A Million Dollar Dream

Rows of Juniper trees line the garden area and look more orange than green. Fair enough, it is the peak of the fall season. With vending machines carrying his favourite soda, a tennis court with lush green flooring, cafeterias with all the right snacks, and rich brown staircases going up the 12-storey building, Ahmed – a freshman, has just entered the university of his dreams hoping to have a great 1st-day experience. Pulling out his schedule sealed in a white envelope, he looks for the location of his first class.

Third floor – 305, this is what the schedule says. Creak.. creak, the door opens, leaving Ahmed blown away. To his disbelief, he sees an array of different counters selling white, yellow, and pink coloured substances. “Are they dr.. dru.. DRUGS?”. He immediately closes the door and steps away, not believing what he saw. Thinking that there might be some misprinting in the timetable, Ahmed decides to check out the other classes. Third floor 302, this might be the one. He opens the door and remains absolutely stunned. Boys and girls wearing headphones, buzzing along, and enjoying a never-ending selection of alcoholic drinks perfectly displayed on crystal bars. Muttering to himself, this can’t be true; he shuts the door with a bang. “What is WRONG here?” he says to himself. Now, with every door Ahmed opens, he comes across a different reality. 304 – concert happening, 303 – some Zohair-named guy’s bachelors party is going on, 307 – cinema vibes, a movie is playing, and 309 – unbelievable, MALES dressed like females, dancing to the beat of the hardcore metal.

Shocked to the core, Ahmed comes down to the first floor to catch some breath. After some time, he feels a hand on his shoulder. Turning around, he sees a tall man in his late 30s with deep brown eyes and a genuine smile. Ahmed asks, “Who are you?”. To which he does not reply but signals him to follow behind. He does so, curiosity fueling his heart until they reach a large door. With no idea as to what could be behind those doors, the suspenseful atmosphere makes Ahmed a lot more anxious. Suddenly, his attention goes to something written on the front. Double U . Ow. See.. WOC!

Ahmed enters the room and sees a huge setting, something he has never seen before. A partition in the centre separates the male section from the female section. A group of individuals standing on the stage look similar to the man who just brought him in. One of them says something that sends shivers right down Ahmed’s spine.

He says,  “My friend, praise be to Allah (SWT); today, He brought you where you were always destined to be! The path was carved for you to reach this point. Congratulations to you, my friend; on this day, you have been blessed with the biggest gift of your life. The search stops here, you have found your clan, and the journey begins – the journey to the path of ultimate success!”  

With that, everyone starts saying TAKBEER! ALLAH HO AKBAR. Ahmed felt a sudden rush in his body. The lights go dim, and the projector screen slides down. On it is written in bold letters – What is WOC? The video plays…

 “Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to what is good and forbidding what is evil. And it is they who are successful.” [Quran 3:104]. 

Winds of Change – WOC is an annual dawah tour organised by Youth Club to impart religious knowledge with the primary objective of spreading the message of Islam all across Pakistan. A goal to reconnect with the Creator, to live by certain universal yet divine moral and ethical values, and to build the character of our children so that they can be the leaders of the future. Enriched with a purpose to nourish the minds, bodies and souls of our youngsters and allow them to be their best selves. A desire to make dawah more local by travelling to various schools, colleges, universities, and different public and private venues to conduct family-oriented mega-events, deliver talks on a wide range of current topics, covering the recent fitnahs of the 21st century – drugs, alcohol, free-mixing, identity crisis, liberalism, and much more! Our highly-qualified speakers, having years of national and international experience in dawah, share their stories to motivate the youth to become better Muslims and active members of society. Imagine seeing people of all ages, from various backgrounds, smiling, crying and laughing altogether, realising how each of them has truly had a rich learning experience and many awe-inspiring moments by listening to the speeches of their lifetime! 

“You (the true believers) are the best of nations ever raised up for mankind; You enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and you believe in Allah. [Quran 3:110]. 

It has been a decade now, but the mission continues. Ladies and gentlemen, this is WOC 2022, and it has just begun! The end appears on the screen, but Ahmed stands still. The man asks him if he is okay. To which he gives a memorable reply, “I have never been THIS OKAY my entire life until this moment.”

Tick tick, tick tick! A weird sound starts to fill Ahmed’s ear. Navigating further into the event, he tries to comprehend where the voice is coming from but in vain. Now, it is getting louder and louder. Suddenly, he hears someone say out loud, “Ahmed, Ahmed, your phone is ringing”, to which he wakes up with a jerk only to realise that there isn’t any university setting, no Juniper trees, no vending machines; in fact, today is weekend, he is in his bed and was actually dreaming! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… seconds pass, but Ahmed goes unmoved. He could not believe how a dream could be so real! After about half a minute, when he was finally able to grasp reality, he checked his phone. “Hello, Saleem – sorry dude, I was sleeping”, Ahmed told his friend. Saleem: What!! Still, sleeping? Have you forgotten we have to go to the event? Hearing the word event and looking straight at the calendar on the side wall, Ahmed realised that today was the day he had been waiting for the last two months. The WOC mega event! “I’ll be there in 30 minutes”, he said, hanging up the phone. 

On his way to the event, Ahmed pondered upon something meaningful. He concluded that with every evil, there is good. What he saw upstairs in his dream was a glimpse of all the evil that had the power to destroy and corrupt, but what he saw right afterwards was the GOOD – the good that had far more power to eradicate all the evil. Reaching the destination with silent tears in his eyes and a wide smile on his face, Ahmed joins the audience, welcoming the most beautiful journey ahead of him that had just begun! 

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