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An-Nur “The Light”

The newsletter of the Muslim Students‟ Association & the Muslim Women of Maryland

Contact Us! Please send your creative submissions, comments, and suggestions to

Inside this issue: Road to Revolution


True Friends


My First Year


War Horses


The Road Soon Taken


The Most Beloved


Creative Writing




MSA History Founded in 1969, the Muslim Students' Association is an organization dedicated to serving the Muslim students on campus and educating the campus community about Islam and Muslims. We carry out Islamic activities, sponsor social, community service, and charity events, and strengthens relations and understanding between Muslims and nonMuslims.

Rabi Al-Awwal 1426 May 6, 2005


Muslim Women of Maryland

Volume 7, Issue 3

“Spreading the Light of Learning” - UMCP MSA & MWM hold fundraiser banquet by Fasiha Khan On Sunday, April 3rd, the University of Maryland at College Park‟s Muslim Students‟ Association and Muslim Women of Maryland held a fundraiser banquet on campus. When the UMCP MSA held this fundraiser, it was embarking on a journey hitherto unparalleled. The money raised was for more than the usual Islamic Awareness Month, Fast-aThon, and da‟wah material; for the MSA had its sight set on raising money to also support one relatively new endeavor, the Capital AreaIslamic Library, and one future project, and perhaps the overwhelming focus of the fundraiser: the establishment of an Islamic Studies Department at the University of Maryland. “The library is really a starting point for the department,” MSA Public Relations Officer, Abdullah-Justin Valanzola asserts. “This is the beginning of institutionalizing Islamic scholarly work. We hope that the library will draw in people of knowledge and therefore, become a place of Islamic academia.” There are few in North America who can boast of an Islamic Studies Department at their university, and even less who can claim legitimacy and approval from scholars. The College Park MSA hopes to initiate a Muslim led effort in establishing a legitimate Islamic Studies Department that has a stamp approval of Muslim scholars and portrays Islam and relays Islamic information that hitherto other schools have been incapable of doing. “A Department of Islamic Studies promises to provide many major benefits,” says MSA president Mohamed Abutaleb, “including adding courses in Islam to the University‟s offerings, establishing true scholarship on Islam in America, authoring texts, holding public education events, and attracting motivated students to the program.” The keynote speaker, president of the American Center for Islamic Research (ACIR), addressed the importance of

Dr. Salah Soltan, President of the American Center for Islamic Research, discusses Islamic curricula for the United States and the West. seeking knowledge, what the structure of an Islamic Studies curriculum would look like, and why there was such a need for it. The numbers and figures for attaining an Islamic Studies Department are daunting: 1.2 to 1.5 million in total; around $100,000 to endow a Chair to get a representative voice in the university, and thereby formally introduce a plan for the department. However, it is not an impossible goal, nor is the MSA planning to bear the brunt of the effort alone. “How long it will take for us to raise this kind of money lay on the shoulder of the community,” says MSA vice president and fundraiser coordinator, Ibrahim Elmoghazy. “A project of this magnitude is not an MSA project, it is a community project and insha'Allah with the support of the community our goal can be attained within the next 5 years.” Although the event began a bit off schedule (what‟s new for Muslim events?), the program went straight from welcome and Qur‟an recitation to a short talk by MSA National East Zone Representative Ahmad Sidky, who described the UMD MSA and its efforts as being extremely “unique” (a good unique, of course!). Afterwards, (Continued on page 9)


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Student Advice & Perspectives The Road to Revolution by Khuram Zaman It is self-evident on both rational and spiritual grounds that the establishment of a universal form of Islamic government is a necessity for the Muslim Ummah. It is also self-evident that we are further away from the implementation of this obligation than any other generation, and future generations will continue to degenerate unless we awaken ourselves from the slumber that has paralyzed us and take direct action now. Unfortunately, the Ummah has several major obstacles toward achieving the necessary momentum that is required to establish such a government. One major obstacle preventing the unification of our states is the imposition and sustained support of the nation-state system. The nationstate system, unlike other obstacles toward unification which are largely intellectual in nature, is also a physical boundary that prevents the allocation of resources, movement of troops, and other valuable processes that could potentially be developed by the consensual decision making that would occur under a revolutionary Islamic government. It is imperative then, for all of the activist movements that are currently operating in the Ummah to make it an open objective to do everything in their power to eliminate this system and replace it with Islamic international order. The method of bringing down the international nation-state system has two components since the system itself has two

actions of Western governments who support the nation-state system is for intellectuals and historians to work together to create an extensive study of the history and effects of colonialism on the Muslim Ummah. Thus, it is inherently obvious that the first step toward a unified Islamic

“Islamic revolution is not impossible, it is inevitable.” government is through an intellectual revolution. Since intellectual revolution has been discussed in previous articles, it will suffice to review that there are four components that are necessary to instigate a massive paradigm shift within the hearts and minds of the Ummah: 1. Reconstruction of Islamic knowledge from traditional sources, 2. the Deconstruction of Western power systems, 3. The Refutation of Deviant groups whose goals and objectives are antithetical to the establishment of a Universal Islamic Government, and 4. The formation of Islamic power systems. Now the query may be posed: what is the relationship between an intellectual revolution and a political revolution? Any true political revolution, if it is to be successful, must be grounded on firm political concepts, material objectives, and within the boundaries of certain morals. A

“...whether we as Western Muslims choose to or not, the responsibility of developing an intellectual revolution falls squarely on our shoulders.” components. The first component is the intellectual justification for the creation and maintenance of this system through the ideology of nationalism. The second component of this system is the overt and covert support that these states and their respective governments are provided by Western governments. The only way of removing the intellectual roots of the nationstate system are by attacking the ideology of nationalism and the only way to expose the

than anarchy. Furthermore, if our objective is to establish a universal form of Islamic government, then we must recognize that it is not one or two governments that must be overthrown, but many governments of various social, economic, cultural, and sectarian backgrounds. Does this render

revolution without clear objectives and a precise methodology to carry out such a program of change, will ultimately flounder and dissolve into anarchy and chaos. We as Muslims are prohibited by our Shariah from rebelling against rulers if they have not threat ened the implementation of the Divine Injunctions and if we lack an alternative to the existing order. No matter how tyrannical a government may be, tyranny is still better

revolution impossible? No, on the contrary, Islamic revolution is not impossible, it is inevitable. The way to address the momentous task of bringing about change throughout the entirety of the Muslim Ummah is to focus on those states that, if they underwent an Islamic revolution, would have a powerful effect on states and populations beyond their borders. In other words, we ought to ask ourselves: which states would be absolutely fundamental to the formation of a Universal Islamic Government? There are five such states: Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Malaysia. These five states have not been arbitrarily chosen but by critical analysis can be shown to be the five most dominant states within the Ummah today. If any one of these states underwent an Islamic revolution, they would have an immediate impact on their neighbors. The goal is not to create revolutions in these five states and forget about the rest of the Ummah, but rather, it is through the instigation of Islamic revolutions in these 5 states simultaneously that we hope to bring about a domino effect in other Muslim states and governments. If Kuwait or Nigeria or Tajikistan underwent Islamic revolutions, they would have little or no effect on their surrounding territories, let alone the Ummah which means that foreign governments that are opposed to a unified Ummah will be able to step in rather easily and quell these rebellions to their hegemony. However, if a revolution occurs in a country that has close intellectual, financial, and cultural ties with many other countries, it will undoubtedly have an effect on the surrounding territories (Continued on page 3)


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Student Advice & Perspectives Revolution (cont.) (Continued from page 2)

as well. In order to instigate such a revolution and prevent it from rampaging out of control into either tyranny or anarchy, it is absolutely essential that a cadre of intellectuals that are well-trained and equipped in the traditional sciences as well as the Western ideologies that provide the moral and rational basis for their power systems, must be formed. The only location where potential revolutionaries from these five states can meet is in the very place where the battle of ideas is raging within the Ummah: in the West. If articles by RAND corporation and the Nixon Institute have not made it apparent, the heart of intellectual warfare is occurring right here in places like America where certain governments are desperately attempting to formulate a model of Islam that is compatible with Western ideologies in hopes of exporting it to the rest of the Ummah. Recent events like women giving Jummah khutbahs or openly espousing the permissibility of homosexuality in Islam or the recent phenomenon of think tanks like the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy hosting workshops and conferences in Muslim countries are to be expected given the expectation that the only way to subdue Islam to Western hegemony is through the formation of a „civil democratic Islam‟. Thus, whether we as Western Muslims choose to or not, the responsibility of developing an intellectual revolution falls squarely on our shoulders. Unlike other communities, however, we do have the minds, the monies, and the manpower to achieve this. For example, the first component of intellectual revolution, the reconstruction of Islamic knowledge, can occur through developing Islamic schools that are, in essence, a fusion between the maddrasseh-style education that one receives under the Ulema and the private school model of the West. The end product of a child who goes through such a system will attain the spiritual benefit of acquiring knowledge from unadulterated sources while also attaining the necessary vocational skills required to function in society resulting in individuals who are not only intellectual

liberated, but financially as well so that they can actually carry out a program of change. In other words, graduates from such an educational system will become natural activists. Furthermore, the MSAs and other Islamic youth organizations at the Collegiate level can play a pivotal role in i ns ti gatin g Is l ami c revolutions by providing the manpower for propagating the ideas of Islamic revolution as well as by taking active steps to instigate such a revolution by participating in the intellectual debates that are occurring in the Ummah today. Instead of sitting idly and allowing the Modernist school of thought to parade across the US and the rest of the Ummah, MSA activists can stop and take a direct role in challenging the moral, intellectual, political, and Islamically legal foundations of the justifications of Modernists who attempt to „hijack‟ the shariah. Furthermore, after the College level, the formations of Think Tanks dedicated solely to the deconstruction of Western ideologies and construction of Islamic power systems can utilize the experience of these activists to create works that can provide future fuel for the upcoming Islamic revolution. Lastly, the American Muslim community has many resources at its disposal to communicate with the other

communities within the Ummah through the internet, radio, television, and educational programs. Whether we like it or not, the American Muslim community is going to be used as a model for the rest of the Ummah. Either it will be a „civil democratic Islam‟ or it can be a „revolutionary Islam‟. The choice is up to you, as an individual, what you want it to be. You can choose, through your actions, to help unite the Ummah or through your inaction, help propagate its defeat. I apologize if the series of articles on this topic have come off as vague or unclear since they are a summary of a much longer series of articles. May Allah (swt) grant us taufiq. Ameen.

“... the American Muslim community is going to be used as a model for the rest of the Ummah. Either it will be a „civil democratic Islam‟ or it can be a „revolutionary Islam‟. The choice is up to you…”


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A Senior‟s Reflection True Friends: The Blessing We Overlook Anonymous The MSA has a history of 36 years (19692005) of service, life-long friendship making, sisterhood and brotherhood bonding, positive life enhancements, and much more. Being a part of the MSA/MWM for the last few years has been the most fulfilling experience of my college career, alhamdulillah. What does the MSA do for us? Why is it so fulfilling for many of us? What makes these brothers and sisters that we get to know so special? The truth is that none of us, including myself first on that list, knew who we were when we entered college. Sure, we knew we were Muslim, but what did our actions say about us as individuals and what did we each REALLY stand for? The most important and real test of your life above all academic exams is the test of your character and your principles. As my parents (may Allah bless them and protect them always) always advised me throughout college, our college years are the most important years of our life in shaping our futures and our permanent character. At the beginning of college, the real test began. Would we pass the test of faith successfully? Would we know how to filter through friends and foe? Would we have the courage to maintain our character and faith among pressure from non-Muslims? Would we love

curfews. Endless conversations about marriage, careers, and future children inshaAllah (including names for them! Anyone like the name Nasma for a little girl?). Hours and hours of chill time in 0204 (how we love thee!). “When in doubt, order Roma‟s.” Ramadan iftaar in the musallah (silence). Smiles from your brothers and sisters that made your day. Group contemplation of the Quran. Jummah on campus! Calls at 4 AM to a brother or sister who you knew would listen when you really needed support. Praying together. Sisters‟ fights over each other; all of you ladies know that I win even though I don‟t bite! J “If the curtain could talk.” So much laughing that you cry in the middle of MSA meetings and have to leave. Finding Islam or loving Islam more and more every day together to a point where our friendships are those which last because they are based on Islam, which is or has become your essence, your passion, and your world. Over the years the MSA became the place where you belonged, where everyone accepted you, where others respected you, where you felt safe, where you became who you are and will be on the path to be for the rest of your life. You found true

“You found true friendship in the MSA/MWM: the friendship that keeps you on the Straight Path and the friendship that will provide shade for you on the Day of Judgment.” and trust Allah or would we be fooled by material things? Would our hearts be blackened or enlightened? We have all been pressured, tempted, and tested. But, alhamdulillah, we can reflect today and say that insha Allah we have laid or are beginning to lay the foundation for ourselves to follow the Straight Path for the rest of our lives. Alhamdulillah, what better blessing could one ask for? On the way to building our foundation, we share great memories, alhamdulillah. Remember lunch outings to Panda (free third entrée!) and Chipotle after jummah. Pick up basketball games (for the brothers). Study groups until way past our bedtimes and

friendship in the MSA/MWM: the friendship that keeps you on the Straight Path and the friendship that will provide shade for you on the Day of Judgment. These friends keep our iman strong and help us build strong character. Subhan Allah, how we found such meaningful friendship within the MSA, and Allah says in the Quran, “Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship).” (Al-Ma’idah: 5:55) So what is it that makes our college (and MSA/MWM) years a success in

passing the test of faith and character? It is the meaningful friendship that encourages our growth, the friendship that plays by the guidelines of brotherhood and sisterhood ordained by Allah and exemplified by our Prophet (saw). Take a second to think about it: without the friendships that we have found among the Muslim brothers and sisters in the MSA/MWM, would we be who we are today? Subhan Allah. These friendships based on the guidance and bond of Islam are real, lasting, and irreplaceable. Alhamdulillah for the blessing of Islam and the friendship that comes with it in our MSA/MWM. When I reflect on my college years, I realize how I have grown, what I have learned, and what I have gained. One of the things I am most thankful for, however, is my true friendships that I have found among real friends, my fellow Muslims in the MSA/MWM of UMD. True friends are blessings from Allah, and we should always remember to never abuse them or take them for granted, because when you approach your graduation, insha Allah, you will miss them and the memories you shared with them more than anything about your college years. Brothers and sisters, live up your MSA/MWM years and enjoy them while they last insha Allah, because you will miss them dearly when you graduate. I know I will.


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A Freshman‟s Reflection My First Year By Faten Gharib In the name of Allah, most Gracious, halaqahs to the Islam Awareness Month will catch the heart. As Muslims, we need to most Merciful. All praise be to Allah, the events, I strongly feel that within the last few realize the importance of our own religion Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings months, the MSA and MWM have had a and seek the knowledge that is needed in be upon the master of the messengers, great impact and have greatly shaped me into order to guide others to the correct path. Prophet Muhammad. Blessings and peace be the person I am today. As Johann Wolfgang Those who accept Islam accept it because upon his family, his companions and those von Goethe once wrote, “Treat people as if they feel it is right in their hearts; so we must who follow him faithfully until the Day of they were what they ought to be and help learn to guide their hearts rather than their Judgment. As I embarked on the journey of them to become what they are capable of eyes, because that is what they will pursue. my college years at College Park, I can say being.” So not only do I value learning along Friendship is something I have always with all honesty that I didn‟t have many with those I know, but I realize that at the valued, however I feel that this feeling was expectations. I didn‟t know who I was going same time, these are the same people helping reinforced when I entered college and got to to meet, how classes were going to be, or me improve as a Muslim and a person as a know the people I am close with today. I now how my life would change as a practicing whole. Nothing is more rewarding, realize that the good friends you make are Muslim. The first few weeks of my first walhamdullilah. those who can only benefit you and make you semester went very slowly, as I only got One of the many things I learned is that in become a better person. As Prophet together with high school friends from the life, there are many challenges, and every Muhammad once said, “A person is likely to past. However, as always, the growing challenge is an opportunity. Looking back at follow the faith of his friend, so look whom feeling deep inside of me to finally meet and this past year and the work that was done by you befriend.” From my personal be close to the people I‟ve wanted to meet the MSA and MWM as a whole, there were experiences, I feel blessed for getting the for so long kept surfacing. One saying I try several obstacles that needed to be faced. chance to meet everyone I now know, and I to live by is that in the end, it‟s not the years When planning for events or finding new thank Allah (swt) everyday for those who in your life that count, it‟s the life in your ways to make da‟wah, not everything would have entered my life because they are truly years. In order to live the “life in my years,” go according to what was planned. However, the friends that will last a lifetime. I strongly felt that it is very important to act this only teaches us how to improve and to I ask Allah (swt) to forgive my mistakes upon the things I value most in life. This strive for better. As Muslims, we should and shortcomings in this work and in general. includes increasing my knowledge as a always aim for perfection, yet this does not I ask that Allah accepts this work from us and Muslim, along with being close to the mean feeling discouraged by what we could makes it beneficial for the Muslim people necessary to be close with in order to not accomplish. We learn from everything we community. I ask Allah (swt) to keep us all have the foundation for a strong Muslim do, and we do everything to learn. Da‟wah is on the straight path and to help us learn more community and be able to teach others about an aspect of Islam that I have learned to take about Islam. I ask Allah (swt) to guide my Islam. As Ali ibn Abi Talib (radi Allahu even more seriously than I used to. As parents, my family, and my friends. I thank anhu) once said, “Meet people in such a Muhammed Asad once said, “It was not Allah (swt) for all my family and my friends. manner that once you die, they should weep Muslims that had made Islam great; it was I thank Allah (swt) for such a blessed and for you, and if you live, they should long for Islam that had made the Muslims great.” It is rewarding year and for giving me guidance you.” safe to say that at some point or another, we every day. I thank Allah (swt) for all the trials It didn‟t take long to realize that have all been guilty of not realizing our and obstacles this year. I thank Allah (swt) becoming so involved with the MSA and greatest blessing, Islam. Islam is not just a for every blessing this year and every year MWM was one of the best decisions I‟ve religion, but it is who we are. So as Muslims, and for allowing me to live in this moment of made. Being time. around those Jazakum Allahu who share the As Ali ibn Abi Talib (radi Allahu anhu) once said, “Meet people Khairan to everyone, same thoughts family, my friends, in such a manner that once you die, they should weep for you, my and desires as and every member of and if you live, they should long for you.” you is such a the MSA and MWM phenomenal cabinets. This year feeling. And as was truly amazing Muslims, increasing our knowledge in Islam we must always remember this gift and because of everything everyone has done, and together makes the experience much more remember to always seek knowledge because I ask Allah (swt) to reward you all, for every enjoyable, for “seeking knowledge at a this is the most important aspect of da‟wah. action and for every intention. I look forward young age is like engraving on a I‟ve also learned that there are many things in to even more rewarding years, insha Allah. stone” (Hasan al-Basri). From the MSA life that catch the eye, yet very few things Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah.


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Reflecting on the Qur’an

War Horses

by Maria Khalid To the Desert Arabs, the horse used to be one of the most honored of all creatures, before the Toyota and Honda took its place. These creatures were such a great blessing to them from Allah and so important in their lives, that they used over a hundred different names to describe them. In fact, there is even a surah in the Qur‟an about horses, Surah Al-Adiyat (Those that Run). Specifically, this surah refers to warhorses, a different breed probably than the kinds we have seen in our lives (also different from the one that tried to eat me alive at the campus barn). So why, we might wonder, does Allah speak of horses in the Qur‟an? Well let us start with the imagery of the horses in this surah, which is in fact very outstanding: The surah gives a sense of the absolute

By the (steeds) that run with panting (breath). And strike sparks of fire. And push home the charge in the morning. And raise the dust in clouds the while. And penetrate forthwith into the midst (of the foe) en masse. Truly Man is, to his Lord, Ungrateful. And to that (fact) He bears witness (by his deeds). Does he not know, when that which is in the graves is scattered abroad. And that which is (locked up) in (human) breasts is made manifest. That their Lord had been well acquainted with them, even to) that Day? (100:1-11) devotion and love these creatures have for Allah. So sincere are they, that during times of war they charge headfirst into battle, into the jungle of swords and weaponry ahead of them. This description reminds me of old war movies, in which I would wonder how it is that the horses can charge with such obedience and submission. Are they not afraid? Do they not realize that they may be charging headfirst into their death? Or maybe it is that they realize that barreling into their doom is a minor concern in comparison to the immense honor of working for the sake of Allah. Maybe it is that these horses recognize that their whole existence centers on only one purpose. And their determination to fulfill that purpose is so strong that they rush with excitement even into the throes of combat. Then in the sixth verse, Allah says, “Truly Man is, to his Lord, Ungrateful.” It is as if Allah is comparing these horses to Man, the foolish and ungrateful creature. And how is Man ungrateful? It is with his deeds that he displays his lack of gratitude. After all, love for Allah, or for anyone else for that matter, is not merely a feeling in one‟s heart. It is expressed via actions and deeds. The horses in this surah, for example, are not merely standing around, chewing grass, and thinking about Allah. Nor are they wasting time complaining about the task that is assigned to them. They recognize that they have a duty and they do not hesitate for a second to fulfill

their duty, no matter how challenging the means to achieving their goal. Finally, the surah reminds us of the Day of Judgment, that inevitable Hour that is ever approaching, but that we are so heedless of. It is so near, yet in our understandings, we perceive it as far away. But if any of us truly had a conception of the urgency of this event, we probably wouldn‟t be spending so much of our time each day idling around. Nor would we be chasing after what we may perceive as the glamour and luxury of the life of this world. Instead, we would be like these warhorses and realize that (even at the age of 18) this life may soon be coming to an end. And for us, it is the only chance we have to prove to Allah that we are worthy. So we too should charge fearlessly into the face of adversity and dedicate every second of our lives to fulfilling that same goal that we were created for and to prove to our Lord that we are indeed grateful for every blessing that He has bestowed upon us. And we should also examine our deeds and get out of this illusion that we have all the time in the world to fix our mistakes. I fear that one day I might be looking back at my life regretting all that I did not do, thinking about that hidden potential that I never reached. I would rather be like that warhorse, seeing the possibility of death in front of me, and thinking, “Bring it on…”


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Preparing for the Hereafter The Road Soon Taken by Sherihan Youssef “Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.” 3:185 Indeed, Allah (swt) is the only one worthy of praise and to him we will return. He brought us into this life as helpless creatures and helpless we will be when we return to him. Nothing in this world will protect the children of Adam from death, from the highest of kings to the poorest of beggars; death is inevitable for every creature. Each and every one of us will see the faces of Munkir and Nakeer (the two angles who question the dead in the grave) and will be asked “Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet? What is your religion?” Will our answers slip off our tongues with ease or will our tongues be heavy, unable to respond: “Allah (swt), Islam and Mohamed (saaw)”? Will we speak with confidence, declaring our faith or will we stumble in our words, doubting the answer we might give? Which of us will smell the breezes of paradise in our grave, getting a piece of our eternal home, and who will feel the heat of hellfire, knowing that this is the punishment that awaits us? The answer to the question is that we don‟t know for sure and will never

life, our every hour and our every minute for the sake of Allah (swt). We are not praying our prayers on time, we do not renew our intentions every morning for Allah (swt), we are not working enough for His sake and most of all, and we are not spending enough time purifying our inner self: our soul. The human being consists of two major parts: the body and the soul. After death, the body deteriorates and becomes one with the Earth in its grave. The soul on the other hand does not deteriorate. Rather, it is preserved in the grave, where it is judged for its deeds and awaits for the Day of Judgment. Nothing of materialistic value from this world is taken with the human being into its grave except for the simple white cloth that he/she is wrapped in prior to the burial of the body. Therefore, why do we spend so much time nourishing our bodies with worldly pleasures: fancy clothes, expensive cuisines, jewelry, cars and homes and neglect the purification of our souls? It is wise to note that there is nothing wrong with spending money and enjoying worldly things if Allah has blessed you with it, as long as it is islamically permissible. However, it is not okay, nor does it make sense to neglect the nourishment of that which will eternally exist, the soul. Just as we take time to make sure we are clean and presentable to society, we must cleanse our soul of all that is harmful and make it presentable to Allah (swt). After the soul is cleansed, it is important to accessorize

of eating lunch, to Allah (swt). Sincerity is the first stepping stone to purification because sincerity reflects love for Allah (swt) and love for pleasing him. Without sincerity, you cut off the rope that holds you to Allah (swt). To accessorize your soul and to keep it in its purified state, make thikr (remembrance of Allah) constantly, contemplate upon Allah‟s creation and miracles, and most importantly, make tawba on a regular basis. If you would like to look deeper into the “We are convinced that death is inevitable but we are not convinced that as subj ect of purification of Muslims, we should look forward to this day because indeed, the soul does the soul and heart, I not find rest until it is in the presence of its Lord.” strongly recommend know until the day in which our soul parts it with beautiful ornaments of pure love for purchasing Purification of the Heart, by with our bodies. This is the day in which our Allah (swt) in order to make our souls the most Hamza Yusuf. souls will either leave our bodies with ease presentable and beautiful for Allah‟s pleasing. If you leave all that has been said in this or will beg for a second chance. So how do we cleanse and accessorize our article, take away only one concept: Love We are convinced that death is soul? The best antidote to an aching soul is the for Allah (swt) and love for the day in which inevitable but we are not convinced that as words of Allah (swt): The Qur‟an. The Qur‟an you will meet him inshaAllah. Purchase the Muslims, we should look forward to this day should have a special reserved slot in our day. jewelry, car and home, study, graduate and because indeed, the soul does not find rest Nothing can ease a tired and aching soul like be successful in your field, get married, have until it is in the presence of its Lord. So why the Qur‟an, Subhan Allah. To purify our souls, kids and raise them well, but whatever you are we afraid? Why do we tremble with fear we should renew our intentions regularly, do, do it for the sake of Allah (swt). Instead when the topic of death is brought to our being sincere in our actions and devoting every of running in place, run to the finish line. attention? It is because we are not living our action of our day, even if it is the simple task


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Portraits of Piety “The Most Beloved of All Humanity” by Maryam bint Dawud Rasulullah (saws) was the perfection of humanity, and the best example for all human kind. He was the most beautiful man who will ever live on earth. His beauty resided in his purity of imaan, his disposition and his appearance. He was the epitome of Muslims. He was our own portrait of piety. As Muslims, we long to emulate him in every way that is possible. It is an honor from Allah „AzzawaJal to be of the Muslims, and to have as our leader Rasulullah (saws). Let us take a glimpse at the most beloved one: Muhammad (saws) was of a height a little above average. He was of sturdy build with long muscular limbs and tapering fingers. He had long, thick hair with some waves in it. His forehead was large and prominent, his eyelashes were long and thick, his nose was sloping, his mouth was somewhat large and his teeth were well set. His cheeks were spare and he had a pleasant smile. His eyes were large and black with a touch of brown. His beard was thick. He was fair of complexion and was so handsome that Abu Bakr composed this couplet on him: "as there is no darkness in the moonlit night so is Mustafa, the well-wisher, bright." His general dress was a shirt, trousers, a sheet thrown around the shoulders and a turban. His house was a hut with walls of unbaked clay and a thatched roof of palm leaves covered by camel skin. He said, "What have I to do with worldly things. My connection with the world is like that of a traveler resting for a while underneath the shade of a tree and then moving on." His character was the Qur‟an, and Allah says, "By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and ill-tempered, they would have dispersed from round about you.” He usually smiled. He was straightforward and pleasant. He had firm trust in Allah, and told a sahabah during the time that Muslims were few and oppressed. “By Allah, the day is near when faith will reach its pinnacle and none will have to fear anyone except Allah." He loved children and always smiled, and kissed them whenever they were around him. He showed kindness to animals, and justice to everyone, never favoring the rich over the impoverished. He said, "Many a community

ruined itself in the past as they only punished the poor and ignored the offences of the exalted. By Allah, if Muhammad's (My) daughter Fatimah would have committed theft, her hand would have been severed." He was the exemplar of equality, he ate with slaves, servants and the poorest on the same sheet, and he completely disbanded all notions of racial or nationalistic superiority. He had great love for the poor and made the du‟a, "O Allah, keep me poor

in my life and at my death and raise me at resurrection among those who are poor." He used to say, "I am a Prophet of Allah but I do not know what will be my end." O NabiAllah, you are the most beloved of all humanity to Allah, in this life, and will be the most beloved in the next, Al Mustafa. “A Sparkling Diamond” He was the most charming of the Makkans. The most youthful and handsome. The talk of the ladies of Makkah, and the flower of the Quraish. He was wealthy and lived a luxurious life, enjoying the company of the richest and most powerful of the Quraish. A prince of

every festivity and loved by all. He was our sahabah Mus‟ab ibn Umair (ra). When the message of Islam came, he was among the earliest of the sahabah who became Muslim. When he entered Dar al Arqam and heard the beauty of the words of Allah, his soul surrendered to Allah. What better story is there for the love of Makkah but to become the love of Rasullullah (saws). He left the luxurious life of darkness and depravity, to become immersed in the light of Islam. Islam was still new when the Ansar pledged their allegiance at „Aqabah. Rasulullah (saws) needed someone to serve as a da‟ee to the people of Madina and he entrusted Mus‟ab as the first envoy of Islam. But why? Mus‟ab was a beautiful man. He was still charming, but he was also intelligent. He had a strong character and sincerity shone through his practice of Islaam. He was friendly and delightful to be around. He was a star guiding people to Islam from the light within him. Great sahabah like Usaid ibn Hudair, Sa‟ad ibn Mu‟adh, and Sa‟ad ibn Ubaadah (ra) became Muslim due to his da‟wah. The years passed and soon the Battle of Uhud came. Mus‟ab was among the mujaahideen who fought in this battle. Let us look at the powerful scene now: Ibn Sa‟ad said Ibrahim ibn Muhammad related from his father, who said: “Mus‟ab ibn Umair carried the standard…When the Muslims were scattered, he (Mus‟ab) stood fast until he met ibn Quma‟ah who was a knight. He struck him on his right hand and cut it off, but Mus‟ab said, “and Muhammad is but a Messenger. Messengers have passed way before him.” (later 3:3). He carried the standard with his left hand and leaned on it. He struck his left hand and cut it off, and so he leaned on the standard and held it with his upper arms to his chest, while saying, “and Muhammad is but a Messenger. Messengers have passed way before him.” Then a third one struck him with his spear and the spear went through him. Mus‟ab fell and then the standard.” The flower of the Quraish-the most charming of Makkans, our courageous (Continued on page 9)


Volume 7, Issue 3 Page 9

Portraits of Piety Most Beloved (cont’d) (Continued from page 8)

martyr, died. Face down, dusty and bloody with his limbs chopped off. Mus‟ab the Good. Standing over his body, Rasulullah (saws) said, with tears streaming down his face, “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah.” (S. 33:23). He gathered his living sahabah and said, “O people, visit them, come to them, and salute them. By Allah, no Muslim will salute them but that they will salute him in return.” We salute you Mus‟ab, a sparkling diamond guiding us with your shine to the Deen of Allah. “A Sweet Ocean” “Our shaikh and master and imam…the possessor of many radiant proofs…the pole of light…beneficial treasure… unique in this age and others…” -Silah ad Deen AlBalaa’ee He was neither a prophet nor a sahabah. So who was this man? What made him glow? He was Taqi ud Deen Abu al „Abbas ibn Taymiyyah. His character was sincerity. He was straightforward and loved the truth. He was quick to anger, but generous and

forgiving. From childhood he mastered all of the religious and secular sciences. Among his great students were Ibn Adh Dhahabee, Ibn Katheer, and Ibn Al Qayyim. During his lifetime the Islamic world was under oppression from the Tartars, and threatened by destruction from the Crusaders. Internally there was confusion among the Muslims as innovation became injected into Islam. He took it upon himself to defend Islam, against all deviation. Ibn Taymiyyah used to say, “Only he fears who has a sickness of heart.” Thus, he was a leader in upholding the Words of Allah, both through scientific proofs, and through physical fighting. He became popular among the people and soon jealousy emerged from scholars in opposition to him and so they conspired to have him imprisoned. When he was threatened with jail he said his famous quote, “What can my enemies do to me? My Paradise is in my heart, it is with me wherever I go. To imprison me is to provide me with seclusion. To send me into exile is to send me away in the Path of Allah. And to kill me is to make me a

martyr.” Every time he was imprisoned he always pardoned and forgave those who had him imprisoned. While imprisoned, he completed 80 recitals of the Qur‟an. He completed a 40 volume tafseer called al-Bahr al-Muheet. He wrote over 500 books according to Imaam Adh-Dhahabi, most of them in prison. He died in prison after reciting the ayah, “Lo! The righteous will dwell among gardens and rivers firmly established in the favor of a Mighty King.” When he died, 60,000 to 100,000 people joined the funeral procession. He was a sweet ocean of knowledge during his life and even after, we have continued to benefit from his knowledge. May Allah make him of those who dwell among gardens and rivers, amin. All of these precious jewels originate from one source. That source is as clear as the sunlight and the waterfalls gushing from the mountains and roses blooming from the earth. We have that source. We have Islam wrapped in glowing purity. Who will open it? Who will live it? Who will die for it?

After dinner, MSA president Mohamed Abutaleb presented a PowerPoint to explain what the MSA‟s recent accomplishments and projects have been, as well as an introduction to the Islamic Studies‟ Department. The keynote speech by Dr. Soltan led up to Maghrib salah, and the fundraising began with Imam Johari Abdul-Malik. The program was interrupted with a surprise appearance by Ahmed Abu-Ali‟s father, who spoke of his son‟s plight and encouraged everyone to attend an upcoming fundraiser for Ahmed Abu-Ali. The program ended with Imam Johari reminding the audience of the significance of such an endeavor (the Islamic Studies Department), and how important it was for Muslims to be taking the initiative. Altogether, the event ran

very smoothly, from on the floor food distribution to entertaining MCing by the MSA Treasurer, Mustafa Zaghal. When the MSA called the fundraiser, “Spreading the Light of Learning,” it was more than a catch phrase, it was a promise. “With the MSA‟s growing activism and breadth, we are now attracting more involvement from professors, parents, alumni, and community members than ever before – and we know that these valuable contributions will need to continue and grow for this project to be successful,” Abutaleb asserts. “Our members have shown a lot of commitment to making the MSA more than just another college club, and insha‟Allah, it is that MSA that can see this project to its conclusion.” By the grace of Allah, around thirty thousand dollars was raised.

Fundraiser (cont.) (Continued from page 1)

there was a speech by the Muslim Women of Maryland (MWM) president Sherihan Youssef, who introduced the MWM. During the dinner an original MSA movie was played, entitled “What Dreams May Become,” by DatVon Productions (, which was about the MSA‟s efforts to attain an Islamic Studies Department. The movie was widely lauded and warmly welcomed. “They all seemed to love it,” says lead actor, Sami Elzaharna, Sport Committee head. “This is an original idea, and people always appreciate originality. The quality of the editing was also extremely good. People at the fundraiser did not expect this from a student organization.”


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Creative Writing Be Thankful by Rafia Ali Imagine that that you were robbed of your last breath Everything you owned was suddenly someone else’s property The people you turned to for hope were no longer there A part of your heart had been torn away Every truth you ever knew, turned out to be a lie What do you hold on to, when your falling into thin air Who do you turn to, when everyone is gone How do you forgive, when you’re consumed by your vengeance……. Well Imagine… A young boy in a country on the other side of world Stands Alone in silence on a hot broken road He looks out into the horizon, his hands worn to the bone The sweat drips down his cheeks, as the subtle breeze cools him down He stands, savoring every breathe of cool air that enters his lungs Thanking his lord that he is alive and that he is out of any harm Behind him he leaves a cloud of chaos and animosity War-torn and orphaned by the tragedies of war He sees the life that is ahead of him on this deserted road Counting only his blessings, he leaves behind what life

has taken away from him Only seeing what lies in his eyes view, not worrying to where it may lead He walks on, this little soldier, to a far away world unknown Thanking Allah For every breathe of clean air he takes in For every sip of clean water he gets to drink For ever bite of bread he gets to eat Thankful, and only Thankful… We spend so much time counting our misfortunes And stressing about the problems we have in life That we don’t see the blessings that have been bestowed upon us We don’t take the time to appreciate our family or friends Don’t take the time to utilize the resources given to us We complain and stress and worry… Be Thankful to Allah for everything you have For every sip of water, every bite of bread. Be grateful for your family and your friends For your car, computer, and shoes Be thankful that you’re not that little solider standing on that desert road With nothing behind you to fall back on and nothing in your future to look forward to Stop for a moment and just breathe, just relax, just take in what is around you. Most of all be thankful…just be thankful


Volume 7, Issue 3 Page 11

Year in Review


Volume 7, Issue 3

Page 12

Crossword Puzzle

THE MUSLIM STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION University of Maryland at College Park Box 44, Stamp Student Union College Park, MD 20742 Email:

Famous Muslims of Our Day


by Sherihan Youssef


Special Instructions: Answers include the first an last name of the individual and there is a blank space between the first and last name.

MSA Officers President: Mohamed Abutaleb Vice-President: Ibrahim Elmoghazy VP Sisters’ Affairs: Mona Ibrahim Masjid Affairs: Hosam Haggag Pub. Relations: Abdullah Valanzola Secretary: Yusuf Yates Treasurer: Mustafa Zaghal MSA Chaplain: Ali Darwish

MWM Officers President: Sherihan Youssef Vice-President: Ruba Elbasha Secretary: Dina Raafat Treasurer: Asfa Lohani Pub. Relations: Fasiha Khan SGA Liaison: Samya Mohammad

Newsletter Staff Editor-in-Chief: Asfa Lohani

Across 2. Author of Return of the Pharaoh 6. Famous Muslim Boxer 9. Islamic Singer. Formally Cat Stevens Down 1. Famous cricket player. Made it in the Guinness World Records. 3. President of the International Union of Muslim Women. Initials are A.A. 4. Founder of Al-Zaytuna Institute 5. Author of "Leadership: An Islamic Perspective". Born in Egypt and his initials are J.B. 7. Prominent Muslim Scholar. Was a former Christian preacher.\par 8. Former member of the Nation of Islam. After leaving NOI, he founded Muslim Mosque, Inc.

Staff Writers: Rafia Ali Maryam bint Dawud Faten Gharib Maria Khalid Fasiha Khan Sherihan Youssef Khuram Zaman Copy Editor: Chancey Gannett Page Editors: Asfa Lohani (Lead) Kausar Sajjad

An-Nur: Volume 7 - Issue 3 (May 6, 2005)  
An-Nur: Volume 7 - Issue 3 (May 6, 2005)  

Rabi Al-Awwal 1426 May 6, 2005 The newsletter of the Muslim Students Association & the Muslim Women of Maryland Volume 7, Issue 3 MSA Histor...