Volunteering, Career Achievements, Fashion Shows and Henna Night: Hijab Day in Vinnytsia, Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia

Last weekend, Ukrainian Islamic Cultural Centres through the combined effort of Ukrainian Muslimahs League wrapped up the World Hijab day with final themed events. “Bright”, “interesting” and “momentous” are only a few of titles generously posted by guests of those events on social media, along with their headscarf-clad photos.

Muslimahs in Vinnytsia held their Hijab Day on Saturday, 8 February. They dispelled stereotypes about “Muslimahs imprisoned in their homes and kitchens” by telling, in particular, about their own volunteering projects and holding a fashion show by Vinnytsia Muslim designer Nafisa Roziyeva. They also did headscarf styling for everyone interested, and treated the gathering with tea and sweets. To wrap up the ladies’ party, they invited some men to perform a traditional Arab dance for them.

 

 

In Dnipro, Hijab Day was held on 9 February by the local women’s organisation “Blagodiya”. They also started with dispelling stereotypes that headscarf is for sure a means of oppression, and that a Musimah is only capable of unqualified work (in case she does have a job). They spoke about successful Muslimahs from all walks of life, as well as of the religious background that makes modest clothing important for those women. The organizers also did a fashion show, demonstrating modest clothes of different styles, some with references to different ethnic backgrounds, and did a workshop on styling kerchiefs and headscarves. Besides treats, the guests were offered to participate in a quiz and win some presents.

 

 

Zaporizhzhia Muslimahs also held their Hijab Day on 9 February. They also spoke about the stereotypes and the importance of the concept of hijab (modest clothing) for female followers of Islam; mentioned successful Muslimahs; recalled some Ukrainian traditional headdress and different ways of its styling. Besides, this year’s kicker was a performance recreating Henna Night, a Crimean Tatar bridal shower. According to one of the organizers, Ms.Niyara Mamutova, that was their natural way to develop the last year’s topic of wedding traditions of different regions of Ukraine (then represented by a ceremony of tying a kerchief over the newlywed woman’s head during the wedding party. This time the guests learned about the wedding arrangements of Crimean Tatars: how the presents are delivered, how the bride is dressed while everyone is singing and telling stories, how the bride’s arms are decorated with henna patterns and how she and her future mother-in-law greet each other in order to show their mutual respect. And, of course, treats were available not only for the performers of the Henna Night, but for the guests as well: tea, coffee and sweets were offered to everyone.

“I love Mary, mother of Jesus, because I am a Muslimah”

On September 15, the volunteers from the Maryam Women’s Organisation held an educational event “I Love Mary, Mother of Jesus, Because I’m Muslimah.” The project was also supported by Tariq Sarhan, a representative of Mercy for Mankind international initiative. It should be noted that volunteers  — Margarita, Daria and Olga  — are also members of the Mercy for Mankind group, and such educational campaigns are coordinated through the initiative’s group on Viber.

On Sunday, a small number of the group members could come, but a lot of people were interested in getting the information about it, as a “Animal Rights March” was going in Mariinsky Park at the same time, and there were much more people than usual. People whose hearts are open to the world became a great audience: they were coming to the stand, asking questions, warming up with tea and coffee, participating in a quiz, having awarded with sweet prizes at the end – fragrant honey puffs.

The organizers were pleasantly surprised that many of those who came up to them already had a basic knowledge of Islam and Muslims, so the quiz was easy for them. Even the kids showed good awareness! Others, on the contrary, were coming up to due to lack of knowledge: they wondered what connection was between Mary and Muslimahs. And they were told that Muslims respect Mary very much, and know not only about her life, but also about the lives of her parents and relatives; mentioned in Qur’an, which includes the whole Surah named after Mary, and the miracles associated with this righteous person are mentioned in great detail.

It was interesting to communicate with a group of devote Christians: they found much in common with Muslims concerning their knowledge and attitude toward that person. They noticed differences as well, but discussed them with respect for each other’s views. The two groups shared even their contacts with each other, and Christians promised to visit Kyiv Islamic Cultural Centre, noticing that they would not change their religious views, though. They were assured that no one would require it from them: They were just asked to come with peace and hearts open to dialogue and building the bridges.

Exporting Experience: Head of Ukrainian Muslimahs League Gave Lecture and Training for Moldovan Sisters in Faith

Ukrainian Muslimahs League not only holds events in different regions of Ukraine, but also has enough experience to share abroad. Thus, Head of the League, Ms.Olha Fryndak, who had a private visit to Moldova in August,  was invited to give a lecture for her sisters in faith from Moldovan muslimahs League. The meeting took part on 18 August.

Ms.Fryndak exemplified her lecture with success stories of Muslimah volunteers from different regions of Ukraine, who, despite having jobs, education in process, and kids, managed to find time for being useful for both the local communities and the overall Ukrainian Ummah and Ukrainian society. By not dividing Muslims and Non-Muslims, the UML’s volunteers share true information on Islam and combat stereotypes, strenthening interfaith peace and cohesion.

According to the lecturer, who had already spoken for Moldovan Muslimahs several years earlier, she was really happy to see the increased activity of her Moldovan sisters in faith. She mentioned that last time, there have hardly been a dozen women in the audience, while, three years later, now there were over three dozen.

The cooperation wasn’t over after the lecture ended: the MML asked Ms.Olha to make a training on organizing and coordinating the team’s work as well. So a week later, on 24 August (Ukrainian Independence Day), they had another meeting where they learned how to analyze the situation, set goals, define their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and define what they were eager to invest in the cause and what was their targeted audience. They also spoke about working as a team, developing common rules and sharing responsibilities.

Each participant got some homework which they have to send to their trainer in September. That must help them define their main fields of work and how they are planning to grow in order to fulfill the roles chosen.

Camp in Carpathians for Female Activists: Combination of Religious and Secular Programmes

30 female activists of All-Ulkrainian Muslimahs League, coming from Kyiv, Lviv, Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv and Sumy, participated in educational recreational camp that the Association held in Slavske on 8-13 July. That wasn’t just a mere chance to get away from it all and leave everyday duties behind, but also an opportunity to gain more knowledge they could make use of both in this life and in the Hereafter. There was a novelty adopted from this year’s children’s camps, namely evening campfire stories.

The agenda was well thought-out to cover both the physical and spiritual recreation: there was a time for prayers and individual worship, time for morning jogging, and a balanced diet. After recharging, both physically and spiritually, in the morning, the participants began their day of study.

During the very first Qur’an lessons, the women were given a clear and achievable goal: they had to memorize the 56th Sura, The Inevitable, and present their results during a closing recitation contest. Of course, the best reciters were awarded.

During trainings, they spoke about the emotional burnout, establishing connections with different types of personalities, student-teacher ethics, general communication ethics, sisterhood in Islam and morals of everyday deeds. They recalled respective examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. The participants also learned how to perform the last favour one Muslimah can do for her sister in faith: washing and shrouding the body for the funeral.

Of course, the programme also included sport games outside and excursions. They visited Shypit waterfalls, Synevir lake and a ropeway to Gemba mountain.

One of the participants, Ms.Ruslana Martsinyshyna, shared that mountain jeeping was her personal favourite:

— We didn’t use the road that made a huge detour, but we just made our way straight ahead, with both any type of road and even some plane stretches of land unavailable. Riding across all those rocks and ditches was a pretty scary thing to do, so we tried not to look down, but God, how beautiful it was around us! You can’t see that from a bus traveling on a regular road.

When asked what she liked the most about this year’s camp, she replied:

— A chance to be among intimates of sisters in faith, with whom you have shared values and desire to grow and develop and learn something new.

Ask a Sheikha: Member of RAMU “Umma”Shariah Counsil Held a Seminar for Kharkkiv Muslimahs

Can anyone understand a woman better than another woman? Who can answer the most delicate questions in the fullest? For women do have problems that men find hard to comprehend, and only a woman with a respective training knows both the theory and its practical implications.

On 23 June Kharkiv Islamic Cultural Centre hosted a meeting with a guest from Dnipro, namely with the only female member of RAMU “Umma”Shariah Counsil, Ms.Anastasia Radoveliuk. Among the topics raised there were, for instance, balance of modesty and modernity in a certain cultural conext, limits between a Muslimah’s personal style and undesirable choice of clothing and accessories, appropriate attire for different situations, basic rules of using makeup and perfumes.

There were more delicate questions as well, like periods and postpartum bleeding. The participants were reminded of religious rulings on different aspects of life during those periods of vulnerability and of the practical meaning of those rulings for a woman’s health. Everyone had an opportunity to discuss even the most delicate matters and get full extended answers.

Noteworthy, the meeting was facilitated by Ukrainian Muslimahs League.