Who is Zaneh Mahmoud?

Slightly opening her eyes, 16-year-old Zaneh Mahmoud groggily gets out of bed. Pulling on the outfit she laid out the night before, her thoughts are on the busy Saturday ahead. She makes her way to a local food pantry for an Interact Club meeting, a club that runs on the idea of service of others over self. Her mind buzzing with a busy day’s activities, she sets her mind at ease by remembering the simplicity of life when she lived in Syria. Her thoughts drift to the vivid memory of waking up to the Fajr athan, praying, and then going directly to the kitchen to help her grandfather prepare a typical Syrian breakfast. After serving her community, she catches up with friends at Muslim Youth Impact Compact at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center. After hanging out with friends, she helps plan events to make the youth of the masjid more involved, including the annual youth conference in April. On her way back home, she snaps a couple pictures of the sunset, admiring the beauty of Allah (SWT)’s creations. She ends her night in her warm bed watching a good TV show before drifting off to sleep.

After hearing everyone in her Muslim community talking about MYNA, Zaneh decided to sign up and has subsequently attended the spring MYNA camps in Indiana for the past two years. To her, “the idea of a camp that allows you to be yourself, while meeting new people, digging more into the roots of your deen, and having fun” had her sold. She hopes that she continues to put “Allah and [her] deen above anything and everything”. Being at MYNA helps her accomplish this.

Like many other 16-year-olds, Zaneh spends a majority of her days “in high school pushing through long days of, hopefully worth it, work.” Later in life, she hopes to be a happy, self-reliable dermatologist, but if that doesn’t work out, she says that she trusts Allah (SWT) knows what’s best and will guide her. Although she does want to achieve these goals, she believes that the process to them will help her grow the most, and whenever she fails, she will still succeed by confidently trying again. She always pushes through life’s obstacles because she lives by Allah (SWT)’s promise, “With every hardship comes ease.”

Similar to many of us, Zaneh hopes that the world can realize that everyone is different, and accept them for these differences, whether it’s race or religion, because that’s what makes us human beings.

All of this sums up to one person, Zaneh Mahmoud: a creative girl who aspires to help the world around her in any way she can, strengthen her knowledge of her deen and her relationship with Allah (SWT), and end every hard-working day with another episode of Grey’s Anatomy.