At a small hall in Shelley on Saturday December 17th between 6pm and 10pm, the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group had a night to showcase who they were and voice some of their thoughts and reflections as young Muslim women growing up in Australia. The theme of the night was ‘Growth’ as this is what all the girls have experienced and will continue to experience as they transition from being children to young women. With the talents of our volunteer Aziza Davids, the room was decorated with butterflies representing the metamorphosis of our young ladies. Hearts were used to to represent love and acceptance, stars to give a feeling of hope and excitement and words of positivity and inspiration were also scattered along the walls. There was a Diamonds of Islam information table, as well as a few other tables showcasing auction items that had been donated and sale items which were either donated or made by the girls themselves. Mashallah the girls who had brought items to sell or auction chose to give all the proceeds of their sales towards an intended girl’s getaway/retreat to be held sometime in January. The table settings had a theme of black, white and silver with a beautiful coloured flower centrepiece made by one of the girls to represent the ‘growth’ theme. There were candles, glitter and ‘sparklies’ which all added to the feeling of being ‘Diamonds’ and the attendees were very impressed with the atmosphere Alhamdulillah.
Inspirational words and wall decoration.
Sale table items!
Youth Group information table.
The event commenced right on time beginning with an introduction to the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group and each girl came up to the microphone to introduce herself and share her age with the audience. The volunteers were also introduced and thanked and the night swung into action with a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation was a photographic journey of the activities and topics that the girls had been learning about for the last 16+ youth group sessions which had taken place over that last few years. The PowerPoint ended in a surprise reveal of the fantastic new flyer which had been kindly designed by our very own IT expert Mayada Abdulrazzak Mashallah!
Delicious entre of hommus & bread, spring rolls, chicken wings, pizza and more!
The delicious entre was served during the presentation and it was the Youth Group girls themselves who were in charge of bringing the food for the night (entre, main, dessert and drinks) as well as plating and serving each course to their honoured guests. They were under the skilful leadership and direction of our volunteer Nicole Banks who ran a smooth and efficient dinner service Mashallah.
Stage lights and decor.
Following a break for Salah and the serving of the main course, touching speeches were made by 2 of the group members and one of our volunteers. Sara Ozrain spoke first about life as a 10 year old Muslim girl growing up in Australia and struggling with her Islamic identity whilst going to a public school. She spoke with such grace and wisdom which was amazing to see in a girl her age and the audience was very impressed Mashallah. Next to speak was one of the volunteers, Mayada Abdulrazzak who at 21 years of age shared who she was, what she is passionate about and what she has found to help her maintain her Islamic identity as she has grown up. Last (and not least) to speak was Semra Candemir who had a somewhat longer speech but was nonetheless tremendously captivating and touching. She shared her struggles in discovering her purpose of life as a teenager who had grown up with limited Islamic knowledge and influence. She shared her independent discovery of Islam and Imaan as well as the social traumas she endured due to her choice to submit to Allah. This was followed by a dip in faith that led to some dark paths and choices but ultimately she came back to the deen stronger than ever. She shared that she is happy and content with where she is and how she hopes to continue to grow as a Muslimah. By the end of her speech the room was in tears and she received a standing ovation as she concluded. It was indeed a very uplifting set of speeches!
Next up for the night was dessert followed by an interactive session run by Yomna Ismail which was about the ‘Meaning of Growth’. The audience was given different coloured leaves or petals on which to write what they felt growth meant, how they have grown in the past year and how they hope to grow in the future. Then one volunteer from each table came up to the stage to share some of the answers from their group. The responses were interesting and diverse and it was great to see so many hopes and aspirations for change and development by the attendees which was a mix of youth who were not part of the group and mothers, aunts, grandmothers and more.
The 'Tree of Growth'.
Examples of growth shared by attendees.
For the next segment of the night four of the girls had written poems that they wished to share. Yasmin (12) read with a lovely clear voice an awesome poem called ‘Islam’. Fatimah (10) read a poem written by her and her 12 year old sister Aa’ishah called ‘A Muslimah’s Message’ which they thoughtfully printed out onto silvery cards and gave to each attendee. Hadiyah Stephens (15) wrote a poem dedicated to the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group that started and ended beautifully with, “All that glitters is not gold, Those who are wise are not always old, The Diamonds of Islam, Are shining gems, Brightly glistening on life’s vast stem.” And our young and talented Sara Ozrain (10) was also back on stage with her insightful poem called ‘A Mother’s Promise’ written from the perspective of a mother advising her daughter about life and keeping strong in Imaan.
Following the poems we watched a 5 minute clip called '5 Before 5' which was a spoken word poem by a 17 year old Canadian Muslimah named Amal Albaz, which she performed in front of a non-Muslim audience and ended up winning the young speakers competition for that particular event. She spoke most articulately, with rhythm and rhyme about the Prophet Muhammad’s (S) hadith regarding appreciating five things before five (health before sickness, youth before old age, free time before occupation, wealth before poverty and life before death). The reminder she gave was relevant to both we Muslims and the non-Muslims alike and she provided a great inspiration for us to not only appreciate all our blessings but to also get out there a do Da’wah to the wider community about the teachings of Islam.
Next up I did a speech called ‘The 7 P’s’ where I spoke about 7 areas that I felt were important in the life of a Muslim and yes you guessed it, they all started with P! I spoke about discovering, knowing and living by one’s ultimate PURPOSE in life, which is to worship Allah SWT; I discussed the importance of PRAYER, what Allah and his Messenger have told us about its importance, and how adhering to my 5 daily prayers helped me in my youth; I spoke about PROBLEMS and the view of tests and hardships in Islam and that Allah’s test us to see if we are truly believers; I elaborated on PATIENCE and what Allah says about it in the Quran, as well as the example of Prophet Ya’qub, the father of Yusuf (AS) when he was tested with losing his sons; I talked about how we are supposed to interact with PEOPLE, treating our families well, choosing friends wisely and the importance of having good role models; I spoke about the importance of Da’wah or PREACHing and that we must first start with Da’wah to ourselves, followed by our families, friend and the wider community; finally I spoke about PEACE and that the true peace, tranquillity and happiness in life can only come through the submission to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. I finished off with a duaa touching on the 7 themes I spoke about and by this time we were running a bit overtime with our schedule but couldn’t let everyone leave until we’d finished our last few segments!
One of the highest bidding items!
For the next segment three of the girls give short speeches about their experience of being part of the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group. Navine, Tassneem Shahin and Sarah Saleh spoke of their growth and development since they first started coming to the youth group and how from being quite shy at nervous about coming at they start to now feeling a lot more confident and sure of themselves. They spoke of feeling safe and accepted in the group and that it was something they looked forward to every month. The last of the main segments for the night was a hilarious auction conducted by Amira Hassan along with her handful of assistants which included the bubbly Nabilah Stephens who had balloons stuck to her head and the ‘Auction Items’ sign stuck on her chest! The auction began without delay and items were being bid for all round. There were beautiful Islamic hand-painted canvases (painted by some of the girls themselves), candle and soap hampers donated by Essence of Jasmine, Tupperware donated by Nadia Clarke, as well as many other items donated by generous and supportive sisters in the community. The auction resulted in raising $425 to go towards to the girls’ getaway Alhamdulillah. Amira’s humour and one line remarks had everyone giggling and smiling! We are all looking forward to the auction at our next event!
To finish off the night the mystery prizes were given to anyone with a diamond card stuck under their chair and went to four fortunate girls and ladies. The Youth Group girls also presented surprise gifts for their mothers, for without their support and encouragement, the girls would not have been able to be a part of this group. I too had a surprise gift for my mother (who was indeed pleasantly surprised) who has supported me and has supported the group with her talented cooking skills! Gift were also give to the four main volunteers of the night and things definitely wouldn’t have gone so well without their much appreciated help and support.
I quickly squeezed in a poem I had written which I dedicated to the youth group girls called ‘The Rope of Allah’. All the guests, girls and volunteers were thanked again and we ended with the closing duaa. So next we had the big clean up job and with great teamwork we were done in no time Alhamdulillah.
One of the many gorgeous paintings auctioned on the night.
The feedback we received from guests immediately after and for days after the event was positive and encouraging Alhamdulillah. Many left the gathering inspired and hopeful; they felt their Imaan had increased, their hearts had been touched and that there was an all-round feeling of sisterhood and warmth Alhamdulillah. One sister said she could feel as if the Angels were surrounding the gathering and that Allah’s mercy was encompassing the hall that night! Allahu A’lam. All I know is that this event is proof that our youth have amazing talents and infinite potential. All they need is for us to listen, support and believe in them so that they can truly grow and blossom into the flowers and diamonds of this world and the next Inshallah. We make duaa that Almighty Allah is pleased with this effort and accepts from all who participated and attended. We make duaa that the gathering was a source of benefit to all. We make duaa that all women – young and old - become ‘sparkling successes’ in this life and the next! Ameen. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Diamonds of Islam event Inshallah!