MSO students attend St. Louis conference

The conference was hosted by Saint Louis University’s Muslim Students Association this weekend.

Students from the Muslim Student Organization spent the weekend learning how to live a well-rounded life at Saint Louis University.

During the SLU Muslim Students Association Fourth Annual Winter Conference, "The Balancing Act: Deen and Dunya," nationally renowned speakers encouraged the audience to find the balance between living in the now and concentrating on faith.

“Deen basically means ‘the religion’ or ‘the way of life’ and dunya is sort of the world as it is, like the material world,” MSO President Taha Hameduddin said. “So I think they’re trying to say that you can be an active participant in society but you can still have your eye on the hereafter, so what they’re saying is that it’s a balancing act.”

This idea of balance was not new to the students that attended, but they looked to the guest lecturers to put it into perspective, MSO spokesman Rafa Nizam said.

Nizam, who attended last year’s conference, thought one lecturer, Wisam Sharieff, summed up the spirit of the weekend in a matter of minutes.

“(Sharieff) was saying that the majority of people who attend that conference really aren’t going to get anything new from it,” said Nizam. “It’s all old stuff and reminders, but he wants to offer us another scope to look at it through. I thought that hit it right on. You have all these facts like what the tenants are and what it means to practice and how to practice, but on top of that you have to look at it through another scope so it becomes more relevant to you.”

Nizam said he will remember the impact of Sharieff’s lecture for the rest of his life.

"I don’t know, I feel like my goals in life and what I value now (Sharieff) had a direct effect on, just from of his lectures," he said. "You never know what you can attain or learn unless you actually go sit in on his lectures and actively listen with the intention of learning something that can change your life.”

Senior Sumaiya Khan said she enjoyed hearing several speakers who discussed the topic of women and their role in Islam.

“Right when I got there, the first lecture was by this woman and her name was Yasmin (Mogahed),” Khan said. “She was very educated and she spoke about women in fashion, and that fashion is not something that comes out of external beauty and it’s not something people should see with their eyes. It’s not just what we perceive, we always think that ‘that’s pretty’ or ‘that’s beautiful’ but that’s not it. It comes from the inside. So that was a cool thing, and I was really moved by it.”

Khan said she enjoyed listening to stories from the Quran that illustrated how a person’s actions affect their future.

“I liked the stories, for sure, and what happened to the people who believe a certain way or their actions represent their future," Kahn said. “The stories I heard assured me that whatever I do is going to have an impact.”

Both Kahn and Nizam said they recommend the SLU MSA Winter Conference to other interested students.

“This is a phenomenal resource, it’s a weekend long conference with excellent, excellent speakers," Nizam said.

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