In the throes of world-wide isolation, Dr. Aaisha Vawda felt this separation more poignantly as she migrated across the Atlantic, from South Africa to Canada. The loss of family, friends, and familiarity left the introverted Aaisha in search of something more, but still hesitant to venture out into her new community. After a few months, her mother, recognizing her loneliness, shared the Rabata instagram page with Aaisha, encouraging her to explore the organization. Dr. Aaisha obliged and soon found her spiritual and emotional lifeline, a family away from family, a much needed space.
To my dismay, I didn’t have another ready-made story idea burning a hole in my pocket. And when I thought of a few (really good ones, actually), a malicious voice always overrode my enthusiasm: This idea requires too much research… That one has a good premise but where would it go from there? And worst of all, You did it once, but you know you can’t do it again. The voice paralyzed me for years.
Then I remembered my red spiral notebook.
Covid-19 did not do us many favors but one of the best things to come out of that trying time was the proliferation of online methods of study. At Ribaat, we have been at the forefront of digital knowledge spaces even before that time and we find our numbers of students accessing our classes increasing every year. This is indeed a sign of more and more women seeking out knowledge and finding that online spaces to learn can be just as effective. As a teacher at Ribaat, teaching women on this online platform brings me joy. As Anse Najiyya pointed out last month, our students are of all ages, life stages and levels of knowledge.
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.
During Women’s History Month we honor our predecessors and now that the end of the month is upon us, I would like to honor some of the women that help
The Rabata Ride: A Narrative Poem By Anse Tamara Gray September 2016 In the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve I moved from Damascus without suitcase or helve