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MIST Philly: Islamic faith and friendly competition  | The Triangle
Opinion

MIST Philly: Islamic faith and friendly competition 

Photo by Samuel Gregg | The Triangle

This weekend MIST (Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament) Philly regionals tournament was hosted at Drexel’s Main Building for its 15th anniversary. MIST is a nonprofit competition series for high schoolers across 15 regions in the USA  

MIST Philly had a record-breaking number of 387 competitors spread across high schools in Pennsylvania. The event’s theme for this year,  “The Treasure of Fellowship,” emphasized the importance of community in strengthening participant’s faith and fostering a sense of unity.

The coordination of MIST Philly required over 100 coordinators, organizers and volunteers, each contributing to various committees including marketing, programs, security and more.

As someone whose first MIST was this weekend, the unwavering level of dedication and passion that I witnessed was nothing but impressive. An average day for a volunteer began at 5 a.m. and ended at 12 a.m., with constant communication to ensure everything ran smoothly.

During my role as a marketing volunteer, I had the opportunity to interview both competitors and organizers. When asked to describe MIST in one word, the recurring response was “Family,” reflecting the event’s emphasis on fostering a supportive community, as they celebrated their shared faith.

I had the privilege of being able to work alongside nine talented and devoted individuals. Joining the close-knit team, we were responsible for various tasks including filming/editing the recap video, updating the Instagram story, interviewing competitors/organizers for content, calculating spirit points and much more! Competitions such as MIST Bowl and Brothers’ Improv provided entertaining clips for content, and the lively chant wars kept us energized throughout 

The Islamic aspect was also seamlessly integrated into the experience. With multiple prayers held together, workshops such as “Faithful Friendships: Building Bonds of Faith,” by guest speaker Imam Safwan Eid were held. Additionally, Quran and Nasheed Night with guest performer Imran Rahman provided a perfect prelude to Ramadan. 

Mubassirah Sharif, regional director of MIST Philly and Temple Alum shares some insight from her time at MIST. 

“I think there’s a sense of community that you find at MIST that is unique to this organization. I’ve never been part of an organization that combines all of my favorite things, Islam, community, friendship…I think I owe a lot of who I am to it,” she explained.

Sharif initially heard about MIST from her elder siblings who had previously competed. Having attended award ceremonies as a guest, she fell in love with the organization and applied to be a competitor as soon as she was eligible. 

“I’ve officially been a part of it for ten years. It’s kinda wild ‘cause it’s half my life, a whole decade,” she said.

Sharif competed for five years from 8th to 12th grade and has been organizing for the past five years. Her diverse roles, from Programs Coordinator to Chair, and finally as the Regional Director for the past two years, have given her a well-rounded perspective. “I know what it feels like to be a competitor,” she claimed. 

Asked about her favorite aspect of  MIST, Sharif stated, “It can be so much more than a weekend if you let it be. For someone on the outside, it may just look like a weekend in the springtime but for organizers and competitors it’s months of prep time that goes into it and culminates into this really beautiful, jam-packed 48 hours.”

Additionally, Sharif highlights the significance of Drexel’s Main Building as the venue for MIST Philly. 

“Drexel is the only venue that we’ve held MIST Philly at where we can do everything we need to do in one building, and it’s such a gorgeous building.” She emphasized the grandness of the Main Building that excites competitors, making it a special spot for creating lasting memories.

Sharif expressed gratitude to Drexel and its staff, acknowledging their wonderful support for the non-profit organization and willingness to help. She gave a special shoutout to Drexel MSA, specifically mentioning Kawthar Aguibi, the president, and her associate director Humza Imam, a student at Drexel, for making the process significantly smoother for MIST Philly.

The two-day weekend ended with an award ceremony hosted in the main auditorium where competitors walked across the stage with their hard-earned trophies. Speeches from all three directors resonated with the audience, expressing gratitude and appreciation for all. 

Volunteering at MIST Philly was truly an unforgettable experience that I will carry with me for years to come. I am incredibly grateful to have witnessed such dedication, unity and passion whilst working with the marketing team and other organizers.