A few weeks ago before we started class for the day, one of our teachers had asked us to take a few minutes and reflect back to before we came to the program- where we were, how we left, why were we coming here, leaving our families and homes behind and coming to an unfamiliar place, what was our thought process like? I rewinded back 5 months and vividly remembered the day I had packed my car up the brim, swallowed back tears, and left heavy hearted- excited, anxious, overwhelmed with gratitude, a bit afraid of the upcoming responsibility- so many thoughts running through my head. I had never left home for more than 30 days and leaving home, leaving my family, my community, all the bonds and memories that were made- I wondered if I could find the same comfort, the same feeling of family and love in a new place.
I remember the first few weeks being full of introductions and reserved conversations as a room full of strangers, who came from all across the country, slowly started to get to know one another. A few weeks passed and then a couple more. Day in and day out, we pushed through beginning nahw, trying to squeeze as much as we could into our brains. More weeks passed with lots of late nights, tears shed on each other shoulders, studying till we were loopy, laughing until we couldn’t breathe, and we made it to Sarf. We went to sleep whispering sarf charts to ourselves, shared our sarf nightmares with each other, sarfed in the car rides, woke up sarfing some days and realized we had officially gone over the edge, stayed on campus way too late before the Sarf final, cried our way through it, and thanked Allah once we made it through.
Five in a half months later, we’re finally in Advanced Nahw and one thing that strikes me the most at this point is that I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but at some point in this journey, the people that I am sharing this journey with became my family. I walk in now some days and I look at the sisters around me and I can’t help but wonder how such a strong bond can form in such a short amount of time. Relationships sometimes take years to develop and grow and strengthen but within such a short amount of time, my classmates and teachers became like a part of me. Their moments of happiness became mine just like their pain became my pain too. We’ve pushed each other through the lows, been cheerleaders for each other through the days where our brain just couldn’t take anymore, and celebrated the little successes, and cried together and held each others hands through the tough times.
For the past several weeks, one of my classmates had to return home and has been in and out of the hospital because of a severe illness and we could all feel a part of the pain. She was hurting and our hearts hurt for her too. (Please keep her in your duas, may Allah grant her a complete healing and elevate her through this difficulty). Some of our classmates have lost loved ones in the past months, some of them have been battling emotional battles, some have started new journeys in life and just like a family, we feel together. But why? How?
It’s the power of Allah, of His Book, of sacred knowledge. We all came here with one purpose, we came for Allah. 6 days a week, we sit together trying and struggling to get closer to His Book, trying to change ourselves, yearning for Allah’s pleasure with whatever little we are able to do and that unified goal- it connects hearts on such a deep level. It’s a transcendent type of love…a love fueled by Allah, for Allah. Looking around at the people I’m surrounded by here, I’m constantly inspired by their dedication, their sacrifices, their work ethic and character and so so grateful that Allah wrote them as part of my provision in this world.
Along with the Arabic, it’s the relationships built in this environment, founded and fueled by a common goal that really makes this experience unlike anything else. It’s the random gems, the experiences that my classmates have shared, their stories of resilience and overcoming, the wisdom shared by our teachers that have helped me grow in ways that I could’ve never imagined before coming to the program. It’s a family away from family. And I can never thank Allah enough for each and every one of them.