Conventions are a time for learning about Islam, networking, meeting other Muslims, seeing old friends, and enjoying the general Islamic atmosphere. However, you put too many people in one place, and you’re bound to have a few faux pas.
But as long as you avoid the following list of Convention Don’ts, you should be able to breeze through any convention weekend smoothly, allowing for a more enjoyable and positive experience for you and others.
1. Don't talk during sessions
While socializing with other Muslims is definitely a part of a Muslim convention, it is not proper Adab (etiquette) to be doing this during lectures and sessions.
Remember, there are brothers and sisters who have traveled miles to not just meet others, but to learn about Islam. Don't ruin this opportunity for them.
2. Don't eat during sessions
This is also a distraction and rude to speakers. Imagine sitting in a classroom and eating there. It would rarely be tolerated. Give the same respect to your Muslim brother or sister who may have traveled miles to give you this fantastic session/workshop.
A special note: food includes bubble gum. There are few things as annoying as someone popping bubbles or making loud chewing noises during a spiritually enlightening talk.
3. Don't be late to sessions and lectures
While there are always unforeseen circumstances where coming on time may not be possible, don't let this become a habit.
Coming late only disturbs the speakers, as well as others trying to pay attention.
4. Don't bring very small children to sessions and workshops
A crying child, no matter how cute, becomes annoying to those who are trying to concentrate and learn.
See if there are baby-sitting arrangements on site, or work out a schedule with your spouse or other family members such that you divide your time between watching the baby and attending sessions. Return the favor for them as well so everyone benefits from the convention.
5. Don't block traffic in hallways
This is a MAJOR problem. Two people who haven't seen each other in years will suddenly meet each other and begin a long conversation in the middle of the main hallway being used by hundreds of others at the same time.
This is inconvenient and can be dangerous. Solution: greet the person and move to the side of the hallway to continue your conversation.
6. Don't leave any place a mess
That goes for the lecture halls, workshop rooms, washrooms, your own hotel room and the cafeteria/dining area.
It also means not leaving candy bar wrappers on the floor or gum on the bottom of tables or chairs and soft drink cans everywhere.
As Muslims, we must maintain cleanliness on our person and in our environment as the Prophet has said, "Cleanliness is half of the religion" (Muslim).
As well, don't forget the non-Muslims also staying at the hotel are watching what Muslims are doing. Leaving the place a mess is not the way we want to leave a lasting impression.
7. Don't think "this is not my mess"
If you're confronted with a washroom strewn with toilet paper or a trail of soft drink cans in a conference room or hallway, there are two things you can do.
You can ignore it, do what you've got to do and get out of there as soon as possible.
Or you could be a good citizen and do the charitable thing: pick it up. In part of a Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet said that removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.
8. Don't waste food
"Two persons' food is enough for three, and three person's food is enough for four," said the Prophet in a Hadith narrated in Bukhari and Muslim.
Before taking your food ensure you take only as much as you can consume. If you can't finish the food in one sitting, try to get a box or bag to pack it in. Avoid wasting at all costs. Consider this Hadith:
"When someone eats from a vessel and makes it wholly clean (so that no food is left in it), the vessel prays for his forgiveness" (Ahmad, Darimi, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi).
9. Don't complain about the Food
It is sad but common to see Muslims attending events complaining about the food. In most cases, convention organizers do their best to provide sufficient and tasty meals.
If you haven't received the kind of meal you were expecting remember that the Prophet never said he disliked any kind of food.
10. Don't wear headphones while you're in a session
...or while you are walking in the hallways. During the sessions, this is an insult to your speaker.
In the hallways, this makes it virtually impossible to hear crowd traffic instructions that may be given to facilitate the movement of convention goers between sessions or to meals, for instance.
11. Don't push others
to get to a lecture/dinner/ workshop/meeting with a friend faster. Pushing is rude and dangerous, and it will not get you where you want to go more quickly.