To the Solace Community:
Assalamu alaikum Brothers and Sisters,
I need to begin this letter by apologizing to you all, as this letter is eleven years late.
Really, you should have received 134 letters from me by now, and whilst I wish I could turn back the hands of time and write each and every single one of them, I cannot. The past cannot be changed but, with puns fully intended, the present and future can still be written.
I look back at what I would have written in those 134 letters…
The first letter has been from a younger me – a passionate me; a young mother who was blessed with an idea from Allah, The Highest, that would become a charity supporting revert sisters in difficulty worldwide.
I would have written to you from a place of grief as one of the founding members of Solace passed away at the tender age of 23 from cancer and my feelings as I and a colleague washed the body of a 64-year-old revert sister who came to Solace homeless.
I would have written to you from pure joy in various letters over the years about how we walked, cycled, blew up balloons, wrapped presents, shared, cried, and breathed in the fresh sea air – some of the memorable moments of Solace events for revert sisters in difficulty.
I would have written to you from a place of frustration as the ideas and dreams of services Solace could implement could not come to fruition because of a lack of funds, staff, and volunteers.
I would have written to you from a place of exhaustion as I and my beloved team worked round the clock to bring support to revert sisters in difficulty.
I would have written to you with tears in my eyes at the harrowing cases that entered the doors of Solace – of revert sisters beaten and locked up by their families for embracing Islam; single mothers beside themselves as they faced the loss of their children to social services with no support from family or community, or the sister who roamed the city streets at night with a few bags with nowhere to go.
I would have written from a place of pure gratitude to Allah azza wa jaal for bringing through the right staff, volunteers, donations, and other forms of support that have led to Solace reaching and surpassing its 10th anniversary. Alhamdulillah.
As I look back at what I would have written, I cannot help but also look forward to what I hope I will one day write.
2021 saw us celebrate ten years of Solace for revert sisters in difficulty. It was also the year Allah azza wa jaal brought us gifts in the form of a new 10-year strategy which we’ve started to implement; new dynamic and hard-working members of staff and volunteers that are taking Solace to another level and of course our amazing old and new donors and supporters.
With a smile on my face and tears in my eyes, I now write from a place of excitement. The projects and services we are currently designing and implementing, some of which were dreams from many moons ago are finally taking shape and will, by Allah’s Permission, become a tangible reality very soon.
I write from a place of deep appreciation for the amazing team I am honoured to work with. I write from a place of growth – has grown as a Founder and CEO of a charity that is continuing to learn and grow. and expanding nationally and internationally.
As I write this first letter to you, I am reminded that you will receive this during the month of Shaban Subhanallah. A month of looking ahead towards Ramadan; its mercy, barakah, blessings, and opportunity. Shaban mirrors how I feel as I write this belated letter. Whilst I have looked back, I too am looking ahead at so much that is to be done for revert sisters in difficulty worldwide.
With that thought, I must end this letter thanking you. Without your support, Solace would not be able to do what it is doing today. You are very much part of Solace. You embody what the Ansar did for the Muhajiroon.
As I looked back on this letter, thank you for all that you have done to support Solace. As I look forward, may Allah bless you for how you will support Solace to support our dear revert sisters worldwide.
As we near the most blessed month and most blessed nights of the year, I ask Allah to bless us all with the opportunity to see Ramadan. May Allah purify our hearts, bodies, and minds as we prepare to welcome the most extinguished guest. Ameen.
Till my next writing, inshaAllah.
Aliyah Quadri (Umm Raiyaan)
Founder and CEO