A graduate of Duke University, Aqueelah Nafeesa Rasheed is a Wife, Mother, Mathematician, Early Childhood Educator and Healthy Marriage and Family Advocate, utilizing her G-d given passion and purpose as an Author, Motivational Speaker, Interactive Learning Session Facilitator, and Future Marriage & Family Counselor. Mrs. Rasheed has been married for almost 19 years and currently resides in Durham, NC with her beloved husband Luqman Rasheed, II and their 3 beautiful children Sajdah, Luqman III, and Adam-Deen ages 16, 13 and 6, respectively. It is her ardent desire to contribute to the preservation and protection of community life by addressing Common Marital Tests & Challenges” that affect the longevity of healthy, happy, loving, peaceful and productive Muslim Marriages, Families and Communities. Mrs. Rasheed uses the “Unadulterated” Guidance of G-d in the Qur'an, Authentic Life example of Muhammad the Prophet and the Commentary of Imam W. Mohammed as the basis for her Critique, Analysis, and Solution-Oriented Recommendations.
Mrs. Rasheed has long held an affinity for writing and has always had a long-standing interest in the preservation of Marriage, Family, and Community Life. At the age of 13, Aqueelah penned a paper on “Broken Homes” as an assignment for her 7th grade English class while attending John P. Freeman Junior High School in her hometown, Memphis, TN. The paper was an introspective and personal reflection on the effects that divorce or separation would have on children. Her 7th grade English teacher encouraged her to begin delivering this “speech” in local oratorical competitions. Eventually, her pursuits landed her in the ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competition hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP. Aqueelah won 1st Place on the city level which opened the opportunity for her to compete on the State Level. In preparation, she was introduced to Julian Bond, a social activist, a forerunner of the civil rights movement and eventual chairman of the NAACP. Mr. Bond helped Aqueelah to refine her public speaking skills and her ability to successfully convey her heartfelt message and connect with an audience.
After getting married in 2001, Aqueelah continued reading, writing, studying and conversing about the “Common Tests and Challenges” of marriage and family life. In 2006, 5 years into her marriage, Aqueelah created and shared a document with her husband that contained questions and prompts for couples to help strengthen their marriage bond. As a P.S. she asked her husband to share his honest opinion as she would one day write a book on marriage. Although this became a long-forgotten prediction, Mrs. Rasheed eventually started a blog called “Writing 4 Peace” in 2009 about Marriage, Motherhood, and Michelle Obama. For several years, many of her writings and blog posts about marriage and family life were "Saved as Drafts."
In December 2015 however, Aqueelah was invited to be a guest speaker at the 33rd Annual Seerah Conference at Masjid Malcolm Shabazz in Harlem, NY. The topic that she selected for her presentation was "Muhammad the Prophet as a Family Man: Husband, Father, Provider - Sensitive, Loving, Protector." After hearing a replay of Aqueelah's presentation on the radio, beloved Muslim pioneer, Sis. Gloria Muhammad, commented, "It is clear and enlightening. Insha’Allah it will help elevate our understanding of and behavior in our rebirth of family life.”
The following year, Mrs. Rasheed was a guest speaker at the 4th Annual Sister’s Ramadan Session in Memphis, TN, in June of 2016. She addressed the topic: “The Role of the Um (Mother): Taking the Clay and Reshaping the World.”
As a follow-up to her Seerah Conference presentation in December 2015, Aqueelah self-published her debut book via Writing 4 Peace entitled MUSLIM MARRIAGE MAKEOVER: Modeling Muhammad the Prophet to Make Waves in Your Marriage with the R.I.P.P.L.E. Effect (Respect, Intimacy, Partnership, Peace, Love, & Equality). The book was released on her 40th birthday, December 4, 2016 and untilizes the (6) principles of "The R.I.P.P.L.E. Effect" to address “common marital tests and challenges” and what Imam Mohammed referred to “Unenlightened Traditions” when it comes to the treatment of women as well as Misogynistic and Patriarchal Translations of Scripture. Aqueelah presents a Faith-Based, Solution-Oriented Message in MUSLIM MARRIAGE MAKEOVER (MMM) that addresses the following:
Respect for G-d & Respect for Marriage as a Sacred Institution
Mutual Respect & Intimacy Between Husband and Wife
Husbands and Fathers as Consistent Loving, Emotional, Spiritual and Financial Providers & Protectors for Women and Children as well as the Importance of Their Consistent & Active Presence in the Lives of Their Families
Female Liberation, “Freedom & Flexibility,” and Consistent Support Systems for Wives and Mothers
Shared Household and Parenting Responsibilities
The Mutual Need for Self-Care & Work-Life Balance
In February 2017, Aqueelah gave an introductory book discussion about MUSLIM MARRIAGE MAKEOVER on the “Sunday Ta’leem Conference Call with Imam William Sabree” and later participated in an interview about MMM with “Omera Talks Back Podcast.”
In February 2019 Aqueelah was a guest on “WDM Islamic Center Presents” on the People’s Channel Television Show where she gave an introductory interview about MUSLIM MARRIAGE MAKEOVER and “The R.I.P.P.L.E. Effect.” Additionally, in February and March of 2019, Aqueelah appeared as an invited guest co-host on American Muslim 360’s “Courtship & Marriage Learning Lab” alongside the founders and co-hosts Br. Mark Shahid and Sister Munirah Habeel for 5 consecutive weeks. Some of the topics that they discussed were: The Importance and Sacredness of Marriage, The Etiquettes of Courtship, “Unenlightened Traditions” and the Threat to Mutual Respect, The Importance of Patience and Forgiveness, The Importance of Early Marital Education, and The Roles and Responsibilities of Husband and Wife.
Aqueelah was also selected to present a Workshop on Marriage & Family Life which she titled “Saving Our Families, Saving Our Future” at the upcoming Black Communities Conference sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill and hosted at Carolina Theater in Durham, NC, Sept. 9 – 11, 2019.
Mrs. Rasheed participated in an "Author's Forum & Book Signing" at Masjid Ash-Shaheed in Charlotte, NC for their Annual "Moral Summit Weekend," Friday, October 25 - Sunday, October 27, 2019. The theme is "Cultivating the Growth of Human Excellence in Difficult Times."
Aqueelah was also an Invited Guest Speaker for the Brunch Symposium & Interactive Workshop Facilitator at the 2019 "Celebrate Marriage Conference" hosted by Masjid Muhammad in Washington, D.C., Friday, Nov. 22 - Saturday, Nov. 23. She engaged participants in dialogue and brainstorming about "Common Tests & Challenges" in Marriage and the "Biggest Threats to Marriage & Family Life" on Friday night. She then delivered a Keynote address on Saturday, "Saving Our Families, Saving Our Future." Mrs. Rasheed concluded the afternoon by utilizing the (6) Universal Principles of “The R.I.P.P.L.E. Effect” (MUTUAL Respect, Intimacy, Partnership, Peace, Love, & Equality) from her book MUSLIM MARRIAGE MAKEOVER to facilitate an Interactive Learning Session called "The More We Know, The More We Grow - TOGETHER."
She closed out 2019 by presenting at the 26th Annual C.E.R.W.I.S. Retreat in York, SC hosted by the Sisters of Columbia, SC, Friday, Dec. 6 - Sunday, Dec. 8. The theme was "EXPANDING OUR MINDS THROUGH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, SHOWING GRATITUDE & SHARING TALENTS & SKILLS." Aqueelah was one of the Keynote Presenters sharing an Interactive Learning Session on Marriage entitled: "MUSLIM MARRIAGE MOVEMENT: How to Navigate Finding A Mate to Peacefully Cultivate New Ideas & New Life as Husband & Wife." She also shared information on Self-Publishing and presented a mini-session entitled, "I Am Not My Hair Head 'Rapping' Session."
Mrs. Rasheed facilitated a Fun, Interactive, Learning Session for the "Halal Chicken Soup for the Soul Couple's Session" in her hometown, Memphis, TN, on Saturday, January 25, 2020 entitled: "The More We Know, The More We Grow - TOGETHER" as part of the 2nd Annual 2020 "Muslim Marriage Retreat" hosted by Photos by April Abdul-BaaQee.
As a student of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Aqueelah was (1 of 16) Muslim Women selected by Sister Fitrah Muhammad as a 2020 "Study Al-Islam Life Topics Series" Presenter. The theme this year is "Building A Model Community." Mrs. Rasheed will share Faith-Based Solutions using "The R.I.P.P.L.E. Effect" from her book MUSLIM MARRIAGE MAKEOVER as she once again addresses "Saving Our Families, Saving Our Future" on Sunday, February 9, 2020.
Aqueelah was a Panelist at The Vital Link in Raleigh, NC for the February 23, 2020 "Evolution of Our African-American Islamic Heritage" Program sharing her personal reflections on the (2001 - 2008) time period as a Community Member and Lifelong Student of Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
As previously mentioned, Mrs. Rasheed is a native Memphian and she is the daughter of Charmagyne Akram and Raghib Rashada who both embraced Al-Islam through the Nation of Islam and transitioned to following the leadership of Imam W. Deen Mohammed in 1975. She has 3 brothers and she is the 2nd oldest of the 4 siblings. Aqueelah is a Duke University Alum where she attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and a Minor in African-American Studies. After graduating, Aqueelah remained in North Carolina where she worked for IBM as a Consultant and Delivery Support Specialist in Raleigh and RTP, NC. Subsequently, as an educator, she taught 7th-grade math at Githens Middle School in Durham. During this time, Aqueelah was also a Volunteer Teacher and Director of Ar-Razzaq Sunday School. After starting her family, she pursued her interests in Montessori Early Childhood Education for ages (3-6) and served as a co-teacher in the Children's House at Sterling Montessori Academy & Charter School in Morrisville, NC. Aqueelah and her husband Luqman Rasheed, III have always been actively involved in the Muslim Community specifically in regards to Youth Education. As such they are two of the founding members of Youth-N-Creation, a Weeklong, Overnight, Nature-Based, Muslim Youth Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camp entering its 16th year in June 2020 G-d Willing! Their theme is "Enriching the Mind by Engaging G-d's Creation!" Mrs. Rasheed is also a member of WDM Islamic Center (Durham).