Oswa Festival celebrates Muslim role models

By Layan Damanhouri

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – Oswa Festival celebrated Muslim role models from the Islamic Golden Age in an innovative event featuring an exhibition, workshops and theater shows teaching the story of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as well as renowned Islamic scholars.

“It’s much more effective to teach people, especially kids, about history in an interactive manner,” says Hamza Felemban, a university student organizing the event. “It makes learning easier and faster.”

Theater shows presented heroic stories, including the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) short and the animated film ‘1001 Inventions’ starring Omar Sharif.

In addition, an interactive exhibition displayed inventions by Muslim scholars as well as live booths applying science experiments.

“Young people look up to soccer players and celebrities and neglect to see Muslim heroes of the past. We chose to make an entire exhibition on the famous scholar Ibn Al-Haytham to teach kids about his life and work for them to look up to,” adds Felemban.

An entire gallery displayed the science of eyesight, discovered by the 11th century Arab scholar Ibn Al-Haytham who was known for his contributions to science, mathematics, astronomy and philosophy.

Hayat Ismail, another organizer, says, “We aim to show examples of Muslim scholars who spent most of their time learning and experimenting to come up with new inventions. We focused on Ibn Al-Haytham because of his dedication and perseverance in life. He was pious and had a passion for adventure and knowledge.”

Such edutainment events inspire kids to love learning, she added. “It’s unfortunate that we forget about these important individuals. It’s been rewarding to see kids deciding to learn further and do school projects about these Muslim scholars after visiting here.”

A range of activities and displays were offered to teach youth the significance of knowledge in the history of Islam.

Some 40 university students were selected to organize the event that lasted three weeks and was sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority in collaboration with Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Foundation known as MiSK.