Being a graduate student and the president of the Muslim Students’ Organization (MSO), in my university, I was nominated for the 2010 Chancellor’s Excellence Award – Graduate Student Leader. My university has 30,000 students with 100s of different organizations. Nevertheless, I won the Graduate Student Leader Award.
I am very happy for receiving this award. I received a plague and a personal letter from the chancellor. The letter is really very impressive. It is the first time that the MSO receives such a recognition in our university. Here are some excerpts from the Chancellor’s letter:
… As you are aware, these awards recognize excellence in leadership, multiculturalism and involvement on the ——– campus. Receiving this award exemplifies your leadership, advocacy and commitment to the ——- community while representing the university’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence.
… Please know that being nominated by your peers and receiving an award for your leadership and efforts on the ——— Campus is a high honor, and you are regarded as one of ———’s finest.
It is really true what has been said that you get or receive things when you least expected. It started last year when some Muslim students nominated me to be the president of the MSO, even though I was not looking to be even on the board. Alhamdulilah (Thanks to Allah) I and the MSO exec board did very good job in organizing many events and activities on campus. And for that we received this recognition. It is good to know that your effort is appreciated.
In the old days, a slave had no freedom of choice. Everything he does is either because his master commands him or allows him to do it. He does only what pleases his master, it is never about the slave’s needs. Slavery is inhumane; it degrades and humiliates a man to the lowest degree.
In present, besides receiving money from our employer every 30 days (a.k.a. wage slavery) the situation is not that of a big difference. We still have to work very hard to make ends meet, we still have to follow our boss’ commands, we still have to obey those who are higher in the job hierarchy, we still are afraid to anger our boss, and of course we still have to kiss the boss’ butt every day. We will be punished if we make a mistake. It is not physical anymore but our future’s stake is in the hand of the boss. What kind of freedom is this that we claim having in which our happiness and our future depends entirely on the satisfaction of our boss?
Never asked yourself why we need a recommendation letter from our boss when we apply to a new school or a new job. It is simply because the new master needs assurance from our current master that we are suited for the new –wage– slavery job and we are well behaved. It doesn’t matter how good you are the master has to approve your “decision“ to move to a new school, new job, or even to a new life. Now, do you still consider yourself a free man? If so then lucky you. You are one in a million.
Prophets (عليهم الصلاة والسلام) –peace be upon them- were shepherded, carpenters, and merchants. I don’t think any of them would have spread God’s message if he had to slave work from 8 am to 5 pm every day, except weekends. Their message was one; to submit to the creator and no one or nothing else.
Unfortunately, worshippers of the creator broke the loyalty to him by submitting to what we think is our master on earth; let us call him the boss or the manager. Slaving to the boss is due ultimately to one goal; the money. We mistakenly believe that money is omnipotent, a characteristic attributed to the almighty only. Whether we like it or not and whether we admit it or not we do, somehow, worship money.
We always want more money because we want to own things that we don’t need but we just simply want. If we are renting an apartment then we want to buy an apartment. If we own an apartment then we want to buy a house. If we own a house then we want to buy a bigger house. If we have a big house then we want to buy a house in a nicer neighborhood. It is a never ending “want” dilemma. For that we are up to our nose in debt. We wear our clown cloth, head to the bank, fake a smile, and beg, like children, to borrow some money that we will spend the rest of our life slave to pay it back. We indeed beg and humiliate ourselves for someone to own our butt. And we claim superiority over the animal kingdom?
pictures are courtesy of cartoonstock
Imagine how your day would have been today if you didn’t daydream. Stop reading now, ok not now just wait till you finish this sentence, and ponder for a minute wasn’t your daydream a way for you to escape the boring job, task, or even study? What was your daydream about? Did you go somewhere far, far away or did you get money from the sky, or were you with someone you will never be with in real life?
Daydreams are like elixir of life, they are what make us sustain the cruelty of life and what keep us going. You may be financially well off but not so much with your health. Or maybe you are healthy but in debt. Or maybe you are healthy and financially well off but you live away from whom you love or maybe you can’t have children. Everyone poor or rich has his own problems. You see some of the richest and the most beautiful people in Hollywood end their lives intentionally or unintentionally by abusing drugs to escape, according to what they believe even though the live in mansions, the hardship of life. Like it or not life is difficult. Almost all religions assure its followers of this fact. Allah says in Sura Al-balad verse 4 “Verily We have created man into toil and struggle” or in another translation “Certainly We have created man to be in distress.” [لقد خلقنا الانسان في كبد]
Life is not in our control and it will never be. It is a message from Allah to show us who is in charge. But he gave us something that we can control he gave us the ability to dream. We as human were encouraged to dream and told to follow our dreams. And for this reason we dream and dream and dream some more until dreaming became something wired in our brains. Did you ever think how many times you daydream? I guess not because it became a habit we adapted since we were kids. We dream while we are waiting, driving, reading novels, in classes, in meetings, and during almost any other activity and anywhere. It is to this level how much we are addicted to dreaming. We dream for good things to happen, or to be in a different place, or to be with someone special, or to succeed in what we do, or even sometimes to be heroes. I always daydream that I bravely stood up in front of a bank robber with his gun pointed to my head and persuaded him to hand me his gun to save the other hostages. In another scenario I dream I manage to fight the bank robber with my bare hands and take his gun which I use to kill him. Dreams are sometimes the opposite of who we are. Apparently, these daydreams to be a hero are opposite to who I am in reality. I once closed my eyes when my father, very long time ago, wanted to teach me how to slaughter a chicken. I couldn’t watch a chicken been slaughtered. Yet, I dream that one day I will kill a bank robber and save the bank hostages. Dreams give us the chance to be who we are not.
Dreams are very good and they are what make us excel in this life. They may even nurture our lives. Without dreams we will go nowhere. I read one time about an American who was POW during the Korean War. He was in prison for years. Finally, after he got his freedom he continued what he used to love most, playing golf. People who know him were amazed about his level of skill in playing Golf. He has been in prison for years yet he plays like he never missed a day. When asked he said “I used to play golf in my mind every day.” Every day he used to imagine himself playing golf, recording points in his head, aiming to the holes, and eventually win.
Dreams fly you where ever you want to be and make you whatever you are eager for. The question is how many of these dreams can we truly live?
National Geographic magazine has a special issue this month, April, about Water. This issue is really very interesting and a must read. There are many amazing pictures and of course many mind blowing articles about the scarcity of water humans are facing. This post is dedicated to one of these articles, Sacred Waters. I didn’t think of this before but it seems water is an essential factor in all religions, as far as I know. Both the pictures and the captions are from this article.
See more pictures here
Also, here is a video about this article.
* قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم (الطهور شطر الإيمان) أي نصفه . وهو حديث صحيح رواه مسلم
Today morning while driving to to the coffee shop I ran over a bird. I was driving at 50 mph (80 km) when I saw two birds on the road, I thought they will fly away as they always do. Unfortunately, one of them didn’t make it since I heard something hit my car. When I looked at my rear view mirror I saw one of the birds struggling to fly. Seeing the bird struggling for his life was a painful scene. Although, I think he died shortly after the accident either by his injuries or by the next car behind me. I hope birdy didn’t suffer for too long though.
Here is an excerpt from Seinfeld related to this incident:
JERRY: You ran over some pigeons? How many?
GEORGE: What ever they had. Miranda thinks I’m a butcher but it’s not my fault is it? Don’t we have a deal with the pigeons?
JERRY: Of course. We have a deal. They get out of the way of our cars, we look the other way on the statue defecation.
GEORGE: Right! And these pigeons broke the deal. I will not accept the blame for this.