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Teaching. One of the things I love the most, one of the things that makes me most grateful for the knowledge I gained during my years of study- years that, admittedly, are ongoing, as there are always new things to learn.

I recently dove back into teaching Muslim women about our shared faith; this time, instead of in a masjid in a mountain village or stone-walled city, on the internet. The first couple of days were spent getting used to the technology, and the lack of seeing my students face-to-face. Now, though, I am beginning to get a feel for some of the people behind the screen names, and memories of other classes, in other places, keep rising to the surface like bubbles of air, fragile, yet precious.

Damaaj from the mountain top

I remember the first class I taught in the masjid in Damaaj. I began teaching the Medina series of Arabic books to a group of sisters who had nothing much in common except a strong desire to learn the language in which the Qur’aan was revealed. Among them there was a Nigerian sister, strong and quiet, who always seemed to be holding some strong emotions in check behind her shy smile. There were two little French girls, so sweet, so quick to learn despite not having any Arabic or English, smiling at the goofy drawings I had to make on the whiteboard to demonstrate the meanings of words to them. There was an older Indian woman who was there with her son, who exuded a feeling of peace and tranquility. Another sister once asked her about it.

“How can you always be so calm about everything?”
“I’ve learned.” she answered, “that it doesn’t do any good to get upset over things.”

Later, during the blockade, this peaceful, serene woman would lose her son to the Houthi rebels.

When teaching in Sana’a, I had a whole new set of students. My favorites were the teenage girls, so full of life and always so earnest, listening and trying to take down every word that was said. Most of them were British Somalis. I loved to hear them speak. I always wanted to tell them I would teach them Arabic if they would teach me Cockney. I still hear from them from time to time, all praise is due to Allaah, and they are never far from my heart even when they are silent.

Simply put, I love to teach. I love to help other women understand this beautiful religion. I love to hear how something I taught them or reminded them of or explained, and all praise is due to Allaah, helped make a difference in their lives. After months of feeling disconnected and far from home, I have found that teaching reminds me of connections made and never truly lost. Though across the world, I can bring up the masjid in Damaaj, see my circle of students, hear the recitation of the circles around me. In the emerging personalities of some of my new students I see echoes of students past, and the promise of a uniqueness all their own.

Through this blessing of knowledge, and the gift of being able to pass it on, I feel tethered again, through the grace and mercy of Allaah.

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Reply to ImaanCancel reply

19 comments

Rumaysa Umm Sincere on July 26, 2012 4:15 am

As’ salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Na’am, alhamdulillah I feel so privleged to be able to sit in your class, especially because of your direct connection with and being a student of knowledge with our scholars today!

Masha’allah you are good teacher, you can relate to the people, patient and humble. May Allah increase you in it and make you and your daughter better than you appear -Ameen

I also enjoy very much reading your post as I can relate to your pre-muslim upbringing and journey. Even though I was never able to make hijr with my sons, it’s nice to read how your journey strengthen your iman and increased your knowledge of this beautiful deen. Even though it’s too late for me, I make du’a that I can one day soon send my sons overseas to see the true beauty of this religion from one of our major Sheikhs.

I just want to thank you for your writings as Allah has blessed you and others to allow them to be a source of inspiration for many us. I ask that your work raises you and your family to the highest level of Jannah in the here after and continued success in this life now – ameen

Again Jazakallah for the opportunity to learn that which is beneficial and pleasing to our Lord.

Khadijah on July 26, 2012 5:32 pm

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah Umm Sincere,
I appreciate you taking the time to respond, alhamdulillah. Indeed I hope that Allaah strengthen the bond between our hearts. Ameen to your du’a for me and my family, and know that we are making du’a for you and your sons as well. My eldest son is still in Yemen with his family, seeking knowledge, alhamdulillah. The difficulty of the parting is made easier by the knowledge they are seeking ilm and working to learn and live Islaam. May Allaah grant us all success, as it only comes from Him.

Holly on August 10, 2012 2:46 am

Ameen!!! I agree with what sister Rumaysa said mashaAllah!!! =)

I actually ENJOY learning stuff from you on the CORRECT knowledge InshaAllah and I love your delivery, ton of voice, non accusatory style and that I don’t feel attacked on that which I didn’t know or understand yet.

May Allah reward you and protect you for(from)the fitnas of it(Teaching the deen) and may He reward you for your patience and beautiful delivery ameen.

Khadijah on August 10, 2012 3:03 pm

Alhamdulillah, so happy to hear this, and the success, as always, is with Allaah.
BTW you should never be attacked for something you don’t know or fully understand, mash’Allaah. We are all always learning, all of our lives, when we dedicate our lives to seeking knowledge. Remember Sheikh al-Albaani’s statement from class the other day, where he said he never did understand all the ins and out of inheritance? Mash’Allaah, may Allaah have mercy upon him.

Holly on August 10, 2012 6:13 pm

Ameen!

Umm Ridhwaan on December 16, 2012 9:41 pm

As Salaamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

Yes, these are my sentiments also. That is why I have told my daughters and many other sisters about your online classes and will continue to do so. I just love how you deliver the message with such ease, yet with wisdom and calm.
Perhaps you have indeed acquired some of the ‘characteristics of the student of knowledge’ which were taken from the Scholars whom you have had the privilege to study under. When one sits with them, they are more inclined to follow their mannerisms. That which one has digested from ‘ilm (knowledge), should become manifest in their actions. It’s such a beautiful thing to see that being practiced in this time.
May Allah reward you in the day and night, in this life and the hereafter and guide us to the Siratul Mustaqeem, Allahummaa aameen.

Fee amaanillah my dearest sister

Khadijah on December 16, 2012 10:11 pm

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
BarakAllaahufeekee for your kind words and especially your du’a, and may Allaah purify our intentions and rectify our affairs, and with Allaah is all success.

Lo/Readerwoman on July 26, 2012 4:49 am

Lovely – I am so glad you are finding your way, now that you are back in the states. AND I am glad that others are getting the benefits of your education, thoughtfulness and deep faith.
I am so honored to call you friend!

Khadijah on July 26, 2012 5:29 pm

Thank you, Lo. I am still walking the road, and am glad I’m not without companions upon it!

Dani G. on July 26, 2012 10:39 pm

Lovely post, Khadijah! We are kindred spirits in the teaching realms, although I suspect you’re much better at it than I. It’s so rooted in patience, and I’m not sure I have an abundance of that. 😉 I can’t even stand stepping through Captcha code… but will do it now. LOL.

Khadijah on July 26, 2012 11:06 pm

I suspect we’re kindred spirits in several realms. actually. I know what you mean about the Captcha, but I was being inundated with literally tens of spam emails every day for a bit there. I tried to choose an easy one, anyway. I’m working on my Yemeni Journey book, now, Dani, you’d be proud of me!

Imaan on August 11, 2012 9:38 am

as salaamu alaykum sister,

Ramadan Mubarak. I’ve been following your blog for some time now, mashaAllah. I really want to ask if you have any tips for homeschooling, especially as a single mum and convert myself, to four young children. I have no support, and doing it very much alone…

Khadijah on September 19, 2012 8:23 pm

Forgive me for not answering this sooner, mash’Allaah. Homeschooling is a broad topic, mash’Allaah, so much depends on the different states and situations of everyone involved. I have an eclectic approach, mash’Allaah. I make my own curriculum, and don’t follow any set program. The children have to do certain things, like math and grammar, but in other things I try to let them explore things that interest them at the time. We do follow a schedule, five days a week, but sometimes we go off it and I don’t stress about that, as long as in the long term we fulfil the conditions of the state. Insh’Allaah, I will be writing about homeschooling at my other blog, http://www.wideearth.us. It is just in the beginning stages, though, mash’Allaah.

Rahma on September 19, 2012 7:58 pm

A’salaamu’alykum! I came across this page when I was just surfing the web and I love this website mashaaAllaah, may Allaah reward you and grant you folds of goodness, Allaahumaa Aameen.

I was reading through some of the comments and I noticed someone said your back in the states? Do you teach in the states? I’m currently look for a teacher, or do you still teach online?

Hope your in the best health and eemaan.

Khadijah on September 19, 2012 8:19 pm

I am teaching here in the States, alhamdulillah, through WizIQ. Make sure and add Taalib al Ilm Educational Resources as a contact there. Here is the link for the Saturday classes I am beginning for sisters: http://www.wiziq.com/course/7029-guide-at-the-crossroads
Right now our site is down for reorganization and maintenance, mash’Allaah, but usually you can find us at http://www.taalib.com.

Ummu Aicha on November 7, 2012 5:45 pm

As-salamu alaikum! May Allaah preserve you Ummu Mujaahid.
I love to read your blog.. I wish i could follow lessons there with you in dammaaj but its very difficult to get yemeni papers. Me and my husband want to live there and sometimes come back to europe but its impossible. Please make dua for me that i will come there with my husband and child in shaa Allaah.

Salamu alaikum

Khadijah on November 7, 2012 9:17 pm

Wa aleikum assalam wa rahmatullaah,
Insh’Allaah you will be in our du’a! But remember, dear sister, that you can seek knowledge wherever you are, and strive within the boundaries that Allaah has made possible for you, and strive to do so, and to pass on knowledge and love of Islaam to your little one, insh’Allaah.

ummhisham on December 15, 2012 12:44 pm

assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakathuhu,
Masha allah I’m so pleased and enjoy reading yemeni journey,subahanallah it’s so touching!
I think Im really priviledged to follow yoyr class guide at the cross roads,the timing is in the wee hours of the morning, but the first thing i do after my salat and morning adhkaar is follow the recording of the class the nite before,I’ve gained so much and I continue making duaa for you and your family.Jazakillahu khairan

Khadijah on December 15, 2012 2:50 pm

Wa aleikum assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
Alhamdulillah, I am so glad that you are able to listen to the class, and we appreciate your du’a, mash’Allaah!!