Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Zarina AliQaiser Qureshi recently joined the Ribaat Academic Program and is already making waves. Finding free time is not always easy for the busy mom of five, who works full-time as an administrative assistant and is currently taking paralegal courses at a community college.
Zarina, 39, was first introduced to Ribaat through her sister-in-law. She would tell her about the convenience of the online classes, which grew Zarina’s interest. She later joined a local Joy Jots book club and was able to meet Anse Tamara Gray through it. She then gained the determination she needed and decided to enroll in Ribaat’s Arabic program.
“It has been such an enjoyable experience thus far,” states Zarina. “I have found Ribaat to be convenient and easy to access and use with my busy lifestyle.”
The effort Zarina is putting into her studies is definitely paying off, especially with her kids. They are amazed by her efforts and are fully supportive. Her 11-year-old son likes to help her and study alongside her.
“Ribaat has given me the opportunity to show my children that age doesn’t matter when you want to reach your goals,” Zarina shares. “I honestly wish I had started [learning] sooner. In order to guide your children, you must first know what to guide them with.”
With that in mind, Zarina hopes to become a sound source of knowledge for her family. She also hopes to regain confidence in reciting Qur’an out loud and better understand its language.
“I can’t describe in words the joy I have been feeling as I read the Qur’an with more and more confidence. I can only imagine how much more I will gain with continued classes, inshallah,” she says.
Zarina feels that Ribaat came into her life at just the right time. About a year ago, her youngest daughter was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but this was not the first time cancer hit the family. Her oldest daughter was diagnosed in 2010 with the same cancer, and the following year, Zarina was diagnosed with this cancer as well as lung tumors.
“I had hit rock bottom when my youngest was diagnosed,” recalls Zarina. “I, unfortunately, felt so lost and distant from God. However, now, Ribaat has actually pushed me to further my Quranic and Arabic studies. If God and time wills, I would like to continue to study Islamic history. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. Regardless of how negative we may feel inside, we still have the ability to do great things if we just try. Even a little effort is better than none.”