Right now in my life I’m living in a city fairly new to me. We moved here over 3 years ago for Abu Yusra’s work. At times life here gets extremely boring and lonely. For comfort, I’ve turned to the many books that I’ve collected over the years and find sukoon in reading about how to nourish the heart with good habits and thoughts.
My new ‘free time’ has made me think about a void that exists in my life due to moving away from family and friends. And that void is the lack of influence real life role models have on me now. Yes, living away from a busy and productive Muslim environment has made me realise how important it is to be around the people that have a positive impact on us. Here, I’m speaking specifically about sisters that I’ve known over the years.
Islamic history and books are filled with numerous amazing female role models, who Alhamdulillah, we all look up to. We share the stories of these beautiful personalities with our children and our youth, so they too can aspire to be like them. And I’ve spent many a nights spending hours looking into these lives and it’s been great motivation to better myself. But as humans, I think some of us need practical, real influences and for me these came in the form of the sisters I spent my days with.
These are just some of the sisters that kept me going, they are friends, colleagues and relatives. They don’t know this, but unintentionally, their steadfastness has had a massive impact on me and my sincerity in actions for Allah. For example: a sister that despite having three very young children, would be seen active in the community and always helping me with all my queries. Her endless list of responsibilities didn’t stop her from taking on duties to help others. And the single mum who with great dedication has brought up a good little Muslimah, working day and night to better herself and her daughter. She would spend nights learning how to recite the Quran with perfect tajweed and then teach her daughter. Being tired from long days at work didn’t put her off implementing beautiful Islamic principles in her child. Or the sister who was studying and working part time but would spend any free time doing circles for the youth and alongside all her responsibilities, she mentored me in learning about Islam.
It’s not what these sisters did for me that makes them special, it’s what they did for themselves – knowing how they continued to please Allah is what makes me happy, knowing that sincere believers live amongst us. These are the sisters that when you meet them they remind you of your purpose, sometimes with words and sometimes with their actions. Whilst I was spending time with them, I would feel at ease knowing that we have met to please Allah and when I left their company I took with me a beautiful sense of eagerness to continue with good. I’m not saying these are perfect people that never encounter problems, they do. Lots of problems actually, but they’re not the ones that keep complaining and belittle life, they complain only to Allah, encouraging others around them to do the same. Sisters like these spoke with manners Islam teaches us, they carried reminders of the Quran in their hearts, they dressed themselves with modesty that when I looked at them, it made me conscious of whether I dressed to impress other people or dressed like them to impress Allah alone.
Doesn’t it seem like I’m speaking of women out of Islamic books? But I’m not. I’m only describing real women, women that I used to spend time with and women that indirectly made me want to be good. This is the beauty of surrounding oneself with pious, Allah fearing people. And now that I don’t have that in my life, I feel the need and importance of it. Obviously they haven’t completely disappeared from my life, but not seeing them on a regular basis has made me realise the importance of them.
If you live amongst a community that consists of dedicated sisters who inspire you to get closer to Allah, then cherish your surrounding and cherish the sisters. Say Alhamdulillah that you’re blessed to have that in your life, because when it goes away you feel a little lost.
Alhamdulillah, Allah gave me an opportunity to not only meet but spend quality time with these sisters and even though I’m no longer around them, the memories help me remain focused. SubhanAllah, Allah blesses us with things that at times we cannot see or appreciate but learn their worth at a later time.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”
(Abu Dawud 4833)