My journey from an irresponsible teenager to a dedicated social worker is one of the best transformations in my life and it’s one I would like to share with you. When I was younger, I used to go to Islamic classes on Saturdays. Then, I reached a point in life where I became reluctant to attend any gathering which pertained to Islam. Regardless of whether it was an Eid celebration or Saturday classes, it simply annoyed me. Every Saturday, my mother would pull the blanket from over my head and drag me to the Saturday classes and I must admit, even though I didn’t want to go, somewhere deep down just being present in a gathering which was for the sake of Allah brought peace to my heart.
During this time, I came across this ayah from the glorious Quran which said:
“Those who spend in charity will be richly rewarded.” (57:10)
This motivated me to volunteer for my first event which involved learning American Sign Language (ASL). It was being taught in a big room with over 60 volunteers and when I walked in, the session had already begun and being one of the last volunteers I quietly went and sat between two experienced volunteers. Even though I had never had any interest in learning ASL before, knowing that this skill would allow me to communicate with a community of people with whom I would otherwise struggle to communicate with. After that event, my desire to become a world renowned social worker was born.
The moment I started working towards my dream, I was faced with a lot of obstacles. I was told “Why are you doing this?” and “Islam prohibits girls from doing such things”. Alhamdulilah, with the guidance of my family, relatives, friends and teachers I was able to be firm and stick with it.
I always felt that one day, I would become rich and spend almost half of my wealth in charity. But I soon realised that not everyone ends up being rich and wealthy and started questioning whether meant that we’re exempt from doing good?
In answer to that, I came across a quote by Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) which said:
“The best charity is given by those who have little.”
I also realised that giving charity in Islam is easy when we are taught that even “A kind word is a form charity.” (Hadeeth)
Every morning when I wake up, I ask Allah to give me an opportunity small or big to do social work and every night before I sleep I ask Allah to accept my social work. I believe and hope that my efforts can be a means of being granted Jannat-ul-Firdous (Paradise).
As such, it’s important to remind myself to be humble and pray to Allah to accept my past, present and future work and purify the reasons why I am doing this in the first place.
Within a short span of time, I set up my own small project called Step Up with my close friends and Alhamdulilah (thanks to God), it now has over 400+ volunteers who come together to make a difference. My mom always told me that when I was young, I would keep asking her, “Why am I not famous like the other girls in school? Why do people not invite me to their parties? Why have I lost friends after putting on the Hijab?” and my mother would always reply with a smile, “Allah will make you famous for the right reason, be patient and make dua and see how it works.” Years of patience have finally paid off and Alhamdulilah I’m in a place where I couldn’t ask for anything more.