Rabateens Team

Executive Director at Rabata Dr. Tamara Gray

Dr. Tamara is the Executive Director and Chief Spirituality officer at Rabata Inc. She spends her days and nights working to uplift and educate Muslim women around the world. She also drinks a lot of black coffee and strong tea. Dr. Tamara has read the Harry Potter series numerous times and considers herself a Griffindor. Her favorite characters are Hermione Granger, Professor McGonagall, and Snape. She is interested in women’s issues, religious leadership, and cultural change.

Director of Education Eamaan Rabbat

Eamaan Rabbat was raised in the United States and in Syria, where she benefited from renowned female teachers of the Islamic sciences, including tajwid, sirah, hadith, fiqh, and aqīdah. After moving to the United Arab Emirates, she earned her Bachelor’s in Mass Communications with concentrations in Advertising and Journalism and later earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration. Since graduating university, she has dedicated her time to the education and upbringing of children and adults. She has held various positions in educational institutions and schools, and volunteered at various educational centers. She has been honored to serve as director of the Ribaat Academic Institute since its inception in Fall 2013 and presently serves as Rabata's Education Director.

Youth Program Administrator Hanan Amaira

Hanan Amaira is a native of Southern California who enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling. She holds a BA in Mass Communication and a Master of Science in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations. She works in the field of communication and is passionate about sharing her knowledge through education and community work. She is currently the Youth Program Coordinator at Rabata, and is a strong advocate of promoting positive cultural change to Muslim teens and kids. Aside from her work, Hanan enjoys cooking with her husband and three kids, and spending time with her family and friends. She also volunteers at local non-profits and spiritual groups and focuses on maintaining a balanced lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise.

Marketing Assistant Hagar Diab

Hagar was born in Alexandria, Egypt and immigrated to Columbus, Ohio with her family in 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Design with a major in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University, a Teaching Certification from Ohio Department of Education, as well as TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certification from Oxford Seminars. In addition, she has 10 years of professional design experience and has been volunteering and teaching (primarily Islamic Studies) for about 13 years. She had the honor to work with students from early elementary to high school age in formal and non-formal teaching settings. Besides her passion for teaching and graphic design, she also pursues freelance photography whenever she gets a chance. Hagar enjoys hiking, trying out diverse dishes, reading self help books, deep conversations, and spending quality time with family and friends.

DBP Editorial Assistant at Rabata Michelle Marie

Michelle Sekusky is an Ohio native who came to Islam in 2011. In 2013, she joined the Ribaat Academic Institute to pursue traditional Islamic education under the tutelage of Dr. Shaykha Tamara Gray. Michelle’s interest in the Quran and Arabic included living and studying in Egypt for two years. Within the Columbus, Ohio community, Michelle served on the board of Noor Islamic Cultural Center for four years and volunteered with local masjid committees for religious council, outreach, Islam 101, and youth. There, she also developed a support system and worked closely with converts for eight years. As an accomplished songwriter and vocalist, Michelle can be found writing songs, performing, and teaching workshops across the nation. She continues to be an avid student of the Ribaat Academic Institute and teaches for Rabata’s Dragonflies and Rabateens youth programs. She completed her ijaza (certification) in the 40 Hadith of Imam an-Nawawi in 2022. Michelle helps support Rabata's Convert Care program with a reach of over 2,500 women around the world. She also enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and spending time with people she loves - especially outdoors.


Sana Mohiuddin

Anse Sana is a marital and family therapist currently in private practice in Oak Creek Wisconsin. She studied history and religious studies at Texas A&M University and attained her graduate studies in Marital and Family Therapy from Northeastern Illinois Univeristy. Anse Sana traveled with her family to Lusaka, Zambia for two years where she completed her formal islamic studies course attaining the permission to teach Arabic, Hanafi Fiqh, Tafseer and Hadith. Anse Sana has 5 children and practices anxiety and anger management every day of her life :)

Publisher Najiyah Maxfield

Najiyah Maxfield is the author of many articles, poems and short stories. Her young adult novel, Sophia’s Journal, is an award-winning time travel adventure. Anse Najiyah has taught English and history in the US and the Middle East. She spent three years as the Managing Editor of Discover: The Magazine for Curious Muslim Kids, and is now head of publishing at Daybreak Press, Rabata’s non-profit publishing company. She lives in Hutchinson, Kansas where she kayaks in the summer, crochets in the winter, and plays “The Floor is Lava” with her four granddaughters year-round. Najiyah teaches two courses with Ribaat: “Public Speaking and Community Outreach” and “Creative Writing: Raising Muslim Women’s Voices”, in addition to leading Project Lina workshops and periodic webinars on the writing craft.

Director of Development at Rabata Afshan Malik

Afshan Malik is a Chicago native turned southern belle who loves Dr. Pepper, long naps, and historical novels. She holds a Masters degree in Nonprofit Management and a Bachelors degree in English Language & Literature. Afshan serves as the Director of Development at Rabata and is the author of the 2019 young adult novel Pieces. Afshan currently lives in Houston with her husband and 5 children.

Rima Makhiawala

Rima Makhiawala is an obstetrician/gynecologist with Integrated Health Associates in Brighton, Michigan, USA. She completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology and religion and medical schooling at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her professional interests include preventive health, reproductive health, teen health and health disparities. She has been a student of Rabata since 2012, has volunteered at several international medical relief missions and enjoys reading, excellent cinema, and her Peloton bike.

Robina Din

Robina - the founder of Mystic Beats, first developed her passion for singing when she was only 8 years old performing a variety of naats at her local Urdu School. Since then, her journey continued and at the age of 18 years, she started to explore the path of Islamic Sufi Mysticism which led her to develop an interest into playing the Daff frame drum. She was soon noticed by her peers who encouraged her to teach Inshaad and the Daff drum and this led to the birth of Mystic Beats. Through Mystic Beats, Robina has been providing vocal skills sessions in several languages and Daff frame drum workshops for more than 15 years in person throughout the UK and online across the globe. Currently she is delivering several online workshops during covid-19 on a small group basis to help people to connect around the globe, and to support those who feel isolated - some psychologists argue that Drumming is better than anti-depressants!

Farhana Yunus

Dr. Farhana Yunus is a mother of 4 boys and 1 girl, an optometrist, and has completed the Ribaat Teacher Certification through the Ribaat Academic Institute. She has taught clinical nutrition at St. Mathews medical school. She loves teaching and empowering young boys and girls as both a Boyscout and Girlscout troop leader. In her free time, she loves to travel, read, go fishing, kayak, and try new recipes. If she could have any superpower it would be to fly (which is interesting because she is afraid of heights).

Shabnam Mahmood

Shabnam Mahmood has her graduate degree in English with a focus on children's and British literature. She has taught at various universities and coaches a middle school literary competition called Battle of the Books; her team is the reigning champion. Shabnam loves to read YA and children's literature. When not engrossed in a cup of tea and mystery, she devotes time to her second love, food! Shabnam is a self-described foodie always in the kitchen trying new recipes and baking. She grew up learning about cooking and baking, writing about food for magazines, creating recipes for publication and loves teaching various regions' food histories and the culinary habits of her favorite authors. Shabnam lives in Skokie, Illinois, with her family and a fish named Rumi, where she loves cooking and especially baking with her daughter for their family and community. Shabnam volunteers at her masjid as the editor for the newsletter and library committee chair and teaches Seerah at Sunday School as Quran Department Head. Shabnam is a board trustee of Skokie Public Library.

Fartun Elmi

Fartun Elmi is originally from Somalia and a current resident of Minneapolis. Fartun loves traveling, hiking, learning and being outdoors. She is currently in graduate school learning counseling and psychological services. Her motto is, 'helping others is wonderful.'

leila@rabata.org Leila Pacariz

Leila Anwar Pačariz was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she still lives and works today. She graduated from First Bosniak High school, first semi private religious gymnasium in Bosnia, and currently studies at the Faculty of Islamic Sciences in Sarajevo. After more than 15 years of work in the humanitarian field, she now serves as the Operations Manager at Rabata. She enjoys making colorful spreadsheets and reading reports. Leila was introduced to Rabata during the Pilgrims at Home competition many years ago. Together with her friends and fellow Rabata and Ribaat enthusiasts from Bosnia, she hosted Anse Tamara Gray and a few of her students in Sarajevo in April 2018 – that’s when dreams started to come true.

Asma Shikoh

Asma Shikoh has a visual arts practice for the past 20 years in various continents. She is a Pakistani American, who has been very fortunate to have lived and worked in exciting cities. She considers her most important work done in NYC, which is female centric and celebrates amazing and strong Muslim women in America who come together to gain strength from each other, just like we do at Rabata. Her collaborative practice is based on religious and social landscapes, touching upon themes of shared identity, within an increasingly polarized world. Together, we are stronger! Asma’s more recent work is about purifying our hearts in order to achieve tranquility InshaAllah. Asma has a BFA degree and has taught extensively. Her work has been showcased internationally in several group and solo shows, is in important art collections and has been profiled by media including The New York Times, BBC and NPR. Alhamdulillah!

Sondos Kholaki

Chaplain Sondos Kholaki serves as a hospital staff chaplain and a volunteer community and police chaplain in Southern California. She is board-certified with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). Sondos earned a Master of Divinity degree in Islamic Chaplaincy from Bayan Islamic Graduate School and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from UCLA as a Regents Scholar. Sondos is the author of “Musings of a Muslim Chaplain” (2020) and the co-editor of “Mantle of Mercy: Islamic Chaplaincy in North America” (2022).

Umeda Islamova

Umeda Islamova was born in Tajikistan and grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is a student at the Ribaat Academic Institute and works as a Marketing and Communications Manager at Rabata. She founded The Dua Journal, an Islamic stationery brand, as a creative outlet. She currently serves on a Board of ECHO Collective which teaches immigrant and refugee women in starting and running successful creative businesses. And she serves as a fellow at the University Center for Entrepreneurship mentoring college students in establishing their own businesses. She is a mom of two girls and a boy. She loves being creative and journals almost every day. She enjoys hot drinks, reading, deep conversations, traveling, walking in nature and spending time with family and friends.