Prayers of Hope

Writer’s Note: This is not a paid article (hurhur).

Since my return to Singapore a month ago, I have participated in three of Safinah’s events – a camp for Madrasah students, an iftar session, and just two days ago, a Peace Retreat at an idyllic, serene mosque tucked away in a corner of Sembawang .

The retreat was named “Prayers of Hope”, and aptly so; I was down and defeated when I first stepped into the mosque, but as I left it in a car filled to the brim with friends I just made, I could not help but feel rejuvenated… My hope was restored.

The event had really, alhamdhulillah by the grace of Allah, rescued my Ramadhan.

As I reflected on my feelings amidst the buzzing conversations in the car, it dawned on me that attending Safinah’s events always left me feeling the same way. Of course, the wonderful reminders given by the asatizah of Safinah were central in my emotions, but I too felt that there were other components at play.

Perhaps my feelings of hope arises from noting the background of Ustaz Mizi, founder of Safinah. He worked hard to transform his personality from a person who did not care much about anything to the inspirational person he is today. It gives me hope that with determination, lots of work and never-ending du’as, I too can make something of myself, biiznillah.

Perhaps it arises from the story of Ustaz Fizar, who was first educated in a secular environment before he chose to uproot and learn the Deen in his teens. In several of his struggles, I see a reflection of my own, like how we did not even know how to write Al-Fatihah when our Islamic education first begun. I look at who Ustaz Fizar is today, and I have hope that one day I too, can be a proper student of the Deen.

Perhaps hope too arises from the history of Kak Raudha. It is a personal story which I do not have permission to share, but it gives me hope in being reminded that Allah swt, in His love and mercy, will never forsake anyone who wants to change for His sake. In a blink of an eye, He can, and He will, send down help and open doors we never even knew existed.

But perhaps most of all, my hope stems from being around the friends of Safinah – its participants and volunteers. Each time I go to a Safinah event, I am automatically surrounded with ladies who have such beautiful smiles and generous hearts, to the extent that I always feel humbled and motivated to be better even minutes after introductions.

I have seen ladies from all walks of life, from lawyers (looking at you, Liyana, congrats!) to teachers, put their own wants aside to help other participants; forsaking their own portion of meals for others, smiling and keeping patient despite tense situations, giving and giving despite not having to do so. I have not met any of them prior, but as I worked alongside them, I know that I love each and every one of them for the sake of Allah.

Why? Because being with them gives me hope that a better ummah can exist should everyone put others ahead of themselves, and give each other the companionship, motivation and support to change for the better. As a close friend remarked, “I think Safinah is one of the best thing that has ever happened to me after my Hijrah. From having not many girl friends, I am suddenly surrounded with so many beautiful [inside and outside] girls!”

In the event’s closing speech, Ustaz Mizi mentioned that all of us are the average of the five people we spend our time with. As I looked around the hundred or so participants who want to better themselves for the sake of Allah, I have hope that I too, can change to be a better Muslimah than the one I am today.

Ustaz Mizi, Ustaz Fizar and Kak Raudha, thank you for all the hard work in building Safinah. Thank you for giving people like me the hope to be better each day, and the medium for the support we need in order to change, biiznillah.

I hope and pray that Allah swt will reward you immensely for all your hard work, and continue showering His blessings on Safinah. Ameen.

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