Muslim Student Association's Halaqa, or "Circle of Knowledge" Helps Students Learn and Grow

By: Brhan Ahmed

November 15, 2011

Once every other Tuesday, Georgetown's MSA holds a halaqa, or "Circle of Knowledge," where students come together and discuss various topics.
We have already held three halaqas with the following topics: "Forgetfulness of Mankind," "Friendship in Islam," and "Hardships in Life."

These events, which are open to everyone (students, teachers, and community members alike), allow the many people within our community to come together and share their knowledge of Islam, their own religion, personal experiences, and more.

With this judgment-free zone, anyone can attend halaqas with the intention to listen, discuss, learn, and grow.

This event is greatly connected to Georgetown's Challenge goals in many ways.

Within the circle of knowledge, many groups (whether Muslims, Christians, or Agnostics) come together and share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge regarding different subjects. From this interfaith component, we are able to foster a new type of interaction between a diverse population, which results in the unification of different groups that will work together to confront the life challenges that all religions and people face.

Being that the halaqas are open to all members of the Georgetown community, the faculty and student interaction increases as each group joins together and discusses common issues.

The ties between Georgetown University and the local community have also been strengthened from these event, since the members of the community can unify and discuss as well as share various ideas within the halaqas.

Wardah Athar, the vice president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), also shared her experiences with the halaqas. She was very delighted to see how the halaqa events were going. She was not only surprised to see how many people were attending the Circles of Knowledge, but also surprised to see the diversity of the attendees, both ethnically and religiously.

Reflecting on her experiences, Wardah is convinced that the effects of this event are without a doubt positive, promoting open dialogue and, as a result, furthering the understanding of beliefs between groups that would otherwise hold misconceptions about each other. Wardah believes that her personal beliefs have not been challenged in the discussions within the halaqas, but strengthened instead (as the different perspectives caused her to re-evaluate her own beliefs). Wardah also remarks on how she is very involved in her community, yet, the communal effect she witnesses within the Circles of Knowledge have never cease to surprise her. Whenever Wardah reflects on MSA's halaqas, she cannot help but feel that she, as a person and as a community member, evolves into a better Georgetown individual within the great society that is the Georgetown population.

With the misconceptions of today's society that too often revolve around Islam, it gives me great hope to see an event like this thrive with the support of both Muslims and non-Muslims. Social justice is never out of reach so long as we never stop reaching out to others.

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