Delight Of Our Eyes


Munazzah Chou, Farnham, UK

Ijaz is the Arabic word Muslims use to describe the inimitability of the Quran and refer to its miraculous beauty. The Quran teaches readers to pray,

‘Our Lord, grant us of our spouses and children the delight of our eyes, and make each of us a leader for the righteous.’ (25:75)

With this prayer we ask that our spouses and children make us so happy that we are moved to tears and that within them we find refuge from the storm of the outside world. This same phrase is also found in the Quran to describe the emotion of Prophet Moses’ mother when after having hidden her baby, he was found by Pharaoh’s wife and returned to her care. This gives some indication of the depth of feeling that we are praying for.

A husband and wife each play their part in enabling such a sublime marriage. The first step must be the realisation of the sanctity of marriage. This is explained by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad, the second successor of the Promised Messiah, who writes,

“It entails a heavy responsibility for both man and woman, but I find very few people realise it. When it is attempted, it is done on a very inadequate scale. The Islamic law has only distinguished between two sets of rules. One pertains to God Himself, and the other to our fellow beings. Marriage therefore falls into the second category and may be considered to be its chief proponent.”

That the relationship with a spouse makes up the most significant part of ‘Haququl Ibad’ (rights of people) is revelatory.

The Quran describe the relationship and responsibilities of a husband and wife in the following verse:

‘They are a garment for you and you are a garment for them.’ (2:188)

The use of the metaphor ‘garment’ here is just another example of the beauty of the Quran and its remarkable capacity to convey great depth of meaning in just a few choice words. Clothing is worn for protection, adornment and to hide defects. In the same way, man and woman should protect each other’s honour and morals, and make each other feel secure with love, support and understanding.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an,

He said, our Lord is He Who gave unto everything its proper form and then guided it to its proper function.’ (20:51)

Islam views marriage as an equal partnership between two people, by which they can gain Allah’s pleasure. The roles of husbands and wives are clearly defined so that each knows what is expected of them. A husband has been assigned to working outside the home as the breadwinner; whilst a wife is physiologically suited to bearing children and has been made responsible for their upbringing and maintaining the home.

Just as in any system, different individuals are assigned different roles for optimum functioning, similarly, in the family unit the man is the head of the household, he bears the ultimate responsibility for providing for that pious and safe place within which paradise is formed under the feet of mothers. In return, men receive obedience and support from their spouse; the obedience of a righteous wife to a righteous husband.

Islam has organised the rights of spouses in such a way that if each of them perfectly fulfils the other’s rights they will each be the delight of the other’s eyes. However, if one of them misuses this right, then marital life which is a partnership will fail. Islam acknowledges the rights of the wife over her husband just as it acknowledges the husband’s rights over his wife. If both know their Islamic rights and duties, it will create a social climate conducive to the achievement of the real goal of life, the achievement of righteousness and communion with God.



The Nation Builders



Ayesha Mahmood Malik, Surrey, UK

Mothers – whether perceived from a secular or a theocratic angle – or measured through a religious or irreligious lens – regardless of cast, colour and creed – the notion of motherhood embodies an innate sense of selfless love and giving that knows no bounds. A mother loves not for want of love in return, she endures and sacrifices endlessly and silently not in the hope of a great reward, and she strives resiliently not knowing when the striving will cease. She is the archetype of ceaseless and boundless affection that no other relationship in God’s earth has ever been able to emulate.

It would follow that the reverence attached to such an institution would be without question and universal. However, at the dawn of the Islamic faith, girls, including mothers of the future, would often be buried alive at birth. Islam became the first religion to afford mothers the lofty station of having paradise under their feet, as stated by the Holy Prophet, (peace be on him) and in terms of respect and obedience due arguably even ahead of the fathers; on another occasion he named the mother three times through service of whom paradise could be earned before naming the father.

If a mother’s stature is privileged in Islam it is because a mother carries a heavy onus as well on her shoulders. She is charged with the primary responsibility of rearing the next generation of individuals and ensuring that they become responsible members of society, giving back to their communities. She is also to ensure their high moral values and a sense of duty to civic society. A mother’s role is inimitable if discharged faithfully to forming the building blocks of peaceful, well knit and tolerant neighbourhoods, districts, societies and nations.

Thus, a woman who chooses to give up her career and become a stay-at-home mum in order to focus her entire energies in this noble task ought to be deeply respected and appreciated for her choices. However, the modern world chooses to class her service under the un-recognised work category of ‘housewife’ – the category that doesn’t stop giving but which receives no recognition. In fact, ultra liberal pundits see this as a reduction of women’s capabilities and them being relegated to the confines of their home and being made to sacrifice otherwise successful careers.

Yet it is an established fact that without the contributions of this under-recognised, under-revered work group the world would lack its leaders, it teachers, its scientists, its lawyers, its engineers. The world would be without the sense of stability and security which is borne out of walking into the house to the fresh smells of home made food. A mother’s love and devotion indeed form the foundations whereupon the buildings of lifetime success are constructed.

On one occasion the Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was asked to clarify the Islamic position on female imams. Poignantly, he responded by questioning what an imam can really do for his people? His Holiness went on to respond to his own question stating how an imam could not guarantee high moral values and righteousness out of anyone following him in prayer but a mother can. Hence, he concluded that a mother was far more powerful than an imam.

The Wing of Humility

Wing of Humility

Basira Ajmal, Bournemouth

We are living in the 21st century with a plethora of rights. Every day on social media, TV, or on the street we witness individuals, groups or organizations labelled as activists proclaiming and working for a different set of rights; women rights, children rights, employee rights, free speech rights, refugee rights and so on. Mesmerized by the chiming resonance of this r-word, we often neglect the other more important r-word i.e. responsibilities. We forget the fact that rights cannot be established without the fulfilment of responsibilities. This basic principal is however fully ingrained in the beautiful and universal Islamic teachings. Islam extraordinarily granted all these rights to us about one and a half millennia ago but at the same time, for the implementation of all these rights, Islam fervently emphasizes on discharging one’s responsibilities towards our fellow beings. So where does this network of rights and responsibilities begin from? Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an:

Thy Lord has commanded, “Worship none but Him, and show kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, never say unto them any word expressive of disgust nor reproach them, but address them with kind words.” “And lower to them the wing of humility out of tenderness. And say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them even as they nourished me in my childhood.’” (17:24-25)

These verses signify that after the duty towards God, our foremost and greatest responsibility is towards our parents—the first and the most important link of the network. It is incumbent upon children to love, obey and respect their parents. To provide an unambiguous criterion for the level of kindness we owe to our parents, the first verse elucidates with an example that when one or both of our parents reach an age of weakness and frailty while living with us, we should not spare them any act of kindness and we, must not despise or scorn them the least. At old age, when their behaviour sometimes gets challenging, we should not even utter the slightest expression of  disapproval. Instead, we should speak to them in a highly esteemed manner and treat them with reverent honour.

The expression, lower to them the wing of humility, reminds us of a bird which opens up its wings to provide shelter and protection to its offspring.  In the same way, Allah the Almighty has obligated us to cover our parents gently under our love, generosity and meekness by providing them with comfort and utmost care. Even after doing all this, we can still never fully repay the favours, love and sacrifices that our parents bore for us. Therefore, to make up the insufficiency, Allah instructs us to pray for them. The words of the prayer infer that in old age, parents need to be treated as obligingly and affectionately as children are looked after in their childhood. We are required to pray to Allah to bestow mercy and forgiveness on our parents. It is worth noting here that completely opposite to this before the advent of Islam, infanticide of female children was a common practice prevalent among Arabs. The birth of a daughter was considered a disrespect for the family and thus they were doomed to be buried alive. Islam, however, strongly condemned the killing of daughters as cited in the Holy Qur’an (81:9-10 & 16:59-60), and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) categorically adjured on good upbringing of daughters saying, ‘He who brings up two girls through their childhood will appear on the Day of Judgment attached to me like two fingers of a hand.’(Muslim). As Muslim women, we owe our lives and all our rights to Islam which admonished our parents against denying our rights. Thus, being daughters, we must also fulfill our duties towards our parents and show them gratitude as Allah the almighty says,

‘…Give thanks to Me and to thy parents. Unto Me is the final return.’ (31:15)

It is our task to cherish, obey and revere our parents with great forbearance. We need to lower our wing of humility onto them as they selflessly spent their lives bringing us up with care and compassion. If we love them, we will strive to please them and take delight to be in their company and find pleasure in spending time with them. We should consult them for advice on matters big and small and share with them our joys and blues. Having our parents with us is one of the greatest blessings of Allah, which we need to treasure and admire and we need to make them feel like a valuable part of our lives. We must never leave them helpless or God-forbid, abandoned. In fact we must practically manifest our commitment to them because nothing gives parents a feeling of higher content than an eminently dutiful child.

The system of rights and responsibilities is a reciprocal one. If we fully discharge our obligations towards our parents, only then can we expect our own children to fulfil our rights. Therefore, instead of focusing on attaining our rights, if we all start aiming to undertake and accomplish our responsibilities, the delivery of rights will become reflexive.

Muslim Women and Their Identity

Identity Muslim Woman Blog

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Identity As A Muslim Woman

Identity Muslim Woman 2 Perspectives

                                                      Aneela Mahmood, London

Freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. Then why today do I receive sympathetic stares or judgmental glares when I walk out with my head and body covered? Why must freedom be defined by how little one wears and oppression be judged against how much one wears? In the name of freedom, women are pressured into wearing little to no clothes- because how little you wear defines how free you are. These are nothing but sexist ideologies conformed by misogynists to benefit their own desires. I, as a Muslim woman can proudly say that I have not allowed myself to become victimised by these misogynistic views on what defines a free and liberal woman. To me a free woman, is one who doesn’t allow others to dictate her freedom; one who doesn’t allow herself to feel undermined by pejorative views of those around her; and one who strives to amplify her own peace rather than seeking to advance that of others. Hence, I can proudly define myself as a free Muslim woman.

My identity as a Muslim woman may be questioned and mocked. However, nothing can change what I as Muslim woman harbour within me. Protection of my chastity, dignity and honour through the perseverance of my hijab and humble demeanour is what defines me.

The devotion to seek and discover my happiness through prayer is what defines me. The desire to please Allah above all others, is what defines me.

Thus, whilst the so-called ‘progressive’ women of the developed world desperately endeavour for acceptance in the contemporary society, I as a Muslim woman, primarily strive for the acceptance of Allah Almighty; and that is what defines me.


                                                          Bareya Khan, Thornton Heath

A Muslim woman is not only a blessing for herself but for the entire world. The birth of a young Muslim girl allows her parents to open the doors of paradise unto themselves. The marriage of a Muslim woman allows her and her spouse to have completed half of their faith and the role of a Muslim mother allows her children to find paradise under her feet. Thus the identity of a Muslim woman is that of a blessing. Her identity is in what she is able to give to the world through her being; to her parents, to her life partner and to her future generation as well as herself. She grows in all aspects of life and every aspect of her speaks for her faith and her love of God. She uses her lips for truth rather than lies. She uses her voice to spread kindness rather than hate. She uses her ears to listen rather than to ignore. She uses her hands for charity rather than for spreading hurt. She uses her faith for prayers rather than to curse. That is the identity of a Muslim woman.

As a Muslim woman, I’ve been liberated from a silent form of subjection. My value is not determined by my looks and my natural beauty, but my worth is determined by what I aspire to offer to this world on a much higher scale; a scale of righteousness, a scale of piety. I don’t need society’s standards of what is beautiful to define my worth and my identity. My worth and my salvation lies not in this world, but the Creator of this world.

I am honoured, and I stand strong as ever, because I am a Muslim woman. I do not adorn myself with diamonds and pearls, but with the values of a Muslimah, a believing woman. Patience. Compassion. Strength. Righteousness. Tolerance. Modesty. Humility. Honesty. Love. These are my values, and this is my identity. I am proud to be a Muslim woman.





Can Strike Action Be Justified?


                                                  Manaal Rehman, London

As Muslims we believe and try to practice in our daily lives what the Holy Qur’an teaches in chapter 2, verse 12: ‘Create not disorder on the earth…’. Consequently, any strike action goes against the teachings of Islam as it causes disruption and is essentially an act of revolt.

His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, leader of the world wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community stated in his address at the Military Headquarters in Koblenz, Germany in 2012, ‘It should be remembered that even where protests or strikes are conducted peacefully, without recourse to criminal damage or violence, it still can have a very negative effect. This is because even peaceful protests often result in a loss of millions to the economy of the nation.’

On the 26th of February, on my way to a lecture, I was stopped by a lecturer from entering university. As baffling as this was, they had something to say and I had time to listen. They said, ‘Please support us by not crossing the picket line.’ This was a shared experience for many students across the country.

Hundreds of university workers and lecturers, alongside students, are gathering at the main entrances of major universities including SOAS, The London School Economics and King’s College London, to prevent students from entering the buildings. Academic staff have gone on strike from teaching. From what I gather the reason for this commotion is complex.

In a nutshell, members of the UCU (University and College Union) are going on strike because their pensions are being ‘axed’. Staff from 61 universities across the country are being affected and 15 of those have gone on strike.

The UCU have stated ‘University employers want to end guaranteed pensions and reduce retirement income for all’[i].  This means that university staff will face up to a 40% reduction in their pensions (this is depending on their grade and length of service). They hope that as a result of the strikes that Universities UK (the representative body for University Managements) will resume talks with the UCU and take further and fair action.

It is mostly Academics from the Humanities department who have been affected the most. One such academic from the history department of King’s College London said, ‘I cannot wait to get back to teaching…but I am frustrated that my work is not valued enough…and in order to do my job, I need to have the proper conditions,’ adding ‘fundamentally student’s university fees are being spent on perks and luxurious building, as opposed to their actual learning’. Opinions escalated to the point that the staff claimed the ‘University management are treating university students as consumers’.

Slogans like ‘Whose University! Our University’. ‘When they say cut back! We say fight back!’, were being shouted and bus drivers were beeping their horns in support. The national president of the UCU said ‘the learning conditions of students are the working conditions of staff’. If it can be universally agreed that the working conditions of teaching staff across the board are unsatisfactory, then what can be said about the learning conditions of the students.

From primary school through to university, I have found that the people that build the foundations of our society, seem themselves to be overworked and perhaps neglected. It is a fact that an academic or a primary school teacher (both vital to the education of hundreds) with 10 years of experience can earn less than a graduate at Goldman Sacs. One may ask, why is that the case?

That said, fact remains owing to the strike action hundreds of students are being deprived of an education for which they are paying hefty tuition fees. They are also are not being taught parts of the curriculum. This is impacting on their studies and possibly even their educational experience and future endeavours. Thus, it is worth considering if the outcomes of the strikes are worth the losses.

The UCU say that ‘Striking is always the last resort’… It goes without saying that no sincere educator would willingly stand in the way of any student getting their education. Hence, we must consider, how desperate must they be to do so? And how have the governing bodies let this happen?

Of course according to Islam, being an educator is the noblest profession. After parents, teachers are the most deserving of our respect. I hope and pray that educators (and people working in educational institutions to make them better) get the working conditions they hope for and deserve.




Note: Strikes were also in support of the university cleaning staff, where about 100 cleaners are hired for the daily cleanliness of a building used by 30,000 + people. They also feel that they are being unfairly treated and have unsatisfactory working conditions.


My Identity as a Muslim Woman

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Iffat Mirza, London

Living in the Western world where many are quick to judge me on my veil and my different lifestyle as well as many preconceived stereotypes being projected on myself by the public is challenging. However, all this fades to nothing. Being a Muslim woman is an honour; It comes with a sense of community, duty, and ambition. My identity as a Muslim woman is that of serving my community, an identity that strives to break free of not only the stigmatisation of Muslims but also the barriers of women, even in the Western world.

On a physical note, my identity is most often defined by my wearing the veil. Questions such as “do your parents force you to wear it?͛” and statements from non-Muslims such as ‘surely, you can take it off now – your parents aren’t here’ are far more common than one would hope. However, these responses from people who are not Muslims only reinforce the beliefs that Islam taught me – that I am not here to please society, rather I only serve to please my Allah. My response to the first question is always ‘no, I do it for Allah,’ and to the latter statement the response is simple – I believe God is Omnipresent. I try to always live my life knowing that Allah is watching me. The veil is my declaration to the world that I am proud to be a Muslim woman and that I believe in the commandments of Allah. Therefore, my veil is a part of my identity that I want to present to society.

Furthermore, my identity as a Muslim woman is that of an ambitious woman. Islam has taught me that I can, and by the Grace and Blessings of Allah, I will. This includes wanting to help improve my community, to help in the efforts to bring about peace and to improve myself. I am inspired to have ambitions to achieve academic and worldly excellence as well as religious; as a woman, Islam has allowed and encouraged me to do this.

My identity is of a happy, confident and faithful Muslim woman.

My Identity as a Muslim Woman

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Nabila Khalid, Manchester

A person’s identity͛ or more accurately one’s self-concept͛ is defined as their belief about themselves. So who am I? What is my identity?

I think of myself to be a career-orientated British Ahmadi Muslim woman. I grew up with a clear vision of studying hard, gaining a degree and establishing a successful career in the medical industry alongside volunteering for the community (future possible self). So I studied hard and gained a BSc in Biomedical Science. Fast forward 8 years since my graduation, today and I am a stay-at-home mother, a wife and an active member of my local community.

I decided to take a break from advancing my career to get married, build a home and focus on advancing myself as a wife, mother and member of the British community. Why have I made these choices? My religion guides me. It has allowed me to unapologetically be equal to my husband despite being a stay-at-home mum and not going out to work alongside him.

I consider myself to be a feminist; as our faith repeatedly tells us we are equal. Maybe I am not a feminist in the popular sense of the term; I do not want to be the same as men, I cannot be the same as men as biologically I am made differently. For example, to be expected to carry out the same roles as men at the same time as incubate, birth and nourish another human being is not equality in the slightest.

Abraham Maslow, a psychologist developed the “hierarchy of needs – (physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, self-actualisation) in an effort to bring a sense of order to the chaos of human behaviour. The first 2 needs are self-explanatory and form the basic needs for survival.

The third need is belonging – through the guidance of my beloved Imam and Caliph (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad), my present self has found its place in the community as an Ahmadi Muslim, mother, wife and British woman. And it has allowed me to do so without compromising my esteem (the 4th need).

My future self needs to work on achieving the last stage, self-actualisation, as this is a difficult one to achieve. A stage achieved by many great personalities in history. On a spiritual level for example, by women such as Hadhrat Maryam (Mary), Hadhrat Khadija and indeed the perfect man the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings be on him, also the Promised Messiah (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad), and Jesus, the Buddha etc.

Luckily the Promised Messiah in his book The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, defines what I interpret to be the spiritual aspects of self-actualisation as Nafsi Mutma͛innah * which translates as ‘the soul at rest͛’ and tells us how to work on achieving it. May we be able to do so!

My Identity as a Muslim Woman

Identity Muslim Woman-WajeehaRana.png

By Wajeeha Rana, Slough

The question of my identity as a Muslim woman has been raised repeatedly, at university and in the work place. This is perhaps because quite evidently, I am identifiable as a Muslim from the way in which I dress, and my choice to wear the hijab is a very prominent symbol of commitment to my religion. I feel an indescribable bond with my fellow Muslim women, of which many share this common identifier. As an Ahmadi Muslim woman, I am quite literally part of a sisterhood, one in which I feel that it is in identifying as a Muslim woman that brings out the best in me. I do not experience any hindrance in serving my faith or the wider community, rather the feeling of belonging and having a common objective has always been an invigorating one.

I also believe that identity is not something which can simply be defined by one͛s outer appearance. For example, my identity can be made up of a vast number of things, such as my race, my culture, and my personality. However, my identity as a Muslim woman can never be separated from me, because the positive influence of my faith is so deep rooted in my every day. It is Islam that has taught me that I as a Muslim woman have a responsibility and right to education, while many societies all over the world seem to suppress women͛s rights. It is also Islam that has taught me how to integrate into society in a dignified manner. I do not feel lesser than anyone or distracted by discussion about whether my status could in any way be inferior to a man in Islam. It is indeed Islam which has taught me that just presenting myself as a Muslim from the outside is not the whole point. The inner must reflect the outer, and so I strive to better myself so that any good act is not just a reflection on my character, but on me as a Muslim woman, who takes pride in this identity and feels empowered by it every day.

Social Barriers and the Islamic View

Social Barrier...BLOG

Zujaja Khan, London

On 20 February 2018, the international community will commemorate the UN World Day of Social Justice, this year’s theme being the migrant worker. It is estimated that there are 258 million international migrants, with 150 million of those being migrant workers. The United Nations defines a migrant worker as a ‘person who is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national’. By that definition, it may be safe to say that every one of us knows a migrant worker: our parents, teachers, doctors, local shop keepers, colleagues. In the UK alone, 99% of the horticultural labour force has been made up of migrant workers.[1]

Governments across the world have concerns about the permeating effect that migrant workers have on their social and economic culture. Not a month goes by without new headlines of the ordeals migrant workers face; in the last year alone, undocumented workers in the United States have been facing relentless scrutiny and persecution from their government. In 2017 the economic blockade of Qatar exacerbated the poor quality of life for migrant workers who were already living in poverty.[2] The Thai government introduced foreign labour legislation last year that would fine companies found to have employed migrant workers without sufficient documentation (a legislative move that has seen an ‘exodus’ of workers).[3] Migrant workers’ post-Brexit discomfort here in the United Kingdom has drastically altered the face of our labour force in the horticultural sector, leading to a crisis in farming.[4]

How best to go about the advancement of social justice for migrant workers is indeed a complex and deep-rooted question facing the global community, so providing a one-size-fits-all analysis or solution is futile. The wider picture here must be considered. However, from a cultural perspective I believe there does exist one commonality at the core of this dire situation: a practice of distrust.

The fundamental principle of Ahmadiyyat, the renaissance of Islam, is simple, yet profound: love for all, hatred for none. We strive towards a fairer, more peaceful and collaborative world. But the migrant worker’s life is thrown into uncertainty and scrutiny in every debate about national security, public safety, stable economies.

In the Holy Quran, it states:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a lustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a glittering star. It is lit from a blessed tree — an olive — neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would well-nigh glow forth even though fire touched it not. Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He will. And Allah sets forth parables to men, and Allah knows all things full well (24:36).

Allah here has made clear that His bounty is not specific East or West, or any particular region, and that no one group has superiority over another. The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) emphasised this in his Sermon on the Mount, in which he said:

As God has made you one brotherhood, so be not divided. A non-Arab has no superiority over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one.

Of course, the situation of the migrant worker is a multi-faceted, ongoing political issue, but on a basic human level Islam teaches us repeatedly that love for all people is our duty as Muslims. With more love for humanity, our pursuit of justice becomes more enlightened and powerful.

As Muslim women in particular, we are in an advantaged position to help – we have the guidance of the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him), our beloved Khalifa, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad. In his Friday sermon delivered on 1 June 2012 he said that among God’s creation the greatest is humankind, most eminent of all creation but man becomes a true human being when he tries to be advantageous to others.

We have the examples of many women in Islamic history who have shown that our status as women is of equal measure to men. Therefore, in such a blessed position, it is vital for us to help advance the cause of others to bring about a more just and equitable society. Hadhrat Khadjiah (may Allah be pleased with her) is an excellent example for us as Muslim women; she was the first person to accept Islam, believing in the message the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) was sent by Allah. It is related that the Holy Prophet ( peace and blessings be upon him) said about Hadhrat Khadijah : “When people rejected me she stood by me; when people disbelieved, she believed and accepted Islam; when I had no support, she helped me.”

We mustn’t take our position as Ahmadi Muslim women for granted. We should remember that as a community, we are blessed with the leadership of Khilafat to enable us to harness our capabilities to create meaningful and lasting change in the world for all.