As salaamu alaikum.
My name is Fozia Bashir. I am from Union City, California, and am a first-time mom of a
2-year- old boy. Until recently, I worked as a Geographic Information System (GIS)
Analyst but now spend more time at home with my son.
I have been a Ribaat student for several years. I took my first class with Ribaat
back in the Fall of 2013. The very first class I took was Companions.
When I started practicing Islam back in 2012, I used to attend a weekly women’s
halaqa with Dr. Rania Awad in Fremont. She mentioned the Ribaat program to us. One
thing led to another, and I decided to sign up. That same year I had the opportunity to go
for hajj, and it was the beginning of an amazing transformative spiritual journey for me.
I love that I get to learn from these powerhouse women with all sorts of
backgrounds and accomplishments. My teachers are amazing homemakers and
professional women. They completely understand that we women are constantly wearing
different hats, but they emphasize maintaining and solidifying our relationship with Allah
first and foremost. The Ribaat classes are tailored to build this amazing relationship with
our Lord. This program has been a source of deep peace and blessings in my life.
Through Ribaat, I have found other great resources like the tahajjud WhatsApp
threads, the Pilgrims at Home worship competition, and the monthly women’s halaqa
with Anse Tamara Gray. Ribaat empowers women with all these various programs to
become women of worship and spiritual connection with Allah (SWT).
I truly believe that we women need this reserve of spiritual energy since so many
people depend on us every day. Without a strong bond with our Creator and a deep
conviction in our faith, it can all seem very overwhelming. Looking back, I used to
struggle with wearing hijab for the longest time. Once I heard Anse Tamara say in one of
her talks that the hijab shows that you are a woman of God. From that moment on, I have
wanted to be a woman of God.
Thanks to Ribaat, I also now have a serious love and yearning for the Quran. I
took the Juzu’ ‘Amma class back in 2014 with Anse Tamara Gray. I was paired up with a
tajwid teacher, and it was a very tough experience for me. I was disappointed in myself
knowing that I had let my abilities to read and recite the Quran dwindle so much over the
years. After completing the course, I found a very patient Quran teacher and started
working on my reading.
During this time, I became a first-time mom. I had been toying with the idea of
memorizing some portions of the Quran for a while but never thought I could do it. With
the birth of my son, I would read Surah Mulk to him and the light from my phone really
bothered him. So I decided to memorize it, which took about 2 to 3 months. As a mom of
a newborn, I had never been more tired in my life. However, all the advice of being
a woman of Quran that I learnt from my Ribaat teachers kept me going. My very amazing
Quran teacher encouraged me every step of the way and never allowed me to quit. Once I
memorized that surah, I wanted to do more. I was still working as a GIS Analyst then,
too, but kept doing one or two verses a day. I was able to memorize some more surahs
and now am working on putting all of Juzu’ ‘Amma to memory.
Never in a million years would I have thought I could do this if it was not for
Ribaat and my inspirational teachers. I am keeping my goals reachable doing a little bit at
a time but hope to be able to memorize a lot more over time.
I am really praying that Ribaat starts a Master’s program, so I can take my Islamic
studies to the next level insha Allah. I would love to be amongst the first batch of
graduates from such an elite program.
I advise each of you to take a class, any class, join a worship thread, or sponsor a
student and be a part of the revolution. Even if you cannot complete a course or attend
live, just having these empowering women sharing their spiritual knowledge will make
you closer to Allah. Little by little, you will see the impact in your life. What you learn
will surprise you and will bring a deep sense of peace in this maddening world.
After becoming a mother, I really needed all the calming wisdom of my female
teachers. They understood exactly what I was going through and always acknowledge
moms of young children. They get it, since they have been there, too. Ribaat has
made motherhood less lonely for me and has really inspired me to be a role model for my
son. I imagine a world of spiritually strong Muslim women raising the next generation of
Muslims. It gives me goose bumps. Ribaat is a revolution in the lives of ordinary Muslim
women like myself.
May Allah reward everyone involved in this endeavor, and may Ribaat continue
to thrive and offer more and more programs so women like me can continue to better
their relationship with God and others.