From Dream to Reality: The Bayyinah Dream Experience

MV: A very enlightening and inspiring experience written by Sr. Imaan Fathima, a current student at Bayyinah Institute, regarding her time as a Bayyinah Dream student:

Imaan Fathima: Every Dream comes to an end. Some Dreams you may remember while others are just a pinnacle of your memory. People often ask me “So what’s Bayyinah like?” and I often retort with a deadpan look, “like college.” But it’s way more than that. Past the work load, past the Arabic language studying, past student led get togethers, it’s the knowledge that what I’m learning is for a greater cause, a greater purpose. What I’m doing is not just for my own improvement but for an effort towards a chain reaction of communal improvements. It’s for my advancement in society so that I can be worthy of calling myself a torch bearer of Islamic values. It’s through this individual advancement, through my awe in the language of the Quran and it’sappreciation that I can grow closer to the one who created me. I can grow closer to the Qu’ran, the scripture which is my blueprint to navigate through whatever I may be going through in life and help others around me do the same.

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               Looking back at my first six months at Bayyinah, I remember the times I used to do ballet in the apartment every morning of the exam or crack a funny joke in class or just stare dumbfounded into the air whenever Ustadh would make some corny reference. I remember the times before a test on Friday when I would get sugar-high excited just so my positive attitude would hopefully, “fingers crossed”, translate onto my performance on the exam. I remember all the times I made connections with those around me, having never felt so spiritually uplifted in my life, surrounded by individuals that all share many similar aspirations of self improvement as Muslim citizens in society, yet come from different countries, cultures, of various ages and backgrounds. I remember setting goals and challenges for myself, a legacy for myself to live by-“I can eat chocolate on Saturday if I do that” or “I can allow myself to prank text this person if I get a certain grade on my test”. Yes, I would fall here, and there, well more so than not, but depressing over that failure wouldn’t get me anywhere, would it? All those moments of failure were out-shined by my meals at A1 Burger right afterwards, eating nutella when no one was looking, jogging, late night roommate conversations, or just simply watching random debates on YouTube. The typical college student life. Yet so much more.

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                These experiences came with a self conscious decision to change, in character and in outlooks. The biggest change we can make in society is by first harboring change in ourselves. More than anything, what has changed in me the most, since the beginning of this program, is my attitude. My attitude and my perspective. What really matters in the end? Who am I doing all this for? I’ve realized that I ought to enter class everyday with a fresh and renewed determination, an appreciation for what I’m learning because someone else could be in my seat at the very moment, absorbing and utilizing knowledge much more efficiently than I could be. Truth of the matter is, this applies to every opportunity a person is given in life, not just Bayyinah. Because every opportunity comes with strings attached, a reminder that you were the one to have received that privilege, a privilege which could have been used way more efficiently by someone else in your position at that very moment. This has kept me determined to never give up and always stay happy and thankful with every moment that I am granted, moments of failures, moments of successes alike. It’s the students who tried hard, failed, and still stood back up with a constant determination that realized the importance of the knowledge they were receiving. They were the ones who made the oath to never forget what they worked so hard for and retain whatever they had learned with unfaltering conviction and hard work.

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              With only one month left, I’ve learned Dream isn’t the only opportunity I have to apply all these life skills. My work ethics, my determination, my attitude and appreciation for opportunities-these are all things that need to be applied in life itself and Dream is just a venue in order to better reach what I am ultimately striving for. Because like every dream that passes too quickly, you never get time to reflect. Regardless, in the end, I don’t want this to be a dream I’ll forget or fail to reflect on. I want this to have been an experience I will carry with me wherever I go, to take those people with me wherever I go, and that knowledge to be manifested in my actions all throughout my life. Because afterall, this is one Dream that doesn’t and cannot end. It’s a life long journey.

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