Tuesday, 16 July 2024 21:49

Islam students, community members spread awareness though henna

Friday, 03 April 2015

The Muslim Students Association at ASU held an event to offer the community henna tattoos while explaining the religion and culture behind it.

As part of Islam Awareness Week, the Muslim Students Association at ASU gave students the opportunity to learn about Islam and walk away with a henna tattoo.

The event was part of Islam Awareness Week, which continues until April 4 and gives ASU students a chance to learn about the Islamic religion and the surrounding culture.

Hasana Abdul-Quadir, president of the Muslim Students Association, said it is important to offer students opportunities to learn about the religion to dispel any misconceptions.

"We all know how Muslims are portrayed in the media, and these misconceptions really do flow through and permeate the general public," Abdul-Quadir said. "All of us (Muslims), at some point, have encountered instances of discrimination or just prejudice, bigotry, based off of things that people hear."

Abdul-Quadir said she understands why various people view Islam as a violent religion and said it is mostly due to the way the media portrays them.

"If all you're hearing is negative things about this group of people and you don't know what they're about and they look different, and all this," she said. "If that's all you've ever heard, then that's what you're going to believe about them. We're making ourselves accessible to people and showing them that this is who we actually are."

Another event that took place during the henna tattooing was called "Why Islam?" which allowed students the opportunity to learn more about the religion.

"We often get the question, "Why would people convert to Islam?'" Abdul-Quadir said. "Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. So people are actually converting in large numbers to Islam all the time and that really perplexes people."

Islam is often looked at as a restrictive religion in modern society, Abdul-Quadir said, so people have many questions of why anyone would want to join the lifestyle.

"Our goal is just to let them know what they believe and if that's something they believe in then they're welcome to join Islam, but we're not trying to convert anyone," Abdul-Quadir said.

Henna tattoos originated in Islamic culture through the Prophet Muhammad, who was believed to have used the plant dye in his hair. Today, henna is used in all different cultures, including here in the U.S.

Hira Ismail, one of the henna artists at the event, said henna is used to celebrate any special event.

 "Henna brings a good vibe," Ismail said. "At weddings, the bride does henna, it's used to celebrate anything good."

Mariam Fayad, material science and engineering junior, said she wears henna like an accessory.

"Personally, I wear henna like jewelry," Fayad said. "(The Prophet) Muhammad liked to wear it, so people also do it in remembrance of him."

Quadir said, at the end of the day, Muslims are here to worship God and help their community.

"You cannot compel somebody to join a religion because, ultimately, it's what is in their heart," Quadir said. "Our job as Muslims is to worship God, to make sure that we believe his message is out there and to be of service to everyone."

Source: The State Press

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