MUSLIMVOICE MARCH 2010 VOLUME XVI ISSUE 2
It’s a Muslim Problem
Toronto 18 Recent Developments or
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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
ENTER MY PARADISE
WHY COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT
TRIPLE FILTER TEST
MINARET BOOK REVIEW
SHE NEEDS TO BE SAVED
RIFA TAHSINA ALI
2 3 5 6 8 10 12 14
ALI AKBAR SAHIWALA
17 19 20 22 24 26 27 28
PITFALLS OF THE GENERATION
THE UNION OF SPIRIT AND INTELLECT
WAR IS WAR
10 TIPS TO STAY POSITIVE
THE ORPHAN SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM UPDATE
CLIMATE CHANGE: ITS A MUSLIM PROBLEM
MY INSTINCTS SAY NAY
CERCATORE AKA ARZOO ZAHEER
THE MUSLIM VOICE
SPRING2010_VOLUMEXVI_ISSUE2 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RIFA TAHSINA ALI COPY EDITORS EBADUR RAHMAN (CHIEF) ZENA CHAUDHRY JENNA EVANS ANILA DURRANI IMAN SIWALEM SANA HASHMI RAMEEZ MAHMOUD PROMOTION AND MARKETING NAVEED ISLAM (CHIEF) SAMEER ZAHEER ZENAIRA ALI IMAN SIWALEM SANA ROCKSEFAT LAYOUT DESIGN TAUS SHAH RIFA TAHSINA ALI BILAL RAZA COVER PHOTOGRAPHY SHANELE SOARES CONTRIBUTING WRITERS IMAN MOHAMMAD ARZOO ZAHEER SAMEER ZAHEER HIBA TANVIR CATALINA RADULESCU ISHRAQ ALIM QASIM CHEEMA AISHA CHAUDHRY SHAHEENA SYED ALI AKBAR SAHIWALA HUSAIN CADER FAREEDAH ABDULQADIR JENNA EVANS ANTON KURATNIK MARWA SAAD SPECIAL THANKS TO SHANELE SOARES KEEPINGITHALAL.com SEND US SNAIL MAIL The Muslim Voice c/o Muslim Students’ Association 21 Sussex Avenue, Suite 505 Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1J6
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Assalamu Alaikum; May the Peace and Blessings of God be with you, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), we have made it to the last issue of the 09/10 school year. It has been a great run, and I want to thank everyone who has helped with The Muslim Voice magazine. I have been truly blessed with an amazing team of volunteers; you all occupy a special place in my heart and I love you for the sake of Allah SWT. May Allah SWT grant you success in this life and in the next, and I hope we get the opportunity to work together as a team again. As we come to the end of the 09/10 school year, I want to leave you with something that has been engraved in me by one of my favourite contemporary thinkers: “We are here to serve the people, and we must do so with a critical mind, with love” (Tariq Ramadan). By “people”, he means our neighbours, our community, and our fellow Canadians. This beautiful country has opened its arms to us, and by the blessings of Allah SWT, we are able to reap the benefits of its embrace. For as long as we enjoy the blessing of being Canadian, it remains our duty to serve the Canadian community. Many of us live with this idea that our true home is ‘back home’, and so we become obsessed with the events of this ‘back home’ and neglect our duties to our country of citizenship. There is nothing wrong with helping the people in other countries, but when Allah SWT questions us on the Day of Judgement and asks us what we did for our neighbours, He SWT will not mean our neighbours on the other side of the planet. We will be held accountable for what we did for our community here— how we tackled the issue of homelessness and poverty, unjust treatment of the imprisoned and minority, and caring for the elderly and sick. By “serv[ing] the people” blind subservience is not implied. We are in University to build a critical mind and hopefully we know more about our world to be able to question the decisions made by our government, the practices of our neighbours, and the agenda of the neo-colonialist world we live in. Therefore, when we serve, we must do so with pre-conceived knowledge of our community. In this, we can find examples from the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) knew that cruelty to slaves and weaker tribes was rampant and often practiced by the leaders of his society—he also knew that it was wrong—and so he strongly condemned racism and upheld equality. The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved his people and he genuinely wanted to help them. We serve our Lord because we love Him. We serve our parents because we love them. Similarly, we can only serve our community if we love the members of it. I write all this with the hopes of providing a trajectory on how to make it so we pursue an education for the sake of Allah SWT. Ignorance is no longer a blessing that we can enjoy after four years in university, because with knowledge comes great responsibility. We now have the means to think critically to create change for the better. So set your heart on just that— aspire to love your community and pursue a career where you can apply your knowledge to create change in society for the better, and ultimately serve your people to please Allah SWT. Take care, Ma Assalam; peace out. Rifa Tahsina Ali Editor-In-Chief, The Muslim Voice
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Why Community Is Important ISHRAQ ALIM
The Trials and Tribulations of Our Muslim Community Some of you may have met me, while most are probably reading this wondering who I am? Well, let me shed some light on elements of my identity; I am your brother, your neighbor, your classmate, your friend, and a part of your community. Most of you are probably confused as to what I am talking about, but I hope, Insha’Allah (God Willing), to share my views of our Muslim campus community and perhaps contribute some insight on how to make it better. Let’s start from the beginning. When I started here, at this wonderful university (no sarcasm intended), I felt alone. I was a fish going from
my comfy high school pond to the ocean we call university. To avoid this loneliness on campus, I decided to make friends and be part of a new community. Under the advisement of my parents (whose primary goal was for me to find a girl), I joined a cultural club. At first it felt good to make friends and meet new people. But slowly, I began feeling out of place. Growing up in Canada as a proud Muslim, I felt that I had to conform to this “inherited culture”, and was regularly questioned about my personal beliefs. Don’t get me wrong- I like questions about my beliefs, but when someone does it in a condescending manner, you get the message that they are asking
you for the sake of insulting you and not out of curiosity. “Oh, you don’t drink? What’s wrong with you?” was a question I regularly received due to my choice to abstain from alcohol. I soon left and began feeling alone, once again. During my third year, I began getting involved with the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), where I volunteered the Outreach Committee. This was a few years after 9/11 and I felt the need to explain to everyone on campus that I didn’t have intentions of killing them. Also, it felt good to come in at 8:00 am to set up the Islam Awareness Week booth at Sid WINTER 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/3
Smith. It felt good to be part of this community and I felt accepted. The MSA was diﬀerent; there are things in common between Muslims, but there is also diversity. The MSA organized diﬀerent kinds of activities, from ski trips to blood drives to lectures about almost anything. I had friends who were locals like me, as well as those who were international students and they always supported me, even if it meant making small compromises. The MSA was great and all, but I soon faced my first trial: my family and family friends. To them, I had made the ultimate betrayal; I left the “good” cultural community for the “conservative” and “dangerous” religious one. My parents warned me to be careful about what I got involved in. Their friends asked if I would marry a hijabi (someone who wears a headscarf ). Due to the fact that many of my family friends don’t wear the hijab, it would be like me bringing home an alien, or worse, a white girl. I felt these questions were meaningless and I tried to explain to them that I wasn’t changing into something new, but rather exposing myself to new people who I got along with. My parents were the first to change their views of the MSA, but unfortunately, many of their friends still need a bit more convincing. So that’s the story about how I joined the MSA. However, it’s not over, yet. You see, the MSA is great as an organization, but I want to make it more than that. I want it to become a real community. Many of you may be wondering how I might do that. To be honest, I don’t know everything, but I believe that if we work together as Muslims on campus, we can achieve this. The first thing we need to do is to change our outlook on what the MSA is. If we keep seeing the MSA as an organization where the executives do things for you on demand, then we
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“ we need to see the MSA as something that belongs to everyone on campus and we should all work together towards our common goal.” will never get out of this rut. We can start oﬀ small by calling ourselves a Muslim community rather than just an organization. If we say it enough times, perhaps others will catch on too. Next, we need to see the MSA as something that belongs to everyone on campus and we should all work together towards our common goal. We, as Muslims, also need to end our current state of apathy if we are to be respected as individuals and as a campus community. I have seen that if given the opportunity, Muslims (including myself ) will complain about anything and everything under the sun. Their family, the MSA, their work, their classes, Islamophobia, etc. Although all these topics are important and their complaints are valid, when Muslims are asked to do something about it, they immediately shake oﬀ any responsibility to change their situation with the most common excuse of all: “I am too busy.” Well, we are all busy, but some of us have taken it upon ourselves to make our lives and the lives of other Muslims on campus, better. So, as a reminder to us all, the next time we are about to complain about something, we should contemplate about what we have done to make things better. As a community, we need to think of what goals we want to achieve and keep in mind where we would like to see the campus community in five, or even ten, years. Many of us may not be here as only students, but rather, we view it as something we are doing for the sake of Allah SWT to help those who will come after us. For too long, Muslims have simply come to this campus, received their degree, and left not thinking about what will
happen to Muslims in the future. Our talents are wasted when they could be used to give back to students who are going through the same trials and tribulations you once went through. Finally, to create a community, we must be inclusive. We should forget about the little things that divide us and work on the big things that unite us. Too many MSAs exclude people over the smallest reasons, such as how long one’s beard is or how a sister wears hijab or doesn’t wear hijab. Is this what community is about? Are we here to police people on standards we create ourselves? To me, the MSA is not about the “perfect” Muslim, but rather, for all Muslims who want to improve their deen (faith). By being inclusive, we should also reclaim our identity and be proud of being Muslim. If we have a community full of people who are ashamed of being Muslim, we will go nowhere. I think I shared a lot and I hope you start to think of the Muslims on our campus as a community and not just a random group of people. Please be civil with one another and treat each other with kindness, as we are all struggling on the same boat. When you graduate, don’t forget the brothers and sisters you have left behind; just because they may not ask for your help, doesn’t mean that they will not need it.
HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR THE MSA? If so, then leave a comment on the website at www.uoftmsa.com, or e-mail the president directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Best wishes from the UTSG MSA execs 09-10.
BOOK REVIEW by IMAN MOHAMMAD
IN HER 2005 BOOK Minaret Leila Aboulela focuses the lens on Najwa. Najwa’s downturned gaze and hijab makes her a modest Muslim woman to her mosque friends and an obedient maid to her employers. In London Najwa learns to live the role of the invisible figures that catered to her as a young university student in Khartoum.
narrator, relays what she sees and how she feels to the reader with no boundaries. As a result the reader is able to make connections and interpret the content with no directions. Identity in Minaret is displayed less as a struggle and more as a state of being. For Najwa Islam means peace for the mind and purity for the body.
The story flashes back from London from the early 2000s to the mid 80s and 90s to recount the shattering events which transformed the secular, partying Najwa of Sudan to a humble housekeeper.
Aboulela’s tranquil storytelling reflects to the reader Najwa’s observant and reflective nature. The South African Nobel Prize winner J. M Coetzee calls Minaret a “story of love and faith all the more moving for the restraint with which it is written.” I warn readers of the strong attachment and identification felt towards Najwa. Her simplicity, sincerity and serenity make it hard to part with the words that reveal her deepest secrets and silent triumphs.
Why did Najwa replace her short mini-skirts to long floor length skirts? How did Najwa decide to tie her hair and cover every strand under the hijab? If a reader is seeking a romanticized depiction of Sudan with its fertile agricultural land, rivers and friendly citizens then I would not recommend Minaret. Najwa, a naïve
Please read responsibly.
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THE PITFALLS OFOF THE A GENERATION
BY ANTON KURATNIK
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We are a generation that cares. The progress of globalization, mass media, and the internet means that today, more than ever before, we can become aware of injustices, poverty, oppression, conflict, and tragedies around the world. This information makes us want to act. In her commencement speech at Harvard University, author J.K. Rowling said that only through imagination can human beings empathize with each other. Indeed, few of us have experienced the oppression, suﬀering, hunger, and pain that we hear about daily in the news. Yet, through our imagination, we can empathize which makes us very eager to help. So, today, there is a plethora of Muslim non-profit groups and political and charity organizations who are all citing verses of the Qur’an and various hadith (sayings of the Prophet) to prove the importance of their work. So prevalent is this, that one can often meet individuals running these organizations who sincerely believe that it is their cause that is the most important; their cause that should receive all the attention and all the eﬀorts of the Muslim ummah (community) at the expense of all other causes. Often times, these individuals will have plenty of scriptural evidence to back it all up. My question is whether or not the Qur’an and Sunna (practices of the Prophet) are really the reasons we are doing this work. Are we helping fight injustice in Palestine, AIDS in Africa, and homelessness in Canada because we are taught to do so by our faith? Or are we doing so because we have witnessed or have heard of these crises, felt an emotional attachment, and decided to get to work? Is it simply because helping others makes us feel good? These are questions to consider and ponder over, because only actions (whether they are charitable acts, activism, or prayer) done sincerely, for the sake of pleasing God, are the ones which will, ultimately, have any weight. Everything else, for no matter how noble a cause or reason, is pointless; if not in this world, then surely in the next. That might be an unpopular statement because one may wonder why a Muslim can’t simply help others because he or she cares; is the end result not the same? I believe a part of it has to do with emotion. Activism, in all its forms, is a very emotional process. I’ve met plenty of activists who can become so passionate about their cause that they forget the etiquette of behavior that Muslims are required to follow. Would an individual conscious of the fact that one is doing an action for the sake of Allah
(SWT), easily forget simple points of Islamic etiquette? The essence of the problem, in my opinion, is the source of one’s guidance. If emotions are guiding our actions, what will prevent us from doing wrong, making incorrect decisions, or even falling into sin? The Qur’an and the Sunna do not only tell us what to do, but they also tell us how to do it. They make it a point to tell us what to avoid. In activism in general (but in its political form, in particular), decisions aren’t always easy. How will we make the right choices when our guiding principles are our feelings? Also, if we claim to be guided by Qur’an and Sunna, then how much of them do we really know? To those of us (including myself ) involved in social justice: have we read up on how the Prophet (peace be upon him) strove to uphold it? (I’m not talking about the common ready-made quotes, but thorough research.) To those of us engaged in political activism: have we read up on the Sunna of dealing with others? Do we know what the fuqaha (jurists) say on fighting injustice and dealing with those we disagree with? Often times, the answers of our scholars may surprise us. The dangers of forgetting Qur’an and Sunna in activism are plentiful. One may become too strict which slows down the pace of one’s work with unnecessary limitations. One may also become too liberal which would lead to disobeying God’s command while trying to carry out the mission one claims is for God’s sake. In fact, simply acting out of ignorance can be a sin in itself. So how can an individual, whose desire to serve God stems from reading His Book, fail to look into that same Book for guidance in one’s own actions? The problems of insincerity don’t end there. How many of us are struggling to help others while forgetting about the rights of our families? How many of us disrespect and neglect our parents and spouses while maintaining that our activism is for the sake of God? These are all points to ponder upon and reflect. This article is not meant to be an indictment of all, or even most, Muslim activists. It is simply a reminder, first and foremost, to me. All of us struggle with sincerity and I strongly urge everyone to reflect: do we really do it for God? And if so, do we know enough about what we are doing? Take a few minutes to reflect. Remember, improper intentions are not a reason to leave any activity; that is a satanic ploy. Rather, continue on and ask God to correct one’s heart. God, alone, knows best.
“The essence of the problem is the source of one’s guidance. If emotions are guiding our actions, what will prevent us from doing wrong?”
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THE UNION OF SPIRIT AND INTELLECT BY JENNA EVANS
Are those who know equal to those who do not? (The Quran, 39:9)
Comprehensive Islamic Education for Our Youth THE EMPHASIS ON KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION in both the Quran and Sunnah (examples of the Prophet) demonstrates the importance of life-long learning as part of our mission of itisam billah, or “holding on to Allah.” Only through knowledge and understanding of Islam can we develop our faith and remain close to Allah. The importance of religious learning is recognized by Muslims. Families send their children to full-time or weekend Islamic schools and strive to educate them on their faith at home. However, as a former student, volunteer, and teacher in weekend Islamic schools for 13 years, 3 years, and 2 years respectively, I have experienced and witnessed narrow curriculums in Islamic studies. Often what we teach our youth is focused solely on religious obligations, stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them), and Quran memorization. This training is critical to being an active Muslim on a daily basis and it certainly must be included as part of any Islamic education program. Yet, this is a narrow approach to teaching Islam that may not succeed in instilling passion and an unwavering Islamic personality in our youth. Islamic education should be two-fold, focusing on both spiritual and intellectual knowledge. For example, we must not only memorize the Quran – we must also seek to understand, analyze, and discuss its teachings. As I look back, I can identify the exact moments when I began to develop a passion and thirst for Islam. It was during my late teens (age 16-18) that I was exposed to a side of Islam that I had never experienced before – the intellectual side. In a free, evening class at a local university I started learning about the history of Islam, but not in the way that I had been taught as a child. We discussed famous battles in Islam in detail, mapping out the terrain, discussing the tactics used, and learning about the rules of warfare in Islam. In an art history class, I was enthralled by the beauty and powerful influence of Islamic art and architecture. In a world religions course, I had the opportunity to study the Bible, compare Islam to the other monotheistic and polytheistic faiths, and understand the links between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In another course I took, offered by a local masjid, I learned the basics of fiqh (Islamic law) as well as about the many
Islamic empires that emerged after the Prophet’s death (peace be upon him), and what led to the eventual disintegration of the Muslim world. I soon began conducting my own research and learned about the great women and youth of Islam (both historical and modern) and the contributions of Muslims to chemistry, physics, mathematics, and astronomy. Why are these fascinating and important parts of our history as Muslims and of our faith not included in mainstream Islamic education? Awareness and understanding of history, law, and politics in Islam can all enhance our experience as Muslims and contribute to our motivation and inspiration towards fulfilling our religious obligations and emulating the Prophet (peace be upon him). We are often taught not to question our religion, for questioning it is viewed as a sign of weak faith. But for me it was not until I started asking questions and seeking answers that my love for Islam truly developed. “Does God exist?” “Is Islam the true religion?” These are basic questions that are fundamental to our status as Muslims, but we rarely openly discuss them. We take for granted that our youth understand and believe in these basic principles. Yet, if we look back to when Islam was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), we see that he spent years teaching only tawhid (that God is one). Approaching the topic of the existence and oneness of God as well as the validity of Islam from both a spiritual (belief and acceptance) and intellectual (logic and reasoning) perspective strengthens the foundation of our knowledge and our faith. This allows our youth to develop the ability to make critical analyses and to think independently. With these skills, youth are well-equipped to engage in discussion and debate with others, and to embark on a journey of life-long learning. More importantly they are able to engage with Islam –with Allah and with the Prophet (peace be upon him) – on a higher level. The Quran states, “God will exalt those who believe among you and those who have knowledge to high ranks” (The Quran, al-Mujadala 35:28). Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, the ambassadors for Islam. We must invest in their Islamic education and seek not only for them to memorize and repeat information, but also for them to have a passion for Islam, confidence as a Muslim, and an Islamic personality. We can achieve this by providing comprehensive Islamic education that is both spiritual and intellectual. spring 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/9
tips to stay positive
EXAMS, ASSIGNMENTS, FRIENDS, SIBLINGS…when will I get a job? Will I enjoy it? Can I please my parents? When will I graduate? The list of questions is endless. Yes, life can get a little stressful sometimes and the closer I get to graduating, the more I toss and turn thinking about all of these questions. They prey on my every bit of strength and press on my mind, corrupting every bit of my efforts. If this sounds like you, then I have a few things to share. Happiness may seem like an elusive drop of water in an endless sea of stress, negativity, and contempt but things don’t necessarily have to be this way. Don’t scoff; hear me out. There are (as cliché as it may sound) 10 tips to success in life.
1 be Patient!
You may have heard this time and time again but hearing it once more can’t hurt. In the Qur’an it is written as the following: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient)."(the Quran, 2:155) In our lives, we are tested a countless number of times. Thus, life itself necessitates a strong sense of will and perseverance.
2 TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Allah will not test you with more than what you can handle. Knowing this, make a game plan and take life step by step. Tomorrow a midterm; a few months from now, final exams; a year from now, a job…and so on. Don’t let things build up and overwhelm you. After all, you didn’t read the Qur’an in one day; you read it chapter by chapter!
3 MAKE THE RIGHT FRIENDS.
Friends can be both a blessing and a curse. Make friends who share the same goals and priorities as you. Trust me; you don’t want to receive calls on a daily basis to go out shopping or lunch. Make friends who you can study with or at least who share the same interests as you. If your friends pray five times a day, you’re more likely to follow suit. If they study all the time, join them at the library. If they go to Jumu’ah (Friday prayer), tag along.
This is extremely important! I discovered a long time ago, that reading Hadith or Qur’an greatly empowers me. It gives me the will and the strength to accomplish anything. After all, the Prophet (peace be upon him) faced many difficulties throughout his life, so my own worries shrink to the size of an
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ant by comparison. Reading also gives you a great sense of accomplishment which is external from minute, everyday things.
Heaven lies at your mother’s feet. Never forget this. Many times when we get overwhelmed by worries, we forget that we have a strong pillar of support right in our own house. Build a close relationship with your parents, fill it with trust, respect, and companionship, and you will instantly be granted peace of mind and comfort.
When things get tough, as Muslims, we have a weapon in our arsenal: prayer. "And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)!’" Make Dua (supplication) with sincerity, purity, and good intentions and you will be on the path to success. Don’t forget about Istikhara (special prayer) either; pray this when you have to make a pivotal decision in your life. We all seek approval when we make our decisions, so why not get Allah’s approval above all else?
7 life goes on.
Remember that life is not school, nor does it end when school ends. Know that today you may be experiencing some hardships or worries but that tommorrow, Insh’Allah (God-willing), things will be better. There is always room for our dreams and hopes. Bad things may happen but that does not mean that good things cannot follow. Life goes on and you have to go on with it.
Don't forget your SOMETHING THAT YOU’RE 9 fIND 10 #1 priority. GOOD AT. Doing good deeds has a special place in our hearts. It warms us up to other people and gives us confidence. So when you are stressed, volunteer or help a friend. Not only is it rewarding but it will give you a special boost as well as peace of mind. Our worries are insignificant compared to others’ so wouldn’t it
Finally, remember that everything you do should be for the sake of Allah SWT. We are put on this earth for a reason and that is to worship Him SWT. Forgetting this very fact is how we become overwhelmed by all the tests and trials of life. This is something even I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of a countless number of times. The jealousies, dissappointments, stresses, and worries are just the symptoms of forgetting.
8 do good deeds.
make sense to lend a hand and forget about ‘me’ or ‘I’ for once? If you like drawing, draw. If you like singing, sing. If you like ice skating, working out, and reading, then do all of these things. Doing something constructive, that we are good at, gives us a sense of accomplishment and increases our self-esteem. So, get off the couch, stop moping, and do something!
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CLIMATE CHANGE Itʼs a Muslim Problem. SAMEER ZAHEER
HEN ONE THINKS OF MUSLIM PROBLEMS, places like Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan pop in the mind. Perhaps, Somalia and Darfur, if one reads beyond headlines. Certainly, Muslims in those areas are afflicted, but together these areas represent only a fraction of the Muslim world. However, there are a set of problems that affect a vast majority of Muslims in the world. One of these problems is climate change. Modern day climate change, sometimes called global warming, corresponds to the general increase in the earth’s temperature. Such a change will cause sea levels to rise (because of thermal expansion of water and melting of glaciers), and will alter the distribution of precipitation. Catastrophes such as flooding, drought, spread of disease, desertification of previously fertile areas are being predicted as a consequence.
devastating impact on Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, home to 1/3 of the global Muslim population. Indeed the Indian Climate change will adversely affect the Space Research Organization has reported world and Muslim majority countries are shrinking glaciers, and a recent study no exception. Decreased food production, found that the temperature there had as well as the melting of Himalayan glaciers increased 2.2 ◦C over the past 20 years. and rise in sea levels will affect the lives of Subsequently, the Intergovernmental millions of Muslims. Economic difficulties, Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has natural disasters and creation of refugees predicted increased flooding over the next (due to disasters) can often disrupt the 30 years, and then a sharp reduction in the stability of a region. In fact, climate change water supply that feeds these three has the potential of igniting armed conflict countries. in much of the Muslim world.
Impact of climate change on the Muslim world
Decreased food production Since 1980, increased temperatures have already been causing a reduction in the global yield of wheat, maize and barley. The 2009 Report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) warned of depletion of agricultural land and spread of disease (e.g. malaria) in Arab countries.
Melting of Himalayan glaciers An increase in the melting rate of the glaciers of the Himalayas can have
country, announced in 2007 that it could lose about 2,000 of its 18,000 islands by 2030. The problem is so bad in the Maldives, another island Muslim country, that the current government is considering purchasing land to relocate the country’s entire population!
Causes of climate change
Modern day climate change is attributed to a number of factors, but one stands out above all others: increased greenhouse gasses as a result of human activity. Since the Industrial Revolution humans have been releasing an increased amount of Rise in sea levels greenhouse gasses such as CO2 and The AFED reported that 12% of Egypt’s methane at an unprecedented rate. This farmland is at risk due to rise in sea levels, while another UN study suggests 8 million only accelerated in the post-world war II people will be displaced in Egypt if the sea period. While there are many sources of level rises by just 1 meter. A rise of sea level emissions, burning fossil fuels has caused 75% of these emissions over 20 years. by a foot, which could happen as early as 2040, would render 12% of Bangladesh’s It’s sad that there are many who deny population homeless. either global warming, or the human cause of it, or both, despite the scientific The risk of rise in sea levels presents an evidence. The current evidence on climate even greater problem in island Muslim change was assessed by IPCC and hasn’t countries. Indonesia, the largest Muslim
been challenged by any national or international scientific body. While Western countries contribute disproportionately to the problem, the rest of the world isn’t without blame. As of 2006, China and India were amongst the top 10 CO2 emitters, while on a per capita basis, the top four emitters were Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain. And while Indonesia doesn’t directly emit a lot of greenhouse gasses, its destruction of its lush rainforests is making a huge contribution to CO2 emissions, since trees soak up carbon dioxide when they’re alive. Greenhouse gas emissions, the chief cause of climate change, are a problem worldwide.
What we can do about it Many approaches can be taken to solving the problem of climate change, and no one approach is necessarily superior. Let’s look at how we can use Islamic principles of simplicity, foresight, dialogue and prayer to tackle the problem.
Simple lifestyle If we look to the Sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him), we see that he lived a lifestyle that was in accordance with the resources available, and one that did not exalt him above others. His bedding was crude, and he had few spare clothes. According to one report, there was hardly a day when the prophet had two square meals. During the digging of the trench, he starved just like the rest of his companions. Of course, the prophet’s intention was not inflict pain upon himself, it was only to conform his lifestyle with both the resources available, and so that his lifestyle was similar to everyone else. Yet one of today’s problems is that some of us are consuming far more than others. These over consumers, then, tend to have a bigger carbon footprint (a measure of CO2 emissions per person). This overconsumption can be seen in our desire
to constantly buy everything and waste much of it once we’re done. It can be seen when some of us will drive everywhere, instead of walking, biking, or taking transit as much of the world does. Ask yourself: if the prophet knew that much of Muslims and mankind was living with limited means, would he engage in such an extravagant lifestyle?
Foresight Whilst in prison, prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was inquired of the interpretation of a dream. He explained that there would be seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. He then advised that the surplus food production during prosperity be saved to make up for the deficit during famine. Prophet Yusuf was advising people to not just focus on the short-term but also on the long-term. One of the biggest excuses given for the lack of action on climate change is that it will harm our economy today. While it is true that cutting greenhouse gas emissions today is not the best for our economy, we can’t ignore the catastrophic consequences of such inaction upon our future. This useful lesson for our leaders can also be applied to our every day lives. For example, buying energy saving appliances today will help reduce the change in climate tomorrow, not to mention the savings in electricity costs.
Dialogue The Qur’an tells us to call upon people to do good, and for them to shun wrong. While this is an obligation upon everyone, Canadian Muslims are in a unique position for dialogue. As Muslims, we can influence the ideas of the Muslim world. Many of us are immigrants, and still have close ties with our family in our native countries. We can use these ties to educate them about the
issue. But we also have ties to influential people. For example, Dr. Tareq al-Swaidan, who often visits Canada and speaks to Muslims here, is also influential in Kuwait, which is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses per capita. Perhaps Muslims can have dialogue with the eminent scholar so that he raises awareness for the issue in his native country. As Canadians, we can lobby our leaders and politicians to adopt policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We can raise awareness about the issue by organizing talks, distributing literature, using social networking and in many other ways. Finally, we can act as good role models for everyone else by reducing our own consumption. There are many Muslim activists in Canada protesting against wars in Palestinian territories and Afghanistan. It’s high time we started protesting against greenhouse gas emissions.
Prayer In the Qur’an, Allah asks us to call upon Him in prayers and He promises to answer them. Given that mankind is dependent upon Allah in every way, we certainly won’t be able to stop climate change without our Creator’s assistance. However, our prayers need to be accompanied by action. The prophet always made prayers, but he also strove in his missions as hard as could. We, too, need to work hard to fight climate change, while asking Allah for help in this noble endeavour. After all, the Qur’an says: “Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they change their inner selves.” (13:11)
The Toronto 18 AISHA CHAUDHRY
16/THE MUSLIM VOICE/FALL 14/ VOICE/spring 2009 2010
Throughout the past couple of months, a lot of media attention has been given to the infamous ‘Toronto 18’ case. The arrests that made international headlines over 3.5 years ago, the trials that have still yet to start, and the recent guilty pleas have all been a great topic of discussion in the news. Over the past three years, news regarding the terror sweep of the so-called ‘Toronto 18’, which occurred in June of 2006, has appeared widely in various media outlets across the nation. The subject of terrorism is one that has been sensationalized in the media as well as in public discourse ever since the September 11 attacks in 2001. The media has displayed the young men and boys as having ‘militant’ views and misguided ideas about the Islamic faith. The media has taken advantage of the fact that Muslims are stigmatized and stereotyped, and furthered this view onto their viewers, listeners, and readers.
For those of you who do not know about the ‘Toronto 18’, eighteen males of various ages groups (men and boys) were arrested in the summer of 2006 because they were allegedly part of a home-grown terror cell. They were accused to planning to blow up targets in Toronto and beheading the Prime Minister. All of this sounds very terrifying, and definitely something that none of us want to be aﬀected by. Many people’s initial reaction to these arrests was, and still might be, “Thank GOD they were arrested and this was stopped.” I, naively so, was one of them as well.
//THOUGHTS When the arrests initially occurred in June 2006, I was in my final year of high school; being a Muslim teen in the post 9/11 Western world, I felt that it was necessary to hold onto my identity of being Canadian and show the “Canadians”— whoever they may be—that I was diﬀerent from the stereotypical Muslim. I did not give much attention to the terror sweep of the ‘Toronto 18’, nor did I care to look into the case. After hearing about the arrests, I thought to myself, “what a bunch of idiots. Why are they out to get Canada, and why are they ruining the Muslim image as a whole?” I remember seeing the news of the arrests in the papers and on the television, but that was the end of it. A little under two years later, in April of 2008, I got an event invitation on Facebook for the bail hearing of one of the accused, Saad Gaya. I was interested to see what this was about and it was not long until I realized he was one of the young men that were arrested in June 2006. I was shocked, confused, but more than anything, curious. I wanted to know why, two years later, this guy was applying for bail, when typically, he should have already gotten a trial. In the Canadian justice system, an accused is guaranteed: 1) the presumption of innocence, and 2) the right to a fair and speedy trial. These men were denied both. This sparked great interest, and I decided to do some homework on this case before I went to court. I went to the library and retrieved newspaper archives from 2006 and tried to retrace the steps. One may think that looking in retrospect may be easier, but for me, it was even more confusing and diﬃcult to understand the situation. The articles and documentaries/videos made on the case opened my eyes up to a lot of issues that I had never come across. I decided that I would have to be my own judge and do more background research. As I read, I discovered that the articles and headlines that I was exposed to in high school, the year the arrests took place, were only half of the story. As I read on, it was evident that there were government informants involved in the case, the accused men and boys were facing unequal treatment, suﬀering human rights abuses, and they all went through prolonged periods of solitary confinement. None of these issues were brought up in the media or made openly aware to the public. The truth was being hidden, and the publication ban that was conveniently placed on the issue after fear was successfully instilled in the Canadian public, was working to benefit the intelligence services (CSIS) and the RCMP that had worked together to build a case against the eighteen. To me, it became evident that in order to prolong the climate of fear, partial and inaccurate information
continued to be reported and published. Unfortunately, Islamophobia has resulted in the general and unquestioned acceptance of the idea that Islam is a religion which is inferior to the West; it is viewed as archaic, barbaric, irrational, and as a religion of violence that supports terrorism. Islamophobic views are not alien to many Canadian citizens who are well-educated, but ironically, blind to the reality of Islam. Canada is a country built on diversity and surrounded by it, but for one reason or another, there are many Canadians who cannot get used to it. Canada’s greatest strength is its people, but when its own inhabitants set up webs to entrap others and manipulate the rest of the population, it becomes problematic. When the collective conscious is torn apart, it is clear that the foundation of Canada has been shaken. Now, after more than 3.5 years later, the crown seems to be getting what they want; numerous guilty pleas have started to flow in. Three of the men, Saad Gaya, Zakaria Amara and Amin Durrani, were sentenced in January. They plead guilty after being denied the right to a speedy trial, and they will continue to suﬀer the consequences of the labels applied to them. There has been no trial, so I am still unable to judge their guilt or innocence, for myself. What has become clearer than ever before is that the system is being manipulated and the approximately $20 million that the RCMP and CSIS have invested in this case, have become a need/want for conviction. A little over a year into the case, seven of the men and boys had their charges ‘stayed’, but they were not deemed innocent. They were released on peace bonds, but were never formally charged. Things like this force me to think about the wider implications of the actions of the people who we have left in charge of our country. A lack of evidence forced the authorities to drop the charges, but it seems as if they were still too arrogant to accept that the eighteen were wrongfully accused. What disheartens me the most now is not the justice system, CSIS, or the RCMP, but rather, it is Canada’s people and the views that Canadians have formed about these individuals. There is no presumption of innocence and the widespread ignorance has resulted in the continuous claims from many who are demanding deportation, torture, and the death penalty. Canada is a peaceful country that has always stood for justice and righteousness, but at a time like this, everything Canada stood for seems questionable. It seems as if assimilation has become necessary and integration has become a culture of survival. I am sure that I am not the only one that can see that there are many loopholes in the case, but it saddens me to see that people
spring 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/15
are neglecting their right to voice their opinions. People have become so terrified of being guilty by association, or being accused of being ‘bleeding hearts’ for terrorists. It bothers me to see that people, who demand the rule of law be observed and that civil and human rights be respected, are called terrorist sympathizers. In 2010, we would like to believe that we hold the right to freedom of speech, so long as it does not incite hatred or violence. Thoughtless conformity is a grave danger, but also a great temptation. It requires no ingenuity and it makes you feel secure. It makes you feel like you are the same as everyone else and therefore, will not be targeted for your diﬀering views. These are the very feelings that shut individuals down from challenging the state, or even the general population. When it was said that there is no man above the law, I believed that the fact that no man is beneath the law would be implied as well. These men have been through numerous questionable conditions, including prolonged isolation which is torturous and dangerous to mental health. It appears to me that many Canadians are supportive of deposing the due process model when it comes to cases they are not in favour of, thereby making them like the very countries they condemn.
I, like the majority of Canadians, condemn terrorism and any such related violent acts or ideologies. However, people mistake the support of presumption of innocence to be ‘bleeding hearts’ for terrorists. In this case of the ‘Toronto 18’, the men and boys have been deprived of the right of presumption of innocence and the right to a fair and speedy trial. I am the voice that has been shut away; the one who is kept quiet and told be obedient and follow the dominant view. I am among you and I am one of you. Look into yourself, separate the hoopla from the facts, and realize that this is not justice. Once again, the need for national security has tipped the balance and the civil liberties of many have been seized. One may assume that deprivation of civil liberties of a few—for utilitarian purposes—may be justified, but the more you realize that these men and boys are no diﬀerent from you and I, and that it could have been you or I in their position, the more real their situations will seem to you, and the sooner your eyes will open up to the truth. Injustice to one is injustice to all; justice delayed is justice denied. Case closed.
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16/ 2010 18/THE THE MUSLIM MUSLIM VOICE/WINTER VOICE/FALL 2009
Enter My Paradise
O (YOU) THE ONE IN (COMPLETE) REST AND SATISFACTION! COME BACK TO YOUR LORD, WELL-PLEASED (YOURSELF) AND WELL-PLEASING UNTO HIM! ENTER YOU, THEN, AMONG MY HONORED SLAVES, AND ENTER YOU MY PARADISE! (The Quran, Al-Fajr: 27-30)
BY ALI AKBAR SAHIWALA
I completed this painting in 2006. It served as a final piece for an Art & Design course which was part of the International Baccalaureate program I was in, while studying at a high school in Dubai, UAE. My theme during this rigorous two year course was Islamic design and in particular, a look at some of the 99 Names of Allah SWT. I believe that this course was a precursor to the last four years, as I continued these two topics (which I consider dear to me) here at the University of Toronto. In this painting, the view overlooks a serene prayer hall in the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain. Although it cannot be seen clearly, I used different painting techniques such as pointillism, orphism and some cubism. A light border surrounds the painting and on top, I added some of my favorite Ayahs from the Holy Qur'an which inspired me to paint this piece. I decided to title this piece 'Enter My Paradise', using the Andalusi calligraphic stlye.
DUA FOR BREAKING FAST “Oh God, for you I have fasted, believed (in), put my trust in and from your bounties have I eaten”
BY HUSAIN CADER
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spring 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/17
E L P I R T TH E T S E T R FILTE L,
N ROM KEEPI RINTED F visit P E R S A ICLE W more articles THIS ART for
BY HEENA SHAD SYE During the golden Abbasid period, one of the scholars in Baghdad, the capital of the Muslim caliphate at that time, was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day, an acquaintance met the great scholar and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?" "Hold on a minute," the scholar replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test." "Triple filter?" "That's right," the scholar continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made
“Before you talk to me about my friend it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. ” absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?" "No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and.."
filter left: the filter of USEFULNESS. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?" "No, not really."
"All right," said the scholar. "So you don't really know if it's true or not." Now let's try the second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?" "No, on the contrary..." "So," the scholar continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one
"Well," concluded the scholar, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?" "O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)...” (The Quran, Hujurat 49,12) "And spy not on each other behind their backs..." (The Quran, Hujurat 49,13)
spring 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/19
She was pure, as pure as a virgin. She had poise, she had a unique stature. At her inception, she was blasphemous. She challenged the evils around her. She fearlessly stood up against injustice, discrimination and inequality. She was the first among her time to preach such a revolution. She was inclusive. She symbolized peace. She strived for progression; revolted against stagnant dogma. It was these attributes that contributed to her success in various arenas. She had a lot to reveal, from science to academics, from human rights to women empowerment; she was revolutionary.
She Needs to be Saved 20/THE MUSLIM VOICE/spring 2010
Until the day she was kidnapped. Taken to an unknown mountainous terrain by a group of men. Bearded men who abused her for their pleasure and convenience. Robbed her of her essence; freedom. Deprived her of her fundamental right; the right to think, the right to disagree. The assaults have become worse. The group of men are growing, they are enticing more innocent minds into this heinous crime. They've become her guardians, they and only they have the right to speak on her behalf. The rapist speaking on behalf of the victim; the irony. After all, it is they who have held her captive. Zealously preaching dogma in her name, the masses have become their gullible, thoughtless audience. I don't want to be a bystander while a crime only becomes uglier in grandeur. That's not what she taught, that's not what she symbolized. She needs to be rescued, she needs to be saved. Like everything else, these barbarians will leave her in mutilated pieces. And we'll all be guilty. Guilty for doing nothing to find her, guilty for not challenging her abductors, guilty for remaining silent, guilty for passively listening to illogical, unfair dogma, guilty for doing the most convenient thing; nothing. She is my religion; Islam.
source BY ANONYMOUS
MY HAND RESTS on the top of the steering wheel while the numbers showing on the speedometer climb higher and higher. I get to the point where I can feel the car shifting gears. I know I should stop. I put the pedal to the floor and let my car fly. It flies past trucks, vans, and even police cruisers. I am going too fast. I still have control over the car. Losing control would be horrible. Dumb. Suicidal. I drive out of the neighbourhood. I can't stand the look of the neatly lined cars in the driveways. I want to escape this seemingly perfect place. I drive through the city's downtown core. Too much going on for me to think. I drive past roads I have never heard of. I keep going. I am lost. I keep going. I hit a farm road. This is what I have been looking for. I turn onto it. It is deserted. I have gotten lucky. My dad is at work and my sisters are at school. I have 3 hours to just drive and think. I begin to drive down the farm road. I pass red, gray, and blue barns. I see a stable. There are horses eating hay. I stop the car and get out. I jump over the fence and go into the stable. It's quiet enough for me to hear the horses breathe. It's peaceful. I stop thinking to pay attention to the farmer fixing his tractor. I ask him if he needs help. He accepts and I grab a wrench. I have never done this before. It is refreshing. I love this. I don't know this man but I feel as if he is helping me. We finish up and he attempts to start the engine. It runs. We both high-five and feel great. He asks me if I would like to come in and have his wife make us lunch. I politely decline telling him I should be on my way. He tells me to hold on while he quickly runs into his house. I know I'm not scared but I can't help wondering what he is going to bring out. He emerges from his front door
22/THE MUSLIM VOICE/spring 2010
carrying two bags of chips and two bottles of orange juice. We sit on the side of his truck, chat, and eat. How this man knew something was wrong, I don't know but I am grateful for the question he asks. "So now tell me, why are you upset?" I am taken aback. How did this stranger know something was wrong? Instead of questioning him, I begin to spill my story. My elementary school days, my high school days, the first two years of university, this past summer, and finally, this year. He listens and periodically nods. He puts down his orange juice and clasps his hands together. He begins by telling me that I should never do anything to compromise the life that I have been given by God. He tells me that he grew up in a house which never turned into a home. His father was an alcoholic and his mother was a prostitute. I have no words to express my sadness. He understands and tells me that he has grown to appreciate the life he now lives. I am touched by how much insight this man has. Once again, we delve into my issues. He now knows everything about me. I have told a stranger things that I have never disclosed to anyone else. Little did I know, it was the best decision that I could have made. I throw caution into the wind when he asks me if I would like to get out of the cold and come inside where his wife has a fire going. I agree and we head in. He leads me to the kitchen where his wife is cooking. She turns around and greets me with a friendly "hello". I meekly smile and apologize for intruding. She waves it off and asks me if I like pasta. I say that I do and she tells me it will be ready in a couple of minutes so I should just go and get comfortable in the living room. I head over with her husband and we settle down with our glasses of lemonade. "So, who is more important to you?" His question blows me away. How does he know which two people mean the most to me, other than my family? He understands my confusion from the look on my face and explains that every time I mentioned the names of those two people, my eyes lit up. I cannot fathom how this man knows so much. He makes me smile. I tell him that there is no question about it. The first person means more to me than the second ever will. I meekly tell him that the second one just has something to them that I cannot understand. He nods like he knows what I am talking about. His wife comes out carrying a tray holding three heaping plates of pasta. She hands me mine first so I hand it off to her husband. He looks at me
and thanks me. He tells me that he is pleased to have met "a respectful young lady" who knows "how to treat people". My heart is filled with love for these two strangers. I graciously take my plate from her and ask her to join us. She sits and I tell her my story so that she is caught up. Just like her husband, she nods and smiles. Her husband looks to his wife and then to me. He gets up, goes to the kitchen, and returns with a picture of a girl. I ask him who she is and he sadly replies, "my daughter". I look to his wife for more answers and see that her eyes are filled with tears. I hand them both tissues and ask what happened. Drunk driver. I give my condolences but I know that is not enough. I ask about her and they well up with pride and tell me how she was the smartest girl in her high school. She was supposed to graduate in June but a drunk driver hit her while she was walking home from the library. What she says next, I will never be able to forget; "God has taken one of our angels but has graciously blessed us with another." I get up and give her a hug. She
florist and pick up three dozen roses. I return and hand them over. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for everything they have done for me. I owe them a lot. He tells me that he is grateful that I got out of my car to help him. He said that he knew something would grow out of that first encounter. I smile and thank them again. I give her a hug and give him a high-five. We all burst into a fit of laughter. I say my goodbyes and get into my car. He runs after me and tells me to return if I ever need them. I ask if I should leave my phone number. He refuses and tells me that he knows that when they are in need of my company, I'll know, and I will come. I smile and tell him that I hope that is the case. I wave and drive off. My head is cleared and I turn my music up. I enjoy the drive and laugh at my memories from that eventful encounter. I look to my passenger seat and notice a sheet of paper. I stop the car and unfold it. It was obviously written in a hurry as it is written on the back of a flyer and in red pen. Right
“They help me realize that I am throwing away something I truly love for momentary happiness.” tells me that instead of talking about her daughter, we should continue with our talk. I can see that they do not want to discuss the incident further and I comply. He tells me the same thing that his wife did. They help me realize that I am throwing away something I truly love for momentary happiness. They tell me I am foolish for doubting myself and I know what the real answer is. I need to stop trying to get the wrong answer and accept that I am blessed to have the right answer in front of me. He tells me that, although he does not know me, he knows that I could never go that far away from something that my faith has set out. I finally understand what I have been told numerous times before. I thank them both. I ask them if there is anything that I can get for them and they refuse. She tells me that it has been a blessing for them to have met me. By this time, we have finished our plates and our glasses have been emptied. The tissue box is half of what it was before I arrived and the fire is slowly dying out.
away, I know that she has written it. She must have put it through the passenger side window while I was talking to him through my window. On the back of the flyer is written, "We love you and always will." I clasp my hands together and make a quick dua (supplication). I ask God to bless them with the most happiness possible, help them through their time of need, and grant them the highest level of Heaven. Why I drove down that road, I will not know. Why I stopped and offered my assistance, I do not know. How God knew that I needed them, I will never know. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for my faith. I am thankful to God. I have finally realized I have everything I ever need, from an unlikely source.
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I tell them that I will be back in a few minutes and they nod their heads simultaneously. It's adorable. I go to the nearest spring 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/23
Iraq or not: War is war Whether it is right or wrong Iraq or not: War is war Whether it’s narrative is weak or strong Murder of pluralism is what it wants Because it’s war, because it’s war Preemption is no protection It is war. It is war Self-defense is a right but aggression for protection It can only be molestation; because it’s war Whether we are weak or strong War is a perversion; because it’s war War is an obsession, it’s not a compulsion It is a killer because it’s total corruption Victory or defeat, is only an illusion War is all destruction because no one wins a war Violence only begets violence Because this is the nature of war Hence you all, who teach aggression You all know and believe that “war is deception” It is true because it only deceives you As in all your victories are seeds of destruction Every rise must meet a fall As arc of justice is long
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communities. We have already, Subhana’Allah (Glory be to God), helped high schools and universities in both Canada and the US start their own orphan sponsorship initiatives.
On Friday, January 15th, 2010, OSP at UofT was invited to speak at ISNA High School in [SAHIH AL-BUKHARI]. Mississauga, Ontario to encourage and aid students in starting their own orphan The Orphan Sponsorship Program (OSP) at Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari that the Messenger of sponsorship initiative. Visit the following the University of Toronto (UofT), St. George Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “One link on the OSP site for an event summary Campus, is now in its seventh year and has who guides to something good has a reward with pictures: fundraised over $260,000, Masha’Allah similar to that of its doer” [Muslim]. http://ospuoft.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/ (God has willed it). In 2003, OSP at UofT osp-at-uoft-visit-and-presentation-at-isna-h began with the hopes of fundraising to The aim of OSP at UofT is to continue to igh-school-on-friday-january-15th-2010/ sponsor orphans from underprivileged help orphans all over the world to the best countries around the world and to make a of our abilities year after year, Insha’Allah For further information, including the cost positive difference in their lives. (God Willing). of sponsoring an orphan, becoming a We now require approximately $9,000 to We have been educating students and the volunteer, and/or making a donation re-sponsor 131 orphans from 22 different community about the plight of the orphans please visit our website at countries spanning 4 continents for by means of talks, seminars, emails, posters, www.ospuoft.wordpress.com or contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. another year. Please help us continue this and annual events (including bake sales, extraordinary student initiative by donating information booths, fundraising dinners, “And they feed for the love of Allah, the poor, generously to help these children who have video game tournaments, sending the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): ‘We no one else to rely on! If you have already letters/cards/gifts to the orphans, and feed you for the sake of Allah alone. We wish sent in your donations, then Jazak Allahu visiting the orphans in person), Khairan (may God reward you for your Alhamdulillah (All the praises and thanks be for no reward, nor thanks from you’” efforts).Please spread the word and to God). OSP at UofT hopes to achieve our [From the Glorious Qu’ran, Chapter 76, encourage others to donate. aim by also encouraging and aiding others Verses 8 to 9]. to start up similar orphan sponsorship It has been narrated on the authority of initiatives on various campuses and
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MY INSTINCTS SAY “NAY”
Unknowingly, unwontedly, I stumbled upon a mighty foe A bastard child of sheer ignorance and hatred, ye know A monster that ruthlessly tears the frail fabric of society Fed lovingly by the mainstream media, prejudices & false notoriety An ideology lovingly propagated by popular culture of some A chameleon that deceptively changes colors to BeComE A deceptive snake writhing within naïve hearts and minds They boast that they are magically superior somehow Race, culture, ethnicity, technology & wealth, oh wow! Their list of useless reasons just continues & is expanded upon Implicitly & explicitly in attitude, lingo, education and tone A social construct it is, falsely believed to be a scientific one A construct that brutally silences the meek and weak, my hun Encouraging the feeble-minded to hostility and “sleep” A different sort of psychopath that regularly brutalizes the weak You foolish Racist! Remember the “Roots” “Roots” of the past, tomorrow and of forever “Roots” that intertwine like those of the tree Holding strongly to give life and strength, to the “free” Oh, why your inner disease infects the “Roots” of the trees? Leading to unwanted infection and decay, of their a.b.c.s And eventually, among us, a noiseless sound EchOS As the tree falls to the ground—a silent pathos A blackened heart A broken heart Some blackened hearts Some broken hearts Countless blackened hearts Countless broken hearts Now, oh racist, do you see? Do you see, or are you still blind? Ridicules so casually thrown @ a person by a person “Why are you living here? Go back to your country, you bison” Ridicules sung in foreign languages by old ladies on the sidewalks Harassments so casually tolerated by the “coloured”; thoughts that stalk Legal decisions carefully & pointlessly drafted on termination papers “Unfortunately, the contract has ended because of such and such” Huh! Decisions are Silent Derisions Racial profiling and media propaganda eventually turns into A war machine maniacally designed for genocide, just to subdue “Social colonialism” gradually colonizes the “Others” As the “dominant ones” foolishly marginalize their own brothers Creating societal power differences within this so-called “democracy” Creating socioeconomic disparities, disabling “minorities”, such hypocrisy Senselessly creating “poverty” despite beautifully rich “diversity” Marginalizing “Others” to the extent of retardation, oh a perversity
BY CERCATORE AKA ARZOO ZAHEER
The “perpetrators” have no skin, they have no skin The “perpetrators” have no skin, they have no skin “They” took my voice, so I spoke with pen, paper and ink “They” took my voice, so I spoke with pen, paper and ink Racism As Wanda says: “I find it in my mouth When I speak of other things”
Perfect Freedom We used to be close, you and I we were twined like branches of vine and I thought only of you. You with your quick joys and even quicker declines your heart unpredictable but you still had mine waiting for your every change in mood. But while I waited the seconds ticked by, and the minutes ticked by, and the days went by, and the months went by but I thought only of you. I, flying above peaks on the wings of your sweet promises only to crash into the depths from the hard reality, I thought only of you, dunya. But there in the doldrums, your false promises showed their truth, exposed by the Light of Truth that freed my heart from you And there in the doldrums, my heart was re-focused towards a higher way. So please keep your quick joys that fade just the same; Iâ€™m free from your embrace, my heart untethered from your moods. So now when the seconds tick by, and the minutes tick by, and the days go by, and the months go by, I try to remain steadfast, biâ€™ithnillah.
BY FAREEDAH ABDULQADIR
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD.
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A PRODUCTION OF
The Muslim Voice magazine spring issue