ABOUT ME

As salam 'alaykum dear sisters,

Thank you for visiting my website.

You probably know me as @faakihah from instagram. The nickname "faakihah" comes from the Arabic word that means "fruit". It is inspired by a tafseer lecture on Surah al Waqi'ah (surah 56) by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, who explained the meaning of the word beyond just "fruit", which then immediately changed my perspective of so many things in life. I will not bore you with the details, but in short, it is a reminder of Paradise and to aspire towards the everlasting abode in everything we do.

*a dictionary excerpt from Lane's Lexicon

Background

 

I graduated with Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery (MB ChB) from the University of Leeds about a decade ago. After graduation, I began practising medicine in a hospital for a couple of years and later made my move to the academic side. I then worked as a part-time demonstrator/tutor in Anatomy in the Faculty of Medicine & Health at a university, teaching medical and nursing students as well as students of other health sciences. 

I absolutely love teaching and sharing of knowledge. Studying and teaching is my childhood ambition from before I can even remember. Unfortunately, I have never been at all passionate about medicine and its sciences. They are all interesting to learn and I enjoy studying it very much, but I've never been driven to know more than I need to for teaching. 

My passion is really in Mathematics but ended up doing medicine to fulfil my parent's wishes. However, after having a go at it and realising that it doesn't suit me at all, I finally decided to pursue my own passion and plucked up the courage to be true to myself. So I quit and changed gear completely (of course, to the strong opposition of many). The moment I decided to change course was the first time that I felt truly liberated.

I didn't go into Mathematics. Instead, I found something kind-of similar to it but a thousand times better! Alhamdulillah!

If you've been following my posts #faakihahsjourney you'll know the rest of the story. If you've not read it and are interested to know more then you can read the five-part post here.

Islamic studies

 

My interest in Quran and Islamic studies started in a weekly class where we study several subjects from our shaykh at a local mosque, including tafseer (commentary) of the Quran, hadith narration, fiqh and spiritual studies. It's an informal gathering, open to the public but is very well organised in that the subjects are taught via commentary on works (books written) by past scholars.

 

At the same time, we enrolled to a part-time course by a private Islamic institution and completed it with a diploma in Islamic Studies where we studied tafseer of the Quran, seerah, aqeedah, hadith terminology, usool al fiqh, and fiqh.

Between 2012 - 2016 we were actively attending courses, weekend seminars, lectures and talks on tafseer, Quran memorisation, seerah of the Prophet ﷺ, Islamic civilisation and history and others. At home, we also studied various topics from online lectures on websites of many Islamic institutions such as Bayyinah, Qalam Institute, Deenstream, Seekers' Guidance and 'Ilm Flix to name a few. 

Today we continued to study from our shaykh as well as from courses online. Alhamdulillah.

 

Our current favourite online resources apart from the aforementioned are Cambridge Muslim College and Yaqeen Institute. My current personal interests are in Arabic, tafseer, spiritual development and  Islamic logic & theology. 

Quran Arabic studies

I began my journey in Quranic Arabic (QA), after becoming deeply interested in it during my Quran tafseer studies both from onsite classes and tafseer lectures online. I was searching everywhere for an Arabic course that works for me and immediately signed up to BayyinahTV upon its launch after been informed by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan about "Arabic with Husna" (AwH) during one of his lectures that we attended. And this is the beginning of the life that I lead now, MashaaAllah.

 

I did self-study via the pre-recorded AwH videos for a good two years, keeping up to date with every lesson that came out throughout those years. Then we attended a month-long course on Quranic Arabic taught by Ustadh Nouman himself. This course couldn't have happened in a more timely manner. At the time, I was internally struggling in all aspects, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually etc. I was going back and forth between quitting my job and pursuing my passion to study and learn about God Most High and the Quran -  the doubts stemming not from my uncertainty of what I'd like to do, but for fear of the reaction or perception of others, and the (false) guilt of disappointing many. What others did not realise is that I have been constantly asking for Allah's Guidance for more than 4 years, for Him to show me what's best. And I finally got my answer on that last day of class upon listening to Ustadh Nouman's closing remarks. There and then I made my decision and I have never felt more sure in my life. Alhamdulillah. All praises and thanks is only for Allah. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. There's no might nor power except by Him.

From there on Allah opened up door after door for me to study Arabic and the Quran at a higher level of studies. I continued with Bayyinah Institute's Access Program Online in intermediate and advanced level QA. I have also completed the online Dream program launched on BayyinahTV early last year. You can read more details about my QA journey on my blog.

Since completing AwH and the Access Programs, I have also enrolled in a few online Arabic courses by other institutions, to revise and learn via different approaches and methodology of other teachers. I am currently studying Balagha: Ilm al Badee and Bayan from Ustadh Liaquat Zaman (urooq.com) and from Shaykh Hamza Karamali of the Basira Education. I have also have begun studying some of the classical Arabic texts for Arabic studies such as the Ajrumiyyah, Qasasun Nabiyyeen and Awaamil Birkwi from online courses and hopes to continue with more in the future, inshaaAllah.

Private tutoring

Since late 2015, I have been asked by several sisters to assist them in their QA studies. Over time as I started sharing bit and pieces about our discussion and activities on instagram, more sisters have contacted me privately for something similar. After some time and a lot of encouragement from these sisters, I began a private tutoring course on introductory level Quranic Arabic. For this, I am constantly creating class materials including notes and exercise sheets based on my past and ongoing experiences in QA study.

This tutoring course (which I called Quranic Arabic: Private Tutoring or QAPT) is a live one-on-one private weekly sessions that started with 2-3 sisters at a time and later grew as the demand increased. In 2019 I was tutoring full time to 20-22 sisters per week, individually.

 

The tutoring course is aimed at sisters who are beginner students or those who have attempted to study Quran Arabic but have been struggling at studying Arabic, either due to challenges of studying in a large group or difficulties in understanding the contents itself. By offering private tutoring sessions, I hope to facilitate sisters in learning and understanding underlying grammar concepts and principles at a more manageable pace and allows opportunities for direct Q&A as and when needed.

The goal of QAPT is to introduce sisters to the structure of sentences in the Quran and the fundamental principles of Quran Arabic grammar. I am more of a coach than a tutor or teacher. I aim to coach, train and drill sisters into effective learning strategies and correct thought process that will benefit them to study Quranic Arabic further at higher levels.

Currently, I am running QAPT in batches of three groups in a year; each batch of sisters spends 13 weeks to complete the whole course. The start of the course is not set permanently as I schedule the course based on the Islamic calendar (roughly two batches between Muharram and Rajab/Sha'ban and a batch after Ramadan; I'm on my break during Ramadan). You may read about the course in detail here.

From 2020, I have also begun to tutor beginner sarf (study of Arabic word patterns and morphology). This also an essential foundation to Arabic studies and to learning Arabic vocabulary effectively, rather than purely via blind memorisation.

I absolutely love sharing what I've learned, tips and tricks and encouraging sisters to study the Quran. In short, my dream came true. Alhamdulillah.

Social media

 

You most probably have found my page on Instagram (since I'm not really found elsewhere). I started using Instagram privately in 2011 as an answer to my siblings' requests (it was created to keep up to date with my siblings). It mainly documented & followed me through my journey of self-discovery and spiritual development. I used to share pictures of lectures I attended, notes, DIYs, arts & crafts and much of what you find on my @faakihah page today. In short, it's my diary.

 

I've always been a very private person, extremely (like 98%) introverted (INFJ type), and a complete home-body. So it took me a lot of courage to step out of my comfort zone and create a public account. I don't even use any of the online chat or messaging apps! I still struggle now and again with publicly sharing, but am learning as I go. Every few months, I disappear completely to recharge. 

@faakihah was created after much deliberation as I saw an opportunity to share my joy of seeking sacred knowledge and the transformative journey that I'm currently on with the hope and intention that my posts will not only motivate me to keep going but also motivate and inspire other sisters to start or continue in seeking sacred knowledge; to know God & His Message and understand our purpose of existence, and ultimately to attain His Pleasure & seek His Countenance, His Closeness, and His Reward. I also intend it first to remind myself, then to encourage others to channel and incorporate their personal passion, hobbies or creativity into their studies of the Quran & Islam; to make their learning experiences more enjoyable and memorable; but more importantly to make those interests (be it scrapbooking, journaling, planning, arts & craft) more meaningful, done only for the sake of God; and with God, Allah, Most High at the centre of all! Inshaa-Allah.

I began actively posting on @faakihah at the start of 2016 (I was in the middle of Bayyinah's Advanced Level Quranic Arabic, Access Programs at the time), sharing photos of my notes on QA and other studies, art & crafts, as well as Quran journaling spreads where I combine art & crafts with reflections and meditations (tafakkur & tadabbur) from my studies.

My intended target audience are sisters of the young adult to adult age group; who are becoming young mothers, or those who are starting a career (or in the busy-ness of it all), or those starting on a new hobby such as journaling, planning, brush lettering, watercolour arts etc., or those who are simply looking for 'something' in their life - to remind myself and these sisters that we are at a prime time with countless resources to learn about God and the Quran, to now make the time and focus on our spiritual growth even more than what we've done for our academics and career - to take our hobbies and passion in the direction of that pleasing to God and for the sake of God -  so that we can teach our children about God and His Messenger ﷺ and the Quran ourselves so that they learn from our examples - so that when the day comes in which we'll be asked "who is your Lord?" and "who is His Messenger?", we have more to say than just a couple of names.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey. I pray that @faakihah and this website bring you nothing but benefit and that it continues to inspire myself and yours to learn about God & His Message and to seek His Guidance and Pleasure. آمين اللهم آمين.

Yours sincerely,

@faakihah, May 2020

Designed and created by @faakihah. 

All rights reserved.