Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) families, youth, and fellow readers,

We have been hunkered down the past few weeks in our planning room, carefully discussing and finalizing details for our second-ever youth camp (held at Camp Tecumseh in Brookston, IN). This year’s camp, conducted in conjunction with ICAN Youth, was entitled “Camp Tazkiyyah.”Before explaining the objective and plan for our youth camp, we wanted to first take a moment to thank Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, for granting us the ability to put together this camp. We would also like to say jazakum Allahu khairan to the following organizations and individuals for assisting with camp planning:

– ICAN Youth Counselors (Sr. Lama, Sr. Mariam, Sr. Meganh, and Sr. Silai)

– Cafe Royale (Br. Ghassan) for donating gift cards for the camp competition. We also greatly appreciate Br. Ghassan taking time out of his busy schedule to serve as a parent representative for our camp.

– Coldstone Creamery (Br. Sabir) for donating gift cards for the camp competition.

– Families who assisted with transportation to and from the campsite (Br. Belkacem, Br. Hossam, Br. Mohammed, Dr. Sabre, Sr. Rukhsana).

– Camp Tecumseh personnel for patiently answering questions, working with us to ensure our requests were met in a timely fashion, and helping with last-minute details during our stay.

May Allah, azza wa jal, accept our humble efforts, record this camp on our scale of good deeds, and forgive us for any mistakes we made during the planning or execution of the camp. Ameen.

Our theme this year for Camp Tazkiyyah was “iMuslim to weMuslim: Sparking an Internal Revolution.” In today’s society, all around us we get the message of “I” – being concerned with our own needs, goals, and desires while minimizing or not caring about the welfare or needs of others. We wanted to start the conversation with our youth regarding transforming their mentality from one where they were concerned only about themselves to showing a general care for the community. The basis of our theme evolved from the translation of the following beautiful verse from the Holy Qur’an:

Indeed Allah will not change the condition of a people/community/nation, until they change what is in themselves.” (Surah Ra’d (13), Verse 11)

For our youth to be the source of positive change in their community, they have to first inspect their own hearts and clean out any deficiencies or illnesses (such as arrogance or jealousy) which are present. After all, it is hard to sincerely lend a helping hand to somebody whom you feel you are better than. To help drive home the message and provide tools for our youth to return to their community and be a positive example, we held multiple mini-group discussions (on purifying our intention for why we were at Camp Tazkiyyah and identifying and understanding one disease of the heart – jealousy) and two workshops with our guest speaker, Br. Saad Omar (where he discussed dealing with arrogance/self-promotion and how our youth could start the journey of improving their hearts spiritually).

The camp was not all talk though as our youth had the opportunity to take part in multiple fun activities and a camp competition. Throughout the next few blog posts, we’ll provide insight (through photos) into the journey the young men of the ISGL Youth Group took through Camp Tazkiyyah. Buckle your (internet) seat belt and enjoy the ride!