Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
In this episode, Ustadha Fatima Barkatulla talks with Ustadha Saleha Bukhari about seeking knowledge as a mature student, the responsibilities of being an Alima, the importance of understanding the Qur’an and juggling family responsibilities with studies and caring for a sick child.
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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah the brothers and sisters Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and welcome to another lm feed podcast episode. I'm your host Fatima barkatullah and today I have a guest with me who actually happened to be one of my former classmates will starve a saleha Buhari, Masha Allah subhanaw taala her completed her alchemia studies and the total Hadith program at London's Ibrahim College in 2018. She studied under many prominent UK scholars, including Mufti barkatullah
I wonder who he is. Chef shumsa, the hub chef Akram nadwi, Chef sabini
Ashraf Salman, and many others from the college. She's also a student of karate Bashir, Ahmed city
of Medina and munawwara and has received ijazah in the recitation of Quran from him. She's worked and she works as a member of the Muslim women's Advisory Council, who specialized in consultation of Islamic divorce for women. And she's a chaplain at Canary Wharf and for the NHS, Mashallah, and you're also a Quran and Tajweed teacher on you saleha Masha Allah saw the Sunnah and you deliver lectures and workshops in the community. salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah. Wa Alaykum wa Salaam wa rahmatullah wa barakato. It's been a few years since we met.
We were both students at Abraham college. And would you be able to tell our listeners and viewers, for those of them who have never heard of what an Alinea is, and what those little Hadith is, could you just introduce, you know, what those programs are? Okay, so when I actually began my journey, well, first of all, I'd like to thank you for having me on your program. And I appreciate, you know, just being here with you, and just the opportunity to see you and to share my experience with everybody. But I think when I actually began the journey, I didn't think of the alchemy, so I had no idea what the Lamia program was myself, I was simply drawn to that idea of learning Arabic. And so
it was the Arabic intensive. So that's how I began the program. And when we joined the first year, all I had in mind was to be able to understand language to break down what the Quran was saying to me, because we pray five times a day, you know, we quote the Quran, in our lives in amidst our families, and we quote it, you know, to our children. And to be honest, I didn't know I, you know, I couldn't always break down the words or the meanings behind what I was reading. So I think the language, what was is what drew me there. But after having spent a year there, I think by the time we was reaching the end of the year to the teachers would question so you staying on? Have you
considered that Alameda? And I would say at that point, I started questioning what is the Alameda. And so that's how I got introduced to the Alameda program. And of course, then we were, you know, taught about the program, it was a four year program after their big intensive.
And as the name implies, it's intensive course, done over the course of four years. So it covered all of the Islamic sciences, but you start on a basic level, all the sources are in Arabic. So it's essential that you do the Arabic intensive or that you have that tool, the language to be able to decode everything that's in the books and to be able to engage with the discussions. And it was vast, really, so we're talking about fear, Quran Tafseer
aqeedah. Hadith. So it's very extensive. And obviously, over the years, you know, it develops but not to mention that also your ability to read and write in Arabic. And I would say that was the most challenging.
Yeah, definitely the most challenging, but at the end, what you're really looking at, I think, is so for me, I took each year as it came. In fact, I would say I took each day as it came because I never knew what the next day was going to hold for me. And there were many challenges that, you know, cropped up during that time. So really, I think through that, I learned that you know, expect anything. So at the end of every year, that question always confronted me, you know, am I continuing? So when I completed alumier one, it wasn't a question of Am I going to come back
Alinea, for me, it was just a question of, shall I stop now? Or should I continue? So alumier? One is first year, the first year. That's right, each year is called alumier, 1232. And three m four. That's right. So I would say that's how I happen to, you know, progress through the course, I need. I would say it wasn't till year three and four that I really started questioning. Well Hang on a moment. You know, I hadn't thought about doing the Alameda, but here I am. You know, and where am I going with this? So you do start questioning yourself. And of course, your teachers start questioning you. And also, they start alerting you about the responsibility that you've taken on,
you know, as a malema, you know, they say you're about to qualify, you're about to come to the end of your course. And, you know, there's this question of, am I worthy? You know, will I be able to represent the dean, and will I be able to, you know, work with people in the community in our society, and, you know, uphold that, if you like, the respect that, you know, it requires to be doing this job. So it's, it's quite a, I would say, it's quite a daunting task. And I think, throughout that period, your teachers plays such a big part in, you know, helping you get ready for that role. Because I think that's where that self doubt creeps in, you know, you start questioning
yourself, Am I the best candidate for this? You know, there are people out there who are much more talented, you know, who come from, you'd say that appropriate backgrounds, you know, Islamic backgrounds. So, there's a lot of questions of whether, you know, you're going to be able to fulfill this role.
So I would say it was something that I didn't necessarily plan out. But I think
Alhamdulillah, I would say it's something you know, sometimes we think we're planning, but really, the best of planner is, you know, he's planning and I think sometimes we cannot envisage the plans he has for us. So Alhamdulillah, I think I began the journey, but I would say it was bestowed upon me. And I think that's something often our teachers used to remind us and say that don't, you know, think that you've made this decision, and that's why you're here, you're part of a bigger plan. And the reason you're still here, and you're still continuing is because Allah has plans for you.
So humble, I think that's what kept me going. Otherwise, you know, often you would think, Well, you know, I'm not doing so well, in this area, I'm not doing so well, here. You know, I'm just about coping, should I really be here. And at times, you know, you would feel really low. And there's times when you'd feel great when you get a distinction in your essay. So So, you know, you go through periods like that. But Alhamdulillah, I would say, by the end of Alinea, I took the advice of our teachers, you know, who said just accept that it's been bestowed on you accept the role that's being given to you. And, you know, try and prepare yourself for the duties because this is
just the beginning. So when you actually graduate, this is not the end. Yeah, you know, you were just beginning your line of education, if you like, you are just beginning to engage with the community with people. And you know, to use the knowledge that you've equipped yourself with. And then there's another test lying in wait for you because, you know, going into the community working with other people, and these are people who are relying on you relying on your authority, trusting you, you know, with their lives with the situations that they bring to you. So it's really a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly. And, you know, often you can lose sleep over, you know, if
you're involved with somebody helping them through a situation, you know, it can have a real serious effect on their life, you know, just from the kind of hookworms you're giving them from where you're directing them to the kind of beliefs you're presenting to them. So, so I would say, that's how I came to the Alameda program, and the Dorito, Hades that was an extra year, which is optional, which I chose to take. And I would say, again, our teachers played a huge role there, because the way they presented it was
that you know, you've been here for five years already. It's just another year. And if you look at it this way, that you're spending a year in the company of the profits and allowance element as a hobby. And so the result is, is
where you study the 600 books, right? That's right. So it's had these studies. So it's basically a specialized year I've had these studies. But I would also say consolidates everything you've learned over the years. So it brings that together, gels it together. And there's a lot more discussions, a lot more essay writing. So you're exploring ideas, and you know things you've
agreed with this
agreed with and I think it helps you expand on that definitely helps you grow
and engage with the teachers more Dolittle Hadith, I would say I enjoyed it more, because we were able to argue with the teachers respectfully, of course, I'm talking about when you, you know, you're deriving hookworms or you're discussing Hades.
And I actually would say in terms of my growth, I probably grew the most in the Hadeeth classes. And I would say with most of the barkatullah, and that's because he gave us freedom to talk. So what he would do is we're studying a set of Hadith.
And I remember, I would always have my hand up politely because I disagreed with something he said. And, you know, you would think, you know, he's, Mashallah, you know, he's, I don't need to tell you his background. But you know, he's such a sort of role in our lives, you know, move this up, you probably know more than him than I do. You know, he's a public role, but he's also in the college. He's a senior lecturer. And nobody would question him. But what I really enjoyed is the fact that he allowed you to discuss in his class, he allowed you to grow. And I think sometimes he was entertaining us. So he knew that, you know, he knows right from wrong, but he just wants to see how
we react. And often I would react and, and I really enjoyed the discussions because it would be about issues where it involves men and women, so naturally, he knew the women will feel a bit like, you know, so he might put something out there and say, Okay, so here's an issue with marriage.
And husband wants to take on another wife, and that's absolutely fine. But you know, he's decided to keep it secret. And, you know, and that's his affair. And of course, all the sisters are sitting there thinking, Okay, that's not really sitting well with us. So we want to debate issues like that. And I think we really enjoyed that, because he allowed the means, you know, we had the brothers on the other side.
And we were able to share our arguments, and you know, share our own experiences and what we thought, and then he would conclude for us, and I think it was just such a wonderful way of learning firsthand from somebody, you know, who's in Islamic law already. And of course, we're just students. But I think the fact that he stretched us that way, and he allowed us to make mistakes, and he would correct us. Or, you know, Alternatively, if he felt that we made a valid point. And often I would say,
he instilled a lot of confidence in me, because sometimes I would build up the courage and think, do I really want to say this, because, you know, everyone may laugh at me, or, you know, they might think, oh, how silly, but often, when I shared something with him, he would say, you know, what, we haven't thought about that. And, you know, being a senior or mature student, he would say, Well, you know, we can only get that kind of information from a woman who's, you know, married, had a family and lived through that time, who can tell us from her experiences, so he was open to suggestions, and I think that really helped me build my confidence, and kind of work out where I want to go with
this. And he certainly played a role in my life. Even after I finished my studies, he was always there suggesting, you know, suggesting paths for me.
Suggesting, suggesting where I could go with my skills. And also with the, when there was a period where I worked with the Islamic Sharia Council, he, you know, that that period, he supported me through. And also with the Muslim women's Advisory Council, that was something I came across by him also. So I would say he definitely played a part in my life, even beyond college, as most of the other teachers do, as well. But I think even just being, you know, senior, and obviously, having a role in public, I think he has
more of an idea, I guess, where students would be suited. And I'd like he, he became sort of a father figure to you. Definitely, I would say, Mashallah, yeah, he was actually, after graduation in 2018. He was actually one of, I felt like he was a mentor to me, but mentor to me, because he approached me and asked me to do a seminar with him on marriage.
And, and that was, you know, something I would never put myself forward for as once having graduated. And I remember saying to him, I, you know, I can't do that kind of thing. You know, I've just graduated and I couldn't take on such a huge responsibility. And I think like you say, just like a father would say to a daughter, he said, why not? And I said, well, because I've only just graduated and he said, Well, that's the reason you should be doing it because you've just finished a you know, graduation. You've just equipped yourself with all the tools to engage
With the public, and now's a better time than any and he said, and he said, If you make a mistake, I'm right beside you. So, yeah, you know, when he said that, to me, it was like, he made the decision easy. Yeah. Okay. You know, throw yourself in and, and how humbling It was such a lovely experience, not small club, but, you know, his wife also came along, and I think I did you mean my mom, your mom.
And Allah bless them. But yeah, they played such a big role in just starting that off for me. And I think it was, it felt like having your parents there to support, you know, through a crucial moment in your life, something that you never thought you'd be able to do. And you know, when they inspire confidence in you and say, you can do this, and not only that, they will tell you and advise you how to do things, what not to do what to abstain from. And so, yeah, so I would say that was the starting point of my public skating. Like, yeah, cuz I think, I think with my dad,
he's always had that attitude, you know, like, what you were mentioning in the class, you know, he's never even growing up. He was never like, dictatorial, you know, he's very, sort of, well, getting us to think about what we think, you know, and sort of allowing us to come to our own conclusions, even though they might be different to his. So I don't think he's afraid of,
you know, younger people
challenging his opinion, and, and I think younger people are actually comfortable in his presence. I've noticed, you know, most of the time, if you think about it, when I've been at the Sharia Council, for example, or even with the Muslim women's advisory group, you often find that the younger people tend to want younger scholars to consult with, but you find with Mufti barkatullah, I think he can, you know, he appeals to all age ranges, shows you that we will need an one day we're going to play that role, probably inshallah, inshallah, we will need people who have come before us, give us that push. That's right. Because a lot of us we do suffer from that kind of self doubt, or
what they call imposter syndrome. You know, who am I start thinking? Who am I, you know,
and I remember, like, my parents, they were the ones who kind of forced me to start to start giving a circle in our local mosque, you know, financially, not financially. I was really scared because I, I was, I was a teenager, and they were like, adults all around me, ladies. And sometimes they would be quite aggressive, even, you know, like, in the way they ask questions or challenge, something I said, and I had to, like, learn to deal with that. But I guess having your teachers, your elders, somebody there in the background, saying, it's okay. Yeah, keep going forward. You've got this, you know, you're gonna be able to do this.
And we'll support you. It really?
Has your back. Really? Yeah.
And, you know, of course, we don't see our teachers as often as we used to, yeah, but I remember them saying that, you know, whenever you need anything, when you need advice, or you want to check yourself, you know, for whatever it is, you can come contact us. And I think that's something that I find quite unique to bream college, and our teachers there. And we had such an array of teachers there as well, I think that also builds your experience, definitely, you know, before, before Brown College, because I had experienced studying online. Yeah. And it just doesn't compare, you know, studying online, it might be good for certain types of periods of your life, like when you have
young kids or stuff like that. But once I heard that there was actually a physical seminary that you could go to, even though it was like the other side of London. Yeah. And my kids were all at school. By that time, I just thought, hey, I've got to do this. And like you're saying, so panelized to you know, when you walk in to the college, and then you'd hear people reciting Quran in the morning, you know, there would be grand recitation.
And just from then onwards, you see the sisterhood. Yeah, wouldn't you and you'd see, like you said, that relationship with your teachers is so powerful. I remember when we were when I was thinking of which kind of university paths to go on.
I could have gone to like a Western University for undergraduate study.
But I remember thinking very, feeling very passionately that I need teachers who have human you know, I don't just want an orientalist or a, an expert who might be an expert in Islam on paper. But it hasn't. In a way it hasn't benefited that person because they they don't have human
They can't convey to me the therapy that I need, you know, that's right. And I think you're right. Like, there's something unique about
seminaries where you have a llama, basically and where you have you can sense that spirituality. Yeah. You know, and like you said, that sisterhood, and you almost feel like everybody understands, because we're on that same, you know, level of Imagine if you like, and, and you help each other through those journeys. And like I said, you often find throughout seminaries Well, in my experience, certainly, that you are tested, more you feel, there's more trials present for some reason, you know, when you choose that path, you almost feel like you've not just began a path of seeking knowledge. But your tests begin also. So it's all almost like a question of, you know,
you've got a set of trials awaiting endurance Do you do give up, and it can be difficult, you know, decision to make for a lot of people. And if you do decide to stay on, you know, you will be juggling quite a lot. And it's also how it's not necessarily
you know, about how well you're going to do it, it's whether you're gonna make it to the end. Yeah, you know, about getting through? And, yeah, well, I think that's probably true for people like myself and you who, yeah, who were mature students, right? Yeah. Like the luxury of needing to get an A star and everything sort of had to go. Yeah, sometimes, like, having children having a family home. So tell it Tell me about that. Like, what was it like? Like, I've got my own thoughts about it. But you know, we would literally in a class with other students who were straight out on
a levels, yeah.
18 year old, 17 years, 18 year olds, but also they were graduates as well, when they were graduates. Yeah, graduated.
We also had another sister who had younger children.
But you know, she was there as a full time mum. So most of them were like, under early and is wonder that's very few mature students, I think, when you make a decision to go to studies that something you cannot think about that, you know, because it can be, you know, you often find people are deterred by that. So I would say, for me, it wasn't really a question of, you know, my age or the timing. Because, you know, at one time I'm talking about so, you know, in the 1990s, for example, you know, you didn't have that kind of opportunity, where you could come and study in a seminary in London, you know, in the heart of East London, there were people traveling back to Egypt, or, you
know, with other Muslim countries to seek that kind of knowledge. So I remember, you know, seeking wisdom, my husband and I, we used to travel to North London, to take Arabic classes. And this was because the teacher had come over from Egypt, who was teaching there, so you had to kind of seek out when these courses were taking place. And, you know, also we didn't have the means then. So, you know, naturally, I followed the course of, you know, doing your A Levels going to university, and then after that soon after that I was married, you know, had a family. So Hamdulillah, for me, you know, the family life was important. And, you know, I wasn't career oriented. But what I mean to say
by that was I didn't feel driven by anything, and Islamic. So I felt that okay, well, in that case, my calling is more, you know, to raise a family to want to, you know, sort of devote myself to that. But I would say when my children started growing up, I think, you know, when they start learning, and you start helping them with their learning, and they come home with homework, I would say at that point, I started questioning myself that I didn't feel well equipped to be helping them. You know, I'd been taught here myself, but you know, I'd actually been taught in East London Mosque myself, because I grew up in Tower Hamlets. My father taught me as well. So, you know, we had
exposure when we were young. And of course, we never had anything, any institutions or seminaries then. So when my children actually began coming home, I started thinking, you know, I'm not really
well equipped to help them, you know, I can't correct them as to often just circle their books and say, well, ask your teacher how to read this, and we're talking about the Quran or Qaeda.
But even then, it didn't have an effect on me in the sense that I thought, well, they're very young. I can't really make up that time or, you know, so I guess you could say, in a way, I wasn't motivated enough or something was holding me back. But I think sometimes it takes a tragedy and
Like to make us move.
And, you know, I think that's what happened. So in 2007, and this is actually something I talked about in,
in my speech when I graduated, is that when I lost my mother, in 2007, she passed away. I think that was a time where I thought about, you know, you, you reflect on your whole life, even though it's somebody else, but it's someone very close to you, and it makes you reflect on your whole life and question, you know, where you are, where you're going, and what you can do for the person who's left you. And I would say, I felt very disabled, in the sense that I thought, here I am, you know, I've lost my mother and Alhamdulillah, you know, I didn't have a regret. I didn't sort of think why. Or, you know, why me the kind of questions that usually come up, I thought, humbler, you know, her time
is up. And Allah has taken her back. But I felt the disability in the sense, I thought, What can I do for her, you know, here I am, I'm still here. And so obviously, I turned to what I could do for her.
And as we know, one of the things we can do for our parents is pray, you know, and there's sub kachari, you can do on their behalf. But the one that I struggled with was, you know, do reciting Quran for her. So I wanted to do that for her. And I would, and I'm not joking, but I would start a verse in the Quran, and I wouldn't be able to finish the verse off, because I wouldn't know how to pronounce something. I didn't know, you know, if it was, because I didn't know the rules. And I didn't know do I do a winner here? Do I not? So I would often stop take it to my father and say, Look, how do I read this? So he would tell me, but if you imagine you're stopping at every bird,
asking questions, so I wasn't getting very far. And I and I found that really frustrating, but not only frustrating, it made me question myself that I'm going to follow her.
You know, and we don't know when our time will come. And here I am, you know, in the middle of my life, you know, I have young children who are dependent on me. And not only am I unable to read for my mother, but I cannot even teach my children, I cannot do myself. So it just made me question my whole life. And, you know, when you go through a tragedy like that, especially when you lose somebody that close, you know, your mother and our skills tend to be closer to our mothers. And my mother certainly was, you know, she played such a
big role in my life as all mothers do. But I think she was quite different, as well.
And what I mean by that is that she was, she came from very traditional background, but her thinking was very different when we came. So she was the first generation here, my father and my mother here in London, and they settled here in Tower Hamlets from that from where I was, from Bangladesh, okay, so they so if you imagine my father, you know, traveled over to work here.
And they settled here, and my mother was such a great support, because though she came from a traditional background, she used to always try. So we have three sisters and a brother, she would always encourage her daughters as well, and say, you know, the world is your oyster kind of thing. You know, you can do whatever you want. If you want to study your study, if you're happy, you know, marrying and settling down, then you know, so be it, but she didn't make you feel that that was the only path for you. And I would say that's how she played a role in my life. Because I started questionable, I'd like to be more than a wife. But the irony is this that actually, after my
studies, all I wanted to do is be married and settled and have children.
But somewhere in that journey, I think you start questioning your purpose. And I think that was I would say, that was when I lost my mother. And that was when I started my journey, not necessarily doing the Arabic or alchemia. But I started looking, you know, to seek seeking lessons in Quran. And I would say that's where I've taken part time classes. And I also began part time classes in Arabic. And I remember after three terms, I thought, Okay, that's enough for me, and I gave up as you do. So that was something I did over the years, I would start Arabic, I would give up and think No, this is just too hard. I you know, I can't commit to it. It's what exactly was it about the classes that
So I think middle Arabic, it's another language
completely different. And and you know, and obviously, then you've got the grammar in it's totally different to English and to your own language. And it just felt like you know, you're not getting it. I think a lot of people can relate to this because I have a lot of friends and contacts often tell me. Oh, yes, I've studied Arabic, but I've given it up. Yeah. And you know, some of them I've actually come back to it and I would say
My reasons were, I gave it up because I did find it difficult with younger children.
But it never left my mind, I felt a sense of responsibility because I thought, how am I going to connect to the Quran? If I don't understand Arabic? So you know, you know, there is a link there, and you know, what's expected from you. But I guess you kind of shy away from it or run away from it with your excuses that oh, well, I have young children. And you know, I have responsibilities. I'm, you know, I'm a home builder, and how can I manage all of that.
But I would say what happened with me is, I think, when my children were at an age where they were beginning secondary school, so my youngest was in year six. And at that point,
my current teacher, she said to me, in fact, you know, she also played a big role in Quran for me, we'll start that Amina say you may know of her as well. And I remember she told me about the Arabic intensive.
And so you know, every time I would ask her more and more about it, she will tell me how wonderfully the first cohort of students were doing and how well they were doing. And then I started thinking, Well, you know, what my son's about to begin secondary school, I think I've done as much as I can for them in terms of, you know,
character building and supporting them. And that's something I can still continue doing. Because my timings would be similar to theirs, we will be going in the morning, returning home in the evening. And we can support each other through our studies. So I would say that's when I made my decision. Okay, I'm going to go back to Arabic, because I don't think you ever give it up thinking
that you don't want to come back to it. I think, telling yourself, yeah, you keep telling yourself, it's not the time now. It's not the time now. And and I think the most important thing is we are afraid of commitment. I certainly am it sometimes when you make a commitment, you know, what's in store for you? And I think it's the fear, you know, of how you're going to cope. I think that stops us as well. I think a lot of lot of people on the path to knowledge. Yeah, they will have obstacles.
But one of the things I always noticed was, the people who succeed long term are the ones who are not. Not necessarily it's not it's not necessarily true that they never had any obstacles, they actually have had obstacles. It's just that they got back up. Yeah, then carried on, where most people just would have given up. Yeah. So I think as with any, like, challenge in life, if you've got a goal, yes, you get thrown off track. Yeah, yep. It's, you know, the mark of your strength is whether you can get back up.
As soon as possible, get back on track, I think I share something that my husband often told me throughout those years when I used to,
when you find you've met an obstacle, and I would talk to him and say, you know, I'm not sure. So sure now if I want to carry on. And he would often say this to me. And then I started saying it to other people, he would say, obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. And so and that would make me smile, because he's absolutely right, I have taken my eyes off the golf. And you know, that diverts your attention. And if you think about it,
and those lines actually kept me going through those years, I would often, you know, take my eyes off the goals and think that's right, okay, I have a goal. So get back to it. And this would mean, it doesn't matter what's coming your way, you know, whether it's sickness, whether your car's broken down, you know, whether your child is unwell, your husband's unwell, you've got some family issues, you know, that you're dealing with? I think the question you'd always ask yourself is not? Am I going to stop or continue? But how am I going to move forward, right, so it's more about how so your strategy has to change your strategy. So your goal may still be the same. So your goal remains. And
I think another thing which played a part in carrying on because you could easily give up, anyone can give up at any point. It's like running a race, you can give up whenever you like, but most people want to make it to the end. And I think what kept me going as well was definitely is that you think, you know, you think you made the decision, and that's why you're here. But ultimately, you're only there because unless chosen you to be there. Because if you think about there was numerous sisters in the first year, which is the Arabic intensive and we were almost halved by the first or second year or
so. So we all had intention every year it seems that people would some people would carry on carry on but a number of people wouldn't would wouldn't carry us and you know, for whatever reason, and some would have some serious reasons and other some less
Serious reasons, you know, everyone's different. But I think ultimately what you need to accept is that if you're still there, it's not entirely just down to you, you know, you've been chosen to be there, and whether how you complete that path is what you're going to be deciding, but the fact that Allah has placed you there, and he's taken you through this journey right to the end. And I honestly did ask my question that when we reached the end, Alhamdulillah, I remember thinking, how did I get here?
Subhana Allah, throughout the journeys, even when you do your assignments, and you actually get a distinction, you think, you know, there's been some error, that can't be me. And I remember going home and actually saying these words, my husband, you know, I think the teacher might have made a mistake, she'll ask him to remark it. And he would say, students usually asked that, you know, for their assignments to be remarked, when it's low, you're questioning it the other way around that when you've been given, you know, a worthy mark, you can't accept that it's your work. So I thought about it. So I think there was a lot of self doubt. You know, just, can I do this? And was that
really me or, you know, has something gone wrong? But I think those were the years of building confidence. And those, I think that reassured me more and more, that it wasn't my doing. So it's not what we do. It's that ability that Allah puts in us. So you know, you could say that Allah inspired me to do that work, because I didn't feel I had the ability. I you simply put in the work, and Allah gives you the results. But even when you get the results, you still question them, because you think I'm not good? Surely I'm not capable of that. You know, and there were times when you didn't achieve and you would think, Well, that was definitely me, and III think, I think at the end of the day,
what it boils down to really is you put in the work and whatever result you get Alhamdulillah that's from Allah. And, you know, and that's what he wanted to give you. And I think even upon graduating, and I think throughout the years Alhamdulillah we had the opportunity to meet
Gary Bashir Ahmed, from Medina, and we had the opportunity to read to him. And even with that, you know,
there were many, you know, talented students who were reading to him, and even our teachers, Mashallah, you know, they were so talented. And I would say that I never ever saw myself, you know, taking it that far, I simply wanted to be in their company, to learn to be influenced by them and to be able to, you know, keep up that skill if you like, because I thought, you know, the Quran is something,
you know, it's going to be a companion not in just in your life, but even in your cover, you know, and even in the Hereafter, so it's something that we really need to bring close to us. And I think that's what perhaps brought me close to the Quran. And definitely, you know, being in that environment in Abraham college, like you said, you know, experiencing our teachers and other students and listening to that recitation first thing in the morning, and also having our Juma, you know, what the buzz, and just having all those beautiful recitations on the Friday that definitely inspired me, and I thought I want to be able to recite beautifully, like our teachers, and you know,
I think that's what made me keen about wanting to recite to Shakira Rashid. And I remember reciting to him. And, and this is no exaggeration, but he spent five minutes with me, just on the cow wood, which is the Bismillah. And I remember sweating profusely thinking of Hannah, this is a great chef from Medina. And I can barely get past my Bismillah.
You know, the villa and Bismillah. And, but Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, you know, that we had that opportunity? Because I remember thinking, Okay, I'm never coming back again. I never want to read to him again. Yeah. And I was so embarrassed, but he didn't show any, you know, any sort of anything on his face. He was just consistently saying, Okay, this is how you do, this is how you spent the five minutes until I could say, and he said, Okay, go work on that. And so this is how he spent time with me. And you know, he was an hour, he's an elderly chef, so he would often get angry, and you'd get upset and think, Oh, you know, he's upset, you know, I couldn't read about these standards, you'd go
away, you'd rectify that you'd come back and say, you know, I spent a year like this because he visits every year around.
Around this time of year, you know, February March, he would visit and I remember that year, he told me I had so many mistakes. I said you need to fix this. You need to explain very nicely. You know, you're not pronouncing your heavy letters correctly. And, and I remember thinking okay, you know, I
I might as well just go and give up now, you know, what's the point? But you know what it is? I think there was a sense of determination. No, you know, Alice put me on this path, because he thinks I should improve myself. And the fact that I'm that bad means that I need to, I need help. And so that's what, you know, made me determined to stay on. And also his company, just being in his company and listened to the recitation is such a blessing, and the wisdom that you just learned from your teachers, as you know, you know, the kind of gems he would just share from us as you're reading, progressing through the Quran, and he would tell you something specific about a verse, or
the context, or the story or the background, or, you know, certain desires, for example, he would say, you can use this for patients who've suffered
paralysis, for example. And so we just, were able to share such wisdom from him.
I think a lot of
like, people don't realize that actually learning Tajweed which is the art of reciting the Quran, is actually a must for every Muslim like, yeah, to a certain level, you know, because we all have to recite Quran and we will have to recite some Quran in our lives, especially in Salah. And there's certain types of mistakes out there that are actually could make a person fall into sin, sin. Yeah, so major mistakes, and then there are minor, more detailed aspects,
which might not be obligatory, but I guess when you do master them, you enjoy reciting Quran you, you feel it, you experience it, and then the Arabic
And it's fun. Like, I want to ask you actually how, cuz I'll share with you my first that are we, after I had started learning Arabic, and
it was a completely different experience. You know, I was in Egypt. And I remember standing in the Salah, and just crying and because for the first time I could actually understand the beautiful words of Allah subhana wa Taala.
And it was almost like a new, a new beginning. It was like, you know, like I was asleep. And I'd woken learning Arabic for me was was that dramatic?
How has your life changed since you've because you talked about what it was like before, you know, the struggles the How has your life changed, since getting to an advanced level in Madrid and in Arabic,
I would say
it's definitely played a role in connecting me to the Quran. And I still don't believe that I have the kind of level that you can go to. So our aim should be the level that you know the Sahaba has had at the time of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam when he taught them the Quran. And he not only taught them the Quran, you know, word, word for word, but also the meaning behind it. In fact, there was a time You know, when the Sahabi, they would not learn more than 10 verses and these are related in her deeds, until they understood the meaning of those words. And we don't mean just the verbal meaning but the meaning in terms of actions, how you act upon those verses. And I think that's where
we lack today. In fact, there is a Hadith,
which, in which the Prophet sallallahu Sallam has mentioned that there will be a time he said to the Sahaba, that time will come when the chorus will be many, but the fuqaha will be few. And I believe, you know, this is the time that we're witnessing or experiencing, if you like, where we, you know, we can recite the words very easily. And you know, we have an abundance of hoofers, Mashallah, but I think where we're lacking is the meaning of the Quran. And like you say, you know, when you feel it, and you actually connect to it, this is when your eyes will flow, or this is when your heart will feel. And I think that's where I would say it's had the most effect. And what I enjoyed the most now
is actually teaching the sources. And when the students say, what are we reading? Can you give us a little bit of the scene, or can you explain to us and and I'll just give you an example of a simple sore, but we were reading
as sort of the cathode. So when you say, the lamina chiffonier regime, smilla Rahmanir Rahim, Allah Kumar, Taka thought.
So now if you don't understand the meaning, it's not gonna have much impact, but if you think about it, I'll hire Kumar Taka for that, you know, just
so busy engaging in the world, you know, and we've been made heedless by wanting to gather out the material goods in our ad hoc mode. So we've been made busy by that haphazard tamale makabe until you reach your other groups. So can you see when you actually follow what you're saying, and if you're, whether you're doing it in your Salah, or whether you're doing it while you're reading it with others, if you actually follow the meanings, and this is something that I've advised my own students, I've said, try and understand the meaning not only will it help you in the memorization, because you know what you're saying. But it will also have effect on how you feel and how you
connect to Allah, subhanaw, taala and hamdulillah those students who have applied that they've come back to me and said, You know, I found that my Salah, in my Salah time, I'm taking longer, and reflecting on what I'm saying, but I can actually recite the sutra, slowly. And it's not going wrong. Because we've all been taught in childhood, you know, you kind of roll it off your tongues, and you think I've done it, and you know, it's like a memorized it.
So I think that that is definitely the benefit that it can bring in your life, the fact that you feel connected to Allah and the message, and there's a message in every surah especially the shorter Sutras, you'll find there's a lot of meaning, you know, when we begin with the four poles, for example, you know, they're in you have, like, you have sci fi, you have protection, you know, from you have protection from evil, from gins, from black magic, etc. And then, you know, as you progress through those sores in Jerusalem, you know, Allah is telling you to protect yourself from you know, backbiting, slandering. So whom as surah, homosassa, for example, and then you have other sores,
talking about, you know, how you treat the orphans, how you treat just the unfortunate people. So there's so many reminders in there for us and throughout the Quran, you know, all the stories of the prophets,
and just the conversations that I was having with us, I think that's the most important thing. It's a note from you know, your Creator to you. And, and I think someone once gave an example, I can't remember the source of this. It's like a letter from your beloved. But you're reading it again and again, again, but not knowing what he's saying to you. So Pamela, imagine if you had a message from a king or the queen, and you couldn't understand that, yeah, original language you would like, and you're
right, you're in awe of him. And you know, you know, he's majestic. And you know, he's the all powerful, and still, you're thinking, you're gonna grasp this note, hold it to your chest, kiss it, but just not know what's in it.
So, so really, I think, you know, if you can, first thing is, I think someone's beautifully said at once. It's something I'm working on at the moment, I've been asked to help with the translation. It's a sister in Egypt, who's translating a book from Arabic, to English. And it's actually beats because it's about the Quran.
And what it mentions is that with the Sahaba, the Prophet sallallahu sallam, what was important is they had faith first, and then they learned them, then they memorize. So meaning Do you remember when I said to you that the Sahabi would not memorize, they would memorize 10 verses, but they would not move on until they understood that there, but understood in terms of their actions, and only then they would move on. So the way this book explains it is that these actions come from faith. So what is what the Sahaba held was faith. So they believed when the Prophet sallallaahu Islam brought the message to them. And then once you've confirmed that faith, then you learn the meaning of the
words, then you learn the application of those words. And then you've made it hold because you've tied in your faith with the meaning. And I think you could say we have faith. So we say we have faith, we believe we recite the Quran, but we don't understand. So how will we apply? Do you see? So we're missing a link somewhere? And, you know, and it's true, you can be told by others, you can, you know, go to the fulcrum and say, Look, how do we do this? And what do we do? Where is the source of the fork? or How can say to you look the sources in the Quran. But we all need to be at a point where we can understand things for ourselves. And, you know, when you get stuck, that's when you can
go to Africa, how you you know, and, and ask those questions where you're not equipped to make a decision. But in our everyday lives, our family, our children, you know, whether our spouses they need that kind of hokum, you know, we're dependent on that and it goes back to what you were saying,
you know, the Quran. reading the Quran is further line on us. It's not something you know, that can be
Individual Yeah, it's an individual obligation. Whereas
when we were talking about the tweet, for example, that is for bulky fire, and what I mean by that is, there has to be somebody who's teaching core and you know, with the observation of the rules, etc. And that will take the obligation of the rest if there are a few representing you, but in terms of actually reading the Quran correctly, and that is an obligation upon each individual. So I think we need to make that distinction, but certainly for anybody who has intention of teaching the Quran
and I would say we need to remember the Prophet sallallahu Sallam said in a hadith in Sahih Bukhari that hydrocal meant Allah mal Khurana was a Lama who, so that was also something that drove me I thought, well, if the best of those amongst you are the ones who learned the Quran and teach it, I remember thinking what I want to be one of them. And so obviously, then, then you have to learn the Quran, then teach it, but to learn it and teach it, in fact, to learn it doesn't take much, but to teach it, you have to know much, much more. And I think that's where your I would say, that's where your knowledge grows.
So does that go down for that? So brothers and sisters,
you know, we all need to learn
how to read Quran recite Quran properly,
at least to a certain level, and also learn Arabic, because I'm telling you, your your tarawih will never be the same again, once you learn Arabic. And so I'm like, in our times, I would say there are so many means to learning Arabic. Personally, I don't know what you think about this service Allah, but
I'm actually quite against people learning Arabic in English. Okay, because because the institute that I went to in Egypt, how do you mean sorry, okay, what I mean, is using English as the medium of teaching, because the institute I went to in Egypt, they were very strict in that they would only speak for us how Arabic, okay.
From the moment you walked in, like you don't know anything, right? Like, I walked in not knowing any Arabic speaking to you, or, and they're like speaking to you, and it was hot in classical Arabic. And obviously, they, at first you start thinking, this is not gonna work, you know, how am I couldn't even get through class like, you know, not being able to speak and, and they have like this, this box in the corner. And if you speak amea, which is Egyptian colloquial, or if you speak another language, English, you have to like, pay fine.
Okay, so they were like, really strict. Yeah, they, you had to speak classical Arabic. From the beginning. I would say the first month, it was like this, this isn't gonna work. But at some point, something happens, something clicks. And suddenly, it's almost like you start thinking in Arabic. Can you imagine like, because it's not constantly being translated.
So suddenly, you just start thinking in Arabic, you start Arabic is not a language that you're translating into English. It becomes like your language, your thinking in that, right? So after having experienced that, although coming back to London, like learning, continuing my Arabic studies, with some English input was helpful.
I would really say that, I wish I really wish that there were more courses out there that use that same model
of teaching Arabic. In Arabic, it's a bit like, you know, when they do ESL courses, right, yeah. English for speakers of other languages. You wouldn't have.
You wouldn't, you wouldn't teach English in like, another like Eastern European languages. You know, I think I experienced something similar at the Rahim college. I can't quite remember which year it began in. I believe it might have been Second. Second, yeah, I believe might have been the second year of alchemy or third. And I remember we were told, so obviously, you've done that Arabic intensively done ellaby alumier. One. So at this point, I think the teachers expect that you have some, you know, yeah, so we were told that we couldn't use English anymore. And I think, and teachers were wonderful. I mean, they just spoke Arabic, but it was for Sahar Arabic. And it was
very clear, and they, you know, very slow. And so you could pick it up, but I think the problem was when trying to engage in a conversation or ask questions. And luckily, we weren't made to pay fines, otherwise, I think we would add a huge sum
collected by the end of that year, but I think somewhere along the lines, we became lazy and it's certainly a good point that you made because if you don't throw yourself in
to it, you will never, you know, stop flying. And it doesn't matter how many mistakes you make. Yeah, doesn't matter. Anybody laughs at you can laugh at yourself. You have to. You have to get over that. Yeah, definitely. But it's really interesting what you said about Nigeria, because I remember like, the first times when you're reciting, and it, it's almost like somebody's slapping you on the wrist every time they correct. You know, the teacher, especially for the basic stuff that you bought, you know, I've been reciting bas mela, all my life all your life, and you know, it's the other and even on that you're being stopped at every letter or every point. So I think for a lot of
us, it does feel like a bit of a slap on the wrist. And I've noticed that some students at that point feel so demotivated that they actually don't carry on but, and often a lot of students think well, maybe this isn't for me. Yeah, yeah. But that's the wrong one, the wrong attitude to have, because I can certainly tell you, if you had met me at that point, you would have said, okay, Sal is not going to make it in this field. And, and it may have been true at that time. But the thing is, anything that you put your mind to, and make effort in, you know, remember, we have to make the intention, we choose the path, the rest is up to Allah, whether he's chosen that for us or not,
whether he makes that possible for us or not. And I think that's the wonderful thing, that if you can assign yourself to the fact that it's not you who's going to pave the way, it's all down to you, all you're doing is you're going to put the effort in your results are from Allah, and I think so for us as Muslims, we really have it easy in the sense you think all I have to do is exert the effort, the results are not down to me. And because Allah has made, he's already made the plans for you. And so he knows what your plans are, you're simply trying to work towards whatever he has planned for you. So it's so beautiful. And what I mean by that is I had envisaged only being able to
read, I can honestly say I never thought of being a teacher, you know, I wanted to simply teach my children and be able to make law and recite for my mother.
And you know, all our friends and relatives that have passed on, you just want to be able to do something for them. But I think, you know, Allah has been kind to me in the sense that upon, look at the things that I wanted, and look at what he's blessed me with, you know, I feel so blessed Alhamdulillah that he's given me the ability to share that. So you know, he's included me in the group of being able to share that kind of knowledge. And not only that, by sharing that knowledge by teaching, it also keeps you close to the Quran. Because I can honestly say if it was something I wasn't teaching others, I don't know how attached I would be to the Quran. But I remember there was
a time. And I may have I've shared this with some of my close friends. There was a time when I couldn't recite and I remember listening to other female recitals or listening to teachers and thinking, I would really Oh Allah, I remember, you know, having these little conversations that you have with Allah and thinking, Oh Allah, I want to be, you know, one of your better servants, like those people that I want to be able to recite your Quran so easily, like they do I want to be able to, instead of having nursery rhymes with my children, you know, just be able to recite Quran and I thought, Why doesn't it come from my mouth? Why don't I sing, you know, the way the other sisters
do? Because you'd often find, you know, in that environment, you'd see sisters walking around with signs on, and it sounded beautiful. And I thought I want my heart to be affected.
And Aloha, let me know, maybe he heard me, or you know, he had mercy on me, whatever it is. But now I don't have an excuse, because he's put that in my path. And if I now turn away from it, I think then it will be on me. Because when Allah presents those opportunities, where you have to take them, and I think that's the point where, especially for us women, we mustn't see, you know, having children, or having dependence on ourselves or having responsibilities at home. We mustn't see that as an obstacle, we need to think that Okay, I'll just put this opportunity my way, then there's a reason for it. jennsen? Because no, I think another thing is that you need to think there were
enough opportunities are not presented to everybody. So just the fact that you're there, you know, that is half of success. In fact, that's something another thing my husband used to often say, half of success is just being there. So often he used to say to me to say, Well, I can't do the work, I can't finish the assignment. I haven't revised, I've got an exam, he'll say, doesn't matter. Just go and do however much you know, or just do as much as you can. And because I did used to compare myself to the younger ones, you know, that I shall let you know they were so
you know, devoted to their studies. 24 hours, you know, they were just studying around the clock. They would stay late in the evenings
and weekends and they could stay over at each other's houses. You
I have the girls my hazing study. And of course, you would think, for me, I was younger, in a funny, I didn't have those responsibilities. And then you think, no, there's advantages to being older. And Allah has chosen me for a specific reason. And it's that reason he could have chosen you for when you were in your 20s. But he didn't. Yeah, I definitely felt there were advantages to being slightly older student,
simply because you just have more life experience, right? Yes. So whatever was being discussed in class, you could actually bring more to it. Yes. And also, you weren't so sort of accepting of everything. That's right.
You'll be like really well experienced.
It must have the skill of
arguing and debating, if you like, and learning from each other. What were the advantages Do you think of, because there might be listeners and viewers right now thinking, you know, what?
I don't want to be in a class full of younger people, or whatever.
I would think.
I mean, there was a moment where I did think that and then I thought, you know, it might be a very lonely journey, because you know, you're the only one there. But Hamdulillah, they were, like you said, like, yes, there was yourself and other sisters who were mature. But at the same time, I think the younger ones were a blessing, because you almost feel like this motherly protection towards them, even though you know, they're equally your colleagues. But I think
I would say the advantages were, that when we were having class discussions, for example,
you know, I would feel that the younger students would present their arguments, it's almost like it's based on theoretical knowledge, they haven't been able to apply in their own lives. So for example, if we're talking about marriage, it's not that they've been married, or that they've experienced a relationship, or they've lived through those trials and tests that husband and wife go through, or that they've experienced motherhood, what they've experienced what their children, you know, the problems that children your children encounter throughout their young years, or their older years, or teenage years. And, and also, you know, the kind of things you experienced through
your extended relations, your mother in law, your father in law, brother in law's sister in laws, so relations in general. And that also remember, it comes from Islam, you know, keeping family ties. And, as you can imagine, everybody in the class had one issue or another, you know, as we all do, and we always judge by the cover, don't we, because we always look at people and assume they're all smiling. So they must be all happy and all together in their life, just the way we keep a smile on our face. So that, you know, people can never know what's really going on. And so I think the important thing was, as being in a class was that we were actually great support to each other. And
I would think, often I would not feel comfortable enough to share my problems with the younger sisters, because I did often feel well, they might not understand, you know, they're very young. But at the same time, they were very supportive throughout the years in what, whichever way they could
be at the times where I would meet yourself, or nullify my class or the other, you know, mature students, I think it was a breath of fresh air, because you could kind of do your mature complaints if you like, you know, get things off your chest.
So yeah, definitely advantages. Another advantage I have to mention is when we had fit classes or had these classes, often you'd find you know, you have the brothers Mashallah the very engaging, they always have opinions. You know, they get around, they've done what the buzz, so there's just far more experienced than sisters. So there was more conversation. And I think sometimes when we would get into conversations, like rights of brothers and sisters, so we're talking about marital rights, and I think we were talking about how the
husband, you know, can seek
that satisfaction from his marital life. And I think there was a point we were reading in the book and, and I will start obviously, he didn't wrongly say that, you know, and so the husband can take enjoyment from his wife.
However, we kind of, that's all that was said, and we moved on. And actually, I remember feeling well, you know, there are younger sisters here and I don't want them to go away thinking it's one sided. But you know, then at the same time, you're aware that this is mixed class, you know, though you have a barrier in between, you've got the brothers on one side, sisters on one side, but at the same time, you're thinking, well, there is no high in education needs to be said, as I remember raising my hand and things that I'd like to just add something to that.
And and, you know, he's very noble
And kindly let me and I said, I just like to add that, just as the husbands can take enjoyment from their wives, the wives, similarly take enjoyment from their husband. So it's just to emphasize that it's a two way relationship. And I remember he just said to Second Life aid, and we carried on, and some of the younger sisters came up to me afterwards. And a couple of them said, Oh, thank you for saying that. I was actually sitting there thinking, what about us. And so you know, it was nice to be able to feel that and I feel that, you know, had I been a younger student myself, I probably would have been too shy to speak, you know, just not being able to come forward. And I think many
other experiences also, because you've, you have teenagers who are going through this similar situations if you like. So you feel you can relate to other teenagers through them and having been teenager yourself, but also you can relate to the current issues that teenagers face. And I think that was often something I found, the younger students ever came to me. And it was usually as a, you know, older, kind of mother, Auntie, figure, older sister bigger, you know, then I was able to kind of make suggestions to them, with whatever it was that they were bringing to me. And I think that relationship with the other younger students in this environment, is probably what led me to
chaplaincy, because, you know, it's that caring that you're providing anyway, and you're leaving your judgment, because when you're talking to somebody in who comes to you with their problems, you cannot be judging them. So that's the first thing you leave judgment at the door. You're listening, listening is a major skill, you know, big skill. And then secondly, if you're going to advise is always suggestive of what they can do. Well, and also, you know, within the Islamic boundaries, so I think that kind of thing. It just helped me grow on those experiences with my own relationships. And I believe that's what took me to chaplaincy. But not only that you develop because you you are
equipped more with your Islamic understanding, and rulings. And you're better able to make suggestions to people. Could you just tell us what, because I'm thinking a lot of viewers and listeners might not know what a chaplain is. Because it sounds like a very Christian word.
But I think what is a Muslim chaplain? So it did, first of all, it did come from
the Christian faith. So we have chaplains, I think we've had chaplains here in UK for a long time. Now, I would say from 1970s, I believe in the hospitals, I remember seeing them as a child myself, you know, they would walk out in robes. And the idea was that they were there to provide spiritual care and support for the people who were, you know, undergoing medical care or who, you know, who'd experienced losing people losing members of their family or friends. And I believe it's developed here in this country now. So now what we have is a multifaith chaplaincy services. And it's not just in hospitals, now you find, we have them in prison cells, for example. We have them also in
retail. So one of my roles, as a chaplain is at a retail, which is in Canary Wharf. And that just entails what you're really doing is providing pastoral care. So spiritual care. So it's within the framework, obviously, I come from a background of faith, which is Islam, but we also have
Christian, you know, we have priests reverence, and we have rabbis. So the idea is that we provide a multifaith chaplaincy service, we go out, and we speak to people and you know, they could be experienced in different problems, whether it's job related, related to their personal life, or you know, something that's happened within that vicinity, but you just provide them with some support. So if it happens to be somebody with a certain faith background, you can provide them somebody to talk to from that particular faith. Usually, I find most people are quite happy to speak to anybody. So you know, I can speak to a Christian person, or somebody of no faith. And I think at the end of
the day, what they're really looking for is just somebody to listen to them, and just a human touch and somebody who cares. So I guess what you're really trying to do is it's providing
spiritual care, but on a human kind level.
I don't know if there's something you've heard. This often reminds me of Maslow's Hierarchy levels. Have you ever come across that? And I believe most people think there's five levels but he actually added another level. can I explain explain it for so Muslims hierarchy is a hierarchy of human needs. And what he initially stated was five levels
And this was in the 1940s, I believe. So he stated our basic needs, as you know, your physical needs food, clothing, shelter, etc. On the second level, I believe he talked about security, you know, feeling safe.
And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the third level was about relationships,
you know, self esteem, being loved by others, you know, having relationships, your relationships with your family, your friends, etc. And so actually, self esteem was part of the fourth level. And on the fifth level, what he talked about was
actualization, so Self Realization, you know, and kind of discovering what you want to do what you want to achieve in life. And I would say that my own journey where I came to us, so you know, Alhamdulillah, you, you've obviously raised a family, you've gone through those levels of, you know, raising your children. And you've come to a point where I talked about having lost my mother, and you start thinking about where you're going now. And I think this is a point where perhaps I questioned my self realization of, you know, my actualization, what am I doing with myself? Okay, so I'm a mother, and I'm a wife, but who am I, you know, what am I going to do as a person. And I think
that's probably where I began my journey and started, you'd say, committing to it more and more as I was going along. And I think one of the things
the reason I mentioned Maslow's Hierarchy level was, there was a sixth level, which he added in the 1970s. That's because, you know, before he died, he, he thought about, he took on the criticisms. And he added the sixth level, and the sixth level he named was transcendence. And what this means is, is that it's about giving back to mankind. So it's about, you know, once you've reached that actualization, then how do you then give back to humankind, and I would say, for us as Muslims, that's certainly true, because once you've achieved what you want to do, I mean, for, for me, having completed the elmia, total Hadith, and in fact, you can go and studying as much as you like, but
really, for us, it's an ongoing thing. Because, you know, when you finished your studies, our duty hasn't ended, if anything, your duty has begun, and you've just begun the actual learning. And, you know, you've thrown yourself into that responsibility. And if anything, your burdens will grow. But you want to be happily, you know, dispensing those responsibilities and helping people and being making a difference not just to Muslims, but to non Muslims, you know, to other believers in society in general, I think that's something important for all Muslims to take away, is that we are not just here for ourselves, we're here for mankind. You know, and I think that's the higher goal that we
need to be looking at. So that's why I felt it was important to bring in Muslims hierarchy level, because I think that really puts things in perspective. And I want to leave you with chaplaincy chaplain. Yeah, that's right. Yes. I think that brought it together. And not only that, actually, there was a visit with which Ibrahim college arrange to Oxford, Christian Muslim school, I think that certainly paid played a part in bringing that faith multifaith aspect into my life, I guess. And I think it also made me realize how you could dispense with that duty. But, you know, in a way, that you're not just providing that service to Muslims, but you're providing it to, you know, other
faiths and no faith. So across the board, you know, to non Muslims as well. And, yeah, certainly makes you connect to human beings.
On a greater level, I think I'll just
saleha I'm gonna ask you one more thing that I'm wondering, you know, after all of this journey that you went on, and Mashallah, how did your studies how did you know your new perspective on life, I guess, help you as a mother as because I think one of the things you said was that originally, you know, you were motivated very much by
wanting to teach your kids and So how has it helped you with any challenges you've faced?
As a mother and within within your family?
And children? I would say my biggest challenge was
when my oldest son
he could say he became temporarily unwell. But at that time, we didn't know that it was going to be temporary, because
the problem he had, you know, wasn't diagnosed and we couldn't find what was wrong with him. So that was a difficult time.
And if I could just go back to beginning in Arabic intensive, what happened was, so I made the decision of beginning in a full time studies, because I thought I have a son older son who's already in secondary school and have a younger one who will just be beginning and I thought, you know, it's a perfect arrangement, have my oldest son looking after my younger one, there'll be going school together, we will leave at the same time we'll be coming home together.
But you know, at least I'll be there for the evening supporting them through their studies, you know, we'll still be having our family meals conversations, I'll still be there as a mother and a wife. I just thought, you know, it was a perfect timing. And I thought this is going to be really easy. As you like to think and Alhamdulillah, you know, just literally within the first week, I'm getting called from school. And this was during one of my lessons. So I left the lesson to receive this call, didn't think much of it at the time, you know, the school just called up and said, Your son's collapsed. And, you know, How long shall we call the ambulance? You know, will you come? You
know, we're not sure what to do with him.
So I call that my husband, both of us left immediately, we just thought, okay, it's a one off incident, you know, something's happened. You know, of course, you panic as a parent, but you think we'll deal with it. And we didn't think much of it, his collapse, his leg was in a cramped position for a long time. So it's just something he was going through. And we didn't call the ambulance, my husband just carried him out of school. And, you know, we took him home, we did visit the doctors and you know, kind of related what was happening.
It was to do with an incident a year earlier, he'd fallen on a bouncy castle, you know, he had an accident. But he'd been walking that year, we you know, feeling twitches and having some problems, we never thought it was going to become an issue.
And so after that first week, I didn't think anything. But as I got more and more into my studies, and as weeks passed by, we got more calls, he was collapsing. Then at one time, I remember he collapsed on the road. And it was very scary experience for him. You know, and if we're not close enough, you know, then we have to rely on others to go and attend to him or rely on the school. So you know, slowly I started questioning what was going on and whether I should be studying and you know, what's happening with my son three months into it, I think things started to get a bit more serious. It was happening more regularly. He was collapsing in school. So first things first, we
thought, okay, we need to take him out of school. And then we, you know, start considering homeschooling or you know, they said he could be tutored, because he has a medical need, but he needs to be diagnosed first. But that was the problem. It they his ailment if you like, you know, it wasn't recognized. So we had this problem with his knee. And it just escalated. And by the end of the year, I mean, he was bedridden.
And, you know, this is a young boy in his teenage years.
You know, Mashallah, he was one of those straight A's, a star students, you know, had his future planned out?
You know, so it was a difficult time. But I think for me, it was quite a simple decision, I thought, you know, well, you know, your children, your family are your priority. So I didn't even need to think about it. I thought, okay, I'll stop my studies Arabic intensive, and that's enough for me, I'll stop there. I've done one year of Arabic. So naturally, you know, as you do, I consulted my family. But first, I wanted to speak to my son. So I told my husband, look, I've decided I'm gonna, I think it's time I leave full time studies. Because we don't know where we're going with my son, you know, we don't know, what's involved for him over the years to come. And he needs somebody
caring for him at home. And so my husband was quite supportive and nice. I thought, well, you know, let me have a word with my son.
So I spoke to my son, and I said, you know, I've decided I'm going to stay home, I'm going to take care of you.
And he was 15. At the time, I remember he said, well,
and I think perhaps he didn't like the fact that I was willing to, you know, stop everything that I was doing just to take care of him. And he said, Ma'am, you know, I am going to get better. And I? And I said, Yes, of course, you should. Well, if you truly believe that, he said, Why are you giving up what you're doing? And so he really put me in a difficult position, but he put me in a position to think about it, and I thought he's got a point. You know, do I have faith in it? Because that's what we're all about. We don't know what the future holds. But we move forward, relying on our faith and I thought and supposedly, you know, we as Muslims, that's all we have. And I thought he's
actually made such a, you know, crucial, it's such an important point. And so I thought, Okay, I'm gonna have faith. And so it was on his thing I thought, okay, in that case, I'll carry on but I made a deal with
with him and I said, Look, here's the deal, I'm going to carry on, but I want to be here with you. So if you feel that you're going to get stuck, or you're having a hard day you call me I'll come back, or you've had a fall, you come back, because you see, there were times in the day that he could walk, but he just stopped going out. Because when he would collapse, or when he couldn't use his legs anymore, then he would, he would be there for 12 to 17 hours. So you know, and then he would need help. So we had this arrangement going and hamdulillah. I don't think it was an easy choice. But he certainly, you know, influenced my choice, and I think, but the important message
here would be that, you know, when you have a child like that in your family, it's not a decision, you make alone, nor that child makes a loan, but it's your family, you have to make decisions as a family. And I would say we've been involved my youngest son, although he was
merely 11 or 12. At that time, but I remember, all four of us sat around the table, and we discussed it together, you know, what part we were going to play how we were going to do this, and you know, having that uncertainty, but how we were going to help each other and support each other. And so I think that's a really important thing that in our family, we treated everybody though I'm the mother, you know, my husband's a father, and they were just young children, if you like, but we will treat it we treated everybody's input equally. And took that into consideration. I think that's something really important for our family. And doesn't matter how young your children are, you want
them to feel comfortable to say what they're, you know, what their discomforts are, when they agree or disagree with your decision. And I think that was certainly one of my strengths. And one of the reasons that I was able to complete that course, I think, you know, is that having that support structure or network with your immediate family, but also with your extended family as well. You know, for example, my father, he provided me a place with parking, I would, you know, crash out at his house because he's local to Ibraheem college. So I had that support there. I had support from my family. I had support from Ibrahim college, we had
at that time we have Maulana Sadiq and Milan Shamim and, you know, and the admin thereafter. But they all supported me through those difficult times. So, you know, I was able to call into lessons, I wouldn't miss lessons. And if I had to leave, they were quite understanding I would leave. But the one thing I tried not to compromise was, you know, being let off easily for the exam. So I sat all the exams as with the other students, because otherwise it wouldn't be fair, you know, so. But I was given leeway in other ways. Of course, yeah, I think hamdulillah it was because of that support structure, that I was able to complete that. But I would say also, because it was that I Lamia, and
because you're doing Islamic sciences, you know, you're studying Quran, you're studying Hadees you're studying the lives of the Sahabi, you know, Prophet salallahu alaihe salam, and you're taking examples from their lives, you're taking examples from the Quran, you know, and it's like you're conversing with them yourself. So, then to come home and be faced with this to think,
you know, it changes your life, because every one of us, my husband, myself, my youngest son, even my son, who was in this situation, we all had to change our roles. You know, we all had to adopt, and it's quite a burden on any family when one person is sick. And I think that sometimes I felt what kept me together was just being able to reference the Koran, or being able to take examples from the Hadith. And I would take those, there were days where I would study something at college. And I would think so Pamela, that applies to me. So I would take it home, I would share it with my husband, I would share it with my children. And I feel that kind of made us stronger, but not only
stronger. Do you remember we were talking about, you know, words and meanings. But I believe that taught me the meaning of what I was learning, because otherwise you're just learning it verbally. But when you have to apply it to your life, you're understanding the meaning and you're understanding how the Sahaba applied it to their life. And you understood faith because you think what is having faith? I didn't know that my son, you know, would be like that for four years. And it was four years of my study. So throughout that Alinea that he was like this, it was towards the end of the Alameda Alhamdulillah. You could call it a miracle that we found his cure.
And, you know, it happened to be literally I mean, I could quickly tell you the story, it was my husband, we'd seen a specialist. And my husband told me that, you know, he we'd seen so many specialists by this time. And we were just told they didn't know what was wrong with my son and that you know, they really just didn't know what to do.
And, and one of the consultants he recommended a friend of his
But he said that, you know, he was abroad and he hadn't visited for 10 years. And so Subhanallah I think my husband, he contacted him. And he said, You wouldn't believe what just happened. He said, that friend of mine that I was I mentioned to you, who hasn't been to this country for 10 years while he's here now. And he's, he's here for three months. So I'd like him to take a look at your son. And and that was it really. So within two, three months, he was, you know, well, again, and it happened that fast that it almost wiped away the four years that he suffered, I can't explain it. But you know, when you're in pain, and you're going through that, you can think this is never
ending. And it's the hope that keeps you going the faith that keeps you going, and you kind of think, okay, there's Batman in this for me, you know, it's washing away your sins, it's making me stronger. And it's easy for you to tell yourself that, but how do you explain that to your child? So, but when the cure did come, you know, a handle up, and he was able to get the movement of his leg back. I think I remember sitting and thinking Subhanallah it's four years, it felt so long at the time. But looking back, I thought it's almost like a blink of an eye. It's nothing. Wow, it's nothing but you know that you think Alhamdulillah I'd never ever thought that it would come so soon.
We honestly didn't know how long he was going to be like that. But the only thing I would say that we had was faith that okay, we know that he will be well, you hoped that is going to be sooner rather than later. But hum delay came when it came.
And I would just say this, that my whole journey if I had to wrap it all up. I once said to one of my teachers that in Surah Al Imran
Allah says, were to zoom into Sha one to the lumen Tasha via decal hide, and that often goes through my mind, because it's not whether we think we're worthy of something or not. It's whether Allah thinks you're worthy of it. And remember, he is the one who hides our flaws, because only we know what we're hiding within us. And if he chooses to honor you, then he's honored you, you accept that responsibility, and you do it, you know, to the best of your abilities. And you do it sincerely and honestly. And that's all we can really do. But really, I think we need to remember that it's been bestowed upon us. It's not something we did for ourselves. So it's a huge responsibility. And we
just pray that Allah gives us the tawfeeq you know, to fulfill the role that he's given to each and every one of us and to go for what we believe we can do, and inshallah leave the rest up to him. Ah, so Pinilla just like a Heron sila hug loves love for her, for her for sharing such a powerful story with us. I'm sure it's really gonna resonate with our viewers and listeners, brothers and sisters, I would encourage all of us, you know, go out, seek knowledge, start the journey, you know, begin the journey last time, Dr. hayford talked about memorizing Quran today we're talking about learning Arabic, you know, the language that the Quran was revealed in the language that Allah subhanaw taala
chose to, to speak to us in right you know, we can't afford not to know that language. And also dweep being able to recite his words in a in a beautiful way. And service Allah has showed us how that really can impact your life and the trials and the struggles of life because I think if any of us live long enough, we are going to face trials and struggles in life and the best equipment or you know, xad that we could have with us to help us on that journey is the book of Allah. So just like your parents, have a sila have brothers and sisters do share this episode with your friends and family. Share it with somebody who needs to hear it.
And with that, I will bid you farewell subhanak Allahumma handicar Chateau La ilaha illa Anta isnot Furukawa to boo like Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.