MSO brings speakers from Chicago, Brooklyn

The conference's name was "Pursuits of this World - Beyond Material Gains."
Ammaar Firozi, 9, sings Native Deen's "Drug Free" at the Muslim Student Organization's entertainment night on Saturday at Memorial Union. The night closed MSO's three-day conference and featured poetry readings and a comedy performance.

The Muslim Student Organization hosted its spring conference, “Pursuits of this World — Beyond Material Gains,” over the past weekend, inviting speakers from Brooklyn and Chicago to talk to MSO members.

MSO spokesman Mahir Khan said the conference was held this semester to fill the void left when Islam Awareness Week was moved to first semester.

“The topic we decided on is called ‘Pursuits of this World — Beyond Material Gain,’” Khan said. “Basically that’s just about how everything isn’t about what you get in this life, but more about what you do.”

Khan said this idea is an important concept in Islam.

“As a Muslim in this life you have three things,” Khan said. “You have your wealth, you have your family and you have your deeds. But when you die, the only thing that goes with you is your deeds so we really try to embody that.”

The two speakers at the conference were Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a community activist and speaker from Brooklyn and Ustadah Tahera Ahmad, chaplain from Northwestern University.

“We wanted to have speakers that have personalities, that have flair, that have something to say that we can't just get out of a YouTube video,” Khan said.

Khan said Wahhaj spoke Thursday about the importance individual people helping a community.

“His topic was just to give back, not just to the Muslim community but to the community at large,” Khan said. “He kind of expanded on that in Friday’s sermon about Muslim's footprint in America and it got me thinking, ‘What have I done to give back, not only to the Muslim community but to the entire country?'”

Following Wahhaj’s second discussion on Friday, Ahmad spoke to MSO members on that evening, discussing how to achieve a balance between one’s personal life and involvement in the community.

MSO President Arwa Mohammad said Ahmad’s experience as a university chaplain made her interaction with the students lively and entertaining.

“She threw tennis balls and basketballs and made us do complex tasks with them to show that if you're trying to do too much, or if you're trying to juggle too many things at once, you're not necessarily going to be successful at those tasks,” Mohammad said.

Mohammad said the majority of MSO members attended the conference, and its success helped to gather more excitement for MSO in the future.

“It increased membership and excitement for our organization, kind of something we've been trying to do, laying the groundwork for future conferences and laying the groundwork for what future members can do,” Mohammad said.

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