The Muslim Student Association hosted its annual Eid al-Adha banquet and welcome back dinner on Thursday, Sept. 6 in the Multipurpose Room.
Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday celebrated worldwide every year and is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice. This festival commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s — Abraham in the Hebrew bible — willingness to sacrifice his son to God. It also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
MSA President Yahya Sheikh explained that the purpose of this banquet was to establish a safe space for Muslim students to feel at home and to welcome new freshmen, transfer students and any potential club members.
“This event is for you guys,” Sheikh said.
“We want all non-Muslims to know that we are just like them and how we are so dedicated to something we really believe in and a lot of people do respect us for that. We want to show non-Muslims how much we love our religion and how much we believe in it. MSA has given me all my friends, a place to look forward to. … It has given me events to improve my professional and social development and a kind of a value.”
The banquet started off with a prayer, followed by recitations from MSA member Mahbub Khan and a presentation from Sheikh on MSA, Women in Islam and Muslim Business Association.
The Multipurpose Room was split into two sides: men on one side and women on the other because men and women pray separately in the Islamic religion.
The president of Women in Islam, Fariha Farzana, emphasized that WII is a community of Islamic sisters in which everyone comes together to discuss important issues. She wanted a space for all Muslim women to be able to speak up and to express themselves freely.
Special guest Omar Esa was unable to make it to the banquet due to the cancellation of his flight, so MSA brought in Mufti Aminul Islam as a last-minute special guest speaker.
The word “Mufti” means scholar. Islam completed the memorization of the Quran at the age of 12. He is currently an instructor of the various Islamic sciences such as, Quran, Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and Arabic Linguistics at Darul Uloom New York.
Islam gave an inspirational speech and reminded everyone to put their faith completely in Allah.
Sheikh also spoke about prayer room etiquettes and the importance of praying. Muslims pray five times a day and evening prayer took place right there in the Multipurpose Room at 7:20 p.m., where everyone who wanted to pray did so together as a unity.
The evening prayer demonstrated how all of the students came together to respect and support their faith.
There were two performances after the prayer during which a student from New York University sang a song dedicated to Palestine. NYU sophomore Helal Chowdhury wrote and performed a song that said, “Take my hand and hold me tight, we will stand together for Palestine… Mama please don’t cry, it is for Palestine.”
Chowdhury explained that the media was not portraying the reality to the fullest, so he wanted to sing this song to show how much suffering there has been and how we must stand together for Palestine.
“Many people don’t know what’s happening and so I do this in the hopes that people will remember it and even sing along to it. And as they do, they will start to remember the lyrics and the actual atrocities that’s been going on,” said Chowdhury.
Farzana also performed a spoken word piece about Ramadan, which is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.
Her performance accentuated the hardships that Muslims had to go through and the importance of Ramadan and why they
“At the end of the day, it’s all about how we come together and remind ourselves of the bigger purpose,” Farzana said. “I try to remind everyone both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that we are here on a united front, not just on an individual.”
Farzana spoke about the Islamophobia that has been spreading all over the country, and she wants to give a voice to the voiceless and encourages everyone to speak up and to continue to believe in their faith.
“Through my poetry, I would hope that would encourage students to not feel the fear that Islamophobes might bring to the country,” Farzana said. “And just be proud of their religion and hold firm to their faith.”
MSA Vice President of Marketing Mariam Jaafar wants all the freshmen and transfer students to feel like they have a Muslim community they can relate to, right here at Baruch.
Junior Adeena Naqvi said, “I had a really great time, I was pleasantly surprised by some performances that I didn’t know were happening and I got to see some old friends so it was really nice.”