Because yesterday was the last official day of 2013-2014 MSA, here are a few words from some of the past year’s shura and specialty officers. Insha’Allah there’s benefit in the words below, for at least one pair of eyes. And btdubs, we’re simply getting the conversation started. Leave your answers to these questions in the comments below, we’d love to hear everyone’s reflections on the year.
Asad Mian, President
Why I got involved: It was a dark and stormy night, the D.E.S session had come to an end.
A brother walked over saying: “For IAW, we’ve not much to spend.”
As I stepped up to the call, it became a sort of trend…
MSA in need, and I, able to tend.
Favorite MSA moment: Project Ummah. An example of members’ ideas come to life! This event started out as ideas on the white board, at LSM 3rd floor Room 3 on a Monday night. I wrote these ideas on the board and our shura (aka The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Women) thought, “Will this even work?” Then a month later by the mercy of Allah, people believed in our leadership and gave it their all. It wasn’t the most successful event, but people trusted the Muslim leaders and followed them. We made a difference that day, you the members made a difference that day. That day I realized what leadership meant.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Moderating Paired in Paradise.
Parting Words: Believe in yourself. Follow you Heart! Don’t do drugs. Only you can prevent forest fires!
Now that I have shared my feelings thoroughly, time for some real advice: “Live to Let Others Live.” This life is short, give back, help someone, make a difference and do it for the sake of Allah.
Saad Zafar, Brothers Vice President
Why I got involved: It all began in a distant land called Silvers Apartments in the year 2010. My roommate Shan (The Great) Ali recommended my technical expertise for audio and video equipment to the IAW Mafia. It was there I had to answer the call. Four years later, this is all you know about my secret life.
Favorite MSA moment: One doesn’t simply have a favorite moment in the MSA. I do not understand your question.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: The time when I…wait I don’t have any.
Parting Words: Any good that has come is from Allah and Allah alone. When we say we love for the sake of Allah, we realize what we love in a person comes from our Creator, and it is not something they brought forth in themselves. And if we have any good in us, that too comes from our Lord.
Between these two,
you will see,
that if a person is amazing,
they owe that to Allah,
and if they fall short,
that they may have not been so blessed,
and that therein lay part of their worldly test.
So stay humble. Forgive and reflect.
Disclaimer: The two posts above may or may not have been a collaborative effort between the President and Brothers’ Vice-President. #MadShady. They also wish they could have written more.
Seherisch Ahmad, Sisters Vice President
Why I got involved: To be honest, I didn’t have a reason. To be even more honest, first time I came to MSA freshmen year, I didn’t even like it. But after a year of avoiding Paul Robeson I decided to give it another chance. I showed up before meetings and help set up. Before I knew it, I would stay back for the halaqas and classes and it changed something. For the first time in a long time I felt like I was neglecting a huge part of my life and I was. MSA became a gateway and I am so so grateful to have had stayed back that one night in November (even if it was for the brownies).
Favorite MSA moment: There are SO many from this year alone. My friends don’t go out to eat with me cause I’m so indecisive so I’m gona mention a couple :)
- For Project Ummah, there was one night we (some shura members and other members) stayed back to make goodie bags. It was midnight, we were all sitting on the floor at ilounge, and a brother (will not name names) starts discussing an invention dealing with retractable heels for sisters. I actually died a little on the inside.
- During IAW, for the first time we tried a survey competition. The first day the sisters were under the impression we were losing. Losing bad. So we RAIDED Alex. It was the most fun, amazing, da’wah-filled experience I’ve had in my four years.
- Leaving the IAW tent to help Ammaarah parallel park her car. Twice.
- Successfully photographing a sisters pyramid at the last meeting after failing 156 times.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Just multiply my favorite moments by 1000 and that’s how many embarrassing moments I have. One day Deema, Hafsa, and I were in storage (which is in the dungeons of LSH) and trying to organize stuff. It was a long day in my defense, and I was tired of dragging boxes. All the brothers were upstairs and I was wondering why they weren’t coming downstairs to help. So I say in a less then friendly tone, “WHERE are the brothers why are they not coming!?!? What could they be doing upstairs? Someone go get them!!!” Unfortunately at the same moment I was yelling, a brother was walking in. I didn’t see his facial reaction but apparently the effect was, he ran back. Seriously. He stopped. 180 degrees. Ran. Another brother was behind him, hadn’t heard me, was now even more confused and also ran back with him saying, “What’s going onnnn?”
So disclaimer. I’m not scary. I promise. Just unfortunate timing.
Parting Words: MSA is a family. There are no other words to describe it. The bonds you develop are for life. I wouldn’t trade this year as SVP for ANYTHING in the world. Alhamdulilah my team was awesome, the membership was awesome, and everything was awesome. :)
Advice for those remaining behind, cherish every moment and be a part of MSA. The work doesn’t happen on its own. It happens because members want change, and they make it happen. This is your family so invest in it.
And finally, “It’s not awkward unless you make it awkward. The only exception is MSA. Then it’s always awkward.”
Mujtaba Qureshi, Treasurer
Why you got involved: Islam is life.
Favorite MSA moment: I feel like I’m betraying all the other moments by picking one favorite moment. It almost hurts. I’m actually procrastinating for HW due in an hour, so I’ll only give one: Becoming the YUGIOH of the MSA.
Most embarrassing MSA moment:
- My voice giving out while leading Salah at an MSA iftar over the summer/Ramadan.
- Giving Da’wah to Muslims at IAW thinking they’re not Muslims.
- Having to give a biography of a speaker at an event, only to have my phone die right before I’m about to start.
Parting Words: I’m not parting, but…
- Don’t make the mistake I’ve seen so many people do: choose to get involved later, only to lose the chance to & never be able to again.
- Don’t let arrogance get to your head, even if you’re someone with a position. The only difference between someone with an MSA position & someone without a position is the one with a position has more responsibility & has to triple check their sincerity a billion times a day.
- If you feel like you can benefit the MSA, then lend out your helping hand. You’re only hurting it by not offering your assistance. People always ask what MSA can do for them, but a good friend of mine says it’s about what you can do for the MSA.
Zaina Faruqi, Secretary
Why I got involved: To do something for my Muslim brothers & sisters and ultimately get closer to Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
Favorite MSA moment: There were many MSA moments that are unforgettable (starting from when I was a freshman). The most wonderful thing was to see MSA grow in the past 4 years.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: I’d rather not say =p
Parting Words: It’s not the shura that makes MSA, it’s all the members. So get involved in any way you can, and do something for the Muslims on campus. Remember Allah. It is seriously the best feeling ever to do something for the sake of Allah subhana wa ta’ala—no matter what the end result is. Join the Muslim brotherhood/sisterhood on campus and enjoy your time at Rutgers, because next thing you know it’ll end in a blink of an eye.
Zara Huda, Events Coordinator
Why I got involved: I wish I took initiative beforehand to be more involved. It’s a great blessing to be a means for good to spread, by Allah’s permission. It’s not about being in a “position,” or being seen by people. Those things mean nothing. It’s about intentions and contributing where you can.
Not many people know my past or would guess, but I wasn’t the most practicing Muslim. I especially had a rough time when I was younger. Things changed towards the end of high school, and Allah subhana wa ta’ala pulled me up when I was at my lowest. My intention whenever brainstorming topics for events, was to give back what Allah gave to me. Be a means to help bring others up- just as Allah brought me up.
Favorite MSA moment: During Project Ummah, a stranger came up to me saying he saw us walking as a group and wanted to know who we were. I told him we’re the Muslims of Rutgers, and we’re trying to spread smiles. His reaction/response: “Thank you, this made me happy, you’ve put a smile on my face.” :)
Most Embarrassing MSA moment: I can’t remember…probably pre-Project Ummah, when I accidentally threw a goodie bag at a brother’s face.
Parting Words: Whatever gathering you’re in, if you see someone alone, reach out. It could mean the world to them. Dua will get you through everything. Feel free to talk to Allah, tell Him what’s on your mind, and ask Him—He Responds to The Caller whenever he/she calls. Enjoy your college years!!!
Ibaad Sadiq, Marketing
Why I got involved: Honestly, it hurt knowing there are so many Muslims on campus, and we only get a small fraction of that. So I got involved because I wanted to make a difference and help.
Favorite MSA moment: Too many to remember.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: One time during a shura meeting, one of the brothers brought a piece of chocolate and left it out in the open in the middle of the table. I kinda zoned out of anything Asad was saying after that point, and in the middle of one of his important spiels, I asked if anyone was gonna eat the chocolate, and reached out and ate it. Everyone laughed at me, but hey, I got the chocolate. That made my day.
Parting Words: Do what you do for the sake of Allah. The applause or booing will finish, the people will disappear, the world will move on, but your sincere deed will remain with Allah for you to reap the reward on the Day of Judgment, and in the end, that’s all that ever really mattered.
Mohammad Azim Nasir, ROOTS
Why I got involved: Passion for Islam and Da’wah
Favorite MSA moment: Every moment in the MSA is my favorite MSA moment.
Parting Words: Just a couple of words.
- Lead by example, a leader is someone who helps others climb the ladder, not someone who just throws them it.
- Know that if you are muslim, you are a representative of Islam, whether you like it or not.
- Work on your manners before you start brushing up on your da’wah skills. If you can’t debate or talk with proper etiquette then don’t.
- Lighten up and laugh. The deen is not supposed to make anyone uptight, rude and angry all the time. If you are like that then please read up on the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah salAllahu alayhi wa sallam. Not only does this distance you from people but it distances you from the deen eventually.
- Motivate people. It honestly doesnt matter what the cause is, people will not participate unless motivated or inspired. So become someone who can constantly motivate with his/her actions, words, and persona.
- Do not judge others, regardless of their religiosity. It might appear they’re making 10 mistakes on the outside and are perfect on the inside. But you make 100 mistakes on the inside and appear perfect on the outside. So don’t judge others because they sin differently than you do.
Deema Hamdan, ROOTS VP
Why you got involved: Ahmad forced me to…just kidding. Da’wah reaches the greater community at RU, makes you feel like you’re making a significant impact on our community & like you’re doing your job as a Muslim no matter where you are. Also because most people think giving da’wah is for only for a select few, but you really see people come together for it & strengthen their own faith by doing it.
Favorite MSA moment: Too many. Everyday is a blessing. But a few include meeting some of the most genuine and sweetest girls, some of whom are now my best friends. And spending every breathing moment at the IAW tent.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Princesses don’t have embarrassing moments. khamsa khamsa.
Parting Words: Purify your intention. Always. Remember, “Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended.” Also, remember when you do work for the sake of Allah, there is barakah in your work. So never shy from doing Islamic work because of school/work/no time/etc. May Allah reunite us all in Jannat al firdous. Joining MSA was literally the best decision I ever made. My only regret is I not joining earlier.
Hafsa Sadiq, ROOTS VP
Why I got involved: Ibaad forced me to…just kidding. Giving da’wah just makes you feel like you’re doing your job as a Muslim no matter where you are, and is the perfect opportunity to reach out to our larger community at RU. I wanted to be part of Roots because I wanted to help eliminate those misconceptions and work together to get more people involved with spreading Islam wherever they may be. Plus, Roots was the super coolest specialty team ever, obvs. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it? Seeing people come together for da’wah and in the process strengthen their own faith was just awesome.
Favorite MSA moment: There are too many to count. I didn’t want to sound cliche, but it’s the truth. Honestly, everything.
Parting Words: Take advantage of every moment you have here! Don’t stick to the status quo. Always find a way to make things better and more creative. Introduce yourself to everyone you come across at MSA, and always give people the benefit of the doubt. Never forget your greater purpose in life, strive for it, and let everything else fall into place.
Shan Ali, Road to Revival
Why I got involved: Being involved in MSA the last few years I knew I wanted to do something my last year. R2R is an amazing opportunity to work on a conference that truly benefits people, and seeing first hand how it changed people in past made me want to be a part of it this year. Even with all the work that goes into an event this large, it was still an awesome experience that I’ll never forget, Alhamdulillah.
Favorite MSA moment: The best event of the year of course: R2R 2014 (completely unbiased…partially). And being on the shura 2011-2012.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Would have to be accidentally texting the wrong GroupMe a text I meant to send to one person lol.
Parting Words: I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. College flies by, I kid you not. Just ask any senior. Use your time wisely, get involved with MSA, and work solely for the sake of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Purify your intentions and don’t be afraid to step up to the challenge. The potential for reward far exceeds any struggle that may come your way. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala accept and continue to bless RU-MSA and it’s members with success, Ameen.
Ammaarah “Oprah” Khan, HOPE
Why I got involved: I’ve realized that some of the best dawah happens through community service and that was my goal. Whether it’s participating in a walk, stuffing teddy bears, or making kits for homeless shelters—when you attach MSA to community service, it showcases something amazing about our organization and religion. Smiling is sunnah and I wanted to spread smiles—to both Muslims and non-Muslims :)
Favorite MSA moment: I have a few….
- When delivering the kit to the men’s shelter, the lady at the desk asked us if Allah sent us.
- Meeting the different types of Muslims on campus—the diversity of our religion is so beautiful—just this past year I’ve met Muslims from tons of different countries and different walks of life.
- Meeting some of my best friends.
- And last, but definitely not least—becoming a family with the rest of the specialty/shura :) I can’t imagine how this year would have been without any one of them.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Because it’s me—there’s too many to count…but probably calling one of the brothers “Bhai” by accident and horrible autocorrects on GroupMe.
Smile and spread smiles.
Love and forgive.
Have a dream? Stand your ground and take risks.Without taking risks with HOPE—it wouldn’t be what it is.
Strive for the best and keep your intentions pure. Always.
Practice the MLK voice.
Faryal Rafiq, SOS (Fall ’13)
Why I got involved: Being a part of the heavily diverse Rutgers community, it was important to me to be a part of something that strongly values my faith. That was RU-MSA, and this organization has a unity that is unseen. It was a place that created bonds for so many people that it made me want to be a part as well because college shapes you and the people you spend those countless hours with mold you into the person you become.
Favorite MSA moment: There are many. Seeing those sisters show up to various events and choose MSA as a place to relieve their stress and have a few (or more!) laughs, it meant more than anything. The bond of sisterhood…Alhamdulillah.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Do I haaaaaave to? :)
Parting Words: Step through that door of MSA, and do not be afraid. No matter what is on the outside or inside…this MSA is a family. Walk towards us and we will run to you (reminiscent of one of my favorite hadiths, and it’s very true in our case, as we all are the servants of Allah subhana wa ta’ala). Just do it!
Saima Usmani, SOS (Spring ’14)
Why I got involved: Helping out in MSA wasn’t a choice. I thought that being Muslim it was my duty to do as much as I can to be as useful as possible to whichever community I became a part of, which included the Muslim community of Rutgers.
Favorite MSA moment: Freshman year, I was in my dorm in Brett Hall with my windows open when I heard, out of nowhere, the adhan for Maghrib resonating through all of College Ave. It was the first day of Islam Awareness Week.
Most embarrassing MSA moment:
- When my cousin went rogue and used my phone to text the MSA GroupMe for a very, very long time.
- Like my favorite MSA moment, this is before I was ever truly involved in MSA. I felt unsafe one night, and because I recognized a few MSA brothers I was able to ask them to walk me to my car. The moral of the story: whether our 4000 deep attend MSA events or not, whether they even know what MSA is, the importance of MSA is that we are always there. It is our presence and our strength that matters; we are different because we service, protect, and care for not just “members,” but every Muslim on campus.
Parting Words: The most beautiful nights, the company of the most wonderful people, the most rewarding hours spent in work, are found here. I knew I could help out a lot for MSA, but I never realized how much MSA would give back to me. I knew that I wouldn’t regret getting involved, but I never realized that I would mourn leaving it so sorely. Be grateful for the opportunity to help the Muslim community, but even if you cannot help, be grateful that MSA exists.
Habeeba Husain, Submissions
Why I got involved: Previous graduates, whether involved in MSA or not, told me time and again to enjoy my time at RU and get involved with something. I liked blogging and received an email calling for applicants to the specialty positions, and blog editor was an option…so I went for it.
Favorite MSA moment: Road to Revival second day intensive class with Mufti Hussain Kamani.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Mistaking a Muslim guy for a non-Muslim I met earlier during IAW, and continuing to give him a survey to fill out, smh.
Parting words: Put your trust in Allah subhana wa ta’ala, and realize He is witness to every spoken word and action, text message and email.
Azka Mohyuddin, (Hyper)Active Member
Why I got involved: The imaan rush you get after listening to an Islamic lecture is only temporary but working in the MSA with the intention of pleasing Allah subhana wa ta’ala always on your mind is a completely different experience. I would go as far as to say that those who organize events get more out of it than those who attend even if they never got to listen to a single speaker throughout the year. MSA has given me more than I could have expected in my journey towards Allah and I wanted to give back even if it was something as small as my time.
Favorite MSA moment: Rather than a moment, my favorite part of MSA has been witnessing the positive change it brought in me and the people around me.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: As the R2R lead last year, I slept through my alarm the day of the conference and was later woken up with my friends banging on my door lol. Apparently everyone was looking for me but I was only an hour late so not too bad…*nervous laughter*
Parting Words: Some of my best college memories have to with things that happened within or related to the MSA. It was a blessing to grow alongside individuals who not only understood but also embodied what it meant to do things for the sake of Allah subhana wa ta’ala alone and to always be mindful of Him in every situation. I may forget what a speaker said at an event or what kind of food was served, but the lessons I have learned from the people I worked with have shaped me as a person and as a Muslim. MSA is more than just an organization that puts together events; for me, MSA is the people I have met. Their sincerity and struggle for the sake of Allah inspire me to strive to be a better friend and Muslim. Alhamdulillah, I am so grateful to Allah subhana wa ta’ala for allowing me to benefit from such company and ask everyone who is reading this to get involved in any way you can because our time here at Rutgers may be short, but these are the years that will help define the people we become for the rest of our life.
Ruwaa Samarrai, MSATS
Why I got involved: I wanted to try and help other students who were potentially struggling with difficult courses or needed advising. I wanted to be a part of this system where the MSA community can get help from the very members that comprise it and build a stronger ummah.
Favorite MSA moment: Any and every event, meeting, halaqa, and just hanging out at the cubicle. MSA is family, especially our MSA, and it’s a family I’m proud of.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: Giving da’wa to Muslims during IAW…on multiple occasions…
Parting Words: RU-MSA has really made my experience at Rutgers amazing. May Allah bless this community because we really come together when we need to. It’s not perfect, it has its flaws, as any family does, but it’s where we all belong, and that’s something powerful.
Riasat Zaman, Graphics Chair
Why I got involved: I wanted to become more involved with the Muslim community at Rutgers and use my passion for graphic design to reach out to a bigger audience. Making graphics is such a great way to attract people’s attention and get them excited for programs and events!
Favorite MSA moment: Getting to work with the MSA team to make the IAW banners (although I’ve enjoyed making all the other graphics as well!) Everyone had creative and bold ideas, allowing the banners to really make a statement this year alhamdulliah.
Most embarrassing MSA moment: My GroupMe texts being autocorrected to some really weird words.
Parting Words: (Although I’m not parting) Use the opportunities around you to leave a positive footprint on the community. There are so many ways to get involved with the MSA, so don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people! Insha’Allah, you will have the ability to accomplish great things and meet some amazing people.