The UIC MSA Publication
Rhythm of the Street
farooq chaudhry sarah basheer
It’s 5am. I haven’t slept in a really long time. It’s been a long, tough week, man. To be honest, I have no idea what the Rhythm of the Street is. I like the idea of it, though. The phrase “Rhythm of the Street” kind of implies somewhere deep within the structures of society, the day to day grind, between the mundane interactions, monotonous mornings and ever-escaping evenings there is some underlying inherent truth or reality woven into our lives. A rhythm is something consistent, something that keeps us going, afloat, on pace, on task, and alive. The fact that God created us with a steady, smooth beat thumping away in our chest should tell us the importance of having a rhythm. Like I said, I don’t really know what the Rhythm of the Street is, but I think there is beauty in what is unknown, and, as seekers, believers, students, and human beings it is our job to uncover that beauty. I think it’s our job to discover what our rhythm or pulse is first, though. What keeps us alive? What keeps us smiling through our darkest days; grounded in our happiest days; in service of others when all we’re looking for is for someone to take care of us; questioning when we thinking we have the answers; seeking for the answers when life is a mess? What keeps us alive and makes us think it’s all worth it? I think it’s an important question to answer because when all else fails, we can always rely on our rhythm to remind us of who we really are and to keep us on track. When you fail four exams in a row, haven’t prayed in months, and feel worth-
less, your rhythm will remind you of your worth. When life is calm seas and fair breezes, abundant happiness and pleasures, your rhythm will remind you of the bigger picture of life. Our rhythm is what keeps everything else on track, and I think it’s our duty to discover what that rhythm is so we can also fall back into it. I really hope this makes sense. If it doesn’t, or if you have no idea what your rhythm is and you’re tired of failing, falling, trying, collapsing, then just know you’re not in it alone. We’re all in it together-- because that’s what a rhythm does: It keeps everything from falling apart, keeps things together. Keep searching, finding, and striving. And once you find the rhythm in yourself, let’s build towards creating a harmonious Rhythm of the Street. May God make it easy on us all. I really need to sleep more. Side note: If nobody has told you this in a while: I love you. You are loved. Promise. (5am does weird things to me.) Farooq Chaudhry Editor in-Chief
In the Moment
Friend I treat you with respect Forgive me for expecting some in return But what I do expect Is for us to learn.
The Street leaves dreams out in the cold The boy was young, the boy was vibrant He had aspirations, he had goals The boulevard is unrelenting Not for the faint of heart, or the poor souls Born into poverty, he realized early The Street would be the harshest of teachers Time after time, the Street would SPEAK to the boy “The world doesn’t care about you, and never will.” “There will always be someone better.” “If you can’t make it here, what makes you belong out there?” “Dreams are like old clothes, you GIVE them up.” “Get used to the harsh reality, otherwise you’re gonna get left behind.” The boy had no choice. The Street was all he knew. He gave in. He gave up. He let the Street take him.
Today, we’re all in the third grade Mr. Ratburn gave extra math homework That we’ll talk about but never get around to doing.
Friend. I gave you an excuse But you trampled over it So I gave you seventy* more Because that’s what Friends are for. Friend They say if you tell me who your Friends are I can tell you who you are So if we’re going to be the product of each other Let us be kind to one another Friend. You were with me since the beginning So I’ll stay with you until the very end Even if you turn away, Because you are my Friend. Friend. The Companion is the compeller So don’t just accompany me to oblivion But please, pull me into paradise Kareem Jabri
The Street is real, for both you and me. The Street is the wolf. We are the shepherd. Our dreams the sheep. Conniving, the Street has it ways. To make you think your sheep are doomed. Doomed to be taken. THE STREET IS WRONG. WRONG. For what use will our dreams be, out in the cold, right next to the boy? Shivering, freezing, waiting for the Street to loosen its grip. With dreams hung up on the side of the road, The grey clouds rise and rise all around. The days are always dark on the Street. A father who prays never to lose HIS son to the Street, tells him: Let the RHYTHM of your HEART, let it be the reason the sun shines through the dark clouds. Let the RHYTHM of your HEART, guide you past the ways of the Street. And know that, if you listen to YOUR HEART, the Street’s whispers are nothing more than the sound of pebbles, hitting the wheels of OUR caravan, not of despair, as WE make our way back, back to Him.
We’ll go home And meet at the Sugar Bowl after And forget that one of us celebrates Kwanza, And the other Hanukkah. We’ll forget that the toughest customer out of all loves ballet. We’ll forget that one of us comes from mansions, while the other comes from a crowded apartment building. We’ll forget it all at the Sugar Bowl. Because today, we’re all in third grade. And I hope that tomorrow when we’re not, We remember that in third grade it didn’t matter Where we came from It mattered where we were going. But for now, we’re in the third grade. And we’ll talk about all the math homework that we’ll never get around to doing. Javerea
Circles In the name of God, To be continued. Farooq Chaudhry
Your brother, always at your service 4
A Tribute to Home
It’s a feeling. You can sense it the moment you pass the threshold from the airport door out into that fresh and forest-like air and that air.. it buzzes with a certain dignified negativity Like static, every car beep and door slam, and radio newscast sizzles in the unseen spaces between life is loud the electrical fans in the stone houses billow frantically trying to exhale coolness into the stifling heat feet are heard tip tapping quickly across tile floors in the open spaces between apartments and a distant teta yells for her grandchildren from the balcony to fetch her some za’tar but there’re two times this static momentarily stops its buzzing and sizzling there are two moments in which things settle like the dust after a racehorse, in these moments, the dust lays itself down to rest in the moments humans can softly feel the earth spin beneath their feet that moment the sun rises roosters crow their songs at a blossoming purple sky and a faint motorcycle is heard making its way down the streets
A call that echoes itself through one’s ribs and into the heart is bellowed beautifully from the speaker systems of three mosques at a time mountains slowly fade back from their gray into higher definition greens and browns light switches are turned on quietly like people asking permission from the silence to wake that moment the sun sets packs of stray dogs walking through the streets with their howls and barks plastic chairs set outside under weeping willow trees little bug noises here and there like musical notes each testing the octaves within them and muffled laughing and conversation blanketing the mountains of lebanon like a gently moving fog these two moments they remind the country that their worries will end just as the day ends and hope will rise as the dawn rises reminding them that earth breathes too reminding them that our countries are things of magic things quietly evolving, quietly growing beneath the surface
Shapla. And sometimes she can even be
It’s a good feeling but im not sure.
She can even be- ( I don’t know how to feel about shapla
I see her around school sometimes A lot of times. I see her. She’s stellar at most things.
These people were wearing tattered clothing, and had no place to stay, yet they were happy, each content with their way They prayed in a congregation on the streets, and then went to lie in their makeshift beds, Not once did they curse their lives or question Allah, They just continued to make dua instead They learned to be happy with what was given to them, and they learned to thank Allah for what they had, It could have been a lot worse they believe, and who are they to be mad These people with so little, find so many ways to be happy and content and then there is us, who have everything but continue to complain and lament But really, who are we to act in such a way? We have homes, we have clothes. We have been blessed, but nobody is willing to acknowledge such a fact, so just remember in this world, on these streets, we are just guests
I don’t know how to feel about Shapla
As I walked down one of the streets in Hyderabad, I could not believe my eyes Poverty stricken areas, full of people begging, But there were still smiles, still laughter, and no cries
It’s a good feeling, But im not sure. Anonymous 5
Poetry Tea Leaves
“We Hear and We Obey”
She asked who I was And I said I’d have to see
For all too long, Trekking the path has been just me. I dove in the depths of my soul to know But drowned in the abyss with nowhere to float She asked who I was And I said I’d have to see Life has been figured out But identity? A mystery Put my in darkness And I will show you grim Lift me into light And I will prove to you: life is a whim. Take me to the mosque And I will show you my beads Accompany me Friday nights But forgive me for the weed. She asked who I was And I said I’d have to see Because all water become tea But it depends on the leaves. Farooq Chaudhry
When you hear “God is around you” Look at the sun Close your eyes and feel the heat on your skin Like His Love, Al-Wadood’s love, constantly enveloping you Lighter than skin Stronger than bone Feel the heat sizzle down into your soul till It glows under His Noor Try this When you read “Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein” Take the letters and tattoo their notes unto your skin Till blood combines with ink And His names runs through your veins Because the Ever-Living is what gives life to you That Allah is forever with and without While you are everything with and nothing without Try this When your eyebrows are furrowed and your lips form a frown and your body is shaking under the weight of the world Look up Say, That is God And He is with me
Mute the world’s white noise till you can hear this world’s only noise: Leaves rustling, your pulse, streams trickling through rock, Billion year old galaxies colliding in the infiniteness The taps of ant feet on blades of grass Distant thunder- the quiet mourning of a mother Sunshine- unbridled laughter escaping from the heart of an infant Howling- A 1,001 grains of sand in the Sahara change course One breeze and they are another’s dune Uncertainty- clouds morphing into different forms Shape-shifting till they aren’t singular things but evolving things, meant to serve May it rain May it snow May it storm May it keep us awake Drenched in that which comes from the heavens Taste the words Feel His presence Know every obstacle your way is a detour to get you where you’re meant to be Trust Him And Try this. Allah. Like this. Ayah Chehade
TITLE What if your world was falling apart? Everything and everyone you love disappearing before your eyes. Would you curse the world....or pray that they hear your cries? He’s scared already, body’s weak, heart’s unsteady There’s blood stained on his only shirt already, magenta confetti Everyone’s frightened but dad’s looking calm and steady, outside they start to drop bombs, And the whole room slams to the ground, Baby sister cries oh so loud Momma covers her mouth so the wails won’t come out Everyone’s choking now, waiting for someone to bail ‘em out Sounds calm so all run about, odds weren’t in their favor fighters disavow, missiles block the clouds Now this is the normality, the regime’s brutality, everyday mortalities. The son’s sad, but for his sister he won’t give up so easy. Nope. He won’t let it end like this; he’ll try to climb the slippery slope To him it don’t matter he needs hope It’s him and his sister but they broke He almost can’t handle it since now he has no home But in his heart he knows, god Will take him somewhere safer on the
globe They’re both escaping, so far no hint of abating As if the whole world is conspiring against, forsaking Under and evil king, who’s using his sword to impose order Meanwhile a doctor is restoring, and sees a random Body in the post-mortem, his breathing gets harder Sees that his homie’s no longer, alive and blown all over The stitches all over, from side to side shows He’s no longer the freelancer, Always on the road, god only knows Now he’s farther from home, from his son and daughter Who no longer have mother or father, Now it’s the doc’s duty as a brother To pull those kids out of the water Wont stay on the sidelines anymore, and look over misconduct He’s moving one from being an old schmoe who knows But fears the armada. Hops in his Toyota And there he goes, to honor his old partner So the hearts of those kids keeps beating longer Please no more pain, he might go out in a fit of what you call rage Feels like they both trapped like two dogs caged
Still how it I was in the beginning, nothing’s changed Defeated and thrown out, left in pain But he kept going and stepped up to fight for, The best for him and his sis who’s still in diapers All the pain inside nullified by the Fact that he can raise his hands to The sky and speak to his lord up to Five times a day to get the right type of Help for his situation and state of Mind, to understand that in the Qur’an It says that god has is the best of designers and has the best plan At the same time the doc pulls in his minivan Like an angel came into end the strife Maybe uphill now, plenty of hope in life The end of the times that seemed they could only get harder Scraping for food and water life on the brink, a teeter totter Now no more of the drama, maybe they can reach nirvana And thanks to the faith they got That the lord would formulate a plot, And to make sure they wouldn’t rot Take a lesson from this lot No matter what you got, cold feet or burnin hot So, if your world is no longer falling apart... Will you hear the cries of those suffering, or let them curse the world. Abdullah Bheri
Reflections Taking a Step Back Samer Hassan
Socioeconomically, we are blessed to be living in the United States. As many people know, the top 1% of individuals, by income, globally, are those who earn $32,000 or more annually. In the US, for a family of 6, this income level is nearly the poverty line, but globally, this is a serious amount of cash. (I get it; the fact that we live in the US means that expenses are greater and the discretionary income that a family nets from this sum is much less for a person here than for someone in a very disadvantaged country, but our expenses are in accordance with the significantly superior infrastructure and quality of life that we benefit from, so this consideration will be disregarded.) Why do I mention this? Because a major problem with our lives is that we fail to put our experiences in context, and to understand our privilege. We need to couple our appreciation and thanks for the blessings that we have with a drive to help those in other life situations. A distinctive aspect of life in Western society is the seemingly relentless passing of time. Between managing classes,
juggling work, pursuing professional endeavors, and trying to maintain a social life, we can often become engrossed in our tiny bubble that we consider to be reality. In order to maintain our sobriety with respect to the state of affairs in the world, it is important to at least be aware of our position of privilege and responsibility. In all of these pursuits, we may forget our role as the emissaries of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We may neglect to acknowledge the freezing man sitting on the sidewalk as we power to our internship. We may forget about the sick family member in favor of studying for our upcoming exam. We may turn away the inquiring underclassman as we struggle through a review guide. So my suggestion to myself, and to everyone, is to carve out a small period of time during the day, or during the week, to pursue something strictly humanitarian. For some people, it’s giving time to a shelter; for others, it’s resolving to feed a homeless person every day. Let me give you an example of a colleague who once shocked me with his generosity. We were walking off campus
at the University of Chicago, and a man was muttering something to himself as we were passing him. I didn’t understand what he said, nor was I even sure that he wasn’t talking to himself. I may have assumed that, as a man who happened to be homeless, he may have just been talking to himself, a symptom of many people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and related illnesses (homelessness is largely the by-product of mental illness, another major problem with Western societies). My friend, however, heard him, and asked him to join us as we went to the Nile Restaurant. When the man had gotten some food, he left the store without any salutation, upon which I asked my friend, “Hey man, how are you so comfortable doing that in this part of town?” He responded by asking me to recite Surat Ad-Duha, and I realized how simple his reasoning was. At that moment, it became clear to me how important it is to always consider the plight of the “Asker,” or in this case, a man who happens to be in a state of need.
Why Kanye West is the Greatest of our Time. Kanye West is the dopest artist of our generation whether you want to admit it or not. All of his songs have a profound meaning within the lyrics, and many of his most moving and thought provoking lyrics are the least heard. For example, Kanye West sings about the uncertainty of life and where you will end up in “Street Lights”. In “Murder To Excellence”, he gives a powerful plea to end violence in Chicago, his beloved hometown. “Christian Dior Denim Flow” shows the various ways Kanye tries to distract himself from heartache. Every song has an incredibly unique tone and beat to it, and sometimes
the funky music can distract from the real meaning. Although he used to be incredibly insecure and self conscious, Kanye has found his niche collectively through fashion and music, displaying a confidence that many of us could only ever dream of having. He is often chastised for this confidence, but he is very much entitled to it. He has 21 Grammys lining his trophy case, a versatile record of producing, and has quietly been a very big donor to a number of charities including the charity he founded, Donda’s House. He was heavily criticised for marrying Kim Kardashian, which is just another reason
why he is so incredibly boss. Kanye West found who he loves and stuck with her, regardless of what anyone else had to say about it, and they now have two beautiful kids who will one day rule the entertainment industry. Kanye West is the greatest artist alive if you listen to him with a fresh and open mind, and if you disagree, we can take it out to the quad. Aleena Haider Daughter of Kanye West AKA Aleena West
Listen to the Streets
Why Sushi is my Favorite Food
One of the most inspiring parts of living so close to Chicago and going to school in the city is that I’m always hearing and feeling the true rhythm of the street. The rhythm that pulsates from an urban area has all the sounds and beats from the people who live on these streets. The diversity of Chicago is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The streets are rich with the smells of saturated Latin food and music, Italian cuisine, Greek imagery and tastes, sweet smells from China and India and we all come together to make Chicago a whole entity. From Michigan Ave, to Devon, Wicker Park, Pilsen, State Street, and Chinatown, you never know what surprises you might stumble upon by simply taking a new route to get somewhere. Chicago is truly made by the people who live here-- who have brought the flavors and customs from home and given Chicago a taste of ethnic and cultural diversity. We get together and make things better. We learn from each other and teach one another new things. Living amongst different people opens our eyes to new perspectives and we improve our own human experience by hearing their stories and the lessons they’ve learned. Alone, we play a beautiful instrument, sometimes a phenomenal solo piece, but together we create a vivid symphony of the rhythm of the street.
Before you begin reading this I ask you think with an open mind. And for those who wish to do the opposite do not waste your time. You will not benefit. I have always questioned everything. From calculus to Islam my mind always wanted to know why things are the way the are. Growing up in an Islamic school for 12 years on strict Sunni hanafi fiqh it was extremely taboo to look at other sources. I was never open to Shia Islam when I first came to UIC. I always wanted to walk the path of least resistance and never question what I was taught. My freshmen year I met five people who impacted my thinking about this deeply: Hashim Mirza, Sabika Haq, Alvena Jeffery, Ahmad Zaidi, and Raza Jeffery. As we became friends I began to ask questions about Shia Islam and the historical aspects of it. I realized it wasn’t so different from Sunni Islam. They would always say, “attend a majlis, you live so close to Bait Ul Ilm!” I was apprehensive for years. I understood Shia Islam as thoroughly as I could but never gathered the courage to attend a majlis. This past week my roommates Paymaun and Akbar took me to a majlis near west Lawrence at a place called Masom. As I sat down and observed my surroundings I felt peace and tranquility. As the Imam began to speak I could tell he was of North Indian decent and the Urdu he spoke was simple yet powerful. The most
powerful line he mentioned was “Jab ammi bacha ku sulati hai woh kehani sunanti hai. Jan jagana ki waqt hai woh Quran sunanti hai” The following translates to “When a mother tends to her child and tucks him into bed, she tells him a story. When a mother awakes her child in the morning she recites him the Quran( to wake him physically and spiritually.) The gathering was amazing. I loved every moment of it. And the biryani afterwards wasn’t too shabby either (we eatin’ goooood out heeya). I intend on attending on more gatherings as the year progresses. For me it isn’t act of defiance against what I have been taught but rather a reaffirmation that Allah has created us all equally. Though our paths differ slightly our destination remains the same. We fear what we don’t understand. We don’t experience things that question certain things we believe in. We fear moving out of our comfort zone. The funny thing is once you actually do it you don’t find stress or fear but rather tranquility. Peace lies in attaining knowledge. That my friends is the true rhythm of the streets around us. We dance to our own beat but rarely do we seek new avenues of sound and soul. The best compositions may be labeled “original” but have influences from all over. Expand your rhythm. Create a new beat.
Arthur’s Politically Incorrect Show and Tell
It is almost 1am on a Saturday morning and I find myself sifting through old, dusty photo albums of my grandparents in my room. Next to the photo albums, my books on the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan lie next to me. I glance back occasionally from their pictures and the books trying to make sense of it all. The old pictures make me wonder about my grandparents’ origin, their story, and how much of it has changed over the course of decades. I study the pictures of my grandfather’s sisters who had to leave a sense of familiarity behind as they migrated to Pakistan. My grandfather continued to live in the only place he knew as home, Lucknow – a city in North India. It is strange to me how family photos from the past have affected me, in ways I cannot describe. You are able to connect to something you have never seen in your life, or physically been apart of. You find yourself immersed in a history that has lasting effects to this day. All that is left are memories shared by elders, passed down through pictures and storytelling. Over time, our memory will abrade, become distorted, and become something distant to us. I believe that photos from the past do not follow that trend. They persist and have new meanings over time. They survive, no matter how faded they appear to look. I look at this one picture of my grandparents right after they got married. My beloved grandfather Hanif Siddiqui is wearing a checkered suit with my grandmother Mariam sitting next to him in her floral sari. Youthful and full of optimism is what can be seen on their smiling faces. I could feel the depths of their love and I could also feel a deep longing for a time that has gone before me.
Muffy wheeled the television into Mr. Ratburn’s classroom eagerly. “Today for Show and Tell, Muffy will show us Crosswire Motors’ latest commercial!” exclaimed Mr. Ratburn. “I thought it was something we were supposed to make ourselves.” Arthur muttered to Buster. The TV screen lit up with an image of Mr. Crosswire smiling proudly, posing in front of his brand new cars. “Hello Elwood City!” he boomed “today I would like to speak to you about something huge, that I can promise. As you all know my company has had tremendous success, however, unfortunately the current state of the auto industry is a total disaster. That’s why Crosswire Motors is calling for a total and complete shutdown of foreign cars entering our company until our industry can figure out what the hell is going on.” “Did he just say H-E double hockey sticks?” Sue Ellen gasped. The entire class was awe struck. “Everyone calm down please. Muffy I’m not sure if this is exactly appropriate for our class.” “Daddy pays for half this school, I get to show his commercial if I want to.” Muffy cried scowling at her teacher. She turned around haughtily and resumed the video.
“We need to stop being so politically correct and face reality. When foreign companies are sending their cars they’re not sending their best. They’re sending cars with lots of problems. Cars with poor mileage, used engines and dirty interiors. When I started Crosswire Motors I started from the ground with only a small loan of one million dollars. I know the value of hard work, therefore I’m making tremendous changes, like fantastic new deals. My newest cars are very attractive, when you’ve got deals like these you can just lean in and grab them by the steering wheel. Not only are they lacking the prices, but frankly I don’t believe the other companies have the license to sell in the US. I’ve sent investigators who have confirmed that these other companies are getting licenses all over the world, in Kenya, China and who knows where else. I’ll see you all soon, let’s make the auto industry great again.” “Well class… that was interesting. Thank you for sharing Muffy.” Mr. Ratburn gulped nervously. “Did that remind you of anyone?” Arthur asked his friends Buster nodded his head slowly and said “I think I’m ready for the alien invasion.” Nahian and Samirah
When youâ€™re trying to comfort a Non-Mahram
Editors in Chief Farooq Chaudhry Nuha Abdelrahim Managing Editor Ibraheim Mohammad Staff Writers Abdul Basith Basheer Sarah Basheer Liliaan Mali Nahian Saed Samirah Alam Taha Sharif Safa Shameem Nayfah Thnaibat Staff Artist Shapla Shaheen
Creative Direction Noor Abdelrahim Interested in contributing to Al-Bayyan? If so, email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover Photo Courtesy of Sara Alattar
Layout Hyatt Hasanieh Maha Khaden Maleeha Ahmed
October 2016: Rhythm of the Street