Saturday, February 27, 2010

Women who help

My first real counselling job was at an Islamic counselling centre in the heart of Johannesburg. This was also the first time that I got to associate with a large group of Muslim women. The experience was one I will never forget. The centre was run only by women, the Director was a woman, the staff members were women and all the volunteers, about 20 of them were women. Perhaps there is nothing remarkable about this, but for me, being someone who did not previously associate with that many Muslim women, it was very inspiring.

Now, I had volunteered at the Campus counselling centre while I was still at university, so I knew a little bit about volunteering, but these women took volunteering to another level! I was definitely not prepared for their dedication and commitment to what they were doing. Each volunteer would come in to the centre once a week on a specified day, and believe it or not, the woman assigned to a certain day would be there, every single week; and when she could not be there she would change days with another volunteer or make some other plan. Besides this, these women always attended meetings, were always there for training sessions, and really enjoyed the social events held by the centre.

The interesting thing was that their commitment and dedication was closely linked to their Islamic identity. These women regarded it as a duty to be helping their fellow Muslims and a form of Ibaadat (worship) and so within this framework, their dedication was completely understandable.

Since then I have had the privilege of meeting and working with many other Muslim women, who selflessly dedicate their time to others, purely for the love of Allah, and still whenever I see this, I am inspired. These types of women inspired me to do my Psychology Master’s Thesis on Muslim women’s groups and whether they empower women within the South African context. The results were interesting, and I was not really surprised when it was revealed that Muslim women do not really fit the Western idea of a truly empowered individual. You see, I think it may have been sad if they had, because this Western idea of empowerment seems to be a very selfish idea, one that focuses on individualism, teaching people that they are more important than anyone else, and this idea does not fit in with the Islamic idea that reminds us that others are just as important as ourselves and that we all have a duty towards each other. No, individual empowerment according to the Western ideal would be undermining the true worth of these selfless and amazing women, who have realized a long time ago that when they help others, (in whatever way they possibly can, whether it’s by giving out sandwiches to the poor waiting in long hospital queues in Johannesburg’s overcrowded public hospitals, or through counselling or teaching and guiding others, or even if it’s just through making an old person happy), when they help others, their own lives become more fulfilled and their connection with Allah becomes stronger.

I will say once again that I feel privileged to have met many such women and the lessons I have learnt from them are invaluable to me. This is the true nature of many Muslim women, selfless, caring, enterprising, dynamic, helpful and dedicated, all for the pleasure of Allah!

May they be rewarded eternally Inshallah Ameen!
Image from:

The poem below is based on my admiration of these women and the inspiration they have given me- so to my Amazing Muslim Sisters- This one's for you!

A Special Kind of Person

There’s a special kind of person,
that’s high above the rest,
for a very simple reason,
and it’s, for others they want the best!

This special kind of person,
cares not about herself,
but wants to share with others,
all the good things of this life.

This special kind of person,
who gives from deep within,
and who’s not afraid to share,
as she is filled with love and care!

This special kind of person,
who opens up her heart,
and who welcomes everyone in,
right from the start.

Now, this special kind of person,
never knows that she is special,
and so it is for us to tell her,
just how much she means to all.

We thank you very much,
for this special kind of person that you are,
and want to tell you truly,
that in our eyes you are a real star!


  1. 1000 thanks

    jazaky allah khayran for your beautiful words

    about muslim woman .i really Enjoyed Every

    word in your Blog .

    Fi aman allah

  2. Jazakallah Khair to you once again for such a positive comment!

    There is so much negativity around Muslim women that people get confused and don't get to see all the positive things. I pray that Allah opens up people's eyes to the truth, Insha'Allah!

  3. you always welcome dear sister in islam

    your Blogs really great and from time to time i read

    Muslim women Are the most great women in that earth

    Did you read my blog about muslim women


    have a beautiful day

    Fi aman allah

    Yassin shalaby