Channel: Alima Ashfaq
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Welcome back. We are here at being me and all women's conference in Toronto, we are honored to have the opportunity to speak with Alma shock about the importance of remaining steadfast within our faith in these current times. All of my work is from the UK and is the founder of women of m a movement to revive the love of knowledge. She is currently memorizing the Holy Quran and and is also the instructor of Islamic online university. Let's sit down and get her thoughts on how Muslim women and those of other visible faith backgrounds can remain steadfast in light of challenging times that we're living in today. Welcome to the show, Alamo. Thank you. So I know you're you're here from
England. And I guess I want to talk a little bit about you know, how is it being a Muslim woman because here in North America lately, there's been
Islamophobia is on the rise, and it's it's, it's difficult, I think, being being a visible Muslim woman? Well, in the UK, personally, I haven't faced anything. Okay, that's good. hamdulillah. And I think the problem we have is in social mediums, especially mediums like Facebook, we magnify one Islamophobic attack. So a majority of the UK agree and there are tensions that exist, but we magnify them. And we have this fear that in reality, even though it's valid, we, we magnify it, and we suffer due to that. So how they did not I don't have a problem. I know some individuals that have been Mashallah a majority of the UK, my neighbors are great. When I speak to people, they're
absolutely amazing. So there are there are issues there, but their political issues, but personally, it hasn't impacted your life. It hasn't impacted my life. And I mean, you're a very avid public speaker in the UK, so has done as being a female a public speaker, I'd like you rightfully mentioned politically, there is a lot of tension, right, whether we like it or not. And I think that's the same lately in North America as well. I mean, you can look at Trump as an ideal example. So how do you do you find any challenges on that regard, being a public spokesperson for you know, Islamic issues, quote, unquote, person, like, for example, in the UK, David Cameron made a statement that we
need to educate.
He impacted our elderly mothers. So when I was delivering a lecture, I had one of a non Muslim participant asked me, you know, what do you think of that? And so we in that way, it affects us, it affects the elderly, but it's mainly about fear mongering. So the way it affects us is, will we build that fear, and the non Muslim community who don't share the Islamic faith, who are not open minded, who do not go and see Islam from an unbiased manner, they have a tendency to view us in a way that does not contribute to harmony? So as a public speaker, has it affected me? No, because I'm incredibly confident.
If someone said something to me, I'd probably be like, that's unacceptable. For example, I was delivering a lecture at a university. And I had, we had the atheist society that completely, and they were there, they're like, standing in front of me staring at me. And every time I see something that like nodding their head, like we completely disagree with you. So you'll have individuals like that they'll come and they'll challenge you. But if you did, we dealt with them very respectfully, you know, put my foot down and mentioned for proofs I mentioned, you know, Islamic history, how it impacted women. And and hamdulillah. They were they were open minded. Yeah, they were they were
receptive, they disregarded everything I said, because if you go in with that perception, but we were able to at least Converse. So for most part, as a speaker, I'm not affected. However, there are instances that occur, but my response generally, and that that sees a lot growing Islamic activists, you do a lot in the community, what would you say to someone who maybe isn't an activist type of personality, but they are, you know, impacted by a lot of their sama phobia that we're seeing, especially now in the US. And I would argue, to a certain extent with Canada here as well. So I was I read an amazing statement from a friend and she said that if you spend a day away from Facebook,
you'll be a lot happier. I think that is true. Yeah. So if you spend a day away from Facebook, because Facebook is the main news feed that a majority of people are sharing stories that negatively impact Muslims, it's shared a million times. I don't blame the sisters for feeling like that. But number one, it's mind over matter. It's understand that the way you perceive you know non Muslims or the way you perceive how Islam is treated, is based on what you're reading. Secondly is protect yourself. Just ensure inshallah, that you have mentorship that you have friends that are there to guide you and that lift you up. I have tons of sisters who messaged me or who come to me the
lectures and they feel exhausted.
This way, and I remind them that number one is you have two people, both of them practice Islam one is more confident one is not. One is start gaining Islam start gaining knowledge in Islam. So when you gain more knowledge in Islam and this is where the topic of women in Islam comes in now you have Maria Mali silan Maria Mali Salaam that was you know, slandered Maria Marie slam, you know, she was in a community where they didn't want women in the area of worship Marie Molly Salaam, she found a supporter and she went forward. So in this community, inshallah, switch off from the news, and seek solace and seek inspiration from women around you, and mentors around you and just lift yourself up.
And I think that that will help. I really, like you know, the story you gave of Mario, are there any other examples that you can share with us just to you know, help people because I'm sure challenges like these or more difficult were faced by people before us, right. Okay. One example, which I love is Ms. hibbett, masa, him, you know as COVID, masa, him, she was the wife of Pharaoh. And Pamela, when you look at her life, she was, you know, Benny, Israel, the children of Israel, they were facing Islamophobia, or you know, whatever you call it, on a regular basis. So here, a Lost Planet, Allah He sent masala, he said, You know, he said, Muslim, Allah, Allah be pleased with him. So
number one is understand that you have a prophet, you have a messenger of God that has every single solution to solve your problems. And you have a shadow of the law. And her just bringing that in is, she was incredibly content, she was incredibly content because she detached herself from this world. What does that mean? You're like, oh, what does it mean? Detective says that. It's like, remove yourself from the world. But it's kind of like, what does that practically look like? What he means is that you you're going to university, you go into your workplace, but every action you take, you're conscious about it, every action you take, you think, okay, you know, what will this benefit
me in the future? will this take me to a higher ground, for example, you have a student who is going to Cambridge University, and he will be so careful, every single thing, every step he takes, we respect him for not going out at night, or let's just say clubbing. We, we respect him for not staying up, you know, staying up late and completing his assignments, spending his time in the library. So now you have a Muslim that detaches herself or himself from the individuals around them or certain, you know, certain places that they want to go, because they have a higher ground, and they use that high moral ground to aim higher and achieve something amazing. It may not be that, you
know, a class degree, but it's something even greater. Because you're here in this life for a reason, you have to determine what that reason is. And for us as Muslims, it's to worship God and worship him to the best of our abilities. So we attain His pleasure. We have an amazing, we are socially responsible, we give back to our community at the highest level. And depending on how much we give back, we attain a high place in parenting, just remember, because when I was growing up, my mom would always say, you know, the saying of the Prophet where each man is judged based on his image. And so it sort of brings that perspective as well. And yeah, right. Yeah, it's just the end,
going back to the example of sem with Mr. him, you know, she was domestically abused by her husband. So one of the children of Israel, they were facing Islamophobia. She was domestically abused by her husband, but the the power structures around her did not keep allow her to get out of her abuse. So what did Allah subhanaw taala? Do? He himself, he intervened, and he took her out, and he gave her the highest place in paradise. So there's two lessons here, Islamophobia has always existed, you're not the only one. So seek thought how did they, you know, how did they deal with it, the way they dealt with it is they, you know, up to their worship, and they worked together, they worked on the
social policy around them, to change the situation around them, they kept going back to their leader and saying, you know, what I need, we need you need to do this for us. Number and with us here is know that if you are unable to change the situation, that Allah subhanaw taala will intervene and he'll take you out of that situation. You just have to be patient and you have to be socially active. And when you're talking about changing the social policy, and you're talking, are you talking about that from a community level, like as a, you know, this is my community? What can I do to help raise awareness about Islam? Is that what you're talking about? Both it's on an individual
level, because what Islam does it it makes each individual socially responsible? We are, you know, we don't say
I can do anything I want. And it doesn't matter what how other people are affected. That's not how Islam works. Every single person is socially responsible, then there's that communal responsibility, then that's that societal responsibility where we have to be lobbying, we have to be involved in social policy. We cannot just sit in the masjid or I cannot sit at home as a mother and I'm a mother. They'd be like, Oh, I'm just going to sit at home and everything will be okay. It doesn't work like that. And even Another example is a Chateau de la. And, you know, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet peace be upon him, at times when the Muslims needed to defend
themselves, because they were being verbally and physically attacked. Sex says that they would go out with the Prophet peace be upon him, and they'd carry like water skins, you know, and you have another woman, the women, and you have another statement in Allah Buhari, where the women, they would go out, and they would, you know, they were tending to the men and they would pick them up and bring them back. You know, some Muslims would be like,
Oh, how can you teach the men? You like, your humanity is absurd. Do you want them to leave then die? Like, can you imagine the men you know, the men are sitting there and the women are just walking past them? Like, Oh, I'm sorry, I can't teach you right now. Because you're not my mushrooms. But they didn't think like that they like this hobby is there, you know, I am concerned about Tim as my brother, you know, and I will bring him back and they were incredibly grateful. So and the reason why I brought that in is because the center and the way of the Prophet and the Quran completely changes our perspective perception. It's dependent on who your teacher is, and what
knowledge you are, you have access to, depending on that, you will be incredibly open minded and our women will be inspired. I know you've definitely you know, changed brought something to light, especially for me when I'm looking at Islamic history, so you definitely need to go back to the bank you so much.
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