Update: Journal for Muslims is out NOW as of June 6th!
Hamza Ahmad is a 23 year old South African Pakistani, who graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in kinesiology and a minor in commerce. He is the founder of an organization called How to Be a Bully and is soon launching a new project called The Journal for Muslims. This journal is set to release close to September 2017.
You founded an organization called How to Be a Bully. How does that differ from countless other anti-bullying organizations?
The main difference is that we focus on the bully rather than the victim. In high school, I was a bully to other kids, so I feel more confident coming from the side of the perpetrator and deconstructing the psyche of such a person. To do so, I go to high schools and interact with young men about bullying, hypermasculinity, breaking the mould of society, and achieving their potential.
How do you go about discussing the topic of bullying?
We focus on the bully and only the bully. Many other organizations fail to get to the root of the issue, and instead continuously place and replace band-aids on victims of bullies. Many people don’t realize they’re capable of being the bully, so it’s a cool narrative that I come to schools with. However, the thing that really makes my message stick is the fact that I’m young and understand the culture of high schoolers. I’ll always tell jokes that reference current hot topics and memes, I rap to them and I engage them by inviting them to take part on stage. Ultimately, my secret formula has been being real and getting down to their level when I speak.
What was the purpose of creating The Journal for Muslims?
I’ve created this journal to be the easiest thing you can do every day to become closer to Allah. Every Muslim wants to be closer to Allah, but many struggle to keep a strong faith, which could be due to today’s problems, such as Islamophobia and mental health issues. I believe the journal will help Muslims remember Allah’s goodness and stay grounded in their faith on a daily basis, regardless of what the world throws at them.
What are some key features of this journal that makes it specially tailored for Muslims?
It is based around remembering Allah at the beginning and end of the day, so the questions facilitate daily gratitude and other positive emotions. To begin the day, it features the morning dua, a verse from the Quran, a daily goal, and a daily supplication. Then at night, it reflects on highlights of the day, ways to improve it, a creative space, and the nighttime dua. It also includes weekly efforts, select names of Allah, and a prayer and iman tracker.
Where do you hope to see this journal in the next few years?
I visualize it as a media company that will produce fresh and relatable content that helps Muslims see how Islam can benefit them in their daily lives. Because the main platforms of today’s generation are online, in order to reach young Muslims, we have to get through to them via people they know of, like internet celebrities. Therefore, I hope to eventually collaborate with other young Muslim influencers in their online spaces to achieve that goal, inshaAllah.