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  1. As-salaam alaikum Sr. Maryam,

    Jazakallah khair for such an enlightening read!

    I am a sister in my mid-twenties who is, inshaAllah, embarking on a journey similar to yours. I’ll be formally studying Islam, but I’m not a role model. I’m not a figure in my community, I’m not someone people come up to for advice, I’m not a great public speaker the way you nor am I outspoken or dynamic. How do I reconcile that with trying to be a community resource as a Muslim scholar, inshaAllah?

    • For me, it’s important for aspiring activist to recognize first their personality type, their strength and unique abilities and choose their activism style accordingly. Some are better at research and writing. Some others are better public speaking and organizing events. So it’s important not to try to carbon copy other experiences, but to learn from them to help you in our chosen path. Every one has a unique path to follow. Every one is unique, by genetics, upbringing and circumstances.

      Second, as sister Maryam said “It doesn’t “just happen.” It isn’t luck, it isn’t being special. It’s knocking like crazy on doors to open and breaking them down when they do not. And they won’t always break down. So then what? Regroup. Prioritize. Figure out what you can do where you are, even if you feel you are physically, mentally and spiritually stuck.” It’s a long road. Believe in your path. Think big but work small daily and incrementally. Above all, pray for strength and guidance from God every day of this long journey.

    • wa alaykum as salam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh Sr.M,

      I know this struggle as I went through it as well. I wasn’t born and then people said: Go to her! She’ll know! Ask her for advice! Invite her to speak!

      None of that happened. I studied for the benefit of myself and as I studied, I taught a few sisters here and there. I got involved in different organizations for myself and where I saw I could be of benefit, and I slowly started being asked to take on more responsibilities. Over the years [we are talking 10+ years], people started entrusting me with things I never asked for and putting me into positions of immense responsibility that I did not want but could find no one else to take on.

      You should never want to be in a position of leadership. But the more you study and the more experience you have working with the community, the more you learn and the more experiences you have, you sometimes simply become a resource that you didn’t ask to be but must become.

      And as sister MFakih mentioned, see what specific qualities and skills you have that you can use for the community. You don’t have to be a ‘speaker’ to benefit the community. Look at what Allah created you with and figure out how you can use that for His sake and for the benefit of the community.

      You just work on what you need to do. Do your studies consistently. Make sure you have mentors who will help you understand how to implement what to study within your context. What you study is often classical works. That is not that applicable to living in the US sometimes. You need mentors who will help you figure out how to merge both. Teach what you’re learning to a small group of people so that you learn it better and you can practice what it’s like to teach. Study, get experience working in the community, and make duaa for Allah to use you for His Sake, sincerely for His Face.

      May Allah give you success!

  2. Thanks a lot sister Maryam for this wonderful interview. What is most striking is how you tied your beliefs to actions and habits in your life. We hear often productivity tips but rarely are those tips inspired by Islam and channeled to serve the community and our lives. These highlights are among what I found the most interesting:

    “I try to remind myself of their sacrifices when facing my own small hurdles and that reminder gives me strength, by God’s will, to hopefully make better decisions.

    The best way for me to manage my time is by having a schedule and goals. I write out my daily, short and long term goals, and then come up with a system on how to approach attaining them through prioritizing what needs to be accomplished by the particular times.

    It doesn’t “just happen.” It isn’t luck, it isn’t being special. It’s knocking like crazy on doors to open and breaking them down when they do not. And they won’t always break down. So then what? Regroup. Prioritize. Figure out what you can do where you are, even if you feel you are physically, mentally and spiritually stuck.

    Finally, I know I will burn out if I don’t have some special time for me. I schedule “me” time in- including working out, just vegging out and watching something, reading fiction or going out in nature. I also carve out relationship time, whether with my husband, family or friends, and those interactions always help give me grounding and center me.

    Speak to people all the time! Learn from other people’s experiences and their life stories. Understand that anyone can be your teacher and that you have no idea who truly are those close to God and who He has blessed in secret. Regardless of their spiritual connection or religious affiliation, you can benefit from everyone.

    Realize that your personal hardships and sometimes greatest tests in life are tailored to you specifically by the Most Loving Lord just so that you could come out and help others through your personal narrative.”

  3. …..very inspiring,especially for someone like me who really wants to do alot of things and gain more islamic knowledge but finds myself kinda just giving in to any little challenge.
    Jazakallahu Khair

    • We all go through that and sometimes just give in. Keep at it slowly and steadily and eventually you will get there, inshaAllah!

  4. JasakAllah sister May Allah reward you inshAllah. It’s very inspiring and what has really struck me is you passion to learn and to do better. Your sincerity has across really well, and embark on such a journey isn’t always easy and straightforward but your will to learn and get the fruits of your hard work I am a male 26 who is a practising muslim I don’t have deep understanding of islam yet but I know the basic requirements. However I sometime stuggle to set goals for myself on a day to day basis. I want to learn the Quran propery and Arabic language but stuggle where to start. This has made it difficult or me to embark on my journey.

  5. Jazak Allah…
    I just loved your advice on writing. Had never worked on that before but in sha Allah, from now on, I will make that a habit.
    I also dream of embarking on the spiritually educational journey you have gone through in your life. Just please pray for me that Allah grant me the strength and the pathway to go for it. Amen.

  6. ASSALAM Alaykoum

    Can you train my daughter? She is 13 years old and she interested to learn martial art sport.

    Thank you