Challenges of Being a Prominent Muslimah
Channel: Umm Jamaal ud-Din
File Size: 58.10MB
So with me today, I will introduce our wonderful guest speakers both of which who are prominent Muslim women working in the public eye in the data space in the Sydney Muslim community. We have the very knowledgeable share her own Jamaat with Dean and our beloved sister Alicia Bennett family come sisters, welcome to the show. How are you both feeling
good Hakan, we're talking about this particular topic, Shama hate? Yeah.
I'm actually really excited about this one. I think it's a topic but I think enjoy this discussion will be very riveting and it's a discussion that we really need to have in our community. So 101 very thankful that Internet has allowed us to have this discussion and inshallah Allah put Baraka in it. So I'm going to introduce showhome gem algo Dean, she's a prominent teacher, speaker and mentor. She's an Australian revert to Islam and teacher of Quran and various Islamic sciences in Sydney. She studied the Quran at our hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has a jaza in touch with. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of fig in also affic at El Medina International University. She has
delivered many talks both nationally and internationally and is passionate about motivating others to become more steadfast in their faith, along with empowering sisters by sharing her knowledge of the deen. Mashallah, and this is to Keisha Bennett is a mentor and student of Islamic knowledge. She has a jaza in touch with and spent several years pursuing Sharia studies and the various teachers. She is a women's coach and youth educator in New South Wales schools, and within the Muslim community in Australia. She has worked closely with countless women and youth through her coaching businesses through her coaching business, developing diamonds, and regularly collaborates with many
community charities and organization organizations as an ambassador for important campaigns and causes. So welcome both Felicia Bennett and Antonella Dean, inshallah, I want to really enjoy having the panel with you both today and I hope you both really enjoyed to Shelley inshallah, thank you. All right. Well, I think let's just get down into it. Alright, so the first question I would like to ask both of you is tell us about the work that you do in the community? And how long have you been in the public eye, who would like to go first?
company now Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah wala, and he will suffer, he won and Wella Docomo fair for inviting us along and giving us this chance to share inshallah. So
as for the public eye, that didn't happen till a couple of years, a few years ago now. But before that, you could say that I was already working already had some sort of public platform, but it was within the sisters circles. So I used to give, like, I've been giving, you know, lectures to sisters for almost 18 years and, you know, talks that I'm sister the events, but it was around about 2016 when I kind of took the plunge and got into the social media sort of
thing. So yeah, that was a, that was a big leap of faith for me, and yeah, pushed you to get onto social media.
Well, I think what happened was, I just like, the world's moving on, and when you you know, inshallah, as a person, obviously, in Dharma, you have to have a growth mindset, you have to realize that you have to go where the people are. And I just felt that there was a really big gap, you know, in the world saying, like, and I knew the power of, I really knew the power of having, you know, positive female role models around you, you know, I mean, I've always sought them out myself being a revert, and always wanting to sort of
having high aims, and the dean, I was always seeking out, you know, sister to sister to be my role models. So I felt like, you know, online, you know, online, males have a lot of role models, but there's not really a lot of female role models and not to say that I'm the best role model or anything like that, but I just felt like there's a real absence there. And, you know, like, I'd spent my years raising my kids and I really felt like you know, it handed off sort of establish my home and now it's time to sort of move more into my focus more into the oma you know, I want to kind of like, feel like, you know, I've done what I could in raising my children and my home. So now it's
kind of want to move into the, the wider community kind of thing and inshallah omad lunch, so basically like that, to have more impact. Yeah, like, I just felt like, I've got I feel like from the skills I had learned in raising my children, shallow, you know, holding on to their faith, believing it to Allah, I felt like inshallah, you know, I can use similar skills also. And, you know, obviously, all those years of experience working with sisters, giving this sense and Dawa and all that. I felt like if I can do this, you know, on the local scene, I can also do it on a on a larger on a larger scale as well, you know what I mean? So I think that's what kind of, yeah,
looking at the bigger picture. It made me realize that you know, like, I feel like I
need to step up and do something and you know, we've only got one life like what do I look at it I've got one life. So I felt like you know, I want to do you know, have maximum impact as much as I can in shoreline is the short life that we have, May Allah give us Baraka
that day forward for you?
That is a really, you know, we need that, like you said, We need more representation, we need more people like you to reach out to the sisters in the community. And if you can do that at a larger scale, then you know, of course, that's what we need. Shawn. So sister, Alicia, same thing with you. Please tell us about the work that you do on the community. And how long have you been working in the public eye? Yeah. Smith at home to La salette, Osceola salam, ala rasulillah, some Alomar they will sell them. I started getting involved in community work. by necessity really back when I was quite young, I was maybe about 20 years old or 16 or so years ago. And it was based on a need I had
very little knowledge. But whatever little I knew, I started to share it in particularly with new reverts to Islam and young people in the community that grew taught to becoming different classes and programs again, on the basics of Islam. As I learned, as I learned more things, I taught them to the community. I was from Perth city in Western Australia and 15 years ago, there was very, very little available in terms of community programs and classes. So as I learned things I would curate and design programs and classes and then deliver it and then started developing use groups eventually handle all the different things we started became part of an organization. And before
moving here, where we left behind that organization is still running today.
And the different programs. So there was by necessity that I got involved in community work. But in terms of like online presence, I guess when we talk about being a public figure, no one saw me or knew me, I never had any photos up no videos, I was very, very product when you were in person. Yes, yes. So when I launched my business, which was right before moving here, I wanted to take my skill set with me, as I moved on out of the community. And you know, kind of share my expertise, what I was able to teach and mentor in particular women and young people and take it with me wherever I went, I love our love, I didn't know where I was going to end up living or moving. So coming to
Sydney, I set up my business in terms of coaching, workshops, courses, and different programs for some sisters that I could take everywhere with me. And that's when I launched online said that, I guess, pushed me into being a more public figure. And then I did I made that decision, like sure how to have an online presence with video and that sort of thing. Probably one of the hardest decisions I've made in my life, to be honest. Yeah. Why was it very hard for you, um, I really value privacy, and I, you know, the privacy of your your life, your face, even who you are, the whole world shouldn't have the right to access that. So I had to wake up in terms of what I wanted to share and
teach and who I wanted it to reach. My area that I focused on is that Islamic identity of our Muslim women and our youth. And I heard and you know, I had a teenage daughter at the time, three years ago, where we're just like, What is there in terms of positive influence for our young girls, we're gonna complain that they're watching rubbish online, and the people that they're following and taking their Islamic even, there are some examples from we wouldn't like, sometimes we wouldn't like our girls to hang with such influence, but they are. So if we're going to sit there and complain about what they're watching online, there is an element for some of us to step up. And we have a
responsibility to put positive content online. So even if I'm the only positive Islamic example that my daughter watches online, then, you know, our scholar techcenter, you know,
but it was a very difficult decision. Because once you're out there, now you are accountable for what you say what you do. And it's very easy to get torn down or critiqued by the public or by the community. So very, very daunting for someone who appreciates privacy and prefers like a more kind of introverted type of life. Of course, I know you're on a personal level, I know you like you prefer your privacy in that and yeah, I can't stand to be hard to be out in the public eye all the time. I've been constantly watched and just people knowing who you are, it does feel like it's you know, you want the right to your own privacy. One of the key things that many prominent Muslim women
note is the struggle they faced as public figures. And they say that it's it's more intense and various, the struggles that they face, then what their male counterparts face. What are some of the struggles that you both have faced as a result of being prominent Muslim female figures? Yeah, look.
I do believe that there's a lot more judgment for women, okay.
It's probably also because we're doing something a bit new as well. And
But the reality is, social media didn't exist 100 years ago, you know what I mean? And the reality is,
if we're not there, who's gonna be there? So we have to be there, we have to be an alternative voice, you know, for for the next generation. That's the reality. Right? But yeah, definitely, there's a lot more scrutiny. I know definitely. That's, that's going on, you know, the main. So you know, and for, for, for a female, you have to, there's a lot to consider, you know, you've got to always really think about how you're going to dress, how you're going to speak. You know, I recently heard for example, a male teacher speaking saying that one of the best advices he ever got from one of his, you know, Michelle was, just be yourself.
And I don't think a lot of brothers would understand how difficult that is for a female. Like, I would like to be myself and I've actually taken quite a few years to try to work out a happy medium between trying to abide by Islamic guidelines and also not lose my humaneness. Yeah, good. I first started out online, I was like talking almost monotone trying to be really like, you know, not having any question. No, thinking, no one's gonna relate to me like this. Yeah. And you don't I mean, it's been a bit of it's been hard to navigate between getting it right, trying to get the right balance. But yeah, so there's that there's the scrutiny that there is constant scrutiny and
like, you kind of can't help feeling that if you stop up just once you're gone.
I don't care, because I really don't like, we'll get into that a bit later on. But I really don't care. Do you plan on this, but, um, besides that, um, I believe that we are quite policed. Like, I know, for myself, like I've had, despite how much I'm covering myself, I will get people you know, inboxing me telling me that, you know, you need to cover your eyes. You know, you know, what are you doing talking online, like, you know, like, they want you to be basically just even existing, if you cover your eyes with like, sunglasses, maybe they might say surprised.
Even just my voice I don't want to online, you know, so I just have learned is the block button was invented for a reason. Just I can't be bothered anymore. Like, you know, in the beginning, I used to think, Oh, you know, I'll try to explain and give them proofs and everything like that. But after a while you get used to I bothered anyways, you just lose your arm. Even got any energy left, you know, going back. So first point where you said, you want to act in a way that's a bit human. But yeah, like you so you can reach out to the sister. Yeah, at the same time, you have to juggle that way. You know, because, you know, there might be men watching you as well. So you have to also act
almost to be cold, and you know, just emotionless the, you know, stiff with so many. It's very hard, because at the same time, you want to reach out to the young Muslim girls, and you think they will, you know, sit there and watch someone who's you know, kind of like a computer to them telling them this is why.
Yeah, there's three different things I'm always thinking about whenever I'm doing anything live. That's why I'm always a lot more nervous. Like even tonight, like more nervous doing something live, right? Because you're out of control. You can't get back in editor. But I mean, there's three things is, you might say something that like because of Islamophobia, you could get picked up which has happened to me, I've ended up in our newspapers. A non Muslim community. Wow. So you've got that and because I'm under scrutiny, because I'm like, I went a pub and on an Australian revert. So I'm already targeted, you know, because I'm because I'm putting myself as a public figure. Plus swearing
in a pub and being in a river. Yeah, that already talked makes them target me, right. I've already had that happen to me before. Right? Then, within the Muslim community. You know, you've got that sort of, like, suspicion, what is she doing? You know, I mean, so but I think about everything I say, maybe I'm gonna say something wrong, and I'm gonna judge me for it like, no, not too too much. I don't go crazy with it. But I'm just gonna say to you, you have to kind of really think about everything you're saying, because you've got to consider each context that you're speaking to. Yeah. Yeah, the judge from so many. Yeah. But you also want to lose your audience.
You try to bring up the human side, because that's what they relate to. Yeah, you know, so just all these different layers, we've got to worry about, I think, a lot more than say, maybe males can get away with a lot more they can you know, muck around, no one's going to, they can just muck around if they want to online. We can't do that. You know what I mean? Yeah, I feel like yeah, if a male chef speaks very sternly, it's okay. You know, people think oh, yeah, well, he's trying to reach out to the, you know, to certain group of people, but if a famous chef has speakers like that, then she's like, they might be like, Oh, why is she getting so emotional or, and the same? If you're speaking
very softly, then they might use that against you as well. So you've really got to, you know, juggle a lot of different
like, the way that people might joke. I might have a joke sometimes. Yeah. And then people aren't used to that like even like, that's okay. The mail for example, shaker did that. But for me, there might not there might be an audit you doing, you know
If I say so they're not used to that, but that's my personality, you know, people might not understand that. So
yeah, that is definitely quite a few struggles you mentioned there, I'm pretty sure do you want to share some struggles that you think as a female you face as a prominent Muslim figure, that maybe you have the males, you know, brothers who are in the same position don't necessarily face. Um, I guess some
would probably want to share from my own life journey and perspective
that as a female community, maybe mentor and teach them obviously a shareholder scholar. But in terms of the programs and the things I'm able to offer to the women and young people, I found that to be quite a bit of welcoming in terms of, you know, places to come and run something for the ladies or our young people and it's been helpful for some
whereas if a brother was coming with a new program, he might be looked at with a bit more scrutiny because there is a lot of access to different machines each moskal Center has already brothers and Michelle that they kind of stick to but it feels a brother who was doing what I was doing. I don't know if it would be as like Yeah, come You know, come and run something. So I found in that way because it there is that positive side this is a new thing. There's a new thing now of sisters being able to teach the sisters and young people directly and the outsourcing of that why organizations and community centers is more open now. Be honest, I felt supported in that way hands up quite a few
different centers and organizations can you please come and speak and run run that thing? So that's that's upside definitely. So I think you know, to have that point that is big.
But at same time, there have been struggles I I spoke overseas, two years ago in Hong Kong, and organization at this conference, they invited Mufti mink, Dr. Mohammed Salah, and a few other speakers, I was the first time that invited a Female Speaker and it was me. And one of the organizations who normally sponsors and supports it decided to boycott because they had a female woman go. So although it was like an omen, I felt like an omen arriving off the plane, you know,
I just speak on the topic of domestic violence, get ready and grow thick skin.
So I'm officially I left on
my skin has become dry. I guess some of the you know, things we'll discuss a bit later on. We'll talk more about that shallow, shallow.
Do you feel like as a Muslim female, it's a bit more challenging, maybe logistically or in other ways as well, to get work done in the community? That might it might not be as complicated for the brothers to do for instance, like if you wanted to run a workshop in a Masjid, do you have access to the board members? Or do you have to like go through the female family members until it finally gets to the board. But little things like that do feel like it's just a bit more challenging and daunting and time consuming getting work done as a female, just because you're a female. I'm not particularly like each organization is to its own, they'll have their own system, some are handy, like keeping up
with the times and they have systems in place and beautifully professional Mashallah teams that work together, and they reach out to you and contact you and organize everything for you to come as a guest, you know, and give your time and give your services. Some are a little bit prehistoric, there are no systems in place, and you don't know who to ask or reach. And sometimes you have to jump hurdles and go through three, four or five people to get something planned out. I remember in the past I had, I was coming as a guest, but I had to design their flyer for them.
And yeah, like yeah, like, don't, you know, like, I had to give my time and you know, you do what you can when you can as much as you can, but sometimes you're just bewildered at how some organizations are servicing 10s of 1000s of Muslims. And they don't have forward thinking plans and structure in place to serve that community that scares me. Because each mosque and each committee if they're watching out there now, we all have a huge responsibility to the one mother and community that we serve. And if you need to upgrade or change or develop systems, I would encourage them to get cracking fast in the community need need that message you don't need that organization to be on
it's a game I agree. And I think having sisters on board as well to help it really make sense organized and I'm sure ones that you know, great talents of the female sisters is their attention to detail and organization skills. And I've noticed in a lot of the Islamic centers that I'm involved in through my business during fitness, the ones where they've got female members working in the in the community in the center. They're so professional and so organized work gets done, Mashallah. Really really quickly as well. So, yeah. Okay, the next question, take a deep breath for this. Ladies. Have you
ever faced backlash for the work that you do? Or criticism for being a vocal Muslim female? And if so, give us some examples when that has had has happened, and how do you deal with that? Yeah. Let's do a first talk. First. Well, look, no doubt a lot of this stuff goes on behind your back. Right. And every now and again, it will be too late back to you.
But besides that,
like I said, I think that it is very difficult, like, Look, women are a lot of under a lot of pressure.
I do feel like I said before, that there are a lot more scrutinized. And I think problem is true that it used to be only that you were scrutinized, as far as how much are you practicing Islam? Right? But now, it's not just that anymore. It's like, I actually had said to my face, that we're actually put on a spectrum of how feminist are we? Okay, so like, some people are more on a higher fitness scale, and some are lower. So like, it's, you know what I mean? So it's not just any more about how practicing you are, but like, oh, how much of a feminist is this person? You understand that? There's so many.
You know what I mean? That, yeah, that's something we're dealing with now. You know what I mean? Yeah, I've had it since my face, I've actually hits into my face that, because I like certain people's posts online. That's why people have judged me to be a feminist. Just because I like certain sisters pages online. So that's why being nice to me, do you like to that level? And I was like, it didn't surprise me. But you know what I mean, it just goes to show you, how do you feel about that? F word label feminist? I feel like the new F word is
reality. That's just, I'll be honest with you, for me, I have, I actually get very offended from it up until now. But I'm trying to
work with myself to go over that now. But like, it's because I've always sort of really been a strong, you know, you know, how can I say, a person who's really, you know, sort of,
you know, I see myself as being as orthodox as I can, you know, you know, calling to the most orthodox teachings, and you're still calling me.
I can't even get rid of that label. How's anybody else gonna get rid of that label? You don't say do say in a very, like, demeaning or insulting way of Yeah. And then you just think, what more? Do I have to, you know, give up? Or do in order to not have that label? Yeah, put on exactly. And it's like, and the thing is, you're trying to do Darla, and by them saying something like that you're actually putting sisters off listening to you, like, you don't mean to actually purposely sort of really putting people off you and making them think there's something wrong with you, you understand? And it's really unfair, like, it's actually really unfair, especially when if you're
giving a talk about women's issues in Islam, and women's issues that, you know, where you might discuss the rights that women have, whether it's you know, marital rights or divorce rights, or, you know, any other rights that Muslim women have. And these are related issues that we do need to educate the community on, you know, some some women know how to stand up for themselves, and they don't want to domestic violence. But then if you do that, you get labeled feminists, do you feel like that every time we talk about women's issues, that's when they bring up more things to the funny thing is what people don't understand. And I did try face not long ago, my online, right,
yeah, I worked with women only for the last, like 16 years, I've just been talking to women only audiences. And then he recently got into speaking to like a mixed audience, right. So people are wondering why I'm always just talking to sisters, because that's how I've been for the last 20 years. And I'm just used to, like, I'm trying to appeal to a mindset. I know, their mindset, you know, and I know I'm trying to appeal appeal to that. And I know that topics I want to speak about. So that's what my I'm geared towards, you don't try to say and then people miss understand that. And, you know, and take it to mean something else. Unfortunately, they don't realize, you know,
we've always been, you know, this gender segregation, and you know, and all that and then so
on panel a real issue in the community, of anything you want to say about that? Have you ever been labeled a feminist through your line of work? Now, nothing's come to my ears about me being labeled.
So if any, you want to come through or put my email on the screen,
how did you deal with that level? Like, do you feel that it would be you know, is it insulting or, I mean, it could just mean that you're standing up for female rights in Islam, which the rights holder for the person were you getting the idea from? And clearly, they haven't spent enough time looking into the work that I do and what I'm saying and teaching to our community members. In reality, you know,
yeah, I tend to
Try to not let things like labels but I don't like pulling under a label, you know, let alone that word specifically I think there's a lot of
talk around it that is really non beneficial and it's we've got more important things to talk about as awesome community you know, I'm doing work we're trying to help Muslim women and young people with their identity and their confidence in how they feel about their Deen and boosting that up. Not interested in any feminist narratives and things like that. Let's just talk about what our Deen is in our Deen
honors and nurtures and respects both genders, and upholds them in their own life in according to their own fits right in nature, within that gender. So that's what, as far as I know, I saw in scheffau that's what we were calling to, you know, so. But yeah, in general, in terms of backlash for the work that I do, I do do some work in public schools and private schools in New South Wales, where it's involved where I present as an educator representing Muslim faith and you know, it's technically darwell work and Muslim audience sometimes I have to speak alongside people of other faiths, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, whatever their faiths are and I stand as a Muslim
representative sharing with the audience what our Deen is clearing up misconceptions, sharing what we stand for. I have had people get wind of that in the community and decided to label me as some flimsy calling to the uniting or religions interfaith type person or giving our work to normal four year for basically giving Dawa talking about what Sam is debunking misconceptions to children at schools. So I was labeled that I was people decided to say things in certain chat groups, online forums, people went to other community organizations and warned against me, don't have her mom speaking to your audience. Hamza, Allah knows a lot of direct download to be given to non Muslims,
then I don't know if it maybe they have another way. So May Allah actually step up and teach them to be a keyboard warrior and type things from behind the screen hiding in homes than to be out there dealing with people giving your time and energy to call people to Allah subhanaw taala you mentioned something earlier that it kind of stood out to me and you were saying that you don't have time for that you just want to like you don't have time to listen to all the criticism, the backlash and just want to get on with the work? Yeah, I just think imagine the amount of time the community wastes just giving our, you know, leaders a hard time when they're just trying to do their work, you know,
they just want to teach the women, they're trying to get them at the job fair, they're trying to do the work for Allah. And people should just let them do it. You know, like, instead of wasting so much time with constant criticism and judgment, this veneration, you know, like, it's better to be silent about a bad thing than to speak about it. And it's better to speak about a good thing and to be silent about it. And again, speak good or keep silent, both verbally, and online. If you don't have anything good to say or contribute, it's better not to comment on things that don't involve us or that we can't help or support with or that we even, you can't correct it yourself direct or
you're not interested to actually make an effort to correct something. If you see that as wrong, better to not talk about it, share it, go look at this, watch that look at that. Look what so and so said, and what's always just watching, watching what everyone is saying and sending screenshots of things you've commented on or posted, they send screenshots to each other and have a big comment about that, about you behind your back. And all this sort of stuff goes on if I mean, I talk when I criticize one person to her, that's a sin that I'm sharing with one person, if I write something online or in a WhatsApp chat group about someone and it's slanderous, or it's not accurate, or it's
just gossip, and I've shared that with two 300 people, and I'm stunned, let alone 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000 imagine the weight of that scene on the day of judgments when we don't even we're not even counting as soon as moment to moment alone broadcasting our perspectives are out, you know, nasty words and thoughts. Also think it's really sad, because there's a visit there's a dire need for a middle path for sisters. Okay, so like, you know, like Sister kalisha and myself from those sisters who have been handling support us stepped up to try to fill in a gap with the existing right and women need that and what you're doing is actually like you know, you're everyone's crying out about
all feminism everyone's doing today everyone going astray and losing their Deen and you know going to atheism but you know they're not supporting people aren't actively enough supporting those people who have tried to you know, step up inshallah and try to fill that gap to kind of add like inshallah we ask a lot will be like that like an antidote to what you're worried about you understand so even when we try to do that we're still being shot down yeah, you don't try to like they should be getting behind us like if you know what happens is unfortunately, is that instead of like, you know, giving you an amine Cincy enough, see how like unfortunately Michael given
See how it's with judgment people, given the judgment, it's not really nice See how it's not like loving, it's not a loving way, it's not a caring way, it's like, you better feel a lot or you know, they say in a real condescending way, like a judgmental way, right. But if you had, so they talk about you behind your back, they don't come to you and sort of,
you know, share their you don't get a loving phone call or someone to connect to know about something I'm worried about
is if there's something they really you know, don't feel is right, that you're doing contact yet to understand to get context of why you're doing that particular thing. You know, what I mean, sort of assuming that you did it like that, or, you know, in the center store, that's the problem or clarify, that's the big problem. And it's sad, because there's not enough. And then when, you know, when other sisters see that happening to the very few spaces we have, like, the minor, it also feels If you ask me, it fuels feminism more, because they sort of you're kind of you're feeding into the narrative of the feminist, you don't mean because everything they say is what is what exactly what
you're doing, you know, you had mentioned how you need to fill in the gap for you know, the middle path. And I think that's so important, because, you know, some, the reality is, some young Muslim girls might look at you and think, Oh, I can never be like that she knows too much, he does too much. And I'm never going to be like that. And therefore you need to soften yourself in front of them and be open to them and, you know, welcomed and mean that this is okay, you know, it's okay, if you're not there yet. It's okay. If you're still a little bit, it's okay, you know, you opening up the doors to knowledge and opening up the doors to guidance. And we're going to talk about this on
the social media platform as well, because it's something that I see a lot on social media, there's no shortage of, you know, Muslim, female, prominent figures. Outside of the Islamic room, there's actually you know, if you just searched the hashtag
jabby inspiration, or Yeah, Muslim female, you're gonna see posts and posts of know where your makeup like this, put a jacket on with this, do your eyebrows like this, and there's no shortage of that. But if you see the handful of ladies that we have, who are actually, you know, calling towards the law, and then these ladies are the ones the sisters are the most criticized and the most judgmental. So my question to you is, there's some people might make a real issue of Muslim women who are, you know, bet who appeared to be very vocal and strong and confident on social media? What are your thoughts to this? And what would you like to say in response to them that say, you know,
modest Muslim women shouldn't put themselves in the public eye and they shouldn't put themselves on social media? especially knowing that men are also watching as well, like, it's a public platform? Yeah. I don't think everybody should be on social media, you know, they don't have to all put themselves out there. I think that, but there needs to be some, you know, and
hopefully, the people who do that and show they've worked on themselves first, okay, because we know that there's a system, we've been teaching this system, right? So it's in Atlanta, looby start off with when you know, you're gaining knowledge, you establish yourself, then you try to act upon that knowledge, right. So when you've got yourself, you know, together, then it's $1 to LA, then calling to that, right, and then it's a sobre Elena Adolphe, you know, being patient upon whatever you have to there.
So, there is a system to it in Islam, so hopefully, you know, your intention needs to come from the right place, okay. Otherwise you are going to get lost.
But in saying that, so what I'm saying to you that we can have those sisters there and show it, it's very important, like I said, we need to have that we need to create a whole new narrative, like as a as a middle path, the sisters to see that, you know, we can be, you know, sisters that hold on to our authentic identity and values and principles without compromising in the year 2021. Yes, right.
And, but that's why I like for example, on my Instagram, for example, like Facebook, I'm telling you, I'm almost
like, you might, you might have noticed that I have really just, I backed away a lot from Facebook, now I'm just sick of it. It's so
much energy. I don't have time for it. Like if I want to do a pose, I actually have to think do I even have time for this post because I put the post, I'm gonna have 20 arguments underneath it within 10 Min, I can't be bothered, you know, so that's why I've kind of moved on to Instagram. It's a much more friendly environment. But what's gonna say is what I try to do on Instagram is just share a little bit more of my life. You know, I just feel it's a it's a place where you feel a bit more free to share your life but I don't know Facebook is that kind of place. I don't like sharing my life on Facebook too much, right? But Instagram, you know, everyone's showing their life. So it's
okay, so I showed some other you know, things that I do and people get surprised I go well, you know, you're a person you know, you're into knowledge but yet you know, you go
bike riding with your family, you know, you know that to me, you know, actually, you know, I have fun as a hobby, you know, my life's not boring. So, you know, and even the amazing photos of you in your niqab and everything in the mountains.
This is what women I think, needs to see. Yeah, they need to see that other dimension to, um, you know, being a Muslim are in the EU 2021. That's what it comes down to. I think that's the whole thing being a Muslim in 2021 nom, and the thing is, okay, this is very important. I mentioned historically.
Like, look, if you go to the research, look, they have proven and this is not just this is not from Hispanic research. This is just research in general about women, that visual representation is so powerful for women, they really need it and like, because a lot of people say, you know, you've got your role model your mother right? Or you've got your role models are Isha and Khadija Wadi Allahu anhu, you know, all right, we know we have them as a role models, but visual representation is there's nothing more it's so powerful and we're living in an age of social media influences, you know, our bloggers and your, you know, the sisters are finding stuff in like an ocean surrounded
with all these. Where's the alternative voice? You understand that? I need to say, wait a minute, they are they are some sisters out there, in short Labine that make Maliki pasta fast. Who are, you know, standing upon your ablon and email, you know, the third, you know, gemstone without, you know, trying to practice their Deen without compromise, you know what I mean? And then they can feel like yes, I can do that to
nail on the head right there that where is the alternative voice not so that these young Muslim girls who finally get access to Instagram and social media, which they will because that's just the reality, unfortunately, of the times we're living in, but they're all gonna have Instagram? And they might think, okay, I want to do something good. I'm gonna you know, hashtag hijabi Muslims, and that's the people I'm going to follow instead of following you know, the kuffaar. But you need that the right representation from us, the mom, yeah, that just locally to say no, just want to say that I'm looking to the camera gets into I can look into the camera.
Okay, there's a saying it says, it's hard to be what you cannot see. Right? It's hard to be what you cannot see, especially for women, they need to be able to see that and then they can believe that they can do that, too. So yeah. Felicia, same question to you. Do you remember the question? Yes. Okay. Go. What's your question? social media? Yeah, well, it's a big, it's a big, big topic release population have another panel just on the
important topic, actually, that needs to be discussed more for all of us. And it applies to all of us. And, you know, thinking about this question, I've had to do a lot of like, deep dives into the topic of social media over the last, you know, few years. And I'm off at the moment of
having a bit of like a, you know, a refreshing time and that sort of Medallia Ramadan reassessing myself and how I use it, realigning just a hole. Now I've been on it, you know, Instagram in particular, maybe three years now Facebook, did you find it time consuming 13 years, I've got a lot of time back comes in.
But in general, we jump on it, we get on it, no one gives us lessons, no one tells us how to use it, how not to use it. So I'm going to do a shameless plug, which I'm not like it's not a sponsored bug or anything like that. We don't learn how to use it. But we shouldn't have this book is really good, the fit of social media shallow, and it's not too thick. But it gives points and it's based on, you know, grown and heavy points for us to draw from. And then action points to really filter the way we're using our social media. And we know that now, if anyone's got a social media account, you're thinking, how should I curate my account or my online persona? What should my photos look like? What
about my fee, my profile, but we're forgetting about how we curate how we need to curate our use of social media? What are we seeing? who is watching us? Who are we allowing to see us? Who are we connecting with? How are we connecting with? What, you know, what kind of content are we putting out and the reasoning behind it? The very, very good book that I encourage everyone to get
by Omar awesome, and you can find him on social media platforms and get the book I really encourage that for everyone to learn how to use your social media islamically. But yeah, I would agree with with your question, were you talking about you know, there is concerned about the impact of social media on women's modesty? Definitely.
Oh, you know, we need to acknowledge and recognize social media is a beast, and it's a machine. It's a machine designed to suck us in, turn us up and turn us into consumers and spit us out. And your left research is showing up. By the end of social media use within 20 minutes you already feel bad about the time you wasted on social media, the links to poor mental health and all sorts of things. Very little
Higher comes from it in terms of your well being that alone your spiritual, mental and emotional and physical health. So we have to recognize that that you're dealing with when we go on it, you're dealing with a monster that has been designed and curated to, to out for you to swallow you, you're losing yourself every minute you are on social media without any clear benefit. Without any clear objective, we go on to simply scroll, we're not going on with an objective to learn something solid, it's always snippets and pieces of usually irrelevant long term irrelevant information. So we have to be very, very cautious about how we use it. The majority of users of social media are females. So
as women and whoever especially
we have to realize that the impacts of it and the negative impacts on it are going to affect the females globally, not just you know, Muslim moms and whatever community we have to be aware of it and the arts you know, like, you know, the scrutiny about confident vocal strongest the most, we have a lot of claimed confident vocal, strong swimmers who have huge followings. My question is, are they truly confident? Are they truly are they vocal or are they just loud? With one thing hold on to are they just powerful influences because they have huge followings because their feed is curated to draw in the masses? Or are they holding foster certain values and principles? We have to ask
ourselves that, I have to question myself, I have to look back at my old post photos. Why did I post that? What was I trying to say? What was I doing? Was it sincere? We have to revisit you know ourselves, why am I putting this up? And what am I getting out of it? You know, the big thing now like the currency on social media is attention currency. How much attention can you get? How many people are watching you the volume you mean his number, Game Room number game, the dopamine hit, all of that means that constant constant, the goal is to grow the account and it's all about grow the followers grow the followers, post this and keep up with all the new one data posts and effects are
real or something like there's always just so much any to do. It's what's the beat, the accounts just feel like you know, you're having a wonderful week, what's the price the price is you are constantly distracted, and it will take your time. And time is life. Your friend will be accountable for every second every minute we spend. Just basically summarize the advice that you both have given and correct me if I'm wrong here. But if you are going to go on social media, number one, be very mindful of who it is that you are following. And be very cautious of what you are posting. And not everybody needs to have a platform on social media. Not everyone needs to be there and be seen and
if you are going to be you know an influencer, be very mindful of what it is that you are trying to influence others we have to be careful. It's a really big responsibility. And, like if you The thing is with social media, it's a big burden on your shoulders. Because if you misguide every person you misguide like there's a hadith that says, you know, men die in Ebola, whoever calls to bola knock misguidance. They'll have the scene of everybody who followed them without taking away from this scene so that they will get this scene but you will take a share of vessels. That's a huge responsibility. I like these public unveilings. I'm just gonna let you all know my, my $1.2 million
worth taking a job or what a responsibility Now, fortunately, it's such a common thing now. Yeah, so that's the thing. Like it might look glamorous to a lot of people like having a social media presence. I'm sure when people look like colletion paid my pager thing Oh, wow, what a glamorous, and I probably feel jealous of you or something. But let me tell you right now visit there's so many negative things and struggles we actually go through it's not like you think at all are pretty scary. You're actually putting yourself on the line, you know, you're actually putting yourself in a more accountable position before last rantala so it's not like I'll protect my mom in Europe. Okay,
let's we spoke about the struggles that you both have faced as prominent Muslim females. So let's kind of go back and recap those struggles have any of those struggles gotten to a point where you feel like it might have affected your mental health? Has anyone ever said anything to you? Or have you gone You know, face some kind of criticism where it's really you know, put you down and you can get may have affected your mental health
yet well so like for myself.
Over the years I have been handler had anxiety problems over over the years, right? But I'm humbly lived on a lot of work with that to try to overcome it. But because I do have that if it gets too intense online, I will get very stressed from it. You know, I I'm a very sensitive person. So I do find it hard when people start becoming very hateful and judgmental. So it does affect me and that's when I need to, you know, basically just step away and that like I said, part of the reason I can't be bothered really half the time posting on Facebook
anymore, because it just, it just doesn't get me in a good place. And you know, and I can't be bothered, you know, I really can't be bothered, you know, I'd rather just do something.
Your way of dealing with it is really just ignore it. Don't look at it, you know, what I'm trying to say is, if I know, I'm going to be just, you know, I'm going to be exposed to that. Yeah, I would, I just would rather I'll find another platform where I feel happier. You know what I mean? And so I really feel like okay, no need to post this. Or if I'm in the right state of mind, or, you know, I'm not too busy with the rest of my life, then I might think, okay, I'm in at the right, I've got time. Like, I've got three days spare
that place this one time to deal with? What's going to come out, you know, What, are you gonna mentally prepare yourself?
for exams going on if I've got, you know, things to prepare? And I've got, you know, if I'm going to post something right now, and I'm not going to like people can you're commenting, I'm going to reply back. I found the sake of your mental health, just avoid. Yeah, and it's not always controversial thing. Sometimes it could be people seeking knowledge, but they're gonna ask me a lot of questions on this post. And I need to have enough time to be able to do that. You know what I mean? So, question, have you ever felt like you've been criticized or judged to the point where it's affected your mental health?
I'm not gonna say mental maybe like emotions. Yeah. I put you down. Everyone get can get sad or did but then again, I have to go into my intentions. And you know, the intentions behind why, you know, I've chosen to do something or step into something or say something. In general, I try to avoid online debate and argumentation. I'm not interested in that even warrior. I'm not interested in that if someone wants to talk, come to me and talk to me about this whole, let's publicly fight or debate or try to tear someone down. I'm not interested in that I wouldn't do it to someone else. So if someone tries to do it to me, generally, I will ignore that type of behavior. You know, come and
talk to me to my face and
be a human being you know, in to think this is a big point to this too much.
Online, junk online interactions. I think we need to come back to being human beings and actually talking and discussing things in person is very different. But someone would argue that a very different is. This is the like you, you know, when you wrote that pose, what did you mean by that says, and then you explained to me, and I'm like, I never saw it that way, rather than me typing something to which is cold and blunt. And you might take it the wrong way. You might have had a bad day, and then you kind of might answer back that to me, then sounds blunt, and then it turns into this nasty interaction, while everyone's watching as well. It's like, let's just be human and talk
about different things. Whether you agree or disagree on whatever point it is, I think that's important. But yeah, also there's that element where,
yes, I am, you know, community figure, I have to teach I have to speak. But people also need to realize that there are human beings behind that we have families, we have tests, we have imperfect lives, beyond what we're teaching and preaching. And like, for me personally, anything I teach or preach, it applies to me before anyone else, I'm trying to correct myself before anyone else. So when I'm teaching something, I'm not coming from the perspective of I'm, hi mighty, I'm perfect. I've got this down pat. It's like I'm reminding you to remind me because it helps me first and foremost. And I want us all to journey together towards bettering ourselves and our families in our
homes and our sense of Islamic faith and identity. So people need to realize not to judge someone's intention behind why they're doing something so easy to call someone or you're fake or this or that. These types of narratives, it's like mind as a human being as a soul as a heart behind it. Don't forget what that person is like shucks it like you sacrifice a lot. Stepping into this role to be a public figure. Like I say it's your heart. Like I say, you are preparing for martyrdom, the community, can Manti destroy you with their tongues, when you're choosing to come out and say and call and teach as an imperfect human being. So it's being prepared for that your vet is on the
chopping block here with people's tongues all the time.
And to our viewers, if you have any questions you would like to be part of the discussion, please add them to the comment section of this post. And inshallah we can address some of those questions as well. We've only got about five minutes left. So if you do have questions, please pop them in quickly. And I want to, you know, with all the struggles that we've spoken about and the challenges and you know, you guys have gone quite deep into it, and it looks like there is quite a few struggles. Have you ever felt like it's just too much and you want to take a step back? Have you ever gotten to a point where you just think, you know, living a private life and being in the pie is
so much more easier than having to constantly face like this battle of being in the public eye. I know for me,
because I started traveling around for Dawa, you know, and as much as I love that I love giving talks and traveling around and you know, going into state
International giving talk. I love it right. But let me tell you, I realized that ultimately, what's more important to me is actually my family. And so I realized that you know, so actually, I'm not trying very hard online, I know sometimes might be, like, looking at what's been posting lately, it might look like I've been doing a lot. But that's all been spread out over a lot of time. I didn't do all that in Ramadan, everybody, just so you know.
But I actually have to be honest, I actually don't go out of my way to do anything. People just ask me. Yeah, so I go with the flow. I'm actually not trying very hard. Trust me, if I wanted to try hard, I'd be putting, like, I'd be doing lessons bring lessons up. I've been doing heaps and stuff. But right now I don't, I don't have the time to kind of really focus on social media, like, I'm more interested in my teaching my family, my students, you know, my offline work is very important to me. So my online presence is really just, I would say, maybe 5% of my time, like, I'm not putting my focus on it that much. And I don't know how much I really want to go more than that. Because the
more you go, there's more, there's a greater price. Like, if I become For example, I know myself, if I was to become more prominent, I'll become maybe more targeted by Australian media, for example. And I don't know if I like that. Yeah. So I kind of like doing financial keeping, you know, a lot of ways I like just being the way I am just within the Muslim community. Not too not sticking out too much. You know, yeah. So.
And what about you, Krishna? Have you ever just thought, you know, this is just too much to handle? And I want to take a step back? Has anyone ever said something that's just kind of put you off doing the amazing work that you do?
I technically just question myself a lot. And I try to make sure that it's always an option that if I want to go back to how it was and just disappear, it's always an audition experience, to remember that, that door is always open for me, rather than holding myself hostage to the roles that I've chosen and the work that I've chosen. indebted to you, because this is the heartbeat when you're in service of the community. And I struggled with this in my early years, when I used to do mainly volunteer work and give a lot of time.
before stepping into actually having as a business and being treated a little bit more professionally by the community. You can sometimes fall into feeling like the community owns you almost 100, I've grown out of that modularly. But it's very easy to feel like oh, no, I have to fulfill this role. If it doesn't make me happy. And then it costs too much in terms of my personal life or, you know, community backlash or commentary, and I don't want it any more thoughts on another issue. And I think this is really important, especially.
It's really important, especially for those, you know, being in the public eye and having a prominent influence in the public eye as well.
How do you protect your nerves from getting affected by the limelight?
Has that Have you ever felt like it's starting to get too much where you're kind of enjoying the limelight? Or how do you make sure that your intentions are pure and you're not doing anything for the sake of attention? I'm making, I keep reminding myself of how scary it is, like, if you look like for example, into any moron, allow this to ensue, mentorship, what to do mentorship, at any moment, Allahu taala can debase you,
you know, and it's really scary at any moment, like we are under the protection of a loss of pounds, Allah. So any moment, I lost control, I can change your situation you understand. So that's why actually, what's mentioned by the LMS is, the more you grew up in public presence, the more you have to have a lot of private deep behind the scenes. Otherwise, if you go higher than what you're trying to build up in the secret deeds, you can just end up collapsing. So to me, the more I sort of get out there, it makes me realize I have I have to even try harder, privately. It makes me more scared because now as well, you know, you've created this platform, and now it's kind of like, now you're
gonna try and adapt to that.
Like, you know what I'm trying to say?
Yeah, so if anything, it's a bit it's a greater reminder it actually puts more pressure on me Yeah, if anything? Yeah, yeah.
Yes, I guess it's super important. Like I think we need to keep ourselves in check. Logically, you know, our laughs and our ego. We have to remember that is one of the most horrible things to desire fame. The prophets of Allah is
headed by recorded in two MIDI. two wolves roaming freely among a flock flock of sheep are less destructive to them than the passion of a man for wealth and fame is to use religion. So wealth and fame as destructive to our Deen as a wolf, two wolves, two walks running freely amongst a flock of sheep. We have to realize that they
But it's super dangerous to want to become famous online, or to be some kind of influencer. For me, I always remind myself, don't let me influence you look at what I'm trying to say. I'm calling them Jesse machine not and it's not me, although replace me, we are all replaceable. And I'm just trying to give only have a very little amount of knowledge. I'm just trying to give whatever little I know, and translate it in the way that I know best according to my own life journey and experiences and to me, not the entire community. I'm not here, I'm not able to help and teach everyone's you know, help us select part of the community that resonate with me in whatever way you know that they resonate
with me and in terms of the message and the benefits that I'm able to share, but to remember, like we're all replaceable parts so for me, it's really important to like if anyone ever praises you know, always feel like a stab in my stomach like don't pray, you know, don't praise me. I were not praiseworthy. All those words are like is the Praiseworthy one you know, Hammerson Allah Salaam is the Praiseworthy one.
So for me, it's important that I stay connected to the grassroots, because I consider myself a grassroots person, like if you are my background, my journey, you know, my origins, my heritage, very simple, grassroots people culturally. And, you know, I'm just trying to, I'm here to teach the basics of this idiom, to call to Allah upon our dialogue, whether you're Muslim, non Muslim, young, old, I'm going to say whatever I can say. And it's not about me, it's about what I'm trying to do call to our men, for me just constantly questioning the intentions behind every action, in person or online.
And the just, we have to smash our own hearts, we have to smash our own intentions.
And you steer away from this focus on the people, what they're saying and what they're thinking about me. I don't care if I lost my father isn't pleased with me, and he's going to this date I think, is good, but my intention is wrong. I'm going to be dragged on my face into the hellfire. What's it all for them? What is going through all of this being the community's monster facing scrutiny, giving your time your energy, sacrificing your families, you know, everything you sacrifice so much for what to have wrong intention and then be punished in the Hellfire because of us. So the weight of it, it's, it's heavy, it's enormous. And it should feel like that for anyone
who is saying anything publicly to the community, for all of us whether we are simply selling a product online, or you are some other type of businesswoman or you are selling hijab and doing hijab tutorials, weigh it heavily, what you're putting out there into the world will be accountable, when I will be held accountable for all of our announcements, I was writing all of it.
Very sound advice, I was gonna say Let's end it off with some advice that you would give to the younger Muslim women, you know, the young Muslim girls who are thinking of taking a similar path that you both have, you know, coming out to be
local Muslim women giving Dawa? What advice would you give and then we'll wrap up? So I'll give you three advices that I've taken from Safina thirlby Rahim Allah, right, whoever rectifies what is between them and Allah, Allah will rectify with between that person and the people, right? And whoever, whoever rectifies their private life, Allah will rectify their public life. And lastly, whoever is greatest concern is the earth here. Like if your main concern is earthhero, Allah will suffice you from your fears of the dunya. So keep that in mind. And then
one thing so I've heard it so many times before just hearing it in today's context and seeing how much it applies to us now today. There's a lot not just from the applicator for sharing.
Curry. Sure. Yeah, I guess good advice and tips for women who see you as a role model might want to take the similar path. Yeah, I think a big point that I would want to advise sisters is Yeah, we have to guard ourselves.
hijab is there to protect us and to keep us modest. And we have to remember that we have to protect ourselves and keep ourselves modest, we have to be diligent in that guarding of ourselves, in our presentation, in our conduct in our speech and in our interactions, we have to be very, very cautious, almost without has designed us with certain traits and qualities that can easily be you know, we can easily fall into using them, you know, in the wrong way or presenting ourselves in the wrong way, you know, being you know, too ostentatious or too. Yeah, to open in ways and especially online. We have to be very, very careful how we present ourselves. The second point I would say is
leave What does not concern you. You
You know, we know the hardest part of someone's being a good Muslim is leaving alone, what doesn't concern them if it doesn't concern you to watch it, to follow that person to engage in that debate or conversations stay out of it, you have better things to do, we all have better things to do with our time we have to be so selfish and greedy with our time. And just think this is worth me watching or browsing. I know we all need downtime, just to relax a little bit and stuff but we have to be careful because these are all feeding messages into our psyche which are forming our identities, forming our identities, everything we feed our eyes and our ears and our senses, it's forming our
identities and ultimately affecting our spirituality and our souls. And the final point is
choose quality over quantity in both information, quality information versus quantity of small scattered parts of information and you know, this fleeting newsfeed that we have going on and scrolling down scrolling scrolling, just read a book for 15 minutes rather than scroll for 15 minutes which becomes 15 minutes and company as well quality people human beings to interact with and engage with and have bonds with not quantity in terms of even online how many you follow who follows you and who you spend time talking to small fleeting conversations or quality sitting with your shirt or your shefa for quality an hour going to a lesson or watching a hour long lecture with
a pen and paper taking notes. As opposed to this fleeting type of you know interaction that we're having we're really destroying ourselves our attention spans our intellect and our souls into the future. Very nice post heavy discussion tonight, unfortunately gonna have to wrap it up there. I want to say a big disappointment to both of you I really enjoyed like thoroughly enjoyed tonight's
panel and I feel like you've just given us such a deep insight into what your lives are like as prominent Muslim women and it's not all butterflies and rainbows there is a lot of struggle that goes behind the scenes there's a lot you need to keep an eye out and be careful about and you enjoy your family time and just because you're out there It doesn't mean that you're open to everyone like everyone has access to you You're still Muslim women that want to have your privacy as well. I just want to make a quick point to idea viewers that this was all unscripted and raw in real time as the name of this show suggests it is Ramadan real talk so please keep that in mind that you know I just
put them on the spot and they had to answer the question on the spot and you both did amazing initial 100
such supplicate on for coming today. We really really enjoyed this