I was highly delighted when I was given the opportunity to mentor the youth of our community for 4 days, which eventually turned out to be the most productive days of my life!
Last week, we looked at nominations 11-20 that we had received for the Fatima (sa) Inspires Campaign. This week, we look at the final round of nominations from 21-31.
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Nomination 21: Nasira Champsi from Nairobi, Kenya by Sakina Somani From her daughters and granddaughters.
Mum, I’m so lucky to have you as my mother… I’m sure no one else would have put up with me this long. My wish for you every day is that you get all the love and happiness you so richly deserve and may your life be filled with as much happiness as you brought to my childhood. Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. Thanks for taking care of me until I can take care of myself, which might be a while from now. No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – Life. It takes some one really brave to be a mother, someone strong to raise a child and someone special to love someone more than herself. Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly. You are valuable, because you are a one-of a kind, my amazing mom.
From your daughter, Aiman Hasan:
God made you a wonderful mother, one who never grows old;
Your smile is reminiscent of the sunshine, your heart he moulded of pure gold;
your eyes like bright shining stars, Your cheeks fair roses you see;
God made a wonderful mother, And He gave that dear mother to me.
You mean more to me than you'll ever know. You're my best friend.
You're my guardian angel. You're my mum!
From your daughter, Sajida Faiyaz Ahmed:
Mom, mom, mom........my adorable mother, you are a compliment to motherhood and to humanity. Starting with your reassuring smile, and moving on to your unconditional love, and your unwavering faith, you showed us how to be a good mother, wife, and daughter. You always have the solution to any problem, be it in the form of a Dua or a home remedy. Thank you for being a friend to us in addition to being our mother, and for making us feel comfortable to talk to you about anything at any time. You are always optimistic, and that was our biggest encouragement as we grew up. Thank you for teaching us to work hard for what we wanted, and for being always loving, and never judging. Thank you for your understanding and your patience whilst bringing us up. And best of all, your sense of humour – it always kept us going. Thank you for always guiding us to do the right thing. You truly are an inspiration and we feel blessed to be a part of you.
From your granddaughter, Zaynab Somani:
Nani, you are a reflection of a life of wisdom, kindness, and caring.
Yours are eyes that sparkle with pride and show how much you believe in us.
Yours were the shoulders that have been slept on and wept on.
Arms that never run out of hugs.
Hands that know just when to hold on and when to let go.
A mind filled with amazing things, from fairy tales to family tails and long-ago stories of you.
A smile that can jump right into your heart and warm you faster than hot chocolate.
A heart of gold that holds more love than you can possibly imagine.
From your granddaughter, Zahra Somani:
Nani, you always make us feel you had been waiting to see or hear from us all day and just when we talk or meet, that is when the day feels complete.
You hold a special place in our hearts. I remember every time I saw you I would light up. I knew we were going to have fun, because at Nani’s house we could do anything. She made the whole home into a child's playground. To me a grandmother like you is mom with lots of frosting.
From your granddaughter, Sanaa Somani:
Nani, to me you are a person that is charming, talented and witty and reminds me a lot of “myself".
All I ever wish for you is that you continue to love life as much as you always do. May as much beauty and happiness surround you as you bestow on others…since you do so much of that.
I always love to take time and think about all the wonderful times we have had together. I’m thankful for our special adventures when we are together and all the things that we have done and I look forward to making many more memories with you.
You are a special treasure.
Nomination 22- Fatima Manji, Essex, UK, Parin Ismail, Peterborough, UK, Zainab Walji, Leicester, UK, and Sidika Vasram, Paris, Europe by CoEJ Youth Desk
The elders within our community, on the whole, are given the respect and the recognition that they deserve. Putting in years and decades of service with little to no reward is no mean feat and no doubt they are duly recognised in most of the nominations so far. However, with the rise of the internet, the idea of the "have-it-all" woman, and feminism on the increase, our young women are certainly facing a whole different challenge to what the previous generation of young women had to face, and purely for that they deserve to be recognised and honoured.
Fatima Manji has been active on a youth committee where the average person is aged just 18! She has been inspirational in putting the Essex youth on the map, working on promoting the positive face of Islam in her local community. While her community centre is being built, this hasn't fazed her or her team from punching well above their weight and delivering superb events time and again in Essex, all while studying for her A-Levels.
Parin Ismail has been a Youth Leader for Peterborough for a number of years now. Serving her community in the best way possible, she has been involved in a number of projects for them. All this, whilst studying and eventually graduating as fully qualified pharmacist.
Zainab Walji is Leicester's go-to girl for all things youth related. Whether educational, spiritual, or social in nature, Zainab has been profound in getting the Leicester jamaat doing all things positive for the youth and the rest of the community. She is studying Financial Mathematics.
Last but not least, Sidika Visram is the focal point of the Paris youth. President of the Paris Youth Committee for some time now, she put together a phenomenal venue to host the first annual CoEJ Youth Leaders Conference, has done various events with Who is Hussain, and all while muslims are under the spotlight in a very sensitive part of Europe.
May Allah (swt) reward all these young women for their incredible hard work and dedication, and I hope that it continues for years to come inshAllah.
Nomination 23- Nasim Virani, UK, Ummi Merali, UK, Siddika Jaffer, UK by Nishaat Bhimani
Mashallah this is an amazing initiative to recognise the amazing women of our community.
My first nomination is my mum- Nasim Virani. My mum has been my dad and my mum since my dad passed away in 1990 at a very young age of 36. But the reason I nominate her is because she is a living practitioner of ayat 186 of Sura Aale Imran. Her total submission to and ability to see every moment of her life ( good and not so good) as a gift from Allah (swt) makes me think she truly follows and lives the event of kerbala. I have seen my mum only come out stronger in faith when she lost her husband, son, 3 brothers and a sister in her short life. Through her I have learnt and believe that every test from Allah (swt) is but a mercy!
My second nomination is Ummi Aunty Merali. I don't know where to start with her! She has given not just a few individuals but our whole community the best thing one ever can! Education. Her relentless efforts to educate us on our holy book in the scale she has are commendable! Qcity is legendary! Ummi Aunty's knowledge about the Quran and her will to share it with the whole community never ceases to astound me. There is something about her that so many Muslims and non Muslims want to have more and more of her. I believe she is the only woman who has for the past few years carried out various amals including amals of arbaeen and umme dauud on her own for ladies. She is also the board member of harrow interfaith council. She once in her majlis said 'live your life in a way that you leave behind a legacy' and what a legacy Ummi Aunty will leave behind!
My last nomination is Siddika Aunty Jaffer. Siddika Aunty has excelled in something that majority of our brothers and sisters lack in. She has without being personally affected gone beyond what's expected of her to assist people with special needs in our community. From signing most majlis / lectures to organising events to teaching children at madressa so that they can be included in the mosque and learn about our religion. This selfless and undervalued act is an example to all men and women in not just our community but every human being.
Nomination 24- Amina Dhala, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania by her Students: Sadika Jeraj and Sakina Hassanali
Amina bai taught us Qur’an since we were very little girls and with that, she has been an example for kindness, justice, discipline and so much more. She’s one of those teachers who you never want to move far away from. One who will care about you way beyond the Quran classes. She invests time in her students and devotes a great amount of love and dedication in teaching the Holy Qur’an. Not only does she teach you how to recite the Quran, but being around her will instil in you the love of Quran, an attachment with the book and the lessons it contains. She has touched our hearts and inspired us in such a way that today we are following her footsteps and teaching the Holy Qur’an to other students. She has always treated us like her own daughters; shown us love and has always been there to advise us about anything and everything. One thing that she says that's always stuck with us is: “No matter what you do, small or big, always keep the intention to please Allah, and revolve everything around him.” She is a true role model and has inspired not only us, but so many more young women.
Amina bai, we love you. And you are truly a blessing in the lives of people you have touched. Thank you for being a mother, a teacher, and a friend.
Nomination 25- Khairoon A. Moloo, Kenya by Mukhtar Karim
Khairoon bai is the former Chairlady of Mombasa Jamaat, leader at the Mombasa branch of the Kenyan Red Cross.
At 83 years of age Mrs Moloo or Mama Moloo as she is fondly known to friends and colleagues alike may walk on a zimmer frame. But she reassures all that it's merely to maintain her balance as she cast it to one side to climb two flights of steps at the Jaffery Academy Mombasa.
She inspired old and young, Muslim and non as she described her life as a young member of the Ismaili jamaat where her parents instilled very strong social values of equity as she and her siblings got the same clothes as their house servants children on Eid. When they complained, the next Eid they got better clothes but the house servants children got none. They soon realised the rationale for this and made sure the family's house servants got the same as what they desired for themselves. Khairunbai describes these formative years as instrumental in the formation of her own values as a wife, mother, leader and philanthropist in later years.
Khairunbai joined the Ithna-Asheri jamaat on marriage to Mr Abdul Moloo and Allah blessed them with 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. She supported Hasanain who contracted polio at a young age and ensured that he was mobile and drove an adapted car that had hand controls. Their second son Naushad a keen tennis player and watersportsman died of leukaimia aged a mere 32 years. Nazira and Kulsum are active members of the community in Nairobi and London respectively.
Soon after their marriage, Kenya gained independence and the colonial office bearers of the Kenya Red Cross returned to the United Kingdom leaving local office bearers like Mr Moloo under resourced to carry out much needed work.
Mrs Moloo was called by her husband into the office one fine day for administrative support and that started a 60 year long service to humanity guided by the earlier principles of her upbringing. She countered much criticism to joining what was perceived a Christian organisation but continued to educate her critics through positive action serving humanity through the strong values of her early childhood.
One of her fondest memories is the transformation of the colonial tradition of Founder's Day which was commemorated by a gathering of expatriates enjoying a Garden Party of sumptuous dining in commemorating the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. Mrs Moloo made this an event which till today brings over 1,000 orphaned and destitute children together for a day of fun activities and food with party bags thus commemorating the true principles of the humanitarian values of the organisation.
She has served many victims of natural disaster and war victims and refugees including those fleeing from the conflict in Somalia. Her moto is always to inspire self-sufficiency and desire for others what one would desire for one's self.
She continues to improve the conditions for high security prisoners in Mombasa's notorious Shimo la Tewa prison serving iftaar, equipping their hostels treating their ill, emancipation of children wrongly incarcerated with their mothers and ensuring fair trials.
Her passion for humanitarian values has inspired her eldest grandson Khalil who also serves the Kenyan Red Cross with a unique ambulance service through community membership that has served thousands of community members across Kenya.
In addition to her life as a devoted wife, mother and social worker, Mrs Moloo has served the KSI Jamaat of Mombasa as their chair lady where she introduced good practices such as financial transparency, justice and fairness for all community members, cleanliness of community congregation spaces and spiritual balance in commemorations of Muharram.
She faced many critics with love and perseverance on ideals and is inspired above all by values learnt from the first Imam Ali (as).
She lives her values of Lady Fatemah (sa) in serving the poor, orphan and captive putting their needs before her own. House servants would be treated as Lady Fizza was in the Holy household.
Mrs Moloo, through her, the Holy Lady benefitted thousands of people in Mombasa.
Nomination 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30!
Patron Sajida Z. Master, Patron Sofia Bharwani, Patron Zishan Karim, Patron Shirin Jessa and Patron Samanna Rashid by The Development Society Girls of Tanzania
Being the one of the largest and most active youth groups in Tanzania, the Development Society Girls would like to take the pleasure in commending 5 women who gave their time, love and dedication into making the journey of the Development Society fruitful for all members since the introduction of the Girls council in 2011.
These 5 women, have truly inspired. Besides from working in their own fields, taking care of their house they have taken care of a group of 10-15 girls like their own, nurturing them into becoming the great leaders of tomorrow.
We hope and pray that these personalities continue their service and continue changing the lives of all their members to their betterment.
Thank you Patrons for being amazing, caring, gentle, patient at times when we have tested your patience, loving and most importantly treating us as your own. May the Almighty reward you amply! Ameen.
Nomination 31- Rubab Bai A. G. Ladha of Tanga, Tanzania by her daughter Yasmin Sheikh Sattar.
My Mom is my life, for every breath of my life I’m thankful to Allah and her. She has always been there behind me in all endeavours of my life, since I was born to date. Supportive but guiding to the right path. Pleasure of Allah is always centre of her existence. In her youth she was supportive to all her brothers n their families as she is the one mother all my uncles (Mama's) children shared to us four sister after my Dad died in 1988. She alone without any outside support collectively instil love n unity among us sisters looked with care n supportive guidance up till now. She has inspired me to show myself that I can still learn from my mistakes no matter how bad they are n I should have strong will to repent n never ever to repeat them. She with her determination n strength ran shop business of my Dad and also gave us full physical n mental support to go on in life. Her words "himmat e Marda madad e Allah". She supported my sister after her divorce with her four girls brought them up and all married happily with the same financial shop business. Today she is old but strong mentally she runs the house where she stays with my sister and her daughter n grandson. Encouraging them to go on in life as my sister’s daughter also is divorced now all of them depending on one source of income my Dad's shop. She has never begged even if she has gone hungry thus understand and have always helped the hungry people and taught us to do the same. Both my parents have become famous as "God Bless You". Our house is nick named no beggar had ever gone empty from that door. She is my mentor, guide, philosopher, leader and has instilled in us never ever to give money importance as it’s a necessity till you breath your last but after that it's useless. And what is important if it has not helped people then it will be of no good to you too.
"One tree can plant a forest,
One smile can begin a friendship,
One hand can lift a soul,
One word can frame the goal,
One candle can wipe out the darkness,
One laughter can conquer gloom,
One hope can raise the spirits,
One touch can show one cares,
One life can make the difference,
LET US BE THAT "ONE" TODAY!"
Based on a series of lectures by the author, this book attempts to address the social challenges faced by youth and community in today’s world.