What do we love the most in winter? Blankets, of course!
There must be a good reason for stepping out of the bed early on a Sunday morning and going all the way to the IBA main campus. However, I managed to go, as I had to attend a workshop about “Finding the Wow-Woman in You” – who wouldn’t want to attend an event that sounded so good?
In the workshop, five speakers gave talks on various topics related to women: the worth of a Muslim woman, Islamic perspective on woman’s career, stories of female companions (ra) and self-esteem issues in young girls. The actual workshop activities were carried out by a renowned former business journalist and sustainability consultant Khadijah Balkhi.
Following description is based upon the lessons that I learnt from her speech and the activities she conducted with us. Her session really helped me in analyzing myself from different perspectives. I hope it becomes beneficial for those sisters who could not attend the workshop. (Note: This is not a transcript of her speech.)
- Who is the ‘Wow-Woman’ in your life?
- Mention three of her characteristics, which inspired you the most. Remember – three is just a number; you can go up to a hundred and above.
This will give you a clear idea about your understanding of a successful and influential woman, while also making a pathway for you to become one yourself. But what if you aren’t inspired by anyone? Well, that’s a problem in itself! Try to stay in the company of people, who are at a higher level than you religiously, and who can inspire you towards an Islamic lifestyle.
After this, she shared her experience of returning to the original practices of Islam, which meant that wearing Hijab became more important than conducting training sessions for hundreds of men. She continued saying that one cannot do everything in life, implying that we are always required to make certain choices in order to become the Wow-Woman.
Here, ‘wow’ symbolizes a state, where a woman is so close to Allah (swt) that we perceive her as ‘wow’.
Here, ‘wow’ symbolizes a state, where a woman is so close to Allah (swt) that we perceive her as ‘wow’. However, before working to get the Qurb of Allah (swt), it is important for us to identify the barriers, which are taking us away from His love and care. For instance, in case of Ms. Balkhi, it was her career, which she later chose to give up for the sake of Deen. It does not mean that every Muslim woman should quit her job; rather, it only means that if your job or your dream is based upon the violation of Allah’s (swt) Deen, then there is certainly no good in it. She further clarified that everyone has a different situation, and, therefore, a woman has to evaluate her career choices critically, so that she can pursue her passions, while remaining close to Allah (swt).
“Don’t feel the pressure to do things, which you aren’t required to do!”
Similarly, on the other side, Allah (swt) has blessed women with unmatched intellect and knowledge, so why use them for His disobedience?
This led us to another activity.
- List down things, which are holding you back from His Deen.
- List down number of ways, which you can use to tune them.
Subsequently, Ms. Balkhi shared her valuable insight on Nafi – negation or canceling out something. Negation is important, because technically we can focus only on one thing, and our focus of attention should be on nothing else but the pleasure of Allah (swt). This helps us in developing clear values and preferences for the rest of our lives.
Make a mental note of things-to-do and things-not-to-do. Once this is done, aim to become a Wow-Woman. For achieving it, we need to make heavy investments in our environment, which is as simple as moving into gatherings which are filled with the Dhikr of Allah (swt) and the presence of His loving slaves. This will significantly help us in bringing out the best of ourselves, Insha’Allah.
- List down things which you think are positive in your life.
- List down your wow-factors from an Islamic perspective.
Ms. Balkhi concluded her speech with a wonderful advice, which relieved my heart and truly became a source of inspiration for me. She said to do away with the useless messages of society (false ideologies, peer pressure, family traditions, social expectations, etc.), so that you are able to see yourself clearly and spend time with people, who help you in exploring yourself. Most importantly, pray for your guidance and remember that you can have Deen + career; however, at times, you have to choose one of them – so be ready for making the right choice, whenever required.