There they were, beautiful in their own right, full of youth, smiles and a sense of happiness due to their innocence. I had been looking forward to the NUS (National Union of Students) Muslim Leadership Training and FOSIS’s Sisters Conference – Wonder Woman – all month and now it was finally here. I was excited, as you naturally are when you’re about to reach out to young sisters on a large platform (why do I sound old?!) and it was as an excuse to be a crazy tourist in the city of Bristol.
Why Wonder Woman?
The next two days would be full of inspiration, in hope of reminding the sisters that Wonder Woman was nothing. Rather, when it comes to a righteous, elegant and intelligent Muslim woman she has no competition. None. In my opinion she’d give Catwoman a run for her money and Poison Ivy would be terrified. I’d add she’d be left in tears, but that’s kind of mean, so terrified it is! And they’re not defined by their appearance. If you search for the terms of any modern day super heroine you’ll notice one thing in common, their physical demeanour is their number one pulling power. They are over-sexualised, which sends a dangerous message to us all, it’s as if all their success is derived by their sexual powers, rather than their morality and righteousness.
Throughout these two days I met women who were doing their best to do their part, from Sarah Joseph to Sahar Al-Faifi. Then I met sisters who were genuinely confused in their worth and role as a Muslim woman. However, they both had one thing in common: passion. Passion to make a difference, passion to be better.
I’d like to share an insight into my short speech and I hope you’ll be inspired, as much as I was throughout the weekend.
I began the conference with powerful words, the words of the Messenger of Allah when he turned around to his companions, friends and said: “I wish I could see my brothers (and sisters).” The companions, surprised replied: “Aren’t we your brothers?” The Messenger of Allah said: “No, you are my companions, my brothers (and sisters) are those who didn’t see me and yet follow me and believe in me. I’ll wait for them on Al Hawdh…” [1. Reported in Muslim]
For me Wonder Woman was about reminding myself and the sisters, a reminder full of might, that the Messenger of Allah is telling us; we’re special, we’re worth it and we have the capability to make the change they made. To make the change the men and women made at their time, hence he can’t wait to see us because we believe in him without seeing him and we follow this belief up with sincere action, insha Allah.
Their change was breathtaking, it was mesmerising and it was life changing. This reminds me of another set of powerful words by Abu Muslim Al-Khawlani who came after the Prophet , which is a reminder once again that you don’t need to be a companion to be great. You are born great.
Allah, Al-‘Aziz made you. The Mighty, the Great. Allah, Al-Mussawir fashioned you, He is the One who will fashion your dreams. He is Al-Hakeem, the One who reminds us to be wise, to put ourselves back in our rightful places, as believers and as strong yet humble Muslim women.
Abu Muslim AlKhawlani said:
“Do the companions of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam think that they will have him exclusively without us? No by Allah, we will compete with them towards him at the hawdh (pool), so that they know that they have left behind men and women.”
This statement shows us the high HIGH STANDARDS the people after the time of Prophet had, they didn’t have this attitude that I’m not good enough; Rather I hear them saying:
We’re going show YOU how much we love the Messenger of Allah more than you. We love you, but we love the Messenger of Allah more! We’re going to show you how much we will live his vision, as his vision is the most just, the best, the greatest.
Secondly, were all the Companions of the Prophet men? No they weren’t, they were men and women, they were real men and women. For me Abu Muslim is saying; regardless of who you are, we’re going compete with you, and we’re going to compete so HARD that we’re taking it all the way to the Hawd (AlKauthar)!
Examples of individuals
This leads me on to say – we have examples of the past who went through so much pain, they were different from us:
- They didn’t have a victim mentality. They knew their future was down to them. They knew the change they’re going to make in their society was down to them, their success depended on their individual struggle and hence they understood the need to work as a community, to come together under a shared vision.
- They knew their ‘present’ was a signal of what was to come. Allah was preparing them for something great. Allah was preparing them for a great future. Your future.
This was a short insight into my talk, it was a reminder that we don’t need special powers in order to attain success, but again we do have a villain so we need to equip ourselves with all the resources to ensure we don’t fail, as failing isn’t an option a believer will take.
On that note, on behalf of I am Alima I would like to thank FOSIS Wales West and the NUS for inviting us, as well as Hoda El-Ghaby, Seliat, Sahar Al-Faifi and Alison Fernandes for all their support, hard work and dedication. And a special and gracious jazakumAllahu khayrun to all the sisters and brothers in the background we didn’t see, nor do we hear about. Thank you for making this a success and may Allah make you of His sincere people.
Finally a huge shout out to all the sisters who attended and Zinab and Lamise for making it all the more fun, mashaAllah. May Allah reward you, accept from you and make your dreams come true, aameen.
On that note, stay beautiful and you’re all in my du’as, I hope I’m in yours insha Allah.
Alima Ashfaq is the founder of I am Alima and hopes to transform it into the forefront of assisting women come closer to Allah (swt). She is the author of a number of publications, most notably Du’as of the Superstars.