I’ve been so blessed with a beautiful cousin who is amazing at writing. This is a post by her. Enjoy!
Let me start off by saying that the intention for every action we do must be totally for Allah’s sake so if we look at our daily lives from eating, to learning we can get blessings in just performing what we see as typical mundane tasks. There’s duaa’s for sleeping, teaching, eating-(even a specific duaa just for milk-“Oh Allah bless it and give me more of it”) and countless other actions. However; one of the most important actions and what I will be focusing on is learning.
“O my Rabb-(Lord)! Increase me in knowledge.”-(20:114)
Ameen! May Allah always increase us with beneficial knowledge. One way I incorporate Islam with my college life is by Duaa. I swear to God there are miracles in this world. Dreams really do come true and miracles are real. I have seen them with my very own eyes countless times. One duaa I read constantly is the duaa for when something is becoming difficult for you;
“O Allah, there is no ease except that which You make easy. If You please You ease sorrow.”
This duaa saved me from failing Math. I swear I got D’s and F’s on every one of my math exams-(except the first exam I got a C) but after reading this duaa, and attending all classes, and finishing all my homework with 100’s I managed to pass the class with a C. Now if I was able to pass Math of all subjects with a C-even though I basically failed all the exams-if that is not a miracle then I don’t know what is!
Also, just this past semester I was getting a D in Earth Science but after reading this duaa and meeting with my professor during his office hours for help every Tuesday and Thursday Alhamdulilah I brought my grade up from a 68% to an 82%.
Alhamdulilah I am blessed with going to a school in which a majority of the population is Muslim. Just this past semester alone, 4 out of my 5 classes Literature, Art, Science, and Sociology had at least one other Muslim in it. I never realized it but there is such a beautiful feeling of support among the Muslim students. One example is when I was at the bus stop sitting alone on the bench when a student passed by and nodding his head-gave me salam. At first I was surprised but then I felt happy because somehow Islam makes you connected to perfect strangers in that a random person can pass you by and wish peace and blessings upon you. Islam truly is a beautiful religion. The connection it draws between people is phenomenal. In my Freshman year I was still new to the NEIU campus and therefore was still figuring my way around the different buildings so I always ended up praying on the lawn behind a tree near the entrance to the campus. So on September 4th, 2014-(only reason how I remember that is because I started a journal of everything I do in College) I had just finished praying Dhur in my usual spot-behind a tree-a small area with a prairie-looking field on one side and flowers on the other when I see someone standing on the sidewalk across from me. . .
“Were you praying?” he asked
“Yup. . .” I said wondering what was wrong
“You know they have a masjid on campus right?” he asked
“Yeah, you’re a Freshman right?” he inquired
“Yup” I said
“Yeah me too. I’ll show you the masjid. You can pray there Monday through Friday. You have class on Friday?”
“Yeah I do.”
“Good, I think they even have Juma’a, and there’s dividers so the women can pray in the back.”
“That’s great!” I said.
“What’s your name?”
“Oh mine is Muhammad.”
“Where are you from?”
“My mom’s Somalian & my Dad’s American.”
“Where’s your dad originally from?”
“Oh he’s a bunch of things, German, Polish, Irish, and Swedish and my Mom’s half Somalian and half Yemeni. Her dad’s Somalian and her mom’s from Yemen”
“Do you speak a language other than English. Do you speak Somali”
“No, I can understand it, but I can’t talk back.”
“Oh, that’s cool that your parents are different. I’ve never heard of an American marrying a Somalian.”
“Yeah, my dad first converted to Islam then he married my mom.”
“Oh did he convert because of your mom?”
“No, I’m sure he knew about Islam before he met my mother.”
“Oh that’s great mashallah.”
By this time we were at the Student Union building which apparently had the masjid.
“The masjid is upstairs.” he said
So upstairs we went and sure enough there was a small room hidden in the hallway and when I looked through I saw a man praying and behind him were dividers where I saw the corner of some lady’s hijab where she was making sujud.
“This is great!” I said. “I’ll definitely be coming here to pray from now on. In fact I was starting to get worried about where I’d pray during winter time!”
Literally, when I was praying I thought,
Uh Oh! What about when there’s snow on the ground? Where will I pray then?
And Subhanallah! Allah answered my question right after that thought crossed my mind!
“But I’ll definitely be coming here to pray inshallah. Thanks!” I said walking away.
“You’re welcome!” he responded.
And I swear from that day forward I have been praying in that prayer room ever since. Can you IMAGINE how many blessings Muhammad is getting for every prayer I pray in that room just because of the fact that he showed me the meditation room? That is the beauty of Islam-you can earn abundant rewards for the tiniest of actions.
So I manage to balance Islam with college life by taking the time out of my day to pray in the prayer room. Also, since I had classes on Friday of Freshman year I managed to attend Jummah salah as well. I never felt so spiritually connected to Allah and my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters than sitting in Jummah at 2pm every Friday listening to the Khutbah-(Lecture). The Imaam Mashallah was a Hafiz-he memorized the entire Quran and he would give the lecture and lead the prayer afterwards. I attended my very first Jummah at Northeastern on the 26th of September 2014 at 2:00pm. Some important notes I took from that lecture were;
-Muslims have a dynamic relationship with Allah
-It is a blessing to take the time out of our day to be closer to Allah and set aside time in worship and remembrance of Allah
-All Muslims gather together to fast and pray all at once. What other religion on the earth does that? Islam is a religion of unity-Allah says in the quran ,
“And I have not created Jinn nor mankind except to worship me.”
I love how Allah has blessed me with the ability to incorporate Islamic practices into my daily routine. I know some Muslim students are not as fortunate as I am. It really does just fill me with peace whenever I enter the prayer-room or MSA Meeting, to be surrounded by Muslims really boosts the imaan.
Alhamdulilah attending the MSA Meetings and Sister’s Halaqas have been a tremendous spiritual spark for the soul. The MSA used to meet every other Thursday of the month Freshman year but this past semester-(1st semester of Sophomore year) we’ve had 2 meetings so far, the last being an end of the semester MSA Fall Fest Potluck. As for the Sister’s Halaqa’s we met up every other Tuesday at 3pm-Activity Hour on Campus. Both the sister’s halaqas and MSA meetings were blessed with beneficial Islamic knowledge and we talked about how to manage balancing out Islam with the hectic life of college. Muhammad-(the same person who showed me to the prayer-room turned out to be the MSA Vice President) always brought up a hadeeth that went in line with the topic of that particular day. For the first MSA Meeting on October 13th from 3:30pm-4:10pm the Hadeeth was;
The Messenger said
“Be in this world as though you are a stranger or a wayfarer.”
Meaning-True success is something that is continuous. For example; if you teach a kid a surah, then every time they read it you get hasanat.
The last thing on my list of how I keep productive with Islam while I am in college is that every Friday I read the translation of Surah Khaf while I listen to it being recited alhamdulilah. This helps with understanding the Surah like you would not believe. Allah loves the actions that are frequent and continuous even if they are small. To him, the fact that you focus always focus on at least one Islamic action every day is what’s important. The benefit of reading Surah Khaf on Friday is that Allah will send a light from one Friday to the next. And Allah knows how much I am in need of a bright shining light in my life. Especially in this dark and dangerous world.
“O my Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)! Bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous; grant me honorable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest (generations); make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss.” -(26:83-84).
My name is Shamsa Islam and I live in Chicago Illinois. I am 21 years old, a Sophomore at Northeastern Illinois University and am majoring in English and minoring in Psychology.