Developing a Strong Muslimah Identity
Channel: Umm Jamaal ud-Din
Episode Transcript ©
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Salam aleikum, sisters and welcome to Real Muslimah talk. I'm your host, Omar Abdul Rahman. And on this podcast, we'll pull back the curtains take down the barriers and have raw, insightful and honest conversations on living as a Muslim in our modern society. If you enjoy the podcast, head over to our Instagram page at real Muslimah talk and join the conversation. So now on to Allah Who photocatalysis own Jamila Dean, how are you doing?
Alhamdulillah Nashville Allah. How are you?
Al Hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah I'm so excited for today's episode in sha Allah because you have literally gone from being a revert to now a teacher who teaches Shetty on and you know, a dahlia Masha Allah and it's just so inspirational. So I can't wait to hear your story and to you know, for you to share the story, your story with other sisters as well and we can take inspiration from that Inshallah, before that, I want to ask you, how is how are you doing? How's lockdown going? Because I know you've been in lockdown for quite some time now in Sydney, right?
Yeah, hamdulillah Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala Rasulillah wala early, he was Sufi women who Allah
just want to say Jackie lo Harun for inviting me along.
And I'll handle the last time we saw each other was in Medina, masha Allah Hamdulillah.
100 Allah, Allah, He, you know, I think anybody who had handler has, you know, a lot of goals in life.
Whether or not whether you're in lockdown, or you're not in lockdown. It does, you know, handle you don't have, it doesn't impact you as much as maybe other people who don't have,
you know, certain things they're working towards. And also, I must also say that it does make a big difference the stage of life I'm in now, you know, I have to give credit to all my dear sisters out there who, you know, are struggling with small children at home, that's a very, very different
struggle than like to be going through lockdown and not have to have although dealing with them, why, you know, dealing with children are smaller and worrying about their, you know, their schooling and stuff like that. I've kind of moved beyond that stage now. So alhamdulillah, I'm able to just focus on my own, you know, moving towards my own goals and stuff like that. So it makes a big difference. Yeah, I'm handling. So, for the sisters who don't know, you have five children, is it? Yeah. Hamdulillah. Yeah. And they all they're all grown up now. So they're all like, a pastor, teenagers or young. My youngest is 15 Alhamdulillah. And I've got a daughter, who is she's turned 19
Now, but the other three are there. Yeah, there are, you know, they're in the 20s.
So they can all like pretty much take care of themselves. And yeah, so you're fortunate to be at this stage and Hamdulillah you know, with all that's going on with the pandemic and everything.
Yeah, so tell us, your your journey from like, how you how you became a Muslim, and then how you started basically practicing how you personally develop that Muslim identity for yourself.
Look, I know, it's a very, it's a very,
I'll try to just because there's a lot to
a lot to talk about. Because, look, it's been a long journey. And I think, you know, people need to be realistic and realize that you don't start off like most people, the vast majority of people don't revert to Islam and suddenly put in a pub one. Okay, so please, everybody, be reasonable and be realistic, okay? Even to expect that from someone. It's no. So how I started off,
you've got to understand the way life was back then we're talking about 30 years ago, no internet very hard to get any access to, you know, reliable sources of knowledge, or even reliable sources to you know, ask them questions, just sort of guide you and know what's right and what's wrong. So,
look, I took my Shahada I'll handle I eventually found some practicing Muslims to help me, you know, know a little bit about Islam. I think the main thing that got me on track was was beginning to pray my prayers five times a day. I know that once I established my five prayers, consistently, you know, in their times, that was a really big life changer, you know, because that really just set me on track. I could, I felt like I know where I'm heading now. And these you know, these prayers that keeping me focused and keeping me on track to that
was a really big, that was a really big life changer. How Sorry to interrupt How old were you when you took your Shahada? So I was 18 I took my Shahada Wow, yeah. And then I remember setting a goal someone had told me because back then no one told you about, like, I mean, they'll just scared of, you know, because you're new revert, they want to tell you, they don't want to, you know, be too hard on us and they just said, it'd be nice if you prayed five times a day and you know, do things like this. So, I did put a goal for myself that when I turned 19,
my 90th birthday date, you know, is gonna be the day that I start praying my five prayers, you know, in their times, because my God, a lot of the Muslims, I knew they used to just like, go to work, and then I'd come home and pray their prayers when they when they got home like they wouldn't, they wouldn't pray the Lord's Prayer, for example, at work, they just, you know, pray them all, when they got home from work, that I didn't realize that, you know, they didn't tell you the real, you know, the importance of praying your prayers on time, you know? Anyway, that's what happened. So once I started praying your five prayers, was it in Arabic or in English? Or how did it work?
So Subhan Allah, to be honest, interestingly, before I even took my Shahada. This is going back even years before that, I had a friend at school who had given me a prayer book. And I used to I tried to, I just put this prayer, but I didn't know how to put together I didn't know how to put the words and the actions together. But I used to, I remember I used to say, I think it was I was saying sort of Fatiha. And I used to like just put my hand under my my head and lie on my right side. And just, you know, say I think sort of Fatiha. And that was kind of my prayer.
Any reader out there will know you do a lot of funny things as a revert like you because you're really blind. You don't know what you're doing. So you kind of like doodle things. You kind of make it up for yourself what you think is right, because especially when you haven't got no one to tell you anything.
So I did stuff like that, but I'm
like I didn't I never I don't remember ever praying in English. I never prayed in English. But I think I may have had like a prayer mat.
Or I had I used some words like I must have known some words like like I look. Another thing you have to understand as well. I did have some Lebanese friends. So like I had been trying to learn a little bit of Arabic even back then. So yeah, so I just I just know that I never prayed in English. I'm sure I never prayed in English, but I may have prayed a very basic prayer, you know, with just the basic words or something like that. I actually can't remember to be honest. Yeah.
Was it the friends around you that influenced you and inspired you to you know, take your shahada Oh, what was it?
Like? Okay, so, just to make you understand, I lived in a, in an all let's say,
like, I mean, I'm in Australia, right? So I lived in an area where you'd never see a Muslim. Absolutely no way. In fact, I've never seen a Muslim in my whole life. I had one Lebanese family come and move to our area, they were not practicing. Okay? But because they were Lebanese, they look different. I just was because I used to like different cultures. So I basically just wanted to know them because they're a different culture rather than an Anglo Saxon basically. Right? Because I had a few Italian friends I had a South African friend like I used to love you know, mixing with different cultures I just felt was very boring. Stay with, you know, the same old
anyway, so that's what happened. So I just was just curious to know about them. And then I heard that they were Muslim. I'm like, What's the Muslim? That's really interesting, because my look okay, it's just to understand something. My father is actually a lay preacher, and in the Christian church, and so is my grandfather as well. So I was brought up like, you know, practicing Christian and I've always and I was just for some reason, very interested in different religions. Okay. It's just always been a very big interest of mine. So when I heard that Muslim I want to I was Muslim, you know, what's that? You know, and I just want to know more about it. So it wasn't like I was
inspired by them or in fact, do you honest?
Like To be honest, I was quite sort of like a lot of things I would say to me I was like,
they didn't they didn't that isn't
they really did not know about the religion Okay, so they didn't give you a very good presentation of at all and because of that, it made me more curious to know what is this religion so it sounds really strange. Okay, that's, that's how I got interested. And it wasn't a thing that you're you were interested in religions when your father was a preacher. So because usually like if, you know, if the parent is a preacher of a particular religion, I the children will be like, more set on that religion, isn't it?
Not necessarily. My
My sister's not practicing Christian at all. And my my brother, I've only got three there's only three kids in our family and my brother,
his wife, it will be into Christianity. So he's sort of gone a little bit that way. But no, especially not these days, not not in the secular countries. If you look at the next generations, they're really moving away from their religion like in you know, in, in Australia, I think in UK same thing, like the second generations are not holding on to Christianity.
So, no, and with me, I look I knew I believed in God. Like I definitely believed in God, that was unquestionable. But
like, I just think I've always been a very curious person. I've always been very, very curious. I just as I say, I enjoyed cultures. I found religion fascinating, even before I, like started looking into s&m I was, there was, for example, ago when I was at school back in year six. She was Jehovah's Witness. And I met her and she was talking about how she can't celebrate the Easter hat parade. And I was already asking her about it. And I sent away and asked and I wanted to, and I did a project on Jehovah's Witnesses. So like, I was just always naturally interested in
you know, in different religions.
Which will hamdulillah did help me to handle I find Islam and, you know, just seek it out. Yeah, Mashallah. So I think, you know, Allah set you up with this for this journey, because it was,
yeah, it was an inclination that you heard. Yeah, if you if you look at my house, if Luxor panel, I go back and look where I, where I'm living, and the area I live in, and honestly, will law hate it, you realize that it's only from a law that I could make it to Islam.
Like, it's the most funniest dynamic area, like, you don't, even until now the area my, my, my parents live in, there's really no visible Muslims in those areas. It's just so dunya we, you know, like,
you know, I just think that you came from this type of household and hamdulillah Wallahi. It's all from Allah Subhana Allah, you know,
do you feel like as a revert, uh, you now, value you Islam more, because I know that this is like, what we feel, you know, when we hear the story of how people choose Islam, because for us born Muslims is like, we were, you know, already Muslims, and then you kind of take that for granted in a way, but I'm curious to know, does wood I mean, obviously, all reverts are different, but does reverting make you appreciate your and hold on long term, you know, on onto your religion and take it more seriously? I think so.
I do think so. Like, I can tell because I know, from my own children, like they had to go through their own, they had to refine their own Islam when they got to their teenage years, because they brought up as born Muslims, and I brought them up to be very practicing Alhamdulillah, but they still need to, they need to do need to rediscover their religion for themselves, you know, whereas for me, like, I had my background, and I knew where I'd come from. And I knew, like how unfulfilled I was before Islam, you know what I mean? So, and I can compare to my non Muslim family, and I can see the outcomes for them and there's just so much and I still live in an obviously a non Muslim
country as well and I can see, you know, what that lifestyle offers. So,
you know, you're absolutely, absolutely you know, you really are very grateful to Allah Subhana Allah, the sweetness of the man that Allah puts in your heart Alhamdulillah you know, it's
a lie. It's a gift from Allah subhanaw taala and we ask a lot of data to keep us steadfast and to until our last breath feed nila heeta Allah Amin, amin. Yeah, I feel like you know, as you said, because you've tasted the other side of it and you know how unfulfilling that is. Whereas sometimes like as born Muslims, you know, you have all these
your parents bring you up a certain way, right? And it's mixed with you know, culture and everything else. So there's a lot of like restriction sometimes where there doesn't need to be but there are but you know, like, for example, just an example you know, making marriage so difficult for you know, just based on their age or the culture of the person that they're interested in, you know, all these kinds of things that sometimes you know, parents and families impose on young young people nowadays and I feel like you know, for them they feel they may be assumed that okay, if I wasn't you know, from this faith, or if I wasn't living this lifestyle, you know, I would have so much more
freedom and because they haven't tasted it, obviously, you know, the grass always looks greener on the other side. So, it's like, they want to go and explore it, they want to go and you know, try it out for themselves. So I'm guessing you know, a lot of youth nowadays, they have to in a way to
Islam as well for themselves. So technically, it's like, they're not converting from another religion, but they are choosing it, you know, as a way forward for themselves in the life, you need to come to Islam by conviction, it's not enough anymore to just follow in the footsteps of your parents, it's we live in a different time. Now there's too many intellectual challenges against Islam, for a child just to grow up and just, you know, and they said, maybe living in an almost some country, it's possible, they'll still do that. But, you know, when they're being exposed, especially in a Western country, it's very important for them to, you know, they need to get to a certain
point, which will happen naturally, because they'll get to a certain point where they're about 16 or 18, or maybe before that, and they'll have those questions. And that's when they they're searching, and they need to, like really, like, rediscover their religion. And, you know, as I said, come to it by conviction that they that, you know, by knowledge and by conviction that this is what they really want for themselves. And not just that their parents, you know, have passed this religion down to them. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. So I'm going back to you were saying how, when you first started, and then you started, just focusing on the five prayers, and,
you know, for for, especially for young people nowadays, who are really you know, far away from Islam, and maybe they find it a little bit overwhelming, this is how they, I guess, have to start as well, isn't it?
I always tell every reverse or anyone, you know, coming back into Islam, if you really want to, you know, experience a situation where you feel like your life is in order, and that you really feel you know, where you're going in life. And if you're anchored, you need to have your five prayers in order, right? Until that happens, you will not feel like you will not feel at peace, you know, because it's like your your life, there's something not right, there's something out of place. So that's why it is very important to you know, to get those prayers, you know, inshallah in order and because that is your foundation like that your foundation, like the prayers out rewarded dead,
right, they are the foundations of the deen. So it's like a house, you know, if you don't have the strong foundation for the house, what happens when you build the house on top of it? That that house you're building is your Islam? Right? So if that foundation is not strong and firm, then the house itself will be rocky, a bit of wind comes it blows away? You understand? And as such, we're gonna go through trials, no matter what, you're going to be tested in your deen, you're going to be tested in your Eman. So if you're not built on a strong foundation, then you know.
Yeah, since we're on the topic of Salah just quickly, what if people find it? I mean, a lot of people actually do find it very, like burdensome. You know, it's it's five times I heard once a sister mentioning, you know, because sometimes when it's, I think when it's winter, then the prayers are very close together the times. So they like, oh, it's like, all we just do all day is pretty like, you know, instead of looking at it as something that is an honor, and you know, something that is beautiful that you're spending, you feel like you're spending your day day in prayer, but I don't know, I feel like a lot of youth nowadays. And not just youth, maybe even older people as well. They
feel like it's, it's too much. It's too burdensome.
So that if they think they feel it's burdensome, it means they don't understand what's curious. Because prayer is not for Allah, prayer is for you. And you're the one who benefits through your prayer. Right. And in fact,
you know, it's panela like, it's amazing that Allahu Taala made something fought on us, right? That we are also the one who needs it. Right? So if you understand it's an actual need, rather than a burden. And what is the daughter Salam do for you, like, I can say that you're somebody, somebody's feeling it's a burden. They don't understand what is the prayer to start off with you? They don't understand what is the point of the prayer, that it's a connection between you and Allahu Taala it's your time to step into that space, where, you know, you connect with Allahu Taala you leave your burdens behind this dunya right. And you connect to Allah azza wa jal, and, you know, as part of
this is, this is your time to just, you know, step into that, like, people today are suffering from
all kinds of like, stresses and anxieties and all these, you know, And subhanAllah you know, why? Because they don't have, they don't have they don't have inner peace. They don't have inner peace and like what do you think they're teaching mindfulness these days? Because it because people don't know how to slow down and you know, just be able to step out of their busy life and just step into a state of peace and Allahu Allah has given that to us through the Salah, but we don't realize
You know, we got
our salah, that's the problem, we're not fully utilizing our Salah to start off with that you're supposed to leave the world behind you step into this space, where you realize what is, you know, what is the purpose of this world? Like it's all you know, your main purpose is to focus on ephedra, that is your main purpose. So everything else that's happening in your life, when you look at it in the bigger picture, it will become small to you that okay, yeah, I am going through struggles. But you know, what, how long how long is this like really going to go for? It's very temporary. And ultimately, my, my, my main goal needs to be, you know, striving for our camera. That's that's the
true. That's the true home, right? This is not our true home. So if we understand that that's what's the light is doing. Salah is refocusing you making you realize that this world is not your home, this is not your true home. Your world is the alpha, that's what you're supposed to be focusing yourself towards. And that's what's the law does, it reminds you like, I can tell you the difference, what's the law did for me, like I used to go to work every day and I'd go to uni in the afternoon. And I felt like a robot, right? But when I had to stop paying my salah five times a day, like I'm in the middle of my work, but so that time comes, I have to get up, I have to go and pray.
And I felt that it was just bringing something into my life. It was bringing meaning into my life. Right? It was making me refocus that, you know, like otherwise, I'll just be my mind and my heart is just focused on dunya you know what I mean? And I'm detached from Allah azza wa jal, right, but when I had to get up and pray, it's bringing me back and making me realize what is the purpose of this life? What am I here for? What is my main goal in this life, right? That's what Salah does, like, coming from a Christian background. You know, we used to go to church once a week. So once a week, you're thinking about, you're thinking about your goal in life, right? Whereas Islam is integral,
it's every day, it's every moment and the five prayers in particular, but as you know, we've got more than just the five prayers if you want to go beyond that. There's more there's, there's the car, there's time for Quran, there's, you know, thicker at all times. So, you know, all the time you're, you're you're helping yourself to, you know, realign yourself. And you just want mentioned, that's exactly what Subhanallah
you know, as you know, a lot of Dallas's or Maha knuckled will Jigna well into Ilya Abu don't, right? We didn't, Allahu Allah did not create us, you know, humans and Jen except to worship him, right? So what Salah is doing for you literally is helping you re aligned with your purpose, that purpose that Allah created you for?
Yeah, yeah. And you know, when you stand in front of Allah in Salah ish, should remind you of the standing, you know, pm and how we're going to be, you know, accountable for our actions. But like you said, if it is unfortunate, even sometimes, like it happens, where you're just so focused on, you know, other things and then it's like, sometimes you don't, because you're in the zone, you don't want to be disrupted and then go for salad, you're going to come back, but in a way, that just taking that moment to go and you know, change your your focus from slitter your work or whatever you're doing on to something that is of a greater greater purpose, like you know, your Lord and the
euro. And even the the idea that you reciting the Quran if you know the meaning of it, and you ponder over as you're reciting it in the Salah. It just like you said, that you just anchors and grounds you and makes you realize that everything else is trivial. Like, let's say you're stressing about an exam or you're stressing about something that's happening in work, and then you come to salon, you remind, it's a reminder that, okay, you know, all of this doesn't matter, as long as I have this connection with Allah subhanaw taala. And in the era, you know, Allah will
sha Allah with you by His mercy, you know, accept me and enter me into Jana.
I mean, it's important to be mentally prepared, like, you need to have a mental vision of your day as well. Like, you need to, you know, your life. This is what one thing I recommend your life should revolve around your prayers. Most people, they do the opposite. They just fit try to fit in their prayer around wherever they can, like, you have to have, you know, every day you need to have a
you know, you've already got a vision for your day that at a certain time, you've got certain times where you know that that's your time that you're going to pray, right. I'm not saying if the pray right on the moment that then goes, you might, you know, it might be like half an hour after or something but you have a general idea that around this particular time every day that you know, I've just that I need to slop that in. It's a priority, you know, and once you start doing that, and you make that priority, then slotting the rest of your life around the prayers it becomes easy.
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And also in terms of like because you
You know, as Muslim women, we have our menses and we have that break, right. And then it's so difficult to kind of get back into the, because sometimes it lasts for 10 days, right? And then a lot of people, like, if I, if you don't have the habit of going to the prayer mat, regardless, you know, regardless of whether you're praying or not, maybe do some upcard on the prayer mat or something. It's really, it's really difficult after those 10 days have gone to now it takes at least a couple of days to readjust, especially with the Fajr and maybe Isha prayers.
Yeah, look, I'll be honest, it depends on your outlook. Like, if you could look at the prayers as if you're a fish out of water. When you leave your prayer. You're like a fish out of water. So if you realize that you're like, those 10 days you've spent outside your prayer is like a fish out of water. What's it doing to you while you're not in the water? You know what I mean? And so if you look at it, like Alhamdulillah, I'm able to go back to the ward and Allah and how much I really need this Salah for my life, then you actually look forward to it. You know, you'll be looking forward to getting back to it because you know how much it's so important for your Eman? Okay, it's so
important for your Eman. It's what really strengthens your Eman without without the salah you're in, then we'll become weaker. Right? And that's why actually when you're not praying, it's highly recommended that you do you know more as car and if you take the opinion of, you know,
being able to recite the Quran and you know, memorize Quran revised Quran, you know, you make you make the most of that time to try to do more of that, because you're going to need that to
you know, to make up for the times you're not praying. It is does have an impact on your Eman? It does Yeah, yeah. Yeah. For me, personally, I feel like when I'm specially on my, you know, menses, and then I feel like,
I kind of lose track of time as well, because he's, you know, like you said, Salah is like is also when you slot it in your D, you kind of you you can revolve your all your other activities revolve around that. So, when you don't have that, then it's like, you're kind of lost, like, okay, there's, I can just keep on going with all these other stuff, but I just don't know where my time is, is going.
Yeah. So I think that's really an important point that I wanted to, you know, discuss, because part of building this strong Muslim identity is the fact that Hamdulillah you know, we, in our faith, we have five times a day, you know, talking to our Creator directly, like, which other faith has that kind of, you know, direct access out five times a day, like for them, like you said, once a week to church, or maybe for others, it's even, like, non existent. Right. So, yeah, hamdulillah that's really important. So, sorry, going back to you said, so you started to practice and you were working on your prayers. And then how did you continue with your other other acts and also seeking knowledge
and, and so like I said to you because of the,
like the huge impact that praying prayers had on me in strengthening my Eman in basically, you know, like, just bolstering my Eman, right.
I started reading, like, some sisters had given me some books about the hijab. And once I read about the hijab, like, I really wanted to put that on as well, like, I want to wear that even though I was living with my, my family, not my non Muslim family. I was still working full time with all non Muslims. I was going to university where like, there was no really there was really no Muslims in my university except for maybe like about, I don't know,
about 10 maximum and
the whole university
and so Subhanallah like, I just made this goal that you know, so what I used what I started doing, actually was I started wearing the hijab to Islamic events. So I wear it I wear it basically all weekend. Like I used to spend as much time as I could with Muslims that I think that's very important like if you want to be if you want to be strong in your Eman your company is everything company has everything like as the messenger of Allah sort of Larson says and model Allah Dini holiday right a person is upon the religion of his friend for young little huddle common may you Hollywood right look look you who you befriend befriends Nam. So um, you know, I would keep myself
weekends going staying with going to any event that was on I'd make sure I go to that, you know, hanging around with
practicing Muslims as much as I could. That's That's what how it's been my weekends. Because I knew that all week I'm gonna be going to work.
I'm gonna be with all non Muslims all weekend with my family. It's going to be hard and then if I felt a bit low
My man during the week, I bring up some Muslims and talk to them during the week.
So that helped. And, and then the I just made this decision that okay, so I was wearing the hijab, as I said, part time, I was wearing it to all these events. And then I just felt very strongly that I need to do this, I felt like I wasn't, I didn't feel
completely my identity, like as a Muslim, like, I wanted to, like people wouldn't recognize me, like, I'd be going around and saying, I said, I'm on equal to people, but they wouldn't know I'm Muslim, you know. And I felt like, I was kind of living a double life. Like, I felt like, I've got this isn't inside me. But no one really knows I'm Muslim, and I just want to embrace it completely as a lifestyle. You know what I mean?
Yeah, so I got to a point where I just can't live like this anymore. I can't live like this anymore. I can't live this double life. Like, I've got it. I've got out completely embraced Islam, like, you know, free. And yeah, so I basically wrote a letter to my family and told them, You know, I mentioned some
verses from the Bible, okay.
About, you know, wearing a head covering, that there is something in the Bible about that. And I just told them that, you know, I really want to wear the, you know, the hijab, and that I'm going to, at first I had made the decision, I'm not going to wear it to work, I'm only going to be wearing it like, at home, or when I go out with, you know, on the weekends and stuff like that. But after about a few days of doing that, I felt like, no, no, I've got to just do this, I've got to do this everywhere. You know, I mean, so I started wearing a
head covering to work by didn't wear it, like, all the way to the front of my head, like I I wore it, you know, to the back a little bit showing my trunk with my hair at the front. And again, please, everybody has to understand, we're talking about a whole different time where you never saw, like, I'm talking about time where you did not see anyone wearing hijab.
You did not see anyone wearing hijab back then at all. Okay, so I'm like a sore thumb in them, you know what I mean? Like, can I look completely under riba as well, so you just do like a beginner in the face. And, exactly, I'm just trying to find my way, you know what I mean?
So I started off like that, and then after, because I just also you got to understand that as a revert, you've got to take things in a way that you can handle, like, you don't want to rush straight in, and then, you know, your whole family goes against you, which they may which mine mine did, too, you know, and then you know, your workplace is gonna go against you, which they did too. And, like, you're going to get a handle all that, okay, because those changes are going to have impacts. So.
So that's why you're going to be ready for it. And I knew that, like, I need to be ready for when they're gonna start saying something. So the first week, they didn't really say anything, because I had sort of done it like, gradually, but it was more like the second week, they started asking me, you know, what's going on with notice, she said, a dumb changing your dress. And I thought I was being introduced, you know, influenced by some music,
you know, something like a trend or something like that they weren't really sure what was going on. But then I just basically told them that, you know, I become Muslim and,
like, I'm going to wear the hijab now, you know.
So, you know, takes a lot of guts to do that. I'm sure anybody here who's ever had to put on hijab, you know, you understand it's, it takes a lot, a lot to be able to be in an environment where there's no Muslims around you, no one's wearing hijab at all, and you're the only one who's turning up with hijab on. It takes a lot to do you know, hamdulillah someone from Allah subhanaw taala that, you know, gives you tofield to be able to do that.
So Pamela, when you mentioned how you felt like you, you you weren't a complete Muslim, you know, you wanted to embrace it completely. And for you, that step was now putting on the hijab. You know, it's so ironic because nowadays, like, when I see a lot of, you know, Muslim sisters and how they, you know, they're Muslim, but they doing the opposite, like, they want to take it off it and it's not like they wants to be
known as Muslims. Now, I don't know, everyone has personal reasons as to you know, why they take certain steps. But it's interesting, because sometimes people feel like, okay, I'm wearing this hijab, and you know, I'm just, I'm going to be judged, you know, and my, cuz they want to engage in let's say, I don't know, other actions, and they're like, Oh, they're gonna be judged.
I'm trying to understand like, how, I mean, maybe it's a fact that they they don't have that confidence in their faith to begin with, and maybe that's why they don't want to associate with their faith and they just want to take it off.
That's actually not something new. Even back when I was when I reverted I knew off. I heard of, you know, I'm like,
because we had a lot of Lebanese back then like that, that was the main Muslims that I used to know, back then there were many Lebanese Muslims. And I knew that I would hear lots of stories about girls who, you know, would wear hijab in front of their parents, and they would take it off at the train station. And that was going on back then too. It's not something new. But what I can tell you because I grew up with, like I said, my teenage years, with some of these Lebanese families, like I came to Assam probably through the most unpracticed the Muslims out there, right? So it's good, it's been very beneficial to me, because it helped me get an inside understanding of why that goes on.
You know, and I can tell you that the main reason is like, and it's something that the prophets that along with Islam has shown us you know, about, about, you know, that the outer, the outer is very much impacted by the inner you, I'm trying to say. So, if you look at that hadith in which the Messenger of Allah rasool Allah with us and tells us, Allah, we're in a few Jessa de Magua, either Salah had Salah hell Jessa do Kulu what either fester that faster than Jessa do Kulu Allah heal, all right?
in the body, there is a lump of flesh, if that lump of flesh is rectified, the rest of the body will be rectified, if that lump of flesh, you know, there's some sort of corruption in it or something like that, then Subhanallah that would have an impact on the altar as well. So I can tell you that basically,
if you know someone struggling with practicing outwardly, we need to work on the inner. Right, we have to start with the inner now often looking at the sisters, I knew back then, you know, their parents had done the best they could but the parents didn't really have a lot of knowledge. You know, they've made Assam just halal and haram. You know, the girls haven't had that they haven't been given that beauty of Islam, they haven't been taught, you know, think about how did the Messenger of Allah subtle I said, I'm teach is like Creek heavy, bring Islam to the sahaba. Right. All those years, you know, at least, you know, at least 10 years or more was just Tawheed you know,
and, and even the Quran, you know, the early aids of the Quran are all about and also, you know, sort of the men, they're all about the foundations of you men, you know, all about like, developing the awareness of Allahu Allahu taala. You know, thinking about your will elf hair, you know, building up the Eman building up thinking about John not thinking about the gnar. And so it's, you know, all that's been developed, and then that can come down, right. But if you look at a lot of Muslim families,
as I said, they did their best, but because of the lack of knowledge and stuff like that, so they haven't, you know, brought the kids up with that real love for Allahu Taala from the beginning, it was just like, that's haram and a lot of things are totally not even haram half the time to you know, like,
you know, don't chew with your mouth open that's haram, you know, like
when you bring brought up in, you know, believing that like everything in the sand is basically haram. And because I used to do scripted teaching, too, by the way before, when I first reverted, I used to do some scripted teaching to second generation Muslims. And, you know, I used to talk to the girls and I would hear what they had to say. And that was one of the things they bring up, they go, like, everything about religion is haram. And,
you know, they haven't hadn't seen the beauty of Islam. And so this is why like, if you if you haven't got that, if you haven't had that, you know, Introduction
to Islam, in the West, you've had your immense build up for you. And then from your heart, you want to wear hijab, you know, because you must you love Allah and you want to get close to Allah through this hijab. That's a whole different experience like Alhamdulillah, Allahu taala, enabled my husband and I to be able to do that with our children, you know, all my children humbly that in for the law, we raised them in a non Muslim country, all of them embrace their Islamic identity wholeheartedly, right. But that's not something we forced upon them. That's something that, you know, we of course, we gently guided them to it, but we also were focused on building up their inner, you know,
motivating from within, so that, you know, they wanted to embrace Islam, like they felt proud, you know, to wear hijab when they, you know, which nine years of age, even though we're proud to put it on, they wanted to do it, you know, from their heart and, you know, handler, my daughter, you know, when she got to
her, like, what was it like, there was a time where she was saying, I'm not going to wear the niqab and all this and I didn't force it on her or anything else. It's up to you, you know, and she was always like, I'm never gonna win a pub and, and then the panelists, she got to a point where she goes, I'm gonna wear the niqab. I'm like, no, no, you should just finish your teaching degree first, you know, you're gonna have to do prac and then she went and she didn't listen to my husband and I and she just when she went and put it on and, you know, she's living in a non Muslim country and she she decided to wear it, you know? So and how
entry level lights are from Allah subhanaw taala the tofu comes from Allah subhanaw taala. But I'm just telling you as well, that, you know, there is there was, you know, there was a purposeful Tata br that they were given as well that obviously, it's a Sabbath, you know, I'm trying to say there is a sub involved like that that just happened just like that, you know, there was a lot of handler work put into that as well. But of course, Allah is the One who gives Tawfeeq ultimately, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, you were saying how, of course, you know, some parents they? Well, in fact, a lot of parents who are more culturally inclined, they, you know, I'm always saying this
that is haram. And, you know, it's just, it's crazy. But now we're living in an age where knowledge is so accessible, you know, like, if you just go on to Google and type in like, you know, week EMA, and like, what to do, you know, kind of thing, you'll come up with so many articles and so many pieces of advice, you know, I feel like, is there an, Is there really an excuse? You know, is there an excuse?
Look, I think everyone's everyone's got their own situation, I, I've talked to a lot of sisters around the world, and everyone's in very different situations. Like I myself live in a very ideal situation. Allama Barrick, I live in a very strong community where I live and handled on the Surrett, like, Alhamdulillah, I'm very heavily involved in, obviously, following and teaching and so like, I'm, you know, my days are filled with, you know, teaching and seeking knowledge, and I've got the sisters who come to my classes, they're all very motivated. And obviously, I've created a very, you know, like, it's, it's not just them who benefit, I benefit, because I have all those sisters
around me that also are very, like motivated towards their deen and my family and I, we live in an area, which is very, you know, 100, it's high concentration of Muslims, we have lots of masajid in our area, it you know, in general, the people who live in my area tend to be much more motivated towards their Islam, you know, and they sort of, you know, we're kind of sticking together as a community, because we know that this is the best place to, you know, to have that better environment. So, like, I've got an ideal situation. And, um, I mean, I purposely tried to leave here for that reason, like, when I came back from Saudi, I was wearing the pub.
And I was worried about, you know, living in there are areas obviously, in Sydney, that there's not very many Muslims at all, and I know that it's gonna, it's gonna have, it's gonna drag on me, if I'm not living in an area where, you know, I'm so surrounded by practicing Muslims. So I was really making dua that I would be able to live, you know, in my area. So I think it really does depend on a person's experience. Like, if you haven't really got a very good environment, it's going to be a lot harder for you. You know, I'm trying to say, and you're unsure your reward any sister out there that doesn't have the environment, I asked a lot of time to give you the greatest reward. Because the
harder the, the harder the environment is, the harder your circumstances. And you holding on to your deen be in Allahu taala. Your Your reward is greater for that, inshallah. Yeah, definitely.
You know, you we you mentioned about friendship, and even know about environment and choosing your environment and stuff.
What advice would you have for sisters who, like, they don't, they just don't consider that like for them, they have their friends who they're very comfortable being around and the like, for them going in finding, you know, practicing sisters, and that is like, out of their comfort zone? And they don't, they're not really interested in doing that. I mean,
how, how would you advise them?
Look, you don't have to just go like, because some people go to extremes with that, you know, like, they might have their friends and then like, they're just, they kind of get into the deen and they just, like, shun all their previous friends. I mean, look.
The only time I would advise people to, like really sort of consider stepping away from,
from from friends is if they really are involved with, you know, like major sins, they're really putting it back to your old life. Like, definitely, if you've left
a bad lifestyle, a lifestyle that's away from Islam, and then you've got these friends and you know that when you're with them, they're going to just drag you backwards, that's when you really need to consider those. You know, because that's basically you're still choosing a bad environment in that case, right.
So, you know, look, if anyone's looking for good environment, if you're looking for good company, you can always find them in the HELOC automated. Always like if you've got a cron class wherever you live, or if you've got some sort of place where you know cities come together and do you know, they, they, they have Halakhot together.
You know, you will always find good sisters coming to those gatherings and that's how you'll make new friends like Alhamdulillah like I have my Shediac classes.
Here in Sydney, you know, a lot of the young girls come in and like, Mike, that I teach over 17 year olds, you know, and you know, a lot of them are like university students, and some of them don't, they didn't have any friends before, but hamdulillah through the classes, you know, through coming to the, to the gatherings, they met new friends, and you know, and these friends that sometimes go on journeys with them, like as in, they go on like this, they begin their journey of life, you know, with each other, like, they might both eventually get married, they might start having children together. So you know, and they met each other at the shipyard class, you don't try and say so. And
that's how they support each other, they start visiting each other outside of classes, and this is how you This is how you you find good company inshallah.
Yeah, and also nowadays, you know, with social media, you can also find a lot of sisters on there as well. Yeah, I know. Yeah. I know, with me, personally, I didn't ever consider myself doing, you know, online classes, and that, but of course, you know, with the whole pandemic, and that it had to be like, had no choice. And now I find there's always this hikma in that because sisters who are not in an environment where they have a, you know, practicing sisters are on them. And they're able to, you know, come together, even if it's virtually, and yeah, have that have that connection. Yeah, absolutely. That's the same thing with me, because Subhanallah that was something I hadn't
considered previously, I'd just been teaching here in Sydney for so many years, right, my CDL classes. However, when the, you know, the pandemic began, we had to go online with my class. And then there was all these sisters that had Subhanallah, they don't always want to study with me all these years, but because I live too far away, it was too hard to come. And then I had sisters interstate as well. And so it's a panel, I ended up opening up my classes.
At the moment, I've only made it from available to Australian students like sisters in Australia, because I really can't cope. I'm still hamdullah doing my masters at the moment in Seoul. Hamdulillah. So I've got a lot going on. And I've got all my other classes I teach, you know, drink regularly. So it's very hard for me to take on too many students. But Alhamdulillah, I offered it to the sisters, you know, like, within Australia, I do have a couple of international students, but I didn't really I haven't really, you know, sort of, I don't want opened up too much. Because I can't it's hard for me to follow up. I don't have a secretary, I don't have anyone to like, follow up over
the students each semester. Yeah, because there's a lot involved. When you have classes, there's a lot of like, I have multiple classes. So I need to, you know, and also I like I believe that it's better to do something small, well, then do, you know, to overburden yourself and end up not doing it? Well, because you've taken on too much? So? Yeah, so yeah. hamdulillah but yeah, what you're saying? Definitely, I have sisters in my classes that they don't have a community. So they have really benefited from, you know, seeing the community that we have, you know, here in Sydney, in general, we do have a handler, like,
you know, there is because if I told you is a lot of concentration, there's a high concentration of practicing Muslims because if you understand when you come to a Western country
you know, you have a choice, you have a choice, you want a practice exam or not. If you don't practice this, then you go live somewhere far away. But when you want to practice exam, you want to stick to the masjid, you want to stick to the place where you can find the Hello needs. So that's what ends up you know, the, the Islamic
schools. So you ended up with a concentration of Muslims in certain areas. That's what's happened to us. Yeah, we have. Yeah, you're it reminds me of, so I was brought up in the UK in the place, the town that I come from, it's like, it's a small town, but it's so highly concentrated with Muslims panela that they have, like, so many massages just in this one town, and it's like, you're literally walking distance from the different massage. So it's amazing, and everyone is penalized? Like, you know, you see them wearing hijab, a lot of club and yeah, that definitely, you know, plays a role in, in how strong your identity forms, you know,
although, I would say nowadays, there are a lot of people who maybe I guess it's because they influenced by a lot of the youth the you know, spend a lot of time on social media and they may be influenced by even though they, their actual physical environment is you know, full of Muslims and practicing and going to the masjid going to classes, but because they virtual life is kind of, you know, in a different environment and a not so partisan environment. So then they kind of feel pressured by that. You know what I mean? Yeah, for sure.
Yeah, so tell us about now. Once you started seeking knowledge
How was that experience for you? It's been my journey and seeking knowledge has been extremely long. Yeah, it's something I've always pardon. I said it's still ongoing. Mashallah, absolutely And subhanAllah it's like Wallahi I just think Allah subhanaw taala that he put this.
I can't explain it. Like, it's an absolute passion for knowledge. It's an absolute passion for seeking knowledge. I've always handled it, but like, it's a fundamental law, because not everybody has that, you know, and Hamdulillah. But from the very beginning, like, I knew, this is what I wanted to do. This is the path I've always wanted. And, you know, from the very beginning of when I first even when I first reverted, I was straightaway trying to memorize the Quran. And I'm talking about just trying to memorize even, you know, a, you know,
pseudo pseudo Kathy rune, you know, I started with the short syringes, but I knew I wanted to memorize.
First of all, my goal was obviously to memorize Zama. But, you know, I already from a very early from very early days, I already had made up my mind that I wanted to memorize the Quran, you know, and also, because I told you that Subhanallah because I've been hanging around with these, you know, Arabic speaking different Arabic speakers, not all Muslims, by the way, some of them were not Muslims, but I'd already had an interested in learning Arabic even before becoming Muslim. Yeah, so I'm talking about Lebanese, I'm talking about Syria, and I'm talking about different dialects. But yeah, once I,
once I, you know, reverted, and I started, like I said, memorizing the Quran, I got an interest in, it's just a gradual process, you know, started wanting to learn how to, you know, read Arabic, I start doing Tajweed lessons in Australia. And then Subhanallah, my husband and I, we wanted to live in Saudi Arabia, because we thought it'd be, you know, a better lifestyle, you know, stronger Islam for us. And I really want to enroll in the university there. That was my number one goal to to to enroll in, it was the only university I knew of that took women was makura. But alone, another whole long story, but basically,
until now, I have not known one Australian student to be taken by all Cora even male, right. But even all those years ago, I had tried to apply but there was so much red tape. I did know a couple of sisters that did study, study Omokoroa, who not Saudis, but that had happened because like, for example, one of them who her husband was a teacher at normal Porter, and you know how it is in Saudi Arabia, like if you know, someone, well, you've got the foot in the door and things like that.
Other than that, yeah, so when that didn't work out, I was because we had been advised to stay with one particular arm scholar in Judah. And that scholars family, you know, had told me about the Donald Buddha, which is a very, you know, highly repeatable, you know, Quran. Quran madressa
is so open, it is yet to open into now. And it's like, because it's all under the shamans, Wade and his students. That's why it's got a very much a lot of work a lot of strong reputation.
So hamdulillah Allah knows best because Subhanallah like, you know, sometimes you think that, you know, like Allahu Taala Jonnie, how can I say to you, sometimes you think you know what's best for you. But like, as Allah says, Well, I sent the caribou che and when we're highroller calm was the end to Hebrew che and what was shabu Naka right? Well, Allahu Allahu Allah when some let's Allah mudra right Subhanallah because what I'm trying what I'm saying is for is because I thought to myself, the best thing for me to study right now was to do this degree in you know, in Islamic studies or or should your sciences but Subhan Allah, Allah will don't actually directed me to the
Quran, right? And at the time, I'm sad to say it, I'm ashamed to say it, that's just my own ignorance. I saw it as a second best option. But now looking back, I realized it was a huge fraud. I mean, Allah, because had I know a lot of shady students who did not take the path of Quran and they didn't and because of the sheer sciences they studied, they never actually went down that road.
I feel like a lot of people have put me on that road first. You know what I mean? And gave me that first before going into geosciences seriously, right? And you know,
through that I was able to teach my own children hamdulillah the Quran and that is the greatest gift you know that you know, Allah Tala could have given me Subhan Allah. Yeah, sha Allah, he reminded me of my journey as well because I really, really wanted to study Quran as well. And this is like, cannula forward. How many years from you maybe like 20 years on Allah see hasn't changed one little bit?
And I was like, you know, I even went and visited the
uni when I came for Umrah, and I was just like, shocked at how, how they kind of treated like, you know, it wasn't, it wasn't like, Oh, you've come, you know, from a different country, you want to inquire, you know, let's, you know give you give you that assistance, he was like, Oh, you can check everything online. And I was like, I've come all this way, you know, I want to ask some questions, can you not just, you know, and that's where I think another aspect of you know, this whole Muslim identity is that sometimes, you know, when we encounter people who almost like, especially in a Muslim country, like, you know, Saudi Arabia, we are, like, literally supposed to be the hub of like
Islam, you know what I mean? And when you encounter people who are,
you know, supposedly, like you said, this Sharia classes that they were teaching, and these are teachers who teach these sciences, and you know, and yet they deal with you in such a manner, it kind of, you know, for a person who isn't grounded in their faith, they kind of put you off, like, is this how people with Islamic knowledge behave? Do you know what I mean? I hate to tell you this, but I got to a point when I was living in Saudi Arabia, where I said to my husband, if I'm to bring up my children with a strong sense of love for Allah and Islam, I said, I can't I know, I can't do it here. And I know a lot of people might not understand that, because you haven't lived in Saudi
Arabia to see what it's like to live there, and the lifestyle and a lot of things that go on there.
You need to have walked in my shoes to understand where I'm coming from. But I had met so many that was, I just found, like, with, with so many, okay, not everybody, I met some amazing sisters that mid 20s, I met some absolutely amazing sisters, when I was there, too, broke a law, however, they weren't. They were the minority. And the vast majority, you know, I found them very apathetic, which was very upsetting to me as a revert, like, I'll tell you, I spent almost two years just crying. Because of the apathy, you know, the lack of interest in Islam, the lack of love for Islam, it was really hurting my heart so much, I couldn't believe that these people had this treasure. And yet,
you know, there's just this, you don't talking about, right? You know, what I'm talking about, I just don't care.
And I could understand that as because, also, I just want to also explain something that I had a very idealistic, under, you know, idea of what I'm going to in Saudi Arabia, when I went there, I'm thinking this is like, the land of Sahaba. This is like, you know, and I'm thinking I'm gonna meet Sahaba, I'm gonna not
really motivate highly motivated, which I look, I did 100 Here, we're lucky, I did meet some amazing, and I'm talking about, well, that was lucky all I had, you know, I did really meet some systems that I could say, did fulfill this. Okay. But, you know,
many other things that happened to my husband, so many other things, we went through the life, we went through a very a lot of trials, right, we went through a lot of trials, and we live there. And there's, you know, because, you know, my husband, you know, he was treated as an Egyptian, for example, you know, he wasn't, you know, there's, and you know, that there, is there there are these issues that that are there. If you're not Saudi, or if you're not, if you don't happen to have a Western passport, things like that, you know, there's different treatment.
Yeah, so there's a lot of unfairness unfortunately. Yeah. So when you see that, and, you know, because you're because I'm coming as an idealistic revert, like, Islam is the, you know, understand is, is that is that Islam does have all that, but the Muslims are a whole different story.
That is what, you know, we need to understand when it comes to, even when, you know, you shouldn't put us off her being, you know, proud to be a Muslim, just because other people are behaving like that, because at the end of the day, that's their, you know, their deeds, and that's their right, like, they're going to be accountable for that. Right. But we're going to try and, you know, look to the actual go back to the, the essence of what Islam is and try and practice that, you know, as best as we can. Because I know, you know, as, like, for example, I wear the niqab. Right. And I know a lot of sisters, maybe puts them off, you know, wearing the niqab or even like, you know, wearing the
hijab, maybe because of how other Muslim sisters may, you know, treat others with the same, you know, even though they're wearing the same thing. And what I feel is that it doesn't matter, like what they're doing, at the end of the day, the essence of Islam, isn't that and we should try and implement what the essence is. Now, look, I mean, for me, I as I said in the beginning, I didn't come to Islam through the most practicing Muslims anyway. So for me, I've always said, the reason I came to Islam is because I believe it's the absolute truth. All right, and I've always said I'm the if if I'm the only one on this verse, trying to practice the religion. You know, I can't, on your
piano come to lots of hands on and say the reason I'm not practice
The thing is, because nobody else was either, you don't get on trial. So that's not going to be an excuse, like, we're all gonna be questioned individually about our own implementation of, of the deen. And you can't just say, well, such and such was doing that. So I'm just going to do that too, you know, it's not going to be excuse for you on your PMR. So, that's my outlook.
If no one else if I can't find the right examples, then I have to try to make myself into that example. You know, that's what we should all be thinking for ourselves. Like, if you don't see the examples around you, you build yourself so you can be the example Inshallah, because we need more of those people. May Allah make us help us to rectify ourselves and, you know, give us about, you know, May He keep us steadfast in shoulder because it's a long journey. It's not easy. You're gonna go through a lot of tests. You know? Yeah, definitely. I mean, I mean, yeah, so, so you said to the first thing and having a lot of love brought us to the port earn like to, you know, have that
relationship with the Quran. So tell us what you were learning to memorize. You were learning to read you were learning.
In when I was in Australia, I already had been doing Tai Chi classes. So Hamdulillah I had already done probably, basically level one of Tajweed when I was in Australia, I'd covered that and then 100 and I'd already met said memorizing the Quran on my own right.
My husband of course, he's Arabic speaker. So that helps, you know could go like Ron said that a yet back and he could hear you know, how I'm fixing up my pronunciation. I also used to study with some sisters.
You know, like, again, Quran. But then when I went to when I studied in Judah,
it was a very strong program, very strong program of memorization. Like you do still abakada in a whole year, the whole of sort of Bacara that's a lot for me like maybe a born Muslim. That's not so much but for a revert. And I when I first joined the Quran school, I just want to add that I couldn't even read I mean, I wasn't able to memorize from the most half, okay, because I wasn't familiarized enough with the Arabic script. When I first joined the Quran school we were doing Sood Ali Imran, we did that in our holiday break. I actually had memorized that from transliteration. Like I used to write it out. I used to write out the
you know, copy, copy out the transliteration and then write the English underneath. That's how I memorized surely Imran and I memorized the last five pages as well as the Quran. But then when I started doing
sort of baccarat that's when I had handled I finally had built up enough you know, from the familiarization with the Arabic script and was able to like sort of transfer over and start memorizing you know, from the Arabic script right
know I was just gonna say You know, when you while you're talking one I it comes to mind and that's what Latina Jaha do fina Linda, Deanna homeschool Anna and I feel like kinda, you know, Allah gave you that tofield to put that effort to do that Musa and you know, Allah opened up upon you like, imagine, who would have thought like a river and already you know, within first couple of years, how many years have you been up until this point? Since you had reverted? So
when you had like, a geologist
like let me see.
So you went over somebody is now over 30 is now handling that.
But when you when you were injured, how many years have you been?
No long, long? Only a few years, not just a few years. But you know, I want to tell you something. So role models and mentors are very important. Like as soon as I landed I'm not joking. As soon as I landed in Jeddah I was very highly motivated. So I want to meet sisters who had I think I was interested to know rivets but I knew that if I'm going to Saudi Arabia for sure. There has to be rivets there who have really let's say excelled in their Deen
you don't have to say and and humbly I did find that like I met like shows with Kadima. She had definitely excelled. Like she's, you know, you know, as you know, she's Masha lots of Buchla like she has, you know, you jazz arts in in like in every single one of the pivots. And she meant like when I met her she was just finishing off him and realization of the Quran, like the whole Quran. And then I met another sister who's also revert she has studied more Quran.
Okay, so I met these sisters that were all reverts, and they were a very big inspiration for me, you know, and, like, I guess when I saw them, it's like, you know, what, shall they that's the goals, you know, I'm trying to say like, I want to work towards those goals for myself. Yeah. Yeah. So, you are blessed mashallah, to actually see you know, these, these role models and people who you could look look up to, and that's something that is really important nowadays, but I feel like like you said, you know, if, if you're not seeing that example, you have
have to sometimes be the example.
And I know with me personally, it's like, I don't know, I can't seem to find, you know, like, there are a few people who I look up to and who are inspirational, but it's not, it's not, you know, many. And for me, I feel like when I'm just, let's say, reading on the, on the Sahaba, to the, you know, the wives of the Prophet sallallahu sallam, and just scholars, you know, female and male of the, the, our predecessors, I feel like that, for me, is where my inspiration and you know, the role models come from? Is that, sorry, yeah, sorry, go on. Yeah, no, I was just gonna say to you, I really believe that if you really make a strong do app a lot, because that's what I did, before I
left Australia, I made a really some very strong, do I really ask Allahu taala, to guide me to,
you know, to these examples, and I want to just mention, too, that I have met great examples in Australia to not just not just in Saudi, but um, I've always tried to seek out those, you know, what I'm trying to say people who are like, kind of really have excelled. I really tried to seek them out wherever I went. And even online, I still do it. Like, the way I choose my friends in real life. I also do it online. That's just my personal
that's the way I find that helps me so much like, because when I keep myself around people who are highly motivated, that's what helps to really motivate myself.
And I know you mentioned that is, that is something that I think that we can all take away from. Because, you know, nowadays, we don't think twice about who we, you know, surrounded by online. And that has a very, very big effect, what we see and what we hear, you know, eventually reaches the heart, right. And that's why we have to, we have to be really careful about the kind of content that we're listening to or watching or the kind of people that you know, we're surrounded by online, because that has an influence. Yeah. So then. So tell us where you are in Judah for how many how many years? Just a couple of years, we'll hamdulillah because I'm currently I'm currently here for
four years and I think I'll be leaving soon. So are you hear for like four years as well? No, not that long. I was only there for a couple of years. But what happened with me I ended up having twins. I tried my best to live there the best I could. I took I made the most of every moment of end that I could get out of out of my you know, my time there. I did not wasted money. In fact, I was attending classes right up until like one or two weeks before I actually gave birth to my twins. That was to the level that I was very determined. I would I would meet up with you know, the various scaly sisters that were injured do like there was Schaefer Kadima sorry, Shekhar rehab, who's the
shaker of Karima. She was my neighbor. So I would make sure that I was always in the company of, you know, the best scissors that I could find, you know, to motivate myself and learn from but
basically what happened was once I had my twins if anyone has ever had twins, you know what I'm talking about? It's like, you can't it's not like having one child where you can easily just go out or anything. You know, I had to stop my activities. I wasn't able to continue studying anymore. I had to stop my studies. But I did keep my Maharajah going, like I kept going with my Maharajah like, because that was something that fueled up my days. But I was very isolated. Like, back in those days, there was no phones, no internet, not even a landline. You know, so I was very, very cut off and I was trying to struggle on my own with my husband going to work and you know, I've got these
twins. So if anyone can kind of imagine that if you think lockdowns are hard.
You should try living in Saudi Arabia in those days. That's that's what that's what you'd call a real lockdown. Like you can't even you can't go outside. It's not that safe to kind of just go walking around here and there and
The weather wasn't good. It wasn't very good for my mental health. Okay, so I basically got to the point where I told and I had another son by the way as well, it wasn't just my twins. So then I told my husband I just said I can't I can't go on like I can tell and also i Having lived there I knew that my son wouldn't be able to go to a normal school he would have to go to a you know, a private schools that we have to pay for in the private schools of Mesa mainly English speaking, you know, and I thought what am I? What am I here for then, you know, if you can't even go to a normal school and you know, anyway, to cut a long story short, we left came back to Australia, but and also I
tried to find out about studying Arabic when I was there. And interestingly, it's not highly offered. And even if they had a few classes, the classes would soon fizzle out once you get to a higher level.
Well in Arabic because nobody else like if you can't haven't got enough number of people studying it,
the classes will just continue. I came back to Australia and I found my local university here was offering Arabic as a course. In my classes I had, you know, Jordanian students, Lebanese students who had sort of like left Jordan when they were like you nine you're 10 So I ended up doing an Arabic degree I had a professor who had a PhD in Arabic and he was a shared as well like he was a poet actually well
he's passed away now but he was my one of my main teachers in Arabic. So I ended up doing a degree over a number of years mind you Well, I'm raising my my children as well.
Yeah, I did a degree in Arabic and that that really helped you know hamdulillah as well Yeah, I think the level that you probably are with the you know, with learning in Sydney is probably higher than what you'd learn here. Absolutely. Because we had to do all the collide luckily to study like you get set subjects that you have to study.
So yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well Subhanallah so so your journey of seeking knowledge you know, you didn't let the You didn't let like having twins You didn't let anything come in the way Subhanallah honestly, I tell you it's a panel I don't know it's as I said, I asked a lot to keep that that light burning in my heart like I just got a very strong passion towards it. I've never I've never given up I've always wanted to you know absolutely love it. Like I get a sweetness from from from studying and from seeking knowledge and I think that's what keeps me going you know, hamdulillah Yeah, definitely. You know, the reason why I wanted to, you know, show hear your story and let other
sisters know about it, because we all need to take you know that inspiration and you know that to our to our little buttery waterfall we need to like help each other and sometimes using real life examples is what you know motivates us. Allah masa, Vietnam, Shona, Maliki bustin fast.
You Yeah, so I'm sorry, I know I'm just keep asking a lot of questions but I'm just so intrigued. Mashallah, that so after you completed your Arabic and then you went on to now Shediac classes? Yeah, so um, okay, so I finished my so during this time, I'm raising children. I'm teaching my kids to Quran as well because I wanted my kids to memorize the Quran. So this was my life juggling between doing my own Maharajah studying at university finishing off my degree, and then raising my children. By the time I had graduated from university, and I was studying part time mind you, I
I want them to think is before I gave birth to my fifth son. Okay, so after that,
I began translating
the, like, you know, hopefully, you know, like sermons and doodles of of scholars, I got into that and like we had one of your own was that for your own personal or to like show what happened was we had like, because we have a handler, like we have, like, we have a chef that we've been with for many, many, many years, my family and I and we've always been very stuck to, you know, with the community with that particular chef. Mashallah. And is it there in Sydney? Yes. And you would know his son his son is very famous mashallah his name's Chabot buck. So
on but we were very close to the His Father.
May Allah preserve him is mashallah amazing. Chef. Anyway, so he, you know, does lectures and that there in Sydney? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. He does. But like he's more of an Arabic like he's an Arabic speaking chef. So, he tends to do more he does his hook but like, if you can see it, you can get a message a sunnah. That's where I teach. And that's, that's our chef, like he usually gives a clip on Fridays he live streams on Mr. Suna.
But anyway, so like I started giving Halaqaat many many years ago like almost 20 years ago, so giving Halaqaat just general Halaqaat but what happened was I started getting to the sisters just basic food practical field. And then my chef, he suggested to me he said look, you need to do something more serious than than just doing you know, you need to do structured lessons like he wanted me to do like going to more structural lessons. And that's what like pushed me into like becoming more serious with my you know, studying Surely our sciences so I bought into as enrolled in one
Academy it's, it's with Arabic scholars because I had that's what I the reason I started Arabic was I wanted Arabic for you know, I know that Arabic is the key to opening up the authentic sciences like I knew if I wanted to study Assam at a serious level. I need to have Arabic right.
So I started down
I'm starting with various scholars in debased in Riyadh
my main because I had read on I had read other students seeing about how when you go to Medina, because that was always my ultimate goal. Like I always just wanted to get that degree, you know what I mean? And so I had seen them saying that if you want to be a strong student, you can't just take the university curriculum, you need to study derisive and will tune as well on the site, the scholars, right. So I thought, okay, if I can't do the university degree, I'll do Gerasa Mattoon, you know, which is basically on arbequina just, you know, sorry, it's, um, religious texts, okay, you know, they're not like, you know, big books, they just kind of like the, you know, the
fundamental books like event foundational books like LRP Delaware, so TR, for example, you know, you know, clean alcohol we are like all those foundational books that I've recommended, and I was following a program that was recommended by one of the scholars. So I started studying all those different will turn on little filk for example, studying studying hope all of these books I've done a shot of doing basically a whole shot of the complete book right. So that gave me a very strong foundation handed in filk gave me a strong foundation in Al Qaeda and then eventually the miszewski they recommended that you know, like that I consider studying like doing a formal your formal
qualifications that would inshallah you know, enabled me to be a shaker inshallah. So, at Hamdulillah I hand them in for delay to Allah Finally, after all these years I recently graduated
from that degree in film and will soon and like that took me five years to do that degree and I did at that time. Well, masha Allah, this was online. That's all online. Yes. Is so the institute is still it's still available for new new students June right. Actually, it's an it's a it's a formally recognized university. It's based in Malaysia. And it's very highly recommended if you talk to any pool Oberlin. They all recommend studying there because the program is very strong. You do a very similar program to Medina University in Medina it's called Jaime Aqua Medina and Alinea. Right so it's um
it's the international Medina University.
You said the one with the teachers from Riyadh.
The one who set it up was one of the not one of the women that from Riyadh and he went and he he established it. So the programs are said they are really highly recommended. But you have to understand that you have to have a high level of Arabic to be able to do it. You there's no English, it's all Arabic. So you need to if you want to do that, you need to like build your Arabic up to be able to because there's a lot of reading involves, like a lot of reading involved. Yeah. So you did the film? And also it was a bachelor's or natural and um, yeah, so Okay, so you for the focus was on Fifth and also what about let's say Hadith and tafsir, and all that, you do a bit of that you do a
bit of tafsir like every every student whenever I'm specialization you go into even if you're in Medina University, same thing, you will do a bit of tough seeded a bit of Hadith, but your, your focus will be on film, and also, that's your main focus. And I wanted the *ty Allah I wanted to share your degree like I should, yeah, degree is different than just doing like, an Arpita degree. You don't try to say it's
so that's, that's what I always wanted to do.
You have hamdulillah so that's,
yeah, Ma sha Allah. So you know, you've, you've finished and now you've already enrolled into masters program. Yeah, so that wasn't like two hours. I didn't plan to do that. Like, I always thought to myself, Okay, that's enough, I'll just do that. But
like, Subhan Allah, this pandemic came along, and I'm not doing about ice do a lot of public speaking before this, you know, I was always doing events and public speaking. And that's all stopped because of having COVID. And that's how Subhanallah you know, these things happen and sometimes you realign your you make, you know, you change your focus. And that's what's happened to me. Like, I've just realized that you know, what I've got to this point in life where it's an ideal, I mean, an ideal time right now because my kids have grown up. I've got help in my house. And it's like, this is something I've always wanted to do. And I've, I spoke to one of my as I said, one of
those mentors I spoke about earlier. She still lives in Judah like she used to do even Makkah but one of the things she said to me, she said to me, the only thing I regret is not doing my masters. When she said it to me, I thought you know what? I don't I don't want to also have that regret. So I thought you know what, Subhan Allah, You know what, since I've just finished
and I'm on a roll, like I've got used to this pace of studying and everything. I think the best thing is just go straight into this. You know, in
to this degree, even though it was very overwhelming to be quite honest
so far, I've still got a lot of years ahead of me, but I don't care because, you know, as I said, this is my passion. So it doesn't really bother me how long it takes, you know? Yeah. And that's, that's a really crucial point. Because, you know, seeking knowledge, a lot of the times people think that, oh, I'll just, you know, do to one year two years, but it's actually a lifetime and you know, the way we overwhelm ourselves, that's what hinders us continuing for a lifetime because then we want to just get it all in one goal but like, there's a saying in Arabic, the alien comes all in once, you know, leaves all in ones as well. So it's always good to do you know, step by step and
take it one step at a time. So what would you advise like sisters, when they let's say, they are born Muslims or reverts, but they you know, getting interested in the religion and they really want to study what what should they start off with? You said the Quran look like everyone has going to have different goals, no, everyone's gonna be the same. We don't have to all go this this past, you know, you don't have to go to complete path. But you do need enough knowledge to sort of support your own Eman and support your own families. Amen. So I do recommend everybody, um, you definitely should go into Quran because Quran is something that just brings so much sweetness in your life to
be able to recite it, revise it, memorize it, you have to memorize the whole Quran, you know, but just memorize the most like some of the most key parts of the Quran, like Jews online together, you know, recite in your silhouettes, sort of gaff to, you know, to be able to read it on Fridays, civil Bacara, I would definitely recommend any Imran you try and memorize those ones, at least, you know.
But besides that, you know, obviously, you need your basic filk you need your basic look. It's good to know that tafsir of Zama
and Aqeedah, obviously, you know, you definitely want to learn your Aqeedah you don't again, you don't have to specialize in it, but you need to have your basic foundation because it really like I know, with all the classes I teach, the sisters always love the upgraded classes, you know, because it really brings them back to Allah subhanaw taala you know, you're connecting learning who is Allahu Taala
and it's just something that really nourishes the human, you know, nourishes the man and you know,
in sha Allah, yeah, in sha Allah, that's, that's a good, good foundation to have, you know, growing up in the UK, they have this, I don't know if they have it in, in Australia, but they have this program they call it like a Alamy program where it's like six or seven years of like the study, Hadith, fictive see all of that, right. But one thing that I personally did that and a lot of the, a lot of like the youth, the their parents, like kind of, you know, encouraged them to go into it, and they literally like 1112 years old. And, you know, Subhan Allah, I was just talking to a friend the other day about this whole system of, you know, when it comes to studying the deen and, and, like
you said, our PA is actually very important. And we, even though that program is six, seven years, they've, they hardly focus on that. And when I came here to Saudi, and I realized Subhanallah, that that's the main focus here. And that's the, it's the game changer, because when you're learning, you know, about Allah subhanaw taala. And you and you're learning about, you know, everything to do with like, our purpose, the action and all that, then you have that zeal to actually study further, as opposed to just, you know, overwhelming with all of the sciences, and then you're like, Okay, you know, why did I learn this? And another thing that the Eat lacks is, you know, the, the support the
Toby I think, is very important when you're actually seeking knowledge because a lot of times we can get stuck in like the nitty gritty, especially you don't feel like you can get stuck in the nitty gritties of like, this opinion and that opinion. But then, yeah, and then that's where the Tobia comes in of like, you know, nurturing of okay, how do you, you know, approach someone who is, you know, following a different opinion, or how, when you yourself are stuck, or, you know, feeling low in human and how you go about doing it, and I feel like, they really lack on that. And as a result, so many young Muslims, you know, they graduate from this and the, it just, you can't see any effect
of it because it's like, as if they didn't learn it, and it's really shocking what I was trying to think. Yeah, I think sometimes Allahu Allah and too, sometimes it's the parents want that to make their child into something that the child doesn't want that for themselves. You don't mean you have to be motivated towards Aiden. It's not something that someone can make you into, you know what I mean? It's rough, you have to choose for yourself. So that can also be the reason why they might not miss it.
30 You know, have got the most out of it as well. And but it also the dryness of the way that sometimes it's taught, you know, very dry way of teaching it. Yeah, it's just woke up on. It's very focused on like completing the book as an, you know, doing the exam, as opposed to what can we derive from this and hasn't developed your Eman? And how does that add to you as a believer?
And also, when you were saying about how, you know, a lot of times parents want their kids to be something that maybe their child doesn't want to be and I find that that is what I see often as well.
And one of the things I would say is that if the parent wants the child to let's say, you know, memorize the Quran, I think the parents should themselves take it upon themselves to start doing it ensure that child Absolutely, look honestly any to any parent, I will say this, actions speak far louder than words you can say as much as you want your child but honestly, the greatest impact you're going to have on your child is through your own action.
Yeah, definitely, definitely. Okay, so we've spoken a lot, mashallah, we'll just finish off with
some, like advice to give to especially young sisters nowadays, who, you know, let's say they're really struggling with the faith and just get becoming stronger as with their identity, and being proud of being proud of them, their faith. Yeah, look, will fit, you know, just to wrap up, I guess, the best advice I could give those, those young sisters
as I said earlier, realize that, if you are struggling, then start from building yourself from within, alright, start from booting yourself from within. And part of that is obviously taking that path of knowledge, adding to yourself, because that's, that's what actually, you know, strengthens and nourishes you're in. And so that's part of it. So it's part of it is knowledge part of it is, you know, seeking the path of, you know, the Quran and also obviously trying to as much as you can implement, you know, the better that Allah has given us, right, the more you try to motivate yourself towards that, that is going to strengthen you. But as we said earlier, company is
everything, you know, you see cut company, wherever you can, whether we're talking about, you know, offline, if you're able to find that good company, those Hello Art, if you can't, you know, you find it online and handle we have online now there is you know, you look for those,
look for those wherever you can try to find, you know, groups of sisters, or you know,
role models or whatever you can find online that kind of, you know, you feel like that that's motivating you to want to be better. Look, I do have some, I do have a few lectures, like on my YouTube, if anyone's interested, I tried to put them out there because I realized that there are sisters out there in the world that don't really have
you know, female show heart or, you know, teachers that they don't have access to them and where they live right and it does make a difference. I believe for a lot of sisters, hearing it from the female perspective, like hearing Islam for a female perspective, it's they can relate more to that in a lot of cases you know, so I did put a few I have a few lectures so if you go to YouTube on Jamila, Dean
have a look at some of those lectures, you may find some of them Inshallah, supportive for you.
Besides that, also, another one walking with quick aspect is, you know, realizing that too sometimes the reason we're not we're having struggles in embracing our deen is sometimes even self esteem issues. Sometimes, you know, sometimes people might need to work a little bit more on their self esteem. Because that's coming in the way it's like a weakness that's coming in their way of of fully embracing and doing what they they really want to do from their heart. Yeah, so that's just some quick in a nutshell, tips that I hope, you know, can help people but yeah, environments, everything. If your environment is not good, if the you know, the,
if there's certain things that are negatively affecting you, you need to realize that that you, you're going to need to sort of like move away from anything that sort of like let's just say it as described as toxic or negative, that's not helping you, you are going to have to make choices about moving away from from those environments that do weaken you. Definitely definitely did Sokoloff it for that summary. Also, I want to mention, if any of the sisters are looking for classes, I do offer the Quran one on one and in group classes as well if they want to, you know, learn to read and reciting the Quran. And I've also just started a Sunday halacha which, to be honest, I'm like, I
don't know about how many sisters I can take on but I mean
insha Allah you know we can we can accommodate for the sisters who who would really like to join and they you know don't have that environment as well. So yeah they can inshallah they can reach out to me as well.
Just like Allah here sister on jamaludin Share home during the deen Ma sha Allah I really sincerely pray that you know Allah subhanaw taala keeps you and I and everyone who you know listens to this and who just genuinely is trying you know for the sake of Allah for the deen that he keeps a steadfast especially in, in the trying times that we're living in Subhanallah
Yeah, does that come up here for your time? It was a pleasure having you on and I hope Inshallah, that you can join us on a future episode with Mila. I call CQ Allah He, I you know, ask a lot of Allah to bless you and your work. I'm sure that you're inspiring a lot of you know, Muslim that's out there. And you know, shall I ask a lot of time that we get to meet in Medina very soon again in sha Allah, you're up. Yeah, I hope so. That was they haven't yet opened it up. I think for Sydney Harvey. Oh, no, it's Sydney.
We can go anywhere.
Make easy, it's just it's one thing after another but like, you know, we have to always remind ourselves that these were just here temporary inshallah and we're gonna go to the Accra and read Nila. Enjoy all the name of Janome shall be the night Donna yellow Take care and I'll see you next time Santa Monica. Monica Santa Monica to satanic along from the conditioner La ilaha illa stockbroker, if you enjoyed the podcast don't forget to head over to our Instagram page at real mister my talk and join the conversation.