Being a Collective – TIC West 2017

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By Reem Mohamed from MAS DC
Estimated Reading Time: 2.5 Minutes

I have been reading, “Oh Allah, You know that these hearts have come together in loving You” for years, almost every day, twice a day. I knew what the words meant, but I recited them automatically, unfeelingly. The first time I read this duaa (from Wird Ar-Rabitah) after TIC, I burst into tears, envisioning the forty girls I had spent the week with and directing this duaa at them.

TIC answered a question I did not realize I was asking. It fulfilled a yearning I did not know I had. I finally understood the depth of the collective. I understand what it means for hearts to come together for the sake of Allah. And although TIC did teach us how to work as a collective, and how to serve the collective in doing Islamic work, the most important thing I learned was how to be a collective.

There were certain rules we had to follow and expectations of striving to perfection. When one of us made a mistake, when there was evidence of anything less than perfection, we had to redeem ourselves. We were given the opportunity for self-discipline, for personal growth. The thing was, our perfection was a result of the collective, so our misgivings were also a result of the collective. I remember one night, one girl was injured and her entire cabin was late because of her injury. She raised her hand, to take responsibility alone, but our leader would not allow it. You see, when one part of the body is hurt, the entire body suffers that pain. When one of us fails, for whatever reason, we all do. Our successes, our injuries, our happiness, and our pain, are experienced together. Our selflessness to each other does not depend on how well we know one other, but only that we are all sisters, and we love for each other what we love for ourselves. Even the leader is subject to the collective. Yes, she assigns the discipline, but she is also the one who complies most vigorously. Our pain was her pain, as our laughter was her laughter. The collective encompasses us all.

As our love was tied to the collective, so was our faith. You would think tasbeeh or istighfar are individualistic acts of worship. But for a week, the remembrance of Allah was collectivist work. Although TIC is over, I find myself remembering to make my thikr, because that is how we spent our spare moments. I repeat the specific phrases I learned or was reminded of at camp, so the person that taught me that phrase gets her equal share of reward from Allah. That is the extent of the collective. We express our love for each other by finding ways to increase each other’s reward from Allah, by making duaa for each other both privately and publicly, and by bringing each other closer to Allah, no matter how far away, how lost, we initially were. We ask to meet again both in this life and the next.

Truthfully, there are no words to express what I got from TIC. It is an experience that touched my life in ways I have not fully uncovered yet. Every day I make a new realization.

“Oh Allah, You know that these hearts have come together in loving You, convened in your service, united in delivering Your message, and committed together to support Your way. Oh Allah, strengthen the bonds between their hearts, make permanent the affection between them, guide them to Your path, fill them with Your light that never diminishes, and comfort their hearts with the flood of faith in You and a beautiful trust in You. In a truthful understanding of You, give them life. And after a life of service to You, grant them the highest reward in Jannah. Truly You are the best protector and the best to give victory.”

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