Friday, 30 December 2011

A Mother's Promise

This poem was written and performed by 10 year old Sara Ozrain at the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group Event on December 17th 2011. It's very impressive Mashallah!

A Mother’s Promise

You little girl are precious to me,
Worth more than the sky and the beautiful sea,
When you were young I had to protect you,
From evil and harm that could easily get you,

You are precious, amazing and alive,
You make me want to achieve and strive,
I want to take you into a world that is good,
Opened up without a covering hood,

You need to be free to live your life,
Without many troubles, hardly any strife,
But that my little dear I know is not possible,
And me, myself can’t overcome the impossible,

So right now I’ll do my best,
Further than the east and the west,
So come my little girl come to me,
Precious like a diamond you are you see,

If you can open up the truth in Islam,
Hold open the door, don’t let is slam,
I need you to realize where you need to be,
Where are the Muslims surrounding me?

We have to do our best to find,
The way that is hidden behind,
All that lasts from this society,
That unleashes fun and anxiety,

So understand what I say,
Remember it, every single day,
We’ll make sure you grow up somewhere,
Full of love and precious care,

True Islam and life begins faraway,
We need to search for it everyday,
We can’t let you stay here anymore,
Or I’ll break my promise that I swore and swore,

You may not notice but I really care,
To find the right place, somewhere,
Every Mother of a child like this,
Goes through tough situations like this,

I promise again that I will find a place,
That will bring with it, peace and grace,
You will love it, sweetie you know,
It will allow your Deen to grow and grow!
As your mother I am responsible for this,
I can’t let Allah down for that or this,
You have to realize that now you’re here,
Life is different, but in a year,

You’ll be used to it and love it so very much,
You won’t want to go back to the other society, not even get a touch,
I told you you’ll like it because I couldn’t be,
A kind of mother who really couldn’t see,

It may not look nice, not even pretty,
But really it isn’t that ugly,
You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover or the way it is,
Because that is how it lives and lives.


Friday, 11 November 2011

Time is Life

Here is a blog article about time that I wrote for a Youth Website last year:

                                       

Time is precious. There is a commonly heard saying of ‘time is money’- which is quite a shallow understanding of the value of time. Its value should not be measured by the dollar or the cent, rather for one who truly values their everyday living, they should feel that time is so much more than money. Time is LIFE!
 None of us knows how much time we ultimately have – as sickness and death can be unpredictable and are obviously inevitable (unless you’re superhuman!). Our lives may be as long as 100 years plus or for some it may be a humble 10 or 20 years. No one knows when their time will be up and death is just one of those things you can’t run from. So for us to live our very best lives we need to squeeze every drop of goodness and productivity out of it before it’s all over! With this realisation, we should have a sense of urgency when it comes to achieving our goals, sharing our knowledge and insights with the world and appreciating the little things we often take for granted. It’s like an hourglass where you don’t know how much sand is left before your time is up! Or another way of putting it is that your life is like a block of ice melting in your hand – it is melting away (and life is passing) whether you like it or not so you really have to use your time wisely while you have it!
In this blog I will be listing some ideas and tips on how to effectively manage your daily tasks and get the most out of your time. As someone who always has so much to do (being a young mother of 3, home schooling, managing a household, running  classes in the community, trying to get to the gym regularly and a handful of other responsibilities and hobbies),  I found it very important to structure and organise my time.  I felt a great need to plan ahead in order to get things done and have time to myself and to relax. Without effective time management it can be very easy for daily life to become stressful, unproductive and unnecessarily hectic!
So here are my tips:
·         Aim higher EVERY SINGLE DAY – just imagine how much you will progress if you set your goals higher every day! Whether it be waking up earlier, exercising, reading for personal development, organising your paperwork, being punctual etc. Even the smallest of goals will get you somewhere because you are growing that little bit more every day. If there is something you’ve wanted to start or stop doing then get onto it tomorrow. Development and change are processes that  happen one step at a time.
·         Get things off your mind immediately.W rite things down to remove ‘brain clutter’. When you don’t have to remember all the things you need to do you will be able to better focus on the task at hand and get it done sooner whilst not having to worry about remembering what else you need to do.
·         Oxygenate your blood by regularly exercising. Not only is it great for your health and wellbeing but it will make you look and feel great, relieve stress and increase your alertness, energy and productivity (whilst decreasing your waistline! J)
·         Pre-plan your breaks or ‘chill time’. Study or work in blocks of time and plan ahead when to have your breaks. This will allow you to better focus on your study or work because you will know beforehand when you will give yourself a breather.
·         Delete distractions. Some people may try to call this multitasking but working on an assignment whilst the TV is on and chatting on MSN is not multitasking! It will distract you and steal your time away! Focus on what you need to do, get it done quickly and efficiently so you can enjoy your free time afterwards!
·         Start with the important things at the beginning of the day. There is no use in delaying what you most need to get done so make the habit of doing it early in the day and you will find that you will have more free time and will be a lot more relaxed for the rest of the day!
·         Don’t procrastinate! Remind yourself that life is short. There is so much to learn, achieve and share with others. Look at the world today and the situations of the less fortunate – you have been blessed with great potential and ability so show your appreciation by being proactive and don’t let your talents go to waste because the world needs you!
Here are some interesting facts on how we spend our time.
The average person spends:
·          27 years SLEEPING.
·         10.5 years at work (so make sure you LOVE what you do)
·         10 years watching TV (switch it off and go for a walk!)
·         6 years on the internet (my guess is that this is increasing!)
·         4 years eating (yum yum)
·         4 years standing in line (suprising huh?)
·         3 years in the bathroom (men) and 6 months (women) – (why do guys take so long to do their ‘business’?!?)
Finally, a reminder to appreciate life and take some time to reflect on what it really means to us and if we are valuing it enough and living it to our greatest potential. Our life is like a story book, we know what the story has been so far and we get to decide most of what happens until the ending. Some of our stories will be long and others will be short – the main thing is that we want it to be an exciting story with a purpose and goal. We want it to be filled with achievements, adventure, romance, laughs and so much more.
So time is ticking. The sand is falling. The ice is melting. Your story is waiting for you.

                                            Interesting Watch: The Secret Powers of Time

*If you are having serious problems with managing your time, you might want to look into getting a mentor or life coach to help you break down your tasks and put together a management plan. If anyone would like to share some contacts please share in the comments box below!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Eid Mubarak!

 My dear fellow Muslims




Today as the world is enjoying a lovely Eid day of food, family and friends, Hajjees would be very busy on our Hajj journey. It is the 10th of Thul Hijjah and there is no Eid salah for the Hajjees. We would be doing the stoning (Jamrah), shaving/trimming hair, the Hady (sacrifice), tawaaf, sa'ee and other rites.

For more information on the History of Hajj read here.



Here is an Eid poem a wrote quite a few years ago. Enjoy!

©
This Day for us is like a dream,
Where we follow the steps of Ibraheem (AS)
We sacrifice life for Allah alone,
In the names of the people in our home.
We ask Allah to make us pure
And to bless us with ‘Ilm for it is a cure
Allah is The Great, He is Most High
Only for you, My Lord do I cry.
Help my Imaan grow stronger and stronger,
Help me stand in prayer for longer.
Make my heart strong so I can follow this deen,
To keep my body, mind & soul clean.
For there will come a time in my life,
Where I may be in quite strife.
My soul will be taken away from this cage,
And then it will meet with your happiness or rage.
Oh my Lord forgive me of my sin,
You are the only One I believe in..
As I continue on this difficult quest,
My Heart shall love you without any rest.
And as this glorious day shall end,
Peace and Blessings of Allah do I send
To You
©
InshaAllah I hope you have a happy Eid Al-Adha.
May we love eachother for the sake of Allah (SWT).
I make dua that He unites us in righteousness.
May He bless us with all that is good and pure "
in this life and the Hereafter.

Ameen!


 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dua From the Heart

Oh Allah,
My Almighty Creator



 
Oh Allah help me to become a better Muslim.
Oh Allah bless me with strong Imaan (faith).
Oh Allah place Taqwa (fear of Allah) in my heart.
Oh Allah give me the humility to submit to you.
Oh Allah give me the strength to adhere to your commands
And turn away from that which displeases you.
Oh Allah help me to guard my tongue
and say only that which is beneficial and pleasing to you.
Oh Allah let the believers be protectors of one another
And never cause harm to each other.
Oh Allah allow me to use my limbs and my senses
Only for that which will earn me your pleasure and reward.
Oh Allah protect me from the trials and tribulations of life and death,
protect me from the cursed Shaytan
and protect me from the temptations of this world.
Oh Allah help me to live a life that will earn me
Everlasting bliss in Al Jannah (Paradise).
Oh Allah save me from your anger and from punishment in the fire.
Let me not taste your torment even for a second!
Oh Allah purify my heart, my thought, my intentions
And help me to do everything for Your Sake Alone.
Oh Allah accept my repentance,
Oh Allah reward me generously for my acts of worship.
Oh Allah, my Merciful, Compassionate Creator
Accept this sincere duaa.
Allahumma Ameen

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Rope of Allah



The Rope of Allah
Being Young
It’s not just about fun
It’s about finding yourself
And recognising you’re a servant of Allah - the Only True One
It’s a rough time for most
As you try to find your way
And you struggle to keep your Imaan intact
Each and every day
But hold on tight to the rope of Allah
And don’t ever lose your way
No never lose your way
While the world is going one way
We Muslims must go the other
When we need reminders and support
We should turn to one another.
So turn to your sister, turn to your brother
We have to strengthen and encourage one another.
It’s not an easy path to remain firm on the deen.
You know you have the reality but everyone’s calling you to the dream
But hold on tight, and never let go, no matter what comes your way
Regardless of what they might do to you, regardless of what they might say
Remember all that you are put through will be brought forward on Judgement Day
When we die and meet Allah
We want Him to be pleased with our deeds.
We need to live our life for Him
And not just our own wants and needs.
While the world is going crazy
Indulging in every evil sin
We must control ourselves- we must never give up
And draw strength from within.
It’s easy to be a follower
And just fit in with the rest
But tell me is it worth the effort
To be in Jannah with the best?
If we give in and be weak
Then Shaytaan wins the war
And Allah’s anger we will meet
That will be for sure.
A few wild experiences, a bit of naughty fun
Is not what this life is about
What a waste of potential in sins exponential
And that is without a doubt

I end this poem with a reminder to you
And especially a reminder to me
As we all struggle, each and every day
To achieve spiritual purity
I remind us to hold tight to the rope of Allah
For the sake of our mortal souls
And let the light of Imaan
And the Highest of Jannah
Be our ultimate goals.

This is a poem I wrote as a tribute to the girls of the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group who are a small group of AMAZING young Muslim girls in the Perth community. Mashallah I love them like my own little sisters and I pray that achieve the highest of success in this life and the next. Ameen.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Farewell...







Dearest Community,
Assalaamu'alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh
I pray that you are all in the best of health and Imaan. Inshallah (God-willing) in a few days I will be leaving Perth and beginning my Hajj journey (the journey of a lifetime bi-ithnillah!). This will be my first ever trip outside of Australia and no doubt I am sure I will be awestruck and overwhelmed by the things I will experience and see. Please pray for me in my absence and ask that Allah SWT accepts my Hajj and that of all the other Hajjees from around the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to humbly ask you for your forgiveness. I am sure that at some time I may have hurt, offended, upset or neglected to fulfill your rights in some way - either intentionally or unintentionally. May Allah forgive me as well. I am someone who often makes mistakes and I thank those of you who have pointed out my faults and weaknesses to me so that I can correct and improve my condition and better serve Allah SWT and the Ummah.

I hope that those of you that I do not get to see often (or ever) benefit from the online contact we make with each other and I ask that Allah unites our hearts in this life and in the life to come in Jannah. Allahumma Ameen.

Lastly I would like to remind myself and all my dear brothers and sisters that this life is such a short and insignificant journey in comparison to the Hereafter. We really need to re-evaluate what we hold as important to us. EVERYTHING we have is a loan from Allah SWT - our children, our time, our health, our spouses, families, friends, our belongings - EVERYTHING we have is temporary and we will have to part with sooner or later.

So I will pray to Allah that ALL Muslims around the world will respect, appreciate and fulfill the rights of the things that Allah has trusted and blesed us with and that we especially appreciate the blessing of ISLAM For where would we be without this guidance from Allah SWT? I pray that we become the strongest, healthiest, wisest, most responsible and most HONOURABLE people living on the face of this Earth and that we fulfill the role of Khalifatullah (Vicegerents/Ambassadors of Allah on Earth). Allahumma Ameen! Ameen ya Rabb!

Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever." (Quran 40:39)
"And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward." (Quran 8:28)
"And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists), the splendor of the life in this world, that We may test them thereby." (Quran 20:131)
"And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: It is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything." (Quran 18:45)
"My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it." (Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim)
Once again I ask for your forgiveness and Duaa please. I look forward to seeing you all when I get back - if Allah SWT permits!

I love you all for the sake of Allah my dear Muslim family!

Wasalamu'alaykum warahmatullah
P.S. If any of you have an important dua that you would like me to make on Arafah day - please write down (about 3 or so) and drop in my letterbox or send via email with the title 'dua' so I can print and take it with me. I WILL NOT look at or read your duaa until Arafah day, and I will mention your name and make your request before Allah SWT Inshallah.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Beauty of Difference is.....


The Beauty of Difference is......
The beauty of difference is that we were not all created the same,
We are different in our looks, cultures, personality and name.
If we were all alike, what a boring world it would be,
I would be like you and you would be just like me.

When we are all different, we can learn many things about each other,

And with the insight gained we can respect one another.

God made us all unique, we are original on our own,

Our individual beauty is found within us alone.

From the specks of colour in our eyes,

to the curves of our nose,

to our one and only fingerprint,

And shape and size of our toes.

We all have may differences, but it really shouldn’t matter,

We should be protecting each other’s hearts rather than causing them to shatter.

God made us into many nations, races and tribes*

So that we’d get to know each other all throughout our lives.

Not one human being in existence ever chose their looks or race,

What we have was decreed by God, who is indeed so full of Grace.

You see everything we are and were born to be is all with thanks to Him,

We’ve got to resist pressures from society and dissatisfaction from within.

The same thing goes for anyone you know who might be different from you,

Whilst they may look, act or speak very foreign, remember they are human beings too.

God doesn’t judge your outer appearances, rather He judges what’s in your heart.**

Don’t worry about looks, focus on character and you’re off to a great start.

The truest of beauty is the goodness that resides within us all,

And if we put aside all of our differences, this goodness will unite us all.

When you next look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What do you see?”

Say, “Indeed I see someone truly beautiful, I can see goodness residing in me.” 


* Quran 49:13 – “Oh Mankind! We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. God is All-knowing and All-aware.”
** The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “Allah looks not at your figures, nor at your outward appearance but He looks at your hearts and deeds.”(Muslim)



I wrote this poem as a contribution to the amazing blog called Reflections from a Red Head created by my dear friend Janine Ripper.


What do YOU think is the beauty of difference?


Thank you for reading and may peace be upon you all!

A Bit About Me!

Bismillah - In the Name of God

Here is a speech I wrote and presented to a group of Business and Professional Women  in Fremantle WA earlier this year. It's a bit about who I am and my leadership journey.

Enjoy!

Fremantle BPW Speech on June 9, 2011
Good evening ladies,
When I first found out that the topic for tonight was “My Leadership Journey” I kind of didn’t know where to start and had to actually have a good think about where and when in my life I had leadership experiences. As was mentioned I was part of the YWLP last year. A big thing that I learnt about myself through the YWLP is that anyone can be a leader and that many of us don’t even realise that we are leaders! For a long time I didn’t see myself as a leader, rather I felt as though I was looking for leadership, inspiration and mentoring. I felt as though I had a burning desire to ‘do something’ but I just wasn’t sure what it was but I knew I had to discover what that was and start moving in that direction. Little did I know that through the path of seeking development, I was growing so much within myself and without realising it, I was becoming a leader too.


                                 


One thing I have to mention, and which you might have guessed, my journey towards leadership revolves around my faith, Islam, and obedience and submission to Allah. Allah literally means The God and refers to the One Supreme Creator of all that exists. So for those of you who don’t believe in God I hope you find my talk interesting and I hope not to bore you and for those who do, perhaps you will share in some of my thoughts, experiences and aspiration.

I have always been a deep thinker and as a child I was quite enthusiastic about my choice to be a Muslim. I was happy to be at home, with my family and pets, I was often busy with my nose in a book or busy with a crafty project or outside helping dad and mum.  We lived a pretty ordinary life, without too much drama, I went to an Islamic primary school in Thornlie, we celebrated our religious occasions and lived in relative harmony with the community. I was a happy kid, I loved my life and I feel like I belonged in this country and being Australian was my heritage and identity.
                                    


When I was 8 years old my grandmother passed away and as I got older thoughts of death as a reality started to plague my mind. I thought about my mum being sad about her mum passing away, which in turn caused me realise that I too would be sad if MY mum passed away. Then this thought led me to realise that I too one day was going to pass away. This realisation shocked me and the awareness that this life was one day going to end and that after death I would face accountability (once I reached maturity) lead me to want to take responsibility for the life and ability that God has blessed me with and to live it in the right way and to use my blessings in service to Him. And so I made a conscious choice at 11 years old that I wanted to be a practicing Muslim and pray 5 times a day –which mind you, was much to my parents surprise when I approached them about waking me up every day for morning prayer before sunrise! So when I think about it in retrospect, this would have to have been my first step in leadership. By taking my life by the reigns and making the decision to live it with purpose and a clear intention, which in my case was to live a life that was pleasing and acceptable to God.

                                  

Now as I got older, I moved from the Islamic school to a rural public high school. Which must have been a culture shock for both me and the other students. The entire school was fascinated by the black cloth I wore on my head, and were amazed when I told them that “Yes! I have HAIR’ and were bewildered that I was Australian born with an Aussie dad and a Mum from a fantasy Island called CHRISTMAS Island!!! I thought to myself – don’t these people watch the NEWS!?!? For me it was a new experience, being the only Muslim in the entire school (apart from my older brother who told everyone I was adopted so he could fit in). It was a great learning experience for me to have to make totally new friends who weren’t from the same faith but nonetheless I made fantastic lifelong friendships with some amazing people.  I remember the dilemma I would have at prayer time when I would disappear during the lunch break and pray in the empty home economics room – hoping that no one would barge in while I was in prostration – all the time ready to make up an excuse that I was tying my shoelace or looking for something under the table! Oh the insecure teenage years. As hard as some of the experiences were at high school, they did give me a great source of strength in that despite all the pressures and troubles I sometimes went through- at the end of it all I never stopped doing my 5 daily prayers and never once felt dissatisfied with my faith and it’s guidelines.

                                   

When I was about 13 I went to an all-girls camp organised by the MWSC during the school holidays. It was my first ever social camping experience and I loved it! I loved being outdoors, in nature and doing all the exciting activities. As I was growing up I would often feel that other girls my age were quite immature, as I had grown up hanging out with my older cousins. I remember how some of the girls in my dorm at camp who were my age and younger would at times really get on my nerves. So I kind of kept to myself as much as I could and didn’t have all that much to say. Anyhow, at the end of the camp we had an awards ceremony and somehow I received the ‘Best Role Model’ award. At the time and still until now, I don’t really know how or why I received that award, but I am guessing that the camp instructors saw something in me. Only until the last few years have I started to see myself as a potential leader and a role model and I now feel much more ready and capable of stepping up to fulfil the potential that my camp instructors saw in me that 13 odd years ago. You often don’t realise how important it is to have people believe in you and to see your strengths, talents and remind you of your potential. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves how amazing we are and how much we are capable of!

                               
Something that I love to do is to EDUCATE. I love to educate myself, my children, my family and others. I believe that education is true freedom because your mind and intellect  is the one thing that cannot be controlled or taken away from you by anyone unless you let them in (except of course for old age, illness or injury). With education, we are empowered to value ourselves, others and the world around us, we are empowered make the right decisions, we are better able to make positive changes in the world, to look after and understand ourselves and others, and so much more! To me, education is much more than primary, secondary and tertiary schooling. It is much more than a certificate, or a degree or qualification. While these sources of education are very important – I feel that education and learning should be a way of living. Learning should be something we all love to do, and that children especially feel the love of learning. We should make an effort to learn something new every day of our lives. I feel we need to be learning things because they are important to us, they are beneficial and relevant to our lives and society and not just  to get a qualification or a high salary.

                                       

My passion for education and learning has driven me to make the decision to home school my 3 children. I did one year of home schooling in year 10 and in that one year I was amazed at how much I had learnt about myself and the world around me! As mothers we are very powerful leaders – (Any mothers In the room?) Within the role of a home schooling mother, I have made the decision to take on the full responsibility of my children’s education. While this is no easy task, by any means (especially when your child asks you a question and you have to tell them to wait a minute while you run to the computer to google the answer!) The rewards far outweigh the sacrifice and efforts made when you see your children growing up right before your eyes and you get to watch each moment of development and learning and share in that amazing experience where you too, more often than not, get to learn alongside these remarkable little people! I get to carefully guide and instruct my children to make the right decisions, develop their moral character and watch them blossom into the amazingly talented human beings they were born to be. I just love it!

Another one of my passions is guiding the youth in the Australian Muslim community. Just over 15 months ago I started the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group which  is a once a month gathering of young Muslim girls aged 12 and up to hang out, learn new skills, have fun, and develop their understanding of the faith. As well as developing a strong and secure sense of identity as Australian Muslims. At the moment we are in the process of organising a fundraising event that the girls will be totally in charge of and responsible for. They were given the power to choose what they wanted to raise funds for and elected that they want to have a Youth Centre that we could use instead of hiring and moving from hall to hall. Its A HUGE goal that may or may not become a reality, but we’re going to see how things pan out! We are also wanting to have our first camp sometime this year which would be an adventure for sure!

                         


I also volunteer for an organisation called Islam Australia which provides totally free information about Islam to the general public. They have a website, mail out info packs to people who request it and have info tables at festivals, markets and events. Clearing up misconceptions about Islam and educating the general public about what Islam truly is, is something that is very close to my heart and I hope to always be active in this area of volunteering.  More and more Australians are converting to Islam every year. In fact the majority of my friends are converts. My dad, his brother and their mother (my grandma) all converted to Islam many years ago. In fact, the majority of converts to Islam are women (some research estimates about two thirds of converts are women) and it just goes to show that if Islam really did oppress women as the media often loves to portray, then it would be highly unlikely that sound-minded, educated Western women would want to embrace such a faith. Rather Islam is beautiful, peaceful way of life with extraordinary teachings for those who want to make the effort to truly learn about it with an open heart and mind.


                                     


I’m also passionate about health and well-being. It’s important to me that I and my family eat good food, exercise and take care of our bodies. We’ve got a little vegie garden happening out in the back yard, we try to eat free range meat and eggs and my husband and I cook pretty much all of our meals from scratch (and yes- my husband does cook and help in the house!) We try to make whatever efforts we can to eat good, nourishing foods and to also exercise regularly in order to maintain strength and fitness. A few months ago I started up social fitness sessions for the ladies in the Muslim community who often struggle to exercise on their own at home and sometimes find it hard to commit to gym memberships and contracts. It’s a once a week boxing and exercise session where we sweat, punch, skip and laugh. I now have 2 classes running, one on the North and one on the South of the river. (Just had a session this morning actually! – maybe I should be in bed right now!). I feel it is quite important for Muslim women to know how to defend themselves, particularly with the things going on in the world and some of the abuse that women get can go from verbal to physical very easily I would want women in my community (particularly one’s who wear the Hijab) to have some skills and confidence to defend themselves should a life-threatening scenario arise.

                                

I also teach a ladies Quran recitation class and a girls Quran class. As Muslims we believe that the Quran is the word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammed through angel Gabriel over 1400 years ago. We learn to read  it in its original language, Arabic and we try to study, understand and practice it’s teachings in our daily lives as much as possible.

Would you like to hear some? (Surah Ikhlas - Sincerity)

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Say  “He is God, (the) One.
“ God who is the Self Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need
 “He begets not, nor was he begotten.
“And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”

As you can see at the moment, I have a lot on my plate but hopefully from my speech you all kind of know me a bit by now and realise how much I value my life and want to make the most of my time. Amidst my many commitments, I also try to balance things out and take time to relax, have quality relationships with family and friends and also to continually develop my faith and mind. So no I’m not a robot or working machine! And I do have a heart and soul that also need nurturing! I just love what I do and I do what I love and I thank God for giving me the ability.


                                          

So hopefully now when I say that I am a very Proud Australian Muslim Woman you all believe me, and know that I am very far from the typical negative depiction of a Muslim Woman. I am not down-trodden, oppressed or uneducated. The majority of the examples of Muslims portrayed in the media are often cultural Muslims. Many of the ways of thinking and practice are in fact parts of their culture (e.g. arranged marriage and female circumcision) and have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam. I really do encourage people to be more ‘conscious consumers’ when watching, listening or reading things in the media. It’s really important to keep an open mind and question what information is put out there.

I really love that being a proud Australian doesn’t have to stop me from practicing my faith and being a true Muslim.  I also love that being a Muslim doesn’t have to prevent me from being a true Australian either. The freedom we have as Australians is one of the biggest things I love about this country.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that the upcoming generation of young Australians will be the leaders of tomorrow. We all need to recognise that the variation in their faiths, cultural backgrounds and life experiences coupled with the Australian value of giving everyone a fair go is what I think is going to make this country a driving force in the world and an example of justice, equality and respect for all. 
That all pretty much sums up my leadership journey so far. No doubt, if God wills I have a long exciting journey ahead of me. Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.