Dr Muhammad F. Walji, PhD, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry, has been chosen to be a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
Fatima Inspires Nominations- 2018
NASIMCO - North America Shia Ithna - Asheri Muslim Communities Organisation Nominations
1. Sukaina Dada
Sukaina Dada is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist pursuing a Ph.D. in Critical Disability Studies at York University. She is the Founder and President of SMILE Canada, an organization dedicated to supporting children living with disabilities and their families in the Muslim community. She founded the organization in 2008 while completing her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Toronto, where the experience of a family member propelled her to take action.
Sukaina is passionate about her work using SMILE as a catalyst to help change the way our community thinks about disabilities. Through SMILE she has helped countless parents whether it's through providing professional guidance on their child's health care, to helping advocate for their rights with their local school or mosque. Sukaina takes the time to learn about their needs and ensure that their child is living their best self.
The City of Toronto and the United Nations Association of Toronto recently recognized this work by awarding SMILE with awards in the area of accessibility and inclusion. Constantly pushing for inclusion, she is often called to deal with emergency family situations or asked to talk to the community about what more we can do for kids with disabilities. If that's not enough, she raises two children, recently co-authored a book entitled "A Bedtime Prayer for Peace" to help with greater representation of children with disabilities in children's books and, sits on the committee for Every Kid Counts.
2. Nasim Daya
Masha Allah, Nasim Daya practices many of the characteristics of her role model, Lady Fatemah Zahra (a). She inspires many of us with her generosity, kindness, compassion, and her willingness to devote numerous hours to help people in need. In 1997, along with a group of ladies, Nasim started the United Muslim Women of Canada (UMWC) family food bank, which is associated with Islamic Humanitarian Services (IHS).
Through her efforts at the food bank as well as employment as a Settlement Worker, Nasim continues to help refugee and new immigrant families by distributing food, clothing, and/or furniture as well as providing training of critical skills. She assists abused women by giving them a voice and finding lawyers and/or jobs so they can regain control of their lives.
In 2017, she was involved in the UMWC Wheels4All bicycle project to enable refugees to become more mobile and reduce transportation costs. She was also instrumental in the collection and distribution of backpacks and school supplies as Eid gifts for needy families.
Nasim is trustworthy and reliable, and she is dedicated to serving those less fortunate in the name of Prophet Muhammad (s) and his noble family (a). We pray that Allah (swt) rewards Nasim and her family abundantly in this life and in the hereafter, and that He continues to give her the strength and good health to continue to help those in need. Ameen.
My mother has instilled us with the love Bibi Fatema (AS). She has this passionate love for the Ahlulbayt and each time she is tested or has a challenge in this world, she holds onto the Ahlulbayt so strongly along with Allah. She has been struggling with liver disease and with the blessing of Allah received a transplant Alhamd. What is amazing about this transplant is that mummy asked Allah, I wish Bibi Fatema (AS) was there during my surgery. She said that to Allah, and along comes a female doctor saying that she will be doing mums surgery and the entire team will be females. With the entire team being women, her hijab was not compromised.
When she came out of surgery, and I saw her for the first time, she was covered with towels on her head, shoulder and neck areas. I inquired why she was covered with towels and the nurse responded that, when we took her to the operating room, she was covered in a head scarf and after surgery, we did not have anything to cover her, so we used towels. Along with that, she wanted Sura's and Dua's to be played throughout surgery and the doctor agreed along with imam zamin and coins that she had gotten from her ziyrat visits. Nurses came to us and told us how relaxing and soothing Sura Rahman was for them. Her conviction in her faith truly inspires me. I am so blessed to have her as my mother.
Sadiqa is a wonderful role model for the youth and young girls of our community. She recites Duas and Matam with such passion and devotion and is always willing to share and translate. She helps all those around her. Since she has been for ziyarat several times, she offers assistance in terms of packing or lists that people who are going for the first time may benefit from. She even provides her own abayas, books and supplies to zawwar.
I haven't seen such a selfless person with such talent be so humble. I wanted to recognize someone like her so we can understand that there are still really good individuals to look up to, out there!
She is the most selfless person always looking for ways to help anyone in need. Aside from her volunteer efforts, she lives to spread the love of our Ahlul Bait to all that interact with her. Her humbleness is an inspiration to all that come in contact with her. Her excitement about life and her love for Islam also inspires many to seek the deeper meaning in life. She lives to seek the next possible close association to our Ahlul Bait, and inspires so many others to do the same. Her daily motto is to "conqueror the world" with the love and kindness of Allah. With this love of Allah and our Ahlul Bait comes her strength and nonstop energy to ease the struggles of others whenever possible, regardless of her own needs. Mashallah through her own inspiration of our beloved Bibi Fatema (A.S) she inspires so many, and this is why I nominate my beautiful mother.
Light of our family, my mother is the most loving and giving person I have known all my life. Her love for the Ahlul Bayt(a.s), her motivation to continuously occupy herself in various fields even at her advanced age of 80+ is a great inspiration to many of us. In her own special way, she continues to serve the Ahlul Bayt(a.s) and spread their word.
As a little kid I remember her sitting with me on Ashura night to tell me the whole event of Karbala in the way that I would understand it just to help me cry for Imam Hussain(a.s). She would encourage all her children to voluntarily serve in the name of the Ahlul Bayt(a.s). Never will anyone go away empty handed when visiting her, be it good self-made food, a small gift, something lying in her room that will suddenly be of no use to her, or even a chocolate bar. She is the best cook, a perfect seamstress and an excellent scrabbler.
At this age she continues to sew clothes without any given measurements for children and they fit perfectly well. She passionately sews beautiful clothes for orphans and with the help of the Imam(a.s) always manages to find someone to take them to Iraq. Anyone could challenge her to a game of scrabble and she would willingly agree to play, make it fun and win the game. She inspires many to be physically and mentally active throughout life regardless of one’s age and situation.
Alina is always going above and beyond her call of duty to ease the lives of those around her, especially young mothers. She has conducted Arabic art and calligraphy courses as well as facilitated a Mother’s Aqaid course within her own home with the resident aalimah.
When a need in the community was recognized to have classes tailored towards mothers with young children, Alina stepped up to ensure it happened! Even if that meant she needed to offer her house as the location.
I pray Allah (swt) continues to give Alina the courage and ability to perform acts of obedience in his pleasure.
Naushina is one of a kind. I have honestly not seen anyone who has disassociated herself from the dunya like her. She is one who is willing to give even the clothes on her back to the poor without any qualms. She has given her time to several community causes in the hope of nothing but the pleasure of Allah. Inspite of having 2 young girls at home, she dedicates time to teach at Madressa. On the side, she does probono graphic design work for many many causes and doesnt accept anything but the pleasure Of Allah and the pure ahlul bayt in return for her hard work.
I aspire to be like her every day!
10. Akeela Manekia
Words will never be able to do justice to Akeela. She truly is beyond an exceptional teacher. As a youth, she not only volunteers at our local center and also is part of the youth group, but uses her free time to offer her services to teach the Quran to the children in our community. Her true love for Allah and His book comes out in everything she does. I am in awe when I observe her teach our group of 3 and 4 years and seeing how mesmerized they are with learning Quran. She has come up with such an innovated way of bringing the Quran to life- it's so awesome, the children are just 3 and 4 years old and they already have learned the Arabic Alphabets, Joining Letters and Vowel Sounds... She has helped them memorize suwer from Juz Ammah that go beyond the basic 4 Quls. Her piety, politeness, sweetness, gentle ways truly seeps into the hearts of our children.
Akeela's innovating method of teaching the Arabic Alphabets is definitely noteworthy. She has totally transformed the method of learning Arabic to read the Quran for today's children. So much time and effort has gone into this program and I can't wait till she completes the learning app and begins conducting teacher workshops! She has helped these little hearts form a connection to Allah and His book. Words cannot do justice to this incredible resource, gift Allah has given our community.
11. Shabnam Mithani
Shabnam Mithani, more commonly referred to by her students as "Sr. Shabnam" has been inspiring generations of students from age 2 to 8 for over 10 years at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy. As a caring, creative, inclusive, and knowledgeable Islamic studies teacher she has the unique potential to nurture the talent in every student (regardless of culture, language, or learning ability). Her loving personality has been attested to by the children she teaches and their parents, and is reflected in the way that her past students always come back to her affectionately.
She is truly an embodiment of the divine values of kindness, love, and generosity, and makes Islamic Studies a dynamic experience. Indeed, her narrative ability and creative crafts/exercises have allowed the children to celebrate and understand the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt (as). She also assists the Bibi Ruqayya Orphanage in Karbala, through providing the teachers with educational materials and school supplies that are tactile, and enriching.
12. Anvery Musa
Anverybai is a prominent member of our community. She has been through challenging times but her struggles in life have made her shine. At a very young age, she lost her husband yet this did not stop her from fulfilling her obligations. She has raised two exceptional children, a daughter who is a pharmacist and a son who works at Apple. These children are role models for today’s youth. As a daughter, she cared lovingly for both her parents. Her father passed away but she still displays the same devotion towards her mother. As a philanthropist, we can always count on her for donations towards any valuable cause.
Currently she is a part of the Madressa Management Team and has been teaching for over 30 years. Her strength of character, patience, resilience against struggles, love and compassion for all those around her defines her as an exceptional role model for today's women. She does not use her wealth to display her riches instead to help those who are in need. Even though she works long hours in the Hospital Administration, she still has time to happily serve the community whether it is to cook nyaz, attend to burial activities or clean up. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, community volunteer, madressa teacher; in every role she has set an example and inspires us to follow her path. It is an honour for me to nominate her.
13. Tehseen Sabir
I would like to nominate my mother-in-law, Tehseen Sabir. She is an exemplary role model for all women and men in our communities. Whenever I see her, she’s always laughing and spreading love into any situation that she walks into. She always wishes for the best for everyone. Her name means happiness and I really think that her name does justice to her, because that’s all she wants for everyone in the world; for everyone to be happy. My mother-in-law, moved from Pakistan to America in 1989 and she decided that she wanted to pursue her education and get an American degree. Because she had children and other responsibilities, it took her some time to complete her undergraduate degree, but she persisted and pushed herself. She received her bachelor’s in Information Systems from the University of Maryland College Park. With the support of her husband, her in-laws, and her persistent commitment towards a degree, she was able to complete her education and get a super cool job at the National Institutes of Health, which she has been at for 20 years now.
Currently, she serves as an Administrator at the Idara-E-Jafaria Sunday school along side previous teaching experience within the community. She is so creative and passionate about the work that she does. She is also extremely involved in the masjid itself. Her and my father in law are always working to bring in the best English speakers to the center to benefit the youth. They also encourage youth involvement in the masjid and host events that, in the long run, encourage the youth to give back to their communities. She is such a radiant and beautiful person. “She is the perfect person to team up with to serve the Ahlulbayt and Allah (SWT) in North America. In addition to Sunday school, She also serves the Ahlulbayt through helping organize English Majalises every Moharram / Safar. Lastly, she also has served the community by holding matrimonial events to help Shia singles find matches.”- Amjad Sabir, her husband “My mother is the most selfless person I have met. Her heart is never empty when it comes to helping another in need. For me, she is not just a mother, but also a best friend, a confidant, and a supporter of my every action. She nurtures loyalty, honesty, and religion every single day through everyone around her. One thing my mother always says to us, “don’t forget to remember god, he will always be there to help you”. I then realized that overtime as I remember god, he always reminds me how blessed I am to have an amazing mom like her! Her dedication to her faith, her family, and her values makes her a great role model to not just her children but everyone at our mosque.” Mustafa Sabir, her son “My mother is an incredibly kind, resilient, and inspirational woman.
She always puts the needs of others before her, and never fails to greet everyone with a smile. She is well known in the community to be generously loving and equally hilarious, always warming the hearts of those who encounter her. She has faced numerous obstacles in her life, but successfully triumphed every challenge due to her faith in Allah (swt) and her love for the Ahlul Bayt (as). My mother is my role model and an inspiration to all of the women in our community because of her positive energy, selflessness, and dedicated commitment to living a life inspired by Bibi Fatima (as).” Sehar Sabir, her daughter.
14. Rashida Samji
My aunty Rashida is a gem of our community. Every Ramadhan, she volunteers for the Moms & Tots Darsa program and ensures that the children truly embrace the spirit of Ramadhan. The kids enjoy going on the Ramadhan Train that she sings so cheerfully Mashallah, in addition to the great stories that she shares with the youngest members of our community. She also runs yoga classes for kids and women in the community to enable them to relax and really embrace mindfulness, which is so crucial, particularly for the young ones. She is an experienced early childhood educator who juggles it all, including being a wife, as well as mother to three well-balanced children who are active youth volunteers of the community.
She is my inspiration in every sense of the word as a wife, mother and lifelong learner who uses every opportunity she can get to increase her skills and give back to the community in every sense of the word. I pray that Allah (SWT) blesses her with a long life, good health and lots of love and happiness so that she can continue giving her best to the community.
15. Lateefa Shao
She started a Sunday school to protect kids and their religious values with no help.
Our Khoja Heritage tour is back! Register yourself to be part of an amazing discovery of our heritage! A holiday for all the family to enjoy! Read here to find out more.
Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs from PTI, joined our Executive Council Meeting in Pakistan in December.