Karima Traeger found her way to the Ribaat Academic Institute as many of her fellow classmates did – through a friend’s loving recommendation to attend Masjid Rabata programming. Soon after, in 2021, Karima registered for her first classes with Ribaat and continues now with a focus on Arabic, Tajwīd, and Tafsīr. Karima shares that Ribaat provided a space to learn her deen in comfort, joy, and community.
When I first began studying at the Ribaat Academic Institute, back before there even really was a Ribaat, I sat down and cried. Not because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to study seriously in my own home. Not because I was so spiritually moved by the Companions in the pilot class that I just couldn’t contain my tears. And not because I enjoyed the exercise of heart and mind that was the final exam. No. I cried because all the other students were in their twenties…maybe thirties…and I was the only one beginning my studies at 50 years old.
At the completion of the course Superwomen: Powers, Kryptonite, and Karamat, instructor Anse Tamara requested students complete a final reflection assignment. Student Sumayyah penned a letter to herself, reminding herself of the blessings Allah bestowed on her, and the need to use these blessings to live with purpose and conviction.
Rezwana Haq moved to Troy, Michigan from Bangladesh in 2003 and spent years dedicated to her engineering studies and community work. While working as an Electrical Engineer in the Automotive Industry, she felt the strong pull to study Islam and its various fields more deeply. A couple of friends informed her about Rabata in 2020, and after her own research and exploration, she decided to attend Rabata programming and then finally registered for her first class in Fall of 2021 with the Ribaat Academic Institute.
The multi-talented, multi-faceted, life-long learner Eva Sasa seeks any opportunity for growth and development she can find. So, in the summer of 2020, when two separate friends shared information about Rabata, Eva could not help but delve deeper. She started attending the Masjid Rabata weekly Qiyam, where she fell in love with the dhikr and atmosphere. Knowing she found her community, she soon registered for her first classes with the Ribaat Academic Institute.
Last week I had the opportunity to join an interfaith dialogue organized by the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies. Bringing together ten students from each faith tradition, the ICJS held a 4-day intensive course called Emerging Religious Leaders. The course allowed students who are training to be religious leaders to learn about each other’s faiths, ask questions, find similarities and differences in their belief systems, and share their experiences as people of faith in today’s world.
When Nigora Aminova left Tajikistan in 2017, she hoped to live a life more authentically aligned with her Islamic values and faith. Whether she expected that would result in one day teaching sisters in her home country was not clear. However, it became an inevitable opportunity after being introduced to the Ribaat Academic Institute by her dear cousin and Rabata communications expert, Umeda. In 2020, Nigora registered for her first classes, setting her on a path of joy-filled faith.
Noor Ahmed, homeschooling mother of four and nature lover, ventured on the path of Islamic learning with Ribaat in the Summer of 2022. With less than a year at Ribaat, Noor quickly noticed the impact of the Anisaat and classes on her life, describing it as though she was once swimming in darkness but now finally able to see. She identifies it as her “mommy fuel”, filling her up from the inside out, so she can better serve her family and her Lord.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the ISNA Education Conference in Chicago. It was an eye-opening experience to meet all the Islamic school leaders and teachers who attended, and to hear about the amount of work they are doing and their efforts to provide a solid education and safe spaces for Muslim youth around the United States. My contribution was a presentation about integrating technology into education. My belief is that this is not only a cool, fun, and effective way to learn, but also a necessary addition to our curricula.
Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramadan˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful. (Al-Baqarah: 185)