Event Review: Safinah Talks 11 “Living Your True Potential”
What: Safinah Talks 11: “Living Your True Potential”
When; 26th May 2012
Where: Singapore Expo
Who: Ustaz Fizar, Ustazah Maimunah Alhabshi & Ust Tarmizi Wahid
By: Safinah Institute
“Living Your True Potential” was the theme of Safinah Talks 11, the bi-monthly series of talks organised by Safinah Institute. Equal parts religious lecture and motivational talk, the Safinah Talks series has seen increasing popularity among the Muslim community in Singapore, with the latest instalment attracting a crowd of more than 200 people.
Living Your True Potential as a Pious Servant of Allah
Ustaz Muhammad Fizar, manager of the Islamic Learning Unit for Al Iman Mosque and instructor for Safinah, was the first speaker. Humbly denying Ustaz Tarmizi’s introduction of him as a scholar, Ustaz Fizar introduced himself, saying he was more like Shrek rather than a Shaykh.
Giving his presentation on “Living Your True Potential as a Pious Servant of Allah”, Ustaz Fizar peppered his talk with a lot of personal anecdotes, jokes and pop culture references, provoking much laughter from the audience. All of this was merely side dressing for the content of his talk, which was delivered in bite-sized, easy-to-remember nuggets of knowledge.
Among the topics touched on by Ustaz Fizar were the “Ingredients of a ‘Soulful Diet’”, “The Divine Concoction of Repentance and Supplication”, and “The Virtues of Piousness”.
He related something that he had been told by his mother, not to allow the malaikat on the left work overtime while the malaikat on the right would be left without his thirteenth month bonus, that is, not to let ourselves have an abundance of sins while having a deficit of amal and ibadah.
On the topic of Zikrullah as Soul Therapy, Ustaz Fizar stressed keeping the companionship of scholars, and for those who did not remember Allah it was our responsibility to bring them back onboard. He emphasised regular recitation of the Qur’an, zikr, and the wird of one’s tariqah if one was part of one, and said that this would control our heart from whims and desires.
Ustaz Fizar closed his segment of the evening with Four Takeaways, reminding those in attendance to remember Allah, work hard, to seek guidance from Allah when in doubt, and to remember that Allah is always with you if you feel alone.
Living Your True Potential as a Change-Maker
No stranger to the Safinah Talks, Ustazah Maimunah Al Habshi, CEO and founder of Project Spirituality, next came up to the stage to give her talk on “Living Your True Potential as a Change-Maker”.
Ustazah Maimunah began her talk by saying that all of those in attendance had come for deep reasons, that they themselves might not be aware of, and more importantly that everybody was there because Allah wanted them to be there.
Ustazah Maimunah stated that we had in fact chosen to be born into the world when we were souls, but not only were we clothed with our bodies, but with our egos and desires which clouded the voice of our souls. The soul, Ustazah Maimunah stated, has answers, but we chose to listen instead to our minds, later on noting that our minds often confused us with options, logic and reasoning where our souls would simply give us a straightforward answer.
Ustazah Maimunah elaborated on verse 78 of Surah Al Haj,
“And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Ibraham.”
She asked all those present to reflect on the verse and that it was intended for all believers, and emphasised that we were chosen by Allah to be Muslims. She stated that nothing was difficult in our practice of the religion, but that we made it difficult, and that only by practicing the commandments of Allah we could become complete human beings and benefit from our ibadah both in this life and the next.
She mentioned that all Muslims were following the legacy of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS), and just as he struggled in being thrown into fire, leaving his family behind and facing the slaughtering of his own son, we too could strive just as Ibrahim (AS) did.
Through her talk Ustazah Maimunah stressed the importance of thinking and speaking positively, spending time with people who could influence us positively; including filtering our Facebook news feeds to include those who could positively influence us, including scholars such as Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Imam Zaid Shakir and Dr. Yasir Qadhi, and drew laughter when she referred to popular fashion brand Kate Spade as ‘Khadijah Changkul’.
Ustazah Maimunah closed her portion of the evening by giving the example of Nick Vujicic, the Australian-born preacher and motivational speaker who was born without arms or legs. She stated that Vujicic had achieved things that many able-bodied people had not, and had even sky-dived, putting almost everybody in the audience to shame. If he could do what he had done, surely we too could live up to our own potential and be the best at what we were.
Hope for Baby Nur
After Ustazah Maimunah’s presentation, Ustaz Tarmizi invited Sister Mudzalifah Anuar onstage. Sister Mudzalifah spoke briefly on her cause to raise money for a heart transplant for baby Nur who was suffering from a rare heart condition called myocarditis and whose plight had been featured recently in the local media. She mentioned that she and several others would be running the Sundown Marathon later that very evening to raise funds for baby Nur’s cause, her first time running a marathon in hijab, and urged everybody present to contribute through their event page (http://hopeforbabynur.eventbrite.com).
Living Your True Potential as Who Allah Made You to Be
Ustaz Tarmizi, the founder and CEO of Safinah Institute, was the final speaker for the evening. “Living Your True Potential as Who Allah Made You to Be”. Breaking his talk up into 7 points, Ustaz Tarmizi emphasized focusing on what we already had to achieve our goals, rather than using our disadvantages as a crutch, and drew heavily on the Qur’anic account of the Prophet Musa (AS).
Illustrating his point “Don’t Get Discouraged”, Ustaz Tarmizi detailed his own experiences with his first business, Vocal Point, born of his love of personal development courses and motivational talks, and how he believed there was a niche in the Malay-Muslim market for such an enterprise. Vocal Point was ultimately unsuccessful and Ustaz Tarmizi turned once more to his background in religious studies to form Safinah Institute, which he called his “bigger calling”.
The best example of perseverance , Ustaz Tarmizi said, was Rasulullah (SAW), whom within twenty-three years of prophethood beginning at age forty, had one hundred thousand Muslims listening to him at his final sermon, and all without the aid of Facebook or Twitter.
Drawing on several verses related to the account of the Prophet Musa (AS) from Surah Taha, Ustaz Tarmizi took the example of Musa’s staff, which he used for his daily affairs but which Allah transformed into a snake, as an example of the potential which existed in things which may seem ordinary to us. Just as Musa AS prayed to Allah for guidance, courage and knowledge in facing the Pharoah, so too should we ask Allah for assistance. And just as Musa AS had his brother Harun AS to support him, so too should we ask for support from people we trust.
Ustaz Tarmizi took the time to remind the crowd that when we ask for favours from Allah, we should understand that it is not really for us but for Allah’s sake and we should always glorify Allah, remembering the blessings we have been granted and the problems we had overcome by His mercy.
Continuing with the examples he had taken from Surah Taha, Ustaz Tarmizi took note of the fact that Allah had told Musa to speak to the Pharaoh ‘gently’, noting that too often people condemned others who had not transgressed against us the way the Pharaoh had transgressed against God.
He closed his portion by reminding everybody present the importance of taking concrete action to achieve our goals in this life and the hereafter, and encouraging the attendees to sign up for the upcoming two day Spiritual Confidence seminar.
Blending together traditional religious teachings drawing on the Qur’an and Hadith, and modern personal development techniques, the latest instalment of the Safinah Talks insha Allah served to inspire all those present to success in this life and the hereafter.
Ahmad Zhaki Abdullah
Ahmad Zhaki holds a degree in English Literature from the University of London. He is a full-time executive at a local training institute and a part-time writer.