Yesterday was the last official day of 2014-15 MSA, and tomorrow’s the last official event, Insha’Allah. It’s a bittersweet ending and we’ve definitely come a long, long way… so before we go, here are a few (a lot of?) words from some of the past year’s shura and specialty officers. Insha’Allah, there’s some benefit in them… and don’t forget to leave your responses below, too!
The Chosen One (President)
AKA: Samosa Squad Leader, Taufeeq Ahamed
Why’d you get involved? Initially I joined MSA HOPE, because few things feel more rewarding than doing community service with your Muslim brothers and sisters, and the next semester I served as the Da’wah table head and a quasi-IAW head. From there, I was inspired at seeing the enthusiasm that MSA workers had toward their duties to this organization. Nights, weekends, breaks, none of these were free from MSA work for these individuals. They clearly weren’t doing it as a resume filler, they were motivated by a much higher purpose for their work. That inspired me and made me realize the importance of being able to leave some sort of legacy here at RU in my short time here, that’ll stay for me as a source of reward even when I’m long gone from here. Not only that, I’ve learned that there’s a ton of fun to be had working with the MSA in whatever capacity that you do, and believe it or not, that fun only increases as you get more and more involved.
Unless you’re president. Presidents don’t have fun.
Favorite MSA moment? Believe it or not, it was the day before IAW, Set-up Sunday. There was just something absolutely beautiful seeing almost 30-40 MSA family members show up to spend their entire Sunday setting up an event, with no incentive whatsoever. It humbles you to see how much enthusiasm there is in this community to help each other out, and to help this MSA reach even greater heights.
Most embarrassing MSA moment? You mean that one time Preacher Moss, our Eid Banquet keynote performer, accidentally ended up in a Mexican Restaurant in New Brunswick because the address we gave him was for the Joyce Kilmer Avenue in New Brunswick, and not the one in Piscataway for the Livingston Student Center? Because I don’t know what you’re talking about.
How about some words of wisdom? If you were to ask me what the ultimate purpose of our MSA is, its pretty simple, and its essentially a cliche: To bring people closer to Allah (SWT). We accomplish this through our MSA by creating a space on campus where Muslims feel included and welcomed for being who they are and adhering to their principles, rather than feeling isolated for doing so. Through that, we grow in our Islam together, and the difficult task of staying on the Siraat Al Mustaqeem, the Straight Path, is made much easier simply because now you have friends to be on it with. The baraka of being able to do this kind of work is unimaginable, so don’t pass up on the opportunity if you’re handed it. And if you are given an opportunity to provide for the community here at Rutgers in whatever capacity it is, give it your all, and Allah will reward you for your work and your impact.
Above all, stay grateful to Allah, for without His mercy, none of this would be possible.
Hafsa (Sisters VP)
Why’d you get involved? I initially heard about RU-MSA when I was in high school, and it sounded so cool that I always knew I wanted to be a part of it when I got to Rutgers. When I actually became a part of it as a freshman, it was ten times better than what I had imagined (and I’m not being biased lol). MSA was much more than just general events with free food & IAW…. MSA created a platform for self-development through bonding, da’wah, community service, blog posts and much more. I wanted to get involved because I knew it had so much potential with all the Muslims on campus, and because I knew it would be a great way to spend my time, as it sure proved to be. I wanted a good balance with school & extra-curricular activities, and MSA was the perfect way to spend it for the sake of Allah while also having fun and getting the most out of the (halal) college life. Every year with MSA has brought different experiences, friendships and challenges that has helped me mold into the person I am today and I couldn’t be more thankful for that alhamdullilah :)
Favorite MSA moment? OMG this is SO hard.
I don’t want to sound cliche, but there’s so many moments I loved about MSA this year. But I think the best moments I had were when members said how much of an impact MSA had on them. It’s always amazing to see people who were initially shy or mostly to themselves become leaders in MSA with an entire team under them. It’s so inspiring to see so many people come together for the sake of Allah, just sacrificing their time and energy to do things they don’t have to do or don’t get paid for. MSA is really all about the volunteers, it would be nothing without the amount of passion and work ethic the members have. You guys seriously rock.
Most embarassing moment? We had a beautiful cake at one of our events called “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”…I may or may not have been the one who dropped the cake face-down on the floor at that event…
How about some words of wisdom? Take advantage of every second you have here & don’t be afraid to take initiative on what you’re passionate about. Your time at Rutgers will fly by and you don’t want to look back and regret not being involved. MSA gives you so many options to get involved and you’re likely to discover some things you’re great at while you’re here. Remember that you don’t have to have a title to make a difference, every action or thought makes a difference.
Also, you’ll realize that college really molds you into the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life. You’ll see that when you graduate, you’re going to be a whole new person than when you entered college as a freshmen. Remember the bigger picture for all that you do…that our purpose in life is to please Allah (SWT) and everything goes back to that. So use your time at Rutgers to develop YOURSELF first before developing others, always think of ways to improve yourself and always check your intentions. There’s no harm in checking yo self before you wreck yo self.
Badar (Brothers VP)
Why’d you get involved? I become more and more involved with MSA as the years passed because I felt that the MSA was more like a family to me than anything else I had on campus. It gave me an opportunity to make a difference, do good, and take steps forward towards my Deen. The brotherhood and friends that always supported me when I needed it most were unbelievably amazing. In the end knowing that what I’m doing is for the sake of Allah was more then enough of a reason for me to get involved with the MSA.
Favorite MSA moment? My favorite MSA moment this year has to be Project Ummah. The amount of people that were smiling because of the small gesture of kindness we provided was amazing. When I heard people say oh wow this is amazing, thank you so much, you guys just made my day, it was a feeling that I can’t compare to anything else. It made me feel good inside and as if I was actually making a difference in another persons life.
Most embarrassing MSA moment? My most embarrassing moment this year had to have been when I was up at the mic thanking people for all the hard work they did but then accidentally called a brother a sister.
How about some words of widsom? First and foremost I want to say if I have ever offended you or hurt you in anyway I’m sorry and I hope that you can forgive me. Being in a position of leadership comes with great responsibility and requires some sacrifice. There is no point in sugar coating it but the truth is nothing worth it comes that easy. This is an opportunity like no other because you can actually make a difference and leave behind a legacy. It’s a change to do good, be good, feel good, and have fun while doing it. Just keep your intentions clear, work hard, do the best you can and leave the rest to Allah. I had an amazing year, loved every second of it and I would never change that for anything because it’s a memory that will stay with me forever!
The Real President (Marketing)
Why’d you get involved? All the credit goes to Hafsa for why I got involved. She was my first Muslim friend after I converted and she’s the one who brought me to my first MSA meeting last year. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, I fell in love right away and just never stopped going.
Favorite MSA moment? My favorite MSA moment this year was definitely Islam Awareness Week. I know this is a really cliche event to pick but I don’t care because the amount of people that have changed because of this event is insane. I’m not talking about just nonmuslims who converted, but the amount of nonmuslims who received the message because of a couple of college kids dedicating their time for the sake of Allah is amazing. That’s what was happening. A few college kids dedicating their time for the sake of Allah. Even the amount of MUSLIMS whose lives have tremendously changed because of this event is incredible. That’s the power of doing something purely for the sake of Allah. Thousands of lives change completely for the better.
Most embarrassing moment? My most embarrassing moment this year in MSA has to be one out of the billion times I have to walk through the herd of brothers blocking the pathway to get to the sisters cubicle during an event. Seriously, why do they stand right in the center? I will never understand. But please, to any brothers reading this, I beg of you to move to the side or at least not stand in front of the sisters cubicle. Thank you and jzkA.
How about some words of wisdom? Honestly, just enjoy every second. This is a time in your life you’ll never be able to get back. This is the time where you’re the most carefree, the most energetic, and the most fun. You being able to spend these best years of your life with people who InshaAllah know we’re all here for the same purpose is a blessing. Cherish every single moment of it.
Princess of the MSA (Event Coordinator)
AKA: PD, Deema
Why’d you get involved? I got involved in MSA accidentally but instantly fell in love with it. I realized through MSA I could help make a difference for the Muslims on campus. Having that Muslim community that feels so much like a family at Rutgers makes school much more enjoyable. Being a part of MSA is so rewarding, and I’ve met the most amazing people. My only regret is that I didn’t join earlier.
Favorite MSA moment? There’s been a lot of great moments alhamdulillah. But my favorite part of this year was working with my event planning team. They’ve all grown so much and I’m so proud of everything they’ve accomplished in such a short time span. They were the missing piece that MSA needed. They also kept me sane when shura was driving me crazy! #PDsTeam #proudmama
Most embarrassing moment? Picture on dawahbots groupme.
How about some words of wisdom? So many things to say… “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I love this quote. Welcome everyone with open arms in the MSA and never judge anyone, for no one knows what in the heart of another except for Allah (SWT). Get involved in MSA!! College flies by so fast, and some of my favorite memories have to do with MSA. The reason I’m still involved with MSA is because of how it makes me feel. I love being surrounded my Muslims who are constantly striving to better themselves and those around them. I’ve learned so much about myself and others by being involved in MSA, and its only inspired me to be a better person and want to do more.
Don’t shy away from being active in MSA because of school or work. Allah puts barakah in all that we do for His sake. Make sure to purify your intentions and do everything for the sake Allah (SWT). This life is SO short, so do whatever you can to have a positive impact on those around you and the community at large. We’re all striving for Jannat Al-Firdous, so lets help each other get there inshaAllah.
Remus Lupin (Secretary-General)
AKA: the Godfather, Mujtaba
Why’d you get involved? My first ROOTS meeting ended up becoming my first mistake at Rutgers… hear me out.
The D.E.S. class had just ended, and my Iman was mended.
We were approached by a man with a lion’s mane,
We did not realize till it was too late, how my friend and I would come to regret the class that we had attended.
Don’t worry, he said, we will teach, you will train,
So take your position as IAW heads, Marketing and Program.
After a long time of thinking, we had accepted and proceeded to scram.
Soon I had loved Islamic Work at RU so much, I felt no shame —
To pursue further my work in RU-MSA, whether it showed its name as Treasurer or Secretary, it was all the same.
The ability to benefit, the success in the work, all the work that was still left to do, I had known that this was the place for me and that until I graduate, RU-MSA is where i would be.
Favorite MSA moment? A sister who I had met at IAW who had yet to enter into the folds of Islam came up to me and another. She had handed us her translation of the Quran and had asked me to point her to any set of Ayat in the Quran that are my favorite. When I asked her why, she said simply because she wants to read something that I find beautiful.
SubhanAllah. What a blissful reminder, an amazing experience, from a person with a beautiful heart.
Most embarrassing moment? -__________________________- thanks for the flashbacks.
I guess putting myself on the Eid Banquet screen whilst wearing a hijab in front of 400-500 people would constitute as embarrassing.
How about some words of wisdom? “We don’t fail because we run out of energy, we fail because we run out of drive.” – T.S. Azim
1 – Remember: do good where ever the opportunity presents itself. If that’s your will and your motivation, your drive will never deplete IA. You will never be tired – not for long anyway. You will never run out of energy. You will never fail.
2 – Stay pure hearted. Come to RU-MSA solely for sincere reasons, and leave for sincere reasons. Provide benefit only for sincere reasons, and let RU-MSA benefit you only for sincere reasons. Allah is pure and only accepts purity
3 – I’m a junior and I have many friends who wish they had gotten involved with RU-MSA much earlier. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how you’re doing it — step your foot in, and do all that you can IA.
Sirius Black (ROOTS)
AKA: Optimus Prime, Abyaz
Why’d you get involved? I was becoming more and more interested in da’wah and I found out MSA was having da’wah classes. It was my first MSA event and introduction to Roots.
Favorite MSA moment? Obviously it’s hard to choose, but definitely IAW head meetings when the team would be cracking jokes. It was also just amazing to see everyone grow from the experience, myself included. And of course, the random feels circle during the last night of IAW; the epitome of an MSA family moment <3
Most embarassing moment? I don’t get embarrassed easily, but it’s pretty funny when people think I’m a guy from my name. Two speakers have referred to me as “brother” in e-mail… True story.
How about some words of wisdom? This is going to sound so hippie but honestly, there is way too much negativity that is spread around so we need to make the extra effort to be positive, welcoming, nonjudgemental, and patient. These are somethings I have always seen in a person that I look up to in MSA. But yeah, contribute positively to the order of the universe because that’s the sunnah style and there is reward in it, InshaAllah.
Other little reminders :)
1) If you have an idea (especially in MSA), don’t expect to say it once and see it magically happen. Be ready to take initiative and have a game plan!
2) It is much easier to complain on the sidelines than it is to do the work (well)
3) Check out the words of wisdom from last year’s shura/specialty bc they really know wassup
Draco Malfoy (ROOTS VP)
AKA: Ammar, Director of Religious Affairs Rishta Board
Why’d you get involved? Met some religious people that didn’t have a stick up their you-know-where and were normal.
Favorite MSA moment? IAW, Dawah tables, ALM halaqas. When you’re in MSA there’s never just one favorite moment.
Most embarrassing MSA moment? Becoming friends with Taufeeq.
How about some words of wisdom? Never let the Rooster run wild.
Hermione Granger (ROOTS VP)
Why’d you get involved? For a long time, I didn’t fit in anywhere…until I joined MSA. I found that I could have friends who thought like me, had the same intentions as me, and wanted to contribute to this ummah to please Allah, subhana wa ta’ala, as much as I did. I found a lot of diverse people and I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in again. Instead, I found a second family who I could get closer to Allah with.
Favorite MSA moment? Only one??? Not possible! I would say all of Islam Awareness Week. But if I had to choose…hmmm…there was a moment during IAW…at the end of the week on Thursday. This was the saddest day of IAW because we had to prepare to take down everything. We cleaned quickly, knowing IAW was over. Before finishing, we all gathered in the middle of the tent, in a circle under the spotlights. It was freezing cold, so the brothers huddled close together and the sisters got close on the other side. We all took out the extra small cups and filled them with mango juice, preparing to drink them together. It took us forever to make sure everyone had a cup. Then, everyone got quiet and the microphone was passed to Ammar. We thought he would be the only one to say something, but suddenly, everyone started to pitch in: speeches about culture, family, intentions, hard work, and MSA involvement. Everyone was getting emotional and it was the best MSA bonding I had ever seen. Suddenly, it wasn’t cold anymore. It was genuinely warm.
Most embarassing moment? I don’t remember all of them this year, but one funny one was in that promo video for the Roots Team, where I had to speak about Deema and Hafsa…and their…relationship. I looked totally nonchalant, but on the inside, I was flaming with embarrassment.
How about some words of wisdom? Time flies by!!! Use every second and make it count, not just in MSA, but with all opportunities. Of course, get involved with MSA and purify your intentions for the sake of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy life, with friends and family. But also don’t forget your greater purpose in life and continue trying to reach it. Remember, all the great deeds you perform in this life are what stay with you on the Day of Judgment.
Minerva McGonagall (Road to Revival)
Why’d you get involved? I grew up within a closely knit Islamic community and wanted that to remain a constant through college. The Rutgers MSA is not just a club- it is a family that helps one another grow in skills, knowledge, and Imaan. It is a place where you can feel comfortable being yourself- where no one will judge you, look down upon you, or make you feel unwelcome. It is a place where you make lasting friendships and memories. It is also a time to practice Islam alongside others, give dawah, and increase your knowledge. To me, the Rutgers MSA is where I can be inspired, learn, and laugh with some of the most kind, caring, and generous people. And I am very grateful to be a part of this family.
Favorite MSA moment? I am going to be completely biased and say that Road to Revival: Heroes of Our Past and the months of planning with the team were my favorite MSA moments.
Most embarrassing moment? That awkward moment when you are asked what your most embarrassing moment was and you cannot think of one…. meow.
How about some words of wisdom? As I am writing this in a land far far away, the one thing that comes to mind is Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah for the opportunity to go to university, gain knowledge, meet people, build friendships, laugh and live life to the fullest, and being a part of a loving family. Cherish the moments you spend with your friends and family and enjoy the moments you spend with others. Time is short so remember Allah often and live life as the Prophet (S.) would. Instill good in your heart and in the heart of others. Look at the world around you, at the little and big things in life, and take in the beauty of it all. Do not hold grudges or negative thoughts in your head. Instead remain positive and grateful for everything surrounding you. And lastly, stay smiling :)
Why’d you get involved? Before coming into college, I was already involved in YM so naturally, I would look for similar company at Rutgers. Many of the people who I met in YM went on to become amazing members of the MSA so I did not have to try that hard to meet new people during my freshman year. And being one of the biggest MSA’s in the NorthEast, being an active member allowed me to be a part of one of the strongest families I have ever seen. I met people who were so determined to work for the sake of Allah, without demanding any recognition or compensation. You would think this is obvious but you would be surprised. I developed friendships that I know will last far beyond my college career. These friendships seem like I have known the person for years. People who I could go to if I just wanted to hang out, if i needed advice, or of I need help in my time of need, big or small. And I saw and learned from some of the greatest leaders I have ever seen. Who would not want to be a part of this?
Favorite MSA moment? MSA brothers roast during the End of the Year Party. If anyone could tell me who Zeeshawn Piracha is, that would be great.
Most embarrassing MSA moment? Meeting Ammar Nasir.
How about some words of wisdom? Life is short, so don’t make everything serious. Have fun and don’t take things personally. Don’t wait for a title to be a leader. The work of Islam is never done, and if you don’t do it, Allah will find someone else who will. Always stay in good company. And ALWAYS keep your INTENTIONS PURE. I can guarantee that if you keep your intentions straight, everything will work out. Whenever you do something, demand nothing in return. Someone once told that even when doing a small deed, that you know nobody will care about, think to yourself that ‘this could be the one thing that gets me into Jannah’. Always do your best and let Allah handle the rest. (but I’m not a rapper).
Why’d you get involved? Because I love MSA.
Favorite MSA moment? April 9, 2015. The last day of Islam Awareness Week. The night where a bunch of us cleared out the tent. Everyone who was in the tent decided to stand around in a circle, a bunch of bros said some parting words and at the end we all drank mango juice (if you don’t know by now, I love mango juice). It was a great way to end the best week of the entire school year and it truly was one of our fine MSA moments as a family.
Most embarrassing MSA moment? I’m too cool for embarrassing moments.
How about some words of widsom? I like simplicity so here’s my advice: get active and stay active- you won’t regret it.
Why’d you get involved? Rather than repeat what I said last year, I’ll elaborate on why I continue to be involved. It is because every person I have met through MSA has been more than kind and welcoming. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who truly strive to bring together the Muslim community at Rutgers through amazing initiatives and events.
Favorite MSA moment? Seeing so many people wearing the Project Ummah t-shirts!
Most embarrassing moment? Mistaking the person in charge of IAW t-shirts for the IAW head, and then carrying out a very awkward conversation about t-shirt ideas with the wrong person before realizing that she had no idea what I was talking about.
How about some words of wisdom? The greatest joy comes from the ability to put a smile on another person’s face.
Luna Lovegood (Submissions)
AKA: Heba, Get-It-Because-No-One-Reads-the-Quibbler-Either
Why’d you get involved? To make friends. I really, really wanted to be a part of something, to get in on that family feeling–my predecessor (and cousin!) said that being involved in MSA had her understand what it truly meant to love people for Allah, and I wanted to feel that.
Favorite MSA moment? Gonna be maaad biased… The Open Mic! I had the most exhausting shoes on, didn’t perform, and got a few angry phone calls about food during and after, but I’d been going through an apathetic spell and a lot of depression before, and that night sparked a fire in me. When Tanzil was performing his rap and we all start clapping; when Gia started reading those tweets; beautiful words from all kinds of people, Muslim and nonMuslim and all these shades of black and brown and white. When I printed the flyers upside down. Wincing at an unplanned performance. “Light upon light.” I could hear hearts there. Laughing, crying. I keep thinking I wish I’d performed, I wish I’d performed.
Most embarrassing moment? Anytime I had to talk at the mic… I’m not very good at public speaking. But I still wish I’d performed.
How about some words of wisdom? Get involved, stay involved, push yourself in. Soften your heart, harden your resolve. Say yes to things — if you can’t keep up with all those yeses, then say no. Join SOS and HOPE and go to ROOTs meetings and sign up to be an IAW head, volunteer at R2R, write a post for Submissions. Skip a class for Project Ummah, sacrifice a quiz for a day at IAW. Listen, Insha’Allah, I’m graduating a semester early — this was my last spring with the MSA as a student here. I wish I’d done a little more, I wish I’d seen and said a little more, I wish I’d been around a little more. Gotten to know all of you a little more. I’m going to try harder this summer. This is the truest bond, you know? For the sake of Allah, through the work of Allah.
Now what about you?