Muslim Campus Minister

In September 2017, Campus Ministry hired its first Muslim campus minister. Muslim students make up about one percent of the student body. It’s important they have a resource on campus they can turn to for guidance in their faith and to aid their full inclusion on campus.

Sameer Ali, the Muslim chaplain, is available to provide emotional and spiritual support to the students. The chaplain's role is to provide spiritual care and guidance to the student body as they navigate the challenges of college and university life. Chaplain Sameer Ali serves at the Campus Ministry office and is available by appointment.

Muslim Chaplain's Corner

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“On resilience” - March 2021

During the course of life, challenges present themselves to us in many ways. At times, when we are the most vulnerable there might be something present in our lives which makes us feel afraid, sad, or in need of help. At other times, we may be feeling confident and comfortable but an opportunity may appear which requires us to work even harder and to step out of our comfort zone. Both situations are opportunities for growth, for seeking proximity to God, and for putting aside our weaknesses and finding new strength inside.

The Nabi Yusuf (Prophet Joseph in the Quran; Surah 12) faced many challenges. He was despised by his brothers and could not find a comfortable space at home with his father the Nabi Yacoub. Yusuf was consistent hated by his brothers due to his wisdom and his beauty. They sold him for some money and he found himself making a journey to Egypt. Once he reached Egypt, he was again challenged as Zulaykha and the envy of the Egyptians created problems for him and he was imprisoned for some time. Slowly, after many years, Nabi Yusuf made use of the opportunities he was granted by God and found inner strength. He became a powerful person in Egyptian society and was eventually able to find his parents and reunite with them, as his brothers repented for their mistake of throwing him into the well.

The journey of Nabi Yusuf is one of resilience. He found his home was made into an unsafe place due to the jealousy and the misunderstanding of his brothers, and his journey into the outer world was one full of difficulty. Throughout the trials he faced, Nabi Yusuf continued his worship of God, the expression of his belief in Tawhid, and he looked past the petty desires and short-sighted objectives of those who wanted to betray him. Nabi Yusuf was resilient, as resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ and to recover after facing trials and tribulations.

As we continue our experience of the challenges God has placed in our life, let us reflect on the life of Nabi Yusuf and pray for resilience. Let us pray for the ability to see good, to find inner strength, to find the capacity that God has given us to face the challenges He has placed in our path. Ameen.

“The Quran In Our Daily Lives” - November 2020

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

As a child, I remember that my aunt would recite the Qur’ān every day. Her preferred time was in the morning and after the Fajr prayer her voice would fill the room, reciting the verses and Surahs and her gentle fingers would move along the black ink on a white page. When I recite the Qur’ān at home I am often taken back to that memory and I credit her scattering the fragrance of the Qur’ān while I slept in the same room.

As an adult with a family and a busy schedule, something else comes to mind: how do I incorporate the Qur’ān into my daily life, with all the work and appointments I have throughout the week? My aunt had a tough life as a teacher and raised three boys as a widow. Those were difficult times for her, but as I think now I realize that she never abandoned the Qur’ān and continued her habit of reciting it throughout those difficulties. She taught it to her sons and her grandchildren and taught others in her family and community.

So I come back to the question: how do I do it?

For one, I realize that daily recitation is a must. I try to make time at night or in the early morning to recite at least fifty verses, if not more. Along with the original Arabic, I make some time to read the English translation on my phone so that the meaning becomes more tangible for me. As I go about my day, I may become engrossed in my work and in driving that I may not remember the verses. But the Qur’ān is always there with me, covering me with the Mercy (Rahma) and Guidance.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) said:

“Whoever recites the Qur’ān secures (knowledge of) prophethood within their ribs (bosom), though Divine Revelation has not been sent upon them. It does not befit one endowed with the Qur’ān that they should be indignant with those in anger, nor should they indulge in any act of ignorance with those who are ignorant, while the Speech of Allah Almighty is with them in their chest.” (Mustadrak al-Hakim).

This blessed hadith reminds me that the Qur’ān is a constant presence, a consistent companion, and something which leads me to change and to grow. It gives the believer the opportunity to come into close proximity with the knowledge of prophethood, as though they have grasped some of the Sacred Realities bestowed upon the prophets and messengers (anibya wa rusul). Emotional responses are controlled as the Qur’ān guides its reciter to improve the behavior and to follow the Sunnah. As the believer recites and carries the Speech of Allah swt within their chest, knowledge, forebearance, patience, and emotional strength and stamina become apparent.

The benefit of learning and teaching the Qur’ān are endless, and a great approach is to take small bite-size pieces of the Qur’ān and staying with them. Let it be a daily practice where we read some verses, read the translation we are most comfortable with, and share and discuss these verses with our friend and congregation. We must make an intentional space (even virtual) and a set time (once a week) where we reflect on the verses and grow through them. This happens gradually and through practice.

The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said: “Everything in existence prays for the forgiveness of the person who teaches the Qur’an - even the fish in the sea.” (Usul al-Kafi).