Event Review: Konvensyen Muslimah Kontemporari
What: Konvensyen Muslimah Kontemporari
Where: Kallang Theatre
When: 19 January 2013
• Prof. Madya Dr. Shariffah Hayaati
• Ustaz Mohd. Izhar Ariff Kashim
• Wardina Safiyyah
• Ustazah Nurul Izzah Kamsani
• Ustazah Raihanah Bte Halid
• Ustazah Nazeerah Bte Shaik Alwie
• Ustazah Halimah Usman Alaydrus
By: Masjid Al-Ansar, Masjid Jamiyah Ar-Rabitah & Syukran International[/box_light]
On the morning of 19 January, the temperature in Singapore was below 30°C and it was raining all over the island. I believe that was the very first test for the convention attendees – to wake up on a cold, breezy morning and attend the event located all the way at Kallang Theatre. The sight of 1,300 Muslimahs filling the seats of Kallang Theatre was simply amazing and pleasant.
From a panoramic view, you can actually see a rainbow – the lovely ladies were covered in many different colours of cloth on their heads! It is even more pleasant to know that they had gathered on that Saturday for one common purpose – to gain Ilmu. Alhamdulillah.
In this review, I will virtually bring you through the event, draw out the key highlights and I hope we can gain some insights and points from the speakers. Before that, I would like to laud the event set-up; the bright event poster illuminating from the six side screens actually set the mood for the event.
That being said, let’s start with the first speaker!
History & the Development of Fiqh
The very first speaker who presented was Ustazah Halimah Usman Alaydrus, a freelance speaker from Indonesia. She is the author of the books Bidadari Bumi and 9 Kisah Wanita Salehah and on that day, I believe she is one of those who managed to make us cry through her expressions and stories. In her Indonesian accent, Ustazah Halimah blew us away with her knowledge of history and one key highlight I remembered from her speech is: “Find the Akhirah which will not endanger your Dunya, and find your Dunya which will not endanger your Akhirah.”
What she meant was as much as the Akhirah is an important aspect of life, we should not endanger our Dunya in a way that we forget about the importance of relationships between families and friends. This further enlightened us deeper into the meaning of Hablum minAllah (relationship with Allah) and Hablum minannas (relationship with people).
Ustazah Halimah educated us through stories and less on facts and pointers -and because this convention is narrowed more for Muslimahs, she inclined her stories more to Sayyidatina Aisyah RA.
She told us that there was one time Rasulullah SAW said, “Whoever attends the funeral procession till he offers the funeral prayer for it, will get a reward equal to one Qirat.” The Sahabahs were not sure what Qirat meant so they turned to Sayyidatina Aisyah RA. Being the wife of Rasulullah SAW, Sayyidatina Aisyah RA had the privilege of learning directly from him. From the question, Sayyidatina Aisyah RA said,
“I have asked Rasulullah SAW this question before, and one Qirat is as huge as one golden Mount Uhud.”
From this what Ustazah Halimah wanted to highlight was the intelligence and the Ilm that Sayyidatina Aisyah RA had – something the Muslimahs of today should learn from.
Rights and Responsibilities
The next speaker who came up was Ustazah Raihanah Binte Halid, Executive Officer, office of the Mufti. Parallel to the topic, she touched heavily on women’s rights especially in marriages. Living in the 21st decade, we know that it is no longer uncommon for women to step forward for a job and financially contribute to the household. This appears as a very subjective topic – for some families, the husbands allowed their wives to choose between staying home and going out to work.
However, for some families it has become mandatory for the wife to go out and work for the sake of financial stability. It was mentioned that it is not wrong for a woman to work as long as it does not break the rules of Syara’. Permission must also be granted from the husband and that the main intention is to contribute to the welfare of the household.
Nevertheless, Ustazah Raihanah said that although both the husband and wife is working, it is the responsibility of the husband to provide Nafkah for the wife as stated in Al Baqarah Ayat 223, “Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable.”
Family Education: Overcoming challenges from an Islamic perspective
Prof. Madya Dr. Sharifah Hayaati from University of Malaya came next on the list. I’d like to bring to light something I remember very vividly from her talk and I felt that this overshadowed all the other points.
It is the importance of educating children the significance of Salah. What she said was, “If you can’t educate your child to perform Salah and you are not performing Salah, how do you expect your child to be Soleh/Soleha?”
She reminded all Muslimahs in the theatre that a mother is a child’s Madrasah. She is a school. Therefore, if the Madrasah does not show the right examples, how do we expect to bring up a learned and educated child? This further emphasised the importance of education and moral support from a mother or parents generally.
Next was Ustazah Nurul ‘Izzah Khamsani, Executive, Education & Dakwah, Masjid Jamiyah Ar-Rabitah. To me, Ustazah Nurul ‘Izzah gave the audience a very pleasant vibe – she was smiling from the moment she stood forward until she left the stage. In her talk, she tapped that in the journey of gaining knowledge in Fardhu Ain and Fardhu Kifayah, it is equally important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and generate a habit of being physically fit. The things that fell under this category are: Consume only Halal certified food and know the difference of Halal & “No Pork No Lard.”
Beyond that, what I find special about her segment is the essentiality of the topic fitting to the digital and cosmopolitan era. As we know already, the term “Hijabista” has become a phenomenon and to some, this actually brings a concern. The aurat is not covered properly no thanks to tight clothes which displays the shape of the body. Ustazah Nurul ‘Izzah addresses this issue and also brought forward the Dos and Don’ts of mixing with people. In a nutshell, she advised the audience to
• Cover their aurat properly
• Lowering the gaze
• Avoid free mixing
• Don’t use perfumes
It does not end there. On the topic of being digital and a frequent online user, the following will probably interest you:
“Don’t tag as and when you like, and remove all old pictures of yourself not covering your aurat. That is unnecessary.”
How many actually bothered to be responsible and remove pictures which do not cover the aurat? Pictures of us free mixing? Maybe we should tell ourselves, it is time.
Special Appearance: Wardina Safiyyah
I would like to believe that more than 50% of the audience were very keen to see Wardina Safiyyah in person. Although her slot was minutes shorter than the rest of the speakers, it was still insightful.
In her black abaya, Wardina shared her past experiences and what we, as contemporary Muslimahs, can learn from there. Her slot started right after lunch, which followed a short VT from the production “Ini Kisahku” on the huge screen. As an audience, I appreciated the fact that she unfolded her yesteryears and provided an insight on what we can take home from the experiences. This especially appeals to young Muslimahs who probably just made a Hijrah. Some very good advices from her were:
“All of us have different capabilities. If we feel that we improve by loosening our clothes and bringing down our veil, start with that. Others may feel that (they will improve) another way, so start with that.” So today, where are we at and what do we want to start with?
On the downside, I felt that the time given for the “special appearance” was a tad too short. It seemed that just when you are about to “get in the mood” and be all ears, the talk from her has already ended.
Building an identity in the current era
Ustazah Nazeerah Shaik Alwie is a freelance speaker who graduated from Al-Azhar University in Bachelor in Usuluddin and holds a Masters in Islamic Theology from American Open University. From a Singapore context, Ustazah Nazeerah touched on the issue of being a single woman which negatively impacted the community.
“There is a term called Andartu- Anak Dara Tua and now there is another term, Andalusia. It indeed sounds nice, but do you know the meaning? Anak Dara Lanjut Usia.”
That cracked the whole theatre.
In line with the event title “Muslimah Contemporary,” Ustazah Nazeerah called out the issue of smoking and “Shisha” which are now common in our community. This is very apt as smoking and shisha have always been regarded as Makruh and that it is “ok” to do the Makruh. What was concluded during the convention is that since both destroys the body e.g. getting infected by TB, it is best to avoid them.
Beauty in Islam
Addressing 1,300 Muslimahs in the theatre, Ustaz Mohd Izhar, lecturer from the National University of Malaysia, was the thorn among the roses in the theatre. Well, I felt that the idea of having a segment from a man’s perspective was brilliant. There is something different about the way Ustaz Izhar delivers his message; he injected humour into his talk and every few minutes, he will break the silence of the theatre. At the same time, he still managed to send across his intended message.
What was interesting about Ustaz Izhar’s segment was how he angled “Beauty” from a unique frame of reference. He called out what beauty actually is in Islam and brought up that there are women today who will do anything, including surgery, for the sake of gaining physical beauty. He reminded the audience that as long as what we do changes the original look that Allah SWT has created, it is wrong and not permissible. This also includes having hair extensions where the individual is actually being deceptive – hiding the real hair and putting on display a different hair to gain “likeability” and vanity.
It was the first of the sort for me. No doubt, I left the event spiritually lifted and motivated to be a better Muslimah and I believe that it is the same for the other attendees. Although there are some downsides to the event, I applaud that the organisers on their end made sure the event started and ended on time. The choice of speakers and a short Qasidah performance also made a difference to the convention and all of them managed to capture our attention in their respective ways.
From Jumaliyah Abdullah, 21, “It was good for a first time event like this, but I also felt that there should be interaction with audience.”
Wahidah, 22, Nanyang Polytechnic, added, “The speakers that came up all presented interesting topics. It was a great experience and it was nice gathering with many other Muslimahs.”
This is the first of its kind. I am looking forward to more sessions like this; a longer time for the guest speaker, maybe?[divider]
Faridah is an aspiring film student who strongly believes in finding knowledge. She believes in counting her blessings in times of struggles.