The mastermind who introduced the world’s first run especially for Muslim women knows that beauty is not only about how you look, but how you feel… and she went through that struggle herself to emerge a strong, confident and beautiful woman who wants other women to embrace themselves, too.
"It is important that people see beauty as far more than a matter of physical appearance. Inner beauty is the most important quality and it can be achieved by changing your lifestyle and having wellness in body, mind and spirit," Muzdalifah Anuar, 35, said.
Muzdalifah spent most of her working life in a uniform in the Singapore Armed Forces, surrounded by men who saw her as one of them. She never saw herself as a beautiful person. It was only through a deeper understanding of her faith, and her efforts to achieve physical, mental and spiritual wellness that she has more confidence in herself.
“I know now that I’m perfectly beautiful, the way I’m supposed to be,” she said.
And this inspired her to empower her sisters within the community.
Muzdalifah kick-started a health movement amongst Muslim women in Singapore in 2013, when she launched Pearls of Paradise, Women of Wellness (POPWOW), which takes a holistic approach to wellness by encouraging Muslim women to care for the well-being of their body, mind and spirit. As part of this initiative, it organises an annual 5km WOW! Run.
She learned that many Muslim women were uncomfortable with exercising and sweating in public without the company of friends. She saw a run especially for Muslim women as a way to ease them into a healthier lifestyle and at the same time, tackle the issue of obesity in Singapore’s Malay-Muslim community.
The first run in 2014 received an overwhelming response with 600 women participating, with many of their family and friends attending to show support. Preparations are already underway for WOW! Run 2015 which will be held in October and registration is now open.
Aside from the run, POPWOW also offers workshops to educate Muslim women about total wellness. Since its conception, the health movement has arranged for talks with experts on topics that range from faith to active living to financial wellness.
Visit POPWOW’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/womenofwellness.sg to learn more about the work that Muzdalifah and her team continue to champion.