The power of the Ramadan Iftar


Review written by Babera Khan & Sabah Sufi- Edited by Raeesa Nurani

On Thursday 31st May 2018, Muslim Women of Merton gave their very first council hosted Interfaith Iftar in Merton’s West Barnes library. The Iftar was conducted with the recently elected Liberal Democrat Councillor Hina Bokhari and attended by our newly elected  Mayoress of Merton Councillor Mary Curtin.

The gathering included  local councillors, faith leaders such as Reverend Rachel Taylor from Holy Cross Church in Motspur Park, The Salvation Army community members, interfaith friends and relatives.

To kickstart the event, cluster teams were set up to discuss how to develop further interfaith activities within the community. An amazing array of ideas were discussed including further gatherings which all faiths have a turn in hosting. This would mean an opportunity to continue to network with other faiths, people working in the council and local councillors.

Speeches included an insightful talk on the month of fasting, its significance to Muslims worldwide by Councillor Hina Bokhari. Hina talked about how it makes a person understand the suffering of those less fortunate and how it feels to be hungry. She explained that Muslims break their fast with a date as did the Prophet Mohammed (peace by upon him) fourteen centuries ago. How this tradition lives on and the beauty of being able to do this with non fasting friends was apparent.

Dr. Emma Wiley also spoke about the spirit of Ramadan and how it creates a feeling of connectedness to one another, nature as well as God and the Qur’an.

The overarching theme of tolerance, understanding of each other’s faith and practices were highlighted by Rev. Rachel Taylor and the Mayoress of Merton.

Following this a  minute of silence was observed. This peaceful time allowed for quiet contemplation after which the fast was opened with a date and water.

The iftaar (opening the fast meal) was splendid with a  wide range of arabic and asian dishes as well as home made cake which no one could refuse! Sharing a meal with our fellow friends certainly brought the whole event into a festive light and there was much discussion throughout.

The event was commended as a success by all and everyone left feeling very positive about the evening and looked forward to the attending  such a gathering again. We hope that this will continue to open up ideas and future opportunities to work together in collaboration.

“…it was a welcoming evening, the food delicious and I learned a great deal”

“…it was much more than the food: the coming together is what counts”

“..a great inspirational evening with nice iftar and good company”


MVSC Awards 2018

Merton Partnership Volunteers Annual Awards Ceremony June 2018

By Babera Khan and Sabah Sufi
The Leadership Team and Members of MWM attended the Merton Volunteer Awards ceremony 2018, on Wednesday 20th June. They joined over 350 guests at the Tooting and Mitcham Community Sports Club in Mitcham for a very entertaining evening.
The annual event is a recognition and celebration of the voluntary work, people and organisations that have been involved in over the years, in the Borough; and it’s a recognition of all the hard and selfless work people do for the community. It acknowledges the benefit to people’s lives as a result of voluntary services.
The awards were presented by the recently elected the Mayor of Merton, Mary Curtin.
Muslim Women of Merton was one of four nominees for the category of ‘ Voluntary Involving Organisation of the Year’ and received the special Commendation award.
MWM are delighted to have won awards two years in a row.
“I am delighted that the loving kind efforts of our volunteers are being recognised and appreciated by the wider community. Collective energy and capacity produces  amazing results.”

Nuzhat Ali, Chair MWM

MWM & Visit My Mosque Day

Building Community cohesion,  opening Morden Islamic Community Centre.

by Fareeda Bader, Sabah Sufi and Nuzha Ali

Sunday 18th February, Morden Islamic Community Centre ( MICC) opened its doors for the first time for ‘Visit My Mosque Day’, a national event facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in which nearly 200 mosques participated across the country.

Giving members of the local community an engaging insight into the life of the mosque and to promote a greater understanding of the Islamic faith. MWM supported the event, and provided female volunteers and coordination on the day.

Attended by the Chief Executive of Merton Council, the leader of the council, the Mayor of Merton, other councillors, faith leaders and neighbours.

An exhibition on Islam was organised and included a display cabinet containing
one of the oldest handwritten Quran manuscripts, dating back over 600 years.  There was an opportunity to meet the Imam and chat to other Muslims, over tea and coffee and a selection of  delicious home baked cakes and savouries.

20180302_173347-COLLAGEMarsie Skeete, The Mayor of Merton felt that she gained a better understanding  about the community after visiting the Exhibition and has been able to see what the community has to offer in Merton. She said: “In Merton, its very diverse and the Muslim Community play a major role in what we do. We believe in peace, harmony and togetherness in Merton and that’s displayed here today as we have people of  all denominations representing this exhibition.” She thanked the Islamic community for inviting everyone for sharing their history and culture.

There was also an opportunity to watch live prayers in congregation. Guests
and their families were welcomed and introduced to activities such as calligraphy, colouring Islamic patterns and henna painting. It proved to be a very enjoyable afternoon with a great atmosphere of community engagement.

MICC is located at 116 London Road, Morden, SM4 5AX. Access to the mosque and community centre is open for all any time. Feel welcome to come to a  place of serenity, reflection, and PEACE, in the centre of Morden.  Speak with the Imam and  make new friends and let’s build bridges to understand each other better. (Website link for MICC)








Box Office opens for Marriage Gems Event

Buy tickets for Muslim Women of Merton


Click here to buy tickets

MWM invite you to a unique marriage event …

Today the world is seeing a new era where marriage is no longer considered necessary or even significant for a lasting relationship. Islam has laid down rules and regulations for marriage and has considered marriage an important and essential part of a Muslim’s life. A lack of understanding of the weight placed on selecting the right partner and nurturing the relationship has in itself caused behaviours prohibited in Islam such as deception, sexual relationships/encounters outside of marriage,domestic violence, etc which are increasing.

Hadith 1

“Marriage is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me. Get married, for I will boast of your great numbers before the nations. Whoever has the means, let him get married, and whoever does not, then he should fast for it will diminish his desire.”

[Source: Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1846]

Hadith 2

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever Allah provides with a righteous wife, then Allah has assisted him in half of his religion. Let him fear Allah regarding the second half.”

[Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 992, Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to As-Suyuti]

Hadith 3

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said:

“Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension); the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension between husband and wife.. One of them comes and says: “I did so and so.” And he says: “You have done nothing.” Then one amongst them comes and says: “I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife.” Then Satan goes near him and says: “You have done well.” He then embraces him.”

[Source: Sahih Muslim]

Program for the afternoon

Please select one from two workshops running in parallel

1.Mindful Preparedness

What you need to know/ask and research in your search for the ideal spouse, what matters?

2. Nurturing the Bond

Navigate your way through to a long lasting successful marriage





Myriam Francois-Cerrah is a Franco-British writer, broadcaster and academic with a focus on issues related to Islam, France and the Middle East. Having studied at Oxbridge, Myriam tutors at Oxford and is a Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies (CIS) at SOAS University, where her research focuses on British Muslim integration issues. She also undertakes the centre’s media outreach and research dissemination in relation to its work on British Muslim communities.



Henrietta is a life strategist and personal and professional coach, and author of the new book, HeartSmart:One Woman’s Journey from her Head to her Heart. She started her career in the corporate world and after numerous international projects retrained as a coach, founding The Barefoot Institute, where traditional Islamic guidance meets cutting edge psychology and relationship science to help support Muslim relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, siblings and relatives. As a development coach, Henrietta calls for new ways to see, think, connect and lead on personal and organizational levels. She runs her own business and blogs at beheartsmart.me. Her mission is to encourage and inspire others to look at new ways to be in the world-the Heart-Smart way.


SHAZIA ALI – Nurturing the bond


Shazia is a Laura Doyle Certified Marriage Coach who has been helping women use the Intimacy Skills™ and our Islamic teachings to experience the marriage they truly desire. Shazia comments “I had heard about Laura’s book The Surrendered Wife through an Islamic scholar and after reading it I implemented a couple of her principles in my own marriage. I saw immediate results and I embarked on becoming a marriage coach. During my training I experienced an awe-inspiring shift in not only myself but also my marriage. I’m grateful that Allah guided me to take on this journey and also to be able to help other wives find the peace, love and affection they are seeking.”

IMELDA RYAN – Mindful Prepardness


Imelda is a trainer, runs parenting workshops, a counsellor, and dynamic charity sector worker having found the Muslim Womens Helpline 30 years ago seeing the need to support vulnerable women who require community assistance with issues relating to domestic abuse, marriage breakdown, forced marriage, relationship breakdown, gender identity crises and other issues.



Nuzhat is the Chair of Muslim Women of Merton and will be the host of the event. She founded MWM in 2014 committed to empowering and supporting community resilience, through the capabilities of Muslim women. She leads a national portfolio for Government with an aim of making the public healthier and reducing inequalities across the population by promoting healthier lifestyles. Her work was awarded a civil service Outstanding Achievement Award for Diversity and Inclusion in 2017. A clinician with twenty five years of health management and academic experience at local, national and international levels coupled with Masters qualifications in Public Health and Management.


Connect to Sponsor: Haute-Elan Website



Wimbledon Park Hall – click on link for map.

wimbeldon park hall

Free Off street car parking available around venue and easy access via Wimbledon Park Tube Station



Follow us on our website www.muslimwomenmerton.com and stay updated with our news and upcoming events


The views and opinions presented in the above mentioned event are of the speakers, presenters and do not represent those of MWM. Please check for viruses before accessing the websites of external participants and MWM shall not be held responsible for any damage, loss or liability  of any kind suffered in connection from visiting any of the external websites or which may result from reliance on the contents of the visited website  and any presentations and advice given.

My experience as a new volunteer

Written by Babera Khan  

I joined MWM in March 2017 as a volunteer, despite being a busy mother of a large,  busy household and a part time primary school teacher. Some days I have my ‘busy mum’ hat on and other days I wear a teaching hat. I enjoy juggling both roles, since it keeps me in touch with the outside world.

Since becoming more involved in promoting MWM within my local community, I have recently taken on the role of the Membership Officer with the aim to recruit more women and channel their skills into relevant projects under MWM.

Volunteering with MWM has helped me realise that a women’s role can be much more than just a mother and wife.  It is tough but absolutely rewarding to see you’ve had an impact on young people’s lives. My hobbies include reading, jogging and eating out and I have found that my existing skills are being utilised.

The reason I joined MWM is because of the impact and awareness the group is having on the local community not only as a muslim women but as a group of professionals who have come together and said they want their voices heard. No longer happy to be silent voices in the community we want to make our mark in the local area.

I believe MWM is a very pro-active community group  which has takes part in numerous causes and worthy projects such as the Macmillan Coffee morning and Your Health Matters Event ; which saw the participation of health centres, speakers, healthy food challenges and the Mayor of Merton.

My role as a volunteer has been an amazing  journey starting with International Women’s day in March 2017 where I was lucky enough to listen to, and meet women with amazing life stories; women who hadn’t been born with a silver spoon in their mouth but had faced a lot of struggles and discrimination not only from the wider society but from within their families. These women were able to prove that despite setbacks and traditional family expectations they could make a mark in their professional field.

My next journey was being part of ‘Your Health Matters’ event in October 2017. I was able to encourage people, as well as the Mayor to make a pledge for change in their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. The aim was to get people to really pinpoint an area they felt they needed to change in themselves be it even a small change.

I feel MWM has pushed the boundaries of expectations of muslim women in the community.  Life has to mean more than just that and we have to seek it otherwise a life of opportunities are lost. We close our own doors to opportunities by limiting our own minds and shutting them down. We need to lift our heads out of the parapet and look around us and see what there is to be accomplished and experienced, only then can we truly experience what life Allah has blessed us with. MWM has helped me experience just that and I am honoured to be part of an amazing women’s volunteer organisation.

Let’s make Bread

Breadmaking Event at Wimbledon Synagogue,

21st January 2018, by Hana Bader

On a cold, rainy day, a group of Muslim and Jewish ladies and children gathered at Wimbledon Synagogue, excited to roll up our sleeves and get busy in the kitchen. The aim of the afternoon was to watch demonstrations of bread-making then try to make our own versions, and finally enjoy the fruits of our labour together.


We started with the challah, a slightly sweet, yeasted bread. We learned how it might be eaten on Shabbat (the Sabbath) and would be traditionally covered with a decorative cloth. The plaiting of the strands of loaf was initially tricky, but fun once we got the hang of it!

Next, was the chapatti. We were shown how to roll out pats of dough and tried our best to get them as thin and as round as possible. These would then be brushed with oil and cooked on a hot plate.

The last of our breads were bagels, which were great to make, especially watching how the hole was formed.

However, the best part of the afternoon was eating together – we had our warm bagels with cream cheese & smoked salmon as well as hot chapattis with lots of delicious coconut & corn curry. Our challahs were thoughtfully packaged up for us to take home, still fresh from the oven. Nothing went to waste as we all took home plenty of extra bagels, chapattis and curries.


It was fascinating to be able to watch our demonstrators first-hand, and interesting to talk to one another about our food customs.

group photo

Our visit to Wimbledon Synagogue

by Fareeda Bader


On the afternoon of Sunday, the 8th of October, a group of ten Muslim women with their children were invited to visit Wimbledon Synagogue. For many, it was our first such experience and we were very warmly welcomed by Adele, co-chair of the Nisa-Nashim South West Group, and other Jewish ladies who helped to organise the day.

We were invited into the main hall where our guide, Caroline, showed us the key features of the synagogue: the raised platform, the ever-present light above and the presence of some Hebrew writing on the wall – in this case, the Ten Commandments. She also showed us the important Ark where the five holy scrolls are kept, and the children were keen to help out by showing these and trying on the skull caps.


Next, we were taken outside to a temporary shelter known as the Sukkah, where we learnt about the festival of Sukkot and its significance. We heard a Jewish prayer being recited and then tasted some special bread and grape juice.


At the end, we were invited to share some delicious refreshments kindly made by our Jewish friends and were able to chat and learn more over tea and coffee.


We were all struck by the similarity between the synagogue and mosque as a place of worship: its simplicity, the fact that it is devoid of any images or statues and the reverence shown toward the holy book.

It was a positive and enjoyable experience for both adults and children and we all learnt a lot from the trip. We now look forward to our next project early in the new year when we will be making bread together.