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
Do you have a Ã¢â‚¬Å“no strings attachedÃ¢â‚¬Â relationship with God?
- By Jeewan Chanika
- Published 09/5/2009
Do you have a “no strings” relationship with God?
Sadly, many of us place conditions on Allah about our relationship with Him. Our relationships are based on, “If I get this…I will do…” or other times when we are afflicted with difficulties, we eventually turn away from Allah. Questions like, “Has God forsaken me?”, “Why is this happening to me?” begin to arise and begin to disconnect ourselves from God because we believe that if God really cared, these “things” wouldn’t happen to us or calamities wouldn’t happen in the world.
For others of us, who may not find ourselves in these particular situations, they arise differently. Some of us decide that we will follow some of Allah’s directions with regards to our daily living, while ignore or negate others. We carefully select what we will and won't follow and try to rationalize our actions. For some of us, we see this in our actions: “I will pray after this show. (while it is getting late for prayer)” “I will go out and do these things with my friends first (regardless of what they are doing) because it’s cool and what I want to do”, “I don’t need to dress a particular way” or “I don’t have to be kind to my parents or family members, because it’s my life and it’s what I want to do”. There are so many of these phrases we use in our daily lives, when we forget that our relationship with our Creator is supposed to be first and foremost and then everything else is supposed to adjust to that framework.
It’s not that we are supposed to be perfect and be “super-Muslim”…although sometimes we all wish we could. But we should recognize our short-comings and instead of celebrating them we should be trying to reconcile it with what/how God wants us to live. And that relationship should be a “no strings attached” relationship in terms of no putting conditions on our relationship with Allah.
In short, we need to “get over ourselves”, our egos, our pride and arrogance and recognize that Allah knows what is best for us whether we are able to understand it in the moment or not. Is it so difficult to believe that God’s plan is perfect? That He understands what is best for us? That there is a life beyond this one? That trials and difficulties are a way to help us spiritually detoxify ourselves and recognize our strengths and potential? Have you ever reflected on the miracle of child-birth? Ask any mother about the joys of pregnancy as well as the trials; ask them about the trials of child-birth. Still, after that great difficulty, one of the most precious moments of life occurs and within that moment, truth, love, potential and inspiration transform them and their relationship with someone who never existed before.
Why is it that we cannot trust Allah after putting us through the various trials of life that we can become better individuals? We forget that He is not in need of us and it is we who are in need of Him.
At the end of the day, we can put conditions on God, but it doesn’t matter, because His will is what guides the universe and all that is within it. Perhaps this month is a time for a dose of humility. Instead of putting conditions and “things” between us and our relationship with Allah, let us focus on our agenda for change.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say, ” Whoever humbles himself to Allah, Allah will raise him (in respect) on the day of Judgment, and He will not enter Paradise who has an atoms weight of arrogance.”
Our relationship with Allah should be based on the fact that He created us to worship Him both through ritual acts and throughout our daily lives and it is our duty to obey Him and follow what has been revealed for us.
Today, let us remember that humility and submission are keys to true freedom and the discovery of the greatness that truly lies within us.