I begin this article with ‘Bismillah’ for indeed I worry that I will not be able to do justice to the bountiful of gems that Allah has provided the audience of the Muslim Women and Success Seminar 2011 last Saturday, the 29th of January at Suntec City. Indeed, I regard it as my trigger (and hopefully to the other Muslimahs who had attended) to self-discovery Alhamdulillah, what with the occasion being graced by not one but three prolific individuals:
- Sister Murshidah Said, renowned motivator and speaker of personal transformation in Singapore, Malaysia and the Asian region
- Ustaz Muhammad Tarmizi Abdul Wahid, founder of the centre of Islamic education Safina Institute and
- Ustazah Sharifah Maimunah Alhabshi, CEO of Project Spirituality
Almost a replica of the previous ‘Islam, Women and Wealth’ event held in November last year, where many would remember the fiery discussion held by Ustaz Tarmizi, Ustazah Maimunah and Sister Suria Mohd, this time around the ‘Muslim Women and Success” Seminar explored the meaning of success and how a Muslimah may achieve it, in its truest sense.
The first speaker was Sister Murshidah Said, an established resident motivational speaker on Malaysia’s RTM2 and renowned entrepreneur and trainer. With high energy, enthusiasm and infinite positivity, the advocator of LOVE and RESPECT started us on a journey to ‘cleanse’ ourselves of negative energies by thinking and feeling positive so that we do not become the barrier to our dreams. In fact, Sis Murshidah said that the one person who is stopping us from achieving our dreams is actually – no surprise – ourselves! Sis Murshidah emphasised a lot on keeping a positive attitude, saying that blaming others and embracing hasad only weakens you, demonstrating a kinesiology exercise to prove her point. Sis Murshidah said that women in Asia, especially, are prevented from achieving their goals and thinking big because they have an inner imbalance inside of them; Asian women tended to please people around them, reducing themselves to purposeless individuals, and forgetting that they have a right to have dreams. Sis Murshidah then urged us to move forward and out of our comfort zone, saying that ‘The only failure is the failure to participate’. Truly motivating and encouraging, Sis Murshidah emphasised the importance of having dreams and a strong purpose. My favourite was when Sis Murshidah challenged us to avoid blaming, justifying and criticizing for a full 48 HOURS! She and her husband have completed what she terms as ‘fasting’, citing that it took them more than a year to achieve it!
“For things to change, I must change!”
– Sis Murshidah Said
While Sis Murshidah took us on a high-energy ride, Ustaz Tarmizi Wahid led us to conduct an introspective study of our internal selves. The Syari’ah graduate of Al-Azhar University eased us through an amazing journey of self-reflection through his Five Success Principles:
1) Having a clear intention (Recall the hadith: innama al-a’mal bi-l-niyyat – Actions are but by intentions)
2) Focus (begin it with your prayers – you stay focused in your prayers and you will remain focus in all parts of your lives)
3) Shameless Persistence – (Even Rasulullah SAW persisted in his [SAW] cause for da’wah – without it, Islam will not attain such prestige today!)
4) Discipline – When you set out to do something, do it, even if you do not like it
5) Having Spiritual Confidence – Knowing that Allah Loves you, Protects you, Watches over you, is always With you
Ustaz Mizi’s parting notes were that, to carry out any actions, begin with FAITH in Allah SWT, what I thought was a very poignant and meaningful reminder – to precede all our actions with remembrance of the Most Loving and Generous, subhanAllah!
“You do not need to focus on every thought and emotion – instead, focus on the things that matter!”
– Ustaz Tarmizi Wahid
Already a knowledge-packed seminar, Ustazah Maimunah graced its final segment by providing the audience with the true meaning of success, as ordained by our Creator Allah SWT.
Ustazah reminded us that our definition of success should be in sync with what Allah has defined as success in the Qur’an. Many verses of the Qur’an abound with this definition; Ustazah expounded on the definition of success as illustrated by the first 11 verses of Surah Al-Mu’minun, that the successful are those who believe, submit humbly to their prayers, turn away from ill speech, observant of their zakat and protect their chastity, and are attentive to their promises. Ustazah reminded us that our sole purpose in life is to accept Allah as our Master, and most importantly, to accept that we are His slaves and that meant full obedience to Allah SWT, the Most High.
Ustazah also shared with us ‘Secrets of Success’ as collated by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, which resonated strongly of our need to have a strong purpose and to please Allah in what we dream to do, to visualise the end in mind, to constantly be motivated by past successes and to never lose sight and faith of Allah SWT in the process. My greatest takeaway was that, we can never hope for blessings of Allah if we disobey Him and if we were to want success, especially in this world and the next, we would have to start loving Allah and accepting that we are His slaves, and a slave would never fall short of what his Master would expect of him.
It was interesting to note that there were so many spirited Muslimahs from amongst the audience. Sister Suria Mohd, renowned nutritionist and entrepreneur was one of them, hosting the event with fervor, passion and enthusiasm, washing over the audience with many words of wisdom herself.
It was a rejuvenating event, encouraging and timely, what with the challenges that the Muslim woman is ever facing at her workplace, at home, in the different roles she plays as mother, daughter, and member of the community, and the expectations that comes within.
The best lesson: That the Muslim woman is not short of success if she renews and sustains her faith in her Creator and continues to strive with sincerity, honesty, love and respect that Allah has made natural for her, if she only knew.
Wallahu’alam. Please forgive me for any shortcomings of this writeup.