WINTER 2010 | VOLUME XVI ISSUE 1
TIPS FOR THE NEW HIJABI
MIND OVER MATTER Using Visualization Techniques to Achieve Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? The Muslim Youth’s Identity Crisis
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD.
THE MUSLIM VOICE MAGAZINE tmv.uoftmsa.com www.tmv.uoftmsa.com
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK RIFA TAHSINA ALI
4 5 6 8 10 12 14 15
ASMA MARYAM ALI
UPCOMING MSA EVENTS UOFTMSA.COM
AS-SALAAMU ALAYKUM HUSNA FAHMY
MIND OVER MATTER JENNA EVANS TAWAKKUL
16 18 19 20 24 26 28 30
BODY POLITICS OF THE MUSLIM WOMAN SANA HASHMI
THE ROAD TO RESOLUTION TAUS SHAH
NOTES FROM THE INTERFAITH UNDERDOG
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
EXPRESSION OF FAITH: TIPS FOR THE NEW HIJABI
THE LEGACY OF CHE: IS VIOLENCE EVER JUSTIFIED?
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
FAMOUS MUSLIMS THROUGH AUTOGRAPHS
THE FINAL EXAM
MAKING A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE WORLDWIDE
DR. FARHAN M. ASRAR
THE MUSLIM VOICE
WINTER2010_VOLUMEXVI_ISSUEI EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RIFA TAHSINA ALI COPY EDITORS EBADUR RAHMAN (CHIEF) JENNA EVANS ANILA DURRANI ZENA CHAUDHRY IMAN SIWALEM SANA HASHMI RAMEEZ MAHMOUD PROMOTION AND MARKETING NAVEED ISLAM (CHIEF) SAMEER ZAHEER ZENAIRA ALI SANA ROCKSEFAT LAYOUT DESIGN TAUS SHAH (CHIEF) RIFA TAHSINA ALI MIHAI RADULESCU BILAL RAZA FLORA NASRI KHIZAR NADEEM COVER PHOTOGRAPHY SAFOURA ZAHEDI CONTRIBUTING WRITERS FAREEDAH ABDULQADIR ANILA AKRAM DR. FARHAN M. ASRAR SANA HASHMI JENNA EVANS HUSNA FAHMY ANTON KURATNIK MARWA SAAD TAUS SHAH FAISAH SPECIAL THANKS TO AMEERAH RAHMAN (on behalf of UTM MSA) SAFOURA ZAHEDI KEEPINGITHALAL.com SEND US SNAIL MAIL The Muslim Voice c/o Muslim Students’ Association 21 Sussex Avenue, Suite 505 Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1J6
THE FINE PRINT: The ideas and opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the TMV staff, the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) or the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU).
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Assalamu Alaikum, May the peace and blessings of God be with you, Phew. We’ve made it through the first half of the year; congrats! Now we just have to make it through four more painstaking months until the summer break. *Sigh* Life as a student can get quite depressing. During this past exam period, when I found that I could sum up my week in one sentence, I realized just how depressing it really was. When I think of what I did during the past 3 years at UofT, all that comes to mind are the cubicles at various libraries (I would switch from Earth Sci, to Gerstein, to Robarts, to E.J.Pratt, and then back to Earth Sci in an effort to amuse myself ). And when I try to recall what I’ve learned, my mind draws a blank and all I recall are the hard wooden chairs, the cold classrooms, and the professor whose name I can’t remember. No wonder I get so depressed during exam time when suddenly, I have all the time in the world to assess my accomplishments, or lack thereof, in life. So this year I thought to ask myself why I was so bummed, and it came to me like a light bulb going off on top of my head: I have no goal and I’ve lost sight of the purpose of education. The people who are smarter than us are so because they know what they want in life, they know how to get what they want, and they strive their utmost to get it. Furthermore, the smart Muslims know that life is finite and so they work towards cultivating a life that will reap the most benefit for them in the infinite afterlife. Don’t flip the page just yet—there’s a reason to my rant: I want to use this opportunity you have provided me, by allowing me to be editor of The Muslim Voice magazine, to encourage you to join me in using this new year (both Muslim and Gregorian) to set concrete directions for ourselves. Insha’Allah (God-willing), our directions will motivate us to do well in school and give us a sense of accomplishment, so that when we are studying for finals in May we won’t be depressed, but content. And we won’t need to unduly immerse ourselves in movie and TV drama during “breaks”, because, Insha’Allah, we will be so at ease with our life that we will be bursting with praises for our Lord. May God give us the strength, patience, motivation, and sustenance to make it through the second semester. May He keep us from harm and bring us closer to what is good for us, our deen (belief ), and our infinite future. 1431/2010 here we come! Before I end off, I just want to express my gratitude to each and every individual of The Muslim Voice Team. This past month has been really difficult for me and it has only been with their support that I have remained sane enough to get this issue to print. The TMV team is comprised of amazing individuals, and I strongly encourage all our readers to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to join the team and get involved! Take care, Ma Assalam; peace out. Rifa Tahsina Ali Editor-In-Chief, The Muslim Voice
4/THE MUSLIM VOICE/WINTER 2010
BY ASMA MARYAM ALI
The UTSG MSA has a new face this year. Our executive is filled with colourful personalities of diverse backgrounds, programs and interests. They’ve brought our association to life with fantastic initiatives; everything from pick-up soccer to Pink Hijab day to Eid zakah distribution events. We started the year on a great note with a full week of Frosh Orientation activities, followed by Ramadan iftaars which served approximately 190 people each night of Ramadan on campus, and our annual Eid Dinner. Our Community Affairs (CA) committee has refreshed the meaning of service on campus with our Zakat-ul-Fitr Distribution event (held in collaboration with MAC and Scadding Court Community Centre), featuring our stellar MSA volunteers who stunned the wider community with their enthusiasm and generosity. Their blood drive event featured 22 MSA volunteers who went out to donate blood, comprising nearly 45% of the donors at Canadian Blood Services in one day. CA also teamed up with Sisters’ Events to hold Pink Hijab day in support of breast cancer research. They painted the campus pink with beautiful scarves, enlightened people with an informative booth at Sid Smith throughout the day and held entertaining discussions on the hijab at night. 32 non-Muslim members of the community tried out the hijab that day, as well as our own sisters who sported pink from their scarf drawers. Our Brothers’ Events committee enjoys campus life Friday nights with pick-up soccer, kung-fu, gym workouts and dinner at their favourite restaurants! Religious Accomodations is keeping us alive with deen through jumu’ah, Khatib training and halaqas. Our other committees are revving up for this term. Students for World Justice offered a training with CAIR –CAN last term called “Know Your Rights” and is busy preparing its members for a second term full of exciting events. Outreach also has an important and informative lecture series coming up, and is preparing for our Islam Awareness Month in January. And Academic Affairs is readying for its annual Prograd Fair and its Scholarship and Mentorship Programs. I thank God for the ability and the resources
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to execute these events on campus. Thank you to our amazing volunteers who have put their time, energy and passion into making them a success. Thank you! You came out and made the events what they were! With all that’s happening, it’s important to keep our mission in mind. The mission of the MSA is to serve as a representative body of Muslims on campus which caters to their needs, while striving to be a vibrant, integrated and contributing body within the campus community. Is this what we are achieving through our work? What do you think? If you were MSA president, what would you do differently? I need your feedback and input, as well as your effort. I want to know how we can make the MSA even better this year, and ensure that our efforts are lasting and have many great returns. Contact me at email@example.com and tell me what you think! Get involved in our committees and shake things up yourself. There are many ways to make change on campus. Let the MSA be your tool, inspirational and be inspired by you. As we start the second term, we have a solid foundation and a precedent of great events to take the MSA to the next level. I look forward to your input and your involvement in making our MSA a model of change and community betterment, inshaAllah!
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!
SKATING INSPIRATIONAL LECTURES HELPING THE NEEDY RAISING BREAST CANCER AWARENESS FROSH WEEK BLOOD DRIVE
for these upcoming MSA events JAN 5 14 15 15-16 18-21
SANDWICH RUN MSA TOWN HALL, 6-8PM MUSLIMAH TALENT NIGHT DAWAH TRAINING WORKSHOP ISLAM AWARENESS MONTH (IAM) Booth @ Sidney Smith and Robarts Lobby Lectures
26 | Mercy, Compassion and Humility: Basis of Piety 28 | Come to Common Terms between us and you
20 PROGRAD FAIR 27 BLOOD DRIVE
Canadian Blood Services
MALCOLM X: THE MUSLIM
Lecture by Yasin Dwyer 6-8pm, Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building B150
28 SISTER’S ICE SKATING 30 BROTHER’S PAINTBALLING
FEB 2 4
SANDWICH RUN SPIRITUALITY AND JUSTICE: THE EXPERIENCE OF MALCOLM X AND DR.KING
ONGOING EVENTS YO BRO Fridays, 5pm
ALTERNATIVE READING WEEK DAY OF SERVICE
MSA SKI TRIP
GAZA: A YEAR ON
Note: these dates are subject to change, you will receive updates via the MSA-L. To subscribe to the list-serve visit www.uoftmsa.com.
PRAYER SPACES ON CAMPUS HART HOUSE (JUMAH ONLY) 2ND FLOOR, DEBATES ROOM THE MULTI-FAITH CENTRE 2ND FLOOR, MAIN ACTIVITY HALL (DHUHR PRAYER) OR MEDITATION ROOM BAHEN CENTRE IN FRONT OF MEGABITES CAFETERIA INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CENTRE 3RD FLOOR SUSSEX CLUB HOUSE RM 508 OISE/UT 8TH FLOOR, RM 136 EMMANUEL COLLEGE 3RD FLOOR, PRAYER ROOM PHARMACY BUILDING 2ND BASEMENT FLOOR, BETWEEN STUDENT LOUNGE AND AUDITORIUM
WWW.UOFTMSA.COM winter 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/7
ﺍﺳﻼﻢ ﻋﻠﻴﻜﻢ WRITEr :
what muslims say and why we say it We use it everyday, the words “Assalamu Alaikum” (peace be to you). But do you know the purpose behind uttering these Arabic words or its importance in the life of a Muslim? You say it when you greet another Muslim brother or sister, but do you know its impact? Are you familiar with its benefits on yourself and the rewards it brings? There are rules and etiquettes put in place for all that we do and surely there is a right way to greet our fellow Muslims, precisely in the very manner practiced by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I hope to shed some light on the meaning and historical background of our greeting, and Insha’Allah (God willing) with this, Allah will increase our rewards.
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AS-SALAAMU ﺳﻼﻢ ALAYKUM ﻋﻠﻴﻜﻢ Why is it important to use the Islamic greeting? Islam teaches us to use it when meeting another Muslim or leaving the company of a Muslim because it unifies and strengthens the bonds between us. This greeting brings love, and increases our Iman (faith). When we exchange these words we feel good, and realize that we have something in common that bonds us together, regardless of how well we know a person. We say it with a smile, and with the good intention of following the Sunnah (Prophet Mohammad’s way of life). In saying Salam (short form of the greeting) we immediately feel a ‘connection’.
An authentic Hadith (traditions of Prophet Mohammad) reported by Imams At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Oh you people, spread salam among you, serve the food, behave kindly with your blood relations, and offer prayer at night when others are asleep, and you will enter paradise safely.” Further, Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that a man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) “what in Islam is the best?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered, “To feed people and to say salam to everyone whether you know them or not.” When did the Islamic greeting begin? Historically, it was Adam (peace be upon him), the first of men, to say it. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When Allah created Adam he told him to go and say Assalamu Alaikum to a group of Angels and listen to their reply. It is your greeting and the greeting of your descendants. Adam went and said: Assalamu Alikum and they said Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah.” The complete form of the Islamic greeting Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh. This means “peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you from Allah” One should note that this longer way of saying the greeting has a greater reward from Allah compared to only saying it the shorter way of Assalamu Alaikum. The rule in Islam is that when we are offered a greeting, we return it with a better one or with its equal at least. Allah orders in the Qur’an: “When a greeting is offered you, answer it with an even better greeting, or (at least) with its like. Allah keeps count of all things.” [Surah An-Nur; 4: 86]
Rahmatullah.” As the man sat the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Twenty rewards.” Then another man came and said: Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh. As the man sat down the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Thirty rewards.”
The better greeting and reply are illustrated in the following Hadith (traditions of the Prophet Mohammad). Umar reports that he was riding with Abu Bakr on one mount. When they passed by people, Abu Bakr greeted them saying: ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ and they replied: ‘Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah.’ Or he may greet them saying: ‘Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah,’ for which their reply was: ‘Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh.’ Abu Bakr commented: “Today, people have gained much more than us.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad] How easy Allah has made it for us. It takes less than 8 seconds to say the last form of the greeting bringing us the most rewards. The Etiquettes of a Salaam It’s good to keep these etiquettes in mind, because we encounter these instances all the time. 1. The one who comes greets the Muslims that are present. 2. The one who is riding greets the one who is walking. 3. The one who is walking greets the one who is sitting. 4. The smaller group greets the bigger group. 5. The young greet the elder. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting, a small party should greet a large party, and a younger should greet an elder one.”
Salams are recommended when leaving as well as when we meet. Imams Abu-Dawood, and At Tirmidhi reported in an authentic Hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “When one of you joins a gathering he should greet those present; and when he leave them he should greet them because the first salutation is not better than the last one.” I hope now, you can pass on the Salam to your fellow brothers and sisters with better understanding. So with this I shall end. Assalamu alikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Reported by Imams Abu-Dawood and At Tirmidhi in a Hadith (traditions of the Prophet Mohammad), a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “Assalamu Alaikum.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded and the man sat down. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Ten rewards.” Another man came and said, “Assalamu Alaikum Wa
WINTER 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/9
Notes From the Interfaith Underground
It seems that in addition to being the MSA’s token white guy, I’ve also become its token interfaith guy. I guess the two go hand in hand, given that my token whiteness allows me to more freely navigate the seas of the religious diversity. It’s not like I mind. Interfaith work in my opinion is an important part of what Muslims must engage in. Yet at the same time, I no longer feel as passionate about it as I did a few years back, probably for the same reason that my friends (of all faiths) have felt a lack of interest for it all of their lives.
and organizations in the end serve little purpose, as they do not represent the faithful mainstream and thus have little influence anywhere.
For others, “interfaith” can mean “empty talk.” In many cases, this association may be actually true. In cases of interfaith dialogue, for example, the largest problem is self-selection, i.e. the fact that those who choose to participate are those who need to engage in dialogue the least, because they are already tolerant and respectful. Neither does the effect of the dialogue trickle out much to those who Indeed, the word “interfaith” can carry a did not participate in the dialogue, so the usefulness plethora of negative connotations for many of the of it generally sticks with the participants and fails to orthodox adherents of the worlds’ religions. For spread to the wider population. some, it can imply disenfranchisement. As a Muslim, Finally, “interfaith” can mean “being I’ve certainly felt an outsider to many an interfaith dialogue and organization where the person uncomfortable.” Certain practices common in the representing and speaking for my faith was a person interfaith field create this feeling. For example, in the whom most Muslims would consider to be outside of past Ramadan quite a few Christians around the world the fold of Islam. Given that this is a common situation joined Muslims in fasting. While I certainly do not for those of other religions as well, these dialogues object to the gesture, I am not prepared to return it, 10/THE MUSLIM VOICE/winter 2010
which I feel a certain amount of peer pressure to do. Interfaith activists often espouse events such as meditating with the Buddhists, singing with the Christians, and fasting with the Muslims, making the overall mainstream feel rather uncomfortable and disenfranchised from the movement.
Finally (and I’m stealing Eboo Patel’s words here), we live in a diverse world. Our coworkers will be from all walks of life: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, etc. We need to break out of our bubble and learn how to interact in such diversity without compromising our faith. I believe joining together The problems abound. So why am I still the in common projects is precisely the method. We token interfaith guy? all talk about how our religions are religions of peace, but actions speak louder than words. What Well, probably because I imagine a different are we doing to prove our commitment to peace? kind of an interfaith movement. An interfaith movement that serves those with a strong identity The biggest problem that I see facing in their faith, those who want to act and to create the interfaith field today is the fact that it is actual change. An interfaith movement that works lacking the orthodoxy. We might complain about on the common ground between all faiths towards misrepresentation, about non-Muslim speakers a common goal without going up to the podiums trying to synthetically and speaking for Islam, create new religious but we never actually step intersections. up to the plate ourselves. We don’t like where things These ideas are are going, but we are too hardly new, but I grew up lazy to get involved and with them. I am the child change things. I don’t of Eboo Patel’s InterFaith need to tell you the hadith Youth Core and Karen (traditions of the Prophet Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion. That is, I Mohammad) of changing things with your hands, see community service and the general teachings you already know it. What we have to do is act. of mercy and compassion as the only existing It is up to us to build the world where religion common ground between all faiths and traditions. is seen as a cause that unites humanity in good I see helping those in need as the mission of every while preserving its diversity. Otherwise someone religion on the planet and I ask: “Why can’t we might do it for us, and we probably won’t like the work together if we have a common goal?” result.
“We need to break out of our bubble and learn how to interact in such diversity without compromising our faith.”
Engaging in community service together has a variety of benefits and solutions to the aforementioned problems. First and foremost, it is effective. Interfaith service work affects the participants and those who they benefit and is slowly making its way into the media, thus changing the stereotypical image of religion as a source of division. Secondly, it is a platform for natural dialogue to occur. Working with people of other faiths will certainly lead the participants to discuss their beliefs, but now with the knowledge that they share something in common. Thirdly, engaging in community service is a means of bringing together adherents of various faiths without putting them in potentially uncomfortable situations.
By: Anton Kuratnik
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tips for the new hijabi
As I reflect on these past seven years since embracing Islam I realize that I have been inspired by many sources and friends to manifest my faith – on my head. Oh yes, the hijab (headscarf/veil). Here are some quick tips for those who are looking for a day-long to life-long relationship with this cotton, pashmina or silk expression of inner faith. DO IT NOW! There is no time like the present, and no time
to waste. There will be no perfect time or place or moment where you will feel 100% brave. In fact, I was 100% terrified to wear it, but did it anyway because I was more excited to express my love for Allah through my fashion than to care what others thought of me. I mean if girls can have pink dyed hair, why can't I wear a pink coloured hijab? Think pink I say! WHO SAYS I'LL LIVE UNTIL I'M 80 YEARS OLD? And who wants to wait that long to do what they really want to do in life? As I get older, 30 years old (23 when I first converted), I realize that the more I care about what people think, the less happy I am. Focusing on what Allah thinks of me, instead of excuses about why I didn't do everything I could do to make my life all about Him, is what really matters in this short life. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME. Wearing the headscarf is one
of those things that you can only take one day a time, and before you know it, weeks and months will have passed, and in my case, 7 years will have flown by without you realizing it. FASHION. Yes, believe it or not, back in the days, wearing
scarves was ultra popular, so why not start a trend of our own? Instead of bowing down to fashion magazines, I am expressing my own taste in colours, shapes, sizes and techniques of pinning this fabric to my head. I've received compliments, and non-flattering stares, but either way, I'm expressing who I am. I can't please everyone all the time, so I may as well make myself happy. BE STRONG. BE CONFIDENT. Demonstrating your inner core
on the outside is not for the weak-minded. You must be strong, confident and of course, pray to Allah to ease every step you take in your journey. For my revert sisters out there, your families and friends may be shocked by your new apparel decision. Just like any hairstyle, course selection, or job you undergo, stick to your guns and politely inform those who are curious or critical of your reasons that you are happy with your decision to express who you are. It may take them some time, but have learned that those who truly care about you will support each life decision you make...eventually. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE, HAPPY, AND LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE. No
person is an island, and you will find different people in your new way of life
who will help you along the way. Ultimately, strength comes from complete reliance in Allah and from surrendering to His will. Remembering how vulnerable we are reminds us to have gratitude for every little step we take KEEP THE BIG PICTURE IN MIND. In the big scheme
of things, hijab is a drop in the ocean of many things we can do to remember Allah. Or as I say, a ribbon around my finger reminds me of what's important, and a headscarf on my head helps me remember God and my behaviour. It's not possible to be perfect, but it is possible to try to be a better person, a better Muslim through this daily reaffirmation of why I'm here. ADVERTISING. I remember a story of someone whose
good deeds were multiplied because her outwardly demonstration of faith reminded others of God. You never know when your hijab will inspire another sister to be more faithful, or a brother to be more Islamic in his actions, or even a stranger to think more kindly of Muslims. Whatever your reasons are, remember that the message of Islam grew, in part, because of the character of our Prophet (Peace be upon him), which set an example for others. TOUGH IT OUT. There will be days when hijab is the last
thing you want to wear on your head. That's okay. That is normal. Nothing is ever easy. I'm sure girls who wear stilettos also wish the same! There are no 'perfect' days; they don't exist. But I can say that my days are easier with the remembrance of Allah, the offering of prayer, and the forgiveness I practice after anger evoking moments. These are just a few of the many benefits of wearing a functional and fashionable reminder. Many Muslim girls choose not to wear hijab for a variety of reasons, and I respect the decisions that compel people to manifest their faith in different ways. For me, it isn't about what others are doing or what society thinks of me, because I have lived that life before with little happiness. I wanted something to change in my life, and change is never easy. These past seven years on a new way of life and a new wardrobe was something I could have never predicted. I have started to realize that the less I try to control my life, and the more I submit my life to Allah’s will, the happier I am. Part of this ultimate plunge, for me, was to try something different with my life both in my heart and on my head. What I have found is an awakening inside of me that has opened my eyes to just how many blessings Allah has placed in my life, even with the challenges and tests I have faced. With the challenging times we face today, the answer is not to step back, but to step up as Muslims. We must do our part to remember Allah in our every action, decision and speech – wearing the hijab helps. As a public example of Muslims, and for Muslims, in our Canadian society, the headscarf is bigger than us. It is a demonstration of our ability to balance our inner faith with our outward concern for humanity.
writer: anonymous winter 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/13
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mind over matter WRITTEN BY JENNA M. EVANS
//THOUGHTS using visualization techniques to achieve physical,,' mental and spiritual health After receiving poor feedback, experiencing an embarrassing moment, or engaging in a heated argument, stress levels may remain high despite the passing of the situation. We often re-live negative moments hours, days, weeks, and sometimes even years after their occurrence. Learning from our mistakes contributes to our psychological and intellectual growth, but mulling over the past can be damaging to our mind and body. In addition to emotional breakdowns and poor self-esteem, this habit also contributes to chronic stress, which weakens our immune system’s ability to fight illness and disease. Visualization is a stress management technique that involves forming mental images or visions using your imagination. It can help combat stress, improve your mood, and eliminate stress-related issues like headaches, insomnia, and anxiety. Find a quiet and relaxing place where you will not be disturbed or distracted. Although visualization can be done in any position, lying down is often most comfortable. As a result, beginners often find it easier to visualize in bed in the morning or at night before falling asleep. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and scan your body for tension. Relax any tense muscles one at a time until your entire body is deeply relaxed. Then use the power of your imagination to form positive mental images. During visualization you can ask, “What’s bothering me?” to help identify the source of your stress or the reasons why you cannot let go of a particular incident. You can also visualize a negative experience the way you wished it had happened, but it is important that once you do so you avoid replaying the actual events.
it becomes easier and with time, habitual. Unlike the reliving of negative experiences, visualization is a habit that contributes to your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Islam teaches us to avoid pessimism and anger. The Qur’an states that “Allah (the almighty) does not impose on any soul more than it can bear” (Surah Al-Baqara: 286), which highlights the importance of accepting the past, learning from it, and moving on. Feelings of disappointment and hopelessness should quickly and consciously be extinguished for Allah (the almighty) promises that, “those who strive in Our way, We will certainly guide them to Our path” (Surah al-Ankabut: 69). Like pessimism, anger is a destructive emotion. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said, “When one of you gets angry while he is standing, he should sit down. Then the anger will leave him, and if not, he should lie down” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi). The art of visualization reflects the advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Through frequent positive visualization you can de-stress and regain physical, mental, and spiritual peace. Recognizing, identifying, and addressing negative habits and emotions through visualization can help prevent unnecessary, damaging impacts to yourself and those around you. Use your mind’s remote control to mute those disapproving voices and to switch off those unconstructive images. Embrace the peace of mind that comes with positive visualization. The benefits await you.
Finally, you can visualize your hopes and dreams for the future. For example, you can imagine an upcoming presentation going very well, receiving good feedback from school or work, or reaching your fitness or Quranic (holy book) memorization goals. Imagine both the step-by-step process of reaching your goal as well as the outcomes of succeeding. During visualization try to use all of your senses; think about what you would see, hear, taste, smell and feel. If you are visualizing for the first time you may feel uncomfortable with the technique, but once you try it a few times,
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Tawakkul All Praises are due to Allah and may His peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).
THE STRESS OF EXAM TIME HAS COME ONCE AGAIN. Throughout different periods of time several coping methods for stress have been developed. The most popular being alcohol, drugs and whatever else makes you forget about exams! However, as Muslims we know these are not permissible in our religion, so what is a Muslim to do at exam time? Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) that we have been blessed with an encompassing religion with many solutions. One of the most important solutions in every Muslim’s life is Tawakkul, or reliance upon Allah.
WHAT IS TAWAKKUL?
Tawakkul includes knowledge and action of the heart. The knowledge component is directly proportional to one’s knowledge and certainty of Allah. The act of tawakkul is in the heart’s tranquility and contentment. It is to do whatever it takes to get the job done, then to put your heart at rest by putting your trust in Allah. Allah tells us ‘And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah then He is sufficient for him.” (Al-Ta’laq: 2-3) This point has also been found in a hadeeth (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), narrated by Umar bin Khattab, (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If all of you were to rely upon Allah in the manner He deserves from you, then He would certainly grant you provision as He provides it to the birds who depart hungry in the morning and return with a full belly at dusk” (At-Tirmidhi).This hadeeth is worth reflecting on, the birds leave hungry in the morning, and they don’t know where there next meal is, but they fly anyway. The birds do not complain to others about Allah but just trust Him, they do their part and then trust that Allah will provide, and He does.
PART ONE: DO YOUR PART
Tawakkul is made of two-parts. Practically speaking, the first is comprised of your individual actions that show your effort towards the final goal. For example, on an exam, the ultimate goal that everyone would like to achieve is to get perfect, or
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at least within the 90s. To achieve this, the first part of Tawakkul would require eating well, sleeping properly, studying, taking proper notes and committing to other good study habits that a student should have. An example of the first part of Tawakkul is the example of when the Prophet (peace be upon him) migrated from Mecca to Medina, he did not just get up and go, nor did he decide to ‘wing it’ rather he prepared food and water, he got a good riding camel, he found someone to accompany him, and many more preparations took place.
PART TWO: LEAVE IT TO ALLAH, COMPLETELY.
The second is quite different from the first and deals with more of the spiritual aspect. Essentially, after you have put in all the effort possible, to have Tawakkul is to trust in Allah fully; to trust that passing this exam is not possible except by the mercy and the will of Allah. It is to pray, make dua’a (supplication/prayer) and to trust in your Lord that everything will go well Insha’Allah (God willing). Allah tells us “Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.” (Al-Imran: 159)
VIRTUES OF TAWAKKUL
There is a hadeeth that reveals the greatness of this act and because of its virtue, something we should all adopt Insha’Allah (God willing). ‘When Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) foretold of the seventy thousand people who shall enter Paradise without a reckoning, he described their qualities as: “… those who do not seek ‘Ruqyah’ (incantations), practice cauterization, nor follow omens but they put their trust in their Lord.” (Bukhari and Muslim) To have true tawakkul is the key to success. It is to ‘tie your camel’ or in other words to study and take care of yourself and prepare as well as you possibly can. Secondly, it is to put your full trust in Allah and then do the test with that in mind. “Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” May Allah make this time easy upon us all and make us successful in the dunya (this life) and akhirah (life after death). May Allah help us clean our intentions and have true tawakkul upon Him. Ameen.
winter 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/19
Resolution reflections on resolving the israeli-palestinian conflict WRITER :
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As we remember the Gaza War a year later, we look back to the thousands of Palestinians lives lost and some of us can’t help but feel more hopeless than ever before. Peace seems to be increasingly impossible to attain in a region where wounds remain fresh long after they’ve been inflicted. This is especially true when the attacks on Gaza began last year. Emotions on both sides rose to fever pitch: “The Palestinians are blood-thirsty terrorists!” you heard from one side; “The Israelis are murderous Nazis!” from the other. The moderates were swiftly pushed aside, and any pre-existing middle ground was lost. There’s nothing wrong with being nationalistic or passionate, but there is something wrong with losing hope. Unfortunately, this generates a culture which produces an “Israel Apartheid Week” and an “Islamofascism Awareness Week,” but not a single “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution Week” or “Israeli-Palestinian Peace Week.” Of course the Palestinians are not blood-thirsty terrorists, and of course the Israelis are not murderous Nazis. Yet, sadly, these things need to be reiterated time and time again.
before that, in another editorial, Hamas’ Chief of Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal stressed: “our conflict with you [the Israelis] is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us—our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.” It’s almost unbelievable that such statements would come from members of Hamas, but there are many gray areas in this conflict. But the existence of gray areas doesn’t excuse horrendous crimes by both sides. The recent massacre in Gaza was another example of the brutal cycle of violence that Israel perpetuates through its military operations while claiming that its attacks on the Palestinians are for its own safety. This logic, however, has been proven as flawed time and time again. During the three-week offensive by Israel, Hamas and other groups fired approximately 776 rockets into Israel and after the operations ended, Hamas fired another 100 rockets into Israel. Residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod
First things first: the Palestinians have a legitimate claim to the land where they live, which is something no Israeli can deny. Yet, the right-wing extremist Israelis like to promote the idea that all Palestinians are “Islamofascists,” especially the members of Hamas, and thus Israel should never negotiate with them. But nothing is completely black and white and there is a lot of gray area in this conflict. Organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah bring together all kinds of Palestinians from all walks of life; some join due to the attraction of the religious community, while others are members simply to take advantage of the basic services, like healthcare, provided by the organizations and in turn provide them to other Palestinians. Hence, even though the outspoken leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah have become the organizations’ mouthpieces, it’s the average Palestinians working for the betterment of the community who are its true strength. Sadly, it is also the average Palestinians who suffer the most when Israel directly and indirectly attacks these organizations. However, it becomes difficult for Israelis to see this side of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah when they deny the Holocaust and reference the antisemetic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which is utterly disgusting to say the very least. But we mustn’t paint with broad brushes since many Palestinians, and even members of Hamas, don’t agree with such statements. In May of 2008, for example, the Minister of Health and Information in Gaza Bassem Naeem stated that “neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Holocaust” and referred to the Holocaust as “one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history.” Two years
though we get emotional when a conflict heats up or lose hope when we remember the historical wrongs we must not stop ' working towards resolving the conflict were not any safer because of the military operation as violence only begot more violence. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to foresee a resolution to the conflict unless Hamas and other organizations in Palestine renounce violence. Being a supporter of the Palestinian cause shouldn’t render you blind to the injustices committed by the radical and violent Hamas members. Many pro-Palestinian activists compare the Israeli regime to the Apartheid-era South African regime. However, these same activists fail to renounce the violent means of Hamas and Hezbollah, believing their violence to be justified. Sadly, they tend to forget that South Africa did not change through violent means. Years of terrorism failed to influence the racist South African government to change its stance, but it was when the African National Congress renounced
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terrorism in the 1980s that they were able to garner more support. The international community subsequently pressured the South African government to dismantle the Apartheid regime as there was no legitimate justification for its continued oppression of a non-violent movement with a just cause. Similarly, the rocket fire by Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups within Palestine does more damage to the Palestinian cause than any single Israeli tank or bulldozer. Further, Hamas, Hezbollah and other radicals constantly demonize Israelis as “evil Zionists” conspiring to dominate the world, which is not only highly offensive due to its antisemitic overtones, but it also doesn’t win over Israelis sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Palestinians must educate against such perceptions that add fuel to the fire. At the most basic level, being a Zionist simply means that you believe in the state of Israel as the preservation of Jewish identity, similar to all other nationalistic movements like the Palestinian nationalist movement. Apart from this basic belief, Zionists disagree with each other on everything else. Hence, to treat Zionism as any different from Palestinian nationalism is utterly wrong. Just as a Palestinian has every right to be nationalistic, so does an Israeli Jew. There are secular Zionists who acknowledge that if Israel as a democracy votes to become a wholly secular nation, then the will of the people must be respected. And then there are religious Zionists who believe that all of Israel belongs to the Jewish people and no concessions can be made with
respect to this belief. Such a contrast between Zionists shouldn’t shock us since the same differences exist within the Palestinian camp — Fatah being the secular and Hamas being the religious camp. Finally, to claim that only the religious Zionists dictate Israeli policy is to ignore the history of actions taken by the Israeli government. If such was the case, then the Israeli government would not have forcefully removed Israeli settlers from settlements in Palestinian land, such as those in Hebron and the Gaza Strip. Again, nothing is ever black and white in such a complex conflict. Though we get emotional when a conflict heats up or lose hope when we remember the historical wrongs, we shouldn’t stop working towards resolving the conflict. Nor should we stop highlighting the conflict whenever the media’s attention gets diverted. The tragic situation of the Palestinians should be motivation in and of itself for all to expend our energy to work towards a Palestinian state and to bring peace and justice to a land holy to many. This requires us to look at the situation critically and to remember that there are human lives on both sides, and no amount of hate from either side will ever feed a Palestinian, console an Israeli or ultimately resolve the conflict. If first steps are ever taken towards resolution and reconciliation, each side must first start seeing the other as a fellow human being and acknowledge each other’s grievances. Then and only then can the two sides embark on a road to resolution.
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msa university of toronto
where are you from? THE MUSLIM YOUTH’S WRITEr : FAREEDAH
CHANGE IS DIFFICULT regardless of if the change is physical or emotional. Often when a person undergoes a physical change, such as moving from one place to another, it is because of pressures in their current homes, the promise of a better life somewhere else or a combination of the two factors. Similarly, when a person undergoes an internal change, it is often because of internal or external pressures and the promise of a better, or simply good life. However, the definition of a good life is subjective; there is no universal consensus on what that is. And so people, especially youth, become confused about what it is and how to attain it. The problem is compounded for young Muslims. Consider that a large proportion of Canadian Muslims are either immigrants or the children of immigrants and so they have strong attachments to countries other than Canada. Therefore, some very important aspects of their lives, including family, culture, and native tongue are directly linked with those places. Consequently, Muslim youth who are immigrants or the children of immigrants and have mostly grown up in Canada will be equally or more influenced by their traditional culture as by the Canadian
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Western one. But problems can occur when the definition and guidelines for living a good life differ amongst the two cultures, as they do frequently. The resulting interaction and conflict between the two can make a person question the validity of both and themselves. Sometimes that questioning results in the identity crisis much referred to when discussing Muslim youth. The crisis is one with two main factors. First is the corrupting influence of some mainstream Canadian and Western pressures on youth. Second is the corrupting influence of a traditional culture’s pressures on youth. Included in the Western pressures are the stereotypical depictions of Muslims in the West [insert screaming A-rab terrorist here], and of ethnic minorities in the West [insert genius Asian here]. I think it’s safe to say that I write from experience, being a visible Muslim (because of the hijab) who also happens to be a Nigerian immigrant. I remember Growing up and being continuously bombarded with images of who a young black African girl should be. They were not the images of the ideal that I and many others are trying to
reach of an observant Muslimah (admittedly, a hijabi would look strange in a rap video). Rather, they were the most common stereotypical images of black America: rappers, entertainers and basketball players that were loud, silly and mildly barbaric. The pressure of conforming to these stereotypes was made all the stronger because the caricatures portrayed looked so much like me- others might be attracted to them for different reasons. And yet, I was never satisfied with resigning myself to them.
I don’t have a specific culture, but the culture that fits with Islam.
Adding to the problem of Canadian and Western Stereotypes are the equally formidable stereotypes of the traditional cultures of Muslims. For example, a young person that has grown up in Canada may be unfairly labeled as being troublesome because he or she is seen as “Westernized” and has having lost the traditional culture. In order to prevent that labeling, some go to extremes. For example, as I grew older, I discarded the false images and roles pushed on me by Canadian and Western stereotypes in favour of my African heritage. I rushed headlong into an Afro-centric worldview that was inspired by my embracing the ideas of pan-Africanism. I thought the ideology would help to create and preserve a stronger attachment to my traditional culture so I could not be accused of abandoning it. But the ideology did not or could not do that. It only helped to increase my confusion about identity and purpose. How could I attain to a good life when there seemed to be a different definition of that wherever I turned to? I stayed in that confused state until I recognized the truth that never really left me. The answer was so utterly simple and so profound, it changed the way I lived my life. The answer was Islam. Don’t get me wrong, I was always a Muslim but when the question of identity arose, I looked high and low but not to the truth that was always a part of my life. Subhanallah, the questions of identity and purpose were all answered and the pursuit of a good life was given a blueprint! As Allah says in Qur’an (translation): “Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)” [al-Nahl 16:97] I found the reassurances that I was looking for in Islam, and there was absolutely no need to look elsewhere. However, the confusion that one may undergo because of different influences can result in a person trying to achieve a compromise between them. But with compromise comes the danger of creating a Frankenstein of Canadian and Western customs, traditional cultural customs and Islam, even if they are
contradictory. An example would be a clubbing hijabi, or a guy who expects his sister to wear jilbab (which is a noble thing to do), but he’s drinking and partying up with girls.
Alhamdulillah(Praise be to Allah), instead of being Frankenstein-like, this fusion of cultures and ideals is proving to have some very positive effects. For example, the beginnings of a community of young Muslims that is bound together primarily by religion, and not by Canadian Western culture or traditional culture, is emerging. Because of alienation from traditional as well as Canadian Western culture, there is a growing sense of understanding and community amongst young Muslims who are drawn together by that alienation. We’ve known, and are now experiencing for ourselves, the reality of Islam as a unifying force for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity and culture. As the best of creation, Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O you who believe, verily your Lord is One, and your father [Adam] is one. There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa (piety).” [Ahmad] By understanding that principle of unity, young Muslims will have the potential to live and implement it, insha’Allah (God willing). However, emphasizing that growing understanding is not to deny the deep racism, tribalism and colourism that exist and may even be prevalent amongst the Muslims, including youth. Nor is it to deny that ethnic cliques form very easily amongst Muslims because of the large immigrant communities. Additionally, there are many Muslim youth who compromise their religious beliefs, cultural background or both in order to wholly be a part of mainstream Canadian and Western society. Despite these realities, young Muslims are showing the potential to create a unique and dynamic community, a community that is distinct from the mainstream Canadian Western culture and various traditional cultures without being foreign to either. Rather it would be an affirmation of Islam that incorporates the best of both. As I recently heard a sister say “I don’t have a specific culture, but the culture that fits with Islam.”
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winter 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/25
THE LEGACY OF CHE
IS EVER JUSTIFIED JUSTIFIED? WRITEr :
A FEW MONTHS AGO, I was sitting on the streetcar when a teenaged girl boarded the car. Two older passengers began to discuss the girl’s t-shirt, in disgust. It was a stylishly oversized Che Guevera t-shirt, with his name emblazoned on top of his photo in silver block letters. This iconic image of Ernesto “Che” Guevera de la Serna has adorned everything from bathing suits to Louis Vuitton bags. Like the keffiyeh, people wear it because it’s an attractive symbol of masculinity, and edginess. And like the keffiyeh, the vast majority of people who wear it have absolutely no clue what it means. Ernesto Guevera was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary. He traveled through Latin America as a young medical student, and, after witnessing the immense poverty around him, concluded that Western capitalism and neo-imperialism was to blame. Guevera joined Fidel Castro’s Communist movement, and helped to overthrow the U.S.-backed Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista.He was eventually captured and executed by the CIA and by Bolivian forces, during his effort to incite revolution in Bolivia. Che was known to be cruel to anyone who did not support the revolution. His brutal firing squad took care of anyone who got in the way of his vision. Many Cubans fled Castro’s dictatorial regime in Cuba and settled predominantly in Florida and New Jersey. In a Seattle Times article from 2005, it is evident that many Cuban-Americans are distressed by the very thought of Che Guevera. One man, named Carlos Barberia admitted to buying a Che T-shirt… and then promptly and publicly setting it on fire. Apparently, Che Guevera had ruthlessly murdered Barberia’s father. This is what the two passengers on the streetcar were upset about: did the girl know what she was wearing? Did she know, that for many Cubans, this piece of clothing is as horrific as wearing a t-shirt glamorizing Hitler, or bin Laden? It’s possible that she doesn’t know the story behind that face. But, it’s also possible that she knows, and chooses to support him anyway. This got me thinking about the “moderate Muslim” conception of violence and justice. After 9/11, Muslim immigrants in modern industrialized democracies were put on the spot, and they were forced to ask themselves: is violence ever justified?
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Famous Muslims Through
FARHAN M. ASRAR ISLAMIC HISTORY AT THE TIME OF THE PROPHET MOHAMMAD (peace be upon him) and his companions show us the best examples of mankind's achievements and demonstrates the perfect way to live one's life for the sake of Allah (the Almighty). Similarly, over the years from various countries around the world, examples of Muslims who have made a positive impact and mark in Islamic History can be seen Masha'Allah. The following consists of a brief synopsis of a few notable Muslims of the 20th and 21st centuries that are being presented to the reader in a unique format of arts, antiques and collectibles from my private collection.
NOOR MOHAMED HASSANALI Noor Mohamed Hassanali (1918-2006) was the former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the first Muslim head of state in the Americas. He studied law in Canada, at the University of Toronto from 1943 until 1947. Noor Hassanali was actively involved on campus, serving as the president of the men’s residence at Victoria College. He was also an avid sportsman, and played on the men's soccer team for which he had received a Bronze "T" athletics award. Noor Hassanali was elected and served as the President of Trinidad and Tobago from March 1987 to March 1997. As a
TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN Tunku Abdul Rahman (1903 - 1990) was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, with his career spanning from 1957 up until 1970. He is considered as the 'Father of Independence' and the 'Father of Malaysia'. He was given the title of 'Tunku,' which is a princely title. He was one of the main founders and supporters of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). He also served as its first Secretary General. Further, Tunku Abdul Rahman founded the Muslim Welfare Organization of Malaysia (PERKIM), a voluntary organization overseeing welfare services and community development, providing care irrespective
28/THE MUSLIM VOICE/winter 2010
President, he has been described as “one of the most neutral, reserved, and dignified figures in the history Trinidad & Tobago politics.” Others have referred to him as the best president and a legend. It is reported that President Hassanali chose not to serve alcoholic beverages at the President's House during his time in office. In 1990, the University of Toronto awarded him with an honorary doctor of law degree. Noor Hassanali passed away on August 25th, 2006 and a public memorial service was held for him in Toronto in October 2006.
of race or religion in line with the teachings of Islam. He also played a significant role in establishing the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). According to the Central Bank of Malaysia’s website, "The role of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, was instrumental in the formation and growth of the Islamic Development Bank.”Further, he served as the president of the Regional Islamic Da’wah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific (RISEAP).
According to the Perdana Leadership Foundation of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman's single greatest achievement was giving Malaysia a sense of pride and nationhood. He passed away on December 6th, 1990 at the age of 87.
MERVE SAFA KAVAKCI I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Sister Merve during a visit to Canada when she was a guest speaker at a conference. Early on in her life, Sister Merve had joined medical school in Turkey, but was compelled to leave two years later due to a headscarf ban imposed in all universities. She then completed a degree in computer engineering from Texas University, USA and then returned to Turkey and later on joined politics. She was elected as an MP in 1999 and went to take her oath wearing the headscarf but was prevented from doing so by the opposition (I still recall watching on TV, the moment she entered the parliament proudly wearing the headscarf despite the jeering and banging on desks by the opposition!) Her amazing determination and resolve are qualities we must all look up to. She also became Hafiz-al Qur’an (memorized the holy book) and completed a MPA from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Howard University. She currently teaches at George Washington University in Washington D.C.
The few individuals featured here are of modern times and only date back to less than a century ago. However, the purpose of this article is to serve as a prolegomenon into the unparalleled world of Islamic history by enlightening readers on many fronts; encouraging others to learn more history, and opening the eyes of others to an intellectual world of a healthy hobby. Also many may know details of the history of Muslims during the early phases of Islam, but not everyone is aware of recent Muslim history from various parts of the world, whether it be on Malcolm X, Jamaluddin Afghani, Tipu Sultan, Ali brothers, Abul Kalam Azad, and etc. I once heard someone say, “You don't know where you're going until you know where you've been.” I find that phrase very relevant to the Muslim journey. We would greatly lose out on the tale of how we as Muslims 'got here today' without educating ourselves about the endeavors and achievements of Muslims that made a significant difference in our history. Copyright 2009 Dr. Farhan Asrar. Dr. Farhan M. Asrar is a University of Toronto alumnus. Dr. Asrar is currently a specialist resident doctor at McMaster University and affiliated hospitals. He is also a keen collector of arts and antiques.
HAKEEM OLAJUWON The name ‘Olajuwon’ translates into ‘always being on top’. Hakeem Olajuwon did just that by becoming one of the fifty greatest players in NBA history. His numerous achievements in basketball include: MVP, NBA defensive player of the year, being among the all time leaders in points scored, rebounds, blocked shots, he became the first player in NBA history to accumulate both 2000 blocks & 2000 steals and is considered among the best basketball centers in NBA history. In 2008, Olajuwon was honoured by being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Apart from basketball, Hakeem Olajuwon, being a devout Muslim, has been a role model and inspiration for young Muslims. Unlike other players, whose new found fame and fortune leads to a new lifestyle, making them known for their antics both on & off the court (referring both to the basketball courts and the courts of law), Hakeem Olajuwon is considered one of the few ‘Good Guys’ in the NBA, being a person of strong moral and religious values. He realizes the position and status that he has been blessed with, i.e. being a celebrity, a person who people look up to. He once said, “I did not come to America to compromise my values”. Hakeem led the Houston Rockets to their
first ever championship win in the 1993/94 season. In the following NBA season of 1994/95, the Rockets were initially struggling. Hakeem was regularly fasting as Ramadhan (holy month of fasting) fell during the NBA season. This started to take a toll on his health and people begged him not to fast. He did not mean to offend anybody but did not back off from his beliefs. That very NBA season, although the Houston Rockets’ star player was ill for sometime and at many stages it appeared that the team was in despair, they won the championships for the second time. When the final game was won, all were celebrating their win on court while Olajuwon went off by himself to the benches to give thanks to Allah. During one of my personal meetings with Hakeem Olajuwon, I asked him if he had any words of wisdom for the youth here and he replied “I would advise everyone and also advise myself to fear Allah and work for the sake of Allah at any level. Everyone has as an impact even if they realize it or not. Be a good example for Islam. Also be kind, courteous to one another, as a Muslim should be. Set a realistic goal, stand firm in what you believe, analyze it correctly and go step by step to achieve it with discipline.”
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The Orphan Sponsorship Program Making a Positive Difference Worldwide The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
"I AND THE PERSON WHO LOOKS AFTER AN ORPHAN AND PROVIDES FOR HIM, WILL BE IN PARADISE LIKE THIS," PUTTING HIS INDEX AND MIDDLE FINGERS TOGETHER.” [Sahih Al- Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 34].
In 2003, the Orphan Sponsorship Program (OSP) at the University of Toronto, St. George campus, an ongoing completely volunteer student initiative, was launched with the hopes of fundraising to sponsor orphans from underprivileged countries around the world and making a positive difference in their lives. Since then, the OSP’s achievements have been remarkable, Masha’Allah (God has willed it). Accumulatively, over a quarter of a million dollars have been raised, which is unheard of in student fundraising history! They are currently annually sponsoring 131 orphans from 22 different countries, over 4 continents, via recognized and registered charities of Canada. Orphans are sponsored from a wide range of geographical areas such as the Tsunami-affected Indonesia and Sri Lanka, regions shaken by earthquakes such as Pakistan and Kashmir, conflict and war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Middle East, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya and many other areas that are deprived of media coverage and attention. OSP is not part of, not affiliated, not associated, and not connected to any of the charities; they only sponsor the orphans from the registered charities. 100% of all donations are used to sponsor orphans, with no administrative costs. Donations are collected year-round and cover education, health, food, shelter and other basic necessities for the orphans. OSP is not limited to UofT, St. George Campus as they have received donations and have had volunteers from all over North America Subhana’Allah (Glory be to God). The OSP is unique as its pursuits are ongoing, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God). Along with some high schools, OSP has also helped universities across Canada and USA to start their own orphan sponsorship initiatives. OSP has been educating students and the community about the plight of the orphans by means of talks, seminars, posters, and annual events (including bake sales, information booths, fundraising dinner, sending letters/cards/gifts to the orphans, and visiting the orphans in person). Pictures of some orphans who wrote back to OSP, some OSP members’ orphan visit videos, and OSP's media coverage can be viewed by the general public through the OSP website. Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest).
The OSP’s objective and future goals include continuing to re-sponsor the children that they are currently sponsoring on an annual basis, and to gradually sponsor additional orphans at a manageable, maintainable, and reproducible pace, Insha’Allah (God willing). So far, they have re-sponsored 35 out of the 131 orphans. Approximately $45,000 is needed to re-sponsor the remaining 96 orphans for another year! The OSP needs your help; it only costs $1-2/day to make a difference and donations can be in any amount. Donations can be made in Cash (in person given to an official OSP representative), Online via PayPal (through OSP’s website) or Cheques addressed to: Orphan Sponsorship Program c/o MSA, University of Toronto, St. George campus 21 Sussex Avenue, Suite 505, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1J6 Note: Tax receipts will be issued upon request Please donate generously and spread the word to help those children who have no one else. Jazakum Allahu Khairan. For further information, volunteer, and/or donate contact: Website: www.ospuoft.wordpress.com Email: email@example.com
HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US? If so, then leave a comment on our website at www.tmv.uoftmsa.com, or e-mail us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
WINTER 2010/THE MUSLIM VOICE/30
Presently sponsoring over 130 orphans from over 20 countries. Our goal is to continue to sponsor our current orphans and to help even more. Help us fill in the rest of this map.
For more information and queries, please contact us: email@example.com www.ospuoft.wordpress.com 416-946-7788 (voicemail) University of Toronto St. George Campus 21 Sussex Avenue, Suite 505, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1J6
HABIB ISLAMIC BOOKSTORE PERFUMES & GIFTS
20 Rexdale Blvd Etobicoke, ONt. M9W 5Z3 Canada
Tel: 416-743-6317 Fax: 905-856-4031 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org