Born in Pakistan, raised in Chicago, Dr. Samreen Vora longed for a different spiritual experience. Allah ta’ala works in mysterious ways and while Dr. Samreen knew nothing of Minnesota, Allah set her on a path. Seven years ago, work brought Dr. Samreen to the Minnesota area and soon after, she heard about Rabata. She longed to visit, but the location felt unfamiliar and daunting. However, after the RCC opened its Arden Hills location, she knew it was time.
When she first passed through the doors of the Rabata Cultural Center, she found herself wrapped in the emotional and spiritual embrace of the Rabata sisterhood. The cornerstones of the RCC, Anse Eamaan and Anse Michelle, made her and her four children feel welcomed in ways that no other religious space had previously. In no time at all, Dr. Samreen and her children became regular visitors of the RCC. She reminisces about her youngest’s first steps at the RCC, candy stashes, and blessed gatherings. She attended halaqaat, volunteered, and joined the RCC welcoming committee.
Through the RCC, Dr. Samreen learned about the Ribaat Academic Institute and upon Anse Michelle’s recommendation, she registered for the Companions class and Qur’an Reflections two years ago. The Companions class “hooked” Dr. Samreen and opened her eyes to the world of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam through a different perspective – the perspective of those who loved him most. Soon after, Dr. Samreen knew her learning journey must continue and decided to pursue the teaching certification, insha’Allah. She hopes to deepen her knowledge, in particular her understanding of the Qur’an, and to fortify her faith so she can withstand the inevitable ups and downs of life without wavering.
She shares: “Finding a community where I don’t feel judged and am encouraged to grow in my knowledge has been very refreshing. To have flexible access to teachers and knowledge has been critical at a time where I’m juggling four kids, a full time job, and extended family obligations. Taking classes with Ribaat and knowing there are others out there striving for Allah in the same direction has been truly motivating and kept me going even when things felt overwhelming and practically impossible.”
This past year, as she anticipated her upcoming move out of state, Dr. Samreen signed up for every class and opportunity at the RCC. This included the four day 40 Hadith Nawawi intensive course, through which Dr. Samreen received her first ijaza. May this be the first of many more ahead.
Dr. Samreen already captures the mission of Rabata so beautifully. In her roles as emergency room physician and health profession educator, she creates positive cultural change and applies her learning to each of her spaces. Over the last two years, her work has centered on using simulation to teach implicit bias interruption skills to health care professionals in order to ultimately decrease disparities in care. She also helped to initiate providing dates and water at iftar to Muslim hospital patients and families in Ramadan, hosting a hospital sponsored community iftar, and providing branded hijabs to Muslim employees. She co-led a project to make more modest hospital gowns available to Muslim patients. These efforts fall in line with her aspirations to break past misinformation and misogyny in the community, and to encourage Muslim women to be confident in their deen.
Her continued learning with Ribaat will enhance her ability to fulfill this aspiration, and Dr. Samreen sits with immense gratitude for coming across the RCC and Ribaat. “Ribaat is such a special place. A community that is connected across oceans and cultures. A community that is bound by the singular love of Allah and the Messenger (S). It’s been life changing to have found this community.” As Dr. Samreen ventures on to new cities and pursuits, the RCC will always hold a special place in her heart and her spiritual journey, but it is one that she continues on through Ribaat. We pray for a blessed path ahead for her and her family.