Written By Rabia Nishat
Right, so before jumping in head first, into this topic, just a quick disclaimer. All opinions within this blog are solely my own, thus please do not be offended by any of the remarks made within this piece, as this is quite a personal piece, I thought I’d clear that up from the outset. Rightio! Now that’s done, let’s delve into this.
Sisterhood and Misterhood
First thing’s first, being part of an Ummah opens doors of opportunities to us all. From bake sales to charity dinners, from business opportunities, to play dates for our kids, we bond over surprising differences as well as similarities. A huge huddle of people supporting each other through the highs and lows of their lives and making sure that not one person feels isolated. The sad reality of life today is that many people, especially those that are being bullied, new mothers and the elderly feel disconnected from reality as they simply don’t have that human interaction. After all what makes us human are our emotions, but what’s even more important is using those emotions to convey messages to others, and that shouldn’t be a rarity, but sadly it is.
In fact, coming to a personal story of my own, I quite recently felt rather anxious for an exam of mine. I was so nervous, that I felt very queasy, and uneasy, scared and alone. All these emotions were whirling around in my head, but since I was on a bus, with none of my friends around me, I wasn’t quite sure who to talk to, or how to explain my situation. It wasn’t until a lovely old lady came and sat right beside, and we simply said nothing for a good 10 minutes. I guess her motherly instincts kicked in when she saw me in my awful state. It didn’t take long for me to blurt out what was going on in my head, and she was not only so calm but reassuring, jokey and warm-hearted. Her advice was simple but delivered with love. Perhaps what made the most difference was the fact that she believed in me when I felt most vulnerable, and that belief was what changed my mindset, and made me feel brave about taking that exam (which went well! Alhumdullilah).
Airiness and Wariness
However, in every ocean, you do find a pebble trying to rebel against the tide, and unfortunately,
sisterhood is the same. Accepting that we’re human means accepting that we have flaws, that we make mistakes, that we can be careless. Yet, at the same time, actively seeking to expose others for who we ‘think’ they are is never a good idea, both for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of our fellow brothers, sisters, friends and family. We often forget that progress is subjective and can take time. It’s all too often the case that when people return to their faith after years of departing ways, feeling depressed, and alone, they seek comfort and joy in the people that surround them. But, stepping into this circle often comes with ‘strings attached’. We make ‘one size fits all’ rules, constantly picking on petty things, distracting and deterring others from their path to forgiveness, driving people away from the place they call home, back into a cycle of anxiety. It usually comes down to the way we dress, the way we pray, the way we love, laugh, talk, smile, and simply…are. A community celebrates inclusivity, not exclusivity and we have to work hard on empowering others. From businesses to charities and from friends to family.
With this comes another warning, of being wary. Surrounding ourselves with negative energy or subjecting ourselves to negative situations can never be healthy for our mindsets, nor our body. This is why it’s extremely important to be careful of people who are weighing you down. In a world where being a unique individual is what matters the most, being part of a herd and following others can never be a recipe for success. Whilst challenging yourself and broadening your interests is not only desirable but an asset, it’s also essential to cut yourself loose from those who do not wish to see you succeed, no matter what environment that may be in.
Sadly, all too often sisterhood or brotherhood are used as labels for manipulating others.
They make ask for your business model or stay in contact with you for personal gains, rather than for objective gains. Which is why it’s all the more important to love unconditionally whilst you have the chance, but nonetheless retain the ability to say the all-important ‘no’ when you feel pressurised into pleasing others. The best way to sum it up is about learning to love yourself the most.
So you may be sat there thinking, what’s the conclusion to my rant? In essence, life is too short to forgo opportunities for development so we should grasp then whilst we can, but not at the expense of others. And whilst there are pockets of communities all over the country, and even the world(!) catering to people of all different backgrounds, we must reach out to those whose voices go unheard. After all, sisterhood is all about finding your feet in midst of a jungle, and that jungle may as well be this funny old thing we refer to as ‘life’.