Some of the art donated to the MSA for the prayer room. KARENFLORES/COURTESY
By Karen Flores, Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Muslim Student Association hosted a watercolor Paint and Snack in honor of Islamic Awareness Week. This event was one out of five hosted during this celebratory week.
Wafa Quhshi, a childhood education major with a concentration in English and the president of the club, explained that they decided to host these events with the hopes of being able to teach students about the Islamic religion and allow there to be a safe space for them to ask questions.
“We attended Catholic college so we wanted to spread awareness about our religion and our close community that we have created within this college,” expressed Quhshi. “People do have questions about Islam and are just afraid to go up and ask us about it. So we decided to make a whole week filled with events where people are comfortable enough to ask questions.”
Hajer Quhshi, a physical education major and the events coordinator of the MSA shared the same sentiments and hopes that more students take part in cultural events like these.
“It gives awareness to Muslims around the school because I think we’re very underrepresented in many aspects. Not a lot of people know a lot about Islam. I think having events like this informs them on what different parts of our traditions mean,” explained Quhshi.
Paintings, calligraphy and art as a whole play a very significant role in Islamic culture as well as in other religions. Quhshi said that this is one of the reasons why they decided to host a paint and snack where students could all come together and showcase their love for art.
“Art is worldwide and in Islam, it is a very important thing. While we don’t have a picture of our Prophet as other religions do, we have our masjid and then the writing itself in the Quran, it’s basically art,” said [Wafa] Quhshi. “We just wanted to have like a fun kickoff thing that everyone could enjoy while also getting to know each other.”
The event consisted of watercolor painting on canvases and tassel bookmarks. The snacks table included a variety of cotton candy, pastries, bagels as well as drinks.
Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims all over the world during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This is to commemorate when the Quran was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad. During this month, Muslims practice fasting, praying and self-reflection while also setting goals during the month with the hopes of starting good habits. This celebration ends with the fast-breaking festival of Eid al-Fitr.
Shaib Sharhan, a junior physics major and the social media coordinator for the MSA said that they decided to celebrate Islamic Awareness Week after Ramadan so that everyone could enjoy snacks while painting with their peers.
“We wanted to do Islamic awareness week after Ramadan so those who are Muslim could have food and snacks so we thought the best week would be the week right after it ended,” said Sharhan. “Some people were fasting and doing other stuff so we wanted a time where both Muslim and non-Muslim students could paint and snack together.”
Sharhan said that their main goal was to bring people together while also sharing parts of their religion and culture.
“So these events just want to bring people together. If you look at some of the paintings, they have Arabic writing, some are filled with flowers and sunsets. It just opens up other people to see Arabic works and Islamic works and lets them share their own.”
Gema Garcia, a mechanical engineering major, expressed that while she was first drawn to the event because of the painting aspect, she enjoyed getting to know about Islamic traditions through meeting new people.
“Campus groups like this one can make people all come together. The art is what caught my attention and well as the snacks. But being at the event and hearing about what people did during Ramadan and Eid was both informative and interesting. I enjoyed this and painting my bookmark a lot,” expressed Garcia.
To keep up with the MSA events next semester, follow their Instagram page @manhattanmsa