In 2002 (or was it 2001? I forget), a group of guys got together and started a small program for young men. The concept was to provide a place to hang out on Saturday afternoons, while learning something about Islam. In addition, it would provide the youngsters some role models who would be from all walks of life and demonstrate that one can be a practicing Muslim while working in a professional capacity or being an entrepreneur (or being a Blogger like DiscoMaulvi).
Forward a few years and Active Saturdays has now become a program that is held on a semester basis, with a special deen-intensive Summer course titled Islamic Fundamentals and a road trip titled Sirat-e-Mustaqim (I was on the 2005 trip and it was great!).
The program is held every Saturday from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at two locations:
Reflections, near CBM, Korangi Creek (with a Pick & Drop option from Sultan Masjid)
Role Model Institute, 38-Y, PECHS (Near Union Club)
The program attempts to provide physical activity, interactive discussions, social as well as informative field trips, and various topics both Islamic and pertaining to self-improvement / leadership. The program places strong emphasis in leadership and many of its students are now “teachers”, serving as a role model for new generations of students enrolling.
For more information on the program, head over to their website, or contact Tayyab at 0321-244-7198 or 0331-227-3427.
Pakistanis have been subjected to extreme violence over the years since independence, increasingly so in the recent years since we got dragged, screaming and protesting, in the Global War on Terror. Whether it is gruesome suicide bombs or the senseless ethnic violence that seems to erupt in Karachi every now and then, violence and unjust killing of the innocent seems to be on the rise.
The issue whether it is that of Mohajir / Pathan / Balochi / Sindhi / Punjabi or whether it is that of Barelvi / Deobandi / Ahl-e-Hadith / Shia, at the end of the day it is often the innocent that end up in the morgues.
Attacks on holy places (of any religion) are forbidden in Islam and the harming of civilians, women, and children declared a transgression by the Quran. Why then in this country that our forefathers demanded on the name of Islam are we blindly ignoring what Islam commands?
A recent billboard campaign was spotted in certain areas of Karachi (not the posh areas most of you frequent but the area of the masses) that hopes to highlight this issue of the death of the innocents. It is part of a larger effort to educate the masses by this medium.
The billboard is the gist of the message of verse 23 of Surah Al-Maida of the Holy Quran:
“O People! Whosoever kills a human being unjustly it is as if he has killed all mankind, and whoso saves a life it is as if he has saved all mankind.”
The group behind this campaign is a bunch of friends whose aim is seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT). You may contact them through me if you feel you would like to contribute to such campaigns in the future (either financially or intellectually).
We all are well aware of the critical situation our beloved country, Pakistan is facing. Every other day there are rumors that Pakistan will not survive in future. The country behind all of this is none other than our neighbor, India. Our government still insists that Indians have no such intentions; however, we all know very well that India was never our friend and never will be. Pakistan was created after partitioning the sub-continent, that is, India who opposed the partition till the end when it seemed an inevitable event. We all are acquainted with the bloody trail that links our independence.
A person, who leaves his house nowadays to go to work, does not know if he will return to his family. Suicide bombers haunt our lives day and night. We are torn between who to believe and where to go. We don’t know what we are going to give to the next generation that is yet to come. Political uncertainty for the past few years has ruined our day to day lives.
I believe that we, the youth of Pakistan have a huge responsibility on our shoulders. The future of our country lies in our hands. Most will be keen to let Pakistan go into turmoil, saying what Pakistan has given them, however, I believe that what we are today, we are because of Pakistan. Even if we go abroad and settle there, we will always be Pakistani. Pakistan has given us what no other country could give us, that is, an identity. What I mean to say is that how can we neglect the sacrifices that were made by our elders to give us a free land to live.
We all are quite impressed by the Europeans and Indians. We all like to watch their movies, that’s fair enough but we should not forget our true identity. We should keep in mind that rather than cursing our government we need to make a difference ourselves. We are always condemning what we see around us that is: illiteracy, terrorism, litter (garbage) etc; yet we do not think about doing something our self. I know we cannot do anything about terrorism except praying but what we can do is that we can teach our servant’s children to read and write and we can stop throwing litter on the roads. Although we can not bring a subsequent change, we can teach our younger generation so that a well-civilized society could be established in a not too distant future. We can create awareness among others to be conservative and less wasteful.
The load-shedding is another concern as it has developed into a threat; however most of us point our fingers at the government and the KESC rather than conserving electricity ourselves. We need to stop stealing and wasting electricity if we want to see this issue resolved. It’s very easy to complain about others but it’s very difficult to correct ourselves. The traffic signal has become another issue nowadays as mostly people derive others of their right at the signal. The majority of accidents that occur these days are due to overlooking the traffic rules and being ignorant. At this issue even, we accuse the government nevertheless the fault is ours and only we can rectify this issue.
Afnan Ahmed is a 16 year-old resident of Karachi, who recently completed his O-Levels from the Beaconhouse School System. He is also a former participant in the Active Saturdays program. He believes if we do not stand up for this cause right now, then we might never be able to see Pakistan as we want it. It is his hope that it will create awareness among our youth and drive them in making Pakistan, a better place to live. Please remember him in your prayers.