Backpacking 101: Big South Fork

Oneida, TN

Jun 2—Jun 4, 2023

The First Step was a unique opportunity for adventurers aged 10 and above to immerse themselves in the beauty of Big South Fork while learning essential outdoor skills and deepening their connection with Islam.

During this 3-day backpacking expedition, participants reached the highest point in Big South Fork, where they were taught the fundamentals of map reading, outdoor cooking, risk management, and expedition behavior by our experienced guides.

As we explored the stunning landscapes, we also nourished our souls with daily dhikr, prayer, Qur’an recitation, and enlightening Islamic classes. The First Step provided a perfect balance of adventure, skill-building, and spiritual growth, making it an unforgettable introduction to the wonders of the outdoors and the beauty of Islam.


Led by

Dr. Michael Dann

Spiritual Leader

Dr. Michael Abdullah Dann is a faculty member at Tayseer Seminary, serving as an instructor of Arabic and the Islamic sciences, with a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.

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Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Spiritual Leader

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari is a full-time faculty member at Tayseer Seminary, serving as a women's scholar-in-residence and dedicated to reviving the Prophetic model of community and training the next generation of Muslim leaders.

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Ustadh Sean Blevins

Outdoor Instructor

Ustadh Sean Blevins is the Vice Principal (7-12) and language arts and history department head at Annoor Academy of Knoxville, bringing extensive experience in education and instructional leadership to the school.

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Ustadh Nadeem Siddiqi

Outdoor Instructor

Ustadh Nadeem Siddiqi is a graduate of Tayseer Seminary and serves as adjunct faculty, teaching a course in community activism while also being involved in various local Muslim organizations and businesses.

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Ustadh Abdalla Husain

Outdoor Instructor

Ustadh Abdalla Husain is a graduate of Tayseer Seminary and an experienced outdoor leadership instructor who currently serves as the Youth Director of the Muslim Youth of Knoxville.

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