By Amalia Rehman
Muslim Link Contributing Writer
The Woodbridge NVCC (Northern Virginia Community College) campus is a small, unimpressive campus with a few new buildings and a large parking lot.
But in spite of its modest dimensions a small group of committed students is making an impression and a difference that extends far beyond their small neighborhood. They are the members of the Executive Committee of the MSA (Muslim Student Association) Organization.
“The MSA was founded by three freshmen girls, and soon became the most active organization at the NOVA campus. Our main goal is to better represent Muslims, and show a better image than what most have seen. We have had great success because of the will of Allah, and the many great staff at NOVA who have supported us from the start. It’s an organization that promotes diversity. We have so many non-Muslims that have been part of this because of the many successful projects that are held toward uniting people of all faiths.” commented Sumaya Al-Hajeb, Vice President of the MSA at NVCC Woodbridge.
These committed members meet regularly and try to put together a project for each month. This month they are having a clothing drive for the Muslimat Al-Nisa Women’s Shelter in Maryland.
“The project was started in the beginning of November and will continue through December. When we were talking to the women’s shelter, they told us that they needed personal grooming products… We had one brother go out and buy a lot of shampoo and conditioner and soap. Another person donated lots of hotel shampoos and soap products. We are getting so much stuff; we are considering giving some of it to a local homeless shelter called ACTS.”
“We also had a fast-a-thon last month where about 150 people showed up. Al-Zaytuna restaurant (a local family-owned business in Woodbridge) donated more food than we could eat. The proceeds from that event were donated to Muslimat Al-Nisa Women’s Shelter,” added Sister Sumaya.
The spirit of these students is inspiring.
“It feels great knowing I’ll be able to help keep someone warm this winter. It is doing small things like this that will help better our community as a whole, and strengthen the bond of unity with everyone around us. Not only are we doing something good for others, but it’s also a religious duty asked out of all of us. Even if we are in bad conditions, we should always remember that there are those out there that have it a lot worse than we do!” explained Sister Sumaya.
Rahela Fazal, the Treasurer of the MSA at NVCC Woodbridge said da’wa was also a goal.
“Our overall goal is to portray a better image of Islam and Muslims. I think our activities have brought the Muslims on campus closer together and, at the same time, we have non-Muslims getting a better understanding and perspective on what Islam really is. I think we have gotten our point across and achieved our goal… Last semester we coordinated a fast-a-thon. Our goal was to raise $300.00 dollars but we were very pleased when we raised $500.00 dollars. We’ve also been selling pizza this last week and the proceeds will also go to the Muslimat Al-Nisa Women’s Shelter.
Sami Ahmed, the Events Coordinator of the MSA at NVCC Woodbridge portrayed the quality of humility when he commented, “It was primarily Sumaya who had the idea to do a winter clothing drive. She was the one who suggested we do one for the women’s shelter in Baltimore… We advertised on campus by putting out collection bins on every level of the school and also advertised through Dar Al-Noor Mosque. We have had a great response. A student from the Loudon County campus of NVCC contacted the activities coordinator of our campus about collecting some donations from there.”
This handful of students, which also include Sabah Bashiruddin, the MSA President, and Galarza Luis, the MSA Secretary, are enthusiastic and driven by the tenets of Islam they grew up with in their homes. They have successfully pushed forward their agenda and have impacted not only those that they reached out to help, but the larger community of NVCC students who now have a glimpse of the promise that Islam has to offer America.
“Being considerate of others will take us a lot further in life than a college degree, we hope this can make a small difference within our world,” NVCC MSA Officers said in a collective statement.