Written By: 21B8013, Saiful Anwar Bin Asri (Public Relations Officer, Executive Of Media And Public Relation Officer)
Wafa Qashrina Binti Wasli has been nominated as a Spiritual Inspirasee of the month in the Community Category of April 2022. She is majoring in biomedical science and is now in the second semester of her first year. She is currently a member of the Executive of Religious and Spiritual Affairs (EKK), a member of the Quranic Generation, and a facilitator for the Quranic Journey programme. She is also still in the midst of memorising the Quran and has done so since she was 13. Currently, EKK only holds virtual talks with invited speakers due to current events and Wafa has not been as involved in Quranic Generation, and Quranic Journey - a programme by the Spiritual and Community Service Unit (UKKM) and EKK Alumni (EKKA). As a facilitator of the Quranic Journey, she has to help the final year students by listening to their Quran recitation for their Khatam al-Quran.
Wafa wanted to start her journey when she was in primary school, when an ustazah, who is still memorising the Quran even today, came to promote the Tahfiz Institute. The students who attend the Tahfiz Institute have to memorise the Quran and Wafa was hesitant at first, but she wanted to give it a try. Initially, she wanted to improve herself, but as time goes on, Wafa thinks that she should not be the only one improving and she should now help other people, such as her family and friends, to improve with her.
Wafa believes that it is her ability to stay patient and consistent, as her journey is not an easy one and can be said to be very hard by many people. Previously mentioned was that Wafa is currently a member of EKK, but her past experiences include joining Musabaqah Hafazan Al-Quran when she was in secondary school. However, she only made it to the first round, but she also did other activities such as being in a Dikir group. She shares that her Dikir group was always invited to many events that needed them. Her future plans are to get involved in more activities that are hopefully physical and no longer virtual.
Our Inspirasee, Wafa has someone that she wants to be like, her own inspiration. She is a well-known speaker named Ustazah Hanisah Othman. She preaches about Islam regularly and she also reads the Hadith on the radio. Wafa aspires to be like her - someone who spreads kindness and religion to the public and the community; a reason why she enjoys being involved. By doing so, she hopes that she could be like her inspiration and inspire others to join her path. She likes to help other people because it feels like she is giving away a part of herself to them, in a good way. Maybe she feels that she can spread her knowledge and help others to better themselves with the knowledge she gave.
Wafa shares that she does not remember any difficulties in working with other people, but she does remember a minor problem that she encountered. It happened in early March when EKK had to provide an emcee for a religious and spiritual event. No one volunteered and the leader had to ask Wafa if she was free. She felt pressured into agreeing to the request and she did want to do it, but she also had other commitments. Fortunately, the ustazah sent an email to everyone saying the event was compulsory for the first-year students, and that felt like a sign to her that she should just go with it and step up to the role. Although Wafa does not remember any difficulties with her colleagues, she does remember when she first completed her memorisation of the Quran in 2017. Although her parents were not there with her and she felt sad about that, her ustazah and her friends were with her to witness her efforts blossoming into fruition. It is a memory that she cherishes and hopes to never forget.
Wafa’s peers, especially her biomedical colleagues, consider her to be friendly and talkative, but Wafa reveals that she is rather introverted. Not everyone is perfect, and Wafa’s flaw is that she has some problems managing her time. It is hard for her to juggle her academics, the EKK meetings as well as the Quranic Journey. For Quranic Journey, she makes arrangements to see her students daily, this allows her to listen to them recite the Quran, as she wants them to finish as soon as possible. The culmination of her actions had led to her becoming so overwhelmed with her responsibilities that she felt burdened.
Wafa shared with us what keeps her up at night, filled with regret. In 2016, she failed the first private Quran exams held for her level. The exam was set up in a way that a person has to recite the answers to six questions consecutively and if they do not get it right, they fail and have to leave the room. What was worse was that everyone outside the room would know if someone were to fail. At that time, Wafa only memorised until Juz’ 8, but she had taken the 10 Juz’ exam. She had a breakdown the night before her exam as she felt she could not do it anymore and she felt pressured and guilty. The next morning when she took the exam, she could only answer four questions and when they asked the fifth question, she could not answer. She had to say that she could not think of an answer, which was the one moment she can never forget even now. Now when she memorises the Quran, this memory will remind her of her failure and that it can happen at any time. However, she will put effort into never experiencing that again. After that experience, she will always try to maintain her memorisation and not to memorise at the eleventh-hour, as well as not let anyone or anything get in her way.
It is important for Wafa to continue what she is currently doing in order to achieve her goal of becoming a better person and being consistent to reach the goal. She practices the two virtues by maintaining her memorisation of the Quran and being consistent in memorising the Quran. Unfortunately, Wafa is not currently participating in the Musabaqah Hafazan Al-Quran as she feels that she is not ready. She also reveals that she has stage fright and that being and reading in public is not something that she can do in the near future. However, she does hope to participate once again in the future. She has also thought of joining the International or National level of Musabaqah Al-Quran and representing Brunei one day. This is because she was inspired by the 18-year-old student from a Tahfiz Institute who got a degree in Quran this year and obtained fourth place in the 7th International Student Competition organised by Iran (Source: Borneo Bulletin).
Wafa hopes that the people who are struggling right now will be able to get through it and she also hopes to be able to spread and share more about her religion - known as Tabligh. Some people nowadays can lie to others and spread false information about Islam, this may bring about doubt and hesitation in parents which will affect their choice in allowing their children to attend religious or spiritual events. While it is understandable that parents may have had negative experiences in Islamic preaching, or want to prevent their children from going through the same experience and be lost in the path of religion, Wafa states that as far as she knows, preaching of Islam in Brunei is safer and more positive than other countries.
Wafa’s message to the Inspirasee listeners is:
“There is always room for improvement and it is never too late to better yourself.”
Lastly, to all the readers out there, you can contact Wafa through her public Instagram accounts @wafawasli or @the.hydrangea, or you can also contact EKK PMUBD (@ekk.pmubd) for anything related to religious events.
Wafa believes that the efforts in preaching Islam in Brunei are enough right now, especially as events are conducted virtually. She shares that before COVID-19 happened, events and talks were held physically and many people, especially women, could not get to the mosque or place the event was held. Now that everything is being conducted virtually, most people can attend in the comfort of their own homes. Now that more people are attending, it might also affect their social circle to join as Wafa said according to her personal experience. She said that teenagers are more likely to join an event when their friends do it. Wafa told us that during her sixth form, her circle of friends took turns preaching about Islam or the history of Islam to the other students in the surau after their Zuhor prayers. They call this talk a Taklim and they did it daily with a pretty big audience as many students would pray congregationally.
Wafa shares that she relies on her parents to support her as they were there for her from the start. While they were hesitant at first to let her go to the Tahfiz Institute and live in the dorms far away from them for five years, they eventually granted her when she voiced out that she wanted to do it. As a loyal daughter who respects and values her parents’ opinions, she still seeks advice and permission from them, even before she applied to join EKK. In addition, her parents were, and still are the main motivators throughout her journey. To make her parents proud, Wafa decided to embark on this journey towards spirituality and religion. Although going to the Tahfiz Institute would not change how her parents saw her, this was her way of bringing honour to her family. As she is the eldest and only daughter in her family, she felt that it is her responsibility to fulfil her parents’ wish for their children to be able to achieve something not everyone can do and be successful in, whether it be in this world or the hereafter, so this filial daughter chose to walk the path of Allah by memorising the Quran and studying at the Tahfiz Institute.