Assalamualaikum! (Peace be upon you!) Tell me more about yourself.
Waalaikumussalaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh! (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you too!) My name is Nur Atiqah Ahmad but people call me Nura. I am 26, and a mother of 1. It’s so unexpected because when I was a teenager, I wanted to get married at 26. Instead, I ended up getting married way earlier and had Zia Sumayya. Such is life, Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks belong to Allah alone). Having Zia is such a blessing.
My life was not rosy. I grew up without a mother. I was raised by my dad and grandmother. Alhamdulillah, I grew to be independent. Since I was young, I’ve always been ambitious. Once I have a goal, I am determined to achieve it. In 2011, I was battling Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer. I was at the lowest point in my life. My studies and my relationship with people were affected as I was depressed. I struggled just to eat with friends and family as I was going to the loo every 10 minutes. I had to cope with constipation, bloating and vomiting my breakfast and lunch. If I am lucky, I can have dinner. I decided that enough is enough. I had to take control of my life. That’s when I started yoga. I focused on counting my blessings, celebrating closeness to Allah who is near my jugular vein, communicating silently to Him and purifying my intentions. I found fulfillment whenever I felt myself getting stronger and stronger.
Alhamdulillah, I’m fully healed now. After that experience, I knew that it’s my dream to bring yoga to ladies from all walks of life. I am still work-in-progress. Whatever lessons that I learn, I strive to use them as a means to empower and serve sisters.
That’s wonderful! What motivated you to start ‘Lifestyle for The Active Muslimah’?
Our bodies, the most complex of machines, are given to us by Allah as a trust. They should not be abused or neglected but maintained in good order. Allah says in the Qur’an, “So remember Me; I will remember you.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152) When I started wearing the hijab, something changed. I was no longer comfortable being in the same room as men while doing my downward dog or wheel pose. I knew that I had to create a safe space for my students to comfortably practise yoga. I wanted to inspire others to chase their dreams, like me. I wanted to guide and help more sisters, mothers, and grandmothers in holistic healing through therapeutic yoga. After I had completed my Business Management degree with a major in marketing, I decided to pursue my passion full-time.
I started ‘Lifestyle for The Active Muslimah’ to support the community, share my knowledge and guide them to lead a healthy, conscious life. ‘Lifestyle for The Active Muslimah’ includes a variety of services including fitness classes, yoga sessions, entrepreneurial workshops and products for Muslim women and nursing mothers. A few years ago, I only had 10 students in my class. Now, I have taught yoga to nearly 700 women of all ages, including senior ladies at Al Mukminin Mosque. I also plan to invite various experts so that the students can enjoy diverse workshops.
What’s the most beautiful moment you’ve experienced during your sessions?
There is a student that I grew close to. Outside of the yoga sessions, we meet to catch up. She had a severe fall that affected her spine. She was unable to walk. Alhamdulillah, through yoga, she managed to regain her balance and inner strength. Every time she shares her healing progress and how my life sharings have helped her, I feel ecstatic. I can’t describe how special that makes me feel. Hopefully, I can help other sisters to center themselves on God and make an effort to improve their lives.
I especially love the connection I feel with the sisters after each session. I usually end it with a gratitude exercise. I encourage them to reflect on the blessings that they have been bestowed. After that, they never fail to hug me and tell me that practicing yoga with me helped them a lot to keep them calm and collected. Through yoga, Allah brought me back to Him. I’ve become more spiritual. Sometimes, all we need is a good reminder that all is well. I always remind them to be connected to God, listen to their inner voice and have self-love. I encourage them to thank Allah for the ability to move, flex our joints, extend our limbs and twist our bodies. Through yoga, Allah brought me back to Him.
I love prenatal yoga classes. The mothers come to me and ask me lots of questions about overcoming the aches they feel and conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. They make me feel happy. I am grateful that I get to use my knowledge to help them.
I always remember what Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I ensure that I radiate positivity and kindness in my classes. If I come to class feeling down, I know that they would be able to sense it. I hope that I make them feel uplifted and joyful.
Who inspires you the most? Why?
I am most inspired by Khadīja bint Khuwaylid, the wife of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). She was a successful entrepreneur. She was excellent at managing her business and personal life. I admire her tremendously. On days when I find it hard to balance work and taking care of Sumayya, I take a step back and renew my intention. If Khadija could do it, why can’t I right? -laugh-
What’s your favorite verse from the Quran?
I love Surah Al Inshirah. The aim of this Surah is to console and reassure our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). I always remember, “Verily, with every difficulty is ease.” It’s been with me since I grew to accept my predicament – not having a mother. Now, I am a mother. My husband works, and I stay with my in-laws. Sometimes, I really struggle while caring for Zia. She can get cranky and wants me to babywear her. I constantly research and learn what’s right and wrong. I remind myself to still make time for my husband and myself. That surah comforts me. I read it while placing my hand on my heart. He is indeed near to us, closer than the jugular vein. Allah reminds me that He only gives trials to those who are capable of dealing with them. When He tests us, He shows that He loves us.
What’s your hope for your community?
My hope for Muslim women is to empower one another, regardless of our backgrounds. I believe women are the bedrock of every successful community, and at every chance we get, we should strive to create a safe space for one another. Also, I hope for Muslim women to take better care of themselves so that they can run the world, chase their dreams and collectively become the best version of themselves.
‘Lifestyle for The Active Muslimah’ is a lifestyle brand that advocates community, honors wellbeing, inspires knowledge and champions our sisters from all ages to always, always seek self-love and self-empowerment in what they do and who they are becoming. They are working hard to grow their lifestyle brand and sisterhood by publishing full-fledged wellness guides in hope of inspiring our sisterhood to honor womanhood. They do things around here out of love and sincerity. Join them here!