It’s the 26th of May, 2022 and it is 4.38 am in Trinidad and Tobago. We are in the month of Shawwal and it is Thursday; so I am up early hoping to complete 6 days of fasting and get double reward for fasting on a Sunnah day. I take Suhoor, pray Witr and then sit down to review my messages. I go through a few and then come across one that makes me shudder. My sister has sent me a flyer for a Scholarship Contest from UMMI Institute. I reply nonchalantly thanking her and then begin sobbing uncontrollably.

My Quran journey began when I was around 5 years-old and my mom, 5 siblings and I walked miles to attend Qaidah classes. Skipping forward to high school and college, academic knowledge and other pursuits made the Quran be put on a back burner. I received a scholarship to study in the Republic of Cuba and the shock of ‘University Life’ I witnessed, caused me to turn to Allah for assistance. I remember making a promise to Al Mujeeb that if I overcame this test ‘undamaged’, I would  be more dedicated to my religion. It was then the sincere intention was made to seek the path of knowledge.

I got married and started to learn and practise my religion according to the Quran and Sunnah. I joined Quran circles on Fridays and I finished memorising Juz Amma. I started to work and had back-to-back children and little by little my focus shifted. Soon I found it rather difficult to find the time or zeal to read or memorise a new Surah.

After reading about the benefits of learning Surah Baqarah, I made the intention in 2017 to memorise this Surah. I was, however, only able to memorise a few Ayahs. I remember renewing my intention in Ramadan 2019 after a very challenging period in my life. That year I did I’tikaf in the last 10 days of Ramadan attempting to fast track my memorisation. Again, Allahu ‘Alam, I was only able to memorise a few more Ayaahs.

COVID 19 hit and many trials ensued. In Ramadan 2021, I vowed to find a way to continue striving with the Quran outside of Ramadan. A friend introduced me to ‘ClubHouse’ and there I met Quran teachers and students from various parts of the world. Their recitation was beautiful and unparalleled and I realised that they had spent time ‘formally’ studying the Quran. I spent what time I could with them and my tajweed improved. In Ramadan 2022, I assessed my progress and realised that in a whole year I had memorised very little. Despite my best intentions since 2017, I was yet to complete a Juz of Surah Baqarah. I acknowledged that it would be best if I formally enrolled in a Quran School. Researching on the costing and considering my current obligations, I became a little disheartened.

So there I was on the 26th May crying my heart out as I reviewed the Scholarship Contest. I humbly remembered my duas in Sujood where I asked My Wali, My Protecting Friend, to open a way for me to fulfil My Lifelong ‘Elusive’ Dream of Excellence in Quran. Between sobs, I thanked Ar-Rahman for the opportunity presented before me.


Dear Reader,

I ask that Allah bless you with all that is good and ease your burdens whatever they may be Aaameen.

Ibn Abbas reported: I was riding behind the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when he said to me, “Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you. If you ask, ask from Allah. If you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the nations gathered together to benefit you, they could not benefit you unless Allah has decreed it for you. And if the nations gathered together to harm you, they could not harm you unless Allah has decreed it for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” – Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2516 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Tirmidhi

My name is Sukainah Abdul-Hakeem. I am a wife, mother of 3 beautiful children, and your sister who strives in my religion and person to do those actions pleasing to our Rabb. I believe that this opportunity was presented to me as I sought the help of Al-Fatah and I believe that it is His decree that I receive this scholarship. After reviewing the history and background of UMMI Institute, it’s apparent that our intentions are aligned.  Your vision “to give students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience needed to become both proficient in the recitation of the Qur’aan and valuable contributors in the field of tajweed and qiraa’aat” is exactly what I have been attempting to patiently persevere upon for myself. I have realised that in this regard I need help. I thank you for your kind consideration of my application and May Allah continue to bless, guide and protect you, my beloved sisters, at UMMI Institute for the tremendous work that you do for this Ummah Aameen.