It has been a year since the last Seerah reflection. A year of the careful following and learning in one of the most in depth encounters of the life of Muhammad (S). I pray that you take a minute to send salaam on our Nabi (S) before reading this.
After going back week after week, despite exams, illness, and life in general, I finally gained the courage to ask myself the big question: what brought me back? Why was it that every tuesday I left friends, study groups, or even dinners to find optimal wifi and connect to Qalam’s seerah class live? What brought me back-besides the mercy of Allah SWT-what were my reasons?
I couldn’t answer it right away.
And, then I found a connection. I found something so powerful that I couldn’t ever put in words for the longest time. Learning seerah was empowering to me, as a young woman.
We live in an age, where as an ummah of strong young women, we are struggling with our identity. Where as a society the push of feminism is sometimes undefinable and very confusing. Where we-young muslim women-think we’re suppose to do “something more, that has never done before” to show that Muslim women are active society members, educated and outgoing. That we are suppose to be fashion forward and covered, strong and yet bashful, opinionated yet agreeable, peaceful yet active. What’s the problem with that? The problem is that all those words are opposites of each other. How many opposites must I be? Where does the balance lie? Why do so many of my wonderful peers feel compelled to be one or other? Then they vehemently crush others who are unlike them, and then inadevertenly crush themselves on the inside.
And it is among this jungle of lost and confused identities that I find myself comforted by the seerah. Comforted by the life that our Nabi (S) chose to live; where men and women are given their due, there is no need for a movement, a fight and assertion of rights. In learning seerah, I find myself, my identity, my home.
I am empowered by the fact that my Nabi (S) married a women that was older than him, Khadijah (R). This helps me deal with the plight that many women face today of becoming “too old” for a vicious marriage market.
I am empowered by the fact Rasoolullah (S) married a successful business women, whom he worked for as a merchant. This helps me deal with the societal assertion that “successful” women are a threat and that their success always comes through some sort of underhanded fluke. That a good man might see a successful woman as threatening rather than a good companion.
I am empowered the fact that the first person to accept Islam was a woman. The first person to encourage our prophet (S) and support him, was his beloved wife. This helps me understand that my role as a female supporter and igniter of deen is vital.
I am empowered by the fact that the Prophet (S) had four daughters. That they were a source of pride, love and comfort for him. This helps me value my role as a daughter is to be a source of comfort and pride.
I am strengthened by Fatima (R), the littlest daughter of the Prophet (S), who stood beside her father when he was persecuted in Mecca. This helps me understand that strength and bravery is not age limited.
I am in awe by Asma (R) who bravely assisted in the hijrah of Rasoolullah (S) and her father Abu Bakr (R). Whose cleverness and alertness averted the blame of her Grandfather on Abu Bakr (R). This helps me value cleverness and tactical thinking during a time when our exchanges have been abbreviated to: LOL, OMG like watevs.
I am inspired by the Prophet (S)’s young wife Aisha(R) because she was a beacon of scholarship and knowledge. I am inspired by her ability to express her thoughts, ideas and feelings to Rasoolullah(S) without fear of reproach.
I am in love with the playfulness of Rasoolullah (S) and his wife Aisha(R). That a simple exchange between them quite simply out does any of the “love” stories that Hollywood and Bollywood spends millions to sell to us.
I am empowered that women who lived in Islam during the time of Rasoolullah (S) held importance in their homes as well as in society simply because it was-and is-a truth. That he (S) lived justice and equality so there was never a need to fight for it. That the women around him (S) were marvelous in action because he inspired the best in all people. That where Rasoolullah (S) saw potential, men and women rose to the occasion.
And when I need strength, when I feel overwhelmed by circumstances, I need just a reminder of what I’m doing with my life and why, I need only listen to a small part of the life story of a man who inspirited others-whomever they might-simply by believing in them and giving them faith. This allows me to identify myself, and though there is a distance of one thousand plus years, this brings me home. May Allah SWT bless our Nabi (S), his (S) family, his (S) companions and his (S) ummah. What a treasure.
Sharing this reflection on the far-reaching efforts of Maulana Abdul Nasir Jangda and Qalam Institute and the seerah podcast series! Only a great teacher inspires students. While nothing matches sitting in a masjid and at the feet of a scholar, who can be opposed to learning small gems from the life of the Rasoolullah by any means possible? Links are in the Library of Gems to tune into live seerah class and access podscasts! Thanks for reading!