This trade fair was set up in a three-storey building of a mall that had all the modern facilities in it. An open stage was arranged where businessmen could advertise their products. Around 300 stalls, which turned to be a center of people’s attention, were set up at the fair. The stalls were dedicated to food, medicine and health, beauty, fashion, home appliances, IT, construction, robotics, bags,shoes, herbal products, accessories, industrial equipment etc. While male businessmen came with their models and trade items, women were also present with their goods such as food items, heavy wedding dresses, items of daily needs, scarves, stoles, burqas, clothing, slippers, shoes, purses, etc. The great accomplishment of this exhibition was that it gave women business persons the opportunity to meet people and get recognized by big business personalities. It also turned out to be an excellent platform for networking and interpersonal interactions.
The presence of international art galleries and competitions made the fair even more attractive. Artists, men and women from within the country and abroad participated in the competitions and presented their paintings depicting the pain of oppression and social discrimination found in the society. Their art became a means of conveying their emotions to the masses. In the competition, an artist, Shrayansi, painted the Kaaba, the center towards which Muslims turn during their prayer. This exhibited mutual love and brotherhood between communities. Sabaya Neela also showed the harmonious atmosphere of this country by painting the green dome of The Prophet’s Mosque. Shahid Pasha painted the theme of Ramayana and this unique gesture enhanced the beauty of the fair.
The inaugural session of the commercial fair was unique and spectacular as it started with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by its urdu translation. The inaugural address was a profound expression of the feelings and emotions of the hosts along with a briefing about the purpose of the trade fair. Some inspirational speeches by the guests of honour lifted the spirits of the participants.
The chief guest Syed Sadatullah Hussaini, President Jamaat e Islami Hind said that the wealth earned honestly through trade is not only permissible but is also highly encouraged in Islam. He reminded the audience that wealth is a requisite to fulfill the obligations of Zakat and Hajj, the two among the five pillars of Islam. Syed Sadatullah Hussaini expressed his concern that unfortunately there is a misconception in the community that earning money is a worldly endeavor and religious people should live in poverty. Due to this misconception, the Muslim community became weak and could not properly play its role in the development of the society. “Corruption and injustice prevails when wealth is concentrated within a few people” he said . Citing the example of the Companions of The Prophet (pbuh), he said quite a few of them were billionaires of that time and they spent their wealth in the way of Allah and for human welfare. He also mentioned that Muslim traders dedicated their wealth to the betterment of society, cleanliness and beautification of the cities, examples of which are present in Istanbul (Turkey), Baghdad (Iraq) and Syria (Palestine).
Speaking on the occasion S. Ameenul Hasan, The Chairman Of Rifah Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that business and commerce have been the sunnah of Prophets and the first trade fair was started by Prophet Sulaiman (AS), who prepared two sea ports for the purpose, where all the traders used to come together and get opportunities to further their trade. He also said that Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) himself used to participate in trade fairs in Syria and Yemen. Mustafa Kemal Al Barak from Turkey and Mirza Afzal Baig, Secretary of Rifah Chamber of Commerce also addressed the gathering. The trade fair was organized from 12th January to 15th January 2023.
Another interesting aspect of the fair was the presence of books and periodicals, including the stalls of two leading women’s magazines ‘Aura’ and ‘Haadiya’. Atiya Siddiqua, National Secretary, Women’s Wing, JIH was also present, along with Nasira Khanum, Asst Secretary, Women’s Wing, JIH and Uzma Nahid, renowned social activist. This commercial fair proved to be a pathway for the representation of women in the business field and indicated a bright future for women’s business and commerce in the times to come.