Modest Networking – How to network effectively as a Muslim woman

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You want to find a fitting mentor, get in touch with the best collaborators or be confident to connect on networking events:

I’ve put together a quick guide for you to keep your values and convince people of your talents. This is made for you especially sister! The episode will make you understand how to network effectively while keeping your modesty, communicating confidently and leaving a positive impression on anyone you meet.

Leave your comment:
1. Which rule can you most identify with and why?
2. What are the top 3 skills you think one should have when practising modest networking?

How to practice modest networking

A lot of times I’ve been asked how I behave in situations where I want to establish business relationships, connect to other creators to collaborate, or gain contact to business leaders.

You will hear me saying this at the beginning of this episode – you need to grab one book that will change the way you interact with people. This book has the most horrible title in the world, while it is one of the most sold books in the world. The first time I got aware of it, was in 7th grade when I saw my brother reading it and you bet me I mocked him (must have been the worst little sister you can imagine). Now, I review it yearly to remind myself how to build long-lasting relationships of any kind.

The book is (and I still have the scrappy old version from 7th grade) “How to win friends and influence people”. It’s been a book that surprised me in every single way, one because it has stories from multiple historic people in it – from Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Dickens to Steve Wonder and many more – the book’s from 1937 but was updated regularly.

It shows you very diverse business situations, in which great leaders connected to people. And here are some of the techniques you can apply to your life (mixed with some personal accounts of my female Muslim 21st-century experience):

Be genuinely interested

What does this mean “genuinely”? Well, I can tell you what it doesn’t mean: it doesn’t mean acting fake and asking a question only to be able to answer it yourself. Like, what business are you in? Because you know I’m running this company that is doing blablabla. Or asking, so how was your last job? Because mine was horrendous, can’t believe I took so long to decide to leave blablabla.

Nope.

It’s about asking people questions that they wouldn’t expect from you. Questions that are purely about them. But that is still relevant to professional interaction.

  • Why did you navigate into this job?
  • What was your experience in this field until now?
  • Are you struggling with this issue that is recently relevant in your industry?
  • Where would you like to transition into and why?
  • I can see you are very passionate about XY, what do you think drew you to do this particular project?
  • what inspired you to create this business?

Ask questions, that they usually don’t expect people to ask, and be curious about what viewpoints they have on things. It really doesn’t matter if it really is your goal to speak about this particular topic, but trust me.

If you show genuine interest in people, they will show genuine interest in you.

Compliment

Being human, we have several blessing and several imperfections we face in our daily lives. One of them is our ego. We loooove to expand our egos, especially towards others we meet the first time.

Being human, we must learn how to take advantage of our knowledge, one being that we are all most interested in talking about ourselves. So how can we invert this knowledge for the purpose of networking? We think about how we can make others talk about themselves, how can we make them expand their s, and not even let them do it, but encourage it?

You’re dealing with humans. We, humans, love our egos. So get people to talk about themselves. You’ll win.

Compliments.

And not the cheap ones like, Aw I love your shoes (although that still works among us women) but try to dig deeper:

Talk about the strengths of the person you meet, admire their attitudes like confidence, positive energy. Ask them about what they love and what they’ve accomplished, their business (that you’ve obviously researched on), their sports (you noticed they just completed a charity marathon), a particularly interesting interview of them in a newspaper (don’t only know the prestigious name of the publisher but know what they talked about and mention it) or anything of that sort or after a talk for example, point out how they made you think more critically, or ask them about something they said in detail so they can elaborate on what they know.

Let them showcase their own accomplishments, strengths, expand their egos. Give exclusive attention to the person you are speaking with!

Have a positive attitude

We all know, we are struggling (especially in the West) in a lot of ways of establishing our full selves into work. The business field is not built to support our identities as Muslims and further as women, or people of colour. I get it, we have a lot to fight against as we go an pursue a career.

But do you really think people enjoy hearing your struggles all day? Yes, they need to know what its like in your skin, we have to raise awareness for the backlash and challenges we face regularly for things to change. But not in networking. Not if you want to create a professional connection to someone that can eventually be a part of your journey OUT OF your struggle. That can eventually be part of your victory.

Be positive. Answer in terms of challenges you face only when someone SPECIFICALLY asks you for it. But keep it short and most importantly: change the topic not to what holds you back, but what can bring you further. Talk about what you’re aiming to achieve. 

Smile, Be light and bright. Don’t you think other people have their own issues? They might have an annoying client, marriage problems or a sick mother. WE all have our battles to win. Do you think in this case, someone feels lighter and well about interacting with you if you remind him how bad you have it? NO

Even if you don’t feel like smiling. The person in front of you might go through a major crisis. They need you to smile. They need your positivity to not only feel connected to you but to always remember that you make them feel good. That you light up a stressful day or doubts, that you are the person they want to interact with to feel better and be visionary, inspired.

People like people who are positive, who smile.

A smile can change so much. You know what I mean. Be honest. You know how powerful it is. Practice honest and authentic happiness. And if you feel insecure, sad or stressed before you even enter a meeting, give yourself a fake smile. It is scientifically proven that the act of smiling releases endorphins, which gives you a feeling of joy and tricks your brain to eventually make you smile naturally.

Try it in your next conversation! While the person in front of you is speaking about something that excites them, or they find interesting, start smiling and maybe nodding (A LITTLE bit) and see how the person transforms into a smiling bubble of joy because she feels you are genuinely interested in what she says.

Of course, now we need to talk about where not to apply these rules. Namely with men.

Networking with males

Sisters, I am not telling you to avoid men 100%, it’s almost impossible in our “modern times” and especially when networking in a Non-Muslim environment.

These are really my own rules, and I know that many women out there have different ones, but these are the least I would like to give you on your way to have a thought about what kind of standards you’d like to set in your life.

Don’t target them

But don’t mix with them. What I mean with mix is, don’t seek them out of the crowd, don’t approach them yourself, especially not when they are around your age. It is different for men who might be old, let’s say about 10 years older than your dad. Then, you can actually aim to create a genuine mentor-mentee relation to them. But still, be aware to NOT apply the rules of smiling and complimenting to them AT ALL. Yes you can genuinely have a positive fae, like you would have when you school youneighbour’srs daughter in algebra, but understand the way you smile to avoid any wrong signs.

Personal details

Will come to this again in the next point but for now, the only personal detail that you might want to bring into a conversation is that you have a husband. Don’t push it into their face like, Yes so I have a husband and he is working in … NO. Let it flow in naturally like, currently I am exploring new roles in Dubai, as my husband and I will be relocating in January. Thats really the only thing to reveal, else – change the topic. No ones business what’s your personal status.

Your business is nobody’s business.

Keep it short and professional

If you talk to the male, keep it short. Don’t mumble on about personal experiences you had, don’t reveal too much of your personal situation, where you live or what you do on a daily basis. If you want to keep it professional, imagine everything to be a 100% professional. A rule of thumb: speak the way you wanted a female employee to speak to your husband. Short, straight-forward, no unnecessary storytelling and no loud laughter or excessive body expressions.

Keep your distance.

Literally, keep at least one meter between the male and you. You want to avoid (especially at events) that someone bumps into you and you get thrown at him (in a very dramatic way of saying it). You can bridge the physical distance by using your hands to talk, but don’t come physically too close to the man.

Timing.

Don’t ever reply in the evening, unless it’s an urgent email. If its a text, wait until the next day. Reply in the mornings and consider time differences. You don’t want to be in their personal space / meaning communicate with them while they are at home but always within office hours.

No WhatsApp

Another rule if possible – Take their phone numbers if you can to talk on the phone, but don’t add them into your WhatsApp. Unless you have a pure work-phone Whatsapp, then add the “office hours” in your description of your profile, so they understand it functions like any other office device. You don’t want them to feel like you are their friend they can text whenever they want.

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Be honest

A last rule I’d like you to engage with, is your level of honesty.

Compromises

We know as Muslim women in the workplace, there is always a certain type of having to defend yourself within relations to co-workers or in networking situations. We are discussing this point in our “How to find a mentor” episode, but for now circle this: Don’t you ever think of compromising high standards for anyone in business. What do I mean? Compromising on handshakes (episode), on clothing, on working within borderline-haram industries, on attending late-night meetings etc.

What always always works best is, if you clarify things from the beginning. An example: if you allow your daughter candy until she’s 10, you will find it very hard to ban sugar from your home and create a healthy food routine for her. But, if you raise her with the mindset of grabbing fruits, nuts or dates for sweets instead of candy from the beginning on, she will understand the standards you’ve set (at least for the home) and go along with your rules way easier, right?

Make things obvious from the beginning, don’t shake hands in the first meeting and then be surprised if it gets harder and harder to reject them afterwards. If you tell them in advance, they might even inform your future colleagues and you can all avoid an awkward situation. If you tell your consultants or recruiters you are not interested in promoting company projects with alcohol, underwear or violent videos games companies etc., they will look specifically for industries and companies that have high standards and you will automatically avoid a lot of negative acquaintances in your interview or career link-ups etc. If you present yourself like a person who has high standards and values, collaborators and brands will ask you to partner up because they are looking for your range of people and they will automatically pay and treat you according to how you present yourself to them.

Knowledge

Another guideline I’d  like to end up with, is your understanding of your own skills, knowledge and capabilities. We are not perfect. But when we want to leave a good impression, we always aim to at least appear to be.

Don’t

Don’t try to act that you know it all. Prepare, YES! Gain some more knowledge before you go to an event, before you meet a potential mentor, before you go to a business meeting. But understand your boundaries of knowledge.

WE said it before, your Number ONE rule is to make the other person feel important, valued and respected. That includes that you let them know how much you can learn form them. Don’t act dumb no! But understand that one of the most powerful phrases you can say is : I don’t know.

Followed by But I would love to gain your expertise. Could you tell me more about this? or I don’t know enough about this matter, but I will dig deeper and come back to you on this one.

  1. Will make the other person like an expert in this field. They will tell you what they know, so even when you go back and research yourself on this topic, you know what new things you can bring to the table.
  2. Will make the other person see your level of dedication to learn. This is one of the most powerful skills you can have as a human and that everyone who is genuine and intelligent will value in you more than anything= Your thrive to be a learning machine.

To sum up:

  • Be genuinely interested : ask questions
  • Compliment : be a good listener
  • Have a positive attitude : smile
  • Be honest

And now, I would love to hear from you:

  • Which rule can you most identify with and why?
  • What are the top 3 skills you think one should have when practicing modest networking?

Leave them down in the comments and share your diversity with us

Rate the Podcast on iTunes., it really helps us!

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Success Secrets for Women- The 5 Signs of Successful Business Women

“Am I made for this?” Have you ever thought about starting a business but you didn’t really know whether you are ‘made to’ succeed in being a Business Woman? Great leaders, mentors and CEOs are all very good at having a certain intuition which talent to invest in. Somehow they know who’s going to be successful.

There’s just this “something” about them. In today’s Shared Diversity episode I’m sharing the Top 5 signs of successful businesswomen.

Leave your comment below:

1) Which signs have you seen on yourself?
2) Which signs do you still need to develop?

Share Your Diversity with us

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1. Sign: You are obsessed to succeed

Successful businesswomen have an obsession to succeed. There are no doubts, and if they come up, they will be silenced forcefully! There are no excuses for you that you will not make it. Instead, you find all the reasons why you WILL SUCCEED.

2. Sign: You are a learning machine

Instead of thinking you “know it all”, you always find reasons to dig deeper, to learn a new skill, to gather more experts and mentors around you. A successful Muslim woman knows the first word that came down to us is ( اقرأ – Iqra ) = “read”. So you read and gain knowledge every way you choose to go.

3. Sign: You have extreme ownership

You have to read this book if you want to become a leader and therefore successful as a businesswoman. The link to the book: https://amzn.to/2VIDqhr

This book provides fundamental leadership lessons such as

  • Control your own Ego
  • Admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them, and blame no one else.
  • There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
  • Build trust with your members.
  • As Leader, you must explain not just what to do, but WHY.
  • Find out If You don’t know.
  • Simplify the plan.
  • Lead down AND up the chain of command.
  • Discipline yourself.

4. Sign: Doer till the end

You don’t only plan but you DO. You execute your plans. And you execute them until they are finished. If you develop this strength, you can be sure to be successful in everything you set yourself up to achieve.

5. Sign: You hate to lose

You have to lead yourself to success. But more importantly, you have to lead others. Find out your strengths and capabilities by writing down what you are happy to do and what people praise you to do regularly. This way, you will gather the right people around you who will contribute to your growth. Inshallah, if you’re interested in more videos about how to set yourself up for success in business, how to focus & achieve more of what REALLY MATTERS, …

How to be successful as a Muslim woman? There are two major trades you need to work on: Hard work & Tawakkul.

How to overcome your limiting beliefs

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Thinking you aren’t worth the opportunities you are offered? Feeling you’re self-sabotaging yourself? That the things you’d think you wanted are actually not really important anymore because someone said it doesn’t matter and it’s actually bad to want it. You have a passion and imagination for a long time, but people tell you it’s impossible? You’re feeling super close to a breakthrough but suddenly you just stop and give up on your plans?

This episode will make you understand the limiting beliefs you have about topics like money, success, relationships or fame and how you can overcome them.  So take a journal and make some notes.

Because today is not the day you let your limiting beliefs win over your life.!

Leave your comment:
1) 
What are your limiting beliefs?
2) How can you bridge the gap between those false believes and reality to overcome them right now?

How to overcome your limiting beliefs

Today I want to start with WHY. Why are we speaking about this?

Because we all can remember the last time we spoke with someone about why we cannot do something, why its tough to achieve this thing, what is holding us back from reaching that thing.

We know. We know we are sabotaging ourselves.

Our generation is a generation of resistance, of people who are aware of what forces are facing them and what barriers are keeping them from their equal opportunities.

We know, the world is not fair. But is that really relevant?

Or do these things just feed into our already existing limiting beliefs we inherited from our families, communities, the media, random people we met in our studies or work?

Don’t believe people.

We will repeat this like a mantra.

Don’t
Don’t

Believe
Believe

People
People

and the last person you should believe is your own limiting beliefs.

Yourself that has been brainwashed into thinking that “fame is bad” (because those who had it misused it), that “money is only producing problems” (because your family never had much), that “politics is bad” (because those in power oppressed), that your “faith is flawed” (because people in your faith community sinned publicly), that “marriage is a burden” (because you’ve seen the women in your family suffer from abuse), that “men are trash” (because Twitter tells you so).

Don’t believe your present status

The Prophet (SAW) never believed those who said he was delusionary, he never believed those who attacked him mentally or physically, he never believed even his family when they didn’t believe he would make it. And what resources did he have? He created a global movement out of ZERO resources but the biggest power you could ever imagine – what Allah has written for him.

If he’d think about what he had right now, he’d never have made it. Someone who couldn’t read nor write worked for a woman, no financial backing. And you think you can’t achieve it because they say you’re wearing the wrong clothes for this industry? Because you don’t have a Silicon Valley investment? Because you didn’t graduate? Because your skin colour has the wrong shade? Because it never works, I tried to be healthy but not even my parents achieved it. Because that’s just not realistic?

Listen, up

Self-pity has never lead anyone to success. Get over your weakness and amplify your strengths, your privilege.

Redefine

Redefine your beliefs. Redefine the things you have beliefs about. What does money mean to you? What does fame mean to you? What does knowledge mean to you? Success? Impact? Leadership? And what do these words mean to you? Be very clear to get your own definition of what they mean. And then write down why you will achieve it, and why not.

You don’t need to understand HOW, not yet.

Just WHY.

Is it because you do it out of the right intentions? Because it will lead you to your ultimate goal or purpose? Is it because you are able to support those you love in the process of attaining it? Is it because you will feel better, present yourself better and inspire others through your self-representation with it?

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Who do you have on your side and who’s on the opposition?

Who’s your opposition?

Does the media tell you-you can’t? Does your family tell you, your friends, your co-workers or boss? Random people, who have failed and now feel entitled to prove you the impossibility of it?

Who’s with you?

Is Allah with you?

Now weight the scale and notice what is stronger.

Yup you got it. Allah never talked about you can’t have anything. Yes but only in Akhera…. Really?

Didn’t Salomon have everything in Dunya as well? Didn’t he ask to be the richest on earth? It’s not wrong to be asking for success, for fame, for money. But understand why and how it will serve your purpose.

And don’t get me wrong, believing is not enough.

Redefine your beliefs about terms that society has falsely defined for you. Success does not have a one-size-fits-all definition!

You have to DO

You must DO something, you must engage in the activity of Change.

Change yourself. Change your behaviours. Your habits. Change.

To change your beliefs, change your behaviours and habits.

How?

Here we go practical. Get your notebook (physical or digital) and write down what we’re going to solve here:

  1. Write down your beliefs
  2. Write down the reality (what have people achieved already, past or present, abroad or local, Muslim or Non-Muslim)

= write down what you need to change to bridge the gap

Is it to get another Job, charge for your next event or increase your hourly rate to get comfortable with handling more money? Is it taking the step to use your own voice to represent your brand by public speaking, social media or other to get used to the feeling of fame and being known for your work? What is it you can do RIGHT NOW to shatter your own limiting beliefs.

Because the only person who can do that is you.

The only person who can demystify your limiting beliefs is yourself.

Musa has prayed to open his chest and give him confidence, Allah says to Mohammed (SAW) in the Quran he has already opened your heart and with every hardship come two eases.

Surah Ash-Sharh

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ
Did We not expand for you, [O Muhammad], your breast?

وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ
And We removed from you your burden

الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ
Which had weighed upon your back

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ
And raised high for you your repute.

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ
So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship].

وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ
And to your Lord direct [your] longing.

We will talk about this so many times, believe me. Because this Surah is about self-believe and confidence in yourself.

It’s amazing how Musa and Mohammed (SAW) both are asking for confidence and self-assurance, and we really think we can work without it?

Obviously, we will need a reminder of the support we receive from Allah, to continuously become better in our beliefs and the actions we take on the basis of that.

And now, I would love to hear from you:

Leave your comment:
1) 
What are your limiting beliefs?
2) How can you bridge the gap between those false believes and reality to overcome them right now?

Leave it down in the comments, and, share your diversity with us.

Rate the Podcast on iTunes.

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More Episodes

Create vs Consume – How to get rid of insecurities and establish a legacy

Create vs Consume

How to get rid of insecurities and establish a legacy

 

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There is a point in our lives in which we all feel more encouraged, weak, disheartened or tired. And you know that is often the point where you feel like you just want to ignore your phone, your laptop, the tv, anything that holds you in front of something to watch and passively take into your system.

It’s completely normal, you know that you can learn a lot through media, maybe you get inspired or you just want to keep up to date what’s going on in your community, or in the industry you´re interested in. But then, what happens is that inspiration very quickly can turn into discouragement, into feeling inferior, feeling that the people you are supposed to learn from would crash you quickly in their competition. We know that, and still, it´s hard for us to understand how we can deal with the pressure.

That is the moment when we often see ourselves consuming more than we create.

It’s interesting to understand this concept but first, let’s talk about

What we mean by consuming and creating.

CONSUMING: this could be looking at other peoples media, photography, videos, listening to podcasts or audio media, checking out other peoples projects or website etc.

CREATING: doing it yourself. For example photography, videography, writing (!), doing a podcast, or simply cooking, baking, going out in nature, drawing, sketching, making plans, decorating, making clothes, re-organizing your apartment, learning a new skill etc.

What you can put into the category of “creating” has almost no limits, and that’s the most beautiful thing about all of this. It has no limits! You have no limits!

That brings us to what you can do against feeling weak, tired, discouraged etc when you see other people things and you consume a lot more than you create.
Shut things off and do! Find the balance in imbalance, create more than you consume.

What is most important about this is creating for yourself. Yes, that sounds so self-care-ish but it really is the most important.

Listen up fam:

  • don´t do for the sake of being better than others,
  • don´t do it for the praise or followers,
  • don’t do it for the feedback or recognition,
  • do it because you love doing it,
  • do it because you feel closer to your true self when you do it,
  • do it because it makes you happy.

+ Tip: do it first thing in the morning. Create before you consume.

Why?

Creation acts as a psychological reward.
Create before you consume. Creation acts as a psychological reward.
When you have a moment of success before you start consuming other peoples successes, you feel less intimidated and self-conscious and you can consume with a strong confident mind, less likely to be demotivated.

Motivation early in the morning will give you energy for the rest of your day and enable you to create better results in anything you do.

Plus, you can even apply things you will consume later to what you have just created, which gives you real inspiration to become better.

ANOTHER MAJOR POINT:
Consumption means not only mere consumption, make sure you redefine what you consume!

We all know, there are things (especially in media) that is beneficial and some things which are .. mhh how to say this diplomatically…unnecessary.

But how can we classify these things with the least emotion possible?

Well, we can easily say one thing:

If we can attain or upgrade existing knowledge, then that is beneficial consumption. Anything else isn´t.

We can listen to a lecture on productivity before checking out 10 YouTubers who talk about the same hacks and apps for 2 hours in different words and different animations, or we can check out books on fashion psychology before checking out 30 Instagram pages of bloggers and get lost in the hate comments.

There are literally beneficial things we can consume if we think with the mind of: What would we have done without social media?

Yeah, you either would have gone to the spaces which provide people of knowledge in your field or simply grab a book from the library.

And NO I am not suggesting to go to the library but take one advice and rather go to the book sources (maybe audiobooks on youtube or kindle, audible or any other book platform online) to engage with knowledge.

Always aim for the traditional or conservative sources too, they might have very different tools to do what you do, but you can learn so much from their philosophy.

You can understand their mindset and the way they predicted changes that are just happening, that understand mindsets of markets and that understand values.

Because that is the thing that media nowadays is lacking the most: VALUES!
Get the old sources and apply it to your current situation, you will learn from the really worth they left behind as their legacy.

Old sources are the key! Will always say one thing: we can remind ourselves of the hadith which tells us what we will leave behind when we leave this earthly being.

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: “إذا مات الأنسان انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاث: صدقة جارية، أو علم ينتفع به، أو ولد صالح يدعو له” ((رواه مسلم)).

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah () said, “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: A continuous charity, knowledge by which people derive benefit, pious son who prays for him.” [Muslim].
English Book reference: Book 7, Hadith 949

If you can create knowledge that will benefit the people you leave behind, that is amazing.

But even if now, you are simply able to consume the knowledge that people left behind, that is a start. Create for yourself, because it benefits your self-worth, your love for the game. GO out and attain knowledge, consume the best in your industry. Not just currently but THE BEST EVER.

And then, aim to

 

Before you leave…

Download your personal Create vs Consume PDF here!

****

And now, I would love to hear from you:

1. What should you consume as a knowledge that would inspire more than discourage you?

2.    What could you create more that will make you feel more accomplished and push you to achieve legacy?

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How to tell your own story – with Amina, founder of MuslimCreatvs

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Speaking your truth and telling your story as a Muslim in the media is not dependent on “breaking stereotypes”. Amina shares the secrets to her work as a storyteller, setting up your own brand (MuslimCreatvs) and what it means to speak up for yourself.

She also shares with us insights into motivation, authenticity and honesty as a content creator and standing up by standing out in your career.

Tweetables

  1. Motivation is a scam. @ayymina_ #success #podcast #motivation #ShareDiversity
  2. For me motivation doesn't start until you have actually done something @ayymina_ #success #motivation #ShareDiversity
  3. Document your process. So you can physically see the progress @ayymina_ #progress #storyteller #success #ShareDiversity
  4. If you want to start, understand what kind of story you are telling and what are your putting out to the world. @ayymina_ #success #ShareDiversity

Comment below!

 

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Power of Voice as a Muslim Women in Mainstream Media, Focus and overcoming judgement with Idil Osman

Like, comment and share inshallah!

We are talking about the power of voice as a Muslim woman in mainstream media, focusing our priorities and overcoming judgement (especially self-judgement) with journalist, author, lecturer, expert in diaspora media and TV host Dr Idil Osman.

Besides sharing her career principles and journey into media, Idil speaks about her definition of hijab and how we can create platforms to amplify each other’s voices.

Tweetables

  1. Career: Find something 1.You're passionate about. 2. That allows you to contribute to society 3.That allows you to have an ongoing opportunity for employment. @idil_osman #success #ShareDiversity
  2. It's about focusing on this ONE thing. In my case that's Allah, that's who I want to please. You focus on your priorities, everything else will fall into place. @idil_osman #focus #success #ShareDiversity
  3. One of the good things about Islam is that, because you're constantly focused on the blessings that Elahi has given you, you're in that space of wanting to give back. @idil_osman #gratitude #ShareDiversity
  4. Faith - It provides me the #hijab I need in order to navigate through life. Not just the physical hijab but the hijab of people taking advantage of me, being harmful towards me. @idil_osman #ShareDiversity
  5. Holding on to Allah I´m synonymously protected from the harmful effects that society can bring sometimes. @idil_osman #ShareDiversity
  6. By having an outward-looking approach to people means I attract those kinds of people ... because you take an active stance of being a good human being, to begin with. @idil_osman #ShareDiversity
  7. If you are grounded, if you are anchored in terms of who you are, where you come from and where you're headed, you're really not limited by any location. @idil_osman #impact #ShareDiversity
  8. Everyone has a voice. What happens is that people get silenced. Keep pushing for spaces to be opened up so that a variety of voices can come through. @idil_osman #WomenInMedia #WomeninTech #ShareDiversity
  9. Sheytan will try and create arrogance out of everything. Make you look like you're superior because of your race, gender or skin colour. @idil_osman #racism #ShareDiversity
  10. We need to have a daily discussion and conscious application that we are #Muslim first. The experience that connects us is that loving brotherhood and #sisterhood. @idil_osman #racism #ShareDiversity

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Feminism – Equality, womanhood and why I am not a feminist

Feminism

Equality, womanhood and why I am not a feminist

Rate the Podcast on iTunes.

Let´s talk about a widely hated and over-socially-constructed topic:

Feminism.

Equality of men and women. Is that what it stands for? Well, if that is what it stands for, I am out. Women don’t have the same circumstances than men do. I am out because that would mean that we want to be equal to men. I am out because you say women don’t have the same circumstances than men do, so they need to be uplifted to get to the level men are. That implies that:

Men are superior.

Feminism implies the superiority of men, and the want of women to be set equal to them. Wanting to be equal means they are better. Get it now? I don’t wanna be equal to men.

The Muslim Woman

I am a woman and I am proud of being a woman and having the circumstances of my hormones, my ability to think complex, my strong feelings and the fluctuations of them, being able to make life, and the ability to persuade my partner to do anything I want just by being the most feminine version of myself, being able to work and earn money for my self only, not needing to hustle to make my family eat, not needing to provide financially but being able to contribute emotionally, care-ingly and socially, the ability to hide myself from outside views to guard my value.

Let´s be very pragmatic about what women gain in Islam. Imagine, my ability to have my own enterprise (family) with my home-grown workers (kids) and my investor (husband) building my own company culture (household values) and train talent to take over the enterprise (kids grow up and take responsibility for the family) to sit back and enjoy the beauty of my business (retiring, reading books, looking at birds, traveling the world, cuddling my grand-children). And yes, If I want to have a side-hustle/passion project (job), that provides me with income. I don’t need to share this with anyone if I don’t want to, and on top of that, I´m asking the investor (husband) to get a manager for the enterprise (nanny/cleaner/cook etc.) while I am busy with my side-hustle/ passion-project.

That is what I gain from Islam. Not feminism.

Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong, this is the most ideal version of it. I am privileged if I could do that. But if I live in a poverty environment, I will want to contribute with my hustle to my family and let my husband not have the pressure of such circumstances. And also, in any way, these things are your rights in Islam. Whether you want to take them or not, is your (you as a family unit) choice. Say your husband wants to stay home and home-school the kids while you go out work? That’s your personal choice and totally right. But at least you know the rights that are given to you, can be implemented whenever you want.

Let me now outline feminism for ya´ll(and please read the disclaimer to save your hate comments).

What feminism gives you:

Option 1: Calling you “traditional” (being a devoted wife) and “backwards” (housework and raising children) or even barbaric (homeschooling) while telling you, you are giving no value (money) to the country because you are not “economically contributing” (hustling for minimum wage) and you are not progressing (doing the same as a man).

Option 2: Complementing you on your value (money) because your are “economically contributing” (working nine to five hustles) while degrading your value (paying you less), calling you a workaholic and claiming your kids are suffering the modern ambitions (because you have a nanny to watch out for your kids) while telling you that you degrade your husband’s masculinity (if you earn more).

So basically, they want you to be like a man and still be a woman. Applied feminist politics expects women to be everything at the same time. We get equality*, but no justice.

*also: we get equality by forced regulations, which are in itself discriminating against who? Men. Compromising one for the other, that’s applied feminism. 

I don’t believe in equality

The base for feminism is, that men and women are socially, economically and politically equal. So no, I am not a feminist. Because I don’t believe in the economic and social equality for women. I believe in the justice for women and men in society. I believe in just contribution of economic, social and familial responsibility. The laws and rules are the same in terms of spiritual matters. 

  اِنَّ الۡمُسۡلِمِيۡنَ وَالۡمُسۡلِمٰتِ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ وَالۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ وَالۡقٰنِتِيۡنَ وَالۡقٰنِتٰتِ وَالصّٰدِقِيۡنَ وَالصّٰدِقٰتِ وَالصّٰبِرِيۡنَ وَالصّٰبِرٰتِ وَالۡخٰشِعِيۡنَ وَالۡخٰشِعٰتِ وَالۡمُتَصَدِّقِيۡنَ وَ الۡمُتَصَدِّقٰتِ وَالصَّآئِمِيۡنَ وَالصّٰٓـئِمٰتِ وَالۡحٰفِظِيۡنَ فُرُوۡجَهُمۡ وَالۡحٰـفِظٰتِ وَالذّٰكِرِيۡنَ اللّٰهَكَثِيۡرًا وَّ الذّٰكِرٰتِ ۙ اَعَدَّ اللّٰهُ لَهُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةً وَّاَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [Al-Ahzab 33:35]

So yes, I believe in the equal value of men and women in front of Alllah and yes, as the prophet (PBUH) implemented it, I do believe in the equivalent right on education.

I endorse fair opportunities, but I don’t think we can claim equality if we are the diverse humans we are, with the diverse abilities, strengths and weaknesses, interests, psyches, physics as we have.

... And the diverse responsibilities that we have. Imagine you have a company, and every single employee of yours has the same tasks to manage, the same things to do and has the exact same contribution in everything to the team. Would you grow? Obviously not. Because where is the team here? It´s just a group of sameness, a repetition of one and the same talent. For the business women in here, check out why a relationship functions as a business. For now:

Not an upgrade

I am a woman and I do not endorse feminism. I believe in justice in the responsibilities and opportunities of men and women. We are not the same, so I am not trying to be equal to men. Because I know as a woman, I can do more and I can do better than men in many areas, and I think a man (be it my father, my brother or my son) can do more and better in many other areas. I am not interested to compete in these areas for equality to them. That would be a downgrading for me, not an upgrade.

     اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَاۡمُرُ بِالۡعَدۡلِ وَالۡاِحۡسَانِ وَاِيۡتَآىـئِ ذِى الۡقُرۡبٰى وَيَنۡهٰى عَنِ الۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَالۡمُنۡكَرِ وَالۡبَغۡىِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُوۡنَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. [An-Nahl 16:90]

As long as I understand my value as a woman, I don´t need feminist narratives to make me ´regain´ my power. I have power in me enough to prove my voice matters, my actions matter, my being matters.

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

And please don't forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

Q: What are your thoughts on feminist narratives? Would you consider yourself a feminist, do you fight for gender equality? Why or why not?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

Women´s rights sold as an ideology. One of the most marketed social constructs. Gender equality in Islam is based on deeper values. We must first embody these values to truly reclaim our rights.

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Relationship Mindset – Gender Equality in Islam?

Relationship Mindset

Gender Equality in Islam?

 

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“Husband and wife are equal.” “Equality for unity.” “Why shouldn´t a woman be able to do the same as a man?” “A healthy relationship works on the ground of equal rights” …

The theory sounds well, practice.. naaaatsomuch.

Let´s talk about how relationships work and let´s be pragmatic about it.
It´s teamwork. And how does teamwork work? Well, …
Like a business.

For those with some prior business knowledge, and those without. Check the abbreviations** and turn your volume up to listen.

Relationships are like businesses

In a business, there is a CEO (the Entrepreneur)**and an MD (Managing Director)**.

Both of them work on the business (from the outside) but both have very different viewpoints on the growth of the company.

The CEO

looks in the future and decides
– where the business should go strategically,
– what the long-term goals are and what strategic and
– what creative ways they should go to achieve the shared vision.

makes sure that
– there is always investment flowing into the business, so the MD can upgrade the tool efficiency and work effectiveness.

The Manager

looks from the future to the present and plans
– how the business should work (what the employees should do),
– to achieve the goals in the present and short-term goals.

makes sure that
– the business itself provides flourishing returns on such investment by upgrading the employees’ performance.

Imagine now husband and wife

Husband = CEO
Wife = Manager

Read the disclaimer before you shout “Whyyyy always the man…!”

The husband goes out and sees where the family wants to be in terms of wealth (whatever this means to you individually), in terms of achievements (spiritually and charitably, academically and professionally, personally and internationally) and in terms of property (wealth and investment). While the husband goes out and brings in the investment (income) to the family (company), the wife makes sure that the family affairs (business) work efficiently and effectively and that all members of the family (employees) provide their best performance to bring the right returns (in terms of intellectual property, social achievements, etc.).

These returns can be whatever you define and value as wealth or power.

  • Whether this would be the status of an academically educated child, which the mother (Manager) home-schooled or tutored to excellence (invested the income in high education).
  • Or whether this would be a highly artistic child, which the mother supported in their projects and searched for the best art class and accompanied to galleries and poetry events and went with them to national art competitions outside of school to support the spark of interest.
  • Or whether that mother has invested the income to provide the best health, nutrition and physical fitness education to her children so they can perform at their best in any phase of their lives. While the father makes sure there is enough bonus to surprise her and the kids for a nice vacation to a new country so the whole family can benefit from cultural richness and diverse education to their ongoing inspiration and motivation to keep the quality of the business performance on the highest level throughout the year.

Equality vs. Teamwork

Now think, if this would be possible if husband and wife would be equal (feminism) and do the same exact things and have the same exact responsibilities.

And by the way, read the disclaimer.

Because it really does not matter whether you would like to (personally) flip around this script. Let the mother be the CEO and the father the MD. Or whether you would like to swap every 5 years. But chose your roles. Because that’s how a team works…

Choosing your roles is essential because no one can scale up their performance if they are unsure what responsibilities they have. Greatness comes with focus and persistence.

 

Disclaimer: Every couple can, of course, choose for themselves. Wanna be a CEO and invest, get money in and inspire future strategies for 5years and then swap to dedicate and manage the business internally? Go for it. Whatever fits you (as a team).

 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: How would you apply this to your life and relationship? What value can you get out of this family-business construct?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

And please don’t forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

 

Family, Relationship and love in Islam are all about balancing roles and responsibilities. I see relationships as a business. Family business. Gender Equality in Islam is a myth just as it is in any other sector of our human existence. The relationship mindset means teamwork.

 

** Business Abbreviations
CEO
(=Chief Executive Officer) makes the tough decisions based on the company’s needs, values and goals, sets up a strategy for the company future and increases flows of investments into the company
MD (=Managing Director) the most important working director, in charge of the way the company is managed, supervising employees performance and outcomes

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-forization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Opportunity – Create Your Own Success

Opportunity

Create Your Own Success 

 
The other day, I was ranting about how we don´t have as many opportunities when I was reminded of something: representation doesn´t help us. It´s about creating your own opportunities. Building our own table.
Here the backstory...
I remember talking to a friend that day when she mentioned something like:

Compare Kanye West and Rihanna

Okay, okay, bear with me for a bit...
Taking Kanye, he always sought out acceptance, fighting for his voice to be heard, to be known in the fashion industry.
He rants and screams and propagates about the whiteness, racism and ignorance of the fashion industry and that he will be the biggest on the table soon, they just open their eyes and see what he´d be doing.
Well... nobody really cared except his fans what he was whining about, nobody at least from the industry itself.

Now let´s look at Rihanna. She did her thing, singing and touring, being different, odd, rebellious. Yes, just like Kanye in some sense. But what did she do?
She is begged by all the fashion designers to design a new line for them and take her image and swag to support their brands under her supervision and authority. She just dropped her MakeUp line like it´s just a "side-passion" she runs to fill her free time.

She didn´t scream about there not being enough chances for brown women designing high-luxury fashion wear, she didn´t cry because there was
1) no makeup variance for non-white people and
2) not enough acceptance for unexperienced brown rebel women to do their own line of makeup besides all these established white makeup moguls.

No, she just did.

Like she´s making a sandwich and offers you a bite. There you go, I found my own solutions, take a bite!
While Kanye was still like "Can I have a bite? Can I have a bite? Why are you not sharing? You see me starving, recognize and feed me".
We can´t cry and expect others to accept us in their space.
We have to create our own space (our own table) and invite those in that have the same ambitions, values and visions as us.
That is why it is so crucial for me to understand as well, how we can rebuild our communities to actually find solutions ourselves for problems that we face and do not wait for others to get up with a solution and then whining that we are not invited to sit at their table.

 Okay, to be fair, she didn´t give that example. She took the one of wanting a seat on the table (Kanye) vs building your own table (Rihanna). To be honest, that makes somehow more sense as we can see here that Rihanna is actually building her own industry. She was one of the first influencers in that sense for luxury brands to target young urban brown women with enough money or the willingness to gain it to buy her shoes (Louboutin I think), she was one of the major influencers for sports brands to go maaaajor urban and get into the street style women´s wear hardcore (Puma) and build a ground for (brown) female athletes and artists around the world to be ambassadors themselves (which is now a whole influencer network) and she is one of the women now using other influencers to promote her own brand massively with Fenty Beauty etc. and actually (and that´s another topic) leveraging massively on diversity and marginalized communities (like Muslim women). Whatever you might think of our example, this is what life is about for us strangers..

Here is how it goes:

⦁ You need a mentor but no one in the industry is actually understanding of your values and wants? Then find someone within the community, embrace their advice and guidance and seek to refer them to your peers, building a network of mentors within the community. Don´t I hear everywhere that "We lack leaders?", yeah well. That´s one solution - DONE- NEXT
⦁ You think the schools here have a system which is discriminating against Muslims, brown people etc. and on top who´s politics and teachings go against your values?
Homeschool your kids or find a teacher, create your own school system according to your own values and then offer it to other mothers. Either teach them to homeschool their kids or find someone, or do it for a living. Give them material that helps them to school their kids, build small learning circles for group work and engagement in presentation and the area of supervision and leadership. If you gathered a couple of women who are willing to grow and evolve in homeschooling, you can build a network of teachers and maybe rent some rooms. Then build it out and eventually build your own school and school system for the children according to your values.
⦁ You think there are no job opportunities for Muslim women in media? Build your own media agency.
⦁ You think there is no company that fits your values? Build your own company. The result is: make your own sandwich (others will want to have a bite, because what is better a huge white sandwich of cheese and lettuce where everyone already bit from or the cultural diversity gourmet edition with the brown grain crusty bread on which you get roasted vegetables, spices and pickles and salmon and rucola and goats cheese on top) and
If you cannot join others, because you are excluded - Build your own table, others will want to join you.
Don´t forget to go and keep going, always thrive to change something out of your own strength, don´t wait for outside help
 وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And those who strive for Us, We will surely, guide them (to) Our ways. And indeed, Allah surely (is) with the good-doers.[Surah 29:69].
But at the same time, make sure to create your own allies, your community, your team, your family. Sisterhood means always uniting in professional debates,
وَالَّذينَ استَجابوا لِرَبِّهِم وَأَقامُوا الصَّلاةَ وَأَمرُهُم شورىٰ بَينَهُم وَمِمّا رَزَقناهُم يُنفِقونَ
And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and
whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend. [Surah 42:38] 
In all our fight for recognition and success, we must understand that we can only ask the One for guidance, work hard and have the right intentions. For those however who work, be sure to bare in mind with all positivity, optimism and vision: 
1. Rule: Do. Don´t expect relief from anyone. Do it yourself.
2. Rule: Mobilize your tribe. Together we are stronger.
Break out of the minority mindset into the abundance mentality. 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: What are the things you feel excluded from and how do you think you could eventually find your own solutions to build your own table?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

And please don't forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

 

Create success by creating your own opportunities. As minorities, we often seek to be seen and heard and we fight for our rights. We have to, however, understand that we are in the position to change our situation ourselves. We are responsible for our own success, nobody will give it to us freely.

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Wellness – Islamic Well-being

Wellness

Why I Fail 

 
I see women in my surrounding often fall short in prioritizing things like wellness, self-care and well-being. Because when we are stressed over money, how to finance our studies and deadlines from work, wellness is out of the window. What we don't realize, if we take care of our wellness, we might not drown in stress. 

You can't climb a mountain from the top, you have to start at the bottom. 

Wellness is at the bottom. If you can master the foundation, the climb won´t be as hard in the end. Becoming your own doctor (food is medicine).

First steps to take: take responsibility and stop blaming everything else. I need to put things aside and re-prioritize MY life. Love, family, togetherness and gratitude. If I have these realities circling in my consciousness, I can control my stress. Alhamdulillah


Wake up in the morning and ask yourself:

What is good?

Me, myself and I

What is good for me? What suits me? And what do I need to prioritize to make my first steps up the mountain?
For example: "I am going to take responsibility for my health and start controlling my destiny."

You are always at fault and you can always do better.

Islam teaches us to be proactive and the society we live in programs us to be reactive. It teaches us a way of life. If we would be proactive people, we could have saved ourselves from so many illnesses. Islam is a long-term solution for many issues and the society is so short-lived. Slow down and analyze your situation, focus on the long-term commitment and then your short-term things will become better. Fight your impatience. Although re-active mentality is in my blood but that is not an excuse. Replace the bad with better. 


Go back to the Sunnah (gratitude, smiling, fasting, eating clean, exercising,...)

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: What is the one thing you can do right now to increase your wellness and self-care? Would it be hitting the gym, reading a book or simply making an honest dua?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

 

Disclaimer: This is more a reminder to myself. Feel free to apply such philosophy to your personal circumstances, challenges and future goals.


And please don't forget to rate, like & share the Podcast on iTunes.

Watch and comment on Youtube

 

 

How to practice self-care as a Muslim woman? We always underestimate the meaning of well-being in Islam. To come back to our inner self means coming back to our tradition and listening to the intuition given from Allah.

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Wealth – How to Get Rich

Wealth

How to Get Rich

 

You know these times when you watch Motivational Videos on Youtube? Yeah, I found some new ones. And they taught me the following:

Where your focus goes your energy flows.

I have to envision every day what I want in my life, to be able to achieve it. Clear goal setting.
Obviously what I did was, I took the video creator´s example of goal setting. Which was all material -either in property, money or status. And I went with it. Wrote down a property, status and things that I want to create but deep down, that wasn´t enough for me. So I added here and there how I want to live and what I want to master in.

Just some excerpts here: 
- A house on the water 
- 2 houses for my parents in a warm country
- Be a respected author
- Make 50 Million before 30
...

But to be honest, I am not satisfied. This does not sound like me completely. Yes, I would love to own a house by the water with a vintage writing machine and simply write stories and poems looking out my window wall to the moving water, clouds and birds, watching the flowers bloom in the garden and tomatoes light up the small vegetable farm while hearing my kids voices sing in the backgrounds. 


Yes, I would love this. But all this doesn´t depend on the house or on the decoration, on the wealth we possess. I would be peaceful just to be able to write freely on my own pace and conditions while hearing my kids play in the background. With my stopwatch nearby to see when I have to take the banana bread out of the oven. Wealth per se doesn’t make me happy, but the freedom, peace and health that I feel in this moment.

** 

All the wealth that you have been given, that you think can bring you closer to us, that is only true for those who for the one who believes in Allah and focuses on doing good and righteous deeds.

This brings me to why. Why am I writing? What does this imaginary lady create in her living space to contribute to humanity? In which way am I praising and worshipping Allah with my writing? Or the other things I do. Right now even the thought of having a ladies book club and Quran conversations makes my heart peacefully jump. But then what is my special place in this space? How can I add value to the (imaginary) ladies on my kitchen table?

Allah has divided up amongst you, your character, the good qualities that you possess.

So it is true, we are all here to contribute to each other with the special qualities that we individually possess thanks to Allah. The character that makes us unique, that contributes to others wellbeing. The niche market our personality can take in other people's lives. 

Just as he has divided up amongst you, the material things that you enjoy.

You see something? All these social media channels are there to compare our lives to others. Compare our likes to others. Our following, our status, our wealth. But Allah has divided these things deliberately.
Am I being challenged to be poor? Am I being challenged on being rich? Am I simply thinking what a blessing I am receiving, never much-respecting others battles? Or do I contribute with my privilege to other people´s lives?

Allah gives material things to those who he loves and those he does not love

Who of those am I? 

But he does not give the deen except to those, who he loves.

I am definitely one of those, Alhamdulillah.

So if you have the awareness and understanding of your religion, know that Allah loves you. 

May I never forget, how to value this love, how to bring it to others and how to enable my surrounding to gain access to their unique opportunity for such love. If god is willing, Inshallah 

A person does not submit to Allah until his heart and his tongue submits to what Allah has commanded and ordered him to 

What I may never forget is, that all I “possess” is never mine, it is that of my creator. Allah has created the things that I claim to own. So my ownership is not real. I´m just an agent that Allah has assigned to see how I use and spend the wealth he has entrusted me with. 
May I never forget that my benefit is in the Akhira. The Dunya is only a test. A test for me to show if I can take care of all the responsibilities that have been given to me. 


So my “life goals” must be changed. Changed into less claim for “ownership” but more responsibility to do good with my entrusted wealth. So I can invest that wealth into other creations of Allah to support them in their own test with the aim to reach Jannah.


**Basis of this reflection: The tafseer of Surah Muminoon 

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

Luxury goals are not about how much we have but what we make out of the things we have. Wealth is in the beauty of gratitude.

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Time – Setting Priorities

Time Management

How to plan your day

وَٱلْعَصْرِ
إِنَّ ٱلْإِنسَٰنَ لَفِى خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ

By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. [Surah Al-Asr]

When I talked to the girls, I was literally so surprised. We all had different approaches to handling time and our schedule. Not only different but completely opposite to each other. But, you would never know, judging from the output.

We all get things done and we all achieve success- our own version of success. Now we all might seem similar from our sex, age, clothing (from a non-Muslim perspective), but in our versions of career, success planning, our diversity is undeniable. Law, education, sales and media, no planning, planning by writing entire research papers on the bus to work, planning in the head, in a notebook tick-off, (...) up to meticulously planning every single minute of the day (me).
We all have our own version of time planning.

But what we all do share, is the understanding that (in self-development terms):

Time is precious.

More importantly, time is the most valuable thing we have in our life because we lose it every moment and we have no chance ever to gain it back.

Now again,#YOLO might not apply to us, but still. We are here in Dunya only once and we are only given one chance to prove that we are worth entering Akhira.

The moment we chose to do A and not B means:
A is more important and urgent than B
, because

We are actually at loss everytime we choose one option.

We need to understand the value that we are leaving behind not choosing the other option!

Opportunity cost

Opportunity cost (not on our own value but on our lifetime´s value) works like this:

You ask yourself
"Is the value of A exceeding the cost of not doing B?"
Because if B is so valuable, and we are paying (with the most precious currency*), then we need to know if it is worth to lose the value of B for the sake of pursuing A.
Now getting out of the abstract.

Let´s take an easy example:
It´s 4.30pm, you need to hand in a report at 8 pm.
You are behind and are stressing out on finishing the last 5 pages. You are already sitting on your laptop for 3 hours.
You told yourself you want to be healthy, fit and successful at work.
You have a time-frame of 30min.
What do you do?

Option A:  you write another page for your report
Option B:  you work out

Now both options sound reasonably important.
The report will probably determine how far you get with your goal of being "successful" at work and you are behind in your work.
Now the work itself sounds more urgent, as it has a fixed deadline.

At the same time, you want to stick to your health and fitness goals because they are important to you, but it is something you set for yourself and it has not a contract-related deadline on it.

With usual important/urgent planning tools, you would categorize

Option A: important & urgent and
Option B: important & not urgent.

But if you consider your opportunity cost, your calculation will probably look like this:

If I don´t do Option A: I have to speed up my writing process and get half a page more done within each half an hour. I will need to be 100% focused on finishing this for the rest of the time.

If I don´t do Option B: I will have less energy in my body and my back will hurt, sitting on the laptop already for 3hours and probably having to sit there the next 3.5hours more. I will get tired, my legs will feel heavy and my mind will probably get tired from staring into the screen for such a long time.

Why so?
Well, here´s a  side-note:
Exercising fuels your energy makes you more focused and boosts your creativity.

Working out activates your muscles, relaxes your body in positions which require stagnancy (sitting on a laptop) and it prevents you from becoming sleepy or stressed out. Workout releases stress, gives you focus and improves your productivity. (read up more here)

So yes, I'll go for Option B, because I know the opportunity cost of it if I decide not to.

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: How do you plan your days, do you have notebooks, journals,
you´re a mind-planner or you use some fancy planning tools?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

Time is money. But more importantly, time is the currency we will never get back until we leave this life inshallah. We all have the same amount of this currency, so it depends only on us what we do with it. Time is a gift from god we need to keep safe by using it wisely.

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Value – What is Self-Worth

Value

Means self-worth

value
/ˈvaljuː/
noun
1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. "your support is of great value"
2. principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life. "they internalize their parents' rules and values" 
Source: google dictionary

I´ve been wanting to define "value" for myself for a long time.

Even just comparing two major yoga channels I watch which are built upon personal brands, I can see how individuals follow individuals and how characters seek characters which are familiar to them.

Understanding, that I am not made to serve everybody.

But that I was chosen to bring value to a specific type of people, which could truly, sincerely and fully benefit from what I can provide.

It's sad to say, but our energies are limited. And others attention spans as well. So I don´t try to fit everyone's mould. If you understand where I come from, you can relate and we share the same values and objectives, let's go with it and for it. But I don´t aim to be your perfect spokesperson.

What is in my authority is simply the drive to understand my value and to value my value. To reach the full capacity of my value and most importantly- speak for myself only.
I can´t say that someone else's experience is the same as mine, however, I can always personally relate to other´s experiences and learn my own lessons for my own life providing my own input.

For years (and somehow still ongoing) I didn´t know my value.

I didn´t know how big it was.

And to be very frank here, I´m not trying to elevate my self up to a level for personal display. But I see many girls that I teach do the same to them as I did. Not analysing what you can offer and what your deepest self is worth, with all knowledge, skills, experiences, attitudes, mindsets and yes also future possibilities. I strongly encourage us to understand that even the not-yet-achievements are our assets. And "opportunity cost" is an actual thing.

If you ain´t got me, you ain't got opportunity A-Z.

Simply speaking, we should treat ourselves (NEVER as a commodity) but as a jewellery. I remember Yasmin Mogahed telling to see yourself as a diamond. Would anyone offer a diamond to someone who says "I REALLY like this one, but maaan I only have one dollar, pound, Euro whatever"? Would you be like "Yeah, no worries you can bring it after some month if you see an opportunity to get in more money"?
NOPE. Thanks.

Don´t offer yourself under value

And yes, I am referring to all the sectors in our lives.
Be it personal relationships and someone refusing to bring in the amount of respect, support, communication, patience and gut it takes to get you ...
Or when I refer to simple job interviews and someone tryna sell you into a "growth opportunity" with half-of-the-price your qualifications are worth entry salary...
Or whether I talk about a friend who only calls you when she wants something but who is like, Can I call you back another time? Hm sorry its really busy right now..? Maybe we can meet the other week? WE  should definitely see each other again? But never gets back to check on you, when YOU have a problem!

All these scenarios, baby if you´d known your worth, you´d be so far by now. But no worries, we´ll catch up,

You see my bouncing off that wall of ignorance for my value.

 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: In what situation did you think "This is not what I deserve. I deserve more!", and what did you do to claim it? / How would you like to deal with it in the future?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

Know your value. Believe in your worth. Define your self-value. Your character determines your self-worth. Believe in the worth you can bring to this earth. God has written it for you a long time ago. Claim it.

 

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance. This is still a place for peace and love, the way we all strive to live out our purpose.

 

Inspiration – The myth of creativity

Inspiration

The process of creation, the myth of  creativity

There is a misconception of the word “inspiration”.

We are always told that great people, thriving entrepreneurs and succeeding individuals are always motivated and inspired by anything and everything around them.

Simply put, that´s a big lie.

You can´t say all great achievers are on their top game 24/7. If you believe that, and you apply it to yourself, you lose. Let's take the example of a writer:

If you only write in the feeling of inspiration, you will not create much value in anything. You cannot wait for this feeling. Not doing anything is not inspiring, so how can you expect your non-doing to inspire you?

Writing even if “I don’t feel like it” makes me create much more value than me confidently sitting on my desk with excitement to be inspired and inspiring. My deepest thoughts, when I feel like I have nothing, is often everything I wanted (without knowing that I wanted it).

Being lost can be productive. BUT only if I create. When I feel lost and I write (even about being lost). This might be my vulnerability, the closeness to my inner thoughts and feelings, the fears I tap into to neutralize, the secrets to uncover, the unexpected value that crystallizes. Whatever it may be, it can only come to light and down on my paper (or screen for that matter), if I write in a time “I don’t feel like it”.

Writer Dani Shapiro:

The productive despair, describing the feeling of a deep sea diver when she almost hits the bottom of the ocean floor, that’s when she hits that place and is able to push herself up again from there.

The pan-ultimate place. Feeling the inner-sensor of resistance, that is the place that can bring me up again.

That feeling in that place, where you feel the opposite of comfortable, that is when you can get up again.

Make the time sacred

Be routine-based, ritual-based!

When you are in that place of "I don´t feel like it", it doesn´t matter. Your body already told your mind: We are set up for this, We will do this, And we will do this right. Because everything is “set up” for you as if you would like to achieve something.

How does this being "set up"  look like?

It can look so so different for every single person here. Maybe you like to be in a nice coffee shop? You want to be in a clean room, light some candles maybe? Wear a nice dress and put on some jewellery, some fancy shoes even? Want some tea and fresh fruits on the side?

Just a quick reminder:

Your feelings don´t matter

(at least in the moment they don´t feel like it).

You are either here to see other people succeed, consume, sit down watch what other people do, or

You do it yourself.

Don´t be a consumer, be a creator. 

AND NOW YOU, share with us your opinion and share this conversation with a sister.

Q: What do you like to do to feel set up to create? What do you do to prepare yourself for success? How does the setting look like? What makes you feel most creative to create?

Leave your answer down in the comments, and share your diversity with us.

The myth of creativity affects everyone who wants to achieve greatness. Here is why you need to get rid of it: inspiration is not your hero. You are your only way to success. DO, CREATE, even if you don´t feel like it!

 

Until next time,

السلام عليكم

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelings. This blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance.

 

Energy – Cleanse your mind

Energy 

Cleanse your mind

 

Rain Purifies

It is pure and clean when it falls down the earth. It washes off all the dirt of everything it touches. It wipes clean the impurity of the objects around it. And by the time it hits the ground, it has become dirty. Then it flows back from leaves to rivers and seas cleansing itself and raising up in the sky again. To then come back down in full purity.

Look at the revelation is that sense.
We have been given the Quran, the truth, and understanding and it has cleansed our human experience.
Now we bring this experience as pure and clean as it is to others around us whose hearts are not cleansed and their thoughts, mindsets, and beliefs might be full of burden. The dirt of society and power struggles, of the worshipping of money and status, likes, and followers. The experience that we are given has the power to clean hearts - ourselves first and then theirs. Whatever touches them and remains, cleanses a part of their being just as it has done it with ours.
Maybe they believe too that we are here to be kind to others, to respect our mothers and fathers, to give to the poor and to understand and be grateful about something that is more powerful than we are, maybe they even believe in a creator but they refuse to acknowledge to thank and praise him.
Whatever they take from the purity of understanding we bring, will wash them clean in some way, opening their hearts to the purity of intention and value of our existence. 

Outside Energies

But during all this time, outside energies, arguing or negativity, might already have put a burden on us in some way. It is tough to deal with people who don´t have the same values, whose most basic worldviews and attitudes are contrasting to yours.

Though I have to remember: never ´otherize´, never put yourself in a higher place, never think you are better than anyone around you. I have to remember: arrogance is ignorance. Being true to myself is what will help to understand the viewpoint of others, and although I never need to accept it, I need to respect their existence.

We never know, what others do in private. 

After discussions, after setbacks, after having to defend and explain yourself over an over again. At some point, we need to cleanse ourselves again. Cleanse ourselves from the prejudice, from the pessimism, from the discrimination from the ignorance of others. The ignorance of our values or our viewpoints.

I have the tools


But how do I do that? Do I do that even? Do I take time to ask Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to relief the burden I feel daily? The burden of being a Muslim woman in a world that does not respect my values, decisions or even... mere physical existence? Do I ask for relief the burden just as the prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam did?  

While I am not saying we have the same burden as the Prophet (saw) did, I have to acknowledge that he has shown us, if we are burdened in some way (any, believe me, mental and emotional burden is secured for us as Muslim women in this environment), rather than ´victimizing´ ourselves and screaming "ignorance" and "Islamophobia", we can actually ask to be relieved of that pressure.

I can ask to cleanse my mind(set) again to go out with new energy, having the purest tools to set myself up and to stand up for our beliefs.  I need to understand for myself: I have the tools.

Imagine how you feel reciting just for 5 minutes, after a day full of discussions, comments about your opinions and appearance. Imagine just 5minutes.

Allah's word purifies. It washes off all the dirt of everything it touches.

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

 

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ ° وَوَضَعْنَا عَنكَ وِزْرَكَ  °  الَّذِي أَنقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ ° وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ°  فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا ° إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا ° فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ
 
Have We not expanded for you your breast? And We removed from you your burden, Which weighed down your back? And We exalted for you your reputation? Then, surely with hardship comes ease: Surely, with hardship comes ease, So when you have finished (with your immediate task), still strive hard, (then toil), And to your Lord turn (all) your attention. [Surah Al-Inshirah 94]

 

Q: What do you do to cleanse your mind from outside energy? Is there anything you go back to that eases your mind?

Pure energy is important for us to do what we do best in the best way. We need to set up our mind to perform at your best level.

Disclaimer: This is a merely personal view of an individual life. None of this is supposed to reflect or exemplify women, reverts, Muslims or even Islam. Self-identification is not to be seen in relation to a group but merely in relation to oneself. One might share this identity but must not publicly announce its speciality or an imagined community created by such. The sharing or not-sharing of identity (with ethnic, cultural, spiritual, gender-specific, nation or whatever other forms of identification) is neither good nor bad but remains personal and private to oneself. The author is voicing personal opinions and rejects any generalization or speaking-for-ization but rather aims to shed light on one of many diverse stories of one of many diverse individuals in one (or more) of many diverse contexts. Also, the author tends to create grammatically incorrect words to clarify perceived phenomena, opinions or feelingsThis blog might include discriminating terms which are emotionally loaded by a long history of oppression and suffrage. Do not read this if you get offended by the cruelty of ignorance.