Our 2019 graduate Nida Ahmed distinctly recalls each course at Zaytuna College beginning with The Ten Foundational Principles (al-mabādi’ al-‘asharah), which essentializes every science. One principle that left an indelible mark etched on her heart is each subject’s relationship to other subjects.
“Before coming to Zaytuna,” says Nida, “I thought subjects like metaphysics and logic had absolutely nothing to do with medicine.” But during her studies at Zaytuna, Nida learned to integrate her interests in medicine and Islamic studies by discovering the relationship between the two subjects. “Medicine itself can’t answer such questions as, what is a human being and what are valid sources of knowledge, but medicine certainly relies upon those answers.”
Thankfully, Nida learned about—and received—a scholarship from the estate of Dr. Adawia Alousi, who sought to underwrite the education of a female student in pursuit of a career in the STEM disciplines. By the grace of God, with admirable drive and the support of Zaytuna and its partnership with UC Berkeley, Nida had access to the STEM prerequisites for a pre-med student.
Last fall, after scoring in the 97th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Nida gained admission to the medical school of her choice, the University of Texas at Dallas. Now, Nida brings her Zaytuna education with her to every class. “Whenever I’m presented with knowledge,” she says, “I ask myself these questions: What assumptions are being made? What are the first principles, and do I agree with them? Are they in line with my Islamic beliefs?”
This generous estate gift, God willing, will continue to impact Nida on her journey, with the skills and devotion she will bring to all her future work. Along with Nida, we are grateful to the family of Dr. Adawia Alousi for affording this tremendous opportunity that enables gifted students to pursue meaningful careers in the important areas of science, technology, engineering, and medicine.