Who: Zain Bhikha
Zain Bhikha is a South-African singer and songwriter. Although he had no musical training growing up, he was always told he had a great singing voice. In 1994, he decided to enter a singing competition which he ended up winning. This led him to create his own very first album.
Bhikha recorded his first album in 1994, which marked the beginning of his tremendous career. Since then, he has become a globally known spiritual artist. He travels all over the world for live performances. In addition to his solo albums, he has collaborated with other singers such as Dawud Wharnsby, Native Deen, Outlandish, and Sami Yusuf.
All of Bhikha’s songs contain only his voice and drums as permitted by Islam according to a prominent scholarly opinion. In addition to his singing, Bhikha is also a community activist and participates in many charity organizations.
Who: Tayyibah Taylor
Tayyibah Taylor, raised in Toronto, Canada, serves as a great role model for many Muslim American women. She is best known for her role as the founding editor-in-chief and publisher of Azizah Magazine. The magazine shares powerful stories of American Muslim women and shatters many stereotypes of Muslim women that are held by both, Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Taylor studied biology and philosophy at the University of Toronto. She has also taken classes on Arabic and Islamic studies at King Abdul-Aziz University in Saudi Arabia, where she lived for several years. She was once named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies. She has appeared on various news media, such as CNN. She has also traveled to over 30 countries for conferences where she has presented lectures on Islam and Muslim women. She is also involved in interfaith activities. She is currently on the board of directors of Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters. For all her great accomplishments, Taylor has also received numerous awards.
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Queen Zubaydah was the wife of Caliph Harun Ar-Rasheed in the 9th century. She was highly educated and spiritual and was considered one of the scholars of her times. However, her lasting legacy is due to her philanthropy.
Queen Zubaydah was known to contribute greatly to public works, especially to accommodate travelers and pilgrims to Makkah. She built guest houses, lodges, roads, and wells on the routes to Makkah. She is also well known for the Zubaydah Canal. After being informed of a water shortage crisis, Queen Zubaydah had the canal built to channel water from the surrounding mountains into Makkah. The construction included other features such as tanks, reservoirs for rainwater retention and storage, and covers to prevent pollution from sandstorms.
Sayyida Nafisa is the great granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the daughter of his grandson, Hasan (may peace be upon him). She was known for her scholarship, as she had memorized the Qur’an and was a master in the Islamic sciences. Students and other scholars of her time would come from far distances to study hadith with her and learn from her in Egypt. The founder of one of the Islamic schools, Imam Shafi’i, was also one of her students and was financially supported by her during his stay in Egypt.
She was also well known for her spiritual devotion and piety. During her lifetime she regularly fasted, made 30 pilgrimages to Makkah, and used her considerable wealth to help those in need. Many stories of exceptional devotion are attributed to her.