Updated 23 December 2008
The Ahlul Bayt Islamic Sisters Network (ABISN) of Kenya has released its December 2008 newsletter:
The month of Dhul Qa’dah is gone. During that particular month we had our usual monthly gathering which was held at Rasul Al Akram academy on 29th November 2008. The speaker was Sister Saumu Bakari. We will briefly inform you about the meeting.
The meeting began with a Dua from Sister Nusrat Umlai. Sister Zubeda welcomed the members and gave them a brief summary of ABISN’s projects. She also gave out a calendar which would help them remember dates of the meeting. The information was translated in Swahili after which some questions were raised.
What has ABISN achieved so far in the aims and objectives written in the calendar? She told them that so far much has been achieved which include Mujtaba, the only kid’s magazine in Kenya. It is aimed at educating the young souls, and older as well! It is much easier for children to learn religious matters in a friendlier manner. Other projects include the seminars and monthly gatherings which are meant to uplift our knowledge on spiritual matters and help us to empower ourselves, and the Mahdi Sponsorship girls and boys scheme. Inshallah, we pray that next year we will be able to revive the other projects which are in the calendar.
The traumatic election period has pulled us back a lot but with the grace of Almighty Allah we will recover. She also asked them to give the topics which they felt were pressing since without their support and contribution ABISN cannot move forward.
This month’s topic of discussion was the continuation of ‘the role of Muslim women in society’ by Sister Saumu. She gave her speech in Swahili. “Our girls do get married at a tender age; they do not pursue their education. Most of Muslim parents in our country do not see the need of educating a girl child. The question that we need to ask ourselves is why? Some of these parents simply do not see the need to while some are poor and they can not afford it. In our country, our dear Muslim brothers and sisters live in poor slums like Majengo; the question we need to ask ourselves is why and how can we free ourselves from this situation. We need to go back to our Holy book and take a look at some of the women mentioned, how they led their lives and how they managed to be our heroes. We are going to take a look at the life of Lady Maryam, Lady Asiya and Lady Bilqees.
We note that all these women loved Allah (SWT). They all did their work according to what they believed was right. They all had knowledge and understood their religion. Maryam for instance, was God fearing and was obedient to Allah (S.W.T).
The Queen of Sheba, lady Bilqees was very wise and that is why she was able to lead even men while lady Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh was God fearing. She refused to worship her own husband and ended up being killed by her husband. In whichever thing that we do we should be God fearing and should put Him first.
The greatest temptation that a woman is now facing is raising children and wealth; this is why we are advised to give the world and its pleasures three divorces (talaka tatu). Once you manage to do that, then you’ll be able to lead a good religious life.”
She also said that it is important to maintain cleanliness since it is only possible to be closer to Allah when clean. Apart from that she advised us to use our skills to get money. Such skills include cooking and even applying henna. She said that since getting employment is not easy it would be easier to raise our living standards using such skills.
These are some of the questions raised after her speech; some of the members wanted to know when the short courses would begin and why boys do not benefit. They also wanted to know whether it would be possible to change the days of our meetings to Sundays since most of the members were only free on Sundays.
Sister Saumu told them that ABISN was a sisters organization and was mainly aimed at helping girls and women; but in future they would discuss to see if there was anything that they would do to help the boys. This was apart from sponsoring the boys in Rasul Al Akram Academy.
As for the courses, they were hoping to start the programme next year after the discussing about it in the office.
After extensively discussing about changing the dates, they agreed that after consulting each other at the office they would see if it would be possible to be meeting on Saturday in a given month and Sunday in the month that follows. Still, January’s meeting would be held on the last Saturday.
Thereafter the members were given maize floor and cooking fat to take home. The next meeting will be in Muharram (January 31st) 2009.
For Eid Al Hajj, a donation was made to the Women’s Prison in Nakuru, so that the women Muslim Inmates could also celebrate Eid with the rest of us. We are pleased to say this has been a successful venture for the past three years and are very grateful to Sis Femida Fazal for helping us to carry out our work in Nakuru.
We made a donation of a goat, 50 kgs rice, 20 liters of juice and cooking fat to the women prison. They were most grateful, and had a sumptuous feast for dinner that day, and even shared some with the male Muslim prisoners.