Born and raised in Wisconsin, USA, Maryam Marie LaConte is a mother and grandmother who has lived in many different places over the course of her 72 years. She attributes her most important experiences to her twelve years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 1986 to 1998, where she worked and embraced Islam. She was able to study tajweed and Arabic while there, and is now returning to traditional studies after retirement through the Ribaat Academic Institute.
It’s that time of term again. Registration has quieted down, questions and calls asking for information about courses have trickled to just a few here and there, and the work of scholarship is in full swing. As we in the administrative offices plan for next term, next year, and beyond, this term’s classes are ongoing in the background, and as I stroll through the virtual halls of Ribaat, I can hear the buzzing of teachers teaching, students learning, and keyboards clicking.
Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan is from Leeds in the north of England. This full-time writer, poet and community educator enjoys facilitating creative writing for young people and providing spaces for people to ask questions about the world and how to improve it. She has been a student with the Ribaat Academic Institute since 2018.
Originally from Pakistan, Dr. Rabia Nagda moved to Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 14. She immigrated in pursuit of a higher education. She now lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and three children. Along with her family obligations, Rabia works as a pediatrician and regularly speaks in her local community on topics regarding parenting, nutrition, and improving mental health in teens. She serves on the Texas Committee for Nutrition and Health and is working with other volunteers to provide easy access to health and nutrition for more pediatricians in the state.
Here we are at the start of a new season, a new academic year. The summer can be a fun and crazy season, with travel, trips, and visitors. Here at Rabata, the summer was full of beautiful gatherings and inspiring achievements. With the Ribaat Retreat, we had a gathering of beautiful souls, Ribaat students, teachers, and volunteers in one place learning, growing and worshiping together.
Amina Wasi currently resides in Bentonville, Arkansas, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science and has worked as an educator at an Islamic school for several years. She is in the process of pursuing her master’s degree in Information Systems Security but is taking a break as a new mom. Amina became a student with the Ribaat Academic Institute in 2020 when she began her journey with the Ribaat Tajwid Program.
“But isn’t this what is stated in the Quran?” “But isn’t this a hadith?”
I hear this type of question all the time, with someone citing a verse of Quran or hadith in English Most often the translation being cited is inaccurate, incomplete, or downright incorrect. An extremely uncomfortable situation, to which I find myself needing torespond: you really need to learn Arabic. I can translate this for you, but I will never be able to give you the full understanding of the true meaning and beauty of that phase.
Born and raised in Michigan, Amani Hamdallah eventually moved to Ohio after marriage, where she still resides. The mother of four is of Yemeni descent and has been a student with the Ribaat Academic Institute since 2019. She had been hearing of the program for a while, but it was not easy for her to join. Amani had been putting it off because she thought she could not balance her home and family life with her studies. Once she became a student, she quickly realized otherwise.
In the last edition of the Ribaat newsletter, I wrote about the creed of Islam, la ilahailla Allah. This is the first pillar of Islam: belief, and testifying to this belief forms the door to enter into Islam. This makes one a Muslim (one who accepts Islam), but how can we graduate to the next level of becoming a mu’min (a true believer)? How can we enrich and beautify both our inner beliefs and our outer actions?