I had intended to write a post on my reflections of being the President of an Islamic Society in May after exams, when I fully get back to blogging but luckily for me (Alhamdulilah!) I came across the post below by a dear sister – Siddika – who is the outgoing Head sister of the Islamic Society at Queen Mary University. Her reflections are so insightful that I had to share it! I might still write mine later in May but I really do hope that people who are engaged in the work of Islamic societies can take lessons from the reflection below In sha Allah.
Sidenote – The first thing that got my attention was the fact that it was a letter written to herself! And I do this all the time so there was a moment of relief where I was like thank god I’m not the only one who does this.
Most people when they do their end of year reflections, they only focus on the good. Our ISoc did X,Y,Z and we broke this record…. I wanted to share with you, my personal self reflections, an inside voice, an inside read, a chance for you to do understand the person ~ behind the veil. A letter written to myself.
Another ISoc year has just gone, and to reflect back upon the last 24 weeks seems almost impossible.
Don’t look for love or acceptance with people. You sadly won’t find it. Not because the human being is incapable of loving or accepting, but they don’t own your heart. Everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants to accepted, but the main thing is to seek these two with your Lord. ~ For He owns your heart.
And I know it’s difficult, because you just want people to accept you, to love you. You’re just looking for a place to rest that broken heart of yours. But there anit no shoulder amongst the creation big enough to hold the weight of your heart. So don’t neglect the external being, known as your Lord – Who doesn’t only offer to hold that broken heart of yours, but He promises to mend it too.
When it’s been a difficult day with the Islamic society, and the sisters are giving you a hard time. The event flops because nothing turns out how it’s meant to, despite *hours* of planning.
Firstly, people are hard to please. A group of sisters will find you extreme, without even knowing you or even speaking to the Islamic society. You will always find those who hate the ISoc, who find the sisters judgemental, or click base. And other group will find you liberal, that loud mouth niqabi, that laughs too loud, speaks too much, and dabs far too often….
My advice when it comes to people:
1. Your mistakes do not define you as a person. Your interactions do not define you as a person. They only define you during that exact moment. What you do after that moment, plays more of a greater part and defines you.
2. Softness is empowerment. Be soft to those around you, for harshness only pushes away others directly or indirectly. But with a soften approach, a soft tongue, and most importantly a soft heart you draw in the masses due to the warmth they sense inside you.
3. As the President of our ISoc says, “You have to ask yourself, will Allah be pleased with the way I handled this situation, my conduct with this fellow believer.”
Fourthly but most importantly, It might not be the advice you want to hear, but grow thick skin. Criticism can and should only be a means to build someone, never to destroy them and I think sadly we live in society where people have forgotten the essence of why we criticise. Rise above their comments, Build yourself on them.
It’s hard, I know it’s hard. Their statements upset you, you fight back the tears with each statement they utter, and you spend the nights in silence, asking Allah “why am I not good enough, Im trying my best”. Because you know it’s the same way you feel within your own family, that your best is never good enough. It’s the silent battles we have inside of us, that make us question whether we are truly worthy of love.
And during that moment, stop. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of happiness. Sadly you just have to wait for the day you meet Allah to experience this love, this happiness. The world doesn’t contain it. The people don’t contain it. But Allah, He possess it.
Finally, ….Finding God is difficult. Someday He feels so far away, yet so close. Someday it feels like Allah hates you, when all you want is His Love. Some days it feel so hard to even comprehend the concept of God, because we lose ourselves so much in transgressions (doubts and desires)… forgetting that some of the greatest people, it was only in the depth of their sins, their lowest moments ~ they found God.
It’s ironic, you are surrounded by so many people, hundred of individuals, yet you feel lonely. How does a leader feel lonely when they encounter people daily. I firmly believe within our heart, that void, that loneliness is a reminder Allah gives us. That no matter how many people you speak to, no-one can for-fill you the way Allah can. Despite being in the company of hundred you feel lonely, because the greatest company you have is Allah. When you comprehend that, loneliness doesn’t exist only contentment. And no matter how many sisters you consult, or the ulema you consult, nothing gives you greater clarity of the mind and decision when you consult Allah during the night.
The last 2 years, you haven’t been a head sister. You’ve been more than that. You’ve been finding yourself with Allah, and that’s the title and the role you should focus on…. Being “siddika”. Being with Allah… everything else will fall into place.
I pray Allah safeguard all Islamic society, and allows them to be a means of spreading His message and rekindling the emaan of our brothers and sisters on campus.
To every incoming head sister, your struggles will be many, maybe the greatest struggle you have is yourself, then the people, then the title. But with each struggle, comes the beauty of finding out something about yourself, building yourself on the promise of Allah when he promises ease after each hardship…
And for those who are currently heads ~ Your sacrifices, your struggles are been watched and remembered in the eyes of Allah, noted by his angels, and your scars are awaken stories of hope for those who come after you… ❤
A lot more support needs to be given to our sisters, especially those in the Islamic society scene. Not everyday hate, sometimes appreciate.
May Allah honour you all, Ameen.
It’s been a privilege being apart of this ISoc at QM, Wallahi ❤ Thank you to all the sisters who gifted me this book, filled with lovely messages…. Legit, it made me cry.
By Siddika Khatun
If you’ve been engaged in working with Islamic societies at uni, I would love to read your reflections in the comments section and if you would like to be anonymous, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe I’ll compile an ISoc 101 Guide for the future.