Amina Assilmi

Amina Assilmi –15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Amina Assilmi from the 14th century.

Amini Assilmi accepted Islam in 1977. She was an activist, educator, public speaker, and advocate. Her contributions to American Muslim society are vast.

Some she worked for the National Organisation for Women, where she advocated for rape to be listed as a war crime during the Bosnian war. They won their case, but when the awards ceremony came, the organisers did not want her on stage because of her hijab. Only after much negotiation was she allowed to dress as she chose.

She was also instrumental in the campaign to issue an Eid postage stamp. Postage stamps are a little portrait of American life, and having a postage stamp commemorating Eid was a great step for Muslims in America.

Amina was also a speaker, who spoke at many Islamic events, such as ISNA (the Islamic Society of North America). In addition to speaking, she was an instrumental part of the establishment of many of these organisations. She was also involved in early broadcasting media, such as Sound Vision.

All during her community involvement, she was suffering from a variety of diseases, including cancer. At one point, she was using a wheelchair, but later recovered and regained the ability to walk. She  also experienced many family struggles. However, eventually her family accepted Islam as well.

Amina died in 2005, and is very much missed by the American Muslim community. May Allah send us more leaders like her.

With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.