Activism, A Better World, Islam, Change, Self-Advocacy

I ran across this website a few months ago and was able to find it again. I was at work one day trying to figure out how I could change the world. I was just sitting there at work trying to make sense of the world around me. Sometimes I feel like I could do alot more than what I do in creating a world that is better than how I entered into it. It’s always troublesome to me to feel as if I have to wait for politicians or the government to step in to stop inequalities that we see. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being proactive and doing what you have to do in order to change the inequalities in the world. 

As I encounter personal issues and problems in life, I have found myself motivated to live a life that is beneficial. I want to live in a way that will make the world a better place. I know I sometimes say this without any action to back it up, but I am truly sincere in saying such a statement. Sometimes we fall short of the promises we make to ourselves, but why don’t we actually pull through with these promises? Obviously they must be important enough for us make it as a promise. We can look in our own towns, cities, villages, provinces, and countries and see issues that are needing to be resolved. So, why don’t we do something? Recently, I’ve been quite interested in the Black Power Movement in America. I believe I am interested in the Black Power Movement because it represents a group of individuals that were oppressed and chose to think, create and find ways to uplift and better their current condition(s). Many instances, there would be motivation from Black leaders to tell their followers to change the lifestyles they were leading. There would be a push towards: education, healthy lifestyle, family life, stopping the usage of drugs, alcohol and departing with destructive behavior. These ideas were present and ran through in the Nation of Islam, the Black Panthers, and even in orthodox Islam. There became a consensus in many Black-communities that self-sufficiency and self-advocacy would be the only way to escape from the grasp of oppression and to true freedom. The move for one to become self-sufficient creates independence and allows one to become freed of other’s resources. Malcolm X encouraged Blacks to create their own media, their own institutions, and to create their own jobs so that they wouldn’t feel the need to go back to their oppressor for resources that they would have to rely on. This was a form of activism and a move towards changing the world for a group of individuals. 

These are just a few examples of how we can change the world or our world. In many instances we find ourselves stuck in oppression or going through some inequality within society so we can be that voice needed to uplift ourselves and others in our circumstance. Honestly, I will say that being the voice of a people or a nation can be hard, but it can be done. There’s been people that has come before us and had created freedoms due to their conviction(s).  

Sometimes we don’t feel we can do much because we are only one person. However, there’s been revolutions that has started with one person but had grew due to people recognizing the legitimacy of a message. Sometimes we need to become advocates for ourselves and others. Yes, we can be an advocate for ourselves and others. It can be as simple as not buying a product because it will cause an unseen oppression to continue. Recently I learned that most of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa (60%) with 20% coming from South America. However, the chocolate that we are most likely eating is coming from West Africa and many of these cocoa farms are relying on child-slaves to harvest their crops. Yes, there is modern-day slavery today. And it comes in various forms. So, if I am unsure if my piece of chocolate is coming from a slave-plantation then I don’t buy it. This stops the cycle of oppression if we don’t support it.  Two months ago I became a vegetarian and a few weeks ago became a vegan. I absolutely couldn’t believe the poor living conditions and mistreatment of animals in factory-farms. Animals are usually in crowded spaces, given food that isn’t natural for the animal, shot up with hormones for quick growth, many times sick and sold at local grocers and unhealthy for eating. It becomes very easy to go to your local fast-food restaurant and eat cheap, but eating cheap comes at a price. Or when you buy eggs at less than a dollar a container…just remember that comes at a price. Many times male chickens are discarded and thrown out because they are unable to reproduce eggs, thus not unable to make money for the owner. The world we live in is extremely scary. There are things that we fail to see because it doesn’t happen in front of us, but there are things that happen because nobody is saying anything. 

So, we can do small and big things to change the world. Sometimes it just starts with us. We have to change ourselves and our attitudes about life. If we are selfish then we can try to change that. If we are stingy with our money then we can try giving more of it away. If we are always angry then we can try being more patient. These are things we can do for ourselves. Now, on a bigger scale we can do things for our neighborhood, villages, tribes and others. However, we must do everything for the sake of Allah. Everything is awarded due to its intention. There’s a story from the Islamic tradition that speaks about intentions. In the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the Muslims migrate from Mekkah to Madina( Yathrib) due to the persecutions by the pagan arabs. So, many emigrated due for the sake of Allah but there was a man that traveled for marriage, so the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that everyone will be awarded due to their intentions, even if it was for marriage. So, it is important to keep ourselves accounted for the things that we do and the reasons for us in doing it. 

As always, never allow hardships to stop you from making the world a better place. We can better the world because we are the world. 

Advertisements

Make Your Mark: Benefit Your Society or even the World!

Assalamu Alaykom everyone,

One thing that I find most important as an individual apart of our global-community is charity. We all can give something to the cause of the planet we live on. So many people have taken great strides in changing their neighborhoods by teaching others and transforming the bad into a good. I have never seen anything more revolutionary than seeing people doing things for themselves and not waiting for the government to step in. We are powerful people, but we just have to believe it. We have to believe it. The different movements and revolutions that has taken place is because of ordinary people with extraordinary ideas and goals.

It is from the Islamic tradition that charity is due upon every Muslim:
Abi Musa Al-Asha’ri ( may Allah be pleased with him ) related that the Messenger of Allah ( PBUH ) said :

( There is a Sadaqa ( charity ) due on every Muslim; if he cannot give because he has no money, let him work then he can support himself and give charity; if he is unable to work, then let him help someone in need of his help; if he does not do that, let him adjoin good; if he does not do that, then he should not do evil or harm others: it will be written for him as a Sadaqa ) Narrated by Ahmad,Bokhari, Muslim & Nesa’ee

We can give this daily charity by putting forth little ways that can benefit someone else. That someone can be our family members because the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the best charity is given to one’s family. So, you can possibly start there.

This can be as simple as planting for others in your local-community. In many areas throughout America, it is known that residents do not have access to vegetables and healthy foods. So, many times there are individuals that start up neighborhood gardens. Fortunately, the prophet Muhammad even spoke about the act of planting:

Anas ( may Allah be pleased with him ) related that Allah’s messenger ( PBUH ) said :

( Every Muslim who plants a seed or plant, then another human being or a bird or animal eats from it, till it is written for him as a charity )Narrated by Bokhari & Muslim

The simple act of planting will become a form of charity for you. Furthermore, this act of charity will benefit another individual for the better. In benefiting another person, we are changing the world for the better. Sometimes we think about things so much to the point that we make things complicated when it is indeed quite simple. There is nothing hard about planting or giving whatever you may have. Yes, we probably all are guilty of turning a blind-eye, but we can stop right now. Turning your face from a reality doesn’t make it go away. If anything, it makes the problem bigger.

Also, many people have this false ideology that giving in charity reduces your wealth, but in the Islamic tradition it does the total opposite. Your wealth doesn’t diminish when you choose to give in charity according the the prophet Muhamamd (peace be upon him):

Abou Horaira ( may Allah be pleased with him ) related that Allah’s messenger ( PBUH ) said :
( No money ever decreases because of charity; when a servant of Allah forgives, Allah increases him in dignity;
and whenever a person humbles himself to Allah, Allah will elevate his status )Narrated by Bokhari & Muslim

So, remember this as you make your mark in the world. Every form of charity that you do will benefit. You may not see the results right now, but it will be seen in the future, inshALLAH. One step is one step closer to something better for the future of the next generation or even our own generation. We are all apart of this global-community, so we must work to save this planet. This is our planet. Sometimes we think we have to wait for someone to do something for us, but we can do this ourselves. There is nothing hard about picking up something harmful from the street, planting vegetables, giving food to your neighbor, smiling at a child or saying a good word. These things are simple. And charity isn’t only in one form. The prophet Muhammad( peace be upon him) was a beautiful example and gave great guidance in how to live our lives, but he gave us great guidance about charity. So, take this time and think about making your mark. Find yourself giving of yourself and benefit your neighborhood, your city, your village, your tribe, family, and country by giving charity.

Change the World, My Friends!

Assalamu alaykom,

I am trying to move away from just wishful thinking and sometimes nonsensical postings on my blog. I believe the world is more than just a post on a blog or a status on Facebook. The world is always moving. There is not a second that there isn’t something happening- good or bad. In these seconds there are things occurring to something or someone. Some of these things you may or may not hear about in your daily newspapers or media-outlets. So, what does this mean to me or to us as a whole?

It means we have a responsibility. Our responsibilities are so great that it means we will have to give up some of the ways in which we live and how we think. The world is in such a wreck that we cannot afford to dismiss the issues that are happening right before us. 

According to BBC NEWS, “In pictures: Tanzanian girl’s long walk to education,” it is ” estimated that 29 million primary school-aged children, more than half of them girls, are out of school in Africa”.  This is a real issue affecting millions of families and girls. Furthermore, this affects us. We are all connected as a global-community.  Education is the one thing that many Westerners take for granted because it is so readily accessible and a changer of lives. However, if education is not accessible then what do you do? How does one view the world differently? What are other possible options? Many times, young girls are quickly wed at an early age when education is not accessible. Yes, this is only one issue out of many, but it is quite valid and important to discuss. 

I must admit that I do feel guilty to know that I sometimes skip classes at my university just because I didn’t feel like going. However, I understand now that this view of looking at education is egregious. I have a duty to understand that education is a privilege and not necessarily a right. And that I shouldn’t take education for granted. And if I do see a wrong I should strive to fix it.

The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) said “If you see a wrong/evil then you have a duty to 1) stop it by using your hands 2) stop it by using your voice 3) stop it by hating it in your heart and this is the weakest of faith”

As a consumer of this global-community, I have a duty to change the world by first looking at the way in which I view the world. I must change myself. I must understand that my thinking is flawed because of the luxuries I have been given due to my place of residence. I’ve never had to walk for miles to get an education or walk for miles to get clean running-water. I’ve never had to deal with the strife of war in my home-country. I’ve never had to deal with being hungry. These have never been my own personal realities. However, these are the realities of individuals every single day on our planet. Yes, our planet. We are responsiblity for this planet. We have a duty to help and to shape the outcome of this place called our own. This planet is a shared space. A space that we all use and utilize. This is not a political post. This is not even a rally on wordpress. This is simply a stand against injustice. This is simply a call for equality. A call to change the world.

So, my friends…change the world. Have big ideas and go out and execute them!

For further enlightenment, please watch this beautiful video called “Baraka”. I watched this in my philosophy class. I think the video will spark something within you and get you thinking about the world around you. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQTkbThIlSs

A Moment Away from the World

the birds sung to me today
as I sat among them in a valley
far from the city and its noise
catching rays that shone from paradise
rejoicing in its bliss
I cried up to He above the heavens
to hear my somber plea for a place
in His paradise
maybe even the lowest of levels
just so that I could see His face
just so that I could hear the voice of the beloved Rasul
my heart fluttered as the clouds separated
reaching forth with my worldy hands to beg of He
my tears had fled from these windows that sometime would open and close
not wanting the world to stare long enough to see
my deepest fears that lies within
I closed my eyes to fall asleep to songs only sung by birds
a shine only shone from paradise
and a peace only found in a valley

If Only I Could Meet Him

If only I could just give him salams.
Send a letter by express mail
Or maybe have my father approach him.
To convey my love and gratitude.
To let him know that my heart has become attached.
Attached to the one that has liberated me beyond all measures
Even though we have never spoken or even met
I just want him to know that I love him.
That my love extends to him like an ocean
reaching out to its shores.
Finding peace upon their meeting of one another.
This longing have gone on too long
Too long for me to know that he is waiting on me, waiting on us
I will be pleased if my lord has placed in his book for this opportunity to be decreed
Even though my father is new to Islam I want him to know why I love this man so much
Why my heart has become attached to a man we both have never met
And why my eyes sometimes swell up upon hearing his most humble words
Words that make me think and make me act
Act in the best of ways
Ways that will only bring me closer to He
He above all in which he has created
Created was a man that has become guidance for so many
Many once lost and now freed
Freed from the world and its bondage
Bondage in which one can never be freed because they are confined
Confined now to his words upon my exit from the jahiliya
Jahiliya is no longer a life in which we strive for because in his words we have been guided
Guided by the best example of all of humanity
Humanity given a mercy
A mercy of the prophet Muhammad
May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon him
My Rasul
Our Rasul
Sallalahu Alayhe wasalam

Do You Know Your Neighbor?

In a fast-paced world we sometimes forget about our neighbors. Our neighbors are the people that we may see every now and then when we have the opportunity to look up from our busy lives. We may run into them at the local store or at the local PTA meeting, but we never really ask how they are doing. Are we bad people? No, I believe that we are sometimes busy people. We are people that are constantly in a rush. We are rushing to do this and rushing to get that done. Nevertheless, the issue of rushing can make us miss out on knowing the people that lives next to us. We sometimes start up superficial relationships with other without truly knowing them. We may add them on Facebook or Twitter, but we really do not know about them. Sometimes we may have leftover food at home or we may cook up a ton of food for a gathering, but we never ask to see if the person or family next door would like some. We never think about the single man or woman next to us that may need a baby-sitter. We sometimes never think about asking the elderly couple down the hall if they need someone to go grocery-shopping for them. Yes, this doesn’t make us bad people, but this make us people who are always in a rush. Sometimes we need to just calm down and smell life. We rush so much that we tend to miss things. We never are able to simple stop.

The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a great example because he provided simple ways of living life. He came as a mercy. He came as a guidance. In guiding the people on living life he instructed the people to take care of their neighbors.

I Narrated by Ibn Umar (Radhiallah hu Taala anhu)

The prophet Muhammad said, ” The angel Gabriel kept on recommending me about treating the neighbors in a kind and polite manner, so much so that I thought that he would order (me) to make them (my) heirs.”
(Bukhari)

This is really something to think about in our daily lives. The prophet Muhammad is telling us that our neighbors should be treated kindly. We shouldn’t go around hurting our neighbors. We shouldn’t start trouble with the couple next door. We shouldn’t seek to say things that will cause an argument with the family next door. We should seek to create a friendly and respectful relationship with our neighbors. Also, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told the people to be mindful of their actions with their neighbors.

The prophet Muhammad said, “By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!” It was said, “Who is that, O Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam)?” He said, “That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.”

Many times we may find ourselves guessing about the affairs of the next door neighbors. We may want to pry into their personal affairs or conjecture about their personal lives. We may want to begin gossiping about their business, but the prophet Muhammad told us that we should not be harmful with our neighbors by our evil. We shouldn’t treat our neighbors poorly. We should be conscious that our neighbors have rights over us. We should seek to form a good relationship with those around us.

The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) definitely guided the people beautifullly, especially when it comes down to our relations with others. Our neighbors have rights over us and we should honor this to the best of our abilities.

Taking A Realistic Approach

Islam is based upon justice, thus the act of cheating or lying is considered contradictory to the nature of an individual being just. One facet of Islam is the issue of being honest in all dealings and not seeking to conceal what should be seen.

The prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) came to all of mankind. He came with a beautiful example on how a person should live their life. One narration details the importance of a seller exposing and telling a buyer about the fault(s) of a product.

Prophet Muhammad(saw) said;

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) happened to pass by a heap of eatables (corn). He thrust his hand in that (heap) and his fingers were moistened. He said to the owner of that heap of eatables (corn): What is this? He replied: Messenger of Allah, these have been drenched by rainfall. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: Why did you not place this (the drenched part of the heap) over other eatables so that the people could see it? He who deceives is not of me (is not my follower). (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Iman)

In reflecting on this hadith, I believe this can be applied in a larger context to our communities and places of residency. It is important to look at the larger issues surrounding the places we call home. Many times things and people are romanticized. We fail to look at the full picture. Many times we think of Paris as being this place of love and romance, but we fail to think about the slums located in France. We fail to understand that there is a lower-class that is barely getting by. This can be said about any country or place. We have to expose ourselves to the full picture and not accept one view. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would listen and take into consideration the circumstances surrounding a person before he ruled on a punishment or an answer to their question. He didn’t give everyone the same answer because he understood the context of these individuals.

In comparison, it is important to look at our communities in the same way. We have to seek out the truth and not accept one thing. We cannot believe that one way of accomplishing a goal is the only way. We all come from different backgrounds and circumstances and we have to think in this realistic fashion. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a man of great wisdom and he never was one to simply answer in a blanket statement. He tailored his answers to the needs of an individual. He sought to investigate, if needed in a given situation. In our daily lives, we should take these pieces of advice as a lesson. We should seek out the truth, look at all of the pieces of the puzzle, and be truthful in our interactions with others.

A Quick Chat

Peanut M&M's

Image via Wikipedia

Walking from class

We met again

Well, for the tenth time or so

My Saudi sister

I see her

She sees me

We both giggle and smile from afar

We give each other the greeting

She takes my hand and I shake it

Masha’ALLAH is what I say

We exchange a few words between my break and her time before studying

She gives me M & M’s and I give her “thank you”

She tells me of her trips to Turkey and Europe

and I smile

Two Muslimahs enjoying each other’s company

In the middle of our conversations we meet other sisters

Assalamu alaikum is what we say

Wa alaikum salaam is how they respond back

They wave and smile and continued about their day

A nice break from the day is what I say

Our days are long and worn down because of work and school tasks

But seeing others like yourself reminds you that this dunya is temporary

And there is more than just this

The sister and I depart once again

With smiles on our faces

And Love in our hearts

My sister in Islam

My sister in Deen

Ashraq

Beautifully Wrapped

The Bazaar of Kashan, Iran, with women wearing...

Image via Wikipedia

Assalamu alaikum sis,

She smiles at me

Wa alaikum salaam

I smile back

Her hijab complements her face and adds a touch of glamour to her face

She looks at me and complements my style….

We both say, ” We look good”

Covered girls are what we are.

Beautifully wrapped in our outergarments

Ready for the world in front of us

Proud to say ” We are Muslim

Our trust lies with ALLAH

Our reliance is surely with him ALONE

Our fear of others and their comments are absent from our hearts

We walk amongst those that expose their bodies and beauty

But we….well, we are Muslimahs

Beautifully wrapped up and gorgeous

Obeying our Lord

Respecting our beauty

and conscious that our minds are more prized than our bodies.

What Are You Doing?

Stop complaining.

Stop whining.

Stop looking for an excuse to do less than the best.

Prostrate to your Lord in the morning and the night.

Grab hold to your sister’s hand in the deen and push her forth.

Get yourself up.

Stand straight in the path of ALLAH.

Never give up

Never give up

Rush towards your UMMAH and educate them with your expertise.

Do you have knowledge?

Then teach.

Do you know medicine?

Then heal.

Do you have patience?

Then listen to the ones who lack hope and push forward.

Don’t sit back and wait until the Ummah around you fall flat.

Pull up your bootstraps and march in the fight for your life.