Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri Lecture 1 – The Western Muslim Woman: How Can We Maintain Our Identity?
The highlight of the first day of Al-Tazkiya 2020 was the much-anticipated session by our keynote speaker Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri. She was invited by Sister Bismah Ali, the Project Lead of Al-Tazkiya 2020, to share her knowledge with the vast global audience.
Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri stated that as Muslim women, we have been given a very unique and beautiful identity that has been bestowed upon us by Allah (SWT), through the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
As Muslims, we have an idea of right and wrong, yet despite this, we find it hard to remain steadfast, failing to practice our religion in a society that promotes multiculturalism and diversity.
We fail to live our lives according to the true spirit and essence of Islam. Thus, reducing Islam from a comprehensive mode of living, which has a consistent outlook on life, to a set of obligations with a specific set of rules. The important elements of our faith have become mere symbolic representations of our faith rather than permeating our whole being, body, and soul.
Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri then highlighted that we are on a constant journey and this world is just a pit stop on that path. So, what preparations should we make to ensure that we are best equipped to handle whatever life or society throws at us?
To explain this, Dr Ghazala presented a beautiful analogy: We, as individuals, are like a sailboat in the sea (representing society). We are on a continuous journey from the day we were born until the day we die. To weather the storms of the sea (i.e. the obstacles that society throws) and to reach our ultimate destination, we need to be fully equipped. She further elaborated by stating that in the sailboat, we would require a map, a compass, and for the sails to be intact. The map that we have in our life is the Quran as that is our guide to our purpose in life and our destination.
The sole purpose of our existence is to worship Allah (SWT) and to seek his pleasure. Islam is about submission to Allah (SWT) alone, and not to the materialistic world or our 'nafs'. We should seek the validation of Allah (SWT) and not the validation of those around us. We need to remind ourselves that this is the central point of existence.
And, as mentioned before, Allah (SWT) has given us the guide for this – the Holy Quran. This holy Book is our salvation in the hereafter. One can only realize it’s worth by attaching one’s existence to the Holy Quran.
Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri concluded her session on a very thought-provoking question: Where do we stand with regards to the analogy of the boat? Are we so lost and adrift without any sense of destination or direction, in a very rusty old boat to be swept away by a storm? Or are we best equipped to handle the storm and safely reach our destination?