Looking Back

Standard

by Sarah Mushtaq

It is funny how quickly the new school year is upon us. When I began my undergrad, I never thought I would finish. Now, it feels like third year is just flying by.

One of my lasts posts was on the mostly peaceful revolution in Egypt. In that time, we’ve witnessed the bloody revolution in Libya come to an end with the demise of its leader. What I want to comment on is the negativity associated with Sharia Law.

I find it so disheartening that the general media feels like painting everything Islamic with a negative brush. I agree that many so-called “Islamic” governments have used Sharia law terribly incorrectly and I am not encouraging that in any way.

Sharia Law is a governmental system based on the teachings found in the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). When Sharia law is applied correctly, it is intended to be for the benefit and protection of every person. Sharia cannot be applied without an Islamic government (usually seen as the caliphate). The ruler, judges, and law-makers should be strongly versed in Islamic jurisprudence. You can’t pick a random Moe off the street and make him the “Grand Mufti.” Moe is not going to know right from wrong, and how to apply the laws correctly in situations not mentioned in Islamic texts. A knowledgeable scholar with (preferably), a PhD or relevant degree from a reputable Islamic institution would be ideal.

The biggest thing, I feel, lacking from countries who are applying their supposed versions of Sharia law is Taqwa. In Islam, the concept of Taqwa, loosely translated as God-consciousness is a beautiful one. Taqwa, in Arabic, comes from the root meaning a shield. A shield is something which protects a person. Likewise, taqwa is that feeling of remembering God at all times. It protects you from disobeying Him in any way.

Sharia law’s intention is not to oppress. It is to liberate. But it can only be done so with leaders who embody this trait of Taqwa. The leaders on the past used the laws for their personal gains. The future leaders need to realize that does not accomplish anything. Only with true Taqwa will we see peace in the Muslim countries, and hopefully, in the world.

Advertisements

Being Grateful

Standard

by Siddharth Pandya

Being human is being grateful. Being aware of our existence on earth and how we have the potential bestowed within each of us by God. Simply being aware of this fact would, in my opinion, be an ideal starting point on the path of rediscovering our true selves. If you say I am a man/woman, I opine, that it is not simply having two eyes, two hands, two feet and a mouth between the ears in a body basically built on the virtue of forty-six chromosomes, but what we do with what we have. Being grateful for what we have is, like I just mentioned, a good starting point. So, what next? When we look around us, we know we do not live in a vacuum. Society is made of and in a sense becomes a part of our psyche irrespective of what type it is or where it is located. An excellent way of expressing our gratitude, at whatever level individually possible, is to try and give back to the community. I used to volunteer and I still do but what started as a requirement for school soon became a way to exercise values that I had learnt over time; to be grateful for what I have and to contribute back to the society whenever possible. It satiates an inner need to be honest in my actions without harbouring greed of attaining something in return. That is, in my opinion, the true act of being grateful.

It’s Not Where You Are, It’s Who You Are With

Standard

by Alex Petric

Every Sunday during the school year, Assumption Church (the church I regularly attend) runs a “Café” in Assumption University for students following the 7:30pm Mass. It’s a great place to meet people and see friends over food (FREE food).

Around the beginning and end of the semester, there’s usually a bit of confusion over when we officially start or stop running this café. As we moved into exams at the end of last semester, there was one evening in particular when it had been decided that the café would not be set up since most students would likely be unable to attend, given exams. As it turned out, there was a large group of students at Mass who had no idea of these plans. Fortunately, we had access to the facilities and were all able to still spend a few hours together.

It was a great testament to how community works. We didn’t need everything prepared in advance to have a few laughs. We just needed a few warm faces and a place to hang around. You can have the greatest facilities and expansive resources, but in the end, it’s about the people. If people don’t feel welcome or if they’re treated like outsiders, they won’t stay around. The setting is an integral part, of course, but it isn’t the only factor. Being with those whose company you enjoy and being welcomed by (and welcoming to) those you don’t know plays a very important role.

Maybe if we focused on this a bit more, whether in our daily lives or through whatever larger influences we have, we could foster a greater sense of community.

This I Pray

Standard

by Adetoyese

Dear friends,

I am posting a poem I wrote a while back. It is one of a series I wrote in the form of prayers and is simply just a flow of the thoughts I had at the time, restructured into verse. I honestly believe that we need God more than we realize. There are more ways to fail than to succeed really but with the guidance of God and placing our trust in HIM, we can rest in Love and face the challenges and storms of life with a calm disposition due to a quiet assurance of a positive outcome. I hope it helps…

THIS I PRAY

That when I walk with you

Across the green plains and

Pastures

That I be not deceived into forgetting

That there are mountains to climb

 

That when I swim through cool streams

And wade through shallow

Waters

That I not forget that there are rivers to cross

And depths to explore

 

That when I stand with You on

Mountaintops and behold the beauty of

Your Grandwork

That I am not carried away and forget

The one that makes all things beautiful

 

That when you beckon me I come

That when I walk through the dark valley

That the darkness and depth not blind me from

Your light

That fear not enter and life depart

 

That I walk every step of this journey with

Your joy

Every terrain, rough or smooth

Level or steep, shallow or deep

And I know I can…

 

Because You walk with me.

A Little Less Than Sunshine

Standard

by JC Girard

The feeling is like wearing my first pair of glasses: I saw all the colours and the world was a beautiful place – or so I thought. Then I was told I needed glasses. Of course, like any child, I denied it. Why would I need glasses? I can see everything perfectly fine! On my way home from the eye doctor I couldn’t help but smile because those blobs that our car passed on the street weren’t blobs, they were people. They were beautiful people with facial features and brightly coloured clothes. They weren’t blobs. I was ignorant of the details until I received my first pair of glasses. Suddenly everything was more beautiful! I thought I had it all until I received my glasses. The feeling is like wearing my first pair of glasses.

That may not make much sense so let me explain. I thought my life was pretty good. I was going through life repetitively sinning the same sins over and over again but it did not matter to me because I did not feel guilty about my sins. In fact, I was happy – or so I thought. It wasn’t a “life-changing moment” but it certainly was a moment that would lead to a life-changing decision. I decided that the life I was living was not who I was and as soon as I made a conscious decision to stop living the lie I had so blindly pulled before my eyes, the world seemed brighter! I could see the facial expressions and intimate details again. It was amazing. What I thought was good wasn’t really. I’m smiling more, I don’t feel pressured, and my days feel more productive!

Some people are taking bets already on how long my new found “happiness” will last. Some say a few weeks, others say a couple months. In changing who I am – or rather, DISCOVERING who I am – I have discovered one other thing… I will make a mistake, I will change something, I will get back on my feet. I will make another mistake, I will change something, I will get back on my feet. It may be an endless cycle leading to some destination that I’m not sure of. I know where I’m going, I’m just not there yet. One thing I do know, it’s process over product. Ultimately, we’re all going to the same place, we’re just not all taking the same streets. For me, it’s one change at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time, until the end of time…

 

Know Thyself

Standard

by Aubrey

One of the concepts in Buddhism I approached first was the removal of the self/soul. This was a concept that, previous to Buddhism, I had already been becoming aware to, but Buddhism helped me put it into words. Now, look at yourself, both physically and mentally. Where are you? Where is our soul? Is there anything within you our outside of your body that you can say, “That is me?” If you’re like me, you won’t be able to find any particular thing that you can call, “you”. Okay, so you might say that you are your body, but let’s think about it a little bit. What about air? Surely your body is made up of air. You always need it, and where does it come from? If you’re constantly breathing in new air all the time, then all the air you are going to breath in the future is also you. What about water? Surely you wouldn’t say you’re a lake or a water well somewhere, but if you think about where the water comes from you’re probably part of a lake. If you really concentrate you’ll find that you are pretty much made up of everything, but yet nothing in that everything is you!

So, what does that mean? Well, it means that there is no you (hard to swallow, huh), and that the sense of self is simply an idea that helps you organize who you think you are. Your mind, for some reason, doesn’t want you to see who you truly are. We’re all a bit confused about who we are, and better yet what we are. There is also a concept in Buddhism called “Emptiness”, and no it doesn’t mean that everything is nothing or void. It means that simply, no matter how hard you look, there is no particular thing that you can say is “Me”. And, that goes for all things. Sure, a chair is a chair, but if you think about is deeply enough, it’s also a tree, it’s also going to be a fire when it gets old and doesn’t work anymore, or maybe a part of a tree-house one day. A simple chair can live many different lives, and as we’ve discussed before, if you look deeply at a chair you find out that there is no clear name you can give it because it’s made of so many different things and circumstances. “Emptiness” means the “chair” doesn’t exist, it’s really a “tree, chair, air, water, carpenter, soil, …exploded star dust…” and so on. That means the whole of existence is empty of a unique “chair”. It seems as if all of existence is coming together to be a chair.

You see, that’s the magnificent thing about the denial of the soul or self, is that you realize that who you are is not a finite set of parts, or a soul somewhere, or energy, etc. You are truly everything, and so is everything else. That everything is called “Emptiness”, because within it there is no identity, nothing that you can say, “These things here, that’s everything,” or, “These things here, that’s me.” You are in a constant, directly connected, relationship with everything because that is what you truly are.

For me, part of coming back to God, is realizing that I never left…

The World and The Burning Heel

Standard

by Rohan Khanna

Hi this is a short poem I wrote recently. It is called, “The World and the
Burning Heel”. Basically it is a perception of the world from what I feel. It
explores as to how mankind’s devotion in other realms rather than faith
itself has become quite prominent.

 

What this world has come to be

has become a contemplation of sorts to me

The death throws of the burning world

The vastness of our misdeeds

The joys of inflicting pain

The distant echoes of anguish

and the pride of our optimistic sanity

have become the vices of our insanity

Old times have dispersed in the realm of time

giving way to a new era of deceit and crime

The world of knowledge

The people of Adam

The sin of man

The dreams of a child

Brings forth a thought that keeps us engaged

making no exception in making us feel enraged