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“If the intention is good, Allah Himself will guide you”: Zainab’s story about sincerity, aspiration and female power

We live in a century of noise, in society, far away from Islam. It is easy to lose the guidance to spirituality in such a world. Who should a modern Muslim woman look up to in order not to go astray from the right path among foisted ideals by Western culture? Turn to the example of worthy women of previous generations. At first glance, it seems like a gap between us and them is enormous. You don’t even know what to do, where to begin. Different life circumstances, drastically different life. But to get to be closer to these righteous women, there is no need to imitate them precisely. It is enough to focus on some components of their personality, which left an upright image throughout the centuries. And apply to your life those of them that respond.

We are starting a series of articles about the great female companions in Islam. Today, we will try to approach the first of the Prophet’s wives (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the honorable Khadija together with Zainab Sitdikova, sister from Ufa.

I am Zainab, the founder and creative director of Sahara, a fashion brand for Muslim women, an economist by education. I came to Islam at the age of 17 and turned to Zainab from Elsa – in honor of another mother of the faithful. Her generosity marveled me. The consonance of names, perhaps, also influenced the choice.

KHADIJA – THE FIRST TO HEED THE ISLAMIC CALL


I grew up in an irreligious family. It was only later that my relatives came to Islam: my sister, parents, cousins. By the mercy of Allah, today, almost all of my relatives are Muslim.

Now I am 42 years old, 25 of them spent in Islam, praise be to Allah. I was one of the very first Muslim women in Udmurtia. Four girls simultaneously converted to Islam. Why? My grandmother prayed namaz and wore a hijab. She has always been a role model of kindness for me—such a beaming human being. I subtly began to pray after her. And then I went to the mosque.

KHADIJA’S ADVANTAGES AND HER STANDING IN THE SOCIETY INSTILLED A RESPECT FOR HER FROM HER SURROUNDINGS


Wearing the hijab at that time was nearly heroism. My parents instilled a style sense in me, and I would always look good. And then, all of a sudden, I start to fully cover myself, all at once, I completely change my style. A real shock to my family. They never had any practicing Muslims in their surroundings. There even wasn’t any information at all. But it’s my parents’ merit that I am the way I am – with leadership being a huge part of my character.

I decided and I put on a hijab.

I think that a Muslim woman can be stylish even in a wide dress. You can style your clothes according to the norms of Islam, in a way that will look elegant. Even my mother’s friends in those years admitted that I looked cool in my “bags”. I can’t recall a single situation when someone would say bad things to me. I have never felt discrimination against the hijab either. Although I wore black abaya inclusively, I usually tried to adapt to our region. There was no negativity in my direction. It all depends on the behavior of the person, how one puts oneself.

KHADIJA OWNED CARAVANS AND SUCCEEDED IN THE MATTERS OF TRADE


My parents always supported me and praised me a lot. I believe that is the main reason why I developed those leadership qualities during my childhood. Even as a child, I used to buy chewing gum in the city only to then resell it in the village.

Even then, a small entrepreneur lived in me: I wanted to earn money by myself.

As I was growing, my ambitions grew along with me. I tried myself in network marketing at the age of 17. I tried to do some business. I opened a fitness center, which till this very day, I remember with warmth. Once on Kurban Bayram (Eid Al-Adha), I slaughtered a ram and invited sisters from all over the city to my fitness center. That way, Muslim women got a place for socializing. We often met, even started to conduct lessons. It turned out to be an impromptu educational center. What a lovely time it was!

THANKS TO KHADIJA’S SUPPORT AND HER CALM, WISE CONFIDENCE, AS WELL AS HER WEALTH, IT WAS EASIER FOR PROPHET MUHAMMED(PEACE AND BLESSINGS OF ALLAH BE UPON HIM) TO DEDICATE HIMSELF FOR CALLING TO ISLAM FULLY


Back in Saudi Arabia, my husband and I realized that upon returning home, it would be necessary to arrange life in Russia. There was a question about purchasing a home: after all, both of us were over 30. We wanted to get on our feet, but we understood that my husband did not have an entrepreneurial vein. And I did not want him to spend energy on business. After all, he graduated from the University of Ar-Riyadh, Faculty of Shariah Sciences. This is the great Mercy of Allah. I treasured this and dreamed that my husband would engage in the Islamic call and spread of knowledge in Russia. Besides, his parents built a mosque where young people gathered. I was afraid that knowledge and the business movement could not get along, and so I decided to take the finances on myself. Well, and he became an Imam in the mosque.

About three months of employment was enough for me to understand: this is not mine. Due to my character, I wanted more freedom. There were always some goals and plans in my head.

I wanted to execute something myself, not just obey.

Back then, there was a scarce of stylish Muslim clothes in Russia. Noticing the demand, we brought two suitcases for sale from Cairo. They were dismantled immediately. The next five bags, too. The beginning has happened. We opened a boutique in the mall.

And then a click during a conversation with a friend: why carry, if you can open your production?! My entrepreneurial vein joyfully throbbed. Having borrowed 70 thousand rubles from my brother, we bought sewing machines and fabrics. We began sewing, and it began to turn. The first collections were disassembled, praise is to Allah.

KHADIJA – MOTHER OF BLESSED CHILDREN AND WIFE WHICH HER SPOUSE REMEMBERED LONG YEARS AFTER HER DEATH


Frankly speaking, my husband was not always completely satisfied. And yet, he was never against either. Without his support, I would not be able to do anything. Alone physical strength required was a lot! He was always there for me for the whole 11 years. I never felt any pressure coming from his side. He trusted me completely. However, now my husband believes that it is time for me to leave the business. Of course, we act according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and we resolve all disputed issues according to Sharia. Girls only team. And yet he does not want me to continue. Because, as I understand it, he feels very sorry for me. Perhaps due to the fact that I can not delegate and take most of the workload on myself. And he wants me to be just a woman, rest from the world of business. So I could dedicate myself just for being myself, to children, family.

KHADIJA DONATED HER HUGE WEALTH FOR THE SAKE OF NEEDS OF MUSLIMS


My journey to charity has just begun. I don’t have my own fund yet. As soon as I close my debts, I plan to help build a madrassah near my husband’s parents’ mosque. My desire is to make a contribution from our family to the development of the Ummah. How many needy families are only in our surroundings! Some don’t even have food for tomorrow. We must help if we have the opportunity. I would like to take care of several needy families.

Saving money is not good. Of course, I want to put my children on their own feet and to try giving them a decent education. But mundane goals must go hand in hand with spiritual ones so that the heart does not become attached to money.

All by intention, praise be to Allah. The ways and opportunities for good are continually opening up. For example, the All-Russian competition of readers of the Qur’an in Ufa. The first time I took it to a mosque, which my husband’s parents built. I wanted to share the experience gained in Saudi Arabia. We got a good response, and this year the tenth anniversary competition was to take place under my general sponsorship.

I also began to collaborate with “The Good Deal” project: a part of our brand’s revenue goes to this fund. I am so afraid to talk about it out loud. May Allah grant my words and deeds to be sincere. May Allah lead us in a direct way and protect us from window dressing!

THE PROPHET IS CLOSER TO THE BELIEVERS THAN THEY ARE THEMSELVES, AND HIS WIVES ARE THEIR MOTHERS(SURA ALLIES, AYAT 7). THEY ARE THE EXAMPLE FOLLOWED BY FAITHFUL WOMEN


When the editorial staff of the Amanatinfo informed me about the topic of the interview, I got goosebumps. After all, I myself tried to draw a parallel between the life of Khadija and mine, while still living in Saudi Arabia. I thought about the way the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was, and I thought to myself why shouldn’t I try to do the same. I never tried to recreate the image on purpose, it turns out on its own.

I think if the intention is good, Allah Himself guides you.

It seems like I’m happy, but at the same time, I’m afraid and I don’t want my words to be empty. May Allah give it to come true in the future and I really become like Khadija.

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