The school year resumed with the Fall Quarter at the start of October 2017. Chaplaincy dates were set from the start with Shaykh Ahmad being on campus in the pm hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Ust. Yafa is on campus on Tuesday mornings.
A few new programs were introduced to the chaplaincy service for the 2017-2018 school year along with the continuation of regular programing.
Shaykh Ahmad’s schedule on Tuesdays was divided between office hour consultations from 1-5 pm and attendance of the MSA General Body Meeting from 5-7. On Thursdays, office hours ran from 4:30-7 pm and the brothers’ Study Circle from 8-10 pm.
Shaykh Ahmad was invited to lecture or lead discussions on several topics during GBM throughout the year. On October 17th, he led a Quran Discussion with a brief intro to the themes of commonly recited chapters. On November 7th, he lectured on ‘Evidence for Islam’ as God’s True Religion. On November 11th, he led a discussion based on CNN’s documentary ‘This is Life: Why American Prisoners convert to Islam.’
During the year, Shaykh Ahmad had to take some time off from Chaplaincy for IOK Umrah trips during Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Breaks. Each one of these trips included some UCR students and families, which became a harmonious combination of chaplaincy, religious ritual and pilgrimage.
During Winter Break, the IOK Chaplaincy team met as part of development and improvement in which many issues were discussed related to our line of work.
On January 27,th the MSA at UCR held their first Annual Alumni Dinner. Shaykh Ahmad was invited to address the attendees and introduce IOK Chaplaincy. Our outreach team was also in attendance with a table.
Shaykh Ahmad also attended the AMJA conference in Houston, TX. The attendees convened regarding the Etiquettes and Conditions of Issuing Religious Verdicts.
Right after returning from Spring Break Umrah, Shaykh Ahmad participated in the Islam Awareness Week functions by taking a shift at the table and conducting a Mosque Tour for guests at the Islamic Center of Riverside.
On May 14,th IOK High School students visited the UCR Campus and solicited the help of Shaykh Ahmad in organizing the trip. A session was planned to meet with the chaplain to learn about the services offered for university students and what student life is like.
Ramadan Preparation and the Regulations of Fasting was the title of a lecture on April 24,th while the final GBM lecture of the year was titled Ramadan and the Quran on May 15th.
For the whole school year, the Brothers’ Study Circle was dedicated to understanding the statements of the prescribed ritual devotion, Salah. The following are a few titled discussed: Glorification, Seeking Refuge, Beginnings, Statements of Bowing, Levels of Divine Decree, Conditions for Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness, Complements of the Messenger. Each session included a statement or prayer followed by an open discussion and a Q&A session.
In one session Shaykh Ahmad shared the 3 A’s of Meaningful Relationships and the 5 T’s of Approachability which was a summary of a Mental Health program he had attended on the proceeding weekend. The very last Study Circle was an open discussion leading to the month of Ramadan.
With the introduction of the Dawah Committee of MSA, a ministry class ran for the duration of the year, which covered a few texts related to the etiquettes of engaging with others and sharing Islam. This class had some comparative religion material along with the principles set by the scholars of Islam related to sharing the message. By the Spring Quarter, the class discussions were based on video material prepared by the Messengers of Peace Academy.
Several students wanted to utilize office hours for Arabic study of grammar and literature, which are two subjects we offer at IOK Seminary.
Shaykh Ahmad was invited to give a presentation to two cohorts of World of Islam class from CSUSB in the Winter and the Spring Quarters on February 20th at the Islamic Center of Riverside and on May 22nd at the ArRahman Islamic Center in Fontana. Both occasions were great opportunities to welcome our non-Muslim guests to a Muslim space of worship while engaging them and answering their questions.
As Ramadan started, IOK Chaplaincy began a community awareness campaign organized by the outreach department by visiting different communities and soliciting public support for the services offered. Shaykh Ahmad joined Shaykh Nomaan Baig, and presented at the Islamic Center of Inland Empire on May 22nd, at the Islamic Center of Riverside on May 24th, at the Islamic Society of Corona Norco on May 26th and at the Islamic Community Center of Redlands on May 30th.
We are grateful to our Lord for giving us the opportunity to serve the student communities through IOK Chaplaincy and look forward to more growth and development of the services offered.