A’udhu Billah min al-Shaytan al-Rajim, Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

I seek sanctuary in God from Satan.

I begin in the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.


Ma'rifa invites Shi'i students in North America to submit responses for this year's competition. We welcome submissions in all formats, so be creative! For more details: bit.ly/responses-2023.

Before beginning any task or establishing any intention, we must first seek sanctuary. That is, we must search for the presence of God, in every time and place. To do so is an active struggle to distance ourselves from the movement and forces around us—from the noise, the systems, the cycles, Satan.

In your response, please reflect on your personal experiences of seeking sanctuary, whether in your school campuses, in a ziyarat trip, in mosques or on the prayer mat, in your own hearts, or in still moments. If sanctuary is a state of spiritual clarity, then we must reach it through moral purity and sincere devotion to God. If it is physical, then we must build it through individual and communal action. How can we advance these things in order to seek, acquire, or create refuge? What are some challenges Shi’a students in North America face in building sanctuary—whether in physical spaces or as a state of being and how can we overcome them? From what systems and idols are we seeking sanctuary?