Shama Aleemuddin grew up around Chicago’s renowned Muslim Community Center – one of the oldest mosques in the city. Her parents were active participants in the development of this flourishing community at the cusp of it setting roots and foundations. Religious gatherings and events were an intricate part of Shama’s upbringing.
After becoming a mother herself, Shama realized how much her parents had done for her and her brothers, and she began to truly appreciate their efforts. With her daughter by her side, Shama has set a similar example for her by immersing herself in community work and seeking Islamic knowledge. She has been involved with nonprofit work and is an active member of her community as a now California resident, all while being a dedicated student with the Ribaat Academic Program.
In 2014, Shama registered for her first class with Ribaat to improve her recitation of the Holy Quran. Shortly thereafter, she realized how much she needed to learn and started taking more and more classes. Since then, she has excelled as a student and brought her passion for learning to her fellow community members through a local women’s halaqah and Joy Jots (by Dr. Tamara Gray) book club.
“Rabata has been a true blessing in my life,” shares Shama, who has worked as a middle school teacher and holds a Master’s in Curriculum. “It has helped me in more ways than I can mention. The teachers are amazing, and I feel a true sense of sisterhood amongst my classmates and instructors.”
Shama states that Rabata has helped redirect her to a path towards God and seeking closeness to Him. She finds it has brought focus to her life on what is ‘truly important.’
“I realized how I was using my time and energy in counterproductive ways,” says Shama. “I feel a sense of connectedness and purpose that fills my soul with calmness and love.”
As an educator, Shama hopes to combine her knowledge of curriculum with what she has learned and continues to learn through Ribaat. She would like to develop resource materials for educators to better teach the history of Muslims in America.
“I love history and am fully aware of how history has left out the stories of many people,” tells Shama. “I think the best way to have a notion of well-informed citizens is to reach out to the people who teach. Through Rabata, I look forward to learning and growing and teaching. I feel blessed to be part of this family.”