When I sat down to write this piece, I felt an unusual tension in trying to find the right the words to capture the truly enigmatic and other worldly qualities of love—that is the love placed between a soul and its companions. A truly platonic and spiritual friendship, it dawned upon me, is like an inexpressible form of artistry. What melody could carry the notes of affinity that one feels towards a friend they knew not was a divine gift? The stroke of which artist could paint the spiritual elation that is felt when like souls rejoice? The pen of which poet could articulate the weightlessness of friend’s heavy presence? Such a sentiment it seems is best left to be felt and expressed only by reciprocity. When I began to examine carefully the qualities of those who I have the honor of keeping nearest to me, I could not help but wonder how much solace and guidance I have been endowed without my asking. The friends who were gifted to me throughout my years of high school and college have had an incalculable effect upon my understanding of inner purification and outward form. What I began to question most was how my non-Muslim and Muslim friends alike could awaken within each other a deep, mysterious yearning for our origins and a contemplation of our inevitable end. Even more perplexing is the fact that despite the vastness of humanity, the sheer number of inhabitants on this Earth, that the same handful of people consistently appear and re-appear in one’s life. Scholar Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad comments that many times human beings focus on the Akhirah, as people are invariably forward moving people in time space and concerned with what is to arrive next, but seldom ponder the pre-worldly existence of souls in the ‘Alamal Arwah. There existed a “human society—a sociality” where the souls united in affirmation of God’s singularity and magnificence. Commenting further, the Shaykh relates the sound hadith narrated by A’isha, radi’ Allahu ‘Anha--may God be pleased with her, that “the souls are like regimented ranks, those who knew each other before feel affinity in this realm, and those who did not have differences.” The gravity between certain souls be they of any faith, culture, race, or experience is an assurance
and testament of the Creator’s infinite benevolence. When a person internalizes the absence of a companion their presence is heightened. Its effects penetrate our framework for viewing world—which is why offering companionship is an act of beauty. It is a mercy that relationships instinctively hold a place in our lives and it is by grace that we should not remain exclusive in our giving of love. The instantaneous connections we are so often unable to describe is perhaps, connected to our transcendent origins and God-willing, transcendent futures. Our dual nature is to be individualistic, solitary so that we may be acutely aware of our inner states and simultaneously bonded and rooted to others so we may strengthen our spiritual aspirations and pursue greater ‘himma. The heaviness of companionship is apparent in our tradition and the following Ayah and narration should humble each of our presences amongst one another. Allah, the All-Wise also says: “Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except alMuttaqoon (i.e. those who have Taqwah)” (Qur’an 43:67). Hafidh Ibn Katheer, commenting on this verse, relates a story on the authority of Sayyidna Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may God bestow His mercy on him, and says that any friendship for other than Allah is turned into enmity, except what was in it for Allah the Mighty and Majestic: “Two who are friends for Allah’s sake; one of them dies and is given good news that he will be granted al-Jannah, so he remembered his friend and he supplicated for him, saying: ‘O Allah, my friend used to command me to obey You and to obey Your Prophet (saws) and used to command me to do good and to forbid me from doing evil. And he told me that I will meet You. O Allah, do not let him go astray after me, until you show him what you have just shown me, until You are satisfied with him, just like You are satisfied with me.’ So he is told: ‘Had you known what is (written) for you friend, would you have laughed a lot and cried a little.’ Then his friend dies and their souls are gathered, and both are asked to express their opinions about each other. So each one of them says to his friend: ‘You were the best brother, the best companion and the best friend.’ May we be the best to each other. -Salwa Shameem
Catcher in the Rye may be, in my opinion, the most brilliant work of modern literature. In the novel, artfully crafted by JD Salinger, main character Holden Caulfield adventures through New York after being expelled from the most prestigious high school in the nation. His parents are lead to believe that he will be returning home for winter break. Holden however, has a few days to do whatever he wishes so his parents do not find out about his expulsion from Pencey. In the next couple days, Holden visits his history teacher before travelling to New York where he is reprimanded by his teacher for being expelled. Holden, becoming annoyed, leaves. Soon after, he checks into a hotel, goes out on a date with a childhood friend, meets waves of self absorbed prep-school jerks, visits a prostitute, is thrashed by her pimp, and comes to an epiphany after becoming inebriated and wasting all of his money. Throughout his physical and mental endeavor across the northeast, Holden experiences multiple highs and lows in behavior, attitude and mentality, which seem to be indicative of a bipolar mental condition. The story of Holden Caulfield is the story of every teenager in the United States—at least metaphorically. There comes a point in everyone person’s life in which we ask ourselves the question, “Where am I going?” After Holden’s violent journey from Pencey College Prep student to New York bum, he receives help in answering this question; the entire narrative is narrated by Holden, from the sofa of a mental institution. We are all Holden Caulfield. The real question that Holden should have been asking and everyone in modern times is asking is, “If I am afflicted with trial or tribulation, is that a blessing or a punishment from God?” This simple question causes many to lead to disbelief in God and becomes the crux for patience and serenity in trying times.
We’ve all been in the situation of Holden, though on a relatively lesser level. Holden has just been expelled from school and is experiencing emotional despair at the volatility and lack of direction in his life. Additionally, he faces the disappointment and consequential reactions of his parents. One characteristic however, leads Holden to the asylum—alienation and a mindset of victimization derived from his surroundings. As the novel progresses, we observe that Holden’s alienation is a way of protecting himself. The truth is that social interaction makes him overwhelmed and confused which gives Holden his superior, cynical attitude. Holden’s alienation causes most of his pain. The disease in his heart could have easily been cured by love, comfort and humility. Rather, Holden chooses to respond with arrogance and alienation. Our disease is that we cannot come to terms with our struggle, trials and tribulations, just as was Holden’s disease. Instead of removing the bacteria to prevent infection, we decide to treat the wound on an individual and community level. When we come to terms with a struggle that Allah has sent us, we learn how to respond. So, to entertain this question once again, how do we know if trials are blessings or punishments from Allah? We know based on how we respond to the difficulty. If we do as Holden did and refuse to come to terms with calamity, deny social contact and think ourselves to be superior, it was a punishment. If we prove patient, keep our tongues soft in the remembrance of Allah and persist through the calamity, it was a blessing and a method to increase our Iman. We are all Holden, but we still have choices. Indeed, the hearts will find ease in the remembrance of Allah. This is the alchemy of happiness. -Ibrahim Afzal
Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Islamophobia has become a multi-million dollar industry, as well as a media circus, in the United States. Individuals and organizations have made and spent millions of dollars to bring about a widespread fear of Muslims worldwide. They have done so through blogs, books, television appearances, and even by holding events such as “Burn a Quran Day.” This industry has paved the way for bigots to emerge, senselessly attacking the peaceful Islamic faith on a daily basis. On August 26, 2011 a report was issued by the Center for American Progress titled “Fear Inc., The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.” The report examines, in great detail, the crusade against Islam since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. According to the report, between 2001 and 2009, $42.6 million was distributed to various organizations and individuals, with one goal: the spread of Islamophobia. These organizations insult Muslims, attack their beliefs, and vandalize their places of worship. They terrorize the uneducated individuals in our society by throwing around the phrases “the Islamization of America” and “Shariah Law.” In early September, a new attack was launched against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the form of a movie. It was an attack that civilized individuals of every faith would consider a low blow, even for the Islamophobia brigade. Innocence of Muslims was the title given to the movie produced in the United States by an Egyptian-American Coptic zealot. The movie portrayed the Prophet Muhammad in a way extremely insulting to Muslims. Government officials in America refused to remove the movie from the web, citing that it would violate free speech rights. Unfortunately, today the best example of double standards can be found in free speech rights. These “rights” have become the tools that lobbyists and policymakers use or suppress at will, in order to further achieve their personal agendas. In 2004, George W. Bush enacted a law known as the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, protecting against anti-Semitism worldwide. Bush stated, “Extending freedom also means disrupting the evil of anti-Semitism.” The former President also said, “This nation will keep watch; we will make sure that the ancient impulse of anti-Semitism never finds a home in the modern world.” This law was enacted to prevent antiSemitism throughout the world. Islam is a Semitic religion along with Judaism and Christianity. Under this
law, Muslims should be protected from the various assaults they have suffered at the hands of the Islamophobia brigade. Bush, as in most instances while in office, had no clue as to what he was saying. While speaking, he did not even realize that Muslims are a Semitic people. This law did nothing to help the Muslims against the “evil of anti-Semitism,” as Bush put it. Throughout the world violent protests have erupted as a result of this movie. However, this is not the logical response of conscious Muslims; rather, it is the emotional response of an ignorant minority fed up with the continuous assaults. These protests and instances of violence are used by the Islamophobia brigade to further their agenda of spreading, hate, fear, and a distorted image of Muslims worldwide. They utilize the media to blow events, such as the protests, completely out of proportion. The fact that less than one percent of the world’s Muslim population engaged in these violent protests is completely ignored. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), known as “the Trustworthy,” united a region whose people lived through centuries of tribalism and warfare. He did so by preaching peace, forgiveness, honesty, and unity. His teaching emphasized the well-being of mankind as a whole, and condemned individual success at the price of group failure. During the first 13 years of his Preaching, he was physically attacked and verbally insulted, yet he never lifted a finger against any of his attackers nor allowed his companions to fight for him. Even while facing great resistance, the Prophet patiently persevered and continued preaching in a peaceful manner. In his 1924 book “Young India,” Mahatma Gandhi stated about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter selfeffacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.” The Islamophobia brigade attempts to depict Muslims and their Prophet as sword-wielding thugs, chopping off
the heads of any opposition. Through this depiction they
spread their fear and propaganda about the “Shariah Takeover” of America. Newt Gingrich, while addressing fellow conservatives, claimed that Islamic Shariah is “a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.” Shariah law is the moral code that Muslims live by on a daily basis, similar to the Ten Commandments. These laws include praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, donating to the poor. This moral code also forbids alcohol consumption, murder, adultery (this explains why Gingrich feels threatened), stealing, and all types of crime in general. Are these the things that threaten the survival of Islam is not only submission or peace, but selfsubmission as well. When you submit your will fully to the one Allah swt, only then can you attain peace. Of course, there are struggles when it comes to submitting and it can be very difficult. Humans make mistakes and sins, sometimes unknowingly. We sometimes get lazy, greedy, selfish, self-involved, and so on. Thus, in order to submit fully to the will of Allah swt, one has to overcome these natural inclinations of the soul and fight against them constantly. This is the main point of our deen. Jihad ulNafs. The definition of Jihad is “To struggle to the utmost of one's ability and to make great efforts at striving to please Allah (S.W.T.), and to uphold His word. A struggle most common is inner struggle with our own desires, temptations, and the shaytan's whisperings. The whisperings of the shaytan are never going to stop, however, we need to learn more about Islam to increase the iman in our hearts and put our trust in Allah swt to fight these desires off. Allah swt loves the person who has these temptations and desires, but fights them off for His (swt) sake. I am not immune to this. I also have had temptations, where in the beginning, I would try to fight off the temptation, but it would not work because the shaytan's words were so convincing to the point where I would tell myself, Allah swt will forgive me, then go on with the temptation, then feel guilty afterwards and repent to Allah swt. However, over the past year, as my love for Islam has increased, my iman has also increased. I get these same desires from over years ago, but I am able to fight them off for the sake of Allah swt. I do not let the shaytan get into my head. The Prophet SAW said, “The most excellent type of Jihad is to practice jihad against your own self and own desires for the sake of Allah” (Imam At-Tirmithi). Nafs (self) is man’s enemy and must be trained so it is brought towards righteousness. Insha’Allah, Allah swt will protect us all from the whisperings of the shaytan and to be able to submit ourselves fully to the one and only Allah swt. Ameen. -Anonymous
freedom in the world as we know it? How does a Muslim’s following of this moral code make him or her a threat to America’s democratic system? As the world’s most powerful and advanced nation, it is beneath us to accept and follow these ideologies. As Americans it is the duty of each one of us to step up and speak out against the bigotry that has consumed our nation. As long as we don’t fight bigotry as a nation, we will continue to fall victim to the terrorists who thrive off of our fear. The true war on terror must begin on the home front, not thousands of miles away against terrorists that no longer exist. -Hani Othman
What Holds us Together We are a group of souls; bright, confused, young & bold. And it's our hope that holds us together. When doors begin closing & the glass begins cracking & the threads start stretching & your secrets start unraveling when words become weapons, when weapons become actions It's the heart in our chest that's the ultimate test, It's the heartbeat that keeps us on our feet. You're gonna win, you're gonna win, you're gonna win. You're gonna succeed, you're gonna accomplish those dreams When people begin uniting & when bridges start forming & the doors start opening & the cuts start healing when actions prevent weapons & when weapons exist only as words. We are inspirational leaders, motivational thinkers, fearless fighters, knowledge seekers We are all souls, guided by our hearts, chasing our dreams, clinging on to hope. To the hope that holds us together. -Ayesha T. Qazi
The American dream. The pursuit of happiness. These are the ideals that our nation is built upon. Mind on my money, money on my mind. We have a culture that is centered on the idea that to be successful, we must have it all. We need more and more. Our culture dictates what is successful and what is not for us as well. The road to success is paved for us and the entire society knows the end result that they want. We have the one daughter and one son with a dog in a white house with a white picket fence in a cozy suburban neighborhood portrait painted for us. This pursuit of “happiness” is something that can be detrimental and self-destructive. There is a family that is very close to my own that had lost themselves in this American dream. They were submerged in the idea that they needed more and more in order to become successful and finally accomplish what they came to this country for. They started off as a married couple who came fresh off the boat. They moved to a suburb with several Muslim families and lived in an apartment with three or four other families. Once they were financially stable, they moved into a bigger townhome for just them. But this newfound wealth did not satisfy them and their thirst went unquenched. And who could blame them? All around them families were moving into bigger and bigger homes. The environment that they were now living in was telling them that they need more and that this townhome wasn’t enough. They had a couple kids and made excuses for themselves saying that they needed a bigger house for the kids among other “reasons.” Their pursuit of the American Dream blew them into a far suburb in a gigantic house. They bought new expensive furniture to fill that house up and told themselves that the extra bedrooms could be used for guests and others who would visit. But since they lived so far away, they never had any visitors. And they also forgot that a bigger house comes with bigger maintenance and they began to dig themselves into a deep hole. They weren’t able to pay utilities and then mortgage started becoming an issue. They found themselves starting to dip into the savings for the kids. They dug themselves so deep that they found no escape. And their pride led others to believe that they were doing just fine. But there was much more behind the mask of smiles that this family put on. They were losing money fast. Part-time jobs and small
loans here and there weren’t cutting it either and this family saw no other way out. They moved back to their home country in hopes of a better lifestyle in the place where they grew up. They left everything. Sold everything. Forgot everything. But their country had changed a lot since they left it and they were cheated and looted and robbed. Whatever little they were able to bring with them was taken away as well as they once again tried to pursue the American Dream, except this time abroad. They thought since they were in this country, they could live as comfortably as they wanted but once again, they dug themselves deeper and deeper into the very hole they thought they had escaped from. It was getting darker and they saw no light of hope. This stress started to break the family apart as there was constant fighting. There seemed to be no escape from this no matter where they went because once you take the first step on the path of the American Dream, there is no other route. Once again, they left everything and came back to the America. This time, they had nothing. No job, no savings, no money, no hope. But, they were living within their means. They were paying off their debts that they had gathered up before moving away. They were struggling to get out of that hole but everyone was looking down into that hole. Some with pity and some with mocking smiles. They paid them no mind and things were starting to look up. But no one just wakes up from the American dream just like that. Things started getting better, they found jobs, started saving up and then it came back. That thirst. That hunger. That desire. That craving. That dream. That American dream once again hauntingthem. They started spending more and more and they realized they could go back to how they lived before they crashed. But they immediately humbled themselves are remembered the way of the Beloved(S). How he would not care much for material possessions. They realized finally after having experienced the crash and burn of the American Dream that true happiness lies not in getting, but in giving. True satisfaction comes from thankfulness and gratefulness no matter what the circumstance. And that ladies and gentlemen, is a true story. - Ali Nasaruddin (aka Syed Ali Quadri)
Beads of sweat trickling down the sides of your face. Your hands shaking so much that you can barely hold a cup of water. Feeling your wounds get worse and worse as you take each step further. Someway, somehow, you keep going. Even when there is no more light, you use the brightness of your soul to shine your way through this endless struggle. There is a physical struggle. And then there is a mental one. Both can kill you, but even more than that, both can make you stronger than you thought was possible. Mental struggles are usually much more damaging. You can do more with your mind than you can with your body. When you're lying awake at night staring up at your ceiling and your mind races faster than the speed of light, when you're learning something that you want to instead of something that you have to, when you're inspired...this is when your mind is at it's best. But then, certain new thoughts enter your brain and you find yourself questioning everything you've ever known. You fall into your old bad habits because your mind tells you to, even with your heart tugging the other way. You do the things that used to seem horrible without even thinking about it. You lie. Going home after a day of this and beginning to crumble because this isn't who you want to be can cause such a fiercer pain than any physical wound. This wound is on the inside. You can't escape from it, nor can you wrap it in a bandage. Two types of struggle. One that causes external pain, and one that places a black spot on your soul. You can control both, and other times you simply can't. You either do it to yourself, or it's done to you. This struggle, this battle with yourself is what defines you. How you deal with it shows what kind of a human being you have the potential of being. Having all of the great things in the world and never fretting about a thing, this utmost happiness is rare. But it's important. Without this pure joy, you wouldn't realize how much it would agonize you when it's replaced with something worse. Now turn it around and you will realize the point that I'm trying to make. Imagine a life full of hurt and pain.
Without this...how would you be able to feel the true emotions of joy? How much would you value your own smile? We struggle in so many different ways. My first struggle was with jealousy. I dealt with my least favorite emotion early on, in kindergarten, when my utmost rival at the time had a 64-pack of crayons, and I only had the 24-pack. I kid you not. But growing up feeling the pain of my Ummah as if it were my own, I know a good moment when I see one. My nephews each becoming Hafidh at 9 and 11 years old. My 5 month old nephew's fingers all wrapped around my own. My beloved niece who is already the smartest person I've ever known at the age of 7. And dare I say it, seeing all of the brothers and sisters who contributed their time making baked goods on Jumuah for an organization that we all care about, whether we like to admit it or not. These are those moments that you only come to truly appreciate when you've been on the other side. When you've been miserable. I ask you, whoever you are, not to let your struggle tear you apart. But if it must, then learn to put the pieces back together. No one's life is without some kind of misery. So do not look at someone and think that you know him or her because of his or her appearance. Do not become the force that you're trying to eliminate. And come to terms with the fact that we need struggle. We each need our own jihad, our own personal fight, to come out as winners in the end. -Sumaya Aman
Muslimin or Muslim Not. They say we are Muslimin, We stand together, United for peace. But what kind of Muslims are we? When all I see is hatred and vanity. For you look down upon me. But what have I done to you, That allowed you to consider yourself greater than me. You do not know me, You merely consider the assumptions you create, For you do not know my life, Or who I am. The struggles that I have been through, They are not of your knowledge. Yet you still decide to participate in this hate, You see, I see. The looks for which you give to me, I am not blind, Allah SWT gave me eyes and ears. But I do not judge. For that is the task of Allah SWT. He wants us to love one another, But how is it possible, When we are always hatin’ on each other. I understand, I am not be the Muslim which you wish me to be. But I am getting there. For one does not jump into religion bare. We must learn, Then commandeer. We take what we have learned, And put it into action. But what are we? Muslimin, they say. Since we stand together, And pray. However, your looks, words, and actions, I would not say are that of a Muslim. If we cannot appreciate our fellow brothers and sisters, Then what kind of message do we send. We want people to believe in Islam. But we are not the true remodels, That our religion needs. For we only show that we are not united. But hate and peace do not come together.
We must stop this, And begin to love each other. For you cannot show others what Islam truly is, Without appreciating your brothers and sisters, I know, It is a struggle. But, for the sake of Allah SWT, It is more than worth the fight. For I wish one day, That all Muslimin can greet one another, Without this secret loathing. I am only hoping, But nothing can be done, Until we come together as one. Then when this day approaches, That is the day that I will say, We are Muslimin, We do stand together, And we are united for peace.
But Why? A boy once told his father, “My life is such a struggle, what’s the point of living through this?” The father smiled and told his son, “You’re not seeing these events that happen correctly.” The boy was confused and didn’t comprehend. The father smiled and said, “You see son, you are mistaken. For everything that happens in your life is but a blessing.” The son asked, “How can this be a blessing, when all I feel is pain and misery?” The father told him to think, because what is life without thought. The father said to his son, “Allah SWT brought struggle into our lives, so that we can learn to get through it. So that we as Muslimin can endure this pain and understand that we struggle for Allah SWT.” The son asked, “But why does God put me through this pain?” And the father said, “Because He loves you.” The father smiled and held his son.
I Just Want Somebody to Love Like Batman has his Robin If your world comes down crashin I'll be by your side smilin Got your back, no denyin sidekickin I'm your sidekick I will be your ride-or-die chick All you gotta do is try this Let me love you Tried my best simply manage Got left taken for granted And I'm here now empty handed Ready to let you love me I'm not asking for much Just a homie to trust That is more than enough Just somebody to love. I've been put to the test To find a Love that is best To keep me cool when the rest Drown in their own sweat I can be what you need To make it up to see He Who made you and made me And may He be pleased With the love that He'll see But you gotta agree. Trust me that I trust thee I'll hold it down, you can trust me Here with a love that is blinding Now all you gotta do is Find Me.
Lost He tried to find solutions, but felt her answers were confusing He felt for the longest he had danced with delusion He decided she had her chance to be proven He no longer understands the logic she is using Now he's in an irrational trance with his movements Not before long, the cancer was moving Up both feet to the hands he was using The light he had taken for granted was now slowly defusing He's now running away from the dear and humane Being compelled to go nearer to the flame He's disgusted by hearing his own name Drowned in tears of his own shame But no one realizes over the cheers of their game They cheer but they're still mirrored to the same They're all lost, just never hear their complaints They all lost her, the clearer of their pain
The Earth is only valued as an important mass because it harbors the most significant and valuable of all that exists: humans. Hubris? Perhaps. But truly, humanity is the glitter on this massive rock; sure, natural phenomena upon this lofty playground also accounts for its cosmological status as "Miss Universe", but really, if humanity wasn't there to appreciate it simply for what it was as opposed to a source of energy to carry on meaningless life, what would all that beauty mean? Imagine if humans were out of the calculation. Imagine if we didn't branch out after millions of years of evolution; actually hold that thought and enter this one: evolution was Earth's prayer to God for children it could live for. Really, our parents hold us as the light of their eyes and the source of their significance(well, most of it at least) so it only makes sense that the Earth, our unholy mix of a mother and father, values itself because we, its great children, occupy it. Our infancy was bad, but not nearly as bad as our teenage years. The cave dwellers that hunted and made fires were there, admired by Mother/Father Earth purely because they were an adorable mess of things, and entertaining only when they were cunning or helplessly and peacefully asleep in a cave somewhere. But really, even that gets boring. So, we grew smarter and far more cunning than our parents imagined; our teenage years were a mix of hormones, addictions to the blood of our brothers and sisters, and a general need to find our own place in the Universe. But we weren't quite there yet; though we dreamed so vehemently of dancing with those shiny lights in the sky, we hadn't yet developed enough to match such desires and so we rebelled. Like any good parents, Earth punished us when we went astray: torrential rains, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and so on. We saw those ceaselessly exquisite punishments as monstrous manifestations of drunk, violent, and obtuse parents who clearly haven't gone through what we have gone through. After all they weren't human and so couldn't understand the human condition, but rather simply obverse it. Very few of
us realized that in these punishments, there was extraordinary benefit. Those of us that did respected our parents infinitely more and those of that didn't plotted to overthrow our parent's power over us. Our minds expanded impossibly complex and large after the realization that we needed to be in control of a force far greater than our own; it was a gross misuse of the lessons of survival our loving parents taught us to keep from harm's way. Still though, as children in the eyes of our parents, we were spared; not to be confused with pure, altruistic affection though for our ever expanding intellect made us more interesting in their eyes; we were suddenly able to hold conversations about politics and science, and understand the most complex concepts imaginable. We weren't their babies anymore and our eyes fixated upon the lovely moon, and then the sultry stars, and we fell deeper and deeper into the allure of an unknown universe. The universe was our first love, the one we fought our parents for, the one we ignored them for. We jumped to grab our captivating soul mate but our parents always had a way of holding us down, a barrier that pushed us back to them always. Could you blame our parents? They were orphans, surviving purely our of the generosity of others, those who floated around and needed a place to rest. Then, when they were mature enough, they tried for children and how lucky were they to have been in the most perfect area? How luck were they to receive the fortunate news that we were to be born? They knew that universe better than most and knew it was deceiving. Well, anyways, here we are, all grown up. We're still learning and some of us realized the mistakes we made with our parents. realized their importance, and have accepted them for who they are. Some, however, still plan to over through their power over us. It's funny because they won't ever know how much their parents brag about them at cosmic parties. There's a lot to brag about. Consider for example, our most valued attribute; the one thing that makes every aspect of our life interesting,
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the one thing that gives us a reason to wake up in the morning and go to sleep in the afternoon: struggle. Our parents and the rest of the Universe admire us because we are conflicted beings, each of us with an impossible number of forks in our respective roads. Sometimes our parents smile when they see that we overcame our struggles and sometimes they cry when they see that we haven't. There's a struggle now, and each of us must recognize it. I mentioned earlier that we give the Earth its significance and I hold to that; the Earth is simply a bookshelf and humanity is, we are, the books that populate it with our conflicted plots, our happy endings, our sad endings. Still though, books do look best in a healthy bookshelf, and still, were that bookshelf to collapse because of us, it would mean the end of our story. Love Earth and know that our struggle is keeping her strong for, although she is not old, she is still bent under the weight of our brilliance and is now dependent
upon us to care for her. I am a simply a message bearer from our mother, and she asked me to leave you with the following words. However, before those, I must comment upon their natures. Our parents are so madly in love with us that the one chance they had to dictate to their children through a pure medium(me), they chose words for the benefit of their kids as opposed to a message begging man to stop being so effortlessly foolish with what was given to them. They saw us, lonely and depraved, without the will to live on, and they could not bear to see their kids live that way. And so, their observations about the human phenomenon, about struggle and conflict, led to this: look the worst life has to throw at you, no matter how brutal or terrifying, dead in the eye and overcome it with a precision so impeccable that you scare the living crap out of life itself, forcing it to think of better ways to bring you down. -Anonymous
How To Love Take a ride to Chicago’s West side, home of Masjid Da’wah, host to Project Downtown, a monthly event to help people in need, but in need of what? These people are hurting. Yes, there’s a lack of necessary resources. But that is not all. We look at poverty stricken areas as unfortunate, and “other”. We hand them a box of food and free clothes, but fail to realize that that is only a temporary fix. The only way to have any true impact at all is to adopt the mentality that these communities are OUR communities. These people are hurting, BAD. And they are our people. Our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, and our brothers. The Beloved (s) served all people, and in turn, they turned to him. Our biggest struggle in this world is loving one another. These days, our love is conditional. We love our friends, because they are people to hang out with, people who show us a good time. We love our families because they’ve taken care of us; they’ve been there for us. But where is the unconditional love that our Messenger (s) has taught us?
There are people that we have never met before, who have seen a whole other world than we have, and they live just minutes away. When we can look at these people and truly love them for being our brothers and sisters in humanity, we will finally begin to strengthen the struggle. Garfield Park, Austin, Englewood, these communities; OUR communities. Their struggle, OUR struggle. Their pain, OUR pain. All this, not out of some sort of selfrighteousness, but because that’s what our Teacher (s) told us to do. I’m not saying leave your family behind and move to the south side, (or maybe I am?) All I’m saying, is we need to learn how to love.
Dear Ms.Therese, A friend of mine seems to be straying farther and farther away from the Deen, and during this I feel powerless. What can I do to help him? Is there anything I can do to help him? I pray that Allah (swt) guides your friend back onto the Straight Path. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any way you can forcibly bring your friend back to the Deen because as they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Plus, pushing religion onto a person will only push them farther away from it. My advice to you is to lead by example. Keep being a good Muslim. Invite your friend to prayer when you go pray and subtly bring Islam into your conversations. And most of all, make Dua for them because no matter how hard you try, if Allah (swt) does not want them to follow His Deen then they will not be Muslim. But, inshAllah, that is not the case. Dear Ms. Therese, My parents want me to do a major I have no interest in. Should I go through with their demands or do my own thing? Is there a balance that I haven't found yet? Your parents only want what is best for you. But if you are truly passionate about something and you work hard at being successful in that field, your parents will see that and they will stand behind you, inshAllah. If not then it does not matter because you are the one who will be stuck with the job and not your parents. Do what you think is right. If you truly do not know what to do, istikhara is always helpful!
Struggle..Struggles..Struggling... Struggling for the sake of Allah (God) [SWT] is Jihad. Me, you, everyone around us are Jihadists. Sounds scary right? Well it’s not. Struggling is trying to pray in a public area, or being in a public area and trying to find a private place to pray in, or being the only believer in a class that questions God and His creations, or wearing the hijab in a society that degrades such covering of the body, or being a convert of Islam, or studying, trying to receive a degree, trying to become successful, while also trying to balance a job and a personal life. Jihad is being a mom, a parent, a husband, a wife, a daughter, a son, a teacher, a student, and a believer. A believer in a society that is constantly bullying the followers of Islam. A believer in a society that is constantly questioning Islam. A believer in a society that is trying to obey the laws and practices sent down through the Quran and Hadith (Teachings of Prophet Muhammad). A
Dear Mr. Reese, This guy has been staring at me a lot recently. How do I get him to stop staring at me? You punch him. No I’m kidding, don’t punch him. Violence is not always the best answer. It is sometimes but in this case, you’d want to confront him and ask why he keeps staring at you. If you’re not the type to confront a person verbally, you just stare or glare back until he gets uncomfortable and looks away. That usually does the trick. Dear Mr. Reese, Can I marry your daughters? Of course but you’d have to find them first because I didn’t even know I had daughters. Dear Mr. Reese, I've been told I should get married soon, but I'm really afraid my wife won't be able to handle the baggage I carry or I won't be able to handle her's. What should I do, the responsibilities seem to be overwhelming. If you don’t think you can handle the responsibilities of marriage then you’re not ready to get married just yet. Simple as that. Marriage is a lifelong commitment that you shouldn’t rush into cause it wouldn’t be fair to you or your wife. Everyone comes with baggage but if you love a person for the sake of Allah (swt) then you will be able to handle the baggage. Just remember that what happened in the past is in the past and there is no reason for you to worry about it for the future. You just gotta love your spouse and accept them for who they are.
believer that doesn’t have to prove to the world who they are, what they believe in, why they do such a practice. A believer that does not have to answer ‘twenty-one questions’ every morning, or everyday at work, and try to explain how “human” and “normal” “THEY” are. But chooses to. That’s struggling. That’s Jihad. Struggling for the sake of Allah (God) [SWT] and being rewarded for our patience, trust, and faith. As a reminder, please keep those who are suffering in Gaza, as well as Syria, and the rest of the countries that are constantly being hit with hardships and are struggling for peace, justice, and freedom, in your duaa. Also, keep the victims of Hurricane Sandy in your duaa too. These people are struggling the most, in my opinion. -Alia Mohmaed
Located very conveniently on the corner of Roosevelt and Halsted, Ghareeb Nawaz is a student’s meal-time paradise. The prices are extremely affordable and the portions are extremely large. These two delightful combinations make it quite exquisite. The Chicken Boti Paratha is only 2.50 and the other Meat Parathas are only 2.99. They come with zesty, spicy, mouthwatering meat; smothered in Indian spices and served with onions. My favorite option is to make these into “rolls”, so you can enjoy the lusciousness on the go. They offer these parathas with hunter beef, chilly chicken (spicy but amazing), chicken boti, shaami kabob and much more. The other must have on the menu is the biryani. Only being 4.99 and the portion size being monstrous, you just can’t go wrong. The biryani comes in many different flavors as well. So what are you waiting for, get to Ghareeb Nawaz and dig in folks! -Haroon Chaudhry
Thumbs up to:
Thumbs Down to:
Ghareeb Nawaz…….becoming fat never felt or tasted this great Sleeping…………...............see you after finals buddy To black Friday.....No house-wife is going to beat me to that blender this year! Procrastinating on homework……the best way to make any student remember and pray to Allah To English muffins…………the bagels forgotten cousin
Only having two days off for Thanksgiving break ..........Now I won’t have enough time to slaughter my turkey Boca burgers…….I would rather become zabiha than take another bite To Israel……………….see you on the day of judgment To professors who put nothing covered in class on the exam…..thanks jerks -Haroon Chaudhry
Heard at UIC… “OH you’re brother turned 5? That’s nothing!
“If I wasn’t hijabi…the things I would do.”
When I was his age I was 6!” “Is your refrigerator running? …ya”...Well you better go catch it!” “Oh ya bro my kufi is my hijab, I only take it off when girls are around” “Yo they praying shaafi Asr or Dhur?”
“I always wanted a brother or a sister, came to UIC, , now I have 100.” “My ball rolled to the guys’ side of the lounge, looks like it’s gone forever...” “Back in the day when I wasn’t zabiha….” -Haroon Chaudhry
Thank you for your submissions. Editorial Board Baian Tbakhi (Editor in chief) Sehar Paya, Haroon Chaudhry & Adil Qaisar Photography Nida Iftekaruddin Special Thanks to Maryam Hanif
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