Islamic Education Using iPads: part 5
Imagine if your voice could empower people across the globe?
Imagine if you had the tools to make your ideas become a reality?
Last week I sat down and met with a young lady who turned her imaginary world into reality! As we chatted it gave me a warm and fuzzy comforting feeling to know that, in fact, there was no need for the digital generation to imagine these things anymore. Empowered by innovative educators the youth of today have the tools to take their imagination to the next level. Today, educators are able to empower the future of tomorrow to be innovative and confident in their ideas and this, in turn, will lead to a successful future generation. With the creation and usage of e-books, a child can publish a story and share their thoughts and imagination with…well…the whole world. And that is exactly what Iman H. Siddiqi decided to do.
Her very first publication is titled, Haya: The Loyal Student and is about a young girl named Haya who dreams of becoming a scientist one day. When she is accepted into a prestigious new school, Haya thinks her dreams are finally coming true. But as she puts on her favorite headscarf and arrives at school to start fourth grade, Haya has no idea of the challenges that await her. Confused yet determined to honor her Islamic identity and her goals Haya seeks answers in Islamic teachings and in the wisdom of a teacher who understands her challenges.
Iman is currently a senior at Northwood High School in Irvine, CA. With a passion for journalism and a desire to become a lawyer, Iman is now the author of her first book, Haya: The Loyal Student. I sat down with Iman to learn more about her journey to becoming an author and her future hopes and dreams. I think this is a wonderful book to use for story time in the Islamic Studies classroom and one that children and adults alike can learn from and be inspired by the story of Haya. Lets see what she had to say!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a senior at Northwood High School in Irvine. I have pursued journalism with an internship at the Orange County Register and I hope to go to law school because I believe these are the two best means for advocating for causes I believe in, such as girls’ education and strong interfaith relations. I also seek to set a good example for other young American Muslims today. In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my family.
What inspired you to write Haya: The Loyal Student?
During my sophomore year in high school, I participated in the Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST) from Northwood High School, and one of the competitions I entered was writing a children’s book. My entry won first place, and I subsequently edited and refined the book, and in October of last year, Alhumdu’lilah, the book was published.
What is the greatest lesson you would like a young Muslim to leave with after reading your book?
I hope all the readers will enjoy the book and take away the lesson I wish to impart. That is, that our Muslim identity is not just a different way of dressing, but rather our identity – our Islamic history – includes Muslims’ contributions to many fields of sciences. As part of our duties, as part of our loyalty to our religion, we need to make sure that these contributions are acknowledged and recognized.
Was the storyline influenced at all by a personal experience you have had?
I had the privilege of attending an Islamic school from pre-school to 8th grade where prayers, Islamic Studies, and academics were intertwined. In high school, I began to realize that not all of my Muslim friends had this foundation, and, as a result, they constantly faced an inner conflict. They would be proud of their Islamic identities in the mosque, but they feared that this identity would prevent their success in school. I wanted to illustrate, by referencing Islamic history that we will succeed as a Muslim Ummah when we will become proud of our identities in all settings.
Do you believe in the power of technology to help children to embrace differences and shun prejudice?
The power of technology gives us access to so much information instantly. With more schools turning to iPads and e-books, and more students spending time in front of these devices, I wanted to make my book available as an e-book to increase its accessibility. My message is a global message, that we should all strengthen our identities and be more accepting of all people, and I wanted this message to be available to students outside of the United States.
What future plans do you have after you graduate from high school?
In college, I plan to major in Philosophy or Political Science. I intend to pursue a law degree thereafter, and to continue to be involved in our Muslim community.
Do you have any other books lined up for release?
Not as of yet, but Insha’Allah I intend to write a series of Haya books.
Would you like to mention anyone special in your success?
I would like to thank my community for such a positive response. Orange Crescent School, my former Islamic school, held a book signing for me and gave me the opportunity to discuss my book with other students. I was overjoyed to see all the students’ enthusiasm for the book.
You can find Iman’s book, Haya: The Loyal student here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/haya/id805014721?mt=11
For her latest feature in this series, Sabba interviews a young Muslim girl who has published her own book!
Sabba will return soon with the next part of this series.
In the meantime, click on the link below to view a recording of a recent webinar she hosted on integrating technology into Islamic Studies: