According to the Qur’an, this was the first word uttered to Prophet Muhammad by God. It’s also where the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association (RMSA) got its inspiration for the title of its new publication, IQRA Magazine.
“Iqra means to read in Arabic. For us Muslims, it’s important because it was the first word revealed to our Prophet Muhammad – to read in the name of God,” said Malek El-Kawas, president of the RMSA.
IQRA Magazine is a new initiative lead by members of the RMSA to give students at Ryerson a platform to express themselves.
“Our goal is to showcase Islamic lifestyle and tackle common issues Canadian-Muslims face,” wrote Mehreen Arif, vice-president of the RMSA, and IQRA’s editor-in-chief, in the magazine’s first editorial.
While the magazine is targeted at the Muslim community, it’s not exclusive to them, said Arif. Some of the writers and most of the designers on the team come from different backgrounds and aren’t Muslim.
While the content of the first issue does have a heavy Muslim focus, it also includes articles on tips for resume-building and Ryerson’s Orphan Sponsorship Program. Arif said she wanted to feature content that everyone could find relatable and interesting.
This isn’t the first time the RMSA has published a magazine. According to El-Kawas, the organization came out with a magazine seven years ago, but it wasn’t successful.
“We wanted to bring it back in a new way,” said El-Kawas. “The whole idea was that we wanted to give a platform to those who wanted to express their opinion and allow them to come express it. We usually have social media, which is the main outlet for that, but we just wanted something more of a magazine – something that’s from the Muslim Student Association”
Ryerson is home to a variety of different Muslim student organizations including the RMSA, the Black Muslim Collective at Ryerson, the Ryerson Ahmadiyaa Muslim Student Association, as well as the Ryerson Ismaili Muslim Student Association.
When asked about how the content of the magazine is going to be reflective of all Muslim students at Ryerson, El-Kawas says that they’re going to to reach out to different student associations that have Muslims of different ethnicities.
“We’re trying to get them involved, not only in the magazine but in events and a lot of our other initiatives as well,” said El-Kawas.
The magazine’s first digital issue is available now on the RMSA Facebook page and the group will be handing out physical copies today.
All photos by Nida Omar