At the end of Fall semester, I wrote a long post reviewing all the MSA events we did, so here’s one for this semester. Sorry, no pictures. I might add some stuff about what I think about organizations in general, or I may write a separate post on that.. I’ll see. Bismillah..
Making the U-Turn
This event was completely my sisters’ idea. She heard a lecture by Imam Safi Khan titled Threads of Hope and really wanted us to host a similar event. So we did. :) The talk was about tawbah and turning back to Allah subhanhu wata’ala in all circumstances. I loved that he gave us scenarios from the lives of the Sahaba (radhiallahu ‘anhum). One of the stories I remember him mentioning was that of Abu Lubaba. Five crucial points he mentioned:
- The Sahaba and pious predecessors took their sins seriously and as a result, they were quick to repent.
- They never justified their wrongs. They would not argue or make excuses.
- They never treated their sins as something trivial. No matter how small the sin, they saw it as a mountain over them.
- They followed up any bad deed with a good deed, and they were quick to do so.
- They never gave up in the mercy of Allah. They always hoped for Allah’s forgiveness.
Imam Safi Khan ended with the four R’s of repentance:
- Remove yourself from that sin
- Remorse. The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said ‘an nadmu tawbah’. Remorse should produce a fire in your heart.
- Resolve never to go back to the sin again.
- Redress. Seek forgiveness from those whom you have wronged.
This was my first (and arguably, most successful) event alhumdulillah. Can’t go wrong with a Carb-filled breakfast and awesome sisters. :) Ayesha and I took care of the waffles. Everyone else also brought things to share. Must say that the kanafa was the best part! We didn’t do any activities cuz I’m so not your average social butterfly but I did meet all the new faces and tell them about the MSA. It was a hit. Alhumdulillah.
Slavery, Freedom, and the Five
This event was… interesting. No major complaints but I think the interest was really low overall so the turnout wasn’t all that great. I personally love history and looking at trends over time so I enjoyed it but the semester would have been fine if we didn’t do the event… and behind the scenes, it would have saved
us our PR a great deal of time and energy. Khair, alhumdulillah. You live and you learn.
Flowers & Thorns
Best. Sisters. Event. alhumdulillah. It was a great event and while we all pitched in, our amazing outreach director came up with the idea. Basically, we had 3 panelists come speak about the concept of beauty. By the end of the night, we covered the Islamic perspective, as well as the psychological and social impacts of society’s standard of what female beauty should look like. The speakers were all great. I loved that we were able to get a social worker to give her thoughts since she deals with teens and body image issues more regularly. The Q/A session was quite interesting but my favorite part of the event was J’s brownies :) She must have made some serious dhikr while baking, mashaAllah.
Sisters Night Out
Self-explanatory. Sisters went out to eat together. :) Lots of laughs, random jokes, and Anaam’s stories. Most of the time, we spent talking about hilarious taraweeh moments. Like last Ramadan, the woman standing next to me during witr one night was getting really impatient because the Imam was taking a little longer than usual to pick a surah to recite after al-Fatiha. So what does she do? She looks at her wrist watch and say “Oh come on!”… loud enough for me to hear.. smh.
Islam Awareness Week
Monday: One and Only One
Good event, minus the fact that our speaker had to be skyped in due to some unforeseen circumstances. This event is kind of a blur to me cuz I was in and out of the room a lot but it went well. We had like.. 50 boxes of pizza left over though. :p Not as many non-Muslims showed which was kind of disappointing, but the other days made up for it.
Tuesday: Mercy to Mankind
This event wasn’t what I expected it to be but the room was packed and the feedback was great. The speaker talked about Muhammad (salalllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) using Biblical and Hebrew texts which was interesting because it gave us a new perspective on how to tailor certain da’wah conversations (at least for me). I have to say though, that there was little to no mention of his mercy. It was mostly an analysis of different religious texts to back up the point that Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was known to the Yahud wan Nasara before his prophecy. Very beneficial overall and we had a few non-Muslims too.
Wednesday: A Letter from God
A-mazing event alhumdulillah. We invited Br. Ammar al Shukry to come speak about the Qur’an, it’s miracles, it’s message to mankind, and he nailed it mashaAllah. It was above and beyond what I expected it to be. :) His talk was structured, easy to understand for the average non-Muslim, and was anything but wishy-washy (which tends to be the case when speakers talk about the Qur’an to non-Muslims sometimes). The examples he gave from the Qur’an were also relevant and easy to follow. The Q/A was interesting. We had some random guy come in and basically interrogate the speaker about why Allah ‘azzaawajal uses the word “lahm” in certain places and how the stages of human development are different in bio. No one really gave him much attention, and I have to say that he was really getting on my nerves. The manner in which he asked questions was quite disrespectful and it was obvious he didn’t want to believe, just wanted to argue and waste time.
Thursday: Abu al Anbiya
This event was led by one of our two weekly classes instructors. It was a bit of a repeat from the class since he taught us the story of Ibrahim (‘alayhis salaam) two weeks prior but reminders benefit the believers :) I like his style, it’s very teacher-like and he’s good with asking questions and engaging the audience. After finishing the topic, he spoke a bit about Yaum ul Qiayama and the end of time. This was very needed in my opinion since we didn’t have an exclusive IAW event talking about the end of time. One of the things he mentioned was that the Day of Judgement will begin on the worst of creation. SubhanAllah, if we reflect on what’s going on today, we’re literally on the verge (in my opinion, wallahu ‘alam). I say this because, if you keep up with the news on Israel and Palestine, it’s becoming increasingly more clear that Allah is creating the foundation for certain situations that are almost exactly from ahadith relating to the end of time. I was reading from the last volume of al bidaya wan nihaya and subhanAllah, I can’t seem to read it for too long because I get overwhelmed thinking of how close we are to the final days of “dunya”. If not our generation, I have a really strong feeling that the next generation will be seeing some major changes in … everything.
Friday: Night of Light
This was our annual IAW event where we invite shuyook and different Qari’s to recite parts of the Qur’an. The moderator was fantastic mashaAllah, really engaging and knowledgable. We had 5 very unique and special recitations, followed by brief tafseer. I was hoping we could get Br. Abdullah Marhoum but things came up last minute. Alhumdulillah, it went well overall.
Sisters’ Night of Light
I was inspired to do this after seeing Durbah’s Qira’ah competition for sisters. We learned in Beautiful Patience that having formal Qur’an competitions can be a gray area so I made this event into a night of Qur’anic recitation and reflections (by sisters and for sisters) instead of a competition. SubhanAllah, I can’t thank Allah enough for making this event possible. While I did a lot of social events throughout the year, I felt that there was a spiritual aspect that was really lacking among the sisters at school. Sure, we would mention a hadith or seerah moment here and there during our study sessions but since we don’t have a regular halaqa, I wanted to end the year with something more deen-based. So I chose this. :) Alhumdulillah, we had 7 reciters who each chose ayaat that were meaningful to them and they shared a brief reflection (not tafseer) on those ayaat. I was the moderator… which was huge for me cuz I’m deathly afraid of speaking in public =/ I’m actually not horrible at public speaking, it just scares the jeepers out of me lol. Alhumdulillah though, Musa ‘alayhis salaam’s du’a got me through the night. In between each reciter, I did a quick recap and reflection on what they recited. From the feedback we received, sisters really enjoyed it and said they’d like to make it an annual thing. :)
We do an end of the year picnic after everyone is done with finals. Last year’s was great but I can’t make it this year cuz of other obligations. Should be fun though.
MashaAllah, our bros events coordinator did a great job this semester with lots of different events and getting different crowds to join alhumdulillah. Not sure how the events went cuz I wasn’t there but I heard they were all a hit. Brothers did swimming, lots of BNOs, a hiking trip, a game room night, and I’m sure I’m forgetting others. Two thumbs up. :) I think the best event they had (concept-wise) was the one about The Role of Men in Islam and the concept of Quwwama. Ayesha and I were talking the other day about how there’s such a lack of real men.. and I agree but at the same time, I don’t know what it is..like what’s the problem?.. a friend of mine said that men are underperforming because women overperform. It’s a valid point in some cases, but I don’t want to generalize. It’s weird though because we’re at a point where you kind of feel like something is wrong if there are more brothers volunteering for something than sisters.. truly ajeeb. Totally don’t mean to say that women don’t have issues… just an observation about the gender imbalance.
We continued the Stories of the Prophets Class from last semester also added another class–Tafseer Juz Amma. Both were great alhumdulillah. Though I think the Tafseer one was aimed more towards serious students of knowledge.. may Allah make us from them. Say Ameen.
I wanted to add a new element to the weekly kiosks this semester so what I did is I made quizzes for Muslims and non-Muslims. You can guess which one was harder :) For the Muslims, they had to get 75% of the questions right to get a free cupcake, non-Muslims got a cupcake for attempting their version. I thought it went well. We also sent a kiosk trivia question out every week and students answered for a prize. MashaAllah, Ayesha’s cupcakes made all of this possible. May Allah reward her immensely.
phew. I think that’s it. :) InshaAllah, this might be beneficial to any of you if you’re part of an MSA or youth group. More than anything, I use my blog as my hard drive/memory. I like to go back and read about things and look at pros/cons so writing a recap is helpful for me.
MSA has been an amazing experience alhumdulillah. Everything we did together, our meetings, events, planning, emails upon emails, minor differences of opinion, random jokes.. I pray Allah accepts all of it and forgives us for our shortcomings. I pray that if we did something remotely displeasing, that Allah overlooks it and gives the next board the hikma to do better bi’ithnillah. One of the reasons (among many, which will be discussed in a later post) I chose not to do MSA again next year is because I really felt like my board was the dream team in that we had a very balanced approach to everything, we had a unique group personality, and everyone was just great. Also, I don’t like change so I thought it would be best to step back. Yea, we had our differences when it came to minor things like booking rooms for certain groups and things like that but our differences showed me two things 1. That we cared enough about making the right decision for the sake of Allah (inshaAllah) and because of that, we were willing to argue our opinions. 2. We were not afraid to reach out to our local imams and scholars to ask for their help, even when it came to small matters. None of us assumed we were right and everyone else was wrong. One of the board members said we turned into the fiqh council of North America at times lol, and I think he was right in a sense, but again, it was not about us.. it was about following the Qur’an and Sunnah and avoiding any doubtful matters. I sincerely pray that Allah ‘azzawajal blesses all the people I worked with Firdaus ul a’ala and puts ease in all their affairs. I enjoyed working with everyone and learned A LOT.. about myself, about others, about Muslims. Overall, it was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Nonetheless, I think my volunteering days are coming to an end.. gradually. I’m tempted to write about these thoughts here but I’ll save it for another rainy day. :)
hand cramp and iftar time in an hour. :)
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ العَلِيمُ
p.s.: I’ll probably be posting a lot in the next couple of weeks since I’ve been meaning to share so much but rarely had the time during school. I’m working on the Ibrahim’s (‘alayhis salaam) du’as versus Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as well as a couple other things but they’re not finalized so it may take longer. That’s all.
EDIT!!! Totally forgot about our last event! ahh.. not sure how that happened. Anyway, it was titled “E pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One”. The lecture was by Dr. Altaf Husain (:)) and he really did justice to the topic mashaAllah. I loved that his presentation was solely made up of ayaat and lots of amazing pictures of Muslims around the world. He talked about the importance of embracing cultures and looking at our differences in a positive light. It was kind of a “feel-good” lecture (which, are generally not my type) but I really enjoyed it. Nonetheless, I was hoping he would also talk about some of the negative aspects of cultures (ex: Bi’dah!!!!) but.. he didn’t. It’s okay though. Great way to end the semester.
Please keep me in your du’as. Don’t worry, Allah knows who Cucumber is :)