Who is Sana Khan?

When her friend unfortunately dropped her pizza, she took her’s and put it on the ground too. She couldn’t let her friend eat a dirty slice alone, could she? This act of sacrifice and bravery came from a young woman named Sana Khan.

At 21 years old, Sana’s first camp was in 2010. Since then, she has been infatuated with MYNA’s mission. Whenever she had the opportunity, she’d find herself at camp. In 2014, she shadowed the program chair for the Chicago Ed Forum. Then, in 2015, she chaired the same event. In May of the same year, she was elected for Secretary of the MYNA Executive Committee, and that same summer she chaired the national retreat in Ohio. In 2016, she served as MYNA’s Vice President, and as of right now, she comes to camps hoping to make as much of an impact as a counselor. What initially sparked her interest in the program was the shock she experienced at the sight of how much autonomy and independence the MYNA kids had when it came to running events. It was extremely impressive, to say the least.

Outside of camp, Sana continues to aim higher and follow her greatest passions. She’s a senior at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Political Science and actively pursuing a career in Medicine (insha’Allah). However, her ultimate plans have very little to do with the ambitious career choices she has in mind. The end goal, in her mind, is Jannah. She says that “Doing things for the sake of Allah and knowing that you are doing things in a way that pleases Him” is the largest form of success. When asked what her main aspirations for the future are and what she hopes for herself and the world, she said it was knowing that she’d changed at least three people’s lives for the better on some capacity. The words, “I don’t really care about what I end up career wise because everyone finds something at some point. But when it comes down to it, people matter most to me”, seems to sum up the person Sana is internally: in touch with every aspect of her deen, an incredible influence, and an open-minded being who is uninterested in worldly, trivial matters for the sake of the Hereafter.

Busy with school assignments, extracurriculars, life pursuits, and her more recent endeavor of applying to various master’s programs, Sana has become a firm believer in balancing work with relaxation. Photography takes up a fair portion of her free time. Anything she finds visually appealing to the eye is something she’ll want to capture and share. She also mentions that she is now on a mission to find the best cupcake spot in the United States. It isn’t difficult to believe she’ll accomplish this, considering her hobby to constantly take road trips and taste new foods. Yet, on a normal, everyday basis, Sana will unwind after a long day with a good book, movie, or workout, as a lot of us do.

According to Sana, we tend to complicate things in life too often. In the periods of her life where she feels like this, she turns to Islam for comfort. The Quran to her is a source of peace and reassurance. It’s always a step in the right direction. The words allow her to realize the solutions that Allah has provided for everything and she “just feels taken care of” while reading the Holy book, which she also refers to as her favorite book. Her favorite movie, however, is one that she says allowed her to feel emotion in a time when she felt emotionally numb: “Good Will Hunting”, a movie thematically centered around the idea that regardless of where one comes from, everyone matters and has value as a person. An individual’s decisions unfold their own story more than any other factor.

Evidently, Sana derives lessons from every point in her life. She attempts to find secrets to living, from the simple joys of a good cupcake to the underlying lessons from movies. The greatest secret to living that she says to have found is that, in her own words, “We may plan things, but Allah’s plans are greater. This life is so unpredictable and it’s up to us to put in our effort, but in the end the outcome isn’t ours to decide. So if things don’t go our way or we let ourselves down it will all be okay because that’s the way Allah meant for it to happen. We just need to learn from our mistakes and make our next moves”. Meaning, essentially, that trust in the bigger plan that Allah has in store for us will grant us patience and perseverance to move on from adversities and deal with them when they arise. It is a crucial element of living a successful life.

Personally, I don’t know anyone else that would give up a good slice of pizza for her friend’s sake. From this to the infinite other traits she values and upholds, Sana Khan has proven herself a unique, passionate, intellectual individual, with a strong desire for success in her religious and professional aspirations. Her love for what she does and the unbreakable connection she has with Islam have molded her into the person she is.