It is finally here! Al-Tazkiya 2020 is back with the very first online event. Minhaj Sisters UK organizes Al-Tazkiya each year for developing and enhancing spirituality and faith among the participating sisters through the company of Dr. Ghazala Hassan Qadri. Due to the current COVID situation, Al-Tazkiya has been moved online where we have gone global with sisters registered from all over the world! Al-Tazkiya serves as a means to gain the nearness of Allah Almighty and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and inculcates the feeling of sisterhood and helps in the spiritual uplift of the attendees.
Sisters were awake bright and early at 10.00 AM with the opening ceremony hosted by the General Secretary of Minhaj Sisters UK, Sister Ambreen Mehmood who explained the aims and objectives of Al-Tazkiya. Sister Atiya Parveen started with a beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran. This was followed by a variety of spiritual nasheeds by Al-Hanana, the group comprises of three Scottish sisters, Afifa Ahmad, Haneen Fatima, and Ayesha Ahmed. The President of Minhaj Sisters UK, Sister Ansa Hussain, joined to give all the attendees a warm welcome and thanked all the sisters involved in making Al-Tazkiya 2020 possible. She highlighted the importance of sisterhood and how Al-Tazkiya showcases this perfectly. The 2nd-day event will consist of panel discussions, interviews, and talks with a range of professionals and influencers which will focus on this year’s theme, The Western Muslim Woman.
Sister Humayra Qasim then gave an inspiring talk on women empowerment which fitted in perfectly with the theme. Sister Ambreen spoke about the different projects of Minhaj Sisters UK and encouraged the viewers to also join as it is a platform in which sisters can look forward to something different from their normal lifestyle. She concluded the opening ceremony by motivating the listeners to watch Dr. Ghazala’s previous Al-Tazkiya lectures as they are beneficial for the sisters living in the Western world.
After an amazing opening ceremony, sisters were eagerly waiting for the panel discussion, Professionally a Hijabi?, to begin. This was hosted by Sister Tanzeem Begum who gave an insightful introduction to the topic as well as welcoming the panelists. The two panelists consisted of Dr. Ayah Siddiqui (Cosmetic Dentist) and Dr. Kiran Rahim (NHS Doctor). The moderator of the session, Sister Ghazala Hussain started the discussion by asking the panelists about their own Hijab journeys. Dr. Kiran highlighted that although it is a challenging transition, it also a very significant journey. Dr. Ayah then emphasized her own experience about how wearing the hijab does provide her a lot of confidence in her life. This was followed by a question about wearing the Hijab in the workplace. She emphasized that Hijabis are slowly but surely being opened to the world and more individuals are starting to recognize the importance of wearing the hijab.
Dr. Kiran explained how hijab provides a moral compass to her. In addition to this, many assumptions and stereotypes are made but it is extremely important to change society's perception about wearing the hijab. Many meaningful points were made within the panel discussion, including how important it is to educate our own communities first about these significant issues so that we are able to break these barriers that Muslim women face. The attendees enjoyed the panel discussion tremendously and are looking forward to the next session after the break.