Muslimah In Focus; Mahmoudat Oba

MLH: As salam lykum warahmatullah wabarakatu.

Walaikum Salaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu.

MLH: Who is Mahmoudat? 

If I had to describe myself in one sentence, I would say that I am a deeply passionate and committed human being. I love growing and being of service to others and those are the two things that are at the heart of who I am. Occupationally, I am a recent accounting and finance graduate from LSE, I run the lifestyle and personal development ‘Myrihla’ and I am also an aspiring writer.

MLH: What inspired your decision to start blogging and how will you describe your blog?

I started blogging after failing my second year at university and it inspired me to face my fear of sharing my writing with others. Having my worst nightmare happen liberated me to finally get started.

I would describe my blog as personal and dynamic. The name Myrihla means my journey so I see my blog as a space for me to share different facets of my journey and the lessons I am learning from it. The blog covers various things that are deeply important to me such as Faith, Mental Health and Books!

MLH: How were you able to balance the demands of schooling and blogging?

It can be difficult to balance university and blogging, but I would say the key to achieving balance is identifying your priorities. In terms of practical tips, a notebook is key! I am constantly jotting down ideas during periods when I am not publishing any work which allows me to revisit them later.

It goes without saying that time management is also important when managing time-consuming activities. For some people, having a routine like a set hour where they write every day is efficient. I am a little bit more flexible now but I am hoping to have some sort of writing routine by the end of the year. And lastly, praying to Allah for Barakah in time always helps!

Time management is also important when managing time-consuming activities. Click To Tweet

MLH: You are very passionate about self-care and mental well-being; did any particular experience triggered this?

Prior to university, I didn’t really know much about mental health but my first and second year at the university was difficult because of the mental health challenges that I experienced.  When I started the blog, I decided I wanted to use it as a medium to shed light on my personal experiences. Self-care and mental well-being are extremely important and it’s unfortunate that conversation around mental health is still stigmatised. So, on the blog, I share lessons from mental health events that I attend and address misconceptions as a way of generating awareness.

MLH: What is your opinion about social media and mental health?

Social media and mental health are a bit like a double-edged sword. There are good and bad aspects to it. For me, Instagram has been a great place to connect with people who are doing inspiring work in the field of mental health and learn from their experiences. On the other hand, I also recognise the effects that social media can have on my psychological particularly for mindfulness and staying in the present.

Social media is a convenient but also addictive form of escapism. I try to take time away from it so I don’t get completely absorbed. It is not uncharacteristic of me to deactivate my account for 2 months or even 6 months sometimes.

Social media and mental health are a bit like a double-edged sword. There are good and bad aspects to it. Click To Tweet

MLH: How will you advise a young woman dealing with mental illness?

I would say don’t view your illness as a punishment from Allah. Dealing with mental illness is challenging enough without the added self-denigration of feeling like it Is a punishment. Don’t be afraid to seek help, it Is what Allah wants for you. See it as an opportunity as well- to heal, to know yourself better, and to develop a more intimate relationship with Allah (S).

MLH: What will you say to a young Muslimah who wants to delve into the world of blogging?

I am a big advocate for the importance of storytelling. I strongly believe that we all have things to learn from each other. I would say to a young Muslimah who wants to delve into blogging that their story matters and it gives them an incredible opportunity to be of service not only to Muslims but to the world. There Is a never right time to start, so I would encourage people to go for it. Blogging tends to be a learn as you go occupation.

MLH: How do you feel knowing that you are a source of inspiration for young Muslim girls?

It’s weird because I don’t necessarily see myself as a source of ‘inspiration’ and I do find it weird when I am referred to as such. I just see myself as someone who is living/ is aspiring to live authentically and I consider it to be a huge blessing that it strikes a chord with people and inspires them.

MLH: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years in shaa Allah?

In the next five years, I would love to have published a fiction and non-fiction book In shaa Allah and set up a social enterprise that honours the legacy of Malcolm X.

Success is…

Success for me is defined by my relationship with Allah (S). I always look at success through the paradigms that the Qur’an gives us. Am I being a good human being? Am I striving to live a purposeful and meaningful life? Am I being of service? I feel successful when I tick those criteria. The first 11 ayahs of Surah Al-Mu’minun and Surah Asr are my reference points for success.

The first 11 ayahs of Surah Al-Mu'minun and Surah Asr are my reference points for success. Click To Tweet

MLH: Please share a fun fact about yourself.

I am obsessed with tennis! And my Dad hates watching Football or Tennis with me because I scream too much and I’m always providing running commentary.

MLH: How do you slow down? Do you have any self-care tips for our sister?

Self-care for me is about understanding what allows me to recharge my battery. I think you have to understand yourself to know what self-care activities work for you. For me it’s going for walks/hikes, cooking a new meal, reading, yoga or watching a good movie.

MLH: Your advice for the young Muslimah still struggling to strike a balance between the attractions of this world and the deen.

Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment“. [Al-Hadid 57:20]

This ayah and other ayahs in the Qur’an about the temporary nature of this world has always kept me grounded and helped me to focus on what truly matters: success in the eyes of Allah (S) and success in the Hereafter. Our ultimate destination is the Hereafter, our life on earth is like a temporary bus stop. Why jeopardise the Hereafter and guaranteed rewards with Allah (S) for this fleeting world, considering that everything we want and desire is in Allah’s Hands.

Always turn to Allah (S) to make your path easy. Consult with Allah (S) when making decisions, turn your worries to Him and ask Him for help with whatever you’re struggling with, in this world. I don’t think we do that enough, solely rely and depend on Allah (S) to help us navigate this world.

Lastly, another dua that I rely on is:

“Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good,and save us from the torment of the Fire!”

Follow Mahmoudat & visit her blog;

Blog | Instagram

Photo Credit: Mahmoudat Oba

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