An Email Multiplied 700 Fold In Ramadan

Sr. Aneeza Shafiq pictured with her husband Br. Wasif Rehman on the 2023 Tarbiya Umrah trip
Sr. Aneeza Shafiq pictured with her husband Br. Wasif Rehman on the 2023 Tarbiya Umrah trip

Many of you know Sr. Aneeza as our Sunday school program coordinator at the Tarbiya House Natomas, but many more know her as an educator in the Natomas Unified School District. For weeks, Sr. Aneeza considered sending an email to the staff at the Natomas Unified School District to teach them about Ramadan as many of them have Muslim students, but very little understanding of Islam. Her intention was simple - to make life easier, and Ramadan more pleasant for the many Muslim students in the area who will be fasting (some for the first time). After much contemplation, she spoke with Imam Kamran who asked why she hesitated. At first, she responded with many reasons: What if I say something wrong? What if the staff is bothered by my message? What if the administration doesn’t appreciate what I’m sharing? She didn't let these concerns stop her. Sr. Aneeza put together a draft email, and after receiving positive reviews - she sent it off to the principal at Westlake Charter School explaining the importance of Ramadan, its traditions, and how to support Muslim students and staff during this time.

Her school principal then contacted her, asking permission to add the description of Ramadan to their weekly staff newsletter. Staff members responded to Sr Aneeza with nothing but positive messages and gratitude. Westlake Charter, an elementary school within NUSD, even spoke about Ramadan during their morning lineup and accommodated students by providing a private space to K-12th grade students to pray Salat-Al-Dhur. After sharing this proud moment with Br Daawoud, Youth Director at Tarbiya House Natomas, he encouraged her to share her idea with Sr. Aisha Udaidullah, HR Director of Washington Unified School District (WUSD) and a parent volunteer at Tarbiya House Natomas. Through Sr. Aisha, her email quickly spread, reaching the superintendent of WUSD and other neighboring School Districts. Through the efforts of Sr. Aisha, WUSD even turned the email into an article, which was then posted on their main website for all to read. Eventually, this information reached districts all over Yolo and Sacramento counties, touching the lives of over 80,000 students and staff. What started as an email sent to a smaller group of people rapidly became a resource of knowledge for thousands of educators in the public school system, making a positive impact for Muslim students and staff!

We are proud of Sr. Aneeza and Sr. Aisha Ubaidullah for making an impact and spreading this important message. As a result of this one sincere gesture, tens of thousands of students have already been positively affected this Ramadan. This is a beautiful example of what happens when you use your position and access in the service of Allah SWT.

Author: Navera Rehimtoola
Categories: Tarbiya Stories