Why RIS is better than ISNA or ICNA conventions

The RIS bag“RIS-tified in Toronto.” – Mujahideen Ryder
This past week I was at Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference 2005 (RIS 4) in Toronto, Canada. RIS included a 3-day conference, a concert after that and a week-long knowledge retreat. The knowledge retreat, by far, was the best out of the 3 events of RIS. Attending 4 ISNAs and 3 ICNAs, and only 1 RIS, I have come to a conclusion that ISNA and ICNA conferences are nothing compared to what RIS has done. RiS is only 4 years old and yet they have gotten the most widely known scholars not just in North America, but all across the world. Not only scholars, but nasheed artists that are nearly impossible to get in America. They also offer the retreat for the 2nd time after the conference and concert. The best part of all of this is that it is less fitna filled then ISNA or ICNA. I will go over some major points why RIS is better then ISNA/ICNA conferences.

Here is a breif review of the conference:

  • Friday:
    • I missed everything on this day, because we left Friday night and came in Saturday morning. I heard Ms. Shabazz (eldest daughter of Malcolm X) was really good. I’m sad i missed it.
  • Saturday:
    • Ustad Muhammad alShareef was amazing in the morning with his talk about the importance of Prophet Muhammad (saas). He started out with a funny analogy with an elephant.
    • Next came Shaykh Abdullah Adhami who always hypes me up, because he is one of my favorite speakers. He discussed the relations between brothers and sisters in doing Islamic work for the sake of Allah (swt).
    • Shaykh Riyad Ul Haq had a really gangsta beard. MashaAllah! I have his book, but I never seen him in real life. It was great to see him and hear his talk. He is very calm and speaks with a deep but soft voice. Hard to explain. I didn’t take notes during the conference so I don’t recall much.
    • Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah is the man! This man, subhanAllah, is amazing! He is very knowledgable. He is one of the top Islamic scholars around the world. He tore it up at the retreat and the conference. Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah
    • I missed Dr. Tareq Suwaidan’s lecture that day, because i went to Lahore Tikka in Toronto’s (NY’s) Jackson Heights – Gerrard Street (like Chicago’s Deevan Street).
    • “Surah 5, ayah 4, Surah 35, Ayah 25, Surah 26, Ayah 142, etc…” (made up numbers) – Dr. Zakir Naik. This guy is like the citation rapper. He drops numbers like a telephone operator. He owned every other religion. Seriously, if any non-Muslim was in the audience, I think they will convert, inshaAllah! He is the Indian version of Ahmed Deedat.
    • Imam Zaid Shakir spoke in the evening on the importance of the Islamic civlization and the 1400 years of histrory. The Islamic tradition is losing it’s grip on the ummah, and Muslims are lost away in the dunay. We need to go back to Islam and go back to when we the world power. InshaAllah! Ameen!
    • The finale of the night was of course Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf makes me cry sometimes. SubhanAllah! May Allah continue to bless him and continue to allow him to learn and teach others! Ameen! In this talk he talked about Andalusia (Islamic Spain) and how it was the most advanced society in the world during that time period. It was all due to Islam. SubhanAllah! You just had to be there to be mesmerized or as I say ‘RIS-tified”!
  • Sunday:
    • Chilled mostly in the bazaar and with family and friends in the morning. The bazaar review will come later in this post.
    • I ended the conference with Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf basically linked rock and roll music to Andalusian and North African music. This was so amazing! The fact that he linked it and proved it comparing a popular rock song with the generic beat “la la la la la la la laaa” with “la ilah ha il lal lah”. THIS WAS SO HOT! I was shocked beyond belief. The power and effect of Islam and it’s influence on even American music.
  • Bazaar Review:
    • It’s not big like ISNA or ICNA, but it was nice. Featured many famous names such as CAIR-Canada, Sunnipath, Young Muslims, Maniac Muslims, Ihya Foundation, etc. I bought some cool shirts from Maniac Muslim. I also bought a 2006 ‘Longing for the Divine’ calender for my sister. I liked the bazaar. I didn’t see much fitna either, alhamdulillah.
  • The RIS Concert Review:
    • Native Deen: They were the best peformers by far! I loved their new songs. I remember back in the day when they were known as MYNA raps. Those were classic. Now they’re known as Native Deen and they have a new album out
      called ‘Deen You Know’. They had some really nice songs.
    • Najam Sheraz: A pakistani singer. That explains it all. Just kidding! Haha. He can sing, mashaAllah! He has a great voice and with his accent he is still entertaining. Native DeenHe had this one part where a bunch of Muslim children from varoius backgrounds came on stage and he asked them where they were from. It was nice to hear all the different countries.
    • Raihan was the 2nd best after Native Deen. I love this group. They started this whole main stream Nasheed business. They basically own MTV Asia. Allah hu Akbar!
    • And lastly, of course, Sami Yusuf. No offense, but I was disappointed, he’s not an entertainer like the 3 brothers from Native Deen. He just sang his songs. That was pretty much it. But it he is really humble and showed a lot of hayaa. MashaAllah! (Mesut Kurtis never came!)


  • Bazaar (size wise):
    • ISNA: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • RIS: 3rd Place.
  • Bazaar (fitna wise):
    • RIS: low fitna.
    • ICNA: moderate fitna.
    • ISNA: high fitna.
  • Speakers/Scholars and quality of lectures:
    • RIS: 1st place.
    • ISNA: 2nd place.
    • ICNA: 3rd place.
  • Entertainment:
    • RIS: 1st place.
    • ISNA: 2nd Place.
    • ICNA: 3rd Place.
  • Food:
    • ICNA: 1st Place.
    • RIS: 2nd Place.
    • ISNA: 3rd Place.
  • General Fitna:
    • RIS: Low fitna.
    • ICNA: Moderate fitna.
    • ISNA: High fitna.
  • Attendence to the conference:
    • ISNA: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • RIS: 3rd Place.
  • Attendence to the lectures:
    • RIS: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • ISNA: 3rd Place.
  • Prayer logistics:Praying @ RIS
    • RIS: 1st Place.
    • ICNA: 2nd Place.
    • ISNA: 3rd Place.

Overal Champion: RIS wins!
Somethings about RIS that amazed me were simple things like the way they had the prayer area set up. They put spaces in between each saff in order for people to put their shoes and bags. This was first time I seen this. Muslims finally started to use thier brain. Also Shaykh Hamza even said it, the fact that the attendence to the lectures during the conference was oustanding. It was always full or at least a good 7,000 people listening. RIS single handedly took speakers around the world and famous nasheed artists and brought them all together for one week. Imagine the cost and the amount of talking over the period of a year to get this done. Truely amazing!

Official conclusion of MR:

Muslim community in Canada > Muslim community in America

Alhamdulillah! For the first time I’m proud to be Canadian. Yes, I lived in canada. I have dual-citizenship for both countries. I was born in America and lived in Canada, currently living in America. πŸ™‚

My RIS Pictures
For the notes from the Knowledge Retreat, check out my good friend’s website: www.hahmed.com.

40 Replies to “Why RIS is better than ISNA or ICNA conventions”

  1. alhamdulillah, it was awsome. RIS not only spoke about unity, they delivered via the diversity of scholars and artists that they brought to convention. Was kinda tight rollin in the civic, but alhamdulillah, we made it.

  2. assalamu alaykum wrwb. ah mashAllah sounded like u had a great time, ya its deff better from ICNA/ISNA i mean from what i have heard,inshAlah ill go one year or another.wa alaykumussalamwrwb

  3. Alhamdulillah, good to hear we’re doing something right. I like the fitna scaling system you set up, haha.

  4. I totally agree with you and insha Allah it should get better cause this was only the 4th annual RIS conference they held thus far. If Allah SWT permits, we can try to rent a van and attend RIS annually. On that note, if you think this was nice, you should really look into the Youth Tarbiyyah Conference held in July of every year.

  5. Now you should go to the Texas Dawah Conference and rate and compare that one as well. It is growing fast, and from what I hear is better than ICNA, RIS, and ISNA because each session is like an al maghrib style class… so its not a lecture lecture like at the other conventions rather its a classroom with thousands of students who are taking notes and are there for the main reason of seeking knowledge whereas in the other conventions people are there for multiple reasons including entertainment, socialization, family vacation etc.

    I have come to the conclusion that there are different types of conventions which are now kicking off.. each with its own advantages. Alhumdulilah I think this shows that our community is growing (as a community).

  6. Subhan Allah!

    May Allah reward you, ameen

    A request to all readers, please make dua’a for RIS organizers and all volunteers. Jazak Allahu Khairan Katheeran!!

  7. Nice review Bro. You might want to edit the following a bit:

    Bazaar (fitna wise):

    RIS: 1st place.

    ICNA: 2nd place.

    ISNA: 3rd place.

    to least fitna wise.

    Once again, thanks for the review. Btw..wasn’t Shaykh Suleman Mulla there?

  8. as-salaamu’alaykum Amir,
    it was cool seeing you there bro. alhumdulillah the conference was great; i wish we could have chilled a little bit more, but i thoroughly enjoyed the speeches. the set-up was well laid out, making it easy to pray and go to the bazaar. only thing they coulda fixed was the food πŸ™‚ well, insha’Allah i’ll be seeing you at our next retreat in Philly.

  9. MashAllah, very good review and a great convention. Bro. Only if u can tell us more of what the speakers said or atleast the topics discussed at the retreat would be awesome. How was Dr. Jackson? His new book tears apart all immigrants. (yes even immigrants from canada)

  10. Asalaam Alekum to all my muslim sisters and brothers

    I just wanted to start off by saying this was my first year attending the RIS and it was amazing mashaAllah. Events like these makes us people open our eyes and plan for the akhira inshaAllah. May Allah SWT guide all of us thru the right path inshallah and I know I’ll be attending the RIS next year and many more years to come inshallah

    Walekum Asalaam

  11. jazak’Allah for the review- this was my third year at RIS, and it gets better each year, masha-Allah..(even though some nasheed singers/speakers cancelled). The five hour bus ride from Ottawa was definitely worth it :-). For all of you who haven’t gone- you do NOT know what you’re missing!!

  12. Assalaamu Alaikum,
    JazakAllah for that review. Like some, this was my 3rd year at RIS and I have to say that it’s improving a lot and it’s just amazing MashaAllah. With the presence of wicked speakers and thousands of Muslims you receive an overwhelming feel at the end of the whole experience…you really do feel revived. JazakAllah once again,
    Wa Alaikum Salaam

  13. There are only two conferences i go to….one is the Youth Tarbiyat Conference, and the other is RIS. Every year RIS has been improving MashaAllah. ISNA and ICNA Mafia groups are just liars. They say Sheikh AbdulRahamaan al Sudais is coming to Canada, and in the last day ISNA and ICNA mafias say he has “changed” plans. I have a close contact of this Sheikh and also the MWL of Makkah. this Sheikh has never got a call from ISNA or ICNA for the past 4 yrs!!! I look more forward for Honesty than anything, RIS has been honest all thoroughout AlHamdulillah- Allah Akbar!! — I certainly agree wid everything you said br. Ryder

  14. salamz u guyz r realy fortunate! derz nuffin as good as RIS in the uk n if there eva is,there not regular or there just a lil borin!

  15. The problem with the Texas Dawah Convention as you can see from their website is that all their scholars are Salafees. They are not open to other type of thinking so TDC can NEVER compare to RIS or as a matter of fact ISNA or ICNA.

  16. i agree with Abdullah. while RIS, ISNA, and ICNA have scholars coming from all perspectives, the Dawah Convention bears speakers only from the salafi persuasion.

  17. Salaam
    If u not got the concentration anything is boring!
    There are a million conferences which happen arounf the UK, but no-one knows!
    Fitnah wise Alhumdulillah they really low level, cos the Brit Muslims hav gota take A++ in segregation!


  18. As salam u a’likum to all the brothers, looks like RIS is pretty nice, mayb i can go next time, make dua for me , jazakALLAH khair.

  19. Have you guys seen Tx Dawah?

    Fitnah…that word doesn’t exist there πŸ™‚

    It was awesome! I am going to go every year despite the looooong drive from Wisconsin.

  20. Do you even know what a salaf is? Man, keep the acro’s to ur self. I have chkd out both ISNA and Tx Dawah. B/w the 2, I pick Tx Dawah any day! I loved it. The only problem is which session to attend b/c they are all good! I have an inside person who told me it is going to be even amazing this year, knowledge wise! Just can’t wait!

  21. RIS is Garbage. There is Fitna everywhere you blind moron. You’re version of fitna is probably women wearing mini-skirts and no hijab and with cocktails in their hand. RIS had fitna like an Islamic Version of Carnivale in Trinidad. Open your eyes douche-bag. RIS, ICNA and ISNA are pure crap. Also the stank-ass Mullah’s that support it reek too. Props go out to Riyad-ul-Haq for speaking against the nature of RIS and other useless conferences such as this after the event. May Allah give Hidayat to ONLY those He wants .

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