I benefitted a lot from this year’s FOMWAUK Youth Conference and it’s definitely my favourite since the programme started (although I did miss last year’s conference). My notebook and I usually go everywhere together but unfortunately, I didn’t have it on this occasion so I’m relying on memory for key points that stood out to me coupled with my reflections so this won’t be a word for word verbatim post.
Don’t get distracted on your journey: Taofiq Akinpeju (Lessons From The Qur’an)
It’s fair to say that we’re living in the age of distractions. From our gadgets to entertainment, there is so much that we are surrounded by that easily distracts us and makes us forgetful about our ultimate purpose and existence. Drawing on the story of Musa AS and Khidr from the Qur’an was particularly interesting because it served as a reminder that there is a lot for us to learn about human nature and our dispositions by studying the stories of Prophets and their companions.
My favourite series right now that I would recommend for everyone to watch is called ‘Prophetic Dynasty’ and it is delivered by Ustadh Wisam Sharieff’. It’s a mind-blowing series that looks at the different personalities of Prophets throughout history.
Be Intentional With Your Life and The Work You Do: Fauzia Amao (Finding Your Way Through The Duniya With Deen)
I really enjoyed this session and it was a great reminder of how we often don’t take advantage of opportunities in our day to day lives to be intentional. It’s important that we link all our actions back to Allah, particularly our work or studies.
Take the time out to reflect about how your work or studies links with Allah? Why are you doing what you’re doing right now?
One of the best advice I’ve ever gotten particularly in regards to a career is from Iqbal Khan, who is the founding CEO of HSBC Amanah who said,
When you were born, your work was placed in your heart. And based on this, Allah has given you talents and limitations.
We often ignore the knock on effect on our spirituality when we study subjects or work in areas that are not fulfilling for us. Don’t force yourself to do things that are not meant for you and I’m giving this advice from experience. Think about how best your talents and passion fulfils the world’s greatest needs and remember to link it back to Allah.
Age is only a factor when you make it one: Hafsah Dabiri (Practical Opportunities)
I could listen to Hafsah speak all day and when she made this point, I was clicking my fingers like I was at a poetry slam. It is such an important reminder for our generation. I personally think that we are at the helm of fostering an unhealthy fixation with age. And there are two sides to it. On one hand, I interact with people who start to think of themselves as failures if they haven’t achieved Y at age X. The obsession with the ‘age’ that certain achievements have to accomplished at is leading to a rat race that is completely avoidable and can have dangerous repercussions on mental health. My advice for myself and a lot of other people is to focus on enjoying the journey. Who cares what age Y happens? And there’s a part of me that thinks the fixation on achieving things at a ground-breaking age is to serve our ego. Take your time.
The second scenario is people who limit themselves and their potential because of their age. So comments such as ‘I’m too young to achieve X’, or ‘I’m only age Y, how could I possibly do X’? are common utterances. And it always makes me think back to young Sahabis during the time of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and the leadership roles that they occupied and the fact that they never limited themselves because of their age. Remember: your age only becomes a factor when you make it one.
Take account of yourself: Rafia Yetunde Oladipo (Personal and career development)
It’s very easy to move through life just going with the flow but you’ll eventually find out that the only thing this leaves you with is lost time and wasted opportunities. It’s important that we continually assess our progress and take account of our growth both for this life and the next.
What and who do you have in place to keep you accountable?
One thing that’s working for me in the second half of this year is scheduling to my calendar a quick fifteen-minute review of my week on a set day like Saturday. It allows me to assess the previous week and set my intentions/goals for the coming week in a way that prevents me from just going with the flow. My advice for you would be to figure out what works for you as an accountability tool and do it consistently.
Back to Basics – Your Success Lies in Salah: Teslim Akinpeju (Achieving success in your studies and work)
Nowadays we seek success in everything but Salah. We’ve complicated things so much that we’re forgetting the basics. Part of the adhan preceding salah literally translates to ‘Hurry to success.’ Our five daily prayers are an invitation to success both in this world and the hereafter. They are the first thing we will be brought to account for on the day of judgment. So think about it, prayer most important measure of success in your life.
Are your priorities currently reflecting that? It’s important that the time that we spend at work or studying doesn’t impact negatively on our worship, especially Salah.
If you’re worried about your studies or work to the extent that you decide to give Salah a miss, are you actually working for the success that matters?
I will never forget a story that I heard in a Halaqah in my first year of uni about a sister at Russell Group university in London who consistently got over 90% in her essays and exams. If your degree involves writing essays, getting 90 and above is almost mission impossible. When this sister was asked about the secret to her success, she replied that when she prayed she was able to devote her concentration fully to Salah hence applying 100% concentration to everything else came easily.
So devoting our time to perfecting Salah is a win win situation for us as believers.
The key to success is staring you in the face, use it!
There are so many more gems that I could have shared from the conference but I had to limit it to five to prevent this from being a super long post. The highlight of the event without a doubt were the two little girls that I was sitting next to throughout the conference and one of them had a notebook with her that she was making notes in throughout. I can’t describe how impressed I was, and they were both so cute and it fills my heart with joy to see young kids at conferences like these (Children are my Achilles Heel!)
About FOMWAUK: FOMWAUK is a not for profit Muslim Women’s Charity organization with the aim to provide guidance on religious, social and family needs. Of particular interest to the organisation, is the welfare and support of the young and vulnerable members of the community.
In sha Allah the next event I’ll be attending this month is likely to be Najwa Umran’s Glory in Dishonour Exhibition and I can’t wait to write about it! I’m only attending the panel event but you can find out more details about the several events that are being held as part of the exhibition here.