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!

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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?

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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

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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

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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?

 

Rate the Podcast on iTunes.

“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.