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.
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.
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.