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There were beer mats everywhere. crucial time for the development Societies of most universities
The whole corridor was covered or deterioration of one’s Imãn. All make a determined effort to attract
in an intriguing pattern of small students whether they choose to Muslim students away from such
cardboard squares called remain at home or stay elsewhere temptation, it is sad to say that for
Carlsberg. There were eight rooms experience the onslaught of many Muslims the Islamic Society
in the corridor but only one kitchen, ‘Fresher’s Week’ before they even stall is last on their list of places to
one toilet and one shower. I had begin their studies. Fresher’s visit. Fresher’s Week is a severe
expected the place to be a bit more Week is supposedly a week full trial and only those come through
lively but my friend explained to me of events designed to allow those unscathed that have a strong bond
that it was always quiet on Friday beginning their university career and connection with Allah.
and Saturday nights. ‘They invite to acquaint themselves with their When I initially applied to
me along with them as well,’ he said new surroundings as well as with university I remember being told at
with a sigh, ‘but all I can do is laugh their fellow students. In reality college that university was a place
and politely decline.’ Fresher’s Week is a hedonistic 7 of experimentation, of experience
Welcome to the world of the days which the pubs and nightclubs and of widening one’s views of the
university campus, the place utilise to attract their prospective world. For a Muslim this experience
where a significant number of clientele for the following year. can be extremely difficult as many
Muslim students will spend at least Flyers and posters advertising of the activities used for this social
the first year of their university nightclubs, bank loans, mobile experimentation are either makrooh
life. Away from home and away phones and a whole host of other or harãm and illegal. Social
from family and friends, the three organisations, societies and clubs experimentation and finding the
years on average spent by most bombard students during these first ‘real you’ seem to be prime goals
students pursuing a degree is a few days. Even though the Islamic for many students. For Muslims,
Surviving
University
Going to
University
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university can be quite a lonely lack of scope in the lecturer’s jokes. where many of us fail as we try to
time as many of the events and Alcohol and the price of alcohol reconcile our faith with the demands
functions organised by their peers were the only two topics discussed. and pressures of the environment
involve activities which are albeit It was quite a disturbing experience surrounding us. Do you pray Zuhr
legal under the laws of this country to be the only sombre person in Salãh during your lunch hour or
but illegal i.e. harãm from an a room full of 400 laughing 18 do you make it Qadhã and attend
Islamic perspective. Promiscuous year olds. It was not that I did not that lunchtime optional seminar
relationships, ‘pub crawls’ (whereby understand the jokes, it was the which might look good on your CV?
a number of pubs are visited in one fact that drinking and in reality It is in such matters that students
outing) and a whole host of other alcoholism were deemed to be should turn to the ‘Ulamã in order
unbelievable activities are the order an acceptable part of the student to find out how to reconcile these
of the day. And all this is practiced lifestyle regardless of a person’s differences.
by those who the rest of society belief. In my opinion, this is the crux And it is during these times that
deems as being ‘the leaders of of the difficulty for Muslims studying one realises the true advantages of
tomorrow’. at university; the question of having a spiritual mentor. Having a
I remember my disgust when I maintaining and retaining a distinct spiritual mentor or Shaykh to which
initially visited my university at the Muslim identity. This is the point one can turn to for guidance and
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