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ALBAYYAN   Issue  4      

 

 

 

 

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           February  2013  


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THE TIME IS N:OW An Arab poet once said, “The past is lost forever, and that which is hoped for is from the unseen, so all that you have is the present hour.” The past is never to return, the future is yet to come, and so we are left with the present day— this present moment. Time is something so often discussed and so often checked. Time is the first thing that pops up on your phone screen, it’s the one that hangs on almost every wall, the one that some even tie to their wrists. Time controls our nights and days; without time the day would not turn into night and the night would not turn into day. We know what time is, we know what time brings, yet why do we often find ourselves “running out of time” or feeling like there “aren’t enough hours in the day”? These questions can only be answered when we realize what time really is, how we should perceive it, and how we should manage it. What is time to a Muslim? In today’s society we often hear the phrase “time is money”, but is that really what it is? For when our time is done, will money be there to save us? Truly for a Muslim, time is not money, time is Allah. Abu Hurayra reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) saying: Allah the exalted and Glorious said: The son of Adam abuses Time, whereas I am The Time. In my hand are the days and the nights”. This means that whatever occurs during the night or during the day-throughout time in general-happens only by Allah’s will and His design; according to His knowledge and by His decree in which no one else has any share. Whatever Allah wills to be will happen and whatever He wills not to, shall never be. For this reason, we should never curse time, we should never be angered by the way that things turn out, and we should always be conscious that Allah is the one who disposes of the affairs that unfold in time. This should be our mindset when we deal with time. Now that we know what time really is, we must perceive it in the correct manner; this is through looking at the lenses of solely the present day, the present hour, and the present moment. Being preoccupied with the past and

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dragging past woes into the present will only bring an unstable and unsound mind. At the same time, being anxious over events in the future only adds worry and stress. Rest assured that your Lord who provided you with solutions to yesterday can similarly provide for what is to come tomorrow. And so, look to the present moment. Let events flow in their predestined path and have faith in Allah’s timings. “Do not cross the bridge until you reach it”—tomorrow has yet to arrive and you have the present moment to prepare for it. In knowing what time is and with what lenses to look at it, we still have to realize that we are “managers “of our time. It will run its predestined path, but it is the requirement of each of us to put in effort at every moment. Every day should be seen as one goal. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “When the morning comes upon you, then do not expect to see the evening, and when you see the night, do not expect to see the morning.” Do not have lofty and long term goals but rather short term appropriate   goals   that you can accomplish and surpass within the day. Expect death at any moment and do your best in doing good deeds. With this mindset, you will be able to concentrate and spend all of your energies on being productive each day. If I told you today was your last day to live, how would you spend the day? This should be our mindset every day. Pray like it is your last prayer every time. Respect your parents as if you will not be seeing them tomorrow. Live for the present moment and find comfort in the fact that what has been planned for you has been planned by the Best of Planners. Avoid fretting about the future, forget about the pains of the past, and embrace this present moment. In the remembrance of Allah you will find joy in your time and in His obedience you will find reassurance. Don’t think about when you can start to make changes, the time is N:OW.           -­‐Sarah  Jaber    

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In The Hobbit, the protagonist Bilbo Baggins   finds himself lost in a mountain and comes across a villainous creature, Gollum, who can help Bilbo out of the mountain, but wants to eat him instead. To buy himself some time, Bilbo challenges Gollum to a game of riddles with the stipulation being that if Bilbo wins, Gollum must show him the way out, but Gollum gets to eat him if he loses. After a few rounds of correctly answering each other’s riddles, Gollum corners Bilbo with the following riddle: This thing all things devours: Birds, beasts, trees, flowers; Gnaws iron, bites steel; Grinds hard stones to meal; Slays king, ruins town, And beats high mountain down. Bilbo luckily blurts out ‘Time’ as the correct answer and is saved, for the time being. I bring this example largely because I am a nerd, and partly because of its relevance. Time has always been one of the most abstract ideas that laymen and philosophers alike have grappled with. In the aforementioned story, time is given properties of destruction, and is accredited with the ability to overpower just about anything. In poems and literature, time is often capitalized and personified, and ascribed with abilities to give and take life, to change the course of history along with laying the canvas upon which history itself is written. Now, any Muslim reading this may proudly proclaim that it is not time that does any of these things, but instead it is Allah who has the power and ability to exact these changes and do anything He wills. Yet, amidst this fervor and religious zeal that Muslims possess, we still attribute power to time, particularly when it comes to issues in our lives we avoid facing. We hide from our problems and avoid solving them by saying things like ‘it will work itself out, it just needs time.’ We serve obediently under the delusion that ‘Time heals all wounds’ and believe that time will somehow fix our difficulties and obliterate our obstacles. My aim is not to draw some tenuous link between this mentality and shirk and decry the mere suggestion that time has any power at all when all power belongs to Allah. Rather, my aim is to suggest that even the slight abilities we have ascribed to time actually belong to us. It goes without saying that nothing can happen without the will of Allah, and that He controls all and affects all. At the same time, Allah

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says in the Qur’an, “Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition” (13:11); so we know that we, as human beings, do have the ability to change our situations. We glean from this verse that with the Mercy and Benevolence and Will of God, we have been given the power to affect our lives, to change things for the better or worse, and to overcome our obstacles and settle our differences. We understand from this that no one or thing on this earth can really and truly fix our problems, solve our issues, and overcome our obstacles besides us, and that we do have the power—with the permission and direction of Allah—to overcome anything that is put in front for us. As far as Time is concerned, time—to me—is powerless. It is simply a vacuum, and like a theoretical vacuum (in physics), it is empty and contains only what is put in it. So, if we relinquish this power granted to us and gather all our problems and put it in this vacuum of time instead, and convince ourselves that time will take care of them and will automatically obliterate our obstacles and mend fences we’ve broken, we will be severely disappointed. If anything, our problems left in this vacuum will fester and worsen over time, because it has no power to change things; it can only manifest what is in it. Yet, if we infuse this vacuum that is each of ours—this time that we have—with solutions and proactiveness and positive ideas and beliefs and actions, then our time would manifest that and the quality of our lives will be greatly improved. We, as human beings, were never promised worry-free lives in this world. On the contrary, we were promised that we would encounter difficulties, but we were given the tools to surmount them, and the time to overcome them in. When times get difficult—and they will—amidst the worry and stress and fear we may feel, we are given two options and the time to carry them in; we can turn away from the problems at hand and blindly and incorrectly hope time will take care of them, or we can fill this vacuum with hope and strength and proactiveness, and live to see a day (maybe even well after our time runs out) when we can reap the fruits of the more positive approach. Time most certainly does not heal all wounds, or any for that matter. Under the guidance of Allah and with His mercy, we do. It all depends on what we fill our vacuum with, and the approach we take with our time.   -­‐Khalid  Abdul  Majeed  

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A  Superhero  for  the  Ages   “Alright hold on there. Here, take my wallet, there’s some money in there. Just let us go.” That last words of a fallen father echo in the mind of a traumatized young boy, affecting him in such a profound way that he decides to dedicate his whole life and all his resources to the revitalization of a fallen principle, one that was absent on that harrowing night: Justice. It was the embodiment of an idea to reestablish justice in a city that was deprived of it which made this man into Batman; it was his swift onslaught upon the unrighteous, his effective manipulation of fear, and his unparalleled courage and determination that made him a hero. It’s cool though, that we look up to this comic book hero, this manifestation of our unconscious desire to rid the world of the evil it bathes in. But in the end, Batman, and his mask Bruce Wayne, are fiction(although some might argue I am the basis of such a hero :) So then, where do we look for a model of righteousness and virtue who is both relatable and admirable beyond words? I found him sitting across hundreds of pages of his own biography; I found him sleeping soundly under the shade of perpetual glory and resounding greatness. His name was Muhammad, and out of respect, we say peace be upon him after mentioning his name(PBUH). What makes him so great? His genius (I recall a story wherein various tribes were fighting to place the black stone in its proper place after the Ka’bah was being rebuilt, as each wanted the honor. Enter Muhammad, suggesting they place the stone on a cloth and then each tribe will grab and carry a portion of the cloth)? Or perhaps his uncanny ability to end some of the worst atrocities ever and those accepted as socially acceptable (the Arabs would bury their daughters alive, a crime of unspeakable horror that forever mars their pre-Islamic reputation. They would also fight over small matters that would ultimately claim the lives of many, and then, those deaths would only serve to recycle and add hate to the existing conflicts)? Or maybe   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

it was his ability to civilize and refine a people that were thought to be impossibly far from any type of civilization and any type of part in the World Theater (the Romans at the time didn’t even want to waste time and effort conquering such backwards people)? Or maybe it was his supreme courage in the face of any and all enemies(a loud noise was once heard outside the city and the men woke up alarmed, gathered their horses, and kissed their wives in case an enemy had approached. As they rode out, they saw, far in the distance an man flying towards them upon his steed, waving his hands as a universal sign of "it's all fine, it's all fine! I checked it out, it's all fine!) What I think made this man so great was all of the above and the fact that he did all those things in the most abhorrent, the most exacting, the most difficult of all circumstances; it was truly a more complex version of David and Goliath, for the Arabs and the times were more formidable opponents. Consider, the Prophet’s father had died before his birth and his mother soon after. Imagine going the burial of your own mother, imagine not ever having even met your own father! He faced both and that too, as a boy. There was no mother to call him home when all his friends’ mothers were; there was no father to show him to ropes when all his friends’ dads did. He gets married and is madly in love. She was there for him when no one else was and she supported his claim of divine revelation when all others laughed. Such a pillar of support too was taken from him. His wife of 25 years, his great love, stolen by the trappings of fate. His whole life is switched, turned upside down (I had to put that in there, apologies) when he’s asked to preach God to a heathen people. Those who loved him and trusted him had then turned their backs on him, throwing insults at him. Not just insults though but rocks too! And animal intestines and garbage! It was a frequent occurrence, both physical abuse and verbal abuse. And when I say physical, I don’t mean your mom hitting you after you got a D on an

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exam; I mean chasing him out while throwing stones at him to the extent that his whole body was covered in blood (as it occurred in Ta’if, where the Prophet went in hopes of hospitality and acceptance but was instead greeted with children and street beggars throwing heavy stones at him). An insurmountable level of physical and emotional brutality only hardened his resolve and where others would fall or falter, Muhammad stood, Muhammad fought, and Muhammad prevailed. He succeeded at uniting a warring nation, at civilizing a barbaric people, and at teaching a divine message with an example that will forever be “relevant.” I look now at his story and I am moved beyond words or thoughts at his struggle and mine, how difficult he had it and how easy I do. At times of weakness I think to a greater man hope to be

even a grain of sand of what he was. That’s what we want, after all right? The ability to inspire long after we have our feet tickle the Earth?( awkward if it isn’t what we want…) A hero inspires well beyond the numbered years he spends alive. So the next time you are watching the Dark Knight or Iron man, moved by a soundtrack so perfectly synchronized with the themes and emotions, or mind blown by the special effects, remember that there is an individual in our history whose life is indeed comparable to the modern super hero. Forgive me for adding "hardcore salt” into your chai of beloved fiction, but grab a book of seerah one day, sit on a nice rocking chair, put on some Ludovico and drift off into the life of our greatest hero: Muhammad -Ashher Masood  

It’s  Time  to  Talk   As a quick side note, you'll be quietly chuckling at the title soon. Time. Ah yes, that incredible reality, or concept depending on the way your thinking is wired. We've all heard the transcendent quotations describing it as fleeting, and then intertwining it with the existence of a past, present, and future. Let me be honest here and tell you the first thing that came to my mind when I was presented with the topic of "time". My first thoughts went to Dragonball Z. Do we all remember said cartoon? People around my age will remember it as being one of the greatest cartoons of our childhood. And you're probably thinking, "Dragonball Z was the first thing to come to you're mind, well then you must really be a deep thinking philosopher then." First thing's first, you used the wrong "you're", it's "your mind". Secondly, the reason DBZ came to my mind when I thought of time is due to their abhorrent abuse of it. In the middle of battle, and they're notorious for this, the warriors will charge up their abilities for a good hour, their time, whereas in real life they'd be sucking weeks out of our life charging up that   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

magnificent Father-Son Kamehameha. However when they are running out of time and need years and years of training withing just a few short seconds, they just go into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and get that training done just in time. Did the world go to crap? No problem, get on that handy dandy Capsule Corp time machine and change the past. What the show does is eliminate that fear factor when it comes to time. The reality is, there is no way to stall time (unless you get into the Theory of Relativity and go off into space at near the speed of light while your twin brother stays back on earth and when you return after X amount of years your twin will be old age, but you won't have aged a bit), there is no way to reverse time, there is only using time to our advantage. Time is indeed fleeting. The couple of seconds you spent reading this sentence will never return again. In this day and age we have completely lost sight of that. YouTube videos lead to more YouTube videos, one song leads to another, one prayer leads to another YouTube video. I mean, we just don't realize how much time we waste, because it has become a standard of living.

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Just last night I felt tired around 9:00 pm. (Yeah, Sunday night, I wanted to go to sleep at 9, I'm living life on the edge mister). Let's actually take two scenarios here. Scenario 1: I go to sleep at 9 after praying 'Isha (night prayers). I can't sleep more than 6-7 hours at a time (and that's not a complaint so don't add FWP), so I'd wake up around 4 am, and I'd have a good hour and a half to to do some Tahajjud (late night prayers), or other forms of worship, or even write this blog and and get to a few other projects I have waiting for me, pray Fajr (morning prayers), and take a nap before starting the day early and fresh. Scenario 2: I stay up watching YouTube videos of magic tricks and then start playing an online video game until 3 am, be too lazy to pray 'Isha at that time so I'd set my alarm for right before Fajr and quickly pray just the Fardh (mandatory part of the prayer), and use the same wudhu (ablution) to pray Fajr groggily, not remembering which

surahs (chapters of the Qur'an) I recited, and sleeping until right before Asr (afternoon prayers) time. Wanna guess which route I took? My point is, today's world is so disregarding of time and it's true nature. One thing I want to mention is that one of the Signs of the Day of Judgment is that time will pass by quickly. Unless you're in an organic chemistry class, you can agree that this is how time is flowing now. It is vital as human beings to take advantage of every second of life. And I don't mean go around yelling "YOLO" and doing stupid stuff all day. I mean take every second to become the best human beings that we can be. To truly understand the value of the time we have in this world, because it will end, sooner or later than we think, and when it does, there won't be some Dragonballs to wish you back, and no time machine to send you back to tell your younger self to stop complaining about life and actually start living it. -Nabeel Bhatti

A  Reflection  on  Surah  Al-­‐Asr   Most of us would agree that Surat Al-Asr is definitely a “go-to” surah during salah. However, being one of the shortest surahs in the Quran, we are often hasty in our recitation and heedless when it comes to reflecting upon its meaning. Although only three short ayahs, Al-Asr is remarkably profound. In fact, Imam Ash-Shafi (rahimullah) said, “If the people were to ponder on this surah, it would be sufficient for them.” Yet how often is it that we truly reflect on the guidance that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) is relating to us in these verses? 1. By the time 2. Verily, man is in loss 3. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience If we adhered to the teachings in this surah, it would not only be sufficient for succeeding in this dunya, but also the Hereafter.   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) swears by fleeting time; something that most of us waste or take for granted. The surah tells us to: believe (in God and the Message He sent down), do good deeds, help each other with good, and to be patient. Although I encourage everyone to study an in-depth tafseer of this surah, the message I want to convey is to value your time. In order to avoid falling into the category of people who are “in loss,” we must use our time in a way that is pleasing to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Time is a gift that you and I both share. It is a blessing that those who have past away would yearn, solely to better themselves in their worship to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Reciting Al-Asr during our salah is a great way to remind ourselves that time is precious, and in order for us to be successful in this world and the next, we must use the time we have left to attain Allah’s pleasure. -Lauren Tabakhi  

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In  Defense  of  YOLO   We live our lives, day in and day out, and plan for a long and bright life ahead of us, inshaAllah (if God wills), but at the risk of sounding too morbid or too serious, I wanted to remind myself and others about the fragility of life and how short it can really be. In the sci-fi movie Gattaca, the protagonist gets a heel prick at birth for a blood sample. The blood sample is placed into some kind of analyzer, and almost instantly, the computer screen displays how long he will live and what his cause of death will be. We currently do not have this kind of technology, but even if we did it would still be imperfect (because even if the screen reads death at age 80, the patient could always die in an accident at 40). But it is important to remember that even though we do not know our time, date, and cause of death, these things are already known to Allah. His mercy, His plan, and His infinite wisdom define every aspect of our lives. I pray that we will all be able to die dignified deaths as Muslims after having lived complete and fulfilling lives. I was recently blessed enough to go on my first Umrah (a voluntary religious pilgrimage) with my parents. I was able to visit both Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia. I had a great time, and accomplished a lot of what I had hoped to accomplish: perform the rites of the pilgrimage, help my parents do the same, spend time worshipping and reading Qur’an (the holy text of Muslims), learn a lot of Islamic history and knowledge from the religious scholar who accompanied us on the trip, check out the beautiful architecture of the Haramain (the two main holy sites), take a bunch of low-quality pictures and do some shopping. In the midst of all of this, one small event really affected me in a profound way. We had just finished touring some of the historical sites in Makkah and were heading back to the city center to our hotel. Spending hours on the road in Saudi Arabia taught me that drivers there try to get where they want to go as fast as possible, weave through slower traffic, and many   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

do not seem to wear seatbelts. So I should not have been surprised to find that on the highway we encountered an accident that had most likely taken place just a few minutes earlier. A small truck was overturned and crashed into the concrete median barrier. As we passed by the accident, we slowed down and pulled over, essentially giving us a very clear view of the mangled metal and the driver who had managed to get out of the cabin and onto the road. I doubt I’ll ever forget it. He was covered in blood and his foot looked like it was just barely hanging on his body. We could not hear if he was saying anything, and even if we could hear him I would not have been able to understand him. But the desperation on his face said one thing to all of us: “Help me.” While we were waiting on the side of the road, other drivers who had pulled over did what they could to help. The injured man was surrounded by gasoline which had leaked out, so two people rushed over with small fire extinguishers and put out the area. One driver placed a blanket on him. While we were waiting for help to arrive, I felt terrible that I had no medical training, no supplies, and no appropriate foreign language skills, rendering me incapable of doing anything for that man. It absolutely broke my heart. I still remember him very clearly. He was a young man, probably not much older than me, and he understandably looked so shocked and so desperate for help. Praying five daily prayers at the Masjid alHaram (the Sacred Mosque), I had gotten used to praying funeral prayers right after almost every prayer. That night after the Isha prayer, I was not the only one in my group who felt that the funeral prayer we had prayed was likely for that young man. It was a sobering thought. After this event, I turned into even more of a scaredy cat than I normally am. Whenever I closed my eyes during our long drives to Madinah and Jeddah, every time we hit a bump in the road, every time I felt the van sway due to the heavy luggage strapped on top, every time

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someone honked their horn, I thought to myself: “This is it. I’m going to die.” But Allah decided it was not my time, so I made it out of Saudi Arabia alive. Later, while I was flying back to Chicago, every time we were 34000 feet above the ground and we encountered turbulence, I started to worry that maybe my time was up. But again, Allah decided it was not my time to die, so I made it back to Chicago alive. After a few days, this kind of panicky thinking subsided and I got back into my more regular scaredy cat routine. But the injured young man I encountered during my Umrah trip left me with a heightened awareness that our time truly is limited on this earth. Some people really hate the phrase YOLO, but those people are missing the wisdom and depth in that abbreviation. Life really is short. You really do only live once, so you absolutely should make it count! How can we make our lives count? Here are a few simple suggestions that we can try to work on to benefit ourselves in this life and the next. Work on your character and speech. Each and every one of us has that really despicable personality trait we need to get rid of. We might be arrogant or prideful for whatever reason, and boast or show off as a result. Maybe we lie to our friends or parents. Sometimes we tend to insult or say bad things about people behind their backs. One might think that these are small problems that can be overlooked. But in reality, these are serious problems that demand our attention. Let us all try to find a little time to reflect honestly upon how we behave with our parents, friends, colleagues, and fellow students. If we can make just one small improvement with the intention of pleasing our Lord then we are on the right track. Remember God in everything you do. Before you start an exam, before you eat, before you brush your teeth, whatever, take a second to say bismillah (“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”) It is very easy to say and a great way to always be mindful of Allah and to receive blessings for performing even the most menial of tasks. Make your parents happy. One’s parents are a barometer for Allah’s pleasure or     Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

displeasure with that individual. How often have we talked back to our parents, or raised our voice at them in anger? Let us all try to be patient with our parents, give them love and respect, and listen to them as much as possible. Serve Allah by serving others. This is a great way to nab some good deeds for ourselves while making a positive impact in the community. Helping others makes both the one who is helping and the one who is helped very happy. It is also incredibly addictive and fun. With all of the above suggestions, it is best to make a small change and keep that change in practice for a good amount of time until it sticks and becomes second nature. This is because it is very difficult to maintain big, drastic changes. Baby steps are the best for any real and permanent change we wish to make in our lives. We need to make the most of the limited time we have on this earth to benefit both our deen (religion, way of life) and our dunya (world we live in). InshaAllah (if Allah wills) we can all commit to make small but lasting changes because #YOLO.           _Irfan  Hussain  

Time   How many episodes of “One Tree Hill” How many rounds of Call of Duty How many Facebook updates How many hours we slept in The prayers we’ve missed The blessings we’ve forgotten The faults in our faith The weakness in our hearts

The most valuable thing in the world; it’s not position, power, wealth, friends or family. It will be our accountability on the Day of Judgment. Will it be the cause of our conviction? Or the proof of our piety? Will it be our demise? Or our defender? Will we be ashamed? Or will we be proud? To answer “How did you spend your time?” -Anonymous   UIC  MSA                    February  2013  


By  the  Time…  

Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. Time is a special token given to us from the day we are born. Our task is simple: use it wisely. Before we were all created, there was no such thing as time. Therefore, this should be a reminder that we are to be aware of the clock and not waste a single moment of it, time is beyond our control and we cannot stop it whenever we wish. In the Quran, there are many references to time, but there is one specific Surah that Allah (swt) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw) as a clear message explaining the importance of time and how one must not take it for granted. This was Surat Al-Asr. Surat Al- Asr begins by simply stating: Wal Asr – “By the time”, that precise time being the late afternoon. Inna al insan lafi khusr – “Truly man is in loss”. No one realizes it, but truly mankind is often absorbed in his or her daily tasks and becomes oblivious to the much greater and beneficial things they could be doing. Not sitting for endless hours on Facebook or texting and ultimately “not wasting time”. But choosing instead to fulfill four certain principles that lie within Surat Al-Asr as well as making good use of our time. These four principles that were sent down to us are so simple and are types of actions we could and should be doing on a daily basis. They consist of having Faith (Iman), doing righteous actions (amal as-saleh), encouraging the truth (watawasaw bil haqq) and supporting one another in having patience (watawasaw bis sabr). It is all so beautifully written in one Ayah, which proves it is as simple as a task could be. Instead of wasting time on all of the social networks that have been developed today, we should focus on strengthening our Iman and encouraging one another to be the best people we can be, (even if that means turning off your cell phone for one hour of the day). Time is of the essence and it will flash right before our eyes without us realizing it. Appreciate the time you were given, don’t let it pass right over you. -Rund Daoud  

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A  Witty  Title   About  Time   They asked me to write a quick piece about managing time Making it funny and making it rhyme I told them that’s all dandy and fine But for me to advise on time management would be a crime Back to the subject at hand How to a be a time managing man? I don’t know the answer to that Because my time managing skills are whack On some real talk, let me tell you what I think At managing their time, a lot of people stink Between organization and managing time there is a link Takes some notes down, grab a paper and some ink Congratulations, you made it to the end To a poem that repeated "time management" again and again Let this be a reminder to every girl, boy, and man That time well spent stems from time well planned God Bless, Smooth  

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On  Family  and  that  is  left  at  7  p.m.   His kidneys failed, I’m told. The both of them. Tubes crisscross over and under his bed in a room crowded with empty seats, fuzzy television screens, useless nightstands, and a whiteboard that reads: “Goal: Increase activity”. The lights are turned off and it’s 7 pm. Flash back to the days when we were young and restless. With muddied hands (mama told us to stay away from the puddles but we never listened) we run to the kitchen sink without making eye contact. Because once we make eye contact, mama gives us that look that means we’d better be in bed in less than five. She asks whether we’re tired. “No,” we say, but we are. We are just too young and too proud to admit it. And at 7 pm, the lights go off. Flash forward to the days when we outgrow ourselves. I don’t know what to say. Five of us are in the room now—four standing, none sitting. I’m the last to shake his hand, to give him that squeeze that, when I was a teen, all the married Arab men would advise me about. “Walak shake my hand properly,” they tell me. I’m shivering. It’s the winter and I’m outside without a jacket shaking a man’s hand for far too long. It’s 7 pm and it’s dark out. The men before me kiss his head and joke about how strong he’s become. Just yesterday I filled out an application to a medical school that asked what my biggest fear would be in a hospital setting. Giving false hope. Definitely. It’s my turn; the blinds are drawn. I grab his hand expecting to hear that snap when skin meets skin but his hands are soft and my grip is softer and I throw away everything those married Arab men told me on that cold winter evening. I’m not entirely sure where to look so I direct my attention to a purple paper taped to the wall. Now I know what to do and who to page if I want to use a luer-lock needle to draw someone’s blood in room 308. He asks me how I’m doing. I thought he won’t remember but he does. He asks me how   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

I’m doing in school. For a brief moment I run through the hours of conversations I’ve had with him in slow motion. He asks me about school every time we meet and he remembers every answer I give. “You are almost done with the year, right?” “How was that exam?” “What’s the latest on that GPA?” Our conversations are mainly about school and today’s is no different. He is an old Palestinian man who puts education before himself. His children, much older than me, have families now who admire their doctorates and their professional degrees. He himself still puts his doctorate to good use. Imagine an old man with a cane in his hand, a Russian fur hat on his head, and akeffiyeh guarding his shoulders. He walks into the classroom. “Professor!” they shout, and he fills them in on the latest computer science developments. Today he is just an old Palestinian man. No cane, no fur hat, and no keffiyeh in sight. No family either. The seats are still empty. He is still holding my hand. He asks how my summer break is going and I give the most genuine response I can give but, in all honesty, everyone who loves school knows that summer break is a drag. We both know it but we have guests in the room, his eyes tell me, so I keep it to myself. The conversation shifts to virtually everything that has absolutely nothing to do with his health. I am no longer in the picture. He and the other three discuss whatever it is that married Arab men discuss. Firm handshakes. “You’re getting stronger.” He is. Two days ago, he could not squeeze. Today his thumb is working hard. He is still holding my hand. I feel guilty though. They put me in a disposable set of gloves and an equally unsightly gown. At least I put it on properly, I think, as I quickly glance at the others. One man didn’t bother putting his head through the convenient little head hole. Another didn’t bother wrapping the gown from behind.

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But the guilt doesn’t subside. The blue latex makes me feel artificial. His family is far from him. Today, it is 7 pm and we are his only family, clad in the most sterile outfits the hospital can provide for us. “Sami, rest your legs. Sit down,” says one of the men, now sitting down in what was once an empty chair. There are two more empty chairs. Now there is one empty chair. And now nobody is standing but me. I wonder who designs these hospital rooms because the chairs match the blue-taupe walls quite well and I am impressed, truly. That’s when I catch myself. I am doing everything in my power to avoid facing the reality of life, a reality that can be summarized by our bedtimes. We are young, so mama puts us to bed at 7 pm. We are teens and so we sleep at 11 pm like rebels. We are in college. We don’t sleep at all. We are adults who work in the morning. Bedtime is at 1 am. We qualify as old now and so we hit the sheets at 10 pm, right after our favorite episode of Law & Order. But today we are grandparents and sleep comes to us at 7 pm. He’s still holding my hand and you know what, I’m happy he is. His occasional squeeze means he’s still with us. Someone whispers that there is just no hope. How’s that for increased activity? The conversation slows as we prepare to leave. I don’t want to let go, really, because he’s family and I don’t want to let go of family. My grandparents died years ago. I’ve only held the hands of two of them, and when I did, my bedtime was at 7 pm so I always had to leave their sides early. But I’m in college now and sleep is the last thing on my mind. That’s it. Two of the men say their hellos and leave. We don’t do goodbyes. It’s just me, him, and one other. The grip loosens and I pull my hand away and wait for the other man to say his hellos. He does, and the two of them quickly remind me of the small group sessions the old Palestinian man used to hold in his apartment. He’d invite the world, literally, to a meal, a conversation, and a chapter of the Qur’an. Exactly three decades later, we still see him as our community’s most beloved member. He’s   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

family, to all of us. Now it is just me and him. I remove my gloves, having already said my hellos, and make for the door. But I know that I cheated him. The nurse isn’t in the room so I run back, grab his hand properly, softly, carefully, and give it a squeeze. Skin on skin, without the snap. He raises his eyebrows and puckers his lips. I give him my forehead. He is three generations older than me. I don’t want to give false hope and so I don’t. He reminds me that I’ll be graduating soon, that it will be a happy occasion. I said I’ll bring him the diploma. He will be the first to see. “And then you will become a doctor, right?” That’s a hard question to answer. “That’s the plan,” I say, struggling with myself. I really want to say “That’s the plan. Your doctor, actually.” But by then, I wouldn’t want him to need a doctor. I tell him I want to see him on his feet and then promise to come back with a diploma and a GPA he would be proud of. He has high standards. He lets go of my hand and I look at my watch. It is 8 pm, one hour past his bedtime. But I’m happy he’s up. Please take a moment to think about your loved ones and, if you’re near enough, to give their hands a squeeze. Remind them that you’re there, that you’re family. -­‐Sami  Kishawi  

The  End   Tick, tick, tick, tick. There goes the chime of the clock. Tick, tick, tick, tick. The end of time is nothing to be mocked. Day by day the end comes near. Time to ensure our priorities are clear. Shower love on those you hold dear And dread the blasts of trumpet to the ear.

Tick, tick, tick, tick. Treat each prayer like it’s your last. Tick, tick, tick, tick. You never know when it’s your time to pass. -Rubina Hafeez UIC  MSA                    February  2013  


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What  is  Time?   That is the million dollar question. Hold on now, no need to rush to Dictionary.com just yet. I’m familiar with the formal definition, however, I don’t believe that it satisfies the question. Physicists themselves continue to grapple with the abstruse idea of time. My eagerness to understand the concept led me to watch a one hour documentary by NOVA titled “The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time.” Now if that title alone does not pique your interest then let me briefly discuss some of the most intriguing ideas introduced in the program. Time, although being something that is quite familiar to us is difficult to define because our understanding and perceptions of it are distorted. For instance, one of the most common misconceptions that you and I may have about time is that it passes at the same rate for everyone everywhere. However, according to that brilliant fellow Einstein this is surprisingly not true. After unifying the concepts of space and time Einstein realized that the progression of time is relative since it is affected by a change of position through space. Physicist William Phillips marvels at the fact that “time itself is running more slowly for the person who is moving.” (Alhamdulillah this probably explains why my hastiness in the mornings allows me to get ready within minutes) It is weird to think about time being able to change pace and go faster or slower but Subhan’Allah it’s true. The documentary further explains Einstein’s theory of “Space-Time” to emphasize how our experiences of time are illusory. This particularly concerns the differences that we seem to experience between the past, present and future. MIT professor Max Tegmark explains that "the past is not gone and the future isn't nonexistent, the past the present and the future are all existing in exactly the same way." Prior to learning this I probably would have said that the future is a moment of time that has yet to occur. The truth is that the future already exists and Subhan'Allah is this not an Islamic teaching? A principle of Qadar or predestination is simply that everything   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

that is to ever happen is already written, aka the future already exists. A correction to my previous statement would so be that the future is not a moment of time that has yet to occur rather the future is a moment of time that has yet to be experienced by whoever is experiencing the past orpresent. With this knowledge it would be logical to question our motion through time. If the past, present and future all exist equally then should it not be possible to go back and forth in time? Is time travel real? I would more than love to struggle through an explanation concerning the theory behind this but I just might embarrass myself. However, if you are itching to enlighten yourself check out the documentary. Even if you do not have a bodily irritation I still recommend watching the program and insha'Allah you will not be disappointed. Allahu Akbar! -Syeda Quadri  

Struggles  Through   Time   Throughout our lives we face many struggles, in hopes that they will in the end make us stronger. However, there is one struggle, one challenge, and one event that we cannot avoid. We live our lives every day without knowing when will be our last. They say that we must live our lives to the fullest, but what does that even mean? We all have a fear of death, even if it may be a small fear. It is something that ponders our minds. The only reason I personally feel we as human beings fear death is because we know deep down that we are not the best Muslims that we can be. We look at ourselves and know that we could be better. This is why we fear death, because we believe we are not worthy enough. So, shouldn’t this make us better Muslims? Well, of course it should, however that is not always the case. We live in this dunya trying to achieve the heights that society has set. Most of us worry

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more about school than Islam. We would rather go to class, instead of attend Jummah salah. We know that education leads to success. That by receiving a degree we will then be able to accomplish our goals and make money. However, in the end we all share the same home. This home is the ground, which we all will eventually be placed in. No matter how much money you make, how many degrees you have, or even how popular you are – none of these things will help you on your death bed. Instead of spending so much time occupying ourselves with matters that will not help in our true lives in the Hereafter we should use it doing what does matter. We should learn more about Islam, we should pray five times a day, and we should practice sunnah. These are the actions that will help us in the Hereafter; these actions will be the ones that get us into Jannah. We should strive to be not only better people, but better Muslims. We can do this by helping others through spreading the ideas or teachings of Islam, giving back to those who are in need. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, “The best charity is that given to a relative who does not like you.” So remember to not only give to others, but even to those closest to us. When that day comes, the day we pass away. Or as my brothers would say, the day we flip. It seems that jokes always help to ease a serious matter. We will not fear death, because we know we are good Muslims not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Insha’Allah, Allah (SWT) will grant us not necessarily long but prosperous lives through the guidance of Islam. -Just An Arab

Hidden  Beauty  

Except losing one who never let you down. Time surely does test our patience. For why does He take those who love us without explanation? Making us contemplate everything that surrounds, And this puts us in a debate – About what is the path of us in sound? To leave without a single pound. No energy left to smile, so we frown. Yet, we do not see the beauty – Behind this act that we define as sad. Death may bring sadness to all those around. But the true meaning behind it left unknown, From us all – yet it has been shown. We learn from Bilal (RA) that death is only the beginning. A passage, A gift, A time for us to start a new foundation. On his death bed his wife would say – “What a grief.” He told her not to see it that way, Instead he said to say – “What happiness!” That death was the start of a new day. For tomorrow he said – “I will meet the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, And the companions.” He saw this dunya as a barrier, A life merely holding him back, Not allowing him to meet those who he loved – Allah (SWT) and His Rasool (SAW). This is the way we as Muslims should also see death, That it unquestionably is a beautiful moment. The moment we finally get to meet the One. -Just An Arab  

Till death do us part – I am only one to say, Time flies – what can I say. We live in the dunya – hoping for success But in the end – we all end up the same, In a hole – underground. Nothing brings about a frown,   Issue  4  

 

 

 

 

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Nestled just two blocks behind our very own library lies a gem that has yet to be discovered: Carms. Most of the UIC MSA Alumni will tell you that Carms has the best fish sandwich known to mankind. In previous years, before the newer zabiha-halal restaurants opened up, Carms fish sandwich was the talk of the lounge. In essence, it was the Ghareeb Nawaz of our previous MSA brothers and sisters. Carms, which has always been known for their fish, now made an extraordinary move to provide zabiha-halal meat! That's right folks- there is another zabiha fast food restaurant right in our own backyards. As of right now the zabiha-halal menu only has a few items: chilli, hotdogs, chilli-cheese dogs, and an apple flavored hotdog. I happened to order one chilli-cheese dog and one regular hotdog. As my food was being prepared, Steve, the owner, pointed out his zabiha-halal certificate. He also assured me that all of the zabiha-halal meat was handled and cooked separately from the other meat. He

BY  Maheen  Ahmed   "You're awesome mA" "It's cause I'm hydro" "......." "Your hijab makes you look like Voldemort." "My mom says I need more confidence, I should probably download some." "Yo man I'm trying to catch the first jamaat, I only got one foot left (to wash)" "What's your favorite fruit?..............green beans" "My mom said I look like a donkey" "Hey man feel my chest, no grab it, I just benched" "Yo so is carms zabiha?.........ya man he slaughters the cow in the back" "I hope a hijabi sits next to me on the train" "Hey man, you said this halaqa would only be for five minutes" "Yo, if you could go back in time where would you go........and tell me the truth I don't want no religious answer" "Guys, I have a big announcement!.....I got into the fashion show!"......"Oh nice is your other big announcement gonna be that you're gay" me food, and I did nothing. Well actually that pretty much has stayed the same.

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was very polite and emphasized how much respect he had for the Islam and the guidelines for properly preparing meat. As I took the food from him and went over to sit down, pure bliss overtook my soul. I knew I was about to taste something so delectable my taste buds would crave for more. As I took the first bite into my chilli-cheese dog, I was not disappointed. The spicy and rich taste of the hotdog with chilli on top overwhelmed my mouth and created a flavor explosion that was breathtaking. The hotdogs had sweet peppers, relish, and onions on top. As I continued to chow down, I realized something else; the meals also come with fries. This realization just made my experience that much better. The hot dog is priced at 3.50 and the chilli-dog at 3.95. Although drinks are not included, the fries are, so hurry in folks and have some Carms today! -Haroon Chaudhry

 

Editorial  Board:  Baian  Tbakhi,  Sehar  Paya,   Haroon  Chaudhry  and  Adil  Qaisar   Photography:  Nida  Iftekaruddin   Albayyanuic@gmail.com   www.Albayyanuic.blogspot.com   www.facebook.com/albayyanuic   www.twitter.com/albayyanuic   Thank  you  for  your  submissions!  

The French Revolution........I mean could you imagine it, it's the French Revolution I don't know man why do you keep asking me that question, it's the third time this week. I probably would go back in time and stop you from asking me that question three times. I would go back to the origination of Islam, just to see what everyone looked like, how they lived, the way the acted, it would be so awesome I would go back to when I was a kid, man times were so simple back then. My mom made me food, and I did nothing. Well actually that pretty much has stayed the same.

Mars dude, I wonder if their are aliens.........(bro I said back in time, not a planet).....oh my bad

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Febuary Issue 2013