Alhamdulillah so last Wednesday-Thursday on Labour Day holiday I attended the Sisterly Fitness Camp (SFC) held at Al-Khair Mosque. It’s been a long time since I attended any camps at all so when my Saff sisters asked me along, I thought okay let’s do this together. Furthermore the word fitness caught my eye – the thing about exercising is, I need buddies! Who’s with me? Hehe. 😀
The all-women 2D1N camp started off with a complimentary health check, followed by a wellness talk by Dr Rauzanah Affandi, a medical doctor who has worked at SGH and KKH previously, a qiyamullail (night prayer), and then a 4.4 km outdoor trail from Masjid Al-Khair to Choa Chu Kang Park the following day. The message of the camp was not just about being fit but about comprehensive wellness and being healthy as a whole, be it taking care of your diet, mental and physical health, as well as intellectual and spiritual wellbeing.
Extracted from the Muslimah-in-mind website, the aims of the camp;
“Islam takes a holistic approach to health. Just as religious life is inseparable from secular life, physical, emotional and spiritual health cannot be separated; they are three parts that make a completely healthy person.
A true believer recognises the wonder of the human body and is grateful to the Creator. This gratitude is shown in the care and attention given to maintaining optimum health. Islam’s holistic approach to health covers all aspects of the mind, body and soul. A truly health conscious person blends diet, nutrition and exercise with the remembrance of God and an intention to fulfil all their religious obligations.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said,
“A strong believer is better than a weak believer.”
He was talking in terms of faith and character, but also indicating that physical strength (optimum health and fitness) were desirable, and that God has given us ways and means to attain such strength. Islam’s holistic approach to life and thus health offers us the ability to remain strong and healthy.
Thus, the Sisterly Fitness Camp (SFC) aims to instill a love for keeping fit, with suggestions on how to sustain a healthy and fit lifestyle suitable for the Muslimah.”
Health Talk: Total Wellness for the Muslimah ~ Intellectual Wellness
Dr Rauzanah started off the talk by showing us a video entitled “Make Health Last. What will the last 10 years of your life look like?” by The Heart and Stroke Foundation. Not to start off with a grim topic she says, but she wanted us to open our eyes to the realities of our current health statuses as the video highlighted that the average Canadian will spend their last ten years in sickness instead of being healthy. Dr Rauzanah also mentioned that in her daily work at hospitals, she is seeing more and younger patients with major illnesses and this is a worrying concern. I must admit that seeing that video made me think of how my golden age will be like, and silently made a goal to start living life healthier by eating the right foods more and inculcating more exercise in my daily life. Afterall, you reap what you sow and you are what you eat, and your stomach is where most diseases start to develop.
Among the things she highlighted were the different components of wellness that a Muslimah generally has in her life. Three aspects she covered were intellectual wellness, spiritual wellness and physical wellness. These different aspects of wellness are vital as part of our lives as Muslimahs busy with the many commitments that we have, be it work, marriage, children and community just to name a few. She also brought up the 3333 diet, which goes by the ideal intake of food to consist of 3 parts vegetables, 3 parts fruit, 3 parts protein, 3 parts grain and carbohydrates – divided into 3 meals per day. How do you measure the right proportion? By using the size of your fist as a guide. In addition, she also emphasized on the importance of getting enough sleep daily.
Tadabbur and Tahajjud ~ Spiritual Wellness
After the talk, we prayed Isyak in congregation led by Ustazah Rusydah. Then, we were divided into groups of 12 persons each (there were 4 groups in total) and after a short ta’aruf (getting to know each other), we read several paragraphs of 3 different surahs together. They were surah An-An’am; verses 161-165, An-Nahl; verses 65-72 and Al-Furqan; verses 63-77. This was then followed by a light supper, and lights out by 11.30 pm as we were to wake up by 4.30 am for our tahajjud session together.
The tahajjud prayer is a voluntary night prayer that you can do after Isyak until before Subuh, and you can do it individually or in congregation. To me, both ways have different impact on yourself and both ways are good. When you do your night prayers alone, your time with God is truly a personal and intimate one, whereas when you do it in jemaah, you feel a sense of togetherness as a community that is striving to become better Muslims as a group effort. And that is truly a beautiful feeling MaashaAllah.
The tahajjud prayer was led by Ustazah Hafizah, followed by witr prayer led by Ustazah Azhani. And then Ustazah Mariyam led a munajat session (an intimate prayer) afterwards. After our qiyam ended, we got ready for Subuh, praying with the mosque as a jemaah. By 6.30 am, we gathered in our groups again and had a light breakfast as well as reflections on the verses we recited the night before. My group did a reflection on surah Al-Furqan verses 63-77, which were about the qualities and characteristics of being gracious servants of God, and MaashaAllah I learned a lot from the sharings and reflections from the sisters. If I had recited and tadabbur (reflections) on my own, I would never have obtained the many different additional insights that I got. This is the power of sharings and doing things together, Alhamdulillah.
Exciting Outdoor Trail ~ Physical Wellness
Then we gathered outside of the mosque for a warm-up before our walk, which was led by Habibah Najihahbi who is also our resident national sprinter. At 7.30 am, we started off our walk. It was a cloudy day, with the sun peeking out every now and then. We made our way in groups and enjoyed the morning air. It was a relaxing leisurely walk with great company of like-minded sisters MaashaAllah. Along the way, the sight of tables set-up with 100 plus and water replenishments made me feel wondrous! Halfway through the walk, it started to drizzle and then it slowly started to get heavier. But instead of stopping, we just took our ponchos and marched on. Rain is after all a blessing from Allah s.w.t. and what better way to beat the morning blues than working our bodies out. No prizes for guessing what I would have done if I was at home, in that cooling weather in the pouring rain…
Alhamdulillah, the rain slowly subsided towards the end of our walk and we managed to reach Choa Chu Kang Park in slightly less than 2 hours. We received a goodie bag at the entrance of the hut we gathered in where we had a short reflection on the walk and the whole camp. For my group, we reflected that because we walked together and were talking and bonding during the walk, we were able to have fun and managed to finish before the stipulated time. We also reflected that when you do things collectively, such as your ibadah, workout, trying to eat healthy together, InsyaAllah the results will be a different impact than if you were to do it alone. Afterall, God did not create us alone in this world. He created so many of us, each with different personalities, capabilities and temperaments so we can collaborate beautifully and create amazing things together SubhanAllah.
Alhamdulillah it was a wonderful experience and I thank the organisers for their time and energy in planning and preparing for the SFC. May Allah bless your efforts, InsyaAllah. I also love that the camp consisted of Muslimahs of all ages. Looking forward to more fit and fab activities with the sisters InsyaAllah! 🙂
For more details on Muslimah-in-Mind, head on to their website at: www.muslimahinmind.org