MYA proudly presents our first-ever Islamic Conference, where we aim to explore six critical issues that have a significant impact on the lives of Muslims living in Australia. Unlike other parts of the world, Islam is a relatively new phenomenon in the Australian landscape which means that we are in the early stages of establishing our roots here. This also means that we are inundated with challenges left, right and centre.
This conference provides a unique opportunity to take charge of our affairs and collectively tackle the challenges we face. Together, let us delve into the intricacies of our context, address the issues at hand, and pave the way for Islam to flourish in Australia for generations to come. Join us now and be a part of this transformative experience.
Doubts, Science & Modern Knowledge: Establishing Firm Faith in an Age of Skepticism
By Dr Mohamed Ghilan (Melb)
In this godless age, being religious defies all logic.
Thrown into the ocean and forced to swim – the young muslim trying to take religion seriously is tossed and turned by the waves of questioning from atheists, liberals, Islamophobes, and skeptics in general.
How do we navigate these treacherous tides? How can we anchor our faith to withstand the toughest trials of life and remain unwavering in our final moments? Are logical proofs and YouTube debates the way to go, or can we find more profound answers in our sacred tradition?
Too Many “Versions of Islam”: What Should I Do as an Everyday Muslim?
By Shaykh Abdul Hadi Shah-Idil
Salafi. Sufi. Hanafi. Ikhwani. Tablighi. Athari. Deobandi. Islamist……… The list goes on.
As everyday Muslims, the minute we venture out of our bubbles, we are confronted with a gazillion ways to understand and practise our religion. While our scholars have told us that differences of opinion in Fiqh (Islamic Law) are considered to be valid, they have also warned us about misinterpretations which must be avoided. From Islamic financial institutions to gender interactions, from when we celebrate Eid to our political engagement as an ummah, there seems to just be too many camps that clash with each other, leaving us feeling lost in between.
As Muslim laypeople, how are we to navigate through these camps and their scholarly opinions if we do not have the slightest idea on how to separate the wheat from the chaff? Where does my responsibility as a layperson start and where does it end? Are there any boundaries at all?
Marriage, Love & A Million Expectations: Reviving the Prophetic Model for Marriage
By Ustadah Saara Sabbagh (Melb)
Our beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) said that marriage completes half our deen, encouraged us to marry young, and told us that the simplest marriage has the most barakah. Yet, justified or not, our communities have flipped this advice on its head.
Marriage is out of the question until we have a degree, a 6-figure job, and a mortgage to our names. After these hurdles, we have to fumble our way through a $50k wedding, balancing our careers, raising kids, and dealing with the in-laws. All the while, society increasingly makes casual dating easy and commitment-free.
How can we reframe our approach to marriage to one that is appropriate for our world?
Social Media, Netflix & The Internet: Safeguarding our Soul in the End of Times
By Ramia Abdo Sultan
The internet has brought connection and ease to our fingertips in an unimaginable, completely unprecedented way. For the first time in human history we have invited technology into our homes as an irreplaceable tool for communication, access to information and entertainment.
But in doing so, what else have we unintentionally made a guest in our homes – strangers we’ve never met? Society standards and unrealistic expectations? A screen that teaches our children right from wrong? Have we even thought about what’s coming with the rise of AI, virtual reality and the metaverse?
Amidst this technological invasion, what do we do to make sure we stay human and that our souls aren’t swept away by the algorithm?
The Minority Miracle: Will Islam Ever Flourish in Australia? But How?
By Shaykh Haisam Farache
If any one religion was to receive a medal for the rate at which it won people over – it would be Islam without a doubt. From the vibrant markets of Indonesia to the bustling streets of the subcontinent, Muslims have ventured into new lands as minorities and repeatedly won the hearts of people across centuries. But even though we’ve been in Australia since the Makassans and the Ghan – we seem to be having a little trouble.
How can we do our part down under and continue the work of the generations before us? Do we need to establish a caliphate? Should we up our pamphlet game and become Speaker’s Corner style polemicists? Or do we purify our internal states and leave the rest to God?
Which approach is most suited to our context? Is it all of the above, something different, or should we unite under one focus?
Mental Health, Psyche & Spirituality: Finding Balance Within Our Internal Cosmos
By Dr Samir Mahmoud
Our mental health has reached a flash point. We live in the most comfortable society in human history – yet, one in every five people in Australia is currently taking some sort of psychiatric medication.
We were outraged when our own brethren said ‘depression is a lack of iman’. Yet, despite the unprecedented cultural shift in approach towards mental health – we are no closer to a solution.
What exactly is causing this breakdown? And what safeguards does our tradition hold?
Shaykh Haisam Farache
Shaykh Haisam Farache grew up on Sydney’s North Shore. He commenced his undergraduate studies in the USA, before completing a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Sydney, after which he completed his Masters in Applied Family Law from the College of Law, Sydney. The Shaykh has practiced in the law industry for two decades, and is currently the principal solicitor at Garrison Lawyers. Alongside this, the Shaykh has spent years pursuing Islamic learning, earning ijazas from scholars around the Muslim world, including Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. He also completed a Diploma in Sharia (Hons) at Dar al Mustafa in Yemen. He is a Minister of Religion (Islam) and also an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
Shaykh Abdul Hadi Shah-Idil
After receiving a university medal and graduating with a First Class Honours in Economics from the University of New South Wales, Shaykh Abdul Hadi left Australia to study the traditional Islamic sciences with scholars from Jordan. Since then he has furthered his studies particularly in Hanafi Fiqh under the tutelage of Dr Salah Abulhajj and Hadith methodology with Shaykh Abdul Moez Nafti and is currently a qualified Mufti (jurisconsult). He is also an instructor of Hanafi Fiqh at Daar Ibn Abbas, a lecturer of classical Arabic at Charles Sturt University, and also MYA’s Shariah Advisor.
Dr Mohamed Ghilan
For the past 5 years, Dr. Ghilan was included in The Muslim 500, a list of the most influential Muslims in the world today.
In 2007, Dr. Ghilan began his full-time studies in the Islamic Tradition under the tutelage of traditional teacher. He has taught various courses such as The Creed of Deliverance, Imam Al-Ghazali’s Dear Beloved Son, the Inner Dimensions of Fasting and others, he founded Al-Andalus Academy in 2020 and he also has a podcast since 2016 where he discusses a wide breadth of issues related to religion, philosophy, science, society, and culture.
Dr. Mohamed Ghilan holds a Bachelor of Science (honours) with a major in microbiology and a minor in business administration, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Victoria, BC. In 2020, Dr. Ghilan earned an M.D. from the University of Queensland where he is currently practicing medicine. Dr. Ghilan has published works in peer-reviewed scientific journals including Behavioural Brain Research, Brain Research, and Neurobiology of Disease.
Dr Samir Mahmoud
Dr. Samir Mahmoud is currently Academic Director of Usul Academy (www.usul.academy). He is also Program Manager of the Diploma in Islamic Psychology at the Cambridge Muslim College.
Recently he was Assistant Professor at the Lebanese American University. He has a BA (Hons) in Anthropology & Politics with a focus on multicultural theory and comparative religion, and an MA in Architectural History, Theory & Urban Design with a focus on the traditional townscape from the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. He also holds an MPhil in Theology & Religious Studies with a focus on comparative philosophy and aesthetics. He completed a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad).
Ustadah Saarah Sabbagh OAM
Saara Sabbagh is the Founder and Chair of Benevolence Australia; a non-for-profit faith based community organisation established in 2008 which provides education and support to converts and reconnecting Muslims in Melbourne.
Saara’s visionary leadership has seen her establish many successful programs and initiatives over the past three decades. She has worked across various sectors including youth, education, women’s wellness, faith and spirituality.
Her recent and most joyous accomplishment is the curation of Good Beginnings – the first of its kind pre-marriage mentoring program for Muslim couples in Australia.
Saara has been the gracious recipient of many awards for her community service and leadership, including Australian Muslim Achievement Award – Role Model of the Year in 2013 and the Order of Australia Medal in 2021.
Saara has been married for thirty-three years, the mother of three children and grandmother of four young toddlers – alhamdulilah.
Ramia Abdo Sultan
Ramia Abdo Sultan was born and raised in Australia and is also of Palestinian heritage. Ramia studied a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology Sydney and runs her own legal practice, Lawbridge Lawyers & Consultants with partners. Ramia also graduated with Distinction in a Master of Islamic Studies from Charles Sturt University and has a dual legal system interest, being a specialist in Islamic succession/inheritance law, whereby she blends with her expertise in the common law system to help craft innovative and culturally appropriate solutions for clients.
Ramia also has a background in lobbying and advocacy for minorities and is a prominent member of the Australian Muslim community, where she is Community Advisor to the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC).
Ramia is currently serving on the Executive Committee of various organisations including the Australian Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN,) the Gaza Children’s Fund Inc. and Charity Right Australia.
I am confused – what are the dates and timing for the conference?
The conference is set to occur over two days. The first day is Friday 16 June from 7pm to 10pm. The second day is Sunday 18 June from 10am to 3pm. The venue is Bankstown Bryan Brown Theatre & Function Centre, and this is the same for both days.
Which day is each talk scheduled for?
We will provide a more detailed agenda soon, however, the schedule is as follows:
Friday 16 June
- Mental Health, Psyche and Spirituality: Finding Balance Within Our Internal Cosmos
- The Minority Miracle: Will Islam Ever Flourish in Australia? But How?
Sunday 18 June
- Doubts, Science & Modern Knowledge: Establishing Firm Faith in an Age of Skepticism
- Social Media, Netflix & The Internet: Safeguarding Our Soul in The End of Times
- Marriage, Love & A Million Expectations: Reviving the Prophetic Model for Marriage
- Too Many “Versions of Islam”: What Should I Do as An Everyday Muslim?
Please note that the schedule may change as we approach the date.
Can I only pay for one day instead of both days?
Unfortunately not. Our standard ticket price is $15 which lets you access both days. You may choose to attend one day or only some of the talks, however, the ticket price is the same. Hint: We strongly encourage you to attend all six talks across both days.
Can I purchase a ticket at the door?
You may purchase a ticket on the day at the door, however, the price will be $20. Please note that if we sell out before the conference days, then you will not be able to purchase at the door. Hint: Make a purchase and book your spot early to avoid disappointment.
Can I get a refund for my ticket?
Is there a nearby station? Is there free parking available?
Yes and yes. The venue is only a 5 minute walk from Bankstown Railway Station & Bus Interchange. There is limited parking (55 spaces) underneath the venue, which is free for 4 hours, and can be accessed via Richard Road, opposite the Medical Centre. There is also a large car park (502 spaces, multi story) at 40 Marion Street which is a 7-8 minute walk from the venue.