MYG Ramadan Youth Nights both fun and enriching
By: Marwa Abdelghani
Everyone is always thrilled once Ramadan is just around the corner. People are so excited and just cannot wait until the first day. But why is that? Is it because they love starving themselves for sixteen hours everyday? No, that can’t be it. Let me take a wild guess. It’s because we know that we’re getting closer and closer to getting that extra help and push that we always get in Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world always await that feeling of spirituality that we gain during the holy month. It is so fun and beautiful to see all of our Muslim friends and families during such a fantastic celebration. Fasting together, praying together, and breaking our fasts together really reveal that religious part of us that we all have. That we all need.
On Saturdays July 28th and August 4th, the Muslim Youth Group of the Islamic Center of Southern California threw together its annual all-nighters where the youth, the children, and the adults of the Muslim community here in Los Angeles gathered to celebrate Ramadan. On these nights that will be concluded this coming Saturday, August 11th, iftar and suhoor were served. Adults were welcome to join the youth upstairs in their activities, socialize downstairs, or participate in the all night Qiyam led by Dr. Saleh Kholaki and the beautiful recitation of the Qur’an by multiple reciters. The youth were presented with multiple guest speakers that truly succeeded at instilling that sense of spirituality throughout the room. These youth-driven programs really advanced our experience in leadership and development as Muslims living in America. These nights are important in helping us find that society that we belong to, and how to navigate our way through it using the strength we gain from spending time together.
On the 28th, Jihad Turk joined the MYG upstairs and spoke about the importance of obedience in the Qur’an. The youth experienced lectures and discussions that taught them to not become too hung up on the specifics of different ideas, but to be able to generalize and really understand the true meaning of what Allah is always trying to put forth through His diction in the Qur’an. At midnight, Jihad led the kids in a prayer in English. He first spoke in Arabic as we do in a normal prayer, and then translated it. This activity truly changed the atmosphere in the room because of how much more meaningful our prayer became. Most of our youth speak the words of the Qur’an but never understand what they’re saying, and so our adoration of the Qur’an significantly increased. Following the prayer, we went around the room and each person made a personal connection with Allah by first thanking Him for something, and then asking Him for something they really long for. Ashar Shah ensued Jihad and followed up on his objective that night. He discussed the importance of focusing on the big things in life because there’s no time to sweat the details. The time we have on this earth is minute compared to that of the hereafter, which is what we should be focusing on. Both speakers that night were very moving and managed to cause a ripple of sniffles across the room, which was exactly what I wanted, Alhamdulilah.
The following Saturday, Layla Shaikley spoke to the MYG about patience in the Qur’an using her own experiences. The youth were very active participants in making this discussion one of deep understanding. At midnight, we had a group of Sufi Muslims come in to talk about Sufism and give the youth an experience of how they perform dhikr. Following this, Imam Tariq Aquil came in and shared his journey to finding Islam, along with his lecture of Allah wanting us to live our lives to the fullest. He wants us to establish ourselves as Muslims in this community and build the strength to overcome whoever and whatever tells us otherwise. Imam Tariq’s lecture had his listeners infatuated with his words and sad to have it end so soon. I am so thankful for the strong community we have here in Los Angeles, and the power that our speakers manage to put on all of our hearts during the holiest days of the year. All attendees, adults and youth, left that night anticipating the following Saturday yet to come Insha’Allah.