My first year of chaplaincy at CSULB has gotten off to an amazing start! This is the first year that IOK has been offering chaplaincy services at the university, and from the very first week of school the MSA created a warm and welcoming environment for their new chaplain. Their excitement and enthusiasm allowed us to hit the ground running and start off the school year with our weekly halaqahs and office hours.
Our weekly halaqahs have been a potpourri of eclectic, yet relevant topics chosen by our very own students. Rather than cover a book or treatise over the course of a semester, we chose to have our attendees choose subjects that they felt were relevant to their personal and scholastic lives. At their request, we covered topics such as the fiqh of salah, the etiquettes of giving advice, and how to treat one’s parents. Rest assured, there is no shortage of potential topics for our young college audience!
As for our office hours, our students have been just as engaged. We have logged over 30 hours of office hours so far this year. Students face innumerous challenges on campus on a daily basis, and have taken full advantage of the presence of a chaplain at school. Students have not only discussed how we Muslims should respond to challenging ideas presented in the classroom, but have also sought advice on how to deal with personal issues. The importance of having someone on campus who is accessible and grounded in Islam cannot be overstated.
Overall, our introductory year at CSULB has yielded better than expected results. Our students have shown great enthusiasm and engagement during our halaqahs and office hours. We look forward to doubling our efforts next year at CSULB and continuing to enrich the lives of our young Muslim community.
Shaykh Jameel Besada
Associate Chaplain serving Muslim students at CSULB