youthvoice In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
“Verily, the men of knowledge are the inheritors of the prophets.” (Hadith)
Volume III, Issue 5 August 2010 http://munayouth.org
Following the Prophets
Power Camp 2010 By Neyamatullah Akbar
By Mahmud Hasan & Naseef Seraj
The Prophets were the greatest role models ever to walk on this earth. They showed us a tremendous amount of sacrifice and dedication towards the way of Allah (SWT). They possessed such characteristics that they were able to convert peoples and establish the true religion of Islam in the world that still thrives to this day. They won the hearts of tens of thousands and had thousands of followers. -Continued on page
Power Camp 2010. An experience that cannot simply be defined in words; in my own terms, it has been the good stuff! To many, the phrase “the good stuff” may be meaningless; however, please note that it is a phrase that comes from the inner depths of my heart. It is a representation of various things – things that I haven’t even figured out yet. To continue, Power Camp 2010 was inspirational, heartwarming, and overall a memorable experience. This year the camp had a far different feeling from those of previous camps. -Continued on page 7
New Horizons 2010 – Islam: Our Choice A
By Farzana Yeasmin
lhamdulillah, MANY has only been established for a few months, yet we’ve had two events, the latter being a huge success. It was in Masjid Bilal on January 17th that the Muslim Alliance of New York was formed, an organization stemmed from the idea of Stuyvesant’s Muslim Students Association working in partnership with that of Bronx Science. Striving to unite the MSAs around the city, Youth Awakening was our first event, held in Bronx Science’s auditorium on March 9th. -Continued on page 6
Inside the Voice: Theme of the Month:
Prophets Page 2 Agenda for August Page 3 MUNA Youth in Action Pages 4-7 Opinion Articles Page 8
A MUNA Youth Publication
Following the Prophets By Mahmud Hasan and Naseef Seraj
-Continued from page 1 Their actions and traits were comparable to no other, and their dedication towards the way of Allah is not comparable to any other man’s. We as the believers of Islam, wanting to learn more about our religion, can not find any examples better than that of the Prophets, the best among human beings to ever walk the earth. From the first to the last, each prophet had certain, unique traits and moral values, which we can learn and should implement in our lives. Adam (AS) showed us the true meaning of life. His obedience to Allah (SWT) was so firm, that even though he was thrown into an
our needs, why wouldn’t He give it to us. But we must understand the concept of patience, which was so clearly grasped by the Prophets. We also learn the ultimate sacrifices many made in the way of Allah (SWT). Ibrahim (AS) made immeasurable amounts of sacrifices for the way and pleasure of Allah. Also, Sulayman (AS) and Yaqub (AS) were great leaders, not only towards humans but towards animals as well. Yusuf (AS) showed us forgiveness. He forgave his brothers who threw him away and left him to die. And Isa (AS) brought us medicine and science, acted kindheartedly with people, and reminded us of the infinite power of Allah (SWT).
not great men on their own but also created others along with them. They made great companions with them and proved that Allah (SWT) didn’t just create these great people, but He also wanted everyone to be like them, to strive to be the greatest of His creation in this world. Allah (SWT) has high hopes and believes in us. He wanted to show that mankind is His greatest creation, not something to be ashamed of. And so the Prophets were the greatest people on this earth; they were the greatest creations that obeyed and pleased Allah (SWT). And if we are seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT), why not follow those who received Allah’s (SWT)
empty world and was completely isolated, he never lost faith. Instead, he repented over and over again for his sin. And Allah (SWT), the Most Merciful of those who are mericful, did forgive him. Nowadays, it is easy to lose faith, easy to push away our faults and sins, easy to be ignorant, but we find it hard to repent and stay away from such sins. If we were to follow the actions of Adam (AS) or any other prophet, we would know the importance of repentance, the benefit of it, and the mercy of Allah (SWT). The prophets had such immense patience that they never gave up trying to show people the truth of Islam. Prophet Nuh preached for 900 years but had few followers and converts. Today we are living in such a fast world that we can’t be patient, we expect everything at our fingertips in the blink of an eye, and we lose faith when we don’t get what we want. But if Allah (SWT) Himself tells us to ask Him for
The Prophet Muhammad (SWT), completes all the prophets’ messages and summarized them and brought them together. He made Allah’s (SWT) message clear for all of time. His character is comparable to none other, and all the characteristics of the prophets, just, patient, merciful, kind, caring, were found within him. He transformed polytheist nations, who were brutally against him, into an Islamic world, one reason for his success being his character. His traits surpassed that of any other man of before him, during his time, and even to this day. So the question is: why shouldn’t we follow the Prophets and strive to be like them or at least close to them. They were indeed the greatest people to walk on this earth, and they laid their lives on the line for the sake of Allah (SWT), and they had faith in Allah (SWT), and with Allah’s (SWT) help they overcame all their difficuties. The Prophets were
greatest help, mercy and pleasure? And if they were able to achieve such greatness during times of such hardship, why can’t we try to follow them at a time when we no longer are oppressed but instead have such great freedom? And even with corruptions and hardships in this world against Islam, the Prophets’ legacies live on to this day and just show their greatness as leaders, humans and most of all Muslims. Their influence will forever be marked in history. It is our duty as Muslims and mankind to follow their examples to our highest capability, for our sake and for the sake of Allah (SWT). We are the beloved creation of Allah (SWT), and it is time to remind everyone who we really should be, and in order for us to achieve this greatness in our lives, following the examples of lives of the Prophets will be a requirement.
A MUNA Youth Publication
The August Agenda Theme: Prophets 1st Week • Introduction • Dars al-Qur’an: Prophets • Personal Portfolio Presentation & Analysis • Organizational Portfolio Presentation & Analysis • Youth Voice: Review & Discussion • Monthly Planning: Discussion on da‘wah and member development • Ehthesab • Miscellaneous (Remember to have Primary Members’ meeting) • Du‘a 2nd Week (Tarbiyaa Session) • Introduction • Dars al-Qur’an: Al-Kafirun • Islamic Topic: Prophets • Organizational Topic: Senior Member • Prophets & Messengers (AS): Yusuf • Sahabah (RA): Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr • Profession: Public Official/Public Service • “How To” Workshop: Time Management (especially during Ramadan) • Words of Wisdom • Miscellaneous (Can use this session as a large da‘wah program) • Du‘a 3rd Week • Introduction • Recitation of the Qur’an with meaning: Find references of Ibrahim (AS) in the Qur’an • Practice Tajweed • Review & Discussion of Islamic Literature: Islamic Movement: Prerequisites for Success (http://tiny.cc/yv_IL_07100 • Miscellaneous • Du‘a 4th Week • Introduction • Recitation of the Qur’an with meaning: Find references of Isa (AS) in the Qur’an • Memorization of Du‘a: Du‘a for Ram(http://tiny.cc/dua_0610) • Islamic History: The History of Islam/A History of Islamic Societies • Discussion of Hadith • Miscellaneous • Du‘a 5th Week • Introduction • Recitation of the Qur’an with meaning: Find references of Yusuf (AS) in the Qur’an • Quiz: Basic preparation for Ramadan (Test each other) • Current Events in the Islamic World: Bring in an article and discuss • Miscellaneous • Du‘a
The Youth Voice is published by Muslim Ummah of North America
Dr. Sayeed Chowdhury National President, MUNA Arman Chowdhury National Director, MUNA Youth
Abu Ahmed Nuruzzaman National Vice President, MUNA Abdullah al Ma’mun Editor, Youth Voice
Abul Faizullah National Executive Director, MUNA Rakibul Mazumder Designer & Assistant Editor, Youth Voice
If you have any comments or suggestions or would like more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org A MUNA Youth Publication
May Twenty-Second Two Thousand Ten By Janis Mahnure
woke up on Sunday morning, the 23rd of May, with a hangover from all the excitement from the New Horizons event. I awoke, feet swollen with red and pink blisters, my stomach growling, my thighs aching, my arms sore, and my head spinning. However, I woke up with a huge smile on my face, thinking: that was the best dream ever. After performing Fajr prayer and then going on my laptop, lo and behold, Facebook shows me the cause of my unique hangover. It was the best day of my life. Period. Waking up early to finish cooking for the Bake Sale (which made over $965 might I add), getting dressed in clothing I spent a week picking out, and rushing out of my home, reciting my poem in my head. The food was mouthwatering. The sisters actually stayed up until 3 AM the night before, cooking and baking. Even the sandwiches that were bought for the event were delicious.. When my friends and I got to the venue, our second home, Stuyvesant High School, we were hyped. We decorated the school inside and out, blowing balloons, and cutting ribbon and streamers, and walking in and out of the theater. Panic hit me when I started to forget the lines to my own poem. Meanwhile, the board members of MANY were stressing out, wondering if they still had enough time. However, we were on schedule, for everything. Once registration got going,
so did my feet. I was busy showing people the different entrances and running around making sure everything was okay. After about the first 500 people, we needed more room. Now my feet were running up and down the stairs to take guests to the balcony--we had well over a thousand people throughout the course of the day. Everything went smoothly. Too smoothly in my view, which was good. The MANY board members were not stressing any more; rather, they were enjoying themselves. And the rest of us were really having a good time. We went in and out of the theater, missing certain really good parts and still making it for Imam Abdul Malik’s lecture (which was simply amazing). Brother Mohammed Hannini’s Gender Relations topic was of course very interesting. I also heard from others that Imam Shamsi Ali was awesome as well. As for the entertainment, the Halal Jesters (Mahdi & Abrar) were epic. As usual, Baba Ali was funny, and I heard Native Deen was the highlight of the entire day (I was not in the theater at that time). And I got Baba Ali’s autograph at the end! And then seeing my artwork in a tangible form was also a special treat! Moreover, throughout the day, a few special people made me smile the widest smiles I’ve ever smiled in my life. All in all, perfect day, perfect beginning, perfect ending, and a perfect smile. As a sister of mine would say, “It was ineffable.”
An Experience to Remember By Abdul Kadir
e were able to witness the great accomplishment of the New Horizons event starting from the minute we stepped up to the doors of the Stuyvesant High School. It was very smart of MUNA and MANY to choose Stuyvesant High School as the setting of the event as the auditorium of the school is state-of-the-art. It had an excellent sound system and two floors to view the stage from. The event was a great success in various aspects. From an academic perspective, it provided us valuable Islamic knowledge from many different scholars. There were topics that are crucial to the youth living in America. An example of such a topic was the speech by Brother Mohammad Hannini on Gender Issues in America. Some of the speakers gave very motivational speeches that were effective in boosting our ‘iman. Imam Abdul Malik’s speech, of course, had several ovations. From the organizational aspect as well, the New Horizon event
was a huge achievement. It bought together different organizations that have similar goals, and have similar ideas and it allowed them to join forces in striving in the path of Allah. The event bought together youth from many different schools and cities to allow them to work together in organizing an event that will help solve many of the problems facing our youth today. Insh’Allah, Allah will reimburse them for their time in the Afterlife. On a different note, the event was a very fun and entertaining. The entertainment session was more than just a bunch of laughs; it gave us numerous lessons and advices. Peter Casey was able to show off his beautiful voice by singing his own versions of Cats Stevens, Usher (yeah Usher!), and Dawud Wharnsby. The three songs sung by him showed us his raw talent. Next up was Baba Ali. His stand-up comedy filled the audience with laughter. The last entertainer of the day was Native Deen.
Unfortunately Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Naeem Muhammad weren’t able to come, so Joshua Salaam had to sing solo. With the help of his talented band it still turned out great. Leaving the topic of the entertainment and going outside the auditorium, we find the book sale, which had many treasures of knowledge to benefit mankind. There were also concession stands selling delicious food such as brownies, cookies, cake, etc. As an incentive, the organizers offered raffle ticket prizes. At the end of the event, the organizers and their helpers demonstrated their generosity by giving out the rest of food at the concession stands for free. Obviously this caused a commotion, but the helpers did a good job managing it. With all the awards, rewards, scholars, and entertainers, the New Horizon event was a great success. All in all, we are thankful to Allah (SWT) for this magnificent event, and we do look forward to another event like this in the future. Insh’Allah.
A MUNA Youth Publication
New Horizons Photo Album By MUNA Youth
A MUNA Youth Publication
New Horizons 2010 – Islam: Our Choice By Farzana Yeasmin
-Continued from page 1 It was a small start for just a high school audience to get this organization going in full speed. Aiming for a bigger audience, MANY held New Horizons, the first youth conference in New York for people of all ages, at Stuyvesant High School’s Murray Kahn Theater on May 22nd. Hosted by MANY and MUNA Youth, the conference began at 10 am. Br. Abdullah al-Ma’mun began the introduction, and Br. Mir Shajee gave a wonderful Qur’an recitation. A welcome note was given from MANY and MUNA Youth, specifically from Naveed Akter, president of StuyMSA, and Br. Abdullah al-Ma’mun and Br. Mahmud Asif Ahmed from MUNA Youth. Sis. Fatema Afrose Elias, president of MANY, later gave a speech on the formation and goals of our organization. With that, we were lead into a series of amazing speakers and performances. Unlike Youth Awakening, a short event where our topics, the importance of community and the identity of Muslims, were introductory, this event was roughly nine and a half hours long, giving us time to arrange for a variety of topics. Khalid Latif from ICNYU was our first primary speaker on Our Identity as Muslims, as unfortunately, AbuSamihah Sirajul-Islam was unable to come due to sickness; our prayers go to him and his family. Dr. Sayeed Chowdhury, National President of MUNA, spoke about the Purpose of Life. Shaykh Mustafa spoke on Following the Sahabah, and well-known Imam Shamsi Ali answered the question: Why Islam? Br. Mohammad Hannini, one of the most enjoyed and preferred speakers found by our MSAs at MIST, the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament held earlier this year in which both StuyMSA and BxSci MSA participated in, spoke at New Horizons on his specialty – Gender Relations. Unlike many of the
other topics, Br. Hannini’s engaged many of the sisters, discussing the boundaries between men and women in Islam and issues concerning marriage. Our final speaker, Imam Abdul Malik, gave an amazing speech on the topic “Importance of Community/Youth Activism.” We thank all our speakers for taking time to come out to such an event, the first of many, insha’Allah. To balance the speakers, we had sponsors speak and some of our beloved MSA members perform for our audience. Abrar Rabi, Mahdi Mahmood, and Lincoln Islam, members of StuyMSA and a.k.a the Halal Jesters, a comedy group originally formed for the brothers’ MIST Talent Show, gave an amusing performance on issues and stereotypes pertaining to Muslims today, including gawking at the opposite gender when at a mosque/performing a prayer, spitting on each others’ sandals when performing wudhu, not limiting yourself to becoming a taxi driver, and more. Br. Mir Shajee, Sis. Sabiha Toni, and Sis. Janis each performed a spoken word piece on topics of their interests. Khadijah’s Caravan, the Muslim Day Parade, MECCA Center, and Islamic Games were among the speakers outside MUNA Youth and MANY. Booths, such as one for Islamic Relief, were set up outside the auditorium, to engage the audience in Islamic books and products. The major highlights of New Horizons were the final three performances – Peter Cassey from QCMSA, Baba Ali, and Native Deen. Although he isn’t as well known asBaba Ali and Native Deen, Br. Peter Cassey, first seen by some of our members at A Night for Children in Need held at Queens College, shocked the audience with his wonderful voice. His informality, humbleness, and overall amazing presentation made for a truly pleasing performance for the youth in our audience. Baba Ali followed. Already known
worldwide by his video series, UmmahFilms, our audience was hyped for the comedian from the very beginning. Having only planned his performance right before the event, Baba Ali failed to disappoint the general audience with his comedy. Last but definitely not least, Joshua Salaam from Native Deen gave a live musical performance to remember. Performing some of their leading hits, including Not Afraid to Stand Alone and MUSLIM, the singer and his three talented percussionists amazed the audience even though Joshua is only one of three singers in Native Deen, a group that fuses street rap, hip-hop and R&B to inspire and uplift the Iman in modern society. Planning and fulfilling New Horizons was truly an experience to remember. Together, the sisters and brothers were able to make over 700 goodies bags for the audience, make an enormous amount of baked goods for sale, provide delicious free lunch for all the participants involved, confirm amazing speakers and entertainment, and hopefully, inspire some of the youth in New York City to become more involved. And of course, none of this would have truly been a success were it not for our coordinator, Br. Aminul Islam, vice president of StuyMSA and an active member of MUNA Youth; Br. Aminul was able to oversee all the board members and volunteers, and even whilehaving sprained his ankle last minute, was very well prepared in getting different volunteers to oversee different departments on the day of the event. None of this would have worked were it not for the huge number of people who came. We thank Allah for allowing us to have such an event, and insha’Allah, there will be more to come in the future. Allah tells us in Surah Al-Imran, Ayah 104: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.”
A MUNA Youth Publication
Power Camp 2010 By Neyamatullah Akbar
-Continued from page 1 Right when you stepped into the beach house, there was this feeling that crept in from within – a feeling that you belonged there. Despite the fact that we all came from various corners of this nation, every brother was able to develop an unbreakable bond. At first, many of the new attendees may have felt somehwhat scared or uneasy. However, everyone’s friendly and accepting nature was able to shatter those feelings – and create a much more positive environment. Every brother’s love for each other was clearly demonstrated as they exercised patience and sacrifice with each other. Throughout camp, everyone gave preference and priority to their fellow companions – similar to the Sahabi during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). This brotherhood that formed between us has become like the cementing agent that is found between brick walls; connecting and attaching every brick to each other. We have become a firm group. Without the unique group of people at this camp, none of it would have been possible. Never will we forget the times we have shared together at camp this year; from the late night conversations and joking around, exhilarating trips to the beach, jumping around in the ocean, getting destroyed by the ferocious waves, playing football and volleyball, to the amazing food we ate (May Allah (SWT) bless the efforts of those who sacrificed their time and effort to cook for us, ameen), and most importantly, the epic thunderstorm that drenched us as many of the brothers walked back from the beach. Insha’Allah, we will be able to have times like these again for it is these memorable experiences that we spend together, that make our lives invigorating.
On a more serious note, the camp was able to bring forth a spiritual revival. With the selection of Maududi’s Prerequisites for Success in the Islamic Movement, the camp brought about a personal awakening and stressed the importance of communal responsibility. The presentations on the chapters in the book were very well done as they made it much easier to understand the text. Through our study of it, we learned that this was far more than a regular book. It was, as some have said, a manual that outlined everything that we need to have in order to establish a successful Islamic social order. It was a perfect selection for this camp as it truly motivated the attendees to become the best among the best. Reading this book could not have come at a better time – as the world earnestly waits for something to happen – we have realized that we are the future leaders of tomorrow. This power camp motivated the attendees to strive towards a vision; an overall vision of a better world. There is much work left to do in the coming years. However, with this camp, with the people at this camp, there is a growing feeling that rises within me hinting that something big is about to happen in our lives. We must take on the responsibility to care for the world around us. We can no longer have the “someone-else-will-
do-it” mentality. Instead, we must realize that we are the ones that have to do it. No more waiting around. The time has finally come to take the responsibility of the world upon our shoulders; and remember the African Proverb, which states, “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” – we must work diligently today in order to have a better tomorrow. This concept is true in basically every sense. In the religious sense, we must work hard today in this world, this test, this pit stop, in order to attain the pleasure of Allah (SWT tomorrow. Once we come to this realization, we will, insha’Allah, begin to solve the various problems plaguing our communities. On a concluding note, Power Camp 2010 inspired us to want to be amongst the people that are described in the Ayah of the Qur’an: “Let there arise from amongst you a group of people who enjoins in what is right and forbids what is wrong.” Let us become this group of people. Let us go out into the world and show them what we are made of. Let us do the good stuff – all for the sake of Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) graciously bless our efforts and, insha’Allah, grant each and every one of us the greatest of rewards – the pleasure of Allah. Ameen.
A MUNA Youth Publication
Giving Up Dancing: My Jihad
n Arabic, the word jihād is a noun meaning “struggle.” Jihad appears frequently in the Qur’an and common usage as the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”. A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid, the plural is mujahideen. A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of Islam, though it occupies no such official status. In Twelver Shi’a Islam, however, Jihad is one of the 10 Practices of the Religion. In the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam, and the prophetic example (Sunna) the word jihad implies warfare in the large majority of cases. – Wikipedia I am sixteen years old and I am a mujahid. No, I didn’t kill people for the sake of Allah, nor did I inflict harm upon anyone, believer or nonbeliever. But I am still considered a mujahid. Dancing is the movement of the body employing twisting and turning forms to make an appealing look and to feel a tingling sensation. Whether it be belly dancing on your own to the beat of drums as people look in awe at the way your tummy slithers and quivers, or on stage as a group seeing the uniformity and smiles after weeks of hard work. Seeing choreography that was once inside my head come into life. Hip hop movements like continuous thunder bolts to every beat or every line. Ballet and jazz mak-
By Janis Mahnure
ing the lyrics into wind, air and water. And letting loose at parties with the opposite gender, grinding and whining and dubbing. When it comes to dancing, you name it, I’ve done it. Performing in front of hundreds of people, teaching groups of
people, or going crazy at Day Jams. Haram, I know. I knew back then as well. But once shaytan influences a believer this much, no matter what the believer hears, she will do the unlawful even without shaytan’s whispers. “Act, for each of you will find easy that for which he was created.” (Muslim)
Dancing was easy for me, getting opportunities and offers was easy for me. Life was easy for me. What was hard was giving it up. How do you give up a talent? Or even a passion? It’s like asking an artist to stop drawing, a writer to stop writing, a soccer player to stop playing soccer. How does a dancer stop dancing? And once she does, is she no longer a dancer? I don’t even recall how I gave it up. All I know is that it was gradual. I love dancing. But when I gave up listening to music, I gave up dancing. It was simple. What’s the use of me using my body to please others? They aren’t the ones who’ll get me into paradise. Allah (SWT) is. Like I once said in a spoken word poetry of mine: Obey his command for it is He who gives you the clothes on your back, it is He who gives you that morsel of food, it is He will you save you from the fires of Hell. For many people, giving up music is their Jihad. I’ve always loved music especially because it goes hand-in-hand with dancing. In my spare time, that’s all I did, blast music and dance. Now, in my spare time I’m reading Hadiths aramsnd making ‘artworks’ with Photoshop. I’ve stopped dancing. That doesn’t mean I won’t dance ever again. I would so dance for my husband or with my girl friends. But not to music, to someone singing or maybe Ballet to a Nasheed. That would be adorable, don’t you think?
A MUNA Youth Publication