Muslim women professionals have been charged to participate in communal development and governance, especially with the new dispensation in Nigeria.
They are also tasked to strengthen their networking abilities to make them aware of their professional environment and in turn, help to develop their communities.
Scholars who spoke at the 2023 edition of the Professional Forum organised by the Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women) Organisation, Lagos State chapter, admonished that Muslim women should go out of their comfort zones to network for the betterment of the society at large.
The forum which held on Sunday, May 13, 2023, at the Lagos State House of Assembly Mosque, Ikeja, Lagos, with the theme: ‘Maximizing Professional Networking for Community Development and Engagement’, attracted members of the organisation from across the State.
Muslim female professionals must be actively involved in community development, Says Amirah
Hajia Bushrah Adeagbo-Jubril, Amirah, Al-Mu’minaat Lagos in her speech said that the theme was borne out of realisation of the dire need for women to actively be involved in community development services and programmes.
She said: “The theme for this year’s edition was borne out of the fact that we want our women to be involved in community development, as Muslims and vicegerents of Allah on earth. We are supposed to be involved in whatever happens in our environment.
“Presently in Nigeria, we’re all looking up to a new dispensation at Federal and State levels, and we want Muslims to be actively involved in governance. As the best community raised by Allah, we are supposed to be involved and lead by example. We should use our professional skills to make change in the society.
She rated Muslim female professionals’ level of engagement with their community average, noting that there is still a need for them, irrespective of their affiliations, to put in more conscious efforts.
According to her, “I’ll say our level of engagement with our immediate community is 50% and we want to go above board. That’s the reason we are engaging our sisters, because as Muslims, we don’t just build our homes, we build our respective communities. Managing the home without working on the community might nullify our efforts, as such, there’s a great need for community engagement. By the time different organisations charge their members to engage their communities, we’ll have more involvement of Muslims in community development.”
Networking is for communal good than personal development – Abu Umar Al-Faruq
One of the lead speakers, Alhaji Abdurrazaq Abdussalam, famously known as Abu Umar Al-Faruq said that networking for the good of the community is a collective and not individual responsibility.
He urged Muslim women professionals to be interested in communal good than personal development.
He said, “Networking is for the collective good, it’s not just about one person, it’s about the interest of the community. If you’re interested in solving the problems of the community, yours too will be solved. Hence, we should be more interested in collective goods than personal desires.
Abu Umar Al-Faruq, a retired broadcast communication expert with Voice of Nigeria (VON) charged that Muslim women should go out of their comfort zones to network for the betterment of the society at large.
“We’re imploring our sisters and mothers to go out of their comfort zones, meet people and interact with them professionally. We urge them not to restrict their interactions. They should commune and network with fellow professionals, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity and life views.”
The first Amir of The Muslim Congress (TMC) added that the life of a Muslim revolves around networking.
“Networking is about meeting people, connecting and communing with them. If you don’t do all these, how do you become a witness unto mankind? Networking is ingrained in the things we do as Muslims. We are to network at the mosque, school, places of work and everywhere we find ourselves.”
He further urged Muslims to learn more about their religion and to always trust Allah in times of challenges.”
Muslim Professionals should network to build their communities – Dr. Hafsat Adesina
A clinical pharmacist, Dr. Hafsat Adesina, in her lecture, stated that Islam as a religion advocates community service, adding teachers, doctors and other professionals should strengthen their networking abilities to extend the frontiers of their various communities.
“Community service is not held with levity in Islam and Muslims need to rise to the call. As teachers, counselors and professionals in general, there is a lot we can do to add value to our community and ourselves in return.
“There are so many community services one can engage in. As a teacher for instance, you can gather pupils in primary schools and coach them. You can also prepare secondary school students for their external exams. You don’t even need money to bring them together and if they should excel in their exams, they will always return the glory to you. You will also have a sense of fulfilment,” she said.
Dr. Adesina added: “In the cause, you will be forced to study hard and meet up with the trends of the time and by so doing, you are also developing yourself as a professional. You can also synergize with your fellows in the profession and invite them into the cause.
“As a medical practitioner, you can sensitize people on ailments and nutrition, prevention and treatment. Even as a pharmacist, you enlighten people on drugs, how and when to take them. You can key into an organization doing these things and volunteer to do it for them.”
Speaking further on the importance of professional networking, the guest lecturer said it would offer individuals the opportunity of getting mentors and mentees.
“Networking within your profession will make you stand out. It will avail you, mentors and mentees. You will derive joy and so will your mentor/mentee. You will contribute to the growth of your profession and the community as a whole,” she noted.
She also added that networking can help develop people’s communication skills because it’s about talking to people and exchanging ideas.
“Alhamdulillah, things are changing for the better now. Some people are introverts. They are very timid and they don’t know how to communicate. Networking also helps to develop one’s communication skills because you will talk to people and they will also talk to you in return.
“It’s not just about meeting people. You’ll go to meetings and conferences and you will have to talk. You’ll have to communicate with people.
“I’ll advise our sisters to go back to their professional groups and networks. It will contribute to your personal development and is always a win-win.”
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