I am a native of Buffalo, New York. Majoring in Fashion Clothing & Textiles at Buffalo Vocational Technical Center, I intended to become a seamstress and fashion designer. As life proves time and again, plans rarely occur in the order or manner expected. I married my high school sweetheart, moved to San Diego and began a family. Although family life took up most of my time, I continued to sew. My clients were friends, family and others who sought me out. I teamed up with a close friend and we created a line of modest women's clothing, which we successfully sold from my home and at various events.
As my family grew, it became more and more difficult to pursue my sewing career. I was homeschooling as well and quite frankly doing way too much. As time went on, I moved further away from my childhood dream and focused on running my household and teaching my children. Through this journey, I discovered two things: a love for teaching and a need for reading material that was Islamic, more ethnically diverse and geared towards children that looked like my own. My sister and I decided to team up to create the very first reading series geared towards Muslim kids. Thus, the concept of The Islamic Phonics Readers Series was born.
My main source of inspiration for my writing are my 9 wonderful children, whom I have had the pleasure of teaching at home for 24 years and counting. One of the most beautiful things about this project is that my children have been able to help us in so many ways. They are very talented writers, illustrators, editors, voice actors, photographers, and bloggers. I am very happy to have them on my team.
My dream is to see students around the world, utilizing our books to advance their reading skills. Inshallah, I hope to reach my other goal, which is to open up a state of the art, private Islamic school. This is the legacy that I wish to leave behind, God willing. So Far Allah (SWT) has blessed me with much success, Alhumdulilah. I pray that I can continue to make my dreams a reality, Inshallah.
Karemah Alhark is co-founder, along with her sister Jamila Alqarnain, of the Islamic Phonics Readers Series. She’s also the author of Halal Healthy Meals and Halal Healthy Skin Care. A graduate from the State University of NY at Buffalo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Early Childhood Education, Karemah worked as an assistant teacher at Bethel Head Start in her hometown, Buffalo N.Y.
In 1993, after graduation, Karemah moved clear across country to San Diego California with family and other community members. “It was time for me to make hijrah, as I felt my spiritual growth was stagnant at this time in my life.” “I was ready to find new adventures and new terrain to tread upon.” Karemah recalls.
Soon after making her journey for spiritual growth, Karemah got married and began to settle into family life. Her new family and community had many ideas that were foreign, yet seemed natural and to her. “I learned about awesome ideas like homeschooling, home birthing and natural eating from my family. I know that I never would have practiced most of these things living in Western New York. That just wasn’t the culture of the city or the people that I was keeping company with at the time. It was a blessing to have relocated at the time that I did.” Karemah has been involved in the education of her own children for over 18 years. “Providing our children with an enriching educational experience has been very rewarding.” “I pray to be around long enough to help my children with my grandchildren’s education.”
Within her community, Karemah has served to coordinate activities, field trips and fundraising efforts for many years. “We believe that in order for a community to thrive, everyone has to be actively working for the growth and improvement of the community, while being sure to keep the youth engaged and interested.”
Karemah’s plans for the future are to continue working with her sister Jamila on The Islamic Phonics Readers Series, while striving to give her children the best home education possible.
Asiila Imani was raised an “army brat,” the eldest of three of a career army officer. She was born in Kentucky and graduated high school in Hawaii, living in 9 other states in between. On her own, she continued to wander, adding another 5 states to her list. Finally, she married and has lived in Southern CA since 1992. She has two granddaughters via her stepson. She dabbles in reflexology and homeopathy and occasionally works on both ends of life as a doula and midwife, and a bather for ghusl mayyits(bath for the dead)
Khadijah Amatur-Raheem is an artist who has found early success after discovering her talent at a young age and attending the School of Performing and Creative Arts. She has been featured at the Museum of Photographic Arts, and she placed second at the San Diego County Centennial Art Contest and first at another local art contest. An avid painter, drawer, and reader, Khadijah has been passionate about art from the time that she could hold a pencil. She thinks of herself as a constant learner, attending several art courses in her own free time and illustrating 2 children’s books.
A self-starter, Khadijah has been accepted into five college art programs so far, including The School of Visual Arts and The California College of Arts. She hopes to eventually study abroad and her ultimate career is as a freelance illustrator, traveling the world as she practices her art and continues to study the Quran. One additional interest of hers is promoting fair trade, with a focus on chocolate and clothes.