Focus on Religion: HBS Islamic Society
The objective of the Islamic Society is to provide an open, inclusive environment to HBS Muslims while actively building a spirit of understanding and harmony between all members of the HBS community. The club has a wide geographic base with its 42 members coming from 11 countries encompassing 4 continents, which means that while we share a common religion, we benefit from extremely rich interactions due to the inherent cultural diversity of our members. The club’s major activities are the following:
Weekly congregational prayers (Jumuah): Friday is considered the holy day in the Muslim faith, a day on which the community is encouraged to unite and strengthen the communal bonds that hold us together. Therefore, every Friday, the Muslim community gathers in the HBS Chapel to offer prayers in the afternoon. The highlight of the prayer is usually a short speech given by a designated member of the community and topics can range from core religious beliefs to a commentary on recent world events and how they pertain to the religion. The speeches offer a unique opportunity to students to exercise leadership in values by reflecting on the world around them through a religious prism. The Islamic Society wholeheartedly welcomes our friends in the broader HBS community to come watch our very own EC and RC students in action!
Social events: The HBS Islamic Society is known for being a very social club and our regular events are testament to this fact. Many of our members enjoy (read: are obsessed with) small-group brunches on the weekends and we have dinner as a community at least once per month. We also schedule fun social events (eg: Red Sox/Celtics games, bowling, apple picking) throughout the term. In fact, the HBS Islamic Society events are so popular that we often have participants from Harvard University, HKS, HLS and Tufts joining us on our expeditions.
EC/RC Mentorship: In an effort to promote closer ties between the two cohorts on campus (and in recognition of the excellent advice the current ECs received from the class of 2012), this year we are piloting a mentorship program where RCs are matched with ECs based on the former’s personal and professional interests. The program has started off very well with almost half of the club participating in this effort and we hope it will continue to be successful over the rest of the year.
Muslim-Mormon mixer: In what has now become an excellent tradition continued by successive HBS cohorts, the HBS Islamic Society and the HBS Latter-day Saint Student Association have joined forces to co-host a mixer for their members early in the academic year. The mixer provides an informal opportunity for the communities to interact and is followed by a discussion of the similarities and differences between the two faiths. Historically, this mixer has been one of the most popular events hosted by the two clubs and all indicators point towards it being a success this year as well.
Eid-ul-Adha celebration: Eid-ul-Adha is one of the most important holidays in the Muslim calendar. It is held in honor of the memory of Abraham’s sacrifice as well as a celebration of the end of the annual Pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide. The HBS Islamic Society hosts a dinner open to all members of the HBS community in order to celebrate the event and many members use this opportunity to rekindle closer connections with their families and loved ones.
Islam 101: Around the time of the Saudi Arabia BGIE case in early April, the HBS Islamic Society hosts a presentation to discuss the basic tenets of Islam. The goal is to have Muslim students share their beliefs and perspectives with members of the community who are interested in learning what the religion actually prescribes, rather than relying on the hyperbole that often circulates in the media.
Collaboration with Harvard Islamic Society: Another function of the HBS Islamic Society is to share information about events happening across the river at Harvard University and the other Harvard grad schools with the community. Many of our members take advantage of these events to enjoy good food, escape the HBS bubble and meet people who don’t know about Porter’s five forces.