Words aren’t enough. Maybe it’s because I don’t consider myself much of a writer and more of a quiet reflector. But there are many things that need to be acknowledged about the week that many of us consider one of the best weeks of our life. And although the weekend gave us all time to reflect on IAW and recover from its greatness, I’m not sure my words can do it justice… but here we go anyway.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone—Muslim, Non-Muslim, MSA-goer, Non-MSA-goer, volunteers, and heads all benefited from this year’s Islam Awareness Week. Sometimes there’s this misconception that IAW is only meant to cater to Non-Muslims, and despite propagators of this notion, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Personally, I think the best comments about this year’s IAW are from Muslims that say being in the tent made them feel at home and really encouraged them to give da’wah. IAW might be organized by the RU-MSA Roots initiative, but every Muslim should feel like this was their event. Every Muslim on campus should have felt that it was their duty to be involved in IAW—if we are an ummah, a family, then this is our family event. And IAW benefits us Muslims as well—it gives us that imaan boost. When we try to convey the perfection of our religion to others, it’s an incredible reminder of what we’ve been blessed with.
“And Verily, this is an absolute truth with certainty. Therefore glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most Great.” [69:51-52]
There is also an incredible need for us Muslims to make our presence known and our voices heard within the Rutgers community. It’s unfortunate that we’re still struggling for the ability to speak on behalf of our own religion, but we can either continue playing the victim card or we can be proactive. If we are consistent and united, then we can have a big impact on this large campus. We have to start thinking long-term, planning for the future Muslims of Rutgers. We need to understand that this is not the job of one individual, but rather the collective effort of many, and it begins with unity, which this IAW has shown it can help facilitate.
Ultimately, Islam Awareness Week serves as a reminder for us to always keep our intentions in place and to give credit where it is rightfully due. When we come together sincerely for the sake of Allah, there is just no end to the blessings that we can receive. And if we think about how amazing it feels right now to have been a part of such a blessed event, we can just imagine what the reward will be like in the afterlife, inshaAllah.
It’s also a reminder that Allah is the one who guides people. We are only here to carry the message that Allah is one and Muhammad ﷺ is His last messenger—nothing more and nothing less. Therefore, we should pray for Allah to guide us Muslims, everyone that learned about Islam, everyone that is considering Islam, and everyone that has accepted it.
And of course, any and all success is due to Allah, the creator of the heavens and the earth and all the order within it. And all mistakes are our own for which we seek forgiveness from Him. And since the work does not end here, may Allah put blessings in all our efforts, in the IAWs that are to come, and may He continue to let us work together as a family. Ameen.
Abyaz Uppal is a senior majoring in Cognitive Science and the current head of Roots, the da’wah intiative at the MSA. Islam Awareness Week has held a special place in her heart since 2013, when she began her journey with MSA and Roots. She hopes to get a job at the Brain Room in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic.