Allah (swt) guided me to a course which has changed my life. Since I joined, the Sacred Texts Syllabus has greatly improved my prayer and du’a experience. I first found out about Sacred Texts whilst I was attending Path to Salvation classes. Initially, I wasn’t sure if it was for me as I was looking to get married and wasn’t sure if I would be able to commit. So, I approached Shaykh Sjaad and told him about my concerns, and he said, “Can you give me two years?” It has been three years now, and I haven’t looked back since.
Sacred Texts had helped to improve my life in several ways. One of which is that I used to have no idea what was going on in my prayer as I didn’t understand Arabic and thus found it difficult to keep my mind focused. Our teachers at Sacred Texts got us to read verses/pages of the Qur’an in Arabic and English, whilst studying the grammar behind them. After a few months of this practice, I began to recognize keywords and grammar links because of my work in reading Arabic texts and the Qur’anic translation.
Focusing on learning Arabic, even at a basic level, allowed me to come to appreciate the incredible linguistic miracles of the Qur’an and understand it at a deep, intimate level. All it requires is commitment and time, but if you are serious and dedicated, God willing, you will eventually see the benefits of your struggle and you will begin to understand and fulfil your purpose with greater perfection and enthusiasm.
I began praying with purpose. Though I still had no idea what every word meant, I had begun to comprehend the general meanings of many of the chapters, and I was able to grasp the overarching messages of some of the verses. I started looking forward to certain verses that were my favourites. I was finally beginning to understand, and I was enjoying it; the sweetness of the Qur’an had penetrated my heart.
I also began memorizing the Qur’an and the more I memorized, the more my vocabulary expanded. After three years of studying, I could understand so much of the recitation and I knew many verses by heart.
Before I joined Sacred Texts, I was also eager to follow in the footsteps of the Islamic heroes and prophets (peace be upon them) that I heard about. I was fascinated with the bravery of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), such as Khaled ibn Waleed. wished to follow in the footsteps of our Prophet (peace be upon him). But I realised that I could not be like the male companions, as I was not a male.
The only times I had been presented information about the female companions were either to discuss how quickly the female companions responded to the command of the hijab, or how devout Muslim women are dutiful wives or mothers.
Access to information on who these incredible women were and how they can shape us has largely been neglected and instead reduced to discussions on modesty and marriage. Both of which, though, are important and deserve their due right. However, it is often portrayed that those two areas are the only places where our worth lies and that those who do not fit that mould are somehow not “righteous Muslim women.”
As I began studying Sacred Texts and learning from my teachers (both of whom are male), I finally realized what I had been taught was a very specific, sometimes culturally influenced, understanding of Islam. As I truly studied, I began to find myself reflected in the examples of the female companions: the liveliness of Sayyidah Aisha (ra), when she passionately taught Prophetic knowledge; the loving/caring nature of Fatimah Zahra (ra) towards her father; the wisdom of Umm Salamah when she took on the role of counsellor to the Prophet ﷺ in Hudaybiyah, amongst so many others – may God be pleased with all the companions.
They weren’t a monument. They were not non-existent. They were forward and shy. Outgoing and reserved. Dynamic and quiet. They were single, married, divorced, re-married and widowed. They were mothers with husbands, single mothers, or not mothers at all. Some worked, and some didn’t. They were each unique, but they were present.
The Prophet’s ﷺ community’s narrative highlighted everyone’s narrative. Islam didn’t come to mute our personalities as women. It came to help us use the specific qualities God has honoured us with, to help us improve them to what is pleasing to Him, in order to help positively change society.
Men and women are allies in working towards changing the world for the better, as the Qur’an reminds us. The male and female companions respectfully worked together to create that socially just change. Let’s celebrate their legacy by emulating it.
The tools are available. The real question is: Are we willing to make the time and dedicate the effort?