(Note: this article is part of Volume 18, Issue 2 publication, to view other articles click here. To view the ISSUU version of the magazine click here)

by Dr. O (Omar Shareef) Your college years come with many wonderful and exciting new experiences. For most students, the majority of those experiences lie within a foggy haze of experimental drugs and acute liver damage. But for Muslim students, that sort of thing is kinda haram. So for us, the MSA serves as our “get-away” from the daily stresses of academia and sleeping through bogus graduation-requirement classes.

“MSA can be one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences of your college career.”
Or so you’d think. Sometimes the stress and frustration that boils up within us is not from our Professor forgetting to e-mail the class that tomorrow’s 8:00 AM lecture has been canceled – it’s from the very MSA that we seek as a safe haven from the trials of student life. And it’s simply a fact of life that everyone who joins the MSA eventually gets entangled in some form of drama during their college careers. And if you haven’t yet, don’t worry – just by reading this article, you’re already involving yourself because I know who you like in the MSA, and I’m totally going to gossip about it. Tee heehee!

From my own experience as a former MSA President, MSA Drama is part and parcel of the quintessential MSA experience. It’s all about getting in deep and tossing dirt, pulling beards, and stabbing people with hijab pins because that’s the kind of thing that makes college life EXCITING! It’s like the Muslim version of “Downton Abbey”, only we have modern technology, talk in normal English, have brown skin (for the most part) and MSA brothers who look like Matthew Crawley would be forced to wear niqab because if I were a sister, I would TOTALLY…lower my gaze at him.

But for some reason, MSA Drama seems to cause people a great deal of harm. Perhaps because it destroys relationships, erodes trust, forges suspicions, and poisons the unity of the MSA or something like that? You’re probably thinking to yourself, “yeah, that’s absolutely correct – thanks, Captain Obvious.” Well you’re welcome, Lieutenant Sarcasm. But I know that the big question that’s on your mind is how these drama episodes even start in the first place. The other question on your mind is how this article has any relevance whatsoever to the theme of illuminating connections. And the last question on your mind is how I’m able to read your mind to begin with and figure out what you’re thinking.
You see, drama is a lot like a season of Jersey Shore- it starts off on a foundation of practically nothing over an issue that’s pretty much stupid or non-existent, and then blows up into a huge disaster that may last months or years, entangling everyone involved in a spiral of disappointment, shame, and regret. Drama can engulf your life, ruin your happiness, disrupt your GPA, and may even land you in trouble. So it has connections to nearly everything else in your life – it darkens the illuminations of your connections, and deteriorates your remembrance, recognition, and re-routing of said connections. You see how I made that connection? Pretty sweet – if you need essays written for class, I’m available on a commission basis and I charge market-value rates. I don’t speak Canadian though, so please no essay requests about maple syrup, moose, hockey, free-healthcare, and whatever poutine is, eh.

Anyways, here’s an example of how MSA drama usually starts. Let’s say Haroon is an upstanding regular MSA guy. He’s kind of handsome, but not like Zayn Malik-handsome – he looks like a Muslim version of Mitt Romney. Since his sophomore year, he’s really liked Jameela, the MSA Treasurer who’s a Mechanical Engineer major, but he’s never really summoned the courage to try and propose to her. Jameela, on the other hand, has always liked Musa – he’s a rather creepy brother with a beard that smells like old goat cheese, but he got forced by his parents to be a pre-med student so he’s well on his way to becoming a doctor. Let’s be honest here: if Musa is going to be a doctor, Haroon doesn’t stand a chance with Jameela’s parents.

So Jameela asks her friend Fatima about Musa, and she backbites about his goat cheese-smelling beard, and then spreads that backbitten rumor on her Facebook status (and tags Haroon in it, because Fatima secretly likes Haroon, and wants Haroon to see that she’s helping him so that he trusts her enough to confide in her). Haroon thinks Fatima is a weird sister because she’s a death-metal-nasheed fan, dresses like Lady Gaga, and she hides samosas in her hijab and sneaks bites in during lecture. Eventually every sister in Canada finds out about Musa’s beard “problem,” and poor misunderstood Musa never wanted to be a doctor, he just wants to be a Halal meat shop butcher.

Because Musa’s been publicly defamed, Jameela loses interest in him and starts to inquire about Haroon. This makes Fatima jealous and so she spreads nasty rumors. Suddenly Jameela is ridiculed by all the MSA girls who think she is an ugly girl with pimples who supports Team Edward. So she cries in the prayer room all alone. Haroon and Musa soon become best friends and they eventually marry their respective second-cousins back in Pakistan. Musa winds up being a miserable doctor who longs to cleave lamb and chicken meat. Jameela and Fatima still say salaam to each other with smiles on their faces and give empty compliments to one another, but pretty much any MSA sister can tell you that they hate each other’s guts. And so everyone lives HAPPILY ever after. THE END.

It’s pretty obvious what lesson you need to take away from that entire story. The most critical thing needed to prevent MSA drama is for brothers to properly wash and shampoo their beards and for sisters to seriously stop watching and/or reading Twilight. And I guess it helps for MSA members to lower their gazes, pursue interests in a dignified, halal manner as befitting Islamic teachings, to avoid backbiting and gossiping, to protect and preserve one another’s honor, and to be genuine in both actions and intentions. But in all seriousness, sisters, don’t hide food in your hijab. That’s just bizarre.

MSA Drama doesn’t need to rule your college life and destroy your happiness and trust in your fellow brothers and sisters. Shaitan doesn’t run your MSA: YOU do. So stop inviting him to your MSA gatherings and hangouts, he’s kind of a jerk. MSA can be one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences of your college career. So treat your fellow Muslims with respect, quell drama when you see it boiling, soothe tensions and rebuild friendships with kindness and sincerity – and insha’Allah your MSA experience will once again be full of mercy, blessings, and joy.

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  • This is so hilarious!!! Thank you for sharing. I just posted it on my facebook. :)

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