Report by Tauseef Ahmad Khan
The Annual MKA Research Association Conference 2012 was held at Darul Amaan Mosque, Manchester on Friday 24th, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August 2012.
A total of 30 young enthusiastic Khuddam and 2 Atfal attended the conference [corrected the number of Atfal]. Seventeen Khuddam and two Atfal travelled from London to attend the conference, while one Khadim came from Netherlands to take part in this conference.
The conference started after Friday prayer with a trip to Manchester University. The main academic part of the conference was inaugurated in the evening at Darul Amaan Mosque with Tilawat of the Holy Qur’an by Ghalib Khan. Mohtamim Amoor-e-Tuluba Dr Tauseef Ahmad Khan welcomed all the attendees and said that everyone who has come to attend has come to sincerely serve the Holy Qur’an and therefore success is within their grasp.
The first talk was on ‘Dr Abdus Salam and Muslim Science’ by Umar Nasser, an Imperial College Medical student. Umar presented the reasons for the rise and fall of the science in Muslim world and suggested the way forward.
Afterwards, Chairman MKA Research Association Dr Naveed Malik gave a very thoughtful presentation on ‘How to Succeed in research and Higher Education’. Dr Naveed warned against complacency and time-wasting, and presented various ways to improve productivity in research career and education. After Dinner and Isha prayers, a light fun presentation was held where attendees were quizzed on science errors from various books and movies. This fun activity was led by Dr Tauseef Khan.
For the duration of the conference the attendees stayed in the mosque and attended all the congregational prayers.
On Saturday after Fajr and breakfast, two talks were given by distinguished guests Dr Jalil Miyan, Senior Lecturer at University of Manchester and Dr Ata Khalid, Senior Lecturer at University of Glasgow on their research interests.
Dr Tauseef Khan, a post-doc at University College London, gave a talk on Honeybees and discussed the importance of this amazing insect from the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith. There was a bombardment of questions from the attendees, so much so that the presentation had to be continued after Zuhr prayer.
Rizwan Safir, a student of Archaeology from Reading University, gave an inspiring presentation on ‘Archeology and Holy Qur’an’. This presentation was enjoyed by all and many were very impressed by the potential for research in this field. Rizwan said that the discovery of the Noah’s Ark can potentially be the most important in the field of Archaeology and that the Holy Qur’an has already given us signs that it is most probably in the Dead Sea.
After lunch a discussion session on Evolution was held which was led by Dr Adeel Bajwa. This session was more than 2 hours long in which many aspects of Evolutionary theory that Richard Dawkins presents to refute God were discussed in great detail. Even after the presentation time finished , many small groups formed and the attendees kept on discussing various aspects of Natural selection, survival of the fittest and how Holy Qur’an supports guided evolution that is not blind. Many attendees afterwards said that they learnt a lot in this session and more such sessions should be held in the future.
After Asr prayer and Barbecue which was kindly arranged by the North West region, a plane making session was held. Foaad Tahir, a Cambridge Engineering graduate, presented the physics behind gliders and planes and then explained how the project would work. Four teams were given a piece of packaging foam, two balloons, a water bottle, scotch tape, and some wooden pins to make a flying plane. This was a most exciting session with all teams making various designs and testing their make-shift aerodynamic planes. One team named its plane the ‘Honey Bee’. At the end of the 3 hour session the planes were flown in controlled conditions and the team won which flew the furthest but with most weight. The ‘Honey Bee’ plane while the best in test runs failed miserably in the final flight as it came crashing down after two feet. One team tried to pass off a crude plastic bottle with a balloon attached as the latest and greatest in fighter jet technology. While this ‘bottle plane’ did fly the furthest, the team was disqualified for not playing in the spirit of the contest. In this session the attendees learnt team building skills and the importance of Engineering in making planes.
After Isha a 3 hour marathon session was held to discuss atheists arguments against Existence of God and how to refute them. Anas Rana, a PhD student from Netherlands, led this session. The discussion was very helpful and many attendees gave their personal experiences with atheists and the whole group discussed how to answer the common questions that are faced by Ahmadi Muslims . The concept of ‘Argument from Design, ‘God of the Gaps’, ‘Physical laws and Miracles’, and ‘Rationality and Logic’ were discussion in detail. After the session, the attendees strongly felt that they now understood these concepts much better and were more ready to face the atheists.
On Sunday, the group travelled 30 miles outside Manchester city to do abseiling and ghyll scrambling. The whole day outdoor activity was invigorating after two days of very heavy academic discussions. The most exciting bits were front abseiling and climbing up a very tall waterfall through the water (with safety harness of course).
By grace of Allah, the MKA Research Association Annual Conference 2012 was a great success and the Khuddam truly felt that they worked towards fulfilling the words of the Holy Qur’an:
“Indeed in the creation of the Heavens and of the earth, and in the alternation of the night and of the day, are there signs for men of understanding. They who, standing, sitting or reclining, bear Allah in mind and reflect on the creation of the Heavens and of the earth, saying: ‘O our Lord! You have not created this in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire.’” (3:189-190).”
May Allah accept their humble effort. Ameen.