When a group of Muslim teenagers in Cornwall looked for books on Islamic civilization and culture in their local libraries, they discovered a dearth in reading materials, and the books they did find were not representative of Islam’s essential beliefs. With this need in mind, they approached their mentor, SLC’s Dr. Muhammad Owais Aziz, faculty in Interdisciplinary Studies and Pathways, for help.
“These young people approached me in fall 2021 wanting to contribute books to libraries,” Dr. Aziz said. “They organized this fundraising project to build a collection of books to provide access to materials on over 1400-year history of Islamic culture and civilization.”
Under the guidance of Shaykh Umar and Shaykh Tofael Nuruddin, the group members, Taha Shah, Osama Choudhry, Hamza Shah, Muneeb Damri, Arqam Hashmi, and Maaz Mahmood, selected 30 books for the Cornwall campus library, and today, 18 books have been presented, with the balance on the way from publishers and distributors.
“These teens selected books on multiples subjects on the teachings of Islam,” Dr Aziz said. “These include Islamic finance, economics, ethics, spirituality, pedagogy, and psychology. As a science lover, the first book on the list that caught my eye was National Geographic’s 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization. It was fascinating to learn about the innumerable inventions by Muslims which are still shaping the world we live in today.”
Other books in the collection include Shaikh Hamza Yusuf’s Purification of the Heart, a poetic commentary and framework for peace and tranquility in this chaotic life; If the Oceans Were Ink, by Carla Power, who describes her journey exploring Islam as an American; and A Thinking Person’s Guide to Islam, by H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, which explains the message of Islam using the sacred text, the Holy Quran.
The group hopes to expand their fundraising and donation efforts to include public libraries, and the Brockville and Kingston campus libraries of SLC as well, according to Dr. Aziz.
“I enjoy mentoring young people and am inspired by their accomplishments. They believe that their contribution with the books will promote better understanding what Islam offers culturally and intellectually.”
Special thanks to Ann Small, Library Coordinator, and Jessica Kostuck, Associate Director, Development, for their help in making this donation possible.