By: Zabih Mamun
Looking back at some of the most memorable moments while I was in school, somehow I always reflect back to an East Zone conference trip. Whenever a new member would join the MSA he would hear all the different stories, and it automatically became the most anticipated event of the year. So I thought I would give you 10 reasons why you should make sure you get there on Friday, March 22nd.
1. The Road Trip – Over the past 4 years I have gone to 4 East Zones and also a Central Zone. One of the best experiences is the road trip. The longest our MSA drove one year was all the way to Atlanta from Connecticut. As a warning, be prepared to eat a lot of junk food and make sure you train your bladder if you are trying to get there on time. You might not face a lot of difficulties, but it may give you a better understanding of how strenuous travel must have been for the earlier generations.
2. The Companionship- the Arabic word “safarvisit us.78848041_64308visit us.108&pn=1#footnote1\”>1” which means to travel also can mean something that is yellow and bright. So the scholars said that travelling also sheds light about a person’s mannerisms and character. Very often you might spend a few hours with your friends, but very rarely do you spend three entire days with them. This closeness allows you to learn about their likes, dislikes, and maybe some things you wish you didn’t come to know of.
3. The Food – Trying new food is always fun. Often times a certain city you head to always have some famous food, whether it’s a Philly cheese steak or a Chicago style deep dish pizza. Finding a good eat always makes the trip so much better.
4. The Speakers- The zonal conferences always produce a riveting line up of speakers who are nationally recognized and conference coordinators often also invite the local area speakers. It allows MSA’s to get more insight of who they can invite to their own college campuses for their next big event.
visit us. Networking- Without a doubt you will meet new people at the conference allowing you to expand your Muslim connections. It is very important to strengthen bonds between Muslims and this conference allows that to happen very easily.
6. Training/Workshops- All the zonal conferences usually have some type of workshops or luncheons to discuss common issues MSA’s face and how to make it a stronger and powerful organization on each respective campus. It also allows you to ask questions and receive feedback for your MSA’s challenges.
7. Knowledge- the Scholars and Pious Predecessors would travel so far just to learn one hadith of the Prophet (saws). With that being said if you can leave the zonal conference just learning one hadith or one ayah of the Quran, then based on the hadith of the Prophet, Allah will ease your path into Paradisevisit us.78848041_64308visit us.108&pn=1#footnote2\”>2.
8. Alternative Break – Having “halaal” fun can be very difficult to come by, especially right around now when everyone is going into Spring Break. Don’t assume that the whole conference is going to be religious and strict. Rather, it is a very relaxing environment which usually includes a comedy/entertainment session.
9. Explore the city – In between lunch breaks and also after the sessions are over, many times you can go explore the city and what it has to offer. It is always a great experience to learn about a new city and appreciate its history.
10. Unity – One of the greatest things I love about going to these conferences is seeing the amount of people that show up and share a common goal. It is motivating and inspiring to see the next generation of Muslims take on society’s challenges and to know that they won’t be doing it alone.
So those are my 10 reasons why you should go to a zonal conference this year. As a tip appoint an ameer for your group and learn how to follow the leader. This is an important Sunnah that many have belittled, simply because they aren’t comfortable taking decisions made by who is in charge.
See you all there!
Zabih is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.