Everyone knows that I tend to write essays all the time. But this is by far the hardest piece I have ever had to write. It has actually taken me a couple of weeks to write this because no words truly captured how I feel.
I walked down the ramp into the central courtyard to see a sea of people, colours and stalls. It was my first official day at University. The excitement buzzed through me, along with the nerves. The voices of my brother and sister in law echoed in my head from the previous weekend “ find the MUMSA stall and sign up”. So I walked around looking for the MUMSA stall. I approached to see two people at the stall, a sister wearing hijab and a brother. The sister gave me a friendly smile, greeted me and asked if I wished to sign up. So I filled in the form and I was handed a bag of goodies.( Still remember it was a orange MSA bag) I thanked her and walked off. I didnt’ t think much of what I just did and what it would mean to me in coming years.
The excitement of the first day wore off as I started settling into Uni, I began hating it. It was not what I expected and my units were not engaging. Although I had my best friend was with me at the same Uni (who also started that every same year), we weren’t always there on the same days. So there were days where I would sit in my car during my breaks and hang there until my next class ( how sad lol). Just before the semester I made du’a to Allah to grant me muslim friends, as I didn’t have this luxury during school. My mum kept reassuring me over and over again “ Things are going to get better hannah!”. I just didn’t know how and when. I was convinced that Macquarie was not meant to be for me, and seriously considered transferring. I called UWS to see if they would accept Nursing applications during the Mid year, and they told me they don’t but to apply at the end of the year. So I told myself, Hannah just stick it out for another Semester then transfer. The condition of the human being is that our vision is limited. We think something is really bad for us little do we know that actually there is something honestly really amazing around the corner. I needed to go through this period where I hated Uni, in order to appreciate what was to come. I needed to hate Uni and not be satisfied with the work MUMSA was doing in order to make some positive changes, not just for me but for others.
Semester two came around, and my best friend ( Nadia) and I decided to do the same subject( Myth in the Ancient world) . We attended the first lecture for the unit and we almost feel asleep literally out of boredom. I am Ancient history student and the fact I found it boring says something about that lecture, or actually says something about me as an ancient history student. The following week, Nadia receives an email from a Brother called Hisham ( a very pumped and keen brother who took over MUMSA/Who would become her husband 3 years down the track) asking if she wishes to be part of the Islamic Awareness Week planning team. She accepted and the meeting happened to fall on the same time and day as our lecture together. Nadia, being the amazing friend she is, didn’t want to abandon me and asked if I wanted to come along. I agreed and tagged along. It was a meeting held outside E7B, it was meeting with about 10 people. There was something about that meeting that really pulled me in and grabbed my heart, all I knew was that I really wanted to be part of this . And so the next week, the meeting was the same time and day, and again Nadia did not want to leave me alone. So she asked brother Hisham if I come along. Brother Hisham was hesitant at first since as this was going to be an important meeting. So I rocked up to the meeting, keen to show what I have got. And so yeh, I pulled out my whiteboard markers and start writing on the board. I worked my way into MUMSA. Through the help of Allah and with that amazing team we pulled off the best Islamic Awareness Week across the MSAs for that year , and changed the scale in which Islamic Awareness Weeks occur. It was an incredible experience SubhanaAllah. It awakened a love and passion for the deen. And so, I found my baby; MUMSA.
The following four years were just as incredible and so humbling. Yes during MUMSA their was a lot of fun and happy moments. But I am not going to lie, it is not as easy as it looks. It requires time, dedication and most importantly love. Not just that but it also requires Blood, sweat and lots lots of tears and duas. One person who really understood this with me, is my partner in crime ( aka my partner in kheir). This girl has been my right hand for MUMSA and was ALWAYS willing to engage is the most tedious tasks with me. She has gone above and beyond what has been asked of her and has brought a lot of creativity and love into MUMSA. MUMSA has allowed us to grow closer as best friends and as sisters. This is no other than Yasmeen Hamad. MUMSA is losing one of its biggest assets and will take a lot to fill her shoes.
Through each experience, it taught me a life long lesson. MUMSA helped me grow and help support me as I was developing into an adult. I learnt so much about myself that never knew existed and have developed skills that have been so beneficial in other areas of my life. In the most fragile and difficult moments of my life, MUMSA kept me sane and connected to Allah. I have met people, unlike others. People who stood beside me, supported me, taught me, nurtured me, believed in me, and put up with me.This is something I can never ever be grateful enough for.
Not only that I have seen people come and go. I have welcomed people as they come into MUMSA and I have had to farewell people as they left MUMSA. I have had the honour of witnessing people go through some incredible transformations. I have seen people come to Islam, get closer to their deen, put the hijab, get married, have children, move onto their professions and pass from this world . I have seen tears on people as they went through hardships, and have seen laughs in the happy moments.
I honestly have never understood why people would fight to get high positions of authority on the MSA. It is a huge responsibility and has always weighed heavily on my shoulders. MUMSA throughout the years has felt like a big burden on my shoulders, because it is a position of responsibility and one that I know I will be accountable to Allah for. I know there are many mistakes I have made, and I know there are many things that I could have done better. Naturally with being in this position, people start to see you as role model. While this may sound nice. It is actually terribly terrifying because my words and actions if not correct can lead people astray when they are deluded to thinking this is the right way. Leadership is an extremely big test and carries much responsibility. I honestly make sincere dua for Allah to aid the upcoming leaders of MUMSA in this heavy burden in which they are about to embark on. I sincerely ask everyone who is reading this to forgive me for my shortcomings and to please ask that Allah SWT gives me an easy reckoning in regards to my dealings in MUMSA.
There are so many people I wish to thank for everything. Firstly, my family. My mum and dad have had to put up with so much . If it wasn’t for their support emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually I would not have been able to part of MUMSA. They lived the MUMSA experience with me and supported me the whole way through. Just the fact they cared and believed in the work I was doing for MUMSA, means a lot. If it was not for my brother and my sister in law, I would not be in MUMSA to begin with. They are the ones who encouraged me to join up to the MSA and have supported me the whole way through my MUMSA journey, always keen to know what new project I was involved in.
Next the amazing people I have worked with. These people have not only transformed who I am but have believed in me and inspired me. Each person has taught a valuable life lesson. These are my MUMSA role models.
Shura teams 2010- 14:Nadia Abdel-Fatah, Sahar Sakalaki, Syera Rehmani, Yasmin Salem, Halla Salem, Mariam Shaheed, Yasmeen Hamad, Azizah Kurdi, Ilma Anasreen, Rawand Al-Hinti, Semaa Abdul Wali, Sharfah Mohamed, Rayyana Amin, Radia Amin, Samia Saud, Nadine Shokry, Naveen Rehmani, Ayesha Ardati, Basma Al-Mohamad
Hisham Krayem, Mohamed Najem, Shadab Khan, Kamal Saleh, Sobhi Jamal, Walid Jamal-Eddine, Khaled Ajam, Tarek Jidah, Yama Rased, Mohamed Omran, Ramzy Alamudi, Ehsan Lutfi, Abdul Samad Kilic, Nabil Haris, Abdullah Al Ghamdi, Ramet Khan
And my beautiful MUMSA girls and the whole MUMSA community from 2010 to 2014.
I have no doubt that the upcoming shura will make MUMSA even more amazing and will take the responsibility seriously. I thank Allah SWT abundantly for blessing me with such an amazing Nimah – MUMSA. As a shura member once said: just because one leaves MUMSA it does not mean you are leaving Daw’ah work altogether. In fact I should not be sad about leaving MUMSA because just as Allah as taken care of me my entire life, and provided me with MUMSA when I needed it most. I know that He will provide me with another baby similar and EVEN better than MUMSA, that I can hold , love and grow with inshaAllah.