Nafisa & Tasneem

Just two Muslim mums kicking back, having fun and talking about life relationship, family, motherhood and more.

Welcome to Not Another Mum Pod​

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and some snacks and join us for a chat after hours. 

Listen to our short, reflective pod gems!

Our Ramadan lockdown diaries have been selected to be part of the Museum of London’s permanent collection in order to help us in the future to tell the story of 
people’s lives during this time.

Hear our pod gems collection here!

Our Latest Episodes

Living with Cancer

This is the heart-breaking story of Naadia’s journey of living with terminal cancer; her fears, her heartbreak, not only battling with her health but also her faith. She shares how Keto gave her a new lease of life, how she remains positive in the face of darkness, and how she is cementing her legacy today.

 

Warning: This topic is triggering. 

Disclaimer:

By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others, including, but not limited to patients that you’re treating. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.

Any views or opinions expressed in this podcast is our own and not representative of anybody’s or organisation. 

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Naadia Vazeer is a 49-year-old single mum of four kids aged between 15 to 21.  In March, 2016,

Naadia was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer on her left breast. A year later, the cancer had spread to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, the cancer is now terminal and there’s no cure. In Naadia’s own words. she’s just ‘buying time’.

 

Nadia has been an advocate for breast cancer awareness since diagnosis. In 2017, a few days after a hospital stay and stage 4 diagnoses, Naadia was awarded a unique award called ‘The Women of Wonder Awards’ for her outreach into the community and raising awareness for breast cancer. She’s been interviewed by all genres of media, local to her where she’s based in South Africa, as well as internationally. You can read about her achievements here & here:

#fightlikeagirl

Naadia created her own hashtag,  which went viral in South Africa:  #fightlikeagirl

She also has a Facebook breast cancer awareness page and she founded a private breast cancer support group, where she helps women and their loved ones through their emotional, mental, and physical aspects of the journey.

Inspired by the Keto lifestyle, Naadia and her daughter Nabila founded a Keto food business, please do check it out and support them! https://www.facebook.com/nntheketochicks/ 

It is important to mention that Naadia not only faced cancer alone, but she had gone through a very abusive marriage.

 

In her own words:

 

“In 2012, my kids were all still very young.  In my country it is not that prevalent for a Muslim woman to ask for a divorce.  I did. I had been married for 18 years. The marriage was very abusive. I was in hospital timeously with broken ribs, nose, all parts of my body were bruised. Eventually, I had to take a decision to leave the marriage  for my safety. More importantly, the kids were watching this violence every day. Statistics show that kids who grow up in homes where mothers are being abused, watch this, and become abusers themselves as adults.  I needed to shield my kids from this. 

 

So, I left. That is why, when I got the cancer, I became angry.  First, I couldn’t have kids, then Allah blessed me with 4 miracles.  Then I left my marriage to safeguard myself and the kids and to give them a less toxic, happier future, and being now a single mum, I am diagnosed with stage 4, terminal cancer. I had loads of anger.’

 

Naadia’s final thoughts: ‘Why do I have cancer? To take the knowledge and experience gained through my journey of cancer, and help to heal the hearts and anxiety of others fighting breast cancer, Ameen. I leave you with a quote:

 

“If suffering like hers, had any use, she reasoned, it was not to the sufferer. The only way that an individual’s pain gained meaning was through its communication to others” ‘ –

Anne Sexton: A Biography  by Dianne Wood Middlebrook.

Themes covered in the pod: 

 

– diagnoses, ex-husband, miracle baby story, arrangement with Dad, support, bi-lateral mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, worry about kids, reflection on the loss of a mother, a conversation between the mother who is leaving and the children she is leaving behind, faith, tahajjud – night prayer, soul-care, screenings, symptoms to look out for.

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Its indiscriminate to age, gender, nationality, and you don’t need a genetic predisposition to get breast cancer. 
  • Feelings when you were first diagnosed
  • How did your children react?
  • Where was your husband?
  • Mastectomy – how was it? Impact and aftermath
  • Facing death every day – how do you try and continue with normality?
  • How do you feel right now, today, with the docs telling you that your days are numbered? How do you live with the heartbreak that comes with leaving children behind?
  • What impact has this had on your relationship with God? For many we assume that any health trials will bring you closer to your faith…is that true for you?
  • You were telling me your children were in tears hearing how i felt about my mum leaving us, what was it about my story that they connected with?
  • Keto business – tell us more. Why are you on Keto?
  • What advice do you have for our listeners who might be going through something similar?
  • What symptoms should women look out for?
  • Screenings, mammogram
  • Note of thanks and final words

For more information about breast cancer please visit:

UK:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/living-with/

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/breast-cancer

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/breast-cancer/living-with/resources-books

https://www.breastcanceruk.org.uk/breast-cancer-resources-and-links/

 

South Africa:

https://www.mybreast.org.za/

https://www.reach4recovery.org.za/

https://www.cipla.co.za/womens-health/breast-cancer-awareness-month/

https://bettercare.co.za/learn/breast-care/text/10-support-groups.html#:~:text=Reach%20for%20Recovery%20(R4R)%20is,service%20on%20a%20national%20basis.

Was my husband gay? Part 2

This episode is the final part of two episodes that explores an asexual marriage.  We hear a brutally honest account of Aleena’s short-lived marriage.

Listen to episode 5 for part 1.

 

WARNING: this is an explicit episode with adult themes and language. Please put your earphones on and listen to this in private.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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The intention behind this candid conversation is to bring to light the serious issues that can happen in a marriage, that nobody openly talks about. We hear a brutally honest account of Aleena’s short-lived marriage.

This episode is the second of two episodes that explores an asexual marriage.

WARNING: this is an explicit episode with adult themes and language. Please put your earphones on and listen to this in private.

Tasneem:

For the sake of anonymity and to avoid unintended slander, no real names or locations have been mentioned. Our guest Aleenah’s name is also an alias. Please note, we’ve kept this conversation as authentic as possible.

 

Any comments directed at Aleena’s husband is not in reference to his sexuality; rather we are commenting on his behaviour as a husband.

 

This is not a discussion about the rights and wrongs of same sex attraction in Islam – rather it is focussed on the manipulative behaviour of someone we believe who has not come out of the closet, who wilfully misled his wife into marrying him only to then bodyshame her and make her feel inadequate, rather than owning his sexuality and being honest.

Nafisa:

Tasneem, you were a witness to the trial she had. Aleena is a childhood friend of yours and you were there for her from the beginning, albeit, even you couldn’t guess the enormity of what was happening to her. Can you give us a short recap of what has happened so far.

Tasneem:

So in part 1, we cover how Aleena got married, what her relationship was like before she met him and how it changed on the day of her wedding. He didn’t initiate any intimacy for months before finally caving due to fear of being exposed. He used his depression and anxiety to control Aleena as well as well as constantly berating her for her appearance as a way of getting out of having sex. One of the things that wasn’t really explained in much detail, was how different he was when he was courting her for one year before marriage, always telling her how beautiful she was, how gorgeous she looked etc. He was lovely, kind and very loving. After he married her and the mask came off, he changed everytime he felt threatened or pressured to have marital intimacy. We are at the point where he finally had sex for the first time.

 

Nafisa:

Aleena’s story does highlight the importance of researching prospective candidates as much as possible and it’s important as parents not to put undue pressure on our children to get married because of age, hence rushing things or compromising too much especially when it comes to basic Islamic principles. 

Tasneem:

If you’ve got children around you, this might be the time to put your earphones on.

Some organisations that can help with  sex and sexuality are:

https://www.mwnhelpline.co.uk/

http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/Helpline_181_c.php

http://www.barefootinstitute.com/

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

Was my husband gay? Part 1

This episode is the first of two episodes that explores an asexual marriage. We hear sister Aleenah’s story, who recently got divorced as her husband refused to sleep with her. It led her to believe he was, in fact, gay. Aleenah’s story highlights the importance of how far we should actually compromise when we’re under pressure to marry.

 

WARNING: this is an explicit episode with adult themes and language. Please put your earphones on and listen to this in private.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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The intention behind this candid conversation is to bring to light the serious issues that can happen in a marriage, that nobody openly talks about. The question to ask ourselves is, to what degree should our sisters compromise when getting married as well as during the marriage, and when do warning signs become too serious to ignore?

This episode is the first of two episodes that explores an asexual marriage.

WARNING: this is an explicit episode with adult themes and language. Please put your earphones on and listen to this in private.

Tasneem:

For the sake of anonymity and to avoid unintended slander, no real names or locations have been mentioned. Our guest Aleenah’s name is also an alias. Please note, we’ve kept this conversation as authentic as possible.

Aleena shares her heart-breaking story of how she got married in good faith only to be let down by her ex-husband, sexually and otherwise.

Nafisa:

It just goes to show, we really should do our due diligence as far as we can.

 

I know it’s not always possible, but at the very least, try not to ignore any signs that may be worrying. When you’re looking for a spouse, speak to your family, speak to your friends, get perspective. More than anything though, we should all try to follow what Islam says in terms of the qualities we should look for in a spouse.

 

I’m not saying religious people are not gay or they’re not deviating, but the chances are lower in some respects.

 

I know it’s a tough call and bottom line is you don’t really know anybody unless you live with them. The best thing you can do is do is the Istikhara prayer for guidance, in any case.

Tasneem:

Aleena’s story highlights the importance of how far we should actually compromise when we’re under pressure to marry. How much do you compromise and what elements are you willing to take a punt on?

 

If you’ve got children around you, this might be the time to put your earphones on.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

The masjid (mosque) and single mothers of boys – Bonus Track with Celina Hanif

Tune in to this bonus track to hear what Celina has to say about how some mosques (masjids) treat single mothers of boys and what impact this has on keeping children connected to their faith. For the full episode, listen to episode 4 where Celina shares her story about why she left Islam and how she found her way back again. 

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“Even if we, as mothers instilled a love for the mosque and our children, we can’t maintain that love beyond age seven. How as a community, can we then expect these same boys when they turn 17 or 18, that they should be in the masjid (mosque). I have not been able to take my children to the masjid as a single mother, since my eldest turned seven.”

Celina Hanif

This bonus tracks gives an extra point that Celina made about how the Muslim community can help foster the faith from an early age. 

Tasneem:

Celina, we’ve talked a lot about how a lack of acceptance from the Muslim community can push those already, struggling with their imaan (faith) even further away. We’ve also spoken about how a positive portrayal of our faith from an early age is integral to fostering a sense of love for Islam. And about how your relationship with the masjid helped bring you back to the deen (religion, i.e. Islam).

On that note, I wanted to ask you what can the masjid (mosque) do better to keep us and our children connected with our faith?

Celina:

The exclusion of boys being raised by single mothers, which happens a lot. Many mosques now have a policy of not allowing boys into the women’s section from as young as age seven, irrespective of whether or not they’ve reached puberty.

Now in the time of the prophet (SAW – peace be upon him), that wouldn’t be an issue because the way mosques were set up, they allowed children to be in the back rows of the men and the mothers could then join the front row from the women’s section. And so that meant. mothers could still keep an eye on their young sons. Modern day mosques have segregated in a way where men and women are on different floors and that’s not safe nor is that advised to send children into another section unsupervised.

 

This means that even if we, as mothers instilled a love for the mosque and our children, we can’t maintain that love beyond age seven. How as a community, can we then expect these same boys when they turn 17 or 18, that they should be in the masjid? I have not been able to take my children to the masjid as a single mother, since my eldest turned seven. And these are children who once looked forward to attending the masjid with me two to three times a week. Now, they don’t even mention the place.

 

It’s baffling that I’m welcomed in all other faiths places with my children be at the church, the Sikh temple, the Hindu temple, but I can’t go to a masjid with my children because of their age.

The same children may then grow up and be judged or blamed for not wanting anything to do with Islam. And that’s something that that’s concerning.

Nafisa:

I couldn’t agree with you more. I think we have a long way to go with regards to masjids and the roles they have to play. In America they are more advanced but, in the UK, I do feel that we’re not that family friendly and it still boggles my mind that some masjids actually don’t provide adequate space for women to pray let alone accommodate for children.

 

Thanks for listening to this bonus track. You can listen to the full episode of Celina talking about why she left Islam and how she found her way back in Episode 4.

Losing faith – Why I left Islam

With guest Celina Hanif who shares her tumultuous journey of how and why she lost the love for Islam. We discuss what the Muslim community can do to support those having a crisis of faith, especially young people and how we as individual Muslims all have a role to play.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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In this new episode, we talk to Celina Hanif about what caused her to leave Islam and how she found her way back again. We discuss what the Muslim community can do to support those having a crisis of faith, especially young people and how we as individual Muslims all have a role to play. Celina Hanif is a Master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and hypnosis. She is also a divorce coach who helps South Asians recreate, rebuild and restore their lives post-divorce. She is also a full-time mum and home educator to her four boys.

  • Salaams and welcome! Today’s episode is about when somebody leaves Islam, how they can find their way back.
  • Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK – but while we all know how many Muslims there are in Britain – around 3 million to be precise – what people are rarely aware of, is the number of Muslims who actually leave Islam.
  • Today we will be talking to Celina Hanif about why she left Islam and then how she found herself back again. We’ll be touching upon what is it in our community that doesn’t seem to be supporting young people when they have a crisis of faith and what we should be doing more of. 
  • Celina Hanif is a Master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and hypnosis. Celina is a divorce coach who helps South Asians recreate, rebuild and restore their lives post-divorce. She is also a full-time mum and home educator to her four boys.

Some questions we asked:

  • Celina, when was the first time you felt disconnected to Islam? 
  • Would you say the fact that your siblings left Islam, encouraged you to do the same?
  • When bringing up your children, what do you to ensure that they feel safe in their deen and that you can minimise the risks of them leaving the deen?
  • Would you say education had a part to play in your reasons for leaving Islam? 
  • We have got to ask ourselves, if Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK, what’s being done to support the new Muslims as well as the existing Muslims?
  • Main issue seems to be about people/Muslims rather than Islam and Allah – what does the Muslim community need to do to support people who are struggling? Is the onus on the community as a whole or on individual Muslims?
  • We’ve had influencers taking the hijab off or we’ve had Muslim gays. it happens. it happens and that’s reality of life. it’s important that we talk about it. It’s important that we start to think about the ways in which we can support Muslims.

Some points we made:

  • When somebody’s appearance is not looking traditionally Islamic, or they are doing things that are against Islam, immediately we’re like ‘Oh, they’ve left their deen.’ They have left some aspects of the deen, but not the whole faith so we’ve got to be really careful not to judge them by dooming them.
  • Tasneem: Us as parents, we also need to be taught and equipped with how to kind of what language to use when we, when we talk to our kids about these things. I definitely know that I don’t know. We’re quite traditional.
  • Nafisa: The more I gain knowledge, I see the design and creation of Allah, and find that it cements my faith further than question it. I truly believe, growing up, our curiosity and inquisitive minds should be welcomed and nurtured.

Snippets of Celina’s convo:

“Now I try to look at the patterns of my childhood and how that shaped me and have that then led to me really wanting to discover who I am and where I fit in.

I was their full-time carer. And that put a lot of pressure on me. When I was in uni, I thought I’d explore Islam.

Islam wasn’t really imposed on us in the family. My siblings had a very liberal upbringing. It wasn’t imposed, but I was curious about Islam and I attended some lectures and that was the point where I didn’t really fit in and I felt some sort of judgment from people maybe because the way I was dressed…

I felt rejected by Muslims. And I think that might’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back…I didn’t want to conform any more.

 

So, I spent the next four years exploring different faiths, different cultures.

 

Me leaving Islam, it wasn’t because of what was logical and what made sense. It was more for social acceptance.

The expectations are too high, that what’s expected from them is almost perfection. You’re wearing too much makeup. Or you’re wearing the wrong clothing. You’re not supposed to travel without a man. You shouldn’t speak to people of the opposite sex and you know, the list goes on.”

References made:

  • Aliyah Saleem who co-authored a book called Leaving Faith Behind said that the main factors which contribute to the loss of faith is education and for her, though she was practising growing up, her inquisitive mind was the cause of her leaving Islam.
  • Leaving Faith Behind: The journeys and perspectives of people who have chosen to leave Islam, co-authored by Fiyaz Mughal and Aliyah Saleem. Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd: UK (27 Mar. 2018)

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Read more about us here!

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

Lessons from lockdown

Join Nafisa & Tasneem after hours where we reflect on the main lessons we’ve learnt living through this pandemic, and how our experiences have shaped our lives today.

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 “My husband and I fought a lot less during lockdown, and it wasn’t because we were super patient or because lockdown brought us closer together … it’s because we both knew that if we fought, we had nowhere to go! We were stuck with each other; we couldn’t run or hide!”  Tasneem

With a second lockdown on the cards, this week we’re reflecting on the last lockdown and the challenges we faced as well as the lessons we’ve learnt. Share your lessons from lockdown in the comment section below. Nafisa also writes a blog piece for this episode, read on below!

Tasneem

1 – One family lesson

  • Enjoy time with family more – spend time with not just kids, but elders.
  • Lost my nani (grandma) during lockdown, I’ve so many regrets.
  • We need to live in a way we don’t regret that we didn’t do enough for our loved ones.
  • Family is beautiful. Make more effort with family and friends.
  • There is beauty in simplicity. Once things are stripped back, and the noise is cut out, you can appreciate each other more.
  • Children need us more than we realise – this time with them was precious, will never get it back.
  • We are more resourceful than we think and kids are more resilient than we give them credit for. The way we live in lockdown, we should live like it more. Life simplified. Food, easy cooking…spending more quality time.

2- One personal/self lesson

  • I realised I need people more than I thought I did – creatively for my writing and mentally/emotionally for myself.
  • I’ll never be one of those writers who can live alone in a cave and write a masterpiece. I need to be out there in the world, meeting people, experiencing things, to draw inspiration from.
  • I realised I’m an extrovert, not an introvert (shock, horror, I know! 😊)

3 – One lighthearted lesson

  • I’m bloody lazy when I’m not on the go… as soon as everything slowed down, I slowed down! I had so much more free time as I was on furlough but suddenly getting up in the morning was a massive struggle.
  • But, I realised that that was okay. Life didn’t fall apart if the bathroom wasn’t cleaned every day, or the washing machine wasn’t turned on that day.
  • It’s okay to sometimes take a break, a breath, chill and just try and enjoy time with the kids rather than working like a machine to achieve perfection.

Nafisa

Lessons

  • I’m not cut out to be a full-time mother lol (I realise after having four kids!)
  • Stepping on Lego was not the worst thing ever; the sharp Paw Patrol pups are feet killers!                                         
  • Never take life for granted. Have no regrets. Experience life more.
  • A surreal moment: multi-tasking on a trampoline whilst attending a meeting with VC’s! How crazy is that?! We are Super Mums. We can do anything if we put our mind to it.
  • Use this time to find your inner-creativity and find yourself.

Thoughts

  • How insignificant we truly are. The tiniest miniscule thing has brought the whole world to its knees. How awe-inspiring is that? How utterly scary? If Allah can do this with the tiniest amount of non-effort, if Allah truly wanted to show His actual power, what on earth would we do?
  • Know that Covid-19 is ‘the concept of death’ personified. We are so scared of getting cancer or falling ill and dying – now with Covid, we fear we could die any time. However, even without Covid, we should remember that we could die any time.
  • Do we think of Allah and our Hereafter as much as we should? The way we live in Lockdown, we should actually take away some of the experiences and apply it to our daily non-Covid life. Like kindness, gratitude of human touch and presence, respect nature, experience life, connect spiritually with your heart rather than rely on just our body to express our God-consciousness.

Pre-marriage encounters (bonus track)

As a little thank you for all your support, here’s a little bonus track following our last episode revealing how we met our other halves! Tune in to hear brief stories of pre-marital encounters that will leave you gasping! 🤣

Watch the full episode on track 2: How we met our other halves.

Nafisa and Tasneem x

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Shownotes …

 
 

 

 

How we met our halves

How we met our other halves

Join Nafisa & Tasneem for a chat after hours … where we discuss the Netflix show ‘Indian Matchmaking,’ issues within our own culture when it comes to arranged marriages, as well as reveal how we met our other halves!

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Shownotes …

The Pilot: You & Me

This is where you meet us, your hosts Nafisa & Tasneem, for the first time. You will hear about why we started this beautiful podcast journey and the kind of topics we hope to cover. Get ready for some giggling!

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Getting to know us and why we started the podcast journey…

Welcome to the madness that is our lives.