A dozen girls gathered at Nueces Mosque on Wednesday evening to unwind from stressful classes and talk about Islam during the first Muslim discussion session of the year.
Sisters’ Circle was started last semester by student members of the mosque. Wednesday’s topic was “Spiritual Reset,” which was inspired by the new semester and its challenges. These discussion sessions will take place each week with a new theme, and are open to women of all faiths.
“To me, ‘Spiritual Reset’ means maintaining and refreshing my connection with Allah and keeping my spirituality pure,” sociology freshman Karma Dadoush said.
The goal of Sisters’ Circle is to create a safe space for Muslim women of different majors, ages and backgrounds to gather and learn about different topics, such as mental health awareness and the role of women in Islam.
“Sisters’ Circle is really empowering in that it’s a platform for girls to be able to express their concerns, opinions and beliefs in an Islamic institution without fear of not being heard,” said Zainab Monk, psychology junior and publicity director of Nueces Mosque. “It’s an opportunity for Muslim girls to know that they have representation.”
The session was led by Sister Hareem Ahmad, who had previously taught the Nueces Mosque’s class on the seerah, or biography, of the Prophet Muhammad.
Using parables from the Quran and anecdotes from her own life, Ahmad spoke to the group about Allah’s intentions and what he wants Muslims to do, as well as giving back to the community through acts of mercy.
“Our focus as Muslims can’t be the preservation of our own dignity and our own rights,” Ahmad said. “That isn’t why Allah sent us down. We have a mandate from Allah to preserve the rights of others and be agents of mercy. We will never be able to serve others so long as we are obsessed with ourselves.”
Ahmad said the busy college life can distract people from contemplating on how they are spiritually connected and what they can improve.
“I think it’s very easy … when you’re just trying to make it through assignment after exam after assignment, to lose sight of the bigger picture,” Ahmad said. “Islam also has this concept of continually revisiting and renewing your intentions.”
Established in 1977 by UT’s Muslim Student Association, Nueces Mosque was the first mosque in Austin, and for nearly 41 years has served UT students and the downtown community.