Bismillahirahmanirraheem – In the name of Allah, the most Beneficient, the most Merciful.

The NUS Muslim Society (NUSMS) and NUS Malay Language Society (PBMUKS) organised a social camp, IQRAR: Winning The Battles, between 11 and 14 July 2012. It was organised especially for the prospective Muslim undergraduates of Academic Year 12/13.  The objective of the camp was to introduce the incoming freshmen to a taste of undergraduate life and to foster a sense of camaraderie amongst the participants.

The overarching theme of IQRAR: Winning the Battles Within is to spur ukhwah (unity) and cohesiveness amongst fellow students. At the same time, expose the participants to the Malay history that is rich in cultures and to induce values in Islam such as cohesion, practice and most importantly peace, through challenging and fun-filled activities. The activities encourage interaction and familiarization between undergraduates and the school, and elements of Malay culture and Islamic faith were also emphasized throughout the camp.

Paricipants arrived at 8am on the first day at NUS and they were greeted by their respective facilitators. After registration, these participants played a few ice breaker games to allow everyone to know one another as well as to feel more comfortable. They were then gathered again, to be briefed about the objectives and rules of the camp by Project Directors (Hanisah and Helmi) and the Safety Officer (Zulqarnain). Soon after, the participants embark on the journey of IQRAR: Winning The Battles Within where it begins with storytelling by our emcee (Sheikh) on the origins of the different groups (clans), their common enemy – Master of Darkness and also their common hero – Iqrar. After lunch and Zuhr prayers, participants went for their teambuilding games located all around campus. The different stations require them to complete different task, mostly requiring them to work as a team. By completing the different tasks, groups obtain materials to make their flag, their group identity. Participants then had their Asr prayers at Masjid Tentera Di-Raja, one of the closest mosques to NUS. Ustaz Syafaat was there to give a  short tazkirah and Q&A session for the participants on Life as a Muslim Undergraduate. After dinner and Maghrib prayers, participants once again roam around the campus to complete another round of games but this time with the objective of uncovering the identity of the Master of Darkness. After uncovering the identity of their common enemy – the Garuda, participants were visited by Iqrar (Danial) who gave participants a few words of warning and advice in facing this new found nemesis before ending the day.

On the second day, participants as well as senior undergraduates start off the day by performing the Subuh congregational prayer. After a wholesome breakfast prepared by the organizing committee, participants got ready for the main event of the day, The Amazing Race. Participants were flagged off from Masjid Kampong Holland and are to venture around the whole island of Singapore in search of clues to their next station. Different tasks were given throughout the whole Amazing Race. After a tiring day out of campus, participants were given a movie retreat, entitled Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa. This movie was chosen not only because the storyine complements the theme of the camp, but there are also many key teachings and morals from the story to be brought back. In addition, the show was screened to stimulate their creativity in preparation for the finale night performance. The evening resumed with a short zikir and reflection session before retiring back at Sheares Hall.

The third day of the camp, participants got another chance to roam around the campus but this time they specifically went to the different musollahs available in campus. After familiarising themselves with the different musollahs, the male participants went for their Friday congregational prayer at Masjid Hussein Sulaiman, another mosque near NUS while the female participants stayed in school for a talk about “Etiquettes of Undergraduate Muslimah” by Ustazah Maimunah Alhabshi. Later in the afternoon, participants got a chance to hear from the different Malay/Muslim societies available in school (Ilsa Tari, NUS Silat, NUSMS, NUSMSS and PBMUKS) as well as volunteer groups our senior undergraduates are involved in such as AAM, APEX and GPAC. After the enriching sharing session, participants were given free time to prepare themselves for the Finale Night. To mark the last night of the camp, Finale Night was planned for participants and senior undergraduates to interact with one another and have fun. During the Final Night, everyone got to enjoy the great food catered and performances by the different student groups. Participants were also given the opportunity to perform in front of their peers. Awards were also given that night for the best groups, clans and best dressed participants.

The last day of camp was held at Sentosa’s Siloso Beach. The final day was meant for everyone to gather and enjoy other’s company through the means of playing wet games. Groups got to play different wet games before gathering for the final battle (final battle with Garuda). During the final battle, water bombs were used to ‘fight’ between the clans as well as the Garuda. The different clans who were once enemies due to the fight for resources now have to put aside their greed and selfish selves, as they need to be united and gather all their resources to fight against their one common enemy.

The Garuda (Sheikh) was finally defeated when he was dunked into the sea. The camp ended with a final storytelling by the emcee, where he explained that the character, Iqrar, who had been appearing every night to give the clans advices, was actually dead 1000 years ago. So the Iqrar that the participants saw & heard from is merely figurative; a subconscious part of our mind, emphasizing on the battle happening in each of us every day and how we are to overcome them. Iqrar is not only the one who stood by as advisor and reminder during the tough struggling period but he hopes to leave a deep impact on mankind, for them to always have this “Iqrar” in their hearts, minds & souls, by equipping themselves with the necessary values & virtues a Muslim should uphold, with the paramount objective of achieving the good things in life & hereafter, for there will always be constant challenges in future for them to embrace. With this ‘Iqrar’, it is aspired for everyone to have a step in the right direction. Thus the name of the camp IQRAR: Winning The Battles Within.

Alhamdulillah, the 4 days 3 nights camp went well despite a few minor hiccups and have met the camp objectives as targeted. Most importantly, the participants enjoyed themselves and the camp has allowed them to know a bit more about NUS and their fellow undergraduates whom they will be spending a lot of time with when school commences. It has been a pleasure for the organizing committee to see the spirit of camaderie between freshmen and the current undergraduates and everyone bonded really well with each other.