Anse Tamara Gray is the founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through creative educational experiences. She is an Islamic scholar and holds multiple ijazas in Islamic sacred texts and subject matters. Anse Dr. Tamara completed her doctoral studies in the Leadership, Policy and Administration program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She also holds a master’s degree in Curriculum Theory and Instruction, and worked for twenty-five years in the field of education, before moving into the nonprofit world.
Anse Dr. Tamara works as Executive Director for Rabata, building and sustaining its many and varied educational projects. Some of the projects of Rabata are: the Ribaat Academic Program; and online seminary for Muslim women, Daybreak Press publishing, Daybreak Bookshop and Community Gathering Space, Leadership and Legacy Curriculum Materials, etc.. She is also a community faculty member at Metropolitan State University in the Ethics and Religious Studies department, and Associate Chaplain at the University of St. Thomas.
Anse Dr. Tamara is also a public speaker, often engaged to speak about issues of gender, leadership, Islam, and spirituality; locally, nationally and globally. Some of her platforms have included, the International Leadership Association, the World Parliament of Religions, the Bonyaan conference on the Muslim woman (Sweden), the Islamic Society of North America and several universities, including Princeton, Virginia Tech and Oxford University.
Her publications range from several culturally appropriate English language curriculum programs to translations of sacred texts. Shaykha Dr. Tamara’s most recent work is the translation of Mukhtasir al-Jami’ fi al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya by Samīra Zayid, entitled The Compendium of the Sources on the Prophetic Narrative in its English rendition. Her book, Joy Jots: Exercises for a Happy Heart, won a silver medal award and is published as a new second edition.
Anse Dr. Tamara is part of the ISNA task force for more inclusive and welcoming mosques, on the advisory board of Muslim Women’s Association of Chicago, and the Muslim Anti-Racism Committee. She also sits on the board of Sakana Community Resource, working with faith based financial tools and affordable housing, and on the board of the Collegeville Institute’s Interreligious Fellows Program, working to develop educational programming for faith leaders around social justice issues.
|Joy Jots was the winner of the silver medal in the Living Now Book Awards!|
Afshan Malik is a Chicago native turned southern belle who loves Dr. Pepper, afternoon naps, and historical novels. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Nonprofit Management. Afshan is excited to bring her interest in uplifting Muslim women to the work at the global nonprofit Rabata. She is currently the Director of Development at Rabata, working to amplify its mission of positive cultural change. She is also in the first graduating class from the Ribaat Academic Program and continues to pursue additional Islamic studies certifications under the tutelage of Dr. Tamara Gray. Afshan is the calm eye of the storm in much of what life tosses her way and enjoys soaking up the Texas sun with her husband and five children. She is the author of Pieces, a story of a close-knit family dealing with the struggles of adolescence, mental illness, and change.
Anna-Maria Ramzy has learned Arabic from scratch as a non-native speaker. Her relationship with this beautiful language took her to the University of Oxford, where she gained a First Class in her Arabic degree and is now working on her PhD. Her undergraduate studies led her to the lands of Syria, where she met Anse Tamara Gray, honed her Arabic skills through intense study, and embarked upon the journey to gain her ijaza in tajwīd. Since graduating, Anna-Maria has focused on Arabic teaching and curriculum development, determined to make the language easy and accessible to all those wishing to learn it. Her firm belief is that Allah would not have revealed His words in a language some cannot learn. It is possible. You can do it. And she looks forward to accompanying you along this journey.
Anse Anna-Maria built the Ribaat Arabic Grammar Program and continues to oversee this department. She has been teaching with Ribaat since its inception in 2013.
She is also the author of Brewing Storms, a poetry book that follows her own spiritual journey.
Hiba Masood is a Canadian-Pakistani writer, storyteller, and speaker. Apart from running her wildly popular Facebook page (Drama Mama), she is also a columnist for Muslim Matters. Currently based in Karachi, Hiba runs Happy Place, an enrichment center for women and kids, where she holds story, art, and yoga sessions centered around her primary passion, children's literature. Hiba is the author of Aiza and Alina, a story of friendship and Down Syndrome, which she wrote for use in inclusive programs across Pakistan. Drummer Girl is Hiba's second book. As an uplifting story about empowered women and a supportive father, this book encapsulates her mission in life: to encourage women to become their best, most radiant selves, and to celebrate everyone who helps them in this essential journey.
|Drummer Girl has won its 4th gold seal! Drummer Girl has so far won two Literary Classics awards, the Moonbeam Award, and now the International Book Award in the Children's Picture Book category of the 2018 American Book Fest.|
Muna Imady was born to an American mother and a Syrian father. She earned a BA in English Literature and a diploma in English-Arabic Translation from Damascus University, as well as a Maitrise from the Sorbonne.
Imady has designed for children a beginner's English reading course, and has written several text books for teaching children English as a second language. She has also written and translated many short Arabic children's stories which were published in several Arabic magazines.
She had a lifelong interest in folktales and promised herself that one day she would write a book of the folktales she had collected.
Imady lived in Damascus with her husband Dr. Nizar Zarka and her three children Nour, Sammy, and Kareem. She taught English as a second language to young children and collected folktales in her free time. Her book, Kan Ya Ma Kan, is the charming retelling of these stories.
Najiyah Maxfield is the award-winning author of many articles, poems and short stories. Her young adult novel, Sophia's Journal, explores themes of inclusion and identity and is being taught in several middle and high schools across North America. She taught secondary level English and history in the States and university level English in Syria. She spent three years as the Managing Editor of Discover: The Magazine for Curious Muslim Kids and is now the Editorial Director of Daybreak Press, Rabata's non-profit publishing company. She lives in Canton, MI where she kayaks in the summer, knits in the winter, and divides her time between her six children, two granddaughters and studying and volunteering with Ribaat.
Anse Najiyah teaches two courses with Ribaat: "Public Speaking and Community Outreach" and "Creative Writing: Raising Muslim Women's Voices", in addition to periodic webinars on the writing craft.
Saadia Mian, MD is board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology. After completing an undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Michigan, she went to medical school at Michigan State University. She works full-time at Metro Detroit Endocrinology Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
During this time, she went to Syria to study Arabic, Quran and sacred knowledge. She received her Ijaza in the Hafs recitation from Shaykh Abu al-Hassan Al-Kurdi (May Allah swt be pleased with him) and also from Shaykh Krayyim Rajih. She completed the memorization of the Quran and is currently working on obtaining an ijaza al-ghaib (ijaza in memorization). She helped to launch the Ribaat Quran program and teaches tajwīd for Ribaat. She is author of The Crowning Venture, a book about women who have memorized the Quran.
She is a member of the founding board of Rabata and continues to serve while working full-time as an endocrinologist. She is also a member of AACE (American Association Clinical Endocrinologists), Endocrine Society, Syrian American Medical Society and Women Physicians for Humanity. In her free time she likes to volunteer for medical missions, walk outdoors, crochet, read and write.
Anse Saadia leads the level 4 Quran course at Ribaat, "The Crowning Venture: Quran Memorization" and also works with tajwid students one-on-one as part of the Quran Program.
Saba Syed, the author of the International award winning novel, An Acquaintance, has a BA degree in Islamic Studies. She studied Arabic Language & Literature at Qatar University and at Cairo Institute in Egypt.
She also received her Ijaazah in Quranic Hafs recitation in Egypt from Shaikh Muhammad al-Hamazawi. She had been actively involved with Islamic community since 1995 through her MSA, and then as a founding member of TDC, and other community organizations. In 2002, she organized and hosted the very first "Musim Women's Conference" in Houston, TX.
Since then, she's been passionately working towards empowering Muslim women through the correct and untainted teachings of Islam.
She is a pastoral counselor for marriage & family, women and youth issues. She has hosted several Islamic lectures and weekly halaqas in different communities all over the U.S and overseas, and also hosted special workshops regarding parenting, Islamic sex-ed, female sexuality, and marital intimacy.
Shaykha Samīra bnt. Ḥusnī al-Zāyid was born in Damascus in 1944. Her scholarly training included formal university studies in the Arabic language, an additional degree in Sharīʿa, and graduate degrees in Arabic Language and Literature and in Education. She is a ḥāfiẓa, and received her ijāza in the recitation of Ḥafṣ from Shaykh Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Kurdī of Damascus in 1994.
For forty years, Shaykha Samīra studied and then taught the early books of sīra. Her groundbreaking work, al-Jāmiʿ fī al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya (The Collected Works of the Narrative of the Life of the Prophet) is a vast collection of all of the narrations of each incident of the sīra housed in six volumes. Her work has been honored with a national award given to her by the Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, in 2000. She also authored Durūs min al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya (Lessons from the Prophetic Narrative), al-Mufīd fī Bayān al-ʿAqīda (Clarity in Matters of Belief) and this work, Mukhtaṣar al-Jāmiʿ fī al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya, which is an abridged version of the six-volume collection. The latter book has been translated into English as The Compendium of the Sources on the Prophetic Narrative.
Her work has been approved by the council of muftis and publications in Damascus, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She received support, positive reviews and congratulations from Dr. Muhammad Ajaj al-Khatib, Dean of the College of Sharīʿa and Islamic Studies at the University of Sharjah, Dr. Muhammad Saʿīd Ramaḍān al-Būṭī, the late professor of Islamic Studies, Comparative Law and Theology at the University of Damascus, Dr. Najm al-Deen Ali Mardan, the Director of the Global University of Al Lootah, Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad al-Jalī, Dean of the Islamic Studies Department at the College of Humanities at the United Arab Emirates University, Dr. Tareq al-Suwaidan, Ustadh Amr Khaled, and Shaykh Habib Ali al-Jifri.
Shaykha Samīra has taught in institutions, sharīʿa schools, mosques and as a lecturer on sīra, Islamic sciences and matters of tarbiya and education. She can still be found teaching her books in Damascus today, upholding the long tradition of passing learning from scholars to students. This is the first of her works to be translated and was done in cooperation with the author.