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by Rutgers University Muslim Students Association

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Chill Your Dil

#ChopLouisville

This year I went to the last football game of the season. It was the most exciting game of the year; Rutgers had just announced their addition to the Big 10 conference and were playing their rivals-Louisville. This was an insanely important game, and the hype around campus was pretty evident. The tickets were sold out quickly, there were campus flyers everywhere promoting the game, and professors were even canceling classes (mine weren’t cancelled-but we did spend the first 20 minutes watching our professor sing the Rutgers Alma Mater song). Within all this madness, the hash tag “Chop Louisville” kept appearing around campus. Every day for about a week before the big game, a giant TV in the student center just read “#ChopLouisville.” It made absolutely no sense to me. But even though I didn’t understand what “chop” meant, for some reason it stuck in my head and became a point of Rutgers pride for me. I figured if I was going to hop on the bandwagon and use the hash tag, I should at least look it up and find out what it means. I did, and I thought it was worth sharing.

The phrase originated from a sports psychologist, but Coach Greg Schiano explained it as this: “Right now we’re in a bad spot, we’re in the middle of the forest, it’s all dark, we can’t see. Get an ax and just start chopping away.” And that’s what Rutgers does, it keeps chopping that wood. If RU loses a game, it doesn’t look back; it moves forward and keeps choppin. If they miss a play, they just look ahead and focus on the next one. And if they make that play, and they win that game—it makes all that hard work worth it and they just keep on choppin because that’s what Rutgers does best. The phrase caught on so well, that the entire nation (well maybe not the entire nation, not yet at least) knows this as Rutgers football teams mantra.

But it applies to more than just football; this term can be used in anything in your life. Gave a terrible presentation in class? Keep choppin, and give an incredible one next time.  Embarrassed yourself in front of the entire lecture? Keep choppin and walk in next day like a boss.  Failed an exam? Keep choppin (or if it was REALLY low, withdraw with pride and chop it next semester). Look back and learn from your mistakes, but don’t panic because what’s done is already done and no matter how hard you try, you can’t go back into the past and undo it. The most you can do is repair it, but that requires you to look forward, and keep on doing what you gotta do. Life gets difficult sometimes, and at times we may feel like we are lost, but like coach Schiano said, you just get that axe out and keep choppin until you’re out of the dark. And once you’re out of that bad spot, you keep at it.
Rutgers has been through a lot in my past 3.5 years of attendance. From Tyler Clementi,  to Eric Legrand, to the NYPD surveillance, to Hurricane Sandy, this school has had its fair share of difficulties. But we keep choppin. That’s called Rutgers resilience right there, and we go to the most resilient school in the nation. Take a lesson from that, and keep on chopping my fellow classmates. InshaAllah we will all go far.

I know this is an MSA blog and I am supposed to tie this back to religion (maybe throw in a Hadith or an ayah here or there), but I didn’t :) lol

“‘The Chop’ Is Secret to Rutgers Success.” The Washington Post. N.p., 11 NOV 2006. Web. 7 Mar 2013.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-yn/content/article/2006/11/11/AR2006111100499.htm

About Me by Aliyah Aliyah

Assalamualaikum!!

My name is Aysha Lakhani and I. Am. Aliyah Aliyah (=O. shocked, no?).

I’m not sure why I picked Aliyah as my pen name last year, something about it just spoke to me. It’s not like I secretly wished my name was Aliyah or anything, I think I just liked it because it has similar letters to my actual name, and also I was getting tired of looking up names that’s start with A on Muslim baby name websites.

Alright so the name of my column is Chill Your Dil (and for our non-desi friends, Dil means heart). The reason I picked this as my column name is because of my little sister. She would always go around saying “chill your dil” in the hopes of making it a catch phrase, so I made it the name of my blog in the off chance it would catch on (acronym for it is CYD, let’s make this happen). Plus it rhymes so that’s pretty cool. But all jokes aside, I think it’s an appropriate name as well, especially for a college blog. As we are all too familiar with, college comes a lot more than just a heavy course load. There’s stress, friends, family, clubs, work and a whole lot of other things putting pressure on us as college Muslims. So every once in a while I think it’s good for us all to take a step back to chill our dils and sort out what is really important in our lives and what is essentially just a distraction keeping us away from our faith.

Each individual’s distraction is different and everyone has their own personal and unique story. My column is my own story and most of what I write is based off of the experiences that I’ve gone through. It’s definitely not the literary work of the century, and my grammar isn’t going to help it, but I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say.

And if you think my work is whack, that I have said something wrong or that I have offended you (which I have no intention of doing to anyone), or anyyyy other remarks good or bad, please feel free to comment or shoot me an email separately. You know who I am and I have voiced my opinion, and you should have every right to as well  I won’t get offended, I promise).

RU Looking for a Place to Pray?

By: Aliya Aliya

Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance; and we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds. And to establish prayer and fear Him.” And it is He to whom you will be gathered. – Quran 6:71-72

Livingston

Student Center– Top floor, walk straight, passed the hallway with the bathrooms, and on your right is a nice corner to pray. It’s like the Paul Robeson of Livingston (Qiblah is facing the wall where the garbage cans are, may be a slight tilt to the left, everyone’s compass seems to give a different direction every time)

Beck– Room 215? (Or is it? I’m not even sure if this room has a number, it’s next to room 213 though). This is the room that Livingston forgot, it’s completely empty, and students use it as a pass way to get to the hallway on the other side (it has two exits). Rutgers uses it to store a huge laser disk machine (what a fail). If you’re facing the laser disk player, the Qiblah is facing the wall on your left, with a slant towards the right corner.

Lucy Stone– You’ll be lucky if you find your classroom in this building, let alone a place to pray. No point in trying to find/explain a good place to pray, you’ll just get lost and miss your prayer. I suggest just going to the second floor, find some random corner, and throw your janamaz down and start praying.

Busch

Paul Robeson Cultural center– nuff said. If you’re on the other side of this campus and need to pray, you better walk to PR; there is no other place to pray on Busch.

College Ave

Graduate Student Lounge– Yes, undergraduates can go in here. 97% of the time, they will NOT check your ID. Walk in, say salaam to your A-rab brothers and sisters chillin on the couches, and next to the fire place (it’s a fire place right? I’m remembering correctly?) There’s usually an empty opening. If you’re facing the fireplace, turn left- Qiblah is facing that wall. If there isn’t an empty opening there, after the reception desk there’s a small corner where the emergency exit is. That is also a good spot.

Student Center– Outside the MPR lounge area- this one is kind of hard to explain. Let’s say you’re at the first entrance for the Multi Purpose room. Turn right and walk toward the back entrance for the multipurpose room. Once you get there, keep walking. You’ll hit this weird emergency exit corner. Qiblah is facing the door.
If MPR is closed, go up to the Fourth floor to the S-lounge (it’s called an S-lounge cuz the couches are in the shape of an S). Walk around the halls trying to find an open room, there is usually one opened. If you can’t find one- walk all the way to the back where the Rutgers Radio and other media rooms are, and just pray in that corner, toward the doors that lead to the stairs. No one really passes by there. The Qiblah is the opposite direction of the stairway.

Douglass

First I would like to say, if you’re on Douglass, I am really sorry. That is just a terrible place to be. I feel for you man, that was my freshman year.

Student center– Upstairs on the second floor- Walk toward the glass office and turn into the hallway on your right. Try and see if any of the conference rooms there are open as you walk down. If they’re not- at the end of the hallway there’s an opening. Qiblah is on your left. And yes, I know it’s facing towards a door (you should check to see if it’s open so you can pray in there, by the way) but no one really goes into that room.

Library– the Douglass library is actually really nice. I usually go downstairs and pray in the spaces in-between the blocks of cubicles. You can look out the windows; the Qiblah is the same direction as the entrance to the church that is adjacent to the library.

Also a really good place to pray: Go to the basement, find the scanner machine. Next to the scanner there is a door, go through it. On your left there is an empty room where the elevator is. No one really uses the elevator, and it’s a pretty big space so even if someone does use the elevator- you won’t be in their way. Qiblah is facing the right wall.

All Campuses

If you still can’t find a spot, the library is always a good place to pray! Just walk around and you’re sure to come across a good spot!

One Belief, One Ummah

By: Aliya Aliya

I was at a halaqa once, and we were just talking about prayer. My friend couldn’t attend so I was recording it on my phone so I could send it to her later and post it to the sister’s Google group. It was a very small group of girls, so we were all sitting at a table having an open discussion. One girl was talking about how she encourages herself to pray all her Sunnah, and another girl was talking about how its important to pray. And then out of nowhere, one girl started talking about how a particular sect prays a particular way-and even goes to the point where she said astaghfirullah to it.

Woah. Uncalled for.

Everyone got quiet, and we moved on to the next subject. I had to take my phone and stop recording. I couldn’t post that video and send it to everyone. And I have to say, one of my biggest regrets was just sitting there and listening to her say it and not interrupting to tell her what I thought. So I figured I would lay out my thoughts and at least tell it to you guys.

Prayer is something that involves every Muslim. No matter what sect, everyone prays. It might be a little bit different depending on whom you talk to, but at the end of the day every Muslim says and believes in La-illaha-illallah.

This is just something that I noticed. We’re so willing to go and give dawah to Christians, Jews, and other non Muslims, but when it comes to our own kind we judge like no other. And by no means am I hating on dawah, I love dawah. But I think we should learn from how we treat non-Muslims. We accept other people whose values differ so greatly from ours, but how do we treat our brothers and sisters who stand with us in prayer? That fast with us in Ramadan?

Last time I checked, this was Muslim Student Association – encompassing all Muslims and uniting them under their shared belief: la illaha ilallah. Not to mention that a lot of people in MSA follow the particular sect that this girl was bashing. I just can’t imagine what someone would have felt if they were of that sect and had to actually listen to this girl. Thank god this was a small halaqa, but I’m starting to see why they don’t ever get that large.

It’s called understanding, my friends. People do what they do because they truly believe it is the right thing. It might not be the same as what we believe, and that’s okay. We can talk about these differences in an academic way, which allows us to gain knowledge and insight. Not sit there and preach hate of a whole sect of Muslims to a group of girls you don’t even know.

Stuff Just Got Scandalous

By: Aliya Aliya

“The prophet (SAW) said that we should make seventy excuses for our Muslim brothers and sisters before we accuse them of anything, but a lot of the times it’s hard for us to even come up with one before rushing to a conclusion.”

Sitting in Scott Hall listening to your professor ramble on about who knows what. You told yourself this time that you are NOT going to fall asleep in lecture today, you brought back up candy and sugar filled soda to keep yourself awake-it doesn’t even matter if you’re paying attention to or not, the only goal here is for you to not fall asleep. A lot of time has passed so you look at your phone to see what time it is. 1:30. WHAT?! How is this possible, only twenty minutes of class passed by? Okay, let’s face the facts kid-you’re never gonna make it. Just go to sleep right now, you can try to not fall asleep next week.

One hour later: Wow that was a pretty long nap. I think something is wrong with you, who falls asleep for an ENTIRE lecture?! Whatever…so you pack your notebook back into your backpack and like everyone else in the lecture hall, slam your little chair desk back into its spot as loudly as possible (it helps wake up the kids who are still asleep). As you’re walking toward the exit that about a hundred other students are trying to use as well, you take a look around at your classmates.

Woah, what happened to that girl’s hair? Kind of gross-wait, ohhhh myyyy godddddd is that guy wearing yellow sneakers? Does he like never want to get married or something? Hey, is that that hijabi girl?-yeah it definitely is. But why is she talking to that sketchy boy? I KNOW she doesn’t have a brother on campus. Oh snap crackle POP-this just got scandalous. I cant wait to post all this crazy happenings on my blog.

It’s something that happens so easily, and sometimes you don’t even realize till you already made up your mind about a particular person: Judging. It’s like this routine sorting that goes on in our heads that separates people into categories, us, them (and sometimes even them*said in a really not nice tone.*) The truth is, we don’t know what’s going on in peoples lives. That girl, whose hair was all messed up, could’ve been running really late this morning and had no time to brush it. That guy wearing the yellow sneakers could just be borrowing them from his roommate because he accidently stepped into a huge puddle and ruined his shoes—or he really likes those yellow sneakers, people have their own styles. And that last example (and girls, please don’t deny that you’ve never done this): Maybe that hijabi had to talk to that boy for a class-and hey, that sketchy boy probably isn’t even that sketchy to begin with. And I cant speak for everyone, but I know if I was in a “scandalous” situation like that I would want people to give me the benefit of the doubt instead of thinking I’m some gross weird kid who talks to sketchy boys and gets made fun of because of my shoes.

It’s probably pretty clear to most of us that passing judgment on a person because they look, dress or act differently from us isn’t right. Someone may be going through a bad day, and the last thing they need is for people to go judging them without knowing what’s really going on or worst-alienating them. The prophet (SAW) said that we should make seventy excuses for our Muslim brothers and sisters before we accuse them of anything, but a lot of the times it’s hard for us to even come up with one before rushing to a conclusion.

What I was trying to get from that little opening that I wrote was that passing judgment just kind of happens sometimes….we forget to give others the benefit of the doubt and end up concentrating on the negatives of a person instead of focusing on a positive. So if you feel as if you’re gonna judge someone or something along that line, try and come up with excuses. And instead of concentrating on the “negative” of a person, pick out something positive about them instead—whatever that positive thing might be. Whether it be their shoes, hair, or personality, I think we all (myself included) need to take a step back and reevaluate how we look at the world and the people around us. Who knows…scandalous hijabi could be your new best friend..

First Days

By: Aliya Aliya

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 12.54.52 AM

The first day of school. For a freshman it’s filled with colorful dreams of freedom and a good grade in expos. But for everyone else, it’s the day you could have slept more during break. It’s the day you meet all your new professors and pick classes. But as the weeks pass on, you’ll be lucky if you even remembered what your professor said on the first day of class.

The most memorable first day of school for me was my first day of my senior year of high school. Senior year for me was the best year in my entire public schooling life. I did absolutely no work, put in minimal effort, made a ton of friends, and got almost straight A’s (except for AP Bio – med school and I were just never meant to be). And even though I enjoyed my senior year to the fullest extent, it didn’t start off the great way it ended. You see, the summer before twelfth grade was when I first started to wear hijab (hmm, you can begin to see where this story is going now…). Before I go into detail with my story, it’s important you know a little bit about where I grew up.

To paint a picture of my school district, you don’t really need much color. The road that my middle school was on had four churches and a bible school, and on the bus on my way to high school, you would pass by three separate Jewish organizations (you don’t even want to try and count the churches). As for the Muslims in my school, well, you could count them on your fingers. And in no way am I complaining about the makeup of my town, I met great people growing up there and for the most part, it’s full of hardworking, lovely people trying to make a living for their families. But whatever. It’s important for the story that you know my town isn’t exactly diverse. Back to my first day of school.

You know that feeling where you’re so nervous you want to throw up? That’s how nervous I was (but to be fair, that happens to me fairly often). But when school finally started, all my classmates were pretty cool about it. And as I exited third period I remembered wondering why I had been so nervous in the first place.

I was with my friend Jackie walking to our next class together, Italian. This class was a joke and basically turned into a study hall for everyone who took it. I’ve had Signora since tenth grade so I knew her pretty well, so it’s not like I didn’t expect a reaction from her, she was just that kind of person. As Jackie and I were walking into class together I saw Signora’s face and gave her a big smile. And I saw her mouth open in shock and scream, “NOOOOO!” with this underlying anger in her voice.

I didn’t know what to say. But luckily I didn’t have to say anything, she went on, “What did you do?! Oh my God, what did you do?!” I was at a loss for words, I felt like I had to apologize to her. I didn’t know what to do so I looked over at Jackie, and she was just as lost as I was, staring at Signora with her mouth wide open. I just walked over to the back of class and sat at a table, Jackie followed me, and so did Signora…laughing. She went on with her diatribe, and I just sat there in silence.

I remained at my table for the rest of the class period, and the day that followed; I didn’t even look at Signora. I was so mad. On Monday she came up to me and said, “I have this old lab partner from college and I went to her house and she wears the head thing like—.” I cut her off,

“Oh yeah? Did you yell at her too?” Took me a couple of days, but I finally managed to say something.
“I didn’t yell at you.” She responded, and looked over at Jackie in support.
“Yeah you did.” Said Jackie.

And that’s when Signora apologized. Sometimes people don’t realize what they’re saying until it’s pointed out to them.

Don’t Worry – This Class Has a Curve

By: Aliya Aliya

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You have three huge exams that all have to do with your major in one week, plus a paper, and on top of that you have to meet up with some kids for a project (bit off a little more than you could chew this semester, eh?). On top of all of this, you have family responsibilities to deal with as well. Yeah…there’s definitely a word for that,

Stress.

It’s fun stuff, right? Not really. Especially considering we’re in college and we have 12 G riding on a 35 multiple choice test that we barely studied for. But we are all human, and we all live on this earth. And part of living on this earth and being human is dealing with different circumstances which have been brought in front of us. Now, being on the topic of stress, I should mention that stress isn’t all that bad. There are different kinds of stresses and its all depending on the situation you’re in and the responsibilities you have. The key here is not what kinds of stressful situations you have to go through, it’s how you deal with those stressful situations.

Now let’s say you are that poor kid in the scenario above that has 3 exams, a paper, a project and stuff going on at home that all has to be dealt with. How are you supposed to even get all of this done right now? That’s 5 things to do in ONE week (and it’s not even including the family stuff). If it were me, I’d be freaking out right now; maybe you should just fail one of the exams and concentrate on the other stuff. And while you’re at it, you should just completely ditch your project, or just not sleep. It’s just one week of sleep anyway. But no wait, that doesn’t sound like good advice… So let’s just address this and keep some things in mind if one day we are ever faced with a similar challenge. DON’T PANIC. Breathe. The first thing you need to do is manage your time (the last thing is worry). Seriously, it is a bad idea to willingly fail an exam and ditch people like that. In a situation like this, you should space everything out. Don’t try and be a hero by doing all of these things the week of, that’s just going to make things worse (although it does work for some people…). Plan out before hand and prioritize what classes you need to study for the most and dedicate certain days or timings so you can get everything done.

So, it’s clear that you got a lot on your plate right now. And there is going to be pain, suffering, anxiety, stress-and everything else that comes along with it, because that is just how life is. But in the midst of all these exams, projects and family life, along with being human, we tend to forget some very important things. Like, in times of distress, even just a prick of the finger from a thorn, Allah (SWT) may expiate one of our past sins. And even in the Quran it says “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease” (94:5). So not only in times of hardship can our bad deeds be forgiven, but with this hardship there will be also be ease as well, SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah).

But definitely the most important thing to remember when dealing with stress is to remember Allah (SWT) and have Iman (faith). With the remembrance of Allah, in times of happiness we should be thankful to Allah (SWT) and in times of distress we should be patient and remember that Allah (SWT) knows best. Remember the story of Yusuf (As), who was betrayed by his own family members and taken in as a slave. Even through all of that he was still patient and was faithful to Allah (SWT). And knowing that, and thinking of all the petty things that may worry us, we should try and respond to challenges we might face in our lives from a positive point of view that only pleases Allah (SWT).

There’s obviously a lot more that can be said about stress, anxiety and how to cope with it. But I’m going to leave you off with this one thing: Allah (SWT) only tests those who are loved, and does not give someone something they can’t handle. And if Allah (SWT), the creator of EVERYTHING knows that you can handle it, then you should really put your trust in Him.

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