Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
2017 Online ~ Mommy Coach Khafayah Abdulsalam interviews Fatima Barkatulla about becoming an author, her new book ‘Khadijah, Mother of History’s Greatest Nation’ and getting the balance right. Find out why she feels so passionately about her own mother in particular and motherhood in general.
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Assalamu alaikum dear listeners, and welcome to another riveting interview today. Today we'll be talking to sister Fatima by customer. And she's a sister who is very dear to me. And she'll be talking to us today her topic is titled I am hair. And I know she's got some brilliant things to discuss with us. But just before we go into that, I'll just tell you a little bit about platinum. So Fatima has a rich Islamic education, right from an early age. And that is thanks to her parents. She's married and she is passionately raising four children. And she's doing a brilliant job, because I know that in her teens, she studied Arabic and Islamic Studies in Egypt at prominent
Institute's such as Al photocentre quarterback Institute, and a college of Al Azhar University. She is currently training to be an Islamic scholar. I think she's already one. We've seen our scholars and Institute's here in the UK and through regular visits abroad. She has been a key contributor to the discourse surrounding Muslim women in the West. And she has contributed to faith debates, documentaries, and she's been on BBC television channel for Islam channel and I know she writes for
the independent websites in McKinsey, she will correct me if I'm wrong. I think it's one of the major telegraph independent, she will let us know anyway. She also it's the time says yes.
I know. I didn't even get it. Right. Right. So right in 2014, she was already awarded the iKON quite international award award for young woman in power and community service at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. That's great. So currently, Phantom is the director of seeds of change. And it's the biggest one Muslim women's conference in Europe. And I agree, I've been there and it's so amazing. And she's an author and she will tell us a bit about that shortly. And she's a teacher. She's a lecturer. Welcome to the Fatima. Salam Alaikum.
Thank you. Right. Tell us about a bit about you. Things that I probably haven't mentioned. And you just Could you tell us why you bought your book? Could you just have that book?
Okay, so I think you gave a pretty, you know, well, quite detailed intro.
So I think I'll just focus on the book, I guess.
For me, 100 in love.
The book was, and and the book we're talking about is Khadija
Mother of history's greatest nation, published by learning routes.
You just released a
couple of months ago, I believe.
The reason why I wrote the book, I think I've thought and that
is actually that I was approached, I was approached by the publisher,
as one of the feedbacks that they had constantly been given by readers by their customers, was that there was really
a gap. You know, when it came to books about
heroines or female figures
from the atomic history.
rocker Omer ceman.
And Ollie Delano. And to be honest, actually, that easy to find, not necessarily very good quality books, but it's still you know, you could still find children's books about those topics, those
figures from Islamic history. But when it came to the females hobby up,
there was a real lacking there. And when the publisher started talking to me about, you know, the possibility of writing a book about Khadija, and then Arusha and then Fatima or de la and
you know, struck a chord with me, because I actually remember as a child,
you know, so this is like in the 80s and 90s.
it's not that long ago, but in the 80s and 90s. I actually remember my dad because we were religious family and it wasn't that you usual to find religious families in London in the UK. Right at that time.
And my dad would try to find books for us as children, you know, to, like inspire us. And I remember he bought a book, which was the life of Athena Babylon Hmm.
it was probably the only book about Fatima for children in the English language in the whole of the UK probably.
And, you know, Marshall, I'm sure the author, you know, had great intention. I'm not criticizing the book itself, and all the intentions of the automobile or water.
But as a child, I remember reading that book and feeling really depressed. October, you know,
you know, in those days now, and even even now, to be to be really fair, you know, even now, there's very little attention paid when we're writing books for children, on things like, how will the child feel at the end of reading this book, you know, how does this book compare to what the child is reading
outside of Islamic literature, you know, so our children are reading these amazing books, about fantastical characters, and, you know, really vibrant books that are bringing characters and often they're like, weird characters, you know, not not even real characters, but just weird kind of
figments of an author's imagination.
They're reading about those characters, and they're getting excited.
And then they turn to the Islamic books aimed at children. And then you have this very dry kind of, you know, account of a person's life. And this person, you're supposed to love them, and you're supposed to admire them and, and they're supposed to be a role model.
And the child however hard the child tries, they might not really feel it, you know, because, because the kind of
the skill or the talent,
or the flair
that an author needs, I think, to really infuse a story with life and infuse a character, or a personality from history with life is just not there. So, when they came to me, and we were discussing this, we decided to start with Khadija.
As far as I was concerned, this was very, very important.
Books, right? Because there was no book in the English language that would bring, you know, the facets, the various facets of Aegis personality, her life
and life in musca, you know, and her position in the, in the bigger picture of history,
there was no book that was going to bring that to our children. And so
I've attempted to do that
brilliant job, Mashallah. It's a beautiful book, and I'm sure
we will share the link with the listeners at the end and they can get their own coffee. inshallah.
Okay, do you want to say any more about it? Or,
you know, if there's any particular question that you want to ask about it, then
I can carry on.
So, I know, the book we're talking about Khadija was written in honor of your mother, you know. So clearly, she's a very influential person in your life and a role model. And I think that's what most mothers should aspire to be. So just Can you share with us some of the things that your mom instilled into you in you, that is influenced you and made you who you are today?
I'm very intrigued. Oh, wow. That's That's a big question.
Yeah, so I think one of the things that I wrote in the intro or the kind of first pages of the book, a little kind of dedication, was that, you know, I've written this in honor of my mother,
who was the first storyteller in my life. And the reason why I wrote the first storyteller in my life is because
I very vividly, remember
As a young child, you know, at bedtime, especially my mom telling us
stories of the great people of the past, you know, stories from the family history from the car, and even stories that were not from Islamic history, but just storage with wisdom, which, which had Islamic kind of things to them.
And I remember through those stories, I could say that I got to know a lot of Allah. Right. So when I think storyteller, I don't just mean, you know, somebody who just picks up a book and reads it and entertains. I'm not talking about that. I mean, that, you know, that first, I guess, the first way that a child gets an education gets an awareness and understanding of, of the fundamentals of life is through stories, and, and my mom, she took the time to introduce us to these amazing stories. So that's one thing that had a huge impact.
You know, just being well acquainted with stories from the Quran stories from the Sierra and the Sahaba.
The other thing that really
impacted me, I guess, when it came to my mom was that
one of the few practicing women, you know, that we need?
Literally, the only woman who wore his job in our area, right, right. Yeah, so growing up in the 80s, and this was in London.
She was literally the only woman with a job, right? They were not Muslim. It's not that there weren't Muslims around. It's just that nobody wanted to be visibly Muslim. Right? At that time. That's true.
But what I witnessed over
any, over my childhood, I guess,
with my mom was that
because she was upon her religion.
And she never shoved it down anyone's throat, it wasn't like that it was very much leading by example, you know.
So many women actually started wearing a job. And whenever we moved to a particular area,
the children of that area became educated. Because they would come to our house. Right. And my mom would teach them how to read around.
And the mothers of that area would start to where he jump. And that's something I noticed in virtually every area we moved to, and sometimes I think, maybe that's why a lot of kind of destined that we would move so much as children, you know, because every area that we lose,
you know, obviously, we moved because of like housing issues, and you know, whatever reasons, right? Yeah.
But the same, like, Perhaps this was one of the hikma one of the benefits, you know, that, that play, my mom being explored the world being exposed to my mommy, in different areas.
You know, she was able to influence that area. And you could really see our neighbors or the women of that area, slowly becoming more religious.
Because my mum in the military had a very open house, you know?
Yeah. And then lastly, I think, how my mom really influenced me, I mean, I could talk about this, so many ways that she influenced me, but I'm just maybe highlighting the main highlights, I guess, is that
when I came back from Egypt, and I was like, 17, or 18. And I just
she basically pushed me into public speaking. Right? Because she wanted to have hold a circle in our local mosque. Right, it was
in North London, and she said, Well, you're the best person to do it. And I was,
you know, I, I had, I wasn't used to public speaking the only public speaker Donald Trump in assembly.
And that sort of thing, but not religious, public speaking.
And also, I was a bit nervous, you know, because there'll be all these people who are much older than me.
Who might challenge me or ask me questions that you know, I wouldn't be able to own
So, I would struggle with, but she forced me to do it basically.
And she pushed me beyond my kind of comfort zone, not not completely out of my comfort zone, but pushed me to kind of
go beyond my current capabilities, I guess.
And because she did, and because she was so sure that this was the right thing, and, you know, she believed in me, I guess.
You know, I really clicked to public speaking, and,
you know, hunger life's been, it's been a very important part of my life,
you know, and a means to conveying
some of the issues I want to convey.
Yeah, that is, that's truly amazing. It shows you such a powerful woman. And I'd love to meet her wanted to get some tips from her. And I think that what she did, yeah, because I appreciate you too. That is like, Yes, you're right. She had that belief that you could, you know, she's a woman with a vision, basically. She knows that. Yeah, that's Yeah, I think that's really amazing. Just kind of for sharing that.
we are talking about
in the lines of motherhood, and, and most of you know, lots of our listeners are mothers as well. And I know it's something you are really good at. So sometimes, you know, when we give birth to babies, you find that lots of women do experience what we call baby blues, in the UK, not sure about what they call it in the rest of the world. It's just that, you know, we get a bit stressed up.
Because we have to deal with baby, we have to deal with our emotions, all sorts of things. And what is it that we can do as you know, women to enrich our minds, or just to keep our emotion high? You know, especially when babies come along when they discover them?
Hmm, that's a really interesting question. So so there's a baby blues, which,
which is different to obviously postnatal depression, right? So we're not talking about serious postnatal depression, which, you know, the medical condition that people really need to get checked out.
The sort of average baby dudes, right? So yes, yes. That feeling of overwhelm that feeling of drained, drained?
Yes. And also just crying, right, a lot
I have definitely experienced that myself.
I think first of all, we really need to give ourselves space and allow ourselves that, you know, allow ourselves a space to cry a lot. And
Tell, tell the people around us that there might not be
I'm not saying there's no reason for us crying, but actually, sometimes we will no apparent reason, you know, like, you could actually put your finger on why you're crying.
But that's just probably the hormones and the, you know, the huge thing you just been through the biggest sort of physical earthquake
that your body will experience, right.
And so, you have to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself, you know, the ability to just recuperate, to cry to, to feel overwhelmed, you know?
It's okay. I think for me, it was the first time I felt mortal. You know, I always say, we know that we're mortal. Yes. I had my first baby when I was like, 21, right. So even though I knew I was gonna suddenly feel mortal, you know, at 2021
until I had a baby, and then you realize, Wow, my body has limits.
I feel pain. And I feel as though that I never had before.
And I think that really, that realization, yeah. And also just the fact that up until that point, usually, you know, we've we've taken care of ourselves. And that and ourselves have been the number one thing in our life, right? Yeah.
And suddenly, there's this dependent child who's,
who needs you for their survival.
And everything that you do, has got to be, you know, focused around that child's needs. And that's something that many of us are just not used to, you know, most of us are just not used to, and especially in our Western culture, you know, we don't really expect it, I don't know, maybe every time is different than
definitely true. But, you know, unlike, for example, in an India, or, you know, other places that people might be originally from,
you know, you look after babies, as a goal all the time, you know, whether it's your cousin's baby, or your cousins, or your, you know, nephews, whatever.
You're always carrying babies, changing babies helping out, and it's, so that kind of
constant care. Yeah, it's something you're quite used to. I think, in the West, for a lot of us. We're not, we're not used to it at all.
And for the first time in our lives, we're having to do something that we never really practiced, or when you have to do, that's definitely with the first child anyway. Yeah. But apart from that, you know, the physical The, the the mental kind of effects of having a child, and the huge responsibility that is suddenly on our shoulders. Of course, it's gonna have an effect. Right? So I guess the first thing I'm trying to say is that, when we contextualize it, it's kind of, we should be easier, easier on ourselves, you know, in that sense that it should be something we we expect, and we can even tell our families or our husbands to expect, you know, but yeah, might be quite
tearful, it might be unreasonable, you know, etc.
But it's not something personal, you know, it's often not something personal that anyone needs to take personally. And sometimes we don't really know why even feeling that way, our finger on it.
So, you know, we should allow ourselves that space. But when it comes to dealing with it, I think
every person is going to be different in the way they deal with, you know,
the baby blues, I can just talk to you about how I dealt with it, I guess, and
some of the things that benefited me.
Yeah, I think I'll be useful. Yeah, I think one of the things that really benefited me was being around family.
Not living far from family.
So having in laws, as well as parents, not too far away, no.
and allowing them to visit me and for myself, to visit them and
allowing myself to be supported by people, you know, and not feeling that I have to be some kind of hero
at that, at that point, in life, because I think a lot of us, as mothers, we feel
I should be able to cope with everything right. And I should be able to show that everything is fine and wonderful. And just like, you know, the baby ads, right? adverts for the nappies, you know,
perfect kind of
baby crying in the background, and the mom is just like, she's back to her. Her pre pregnancy itself, right? Yes, yes. And she's like, everything is wonderful, right? We,
we put that on ourselves, you know, we expect that we should be like that. We should be happy, you should be smiling. We should be. Everything should be wonderful. But actually, you know that there was a lot of hard work that goes into that period of time. And I think he doesn't help that we end up not sleeping much. Right? Yes.
And that in itself. I mean, we know that sleep deprivation is a form of torture, right?
That is used by despotic governments all over the world, right?
So sleep deprivation, that's something that every parent is kind of experiencing usually in the first month and so you're you're basically being tortured, or it feels like that. And so of course, you're not going to be at your, you know, peak and when it comes to your kind of
mental, you know, self, I guess, right. So, so, so when the second. The second point I was making is that you've got to allow yourself to be supportive, whether it's by family, or by friends. You know, you
And relative just allow people to come in to support you allow people to, to lend you a hand to cook for you
to come and take the baby off your hands even for a few minutes. Notice you don't have to do that. The stage but
you know, and remember also, back in the day, you know, in the olden days, it used to have witnesses, you know, that's true. Yeah, yes. Yes, I must have been amazing, right. Yes, you know, having witnesses, because breastfeeding is a whole other thing, right?
where many of us,
especially with the first child will not have found that easy at all, you know, and just not being able to do it properly, maybe, you know, yeah, and had to learn how to breastfeed.
And also, the baby also has to learn how to feed, right. Yes.
I think, you know, getting that support from family auto getting support from medical staff. Yeah.
You know, sometimes I feel very shy, because I've lost similary.
We never expose certain parts of our body, you know, to anyone, right, except our spouses, so, but understand that, when it comes to breastfeeding, and learning how to breastfeed, you might need the support of a midwife who should actually watch you breastfeeding, you know, you might have to expose parts of your body. And there's nothing wrong with that.
For this reason, and, you know, show her how you're breastfeeding help let her help you learn how to do it properly.
And have no shame in that, you know, and then asking for advice and help in that in that
department. The other thing that really helped me with babies, I think, is
once especially once once asleep, starts to settle down a little bit.
And even actually, during the early period, when, you know, breastfeeding is very intense. And sometimes you have to wake up late at night to breastfeed.
I, I actually started listening to talk.
It's a very nice thing to do. But I would actually, I actually bought a collection in those days, it was like CDs, right? And cassette, yes, yes.
So I actually had a collection of, of talks and CDs that I really wanted to listen to, you know. So, for me, it was, you know, the Sierra, or it was the life of the prophet or
any particular area, and it was like a series of CDs that I really wanted to listen to. And so I just actually started looking forward to those times, rather than
feeling overwhelmed by them, you know, when I actually had to wake up and, and breastfeed,
I would put my headphones on, and I would listen to something that was beneficial. And that was actually uplifting me, you know, because at the end of the day, you're human, and you're human being strong, is going to get you through this period. And to me learning about the profits and allow wanting to sell them studying the life of, for example, use of a salon and the sort of users and the fear of Qur'an and these kinds of subjects, listening to talks about them, and motivating lectures, especially because it was a series that was like a course. Yes.
That really uplifted me because,
you know, getting through the difficult parts of motherhood, I think can only be done in an excellent way, by having a vision and, and keeping that vision in your mind through the difficult times. You know, yes.
And so when you enrich yourself and and you and you feed your Islamic knowledge, and you feed your Eman, that's the best way I think, as a mother
to stay motivated to remember that people have been through hardships before you.
You know, you're not the only person in the world experiencing this.
And to really appreciate your part, I think in a love plan.
So yeah, those are some of the ways that I
coped with the baby blues. And I hope that helps.
Mashallah, that was Yeah, that was very, very enlightening. Yeah.
some excellent tips there. And I'm sure, yes, some sisters will use those. And it kind of sits, you know, in line with the theme of us being ourselves. And just like, just to quickly,
just mention something you've said, they say, you know, when you're breastfeeding in front of a midwife, we wouldn't want to do that. And like you rightly said, there's nothing to be ashamed of.
Because I think people hide under that. But there's, like you said, there's nothing to be ashamed of, I just picked that one point out, because of times, I won't be able to. But yeah, I think that is beautiful. And
there's just another burning question that I have. Right? You know, the theme of this summit is about redefining yourself, finding your purpose and living the life you love.
You see, you know that a number of women have lost themselves. Because it was they find themselves conforming with the values and the beliefs that society and probably, most importantly, that culture imposes on them. So you find that woman would go out to work rather than be stay at home mums, because, you know, if people just say you should be out there working, you shouldn't be at home. And and I think it's because the role of the mother has been, has become undervalued in so many respects, within the society today. What is your view on this?
when it comes to this topic, I don't think it's useful to have a
kind of a black and white view on on the topic. Because it's important to be nuanced, because,
you know, people's lives are
being directed in certain ways, and people having to live in certain ways, because of circumstances and because of just the realities of life today. Yeah. So, on the one hand, I do, I do believe that
this society, and I'm particularly talking about
Western societies, and obviously, because I don't live in the east, I'm talking about what I have experienced,
at the moment,
in Western society, in capitalist societies, if I could call them that, I would say, definitely, motherhood has been devalued. And I think one of the reasons for that
is, obviously, for historical reasons.
Women, especially after the World War, that that for her to go to work. And, you know, they, they went out to work, and the home became less the focus, not not as much the focus as it was before that.
But I do believe that the capitalist system benefits from
basically having doubled the workforce. Right. So men and women, yes. And paying them less.
So in the past, you know how a man could go out to work. And he would earn so much that he could support his whole family. Right? I do think they in our times, for years and years, for decades,
salaries haven't really gone up.
And big corporations and businesses have benefited from having literally doubled the workforce, because women have now entered the workforce as well. Yes, and continuing to pay people very little. So, you know, obviously, inflation has gone up.
Cost of living, all of that has gone up, but salaries haven't really gone up. So I think from a purely economical point of view,
I believe the system is kind of stacked against us, you know, and it encourages, sometimes forces women to go out to work.
And the reason why I can see that is because I know that the cost of living in London, for example, is is so high, you know, people are literally leaving London
in order to survive in order to be able to
pay their rent or buy a house, you know, it's not really that easy to live in London anymore for the average family. And
and I think, you know, that's the kind of reality that I don't want us to lose sight. All right, sometimes I think it's forced. That's that's what I'm kind of getting out. Do you think that the circumstances are forcing and encouraging women to and the system is encouraging women to kind of go out there right now, you've got
There's adverts now, where they're trying to get women to join the army, yes, they want to be on the front line.
Which is something that, traditionally they haven't done. And, you know, it's not a desirable thing at all, right.
But it's being encouraged because, you know, there's this kind of move towards
making men and women the same.
But I think as Muslims, one of the things that we have to never lose sight of,
is that law tells us in the Quran that we are not the same.
The male is not like the female, Allah tells us.
And that's not a detrimental thing. That's not a put down to women at all. It's just the reality, you know, we are different. And I think, those of us who become mothers, we can see that difference staring us in the face, you know, whether we, whether we want to accept it or not.
It's there, it's just that, you know, you can't deny your biology.
So the difference is there. And for too long, certain movements have encouraged women to compete with men.
So those are the kind of negative aspects to it.
Now, when we look at the Sharia, we see that Islam encourages, or in fact, it makes it the duty and the responsibility of men,
especially in a Muslim marriage contract to be the financial providers for the family. Right. Yeah. And then there's, there's a lot of hikma in that, you know, there's a lot of pigment in the in the kind of balance that last panel that Allah has given us in our various roles in our various
realms of focus, I would say, yeah.
So that is not to say that the home is not an area that the man has responsibility over? Of course, he does. You know, of course he does. But
as mothers, we know, that we have a connection, we have a,
an ability to meet the needs of our children that nobody else has.
And unfortunately, that is the area that I feel that we motherhood is devalued in, you know, this idea that anyone can take our role,
which is completely false. And I think more and more kind of
writers and psychologists are slowly writing about this topic. I remember reading a book, I, Steve is a psychologist, and he's a he's a parenting author. And one of the things he was saying in his book raising babies. And he was almost like saying, Look, I'm just gonna tell it to you like it is, and I know you're not gonna like it. But there is nothing like the person who loves the child bringing up the child, you know? Yes. And so
if we can keep that in mind, if we can remember that every single thing that a mother does for the baby, whether it's lifting the baby up, looking the baby in the eye, stroking the baby, even anila, one of the things he says
is that if you're not going to breastfeed, and obviously, not breastfeeding is usually a result of one of the reasons why people don't
come back to what.
Right, yes, yeah. And they literally physically can't be with a child anymore. For the time when the child needs them.
One of the things he says if you're going to breath, if you're going to bottle feed the child,
then you should bear your breath.
And allow the child cheap, to be against your chest while your breath while you're bottle feeding, right?
Because what he's saying is that
what's wrong isn't just getting milk, your child isn't just getting, you know, vitamins and minerals or some sort of formula, right, that that that can be man made and given to the child.
Breastfeeding your child is the connections in the child's brain are being created and being you know, made
because of breastfeeding, not just because of the milk, but the physical contact with mother.
And I think that that's that's an amazing thing. You know, that's something that we as women should never want to easily let go of, you know, the fact that we are number
One in our child's life, and the fact especially in that very formative, very formative early months and first year.
In fact, Steve Biddulph would say, the first three years of life,
the primary carer, as the mother and the father, have the biggest impact. And, and can have the best impact on the child's brain growth, emotional growth, emotional intelligence,
and all of those things, and nobody can replace that the way a parent can, especially the mother, and that's something that
we shouldn't be embarrassed to state that we should be, we should recognize that we should be willing to make financial sacrifices if we have to,
in order to give our families the best start possible.
So I hope I've kind of, you know, expressed that in a nuanced enough way. You know, I'm not I'm not kind of trying to trying to deny that there are financial needs that people impression that people are under. And I believe that the system doesn't help women to be with their children. Right? That's right. I know that because I'm involved with an organization where I used to be called full time mothers, which I think they changed the name now.
Mothers at home matter or something like that. And, you know, these are middle class women, educated women, many of them were career women. And it's a general like non Muslim organization, right? Yeah.
And then educated women, professional women, who, when they became mothers, they realized that actually, I want to be with my child, I didn't just have a child in order to shut them off to, to some daycare to be with some underpaid person, you know, who doesn't love my child? Right? He's looking after, you know, six to eight children.
unable to cope with them, but you know, having to do it anyway. I didn't have children in order for that to happen, you know, I had children so that, to love them to raise them to nurture them myself.
And so these women are actually campaigning. And, and one of their messages is that the government really doesn't help mothers to stay at home, the government, the system, the capitalist system, I would say, is trying to encourage women out of the home as soon as possible after their baby is born. Okay. And as Muslim women, we have to be conscious of that we have to be conscious that, yes, all this talk of women's empowerment and all you know, you must use your talents and Fine, fine. No, I'm a woman who wants to use my talents, and I try to use my talents. I'm not against that. I'm not talking against that. What I'm saying is that Don't believe everything you hear. It's not all about
wanting women to thrive and wanting their talents to be used. There are economic reasons why governments would love women to go out and work.
First, firstly, we already mentioned, you can pay people less if you have met more workers, you pay them less you get more work done for less money, right? That's true. Yes. Yes. But But the other the other reason is that, you know,
you know, that there's this move in society to, to kind of
make men and women the same makes men and women into kind of, you know, sexless, sexless,
you know, being who are disposed the same, and there's no difference between them.
And also, if you have double the people working and earning money, you get more taxes, right. So
we should get all these things in mind.
And wait, wait,
and ask ourselves, why is it that las panatela lifted the responsibility, the financial responsibility off the shoulders of women? Why? Why did he do that?
It's obviously because Allah subhanaw taala is recognizing the huge, momentous and, you know, mammoth role that, especially in the early years of a child's life that mothers have to play
and how replaceable that role is, you know,
we should be honored by that you should feel honored. We should not feel negative about that.
Just because society doesn't recognize that as something you know, we're talking about
You know, a lot of other definitely recognizes,
recognizes that and facilitates the sharing of facilitate for a woman to be freed up
in that early part of a child's life, or even throughout a child's life,
to be able to focus,
you know, and raise that child and not be burdened with financial worries.
And I think, you know, on a practical level,
and I know, this is gonna be controversial to say, but
I'm gonna say Anyway,
you know, if you if you allow a man
to take control of the finances, right? Yeah. And you encourage him and you?
And you kind of don't
make that your sphere? Yeah.
Then there's a lot of evidence to say he's gonna step up,
you know, he's gonna step up, he'll offer the pay rise, you'll look for the highest paid job, right? You'll do what the hustle that he has to do in order to support and provide for that family. I know, that's not the case for everyone. Yeah, I know, I know. And I know, there's a lot of women like probably listening to this thing. My husband wouldn't do that. He's just gonna
allow us to do those, to suffer whatever. SubhanAllah? You know, a lot of best.
I know that.
from from some of the amazing books I read. And
you know, everyone knows the book, right?
I know, there's a generation that rolled their eyes, and they hear the name of that book.
Believe me, you know, Subhan, Allah,
there's a lot, there's a lot to be said for that. And I know that in that book, for example, the author, she does really encourage women to
not be so controlling when it comes to financial matters. You know, not to say there's anything wrong with a woman having money, earning money, having a business, anything like that, you know, when a man could fire me, and you were not the sort of people who are going to be like, you know, telling women not to use their talents, right? Or not to study or not to get out there and, you know, do do useful things. Is it? humbling, like, our track record shows where we're not that kind of person, right? Yes, that we're not always in Christ people. Yes. But what I'm saying is, what we don't want to happen is for things to go too far the other way, you know, that's fine. Well,
because, because we feel pressured, because we don't feel worth anything, right.
We start pressuring a generation of girls and women, yeah, to neglect the home. You know, we don't want the home to be neglected the home is society. If the home is strong, society will be strong, our community will be shocked when the home is degraded.
And when there's nobody focusing on the home, then you know,
that's gonna have its
effects, wider effects on society. So let's realize the power that's in our hands as women, you know, and raise boys and men who who realize that they do have that responsibility, they have to step up to their responsibilities so that
women can, can focus on on our main responsibilities.
And so that there is somebody who's focused on that area, right.
Folks, um, I've been in life I focused outside the home then focusing on the home, you know, no one.
Yeah. Thank you very much for that. And there's a lot of food for thought. And, and I, like you said, For me, it's just about finding that balance.
Like what you rightly said, it depends what works for every family because it's different for everyone. But I think you You gave a very fair view, you know, looking at and it's just for us to find that yeah, I think, you know, I really don't want to demonize anybody and I don't want to demonize I you know, working at, you know, I'm probably gonna
be I know that
Probably in a few years, I'm going to probably become I want to become a professor right up,
I want to do
I feel that, if I do that,
I feel able to do that. Because I focused on my kids, you know, for the most important years, and now they've kind of they're all at school.
Not they don't need me, but now they're becoming adults, slowly. Some of them are. And so I have the luxury to now kind of, you know, move on to other things.
Because it's not as intense, you know. And I think we have to bear that in mind that those most intense years are not going to last forever, you know, those years where you might have to cut out other staff and pirates, prioritize and focus are not going to last forever. There are a few years and they're intense years, and they can be the best years of your life, if you're willing to look at them, for the precious years that they are,
and invest in them and enjoy them and really, you know, cherish, cherish them. So, yeah, I think all of our lives are in cycles, right? So we have periods
of time when we need to focus on different things.
And we should just embrace that. I think, I think we did. inshallah, yes. And that's it, you know, sooner or later, they grew up and they leave home, and you know, and then you're free to do what you want to do. So the most important is those years. I think I think the internet is amazing phase, right? Yes. It has helped women to really enter into this. I mean, you can you can be an entrepreneur from from your home right? Now. Yes, you can run a business from your home, around the needs of your family, if
you're passionate about you can be a writer from home. I never actually met. I know my publisher. Yeah. And I've probably met him in the past, I never actually had to meet him during the whole process of this, the writing of this book, because of the wonders of the internet, you know, so we could have meetings online, we could,
you know, when he wanted to give feedback on the editing of the book, he kind of did screen capture, recording, right?
Where he went through each page, and, you know, highlighted things like, his voice and suppiler. Like, you know, it's like having him here, just going through every aspect that you wanted me to look at and realize, so.
No, that's amazing, isn't it? I mean, we're living at a time when we can do things around our obligations.
And we should take advantage of that, I think. Yes. And that's what we're doing right now.
And yeah, and that's it, and we do it, we you know, when we say be or service, we are able to do what when I'm doing what I love to do, and I can do it from the comfort of my home, home didn't. Okay. It doesn't need to move on out. And the last question, if the session. So I just want to, you know, again, talking about balance, you just relate to what we've just been talking about. So I would say how can mothers get this balance, right? So we're saying like, if I take you, for example, you're a mother, you're an author, you're a lecture, you're a speaker, or you're a student of knowledge. But you know, and you still have time for your family, you maintain that balance? Can you
just give us some tips on how you manage to like double all those roles and keep everything in balance? Just a few tips to share with us.
the first thing I'll say is that
I don't always get it right. You know,
I'm not going to pretend that it's always perfect. And, you know, sometimes I don't feel like I've dropped one of the balls, right.
Although I try not to.
I don't want I know that it's very easy. When you look at women who've done certain things, achieve certain things think that they've
got something that you haven't, right, they've managed to kind of, they've got a perfect life, for them kind of thing, I guess.
Or that they find it easy all of the time. It's not easy. It's not easy. And if
life wasn't meant to be easy, right?
Especially a life of striving is not going to be easy.
So I think first
Right from the beginning, we've got to kind of cut back. No, yes.
But then I think some of the tips I could give, I think, number one,
you've got to have
a relationship with your husband. Right? Where you can literally sit down and you care about each other's passions, you know, you've got to care about each other's passions, he's got to care about what you what your dreams are, and you've got to care about his dreams. And if it ends up being a loser, a win lose situation, right.
So I don't know if many of you may be familiar with, you know, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective or successful people by Stephen Covey. Right? Yes, yeah. So one of the, one of the principles he adds is think Win Win, right? Yes. And, and I think,
as a couple, you know, if you're going to be if you're going to think win, lose. So in other words, I get to do everything I want to do. But you end up not having, you know, the kind of life that you want. Right. And that's, that's not going to be a great partnership, that's going to end up leading to resentment and all sorts of problems.
Like, yes, but if we can think Win, win.
So yeah, I'm gonna have to compromise on something, you're gonna have to compromise on something, somehow we're going to try to accommodate and honor and
you know, each other's
passions and the things that each of you love, you know,
and the things that are very important to you.
And you could find a middle way, you know, between yourself, I think that would be
that's very important. So literally having a meeting, you know, where you, were you really in a loving way, expressed to your husband.
Obviously, vice versa as well.
Yeah, what your needs are, what's your What?
What's that thing, that burning desire, or whatever it is that you would like to
accommodate and acknowledging that it's going to have an impact? I think that's really important, you know? Because I don't think I could, even just writing the book, okay. You know, those times that I had to go to the library, I did it in the library, right, mainly.
And I would literally take myself away for hours, My children are at school. But beyond the school hours, I needed to sometimes just stay, you know, because I just had the momentum, you know, I was I was in the zone, I take yourself out of the zone. Really hard to get back into the zone, right? Yes, yes. Yeah, it was times when I, like, you know, with Tom, I wasn't know what it would really help me this day until 8pm, or whenever the library was going to close.
I could just focus on this. And I'm really sorry, I know that it's going to be such a drag for you to like, leave work early, or whatever it is, right? Yeah. And go and get the kids from school. And I'll make sure you know, I've cooked and everything, whatever. But, you know, if I'm, if you could just take care of that evening for me once a week, that will help me to finish this. Yeah.
having that conversation and recognizing that it's going to have an impact on them, acknowledging it, honoring them for that, you know,
and finding some sort of middle way. I think that, without that I would not have been able to finish the book, you know, in the time that I did in the end.
And on the flip side, you know, I was I was mentioning to you to fire that.
You know, back in a few years ago, when I when I first got married, I just come back from Egypt. And
you know, my husband was very supportive of me studying Islamic Studies, Sharia I was I had become studying. And he took me to Sharjah University took me to omokoroa University to, you know, submit my application there. But, unfortunately, although I got a place in
there was like a condition that my husband would have to have a work visa, and, you know, there were all sorts of things that he needed to fulfill. Yeah, well, he needed he needed to become a full time student in order to, for me to be able to study in those institutions, right. Yeah. And so in the end, we realized the only way I was going to be able to study in those institutions
you know, if, if basically we lived apart right
And he lived in the UK and I lived over there. And we met in holidays. Right. And my husband was not happy with that at all right? He says that's what a marriage
no compromise on that, you know? Yeah, it wasn't really a compromise, obviously, I want to be with my husband like, yes. What I'm trying to say is, I had to find a third way, right? Because that was going to end up being win lose,
you know, maybe lose, lose even? I don't know.
And, and so, not to find a third way, which was, okay, how can I study? Staying with my husband in the UK? Right? Yeah, 100 Villa, I ended up being able to do that. But, you know, it wasn't that easy to see, initially, right? So what I'm trying to say is
that, you're not a winner, if you get to do everything you want to do, and you wreck your marriage and the process, right? Or you kind of, you know, you're not your soul kind of self centered. So driven that, you know, your, your husband needs a lot than to be met with the needs of the members of your family, and the people you care about, are not going to be met, you know, you're the one who's gonna end up losing, if you become that single minded, you know. So I think it's really important to have family on board, for them to support your dream to support whatever work or project, whatever it is that you're that you want to do, and for them to be involved in that.
So that's probably the most important thing. When it comes to being able to accommodate everything.
Another thing is just really to be very organized, you know.
So, read books about being organized.
One of the books that really benefited me was this book, and the one thing I forgotten the name of the author, but it's quite a famous book, the one thing
yeah, sorry, I really don't remember the name. Have you looked it up on Amazon? This is definitely there. Okay. Very famous one thing, and it's about focusing, you know, the power of focus the power of
blocking time, that that is the main thing that I learned from that book about blocking time, moving distractions.
you know, even if you might have a couple of hours a day, right? Yes. How could you squeeze those two? I mean, a couple of hours free from your other kind of duties, etc? How could you maximise on those two hours, you know, in the best possible way?
Because we're living in the world of distractions, right, it's really easy to just basically spend two hours on YouTube, going from video to video, entertaining ourselves, right.
So, I think getting really clever when it comes to time management and
focus, you know, because sometimes, focusing on one project
for a whole year, can be a lot better than
having like four or five things going at the same time. Right?
You will achieve much more by focusing on one thing, you know,
especially in in a certain period of time. So I think that, you know, that's really important as well, to be organized
to try and have an organized home organized schedules. So you know, simple things like beginning of the year, beginning of the school year, I will literally take every single date, and every single kind of thing that I've been given by schools by my children's schools. Yes. And anything that my husband has told me about.
We're going to be doing that. Yeah. I've literally taken my online calendar, which is linked to the phone. Right. And, and sheduled it all in? Ready, right? Yes. So I'm not going to get any nasty surprises in Sharla. Oh, my God, you know, my, I missed x, y and Zed of my child, right, which, which is going to be chaos later on. Right? So for me, all those things that already there that are locked in place are going to tell me the day before or the week before? Yeah. And that really helps, because then you're really on top of that, and it's all in front of you. You can see that on your Google Calendar, right?
Yes, and then you you can you can also things like
Press, you know, you shedule those in as much as you can, and keep changing them as the time changes, you know, monthly or whatever.
And then you you can see, you know, right in front of you, where you have spare time, you know, which, which times are you going to be doing certain things in, like, you know, housework or whatever, you put that all in, and then you work with, you know,
what you have really, you know, so I think getting organized using the technology that we have now. Yeah, help you help you be organized.
is kind of is absolutely essential.
And I think, of course, making the right, asking a lot on a dialer.
You know, sometimes I would make go and say, Oh, I don't know how I'm going to be able to do this.
If that's true, I actually do not know how I'm gonna do this. But please let me be able to do this, right. And I remember I made that die when my son was
just little, you know, I wanted him to be happen.
And we didn't we didn't know any happier, you know, like, teacher.
There was no hidden costs in our area. Everything was happening in East London, right? Yes.
A little mini Muslim country, right. I'm wearing Northwest and I'm like, wow, there's not there's nothing I would hone in Rooney, I like to know, please, just, you know, any, if teachers and
the affordable the difference, you're like, no, or not none in your area in your area. And obviously, I had taught my son up to a certain level, but I just felt, now he needed the teacher from the outside, right, and maybe a cloth, that kind of environment that could support that very intense process of his.
And I remember May, I'm making that door at that point, you know, I don't know how we're going to do this. Literally until we I used to watch videos of like the elite, you know, Koran classes in the UAE and places like that. And I used to be like, oh, wow, you know,
you know, it's upon Allah, but
I just made that go out and, and move forward, right with whatever, in whatever way we could at the time. And I feel that if you take that as a philosophy for life,
you make the drop, I'm not talking about you know, just some kind of week that will go out at the end of your prayers, you rush off, right? I mean, you cry to Allah, yes to the thing that you want to achieve. You cry to allow you, you tell Allah to forgive you asked a lot, please make my intentions pure, they'll allow my intentions to get spoiled. And somehow and actually state your intentions to Allah, about you. And you and the asking to help you and tell him how poor and useless you are in the sense that you don't know how to make this happen. Right? You are fucking in front of a lot.
But he, and you say to Allah, Allah, you know how to make this happen, you can give this to me, you know, with with, in the blink of an eye. So give this thing to me and help me and make it good for me and my family. Because at the end of the day, we don't know what's best for ourselves even.
So I think when you do that, and then with whatever resources Allah has given you, so at that time, for example, with the gift, yes.
You know, we eventually found one tutor
who lives like, an hour away from us.
And, you know, we weren't going to take our child out of school. So literally off the school, my seven year old, would be driven from school to this teacher's house, one hour away, in traffic.
On the way, right, and anyone who's had a seven year old fall asleep and try to wake them up, and you know, try and make them fresh minded.
To city, yes, it was really hard. It was a really hard thing to do. And, you know, it was very difficult time. That was the only thing we had at the time, right, to get the
And so we just took what we could write and did start to strive with what you do have the resources that you do have. So Pamela, you know, I remember how
He had quite a flexible job. So he was able to take my time. But by the end of it, he was exhausted, you know, the driving and everything.
And eventually, he just
started looking for other alternatives and went and talked to some people in a local machine. And a local machine used to have a hip claw. They stopped it for a time. And it's actually been thinking about reinstating it. But you know, we were just looking for the right time. And so Pamela, you know, a few months of hard work with my husband having to travel and my son falling asleep and being quite miserable, but still kind of, you know, doing what he could have
a local headscarf and establish, like near to a house, you know,
something that we couldn't, we didn't expect. And then that was like a huge relief. That was like a lot of help had come. And that's the very Masjid and the very his class where my son eventually finished his if.
So, the message I think from that is,
you, you do the best with the resources you have, that Allah has given you. And you show Allah that you're willing to strive for those resources, and you make the block, and then a lot opens more doors for you. When you I feel when you show him how badly you want something you know, and how much you're willing to fight for it.
So those are the three kind of, I think in.
But it's not easy. It's not easy. And I think every year, you do have to keep reevaluating, you know, have I actually taken on too much do I really need to do on this? No, I you know, I have to be patient as well. I think patience is a very important
characteristic. And I think that's one of the characteristics that I really have gained or
benefited from, from Jeff Muhammad Akram nadwi. Yes,
is that that the ability to stand back and say, actually, this thing will be achieved in its time in the time that is right for it to be achieved? Right? I don't have to try and rush this thing, this process, because there is a process. And I remember him telling us this during the Tafseer of surah. Yusuf Yes, when he said, You know, there was a certain number of years, certain things that you face lamb had to go through, and he couldn't wash it, you can't rush it, you can't, you couldn't fast track to becoming the you know, the head of the treasurer, the treasurer of the land, right of Egypt, lost track to that you have to go through painstaking years, or whatever it is that he had to
And you might have to do that as well, I might have to do that. And it's about being patient enough, you know, and realizing that actually,
when the time is right, I'm going to be built up
to be able to do that thing, or whatever it is that you're aiming towards. But I'm just gonna strive with what I have now and not become impatient.
That's so beautiful.
I cannot hire for that. And it's been such an enlightening session. So like they say, all good things come to an end. So we're going to have to bring this clear, close now. I did that for her for coming on to the summit. It's been really great to have you on board. And I'm sure we have learned so much from you, Sharla. And I hope to have you sometime soon. Thank you for the opportunity to work in laughter and
you know, I really hope that brothers and sisters out there, support the work that you're doing, you know, really inspiring work.
And may Allah reward you
for giving people this opportunity to share and to benefit. And that's just a desire.
Thank you very much.