#088 – IlmFeed Podcast w Shahida Rahman Why Are Muslim Women Delaying Marriage?
Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
File Size: 76.59MB
Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah dear brothers and sisters as salaam aleikum, wa rahmatullah him about a ghetto, and welcome to another m feed podcast episode. feels like it's been ages since I've addressed you all, but I'll have the lower back. And today, I have a lovely guest with me.
My guest is Sister shahida. Sister, shahida. Mom.
I'm going to just invite her on and then introduce her.
Sister shahida is an author and writer. She writes historical fiction, nonfiction and children's stories. She's won numerous civic and cultural awards for her work, Mashallah. She was born and raised in Cambridge, in the UK, and is a trustee of the Cambridge central mosque, their big eco mosque that was recently built, which is Cambridge is first purpose built mosque and Europe's first eco mosque. And it opened to the public in early 2019.
So I'm really consistently there. When they come a Salaam, thank you very much for having me. I've been wanting to speak to you for a long time.
And I just realized that, you know, you're in north of so many books on my shelf. You know, I hadn't even I hadn't initially intended to speak to you about those.
So you're, you're a lady of many talents. Mashallah.
What's it been like,
growing up in Cambridge, because I think you're, like, I grew up in the 80s and 90s.
In London. But I think you, you go back even before that, right? So we'd love to hear about your, your background, and especially, you know, did you always live in Cambridge? And have you always lived there?
Yeah, I was born and raised in Cambridge. So my father, he came to Cambridge in 1957. And he arrived from East Pakistan. So east, Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971. And that was the year that I was born. I was born two days before the independence. So my father had an opportunity to come to England. He was orphaned at a young young age, he had siblings, and Alhamdulillah. It was an opportunity to come to England. So he arrived in London. And then someone brought him to Cambridge, I think there was work here. So he came to Cambridge in 1957. And it was September. And he worked for about six, seven years. And my mother arrived in January 1964. And then my siblings and I were
born here. So there was five of us.
My twin sister, myself, three older brothers. We were all born in Cambridge, and we still live here today. So it was quite,
we've seen the community grow, we've seen how the Muslim community has grown. And we were one of the early families here. So we can tell these stories, you know, what happened in the 70s and 80s. And it's nice to be able to tell their stories, because I tell their stories to my children, because we've seen how the first mosque was established here in a house on Chester road, then they moved to morson Road in 1981, to be able to tell that I think, you know, hamdulillah it's, it's a story in itself. So, my father passed away when I was 13. Were very, very young, and my mother hamdulillah she's still alive today. She's 82.
And I have a married I have four children. So Cambridge has been our home or our all our life. And it's, it's where we settled, and where we built our lives. And that's the reason why men did come over at that time, to have a better life, to build their lives. And this is exactly what my father did.
Because Cambridge is famous, probably in most people's minds for the university, right Cambridge University, being one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.
So but and most of the time, I kind of imagined that Muslims were mainly in the really big cities, you know, like Manchester, Birmingham, London.
And those sorts of cities, right in England like these.
So I was quite surprised to hear that, you know, right from all that way back.
Your family had actually
made their roots in Cambridge. So what was it like? Like? How would you describe because I remember the 80s in London.
It was what obviously it depends on which kind of area you lived in, and things like that. But for us grew up growing up
in kind of our primary school years in East London.
And then later on in North London,
there was a huge difference between, you know, the lifestyles in both places.
One was very multicultural, very vary quite rough, if you if you want to call it that.
Both places had racism, for example, but in different kinds of ways. You know, one was a bit of a more kind of posh racism. And the other was a little bit more of a kind of more blatant racism.
What was it like to be a Muslim? in Cambridge? What were you guys practicing? Like? Did you visibly look like Muslims?
At that time, I would say, well, we grew up in Mill Road. So this is where Cambridge central mosque is at the top of Mill Road. My father
had his first house just off Mill Road, and I was born off Mill Road, there was a maternity hospital there. So at the time, I think more people were interested in our background as the country that we came from. We were Asian, right time agents. But during that time, there were other we say uncles, who actually had been here arrived here before my father had done. So there was a very, very small community, then, and my mother tells the story she's told us about who was here. There were the men who established the first Indian restaurants because my father went on to establish his first business, his first restaurant on Regent Street. And at the time, yes, we did grow up, we went to
primary school, but secondary school, people were very curious about our religion, about Islam. We had very good conversations.
And because we were a few in our secondary schools,
where it was quite interesting, I wouldn't say it was multicultural, because there are just a handful of Asian families. Asian children actually attended the schools. And I think with Cambridge, it's an amazing city.
But we have to remember that even though it is University City, there is a two class divide here. I think a lot of people wouldn't think that.
But being in Cambridge, all my life, and growing up here, I've seen that, but it's a tolerant city. And I would say today, Cambridge is very, very diverse. We have such a big Muslim community now. communities who have come from all over the world. But Muslims were in Cambridge over 100 years ago, you know, we found stories where there was a very, very small number of men who came here. So I'm doing research about who are the Muslim men who came before the 1960s. And when I say Muslim men, I have not come across any Muslim woman. What I'm still doing that research, but my mother complained that she was the first silletti woman so silat is where my parents came from, in Bangladesh. And she
quite proudly claims that because she said when she arrived, there were no other
silletti one I say silletti not Bengali because there could have been somebody who came as a student and what their wife with them what we think that was quite
so my mother said when she was here, there was no other woman around.
She left her family behind. And for her experience, you know, we're telling these stories now because Bangladesh is 50 years old this year, and we're talking about our heritage more, or history more. And my mother said with the neighbors that she had the first house that they moved to
that people are very curious about the kind of clothes she wore, she was sorry, she still wear saris. Today, you know, the kind of cooking she did. You know, people are very, very kind, very nice. And she has a very, very vivid, very sharp memory of the day she came off the plane, a brother picked up my, my, my father, my, uh, my mother, and my mother said it was sad, in a sense because she left behind her mother. My grandmother had
grandfather passed away when she was very young. She had siblings, brothers and sisters over there. So it was a new beginning, new chapter of her life, but she did miss home. You know, it was
a completely new life, a completely new country. And I think a lot of women who came at that time would have felt exactly the same. What but going on going back to your question about, you know, the Muslim community, you know, we are my siblings and I, there are three of us left now because my twin sister she passed away many years ago, my eldest brother passed away. But we are, you know, our story we can tell these stories we can say that we went to the first mosque, which was a house on tests and road, my parents sent us there we learnt Quran reading, we learnt our Arabic, there were other children who also attended at the time. So I'm talking about the late 70s.
And because we had that small group, we were able to learn Arabic. And I think that was very important for us, we learned at a very young age, my mother also brought in Arabic teachers at home. So we had that one to one, tuition, we all learned together, my siblings and I, because in those days, we didn't have those resources. You know, there weren't books available, like they are now we didn't have, we have to learn from the person who taught us. And there was one man who was a teacher, he came from Kuwait.
Alhamdulillah, he taught us what we needed to know, he was a good friend of my father's and, and we learnt our Arabic and the way that we learned, I would say, we learnt it the proper way that we could have learned, despite not having Arabic books and our resources. And I think looking back on there, you know, I tell my children, you're very lucky, you've got everything that you could ever want to learn Islam to learn Arabic, you've got no excuse, you know, all the results are there. But for us, it was even we even learned Bengali, our own mother tongue to read and write. And, again, it was one one tuition at home. So we had the balance of two so I can speak Bengali fluently, you know,
we learned to speak that at home. So it was learning, you know, two languages, but what but we did it and
now I'm hungry Alhamdulillah we learnt as what we should know. And we learned to read the Quran at a very young age. And even though there were times when we hated these one to one, two issues Bengali one to one tuition, so my mother bought him teachers, but I can see why that was important for her at that time. And, and looking back on that, thinking, it's really important to learn your mother tongue, to learn your culture, your heritage, was important to me, it may not be important for someone else. But now I pass that on to my children. And they have to understand, you know, where why my father came here, you know, his background, you know, we can say we're British, or we want
you know, I was born and raised here, but I'm, I may be British, but I'm also Bangladeshi. And I'm also Muslim. And I would say, you know, I've been asked this question before, what would you say that you are first? You know, obviously, in first because Islam is the number one
part of our life, you know, without Islam, we are lost, you know, so I would say I'm a Muslim first, but then I'm also Bangladeshi, you know, and I'm also, you know, when we say we're British, now that that comes later, I would say because I was born and raised here. These three are my identity. And that would describe, you know, my background, my heritage.
So that's interesting, because
you just made me think, what order should I put it in? You know, and I think for me who
say it, I would definitely say Muslim first, simply because that's about meaning, isn't it? It's, it's not about like, location or some kind of arbitrary thing, right?
That's about the compass by which we live our lives.
But then I think I would say British
hope that doesn't make me sound, you know, anxious about that in the past, you know, what kind of
but that but that kind of shows that you you the fact that you put Bangladeshi, you know, there is if it feels like you have a very strong connection to that, whereas not all of us grew up with I mean, we grew up with all of the language and we were connected to our culture through, I guess, popular culture, you know, dramas and films.
And those kinds of things.
In terms of as a place to visit, we didn't really visit very much.
So I think it's hard for some of us to feel that strong sense of connection with our
parents countries. You know, it's so interesting that you have that connection. And it seems like you consider it very important to tell those stories because of your books must be pronounced it Let's go. Lascaux Yes. In order to be say, in order we say Oscar Sophia. Yes. And that is
more of the Western term, I would say. Yeah, just want to add to the point that you said,
you know, about identity about who we are, I think that recently sort of came to play in my life, because
it's just because also we've lost our father at a young age. Okay. And as we've grown up, and I'm, you know, approaching 50 now, and we're starting to look at, you know, the lies of our parents about what's going on around the world. I think it's given us a deeper meaning and a deep, deeper, you know, thinking, you know, I'm looking for stories of Muslims who who were here, the kind of lives that they had, what it meant for them to be here. Can you tell us some little interesting things about?
Can you tell us some examples, like people listening might be thinking before the 60s and 50s, there were Muslims, like, what kinds of you don't need to go into a lot of detail, but what kinds of people are we are we looking at? Yes, so
the story started where
someone brought to our attention, my son of me, brought him in I two photos of two graves that are buried in Cambridge, and they said, there are names of two men. And it said, East Pakistan, wow. So one of them died in 1964. One of them died in 1966. So we did more research on that. So my mother remembers the man who died in 1966. He was an old man, she remembers someone dying, and then there was a janazah. Okay, so in those days, everyone knew when someone had passed away last week, so so we did further research. So they're buried in a churchyard, in Cambridge, the ascension, Parish, burial ground. And a lot of famous people apparently are buried there. You know, past historians,
quite interesting to find why we had five Muslim graves in a corner of that cemetery.
And we discovered there was a 23 year old Cambridge University student from India. He died in 1923. And we found that absolutely fascinating. He was ill. He didn't get to complete his studies. We thought we found details of, you know, his parents, his surname was told. That's a very old sort of surname. To come on, we say again, Talukdar.
So you know,
she, so yeah, so he came from India. So it wasn't the Bangladeshi side. So you have to remember when East Pakistan prior to that was East India. So he's still part of exactly, of course, he was a student there. So there were students who came. So we discovered he was from a wealthy family, Father sent him to Cambridge to study, but with the other two men that I just told you about, they came here to work. So they arrived before my father had arrived, one of them actually got struck down by a bus in the middle of the city center, and he died from his injuries, then we discovered that his family live in Cambridge. So his extended family are here, you know, to this day. And for
me, I feel like a very sad story, because we've got to, you know, five Muslim graves in a graveyard in a church, and they just there, and no one knew about these people being buried here. And now that the family know, you know, obviously, you know, we can all make prayers for them. But it's even came about to be buried in a church. But in those days, there wasn't a separate Muslim burial ground, or the university, you belong to the university and they were allowed to be buried here. So I'm looking at further research because for me, it's important to tell these untold stories because this is what I want to find out. You know, about Cambridge, no one has really sort of discovered the stories and
for me to be able to sort of tie that in with our heritage. You know who the who these people were, but
Again, they came for a better life, they came to work here, they had families back home. This was the traditional
journey that they did they work, they sent money home to support families. But then for them to do pass away at a young age, they were both in their mid 30s.
You know, I think that's quite sad, and to be buried alone in a graveyard, and they have no family here at the time, they absolutely have no family. So, but for me, that is, I just really, it's something that I'm interested in, and to be able to tell their stories, because which future generations, I want them to know that things didn't just come in the 60s and 70s. You know, there was a large influx all over the UK. But there are people already here at the time, they will settle they're working. And, you know, let's tell the stories, not the tore up stories that have already been told.
I just like the hair, and I'm so fascinated. I'd love to read about those individuals. I mean, I'm looking forward to your future books in JAMA and also catching up on some of the books you've already written.
that's okay. I was just going to add, we've got a website, Cambridge, Muslim heritage.
The details are okay, you've got a website. So I just wanted to add that, you know, Cambridge Muslim heritage. Okay. Excellent.
I wanted to also ask you, because I read your little biography that I read,
you got married pretty young.
In one place, I read him. I don't know if it was if you were 18 or 19.
At the time, but you got married pretty young. I myself got married when I was 19, as well. I was engaged at 18 and married at 19.
So I haven't met that many people. You know, who who got married that young? So that I felt quite? That would be an interesting thing for us to speak about.
Because I guess the trend at the moment is probably to delay marriage, you know, for girls.
So I thought maybe we could like explore, what we've felt are some of the positives and some of the challenges of getting married young, you know, like, what would you say? were some of the
what some of the positives and first of all, why? Why did you get married at that age?
smart. My mother married me off at the age of 18, I think it would have been the fact that we lost our father to a young age. So my mother took my sister me back to Bangladesh, and I was married first. So I was 18, just over 18. And when you get married, you literally have to grow up overnight. You're you're a young girl, and then you become a woman. That's how I would see it. So I think in those days, you know, you're reaching your 20s. And life's just beginning isn't it? You're young, you've got ambitions, you want to do things.
And I handle I've got four children. I've got three sons, and a daughter. And I have them young. Okay, so my oldest son was born at the when I was 19.
And, and then I went on to have
my other children. And I think with the challenges, looking back on it now, I would say
it was good. I had them young, okay, because, you know, we chose that I would stay at home and look after them. So I wasn't working, I didn't have a career. I stayed at home and I raised my children. And at that time, I felt
I'm just at home looking after my children, you know, I'm not doing anything. And that's how it felt at the time. You know, I'm just a housewife and a mom of children, I'm raising them.
And looking back on it now because I'm older, I see that that's probably the best thing that I ever did. Because my children
as with any children, they need their parents, okay, not everyone can have that luxury. You know, some sisters do need to go out and work now. But for me, it was important for me to be that my children, you know, take them to school, pick them up,
you know, be a homemaker. You know, our work never ends as wives and as mothers. You know, you
Even though my children are older now, they have different cares and needs, you know, I'm still there for them, like, they can do things independently. But I'm still a mom to them. And I still see them as my children, you know, they mean whatever age they are, they're still my children. And
I think of being a housewife and being a mother, that that's very undervalued at times. In these days, no one wants to stay at home and be labeled as a housewife. But we have to remember, you know, Islam has given us blessings were you know, Allah has given us blessings where, you know, we have opportunities, you know, family life always have compost from now regardless, I think in the last 10 years, if this is when my I would say career took off, I started writing, I don't think I would have become an author is because I was at home, I wanted something to do. My daughter was born in 2003.
And that's, I think it started from there really, I just felt that I needed to do something my life, that, you know, years were passing, and I've not really sort of achieved anything. So that's where it's sort of developed, developed from, but then because my children are older, it was slightly easier to be able to do the things I I did. So I wrote my first book, it was published in 2012. I started writing in 22,006. And now
I am working full time. I also
still writing books, I've written my second book that will be published inshallah, next year, I'm also trustee of mosque, I'm working with a museum of Cambridge, as an advisor to the trustees. I want a community panel with kettles yard, which is a house that belongs to university, it's a small museum. And I'm also involved with other organizations. And
I think it started off doing a lot of voluntary work.
With people undervalue that, you know, for me, I learned a lot of skills, doing voluntary work, but I enjoy working with people. And, you know, being able to be part of decision making, and not sit back and let decisions be made for me, you know, I, that sort of developed over the years, where I would say, 10 years ago, I wouldn't be able to stand in front of a group of people and do a speech, that was not possible. For me. I was shy, you know, I, I needed that confidence to be able to do that 10 years on, you know, how many labs done that? Now, I learned to do that myself. There have been people who have supported me in my work. But my, you know, my children have also been part of
that journey, you know, my husband's been
there taking me places to do book launch, giving me that support, you know, my son's been there, he's helped me on my social media side, I don't think I would have been able to do it. As successfully, as I would have done without this support, that's really important to have that family support. Because
I, I wouldn't be able to do this otherwise. But I always make sure that my family come first. So if I have a day out, I need to do something, I always make sure that my housework is done, you know, I tried to balance that, you know, it's not perfect. 100% but you know, they have food cooked and they can manage to do their own things. Now, you know, everyone does.
And, but when they were younger, I don't think I wouldn't be able to do all this. Now having young children at home, their needs are different. Yeah. So you know, there's pros and cons. Me Alhamdulillah I can say that, that worked for me. I still, you know, I'm approaching my 50s people say, I'm still young, you know, sometimes I feel mentally old. The things that I do, I do get tired of it. Sometimes I sit back and I think why am I doing all this? You know, it's a lot of work I've taken on but then I enjoy that. I like to keep busy. I don't like to just sit around and I'm not a TV person. I don't watch TV.
I do different things I do reading along the line. You know, it's lots of different things where I've done over the last 10 years, I've met lots of different people I learned from them. And and I and I teach that to my children. You know, I want you to be able to go out there and do things, especially my daughter have only got one daughter, you know, you know, have a voice. You know, don't let someone else have that voice calling.
Do the things that you want to do you know that she she's a she's a poet. She does spoken word poetry and she developed that herself. I've supported her in there.
I think that's really important for me that I was there when they were younger, and they appreciate that. And now it's their underwear, send them around to do errands, you know, go and get the shopping or do something, because they know that I've done my bit. And I think that's, you know, to have that close family unit. I think Alhamdulillah I can say that, that's worked for me. In that sense, yes, it's just, it hasn't been 100% perfect. But, you know, Allah gives us these challenges, to make us who we are. And
that challenges over the years, but who doesn't in their life, but it's taught me patience, things don't happen overnight, you have to work for things. And things only come when Allah decides, it's good for you, and it's ready for you. And I've always had that vision that things aren't going to happen, because I want it to happen there. And then is only Hello will make it happen. And I and I've learned that over the years. So I think, even though
for someone they would want things quickly,
even with, you know why it took so long for Alaska to be published to be six years, a lot of patience, a lot of persistence, perseverance. And that taught me over the years that you have to work for something, it's not going to happen quickly. But it taught me a lot of patience. So I would say I'm a very patient person. And if things don't work out, I will take a backseat and say, okay, things didn't work out, because I didn't want it to happen. And I tried to teach that to my children. You know, when it comes to jobs or wanting to do things in their life, things take time. So
yes, it's been up and down. But
Alhamdulillah it's been a journey where I've learned so much from a lot of experience.
I wanted to bounce my thoughts off of you, and you tell me what you think about some of the cars, I've tried to list down some of the positives and some of the challenges of getting married young, just so that our, our listeners and viewers can,
you know, maybe think about it for themselves, you know,
some of the pros or some of the positives that I've feel like I experienced from getting married and was
obviously experiencing the romantic side of life, you know, at a young age, okay.
I think we sometimes forget that when were older, right? Like how it felt at that time. And now it was actually really nice to have that companionship, that love.
Which, for me, definitely I was yearning for, you know, like, I actually really wanted to get married.
I think I wanted to get married since I was about 16, to be honest.
So my parents just kind of facilitated it.
So I think having that romance in your life, especially if you're the sort of person who's yearning for that, I feel like that part of you gets kind of satisfied.
I think also having a lot of energy at that age, you know, is definitely a pro when you have kids.
Like for me, I didn't find getting married, so life changing. But I found having my first child, extremely life changing. Little bit of a shock actually, like, as to how just how much responsibility it was, you know,
I think I had to just imagine that I would just like,
carry my little baby with me and just carry on as normal, you know. And I think most of us kind of underestimate what it's actually like to have a new baby but at the same time, because you're young and new energy you've got
your body does
deal with it. I think better, probably and also you You still got that you've got the energy to kind of take the challenges head on.
So I felt like that was a pro.
Also, I feel like
I we should view it as an investment. You know, like all those years like people invest their time into a career. They invest their time into building wealth, for example. people invest their life into building all sorts of things. But I guess well I feel very
grateful for his having had the opportunity to spend I will get say my 20s especially
invest in the next generation, you know, because that's literally what we're doing, right? investing in building the human beings, the believers of the future. And I don't think a lot of young people are thinking of motherhood and parenthood in that way. And we need to kind of revive that. That sense of purpose, you know,
because it's just a, they just share with you that, at one point, I remember when I had like, three little babies, and although I was quite a motivated and driven mom,
because our society doesn't value motherhood, right, like why society doesn't see a motherhood as something to be proud of, you know, or something that is a significant contribution. Right? I think we also internalize that somehow, somehow. And I remember at one point, maybe I was just feeling down one day,
because I'd had some challenges or whatever. I was just talking to my dad, and I said, Dad, you know, I, what's my legacy going to be? What's my legacy gonna be? Right? You know, like, I need to do other things out there. So I want to do, and he was like, What if these are pointed to my kids? And, and I, I still thought, of course, of course, you know, like, my kids are a huge part of my legacy. Right, like, so I think sometimes we, we forget that because the wider society and the culture that we've been brought up in, never really talk to us about motherhood in that way, you know.
So I would say one of the pros is, it's a huge investment, and you will reap in sha Allah other the fruit of that investment, not just in this life later on, but in Chatelet, in the, in the life hereafter, and generations to come.
And I think the other thing is that
having so much responsibility at such a young age, makes you just a SWAT team, it turns you into a SWAT team, right? Like you, you're literally able to, you value your time Subhanallah like, I don't think I ever valued my time, like I did, once I had kids especially. And you realize how much time used to waste, I think as well.
But then it makes you into this person who can manage lots of things, you know, like us, you're saying, like, while my kids were young, I used to write as well, you know, that was, like, I see sisters, finding so many innovative ways of
doing, or expressing their talents
around their kids, you know, which, or with their kids even know. And I think that's, that's a great thing. And that's
almost like skill that you develop,
if you get married young,
in terms of the challenges.
Oh, and also, I think you're quite predicted as well. I think, again, we forget what it was like, as a teenager, you know, in a culture that's constantly bombarding you with romantic music, love songs, you know, images, and, you know, all of that films.
how, you know,
you can become kind of
lost, you can get attracted to the wrong sort of thing. But there's a certain type of calmness, I feel like urge brought,
you know, to me as a hormonal teenager.
And in terms of challenges,
I think it's challenging when
most people around you aren't getting married young.
And so all the other sisters are still in education, or they're still doing other things. And because society, like I said, doesn't really value motherhood, as it should, you can start having that FOMO you know, that feeling of missing out the fear of missing out or fear of, am I really doing anything worthy? And you know, you have to almost like, remind yourself constantly, that actually, what I'm doing is very meaningful. It's very important. These children are, you know, the believers of the future.
So, I think that's one of the challenges that
the fact that society doesn't
value it as much as it should be valued.
But, and also Yes, if there are things that you want to
to do in your, in your, like, for example, for me, in terms of education,
I had just finished my a levels when I got married, and although I could have gone on to university, um, once I had a child, you know, that became challenging. But I found other ways of studying that were, I mean, the internet was there by then.
So that was good.
But what I mean is I did have to put my studies on certain types of studies on hold
until much later, but I think it doesn't mean anything completely needs to stop. So for example, I still continued learning through online courses, through
videos, audios, you know, having an online tutor, for example, for Arabic, stuff like that. So I think it makes you resourceful as well.
What do you think about those points that I've made? I think that's really interesting. We do tend to forget how important family life motherhood is. And you're absolutely right, where I feel in this day and age where we're almost living up to society, you know, wanting to please society, living our lives, because everyone else is doing the same thing doesn't mean it's right. But it is, it's everyone who is
it is it just seems to be very normal now where, you know, marriages delayed career comes first. And I think it depends on the individual, you know, you are right, when you say,
you work around your children, you know, for me, I'm still working around my children. Because, you know, I am still there for them. And, and I and I tried to teach them that because they're older. Now I've got Abraham is 30 Imran, who's 24, I had a gap, a bigger gap between them, too. And then I think who's 21 and my daughter, Amina, who's coming on to 80.
And I think I've shown them that it's possible to do things,
you know, multitasking, you know, as a mother. And as a wife, that's the word is multitasking is how you fit in the things in your life.
But you know, are we doing it for our own satisfaction, or, because other people are doing it, or it's because this is what society is telling us things have changed since 20 years ago, you know, it's, it's, I mean, to this day, I still have to say that my mother thinks I'm doing too much. And she would say to me, I'll stop doing this, because you need to be at home looking after your children. But then I have to remind her and say, they are older now. You know, I'm not neglecting them. Because she's still very set in our way, she's still very traditional. She, she she thinks that woman shouldn't be going out there work, if she's still in that mindset, because of the life
that she had. She stayed at home, and she raised us. And I think it's, it's difficult, you know, we all have different support needs. If we didn't have that support, I don't think it would have been possible for any woman to be able to go out and do the things that she's doing. And you know, it, I would say, you know, I've had my challenges, you know, even doing this, sometimes, when I was starting out, and I, when I started out doing all this, I used to think to myself, well, can I manage it, you know, I could never imagine myself being in a full time job, which developed later my life, you know, so I would say I, I put my
aspirations of my dreams on hold until my children were older. And then I started to do that. So I didn't pick a year that I would do it. And this particular year, is sort of developed quite naturally, you know, I had my daughter, she was going to school, and I thought, Oh, you know, I don't want to have any more children. And I want to start doing things in my life. And I think it's almost as if I would say, having self approval, you know, wanting to be able to do something for my own satisfaction, because I wanted to feel that I'm doing something that's, you know, valued, you know, something that I'm interested in, you know, I've done lots of different things, lots of
different projects, but then that that's made me feel that I've learned different things, I wouldn't be able to do that.
By staying at home, you know, years ago, you know, it just wasn't possible. And so you know, we are learning things in different ways. And also
being there for my children and then they're, they're still you know, very close.
And they've learnt a lot of things from me. And I think Alhamdulillah You know, I'm not saying that I'm showing off about this, but my children listen, you know, I was there for them that they are well behaved. You know, I'm not saying that because I as a as an example, is because I was there for that, I really believe that. Giving that that's that support and those needs when they needed it most. And Alhamdulillah, you know, it's, you know, I'm friends with my children, you know, they can tell me anything. And we talk about lots of different things. And so I think that was probably the most rewarding journey for me, rather than writing my book and getting it published, you know, some
people would put that, as their most rewarding thing that they've done in their life is having a career. For me, it's having children who have grown up, or hungry, or to learn Islam, who are good, and who listen, I think that would be the biggest ecim my life, because it's been hard on but then, you know, we took that on. And I wouldn't say, you know, no amount of money can pay for that, no matter having so much money in the world will not make you happy, what makes me happy is seeing my children who pray five times a day, you know, who go to the most, you know, who are that, that that is the most of me to see, and, you know, fast when it's Ramadan, and, and they, they, they do the
things that they should be doing. And, and having that balance of, yes, you know, having their social life, of course, they're going to have that.
And even from a young age, they didn't go out, you know, we didn't allow that a lot. They did meet friends after school, never late nighters, we made sure that they understood What's wrong, and what's right at teenagers, because that's the hardest years, I would say, for any child. But we taught them and,
and so I would say that, that is the biggest achievement on my life, that they're there. And they've listened, and they're good Muslims.
And I think you know, what you said about your mom, and I think most of us, our moms do remind us of that, you know, like, not to do too much, especially outside of the home. And
I do think there's wisdom in, in their voice, you know, and in what they're saying in that.
It almost helps us to temper what we're doing, you know, it, it's like the voice of conscience or the voice of reason that kind of reminds us don't get too carried away, you know, cuz I think it is very possible to overcome it. And
I think I'm constantly having to like, re
Am I doing too much? What can I let go off? What's my maximum? You know, I'm not going to do more than this. Learning to say no, because, you know, like, I heard the saying, some time back, and it was really stuck with me that every time you say yes to something, you've got to ask yourself, What are you saying no to? Right, yet? simultaneously? What are you saying no to? Because for every Yes, you're actually saying no to something else. So if you can get really clear on what you're saying no to?
I think that really helps. So if I'm going to add one more thing onto my plate, does that mean that I'm now going to be saying no to time with my husband, for example, if I add something else, it doesn't mean I'm saying no. Now to that thing I used to do with my daughter every week, you know,
that I can't really get back. Right. So I think it is really important that we see the words of our elders, as a tempering force, you know, in our lives.
I just want to add to that, I think,
if we can do it, that's fine. Yeah, no one's saying that you can't? Can you manage it in your? Is it going to have an effect on other things that you do? You know, I've taken a lot of things on and then I would say,
the first thing I think about is Have I got time to do this? Can I fit it in? You know, it's not going to change the stuff I do at home because I will continue to do that at home. Because I've got more help at home with my daughter helping me to do things and the boys do things every now again, that really helps. And if they didn't do that, then I would have thought well, I can't do this because I'm having to do more work at home. So I think,
you know, it is
I would say, you know, our we do, you know listen to our parents. They're from a different generation. Their lives are different. How
I grew up.
And I think it's, it's good to be reminded of that, you know, to zone in and, and sometimes we lose focus what we can say that, and it's good to get back into the focus. But one thing we do have to remember is that, you know, Islam is the most important thing in our life. And you know, we do face challenges every day. So but again, sorry. So one thing we remember is, one thing we have to remember is Islam is the most important thing in our lives. And sometimes we tend to forget that in the things that we do in our daily activities. And even when we are doing our five daily prayers, you know, for me, I make sure that whatever I do, I do it around my prayers, I think I work from
home full time
that came about because of the pandemic, what we all experience, that has worked really well for me, because I can get up earlier, I can do my hours, I can do my prayers on time, I can cook in between, put the washing out, you know, these things around my work where we never thought you'll be possible. But they really mattered to me, because when I was working in the office, you're always thinking about when I come home, what do I do first get the cooking on, we've got clothes in the dryer, or if the boys are at home, they would have already done that, you know, those kinds of things. And I don't know, I think over the years, I've never put work on my husband,
because he had a full time job. Because I made sure that, you know, he was the sole earner, I would do the other things where he can just go out and do his job. And that's still with us today. Okay, I think it's as you grow up,
you sort of, it's more of you're there, and
you're still doing the things that you're doing, you've got the children to help you. But I'm, I've still done things over the years at home, I think I've taken on that by myself for many, many years. I know there are some husbands who help their wives. But I think, you know, he does gardening that's the only thing I would say, you know, the garden is his you know, you deal with that. But it's just because of the of how we grew up and with the children is that's the role that I took on being a housewife, being a mother, that would be my role. And then he would go out and work and bring him the money and, and, you know, why would I want him to do extra work when he comes back for my whole
day, doing a hard job. And that is still like that today, but I'm happy with that, because I've learned to have that balance is taught me different skills, I can multi skill. Yes, there may be the odd occasion where I might ask him to do something if I'm out, you know, or something needs doing. But I very rarely. And I think that's just worked for us, you know, where as you get older, you don't change much. I would say you know you we're stuck in our routine now. And why would we need to change that? Obviously, it's, it's, it's brought a lot of benefits me working from home, and I would like to continue to do so.
And a lot of blessings, you know, spending more time at home, I've realized that I'm not having that social life anymore. You know, it's, you know, I am going out to the mosque as what I need to shopping in, even visiting relatives, that's all gone because of a pandemic. And I'm just used to that now. But I've just started sort of getting back into that routine where you know, start visiting people, again, is all changed in the last 18 months, I have to say it's become different, but we value our life more. And being in the first law. I think that's taught us so many things is taught us definitely what family life is really about. And allows given that for a reason where we
realize we can do things but then we always have to come back and focus on a lot and the things that we do in our life, because without Allah's blessings, we wouldn't be able to do all this. And the things I've been blessed with.
You know, I say that every day, my prayers that there are some things I never asked for, but Allah blessed blessed me with that, and I have to understand why he didn't have to, but he did. And it's how we make use of that blessings and how we appreciate it is appreciating life in a different way where, you know, if we're ungrateful Allah can take that away from us within seconds. And it's been, it all comes together, being patient, being resilient, being grateful, and it's what makes us who we are as a character. So I will
Say um you know, motherhood and being alive is taught me many, many different things. You know, yes, we all squabble don't mean husbands and wives who doesn't. We all have disagreements. And I think I have to say with now, you know, the things that we used to have disagreements without years ago, I look back on it, I think that was very silly, very petty, you know, we didn't need to argue about that. But now it's like, if the same situation arises, I just take it calmly.
And take a backseat, really, because it doesn't matter anymore. It did matter them 20 years ago. Now it's like, Is it worth arguing about, you know, we all have hot headed moments, calm down, talk about it later. That's something that I learned is, don't argue with your husband, if you know they're in an angry state, leave it, let him calm down, you can always go back to it and talk. But I had to, you know, I think we all learned that in
in different ways. But it is, it's learning that no one comes to a marriage, knowing absolutely everything is an empty box, you add to it, you build it, you fill that box up with different blessings, different things in your life, and you learn from it.
And I would say, I'm still learning, you know, I might be coming on to 50. I've been married, what, 31 years.
But every day, has his blessings and, and challenges. So I thought I'd add that recipe.
Yes, he highlights something very important, which is I guess, that it's, it's a negotiation, isn't it? Like, with your family as to what the person can manage? And what works for the family? And especially negotiating with once spouse, right.
And the other thing you highlighted, which is beautiful is
seeing your children worship alive reminded me of, you know, the famous robina hublin. I mean, as well, as you know, with Audrey, Cora, would you add in dealing with the pain that you Mama, that Allah
bestow upon us, from our spouses and our children, the coolness of our eyes, and make us the leaders of the righteous? When you read the disk, the explanation of this though, when it says, the coolness of our eyes, the scholar said, it means that let me see if I'm worshiping you, you know, the pleasure that a parent gets
from seeing their family, worshiping Allah, and be true to Allah. And so you really reminded me of that, that actually, that is a huge blessing.
Can I add one thing?
I think, yeah, sure. One word I didn't mention is, you know, I taught my children never to be materialistic.
And I think the deaths that we had in our family, so I lost my father at the age of 13, I lost my twin sister when I was 25. I lost my brother three years ago.
And I think that's really helped us focus our lives differently, because of the pain that we experience. And I have shown my children, that we don't focus on the things that are materialistic in our lives. Now there are
obviously when they're teenagers, they want lots of different things. Do you need to have designer things? You know, do you need to have this? Do you need to have that there are people out there in this world who don't have the basics, and I remind them of that. And that's something that I've taught them Don't ever be materialistic because you can lose focus on your Eman And what life is really about. And
you know, that that's something that all families face, all families have that challenge is, you know, materialistic and, and society white teaches us that it's around us all the time. We've got too many temptations or temptations what we had when we were growing up, now you've got the internet, you've got mobile phones, you know, I got a mobile phone when I was in my mid 30s I didn't need to have one all my life, you know, it's, you know, how things how technology is changing us as well. You know, do we need to have all this screen time now? Are we valuing our time with our families, you know, get off the screen, get on the computer? You know, sometimes I do have to tell
my lot where they they play their games, you know, that? Who doesn't? You know, they have their, their social time. But then I sometimes I think, Well, you know, I've been told my mother tells me Don't be too hard on them. Because what if they're going out late at night, and you couldn't, and you're wondering whether you were or that they were going out constantly, what were they doing, you know, that kind of thing.
So sisters to hear though, Please, could you Now tell us about the new Cambridge mosque? And what's so special about it? What's all the fuss about? You know, what is the Eco mosque in the first place? You know, a lot of people ask that question.
And then please tell us about your role as trustee. And
how important is it? What roles can Muslim women play in mosques such as the Cambridge mosque?
Okay, so say the Cambridge central mosque opened its doors in 2019. And it was 11 years in the making is that what happened was the existing mosque that we had on North Road, the Abu Bakar mosque, it was wasn't accommodating. Lots of people it was the premises was getting too small,
when people were coming to do their Juma prayers, or praying on the streets, so shake up the hugging morava, he was the last minute of the project, he took on the job of
building Cambridge, his first purpose built mosque and Europe's first eco mosque. So this is quite unique for Europe itself. To build a mosque of this nature
is such a beautiful building.
I would say it's a bridge between,
for non Muslims and Muslims alike. It's brought together lots of communities. When you actually go into the mosque, it's absolutely beautiful. You can see the blue lamb timber trees, it's always walking into a forest, it really has a different theme to that. There's so many eco features, we've got the solar panels,
you know, natural floor heating, you know, lots of different things, please have a look at the website, you can see what the mosque is all about. So I was approached in 2017, when the mosque was being built. And I pick up the lucky one, he sent one of his students over to my house, who actually knew Abraham at the time, my son, Ibrahim, and so when he came to visit, I thought he was going to ask something like, Can we help with the fundraising, you know, the mosque, obviously.
And money to continue their building. And it came as a total surprise to me when I was asked what I am interested in becoming a trustee.
So at the time, I had
no hesitation, my husband was there at the time. And he said,
just go for it, you know that there's you don't need to think about this, just do it. And I think at the time, I didn't realize how big a project this really was, you know that the
the the attention the mosque, would have actually did have, I don't think it occurred to anyone at the time it was still being built. So I saw
the stages of it being built on the development. And it opened its doors in 2019. So I've been
part of the board. And I am one of two sisters, a female trustees of the mosque. So we have
another sister who's based in Turkey, so she came on before I did. But for me to be asked, you know, being a local
part of the community, you know, I was truly honored to be asked to be in that position. And I think it's been an amazing journey, amazing experience for myself. And I think it's almost because actually shown it is a true example of sisters being involved in decision making. I think generally with mosques, over the years, up or down the country, they have been very male dominated. And sisters have always felt that they've been sort of pushed out there, they want to be able to be part of decision making and be part of the mosque. And our mosque is a true example. There are mosques in the UK where they do have other female trustees. So for me, it's been a very interesting journey.
It's been a journey where I never expect it to, you know, happen in my life to be part of that. And I want to be able to encourage other sisters to you know, to be part of decision making to be part of a mosque. We have so many visitors You know, every single week, it's been
such an interesting journey where I've seen how, what is required for almost run all these decision making. These policies that had to be put in place is not just a building where people just go in and do their prayers and come out there's just so many different
things going on behind the scenes you know we have to make those decisions when the most closed because of COVID
it was only open for years we had to shut the doors
and you know that was quite a very sad time because I went back three months later when it did open this was last year in July but very emotional you know just standing in the in the prayer hall because of what we've all been through in those three months you know so many deaths you know so many people
having the disease you know what is taught us in our lives and I really did miss the most it was for me it's a place where I can go to where it's very calm very serene, get away from our busy lives and and retreats I would say that that is my place of retreat in actually being in the prayer hall because sometimes we do tend to forget you know what we're supposed to be doing here in the first place. What I do find
is you know, sometimes it's when we are in a place of prayer and we do have to respect that but we do tend to sort of always check on our phones you know, we're sitting waiting for the prayer to start and do we need to be doing that in the most that's taught me a lot of
resilience a lot of patience because I think you know, we need to put this away you know, we're in a mosque we come here to pray, why are we praying you know, we need to give our true focused while we're not here to to look at the beautiful decorations and yes, of course you know, we are in awe of that, but sometimes we do sort of tend to forget that it's a place of prayer. So for sisters you know, we we do need to see more sisters coming forward you know, we do need to have that more of a connection and more sisters being confident and encouraging them. Now, for me, it wasn't a journey where I knew all the answers to everything and I brought all the skills to that role Not at all. Now
I'm still learning It's been four years
the skills that I have learned and I think prior to that is the work that I've also done in the past that that helped me to
achieve this wrong and I think that was one of the reasons being part of the community. They needed someone within the community now I won't be there forever obviously but we would like to see in other sisters be involved and be
filled to be part of that and I think that's probably the best thing that ever happened in my life. You know, I never expected something like this and Alhamdulillah Allah righted that and in every time I walk in the mosque I still have to sort of remind myself that you know I am part of this mosque and if I'm I can only tell the story where I was literally born off Mill Road my parents had a home on we grew up a Mill Road and now I'm part of the mosque which is on Mill Road and I don't think anyone can
you know, say the same story people find that very fascinating because I can say that I was just born 100 yards from here and it's just been you know, I hope that
the future generations will be inspired and especially the sisters and the young girls because I hope that this is an example you know we want to see more girls out there you know having a voice coming for having leadership skills having the confidence learning this and that's exactly why I want to see I don't want to be the speakers for them I want them to be speakers for themselves and to build that confidence and be part of that
what do you think
sister Shea that what do you think like has been Can you give us some specific examples of apart from the fact obviously that each human bring it being brings their skills and their different perspectives? What do the sisters involved with the project or with the with the masjid? What do you feel that they bring that had they not been there would not have been you know, brought to the table?
Well, we have lots of female volunteers and that you know, they brought all their different skills with them, you know, to be part of the mosque to help the most especially on a Friday prayer to my prayer. You know, when we do have sisters helping out and I think that's been you know, really good their commitments, they're, they're the patient's, you know, what they'd be able to do to help our mosque. So, I think in general is being good seeing lots
different communities coming together.
From all faiths, I have to say, you know, it's not just about us Muslims, it's the bridge, the connections that we've had from people of all faiths or non faith, where they've actually come to learn about Islam.
And our sisters as well were sisters we never seen before they finally felt that they could come and visit a mosque, you know, there, we have had our sisters were probably in the past not ever felt welcome, you know, coming to a mosque. It's a case with many in the UK, I'm afraid that's something we tend to not want to talk about. But you know, the issues are there. Yes. Woman have different skills in themselves, you know, let them be part of that decision making rather than the main just continue to make the decisions on their own making decisions for the city, I guess you
I guess because you can empathize as well, with female experience at the mosque it, you can help make the experience even better, right for the sisters?
Yes. And, you know, I don't have the answer to every question. And I'm not saying that I'm skilled in absolutely everything. We all bring different skills, you know, to everything that we do, you know, different viewpoints, different angles. So everyone will will bring something unique, something different. So I hope in future years that they will be other sisters will come forward and play that role. And I think it's important for the mosque being for the future generation, this isn't for us the most is for the future generation is how they live and how they want to be part of that. So I think that's how I see I see our mosque is our local mosque. I know, it's a big
international mosque where a lot of eyes are focused on that. But for me, it's our local mosque, it's a place where I've grown up, seeing it develop, be part of that. And Alhamdulillah, you know, I can ask for more, it's been an amazing journey. And I've learned so much, you know, we all have our challenges, as I said, in our lives, where, you know, we, we do learn from them, you know, we learn from mistakes, we learn from the things that didn't quite work out. But I hope to continue to, as long as I'm able to. And when my time comes to an end, let's see other sisters come forward and bring something better better than what I could have done. That's why I'd like to see.
Oh, and I'll tell you my impression of the mosque when I first came, apart from the fact that you know, there's a beautiful garden at the front, there's waterfalls, so it kind of evokes that kind of nature, connection with nature, connection with Allah's creation.
I think one of the things that struck me was, apart from the kind of architecture, you know, evoking the Prophet's mosque and the palm trees, right, that
were kind of the pillars of the Prophet's mosque. And apart from that, in fact that the main prayer hall is one big prayer hall for brothers and sisters. I think a lot of people will be struck by that, which is copy. And because we've gotten used to this kind of misconception, I would say, or feeling that
the sisters section of a mosque has to be like, completely separate and completely, what's the word cut off really from the other section of the mosque? And obviously, sometimes it's because of logistics and architecture and all that. But I think people actually think that it's got to be like that. And people actually sometimes think that there's a brother, there's a men's area of a mosque,
where women are not even allowed to put their feet into, you know, they almost feel like there's like a religious barrier or something, right? When actually, you look at the Prophet sallallahu alayhi, salaam, his mosque was one big room, right? One massive space, one massive Hall, you could say, the women were the back rows, and the men were the front rows. It wasn't, there was not even a barrier between them, you know, and I think we've just gotten so used to putting physical barriers.
But we think that's the norm and one of the things that I heard a mom that your mom telling us when we were having a talk, he said that the mosque did a consultation with the local community right with the women of the local community to ask, what type of barrier they would like, and also with the with the brothers, and he said that there were three types of replies that came
out, he said one was people who wanted to complete a complete barrier, you know, a full length barrier. So they didn't have, they didn't, they couldn't kind of see the men or the men couldn't see them.
Others wanted something a little in between, you know, like something kind of halfway so that they could see the mom. Like we forget that the female companion, they could see the profits of SLM. You know, they could see the mom when they were in the prayer and, and we've gotten used to like not, not being able to see that your mom at all. So one of the things that happens, and this has happened so many times in one of our local mosque, when the sound system fails,
and this is design in the middle of the salon, right? They have no idea what to do, because they cannot see anyone in front of them. Do you know what I mean? They can't see the men So because of that, they just ended up being getting really confused, ending their Salah. You know, I've seen this happen a few times.
But actually the Prophet's mosque, you could see the Imam, I mean, this sounds revolutionary, but it's actually not.
But yeah, so he said, some sisters wanted the half barrier. So they could see but there was a little bit of privacy they wanted, you know, and then he said some people wanted no barrier.
And so he said that we tried to incorporate all three
by having these beautiful
screens right that you've got, which can be moved around. So I really loved that I loved the fact that you could see that your mommy could hear from when the mom is addressing the congregation, the women feel like he's talking to them, you know.
But I also like the fact that at the back you had that of that sound proof.
Kind of those soundproof doors so that mothers with small babies, especially if they're crying and stuff like that, they could
go behind that even though it's glass, they can see
it soundproof. So they don't feel like they're disturbing. You know, whatever's going on in the main hall, right? So I thought that was beautiful.
It accommodates for all sisters. We even when I go in, and I think most of the sisters do like to pray in the main prayer hall blindness screens. So you'd got two levels of screen the highest level and that and the level that goes up to just above the waist, really. But for me personally, I prefer to pray
behind a taller screen. So how do I get to do my prayer? I prefer that, you know, a screen, which is taller. But we have sisters, as you said, Who can pray in the mother and toddler room it's soundproof so we don't discourage sisters bringing their children to the mosque, you know, they have a place to where the children can scream all day like and upstairs as well, where there are sisters who would rather pray privately upstairs.
And, and also I do remember that the time when I was asked, you know, what do you think about the screens upstairs? We've got the the glass panel, which looks out where the balcony is. So I do remember having that conversation with the
with the constructors and you know what we thought of? Did we want to full screen glass panel? Or would it be half? And then they thought it would be good to have a half? That's something I agree on because it's accommodating for everyone. So, you know, the mosque is for not for certain certain sections of the community, I think is really important for sisters to come. And I have to say this there are sisters who had never been to the other mosques in their life and then when
they started to come to the mosque because they felt welcome. And it was a place for them. And I think that's been amazing to see.
Mashallah, well, just to show you that I'm very conscious that, you know, that I've taken so much of your time.
Is there any?
Yeah, any kind of last message that you'd like to give our brothers and sisters, either regarding involvement in mosques or,
you know, the, I guess, telling the stories of our culture and the themes that you've talked about today.
You know, I think whatever you do in your life, do it from the heart, because it will reflect better on you and the work that you do, it will show in a different way. And I think whatever you do is for the sake of Allah, not to please other people.
That's something that I've learned over the years is are we doing it to please other people? Or are we doing it for the sake of Allah? Now we're all we all see life as a competition sometimes, you know, no one is in competition with anyone you know, we all have different blessings, different gifts from Allah, our lives are all different. So I think it's doing what you feel is right and what is good for you and your family. And you know, be part of making our, you know, Islam better for the people that we have to work with, with, with
Muslims and people of all phase is bridging that connection and is who we show as we are, you know, how we are seen in the outside world. So it all comes together. And it's all down to your own personal character. So, you know, be part of what you really want to do. And, you know, live your life to the fullest and the best you can. So, you know, I don't have the answer to everything. But it's the experience that I've had in my life where I've learned so many things.
well designed appearances to show you there really appreciate your wisdom and your thoughts and sharing all of experience with us. Please tell us the names of some of your books that people can read that you've written.
So I've written in
laska, which is a historical fiction novel based on an Asian seamen who arrived in England, and settled in Victorian England, in the 1880s and a set of three books in the Rani series. So please check out my website shahida rahman.co.uk. All the details are on there.
Oh, Zack Hello, Karen. Sister
Shahe they really appreciate your time. Brothers and sisters.
Brothers and sisters, I think sister t they gave us great advice there at the end. You know, she said, You know, it's not about competing in this dunya as Allah says in the Quran, we're phenolic affiliate an FSA with an RV soon, that it's for the pleasure of Allah and striving and Allah zwei that the competitors should compete. So inshallah let us all strive and see people likes us to show you that as role models, great role models for us.
And with that, brother and sisters, I'm going to bid you farewell, please share this episode with somebody that somebody new maybe somebody has never heard them for your podcast. You never know who you might inspire. And please do look up Sister shahida Rahman, as well as the Cambridge central mosque online and you'll find out more about the Eco mosque and what exactly an eco mosque looks like and what it means. Does that mean current Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato subhanak Allahu amobee handig eyeshadow, La Ilaha Illa and a stuffy Raka to be like,