Radar met with Fizza Naveed and Maaz Vohra, President and Treasurer of RGU’s Islamic Society, to learn more about the society. This is what they had to say.
1) What do members of your society do?
Maaz: We meet up for social events sometimes, maybe for dinner, and then we have meetings for the committee members. We come up and talk about what we’re going to do for the year, and how to help the Muslims in the University. We have to pray five times a day, some Muslims do like to pray, so we discuss how to make that easier. There’s a prayer room in the University, but most people don’t know about it, so we have to let people know about those things. And we work out how to spread the word.
Fizza: Yeah it is about social events and providing support for students, but as you saw last week, we work on awareness raising events and stuff like that. And different campaigns so we can give back to society as well.
2) What made you guys continue/start this society?
Fizza: Well, I think it’s been around for five years now. I decided to come into it, because I think it’s quite an important society, because you get quite a lot of students that are Muslim or even non-Muslims who want to know more. So it’s important to have like a body to go to. So that’s why.
Maaz: I just joined the society a year ago. I joined the society to know about where to get Halal food and everything. I thought I’d get a better idea if I just try to meet Muslim people and maybe know about things.
3) What, in a broad sense, does Islam mean to you?
Fizza: I think the most important thing for me, personally, is that it kind of gives my life purpose. Because the whole point of Islam is to submit to God, so you do everything to please him, really. And, as you may or may not know, Islam means peace. So that peace means, when you submit to God, that’s the peace you get. It makes your life a lot more easy and meaningful.
Maaz: I believe in God. I follow some of [Islam], I don’t follow all of it. I can’t pray five times a day, with Uni and everything, but I try to. It’s just believing in God, following the rules as much as I can.
4) Do you think that societies like this one have more importance in the modern world?
Fizza: Yeah, I think it kind of always was, because Islam was always in the spotlight but I suppose a lot more now, because of everything that’s going on like you said. So we need to work on always giving that positive image and including everyone as well, so everyone knows that we’re normal.
Maaz: It is important to change the perception of people when it comes to Muslims and Islam. People think that it’s maybe a bad religion or a violent religion, which it is not at all. Because all of the teachings of Islam is that it is completely non-violent and Islam teaches all the right things. So just to make that awareness and to make people understand that what is happening in America is wrong, the Islamic society is very important.
5) Do you guys have any events coming up?
Fizza: Well I mentioned campaigns earlier and we take part in one called “Believe & Do Good”, so that’s one where we undertake at least three projects to give back to the community, so I think we’re working on a foodbank to give back to the homeless. I’m not sure about the other stuff, but that’s going to come in the next few weeks.
Maaz: Ramadan is coming up so we might do some charity events during Ramadan, because that’s the time of year when all Muslims give – one of the five rules of Islam is to give 1/40th of the income to charity.
MAAZ: Yeah, that’s the compulsory thing, whatever you earn you give 1/40th of it to Charity. Ramadan is the month when we actually do it, it’s like the first month of the year for us, first Islamic month. So we might do charity events during that so money goes to the right people, rather than the wrong hands.
6) And finally, how do people sign up?
Fizza: We have our Facebook page. It’s the same as any other society in RGU, we do that special form and pay the fee, that’s pretty much it, simple.
Maaz: We have a lot of mutual friends, it’s not that big a society. We don’t do that many social events, but through friends is how people generally join.
The Islamic society can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RGUISOC/