After a warm welcome at the airport and Jamiat uz Zahra - a home to all of us in Qum, we were excitingly waiting for, firstly, the Ziyarat of the holy Shrine of Hazrat e Masuma (s.a) and secondly, with her barakah, to begin the mentor development program (MDP). Alhamdulillah, we had a good rest before we started the next day in full swing.
Updated on 12 March 2018
The Madinah and Bab courses this year will take place from 23rd of July to 12th of August, 2015, Inshallah. By Allah (SWT)’s Grace, we have nearly eighty participants who will join us from different regions around the world. We will have twelve mentors supporting our participants - eight ladies and four gents.
We'd like to take this opportunity to introduce to you the female mentors for this year!
Asma Sultan Ali Rashed (Qum)
Asma Sultan Ali was born and brought up in Dubai. Her father is originally from Yemen and her mother is Tanzanian. She is one of four children and came to Iran when she was eighteen years old, where she pursued religious studies in Jamiatuz Zahra.
She completed her Bachelors and attained her Masters degree specializing in Tafseer and Qur'anic Sciences. Over the years, Asma has grown and learned a lot from her experience living in Qum. She has taught different subjects at her local madrasah and engaged in activities of tableegh. Asma enjoys reading about religion in order to gain spirituality and better herself.
Asma says, "Words cannot express the wonderful gifts that being in Qum, the City of Knowledge, and staying in the vicinity of Lady Fatema Al Masuma (AS) and Imam Redha (AS), has brought into my life. InshAllah in the few weeks, the participants will be guests of these elevated personalities and they too will experience these gifts. I pray that Allah (SWT) gives me the tawfeeq to be a part of that wonderful experience of their life and to serve them."
Neelam Vakil (India)
Neelam Vakil is a passionate zakira of Imam Husain (AS) and a medical doctor. She will be joining this year’s summer course and will utilize her knowledge and experience to Inshallah support and guide our participants. Neelam has the unique skill of recognizing the hidden potential in individuals and helping them bring out the best in themselves and thus, becoming inspiring examples to others.
Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Neelam had a reserved and shy personality. It was during her medical studies that a few friends encouraged and motivated her to explore her public speaking skills which then inspired her to become a zakira.
Neelam says, “The turning point in my life was brought about by friends that made me a strong believer. Having an amiable personality helps inspire girls and look for their hidden potentials. By the grace of Allah (SWT) I have quite a few girls who call me their mentor.”
Rabab Kassam Shaheen (Kenya)
Rabab Kassam was named Rabab after one of the brave and noble ladies of Karbala. She has lived almost all her life in the beautiful island city of Mombasa. Over the years, she developed a keen interest in history, in particular Islamic history, which has led her to join the madrasah and assist with teaching there.
Rabab feels that her current experience as a madrasah teacher will help her support the course as a mentor and also hopes to increase her Islamic knowledge through the course, which would be another step in her goal towards becoming a better teacher, Insha’Allah.
Rabab says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world. I'm looking forward to growing spiritually and intellectually through this experience and also being able to make a small positive difference in someone's life."
Masuma Aliya Fazel (UK)
Masuma is currently studying Math and Actuarial Sciences at the University of Leicester, and has just completed her third and final year. Once she completes her degree, Masuma intends to take a year to travel and complete professional exams that will aid her future career.
Throughout the years Masuma has made a great effort to get involved in spirituality uplifting tasks and roles; she has been a teacher at madrasa, an active member of the Abbasi Youth Committee in Birmingham and most recently, the Vice President of the Ahlul Bayt Society at University.
In 2012 Masuma attended Camp Iran as a participant. During her visit she fell in love with this amazing country after performing Ziyarat of Imam Ar-Redha (AS) and Sayyida Masuma (AS) in the cities of Mashhad and Qum and learning more about these noble personalities. This year Masuma is excited to return as a Mentor, Inshallah.
Masuma says "During my first visit as a student I was given an immense amount of support and guidance from the mentors and I would be honored to do the same for this year's participants. I hope they experience the same feelings of awe and personal and spiritual upliftment that I did when I walked through the doors of our holy Imam Ali Ar-Redha’s shrine, and that the visit will provide them with the same life changing experience I was blessed with."
Laila Habib (Qum)
Laila Habib is originally from Nairobi and she just completed 4 years of studies in Qum. Laila is currently studying web and graphic designing in Nairobi and has successfully completed a HND in Business Management. She was actively engaged in coordinating classes for students organized by the Qum office of the World Federation. She is currently a Fiqh teacher at the Haydari Madrasah in Nairobi.
Laila states, "These courses offer a spiritual boost to both the participants and mentors and having attended them as both a participant in 2008 and a mentor last year, I can say the experiences, friendships and lessons gained during both the trips were not only valuable but also life changing. Inshallah this year I together with the participants shall strive to make it even better."
Sohaila Yusuf Ismael (Tanzania)
Sohaila Yusuf Ismail has completed her degree in BSc Honours in Psychology with Human Resource Management from Middlesex University, Dubai. One of her major accomplishments at the university was to successfully complete 3 years as a student representative.
In addition to her educational background, Sohaila has been an active member in her community for a very long time assisting in various activities. Apart from the voluntary tasks and the mosque undertakings that she has indulged in since childhood, she has also assisted in Madrasah. Sohaila is a very good team player, she is currently active with the youth group called “Caravan-e-Zainab” which she has been co-leading for a few years.
Sohaila says, “It is not just the professional experience of being a mentor that has pushed me towards applying this year; rather it has been the uplifting, spiritual, educational and emotional experience that I had been through in 2009 from this course when I joined as a student. 'That' is what I have treasured until today. I want to be able to help the students coming this year feel that unconditional love and bond that builds over time. I would like to be able to provide the support and guidance as a mentor and a friend that I had received back then from my mentors. I truly believe that my experience in 2009 was a life changing one; the effect of which is still in my heart to date. The only way to truly understand what I mean is by experiencing it yourself. I wholeheartedly look forward to being part of this beautiful journey once again. I look further moments of learning, spirituality, growth and more; for both, the students and myself.
Zahra Zakir Dhanji (Florida)
Zahra Dhanji is from Florida and recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from UCF. The last time she visited Iran was in 2007 where she was a participant in the World Federation’s Babul-Ilm course.
Zahra says, “I believe that once in a while, in every person’s life, God gives us experiences that are so precious that they stay with us as a testament of God’s infinite mercy. My trip to Iran several years ago was such an experience, and I cannot be more humbled that I was selected to go as mentor in this year’s camp. I look forward to a positive growth experience for my mentees, and pray that I am worthy enough to be able to facilitate an experience for them that will be spiritually, morally, and educationally enhancing – Insha’Allah.”
Sabira Rizwan Manji – Tanzania
Sabira Rizwan Manji is from Tanzania and is currently completing her postgraduate degree in Education and simultaneously works at a school in Dubai. She loves being involved in the community having taught for several years in Madrassa as well as being involved with the community youth Group. Sabira served as the head of the youth for three years and has recently completed her term earlier this year. She has attended the Babul Ilm course as a student and has since been eagerly looking forward to return as a mentor and is thankful to the Almighty for allowing her to return.
Sabira says: "I am very excited to be returning to Iran, for every visit has been a unique experience and a wonderful opportunity to grow as a person. There is a particular saying of Imam Ali (AS) that amazes me every time I read it, he says, ‘You humans think that you are insignificant when there is a universe inside you.’ I hope this will be yet another opportunity for us to realize a bit more of our true potentials."
Jerrmein Abu Shahba (New Jersey)
Jerrmein Abu Shahba, originally from Egypt, was guided by the grace of Allah (SWT) to the true path of AhlulBayt (AS). She grew up in the US and is a Research Scientist by profession. Jerrmein’s passion is to serve the cause of AhlulBayt (AS) and promote their teachings and way of life in every opportunity she gets. She participated as a mentor for this course in 2013 and has acted as the project manager ever since.
Jerrmein states: “I am very blessed to have this unique opportunity for a second time to lead and inspire my peers in this spiritually awakening and life-changing experience which they will carry back and live on for the rest of their lives, by the blessings of the Ziyarat of Imam Ar-Redha (AS) and Sayyida Fatima Al-Masuma (AS). I look forward to seeing this excellent and exceptional program reach its intended success and fulfill its goal after working behind the scenes for months to plan and execute this course and serve our youth who will be the leaders of the next generation.”
For more information on the Madinah and Bab Summer Courses email email@example.com
Would you like to be a mentor for next year? Or do you know someone that would make a good mentor? If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read daily blogs and reflections from the Madinah & Bab mentors as they prepare for the participants to arrive.
As I sat in the Haram of Bibi Masuma (AS) listening to the moving and heart rending confessions to the Holy Lady (AS), given by brother Amin, I couldn’t stop thinking how lucky I was to be amongst the chosen few to shed a tear out of love of Sayyida Masuma (AS).