Friday, 8 April 2011
I sometimes wonder who I am...what does it mean to be me? Where do my strengths lie in my individuality?
Am I a born and bred British Indian-Pakistani? I struggle to hold onto my culture, but reject of it that which I deem to be backward and unacceptable in Britain. But then I can't define myself as British for I reject some aspects of that culture as it doesn't fit in with my principles. What ARE my principles? I look to my career for an answer...
Am I defined by my career as a Software Tester in a global company? I love my job. I love picking out bugs and problems in software that has been so meticulously programmed by back-office software developers. I relish in diplomatically pulling their work apart and then being paid for it every month. Does this make me a bad person? Is this part of my principles? Maybe my personal relationships can clear the muddy waters...
I am a daughter; I am a wife; I am a sister; I am a daughter in-law; I am an aunt; I am a sister in-law. My relationships in my life have played a huge role in defining me. They are a big part of my life and I cannot describe the myriad of emotions I feel when I think of them - joy, gratefulness, happiness. I don't think I'd be who I am today if it wasn't for their love, their support and for them just being there. Words cannot describe how they have shaped me for who I am today. But the principles I hold today were not those that I held 10 years ago. So despite my family being there for me my whole life and have given me some of the values I hold today, they clearly do not hold the answers to defining my principles in their entirety...
Am I defined by my friendships? My friends in life have shown me part of the way to who I am. They say that you are defined by your friends. I don't take that to mean that having good or bad friends means that you are a good or bad person by default. I believe it means that the result of your friendships with people show you who are, who you turn into and what you believe...and there's that word...believe...
And then...I am a Muslim. I believe. What do I believe? I believe in Islam. I turn to my Lord 5 times a day trying to achieve humility in front of Him each time. I turn to my Lord in happiness, sorrow, anger, patience, hoping to pass each of His tests. When I am alone, I know I can rely on Him. When I ask myself what my beliefs are, I think of His Divine and Unequivocal Words. And when I ask myself who I am, I don't look at my family, my career, my nationality or my friends...I just look in the mirror and the answer to my principles stands right in front of me. I am a Muslim woman.
Thursday, 20 May 2010
I’ve recently joined a new scheme that has been launched in the UK by Al Kauthar Institute’s parent company, Mercy Mission, to emphasise the importance of salah. This proposal has been designed by Mercy Mission in order to invite the Muslims who have lost the desire to pray to restore themselves in this great act of worship.
In the words of our beloved Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), a person who rejects the obligation of prayer completely has left the fold of Islam according to the following hadith:
“Verily, between man and polytheism and disbelief is abandonment of the prayer.” (Muslim)
The media campaign run by Mercy Mission is ambitious, but incredibly impressive. With advertisements running across London’s transport network, Asian/Desi lifestyle magazines and high street billboards in Birmingham and Manchester, I jumped at the chance to join the campaign at Al Kauthar’s December sell-out course, Coolness of the Eyes – The Fiqh of Prayer 101, held in London.
Before I continue, let me first tell you about Mercy Mission. The aim of Mercy Mission is to provide a platform for Muslims to play an active part in their local communities in order to convey a beautiful and peaceful message of Islam. Their approach has been defined by their vision of displaying the beauty of Islam, which has subsequently attracted a number of professionals thereby strengthening the infrastructure of Mercy Mission to enable meaningful contributions to made in local communities.
Some of their current projects are:
- Daar Aasya – a Muslim fostering programme based in Australia where vulnerable Muslim children can be hosted by Muslim families.
- Big Date – a national Ramadan campaign to be run in the UK this year, reaching out to non-Muslims through mainstream media; transport advertising, high street billboards, and massive communal iftars.
- Zamzam Environmental Sustainability Program – a water and energy conservation programme for masjids, schools and beyond.
This is just skimming the surface. Even as you read this, Mercy Mission is working on ways to develop and improve the services given to the Muslim community whilst maintaining the true message of Islam.
Just Go Do It is Mercy Mission’s latest project and so far, it seems to be doing pretty well with an impressive website and a thought-provoking video with all thewheres and whys of salah. But amongst that shiny exterior lies the inner workings of a multi-talented set of Muslims.
The aims of Just Go Do It are high, but very simple. We may have noticed amongst our friends and families that some of them do not pray or that there is a lack of knowledge about prayer in our local communities. Part of that is due to inadequate education of the deen, particularly about prayer, even though great emphasis has been placed on halal meat and avoiding alcohol. SubhanAllah, salah is far more important than those two issues and, it seems, Mercy Mission wishes to do something about it.
To address these problems, Just Go Do It was created to provide a platform for the attendees of Coolness of the Eyes to go out and teach at their local masjid and Muslim community centre using a compressed version of the course notes.
Therefore, the media campaign has enabled the likes of myself to teach local sisters in my city about the importance of salah and how to perform it. In fact, I just taught my first session and it seems that several things were highlighted whilst I was teaching. Some sisters haven’t been taught how to pray, whilst some didn’t even know that the salah is a pillar of Islam. Not only was it an eye-opener for the class attendees, it was almost a revelation for me with regards to the state of the Ummah.
Just Go Do It is already running in several cities across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Nottingham, York and Luton. The class locations and timings can be viewed on their website, which, might I add, has their promo video showing why it is better to pray before you are prayed upon. As chilling as it is, it proves to be a true reminder of why Allah (subhana wa ta’ ala) has placed us on this Earth:
“And I [God] did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (Quran 51:56)
It is understandable as to why I jumped at the chance to get involved. A priceless opportunity to reap some rewards by passing on knowledge about the fundamentals of Islam? Absolutely!
With the aim of bringing back the establishment of salah by reaching out to, at the very least, 100,000 non-practicing Muslims, this is an immense opportunity for anyone who has been touched by the campaign to further the knowledgeable fruits of their labour in the akhirah.
Mercy Mission has many worthwhile projects which require the involvement of committed Muslims, all of which will make our lives performing da’wah just that little bit easier with the sole purpose – showing the true beauty of Islam.
I pray that this knowledge is passed on through the generations of every Muslim that has been taught to perform and perfect their prayer through this campaign. Ameen.