"A relationship is not based on the length of time you spent together, it’s on the foundation you built"
This quote closed the last reminder during our final meeting of the two-year mandate in FEMYSO. When Hajar read this quote, her voice filled with emotion and sincerity, it sounded like the very precise feeling we were all experiencing at that moment. We were looking at each other with the impression that an era was drawing to a close. Around our meeting table in our cosy and homely office, we were sharing a unique moment of unity, brotherhood and heartfelt sympathy.
The current Executive Committee had been elected two years ago, but the team had actually been working together since 2009 when FEMYSO went through its rebirth. Our organization was, like most European NGO’s facing important structural and managerial challenges, which was weakening our impact and performance. The new elected committee at that time was lead by a president who profoundly believed in his team, even though it was young and not speaking the same language.
Unity and solidarity were the key to our success and the focus of our President’s leadership, who was like an older brother teaching the new members how to drive the organisation to higher standards . He would advise us, while making us feel confident and reassured that we could carry out the challenges ahead. Free from worries and our hope strengthened by our leader, it was easy to persevere along the way to success. It is this method of management that can help explain the regeneration of FEMYSO.
The main challenge for someone who is involved in a Muslim organisation, is to purify his or her intention and to always make sure that all actions are dedicated to Allah (SWT). We are so used to the “fi sabil’Illah” (‘for the sake of God’) discourse, but actually, there is nothing harder than to apply this significant verse: "Say: Verily, my prayers, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds." (Qur'an 6:162).
This hard mission could not be fulfilled without the support of those who are embarked in the same struggle. The sum of interaction between colleagues isn’t a restful riviera, rather it is a tumultuous sky charged with clouds. The consolation is that you have the power to dissipate the cloud and to make the sun shine upon you. Patience, indulgence, to love without interest, to pardon easily and to provide an indefectible support are the ingredients of this magic recipe called brotherhood.
Therefore, the relationship between fellow colleagues must be based on this common objective. What motivates us is to make this purpose a reality and to feel the intense communion with Allah through this specific connection with our companions.
One of the deepest lessons for us is contained in one verse: "And We have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind" (Qur'an 21:107). We are part of Mankind and we are feeling this mercy at every single stage of our commitment in FEMYSO. When you feel that you have personally participated in the spread of mercy where you can, it makes you forget the endless meetings, the long travel, the interminable negotiations, all because your brothers and sisters support you.
Sometimes, when I look back at my first FEMYSO seminar, in March 2009 in Granada, Spain, I feel the enormity of Allah’s blessings. After four years, I can say FEMYSO has revolutionised my life at so many levels. I lived and I loved. I met incredible people who accompanied my intellectual and spiritual evolution. I learnt a new language and a new culture. I gained self-confidence and modesty at the same time. I was one person and I became another one, thanks to the focus on the ethos of solidarity and true companionship.