The Khoja Business Directory has been created to encourage business and trade between community members
The nominations for #FatimaInspires are:
Sharmin has been a dynamic personality all her life. She had started a cleaning company, Spik n Span, in Tanzania 13 years ago and due to her sheer hard work and marketing skills created a name brand there. Today the company has improved the lives of 480 people and their families.
She moved to Orlando Florida in 2012 where she ventured into spa and beauty products and has created a buzz with her essence of Oudh product line. Once again she has given the opportunity to other women around Canada, UK, Dubai and Dar-es-Salaam to become her rock-star distributors.
When she went for her wajib Hajj and having spoken to other fellow ladies, she found that there was a need for halaal fragrance free personal hygiene products. With the help of her pharmacist friend she created a Hajj pack and will now start the trials and product tests, so that fellow hajj goers don't have to undergo not having personal hygiene products that is acceptable under shariah.
Besides having a flair for entrepreneurship, she has taken the initiative to learn Zumba so she could instruct her fellow sisters, who would like to stay physically fit. She is currently working on getting her Zumba Certification at 43 years old.
Sharmin has always been involved as a child through to adulthood with charity and fundraising. In Dar she inspired her children and staff alike to give charity and to give back with time, food and cleanliness to the needy. She has cleaned mosques, schools, labs and hospitals for free to educate and promote hygiene habits and surroundings. She has chaired a Nasimco Event in the past.
With her colleagues she is involved with local children's and women crisis center in Florida where she spends time privately and at community held events. They have convinced local restaurants and Deli to donate the excess food at night. This food then gets distributed to the shelter.
Bibi Fatima should be an inspiration for all humankind. The positive efforts and energies of our ladies in our community is tremendous. If we all strive to inculcate a few lessons from our Bibi’s life, there will be a dynamic shift in all our communities around the world. Sharmin has taken a few lessons and incorporated it in her life. May Allah bless her and give her the strength to continue to be an inspiration to us all.
'The first woman that comes to my mind is my mum. Zeenat Ismail.
She and my dad started and run an orphanage in Morogoro, Dar ul Muslimeeen Orphanage in a town in Tanzania where they house over 40 orphans. I have grown up with these kids and everyday we (my siblings and I) were taught to be kind to them, to treat them as I would any other child.
My mother has instilled deep values of compassion, kindness and giving to the less fortunate. My parents would invite the children home and we would spend Sunday evenings with them, have dinner with them and interact with them. Being among orphans and growing up with them makes me realize how privileged we are and how much we have to offer those less fortunate then us.
My parents overcame all sorts of obstacles to run the orphanage successfully for over 21 years now, this teaches me to never give up no matter how hard the task ahead is as long as you are on the right journey. My mother inspires me to follow the path of Imam Ali (a.s) and lady Fatima (a.s) and take lessons from their life in caring for orphans.'
'She is an amazing lady who works tirelessly for the needy in the community in Iraq. She sets us all a great example of how every little bit helps and reminds us of how easy it is for us to help others no matter how little or how much we have to give. She is helping us all work towards our aakhirat. May her reward be in the hereafter but with a little recognition int his world to promote her hard work. Masha'Allah Darifa, steam on like an express train with your great work'.
'Mubina Aunty is a person with an awesome personality.
Mubina Aunty used to be my Dinyat (fiqh) teacher at Madressah.
How can someone bring real life stories in a Fiqh lesson ? Well i being a Madressahholic used to love Madressah and would not mind having it 5 times a week instead once a week. But the rest of the students used to find fiqh classes extremely boring until we had Mubina Aunty as a teacher. Oh My God, they used to look forward to that class! I knew it since then Mubina Aunty had something in her which made her unique and a perfect role model. From then I took her as my role model. I used to see all her actions and the way she used to do things would make me come home jot it down on a piece of paper and stick it on my goal board. I was just 11 years old . My friends thought I was crazy but I thought this is what a role model should be doing - helping me to become a better person. Whether it is admiring the way Mubina Aunty walks (So Humble!), or just the way she talks (So Polite!). Her Majalis (So Awesome!), Her hijab (So Perfect!). Not to forget her voice when she recites qur'an or duas leaves me speechless mA. He has always been so patient. She keeps saying 'Its fine its not the end of the world'. She was just the perfect role model. Now when i am 17, a whole 5 years since I finished madressah, Mubina aunty is the Principal at Madressah and I am her Helper! She calls me a star and I call her the shaper of this Star! She was always there to listen to me and advise me!
I pray for her after every namaaz of mine Thanking Allah for blessing me which such a Fabulous Role Model. May Allah bless her!'
'The daughter of Zainab Bai Dewji, an iron lady in her times, she was her mother’s right hand and by her side as her mother unfortunately succumbed to cancer and passed away. And from that moment on, she became her father’s confidant, who she remains to date; her father makes no decision without consulting her first, a true umm-abiha of her time. She assumed the mother figure role to her siblings even with thousands of miles between them it’s always ask ‘bai/diddi’ first as her siblings like to call her. She keeps the family together just like her mother did.
She is a rock of a wife, who accepted to marry a simple man, with very little expectation of materialism common at the time. She undertook challenges and turned them to opportunities, she recognized that her “Tiara” and honor lay in the support of her husband. Her support in being content with little, and actually giving up on what many young married women would have wanted and demanded, made her husband have more energy to strive and with her financial support during the trying times, which she did very unassumingly, stitching infant clothes and other household accessories, she saw her husband rise from a simple MBBS (Doctor) to a renowned pediatrician to an academic professor of international acclaim. All the while she made efforts to grow independently.
She is a mother to a nurse, a doctor, a visionary teenager and a 10 year old who wants to change the world with his artistic skills. To her children she taught that it is important to first be a good human being, and everything else is secondary. Racism, discrimination and hate have no place in her house. One such example is how the house helpers were made part of the family with how she would treat them. From this her children learnt, and today just like all her other children did, her 10 year old must buy two additional of everything, ice-lolly’s, soft drinks, chocolates or even mabungo for the house helpers.
Ever ready to serve the community, ever since she was a student at the Madrasah and was awarded best student of the year in her time, she continued serving the Madrasah as a dedicated teacher. When the unfortunate building collapse happened, shaking the city, she was there, around the clock, tending to the inconsolable mothers whose children were trapped under the ruble, she was on one foot and one toe at the Muhimbili National Hospital, helping and assisting in receiving bodies that came one after another, and she arranged for food and drinks for the hard working doctors and nurses.
Besides and above all this, 20 years ago, she was approached to turn a small classroom with a group of children who did not how to spell their names or greet into a renowned school that is today known as Bilal Comprehensive School and a home to 600 children. She stepped into Temeke and with her hard work and dedication, fighting the long distance traffic, ministry inspectors, government protocols, managed to bring a system and what stands today is a Nursery and Primary School. The graduates of Bilal Comprehensive School have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, and many more in the making. She remains a mother figure to them all, as she is called ‘Mama Siddika’ with great love. Alongside secular education, she has imbibed in the children the love of the holy household. She has taken care of their medical and psychological needs too. These less fortunate children who come from difficult backgrounds, neglect, and poverty, all have a mother and the sparkle in their eyes when they see her and talk to her is something that cannot be put into words.
And when one thinks of her bravery and might, one remains speechless. Couple of years ago, there was the incident of the ‘Mbagala Bomb Blasts’ when military bombs went off uncontrolled, considering the school was close to the affected area, the question of the safety of the children was at hand. While many students were taken by their parents, a group of 60 children remained in the school and she took responsibility, did not allow them to leave lest they get lost or injured. She very daringly arranged for transport to shift them to a safer place in Mikocheni, fed them and stayed the night with them until it was safe for their parents to take them back the next day.
Her life is guided by the principle of humanity. The Holy Household is her lifeline, an ardent believer in dua. She spreads happiness and cheer wherever she goes.
This very normal, regular, soft spoken woman who is an administrator of a school by day, a medical assistant who helps her husband run his medical private practice by evening, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a friend is no less than a ‘Knight’. An unsung heroine!
When we think of the Lady Fatima (as) we think of might and power yet delicacy and humbleness. It is then, without a doubt that Mrs. Karim is inspired by Fatima (a.s)!'
'Ameera Manekia, a role model for me and a consistent volunteer at the HIC mosque in Florida, inspires others through her courage, honesty, and persistence as a she makes an effort to unify and strengthen the youth.'
'There are very few people who are so passionate to bring change within the community. Kaneez Bai is one of the most dedicated team members I have ever met.
The Quran Admin team couldn't have a better leader! She has guided and supported us all the way. She strives to better herself as well as those around her.
Kaneez Bai, you have not only instilled love of the Holy Quran in fellow teachers and madrasah students, but the will to teach and spread knowledge the way you do. May the Almighty reward you in this world and the hereafter!'
8. Batul Jaffer
“In my mind it is definitely Mrs Batul Jaffer – An educator by profession.
Her personality reflects devotion towards the community as well as energetic, motivating, God fearing, loving, strict. She is sharp and simply has a way with words.
When I consider all that she has taught me and reflect on what she is, I definitely want to be a person like her – giving her knowledge, time, talent in order to ensure a bright future to every kid who has passed through her class be it at Bunge School, Olympio School or our very own Al Muntazir Union Nursery School.
She is one of the reasons why an ordinary student like me dreamt to do extra ordinary things.
Teacher play an important part in shaping and guiding a student - Mrs Jaffer has done justice to this role.
Mrs Jaffer : Thank you for giving me a goal to shoot through. You truly have been in inspiration to me. You are the best because you brought out the best in me.
To educate a man you educate an individual,
To educate a woman you educate a nation – You are a perfect example of this quote”
9. Saida Dhala
'I would like to nominate a woman, Saida Dhalla, who's not just a mother to us but the most loving and supportive friend ever. Her most inspiring move was ensuring we get the best of education despite the most tough times we all went through. Late nights, helping us with bringing the best of performance be it in school or madrasah. She's always been a guide for us when it came to performing in any dramas or stage productions and that has made us so confident Alhamdullilah. She always encouraged us to choose the path that would benefit us throughout and has always given us solutions to each and ever single problem. Her most famous quote is 'although the path ahead may seem bumpy and difficult to walk through, you will only make it to your final destination by being strong and face any sort of challenges that come your way'. That makes us very proud of her. A woman of no expectations! And she has always been happy with whatever she has. Her never failing advice has made us becoime who we should be today and what we can do to serve our Imam. The second most inspiring part of her was her dress code. Which I can confidently say I am very happy today knowing that she taught us how to secure ourselves and protect ourselves. She would constantly push us to participate in any kinds of challenging events that took place within or outside the community that could enable us to become familiar with things going on around the world as well as use out skills that could help things become better and benefit our fellow brothers and sisters.'
10. Fatima Patel
'Fatima bai Patel has been a pillar for the Africa Federation for many years. As the Administrative Secretary, her organization, delegation & communication skills allow for the smooth running of all aspects of the Federation. For many community members it is difficult to imagine an Africa Federation without her. Truly a Fatima who inspires.'
11. Razia Janmohamed
'“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…” –John Wooden.
As per the above quote, we always look for roles models to emulate and Razia Bai has been my role model ever since I was a Madrasah student. Her continuous contribution towards the Dar es Salaam community has been impeccable! She has contributed in various ways like Quran Tadabbur classes, Arabic language and Teachers Training classes that have been very inspiring and beneficial to the ladies of the community and cannot be justified with a mere mention.
Razia bai had been the Principal Administrator of the Husayni Madrasah Girls Section of Dar es Salaam for the past 40 Years and has contributed towards the cause without fail. The whole madrasah that grew from a handful of students to currently accommodating about 850 students and it also has successfully advanced in religious studies under the leadership of Razia Bai. She has been present since the Madrasah that ran for all 5 days of the week from 2.30 p.m to 5.30 p.m. and played a great role in changing the routine to conducting classes only on Saturdays from 8.30 a.m to 1.00 pm.
Together with being an administrator, Razia bai has also been a past Chairlady of the Dar es Salaam Jamaat. She continues to inspire me with her tireless efforts towards the community in any form of contribution; be it services or parting with her knowledge. May Allah SWT increase her knowledge and efforts in abundance. Ameen.'
12. Saida Kassam
An exemplary mom to a family, a dedicated individual to the society
Anybody who has spent even a few minutes with Saida Kassam would agree that she exudes a sort of energy that awakens enthusiasm in people to do more, selflessly, in the way of Allah (swt). Serving the creation of God has never been an option for her, it has always been an obligation, and she has demonstrated this from a young age by starting off as a volunteer in the masajid of Tanga, Tanzania and Mombasa, Kenya.
When marriage took her to Kinshasa, D.R. Congo, a place where Islam wasn’t being practiced in the community, she introduced the teachings by starting the Madrasah in her own home, teaching the Holy Quran fore mostly, then introducing other subjects, inspiring the community leaders to expand the Madrasah at a larger scale in the masjid complex. It is the very same masjid that she supported her husband with the building of, a physical structure that stands till today serving the shia community.
In order to have halal food, she slaughtered chicken for several families, an activity that inspired the men of the community to take over the responsibility. Her servant Ali, to whom she had educated about Islam and converted from Christianity, would deliver food that she prepared anonymously to the poor every Friday. This act only came to light when she fell critically ill and the poor began to ask why the food wasn’t being distributed.
Her imaan in the Creator, coupled with her selfless act of giving solely for the pleasure of Allah (swt) perhaps miraculously saved her from a cerebral malaria with both kidneys failing, a condition doctors said was rare to recover from.
When she moved back to Mombasa, she assisted her mother Marhum Nargis Kassamali, then chairlady of the Mombasa jamaat, an exemplary woman herself, in various community works in the masjid, a specific one being devoting her time and energy in settling the refugees during the Somali crisis in 1991. She would voluntarily prepare and serve tea to all the mourners of Imam Husayn (‘a) who stayed back after the lunch Niyaz.
Her dedication to serving the Lord (swt) continued on to Nairobi, where she worked alongside the management team as the Vice Chairlady ensuring the smooth running of each program from the initial set up to the final lock of the main doors.
Her fate then took her to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she once again found herself without an Islamic Centre, so she simply opened her house for the growing Khoja student population to gather in and remember the Creator (swt) and the Masumeen (as). She played an integral role in founding Al-Mawaddat Centre, the first Khoja Shia Islamic Centre in Malaysia, and continues to play a central role in organising the weekly programs and programs for Islamic occasions year round. She also founded the Al-Mahdi Madrasah in Kuala Lumpur, an Islamic learning centre that is home to over 30 students. She oversees the entire Madrasah operations from syllabus compilation to teacher selection, and even teaches some subjects herself.
During the 2015/2016 Yemeni refugee crisis, she personally welcomed the fleeing families into Kuala Lumpur, prior to which she had set up their apartments with all the basic necessities, and visited them every other day to provide comfort and aid.
Her most recent project was supporting her husband with facilitating the refurbishment of a masjid in a small village in the Philippines and also enabling the function of a borehole which now supplies water to the masjid. She also committed her support for additional boreholes for the community there. In the same village, she introduced concepts to the local Madrasah that would generate more interest for families to send their children to the Madrasah. Her act of giving could also be seen in this country where she sponsored the iftar for the local community in three cities for all weekends in the Holy month of Ramadhan.
Today, even after her mother has passed away, she continues her legend of financing the education for 3 children from the Bilal community, from elementary to university.
Being a full time mom of four with varied age gaps is a demanding responsibility, especially bringing them up amidst relocating cities and countries and in a century with challenging surroundings. Devoting time, energy and oneself to serving the society with complete dedication and with expectation of no reward requires a lot of sacrifice. Saida delivered both by balancing her personal responsibilities and that of the society, strengthening her faith with her Lord (swt), and her commitment to the Imam of our time (atfs).
It is for this act of constantly manifesting the qualities of God in such a simple and humble manner that we nominate the woman we admire, our beloved mom, Saida Kassam.'
13. Naznin Mukhtar
The niece of Marhum Mulla Asgher who is married in Arusha to Gulamhussein Mukhtar. She is a mother of 5 children, 2 sons and 3 daughter.
3 of her children study in Qum- Mustafa, Zahra and Sakina. Mustafa and Zahra are married and study there with their spouses.
Mustafa is Inshallah inspired to study and become a Mujtahid, and so her son in law Kazim Bhojani.
Mustafa has 2 children and Zahra has a daughter.
Aliasgher 2nd son who is in Arusha presently is a Doctor. Ummeabiha my last born is studying in Form 5- A levels.
Nazneen bai has been very active in Arusha jamaat, she has dedicated her valuable time and energy for the community by organizing different events, giving lectures and majlises. Below are some of her daily works
• She conducts Quran tadabur every week in the mosque.
• Fiqh Masails in Dars.
• Writes scripts for Dar (a session for girls and Ladies every Saturday in Arusha).
• Writes poems and religious rhymes for children at Madressa and mosque events.
• Conducts pre marital classes for youths for the past 12 years, mostly in the month of Ramadhan.
Nazneen bai is a head mistress at Yaadgare Murtazawi Madressa girls section which consists of boys and girls till group 6 and girls from group 1 to 11. She has taken this position for the past 5 years and as soon as she joined as a head mistress she immediately worked very hard to replace a very old syllabus of madressa with the current one. This I feel was not an easy job for her.
She has been reciting Majalises for the past 20 years. Her majlises are always very relevant to the current affairs and also very thought provoking. She has gone to recite Majalises in Muharram and Ashre zainabiyya in Bujumbura, Nairobi, Moshi, Morogoro, Tananariv and Zanzibar. She has been reciting majlises for the past 20 years.
I believe Nazneen bai has inspired many youths here in Arusha by her dedicating not only to the community but at the same time, taking care of her sick mother in law and father in law and also raising wonderful kids who will inshallah be a role model. All inspired by the Holy Lady of Light Fatematuz Zahra (S.A).'
14. Sukaina Hirji
'I nominate Sukaina Hirji because of the stand she took on behalf of Muslim women everywhere. She is a doctor, a wife and a mother and gave her voice to British Muslim women who were being labelled as 'traditionally submissive'. Sukaina is a woman who stands up for others and by doing so, showcased the incredible achievement of Muslim women everywhere.'
15. Shila Tejani
'I would like to nominate Shila Tejani who has truly inspired me and changed my life.
I was attending her Arabic Classes when I lived in London from the year 1997 to 2000. Her way of teaching Arabic, made me love the Qur’an and inspired me to learn Arabic to understand its content to the fullest.
During our classes, she would also bring in the 40 Hadith of Imam Khomeini which made me understand myself and made me be aware of the responsibilities of my actions. She has taught Arabic in various centres and all her students, Muslims or non-Muslims love her teaching style, Alhamdullilah.
As a person I find her always advising according to the Sharia and what Allah would like me to do. That makes be God conscious. I have never heard her gossip about anything even when I spent a whole day in her company.
Whenever, I need advice I turn to her and I know she will direct me to do the right thing with which Allah will be pleased.
She has an undergraduate degree in Arabic and taught at the Islamic College in London.'
'Many people will probably hold the belief that we are biased in writing this post because it is in honor of our own family member and although this may be true, we know that we speak on behalf of most, if not all, the people that have had the pleasure of meeting such a wonderful personality. Her kindness and empathy towards others have the power to make anyone’s day and her constant efforts in serving the KSIJ Arusha community for more than 10 years are most definitely appreciated. Our mother is the reason we are who we are today and we cannot begin to explain the immense role she has played in teaching us how to be genuine and kind people.
Her determination and perseverance in helping the less fortunate have taught us to want to do the same and the persistence and dedication that she holds in serving her community are greatly respected. Her love and compassion for what she believes in have had a huge impact on the entire community at large and the time that she has spent in teaching various subjects and training young members in the recitation of the Holy Quran at the Madrasah are certainly valued. Despite the hurdles and immeasurable pressures that have come along the way, her strength and compassion have served as an example for many.
Thank you mum for not only teaching us how to serve our community, our Lord, and our family, but also showing us the power of love and happiness. Although words will never be able to truly describe the beautiful person that you are, your endless service and selflessness are an inspiration to all of us and your sincerity and intelligence have given us the ability to understand the definition of an incredible woman.'
17. Zohra Rajpar
'Zohra daughter of Merzia and Anverali M.Rajpar, Born in karachi to a Khoja Shia family from Tanzania.
Zohra is an exemplary role model for the youths of our community. She is the first who laid the foundation stone for a all girls youth organisation in 1990 by the name of Bazm e Sakina. She organises melas, fun filled stage plays, talk shows , Islamic plays , exhibitions and seminars for youths, kids and adults of the community. Funds from these are used to finance projects in slum areas.
Zohra Rajpar has also been the youngest ever female volunteer on the list of volunteers of MehfileMurtaza and she also became the youngest member of the ladies committee of MehfileMurtaza. During her tenure as the activity committee head of MehfileMurtaza She organised plays, Mother's Day program and many other events on important occasions .
In 2013 March she became the representative of Who is Hussain? Karachi chapter. It started with its full swing activities in May 2013 with 8 volunteers and now Who is Hussain? Karachi has more than 250 volunteers under them . In 2015 March she became one of the country heads of Who is Hussain? Pakistan chapter.
Zohra has been a positive influence for our youths. Her experience and mentoring skills have influenced youths and they see her as an icon of pride for the community.
We wish and pray to Allah Almighty (swt) to grant Zohra the spiritual strength to continue serving the community and humanity. Ameen'
'We, the female youth of Melbourne, nominate Sabica Fatima Manjee. Living in the west, momineen face many trials and tribulations on a constant basis. Amongst us is a woman who is an inspiration and source of pride for many young girls. She is a mother of 2 young children, she is highly qualified professional and a community worker from a very young age.
Sabica was born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia and arrived in Australia at the age of 9. She has been serving in the community from a very young age, initially supporting her parents organising major annual events such as Ramazan Quiz, Madressa Prize distribution, Eid Program in Saudi Arabia. As this young community worker moved to Australia, she has been an active volunteer at Panjtan Society of Victoria where she has been teaching for many years and initiated important serves such as volunteer tuition services for high school kids, supported the establishment of youth group and organised a number of youth events. Currently, she is playing a vital role in the two major areas of KSIJ Melbourne Jamaat. She is the treasurer of the multi-million-dollar Masjid/Imambargah construction project and is playing an important role in the education board.
Professionally, she is a Chartered Accountant and a registered Tax Agent and director of Manjees Accounting and Taxation Services Company. She has reached her goals while fulfilling her duties as a wife, a mother of two young kids, 4 year old Zainab Fatima and 6 weeks only Mahdi Raza and countless community services for a number of organisations. She did not allow any hardship put her down and always stayed positive with her ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude.
She has made many inspiring speeches and presentations interfaith events and is respected by many non-Muslims as a strong and inspiring Muslim women.
Beyond all of her personal achievements and community services, she is a mentor and guide for many young girls. She takes every opportunity to encourage others to have self-belief and stay positive in every situation whether they are studying, picking a career pathway, facing family or marriage issues or giving birth and raising a child.
She is a true inspiration particularly as we all know how hard it is to work full time, study, actively volunteer in many projects and raise a family at the same time, yet she is an example of how it can all be managed. We take this opportunity to thank her for being our friend :)'
19. Batul Galani
'I would like to nominate Batul Gulani. As a parent, raising my children in the west, I have always been inspired by the outstanding tarbiat she has done of her children while making amazing contributions towards the welfare of the community. It is indeed beyond my understanding how she manages to do everything that she does. She is a mother of three amazing children, each an example for many youths. Each of her children contribute to many organisations and can been seen actively working at many different organisation events. Each of them have been raised as independent, highly educated both islamically and academically, with professional careers and are active community workers. Her tarbiat is an inspiration for many parents.
Batul has focused on her children during their prime young ages and undertook her education later. She graduated after her two kids had graduated and is currently a senior counsellor and professional supervisor, director of AMAFHH Federation and active community worker with many Government, Shia, Sunni and Non-Muslim organisations. She has played a fundamental rule in encouraging shia community leader, engage with government officials by organising many meetings between government bodies and leaders of various organisations.
Her contribution and impact towards the welfare of community cannot be defined in this short passage. Around the world, I have seen many community workers and leaders who manage to do things by the way of making others follow their lead. Batul's leadership style is very different, she encourages others, particularly the youth, to lead, allow them to make decisions rather than impose her own and give them the platform to learn and develop. This method allows youth to reflect, develop many skills, feel empowered and feel motivated to contribute. This leadership style has had profounding impact on many youth and woman.
She has made a major impact in empowering youth, in particularly females and her contributions were recently recognised by the Governor of Victoria. These are only some of the few things that I know about Batul, but every time I speak to any youth, female or family, I hear some way or another, Batul has made an impact on their lives. May Allah give her long live with health. Ameen'
20. Saleha Sheriff
'As I look at the out pour of nominations coming through to recognize amazing women who have contributed to the society and touched the lives of many, I can’t help but think about those silent heroes who go unappreciated every single day. They shy away from the limelight because they do not necessarily carry out acts of public galore. They have never been on the front rows of community service or ensured their voices are heard, or campaigned for human rights. They have not been activists or strong headed or mission oriented. Yet there is something about them that makes them special. Something about their silence, their humility, their grace and elegance that sets them apart from the well-known women in the society. They may not be the ones painting rainbows in the lives of many, but they are definitely shielding many from being soaked up in the rain. This nomination is for all those silent heroes who do all the hard work back stage and are somehow forgotten or taken for granted. For every woman, mother, sister, and wife whose mere presence brings joy to the hearts of many. You are special for all those nights you stayed awake, all those bruises you nursed, all those tears you wiped, all those wounds you kissed, all those buttons you sewed. You are special because you brought a new life into this world, you protected and nourished a life that was dependent on you. You taught many the meaning of life and concept of love. You encouraged, you inspired. Your criticism brought out the best of talents. You raised warriors. You are special because you have been a great life companion. You are special because you left your comfort zone to venture into a new life with a stranger, not knowing what to expect but keeping your utmost faith in God. Don’t you see? You are a very special creation. Your very being is an evidence of the mercy of God.
And somewhere in this pool of amazing women, is my mother. My silent hero. I do not have a list of public accomplishments to certify her worth however I know she does not need that anyway. Anyone who has met her would agree when I say she is a terrific human being. She is the oil that runs our engines, the sugar to our cupcakes and the sunshine on a rainy day. For every amazing thing she has done for friends and family, a lifetime of gratitude will not be enough. Today, this nomination is a tiny way of expressing thanks for her abundant love that fills our lives.'
'Alhamdulillah, it gives me immense honour in putting together few of the very many and priceless attributes and contributions of my mother, Mrs. Nasim Gulamraza Sheriff. Nasim bai was born in Zanzibar in the Bhalloo family, and later migrated to Arusha as soon as the revolution in Zanzibar cracked down. After marriage, her initial challenge was adjusting in the immensely vast joint family of Sheriff Dewji. In no time, Nasim bai crafted herself into a very dedicated housewife and an excellent mother, catering the needs and wants of not only her own immediate family, but also extended it unconditionally to the various other generations within the huge family.
Her main challenge began when we migrated to Bangalore, India in the year 1995. Our family venture took this constructive decision to set up Bangalore as an educational hub where students within and outside the family circle could come and pursue their further education under the guardianship of my father, Mr. Gulamraza Ebrahim Sheriff and Mr. Hussein Yusuf Sheriff. Catering to the needs of over 30 students from various families in Tanzania and Kenya was a huge task. While my father managed their administrative and financial matters, Nasim bai took an extensive effort to make sure the students received all the possible love and care. She made them feel they were at home away from home. I remember her straining herself out in the kitchen during the month of Mahe Ramadhan where we used to have Quran and Dua recitation at our house and she made sure that after that Dua, all the students were served with her handmade fateha and never made them feel that they missed the feeling of this holy month here in Bangalore. Nasim bai is a lady gifted with immense patience and strength. Whenever, any student would come home to meet my father for any discussion, she would make sure that he/she did not leave without having his/her meal, regardless of the time of the day.
One attribute which really makes her stand out is her love toward the needy animals. I have observed that she always made sure every needy animal or bird in the street, be it a cow, cat, crow or a sparrow, was fed whenever it passed by our house. Her heart is so tender towards these needy animals that she also made sure that the basic need such as water was made available for the them to drink in the nearby streets where we lived. This act reminds me about the heart melting act of Aba Abdillah (as) who made sure that the horses (of the enemy) received enough water to quench their thirst before entering the land of Karbala.
I have witnessed these unconditional acts of service and kindness of my mother, and all I can say is that the words mentioned above to describe her indeed fall short of truly describing her. '
22. Nazneen Zaidi
'I would like to nominate Nazneen Zaidi from Islamic Jafferia Association in Miami, Florida.
She is an educator, an English teacher for Middle School. She has dedicated her every waking moment in helping and furthering our children's academic and social future. Her administrative skills are to be applauded, and her leadership qualities steer her team(Madressa principal, IJEC) to achieve the utmost across the Islamic Calender.
She inspires me to do better, to think of new and different ways to communicate within our community and the community at large.
Keep up the wonderful work and Allah(swa) will surely reward your efforts, Ameen'
23. Tahera Bhalloo
'Our mother always told us “our main purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them “
She is a selfless community worker and volunteer who is always ready to assist in any functions at the mosque. She will go out of her way to make Chai for the entire community whenever asked; be it a wedding or a majlis. Our mother is always ready with a smiling face to serve in the Aza-e-Hussein.
She is also a dynamic participant in the ladies Ghusl committee and has been for many years. She also assists in the cleaning of the mosque whenever called upon. Recently she suffered from skin pigmentation but even that did not stop her from serving selflessly in the mosque.
Her dedication towards the Mombasa jamaat ladies section in all spheres; sports, education, volunteering in the kitchen, managing tasks, are unmatched.
She has been a badminton champion in her school years and when the Mombasa Jamaat ladies sports festival needed a marshal, Mum was called upon and she readily obliged. She also regularly assists in badminton tournaments. Her welcoming nature and friendly, smiling face is not to be missed in mosque.
She is also an entrepreneur as she makes and sells amazing “Makate Sinia”, one of the tastiest in Mombasa town, which people order to send overseas too!
Our mum deserves this nomination as she has inspired us to be strong and selfless in life, and always to be there for each other. She has taught us the true meaning of love and sacrifice through serving the community for many many years.
“Oh Allah, keep our mum in your love and protection always. Ameen”'
24. Masooma Khawaja
'There are rare moments when you find someone absolutely incredible, someone who inspires you to excel and be the best version of themselves that one can possibly be. For myself, and so many others in our small Shia London Community, this has always been my sister, Masooma Khawaja. She is more than just an inspiration. She is a catalyst for good, a role model to live by. Everyday she motivates and teaches me to be kind, ambitious, patient, all things we have learned and encouraged in Islam. Through her various involvements which include being on the board of our local mosque, serving as lead on various volunteer committees such as interfaith environmental initiatives and cancer foundations in the community and her dedication to her values, she never fails to surprise me on just how selfless and compassionate someone can be. Through overwhelming support and love, I have learned that no matter how big an obstacle may seem, your character is the most important thing in this temporary world and I am constantly inspired to work on myself and my faith. Masooma is truly someone #FatimaInspires, her dedication to serving others in the community and her own family and personal relationships shown through the immense amount of respect she has for everyone and receives in return.
I don't think words can describe just how much I look up to her, as do others. She is a dear mother, sister, daughter, friend and community leader.'
'I am a member of Nairobi SAAJ jamat and have been observing the incredible service this lady is giving to the Nairobi Jamat and the local African population.
Its difficult to elaborate in words on her contributions but some of her contributions are as follows:
Head of administration of the Haidary maddrash. She is the first person to open the madrasah on Friday & Saturdays and the last one to close. She Makes sure all classrooms are ready & equipped for madrasah teachers.
Runs a Quran & Dinyat class during weekends for local Shia African kids, provides a morning meal, and helps them economically.
Looks after physically under privileged women of our community at times takes their children in her home during the mothers treatment in the hospital.
A mother of 2 sons. Both have been groomed with excellent akhlaq & both serve the jamat as volunteers.
A volunteer in the ladies jamat.'
26. Gulbanu Bharwani
'I proudly declare this inspirational woman, a special lady with a heart of gold who deserves to be nominated for being such a great person in not only my life but the thousands that she touches ... She is is none other than my gorgeous second mother, my mother in law, Gulbanu Bharwani!
To begin with, at the start of our relationship she wholly embraced and readily welcomed me into the family as her son's wife when she had barely known me. I mean it takes great forbearance to be able to share a piece of your heart n flesh. Through the years she has journeyed with me, she has evermore been positive, forgiving and shared her wisdom selflessly thereby constructively empowering me with some truly imperative life skills and is an answer for every wish I had made to ask for a miracle of an Awesome MIL!
She may not be a perfect MIL but in a million ways she is a good MIL. Like a messiah, She is sooo many wonderful little things in one! I'm not sure if I would be the same without her! For my twenty five years journey with her this space and moment will not justify to express what she inspires me to be, or not to be, nevertheless ... Hers is a typical lesson 'when life gives Lemons, one could make a well preserved long lasting pickle!'. No excuses!
We enjoy a great relationship, appreciating our similarities and respecting the differences. As time went by I realized mums truly a blessing in all her roles - domestic, social, economic, physical, spiritual.
An in-house, personal adviser, coach, mentor, tutor, instructor.. for no monetary fee. Her penchant for healthy living and physical fitness is witness and evidence of her phenomenal overall competence at this age! MashA ..
A God-sent, so there is always love for good works in my heart.
She is simply an incredible, zealous, remarkable, fantastic go getter even at this age with an amazing sense of will power and a mountain of determination posing as a role model of I M POSSIBLE!
Recently at her 80th birthday family getaway at Pemba Island she took up to climb a remotely fitted ladder to get upon a cliff which was challenging enough for us daughters in law! A natural fun-liver, oozing with delight she took advantage of every moment and adventure without letting us down to express her acknowledgement cheerfully and thoroughly enjoying every piece of surprise it behold. She doubles the joy of having a mother that so willingly my husband shares!
Besides an wonderful supporting wife and family member she is an element of various welfare committees. Over the decades, mum has exceeded a hundred humanitarian. Consistently appreciating her privileged living by never ceasing an opportunity in her capacity or on behalf of another, in making a difference to even the far fetched underprivileged in diverse ways, traversing the boundaries of borders, age, creed, color or caste, and at no time fearing to try new ways of leaving a goodwork footprint, be it in health, sickness, spiritual or leisure travel, fasting or otherwise. As a snoop into her diligence; she continued her 'global' welfare work amid severe pain and restlessness as she was bedridden after her recent fall and injuries. Alhamd.. This eventful period made me realize how blessed and fortunate I am to have constant in house source of inspiration and I do not have to seek or search out for one.
Hence I chose to honor her with this appointment. Whenever I contemplate my blessings I count her more often than just once!
For I could be oblivious to how many times she has made a difference in my personality and eventually in my being or L-I-V-I-N-G altogether in my various capacities, the true grantee of my works/deeds. Neither do I know how many times I have been saved by her Duas for my safety and happiness always!
As the years went by, we have shared laughters and sorrow, dreads and fears, differences n agreements .. And never cease to grow closer! With every day that goes by, her influence pushes me towards my objective to keep me in state of growth .. Towards a successful human being and Daughter-in-law..
Such that I believe 'behind every successful daughter-in-law is a wonderful mother in law! I say that also because she has raised a man who treats me like his princess .. And I owe that to her And obvious that he is raised by none other than a queen!
InshA I will continue her legacy ... of never failing to do good works ... And in this way I will let her live beyond her lifespan in my heart and that of mine spanning generations for eternity!
I wish to share this poem about her :
''A mother-in-law she may be,
A friend, a mentor, a guide but in her I will always see,
Not her flesh, not her bone, but somehow she made me feel like her own ...
A typical role model,
Caring and sharing,
Giving and forgiving,
who exhibits how two women can through thick and thin love a man in completely different ways n yet live in harmony!"
In return for the inspiration she provides, I will strive to become a daughter I should be and she never had!
I hope every remaining day that follow, she gets growing love, admiration and acknowledgment that she truly deserves!
I'd like to end..
MIL by chance but forever friends by choice!'
27 . Fatim Somji
'A woman of strength, warmth and grace. Her words wise and her life simple yet lived to its fullest. She maintains a beautiful balance in her roles as a family woman and as a member of the wider community, a reflection of living Islam in its true essence. Fatim bai, often referred to as Mamaasiya (Mother of Aasiya) by those who know her well, spends most of her time in Zanzibar where together with the support of her family, runs Tamani Foundation, an educational institution for the local village community in Matemwe. The school is mostly sustained by income from Tamani Villas - two serene beach holiday bungalows that you can rent out where you will be warmly welcomed by a hospitable team of local Zanzibaris who take care of you in your home away from home.
Connecting Tamani villas and the school, is “Prem Gali”, Mamaasiya’s home - the valley of love, designed in a basic yet thoughtful way, the place does justice to its name. Anyone (she loves company) who visits would want to put their gadgets away and share meaningful time together in a setting as inviting and warm as her little haven, and for her that would be 'mission accomplished'!
With her selfless dedication and passion to make a difference within the community and beyond, she continues to enrich the lives she touches. During a ladies retreat at Tamani, without knowing it, she taught us and our children, sweet and practical ways of appreciating Allah's beauty and His blessings. Who knew popping seaweeds could make you fall in love with your Creator! Her small, but dedicated team adores her and both old and young are drawn towards her. She is truly a treasure - a role model and an inspiration to many.'
'A role model for the youth of our generation, Shaista has inspired many others to get involved and make a difference in their communities.
Shaista was involved in the Jaffari Islamic Youth of Toronto Canada for 5 years as Vice Director and Director
2 years as an Islamic teacher at Jaffari Community Center Madressa in Toronto Canada.
After which she worked 4 years at the Jaffari Community Center as an Administrator. She then continued to work as an Event Coordinator at JCC worked with Syed Muhammad Rizvi and has planned over 50+ weddings, events, conferences and much much more!
Shaista continued to volunteer in the jamaat through various sub committees including the Ladies Sub committee under the supervision of the Chairlady of ISIJ.
Shaista then moved to Orlando Florida where she became a Head Youth Volunteer in the Ladies Committee. She also helped in various activities such as the Imam Ali Conference in conjuction with Ahlulbayt TV, as well as.in Toronto with Nasimco events and World Federation in Toronto Canada .
Shaista is now the MC liason for the HIC youth of Orlando, FL and a huge asset to the community.
Shaista sets an amazing example to our youth generation and hopes many youths will start to take part in their community in any way they can.'
29. Parin Ismail
'On Monday 14 December 2015, we received the sad news that Marhuma Parin Ismail had passed away in a tragic car accident. The death of a youth in our community will always shakes us, but the death of Parin was different.
Her death was not only a loss to her family and friends but one that would affect the worldwide community. She was an individual who was extremely active in her local Jamaat, super committed to raising funds to help those in need and one who would always smile at those around her.
Words will fail to do justice if I began to recall the many stories of all those whose lives Parin has touched. I think of Parin and wonder which of the lessons I could take from her life and apply to mine…
Would it be that life really is too short and that we must make the most of it? Or that no matter who you meet, smile and be happy! Or that giving back to your community gives us so much more than we can ever give?
In any case, Parin – YOU inspire me. You inspire me to continue in the work that I do in the community and to continue doing so with a smile. I pray that Allah (swt) grants you a place in heaven in close proximity to the Ahlulbayt (as) and that your family are granted patience during this difficult time.
Please recite Surah Fateha for Marhuma Parin Ismail – a youth whose legacy will inshAllah live on forever.'
Fatema submitted the video & following description:
'This person not only inspires me but she is a role model, a mother for me. She gave me a new life, a new view and most of all she guide me to have faith in Allah swt. She taught me how Allah swt is Great and Rahman and how he is always with us in every breath we take. She gave me a new life - a life with hope and love and Ibaadat and kindness and everything and today I want to give her this reward because she deserves it. Not only me but she teaches that to lots of youth like me even all people who have lost hope, lost reason to smile, to live for, lost Allah swt. This personn is Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla from Toronto, Canada.She is a great person and she deserves this. She is a very amazing speaker and her Majlis touched my heart deeply. She changed me to be a good person. Now i have faith in Allah swt and Ahlulbayt. She guided me to work on the right path. She is my Inspiration and my role model.'
Kazim submitted the following description:
'She is such an inspiration to me and thousands of people around the globe through her teachings, devotion, sincerity and love for Allah and Ahlulbayt (as). I have been following Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla for years on social media and her work is truly inspiring. She travels the world to spread the great message of Islam, makes puppet shows, and is an active member of the Shia community. In fact, she is a mother 3 teenagers and still manages to propagate Islam. She is a true inspiration. May she continue to serve the community and I pray that the daughters in our community are empowered to be the leaders of tomorrow Ameen'
Congratulations to all those who were nominated - you are all inspiring and we are blessed to have you in our community.
The inaugural Western Indian Ocean Studies workshop entitled 'Rahe Najat (The Path of Salvation): Religious and social dynamics amongst mercantile communities of the western Indian Ocean' was hosted by the department of religious studies from 12-13 November 2015 at the Florida International University in Miami.
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