Like Muslims the world over observing the holy month of Ramadan, Aminah Hamidullah begins to prepare the evening meal as sundown approaches, signaling the end of the daytime fast. She throws 10 cups of uncooked rice mixed with pinches of salt and turmeric into scalding olive oil.
But the meals she will serve later that evening from large aluminum-foil pans will be for the homeless, most of whom do not share her faith.
As the wife of an imam, a Muslim clergyman, such charitable outreach is expected. But Hamidullah goes beyond what’s expected, and that has earned her respect and recognition among Muslims and others in Parramore.
From a storefront office on Parramore Avenue, Hamidullah and a small staff offer classes on finance, computers and business management. The organization also runs youth leadership programs and wellness workshops.
She teaches widows how to handle their finances and new business owners how to write up business plans.
“She makes it realistic,” said Nisha Khan-Henson, a participant who recently opened a family-run home-repair business.
Hamidullah, who wears her hair in a knotted scarf, does all these things because she thinks black Muslim women have long been regarded as invisible.
“It’s like she’s not there,” Hamidullah said. “But she is there, working hard to better the community.”
Three years ago, Hamidullah co-founded Knowledge for Living, a nonprofit educational organization that helps Muslims and non-Muslims.
“Her work uplifts the community,” said Basimah Akbar, a retired dressmaker who attends Al-Haqq mosque on Central Boulevard. (MORE)