Jeewan Chanicka accepted Islam at the age of 11. His journey to Islam and continual learning has enabled him to understand its beauty and compassion for all peoples regardless of differences. He has been married for 14 years and has been blessed with two wonderful sons.
Jeewan was born in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta and went on from there to live with his family in the beautiful Caribbean island of Trinidad. He lived in Trinidad for approximately 15 years and completed his highschool A Levels there before returning to Canada. It is in Trinidad that he began to sing and this would lead to his first nasheed album, "The Prophet's Song". He has a Masters Degree in Education.
While working as a teacher in the public school system, he lectured and ran workshops across North America on various issues of Islamic relevance: youth, domestic violence, family, self-esteem, conflict-resolution, and da`wah, among other issues. Jeewan has counseled both youth and adults in areas dealing with employment, housing, mental health, suicide, drugs, racism, physical and sexual abuse, immigration and integration issues, marriage, and family problems.
Jeewan has won several awards for his work in the field of education as well as community work. Most recently, he was participated in a project with the United Nations University of Peace to develop a curriculum framework around Peace in the Islamic Context. It is being implemented from madrassahs to universities across South Asia. Jeewan has been fortunate to travel to Tobago, Barbados and St. Vincent and has the privilege of having two Guyanese sisters-in-law :)
For more information on Jeewan please visit www.jeewanc.com
We are better, arent we?
- By Jeewan Chanika
- Published 08/26/2009
Allah is the One Lord, the uncaused Cause of all things in this world. He calls us to free ourselves from the enslavement of things, the oppression and tyranny of others and the complete and total freedom of submitting to His will. It is only through this process that the soul is able to elevate itself from its addictions and base, carnal desires to an enlightened path. One in which immediate gratification is NOT the primary driving force for being and existing. It is this singular relationship between human and Creator, one without any intermediary, that allows people- men and women- to be able to rise to their highest potential.
Sometimes however, we lose sight of this. Instead of being able to focus on our growth and development we limit ourselves by focusing on the shortcomings of others. The “need to judge” is as old as humanity itself. By focusing on the short-comings of others we feed our egos, our pride and vanity into believing that we are somehow superior or better than others. So we sit and silently and sometimes quite vocally talk about people, how they look, dress, talk, bodies, where they are from, about their leadership styles or lack thereof and much, much more. We engage in backbiting and slander, sometimes knowingly and other times under the catch phrase, “Oh, I would say this to them directly if they were here.” We cast ourselves as superior to them in so many ways often because of things that have been out of our control and were/are purely a blessing from Allah. Sometimes we don’t fully understand all elements of an incident and proceed to make judgements about the individuals involved.
Other times we fool ourselves into the belief that, “I got here by my own hard work”. Well, Who allowed us the ability to worked hard? Gave us the capabilities? Provided us the opportunities? If things were changed, would we be “there” today?
Backbiting and slander creates considerable damage to the fabric of a community. It is a form of destruction and this is one of the reasons why it is considered to be a grave injustice and sin in Islam. The other truth is, when we speak about others negatively, look down on others under the pretense of superiority, we are merely masking one truth and trying to fill a void. That truth is that we feel poorly about ourselves in some way, and we are trying to fill that void by tricking ourselves into thinking that we are better than others. That way, we can pacify our egos and temporarily fill that void. Some others just talk because they have a mouth and feel that it is their right to say whatever they want about whomever they want without any consideration of anything else. We forget too, that if we walked in someone else’s shoes and lived their lives, we may have well made the same (or worse) mistakes and actions .
This does not mean that we do not address problems, we do not try to correct mistakes or seek advice from someone to understand how to better deal with situations. But we don’t need to go on the phone or on email and contact tens and hundreds of people to do so either.
Consider this: What if the next time we wanted to say something negative, we stopped and asked ourselves, “Why do I want to say this?” is it out of jealousy? Is it out of malice or ill-intent? Is it a true problem I am addressing? Then ask ourselves the following:
1) How does this person/these people reflect me?
2) What is it about ME that I need to change in order for the situation to change?
3) What does Allah want me to learn in life by placing me here?
4) If it is an issue that needs to be addressed: How can I address a concern while maintaining the dignity of the person I am speaking to (not about)
In our growth and quest to become better individuals, let us learn the value of humility.