Part 2 of my story! Click here for part 1 🙂 JazakAllah khair
I began college with a strong, new mindset. I was excited to jump in and focus on my education and career goals. I attended a large, diverse university in the heart of Chicago. Its wide array of programs invited people from all walks of life and welcomed almost all forms of thought. As a young Muslim, I got comfortable pretty quickly in that setting especially thanks to the well-established MSA (Muslim Student Association) on campus. Although I was a commuter, having a strong Islamic environment away from home was the primary reason I came to appreciate my school. I was able to meet the most incredible people with whom I would form long lasting relationships with.
I had not given up on love, but at that point I was just satisfied that I had gotten to experience it once and considered myself lucky. So, here I was, resolved to live my life struggling against my desires for the sake of pleasing my Lord. It was a struggle that would likely follow me to my grave. Little did I know, I would not be allowed to pack it away so easily into some corner of my subconscious. I refused to let it be something that defined who I was, but it would eventually lead me to a completely transformed perspective on life that would change me for the better.
It was not until the end of my third year of college that I met Malaika. She was a year ahead of me and I had really only gotten to speak to her once or twice before she would be graduating that summer. She was devout in ways that were both apparent and unapparent. Though I only spoke to her maybe two or three times, I already felt like I would miss this person that I could undeniably have made a strong connection with. So when, by some stroke of fate, she returned the next year for one more semester, I was convinced her path and mine were somehow meant to converge.