Interview with 'Trying to Be Muslim' Author

Posted by ANAS PAWAN CHIK on

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and good day,

Now a lot of Malaysians love books, they are kind of obsessed with them. But yet despite that , the genre of books seems to be limited to just romantic novels with rather repetitive naming schemes. It gets a bit bland over time and interest mostly gets diluted by the churning of the amount of books rather than content, a case of quantity over quality.

However, there is some difference to this whole wave of genericism. And it comes in the form of  Muslim books like the ones published by Norhafsah Hamid. A writer at her own blog, , as well as being a former lawyer specialising in litigation cases (currently a syariah lawyer) and founder of a non-profit organisation called the Nadi Anissa Muslim Women Organisation. Sister Norhafsah has since retired from litigation practice and is now dedicated to her non-profit organisation Nadi Anissa to help fellow sisters of Islam.


I was given the opportunity to speak to sister Norhafsah on behalf of Zaahara last week (Tuesday, 29th of March to be exact) , and the whole interview was conducted during a period of free-time for sister Norhafsah .

Below was the interview with sister Norhafsah and me via a WhatsApp conversation: (And yes, this was done due to logistical reasons....)

Ammo [AMMO] : Hello and good afternoon, Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, today I will be conducting an interview with Madam Norhafsah Hamid, author of Back to Basics, Trying to be a Muslim and Saya bukan Fanatik. On a journey of how she is about the religion she was born into; and also the founder of Nadi Anissa , a blog for Muslim women to converge and talk about modern day problems for Muslim women today.

Immediately I was corrected that Nadi Anissa is not a blog, rather it was a non-profit organisation 

Norhafsah Hamid [NH] : Did you described it as a blog?

AMMO : Yeah , I did but I thought it as a blog since it was on blogspot [sweat-drop smiley]

NH : No. [laughing smiley] . My blog is to write down my musing ; Nadi Annissa is a(n) non-profit organisation and we have a clubhouse in PJ (Petaling Jaya) .

Laughter and Anecdote aside , the real interview begins ........

AMMO : So about the clubhouse , what main activities do the women do when a gathering is scheduled? Namely the types of activities that revolve around the way of Islamic teachings (i.e. charity work and Quran recitations) .

NH : We have short Islamic courses for the sisters like kursus jenazah etc. We have talks on currents issues pertaining women issues . We also offer counseling and also free syariah advice . The club house is also a hang out for sisters. We have a swimming pool which is completely covered from outside so our sisters can swim without hijab .(For) Charity we work with single moms and underprivileged families by providing them skills through short courses and sometime(s) financial help .

AMMO : So the contributions are that of fardhu kifayah, that's absolutely brilliant in the aiding of the community .  That leads me to my next question ; more specifically , how did this all started for you , the catalyst for how you started writing your books . As well as the foundation of the organisation and the humanitarian work

NH :  I started doing charity work even when I was still a practising lawyer. After coming back from hajj, on the suggestion of a friend I decided to write the first book,with the hope that my experience can benefit others . With regards to the org, I wanted a place where sisters can come and swim without worrying about men around . I want a hangout place also where sisters can come when they need help . We open our door to all without judging or discriminating . Our charity arm is more extensive. We help the poor families , orphans and single moms but we are quite discreet about it. Most of the recipients do not know where the aid comes from .

AMMO : In regards to the first book : with the great reviews on the books (not just the first one) , I think we can safely say that your experience has become a blueprint to be followed . (Regarding the privacy of the sisters) Of course privacy is of the utmost importance to sisters of Islam , a very nice application of that there . (Question regarding Nadi Anissa) So this qualifies as a non-profit organization if I'm not mistaken?

NH : We are a NGO non-profit organisation . In most cases, we believe in following footsteps of Prophet pbuh and his companions in doing charity discreetly . My intention in sharing my experience is so that others don't make the same mistakes that I did . I also believe that Islam is very simple hence do not complicate it. When Nadi Annissa was opened I decided to retire from private practice and dedicate my time to dakwah and charity . I'm still a Syariah lawyer but I choose my cases wisely .

AMMO : Well, now I think we can wrap this up , but before we do . Can you give a brief on your thoughts and plans for the future? How do you see your projects evolve from here on?

NH : Plans...personally, I would like to write more, inspire people more, be a better Muslim . As for my org, I hope that we can help more people Muslims and not yet Muslims alike, to understand this beautiful religion better . I also hope that we can help more people and that this centre still continues even after I'm gone . I founded Nadi Annissa with the hope that when I return to my Maker, I can truly say...I tried my best [Smiley] .

AMMO : Insyallah your efforts will be fruitful [Smiley] . With all the amenities and indeed the programs in place, the future certainly looks bright ; and of course helping Islam to be portrayed as positive image for this current generation and the future . Any  messages for fellow Muslims (especially the sisters) out there?

NH :  Trust Allah swt and He will give you the best in this world and hereafter.

AMMO : With that , we end this interview . It has been a pleasure to have been able to speak to you on behalf of Zaahara .

NH :  Thank you for the opportunity.

AMMO : Wabillahi Taufiq Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and have a very good evening (day) . Thank you [Smiley] .

NH :  Waalaikumussalam wbt. And the same to you .


Ammo, guest writer of this blog and intern at Zaahara. Interests include motorsports and football, while making multimedia related stuff~

-Photos of the books from Norhafsah Hamid by:-

Norhafsah Hamid @

© 2016 Zaahara Ventures Sdn. Bhd.

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