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
- By Jeewan Chanika
- Published 09/1/2009
Verily man is lost
Except those who have faith and do good deeds
And join together in the mutual teaching of Truth and of Patience and Constancy
- Chapter 103 of the Qur’an
Today, I sit and reflect on these verses. It is true, that as time continues, the more we “progress” the more we seem to have lost ourselves. Humanity for the first time has the capability of affecting the entire planet through our actions. We focus so much on conquering space and beyond, yet we are unable to conquer ourselves.
This particular chapter reminds us that being people of “good faith” is not enough. Because faith or belief should engage our hearts and propel us to do good. That good should begin with us individually, looking after ourselves and trying to become better people. However, it MUST extend itself beyond and into our communities.
Each of us are like lights and as we bring our lights into our community gradually they become brighter and brighter. The Prophet (peace be upon him) reminded us that the best of people are the ones whom people can expect good from them and fear no harm and the worst of people are the ones whom people fear from them harm and can expect no good.
What kind of person are you?
Do people feel safe speaking to you about their problems? Can they approach you for help?
There are numerous ways for us to assist in the community, to help those that are less fortunate than us and it is important in the priorities of our lives, we begin to make this a top one. We must learn to balance our faith and our personal relationship with our Creator with the ability to do good in the community.
This “good” should not be pretentious, nor should it be one based on pride or arrogance. Instead it should be based on humility and a recognition that those who are around us, who may be less fortunate, have a right on us. On the day of judgement, we should fear that they say to God, that they were in need and “so and so ate their fill, or took care of their needs but never once looked our way.”
How could we expect God to look after our needs when we ignore the needs of those around us?
What I often find remarkable about this particular chapter is that in Arabic, it says “man” as a single person is lost EXCEPT “those who…” it refers to “those” the plural form. Imam Al Qurtubi reminds us that this indicates the importance of working together in a group. Something clearly demonstrated in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It also helps us to realize the importance of keeping the company of good people who will encourage us to do what is right and push us to do the best that we can when we become lazy or self-absorbed.
During these days and nights, let us reflect on the importance of balancing our faith with our actions and reflect on the company of individuals we keep around us. Do they inspire us to push ourselves to do good? Do they encourage us to re-prioritize our lives to reflect our purpose or do they encourage us to continue in the mundane routines of life?
O Servant of God, the Gates of Paradise are wide open for you, God is calling you to Him and has blessed you with His mercy today, who knows what tomorrow will bring?