Mubarakah Ibrahim

Mubarakah Ibrahim

Team BMGFly: #BlackMuslimGirlFly is defined as that “it” factor Black Muslim Girls & Women have that makes them amazing, dope, & fresh-to-death awesome. How would you describe your #BlackMuslimGirlFly?

Mubarakah Ibrahim: I think that my Black Muslim Girl Fly is just being an inspiration and motivation for people to do what their hearts’ desire and to follow. Ever since I got into health and wellness, I have always started my speech to my clients by saying that physical, mental, spiritual well-being are all intertwined, and the weakness of one weakens them all, and the strengthening of one strengthens them all. I am going to help you right now with your physical strengthening and then that is going to ripple into every other aspect of your life. So I really believe that whether you start that with physical, emotional, spiritual, whatever part of your being that you are going to strengthen, you will see ripples in those other aspects of your life because healing is one of the misconceptions I think people have. It is that you heal from eating an herb, or eating a food, or even doing something external to bring it in when true healing starts as internal and then it goes out. It’s not us creating the healing, its something that comes from up and then comes down. Healing is in to out, from up to down, and when we mix that up and try to reimburse it, that’s when we struggle.  So, I think that it is the great thing, and I think not being in one intersection. So I think that people listening to the fitness and health advice that I have are a way of getting them in the door, but I think that really shows people that you don’t have to do one thing, or think one way, that there are a lot of layers to everybody, myself included.

Team BMGFly: How did you grow into your Muslim identity? And, how does being a Black girl impact that? (Or, if you’re bi-racial, or of multi-ethnic heritage, how does that impact your Muslim identity?)

I was born and raised Muslim. Both of my parents are African American and from Brooklyn NY. They converted to Islam in the 1960s during that era when Black people were looking for an identity to escape the from the segregation and oppression at that time. Both of my parents, they converted directly to the orthodox Sunni Islam. I think a lot of people assume those who are African American and convert during the 1960s start in the Nation, so that’s one misconception people have about African American Muslims, but there was a huge movement called Dar-Islam where African Americans converted directly to Sunni Islam. So my parents were a part of that high-end nearing movement in the 1960s, and I was born and raised Muslim, number five out of 6 children; five girls and one boy among us. I grew up in a…my mother was a traditional, strict Muslim.

I wore hijabs since I was seven years old, with no boyfriend, and was homeschooled most of my life. I did go to public schools here and there, went to Islamic schools, and I think that my Muslim identity, I think that it was always there because of the way I was raised and everything and everywhere, my mother designed it that way. When I got married, my husband he converted to Islam when he was in his 20s, and when I married him, I began to talk to him about my upbringing and my childhood. He was always really baffled and asked: “How did you grow up in America, and you have no non-muslim friends?” I was like “Because my mother didn’t let me have non-muslim friends!” (laughs) He was like “How does that happen and you go to school with them?” So I said, “I went to school with non-muslim friends, but my mom made it very clear that these are your school friends, go to the mall with Tierra, but you cannot go with Tasha.” (laughs) So I think that my Muslim Identity has always been there based on everything I knew about who I was, and I think I began to understand the concept that I was Muslim because my mom made me Muslim. When I was probably twelve or thirteen, and I would say I accepted Islam as my own and this is what I believe and this is what I will do. So when I was fifteen I went through this spiritual epiphany reading about other religions, asking questions, and on my own deciding, yeah Islam is what makes sense to me, so I’m going to be Muslim. I think that’s when I started praying on my own, reading on my own, doing things akin to that, and when deciding for myself, then I wanted to be a Muslim. I just grew up Black. So my parents were born and raised in New York, but I was kind of born here (Georgia). So both of my parents are African American, and I didn’t grow up with a multi-ethnic background but my mother was, at the time it would have been considered a type of open Muslim, she really wanted us to be around lots of different people, and that came with us moving so much; we moved around a lot when I was young.

I literally lived in everywhere apart from my birth, I was actually born in Sinaloa Georgia, so when I was born my parents and a group of their friends from Dar-Islam, they decided they wanted to leave the city of Brooklyn and buy property in Georgia to live similar to the Prophet (PBUH). So my birth was, I tell people my birth was an old country song. I was born in a shack that my parents built by hand. At sunset, they didn’t have electricity, so I was born by the light of the car, that shined through the window, and my father cut my umbilical cord with his pocket knife. (laughs) I was born in the country, and then my mom and dad divorced when I was young and my mom moved around a lot, I literally lived in every state of the east coast except four of them. We’ve lived in Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, North Carolina, Boston, Springfield, I literally went to those places all before I turned 16.

Team BMGFly: How do you maneuver your industry as a Black Muslim Woman?

Mubarakah: I think for me, not just being a Black Muslim woman, but a Black Muslim woman raised in the way I was. So my identity of accepting my Blackness and my Muslimness came very recently. I mean I told my husband and he teases me about it, but I said I discovered I’m Black 5 years ago! (laughs) So the interesting thing is my mom was very devout in religion and one of the things, which I didn’t realize how much of an impact it was until I was an adult, was that she was not pro-black. Her thing was that Allah decided before she was black, she was to be Muslim. Before you are black, before He decided you were going to be a woman, before He decided you are going to be a girl, He decided you are going to be Muslim. So to her, being Muslim superseded everything, she was not really into pro-black anything. She didn’t have a problem having all non-indigenous friends, so I grew up very eclectically because of that. It’s so funny because, well my husband and I, we started a business together about 10 years ago and we went to the state to get it classified as a black-owned business. It was because they have minority-owned business in certain set-asides if you were minority owned. It was then that I realized that my mom never put an ethnicity on my birth certificate. I couldn’t prove that I was Black and they said, “we need some proof that you are African American”, so my husband asked if we could come to the office and they could look at us, and they said no. They needed some legal proof that I am African American. So the only way I could prove I was Black was to give them my children’s birth certificate because I marked that I was African American along with my child being African American. So I didn’t realize how deep that commitment of her to Islam was transferred to us down that way until that aspect. The interesting thing is that as an adult I would say it wasn’t probably until maybe about 10 years ago that we’ve maybe embraced this concept of being Black and being Muslim. Its different than being Arab and being Muslim in America, its different than being Pakistani and Muslim in America, and I think one of the greatest a-ha moments for me was saying that I was asked to speak about Islam in America. With all of the Islamaphobia, and I think this was when Trump got elected, the man who introduced the panel, he did his introduction and stated, “We are in a place, Muslims, are in a place in America where we are questioning whether or not we belong.” When he said that, I thought, I have never really felt that way about myself. I never, not for one second, questioned if I belonged in America. My experience is very different from yours. So being Black and Muslim, I think the way it affects my work is by my being Muslim more than being Black. I find that I am often the only in every circle. So when I go to a conference, many times, I am the only African American, but also even if I’m not, even if there is a sprinkle of African Americans, I’m going to be the only hijabi, I’m going to be the only Muslim sometimes and, I think in the circle of health and wellness it affects it in the way where I have to constantly prove myself. So I tell people when I teach, it is not Bootcamp. I’m very well aware of that and I incorporate it into how I teach and that is the reason why I am an not an instructor; I am an educator. It became that way because I have to tell my clients that if you want to do heel sprints, I am going to do the first three with them to prove to them that I can do it, I am not telling you to do something randomly, I have to live what I teach. So, when I ask somebody to do something, then I am telling them that, I am showing them, that I can do this. I know this work and I know how difficult it’s going to be, how easy it’s going to be, how the movement is going to feel in your body because I do it too. So, that is how it has become a part of how I train. I cannot teach a class where it follows the leader, it’s my explaining to them how to do it as I do it.

Team BMGFly: What made you decide to become a health coach? What was your beginning?

Mubarakah: So I became a health coach because of my mom. My mom developed gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with my sister, and my little sister is 7 years younger than I am.  After she got diabetes, it just never went away, it just progressed and progressed. So she suffered, and never learned how to properly care for herself in terms of what to eat, her lifestyle, anything with diabetes. The doctor just said, “Here is some insulin, here are some needles, go home, don’t eat cake, and don’t drink Pepsi”. My mom said, “I’m drinking Pepsi”. So she never got, and again this is why I educate, she never got the education about her condition to take care of her health. Diabetes runs very strongly in my family.  I have two very strong genetic tendencies, and I intentionally use the word tendencies because I do believe they are permutable diseases, my mom had diabetes, her mom had diabetes, her dad, and her sister has diabetes. It’s very rampant on my mother’s side of the family. My dad actually died at 55 from a stroke induced by high blood pressure, and he has 4 sisters, they all have high blood pressure.

One died from an aneurysm, one is paralyzed and she has had three strokes because of her high blood pressure, so high blood pressure runs rampant on my father’s side of the family. I do remember as a teenager sitting around talking about diabetes in our family just as much as we would talk about who inherited my mom’s smooth skin, or her thin legs, or her height deficit, she was only 5 feet tall, and we would talk about who would inherit her diabetes. So almost like a rite of passage, you are gonna get older, you are gonna need glasses to go to the eye doctor, and then go get your insulin. I can remember as a young person thinking, I’m not going to be that one. I do not know how, I didn’t know anything about health, but I was adamant that there has to be a way to prevent this. So I think I started exercising when I was about 12 or 13, I would go running in the morning, I would just ask myself, can I run down the block? Or run down a mile and a half from my house to a rotary and back? So I asked my mother, and she said okay, run straight, come back, don’t try to go into the neighborhood. So she let me run in the morning, and I knew it had something to do with exercise. I was very well aware it had something to do with food, in retrospect now. I realize as a teenager when I first put out the diet and exercise thing, I did not know a lot and I was borderline anorexic that I had barbie syndrome; I loved Barbies when I was young. So I began to educate myself and learn about health and wellness, and it has always been a kind of preventive activity for me.

Turning to a career actually, I didn’t know it could be a career when I was younger, so when I became pregnant with my first son, who is 24 now, and I was about 5 months pregnant, my pelvic bone collapsed, and its a condition called pelvic synthesis; which is not uncommon, and when a woman gives birth, the pelvis becomes softs and opens. So there are 10% of women who have it happen early, and this is the reason why doctors and medicine say giving birth needs to be done lying down because it disconnects; the pelvic bone. Alhumdullilah, Allah made us able to stand the pain of birth, and there is a mute and disconnect of the nerves in the pelvic area. So this can happen in 10% of women, and this happens normally 24 to 48 hours before they go into active labor. Mine was unique because it happened 3 months before I went into active labor. So, as a result of my pelvic bone separating, I was in a wheelchair for 3 months.

What happens physically is that it is not painful in itself, it’s just that it literally cut off the nerve communication from my lower body. So I could stand myself up, but when I tried to lift a leg, there was no movement. My brain would and could not connect to my leg to tell it to walk. So when I became pregnant, I was 115 pounds, and when I gave birth, I was 198 pounds because I was in a wheelchair and couldn’t exercise. In those 3 months, I gained 50 or more pounds because I was inactive. After giving birth, I was thinking there was no way I am going to stay this weight, so I called the library and spoke to a librarian about getting some books. My husband would pick them up from work, and I really studied and read about nutrition because I wanted to breastfeed, so how do I breastfeed and be healthy. This was all before the internet, so it was all books and magazines, and I put together a program for myself, both a nutrition program and an exercise program. Then I started after my physical therapy where I lost all of the weight.

So sisters at the masjid started to ask me how I lost the weight, so I started to create programs for them. I started to create health programs for them, diet programs, and one day I was helping out a sister at the masjid and she looked at me and said, mind you at the time this was when I was 18 and I had my son at the time and it was my last year in high school and I got married when I was 16 and went on into college majoring in English and minoring in psychology, and as I was writing her program out because we were adjusting it for her workout so her body doesn’t get used to the same movements, she told me, you know what Mubarakah, you are very good at this, you should become a professional trainer.

I looked at her bewildered said, you can make money doing this? And a light bulb lit up in my head. I had no idea what a personal trainer was and I had no idea that this could be a career, so I started to research and read which led me to be certified as a fitness instructor, then as a personal trainer, then certified as a master personal trainer, then I realized I really love this. There was a college across town that was the only college in the area that offered exercise as a science major, so I transferred from my old college, changed my major from English to exercise sciences, and that was the way I started the education part of the exercise. So in between the years and babies, I gathered more certifications, so now I have an interdisciplinary degree in exercise science, public health, and psychology, and I have 13 fitness and nutrition certifications that I amassed over about a 20 year period.

Team BMGFly: If and when you came up against Islamic community backlash, what was the driving force behind your continuing to pursue this as your career?

Mubarakah: I didn’t have backlash, and for my community, in particular, I had more people outside of my community come to me in support. So before I went on Oprah, I would do fun fitness days for Muslimahs called Fun Fitness Summit, and every three months, I would rent out a community center here in New Haven that had a pool and a room and there would be healthier food. I would teach an exercise class, we had a sister in our community that is a dietician, and she would do a nutrition workshop. We would rent the pool out so the sisters could swim, and we would play games. I would tell people that this is a fun fitness day which means you can bring a game to play but it has to be a movement game. So you can’t bring scrabble but you can bring Twister, you can’t bring jacks, but you can bring a jump rope.

So, Alhumdullilah, I would have about 50 sisters who would come from New York, New Jersey, and the entire tri-state area. After the Oprah show, I had much more exposure and I would do them annually in Connecticut and have 200-300 sisters come from all over the United States. I began to do them internationally maybe about 5 years ago. We’ve had Muslim Fitness in Bermuda, I had been invited to Saudia Arabia and did a summit there at the University of Science and Technology, and I haven’t held one in about 2 years, but Inshallah that is what I am working on now and am putting together the next Fitness Muslimah Summit. It is an Islamic conference where we will get together and talk about everything but Islam.

If you believe in Allah and Muhammad-ul-Rasulullah, then no matter how you practice, no matter your methods, then I do not care what nationality you are, it is a place and space for you to interact with other Muslim women and focus on spiritual, mental and physical well-being; spiritual meaning emotional. So because I wanted to it to be a welcoming space for everybody, we do not do any workshops on Islam. It is based on the Islamic methodology, in the way we live our lifestyle, but it’s not Sufi, it’s not Salafi, it’s not Murideen, and I hope I can continue to keep doing that.

Team BMGFly: How did it feel to be in the spotlight? You had the chance to be on Oprah’s show, right? How did that come to fruition?

Mubarakah: So I did the Oprah show in 2009, so it has been about 9 years now. Might have been 2008. I did it in about 2008, and here’s the funny thing, I was not an Oprah fan. So before I did the Oprah show, I did not appreciate what I perceived as her idealization on Islam and Muslim women. So I, even now I don’t really watch the show, more so because I do not have time, I admire her now because I got to meet and learn more about her after the show, and I was on the show when I just opened my fitness studio and used to own a personal training studio here in New Haven for 8 years. I just opened my new studio and was reading all of these marketing books on marketing yourself and general information.

When I read one of the books, the guy asked in the book, what makes you different? And don’t tell me its because you have this type of certification. He went down a list, and he’s like, “this certification got one million two-hundred people who certified through them, this certification has 500,000 so that certification is not what makes you different”. He asked what makes you different as a trainer in your area, that is what you need to hold on to. So it was literally one or two o’clock in the morning and I was thinking, well how many personal trainers dress like this? I’m an interesting story, Oprah likes interesting stories, I think I’ll tell her about myself. So literally went to her website, at 2 o’clock in the morning and I typed in that I’m a 30 year old personal trainer in New Haven, Connecticut, and what makes me different is that I am an orthodox Sunni Muslim who dresses in full Islamic garb and most people wanna know if I take my scarf off when I exercise and to find that out you have to have me on the show. So I teased and said they must want me because they called me nine days later. So that’s actually how I ended up on the show and it wasn’t a career goal or a life goal it was really “whats the worst thing that could happen?” It’s actually such a life lesson for me because its how I approach everything now.

Team BMGFly: What’s the number one thing you hope people will gain from witnessing your endeavors or working with you in sports and health fitness?

Mubarakah: So with my work, what I want people to walk away with is that you can do anything that you desire to do if you’re willing to put the work in to achieve it. When people ask me when I do both my business and fitness coaching, do you think I can look like this again or do you think my I can make my business successful? It’s not that you cant, it more is, are you willing to put the work in? You are going to get out of it what you put in, and I hope that is the main thing that I convey to people in everything I do.

You don’t have to have the same business goals I have or the same fitness goals I have, but whatever your goal is, set the goal, don’t cheat yourself by trying to make it “practical”, really set what you really want to do with your life, what do you want to give to the world, and then just go it. It’s going to happen if you do it. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to happen overnight, you just have to put the effort in, your gonna get back what you give out.

Team BMGFly: What is your typical day like? And, tell me about any special events you recently attended or hosted as a trainer?

Mubarakah: So I don’t have a fitness studio anymore, I closed it. So I had a cancer scare, spoiler alert, I don’t have cancer Alhumdulillah, where they found a growth in my uterus about 3 or 4 years ago and that gave me a life epiphany, a re-direct. So I decided to close down my studio, go back to school, basically what I tell other people to do. What do you want to do with your life? And I always had this no need for a goal towards my fitness studio, or to be a personal trainer at 60, that wasn’t a career goal, but it helped me to redirect myself. What did I really want to do with myself? So I don’t have a fitness studio anymore, and during that time in school I actually learned more about online marketing and creating an online business, so 80% of my training now is online. So I do still do have a few in-home personal training clients where I go to their house, I train people on Skype, creating diet programs, exercise programs, checking in with them twice a month, making sure they are on track, I have my food coaching program, where I do all of the information from the diet and exercise online, we have a private Facebook group in order to do that, I have one program that, and our 40 method is based on a book that inshallah will be going to print in the next 30 days, I created an online program from that book, from the information that I was writing in the book as a test way of seeing how people react to whether or not the program is practical, and I recognize  two for instance: What I am willing to do in my consistency is a little bit different than what other people are willing to do; my passion is a little bit greater. So I always have to see if this is really practical enough for everybody because not everybody is going to want to do it, I’ve had several debates on Facebook about Kido and the fact that you don’t have to eat fruit in order to be healthy, but that’s a whole other story.

It’s a very effective program, so it does also allow me to be an educator, which is what I say I am. I want to educate people about how the physiology of their body, what they put in it physically, mentally, emotionally, what you are consuming with your eyes, what you are consuming with your environment, that all affects your physiology. So it allows me to do that. I get up in the morning, I workout in most mornings, 5 days a week, and then when I come home, I shower, then I do some computer stuff. Facebook is my number 1 love, Instagram is my side chick; which I have been giving more attention lately. I am, to my family, a little too connected to my phone. So I post throughout the day, sometimes I will just randomly come online live, I mean just the other day I went to a real estate workshop, and I was very disturbed in what the guy said about going to buy out Puerto Rico, to which I was baffled, so I just had to share that, I went online to Facebook and told people about it. So I’m on social media, but I try to do and have done a couple of things to not be completely addicted to it. So I no longer look at my Facebook first thing in the morning when I wake up, and I put it away when I go to bed at night. I don’t look at Facebook as the last thing I do before I go to sleep.

Team BMGFly: How does your career impact the other aspects of your life, including your family?

Mubarakah: So my family knows what I do is what I am. So if I am making a Kido pizza, I ask does anyone want some? So I am preaching to them, no one in my house cares about Kido pizza. They know that’s just me now, its a part of my lifestyle now.  Wheres, mom? Oh, she’s at the gym. It is just who I am. One of the things I try to do online is present my authentic self, I don’t filter my pictures, I do average things, show every other aspect of my life, and I do that intentionally, I don’t think its necessary to show people that you are struggling. My goal is to inspire, I don’t need to tell you I had an argument with my husband. So for my family its just what I do, it is the norm. If you ask them, their biggest complaint is me being online so my last son is my tree hugger hippie, so if we go out to dinner, if I try to take a picture on the sneak tip because he tries to mess up my food before I take a picture.

She tries to photobomb my food, stick a fork in, so I tell him to take it out of my picture! So I take it real quick before he realizes. My husband has an entire skit about how he would have tiptoe through the house while I’m a Facebook live, so he doesn’t make noise. So I give them warnings about it, saying I have to do a webinar in 30 minutes if you gotta get something to eat, get it now because you cannot be making noise. All right guys! You got 10 minutes to get something to eat, I’m getting ready to start my webinar! I have 4 children, 3 boys, and 1 girl, and Alhumdullilah, one of them got married on April 8th. My oldest son does not live with us, he moved out a few years ago, my daughter moved out a few years ago, my other son moved out and got married and a few years ago, so my youngest and last son who just recently graduated from high school, he is going to college soon and so I will be de-nesting in September and I will have a little more time on my hands; I gotta figure out what hobby I want to take up.

Team BMGFly: Who did you look up to while growing up? Who inspires you now?

Mubarakah: No I did not have anybody into health and wellness to inspire me. There was one instance when I saw sisters playing volleyball who were physically active, but I was certainly a figure it out as I go along kind of career. When I was on the Oprah show, I had literally never met any other Muslim that was a personal trainer or anything. I think that’s one of the reasons why I also put that information out there because sometimes you want to do it and you just don’t see an example. One of the moments that I really have that touch me was when I had my fitness studio, I had one of few billboards and a sister and her daughter were driving down the street and she called me and told me that they stopped at the corner and you were on the billboard. Her daughter who was about 8, she said, Mommy, there’s a Muslim sister on the billboard. Her mother said, yes, that’s sister Mubarakah, she owns a fitness studio. Her daughter said I didn’t know Muslim women could do fitness. Her mother said, yes! of course, you can do fitness.

So she brought her daughter to my studio, and she was telling me about it and I said, of course, bring her over here, and I showed her daughter the equipment and stuff. This inspires me to do it because they need to see themselves in every aspect, not just on t.v, they need to see the Muslim doctor, a Muslim lawyer, Muslim Olympic athletes, we need to see ourselves in every aspect. Another one that really inspired me was that after I was on the show a year later, this woman messaged me and said she converted to Islam 5 years ago, and she used to be a personal trainer, and she didn’t think she could do that. She said the hardest thing of becoming Muslim was giving up the thing she used to love, and seeing me inspired her and let her know that you can do this and be a Muslim, and that really touched me. So little things that really do touch me and inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing.

Team BMGFly: Can you describe a moment where you felt defeated, and how did you overcome that?

Mubarakah: I’m trying to think of one moment, there are a lot of defeated moments. But let me think about that for a second.

Team BMGFly: Can you describe a moment where you felt like you defied odds or broke barriers?

Mubarakah: I don’t think I would describe it as one of something dramatic as busting glass ceilings. There were times in my career where I realized I’m doing what other Muslim women have not had the opportunity. One of the times was when I had dinner with President Obama, so long story short, I realized there was a moment when I and this dinner was annual iftar the president gives, and I realized that I was the only African American Muslim woman in the room. There were other Muslim women, there were other hijabi Muslim women, and in retrospect, I cannot even think of seeing an African American Muslim man. I may have been the only African American there. There were many non-indigenous Muslims, but what struck me at that moment was I wasn’t the only African American Muslim at his table, I got the honor of sitting directly next to the president, but as I looked around the room, there were no African Americans in the room. So that was an epiphany moment for me, and I said wow, this is an opportunity in saying that you cant just take lightning, Allah puts you in places for a reason. In terms of moments, I felt defeated, so one of the things I don’t talk about a lot is that I have a child who has had a mental health struggle. Depression, suicide, it was probably the most point in my life where as a parent you try to do everything right, and things may not turn out the way you want. And that is the lowest point because you go through a mental upset because you feel like you did something wrong, or is it my fault, how did this happen? Things like that. And the way I think I overcame that is, in Mubarakah fashion, is when you cant control anything about your life, go workout because you can control that. So besides the working out part, I think that really not just depending on Allah, but understanding the deen, understanding Islam, looking at the examples of the people, the prophets, the companions, the people who came before us, and I remember at one of my lowest points I was listening to a lecture from an imam online about how hard we are on ourselves as Muslim parents. What you are going through, and it resonated well with me and I tell everybody that, but what you are going through is not the worst thing a parent endures. He said look at the example of the prophets, can you imagine if somebody comes to a Sheikh and said I have 12 sons, and one of them tried to kill one of them by throwing him down a well and ended up selling him into slavery.

So he’s said, that is an example of the prophet. You can’t control how your children think if they are going to be Muslim, or what they are gonna do, he said you don’t think Noah did the best that he could as a parent? And his son still rejected Islam. So being a parent, you can do everything right, but it is ultimately up to Allah. That doesn’t mean you don’t try or do what you are supposed to do, because Allah says save yourselves, and then your families, and I could go on and on about it, but that’s a whole lecture in itself. But hearing that made me all of the time think it’s not always just your belief in Allah, it’s your understanding of your deen. You have to read, you have to take an example. It’s the reason He gave us the Qur’an. If He didn’t need examples and inspiration, then he would have given us just a note that said believe in Allah. But he gave us a whole book, the Qur’an, full of examples to take inspiration from and that is probably my lowest point and I got through it.

Team BMGFly: What would you cite as the foundation of your success?

Mubarakah: The foundation of my success…That’s a hard one. I could say my deen and be corny, but I think it goes deeper in that. So I think my foundation for success is to keep striving. Never feeling that I am successful. It’s never that I think there is an achievement of my success, this is the epitome of my career, this is everything that is a milestone.

Team BMGFly: #BlackMuslimGirlFly is an empowerment brand created to uplift and remind Black girls that they are FLY in many ways. What advice would you give all the Black Muslim girls out there, worldwide, to cultivate their own individual #BlackMuslimGirlFly?

Mubarakah: In order to cultivate your own Black Muslim Girl Fly? Hmmm, I would say, own who you are and own the potential of who you can be. I think one of the things that stop us from our greatness it’s our criticizing ourselves. Feeling you are too shy, or too overweight, too this or too that. You are perfectly imperfect, and when you accept that, that you are okay the way you are, but that doesn’t mean you cant better at anything. You can have a better business, a better body, a better thought process, you can be an instructor, so whatever you are doing, you can get better. So owning that you are owning you are perfectly imperfect, and a work in progress that you can get better, and strive to get better is how to own your Black Muslim Girl Fly.

*Bonus Question*

Team BMGFly: What’s something you haven’t done yet, but would like to do next?

Mubarakah: Yes. So my bucket list is to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro. So I gotta find people to hike it with because my husband said no because the mountain already told him no because it had already killed a man named Jaro. So its called Mt. Kilimanjaro, so he said it Killed a man named Jaro. (laughs) So he won’t go with me. I will have to find others to go with me.

Thanks again for sharing your story with us and the rest of the world. I believe it’s very important for us, Black Muslim Girls and Women, to stand up and speak up and let the world know we are here and we’re making things happen. For far too long, we’ve been made to be invisible.

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