Muslim CEO Interview
Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
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Episode Transcript ©
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AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome to the Muslim CEO show this is the place for you if you want to become an amazing leader and grow your business or organization to the next level. We do this by learning from those that have been there, done it and bought the niqab. I'm your brother and host
and today I'm truly honored to have with me the amazing sister Fatmata la Sarika sister.
Welcome Scylla How you doing? What? Can you hear me? I can hear you. Well, now are you doing?
Okay, so I am trying to come to LA How are you? I'm good, Angela. So I'm super excited to have you on the show. Because you are one of the sisters that I admire most in the world. I think you've got so much knowledge, so much experience. And I'm really, really looking forward to this conversation with you. Now before I kind of go into and go into lots of different things. I just want to give everyone a quick overview, a quick introduction in case they don't know you, right. So sister Fatima is a qualified alima. She is a Dyer. She is an author. She's like award winning. She's also someone I would consider a journalist and I think you're a real leader. Mashallah for the different sisters
out there. So there's a huge amount of history, a huge amount of knowledge and all this kind of stuff that I want to I want to go into in this call. But before I do that, the first question I wanted to ask you sister was, what was 10 year old farts? More like?
10 year old? Yeah. Oh, so panela
Mila, can you multiparty when I was a very happy child.
I grew up in Hackney, okay, which is like quite a deprived area of London, in a council house.
But I thought we were like the richest family in like,
Because of the world famous. My parents
never made us kind of feel that we were living without
tenure or something. was very happy at school.
Taking part in
everything I could. I was doing calligraphy. I had an amazing head teacher who really his name was Mr. minds can minds.
And he really like for the young people who were at the school and our talents, and he just wanted to nurture that. So I was like, an eraser in school play.
I was helping with the school magazine, drawing pictures for it and publishing it. Would that teacher?
And I also, believe it or not, I started a little dollar organization in my school in my primary school in Hackney. Wow.
Yeah. Because I think one of the things about my family was that, you know, my dad is a scholar from derbent. So he was a movie he came to living in London at that time. So this is like the 80s I'd say, there were clubs in Hackney, but they were not necessarily very knowledgeable. So what would happen is
you know, we had,
and they'd have lots of questions, or sometimes they'd have misconceptions about what was Islamic and what wasn't. And so often I would hear things like, I just remember once I came to school, after having had a haircut, and all the girls ganged up on me, right? So having a haircut, because they said, it's good. All right. Guna. Do you remember that word? Guna?
Yeah, so they said to me, it's a sin, it's a sin. So I would go home, and I would talk to my dad and say, dad, Is this true? Is it a sin? What? You know, like, all these misconceptions that people kept
their parents or told them,
I would ask my dad, and then I go back to school with knowledge and inform people what the truth was. And also they were non Muslims and in my path, who would ask questions. For example, when I started doing the job, they would ask questions. So I figured that since naturally, my, my dad was a knowledgeable person, and, you know, I had knowledge that I could share with people.
I just wanted to galvanize that. And so I started this thing called the M team. It wasn't very imaginative. I think it was. I think it's because we have a team at the time, you know, the ATM was on TV. So I called the M team. And I created and one of the great things about my family was my dad ran a Computing Center,
which was quite an amazing thing in those days, because not everyone had a computer out, you know. But we did, we had to compete and we had a printer, laser printer as well.
So what I do is I write newsletters for the empty, I made the logo and everything. And I print those newsletters, which was just kind of motivational things. For the mainly the Muslim students at school and I'm talking in primary school. Yeah, right. And I'd get these envelopes for my dad to fill them photocopy pictures and books, islamic books that my dad gave me two books, maybe photocopy a chapter, staple it, put it into the, into the envelope, and I would give them out at school. And we had an we literally used to raise pocket money for charity, we used to do all sorts of little things like that. So I think that's where it all started, you know, primary school, that's a very,
very different story to I guess, most 10 year olds muscle. So do you remember what you want it to be at that age?
Well, I was one of those people who lose 100, I did really well at school. I was a straight A student
at school as well. And so I was interested in everything, I have to admit, I was interested in the sciences, as well as the arts as well, as, you know, drama, even, you know, I was interested in all those kinds of subjects. And so when it came to the future, one of the great things about law school, and I think about growing up in London.
So, by the time I was in secondary school, I lived environment, which is like the opposite of Hackney, you know, it's like a very posh area, very kind of
not many ethnic minorities,
but very kind of an aspirational
place to live. And by that time, we were in a nice house. We were, you know, going to one of the really good build schools. And I think they're kind of, I was nurtured in the sense that my teachers at school never told me that there was anything I couldn't be, which was really great. Because you can imagine I was like a little hijabi girl, right? And I went to my science teacher one day, and I said to him,
I really want to be an astronaut.
And, you know, like, he didn't laugh at me or he didn't, he didn't say anything negative. He just really liked.
Okay, because I was really fascinated by space. I used to buy space books and my dad and so he very nurtured that he bought me like Atlas of the universe. And I was fascinated by space.
And so he said to me, my past you said to me, Well, you know, most astronauts,
and they usually from like the Air Force,
said what most astronauts are. And this is
pilots, pilots, okay?
pilots of airplanes, you know, like, at some point, they've learned how to pilot an aeroplane. And they're usually from the Air Force is no different legally, the United States Air Force or RF.
So he said, You should probably join the RF.
So I went through it when I got the Yellow Pages.
And I looked up the RF cadets in Finchley and,
and I actually joined, okay, it didn't really last very long. Because I didn't really like the environment.
You know, there's a lot of swearing and
voting going on.
But that kind of showed you that for me, it was like, the sky's the limit. And anything that I was really interested in. I knew I could, like, try to conceive. But in terms of Islamic scholarship, I would say from a very young age, my, my mom instilled in us a huge,
huge respect for scholars. So because my dad was an island, we always really looked up to him. And I think I grew up with the feeling that being a scholar was the greatest thing. You know?
And that's probably something that my mom instilled in me. So I always really wanted to study Islam in depth. In fact, I've still got a diary of when I was like about 12, or 13.
And the back of the diary, I used to write, like all my exams and everything that I wanted to do. And I've actually written there that I want to be an Islamic scholar.
And I want to spread the message of Islam to women all over the world, actually wrote that as a, as a teenager.
So I think
there are various areas I've been interested in, but Islamic schooling, chip has always been there, you know. So, yeah, that's a good point, actually, to lead onto because, as I understand it, like,
you've got like to Island via degrees. Instead of like, just going simply with one, you had to go and get to one from a rain college and other ones from a Salaam Institute, right. And even now, like, you're still you're doing a master's degree at sauce and Islamic law, right? So just Just tell me like, I mean, obviously, you're a mother, you've got children, Mashallah. And her husband? And like, how does someone like you who's who's busy with obviously looking after her kids and our home and all of that, get two degrees, you know, and become an alum?
I think I got married very young. Okay.
I was 19 when I got married. So I had just finished my A Levels.
But also, I had been in Egypt for two years. So I'd learned Arabic.
And I just knew it was it was the right time to get married. And, you know, I challenge I've met my husband on the left. So
I think what happened at that point was,
I really wanted to get married. And so when I was, you know, having the negotiations, the marriage negotiations, the tea parties, I would say to my husband, and my dad helped me with this, you know, with the communication side of it.
I asked him, you know, would you support my Slavic studies? Okay, because that's something long term that I really wanted to complete.
And my husband was really supportive of that, in fact, my Islamic Studies is part of my marriage contract. So I do think that really helped you.
In the sense that it was more like an honorable mention, rather than like a condition or something like that.
But it was something that my whole point that we had, that I had mentioned up front,
when we were getting married, my husband was really supportive of that, of course, when you're 19, you don't realize that when you have children, you're not just going to carry on as normal, you know,
things are going to change, and things are going to change. But one of the things why I remember my husband asking me in our marriage meetings, he asked,
so because he think he could see that I was that this, my studies really meant a lot to me. So he said, What about what about children and family? You know, like,
he wanted to get, I think, an idea of what my priorities were.
And I think even even from then, I did say to him, Look, you know, family is priority, family is a big priority. And so when
my children came along,
I really did devote my time to my children, especially in the early years, when I was very much focused on motherhood.
And that meant that
usually, I know people, you know, in their 20s, graduating, right, in their 20s, they might be doing their further studies as well. And they might delay marriage. For me, it was kind of the other way around. Yeah. So I got married young, I had my first child when I was 21.
And so I think I would say I spent the strongest years of my life as a mother, you know, and really, like, focused on that role. But at the same time, that didn't mean that I completely stopped
all of my studies on you know, my interests.
It's just that I prioritize my children. So
one thing that I would say to sisters, you know, when they say to me, especially when they just have to
The second of how do you seek knowledge? How do you do things? other things, you know, when you have children.
The first thing I say to them is, look, family is your finest project, you know, your family's project, if it's, it's worthy of your attention, and
but my example from, from my experience what I did, for example, while I was literally feeding my babies, right, I usually breast feeding, I would be listening to lectures in Arabic. Okay.
I think I listen to like, Arabic lectures over and over again to improve my Arabic.
Also, in the evenings, when my baby was sick,
he would write articles,
So today is that even though I wasn't in a formal institution, during those years?
What I did do
you have a means of studying, I think we're living in an amazing age, you know, we're really, apart from discipline, there's nothing stopping you from, from seeking knowledge, in multiple ways. But then, eventually, when my children got to a certain age,
opened London, I could
see that that was my to go to institute to study with scholars again.
But even then, I think what like, for example, with Ibrahim college, I went there, I actually negotiated with them. Because, again, this Alinea degree was designed was for a single young person, you know, pretty much, you know, who literally had from my from 9am till 5pm. Free, right.
And that's the sort of students were going there. And that's not me, because I had children to pick up from school. So I turned up there. And I had,
I had my what you could call elevator pitch ready, right?
As to why they should take me on and why they should change their program to fit around me.
But at the same time, I said to them, Look,
I told them, what I would do with the not to do and how, you know, I could, if they were a bit more flexible with me,
it would really make a difference. And I will be able to complete these studies. So what happened was they agreed for me to do three days a week,
and you like up to two o'clock. So I could always go home to pick up my kids from school.
And that meant quite a lot of kind of looking at the timetable and making sure that over the years, I covered all the subjects that needed to be covered, right.
So it takes a bit took a bit of organizing, but at the same time, it meant that I was not neglecting what I consider to be my most important role, you know,
that took me longer than the average student to complete my alumier. Yeah, right. It's nearly double the time, I'll say. And that in itself takes a lot of patience. Because you know, you're seeing people who people with pulse you that that's what it feels like, you know, people are whizzing past you and but for the moment, I remember once reading the story of the hare and the tortoise to my children.
And I remember when I was reading the hare and the tortoise, I was just like it, although I've heard that story so many times, and I'm sure all of us have, right? For some reason, it just really resonated with me. And I remember sitting there thinking, wow, that that story means a lot to me, and it's really relevant to me. And what I realized was that, you know, the head, you seem to be whizzing forward. He had all the speed. He had the, in a way he had all the means to get to the finish line really quickly. But he started in the middle and he got distracted here and there and then. But when you look at the tortoise, the tortoise was so slow, you know,
but the tortoise didn't stop. And the tortoise kept going slowly but surely slowly but surely.
And and that story kind of made me think about the fact that you know what
If I carry on,
if I can just have the endurance, you know, I think what people nowadays called grit or endurance, or you know that the consistency,
I will get there in the end, even if it ends up taking longer.
And I found it in that even though you're you're presenting as though it's like an amazing thing to have completed two years.
For me, it It took a long time, you know,
like I recently reached the age of 40. So, so kind of like, you know, so, for me, it was like, although it's a long time,
it was about being patient. And doing things properly. I think that was really important to me. So the question of why did I choose, okay? Isn't the reason this reason, but that's not because I'm like trying to gather certificates. Not that. The reason was that when I first set out to Egypt, when I was 16, to study Arabic and Islamic Studies, I went to another and my in my aim was to complete studying Sharia law.
But due to some problems, and some issues, like health issues within my family, I had to return to the UK.
And I had to
continue here. So in my mind, I always wanted to study Islamic Studies classically, rather than University, right? So academically speaking, I could have gone to so ask, for example, I could have gone to any Western Islamic Studies. institution, right. But for me, I wanted teachers who had a man who had faith, I wanted
all or not, basically, I wanted scholars who, they're not just they're teaching Arabic teaching, it's not exposed as an academic exercise, but as nurturing and the
big aspects as well. So
I've been looking for helped me get into universities abroad in our countries.
out so when these institutions started appearing in the UK,
I just wanted to grab that opportunity.
But also, because the institutions in the
what I found was that
institution had one strength, and another institution had another strength, right. And sometimes,
something that was missing in one could be found in the other and vice versa. So the reason why I did both, is because they they, I felt like as a scholar, I needed both in order to get proper, rounded Islamic education, you know. Okay, amazing. Yeah, I think it's, it's been a very, very interesting journey. And like you said, although it might have felt slow to you, you know, when you look at your achievements, I think most people would say that the achievements are beyond what most people do. So it's amazing. One thing I want to ask you, and this is something that a lot of people might not know, you know, as someone who's a parent now of young children, myself, you know, one of
the things we dream of is our children memorizing the Quran and stuff. And I just wanted to before we move away from education, just talk a little bit about that, because 100 I think it's very, very impressive that I feel that you and brother cinema have done an amazing job in achieving that, like having a child, which is a half in this country. And by that I mean UK, you know, without going abroad and spending years there, and this and that. So, just give us a few words of wisdom for for mothers and parents who, you know, want to achieve what you've achieved with your son. And and doing it in a place like the UK.
And you Yeah, so,
from quite a young age, I always wanted to, I thought when I have children, I want them to be happy to
be allowed to memorize grants.
Because I've listened to the lectures and I think it was one of the shoe you know, who'd really, really I don't know about you, but back in the day, we used to listen to like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. And he was always talking about the how amazing the Muslim community used to be right? And how amazingly educated children were and like a small child could memorize the hope for an and and I remember feeling very inspired by that as a teenager, and thinking when I children I really wanted to shift
but I think the
reality was that in the UK, there was like,
very few, unless you live in East London maybe either,
especially in certain areas, it's not that easy to find a teacher. So initially, I would say I, I think it was really important that I could teach my child, you know, because I think if you can, if you can teach your child every single day, nothing beats that, you know, then go into a class once a week, it's just not the same intensity, right? So when it came to learning to read the Quran, and
also memorizing the last part of the Quran, the 30th just
I did that with my children at home, okay. But then when they started getting to a certain age, I'd say around seven, eight, I started thinking, you know, especially with my boys, I felt like they needed someone external, you know, like a more upbeat, some, preferably a man, you know, a male teacher who could really motivate them and give them that and also maybe a class that should give them a sense of belonging and motivation. Because obviously, like memorizing, go for it over time, it can, it can be quite an effort, you know, to stay motivated, especially for a young person.
So we kept trying to motivate them by for example, when they reached a milestone, we'd have a, we'd celebrate, right?
We do have a celebration, or we would give them gifts. But apart from that, I think they needed that peer group.
So I just started floating around, loads of people. And everyone was saying to me, No, there isn't, there isn't anyone there isn't anyone until one won't unshare he told me there is a
brother in Harrow like, which is like, an hour's drive away, or 40 minutes drive away.
And so I found that person, and that person agreed, as long as we would bring our child to his house.
And so we started doing that. But it's really far away. And it was off to school, which meant
my son was falling asleep, and it was getting hot.
And then, one day, my husband just had enough, because it was just like, really, you can imagine, like being in traffic for an hour of each way, right?
With a child who is still quite young, you know, like, is still primary school age and falling asleep in the car. And
after a while, it was getting really, like, difficult. So
my husband walked into the mosque, and he talked
to local mosque. And they said, you know, what, we actually used to have a headscarf in this mosque, but we ended it because the teachers left. But now we've got the staff again, and we were thinking of,
you know, maybe the fact that your son is like at this stage and ready, he's ready to go. Maybe that could be a motivation for us to start up again.
And so they did something. And that was like, literally 510 minutes away from home. So
that's where my son began to carry on going. And, you know,
but I, for me, it was a, it was about making a lot of dogs.
I think anytime you get to a stage where you have a dream, so even, I'll give you the example of even the fact that I want you to do Islamic Studies, I wanted to complete my Islamic State, and I wanted to get married. When I was 19, I couldn't tell how I would be able to do both of those things.
And I remember just making that bar. And it's on both occasions that a lot. I don't know how I can do this.
But I want to do both of these things. I want to be able to do this thing and I have I don't have the means I can't tell where the means are. But nothing is too difficult for you. So I'll somehow let this thing happened, you know, and that's been my boy, I think anytime
something seemingly impossible, has turned up, you know.
But then obviously, after you make that die, you want to take some action want to do your best, you know, get resourceful. But then once you do that, I just I've just found that the doors start opening up
and that's humbling.
You know, I think that's, that's really what happened. And we made that we kept saying to Allah that this, this is our intention, please Allah we are we are kind of giving our child to you, you know, we're giving our child to you in our, the most precious thing in our life, our time, our children, our
resources, we want to serve you with them. So make it easy for us to find a way to do that. I think if you have the patience and you don't give up,
the doors slowly start opening.
Amazing, amazing all of us. And that's amazing. So I want to kind of move the discussion over now away from education slightly and more towards like authorship. Because I know that you've done an amazing job, Mashallah, in releasing the book, how the Yamato of history's greatest nation. So that book has been amazing. And I've got to say from from my side, I'm really, really happy to see books like this, because my children are now getting to the age where they're starting to be able to read, like, full books on their own. Right. And, you know, they're in all kinds of books. And, you know, he says, like a really weird one. He likes like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and crazy kind of stuff like
that. But we're trying to, like, introduce Islamic books. So recently, I went to a bookstore in Buxton, where I'm currently traveling, and I saw this book, and it said, like, the Syrah the golden zero for the process of them for the younger generation, right? So I was like, really happy, I was like, This is perfectly second read this, I bought the book, right? I took it home, and I started reading it. And it was like, it was like someone had traded taken an Arabic book, and poorly translated into English, right? And so forth. For parents, it's very, very difficult to find great books written by native English speakers with that kind of mindset. And I think, you know, you've
done an amazing job with furniture, or the Alon book and tell us, so tell us a little bit about the book. And then tell us about the upcoming books that you're planning to write as well. inshallah?
This was me.
You just froze for a few minutes. Okay. So I was just saying that with with the audiobook, you've done an amazing job with that. So tell us a little bit about how did that come about? And also, tell us a little bit about the books you're intending to write soon. inshallah Are you working on?
Okay, so this would be the book I've got here, by the way.
Anyone who wants to have a look
at each book?
at some point, I had written a children's book, and I sent it to a publishing company. And I put so much effort into it, and they sent it straight back, telling me that it was not very good.
that was like, a few years before the audiobook, and
I started thinking, you know what, maybe I need to get better at writing and stop. not think of children's book writing as an easy thing, which I think I was thinking.
And so by then I've read a lot of children's books, because I'm reading to my kids, right? Roald Dahl. I actually studied English literature as well,
you know, at college. So, for my a levels, and I loved English literature, the all the different books, dekins. Shakespeare keeps the poets and, you know, all that kind of thing.
And what happened was just one day out of the blue, and I know, this doesn't really happen to a lot of authors. Okay. So it's not typical.
But one day,
a publisher, you know, you know, the publisher brothers a year, he contacted me out of the blue, and he said, Just a moment, we're looking for
We're also a writer, but who?
And you can research Islamic Studies topics, and you know, and I thought, well, that means, you know, that that fits, that fits me perfectly.
And he said, You know, we've got a number of things we're looking at in terms of projects. So could you send us a sample of like, he said, if you are going to write about
the life of Omar bin al, for example, for the law, and then
can you send us like a chapter a sample of the sort of style that you'd write it in?
So, you know, that kind of got me excited. I think sometimes, you know, when when
I think one of the skills, all of us, or one of the practices we all need to develop is
the practice of not being so rigid with our schedules, right. And without goals, that we don't allow new things to come into our life, you know, positive new things.
You have to be open
to things coming into your life that you didn't plan, you know.
And that's kind of been my philosophy. So and
I've ever been involved with have been things just just came out of the blue. But that I said yes to because I guess as long as you have like a long term vision, right, you do know that these things fit into the sort of work that you want to do, right.
But they don't have to necessarily be exactly what you had planned.
I didn't really think that my first book would be a true Jordans book.
But I had kind of given up on the idea of a children's book, and I thought, okay, I want to write books for adults, and I was writing for magazines, Islamic magazines, and things like that.
But this opportunity came along, and
and the publisher said to me, you know, what about the lives of the, of the great women of Islam. He said, he did some market research. So, you know, obviously, the parents that were,
that way, his customers, and the thing that they were asking for the most was books for girls, and especially female, you know, like, female role models from our past.
So, so in a way, we knew that this was something that was needed, right, because the customers had already expressed that. Um, and I think it's always really helped me to have a deadline for stuff, you know,
like, often, we have dreams, we have things that we would like to get around to doing one day, some day.
But for me, even just like having this discussion with you today,
have been that deadline, that I knew that, Okay, at this time I've been, I have to be ready, the camera and certain things have to be set up. It helps it helps me because what that does is, you know, it makes
more concrete I guess.
on it, Jeff, first,
I think the great thing about the project was
that the publisher
means that he really kind of
put a lot of faith in me, I think, in terms of Okay, let's see where this goes. So instead of having a very rigid idea at the beginning,
he sort of, he did have an idea. But once I started actually the creating process, I think the whole project evolved, he would give me feedback.
I think probably the first draft of the book was really, especially the first chapters were probably not very good at all.
he, he, he would give me feedback, and then I would go away, I would read books by Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens, and you know, and to get me in the, in the zone, I think, and then I would start writing.
And I also benefited from this book that you want to recommend it to me brother, Mom, it was called the one thing
and, and the way I benefited from it was not that I thought that there was only one thing that I would do,
you know, like, in my life, but at that
time, if you can have laser sharp focus on one thing, you can get some amazing results. So during that period, I kind of
really asked my family and my husband
to allow me to spend like a whole day at the library every week. Okay. And I'm talking from morning till night till closing time.
what I found was, I needed laser sharp focus.
Because once you get into the writing process, if you have to come out of it, and go back to your ordinary life, your everyday life, and it's really hard to get back into that place where you were. So it's better to kind of stay there as long as
And that that's what really helped me so, so having solid days, you know, where from morning till evening, I even used to pray at the library, you know, I had my prayer mat.
And one of the libraries even had a prayer room. So, you know, we've got so many resources now.
I literally spent the day there. And I wrote this book. And what I would do is, I would just imagine myself as a child, and what kind of book I would have loved to read.
I was that child, this book is for the child, I was, I think, my dad used to go around looking for, you know, Islamic books for me. And you can imagine the 80s, there was nothing right there was just like, they literally were only translations.
But I remember, once my dad bought me a book about fight the mother dilemma. And because my name is Fatima, that that meant a lot to me.
So I would like laptop, you know, any book that he gave me. But I remember reading that book and feeling really depressed afterwards as a child. Because the way it was, first of all, it was written in a very basic and you know, dry away, you know, just factual.
And so, and also,
it did not really take care of the readers emotions, I would say, yeah, you know.
And so, one of the things I remember, when we were doing the seeds of Change Conference, we would always ask, how do we want people to feel right, at the end of this talk? Or how do we want them to have this experience? And I kind of used that for the book as well, you know, I thought to myself, how it's actually more important, how the child is left feeling, having read the book than it is, what exactly they read, you know, the little details, right? So for me, it was about showing, showing children that, yes, you know, these great people of the past, they had difficult lives, okay. It's not that they did not have difficult lives. It's not that they didn't face difficult
things. But their story is not a tragedy, you know, it's not. And sometimes that's the way the stories were kind of portrayed when we were kids, you know, like, at the end, they die. And then it's really sad. And, you know, they were poor, and they had, you know, that kind of left you sort of feeling like, Oh, you know, basically,
you didn't feel that uplifted, you didn't feel uplifted.
And so what I wanted to do is not shy away from the difficult things. Okay. So for example, Khadija delana, she went through a lot, right?
But the sake of, for the sake of Islam, she suffered a lot. But at the same time, she had this wonderful romance, right, she had this wonderful marriage, she, she had the right mindset with which to live his life.
She also ultimately knew what her goal was right, which was gender. And she knew that ultimately she would, she was striving for true success. So I wanted to convey all of that as well.
And I really hope that I've been able to do that.
The thing that gives me hope is that now when I'm, you know, like, sometimes I do school visits, and talk about the book, and people want to buy a copy of the book. Now, the girls are coming back and saying, where's the next book? Right? So I really need to get on with it. And I think that's really like, in the best.
The greatest thing out of it that a lot of especially girls, but not only girls, but especially girls have come up to me, and they've really said, you know,
it's given their
view of what Islam
is. They've given them what
it's given them a different narrative regarding what it is to be a Muslim woman. Right.
Well, I think, you know, sometimes
Islam is presented as a bunch of rules. Tip, all right.
But actually, it's, it's a worldview. It's a way of looking at the world. It's a way of
acting yourself. But also it's, it's a vision that you have, right. And I think for young people, if we cannot inspire them, to know what that greater prize is,
it's going to be hard for them to get through this life. Right?
So I'm hoping that books like this,
you know, they give, I've tried to put things in there, like, for example, all the aspects of the head that we would want our children to know, you know,
intimate moments, I think we've had deja and the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, to give them an idea of what
all those things can be in a book, I would say, I didn't have the skills to write a great book when I started.
But I think what I realized is I had to learn those skills. And I just had to develop and just become good at it. And so I would write, I would write five chapters at a time,
and submit them, and then get feedback.
But then also, what I did was I actually printed the book out the chapters out. And I would sit back and read, read it out loud to myself.
And that really helped, you know, because it's not just about what you're reading, it's about how it sounds, how it's gonna come across.
So yeah, it was, I really enjoyed the process. They were difficult times, like, you know, but it was very much sort of
this beautiful story I really want to share with young people.
They've got to know the story, and they've got to feel what I'm feeling about the story.
So yeah, it's been really, really good experience, Mashallah. I love I love what you said about like, thinking about how they left at the end of the book and stuff. Because when you when you look at history, or obviously, you know, you look at long term history, everyone ends up dying Anyway, you know, so to kind of leave you with something positive, and all that stuff is great. You know, it's interesting, because, obviously, you're really catering and you're really leading the way in martial arts macula for for for women. And I think like, what's really interesting, and this is why I kind of consider your agenda as well, because, you know, you've done a lot of stuff on mainstream
TV on BBC on Channel Four, you've been on radio, you've written for lots of things. So tell me a little bit about what's it like to be a Muslim woman, when it comes to the media, when it comes to doing these different programs and appearing on this stuff? Like, what's it like being Muslim woman? How do you kind of go about, like speaking for women, when you know that, you know, maybe you're perceived in such a different way?
I think there's, there's two different sides to it. Okay. There's the aggressive political, you know, kind of
rhetorical side to it. Okay. Which I've actually moved away from. Okay. So, initially, I would have accepted. So when there was some big story in the news, right about the niqab or anything to do with Muslim women, I would get a flurry of phone calls. And people would encourage me to, to go on and
off, after having a couple of experiences of that, I realized that actually, these
actually, I need to be selective, you know, about the kinds of media appearances and contributions that I accept. And that that wasn't a bad thing, you know, because sometimes people feel like any publicity is good. But actually, that's not actually the case. Because sometimes, the format of a show is such that you're literally being used as a soundbite. You're just, you're just like entertainment, your entertainment. That's all you are. And I'm interested in that, you know, I'm interested in having real conversations. I think that's one of the great things about podcasts, where you you actually have extended conversations, right.
And sometimes I even think that, you know, some of the some of the kind of debate type things that we sometimes took part in, in the past, some of the people who were brought as opponents, I guess, I think I really get on with them, probably, you know, if we met in a real setting, and even a podcast setting, because actually, when I follow their work, and I think I agree with a lot of stuff that they say
or at least I can appreciate where they're coming from, you know, whereas mainstream media can often be like, just about sight, sound bites, and about, like I said, entertainment.
So I think one of the things I learned from that experience is to be selective, but also to set the terms you know,
What exactly do I want my contribution to be? So I began to only accept the sorts of requests that
first of all treated me as sort of an expert. Right?
So for example, I got invited on to BBC Radio for as author of Khadija, about the life of Khadija, or about any aspect of Islam. Right. And,
and I started accepting more of those kinds of requests, and even in written media, you know,
and I think that has,
I feel a lot more comfortable with that, you know, because I think I don't, I really don't enjoy, but also I don't really feel that it's the space for me, personally, to be the one who's always putting out fires, you know,
and doing things according to somebody else's agenda, somebody else's narrative the way they want to frame it, you know, so somebody wants to have an extended conversation with me, if somebody wants to call me as an expert was somebody who knows about this topic? Fine. You know, those are the sorts of things that I've, I'm accepting. But I've kind of moved away from the kind of
debate type setups, I'm not saying that the other people shouldn't do them, you know, it could be that other people are more suited to that.
But for me, personally, I think it's time to stop being the only the only thing
they talk about is no bar, for example, or the only thing we talk about is the job. I want to go beyond that, you know, so
there's that aspect.
But then, also, like presenting a podcast must last been very, I would say, beneficial. It was it's been very cathartic. otic, because I think there's so many conversations that sisters have, and brothers have, you know, we have private we have in other settings that other people could benefit from.
And sometimes as a Muslim, because you don't see or you you don't hear
people from your background,
having a conversation, just having a conversation and conveying things through that. And you can start feeling quite lonely. Like, am I the only one who thinks this, you know, my the one who's feeling this. And there's something amazing about conversations, but I think is more powerful than speeches, even, you know,
you hear two people kind of
going back and forth, not necessarily always agreeing with each other. But sort of working through an issue together. And it helps you think more clearly as well, I think. So. I've really enjoyed the kind of extended podcast type media, I would say,
before presenting the podcast, I used to do Ramadan radio, as well, sometimes. So
I already had experience in that.
But I think from a young age, I knew that people had misconceptions about Islam, and that it was our duty to remove those misconceptions. So when these opportunities came along, for contributing to the media,
although I would say it would be beneficial to have media training and those kinds of things, I think, in a way,
I just felt naturally that I should contribute, you know, where I can. I think I think this is a point I want to touch upon. Because, you know, one things we can really talk about is leadership. And as a scholar as a, as a journalist, as someone who's kind of done all this, like who's a leader that's really kind of inspired you.
So would you say somebody who's alive today? Yeah, it could be someone like today could be someone in the past.
You know what I find inspiration from so many people.
I'd say a few people who've really stood out.
I think my mom has stood out a lot.
One of the funny things about my mom, I think I learned a lot from her because when I was in Egypt,
there was a lot of admin that used to get you know, you couldn't get things done in Egypt right there was like so much red tape, so
And people would always say to you tomorrow, come back tomorrow, come back tomorrow, right? And my mom came and stayed with me for a little while. And I remember her always kind of never accepting that, you know? And she would she would say to them, no, no, no, we want it now. We want it now. We want it sorted out now. And so one of the things I learned from my mom was speaking up, and not just settling not just kind of being too agreeable about everything, you know.
And I think that was really good.
Because it's not everyone in my family is like that. And so, sometimes you need to have that person who's like, not willing to just go Okay, you know, everything's fine.
But willing to sort of go a bit further than that. So, yeah, my mom has always been a role model because every community we moved to, we moved quite a lot. And she would start her own class and the neighborhood children will just turn up and be in our house and learning Quran.
So, oh, I saw her that you know, you could be
something good, you know, wherever you go.
Apart from, you know, my parents, I would say,
spend some days with Dr. Farhat Hashmi.
Okay. arraign. And
it's one of those
things I could never have planned. And I didn't plan, you know,
but just spending a few days with her and seeing the impact of her work. Because like, I've got relatives in India, who are not necessarily very practicing, okay?
In our extended family, but they started going to Dr. foreheads classes, right, like they started going to classes in India.
And these are like sort of middle class or upper middle class ladies who, traditionally, it's quite hard to get them to get into religious things, right.
But for some reason, there was something powerful there that they found that they, they actually, it kind of became fashionable, you know, for these educated, you know, university educated and sometimes even like PhD type level, fit women who were educated in English school systems and stuff, to suddenly start going to these grind classes, right.
And just spending time with her.
Because then I could see that
what she done was patiently.
She was not a complainer, you know, I think it's really easy, like for us to work with different organizations or settings, and then find them lacking and then feel like, Oh, well, you know,
that's that, right. But when she kind of, she told me about how she used to teach.
I'm not sure what university in Buxton, she began teaching them after she had finished our studies. And she didn't, they wouldn't allow her to teach the way she wanted.
And so she just hired a classroom, right. And she started doing her own classes outside, you know, and I really liked that approach. I like the fact that she's not, she's a woman who's making a lot of impact. And he's caused a lot of impact. But she doesn't have a chip on her shoulder, you know what I mean? She doesn't have, she's not complaining about men, for example.
of sometimes, you know, it's easy for sisters to fall into that. complain about what the brothers how the brothers don't value them, blah, blah, blah, you know, whatever. She is that sort of person who actually, you don't need to complain, just get up, take responsibility, take some action, and, and move things positively the way you want.
So I found that very inspiring. Once we were in a setting together,
where there were a lot of sisters, we are being awarded something
to be awarded something on the same level as Dr. Burnett because, you know, compared to the keys, Dad, you know, so Pamela, like, it was a bit embarrassing to even be there to get this. But we're both
big. And we were surrounded by women who were you know, not necessarily dressed in the correct way, right, like exposing, exposing themselves and
there was a lot of there were a lot of photographers and you know,
it was very kind of showbiz. You know,
And I was getting quite annoyed by the whole thing.
Because I was thinking, What's the point of inviting us and awarding us something, and you don't even respect the job, you know, like, apart from me and Dr. Farhat, everyone else was kind of very much, you know,
showing showing the beauty
in that kind of thing, right? I'm
Dr. forehead. And I said to her, you know, I like this saying, I'm not happy here because I feel like
we can't see it. Right, right. I can't say anything. But at the same time, they're, they're trying to respect us, but they're not really learning from us, you know, like, from our example.
And I remember Dr.
forehead, saying very calmly to me.
He said, Look, she said,
our very presence here is speaking volumes.
So I really liked that, you know, I really respected her for that. And, and I realized that, you know, when you're young, you feel quite
emotional, and you react in a very emotional way. And it feels like, it's, you know, you've got the truth, and you're like,
other people are wrong. And you know,
and I realized I needed to kind of rein that back a bit. And
look at the bigger picture, you know.
And sometimes, just, just as we said, you know, progress can be very slow. In life. Even our impact on the world can be slow. But it doesn't mean there is no impact, you know, so
yeah, I learned a lot from
when I also loved, love reading biographies and autobiographies
all the time, you know, I just finished
Michelle Obama's autobiography, right?
I read Oprah Winfrey's
Suddenly, I actually really loved Barack Obama's autobiography.
Just as a, it was actually written in a very beautiful way as well.
You know, I don't think it matters who the person is, so much.
It's just reading and experiencing that journey. And, and the, the difficulties they faced along the way, you know, and how they overcame them.
And how maybe seemingly strange things that happened to them actually ended up benefiting them. I just love reading that, that journey, you know.
Okay. So when you when you kind of take all your reading, you take all of the kind of established knowledge you've got and everything. And someone comes to you and says, Look, what is leadership for you? And is it different for a woman in terms of leadership in general? And just I just want to get your thoughts on leadership in general, if it's different for women.
one of the things that we we say, isn't it when we have children and when we have a family we say Rob banner, habla mean as wide you know, with reality, Nakata,
tequila, Mama, that, oh, a lot of banana, make our wives and our spouses and our children the coolness of our eyes,
and make us leaders of the righteous. And I remember I was reflecting on that one day, and I was thinking,
so everyone is supposed to
think that all right.
So religious leaders, and I
my understanding of leadership has evolved over time. And initially, I used to think of it as being
I remember at school, we had this thing called young enterprise, where for two weeks, we had to run a company in the school within the school, each class had to set up a company and run it. And we did a stationary company.
And I really wanted to be the CEO of the company, right.
And this is like we will we will probably like 15 at the time, right?
And I had the skills I felt like I had the skills I had the know how, and I had the printer as well at home, right because we were doing station
But I didn't get voted as the CEO, right? as the as the project manager.
And that was really disappointing for me
temporarily, because obviously, like the most popular girl in the class,
we were in a gold school. So the most popular girl in that class got voted as the CEO. So I thought, well, she doesn't have the qualities, but Okay, so she's popular, you know? Okay, great. So I had to work under her.
But I end up kind of, she ended up constantly referring to me anyway, right.
And one of the things that I learned from that whole process was, you don't have to be the one on, you know, who seemingly is the one on the top to be a leader, you know, and being a leader is about
is about doing the right thing that you need to do with the next step that you need to take. I think that's, that's one aspect of leadership that so so the reason why I say that is, sometimes leadership for me has been saying no to things. Because my children need me, you know.
And for me, that's leadership. Because if I don't lead the way and making that decision, I can get carried into all sorts of glamorous looking projects. And you know, but then
my children will suffer My heart, my heart, my household will suffer. So I think, in every decision we make, there's an aspect of leadership.
And one area of leadership that I think I've been late to learning about and I'm I'm really trying to develop is one that
one of my mentors, brother, Nabeel allowed me who recently passed away, I think he really opened my eyes to this one, this being a weakness of mine, actually, which I need to develop more,
which is servant leadership, you know, servant leadership, and he said, it sounds like an oxymoron, right?
one of the things I realized it's very easy when you when you have natural leadership qualities, and people often push you forward to leave things and, you know, to step up.
And it can be very easy for you to
forget about people who are working in your project, who maybe don't get so much
kind of recognition, you know.
And it's very easy. If people see you as a role model to start expecting people to carry your bag.
It's for them to do things for you. And you just get into that negative habit, that bad habit, especially if you've like, been abroad, and you've been the guest, for
x organisational that everyone's carrying bags for you, everyone's bringing you tea, everyone, you know, it's really easy for you to start then when you're in another setting, start expecting that. And you're like, how come you haven't made it for me, you know, how come this and that should never really happen, right? That shouldn't happen. That means you've, you've been so spoiled, that you you are not doing things for yourself. So
that aspect of leadership is one that
it takes for me, it
takes a lot of mindfulness.
I think that yeah, it's just natural for the nuts to start expecting that, you know.
So time I was at a very basic kind of Islamic guy entering or a base.
I noticed I started getting a bit annoyed when certain things were not offered like
my bags, right? But then I realized No, that's wrong. You know, you're supposed you're supposed to carry your own bags, you know, you're supposed to be as self sufficient as you can be right. There's an example of I think it was oh my Robin Barbara animal who
you know, once when his I think it was like the the the What do you call it the thing where that you pull your horse with? We will come up with it felt?
Yeah, the rain and he went, he got off and he lifted it up and
to somebody poor who was entitled to
them, you know, we can do that for you. And you said your Will you carry my burden on the Day of Judgment.
But also just generally knowing from, you know, stories of the scholars of the past, there's this famous story of like, scholars in their band, you know, in India, where, in the night when everyone was asleep, the chef used to come and use to clean all the bathrooms when nobody was there, right? So doing things that like, keep you humble. I remember, my dad used to say, you know, you should be, excuse it up the shoes, you know, when you go to a place, like, do things that kind of remind you that you're just, you're a human being, like every one.
And I think
I think that's something that I have to be very mindful of.
Even though it doesn't come naturally, to me, it doesn't come naturally.
So I think leadership is about being aware, becoming very self aware as well.
But I think the definition of leadership that is
a aspect of leadership that really, I find most meaningful is
a lot, sometimes it could be something as simple as family crisis, right? There's something happening in the family. And people aren't thinking straight, somebody needs to say, look, we need to sort this out, we need to have a family meeting, somebody needs to maybe bring some fresh thinking to the situation.
Sometimes it could be taking leadership in your community with some need that arises. So I think
probably when I was younger, I used to think leadership was all about being the person in charge.
But now I can see very well that I mean, rather Muhammad myself, and you read the first time we kind of came across each
other's organization that we were both in.
I think one of the beautiful things about that that organization was, it was full of leaders, it was as if every person in that organization was a leader. Right.
And I'm not exaggerating when I say that, because the brother who was in charge of marketing, he was a leader, the brother who was the brothers used to come and help with the events, right? Just they would add that, I don't know, like, they would add so much passion to what they were doing.
Even the brothers who were editing the videos, they would add something of themselves in there.
So I, I must say that probably
Oh, with those people, people are what leadership is really like.
You were just saying that you got cut off a little bit froze a little bit. You just saying that in the organization, you felt like everyone was a leader. And no matter what they were doing, they were bringing their leadership there. So what was the impact of that? Yeah.
Oh, the impact of that was?
So even if we just look, take the example of the conference that we did, right, so we had a seat, the seats change? Yeah.
I wasn't initially I wasn't involved with the conference.
she, she found me absolutely. And she said, Look, I don't know how to do this conference. I don't know what direction to take this conference in. I don't know what contents the conference should have, you know, and I need you to
help me with that. I need you to
that, basically, you know, just said that.
It was like being handed a team a plate, right? And being told, what do you want us to do? We'll do it right. And we'll put it into practice.
so, that sister, his sister, who was the manager of the event, and everyone who works under her in her team, so panela you know, everyone just just wanted to bring their best to the table.
I don't know if it was because of the personalities of the people who were involved, you know, or if it was because
We were all working towards a bigger vision, I think I think that's probably what it was, you know, I think in that organization, the vision of,
you know, we are conveying the message of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam, we are doing the work
that the Prophet would have wanted us to do, sharing the message of Islam, helping people to, you know, saving people basically from the hellfire. I think that vision was so well
articulated. And also so well instilled in everyone who was involved, that it just brought out the best in you. And it didn't matter if you were the person who was fixing the chairs up, right? Or if you were the one who was like presenting on stage, or like many of the brothers, the sound person, or the person who was
making adverts, or whatever it was, it just felt like
everyone was so kind of unified in their goal and purpose. There was this synergy, amazing synergy. And I don't know about you, brother, Mohammed. But I often think about that, that organization and its culture,
and what, how to capture that culture and take it to other places, you know, other projects? And
is it something that we can
Probably, it probably is. But I'd like to kind of figure out exactly what the kind of formula was, you know, to bring that that kind of synergy and culture to an organization? Because
I'm sure you'll agree with it was beautiful. There was there was a very beautiful aspect to that,
to that culture, that probably has stayed with us. Yeah.
I mean, for me that that organization, it was like, probably the best bunch of brothers I've ever worked with in my life. And I've worked with amazing brothers over the last 1520 years in the Muslim organizations and stuff. I think a lot of what you said, I think that the vision that they had was amazing, you know, it's time entering every home. We were all completely unified. We had amazing people in there. But they didn't let their egos get in the way, like most of the time, right 99% of the time, the egos went out the window, it doesn't matter if you're up to Rahim. Or if you're the guy who's fixing the chairs, like you said, like everyone was completely unified. I think timing was
good. Like everyone in their life was coming at a different time. I felt like everyone had total ownership, like, you know, to my leadership, they own the area. Like I always think about brothers like Jamal, who Jamal was on his own, trying to do all the video and all the photography and everything all in his own right. And he's the guy who's lifting his bags at the end of the night and everything. And then you go, all the volunteers would come and they would unpack the van when everyone's gone home at 2am, that crown house unpacking. And it was just, it was just completely amazing. I think he has an environment. And I think like definitely, definitely can be replicated.
But it's a very tough thing to do. Because you've got to synergize the vision with the people with the timing with the resources, and everything. But 100 nights, it's an amazing journey. I think everyone that was part of it, they really, really look back at it as a wonderful time. I mean, it was never, ever completely painless, or we didn't have problems. We had problems, like every conference, we were having problems and stuff. But no, you did it for the sake of law united together. And yeah, it was a great time, I think everyone felt 100% I feel the same, like some of the most amazing personalities, you know, just you got to work with them. And they just brought
excellence to the to their work. And I think once you've experienced that, you know what's possible, you know?
And so even when you move up, move on from that, or or move on to other projects you can
you want to capture that and you want to bring that to the project.
I don't know if you you know how I got involved with IRAs. quite funny actually, how I got involved with that urbanization.
And it's amazing because what you just said is so true, like the right place at the right time with the right people, you know, so
when I was when I was a
student in Egypt, I was reading these books about
aspects of like, Muslims in Arab countries and things like that, about women especially and these books were really depressing. Like, they really make
Do you stop thinking so panelized that all women are in these Muslim countries? The way Islam is, this isn't Islam is it? You know, it really got me. It started to affect me in a negative way.
And a sister who was in Egypt at the time, she was from Birmingham, she was a British sister. She one day came back from you know, having visited the UK, and she came back with all these videos. And you know, this is in the days of videos, VHS videos, right. And they were basically they were in the park, okay. And she put them on and we would sit in the, in the Arabic center that we were at. And after classes had finished, and she'd put these videos on, and we'd watch Abdur Rahim green in the park, right down to all these people and, and building up an amazing argument. And I remember
feeling my emotions so strengthened by watching those videos, you know, and just following that very logical, very
well argued, very conscious argument.
And I remember thinking, wow, I wish I had known all of this when I was in school, because my, my, my friends at school used to ask me these questions, right.
And so we watched it, though, in the park. And I remember when I got back to the UK, thinking,
Hyde Park that's like, around the corner, that's, I should go there, you know, maybe, maybe people still do that with it, right. So I started going to Hyde Park, just to kind of
watch people do that work.
And just so happened that when I first went,
this guy with white robes and a ladder, and long hair was walking on a pathway in Hyde Park. And I thought, That's him. That's, that's,
that's the guy in the videos, right. And, by the way, I never spoke to him at all. I never spoke to him at all, I just, I literally just wanted to hear the arguments again, because they were so compelling. And so I watched, you know, and he would put his ladder out, and he would stand up on the ladder stepladder
with his soul, but, you know, obviously, really standing out in the middle of London, right? And he would just just talk, and people just gather around him and you build up an argument for why you must believe in a lie, why why the Prophet was the Prophet. And, you know, basically go rap, you know, the, the DAO methodology that we used to teach in that organization.
I remember just going there sometimes, and just listening, and even there were other days as well, but not not as much as there there are now in that's become like, normal for people to go there. But time at that time, there were hardly any Muslims who would.
But anyway, over time,
so that was the first time I kind of came across shift of the ring in green. But again, I never spoke to him or anything, you know. And, and then years later, when I was when I had children, and
he was, he had a blog online, and our blog.
And one day, I sent an article to the blog about ways that women could do that. Right.
And he really liked that article, he published it.
And so again, it was just like, kind of,
from a distance, you know.
And then one day,
I just got an email and it said, Look, I'm going to start a new organization.
I'd like, there to be some sisters involved, but
I can't think of many, you know, I can think of you So would you like to come to this meeting, right, that we're going to have, and it was like some restaurant in London somewhere. And I said, Well, I'll bring my husband with me, you know. And, and that was kind of the first meeting where I era was discussed. And I think it was the first time that brother Hamza
of the room during a team myself, I can't remember who else I think, and my husband was there as well. And we were just
In a place together, you know, and
yeah, and it just started from there.
So Pamela, so, I think what you're saying is right, you know, it was the, the place the time, the time in everyone's lives, the
strange way for us all to have even gotten to know each other, you know, it wasn't really.
I don't know, it wasn't very kind of typical, if you like, of how you would set up an organization, it was more kind of just come along, you know, and let's see what happens. So that's how I felt anyway. Yeah. But I'm sure that they, they and they did have a very strong
they had a very strong idea, especially shape of dream of,
of what Tao should look like, you know, and what wasn't happening and what was happening in other religious communities. So for example, Christian missionaries and, and how our Deen deserved better, you know, and they needed to be people focused on this. And,
and to be honest, I felt like that was that was a visionary at a time when
a lot of Muslim communities were kind of obsessed with my new shine. Do you know what I mean? Like?
Where were you putting your hands in prayer, and stuff like that, right? But also just happy to just be doing their own thing, you know?
As long as my family is okay, as long as I'm keeping up with my prayers, and I'm doing my thing.
At that sort of time, I think
it was really amazing that somebody was thinking about
the bigger picture, the whole point of Islam, right?
In the UK. And the reason why it really resonated with me is because ever since I was a child, I'd been asked questions about Islam. I've been asked questions about my job. I've heard arguments against God. And I, I'd known that the, the answers were there. Sometimes I'd even known the answers, but I couldn't always articulate it in the best way. But I had had to learn to articulate it. And I wanted people to know about it's not I wanted them to know about the blessing of Islam.
And I could see the harm in people's lives when Islam wasn't present, when guidance present and that's at every stage, like, I remember as a when, when we were in Hackney, my next door neighbor
was this lady who
she was a battered wife basically,
has been used to be in and out of prison.
And, you know, whenever I looked at the people who lived around us whether it was in Hackney, even in Barnet, you know, people may have been more privileged. But to me in their psychology, they were not privileged. They were they had all sorts of psychological problems, pressures, especially girls had all sorts of pressures on them that sometimes they used to confide in me with, you know, because I wasn't, they didn't see me as part of that cultural
as under that cultural pressure. So sometimes they confide in me. And what I found was that the people were suffering due to a lack of guidance in their lives. And whenever I looked at my parents, and whenever I read about Islam, one of the books that had a huge impact was a book by Abdul Wahid Hammad called Islam the natural way,
which I read as a teenager. And he just took you from the beginnings of Islam to from the beginning of you know, you found yourself here on this earth. So how do you make sense of it from that to, you know, the Quran and Sunnah. He took you on that journey.
In such a beautiful way that I just felt, wow, people need to know about this, you know, I wish more people knew about this. And so I would sometimes give a copy of the Quran to a teacher or I would, you know, it just came naturally in a way. I tried to convert people as well, like at school, you know, I remember my geography teacher, a lot. I sent him a letter when I left
encouraging him to become a Muslim and SubhanAllah.
And he was very gracious about it. You know, maybe I was a bit clumsy in my approach.
But it came from a, he came from a very positive place, you know, and I think he could see that so.
So it just happened to be
That this double organization came about at a time when
I think a lot of us were ready, you know, ready for that? And kind of raring to go in a way.
Yeah, for sure. I think I think it's one of the things that they say in this book called Made to Stick, they talk about the curse of knowledge that once you've acquired certain knowledge, it's very difficult for you to understand what it's like when you don't have the knowledge. And I think the way you've just kind of described Islam is very much like that, that if you think about someone who's now practicing, we kind of take the Quran and Sunnah for for granted right guidance for granted that we feel very comfortable with it. We can read Quran every day, and you forget what it's like to be someone who's a human being who's lost in this world, like not knowing what am I doing
here? So I think it's a wonderful, wonderful point. And on that point, I think because we're kind of fast running out of time, I want to ask you other any books? Or are there any resources or anything that you recommend a lot to people? Just generally, obviously, a huge amount of you're following your sisters, but I'm sure brothers can benefit as well. Are there any books or recommendations or software or anything that you think is something that other people should really check out? Apart from obviously, do your own book?
one of the things that I benefit from a lot is watching Book Summaries, actually, so when you've got a lack of time, but there's this book that you really, you've heard is amazing. And you you know that the topic is something important that you need.
One of the great resources we've got now is go to YouTube, and look up book summaries of any book, pretty much any book, and you'll, you'll get it, and at least you can then get the kind of essence of the message of the book, you know, you might go on to read it properly later. But I think that's a general resource that I would really recommend. And I do recommend to sisters, especially because especially moms, you know, they're busy, they don't have time to read all these. And sometimes, I don't know if you've noticed this Brother Mohammed, but some of these books, they do feel like they've been padded a lot, you know, like,
the essence of the message could probably have been conveyed in a few pages. But you know, it's kind of been padded and a lot of stuff added. And sometimes you could just tell me what the point is, you know, just tell me, I just want to know, right? So Book Summaries are great. audiobooks have changed my life.
So probably last year, and this year have been the years that I've read the most books, but the audiobooks as audiobooks. What I do is,
so I, you know, get a book every month at least, okay, if not more, obviously, to my study, they have to be put anyway. But for my own self, like things that I feel will be beneficial to me, I'll read a book a month at least, or listen to it.
And what I do is I walk every morning, nearly every morning, for about half an hour to an hour. Okay, straight after dropping my children to school. And in that time, I will be listening to an audio book.
And in a way, I'll just be focusing on that, you know, so you probably saw, I think, more than one book a month.
Yeah, I do. But because from university, I get so many books that I have to read anyway.
You know, that keeps me busy. If all the books were on Audible, why that would be amazing. Yeah. I wish I even asked my professor that actually. I said, Why can't they just put these on audio, you know, like I could, I could consume so much more information. But, but I think what I do that that period is really for me, you know, for my own either self development or nourishment, or even, even sometimes to enjoy a story. Right? So it could be a biography, for example, or an autobiography.
And otherwise, the podcasts, podcasts are amazing. Like, I listened to this podcast called full disclosure.
Okay? by James O'Brien, he's a presenter, radio presenter, the reason why I listened to his podcast and it might seem like a bit random, right, is that he basically goes, he takes a guest, and he goes through the whole life in an hour. Right? And the big lessons from their life, and they usually somebody who's done something quite, you know, beneficial for society, something like that.
And so in one hour you you, you get the perspective of someone who maybe you're not
Really following or not really that interested in, in normal life. But sometimes I find such amazing nuggets of benefit from places where I wouldn't normally look, you know.
So I think keeping that sense of curiosity, that sense of spontaneity is really important.
I'll give you a couple of books that I mean, I've already mentioned the seven habits,
habits, I think is like the book that is like the bread and butter right?
Off gift, and a few others always keep talking about seven habits, great book definitely is the bread and butter. And I've even read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective families. She's also an official, and it takes it from a completely different approach in the sense that it's the same seven habits. But now you're really thinking about your family, and having a vision for your family, visiting family as a project and really,
really nourishing the positive relationships in that. So that's, that's probably the bread and butter. But apart from that,
some books that I've benefited from recently are
deep work, deep work by Cal Newport. And that's because if you're somebody who wants to do be successful academically, right, or even when you're working on something that takes a lot of focus, like writing a book, we're actually working on any project and really getting amazing results, you need to develop a habit of deep work. So in that book, he really highlights to you the things that actually keep taking our, our attention away.
And the benefits of having highly focused work. So that so that book has been really, really beneficial. And he tells you about different modes of,
of getting into that state of deep work. And you can find one that works for you, you know, another book that I've benefited from recently is
a book that it's not really self development, I would say, but I actually believe listening to beautifully written books is beneficial in itself. And that is a book by a guy called William Dalrymple, is an historian. He's written a book called anarchy, that anarchy. And it's a wonderful audio book, as well. And it's basically about the East India Company in India, and a bit here. So I love reading history, because
there's so much to learn from that. And so that so I don't think we should limit ourselves to only self help, you know.
interesting you say that, because, first of all, I want to learn a lot about Eastern your company, just the way they came as a company first and then roll the whole of India. But I think you love that. The other thing is I went to went to a coffee place here recently, and it's great coffee place, quite high end for Buxton, and the kids loved it because it was just full of books. And I put picked up a book, right, which was not self out. And I don't usually do that. And it was cool. So that'll Dean,
by john man, his name is. And I started reading the first few chapters. And I was like, so wowed by it, I forgotten what it's like to read a non self help book, where they actually describing something in the storytelling format. So I think it's a great idea, especially if you want to be a writer, if you do those kind of things, to read those non self help books as well. So does that work? Oh, that's, that's a really great recommendation as well.
So at the moment, I must tell you, at the moment, I'm listening to the magic of thinking big, which was recommended to me, but it was recommended to me by you actually, I give that to everyone as one of the first book they should read just because before you do anything, right, expand your mind. So I think the key thing is just keep reading and keep nourishing your mind and putting positive input into your mind. And, you know, hopefully that will make possible positive output.
We kind of run out of time, but it's been an absolute pleasure having you here today. Is UCLA fair for all of your time, and wonderful advice.
Yeah, I know. I know everyone watching will have loved what they've heard. You showed you shared some amazing stories, some amazing insights and it's wonderful to have a female alum and Anima on on here as well. So exactly fair, for everything he said and for all your time. Brothers and sisters. This is the Muslim CEO show. I hope you enjoyed the show. And if you haven't
done so please remember to subscribe to our channel. And also I want to tell you that one of the things his father does as well as she does the home feed podcast, so make sure you check that out and subscribe to that. And of course, if you go to fight tomorrow's law, you can find photobox to la.com you can find out lots more information on SR as well as amazing YouTube videos as well. So it's a call of hell guys. inshallah, we'll see you next time, sister once again. Thank you so much and inshallah we'll catch up with you soon somebody crassula
and make him Salaam Alaikum