SPECIAL REPORT VOLUME 8 ISSUE 2
COMMEMORATING THE SADAQAH JA‘RIYYA OF PIONEER MUSLIMAHS
Tayyibah Taylor, Sharifa Alkhateeb, Aliyah Abdul-Karim, Maryam Ali and Mufeedah Abdul-Karim
by Mariam Abdul-Aziz, Majida Abdul-Karim, Aamina Ahmed, Maha Alkhateeb, Azizah Kahera and Nilofer Ali
As we share with Azizah Magazine readers this tribute to our Founding Editor in Chief, Tayyibah Taylor, we reflect on the sadaqah ja‘riyya, or perpetual charity, of four additional trailblazing Muslimahs who returned to Allah. The concept of sadaqah ja‘riyya is that the blessings and benefits of acts committed during one’s lifetime continue to be realized well after one’s death. These women shared a passion for serving Allah and their communities, and have left impressive legacies that are thriving today. They pioneered community building and da‘wah activities, worked for the empowerment of other Muslim women, taught classes, founded creative outlets for the American Muslim ummah, and were heroines in their own families, too. Their communities and families are blessed to continue receiving the benefits of their unforgettable, groundbreaking works. May Allah have mercy on their souls.
CARRYING ON A LEGACY OF DA‘WAH
by Aamina Ahmed and Nilofer Ali, her daughters
After my mother passed away and my siblings and I began sorting through her possessions, we found evidence of the many organizations that she was actively involved with, donated towards, or otherwise supported. There were organizations I never even knew about. There were degrees she held, positions she worked in, so much that I was learning about her after her passing than when she was alive. She was a very private person.
Early on, I felt the need to carry on the work she did, specifically two critical roles: as da’wah worker with the Institute of Islamic Information and Education (IIIE), and as Director of the Muslim Community Center Youth Camp (MYC). In February of 2012, I received a phone call from Ayesha Farooq, a long time Camp organizer with my mother, worried about Camp. After much discussion with her and others, we decided to take a one year hiatus and plan for Camp 2013. There I found myself in my mother’s shoes, somehow the role of Director falling in my lap; shoes I knew I could never fully fill but would certainly try.
There I was, daughter of Mary Ali, da’wah worker and Camp Director. As the years passed, I realized how much she had done and how difficult it was to carry on what she began. I kept asking myself, “How did Mommy do this?” and “What would she have decided on that?” Perhaps that was a natural thought. At Camp 2014, our second without my mother, I sat late at night in the dining hall with my partner in crime, Program Director/Head Counselor, Leila Said. She was pensive, and we talked little. I recalled the words we had both thought and spoken often: “That’s just not how we did it before.”
At that moment, I remembered something my niece had said about a “new generation” at Camp. I realized that carrying on my mother’s legacy doesn’t mean doing things exactly as she did. She wouldn’t want that. It’s about carrying on the work but, in our own way. As times change, so do our challenges. We learn from her mistakes and accomplishments, and we move forward in a continuing cycle of lifelong learning and teaching.
“For more on commemorating the sadaqh ja‘riyya of pioneer Muslimahs, Tayyibah Taylor, Sharifa Alkhateeb, Aliyah Abdul-Karim, Maryam Ali and Mufeedah Abdul-Karim, may Allah have mercy on their souls, buy an issue of Azizah now.