al-Hidayah Core Committee members, team members and volunteers arrived during the afternoon of Friday 25th August 2017 at Keele University, to commence the set up and facilitation requirements for the event, delegates and guests. Exhibition stalls and separate foyers for brother and sisters were set up along with an exhibition gallery showcasing the achievements and the unique history of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International and Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. The main lecture hall and all workshop rooms were also prepared with great detail and effort. The preparation activities were closely monitored by al-Hidayah’s President Dr Zahid Iqbal.

Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Qadri, Sister Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri and other guests also arrived by the Friday evening. Committee and team members worked late into the night to ensure all preparations were made for the events administration, facilitation, content and delivery to be effectively coordinated.

Day one:

On the morning of Saturday 26th August 2017, there was a pleasant feel and exciting atmosphere as straight after breakfast registered attendees started to arrive. All attendees were welcomed and assisted through the event registration process, before being allocated their accommodation rooms and associated registration materials and merchandise. Sisters’ registration was administered in the sisters’ foyer by the registrations team leader sister Subah Iqbal along with sister Zahra Hussain and other volunteers. Brothers’ registration was administered in the brothers’ foyer by br Adam Malik, Babar Khan, Hussain Ali, Hussain Malik and additional volunteers.

A dedicated creche facility had also been arranged at no extra cost for parents to leave their children in the care of qualified nursery staff at the University’s internal Nursery and Play Centre. Creche facilitation was overseen by sister Naheed Syed and sister Gulnar Khan. Prayer hall and dining hall facilities were also supervised by teams led by br Qasim Rauf and br Tanwir Rauf, whilst a team of volunteers were assisting attendees to their accommodation area and back to the main event space.

Lunch was served to all attendees from 12:30 pm in the Keele Hall banqueting suite with simultaneous separate arrangements for brothers and sisters. Following Zuhr Salat, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri arrived at the Chancellors conference centre to a warm and emotional welcome, Durood-e-Minhaj was recited as the packed audience in the Westminster Hall welcomed the keynote speaker and other guests with a standing ovation. Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri acknowledged the enthusiasm of the attendees and also the additional guests attending this initial session. Additional guests included Ms Naz Shah (Member of Parliament), Mohammed Shafiq (Chairman Ramadhan Foundation), Zahoor Niazi (Ameer Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International UK) as well as press and media representatives from BBC Midlands, ARY News, Geo News, Dunya TV, Samaa News, C44, C24, Royal tv, Roz tv, Channel 92HS and others.

After a brief welcome from Dr Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Shafique was invited to the stage to convey his message for al-Hidayah 2017 and the counter narrative to violent extremism. He commenced with thanking the organisers and in particular Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri for initiating modern thought on the need to identify and make people aware of the plague of terrorism as well as it’s root causes. He also commented on the need to give an effective counter narrative to terrorism in modern times and the fact that this could only be delivered by an individual with international authority and recognition. He lauded the remarkable Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings authored by Shaykh-ul-Islam as well as the subsequent work on peace related initiatives. In his closing remarks he also spoke on state terrorism and the terrorism perpetrated in Model Town, Lahore, Pakistan when the state police force shot more than 100 civilians including 14 who died from their injuries. He appreciated the efforts of Minhaj-ul-Quran International in combatting terrorism at all levels and raised concerns as to how terrorism was also supported by corrupt political leaderships in certain countries. He noted how Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri was the first person in Pakistan to make the masses aware of the relevant constitutional articles related to corrupt individuals and practices.

Ms Naz Shah (Member of Parliament) was then called to the stage to deliver her message to the audience and guests of al-Hidayah 2017. She spoke concisely on the need for the Western media in particular to support and promote initiatives such as this three-day event highlighting the counter-narrative to violent extremism and terrorism. She questioned why the UK’s media did not take greater interests in initiatives such as this which are for the betterment of society and also representative of the majority Muslim community’s balanced and moderate thinking. She thanked Shaykh-ul-Islam for his efforts in the shape of the Fatwa against Terrorism and Suicide Bombing and how it had assisted greatly in providing authentic answers to the rhetoric used by terrorist and radical organisations who support such barbaric acts. The Member of Parliament showed great appreciation for the Peace for Humanity Conference at Wembley arena as well as the more recent Peace Curriculum launch.

The MP congratulated the organisers of the event in bringing together more than 400 individuals to stay over three days and learn authentic knowledge to equip them in the collective struggle against terrorism and its root causes. She concluded her message with a strong statement on the need for sisters to stand for their rights and not be intimidated in any way, as they all have the right to express their cultural and religious freedom in dress, conduct and other aspects of their lives.

After the introductory messages, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri commenced their first lecture to al-Hidayah 2017 on identifying terrorists and the need for a counter-narrative to violent extremism. A detailed account was given on the origins of terrorism and the need to understand that there is no compulsion or requirement for Muslims to create a global khilafat or state.

Shaykh-ul-Islam spoke in detail on the Prophetic foresight and how the modern-day international terrorists were identified by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in terms of their likely characteristics, identities, ideologies, practices and rhetoric. Further insight was given on their methodologies and how they are manipulating authentic verses from the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to misinterpret and distort the true moderate and peaceful message of Islam. The basis of the counter-narrative to this distorted ideology was given as a clear understanding of what Islam requires of Muslims and what the rights of Muslims are to the rest of humanity.

Shaykh-ul-Islam elaborated on the need for Muslims to revert to seeking authentic knowledge and clarifying the facts that are being distorted by radical groups who are the feeder vehicle for terrorist organisations. The attendees were congratulated for committing themselves to attend al-Hidayah 2017 to learn the true peaceful message of Islam and go out as peace makers in society.

On conclusion of the first talk by Shaykh-ul-Islam, the international media correspondents were invited to ask questions from Shaykh-ul-Islam on the event and associated subjects. The correspondents posed deep and at times-thought provoking questions, all of which were answered aptly and with necessary detail. In particular, Shaykh-ul-Islam elaborated on the need of collective state led efforts to eradicate the root causes and promoters of terrorist organisations in Pakistan, whilst also appreciating the work and sacrifices against terrorism of the army in Pakistan. The session concluded with instructions for the remaining sessions and other administrative matters.

After a short refreshment break, all attendees of al-Hidayah 2017 participated in workshops arranged to provide interactive opportunities to learn and discuss matters openly. Workshops included;

  • Politics – Why and how we should engage in UK politics – Hussain ad Hassan Ali
  • Ethics of Social Media and safeguarding – Shaykh Rehan Ahmed Raza
  • Fundamentals of confident communication – Bilal Jameel
  • Islamic & British Values – Compatible or Oxymoronic ? – Wayne Hassan Ramwell
  • Spot the Extremist – Understanding the terrorist mindset – Dr Zahid Iqbal
  • Stress Management and Mental Health – Sr Sehrish Ismaeel
  • Minhaj-ul-Qur’an UK – Da’wa in the 21st Century – Abdul Qadeer Rauf
  • Have Islamic education institutes failed a generation – Mufti Sohail Siddqui & br Tahseen Khalid

The workshops were coordinated by the workshops team leader Tahira Afzal. All workshops were well attended and participants expressed great enthusiasm at the interactive and unique formats.

Following Salat al-Asar all attendees moved onto Keele Hall for evening dinner with Shaykh-ul-Islam. During dinner, Shaykh-ul-Islam sat with various members of the youth from the UK, Europe, Canada, South Africa and other countries having informal discussions. After meeting many more male participants, Shaykh-ul-Islam visited the sisters dining hall, where all sisters’ tables were visited and greetings and well wishes were exchanged. This was a highly motivational moment for attendees and appreciated by all.

After a break for Salat Maghrib and refreshments, attendees gathered once again at the Westminster Hall for the evening Nasheed & Hadrah night. Shaykh-ul-Islam arrived around 9:30 pm and the evening gathering commenced with recitation of the Holy Qur’an by br Ibrahim Sheikh from Canada. This was followed by Naat recitals by br Muhammad Bilal Shoaib (London), Shahbaz Hassan Qadri (Ashton), Ijaz Ahmed Qadri (Bradford), Muhammad Mahnoon Mian (Dallas, USA), Muhammad Zain (MYL Canada), Bilal Javed (South Africa) and a collection of recitals by Milad Raza Qadri (Glasgow). Shaykh-ul-Islam provided much needed motivation and inspiration to each reciter and also explained how many of these reciters were from Minhaj-ul-Qur'an families who had continued the spiritual traditions of the mission into their following generations. Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Qadri then recited a beautiful Naat and then led Dhikr and Hadrah in remembrance of Almighty Allah. The Hadrah was a beautiful and spiritually uplifting experience for all participants, full of energy and remembrance of Allah (SWT). This was followed by an emotional and thought provoking Dhikr Khafi (silent remembrance) and contemplation led by Shaykh-ul-Islam, ending in a collective prayer and supplication for all. The day ended around 12:30 pm as participants prayed Salat Isha and then returned to their accommodation for rest.

Day two:

On the morning of Sunday 27th August 2017, there was a busy feel of activity, anticipation and content amongst participants of al-Hidayah 2017.

Breakfast was arranged at Keele Hall from 7:30 am and then it was straight on to the sports and leisure activities arranged to run from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Sisters participated in badminton, rounders and self-defence, whilst brothers participated in a competitive 5-aside football tournament to be played over both Sunday and Monday.

Sisters Badminton teams were selected and a trophy was arranged for the winning team. The event was won my Minhaj Sisters from Bradford. The self-defence classes were led by Charmaine Thompson, an experienced trainer who also attended al-Hidayah 2016 to lead the sisters self-defence classes. Sports activities were coordinated by Tahira, Mariam, Subah and Misbah.

The 5-aside football was joined by Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Qadri who played with the Norwegian team. Players of all ages and backgrounds participated, adding to the fun and enjoyment for all. The activity was coordinated by Tanwir, Babar and others. After refreshments all participants returned to the main Chancellors building for two key sisters and brothers sessions.

The Sisters session was held in the main Westminster Lecture Hall and was presided by Sister Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri with the topic ‘A Muslim Woman’s Balancing Act: The Home and Family; Work and Study; Deen and Dawah’. Dr Ghazala gave an initial introductory talk, which was followed by answers to questions from participants. The session was both interactive and engaging for all participants and overran by 30 minutes to accommodate maximum participants’ questions. Dr Ghazala was duly thanked by Khadija Atkinson for affording this unique opportunities to sisters from all age groups to participate in an interactive sisters only session.

The brothers gathered in the adjacent lecture room for a panel discussion coordinated by Dr Zahid Iqbal, with panellists Mufti Sohail Ahmed Siddiqui, Shaykh Ali Akbar Qadri, br Muhbeen Hussain and Shaykh Rehan Ahmed Raza. The role of Muslims generally and Minhaj-ul-Qur’an in the west was discussed in detail.

Following the two simultaneous sessions, all participants congregated at Keel Hall for lunch, and then prayed Salat Zuhr at the Chancellor’s Prayer Hall. All participants gathered in the Westminster Hall for 2:00 pm and shortly afterwards Shaykh-ul-Islam arrived to a warm and emotional welcome. The session formally commenced with Quranic recitation by Qari Mubashar Anwar (Manchester), after which Shaykh-ul-Islam commenced their second main talk of al-Hidayah 2017.

Starting with a summary of the main points from Saturday’s talk, Shaykh-ul-Islam clarified the misconception often spread by radical groups that all countries where there is not an Islamic ruling system are Dar-ul-Harb (abodes of war). Shaykh-ul-Islam confirmed that none of the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence has ever held this view and in fact Imam Abu Hanifa (rh) is quoted as clarifying that any land where Muslims are free to practice their faith openly and without restriction can even be classified as Dar-ul-Islam.

After this a detailed talk was given including correction of misconceptions spread by radical groups from Quranic verses, which have been misinterpreted or misunderstood. The lecture included sessions where Shaykh-ul-Islam stood and lectured using the on-stage projector and a pointer stick. This unique teaching methodology was very engaging for the audience and Shaykh-ul-Islam commented on how it brought memories back of their teaching days in the University of Punjab.

Emphasis was placed on the Quranic commandment to render (all) trusts to those who are worthy of them, and how this eradicates the radical or extremist ideology of forcing people to accept their system. As people should be able to decide themselves who are their chosen representatives, and who will ultimately become their rulers after being chosen by the citizens of the state. Further elaboration was given as to how rulers must rule with justice and if they are found to be unjust or corrupt, there must be a mechanism for their accountability and monitoring, with the authority to revoke their rule and revert the matter back to the citizens of the land to choose new rulers.

A detailed discourse was then given with detailed references from leading jurists as to how the properties, lives and resources of non-Muslims have to protected at all times by Muslims, whether living in Muslim or non-Muslim states. The talk ended with a summary of the verses of the Qur’an which are misinterpreted by the radical groups and wrongly used to promote killing of non-Muslims.

Shaykh-ul-Islam explained the background and correct interpretation of each verse in light of the beliefs held by authentic jurists and scholars for the last 1400 years. In summary Shaykh-ul-Islam congratulated the audience for being attentive and over the course of the last two sessions studying and learning the authentic counter-narrative to violent extremism.

Dr Zahid Iqbal then thanked Shaykh-ul-Islam for his time in preparing such a detailed discourse covering all the main points and areas distorted by radical extremist groups.

Renowned TV anchor from Dunya TV Kamran Shahid from Pakistan then joined the gathering and a one hour interactive session of question and answers with Shaykh-ul-Islam was recorded in Urdu, to be broadcast from Dunya TV in Pakistan. The session was highly charged and had great participation from the audience, balanced and experienced anchoring from Kamran Shahid and detailed responses on political and current affairs issues by Shaykh-ul-Islam. Kamran Shahid was thanked by Shaykh-ul-Islam and the organisers of al-Hidayah 2017 for the session. This session concluded with instructions for the remaining sessions and other administrative matters.

After a short refreshments break, all attendees of al-Hidayah 2017 participated in the second day of workshops arranged to provide interactive opportunities to learn and discuss matters openly.

Following Salat al-Asar all attendees moved onto Keele Hall for evening dinner, followed by Salat Maghrib in the Chancellor’s prayer hall. At just after 9:00 pm everyone gathered once again in the Westminster Hall for the evening session of Nasheeds & Dhikr. Shaykh-ul-Islam arrived on time at 9:30 pm and the gathering commenced with recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Syed Amir (London), followed by Durood-e-Minhaj and Naat by Muhammad Ashfaque Warsi (Ashton) and a Nasheed by br Dawood Mehmood (MYL UK). This was followed by a beautiful Arabic rendition of Naat’s by Qari Mubashar Anwar (Manchester) whilst also playing the daff instrument. The rendition was highly appreciated by the audience and Shaykh-ul-Islam, who advised the brother to expand in this area and learn more Naat’s in Arabic.

Then the main artists for the Nasheed evening were invited to the stage, the Minhaj Naat Group (MNG France) along with their wind and string instrument specialist Herve Teboul. They performed a series of Nasheeds with wind and string instruments, along with the traditional harmonium and table sets. During which Shaykh Hammad Mustafa Qadri joined them on lead harmonium at the request of Shaykh-ul-Islam. Shaykh Hammad played the harmonium and led in two recitations, to the amazement of the audience and also Shaykh-ul-Islam, this being the first time Shaykh Hammad had played harmonium in a group live on stage.

The session concluded with a warm message from Shaykh-ul-Islam and then Shaykh Hammad Mustafa once again led a session of Dhikr and Hadrah in remembrance of Almighty Allah. The Hadrah was highly charged with the addition of the MNG Group and others on stage. It was full of energy, emotions and sincerity in remembrance of Allah (SWT). This was followed by Dhikr Khafi (silent remembrance) and contemplation led by Shaykh-ul-Islam, ending in a collective prayer and supplication for all. The day ended around 12:30pm as participants prayed Salat Isha and then returned to their accommodation for rest.

Day three:

On the morning of Monday 28th August 2017, there was a somewhat sad feeling amongst participants on realisation that this would be their last day at al-Hidayah 2017. Breakfast was arranged at Keele Hall from 7:30 am and then it was straight on to the sports and leisure activities arranged to run from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Sisters participated in rounders and self defence, whilst brothers participated in a badminton and the second day of a competitive 5-aside football tournament. The 5-aside football tournament was one by the Norwegian team, with the Birmingham team runners-up.

After refreshments all participants returned to their accommodation to ensure rooms were clear for check out. Following which lunch was undertaken at Keele Hall from 12:30 pm and Salat Zuhr was offered at the Chancellors prayer hall. Shaykh-ul-Islam arrived at the Chancellors foyer shortly after 2pm and took a tour of the stalls of Minhaj Publications, MWF, Minhaj College Manchester, Minhaj Dawah Project, Minhaj Sisters and Minhaj Womens League, before entering the Minhaj Exhibition Gallery and viewing the sections including BCIG, Minhaj Centres, History of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an, Chains of Authority of and Teachers Shaykh-ul-Islam, and the anti-terror art exhibition brought over by MYL Norway.

Shaykh-ul-Islam then entered the main Westminster Hall for the final session of al-Hidayah 2017, to a standing ovation and emotional welcome. Dr Zahid Iqbal then welcomed Shaykh-ul-Islam and guests and initiated proceeding by calling sister Khadija Patel (Minhaj Sisters London) to the stage for a beautiful recitation from Surah al-Rehman of the Holy Qur’an. This was followed by a Naat recited by br Zia-ul-Haq(London), who had recently embraced Islam. Shaykh-ul-Islam then commenced his final lecture to al-Hidayah 2017 with a message in Urdu language broadcast live by Bol tv and Pak tv in Pakistan and around the world. The summary explained the reason for al-Hidayah 2017 focusing on the counter narrative to violent extremism.

This was followed by a deep and very focused talk from Shaykh-ul-Islam in English, highlighting the need for individuals to re-kindle their connection with Allah (swt) and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in order to guide them away from disobedience, sins and wrong company, whilst moving them towards piety, contentment and inner and outer peace. The talk was emotional and grasped the attention of the audience to such an extent that many were brought to tears whilst reflecting on the reality of their lives.

Shaykh-ul-Islam once again stood and lectured using a projector, pointer stick and graphic diagrams of the strongest defence against prohibited (haram) acts, being the preservation of mandatory (fard) acts. Furthermore, that the neglect of the mandatory (fard) acts can easily lead individuals towards prohibited (haram) acts. A code of conduct was given by Shaykh-ul-Islam for achieving the pleasure of Allah (swt). He explained how the protection of pious acts (hifz-ul-amal) would lead to protection of time and moments (hifz-ul-auqat) which will lead ultimately to the protection of one’s spiritual state (hifz-ul-awaal) and help achieve the ultimate objective of seeking Allah’s pleasure.

The spiritual status of the Saints in Islam was discussed and how they practiced five outer secrets and five inner secrets in order to achieve the ultimate spiritual status. The outer (zahir) secrets include truthfulness, generosity to all, humbleness & piety with modesty, avoiding causing difficulty for others whilst accepting difficulties for yourselves to provide ease to others. The inner (batin) secrets include always fearing being separated from Allah, wishing to be close to Allah, regret & repent on wrongdoings, to ensure your conscience remains alive and always feel shy and reserved in front of Allah (swt).

The final message was to concentrate on four areas to allow connection with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and work for the Prophetic mission and organisations like Minhaj-ul-Qur’an. These four areas are the extreme love, reverence, complete following and serving the ‘deen’ of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the companions and the noble and pious people through times. Minhaj-ul-Qur’an was explained by Shaykh-ul-Islam as the combination of these four areas and their connection with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in our practical life, thoughts, conduct, morals, behaviour and dealings internally and externally.

Ultimately, this link with Allah (swt) and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has to be constantly maintained, protected and strengthened by working for missions like Minhaj-ul-Qur’an. If individuals leave the work they may ultimately lose their connection and link with Allah (swt) and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). ‘The moments and time you spend in serving the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)’s mission you are in his blessed company, always, never discontinue this work, it is your essential spiritual food for the survival of your spiritual state.’

Shaykh-ul-Islam ended the beautiful talk by congratulating the attendees who had sat so attentively throughout each session whilst also directing people to become more involved in the work of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an, through its projects and forums.

Before completion of al-Hidayah 2017, names of the team of 34 volunteers who had worked to assist participants throughout the event were all read out and each person was acknowledged by the participants, guests and Shaykh-ul-Islam. The core-committee of al-Hidayah 2017 was then invited to the stage as appreciation for their 12 months of work in preparing every aspect of the event, each member met Shaykh-ul-Islam and prayers and best wishes were received as well as a standing ovation from the participants.

Core committee members included Sr Khadija Atkinson, Sr Rosina Nawaz, Sr Subah Iqbal, Sr Naheed Syed, Sr Tahira Afzal, Sr Humaira Ali, Sr Misbah Wahid, br Abdul Qadir, br Tanwir Rauf, br Qasim Rauf, br Moazzam Raza, br Babar Khan, br Owais Sethi and Dr Zahid Iqbal(President) and Asif Habib Malik(Project Manager) who were already on stage. Additionally, members of the Publicity, Registrations, Production and Minhaj TV teams were acknowledged and invited on stage as encouragement for their most valuable efforts. These included br Osman Riaz, br Shoaib Iqbal, br Usman Yaseen, br Muhbeen Hussain, br Ghulam Shabir, br Adam Malik, sr Zahra Hussain, br Faizan Iqbal, br Ismaeel Sethi, br Humayun Farooq, br Umar Waqar, br Abdul Haleem, br Omar Naeem, br Adnan Abdul-Waheed and br Usman Altaf.

The al-Hidayah Europe 2017 event was then formally acknowledged and for this purpose a delegation from Norway headed by br Awais Ejaz (President MYL Norway) was invited to the stage with a standing ovation br Umar Ansari, br Yasin Adil, br Hayat-ul-Mir Khan, br Ata-ul-Mustafa, br Zulqarnain Hussain, sister Iqra Mushtaq and sister Muniba. Shaykh-ul-Islam met and warmly encouraged each member of the delegation and they were also congratulated for their anti-terror art exhibition, which was also brought and displayed at al-Hidayah 2017 in the UK.

Then the sports competition winners were awarded with a trophy for the Norwegian football team and medals for the Birmingham football team that were runners up in the competition. Sisters from Bradford were also invited to the stage and awarded a trophy for winning the sisters badminton competition.

On conclusion of matters Syed Ali Abbas Bukhari (President MQI UK) was invited to the stage. He duly thanked Shaykh-ul-Islam, guests and all participants for three days of inspiration, information and spiritual elevation at al-Hidayah 2017. He then announced three awards of recognition from Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International for dedicated work and efforts for the mission over the years. These awards were presented by Shaykh-ul-Islam in the form of Shields of Appreciation to;

- Sister Sabah Fatimah Mash’hadi (President Minhaj Women’s League UK)
Received in her absence by her daughter sr Mehmoona Fatima Mash’hadi.

- Br Dawood Hussain Mash’hadi (Trustee Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International)
Received in his absence by his son br Mudassir Hussain Mash’hadi.

- Dr Zahid Iqbal (President of al-Hidayah & Peace Education Programme (PEP))

Then an award of appreciation was announced on behalf of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International UK, in recognition of the outstanding achievement in completing a PhD this year from the University of Birmingham, in the subject ‘A Muslim Woman’s Right to a Khula in Pakistan: Marital Relief or Marital Gain?’. The crystal award was made to;

- Respected Sister Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri
Received by Shaykh Ahmed Mustafa al-Qadri on her behalf from Shaykh-ul-Islam

On completion of all proceedings at al-Hidayah 2017, Shaykh-ul-Islam made supplication for all participants and their safe journeys home and onward lives, as well as for their progression in missionary and organisational work in service of the Deen of Allah (swt) and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

All participants gave a fond and emotional farewell to Shaykh-ul-Islam from the University of Keele and al-Hidayah 2017, before departing safely to their homes.

Pictorial Highlights

Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri visiting anti-terror exhibition