Ideal Muslimah (self-development)
The ideal muslimah course is a seven week course taught by umm Talha. The group is made up of around twenty sisters, most of us are married with children and of bangladeshi origin. We are from different educational backgrouds and professions alhamdulillah. In these seven weeks we will be covering the following topics insha Allah;
Relationship with our Lord
Me, myself and I
Family, parents. siblings
Inlaws and extended family
Neighbourhood and community
As an introduction Umm Talha talked about how our relationship should be with our Lord. She mentioned to us a principle of Dr Sa'd Ash-Shethry who mentioned that we should realise that this life is temporary and our real home is jannah insha Allah. So we should live our lives according to this understanding. If we were informed that we only had a few months to live due to a teriminal illness then our outlook on life would change drastically, we would probably engage in extra ibaadah, seek Allah's forgiveness and not waste a single moment of our time. Shouldn't we be like this anyway because none of us know when we will depart from this world and meet Allah, what good deeds will we have to present to Him, will our scales be heavy or will it be empty?
As a muslimah we should be balanced and try to give time to every aspect of our lives insha Allah because Islam is about striking a balance. We may have come across certain muslimahs who are very spirutual but may be harsh towards their families or others who have excellent manners with strangers when correcting a mistake of theirs but when it comes to her own family she wiil snap "Don't you know this is bid'aah!".
We were then split into groups and were asked to list our daily routine, writing our ibaadah (worship) in one colour and our a'adah (chores) in another colour. From the list we had things such as eating, praying, reciting qur'aan, taking care of children/family, attending circles,socialising, doing nothing. As expected all the groups had more a'adah than ibaadah on the list. We discussed our daily routine and from each group certain word were abstracted by the teacher such as 'laze around', 'intentions','social', 'busy time'. We discussed that the word laze around suggested a negative trait, implying doing nothing and wasting time. However if we changed it to a positive word then it would have a completely different meaning, for example, resting, relaxing, recharging, reflecting and thinking. This illustrates that words can have an impact on our behaviour and by simply changing the word we can also change our attitude. So instead of thinking that we are being lazy we should change the wording and this would have a positive impact in our lives insha Allah.
From the second group. the word intentions was highlighted. In relation to that we discussed that we need to have obedience, intentions and legacy (OIL) when referring to our Lord. Intentions comes from the heart and is not just mere lip service as is with some people. we need to really dig deep and ask ourselves why we do certain things. Are we doing it to please Allah or is it just to please people and show off?. We should invest in one action with several intentions so that our rewards are multiplied insha Allah. If we have the correct intentions then looking after our children, serving our husbands and even doing the household chores can gain us so much good deeds insha Allah.
Regarding obedience, Ibn Taymiyyah said "Ibadaah is obedience to Allah by carrying out what He has commanded on the tongue of His messenger. Ibaadah is a reflective term for everything which Allah loves and is pleased with from the sayings and inward and outward actions". From this we can extract that a person becomes refined with obedience. Obedience to Allah comes first as the hadith of the prophet (sws) states "There is no obedience to any human being if it involves disobedience to Allah". Therefore if our parents or husbands demand us to do a haraam action then we are not obliged to listen to them. For example, if they ask us to remove our hijaab or to miss our salaah.
The last point of discussion was our legacy. What kind of legacy will we leave behind?. A legacy that will benefit us in the grave. We brainstormed different kinds of legacies we could leave behind, which will help us in the grave insha Allah. For example, teaching qur'aan/Islamic knowledge, writing books, ongoing charity, teaching our children good manners, being kind and helpful to others. If we all think for moment can we imagine what sort of a legacy we will leave behind and what will people say about us when we are no longer here? Will people speak about us in a positive way or will we be remembered as the one who never smiled, not very helpful to others or someone who helped others learn about Islam and was always pleasant to be around? One important point to consider here is that in order for us to give knowledge we must acquire that knowledge in our spare time insha Allah. We must also ponder over how we use our social time because we can leave a legacy if we use this time wisely. In social gatherings we can advise people with their troubles and be conscious of what type of impression we are leaving.
In conclusion, we all experience a time of day when we are the busiest, where we feel as though we are so rushed off our feet that we have no time to even think straight! This time may be early in the morning when we are getting the children ready for school or maybe after dhur or after school when the children and husband come home. Therefore, at that time planning to recite qur'aan or revising our notes would not be very suitable because we will not be able to do it. We should think about doing these things when we have free time or a time when we sit and do nothing. For a believer there should be no time to do absolutely nothing, we need to be proactive insha Allah. Time is extremely important because we will be asked about how we spent our time. Also we need to think of ways to change our a'adah into ibadah, which can be done by changing our intentons. The key message to take away from this session is to maximise performance ,which means to increase in good deeds through every opportunity we find our way.
Allah knows best.