Born and raised in Dayton, OH, Sultina Shafeek-Baker converted to Islam while attending Central State University where she received her degree in Business Administration and a minor in Finance. After living in KSA for four years, she is now happily married with three children and resides in Houston, TX, where she works as a Student Services Representative at Houston Community College.
She volunteers at various Sunday school programs, children’s ḥalaqas and local masjids but has felt a void in her spiritual life, despite being surrounded by Muslims. Looking for a space to achieve the spiritual growth she was looking for, Sultina stopped at the Rabata booth at the ISNA 2018 Convention. There she met Maha and May, two of the Rabata sisters who run the Rabata Houston chapter, and they led her to Ribaat.
“Online learning and sisterhood? Not for me, I don’t even do social media,” was her response. However, the Rabata team gifted her a brochure and a book, “Stars in the Prophet’s Orbit,” from Daybreak Press. Sultina started reading the book and fell in love with it, and soon after enrolled in her first class with Ribaat, which took her to another level of expectations for herself. “I’m so grateful to Allah for Ribaat to be a part of my journey and put me on this path to study with sisters with such high esteem and ultimate goal to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt),” she says.
Sultina continues, “My experience with Ribaat has been so inspiring. It has helped me to reset my relationship with the Holy Quran and meet other sisters all over the world that are so inspiring and motivating because of their love of Islam, love for the Sake of Allah.”
Her experience with Ribaat has also opened her eyes and heart on how to achieve a balance as a Muslimah, wife, mother, and professional. After attending the Rabata Houston chapter launch party, she had the drive to move toward her next career and education moves. She reports thinking to herself, “MashaAllah, it is by Allah that we can do it! I’m in the best company ever: ḥāfiẓas, professionals, mothers, wives, seekers of knowledge in the same room! Subḥān Allah, the light from the faces in that room was one that I will never forget.”
For now, Sultina is focusing on completing her Khitmah Project with Ribaat and plans to take Islamic Studies courses in the future. Being an example for her kids is of paramount importance to her. “If I expect them to study Quran, then I also have to study it. Its’ a beginning with no end, but to get closer to our Creator,” she says.
Sultina truly believes, as ʿUthman b. ʿAffān reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” The Ribaat team hopes to help her achieve her dream of becoming a Quran teacher to help others to read, love, live and teach the Holy Quran, as well as doing daʿwah in her community.