Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Open Letter to the Muslim Students Association

16 June 2013

Dear MSA leader, 

Asalamu Alaikum

I write this open letter to you, respected MSA chairperson and MSA committee member in South Africa. It's befitting that I pen this on June 16. A significant day in our history as South Africans - a day when the youth stood in the forefront, risking their lives for the greater good. They fought bravely in the face of injustice…may their sacrifices never be forgotten.

MSA Union is a national umbrella body representing 23 MSAs around South Africa. It’s been a long road to get to this point. In late 2011 discussions began to revive the National body that lay dormant for a number of years. We saw the need to work together to achieve common objectives - to build unity by working together, by removing the isolation that existed between campuses. The task was a momentous one. But Alhamdulillah progress was made and now MSA Union is alive and well. The challenge now is ensuring that we work together to keep MSA growing, to continue doing what is right, to strengthen ourselves and become the standard of excellence.  

Allow me to share with you how I was introduced to the MSA... many years ago, while I was still in high school, a friend of mine, Muhammed Patel suggested I attend a meeting of sorts at Wits University hosted by the MSA. At that time, Union had a ‘high schools’ project. On the day we were introduced to the MSA representatives there... Abdur Rahman Laily was involved- Muhammad Manjra, Bilal Randree, Muhammed Ziyaad Hassen (Ned), Ayesha Jacub, Zakir Patel and many others. (We, as MSA, stand on the shoulders of Giants whom I will always look up to).  We interacted with them for an entire day and in all honesty I was completely astounded by the work a group of young brothers and sisters were putting in for Islamic work. This for me is the definition of a life changing experience. Now if the MSA could do that for me, the question that arises is, why can't we, collectively do that for every Muslim student out there. We, as the Muslim youth at tertiary institutions can make a difference...in fact, we must make an impactful impression on our broader society.

Allow me to share my wish list for the MSA going forward...

MSA will be an organisation that trains the youth on how to continue to build our connection with Allah, develop leaders who have a strong Islamic identity and who are completely competent and willing to serve Islam.

MSA will be an organisation that sets the standards for every other organisation to aspire to. 

MSA will be an organisation that is fully sustainable in every way...with the financial resources and reserves to fulfil its objectives for projects that will please Allah.

MSA will be an organisation that every single Muslim on campus will want to be a part of.

MSA will be an organisation that develops leaders of society in every sphere and instils in them that doing Islamic work is a duty.

MSA will be an organisation that has individuals willing to continue MSA work irrespective of title and position.

MSA will be an organisation that is completely representative of Muslim youth in South Africa.

MSA will be an organisation that develops individuals that continue to be active in Islamic work well after their time on campus has passed.

MSA will be an organisation that creates space for individuals to continue to work with us even after they have graduated.

MSA will be an organisation that has an active high schools feeder system so when first years arrive at campus they have the skills needed to be active on campus and beyond. 

MSA will be an organisation that creates the spaces for students to be creative, innovative, ground breaking, and bring their talents to the fore.

MSA will be an organisation that is completely accessible, accountable, transparent, sustainable, having a staff compliment, and having active chapters.

MSA will be an organisation that is more concerned with serving project Islam than itself.

MSA will be an organisation that is made up entirely of hardworking, dedicated, committed, Allah conscious members.

Yes...it’s a long wish list...but completely doable...So, how do we build the organisation, the one we know MSA Can be? We start today. MSA belongs to every single one of you. It is now our responsibility to take the organisation forward and advance Project Islam.  It is our collective responsibility to make the MSA the organisation we want it to be. It will take perseverance, commitment and dedication to do this. Our duty is to make the best effort, to strive for excellence in all that we do… And then Make Dua that Allah grants us success. Ameen.

“Success through Excellence”

Yusuf Talia
Union of Muslim Students’ Association (MSA Union of South Africa)    

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