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Interview with Sr. Mumtaz E. Suleman

The Dua-E-Nudba group is an active group of women headed by Sr. Mumtaz Suleman, and is a testament to the enthusiasm and creative spirit of the women of the Jaffari Community Center in Toronto, Canada.

Their activities include weekly gatherings for Dua E Nudba on Fridays, extensive fundraising for charities around the world, arranging prayers for the sick visiting and assisting the needy, spiritual retreats for women, and more.

This year, during the blessed month of Ramadan, the Dua-E-Nudba Group created and hosted the Muslim exhibition of Creative Arts (M.E.C.A). Alhamdulillah this was the third event the Dua-E-Nudba procured for the sake of the Imam of our Time (a.t.f.s). The exhibit’s aim was to showcase the importance of the arts as tools of self-expression, praise of our creator and fostering understanding across boundaries. Member of Parliament Leona Alleslev, Chairlady Sr. Shabnees Siwjee and organizer Sr. Mumtaz Suleman officially opened the event. Furthermore, a portion of the proceeds went to Ahlulbayt TV, a non-profit organization that shares the stories of our Ummah, and spreads knowledge about the Ahlulbayt (peace be upon them).

Ahlulbayt TV spoke to Sr. Mumtaz to learn further about the exhibition:

Q: What was the purpose of this event?
A: I set the idea of an art exhibition in motion after seeing some magnificent pieces of Islamic art and calligraphy done by talented young Muslim Women. Art has always been a rich part of Islamic heritage, and such talent had to be shown and promoted. Islam is a holistic religion and art has a way of expressing deep spirituality and creativity. It is a manifestation of the creativity of the human being endowed by the almighty. An art exhibition would do much to show Islam as the appealing and beautiful religion it is, a side that often ignored in today’s world.

Q: How did this event come together?
A: Sr. Shabnees Siwjee was very cooperative and helped make the arrangements for setting up and advertising the event. Artists in the community were contacted and many were delighted to bring their work to show others. The event would not have been possible without the help of the many volunteers and of course, the efforts of the ladies’ committee.

Q: What was the outcome of the event?
A: The event was an eye opener to say the least, visitors were not only amazed at the beautiful pieces, but also inspired to start artwork themselves. It was as though a veil was lifted and they saw that religion is not confined to acts of worship like religious learning. For the first time, many were exposed to a beautiful and creative part of Islam that touched their hearts, and this, is how religion should be. A beautiful multi-faceted way of life that embodies beauty in all aspects.

Q: What’s next?
A: Looking forward, the Dua-E-Nudba group hopes to build on the success of this event. Budding artists must be encouraged and other creative talents such as poetry, and storytelling must also be nurtured. Insha-Allah with the help of God the community will continue to see events such as this to bring together the talented women that form our wonderful Muslim community.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Special Thanks:
Sabira Janmohamed Khimji (sabz.paintings@gmail.com)
Fatema Khimji
Fatemah Jaffer (www.fatemahjaffer.com)
Saba Bushnaq Hussain (https://www.facebook.com/saba.bushnaq.1?fref=ts)
Fatemah Alibhai
Rumina Hashmani (www.ruminahashmani.com)
Shahnaaz Alidina
Tahera Alidina
Fatima and Saara Punjani
Rabab Al-Kishmeri (https://www.facebook.com/artforsoul.ca/?fref=ts)
Ali Razvi
Shamim Rizvi
Habib Dhostmohamed
Sara Merchant
Aleya Noorani
Syeda Maham Fatima( https://www.facebook.com/maham313arts)