Growing up, faith, sports, travel, and adventure always played a major role in our lives. We both keenly remember playing traditional games of Kick the Can, Capture the Flag and California Kickball until the dimming of the sunlight told us it was time for Maghrib prayers. My husband’s playground was the beaches of Singapore with his Malay, Indian and Chinese roots, while playing basketball in the Hood of East Vancouver with a mix of East African and South Asian roots was how I spent my youth.
The love of faith and sports brought about our marriage, so much so, that Raz’s gift to me was a mountain bike as a wedding present! 🙂
As my husband continued working for the software industry and I worked as an Educator in the classroom, we became enthralled with entrepreneurship, writing, and the state of the Muslim world. The seed of contributing to the Ummah was always planted in our hearts but it wasn’t until the birth of our first daughter in 2009 that made it urgent for us to take our dreams and actually start our family-owned business.
As an Elementary Educator who taught in two different Islamic schools, several secular private schools, and a slew of public schools for over 15 years before becoming a Holistic Education Consultant, I personally witnessed something special about children between the tender ages of 7-12. I noticed that this special group of kids try on their Muslim identity with wonder and joy. They are just starting to pray one or two or all five prayers, perhaps practicing the hijab, and some are even fasting for the first time. They are talking to God, know that God loves them, make sincere heartfelt dua and are understanding more deeply that they are a Muslim child.
What appeared to be an imitation of their parent’s faith is now transitioning into a personal practice for them. It is at this very tender and impressionable age, that children are looking for positive messages and courageous role models that affirm that they belong, that they can dream big, and they can achieve anything as a Muslim – with God.
Over the past few years, we have received real heartfelt testimonies from parents that Jannah Jewels ignited both a renewed love of reading and love of their faith – readers know that they are Stronger with God.
We collectively combined all of our experiences and passions into the personalities of the four characters. For example, each culturally-diverse character plays a Sunnah sport: swimming, horseback riding, archery and running. They have a wide range of interests from Science, Photography, and Coding to reading Quran, skateboarding, eating healthy food and helping the environment.
Our stories show what it means to be a healthy Muslim child that has a balance between mind, body, spirit and heart — such that stopping to pray in the middle of a game, memorizing Quran, or talking to God is seen as completely natural and normal – and dare we say, even celebrated.
After writing a few manuscripts, months of research and consulting with different Muslim leaders around North America, we outlined the entire series. The interest and success of the Jannah Jewels grew so rapidly that we added more Muslim Women’s Voices to our family – now an amazing team complete with an award-winning author, a scholar, certified educators, and a cultural anthropologist, to name a few.
Our vision is to inspire a young Muslim child to know that they can dream big, take action, and with God they can achieve anything because they are Stronger With God.
What began as a small project is now recognized worldwide as excellent wholesome children’s literature and often makes the “top 10 halal and tayyib” reading lists in Islamic libraries!
We are so very thankful to Allah for giving us the tawfiq to contribute to the Muslim world. We ask Him to accept our efforts and bless YOU, the parents and educators and young readers, for trusting the Jannah Jewels books and products to enrich your children’s Islamic education in an educational, fun, unique and creative way. We hope your family, friends, children, and students enjoy reading this chapter book series as much as ours have!
With warmest salaams,
Raz & Naz
Co-Founders of Jannah Jewels Adventure Series