In these times of anti-Muslim bigotry, MSAs on our college campuses play an ever more important role and the challenges young Muslims face is greater than ever before. The positive impact that an organized MSA driven by sincere intentions can have for a given campus and, hence, society as a whole is immeasurable.

I was part of one MSA or another for over 10 years, as a high school student, college student, then grad student, so I am very familiar with the variety of challenges that MSAs face. Everything goes back to intention. Those MSAs that have a clear understanding of their purpose and mission on campus as a student group are the most successful and are best able to deal with the major challenges that all MSAs face. And trust me, I have yet to hear of an MSA that has not experienced a major, sometimes even traumatizing challenge, whether due to internal dynamics or external pressure from the campus or community at large.

The transition from “social club” to brotherhood/sisterhood for the sake of Allah, coming together to increase in good, to support one another with true fidelity, is not an easy one, but how can you even begin to make that transition if you are not aware of that as a goal?

Toward that end, I have put together a brief list of characteristics of an MSA that may need to reevaluate its mission and reconsider its purpose on campus and in the lives of Muslims (and non-Muslims) on campus.