By Sara Haque
Muslim Student Association hosts the annual Islam Awareness Week
The Muslim Student Association hosted the annual Islam Awareness Week from March 23 through March 27 at BenU. The week consisted of daily events such as lectures, group activities and an open-mic night talent show.
“The theme of the week was titled, ‘Built Upon Five,’ referring to the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars are Shahada (testimony of One God and his final prophet Muhammad), fasting, charity, Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), and prayer,” said MSA Co-President Maaz Fitter.
“We chose this theme because we felt it was applicable. Everyone can fulfill at least of these pillars whether they’re Muslim or not, so it becomes practical.”
MSA wanted to create an event that will attract people of all faiths as well as bring a light to Islam as well.
“The topic is relevant to the student body at Benedictine University because it allows the student body to learn and understand where the daily lifestyle and beliefs of Islam originate from,” said MSA Co-President Saima Shaik. “Residing in a Catholic university the high level of diversity calls for a successful awareness week to present our beliefs which can bring all faiths together.”
Aside from daily lectures regarding the five pillars, there was an event on Tuesday spotlighting the hijab. The hijab is the headscarf Muslim women wear to represent modesty in faith.
“The hijab challenge was an opportunity for any of the female students on campus to try on the Muslim headscarf for a day. Many of the students and faculty got involved, and it was great to see how interested many of them were to learn more,” said MSA Vice President Sarah Jaber.
“The hijab challenge also included a discussion where students could have their questions answered about what hijab truly means to the Muslim woman.”
A goal of the MSA for this year’s IAW was to create more interaction with the attendees.
“Activities, volunteers and general students were all interactive and engaging and it felt lively. It was great to clear common misconceptions that people have as we had people write their ‘jihad’ which means struggle on our poster, “ said Fitter. “Half of them said, ‘waking up for school,’ which goes to show that a jihad can be anything that we struggle with.”
Students who experienced IAW for the first time enjoyed the weeklong events.
“IAW will definitely be one of my favorite memories from my freshman year. It was so heartwarming to see fellow peers and teachers taking interest and asking questions about Islam. I love Benedictine even more than I did before,” said freshman Sabiha Najeeb.
Board members were pleased with the turnout as well as the accomplishment of the events.
“IAW was a success this year, we really raised the bar from previous years. The faculty participation and outreach has improved immensely,” said Shaik.
“Overall I was satisfied and happy to see the involvement and hopefully we’re able to expand and attract more next year, whether it be attendees or volunteers. Everyone worked hard and it couldn’t have been done without the team effort,” said Fitter.