Counseling at Mizaan is not baby-sitting or policing. It is a delicate balance of developing a big-brother/big-sister relationship with counselees while maintaining a certain degree of authority in order to stick to the greater camp schedule and safety. The counselorʼs goal is to create an Islamic environment of support, understanding, and guidance.
Age Groups for Campers:
Separate Cabins for Girls and Boys
Sumayyah Bilal is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. She is currently a Pre K-7th grade music teacher at the Clara Muhammad School of Baltimore, where she focuses on providing a worthwhile musical experience in an Islamic setting. She also teaches private music lessons to students of all ability levels. In her spare time Sumayyah enjoys acting, hiking, traveling, and performing in jazz clubs. Sumayyah aspires to attend graduate school for music therapy in the coming years.
Saira Bhayat: Born in Canada, Saira Bhayat is a central New Jersey native and an international adventurer. She attends the University of Toronto and is majoring in Equity Studies with minors in Economics and Religion. Spending most of her time in Toronto, she frequents Tim Hortons and gets a healthy dose of maple syrup, moose, and hockey, eh. Contrary to public opinion, Saira does not have a Canadian accent nor can her laugh be categorized as a “Canadian laugh.” She is a fan of peanut butter, french fries, travelling, and anything sparkly. As a fifth year Mizaan veteran, Saira hopes to continue to bond with campers and is looking forward to having another fun, fulfilling, sleepless weekend in the Poconos.
Anisah Rashid: Born and raised in New Jersey, Anisah Rashid is a recent graduate from The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) with a major in Rehabilitation and Human Services and minor in Special Education. As a student, Anisah served on the executive board of the Pakistani Students' Association. She is currently a Human Resources Assistant at Always Best Care. In her spare time, Anisah enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, and baking. This will be her fifth year as a counselor. She is excited for another amazing year at Mizaan!
Nabil Shaikh: Salaam! I grew up in Reading, PA, and recently graduated from Princeton University. I'm returning to Princeton to pursue a masters degree in public policy. I care deeply about interfaith work, spirituality, ethics, healthcare, service, the outdoors, and Mizaan. I like to think about how to build communities and unite individuals for something greater than themselves. I look forward to exploring what "rihla" means at this year's retreat with all of you. Please find me during the weekend and exchange some "salaams" with me!
Rafique Vahora was born and raised in Norwalk, CT and now lives in the Princeton Area. He is a graduate from Fairfield University and holds a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering. He was an active member and social media coordinator of the Muslim Student Association during his time at Fairfield and also was a Resident Advisor on campus for two years. His other campus activities include the Leadership Education and Development Program, Social Justice Peer Mediation Training, and mentorship programs directed towards first generation college students. He now volunteers on the Board of Advisors for the Medina Community Clinic. His interests include Arabic calligraphy, graphic design, web design, hiking and spending time with family and friends. He is looking forward to returning to Mizaan for his fifth year as a counselor.
Amani Ahmed: Salaams! I'm Amani from Princeton, NJ, and I've been a counselor at Mizaan for 47 years. If you're in my cabin as one of my campers, congratulations! Our cabin is 100% going to be the best. By the end of Mizaan this year, I want all my campers to be swift as the coursing river, have all the force of a great typhoon, tranquil as the forest, and mysterious as the dark side of the moon. These are, in fact, qualities of warrior women, too. I'm currently a student at Duke University but please, let's not talk about our tragic loss this past season. The wound is still fresh. I watch more TV than I probably have time for (on my laptop, because lol, let's be real, who watches the actual television these days?). I love This is Us and I am happy to talk about the show for hours because we really need a support group for the emotional roller-coaster they put us through. Speaking of roller-coasters, I love them. I have an unhealthy love for all things Superman and Bohemian Rhapsody is the most genius song ever created. All in all, I hope to contribute positively to all your experiences at Mizaan and I hope this year is the best one yet!
Dean Alamleh: Hello everyone! I'm Dean, and I'll be a senior at Rutgers University this fall. I plan on majoring in Accounting and double minoring in Political Science and Music. My interests include teaching myself new instruments, bits of new languages, and watching stand up comedy (Russel Peters is the man). I'm a really open-minded guy, so I can't wait to hear your questions and have discussions with you all. I've been attending Mizaan since my freshman year of high school, and I'm really looking forward to my third year as a counselor! 😀
Mohsin Ali: Karachi, Pakistan born and (not really) raised, in the library is where I spent most of my days! Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool, praying salah outside of the school, when a couple of guys who were up to no good, started doing kabaddi in my neighborhood. I got in one little fight and my mom got scared, she said "we're moving with your brothers to a town called... South Brunswick." (I tried my best :P). This is my first year attending Mizaan and my my first year as a counselor! I graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelors of Science in biology and recently completed my first year of medical school at NJMS. I like long moonlit walks around the ka'bah. My favorite past-time has to be Qur'an and chill. When I'm not studying, I enjoy going on hikes, playing ALL types of sports (basketball, cricket, football), eating great food, and spending time with my family. Meeting new people, going on adventures, and testing your limits is what life is all about and I hope we get to accomplish all that at Mizaan. #BallisLife
Aaminah Bhat is a New Jersey native with a passion for Halo Pub ice cream. She is a rising senior at Yale University where she studies Global Affairs specializing in security studies. Aaminah is passionate about social justice and soccer. Aaminah is the Co-Founder of Students of Salaam, an organization geared towards serving refugees and new communities.Last summer she studied Social Movement Theory in Morocco. Now, among other things Aaminah works for a New Jersey gubernatorial campaign.
Bunyad Bhatti: Salaam everybody! I'm so excited to be a part of the Mizaan team, as I've heard such wonderful stories about it! I was born in Lahore and raised in central New Jersey. Currently, I am a rising senior at The College of New Jersey, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Arabic. I hope to attend law school upon graduation! I've spent my summers during college interning on the Hill, working with local and federal government agencies, and working at the Financial Aid Office at TCNJ. I enjoy playing basketball, hiking, city trips, tv shows, and traveling to new places. I'm so excited to be a counselor this year and meet everybody!
Zain Bhayat: Salaam everyone! I was born and raised in central New Jersey. I am currently a rising sophomore at Rutgers University where I hope to become an active member of the MSA. I intend to study biology and eventually dentistry. This will be my seventh year attending Mizaan, and my second year as a counselor—I’m looking forward to the challenge! I am a huge Manchester City fan, a Montreal Canadiens fan and a fan of sports in general with soccer being a special passion. I am also a food fanatic. I love to eat but I don’t love to cook. I enjoy traveling and trying new things when I travel. I’m excited to meet my cabin group and am looking forward to camp this year.
Attiya Butt: Salaam everyone! This is my first year attending Mizaan and I'm thrilled to be a part of the team. I'm a rising senior at Rutgers studying Neuroscience and Psychology. At Rutgers I'm a member of the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament, The Visionary Lions Club and the Debate team. When I'm not taking snaps of the moon or the sunset, you can catch me drawing, watching a Bollywood movie or going on a hike. I'm looking forward to meeting you all and having an amazing weekend!
Yousef Elzalabany: Salaam everyone! I'm Yousef, and I'm a sophomore at Princeton University studying Politics. I was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but have spent the majority of my life in Allentown, Pennsylvania. On campus, I am heavily involved with the Muslim Students' Association and the Muslim activist group on campus, MASJID. Other than politics, my passions include soccer (go Liverpool!), comedy, and writing poetry. Can't wait to attend my first Mizaan Retreat as a counselor!
Sarah Hafiz: A rising senior at Franklin & Marshall College in her hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (home of the Amish!), Sarah's interests in how medicine intersects with policy and access to health care drew her to pursue a Public Health major. After being highly involved with organizing national and regional retreats with MYNA (Muslim Youth of North America) and MSA National, Sarah was eager to help strengthen the Muslim community at F&M by joining the MSA, where she had the opportunity to serve as president. Outside of MSA, Sarah helps formulate ways in which young people can get involved on a local level to help alleviate the global refugee crisis. Sarah also works with F&M's Squash Aces Program, a mentoring and tutoring service for students in inner-city Lancaster. Sarah looks forward to learning some great knowledge, reflecting upon how we can implement it, and MEETING YOU at her second Mizaan retreat inshaAllah!
Majid Mubeen: Salaam! I am a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Economics in the business school. I grew up in Southeastern Michigan, so you'll definitely hear me mention the mitten at least once :)! At school I've been involved in Penn Univeristy Television, Asian Pacific American Heritage Week and other identity and media organizations. Currently, I'm the Vice Chair External for the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, an umbrella group and political action council for all Asian Pacific-Interest organizations on campus. I'd like to live a life of character and service, helping others and softening hearts. I'm also a fan of performing comedy, reading lots of books, physics geekery, pure food, spirituality, Michigan cherries, service, and connecting with the hearts of awesome people! This is my first Mizaan retreat so I'm super excited for this awesome weekend. Don't hesitate to ask any questions!
Omar Qari: I was born and brought up in central New Jersey, home to a very diverse and established Muslim community. I’m currently a rising sophomore studying at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where I hope to graduate with a bachelor’s in Biology. Over there, I’m actively involved in student government and volunteering on campus. This will be my first year as a Mizaan camp counselor and I am thrilled to embark with campers on this weekend of Islamic knowledge and reflection. In my free time, I like watching/playing soccer, reading, and hanging out with friends. Interacting and meeting with new people is something I enjoy thoroughly so, I cant wait to meet you at the retreat!
Zeeshan Qureshi: Salaam! I'm Zeeshan and I'm excited to be attending my first Mizaan this year! I'm currently majoring in Electrical Engineering and minoring in Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. I love to play tennis, discover good pizza places, and sleep for long periods of time. I also consider myself an ice cream enthusiast due to my admittedly unhealthy love for ice cream (team halo pub). Above all, I like to take things to the next level. If you don't get what that means right now, just spend some time with me and, insha Allah, you'll see. Peace.
Alizeh Shamshad: Salaam! My name is Alizeh Shamshad and this will be my second year as a Mizaan counselor. My family and I have been attending Mizaan since its first year, and I am equally excited to be returning each time! I live in Princeton and am a rising junior at The College of New Jersey where I study biology. I really like ramen, hiking, badminton, Spanish (my minor! woo), tutoring, and the lemon cupcake at House of Cupcakes (highly recommend). I've spent this summer taking a physics class, tutoring, working at my EMT squad, and interning as a patient translator and dental assistant. I think I had like three fun days too. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone!
Ayanna Sharif: Born and raised in Baltimore, MD Ayanna is a graduate of Morgan State University receiving her BFA in screenwriting and animation.During her time at Morgan State Ayanna was the president of the Muslim Student Association for two years and the co-captain for the women's lacrosse club in her last year. A lover of all art forms her true passion is filmmaking. Working in freelance film production Ayanna is always willing to talk film. When she's not on set she's working as an auditor for the Marriott Hotel in Baltimore. Growing up in a pretty close knit Muslim community with a widely diverse friend group she loves learning about different cultures and trying different foods. Being a self proclaimed connoisseur of candy one may also find her with a bag of some type of halal gummy candy in her hand, don't worry she carries enough to share. You can also catch her in the grass watching the sky or near some body of water. Ayanna loves animals and in her free time volunteers at her local SPCA looking after the adorable puppies. This is her first year as a counselor for Mizaan and she's excited to meet everyone and join the Mizaan family.
Sarah Shoeb: Salaam everyone, this is going to be my second year at Mizaan and I’m so excited to be there again! I am currently a rising junior at The College of New Jersey where I major in chemistry and minor in biology. I’ve spent this summer studying Urdu and calculus and working at the University Medical Center of Princeton as well as the TCNJ School of Engineering. I'm very involved in biology and chemistry research and look forward to a career in the sciences in the future. I enjoy playing tennis, which I've been playing for about 6 years, watching The Office and basketball, and going to museums and cherry blossom festivals. Can't wait to meet everyone, see you guys soon! :)))
Sohail Sumra: I'm from Fairfield, CT and graduated from Fairfield University in 2015 with a major in International Studies and minor in Economics. At Fairfield, I was a very active member of both the Muslim Student Association and South Asian Student Association. I was also a Resident Assistant for 2 years and a Senior Resident Assistant for my final year. I studied abroad in Shanghai for my Spring Semester, Junior Year. I am currently an Associate at LCR Capital Partners in Westport, CT. In my free time I enjoy spending time with friends and family as well as cooking, reading, traveling and playing basketball and volleyball. Insha'Allah this is my 5th year as a counselor and I am really looking forward to being a part of Mizaan 2017.
Azraf Ullah is an entrepreneur, musician and computer science geek. He currently is the CEO of NearbyMedic.com, which is an emergency field management and healthcare delivery app and service. He is also an intern at a Fortune 5 company working as a Front End Engineer. He also does websites, photoshoots, and video commercials for companies at his second company, Veysantis.com, where he has worked with companies like BeyondChai, Inova Hospitals in Virginia, and other local businesses. He is starting a 3rd company making platformer video games and iOS apps in the near future at rosewatergame.com. His first music singles will also be debuting this summer 2017 soon on Apple Music, Spotify and on his website azrafullah.com under his Singer Name : Azraf. Looking forward to Mizaan and showing that worship towards Allah swt can be achieved through your ideas and inventions as well as your prayer.
Manjoor Vahora: Hello Everyone! I was born and raised in Norwalk, CT and grew up surrounded by family every step of the way as youngest of three brothers. A senior at the University of Connecticut, I am majoring in Material science and Engineering and concentrating in energy materials because I aspire to develop a healthier world and am curious in future scientific innovations and milestones. In my free time I like to do yoga, climb and embrace the beautiful outdoors, get my hands dirty in some soil, and spend time with friends and family.
Since this will be my first year as part of the Mizaan community, I'm excited to meet all of you. My non-judgmental ears and mind are open to anything one would like to talk or learn about. Furthermore and most importantly, I hope that everyone will learn and evolve whilst enjoying the weekend to the fullest.
Salman Vahora: What’s up everybody! My name is Salman Vahora and I was born in Norwalk, CT. This will be my second year at Mizaan and I am really excited. I will be a sophomore majoring in Business Information Systems. I am interested in running my own business one-day helping people lead healthier and happier lives. In my free time I enjoy reading, working out, hiking, and taking pictures. I am always ready to play sports and love beaches and barbecues. My first year at Mizaan was an incredible experience and I met many great people. I look forward to returning and seeing all of you.
Ali Rayef: Assalamualaikum everyone! My name is Ali Rayef, and this will be my first time as a counselor at Mizaan! I have lived all 19 years of my life in New Jersey, but my parents immigrated here from Cairo, Egypt in the 1980s. I am currently attending Mercer County Community College where I am studying journalism and political science, after which I will attend Rutgers University, Inshaa Allah. I am also a line cook at Taco Bell, where I perform culinary miracles with my own two hands. Among many other things, I enjoy graphic design, music, and political activism. At Mizaan, I hope to see old friends and make new ones. Looking forward to a weekend of faith, friendship, and fun!