Manage your Relationships During Lockdown with Zahra Aljabri

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Are you struggling to manage your relationships during the lockdown? Building connections can make or break your career & life. That’s why it’s important for us to learn how to maintain, preserve, and upgrade our relationships (whether intimate, personal, or professional) especially in times of stress and pressure.
Zahra Aljabri is a spiritual mindset and relationship coach, the founder of Practical Muslim, and an entrepreneur through and through. Before she started coaching 12 years ago, she was the founder of Mode-sty.

She took the time to speak with you about

    • Why relationships are important both in business and life
    • How family stress can train you to become a better businesswoman (!)
    • The meaning of intimacy and how to cultivate it in times of crisis
    • How to manage your personal & professional relationships during the lockdown
    • Why relationships are crucial to building a successful Personal Brand
    • Her journey into relationship coaching and online training
    • Top tips to start coaching in any field

Comment below! Zahra’s question for you:

 What’s your biggest takeaway from this episode?

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

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Then Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

Want to grow your own Personal Brand? Get in contact with Sina or book a call!

Zahra Aljabri with a yellow turban hijab the text reads managing relationships successfully with Zahra Aljabri at Shared Diversity Podcast
Zahra Aljabir, relationship coach, spiritual mindset coach, and founder of Practical Muslim is a Muslim businesswoman who talks about how to manage relationships during stressful times and the importance of relationships in your career and life. She shares with Sina Port her secrets to building a personal brand, growing her coaching business, and building meaningful connections.

Set Smart Goals for Ramadan 2020 and Beyond – with Sina Port

Sina Port Muslim businesswoman in hijab on field about goal setting in your life and career

 


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Want to learn how to set smart goals – spiritually and professionally – that bring you true results?
In this episode, Sina speaks about 3 Ways to set smart goals to succeed this Ramadan 2020 and grow your Personal Brand.

Ramadan Mubarak to all of you!

Today let’s talk about NEW WAYS of setting goals that instantly can improve your life & career!

How to set smart goals in your career & life:

  1. Redefine how success looks for you:
    For both Ramadan this year, and your Personal Brand, success doesn’t need to look like everyone else’s. Figure out what you truly want to achieve and even if that is different to the norm, set your goals according to your personality, unique life & visions.
  2. Go the unconventional ways:
    To achieve your spiritual goals & your career goals, you should explore ways that are not conventional. Remember: if you want unconventional results, you need to go unconventional ways. That doesn’t mean you need to innovate, but figure out what works for you, even if that looks weird to others.
  3. Figure out what defines you:
    You need to pivot according to what you want deep down. What’s the legacy you want to leave and what do you have to do right now to achieve it? 

Want to learn more about setting Goals?

Check out these episodes:

Set Meaningful Goals to Support Your Purpose

Goalsetting: 6 Ways to Stay on Track

Set New Goals in 3 Simple Ways

Comment below! Sina’s question for you:

 What are your goals this Ramadan 2020?

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

PREFER TO WATCH?

Then Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

 

Want to grow your own Personal Brand? Get in contact with Sina or book a call!

Sina Port Muslim businesswoman with hijab on a field talking about Ramadan 2020 and Smart Goals
This Ramadan 2020 and during the COVID 19 crisis, we set new goals for ourselves. Sina talks about how to set smart goals – both spiritual and professional – that are true to who you are.

 

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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Muslim Business Woman skills – How to set new goals: A Simple 3 Steps Process

 

One of the most common questions I get asked is,

“Sina, how do I set goals and achieve them? Especially for a yearly plan, how can I organise my ambitions?”

Setting goals? Wondering how to organise the new year? In today’s Shared Diversity episode I’m sharing a simple 3 step process that helps me set goals for the new year (or any new phase of your life!), plus a great tool that we use in our team to make sure that we meet our visions and keep creating!

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

Thanks for watching! SUBSCRIBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3bg…

1 Step: Goals are not visions:

There is a very big difference between goals and visions. You can set visions in the long term, but to be able to achieve success, you have to define your goals in a measurable & timely way.

2. Step: Planning & Organising:

How can you organise your goals effectively so you can avoid failing with your to-do lists and truly achieving success? Grab the guide on consuming vs creating. What content should you consume and how can you create more, continuously? Download the pdf here: https://sharediversity.com/create-vs-…

3. Step: Leadership

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.

Successful Muslim entrepreneurs give their visions a plan. How to set goals and achieve them, especially for business but generally for your life is a skill we need to master if we want to attain success as Muslims.

How to start online, podcasting and balancing marriage & work with Ikhlas Saleem, creator of Identity Politics Podcast

Share Your Diversity 
Share Your Voice

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Disclaimer: This episode was a lot of fun! So be prepared to laugh inshallah!

Ikhlas Saleem is a writer, storyteller and digital media strategist, with a passion for religion, culture and education. She’s the creator of the Identity Politics Podcast.

In this episode, Ikhlas discussed with us how you can make it as a female founder starting to grow an online presence. As the founder of one of my favourite podcasts, she also shares her top tips to get into podcasting, find a co-host & build a team.

As both media marketers, founders &wives, we also talk about how to balance marriage and ambitions, and how to upgrade your productivity!

Make sure to listen till the end to find out the Top skills and attitudes to make it in digital media and reach your communities!

Comment below!

What are your
1. Personal ambitions for this New Year?
2. Fears, plans & visions?

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

Minutes of the Podcast:

Woman in Media
7:30
 Building confidence &  dealing with  self-doubt

14:30 Quality or quantity?
16:00 Building a brand
20:00 When you don’t agree with what you said a few years ago
Book recommendation – Malcolm X

Female founders / Starting a  podcast
32:30 Productivity habits 
39:00 How to create relevant content for your audience
44:00 Tips to start a podcast
47:00 How to choose your topics

Marriage vs ambition
54:00
 How to balance being a wive and work

55:30 About responsibilities 

Top skills and attitudes
01:01:01
To make it in media and reach your communities 

Tweetables

  1. Be willing to learn, especially in digital. @i_saleem #WomeninTech #success #ShareDiversity
  2. To be ready to change, you have to be okay with failure. @i_saleem #failure #success #ShareDiversity
  3. Progress means I knew this wasn't perfect, but I had to keep going. @i_saleem #progress #success #ShareDiversity
  4. Know your purpose. @i_saleem #purpose #success #ShareDiversity
  5. You need people who recognize that your content is quality and take the journey with you to get better. @i_saleem #success #ShareDiversity #MuslimPodcast
  6. What keeps me going is having a space to see myself reflected. @i_saleem #WomeninTech #ShareDiversity #MuslimPodcast

 

 

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

Thanks for watching! SUBSCRIBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3bg…

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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Transparency – “The Handshake” and Muslim businesswomen

Transparency

“The Handshake” and Muslim businesswomen


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That moment when I awkwardly refuse to handshake a man. It might seem weird to some people out there, but as a Muslim businesswoman, I have made many difficult decisions. Especially in the Western working environment, being visibly Muslim is already a challenge. Sticking out additionally by not compromising on physical contact with the opposite sex, that´s another level.

My question is, however, what is a cultural habit and what is a value?

Transparency means being truthful with everyone about the choices you make in your life.

Leave your comment: 
1) What experiences have you had with “the Handshake” situation?
2) What other stories can you share where they wanted you to compromise to “fit in”, but your values tell you to “stand out”.

What the Halal UK Queen proves white people wrong

You know what is the number one factor why people get promoted?
It´s how well they can blend into the team, the culture and the dominant mass.

Now, obviously, unless we are talking about making business with Islamic companies or a hijab producer, a visibly Muslim woman would not blend in easily on first sight into a team here in the west.

1. Question: why should we? 

Why should I want to “blend in”?

I am not willing in any way to blend in into a mass of people.

Actually, my nightmares often roam around a situation in which people do not look at me weird, because that means I am like them, they cannot see or hear the difference in vision, values and beliefs I have. That means, man another nightmare in which I forgot to put on my hijab, or shook a guys hand.

Now, I know that´s not super usual in the West, that a Muslim woman does not shake hands with her boss, because to be frank, I did when I first started applying for jobs and the normal thing was for me to show respect to a person by shaking their hands. But out of my personal reasoning, and honestly gut feeling and instinct I don´t anymore. I don´t shake a male’s hand, I don´t get into anybody contact with a non-mahram.

I had sisters coming up to me asking me things like:
“Why have you decided not to shake hands?”
“Is it because of your husband?”
“What is wrong about shaking hands?”

And I get it, we are here in the West, we are supposed to adapt to culture, behaviours and etiquette. And to a certain extent, I agree. The fact that I have decided not to, is because I am from this culture, and I know, most of the things we do on a daily basis are matters of habits.
It’s you being used to something.

Understand the difference between habit and value

It’s a cultural thing in parts of Latin America to greet others with a cheek kiss left and right.
It’s a cultural thing in some parts of China to put the hands together and bow a little.
It’s a cultural thing in some parts of Indonesia to great with a nose kiss and its a cultural thing in some parts of the West to shake hands.
Now am I gonna nose kiss, cheek kiss, bow or shake hands depending on the location or the background of a person?

NOPE.

I respect your traditions, but when Western businessmen are in Malaysia and greet a Muslim woman, they also notice that they cannot extend their hands to her and get a feel.

Image result for gif handshake muslim woman

It’s not about where you are to adapt to the person, it’s about who you interact with to adapt to that person. And if there are certain cultural habits you have, you will probably adapt them to your surrounding, but if there are boundaries of values you have, there is no way the location or person in front of you will be able to adjust them towards them.

Values are very different than habits or customs.

I am German, I am a businesswoman and I don´t shake hands with non-mahrams. Not, because I never learned how to show respect to people, but because I have values that I don´t compromise for anyone I meet.

Shaykh Khalid Yasin: “We must be willing and courageous to be a stranger.” 

Now lets come to the beautiful, beautiful Halal UK Queen. Here first of all the video that I a referring to.

You can see a visibly Muslim woman greet Meghan Markle and her mother, in an event that is celebrating the efforts of women in the Al-Manaar Mosque Hubb Community to create together with Meghan Markle a cookbook featuring the foods they prepare for the community who was affected by the Grenfell fire 2017. Now, obviously, Miss Markle brought her husband, who happens to be Prince Harry.

Now, the woman hugs the misses, and when it comes to the Prince, who wants to hug her to refuses politely, in which response the Prince offers her air-kisses while Meghan Markle gently pulls him back as she sees the sisters situation (probably a bit) uncomfortable.

Now, please watch the video yourself, I´ve attached a link because you will need to make up your own mind inshallah.

What this video shows, is something interesting, that I can witness every time I refuse to shake a mans hand.

When a friend retweeted this video it reminded me of what my husband showed me when I told him about my struggle here in the West. He showed me how a woman refused the hand of the Saudi royal.

When I was researching, I saw an article on a young Swedish woman who even won a case after she got rejected at a job interview refusing to shake the man’s hand.

Here some truths about what it’s like to be a Muslim woman in the West, refusing to shake the hand of a male:

The man usually reacts like this:

1. Stage:

Unbelievable consistency to stll shake my hand despite my obvious refusal

2. Stage:

Shocked face and maybe some red cheeks, with a stretched out hand still waiting to be healed from his shock

3. Stage: (now here it varies)

a) Angry face turning into a slight rose and back to a fake smile in miliseconds
b) Shy mini-laughter red ceeks and looking down the floor until getting up again with a fake smile
c) Mumbling like ´oh´, or ´ah´ as if he had strangly remembered that there are people with different manners in the world and.. a fake/real-shy smile
d) – In some rare cases– big eyes and a ´uh, I am so sorry´ and a shy but genuine smile following

4. stage: depending on stage 3

– Normal conversation after a few minutes or
– Weird energy for another 10min until he´s found his self-confidence again

Now, it´s somehow always interesting to watch this game playing in front of my eyes, and here is how I usually wing the situation.

Some tipps for sisters who don´t want to shake a non-mahrams hand
(NO matter WHO and WHAT occasion):

  • Kindly put a genuine smile and put your right hand on your heart
    Image result for gif hands on chest
  • Close your eyes or look down just for a second to give the person time to pull back his attempt to grab your hand
    Related image
  • Tell him in a strong and friendly voice “Thanks, It´s my pleasure to meet you” (the `thank you´ makes them feel admired and they will probably forgive you the refusal)
    Image result for gif nice to meet you
  • Then go on to initiate the conversation by doing small talk or going straight into the topic (if its a meeting), talk about 1-2 sentences that require an answer from the person so he has another few seconds to win back his ego and find his professionalism again.
    Image result for gif meeting

*** Extra tipp for wives:

If you have your husband by your side, just do the same, but instead of taking time simply place your hand on your heart and make a wide swing to your husband so the person in front of you can at least use the stretched-out arm to shake someboody´s hand.

Now, don´t get me wrong, I am not always successful in avoiding handshakes especially when I am in contact with elderly men, who are non-mahrams because frankly, here in Germany people see this as a lack of respect and its a sheer reflex of mine to show respect to elderly people.

BUT, that doesn´t mean I am never gonna be perfecting my non-handshake performance and I will definitely keep doing my best.

In the end, it really does not matter who is in front of you, royal or poor, boss or neighbour. It is about keeping your values and fighting for them with all the persistence and patience we have been given by Allah.

Especially in the West, we even see political debates on what it means to be (enter Nationality here) and why being Muslim means being the opposite of their “cultural values”. But it seems funny to me that we are talking about “values” here, where I get no answer back on what value system you are refering your values to. Because just as we need to be aware that Islam is not cultural, the same way we need to understand that cultural manners, habits and traditions are not vlaues.

Muslim women in the West

Can we be Western and Muslim? Who asks this question didn´t research on their history, economy or arts in their country.

We are part of the West, but we are our own unity within it.

The ummah concept is grounded on united visions, sisterhood and values.

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبَّادٍ، وَابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ، جَمِيعًا عَنْ مَرْوَانَ الْفَزَارِيِّ، قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّادٍ حَدَّثَنَا مَرْوَانُ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ كَيْسَانَ – عَنْ أَبِي حَازِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” بَدَأَ الإِسْلاَمُ غَرِيبًا وَسَيَعُودُ كَمَا بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ “

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah () said:
Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange. so good tidings for the stranger.
Sahih Muslim 145

“We must be willing and courageous to be a stranger.” (Shaykh Khalid Yasin:)

And now, I would love to hear from you:

Leave your comment: 
1) What experiences have you had with “the Handshake” situation?
2) What other stories can you share where they wanted you to compromise to “fit in”, but your values tell you to “stand out”.

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Brand voice and copywriting basics with Eman Ismail, founder of Inkhouse Writing

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Eman Ismail is the founder of Inkhouse Writing, mother and a self-taught copywriter!

In this episode, Eman shares with us her top secrets for finding your brand voice and start crafting compelling copy.

She shares with us basics into writing copy and making the best out of tools like blogs, social media posts and more. With the focus on how to sell your products online, she makes it easy to understand what you need to know about copywriting and storytelling as a content creator or business owner. She also shares her very unique insights into being a mother and entrepreneur and how she prioritizes her ambitions.

Exclusive Bonus:

Make sure to download Eman’s Top Tips for Copywriters!

 

Comment below!

  1.  What is your definition of success
  2. How are you planning to get there?

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

STOP! Before you go:

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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?

Rate the Podcast on iTunes.

 

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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.