Eleven years ago, I walked into “The New Shahaadah Class” at Germantown Masjid as a shy and nervous revert looking to learn more about my newfound religion. The teacher, Sister Naimah Thomas (may Allah have mercy on her) welcomed me with warmth, love, and a strong dose of Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah.
As a modest group of 10-20 students, we learned about our Lord, His Prophet (peace be upon him), and the fundamentals of His religion. From performing a ghusl, to hijab tips, to listening to each student recite the tashahhud, Sister Naimah (may Allah have mercy on her) made every effort to ensure that her students were prepared for life as a Muslim woman.
Outside of being the primary New Shahaadah teacher, Sister Naimah (may Allah have mercy on her) also conducted various workshops and programs to help benefit the Muslim community, bring unity, and strengthen the ties of sisterhood. She became known as the go-to person not only for new Muslims, but also for those wanting to learn about Janazahs (funeral processions).
Over the past 11 years, that same “New Shahaadah Class” has grown from a modest 10-20 students to sometimes over 200 women (Muslims and non-Muslims). Al-hamdulillah, I had the opportunity to work with Sister Naimah (may Allah have mercy on her) and her class this past summer. It was apparent that while the numbers had grown, warmth, love, and a strong dose of Qur’an and authentic Sunnah remained as its core.
May Allah the Most High have mercy on her, make her grave spacious, and bless her with Jannatul-Firdaws al-A’ala, Aameen.
Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
15th of Safar, 1434 / December 29, 2012