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Issue 13

The UIC MSA Publication


December 2016


Malik Alhassan

Saba Ali

Abdul Basith Basheer Hadeel Abumunshar Farooq Chaudhry

Malik Alhassan Malik Alhassan

Hyatt Hasanieh

Malik Alhassan


Talking about resilience at the end of a long and mentally draining academic semester with impending final exams seems very fitting. We may wonder where the time went. 15 weeks of school flew by, just like that! And now, we all have one week of immense stress, anxiety, and some tears, before we are greeted with 4 weeks of educational relief. We can do it! I’m not writing this solely for the purpose of impending finals. Resilience is a tricky term to contextualize. What are we meant to show resilience to? It seems like nowadays the world gives us one thing after another, that we are expected to be tough-minded in response to. That is easier said than done, truly. The atrocities that happen to innocent people around the world, as well as right here at home, make it hard for us to believe in positivity. Add that to the many challenges we face as students, minorities, etc, and things can look bleak at times. But what can be done then? What is the best thing we can do? To answer that, I always look, not at the present, but rather the past. For the past can hold immense wisdom, if you just listen to it. We had the great honor to celebrate 50 years of UIC MSA this past semester. But, it was not just a mere celebration of Muslims at this school. No, it goes much deeper than that. In the mid 1960s, a great wave of Muslim immigrants entered this country, Chicago being a popular destination. They came with hopes and dreams of a new life for themselves and their fami-

lies. The benefits you and me experience are a direct result of their sacrifices. And although they eventually reached their goal of better situations, it was not an easy journey. In a land of unknown, with a culture to adapt to, and with immense uncertainty, these trailblazers set up communities that thrive to this day. At no point did they give up. At no point did they give in. They endured. They showed true resilience. Because of the recent election results, it is easy for us to look at the situation at hand with pessimism. We may feel scared, threatened, or generally unsafe in this country. We can’t lose hope, and we can’t give in to fear! That isn’t what our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents did when they came here. You and me can endure, just like they did. Through our own resilience during these difficult times, we can create our own legacy while honoring the one of those who came before us. Abdul Basith Basheer MSA Co-President





After I Die

3am is my new best friend. The moon swims the sky And reality begins.

We may be kind, but we stand for what is just. We may be scared, but courage is a must. We may be soft-spoken, but we will not be hushed. We may be harassed, but we cannot be touched.

After I die, will you remember me? Will you remember my actions? Will you remember the things I did in this world Or even a few, just a fraction

We burn all the bridges To keep from jumping off. We take off the masks. Nobody’s here to scoff. We scream secrets to the sky Chase them with a smile. No time to ask why, We only have a short while. Make the most of our time When the sun is asleep One of the rare times We are the shepherd of our own sheep. So if you want to see Where this sidewalk ends, And existence begins Don’t ask me when. Just meet me under the moon At 3am. Farooq Chaudhry

We have targets on our backs, but our strong backs endure. We have Allah in our hearts, so in our souls we are sure. They inject us with poison, but still our bloodstreams run pure. Poisonous hatred, but mercy is the cure. There is more to this world than this presidential campaign. They may try to shackle us, but our spirits remain unchained. They hold knives to our throats, but we have no fear, no pain. For Allah is closer to us than our jugular vein. Now it’s time to understand, now it’s time to see. Instead of focusing on them, it’s time to focus on “we.” They may be smart, but we are ten times more brilliant. They may be tough, ...but we? We are resilient.

Legacies Legacies In an old book We are the new page But for us it doesnt exist Hopelessness


After I die, will you remember what I used to say, Will you remember the advice I would impart Will you remember the things I used to talk about Or will you just forget me, my soul, and my heart After I die, will you ever think of what I stood for, Will you ever make dua for me Will you ever mention my story to others, Or will you just let all the memories flee I hope to do enough in this world I hope to create a change for everyone to see So that after I die, I leave behind my legacy Ummesalmah Abdulbaseer

A Discussion on Qadr It is. Javerea Ahmed

(Read Up) Javerea Ahmed


Loop, 3/15/2015. It’s weird I hated everything about our dysfunction I couldn’t trust you And every part of that pushed me away I found myself taking steps back Soon I was far away enough to look in and understand Heard myself say goodbye So why have I got to thinking Why do I catch myself reminiscing I don’t miss you I miss the memories I won’t dig them up now I’d be here all night I know I held on for too long But I know I did the right thing And I know why it’s haunting me Because you proved me right I hate that I think about it I hate that my mind loops in circles I hate that you occupy the space you do You fill the gaps in between my thoughts and days You color my eyelids in with red and green Soon you’ll be gone A forgotten stretch of mistakes somewhere in the back of my brain People always change It’s the memories that stay the same Sealed and put away to collect dust

Resilience.. Stored for clear nights with the perfect shade of midnight blue The memories They don’t bring tears anymore Just the same old nostalgia For every minute of every thought and emotion Love and care and life Gone into time’s permanent cell Never to come back again Days pass in the blink of an eye Weeks blend into months Like the words I write blend into my screen The months turned into fear Overcome Fear of loss Fear of being forgotten Fear of broken promises The never ending cycle of change Will leave me speechless soon again My thoughts play like a broken record Looping round and round Each punch given simultaneously, patterned Soon I will forget You will be replaced Bruises will heal The weakness you caused me will become strength Strength will become resilience Resilience is survival. N.J.

Resilience is 44 years of not leaving your land It’s leaving your apartment with a hijab on your head after Trump is elected president It’s watching a bullet hit your brother for throwing a rock It’s an IDF solider telling your dad to shut the f*** up and remaining silent It’s getting your passport stamped with the Israeli logo Being taunted by “terrorist” jokes and still going to school Seeing hope and love in every situation The Palestinian blood that runs through my veins and heals me Planting another olive tree after your land is burnt to the ground. It’s my 76-year- old grandpa wearing his hatta walking on a cane to al Aqsa My dad’s trips to Palestine to pick olives and figs Its shedding tears every time I leave my home in Palestine It’s getting knocked down 7 times and then getting up 8 Watching Gaza get bombed when you’re miles away feeling hopeless It’s knowing you’re the product of your ancestors love That Palestinians have survived mass genocide and oppression so I know I can take on whatever life throws at me. Lilian Maali



I Saw a Woman

You Our country is aching Plagued by diseases of the mind and heart Lives being lost, communities being neglected, and unity being destroyed Discrimination is running rampantly and arrogance is roaming freely. We need to make hashtags to remind the world of our basic rights, our rights as citizens of this country. You say All Lives Matter but when white privilege takes precedence You become quiet about equality, and thus #BlackLivesMatter must live on You say “Make America Great Again” but you’re not willing to realize That you’re the reason it’s not great. You’re the reason it never will be. You hate Muslims because you think they should all be held responsible for every terrorist attack, But if we use that logic, wouldn’t that mean every white person should be held accountable for every school shooting? That’s ridiculous, but you wouldn’t know that, because you don’t use logic in the first place You allow Muslims to become subject to discrimination, violence, and harassment for something they didn’t do You allow Black people to become subject to extreme racial profiling and be shot when they’re not even armed You allow women to become subject to unfair treatment, verbal abuse, and over sexualization You allow these issues to be perpetuated because you believe these groups are the problem But I’m sorry, you’re wrong You are the problem You are the hate, the prejudice, the stereotypes that live on in this country, in this world You are the arrogance of those who feel superior because of the colors of their skin or the money in their banks You are why this country is aching

And thus I say to you, thank you For making us realize that we must take a stand For allowing us to see that this is not a time for us to be silent For being the reason we will all work together to make a change. To be the change And finally, for teaching us that no matter how many times you come to attack us, with your words and your actions We will fight back Because we are resilient We will fight you And we will win Ummesalmah Abdulbaseer

Paper Fate The familiar itch behind my shoulder is an azure tattoo. Scrawled in Arabic calligraphy is the word “sabr,” most commonly translated as patience. But the word encompasses endurance, perseverance, and ultimately salvation. When I came home, I trudged to my room. No words were said. I glanced at the cake in my bag and the letter on my bed. I took one look, then I said goodbye to my goodbyes and ripped the damn paper to shreds. Guess what? I’m not dead! I owe this hijabi girl my life and a whole chocolate cake. Because one memory of her patience turned into my own fate. Tough choices were made as I pondered life, though I still wake up in tears. My nightmares are plentiful and so are my fears. I still have bad thoughts about how the world would benefit if I was dead. Yep, I figured, if I have to get this damn memory tattooed on my back for me to recollect, then I’ll have it etched into my skin until I pay off my debt. I sinned against my body to break the demons of regret, but I will not fall victim to the worst kind of death. InshaAllah, in the afterlife, I have already joined the holy armada, Alhamdulillah. Because this is a story of about how my near suicide turned into a shahada.

I saw a woman looking quite sad, her arms folded very stiff. I looked a little closer, could have sworn I heard a sniff. For those who know me, I’m not very strong. I’m not particularly smart, and I am often wrong. I always do my best, and very seldem is it plenty. Many know that my heart is never at rest, that my head is always anything but empty. This women is here crying and I dont know how to help her stop. My life indeed is one big mess, still recovering from my last drop. How can I even try to comfort a hurt soul when I a barley able to see out of my own freshly dug hole. I realized I was helpless. Couldnt help her with what she was going through. So I sat down beside her, and I began to cry too. Anonymous

Ilyas Hernandez



Book Page Poetry

He would try to have a big smile on his face. Until the world went and showed him a tougher place. All he really wants to do is grieve. Because he wore his heart on his sleeve. He was never a cold or distant person. He knows it needs to stop before it worsens. It is hard to know what to believe. Because he wore his heart on his sleeve. He reads many books, hoping to escape. Dreams of being the hero, sans red cape. A sad story he seemed to have weaved. Because he wore his heart on his sleeve. Now this isn’t all about him, he knows this. Shouldn’t a person seek to find peace and bliss? He finds it hard not to sigh and heave. Because he wore his heart on his sleeve. He really wants to start the tough healing. And quit looking for signs in the ceiling. He fears he will always be naive. Because he wears his heart on his sleeve. Abdul Basith Basheer

When They Come For Us Our ancestors have faced evils and brutality to bring us to the conclusion That now is not the time for neutrality. That our bones are bred from iron and steel, our mere existence is the greatest act of rebellion. Riddle us with words, bullets, and knives, but never shall they overpower our spirits; our willingness to survive. When the armies of the world arrive at dawn, Let the courage, contentment, and confidence of our past, be a guiding light for us to move on.

Shapla Shaheen

Aisha Mujtaba


Reflections An Open Letter to Trump Donald Trump will be our new president. He will be my president and yours, whether or not you voted for him or supported his candidacy. Believe it or not, a hashtag doesn’t exclude you from his leadership. I respect the democratic process and the office of the presidency enough to accept the results of the election. President-elect Trump will have to earn my respect, but I stand willing to see what he does before passing conclusive judgment. I’ve seen a lot of understandably distraught people responding in many different ways. I am definitely among those who are particularly concerned after Tuesday night. But after sulking I searched for an optimistic response and wanted to say a few things. To those of us who strongly opposed him and are a bit devastated by his victory, He won fair and square. We can moan about the electoral college all we want, but that isn’t new and it was always the determining factor in who won this election. It is a little upsetting to think the popular vote does not have the final say, but instead of complaining about it now we should have been fighting against it the whole time. If you are a liberal who did not vote for Hillary and are now protesting Trump, let this be a lesson. The fact that he won irrefutably proves that the system is not rigged. Mark down November 6, 2018 and November 3, 2020 on your calendars. Please show up and vote strategically. The way we are feeling now is the way that many of our political opponents have been feeling for the last 8 years. I know that feels like a bit of a false equivalency, but it is important to acknowledge that we all love this country enough to be this hurt when we think the wrong people govern us. Our values and visions of the future may differ but strong emotional reactions to politics come from patriotic love and the desire to shape a better society. Except for the genuinely racist people who happily supported the worst parts of his campaign, I see little reason to end friendships and cut bridges. The truth is that many people voted for him despite his racist policies just like many of us voted for Hillary despite being deeply troubled by her scandals and ties to Wall Street. We will

likely always disagree on many things, but try to understand the frustrations that fueled such a protest against the establishment and find common ground in moving forward more united. Calm the protests and save your voices for inauguration day. Stay as politically active throughout his presidency as you were during this election season. Every president campaigns differently than they preside, so now we just have to remain vigilant. As Bernie said, if he actually does improve the plight of working class Americans, then applaud him and support those efforts. If he makes a single move at the expense of marginalized minorities or to make this a less inclusive society, fight back and get involved. Do not forget that we want him to succeed. Both sides may have different ideas of what a successful Trump presidency looks like, but no matter who puts forth the effort I will support any policy that makes America a more perfect union. To those of you who supported him during the campaign and voted for him, I need you to at least try to understand why some of us are so hurt by this. This goes beyond what we think is the best tax policy or how best to deal with ISIS. Donald Trump, on more than one occasion, used explicitly racist rhetoric. And many of us thought and hoped that would be immediately disqualifying, but instead we watched audiences roar their approval and his numbers went up. For those of us who belong to the groups he targeted, it was extremely unsettling to watch our fellow citizens express that, essentially, they wanted us out of our home. It is impossible to not take attacks like that personally. I imagine that many of you might not really understand that feeling, but it was and remains a very real fear. This country has a long history of taking away rights from minorities when it is afraid, so when threats like his are made we do not have the luxury of thinking he will not actually do it or that he would be unable to fulfill those promises. We have to take him at his word. Rather than mocking or being dismissive of those genuine fears, please take the time to try and understand what

it feels like to belong to a group targeted by some of the things he said on the campaign trail. It has been a somber few days coming to terms with the fact that insulting and scaring minorities was a part of the campaign of the newly elected president. We didn’t think that could be a winning strategy but it was. I know a lot of you voted him for him as a protest against the system, or against Hillary, or in solidarity with your party and were probably repulsed by the same rhetoric that we were. At least, I truly hope that is the case. If that is the case and you now feel unfairly labeled as a racist or a misogynist, then please join us in fighting every moment of his presidency that is racist and misogynistic. We will likely disagree with you on much of his policies, but if you did not vote in favor of racism then do not allow him to misrepresent you. Congratulations, you came out to support your candidate and party when and where it mattered and because of that you will be able to see more of your own values reflected in policy. Despite strongly disagreeing with most of the Republican platform, I do believe a balance between liberal and conservative leadership is a good thing and I sincerely hope he does work towards making America great for all Americans. You might laugh off my completely pretentious attempt at making sense of issues much more complicated than I am capable of understanding. I also don’t hate Nickelback and thought Martin O’Malley was the obvious choice for president, so you would be fully justified in doing so. At the end of it all, I love this country. Even when it feels like that love is unrequited. I was born here and I will probably die here. I am unapologetically passionate about politics and government because I do not believe anything about this system is rigged or so far removed from us that we can do nothing to bring about the change we hope to see. I want this to be a

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Muna Abdullahi

fairer and more inclusive society with less prejudice and bigotry. I still optimistically believe that most Americans want those same things and that we just have them at different places on our list of priorities. Unfortunately, prejudice is not too hard to find so you will always be kept busy in the pursuit of equality. Stay active in the political process and be heard, not just during election season but always. This is our home and we owe it to each other to care. Choose empathy and kindness over hate and fear every time. Deuces. Hasan Haider

Shine Bright Like a Diamond Sarah Basheer

I came into existence as a speck of dirt, wind, and emotions. And I was spun into a fiery ball of dreams, aspirations and talents. Talents I worked to grow and talents I didn’t know were growing. And as I grew brighter, I always noticed you beside me, a spark of amazing light and grandeur and I wondered when I would shine as bright. We came from the same place but it seemed you were unmatched and the brilliant light you showed the world, dimmed my own pathetic glow. Every task you succeeded and with every challenge you excelled. And I was out of breath trying to catch up, but hopelessly falling behind. So, I took a new path by accident and found those talents I didn’t know I had and I lit them into a different color spark. And what you saw shining at you was the same thing blinding me. I’m still dazzled by your existence because you fuel my own. But I know that your brilliant light isn’t the only one in the sky because I make my own light too. And it’s by both of us that we add to the galaxy of stars in the night sky.

The day was finally here. After years of separation, tears and endless filling and refilling of legal paperwork was coming to an end. My mother, brothers, and I were going to reunite with my father soon. We had just received our visas to the land of everyone’s dream, to the land of the free. After a long and an emotional morning, we came back home with our visas. My mother’s friend, Khatiga, the queen of gossip, came by our house to spill the latest scandals and rumors. Only this time, she delivered some terrifying news. I have never experienced war first hand, but I think the leading period of a civil war is frightening. This war was starting due to the political unrest in Sanaa. Everyone knew that it was going to happen, but no one said anything about it. The town woke up every morning to eerie vibes as Somali families moved out one by one. Kids stopped playing outside, blinds were shut, TV and radio stations’ volumes were lowered . Businesses painted their blue doors gray, white or any color to camouflage with the buildings. Everything was overpriced. Neighborhoods fell silent right after maghrib prayer. Everyone feared each other and hid away, planning their way to escape. The civil war was going to erupt sooner than we expected and we had to leave. Khatiga came to us that day with a rumor stating that police officers and other undercover government officials are going around neighborhoods for random house searches. This was alarming because immigrants were targeted. Policemen and government officials are known for abusing their power and taking advantage of immigrants.

It was terrifying because we had visas in the house, the golden ticket that everyone wanted. These visas were our way to get out of the country before the civil war breaks out. If it is found by government officials, no good will come out of it, because God knows what they would frame us with. They could have us disappear, or kill us in our own home after destroying what my family has worked so hard for. In addition to all of that, my mother was alone with my brothers and me. She had lived through war at young age as well, but she wasn’t alone. She was the man of the house, she always stood up to every man who dared to question her in a disrespectful manner. She is my mother, bold, respected, strong and courageous. That night, was the first time I saw fear in her eyes. She wanted to get rid of everything that would make undercover policemen suspicious and would lead to unwanted confrontations. So that night, my mother gathered us in her bedroom before dinner. She took out a big box that contained all of our family photos, VCR tapes, letters, and cassette tapes. My mother ordered us to take out “trivial” photos we had in this box, put them in pile that will be burned later. This broke my heart. I didn’t want to burn any of these pictures. I didn’t want to throw away anything from this box. My mother made it clear that we couldn’t take everything with us and that these memories can be recreated.. I will never forget the smell of the burning pictures. Watching the faces of the most important people in my childhood fade away quickly in the flames. And just like that, everything changed.


12 Tips From a Graduating Senior Anonymous

I will be leaving UIC soon, so I thought I’d leave my (anonymous) legacy behind by providing students with some quick useful tips that they can use themselves and benefit from and then pass them on to new incoming freshmen or transfers! 12 tips for UIC students: 1. Don’t trust advisors. They’re just trying to keep you in here longer. Study your DARS like you do your bio textbook, and know your stuff before going to meet them, or they’ll pressure you into registering for useless classes (e.g. Music 101) 2. Be friends with seniors, or better yet, super-seniors. If you need to reserve a popular class, you know who to ask! ;) 3. At the same time, be kind to freshmen. It wasn’t so long ago that you were one too. They’re just starting a new chapter in their life. If you see them excitedly taking snaps of the Sears Tower and all, just tolerate it. 4. Past exams. Both a blessing and a curse. That’s all I’ll say. 5. Don’t ever tap your Ventra twice. You will get charged. Your card will get suspended. And you will suffer. (Or your legs will at least.)

7. They offer free coffee every morning in the Commuter Student Resource Center (next in Inner Circle). 8. SCE 5th and 6th floor bathrooms are usually pretty empty. You now know where to go to make wudu and not feel scared when you pop your foot into the sink. But stay cool even if someone does walk in--you’re doing it for the sake of Allah. And your feet were probably stinking anyway. 9. Check out UH 2nd floor cafe.It’s like a Panera. Use that area to study, eat lunch or take a nap! (We all know that the couches in the Reflection Room are always occupied anyway.) 10. You can get free on-the-go tissue packs from the Wellness Center. Never purchase Kleenex again! Free stuff, woot woot! 11. Don’t even attempt to pray in the library bookshelf aisles. They are way too narrow and you probably won’t even be able to pray comfortably. Just head to the lounge and catch the jama’ah. More space + more reward! 12. Golden tip: Never ever put off or give up your prayer for studies. GPA is temporary. Deeds are forever.

6. There may be multiple elevators- 2, 4, 6, or 8, but just know that you’re still going to have to *shocker* wait for one. Bonus tip: just do some azkaar during your waiting time!

Doodles by: Sumaiyya Ahmed 10


Editors in Chief Farooq Chaudhry Nuha Abdelrahim Managing Editor Ibraheim Mohammad Staff Writers Abdul Basith Basheer Sarah Basheer Lilian Mali Nahian Saed Samirah Alam Taha Sharif Safa Shameem Nayfah Thnaibat

Layout Hyatt Hasanieh Maha Khaden Maleeha Ahmed Creative Direction Noor Abdelrahim Interested in contributing to Al-Bayyan? If so, email submissions to

Cover Photo Courtesy of Hadeel Abumunshar

Staff Artist Shapla Shaheen

November 2016  

November 2016: Resilience

November 2016  

November 2016: Resilience