Oct - Dec 2011, Women in Islam

In Memory of Sister Mary Ali

By Rebecca Abuqaoud

December 9, 2011

Assalam Aleikum dear sisters in Islam,

It was not easy to receive the sad news of the decease of Sister Mary Ali last Tuesday. The news was shocking. She leaves us with great memories.

May Allah SWT have mercy on her soul and grant her the highest rank in Paradise.

It was an honor to have Mary Ali among us with her teachings, advice, and wisdom.

The first time, I met Sister Mary Ali face-to-face was in my house in September 8, 2001. I invited her over the phone to my house to share a topic for the women in Islam.

As a new Muslim at that time, I was anxious to learn more about my new religion and I had so many questions to ask. For that occasion, I also invited other women and about 18 women attended the lecture. I liked her presentation very much, I liked her patience and time she answered the questions she was asked. I continued inviting her for more of her presentations. SubhanaAllah people showed interest in learning more of Islam. Her second presentation was at the MCC, in September 14, 2002, with another appealing topic for the woman. This day is unforgettable; there was a shahada of a young Mexican lady.

SubhanaAllah, this second gathering of ladies is known as the 2nd Annual Sisterhood event. Most of the attendees were Latina women; they showed interest and asked for lectures and classes in Spanish more often. Glory be to Allah. Classes for ladies in Spanish were established at the MCC in March 2003. Sister Mary was the bridge of connection to the MCC. I let her know of this request by ladies, so sisters can have a classroom where they can learn of their religion.

With the continuous classes for the Spanish-speaking ladies, came along the bloom of many programs and events in Spanish not only for sisters but for brothers also. In short, the continuous gathering of this community has led to an organization known today as the Latino Muslims of Chicago.

Sister Mary Ali continued to be invited to the Annual sisterhoods events in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007. Many were blessed to listen to her wonderful presentations.

It was a huge blessing to continue having her for more presentations more often since February of 2010 until before Ramadan of this year in the program known as the monthly halaqa that takes place on Friday evenings. Many were blessed to listen to her wisdom. Many were touched and inspired by her. She was a role model.

As a coordinator of the halaqas and as an organizer of the annual sisterhood events, I was the one to call Sister Mary to schedule her lectures and presentations around her calendar. This opportunity to contact her led us to a strong bond. She became my mentor. At this moment, I’m weeping non-stop. I have so many great memories of her. Our friendship became closer after she became ill. I would always call her to see how she was feeling. We would have long conversations over the phone, sometimes almost an hour long.

She shared with me experiences of her journey as a young mother, and many more experiences and…Wow! What a wise woman! I’ll miss her. I was very fortunate to meet her a long time ago, and I’m almost positive many of you who met Sister Mary Ali feel so fortunate to have known her. May Allah SWT bless her for her great contributions and may Allah SWT reward her Paradise.