If you were to think of diseases of the heart, what illness would come to your mind first? Heart disease? High blood pressure? Congested heart failure?

On the road again – back to our homey cabins for wudu and Dhuhr prayer.

How many people would honestly think of the word “jealousy?” Oftentimes when we think of diseases of the heart, we think of physical health problems which can be fixed with medication, surgery, or exercise. However, few people think of spiritual illnesses – such as arrogance and jealousy – which are more difficult ailments to diagnose and treat. However, these illnesses can lead to the breakdown of relationships between family members (siblings get jealous over a special gift/toy/award given/earned by another sibling), between friends (speak badly about a friend’s qualities or characteristics), and between community members (backbite or spread false rumors about another person in the community which ruins that person’s reputation).

After Dhuhr prayer on Saturday, our youth took part in a discussion on the topic of a disease of the heart – jealousy. We defined the term to make sure everyone in the group was on the same page, provided relevant examples of jealousy experienced both at home and in school, diagnosed why jealousy is a big problem (famous hadeeth paraphrased – jealousy eats away at the good deeds just as fire eats away wood), and concluded with tips on dealing with jealousy when it arises (communicating our feelings to our parents, a trusted mentor, or the person whom we feel jealous of; not spreading false rumors to harm others; and ask Allah, azza wa jal, to bless us with good qualities which we envy in others).

“Hummus Punch” ready for some conversation. We love the excitement and smile on Hazim’s face!

“Sour Skittles” is ready too!

Omar appears shocked – “wait we actually have to learn something while at camp?” Let the discussion on jealousy begin!

Once our discussion was complete, we took part in our final planned outdoor activity of the day – horseback riding!

Look at all the pretty horsies!!!

Our young men get a quick lesson on how to ride a horse. Remember clicking sounds make the horse move; saying “whoa” and pulling back on the reins makes the horse stop.

Hamza mounts a horse named “Charm”…and away they go together.

Let the trail ride begin.

Our group enters the forest one horse rider at a time.

A minor traffic jam appears to be in place – food and bathroom break for the horsies.

After getting cleaned-up, eating dinner, giving our youth an hour to relax and search the campgrounds for interesting activities, we concluded the first day of camp with back-to-back workshops with our guest speaker, Br. Saad Omar. Among the beneficial pieces of advice he imparted to our youth included:

– Being a Muslim requires one to be an active participant in his/her faith. We can’t sit on the sidelines thinking that being born into a Muslim family or having a Muslim name will be enough to achieve the reward of Jannah (Paradise).

– The relationship between many Muslims and Allah, azza wa jal, forms a sort of triangle. In many instances, to get closer/motivated to become a stronger Muslim, we go through something (i.e. our parents, an inspirational lecture, a motivational speaker, a conference, youth camp, a CD, etc.). Once the lecture or camp is done, we are left with this inspirational “high” and motivation to do a hundred different things to improve. However, once the speaker goes away, your camp group breaks up, or the conference ends – and the impetus for change goes away – many Muslims go back to the stage (or worse regress) they were at before the camp/conference/lecture took place. To truly get to the stage where are hearts are truly connected with Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, we have to start communicating with him through our daily prayers, du’aa, and by impacting humanity.

– Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was both a pharmacist and a doctor. He diagnosed the problem each person who came to ask him a question had and then prescribed the appropriate medication and dose for that individual. Thus when we advise others, we must advise them based on their own circumstances and situation.

– To truly make a positive impact in our communities, we have to go through the three H’s:

1.) Heaven – establish the link between yourself (i.e. your heart, why you do the deeds you perform) and Allah, azza wa jal

2.) Heart – the link to Allah, azza wa jal, should cause a positive change in your heart (where you remove the spiritual diseases of the heart one-by-one)

3.) Humanity – your actions go from benefiting yourself alone to benefiting humanity at-large

Br. Saad imparts gems of knowledge upon our youth at night.

Our workshops conclude with the two keys to self-improvement – 3 minutes of Qur’an daily (1 minute recitation, 1 minute reading the translation, and 1 minute of writing your reflection of what you just read) and technology turn-off Friday (tune out your cell phone and Facebook and tune-in to your deen).