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UIC MSA Presents:


IAW Edition Issue 5


Sahaba of the Month:

“Ahad (The One). Ahad (The One).”

Hazrat Bilal Ibn Rabah ( R A ) The First Muazzin in Islam Hadhrat Bilal (RA) is often recognized as the Muazzin of Prophet (S)'s Masjid. He was an Abyssinian slave of a disbeliever in Makkah. His conversion to Islam was, naturally, disliked by his master, and he was persecuted mercilessly. Ummayah bin Khalaf, who was the worst enemy of Islam, would make him lie down on burning sand at midday, and would place a heavy stone on his breast. He would then say to him, “Renounce Islam or swelter and die.” Under these afflictions, Bilal (RA) would exclaim, “Ahad! The one A---h! Ahad! The one A---h!” He was whipped at night, and with the cuts thus received, made to lie on the burning ground during the day to make him either forsake Islam, or to die a lingering death from wounds. The torturers would get tired and take turns, and vie with one another in afflicting more and more painful punishments, but Hadhrat Bilal (RA) would not yield. At last Abu Bakr (RA) bought his freedom, and he became a free Muslim. His repetition of “Ahad” shows his love and devotion to A---h. A---h was so dear to him that no amount of persecution could distract him from reciting His Holy name. It is said that the urchins of Mecca would drag him in the streets, with his words "Ahad, Ahad" ringing in their wake. Look how A---h rewarded his steadfastness! He was to have the honor of becoming the Prophet's muazzin. He was to stay close to the Prophet (S) to call out the Azaan for his Salaat. After the Prophet's death, Issue 5

it became very hard for him to continue his stay in Madinah where he would miss him at every step and in every corner. He therefore left Madinah, and decided to pass the rest of his life striving in the path of A---h. Once he beheld the Prophet (S) in his dream saying to him: "Oh, Bilal! How is it that you never visit me." As soon as he wooke, he set out for Madinah. On reaching there, Hadhrat Hasan and Hadhrat Husain (RA) (the Prophet's (S) grandsons) requested him to call out the Azaan. He could not refuse them for they were very dear to him. As soon as the Azaan was called, the people of Madinah cried openly out of their anguish at the memory of the happy days of the Prophet's (S) time. Even the women came out of their houses weeping. Hadhrat Bilal (RA) left Madinah again after a few days, and died in Damascus in 20 A.H. - Excerpt from Hikayat-ESahaba (Stories of the Sahaba) by Moulana Mohammed Zakariyya Kandhalwi (RA)



tion or by ourselves, it is a spiritual and personal part of our lives that allows us to strengthen our relation-

Conversing Through Salah By Maryam Raja As I sleep soundly, my father calls me to wake up. I see the lights on in the hallway and my brother wiping his arms with his towel. Knowing that it is time for Fajr, I open my eyes. Praying Fajr is a time that not only begins my day, but is also the first spiritual act that I am performing. Sometimes, I want to stay in bed longer to be well rested enough to perform my daily activities. However, it is not sleep that gives me energy; it is prayer and the ability to communicate with A---h (swt) that allows me to be productive. It is when I join my hands together to make du'a that gives me hope. It is when I prostrate that I am submitting myself to A---h (swt). It is when I make the intention to pray that that I am put at ease. In this moment, I focus my efforts on blocking out any distractions. Beginning with Fajr and ending with Isha, my whole day is filled with much more happiness and relief because I am able to converse with A---h (swt). Even when I begin to worry about things in this dunya, the worry turns into peace when I am praying. I know that A---h (swt) will listen to me if I take the time every day to remember Him through salat. Salat, or prayer, provides numerous benefits: the opportunity to make du'a, take time out of our busy schedule to focus on our deen, and converse with A ---h (swt). Whether we are praying in a congregaIssue 5

ship with A---h (swt). This is often overlooked. Hours are spent on social media websites, completing homework assignments, and going outside to have fun. Living in America, these activities take up much of our time, causing us to hold Salat off. I often feel as though I spend too much time on worldly activities rather than on my deen (religion). There should be a good balance of both: following the deen and taking part in worldly activities. It can be challenging to get into the habit of praying salat regularly, especially Fajr and Isha. However, salat is our opportunity to shut out the exterior for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, and focus on our deen. The Prophet Muhammad (S) once said on the topic of Salat, ''If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?'' The people said, ''No filth would remain on him whatsoever.'' Prophet Muhammad(S) then said, ''That is like the five daily prayers: A---h wipes away sins by them.'' Praying five times a day gives us a chance to to erase our sins through wudu and the prayer itself. During prayer, we are having a conversation with A---h (swt) by seeking forgiveness and trying with every ounce of us to think about Him and Him only. Salat is even more miraculous because we have five times in a day to talk with A---h (swt). We have five times in a day to erase our sins. We have five times in a day to purify our hearts and gain patience. We have five times in a day to refocus ourselves on what’s important. Salat is at the core of our Iman and gives us a chance to learn discipline, take a moment to stop chasing after the dunya (world), and instead chase after our deen.



T h a n k Yo u ! By Syed Ali Nasaruddin In my nineteen years of experience in different parts of the Chicagoland area, around the time of Rabi’al-Awwal which we just passed, our communities have a tendency to start dividing and fighting more than they already do. These arguments focus on the mawlid and are largely due to a key theme in IAW this year; misconceptions. After spending years trying to find well-qualified and dependable teachers, I was finally able to bring peace at least in my heart; insha’A---h may He bring peace into our communities as well. The word “mawlid” is an Arabic word that means birth. The division occurs between people who celebrate the birth of the Prophet “And we have not sent (S) and those who you (O Muhammad) call it shirk except as a mercy to (polytheism), or bithe universe.” Surah dah (innovation), or Anbiya Ayah 107 both. Unfortunately, a majority of this division and argumentation is among people who are in no way qualified to be having discourses about religion due simply to the fact that they lack the understanding and knowledge that our beloved scholars have spent decades trying to achieve. Lack of humility is a huge cause of the discord in our fragmented communities. The celebration of the mawlid has been ongoing for over a thousand years and, according to Dr. Umar Faruq AbdAllah, no Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali or Shafi’i scholar has ever said anything about the mawlid except that it is a very good thing to do. My next question for my teachers was what even goes on in these mawlids? The mawlid is an occasion of festivity, joy, and gratitude. It is incumbent for all Muslims to feel

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joy and be grateful for the birth of the Prophet (S). Additionally, the expression of gratitude for the mawlid through gatherings that we see today is seen as a great thing to do by consensus of the scholars. The mawlid, as an expression of gratitude, is an act that has been approved by a majority of Sunni scholars consisting of the gathering and reading the shamail (qualities) of the Prophet (S), the seerah (life) of the Prophet (S), singing poetry in praise of him (S), among other acts that connect us with A---h (SWT) and His beloved (S). The mawlid is a formal name for something that we are commanded to do: be grateful for the blessings that Allah bestows upon us. What greater blessing is there besides the Prophet (S)? Dr. Abdul Hakim Murad says he (S) is “ni’matul-kubra” or the greatest blessing. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf reminds us that we are to be grateful and feel joy and happiness with A---h’s blessings. If we don’t feel happiness with what A---h has given us, then there is something deficient in our hearts. The mawlid celebrates the birth of the Prophet (S), or in other words, the coming of the Mercy to the World to us by the mercy of A---h(SWT). It is the day that A--h (SWT) granted us the greatest favor upon us. The Prophet (S)’s teachings are what guide us through Islam. Whatever guidance we have is thanks to A---h sending us the Prophet (S). We would be lost in a dark abyss with nowhere to go if A---h had not blessed us with the Prophet (S). A---h (SWT) tells us in Surah Anbiya in ayah 107, “And we have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the universe.” The Prophet (S) himself celebrated the mawlid as narrated in Bukhari. When the Prophet (S) was asked why he fasted on Mondays, the Prophet (S) said that it is because he was born on that day. This is a (Continued on page 5)


(Continued from page 4)

form of the mawlid. RasulAllah (S) tells us that, “You have not tasted the sweetness of faith until A---h and His messenger are more beloved to you than yourself.” The mawlid, the scholars say, is a way of taking our love for A---h (SWT) and His beloved (S) and turning it from a mundane lip service into something real. When the Sahabah, in the battle of Uhud, jumped in front of the Prophet (S) so that the Prophet (S) was not harmed, that is a level of love that we aim to achieve. That jumping in front of the Prophet (S) and taking the arrows to their own selves and protecting the Prophet (S) is a mawlid. We are so far away from A---h and His messenger that the scholars say that the mawlid is one of the best ways to melting our hearts and connecting ourselves with A---h and His prophet. The sole purpose is to increase our love and bring it to the level of those Sahabah whose love manifested itself into reality. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf says beautifully that using an alarm clock to wake up for fajr is a bidah, an innovation. The Prophet (S) never did it nor did the Sahabah. They woke up on their own for fajr. Howev-

er, using the alarm clock to get up for fajr is a type of innovation that does not conflict with the principles of Islam and actually helps us gain nearness to A---h (SWT) by virtue of getting up for our prayer. Similarly, the mawlid is our alarm clock. It wakes up our hearts and allows us to come closer to A---h (SWT) and His beloved prophet (S). As long as nothing going on in these mawlids goes against our core principles, there is nothing but benefit for us in these gatherings for our bodies, minds, and souls. They are spiritual awakenings for many. Additionally, it is important that the thankfulness to A---h for sending us His beloved messenger (S) not be restricted to only once a year. Once a year is better than never, but our aim should be that we are grateful in every breathing moment. I end this reflection with a command of A---h to all believers as recorded in Surah Ahzab, ayah 56, “Verily, A---h and His angels send blessings and greetings on the Prophet. O you who believe, send blessings and greetings of peace upon him abundantly!” And verily God is All-Knowing.

Don't Give Up Hope By Adil Qaisar Aristotle, one of the most influential and thought provoking philosophers of all time, is quoted saying, “Hope is a waking dream.” There are many ways in life that can make you feel like you are dreaming, to be in a state of absolute contentment, and detached from this world of hardship. Perhaps the easiest and most realistic way to experience the dreamlike contentment in life is to keep hope. Hope in your goals, in your aspirations, in your expectations of greatness from yourself will drive you. It will transport you to a world beyond this one. It will figuratively put you in your dream world. It is easy to give up on your dreams, to settle for what and where you are in life. But it is not that settling for where you are will lead to that contentment we all strive for. If you want to make dreams a reality, wake up from your sedated lifestyle of settling for the mediocre and the regular that we are all so used to. Write your goals down, keep them in your heart, and if you want to achieve these dreams of yours and actually experience them, don’t give up hope. Because hope will protect you from the blows of the naysayers. Hope will leave your vision unaltered. Hope will make your vision inexorably, eventually true. Issue 5



When I was Five By Anonymous When I was five my father told me, “Look at the sky, and search for the biggest star. It is your uncle looking after you, don’t be alarmed.” How do you explain death to a child, The bomb that killed their mother, the shot that killed their father, The rotting of their corpses explained through the beauty of the Watcher. To this day I look for the biggest star to bring comfort to my heart. But that is how the emotions start. As my brother across the border looks up at the sky in search of my father, His dependence on the twinkle doesn’t falter. How do you explain separation to a child, Illegal is all your mother is there, I’ll be back for you eventually I’ll miss your first rehearsal but you know I love you unconditionally. Protect your sister, keep your head above the flood, Don't give up, strength is in your blood. Blood. As the politician sits in the comfort of his home, Son in lap, t.v. remote in hand, his eyes roam. “Daddy, why is that lady crying?” How do you explain war to a child, I bombed her house today son, but don’t worry I’ve done it before. She can go to a camp, starve, and then die all alone. As the oppressed find the beauty in the tragic events, The oppressors find comfort in the falseness of campaign tents. The vastness of this universe could never separate anyone. There’s a way to come back and unite with everyone. How do you explain faith to a child, The way your head touches the ground five times a day, Knowing that all you can do is pray. Death, separation, and war will make you love more. Give everyday all you’ve got, you have to endure. Look at the sky, and search for the biggest star. The Creator doesn’t fail, He’ll heal all your scars.

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A Father’s Daughter By Asif Mazhar What don’t we know about life, she wonders That causes emotions to rent asunder. Feelings hurt, those wounds still tender, Looking for love, or someone to mend her Broken heart. It started with a cough She heard her mother say But he just brushed it off Saying he’ll be fine someday. Someday, one day, this day. Empty words measuring time. Yet all she could do was pray, Pray that he need not say goodbye. Goodbye. To the life she knew And to his shadow on the wood. Standby. Stand by her mom while she Cries as he leaves them for good. So now she stares across the open field, Grave after grave after grave. As they lower his body, now concealed Leaving her alone and afraid. Broken heart, piecing it together. He was her anchor, he was her tether. Tragedy struck, and now where is her father To mend her broken heart, to be her Protector.


A Supplication By Maria Quadri (In the name of A---h the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful) The world is asleep There isn't a sound But I'm still awake Forehead on the ground Another day will begin By Your Great Decree I'm calling to You Ya A---h, You must help me Don't leave me to my affairs For even the blink of an eye You know my deficiency From You I can't hide

They give me respect They tell me I'm good Then why don't I do The things that I should Why are my days Filled with regret Committing the sins That make You upset

Why do I fail Time after Time Repeatedly doing What feels like a crime Guilty as charged That I admit Please accept my repentance To You I submit

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For You is my present, future, and past Guide me as You have Otherwise, I won't last Make me amongst those Who are closest to You Who consider You only In everything that they do

Keep me on the path Of the righteous and guided Who follow the footsteps Of our close and Beloved Despite my sincerity I feel this unease It comes from knowing That my heart isn't clean The whispers are loud And fill me with hate For myself I've developed Unyielding distaste It gets hard to keep going Striving is tough But I recall what you said When it gets just this rough "Take one step towards Me I'll take ten steps towards you Walk towards Me I'll run towards you" Ya A---h please help me take the first step.


“Everyone is speeding towards death at the rate of sixty seconds per minute, the collision is inevitable...are you ready?� -AbdulBary Yahya

Call Him, Before He Calls on You By Anonymous The Maker of the heavens and the Earth Built us a place to live and to prosper, To worship Him, to please Him. He sent down great men and women To teach us, to show us His Mercy, His Love, His Forgiveness. Yet we still forget His Guidance His Path, His Knowledge. He waits for His creation to reach its Maker To pray to Him, to thank Him. But we continue living in Adam's punishment Lost, misguided, seeking the fatal pleasures of this Dunya. Until He calls us back to Him, Until we have lost all our chances, Until we are alone in our graves Regretting all the times He called And we ignored.


True Spirit By Adil Mohammed Shoeb


A bearded man engrossed in prayer in a dimly lit room pleading and crying to his lord. This is the image I instantly visualize when I hear the word spiritual. But should I? The common perception amongst the Muslim youth, is that spirituality is the constant practice of prayer and worship at every living and breathing moment of our existence. Though this may be correct, it is not the only practice that defines spirituality. What we fail to realize is morality, simply doing what is correct, is of equal importance. Regardless of how many extra nawaafil you may pray, failing to help the elderly cross the street, or not comforting a friend in distress, is ultimately what we will be questioned about. Morality and spirituality are one and the same. They are intertwined and cannot exist without the other. No matter what practices engulf your inner soul, be it prayer, dhikr, or dua, disregarding your fellow brother/sister or staying quiet during times of oppression is cowardice and shameful. Solely singing praises of the Prophet(S) and connecting deep within meditation is a flawed image of spirituality. I am not stating these practices are wrong, however, they are not the only components. Islamic teachings are practical, not theoretical. Everything we learn is expected to be preached and practiced. To be truly spiritual, according to the teachings of Islam, we must connect not only with our Rabb but with His creations as well. Islam teaches the best path to moderation. Being extreme in worship will lead to ill relations with the people around you. However, falling in love with the Dunya will only lead your soul to ruin. This balance is fragile, but when maintained, is awe inspiring.

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A loving exchange between MSA sisters, Maria Quadri and Ayah Elkossei: “Thanks for not stabbing me in the eye with your scissors, Alhumduillah.� Umayr Ahmad UIC MSA is the BEST to ever be an MSA anywhere #GOAT #UICMSAIAW Nooriyah Baig SubhanAllah IAW has taken over me fully! First it was all my media and my took over my phone lol but now whenever I sleep, I DREAM IAW and the amazing memories! I think I've come down to #IAWFever Abe Nakhleh (@NakhlehAbe) Excuse for skipping class all week it's #UICIAW Zamaan Sohel (@ZamaanOfSteel) A week not just to raise awareness, but to build new friendships, spread good-will, and share warm memories. Ayesha Qazi (@AyeshaQazi1) The only time of the year where it's okay to wear a shirt more than once in a week . Lubhna Saiyed (@Lubnahhhh) S/o to that hot chocolate! 10/10 would recommend. Safa Khuderia Dear UIC MSA, I have a confession to make. I miss you. I miss your samosas so much. As sad as it is to say, my spiciness tolerance has decreased significantly due to my current desi-free lifestyle. Sometimes when I walk through my apartment building's halls I smell my desi neighbor's food and I get a brief glimpse into the past. I guess I kinda miss IAW too. Brotherhood and sisterhood seemed to spike around then. What do I miss most? Seeing the IAW jum3a sala overtake the entire lounge.....overtake more than usual that is. #UICMSAIAW Make us all proud.


Reflections By Sumaya Aman This year has been such a wonderful experience so far alhamdulillah. Upon awaiting this infamous "IAW" for months and months it is finally here. And in the midst of papers and exams and keeping my head on straight, I momentarily forgot why I love this blessed week so, so much. My freshman year IAW was pretty amazing. I didn't think it could have gotten any better. And then my sophomore year IAW was an incredible blast. Man, may A---h SWT reward all of those who worked to make last year a success. As well as all other years. (ameen). That was the main MSA event in my entire time at UIC that did strides in bringing me closer to our beautiful and perfect Deen. And it was from the DAY after the end of last year's IAW that anticipation crawled up within me for the next one. And here it is. Listen kiddos, Islam Awareness Week is not just a week. It's not just in your MSA. It's not just in college. Yo man, you're doing da'wah. This is real stuff we're doing here. We are all students doing our best to learn about all of the wonders of academic life, as well as students of the Deen. Which, if any of you were at Firas Alkhateeb's talk on Tuesday, you would realize that these two efforts in knowledge are the same, as a ginormous aspect of Islam is gaining knowledge about our religion, which includes gaining knowledge about the world around us. So May A---h SWT grant us dedication and success in our studies, and in keeping that healthy balance with our families and being the best that we can be. In the midst of all of this IAW excitement, just take a step back and breathe. Get the blue and gold (not yellow!) out of your head for a bit. Why are we even doing this? Why are we putting in sooooo much effort for this cause? And WHY...does it end when the week is over?

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I want to encourage *us* all to keep up this beautiful and inspiring momentum after the week is over. Not only during our time at UIC. The entire world could use people like you guys! Masha'A--h! Spread that da'wah guys! Don't let it stop here. You guys are doing great man, unbelievably great. I didn't know what to expect from this year's IAW. In their own ways each IAW I have attended has been so beneficial and I am excited for you freshies to witness how much this fantastic event grows and grows each year. It'll be a ride. I am beyond excited for next year! But remember, don't let the da'wah stop here. Take the IAW spirit with you and keep it in your heart. When you do it for A---h SWT and not just because everyone is wearing the same color shirts. When you do it when it is hard on YOU and know that no one but A---h SWT is watching. When you do it out of the purity of your heart and with the desire to please God with every thought, every word, every deed. When you do this, you're a hero in my eyes. You. guys. rock. Alhamdulillah. Make those scales tip in your favor on that day. We're doing this for our Creator. Al-Aziz. ArRaheem (SWT). Keep it #sunnahstyle and take after our beloved Rasulullah (SAW). Lowkey, if I ever see another hashtag again I will explode. Sisters, seriously...


Umayr Ahmad Shout out to whoever makes these. I've seen them at Asal Wahdan The joy inside of me every IAW week I've been at UIC when I put the hijabs on these women #Awesomeness #TheLittleThings is beyond words! All I can say is #Iseeyou alhamdulliah for this wonderful opportunity. It has opened my eyes tremendously to my faith and I can't even begin to explain how spiritually powerful these past 2 days have been! JazakAllah for all the people who have allowed me to be a part of this, keep up the good work!! #UICIAW

Nash Nashino (@GR8t_Nash) BISMILLAH... #UICIAW

Imran Qasim Imam Abdullah Madyun caught a glimpse of the IAW Dawah Booth today and was very impressed by how lively & effective it was. On his way out he took one last glance at the scene and said: “This is the real Deen.” #UICIAW

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Islam Awareness Edition 2014  
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