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Volume 19 ● Issue 4 ● February 2012 ● Rabi’ al Awwal 1433

Love: For the Sake of Allah (SWT)

A Love Like No Other Loving for the Sake of Allah

Learning to Love All Forming relationships beyond our comfort zones

Reviving our Celestial Treasure Reincorporating Quran into our modern context


Contents

Love: For the Sake of Allah (swt) Table of contents: 5: news Islamic Finance Conference Hanifah Dasti

6-7: spirituality Reviving Our Celestial Treasure Rushain Abbasi Why Do You Worship Allah? Bilal Tariq

8-9: center spread A Love Like No Other Br. Tarif Shraim

Cover by Sofia Beg; inside art by Google Images

10-11: lifestyle Interwoven Heartstrings Fatimah Waseem

12: creative writing Forgive and Forget Mohammed Kemal Proposal Tara Mohammed

13: President’s Page Spring Forward Muneer Zuhurudeen

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Staff

As’Salaamu Alaikum and welcome back to another semester with Al-Nur! Like you, Al-Nur is changing. We’re growing because of the amount of love and attention people like you have given us. InshaAllah, Al-Nur hopes to one day be the first student-run, campus-wide Muslim publication of the University of Maryland, College Park. This project is inspired by the response of Muslims and non-Muslims across campus to the advertisements by Facts and Logic About the Middle

East (FLAME) in the Diamondback just last semester. We at Al-Nur have truly realized that action can trumpet words. Al-Nur is looking for a dedicated team of individuals (especially freshman) in making Al-Nur campus-wide a reality. We expect to reach out to the Muslim Link as well as existing minority student-run newspapers to see how it’s done! Tell us you’re interested at msa.nur@gmail.com. Zeynep Karakas

Special Thanks to...

President: Muneer Zuhurudeen Vice President: Osama Eshera Secretary: Tara Mohammed Treasurer: Saad Rehman Masjid Affairs: Omari Sefu Public Relations: Youssef Elnabawi VP of Sisters’ Affairs: Sheima Gimie

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Editor-in-Chief:

Managing Editor:

Zeynep Karakas

Arif Kabir Editors:

Sofia Beg Sheima Gimie

Zoeya Saleem Fatimah Waseem

Layout Designers: Sofia Beg Hager Elgendi

Zoeya Saleem Fatimah Waseem

Writers/Contributors: Omar Abbasi Rushain Abbasi Hanifah Dasti Arif Kabir Mohammed Kemal Tara Mohammed

Mohammed Sharif Tarif Shraim Bilal Tariq Fatimah Waseem Muneer Zuhurudeen

President: Noha Eshera Vice President: Tara Mohammed Secretary: Mai Salem Treasurer: Hafinah Dasti Public Relations: Safia Latif


News

ISLAMIC FINANCE CONFERENCE My interest in economics and in some areas of finance can be traced back to high school, where I enrolled in the Academy of Finance my sophomore year. Until about two years ago, however, I naively assumed economics and Islam to be mutually exclusive. It was only after speaking with a friend about the social-good principles of economics that I realized there might be some overlap. This led me to read up on Muslim economic thinking, which I found incredibly enlightening. I will spare you the details of my research; instead, I would like to give you a brief overview of what Islamic finance is. We, as the leaders of tomorrow, must understand not only why these rulings are important, but also how each of us can use these tools to start a movement to change the uneven banking system we all are forced to operate under. Due to the current economic climate, consumer morale is terribly damaged and in any situation, we should know whom to turn to. So why are we hesitant to handle our finances the way Allah assures us is the right way? Islamic financing is financial activity that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law (Sharia) and its practical application through the development of Islamic economics. Sharia prohibits the fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees (known as Riba or usury) for loans of money. Investing in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles is also Haraam (forbidden). While these principles may have been applied to historical Islamic economies, it is only in the late 20th century that a number of Islamic banks were formed to apply these principles to private or semiprivate commercial institutions within the Muslim community. The field has quickly expanded into an industry valued at over 500 billion dollars, involving corporations, law firms, and religious advisers, who devise shari’a-compliant bonds, partnerships, private equity deals and mortgages. This phenomenon has reached the US; several US-based banks have emerged and dozens of American law firms have opened offices in the Gulf region or cultivated

a practice niche from their US offices. Islamic finance remains a mystery to many and others are deeply familiar with it. That being said, it remains a realm of open debate, as many points relating to the theory and application of Islamic finance are contested. This conference aims to both provide basic information about Islamic finance and provide a forum for its critical examination. I don't feel the need to convince you of the importance for this event to take place, as you must already have heard of the double dip recession we are currently riding. And as Chairman Bernanke recently stated, ‘There is a long way to recovery.’ So what do centuries old Islamic principles have to do with current economic affairs? Enough for the Vatican to recommend the use Islamic financial instruments like Sukuk (Islamic bonds) to assist banks in their recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. Alas, learning is great, and hearing ways that Islamic finance can alleviate our global economic struggle is wonderful, but how will this event help you? Many qualified and respected scholars will be accompanied by experienced IF practitioners who will discuss how you can finance under shariah compliance. All too many individuals are stuck in life-long interest-bearing mortgages with no way out. We have speakers from Guidance Residential who will discuss how to's in that area. How about individuals, like myself, who are interested investing in the stock market without crossing any Islamic boundaries? What's wrong with making some extra cash while investing in companies that are halaal? Representatives from Noriba Trade will show you how. The IFC is something you really don't want to miss! Lastly, I would like to mention that dinner and breakfast will be served Insha’Allah. Please email any questions you might have at inquiries@if-ec.com and be sure to check out our website www.if-ec.com. WRITTEN BY HANIFAH DASTI

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WHY DO YOU WORSHIP ALLAH? Spirituality. It’s a fad for many, a retreat for seeking solace, and for those who truly benefit (may Allah azza wajjal make us among them), a life-long experience that makes life worth living. And the most logical route to attain it is when one increases in his or her religiosity. Many of us undergo a spiritual experience; it’s something that snaps us out of the cycle of life we’ve lived up to that point, and it tends to happen at a certain, unique point in each of our lives. That moment becomes the turning point, the ultimate catharsis that causes us to reassess who we are, where we are going, and what legacy we desire to leave behind. It may come in the form of being penetrated by an ayah or a recitation of the Qur’an, moving words heard in a khutbah or lecture, and the zeal and change observed in a close friend. And once you’re shocked into reality, it will change who you are, where you want to go, and give you the blueprint towards establishing your legacy. The following piece and, InshaAllah, those to follow are based on a talk from one of the scholars of our time which motivated me to go beyond the routine, the ritualistic life I grew up in, and take a journey of worship, a journey that would allow me to continually reach new heights and become closer to the One Who is worthy of that worship (hint hint). The only reason you and I exist is to worship Allah, as He states: “And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)” (Adh-Dhariyat, ayah 56). And the manifestation of this worship is uttered by our tongues, the kalimah, La illaha illa-lah: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. And can there be a goal loftier than the worship of Allah (swt)? Just ask those with other beliefs, and ask them what the purpose of their life is, and you won’t find such a succinct yet comprehensive, noble reason for existence. So, the question must be asked… why do you worship Allah? If an Atheist, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or even a non-practicing Muslim were to ask you… how would you respond? If they were to ask, why do you pray? Why do you fast in Ramadan? Why do you live such a ‘strict’ life, restraining your gaze, refraining from immorality, and shunning lewdness? And what they do not ask but must be mentioned is, why do

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you follow a faith which upholds justice and high moral standards, encourages utmost respect to and obeying of your parents, serves the poor and needy, and has the utmost respect for women as is evident in the life and legacy left behind by our Prophet Muhammad (saas)? Some responses to this question may include “because I thank Allah for all He has given me: my life, wealth, health, and family, and so I worship Allah in return, as an exchange.” Another response may be that “I worship Allah because I fear His punishment, because I fear the fire.” And yet another response is because “I want Jannah, the eternal bliss that awaits me.” While all these responses are correct, at the same time… they’re not. Justice has not been done to the question. The primary and ultimate motivation is still lacking. These reasons given are actually quite selfish…. Although they are partially right, there’s an even greater motivation for why we worship Allah. That primary motivation and reason is that we worship Allah because Allah is worthy of that worship. This point is emphasized in the ahadith of the Prophet (saas). Some ahadith narrate the qualities of the angels, that they are constantly worshipping Allah, without the need of food, drink, or rest. Another hadith about the angels states that the skies above are creaking, for there is not a hand’s span except that there is an angel in worship. With all their praise and worship of Allah, they themselves will say to Allah when the trumpet is blown, “how exalted are You, O Allah, we have not worshipped You the way You deserve to be worshipped.” Just think about that. The angels will say they have not done justice in worshipping Allah. Subhanallah (how perfectly flawless and amazing is Allah), we worship Allah primarily because of Who He is, not because of who we are or because of what we’ve been given. Sh. AbdulNasir Jangda once taught us about the meaning of Alhamdullilah. He explained that it is a noun, meaning that all praise and thanks belonged to Allah, belongs to Allah, and will belong to Allah. It is not limited to the constraints of a verb. Even before we were born and after we leave this world, all complete and perfect praise will belong to Allah, azza wajjal. WRITTEN BY BILAL TARIQ


Spirituality

Reviving our Celestial Treasure When I walk outside I gaze up at the skies above and lose myself in worlds far and unknown. I stare as the canopy of stars light up in concert fashion, sparkling in intricate patterns as if an artist were at work on a canvas that is the heavens. Before I approach the Book of God, I sit and think about the celestial orchestra that captures my eyes every time I watch its performance. I meditate on the fact that this book resting in front of me is from another world as well, and just as the stars brighten the dark sky, so too do these letters enlighten my even darker heart. Prior to my invoking the sacred scripture, I watch the letters dance in a heavenly ballet. I feel the breath of God in each word and am overcome with an awe summoned by the rare treasure that is His Speech. Then I lift my tongue and embark on the sacred purification that takes me from the worldly to the Divine. Man has an innate curiosity that drives him to seek that which is unknown. From diving into the deepest oceans to reaching the furthest planets, the modern world is defined by the harnessing of this self-fulfilling curious nature. Islam is a realistic religion that understands this human trait, but it shifts the focus from discovering that which is without, to uncovering that which lies within. We enter the Quran in order to enter ourselves and unravel the knots that we have tied overtime, the knots that hide the special Divine secrets concealed inside of each and every one of us. Unfortunately, as time has passed from the beginning of revelation, we have collectively distanced ourselves from the essence of the Quran. We have increased in its printing and its recitation, but we’ve lost the most important aspect of the Book, our personal relationship to it. To make the Quran alive again, we don’t need to listen to lectures or regurgitate what others tell us about its meanings, we need to open the

HADITH

of the Month

WRITTEN BY RUSHAIN ABBASI

book and read it as if God is speaking directly to us. Of course, we must wear the proper diving gear and make sure we have appropriate air supply before exploring this vast ocean. It’s necessary to harness ourselves with accurate context and scholarly opinion, but if we never jump in, then we will become needy infants, dependent on our scholars to show us the “right way”. God has granted each of us our own path and he’s loaded us with an‘aql (intellect), which will help us find our way through the Quran. Unfortunately, since we never use it, it has grown dusty and old and the Quran doesn’t seem to apply anymore to our modern context. Here is the first inquiry that should awaken our slumbering minds. God does not ask if we read or memorized the book, he asks, “Did they not contemplate the book?” Tadabbur, contemplation, is the key to the revival of our sacred book. In our MSA, we’ve started our own collective effort to draw nearer to the Quran. Every week we come together in the Musallah and journey through the Book just as it was revealed to the Prophet (saaw). It’s an even playing field that allows everyone to say what they think and feel, and I am a witness to the infinite gems that spur out of the discussion. It’s time for us to break all the barriers that we have placed between the Quran and ourselves. The first word revealed to us was Iqra’ (Read), the famous command for us to keep tight to this holy book. What we overlook is that in these letters lay the whole system of revelation. The Alif for Allah, the Qaf for Quran, the Ra for Rasul, and the Alif for Insaan. If we spend time observing the Quran, the constellations of guidance will be revealed to us, and only then will we be able to find our way to the Light upon Light, the majestic reality that is God.

Allah will ask on the Day of Judgment: “Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.” [Muslim]

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a love like no other other WRITTEN BY BR. TARIF SHRAIM

BY TARIF SHRAIM

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This love becomes like a tree that is firmly rooted in the ground, and with branches that reach out to the heavens...


C E N T E R

T

S P R E A D

There’s perhapsno noemotion emotiongreater greaterthan than The the whims of thefor souls whispers the Shayhere’s perhaps simple reason this and is that when a of heart the emotion of love. of A heart with feel- loves tan.for Allah, Allah Himself becomes the nurthe emotion love. Aadorned heart adorned ings of love a happyofheart, we endlessly withisfeelings love isand a happy heart, and turer and caretaker of that love; He himself will yearn forwe that love. But in a world of flux and endlessly yearn for that love. But in a insure its continual sweetness and He this Moreover, Allah himselfand willpurity insure that change, world love itself becomes whimsical, causing of flux and change, love itself behimself will protect it from the whims of the souls love continues to grow and grow, like that untoldwhimsical, pains in the heart.untold How often dothe we find and whispers comes causing pains in the Shaytan. Moreover, Allah care, himbeautifuloftree. Under Allah’s special the seemingly strong love we have for someone heart. How often do we find the seemingly strong selflove will insure that this continues to its grow no longer haslove to make it on own. It’s slowly away? And how often do away? we find and grow,no love wefading have for someone slowly fading likelonger that beautiful tree. Under Allah’s naked or unprotected. the sublime feeling love turning into bitterness And how often do weoffind the sublime feeling of special care, love no longer has to make it on its if notturning hate for the most ridiculous of for reasons? love into bitterness if not hate the own. It’s no longer naked or unprotected. Indeed when you love someone for Allah’s most ridiculous of reasons? But even if you experienced unadulterated Indeed when you love someone for Allah’s sake, this love transcends the barrier of death, by But even if you experienced unadulterated love love towards someone or something, is it not truesake, this love transcends the barrier of death, by the permission Allah, continues on into towards someone or at something, is it not true that the permission of of Allah, andand continues on into the the that there’s a point which a separation takes next realm. In fact, when the believer is re-united there’s a point atyou which separation takes you place place between andathe one or thing love?next realm. In fact, when the believer is re-united Jannah with ones or she loved for Allah’s between you and or thing Is it in in Jannah with thethe ones he he or she loved for Allah’s Is it not true thatthe theone greater the you lovelove? and attachsake, they immediately up where not true that thefor greater the love and attachment sake, they immediately pickpick up where theythey left left off off ment you have that someone or something, earth, now with feelings emotions you for the thatpain someone or something, the onon earth, butbut now with feelings andand emotions that the have greater you feel after the separation? that are experienced at the most sublime level. greater the pain you feel reality of after It’s indeed an inevitable lifethe thatseparathings are experienced at the most sublime level. Just of experition? It’s indeed an and inevi-we eventually have to live Just imagine for a second imaginethe for possibility a second the and people perish encing that blissfulpossibility love which getting bettable of life that ofkeeps experiencing with reality the tragic pain of being separated from that ter and better eachthat moment. is there things and people perish blissfulItlove whichin Jannah which we love. The prophet articulated this priand we eventually have that you’ll experience keeps such getting love, better and it and is there bet- in mordial truth quite beautifully when he said: to live with the tragic ter each moment. is love therethat Jannah that you’ll see vividly the treeItof “Love whatever you want; indeed you will evenpain of being separated Jannah that you’llonexperiyou planted in yourinown heart while earth. tually separate from it.” So no matter how you from that which we love. such love, and it is get to Here you’ll reap itsence sweetest of fruits, and spinprophet it, love will always bring pain, except in one The articulated there in Jannah that you’ll experience its most sacred and hidden treasures. andprimordial only one instance: When it’s connected to Althis truth quite see vividly the tree of love In a transient world where things change lah. beautifully when he said: that you planted in your own quickly and everything eventually perishes, When you love someone of heart “Love whatever you want; indeedfor youthe willsake eventuwhile onwhere earth. Here you’ll reap its sweetest bestow onitsusmost unimaginable ally separate from it.” So no matter how you spin ofAllah fruits,continues and get totoexperience sacred Allah, including those inside and outside of your it, love will always pain, exceptconnected in one and thisand hidden treasures. heavenly gifts that transcend life. Love for His immediate family,bring you’ve instantly only one instance: When it’s connected to Allah. love to the rope of the Ever Eternal: Allah. This Insake a transient is one of world those where gifts,things and He change gives quickly us endless means love you have not perish for itand Whenthat youthe love someone for will the sake of Allah, where everything eventuallysuch perishes, Allah the opportunities to experience love, which is connected to the Ever Lasting One who will including those inside and outside of your immedi- continues bestow onwould us unimaginable prophetto guaranteed engender heavenly a feeling of guarantee that this love becomes eternal andto gifts that transcend life. Love for His sake is one of ate family, you’ve instantly connected this love sweetness of faith in the heart. If you yearn for the rope of the Ever Eternal: Allah.reality, This means ever-lasting. Under this glorious this love those gifts, and He gives us endless opportunities the sweetness of faith inprophet your heart, that the love havethat willisnot perish for itin is the con- tofeeling experience such love, which the guar-then becomes likeyou a tree firmly rooted you don’t need to looka far. Theoftreasure is right nected the with Ever branches Lasting One who will out guarantee would engender feeling sweetness of ground,toand that reach to the anteed that this love eternal gives and ever-lasting. in before the heart. you yearn for the heavens; thebecomes tree constantly out fruits, by faith here yourIf eyes, and it tofeeling be experienced in Under this glorious reality, lovethis becomes likerea sweetness of faith in your heart, then you don’t the permission of its Lord.this Under glorious loving someone for Allah’s sake. If you are that tree firmly rooted in the ground, to look far. The treasure is right here before ality,that loveisbecomes heavenly, allowingand thewith heart need yearning soul but have yet to experience this branches that reach to theto heavens; the tree your eyes, and it to be experienced in loving someto come as close asout possible experiencing love, call outIftoyou your grant you constantly fruits, The by the permission its one for then Allah’s sake. areLord thatto yearning soulthis somethinggives fromout Jannah. simple reasonof for gift, foryet it istoindeed heavenly and itthen is joy everLord. this glorious love becomes have experience this love, callis out this isUnder that when a heartreality, loves for Allah, Allah Him-but heavenly, allowing the heartand to come as close as tolasting. your Lord to grant you this gift, for it is indeed self becomes the nurturer caretaker of that possible to experiencing something from Jannah. heavenly and it is joy is ever-lasting. love; He himself will insure its continual sweetness and purity and He himself will protect it from

This love becomes like a tree that is firmly rooted in the ground, and with branches that reach out to the heavens.

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MUD AND GOLD WRITTEN BY ARIF KABIR

Many years ago, while waiting for my father to pick me up from school, I sat in front of the Masjid playground, mesmerized by the sand all around me. It was a sunny day, and the sand glittered in the sun like gold. As I picked the shimmering golden beads of sand up and let them slip through my fingers, I felt like the richest man in the world… A few years later, a close friend of mine was shooting a documentary for Al-Huda School and had decided to name the film “Mud or Gold“. I asked the reason behind it and stopped dead in my tracks as he simply said, “Children have such an innocence that they can’t even tell the difference between mud or gold.” A flood of memories came rushing back as I remembered that nostalgic playground incident that happened so long ago. I too was a victim of what he was stating. Fast forward to now and I find myself having to read Candide for a world literature class. The book was extremely pointless if you ask me – guy falls in love, goes around the whole world to find that lady, and then ceases to love her because she becomes ugly, and they live miserably ever after. However, what really caught my eye was when Candide and his fellow friend, Cacambo, arrive at El Dorado, the fabled Kingdom of Gold. They see gold lying in the streets all around them and they quickly start to greedily hoard as much as they can. They soon find themselves inside a public house in which they are served food and “Cacambo believed as well as Candide that they might well pay their reckoning by laying down two of those large gold pieces which they had picked up” (Voltaire Ch. XVII). Wow, gold pieces for just a meal? Check out their hosts’ reactions: “The landlord and landlady shouted with laughter and held their sides. When the fit was over: “Gentlemen,” said the landlord, it is plain you are strangers, and such guests we are not accustomed to see; pardon us therefore for laughing when you offered us the pebbles from our highroads in payment of your reckoning.” Puts things into perspective, eh? Think about it for a second. We see people killing each other for pieces of paper. We see massacres committed for mud and pebbles, otherwise known as gold and silver. These items are essentially worthless, only deemed precious because of the value we put in them ourselves. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong in desiring wealth and gold, as even Allah mentions it as an incentive once we enter Jannah, but it should never become our means or our purpose in life. Allah reminds us in Surah Kahf, the surah we are recommended to recite every Friday: “ “Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope.” – Surah Kahf, Ayah 46 May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) help us to keep our focus in mind and work for what is truly important. Ameen…

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INTERWOVEN HEART STRINGS

Lifestyle

I sat on a bench at the mall a few days ago, reading a Noam Chomsky book. The gentle chatter of the level below hummed in my ears. The tides of time hovered above me like a canopy as I sat, suspended in time and space. I let Chomsky paint the passage of these seconds, listening as he laid the strokes of long-thought ideas and long-winded applications, reading as he blended the sharp shades of hegemony and survival together. This was peace. And so skidded the pebble on water, interrupting the serene, still surface: a little Arab man with a worn, patchy briefcase, a woolly sweater, and a father’s eyes sat down near me. His eyes flitted toward my direction. I clasped my book tighter and dug my nose deeper, trying to bury my unease somewhere between the many pages. He initiated the salaams. I mechanically responded. I returned to my book, but he was intent upon taking the conversation further. He asked me if I spoke Arabic. What country I was from. What I was reading. Whether I went to school. What I was studying. I answered all of his questions with one-word answers, foolishly perhaps, but feeling strangely at bay. There was something abou this man that was striking. His deep-set eyes, his bushy eyebrows, his tattered briefcase that screamed it had a story to tell. However, when he asked my name, my comfort zone had been breached. “Why are you asking me these questions, brother?” I asked defensively, getting ready to leave. “Sister, don’t you know? We are family,” he said, smiling, "”Verily, today I have understood what it means to have true brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam. My heart is filled with joy to see a Muslim sister donned in hijab reading a book like this in a place like this. Thank you, sister. Thank you." He smiled, grabbed his briefcase, and walked on. I turned back to my book, attempting to hide my flushed cheeks and quiet my racing heart. At that moment, a flood of people passed my previously empty spot - rushed housewives, groups of teenagers, frolicking families. The Arab man was nowhere to be found. By Allah, as I sat there surrounded by a world of people, I was reminded. Though I could not find the little Arab man, his message was still there: the bond of unity and community fastened by Islam is of the greatest strength. It is a bond where the exchange of a salaams carries so much more weight than the exchange of a good morning or passing hello. It is a bond where the pain by one part of the body is felt by the whole, where hopes are bound to every nerve, where we live every moment with the understanding that we are nothing and He is everything, that we are the created and He is the Creator, that when we dip down into sujood, we are nothing but His slaves. We, thus, tie the strings of our hearts to our Creator. Hundreds of millions of strings extended from our hearts out to the heavens. But as we go up, so, too do our strings interlock and intersect. But unlike kites whose strings threaten to tangle and bring others kites crashing down, the interlocking of our strings strengthens us. Such is the story of the little Arab man and this Muslimah in the making. Such is the story of us. Such is the story of an ocean that refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it is sent away. And such is the story of our love: for the sake of Allah. A love so strong you should never feel alone. For, after Allah (SWT), there is a nation behind you. You only need to look back. WRITTEN BY FATIMAH WASEEM

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e v i t rea

c

g n i t i wr PROPOSAL

MOHAMMED KEMAL

FORGIVE AND FORGET As one of Allah's many creations, I am full of flaws Created in this world, which I have come to call life, I crawl like an animal on its paws Instead of jumping the hurdles presented in front of me, I avoid them completely I...I am Scared I move far from my troubles discreetly Hiding from the truth that hurt me Trying to cover it with love, while contemplating to flee "I was once lost, but now I am found" Ironically, I am still lost and confound Neatly, I organize my thoughts Creating no space for faults I sit and gaze at the stars in this beautiful night Trying to uncrowd my mind, before it gets to tight Remembering what was done and trying to forget I sit on this empty porch, dumbfounded by how much there is to regret I grow speechless and full of remorse Asking for forgiveness, when I yet have to give it I kneel down, with tears in my eyes As they drip down my cheeks, I get lost in contemplation My heart beating uncontrollably and restlessly I put my head on the ground and weep Tears hitting the mat like rain drops to the ground I rise up and decide to forget and sleep I rise up with a life changing decision waiting to be unveiled I came to a decision to use, which I have gained And finally, I stand in front of you to say... Yesterday I forgave and Insha’Allah tomorrow I will forget!

Bearer of tears My unclad lids never lay arid For the air rids its woes before my eyes. They whisper in the wind “Uncultured…” But what is a culture? If not the junction of beings nurtured by the words of their One. So they whisper “Too young…” But what is youth? If not a caption for action Where the soul continues to grow As it expands its wings into His vast cosmos… He promises “His winds are sent with sweet words That we may taste His mercy” So their whispers fabricate before my eyes And I cry Allowing my tears to flood their baseless sighs

Before they are swept up to the skies And returned once again As an ambrosial breeze Brushing lightly over my heart I feel His promise And I know it is right So before my eyes dry I whisper I Do. TARA MOHAMMED

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President’s Page

SPRING FORWARD: IMPROVING OUR MSA

Every new semester brings a spring of opportunities. Whether it’s redemption for previous grades that may have been less than ideal, resolving to finally muster up enough courage to leave your dorm room and explore campus, or setting your mind on finally implementing that procrastination-proof study schedule, all are fresh possibilities once again. This spring, we continue our journey as Muslims on campus to come together and build a fertile community. Last semester brought about many new and unique activities ranging from the Food Recovery Network and the Steeping Room to our 9/11 Awareness Week, from Undercover as a Muslim Woman to our involvement in the “End Hate Speech” Campaign. Many of these initiatives proved fruitful and allowed us to better reach out to other Muslims while simultaneously exposing many on campus to an Islam they hadn’t seen before. Through our numerous programs last semester, we were able to do a lot of good for Muslims and others alike. Still, there is much room for improvement particularly in the state of our Muslim community on campus . From our religious tradition, we know of the concept of gradations of individuals. Allah says in the Quran “To all are degrees or ranks according to their deeds.”[al-An'am, 6: 132], and while we do not know what is in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, we are also very familiar with the notion that we are all at varying stages on a common spiritual journey. On this campus and within our MSA, this phenomenon is even more apparent. Being students at such a large university, we have been blessed with the opportunity to be exposed to a large amount of diversity. A concentration of thoughts and exposure to all walks has life has developed the appreciation for our own. Thus, many of us are very passionate about Islam and that passion causes change in our actions and outlook. However, there are even more of us who have yet to experience this change. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “The Believers in their love, mercy and compassion for one another are like one body: if one organ aches, the rest of the body develops a fever.” This hadith shows how revolutionary Islam is because it dictates that we create a permanent bond of love and compassion with another person based on the single premise of faith. All other relationships are transitory because they are based on fleeting matters: likes, dislikes and mere association. Our faith in Islam is something that transcends this life because it is also a distinction in the next. We must ask ourselves the question, then: what have we done for ourselves and our brothers and sisters in faith who are struggling to make the change and advance along their spiritual journey? Have we extended a hand to those who need it or only reached ahead to pull ourselves forward? Islam commands community because of its ability to improve us through mutual benefit. This is supposed to be the main quality of the MSA: a group of individual Muslims that benefit eachother for collective progress. We have to humble ourselves in order to realize that while we all have something to offer, we have even more to learn. This semester, our activities will reflect these two objectives: humility and community. It is our duty to be there for one another. I ask that you join us on this journey. WRITTEN BY Muneer Zuhurudeen

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Volume 19 ● Issue 4 ● February 2012 ● Rabi’ al Awwal 1433

Love: For the Sake of Allah

You can find this issue and more online!

www.issuu.com/alnur

Al-Nur February 2012  

Check out the first editon of Al-Nur for the Spring 2012 semester. Our focus is Love: for the Sake of Allah. Enjoy!

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