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
The Balance of Time Part 2
- By Jeewan Chanika
- Published 08/31/2009
Our job, while important, is not supposed to be the focus of our lives. It’s easy to think, we work long hours to help our families. But when we get so tired that we hardly spend quality time learning and building our personal relationships with Allah, with our family members and we get too tired to actually engage in community work- what then?
What are we teaching our children through OUR actions are the priority in life- God? People? work? Understandably some cases are different; some of us have to work long hours because without each hour’s wage we may not be able to put food on the table.
But for others who don’t, we live in a time where we’ve allowed work to consume our lives. Sometimes, we happily reflect on memories of the “good old days” when we were younger and more involved; were closer with our brothers and sisters but lament that now the “daily formalities of life” have taken over. So we are either too tired to spend time building our relationships with Allah or our families and community or we do the bare minimum to appease our guilt consciences.
We forget that we must take advantage of our good health and life while we have it.
To put it bluntly for those of us who’ve become workaholics or (allow our time to become consumed in other useless activities), when we die, do you think our managers will come out and say, “Hey Allah, sorry so and so could not do ….. they were working on a project for me”?
What if we were to re-arrange our priorities? If we use the list we made in our heads or on paper of the traits we want to change and choose one or two and set some goals to try and remedy them. This will help us to get us back on the road that will lead us to true happiness.
Then we should begin to explore how we spend our time when we aren’t busy with work - How can we live successfully for ourselves? How can we live to teach our children what true success is?
Another way to measure success is the ability to live in a manner that is spiritually, physically and emotionally fulfilling. To find contentment in the situations that we face and to remember that with our imperfections there is forgiveness, with our happiness there is gratitude, with tests and trials there is learning and patience and with patience there is victory.
This month we can also spend some time reflecting with the “end in mind” to see if we are living meaningfully. If we are not then we need to re-prioritize how we use our time.
How can I re-prioritze the moments in my life to help live with the big picture in mind? What can I do to make a difference in my life and the lives of those around me? should be of paramount importance.
This is a difficult process, it means removing the “victim” (I have no choice I have to live this way) from within and starting to take ourselves to task ( I am making a choice to live this way and I can make a choice to change how I live with Allah’s help). Track your time, spend some time to see how you actually spend your time.
1) Recognize that “I am in control of my time and life” (within the bounds set by Allah)
2) Is there a balance? Are you nourishing your physical and spiritual self?
3) Make a promise to do something to change, remember SMALL and CONSISTENT is the key.
4) Remind yourself, if the end of my life is tomorrow or in twenty years, fifty years…will I be proud of how I have lived my life? Will I be able to say, I did my best?
5) Did I fulfill my trusts to those who have a right on me- my parents? Children? Neighbours? Community?
Let us take a deep breath and do this for Allah. It can be done, we have the best example in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his companions). They lived meaningfully.
Allah has promised those who follow His way eternal success in this life and the next.
Who would give away eternity for something that they knew was temporary?