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Writings of Ottawa MAC Youth WorkersFri, 15 Jul 2011 13:57:13 +0000enhourly1Building Bridgeshttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2009/12/02/building-bridges/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2009/12/02/building-bridges/#commentsThu, 03 Dec 2009 04:17:55 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=118by Haytham Al Azzouni

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him said, “In every creature there is a reward.” [Sahih Muslim & Sahih Al Bukhari]

Islam is truly a religion of mercy and compassion. One of the benefits of fasting is for Muslims to prove their humility. Our hearts sincerely warm up to the poor when we feel what they feel on a consistent basis. We are reminded of the poor through Zakah, Sadaqa (general charity) and fasting. We are reminded of human equality through Hajj and group prayers. The Prophet peace be upon him had mentioned a story where an act of kindness alone was enough to grant an individual eternal bliss in Paradise. Muslims are truly blessed to have a religion that instills the values of mercy, compassion and empathy into their lives through many different practices.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” [Sahih Al Bukhari]. We are all sons and daughters of Adam peace be upon him and we all have duties towards each other regardless of our differences. It is, therefore, inexcusable to have a neighbour in need neglected. Indeed, the highest form of gratitude for our blessings is sharing those blessings with others.

On June 21, 2009, a group of 22 Muslims came together to serve and feed the homeless. By the will of Allah, the Muslim Association of Canada was able to collaborate with the Shepherds of Good Hope and run the annual soup kitchen event. The volunteers and the soup kitchen’s staff were expected to prepare food for approximately 400 people. Heba Rushdan, the head of MAC Give at the time, had reflected nicely on the event, saying, “It was like a family day, all of us as brothers and sisters are washing dishes, preparing salads, sandwiches and big meals for other people. I felt that all of us are one hand just working for Allah’s sake, just waiting for His reward and just wishing to serve more and more”.

The supervisor, Raymond Tremblay – lovingly referred to as Santa -, was very appreciative of the enthusiasm that the volunteers brought to the kitchen. At the volunteer lunch break, we all sat down and listened to a story Santa wanted to share. The story was about two brothers who lived on adjoining farms. One day a misunderstanding between the two brothers eventually grew into a major conflict and the exchange of bitter words. The younger brother decided to take a bulldozer to the river resulting in the creation of a creek separating both farms. Then one random day a carpenter came to the older brother’s door looking for work. The older brother asked the carpenter to build a wall around his land so he wouldn’t have to see his brother’s farm or face anymore. The carpenter said he understood the problem and had promised the farmer a job that would please him. By the end of the day, the farmer went to the creek and was shocked to find a bridge instead of a wall. Both brothers walked towards each other and met in the middle of the bridge feeling that their conflict should come to an end.

Yusuf Islam once said, “There are three types of people: Those building Bridges, those bent on destroying them and those waiting to cross“.[1]

By the will of Allah, the soup kitchen volunteers have built a bridge with their kindness, commitment and sincerity. They have showed that the most powerful method to promote Islam is to simply set a good example -no fancy packaging is necessary. The reality is honest implementation of Islamic teachings can lead to major positive changes in Muslims’ relations with each other as well as with non-Muslims. Islam is a social religion that is heavily based on good character and strong relationships with society. I urge everyone who reads this to take the initiative and save our society by promoting unity and kindness. I would also like to thank the volunteers for giving the most precious Sadaqa a person could give: your time and a smiling face. May Allah reward you all for your efforts.

Written by Haytham Al Azzouni. He is a recent graduate from an Electrical Engineering program at Carleton University. Haytham is also a member of the MAC Give Ottawa committee that had organized the soup kitchen event.

[1] http://www.mountainoflight.co.uk/thoughts.html

]]>http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2009/12/02/building-bridges/feed/0From Jeffrey to Light: One Man’s Inspirational Journeyhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2009/10/02/from-jeffrey-to-light-one-man%e2%80%99s-inspirational-journey/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2009/10/02/from-jeffrey-to-light-one-man%e2%80%99s-inspirational-journey/#commentsFri, 02 Oct 2009 14:27:31 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=68by Ahmed Khalil

“Islam does so much for you; it gives you guidance, tells you how to live your life… the foods to eat and the foods to stay away from. Who we should marry, relationships between husband and wife and parents and children, so it’s a whole way of life.”

This is the story of the man who uttered these words many times, inspiring a generation of Western Muslims across the globe.

Jeffrey Kearse was born to Christian parents, and was himself a devoted church-goer, winning an award for perfect attendance at his church at 12 years old. He taught Sunday school in his teens but in his spare time, he would regularly paint portraits of people visiting his family in their Brooklyn home.He, like many other young men and women of his generation, was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. At a time of racial turmoil Martin Luther King’s campaign for non-violent change appealed to his Christian ideals. On April 4th 1968 everything changed for 18-year-old Jeffrey. While playing basketball, he was stunned to hear the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King. “He was my hero. I went home crying,” Jeffrey recalls. “When Martin Luther King was killed, that killed the dream.”

In 1969, the questioning of his beliefs led him in a different direction, studying his options he felt inclined to be either a Black Muslim (a term used historically to refer to African-American organizations that describe themselves as Muslim) or a Black Panther. Only 19 at the time, he considered both as he enrolled at New York University and joined the basketball team. Jerry 10X the team captain, a member of the Nation of Islam, invited him to one of their temples. It was there that he became a Black Muslim and joined the Nation of Islam. He dropped his surname, believing it came from slave masters and replaced it with the letter X. He then became known as Jeffrey 12X because he was the twelfth Jeffrey in New York to become a member.

While he credits the Nation of Islam for giving him “black pride” he now admits this pride was a seed for black supremacy. The Nation of Islam, led by self-proclaimed prophet Elijah Muhammad, urged its followers to fight back against the white man, encouraged economic independence, and helped rehabilitate convicts and drug addicts.

This message was adopted by Jeffrey. He quit New York University, participated in the Nation of Islam’s door-to-door business practices such as selling fish, pies and the organizations personal newspaper. Jeffrey recalls, “It was the kind of do-for-self black pride” that attracted him. After taking religion courses, Jeffrey became a Nation of Islam minister, running Temple 7C in Brooklyn. It was here that he preached the Nation of Islam’s separatist line, “White people are devils!”

The year 1975 welcomed another turning point in Jeffrey’s life. Elijah Muhammad died that year and with him many of his teachings. His son, Warith Deen Mohammed led the Nation of Islam and encouraged members to study the Quran, leading the organization to orthodox Sunni Islam. When Jeffrey was first introduced to the Quran he was attracted to the melodic of its recitation, describing it by saying, “[It] penetrated my heart.” His immediate reaction was, “I gotta learn this!” And that was how he started to develop a love for the Quran.

The move to Sunni Islam took some time but Jeffrey says the whole process “…came very natural to me…I respect myself, I love myself, but not to the detriment of others. I can respect and love other people. Islam crystallized that.” It was then that he came upon the Quranic verse: “And We placed (therein) Siraj Wahhaj (a Light of Splendour).”– Quran 78:13 And so, Jeffrey 12X changed his name to Siraj Wahhaj…

In 1978, he traveled to Naperville, Illinois for 40 days of religious training in a class of 50 African-American Muslims, sponsored by Saudi Arabia. Siraj was among five students chosen to receive a 4-month advanced training course in Mecca covering Islamic religion, law and Arabic. “I felt so pure,” he recalls. “I didn’t watch any TV. It was just pure, spiritual. It was like a boxer preparing for a match.”

And a match it turned out to be. In 1981, Siraj started a mosque in a friend’s modest apartment, in Brooklyn. Furniture was moved aside to accommodate 25 worshipers with Siraj Wahhaj as Imam. This mosque became known as Masjid at-Taqwa (the mosque of God-consciousness). Not long after, the congregation tirelessly fundraised some money to purchase an abandoned clothing store at a city auction for $29,000. The address was 1266 Bedford Avenue, the drug market of the city.

For years, the congregants fought to chase away the junkies that were using the property. In 1987 the boxing match took a serious turn when Imam Siraj led a campaign to rid the neighborhood of the many gangs, crack-cocaine dealers and junkies. The Taqwa group would bang on the door to a crack house, Imam Siraj announcing, “It’s the Muslims! We’re here to recover the property!”

“We had gun traffic and gunplay in the area of the masjid,” Imam Siraj explains. “Often times we could actually hear gunfire and bullets flying on our property.” It was a neighbourhood among the hardest hit by New York’s booming drug trade of the 80′s. An area where one would guarantee getting mugged just for being out at night. Imam Siraj says, “One day we decided to put an end to it.”

He called the head of the 79th precinct and offered a solution to the continued return of drug dealers to raided crack houses: the police would raid the crack houses, chasing the drug dealers out and then members of Masjid at-Taqwa would prevent the dealers from returning. The police agreed. And so it became… for the next month and a half, night or day, despite the cold New York winter, Muslim brothers led a series of antidrug patrols on foot and in cars, preventing the dealers and buyers from entering the raided buildings.

As Farid Malik, one of the brothers that patrolled the streets back then, puts it, “We became a barrier between the drug dealer and the drug user.” Farid would get off work at midnight and then patrol from one in the morning until sunrise. This collaboration with the Police received international news coverage not only for its effectiveness, but also because such cooperation was–and remains to be–unprecedented.

Today, there is no trace of the dozen or so crack houses that riddled the neighborhood and long gone are the threats posed to residents, business owners, and bystanders. Masjid at-Taqwa brought light with it. On Fridays, the end of prayer transforms the streetscape as the sidewalk is washed in color as hundreds of women in robes and bright headscarves and men wearing knit skullcaps, shoes still in hand, exit the mosque.

In 1991, Imam Siraj became the first Muslim to give the opening prayer at a session of the US House of Representatives. Throughout the 90’s, Imam Siraj’s sermons would be heard thousands of miles away on a tape in a car. In Imam Suhaib Webb’s words, “[F]or many of us 90’s MSA’ers, Masjid al-Taqwa was our spiritual umbilical cord.”

August 15th, 2003 was proclaimed “Imam Siraj Wahhaj Day” in honor of a “lifetime of outstanding and meaningful achievement,” by order of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Imam Siraj’s actions were in direct corrolation with his strong belief that, “Islam is a faith of personal responsibility.” Imam Siraj has shown that this personal responsibility can extend far beyond it’s reach and affect friends, neighbors, community, county and society.

“Every human being always has to ask himself this question: How do I benefit? Same thing with Islam. The true religion of God always looks after the best interest of the people.”

Update: On March 1st, 2009, Imam Siraj Wahhaj was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In his own words, “You and I know that the cure is in the Hands of Allah. If Allah heals me, I will be very grateful. If Allah doesn’t heal me, then I will be patient and happily accept my fate. This is the way of the Believers.”

If you’re interested in donating to help the Imam, please contact: editor @ muslimyouthvoice.ca

Ahmed is the head of MAC Youth in Ottawa.

SOURCE: http://www.muslimyouthvoice.ca/node/260

]]>http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2009/10/02/from-jeffrey-to-light-one-man%e2%80%99s-inspirational-journey/feed/0Eid Comedy Nighthttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/13/eid-comedy-night/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/13/eid-comedy-night/#commentsThu, 13 Nov 2008 14:07:21 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=53by Ahmed Khalil

With a blued-out picture of Waseem Moemoney, the rising Muslim stand-up comedian in Ottawa, an orange background and rays of light shining on the poster, the MAC Youth Learn (MYL) team, together with Carleton University’s Muslim Student Association (MSA), kicked off the advertisement for the Eid Comedy Night! The poster announced that it will be a night of skits, videos, poetry and lots of fun!

That it turned out to be, and more! Everyone enjoyed the comedy night! The first in years, Muslim youth were hungry for a celebration of their own apart from the other Eid celebrations going on in the city with their moon bouncing structures aimed at children and families for the most part. Finally, an Eid celebration for teens and young adults! It attracted nearly 350 people.

The night started off with Quranic recitation by Br. Abdulkareem Karar, who is becoming a local celebrity for his memorization of the Quran at such a young age. His recitation reminded me of Sheikh Abdul-Basit Abdul-Samad. The program included poetry-reading, a hip-hop-rap performance, stand-up comedy, a few short videos from YouTube and a very well-written and well-acted short play. Following some introductions, a welcoming and Eid wishes from the president of Carleton University’s MSA, Br. Najeeb Siddique, everyone was enraptured as they listened to the poetry reading. Br. Ahmad Luqman, suffering from a cold, stood on stage with the spotlight on him as he read his heart-moving poetry.

“In my mind I see them there

And they fell from their heights

And today we bear the scars

And our lands bear the scars

Of these countries split and drawn

We’re told we’re different now

After the heart -moving words of Ahmad Luqman’s poetry, everyone was ready for some action; some heart-warming laughter! Following the adhan of Isha prayer, we watched the first short video of the night, a production of MAC Youth, Vancouver; “Mistakes in Salah”. The audio wasn’t working, so we had to watch it silently, and it still made us laugh! The video played on the common mistakes in prayer in comical segments, each showcasing a specific mistake. In one segment titled “Hair vs. Socks,” a particularly smooth-haired brother fancied his own hair while praying, only to have it face the socks of the person in front of him during sujood!

After the few laughs of the first video, we welcomed Br. Jihad, a.k.a. Young G, a local hip-hop artist, and his freestyle rap. After a short break wherein food was sold, Young G continued his performance, but this time with his song “For Our People” playing. “For Our People” is featured on his CD “Poetic Justice”.

“It’s for our people, following Quran, fighting evil,

Remember that our leaders got their hands in the heat too,

Brothers in the deen, and they watch them defeat you,

If not now, then in front of Allah, we’ll be equal.”

– Jihad a.k.a. Young G

The second video of the night was played next. It was a spin-off of American Idol, with three judges looking for the right MSA president! Entitled, “Who Wants to be an MSA President?” it was very well written and produced. It was produced by some very creative brother in the US, spearheaded by Br. Imran J. Khan.

Next at the Eid Comedy Night, we had the short play! It was such a wonderful and comical play, yet it had a beautiful message. It was entitled, “Shaytan’s Doors”. All of a sudden, a deep voice was heard introducing itself as Satan himself! It then went on to describe the different doors that Satan uses to reach to us human beings and make us sin, all the time playing with the minds of the different Muslims on stage. A few brothers had to dress up as sisters during the skit to play the part!

The final segment of the Eid Comedy Night was the third and last video entitled, “Thank Allah it’s Jumma”. The video was again produced and directed by Imran J. Khan, and told the story of a brother that did not like to go to Jumu’a prayer. The film showed the main character as he dealt with some funny people, and ended with him fainting when a soccer ball hit him! He then woke up to the beautiful message of this video; that we’re all a community and that Jumu’a brings us together despite our differences, giving us an opportunity to talk, interact, ask about each other, and bond as brothers and sisters in Islam.

To conclude, I have to say that the Comedy Night really brought out some fine artistic and creative expressions of our beliefs. Muslims laugh and enjoy comedy just like others. We just try to put a meaningful twist to it by having a message to the comedy. Alhamdulillah, people left this Eid celebration smiling, feeling warmth in their hearts, and at the same time, with a spark of light in their minds.

Written by Ahmed Khalil, from Ottawa.

SOURCE: http://www.muslimyouthvoice.ca/node/163

]]>http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/13/eid-comedy-night/feed/0O Allah, I’ll Follow your Orderhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/11/o-allah-i%e2%80%99ll-follow-your-order/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/11/o-allah-i%e2%80%99ll-follow-your-order/#commentsTue, 11 Nov 2008 14:11:40 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=55by Heba Rushdan

I have thought long and hard about Allah’s mercy; we owe Him everything from our minds to our bodies. Whatever we do is a result of His mercy and His gift to us. If Allah had just created us and left us be, that would have been enough of a favour upon us. Yet He is always providing us guidance and opportunities. Why? Because Allah is merciful by nature and His mercy is up for grabs for anyone who cares to respond to His call – Ramadan is one manifestation of this mercy.

Since the day that Satan’s arrogance prevented him from prostrating in front of our father, Adam, he has been a sworn enemy to humankind. His only goal is to lead us astray so that we would join him in the fire on the day of judgement. Once every year during the month of Ramadan however, Satan is held prisoner and Allah removes all obstacles from the path leading towards Him. It is a great opportunity then, to indulge in good deeds and to work on improving our character and manners. Psychologists say that if you are able to stick to a new habit or stay away from an old one for a period of one month, the chances that you would return to the former state are very little.

Ramadan has come and gone. And once Ramadan is over, Satan is set free and he is really annoyed. He can see that the believers have reversed his year-long efforts to change themselves for the better during Ramadan and you can rest assured, he is going to try every trick in the book to lead people astray. Why wouldn’t he, when he has promised Allah to do so? It would be naive to think that you would be able to continue with your performance after Ramadan without exerting a lot of effort.

Let’s talk about a couple of tricks that we have to be weary of.

Satan might tell you, “Well, you had a great Ramadan and Allah must have forgiven you after all the fasting and the prayers. You’re such a good believer right now.”

Or he might say, “Hmmmm, you’ve lost Ramadan as usual. You’re not a good Muslim and Allah will never forgive you.”

The first sentiment is a manifestation of arrogance and we know how dangerous that is; it is the very sin what made Satan incur the wrath of Allah. The second sentiment might lead to despair in Allah’s mercy and as Muslims we should never despair of His mercy. The end result in either case is a loss in motivation to do good deeds and we must prevent this at all cost.

Finally, how do we keep our Iman? How can we increase it? How can we stay steadfast?

“Surely, Satan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy.” (Fatir; verse 6)

Second: Create an accountability table and follow up with yourself every night.

Keep Omar Ibn Al-Khatab’s words in your heart, “Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable and judge yourself before being judged. It’ll make it easier on the Day of Judgment if you hold yourself accountable today. One day you will be held accountable and nothing will be hidden”

Third: Try to know Allah and to love him. And as Omar Ibn Al-Khatab said “If you want to disobey Allah, try to find a place that is not covered with His sky”.

O Allah, I’ll follow your order. Satan is my enemy; I’ll never be like an animal, driven by Satan. I’ll try my best to be better. I seek your help; You are the Creator, You are my Lord. “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.” [Al-Imran; V. 8] (And this was the Fourth step: Make Du’aa).

Written by Heba Rushdan. Heba is a Pharmaceutical Science graduate from Alexandria Uni. Egypt. She is working as a pharmacy technician in addition to teaching Arabic/Islamic studies in Rahmah School in Ottawa.

SOURCE: http://www.muslimyouthvoice.ca/node/157

]]>http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/11/o-allah-i%e2%80%99ll-follow-your-order/feed/0Journey of a Lifetimehttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/11/journey-of-a-lifetime/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/11/journey-of-a-lifetime/#commentsTue, 11 Nov 2008 08:18:51 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=62by Raghad Ebied

As I first land in Medina, I feel this sudden rush of joy, thinking to myself, could I possibly be treading upon the same earth as the Prophet (peace be upon him) once did? Is it possible that I am close to where his (peace be upon him) body rests? The feeling intensifies further once I arrive in Mecca and slowly approach the Sacred Kaba. I stride slowly, overwhelmed by the masses of people and trying to keep close to my husband in fear of becoming lost, yet I am lost already. I am lost in a sea of hope, awe, and admiration for this beautiful, blessed place.

Last year, Allah (SWT) blessed my husband and I with the trip of a lifetime: the journey to perform hajj. I remember trying to read everything I could possibly get my hands on, talking to as many people as I could and reviewing (and re-reviewing) every possible “to-do list”.

I embarked on this journey thinking I was as prepared as I could be, but subhanAllah, I feel we can never fully prepare for such an enormous journey. This journey tests you physically, mentally and spiritually, yet at the same time, it raises you to standards you would have never reached without it, leaving you with lessons that would have been left unlearned anywhere but here.

Amidst all these difficulties—such as riding a bus from Medina to Mecca for 20 hours—I kept thinking to myself, how can I reach this spiritual high I have been dreaming about for months when I have not eaten for the past eight hours?

Your limits will be pushed, your patience will be tested, and then you’ll realize that this is precisely where spirituality comes in. This is where your belief in Allah and in the value of what you are doing becomes paramount.

It was like a revelation to me when I heard someone say, “Spirituality in this instance is the ability to perform all of your Hajj obligations without falling into error,” as mentioned in the Qur’an: “Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from marital relations, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj…” [2:197]. Reaching this spiritual peak means displaying the most upright and well-mannered character during the difficult times. It is to forgive, to be patient, and to hope for Allah’s reward.

My first spiritual peak occurred as I was entering the Prophet’s (PBUH) mosque. As I slowly made my way in and inched closer to the place where the best of mankind is buried, I realized all the women returning were crying. At that moment a powerful feeling overcame me. Trying to express in words the feelings I experienced in those moments is difficult, for it was truly a most humbling feeling that I had never before encountered. It was a feeling of all-embracing gratitude towards Allah for enabling me to make it to this blessed place and to actually visit the Prophet (PBUH). I felt complete humility for being so close to a man who continues to change the world and to the one whom Allah promised to allow first into heaven.

My second spiritual peak occurred as I entered the Kaba for the first time. I had heard many people say that as you are walking through the gates your eyes will suddenly fall upon the amazing Kaba and as it appears before you, it is as if it were a pearl hidden inside a shell. It is protected, shielded, and centered amongst everything.

As I start to do the tawaf with tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the world, I am surprised at how peaceful it is. I am touched by how people of all colours, languages, and backgrounds are so immersed in making supplication, earnestly praying for Allah’s forgiveness and reward.

One of the hardest good-byes I have ever had to say in my life was when I was leaving the Kaba. Leaving this blessed place, I thought to myself, will I ever make it again? Will I ever be chosen amongst the many Muslims on earth to smell the beauty of this sacred land again?

Now as I glance back at some of my memories from hajj, I laugh and I cry, but I suppose that is part of the beauty of such an experience. It is a journey in which you will encounter every possible human emotion and that just makes it all the more meaningful and memorable.

I pray Allah will grant all of you this journey soon – the journey of your lifetime.

Raghad is a Youth Health Promotion Coordinator and Personal Development Coach. See www.destinationexcellence.ca.

SOURCE: http://www.muslimyouthvoice.ca/node/156

]]>http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/11/11/journey-of-a-lifetime/feed/0Movie Review: Jumperhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/07/04/movie-review-jumper/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/07/04/movie-review-jumper/#commentsFri, 04 Jul 2008 14:24:22 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=66by Ahmed Khalil

“This morning I saw the sun rise over the pyramids, had breakfast in Paris, and then caught some waves in Australia, all before lunch. But I wasn’t always like this…”

And from the director of the first Bourne movie, “The Bourne Identity”, comes a new movie about jumping through the time-space continuum. This time, director Doug Liman decides to delve into science fiction in the movie “Jumper”. It was fun to watch Anakin Skywalker dressed in modern clothes! What? You don’t know who Anakin Skywalker is?! How could you be alive and not know Star Wars?!

Anyhow, Anakin was played by Canadian actor Hayden Christensen in Star Wars I and II, where he is destined to become the evil Darth Vader. Back to “Jumper”; Hayden then plays David Rice in this movie, a “Jumper” that can teleport himself anywhere he wants just by thinking about it! Imagine that! I wish I could just teleport myself to the Bahamas right now for a lovely vacation!

So the Jumper, David (played by Hayden), goes to London, standing under the rain on top of the Big Ben looking down at the city, then goes to Tokyo, then goes to eat a sandwich while sitting up high on the head of the Sphinx in Egypt, overlooking the Pyramids! Oh, what a carefree life, where you can be anywhere you’d like to be in an instant! But, you ask, how does he pay his bills?

Director Liman said he had fallen in love with the “Jumper” script – adapted from a series of young adult novels by Steven Gould – because of its honesty. The first thing David does when he discovers his powers is rob a bank by transporting himself into the bank’s vault. And that’s how he funds his travels! In fact, in one scene, David ignores an implicit plea to his powers where a newscaster says that only a miracle would allow for rescue to reach these flood victims in time. It shows that with power comes responsibility, and it is our own selfishness that makes us enjoy and relish the power instead of using it for good.

David soon learns that life isn’t carefree. As a student of philosophy, I like to look at the deeper meaning of things. I find that this movie gives an important message delivered by Roland (played by star Samuel L. Jackson) when he says, “Did you think it could go on like this forever, live like this with no consequences? There are always consequences!”

Roland is a paladin, an ancient band of religious zealots who strive to kill all the jumpers in this world out of belief that they are all abominations, that their powers can only cause harm and selfishness. Roland symbolizes an element of truth in life, where when we deviate from truth and fall into egotistical, narcissistic and self-centered life styles it is often the extremists that remind us of where we went wrong.

Islamically, there are a few scenes here and there that need censorship. David’s high school romance is rekindled adult-style with Millie. But it turns out that it is his love for her that allows him to realize how egocentric his life has been. He struggles to tell her the truth, and she points out the importance of honesty. “Don’t lie to me,” she says.

Ultimately, it is David’s love for Millie and the death threat and pursuit of Roland that challenges David’s repeated thefts, his immoral stints, and his self-absorbed anything goes attitude. I love the scenery at the Rome Coliseum, on the streets of Tokyo, and looking over the Pyramids. There is a message in this movie that takes some thought to reach to, while enjoying an action packed and fast paced flow of events. I would rate this movie a 4 out of 5.

Written by Ahmed Khalil, Ottawa, ON…

SOURCE: http://www.muslimyouthvoice.ca/node/58

]]>http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/07/04/movie-review-jumper/feed/0Our Youth: The Leaders of Todayhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/05/31/our-youth-the-leaders-of-today/

http://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/2008/05/31/our-youth-the-leaders-of-today/#commentsSat, 31 May 2008 14:16:24 +0000MAC Youthhttp://ottawamacyouth.ca/articles/?p=60by Raghad Ebied

Many of us are accustomed to hearing that our youth are the leaders of tomorrow. However, the current state of our Islamic Ummah (nation) does not permit us to wait until tomorrow. Our youth must rise to the responsibility and be the leaders of today.

I am disheartened when I see our youth, who can offer so much to their families, and to their schools and communities, wasting their time on MSN, in chat rooms or on facebook, in the malls and movies on a daily basis for countless hours.

Are these the grandchildren of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab and Salahuddin? Are these the men and women that are going to bring this Ummah back on its feet?

Do our dear youth realize this important reality? Or are they mesmerized by the Western mindset that if you’re a ‘teenager’, you can play around for now and try to get your act together when you grow up? My dear brother or sister, life doesn’t work like that – in fact, your ‘teenage’ years right now, and what you do with them, will have a profound impact on the rest of your life. How you may ask? At this age, you are forming your identity and your ideology; you are basically carving out who you are and what you stand for. So the people you surround yourself with and the activities you get involved in will have a large impact on how your personality forms, which will directly influence your decisions and behaviors in the long run.

Think, contemplate, reflect my dear brother and sister, what will you say to Allah (SWT), your Lord, your Sustainer, your Provider, and the King of the heavens and the earth, when He asks you on the day of judgment, what did you do with your time while you were a youth (according to a Hadeeth by the Prophet peace be upon him)? What are you going to say when Allah (SwT) asks what did you do for Islam, what did you do for your community? Are you going to be able to defend your position that you wasted the most precious years of your life on MSN or just ‘hanging out’ the whole time? Or will you hold your head up high on that day and proclaim that you fought against the current and didn’t give in to the temptations around you? Who do you choose to be? And will you take advantage of the most precious jewels you have – your every breath? Your time?

My dear younger brother or sister, know that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” (Roosevelt) – and remember any reality today was only someone’s dream yesterday, so what are your dreams and goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, and 15 years, and how do you intend on getting there? Start today by assessing what skills and experiences you have that you can offer to the community – are you good at public speaking, do you like to write, are you good with computers? And if you think you don’t have any skills (which is highly unlikely), then become involved in your school’s extra-curricular activities or consult with your beloved parents and mentors about what they think you can offer – sometimes others see talents in you which you never saw before.

As Muslims we are asked to bring good wherever we are, and becoming involved will not only allow you to gain some skills and experience that will help you on a personal level, but definitely on a professional level as well. Take ownership and step up to the responsibility that anxiously awaits you, because without you, there won’t be a tomorrow. So you must be the leader of today.

SOURCE: http://www.muslimyouthvoice.ca/node/48

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