17 Exam Tips for Students

In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Praise be to God and peace and blessings be upon our beloved Messenger and upon his family and companions.

The Muslim student puts her/his trust in Allah when facing the tests of this world, and s/he seeks His help whilst following the prescribed means, in accordance with the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“The strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to attain that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless.” (Saheeh Muslim, hadeeth no. 2664)

Among those means are the following:

  • Turning to Allah by making du’aa’ in any way that is prescribed in Islam, such as saying,
رب اشرح لي صدري. ويسر لي أمري. واحلل عقدة من لساني. يفقهوا قولي
Rabbiy ishrah li sadri wa yassir li amri. Wahlul ‘ukdata min lissani, yafkahu kawli
O my Lord, expand my chest and make things easy for me

اللهُمَّ لا سَهْلَ إلا مَا جَعَلتَهُ سَهْلا وَ أنتَ تَجْعَلُ الحزْنَ إذا شِئْتَ سَهْلا
Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja’altahu sahla, wa ‘anta taj-alul hazna idha shi’ta sahla
O Allah! There is nothing easy except what You make easy, and You make the difficult easy if it be Your Will.

  • Sleep and rise early.
  • Reciting the du’aa for leaving the house:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَضِلَّ أَوْ أُضَّلَّ أَوْ أَظْلِمَ أَوْ أُظْلَمَ أَوْ أَجْهَلَ أَوْ يُجْهَلَ عَلَىَّ.

Bismillaah, tawakkaltu ‘ala Allah, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah.
Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika an adilla aw udalla, aw azilla aw uzalla, aw azlima aw uzlama, aw ajhala aw yujhala ‘alayya.
In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no strength and no power except with Allah. O Allah, I seek refuge with You lest I should stray or be led astray, lest I slip (commit a sin unintentionally) or be tripped, lest I oppress or be oppressed, lest I behave foolishly or be treated foolishly).

  • Always begin in the name of God. Say Bismillah.
  • Ask your parents, family and friends to make du’aa for you. Make du’aa for them as well.
  • Fear Allah with regard to your classmates, and do not be affected by their anxiety or fear just before the exam, for anxiety is a contagious disease. Instead, make them feel optimistic by saying good words as prescribed in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was optimistic when he heard the name of Suhayl (which means “easy”) and he said: “Things have been made easy for you.” He used to like to hear the words ‘Yaa Raashid, when he went out for any purpose. So be optimistic that you and your fellow classmates will pass this exam.
  • Remembering Allah, as dhikr dispels anxiety and tension. If something is too difficult for you, then pray to Allah to make it easy for you.
    Whenever Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) found something too difficult to understand, he would say, “O You Who taught Ibraaheem, teach me; O You Who caused Sulaymaan to understand, cause me to understand.”
  • Choose a good place to sit during the exam, if you can. Keep your back straight, and sit on the chair in a healthy manner.
  • Look over the exam first. Studies advise spending 10% of the exam time in reading the questions carefully, noting the important words and dividing one’s time between the questions.
  • Plan to answer the easy questions first, then the difficult ones. Whilst reading the questions, write notes and ideas which you can use in your answers later.
  • Answer questions according to importance.
  • Take your time to answer, for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Deliberation is from Allah and haste is from the Shaytaan.” (A hasan hadeeth. Saheeh al-Jaami, 3011).
  • In written exams, collect your thoughts before you start to answer. Write an outline for your answer with some words which will indicate the ideas which you want to discuss. Then number the ideas in the sequence in which you want to present them.
  • Write the main points of your answer at the beginning of the line, because this is what the examiner is looking for, and she may not see what she is looking for if it is in the middle of the page and she is in a hurry.
  • Devote 10% of the time for reviewing your answers. Take your time in reviewing, especially in mathematical problems and writing numbers. Resist the desire to hand in the exam papers quickly, and do not let the fact that some people are leaving early bother you. They may be among the people who have handed in their papers too early.
  • If you discover after the exam that you answered some questions incorrectly, then take that as a lesson in the importance of being well prepared in the future, and not rushing to answer questions. Accept the will and decree of Allaah and do not fall prey to frustration and despair. Remember the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “If anything befalls you, do not say, ‘If only I had done such and such.’ Rather say, ‘Qadar Allaah wa maa sha’a kaan (the decree of Allaah and what He wills happened),’ for saying ‘if only’ opens the door for the Shaytaan.” (Saheeh Muslim, and the first part of this hadeeth was mentioned above).
  • Remember that cheating is haram. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever cheats is not one of us.” Do without that which is haram, and Allah will suffice you from His bounty. Reject all offers of haraam things that come to you from others. Whoever gives up a thing for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him with something better.

And ALWAYS remember that this life is temporary and the exams you have are not an end, but a mean. It is the actions you have prepared for the Hereafter, and the questions of the examination in the grave, and the deeds that will save you on the Day of Resurrection that count.

We ask Allah to make us succeed in this world, and in the next. We ask Him in his Mercy to allow us to be among those who are victorious and saved in the Hereafter, for He is the All-Hearing Who answers prayer.

May Allah give us all tawfiq. Good luck!

Adapted from this source.

Overthrowing the Tyrants of our Hearts

As-salaamu ‘Alaykum

Beginning in the Name of our Lord, Allah, The Creator of all things, we testify to His Oneness and we seek proximity to Him. We pray that our Lord send peace and blessings upon our noble and beloved Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace. We pray that those peace and blessings extend to the Prophet’s noble and pure family as well as his companions in their entirety and unto you and I with them through God’s Gentleness and Mercy.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been approached by a few friends inquiring about the political developments around the globe. Some were wondering about how my family was doing, others were concerned about their families, and yet others were concerned for the global community of believers, our umma, and mankind more broadly. We pray that God’s sends tranquility upon the hearts of all of our loved ones here and abroad. We pray that God lifts the burden of the oppressed and those in need and that He gives us light to become the means through which His creation is aided and helped in Gentleness and ease.

The Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, is narrated to have said that if a man hears about someone being killed unjustly in another part of the globe and is not disapproving of that then he shares in the sin. He also, Allah bless him and grant him peace, reminded us that we are one community, one body, we aid one another as we can and we feel each other’s pain. The Qur’an describes the brotherhood of the companions and those who followed as being loving and caring to one another as being individuals who prayed for one another even in each other’s absence. In fact the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, is narrated to have said that the individual who does not have concern for the community is not one of “us.” We pray the we are all included in that “us” with the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, because I could not think of a more wretched end than to be distant from the best of creation and ultimately his Creator and ours.

That all being said we are a community of values and priorities. Where you were born and what God has given you is not by coincidence. Similarly one cannot give that which one does not have. We often are moved and driven by ego rather than by principle. The Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, is described as having never gotten angry for himself, and when he was angered he was angered for God and no one could quell that anger. We must be careful to differentiate between that which we are driven to by ego or simple nationalistic pride and that which we are driven to by real concern through God for humanity. A good barometer is to ask ourselves why we are only concerned for certain peoples and not others. If the estimates are true about our fellow brothers and sisters in humanity in the Congo then we have sat idly by as millions have been killed. What also needs to be asked is why we are driven to be concerned about conflicts abroad when individuals in towns adjacent to ours and sometimes down the street from us are gravely oppressed and in need.

Of course none of this is a zero sum game. In other words it is not either or. The point is not to get individuals to stop being involved in the helping and aid of their brothers and sisters abroad but rather to start seeing past just simple family or nationalistic affiliations and start seeing humanity in a more holistic fashion. Even more importantly we hope to be a community that sets its priorities. Does it make sense to send millions of dollars to organizations you are not sure will be using them properly or spend night and day working for organizations you are uncertain of their ultimate aim or is there a better means to use your wealth and effort? If we can use those same millions to help people in own own town go to sleep on a full stomach or help the homeless get off of the street or empower young men and women to fend for themselves all while we are there exerting our own energy to aid in that struggle, shouldn’t we take part in such blessing?

I challenge my brothers and sisters not to pick one or the other but rather to start seeing that if we really want to aid those in need we don’t need to look too far. Also to remind them and myself that we cannot begin to help unless we are committed to not just overthrow tyrants and oppressive systems from without but rather we are committed to overthrow the tyrants found deep within our own hearts. Our worst enemy the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) informed us is our own ego. The Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, is narrated to have said that a man will be written as a tyrant and he has control over nothing apart from his own family. If our ultimate goal is knowledge of God, proximity to Him, the companionship of our Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, we need to ask if our actions are taking us along that path. There are many organizations, national government bodies, movements, ideologies, calling you to join their ranks… will you heed their call or will we heed the call of their Creator and yours?

What separates the belief structure we hold tightly to from good works attributed to any other meaning or deity? If our true aim is God then it should reflect in our intentions and actions. If the global community of Muslims returns to its rightful place as vanguards of transformative spiritual change who are committed to the care, concern, and service of humanity then perhaps God’s Mercy and Gentleness will descend upon our community to rid us of the evils from within. However if we maintain that our life is about tribe, nation, pride, ego, power then just as we have relied on ourselves and this world God will leave us to rely on our selves. Are we turning to our Lord or are we turning to our own weak selves? As the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, is narrated to have said, those who are in the aid of others God will be in their aid and those who rely on Him, He will be their reliance and Victor.

Finally we are a community that should support and encourage diversity. Not everyone will be working on the same project. We aren’t seeking uniformity. We are however seeking the spiritual and emotional support of the group for one another. While some will be working hard in this field and that and others struggling for this cause and that we should all maintain that we see each other’s work as priceless and remain always supportive. Similarly we should be constantly gathering together in prayer for Divine acceptance of the little that we do and for those in need here and abroad. Nothing reminds us of our Creator like prayer since it is an ultimate form of the expression of poverty and weakness before The Powerful, The Merciful, The Generous.  I seek your forgiveness and remind you and myself to recommit to our Covenant with God.

I leave you in God’s care,

Mohammed Tayssir

Mr. Carnegie, meet the Prophet.

You’d be hard pressed to find a book with a more shallow title than Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ It sounds like a great way to boost your self-esteem and learn some manipulative business tricks that Carnegie himself used to get rich. It’s an interesting book written by a prolific personal development author and it’s especially interesting to read its concrete pointers through a ‘Muhammedan’ lens. A book about desirable personal traits is unnecessary to validate what the Prophet taught in terms of perfecting human conduct. It is, instead, fascinating to reflect on how eternal these noble qualities are – a book written in 1936 is the basis of corporate training programs to this day, and the seerah, of the Prophet, the best how-to-guide anyone could ask for, holds weight to this day, and will until the end of time.

Carnegie talks about things we can do to show we actually care about people. He describes our names as the sweetest sound to our ears. If you know people like hearing their names, isn’t it worth expending some effort to remember them of the people we meet? The Prophet’s love for people was so explicit that literally everyone thought they were closest to him. When Carnegie paints the picture of an ideal listener, I bet a Muslim’s first thought is the habit of the Prophet, who would turn his entire body towards those he was listening to. It’s a difficult practice given the amount of distractions we have, but it would be near impossible for the person who is talking to feel like they’re not being heard. Carnegie retold an incident in which he was sure a friend had mistaken a Shakespeare quote for a Bible passage, and was sure of this error, but was advised to not correct his friend in public. The Prophet explicitly described the value of relationships between people, advising against oppressing, humiliating, or looking down upon anyone.

It’s hard to swallow when others dismiss Islam as an archaic (read: ‘non-Western’) way of life. Islam is moral uprightness and impeccable character that was personified by the Prophet, whose example is timeless. It is what could unite endlessly feuding tribes in 7th century Arabia, and is also what can make anyone the coolest kid in school. Not the jerks that stuff kids into lockers (does that actually happen outside of 90’s teen sitcoms?), but the ones who are thoughtful enough to sit with the new kid at lunch. We have only the time of our short lives to treat people well, and to wait for the day to drink from the Prophet’s hands, inshAllah. But rest assured, his legacy lives on in all of the positive attributes we see in people. What mattered most to him still holds all the meaning in the world today, and that’s a connection we can forge with God through him until the day we die.

-Written by Barq (برق), Arabic for ‘lightning.’ This pen name is being adopted by the author to honor the legacy of graduated MSA author Raad (رعد), Arabic for ‘thunder.’  You can view an example of Raad’s past work here.

“With-ness” – Chaplain Tayssir reflects on ASB

In the Name of the Creator of all things, the First, the Last, the
Merciful, the Compassionate, we begin in the Name of the One whose name out
shadows and envelops all names… The Lord of the Worlds.

We ask that He send peace and blessings on His beloved Prophet Muhammad a
peace and blessings that cure us all of our ills inwardly and outwardly.
May these peace and blessings purify our hearts, redirect them to their
Creator, and unite them forever with their Prophet with Gentleness and
ease. May God’s peace and blessings be sent upon our Prophet Muhammad,
the gate of God’s mercy, according to the knowledge of God, a peace and
blessings that are never ending through the never ending domain of God, and
upon the Prophet’s pure family, companions in their entirety, and those
who tread on their path. And upon you and I with them for all of eternity.
Amen.

Knowledge of God. That’s the answer to the often asked question, “Why
were we created?” The Qur’an refers to it as worship and our
tradition’s exegetes, Qur’anic commentators, explain that worship as
knowledge of the Divine. Interestingly enough our faith’s sages explained
that all aspects of the human experience are called to come to know God.
Our limbs in their outward worship, our intellect in its reflection and
logical outward knowledge, and our hearts in their spiritual journey. Like
the sages of old Muslims understood the most noble knowledge, the knowledge
of God, to be achievable through what is traditionally called knowledge
AND action. Simple scholastic endeavors cannot help the wayfarer travel the
distance to knock at the gates of the Divine. While our spiritual ancestors
were committed to the idea that only the Divine could truly have you come
to know Him, they still espoused that the proper way for a servant to ask
for that knowledge was to learn and to act accordingly. Character is born
of knowledge and character is the tangible result of wayfaring.

This past weekend the Muslim Student Association at the University of
Michigan embarked on its first Alternative Spring Break. As a young man
growing up in the 90’s I remember quite vividly the growing culture of
the MTV Spring Break phenomenon. An unfortunate turn in our community’s
development it seemed the glorification of money being wasted, of the
excessive use of alcohol and drugs, as well as the horrid popularization of
all things promiscuous enveloped the college experience. Yet while this
characterized a segment of the community many young people before, during,
and after refused to succumb to the material, to the consumerist model of
life, to the carnal desires that seemed to never be quenched and to never
address our spiritual thirsts. While the 90’s popularized some of the
worst of what spring break had to offer, as early as the 1980’s
organizations across college campuses began initiatives to use their
college spring break to give back to the community. One expression of
spring break involved the very epitome of heedlessness and the other
attempted to flip that notion on its head and to be conscious, cognizant,
aware, mindful, and in service of others. This is the tradition that the
MSA at U of M was attempting to take part in.

Our sages and scholars remind us that prayer and the remembrance of God are
blessings in and of themselves. One of the blessings associated with prayer
and remembrance is that God Willed the worshiper to be in His presence and
to speak to Him; and so He Willed his prayer into existence. Worship is a
sign of Divine blessing to the worshipper and something that the Divine
should be thanked for. This is so central to our faith that we are told to
thank God for our very ability to thank Him. My spiritual teachers would
call out to the congregation to remember the blessing of calling out to
God, “Ya Allah,” (O’ God!) when so many others were busy calling out
to God’s creation instead. Our trip to Chicago, to be in service of the
elderly community, particularly those who are of lesser means, should be
thought of as a blessing for us. We did not help those beautiful people but
they helped us. By coming to know a bit about them and by our being blessed
with the chance to serve them our Creator allowed us to come to know Him a
bit more we hope and pray. The famous sage Ibn Ata’ Allah explained in
his pearls of wisdom that God varied the means of worship in His Knowledge
of the changing states of His servants. Community service, travel, bonding,
are all means of worship that are not taken advantage of on a day to day
basis. This trip allowed us to drink from a spiritual river that many of us
barely visit.

I cannot adequately express to you all how much I benefited from the young
men and women who went with us on our trip. Their beauty, dedication,
sincerity, intelligence, and support are unfathomable. I feel blessed and
ennobled at just knowing them. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and
grant him peace) is narrated to have said that all of God’s creation are
His dependents and that the best of God’s servants are those who are most
beneficial to His dependents. I testify to the beauty of those souls who
took part and I pray I can one day be more like them.

One of the grand spiritual masters of our time when asked what the end of
this path looked like, he answered, “With-ness.” May God grant you and
I a with-ness with God that is unbreakable. May all those who read this
message be forgiven of their sins large and small. May we all be included
in the circle of God’s mercy and love. May we become Muhammadan in our
service and character. May we be people of true values and have hearts that
are connected to our Lord; full of light, love, mercy, and knowledge. We
ask God of what He asked of us and we seek His protection from the evils of
this world and our own selves. We ask God sincerity in worship and to be
able to give what’s due unto Him.

I leave you in God’s care,
Mohammed Tayssir Safi

ASB Reflections: A New Meaning

Bismillah El-Rahman El-Rahim,

We begin in the Name of God, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful:

The 2012 MSA ASB trip has offered a lot of new perspective for all the organizers and participants, and I can speak to this personally. A few weeks back, I gave a short Khatira (religious talk) after a Mini-Quiyam to the Brothers and Sisters that were present. My talk highlighted two Hadiths from the Most Beloved (PBUH) that say:

“Allah fi ‘own el ‘abd, ma daam el ‘abd fi ‘owne akheeh”

Roughly translated to:“Allah will be there to help his servant, as long as his servant is there for his brother”

“Man kaana fi hajati akheehe, kaana Allah fi hajatihi youm el qiyama”

Roughly translated to: “Who so ever is there to help with the need of his brother, Allah will be there to help with his need on the day of judgement”’

Reflecting on these Hadiths now, we can see that serving humanity can directly bring us closer to The Divine (SWT). In both Hadiths we can see how helping one another can translate into self-betterment and benefit. The first Hadith teaches us whether it is becoming a better student, or your desire to be the very best like no one ever was, that helping one another translates directly into Allah helping us in every single journey that we embark on. The Second Hadith shows that fulfilling the needs of one another, whether your Brother or Sister needs a ride across town or something as simple as a hug, if we are able to be there for one another, Allah will be there to help us in our most needed time (The Day of Judgment)

So let us ask The Most Generous to make us from those that will be there for their Brothers and Sisters in humanity, as well as those who always try to be there for their Brothers and Sisters’ needs so that we may attain His Love and Approval such that we can enter His Jannah without judgment.

Ameen thumma Ameen, Walhamdulillahi Rab El-‘Alameen

-Humam Malas

The whole group with Natalie from the Blackhawk Manor (HOME location). ASB Day 3

ASB Service Reflection: Y’all Are Great!

“Y’all are great!” she said as we posed to take a picture with her broad, authentic smile. We crouched and posed around her wheel-chair stricken figure. Exiting from her humble, warm home, we were greeted by a feeling of wellness. Happiness for her: happiness in the fact that we left her in a better state than we found her. We felt a deeper connection with our innate human emotions. Of empathy and compassion.

Mrs. Daisy (yes, this is her name) is an elderly African-American woman, a double-leg amputee and a cheerful mother of five. We were invited into her home through our partnering ASB organization, Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME). Our task was a simple one: weatherize her home by putting plastic insulation on her windows. We completed our task together quickly. However, beyond weatherizing the windows in her home, we got to know Mrs. Daisy and her family on a more personal level. Her family appreciated the work we did inside her home and we appreciated their opening up their home to us.

Beyond that, we gained an invaluable experience. None of us had weatherized windows before; a few of us (including me) even learned how to properly position our hands to use a broom; and we learned how to interact with a homeowner when volunteering within their home. My high school counselor used to echo a single phrase: “What are we more than aggregations of our life experiences?”

Our lives are made up of our experiences; things we’ve seen, felt, and done. I am proud to have MSA-ASB 2012 as one of those invaluable and unique life experiences.

-Hussein Sheikh-Aden

Monday Night Reflection: Re-enacting our responsibilities at home

We concluded our last night in Chicago together by reflecting upon the entirety of our trip. In order to prolong the great experiences and emotions tied to helping others we discussed the importance of devoting a small amount of time to others and doing so consistently. Enlightened by Mufti Kamani who emphasized the value of serving others, and how that service positive impacts ourselves, he explained that essentially it results in them serving you by keeping you in good memory and duaa. This ASB trip has enabled us to serve others, ourselves and present Islam in a positive light; inshAllah we are provided with the will, time, and heath to continue to do so.

Our discussion on the final night happened in a Baskin-Robbins, where we inhaled  and consumed sweetness, literally and figuratively. It consisted of inspiring ideas to keep us consistently involved in our efforts to humble ourselves by being thankful for what we have. “Those who aren’t thankful to people are not thankful to Allah SWT,” thus, constantly surrounding ourselves with those who are less fortunate reminds us of how much we take for granted and our duties towards others. Simple things like caring for your neighbors via considerate messages or treats to take to their door present an easy way for us to pave our path to paradise. Carving out time to help those within our academic community by structuring a tutoring system in which those who have already taken a course can provide assistance for an allotted amount of time to those struggling in that course–once again preventing us from taking our own knowledge for granted and instead educating others with what we have been blessed with. Another idea that can inspire acts of service towards others could be to involve each MSA member by making them responsible for completing a minimum set number of hours of volunteering. Doing so provides an opportunity to easily help a great number of people, a means of da’wa, and also keep members not only engaged with MSA, but also the responsibility that our deen places upon us to care for the people and world around us.

May Allah (swt) purify our intentions and provide us with the ease to implement our ideas consistently–for actions speak louder than words and good, consistent acts are valued more than inconsistent great ones. Ameen.

-Sahar Aggour & Afrah Aslam

Sunday, Feb. 26 Reflection (ASB Day 2)

Hussa/ein squared. Mufti Hussain Kamani with our Hussein and Khalid.

Sunday night, we headed to the Islamic Center of Chicago to listen to Mufti Hussein Kamani.  In a room normally used to teach children about Islam. Mufti Kamani shared stories from his childhood and his mother’s life. While he shared a number of stories, one stuck out. He spoke of a time when he was a boy studying abroad and his mother came to visit. She wanted to buy him lunch and as they walked, they came across a poor woman lying on the floor. As they walked closer they saw that this woman was on her last juncture of life. Hussein’s mother knelt beside her and asked how they could comfort her. The woman said that all she wanted before she died is one last meal.  Hussein’s mother then gave her son a choice: We can eat, or she can. He agreed to go get the poor woman food.  They fed the poor woman and she was grateful and in her last moments, she held up her hands and made du’a for Mufti Kamani and his mother.

Mufti Kamani’s talk provoked us to do a bit of soul searching of our own and remember our own personal experiences and what our family has taught us.  Our relationship with our family is integral to our religion.  As the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “One will not enter paradise if he/she cuts off relations with relatives”.  Even though school can get busy, we always have to remember what our parents and family have done for us.  In doing so, we need to always show them how grateful we are.  We reminded each other to call our parents frequently and not let them have to call us.  We also reflected on the concept of love for one another and how we love each other for the sake of Allah SWT.  Humam Malas mentioned how the very concept of love involves humility because when you love someone, you make yourself vulnerable to rejection.

A lot was said and when we split into groups, we shared our own stories and perspectives.  Many shared the sentiment that the culture we live in today places more emphasis on independence than family ties.  Perhaps most importantly, we remembered our family, lost ones, and how much we owe to them.  We remembered our sister Betul’s father, who passed away recently, and then made du’a for him and all of our lost ones.

We hope that our reflection Sunday night helped us remember how important keeping ties with our kin is and gave us additional perspective on its value and relationship with our deen.  For most of us, we’ll be going back to our family during spring break and should be free from the stress of school and work.  Inshallah, we’ll be able to show them how much they mean to us and spend some quality time with them.

-Yazan Kherallah & Khalid Sarsour

Sunday Morning Reflection – Working at the Natalie Salomon House

Today we spent the morning volunteering at one of HOME’s elderly shared living spaces. Once again, the sentiment of gratitude was overwhelming as the owner, Ms. Judi, was so welcoming to our group of 24 volunteers, masha’Allah! There were various maintenance and cleaning tasks and basically divide and conquer was our motto for the day. From rearranging and moving furniture, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors, and even receiving “I love yous” from little children at the center, MSA-ASB’s day two in Chi-town is off to a rewarding start. As the team finished working way ahead of schedule, Miss Judi suggested we check out the sights and splendors Chicago has to offer! Next stop, Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue.

-Reham Khan