by co-founder, Taahirah
While pregnant with my first child in 2015, I looked forward to reading stories to him, and to inculcating a love for reading in my mini Muslim (as my parents had done for me). I became nostalgic of my own childhood as a bookworm (remember "Bennie Boekwurm"?) and the many hours I'd spend curled up with my nose buried in a book.
I came across wonderful literature for Muslim children, none of which was easily available in South Africa. As I started to order books for him, I considered that there must be many other Muslims across the country who would also appreciate high-quality literature for Muslim children, with beautiful illustrations and child-friendly language. This latter aspect is one of the most important for me - in order to captivate a child's attention, and promote their understanding, the language used should be easily-understood by the child. Not simplistic - but also not too advanced so that they get bored easily, with proper grammar being imperative.
My husband and I then decided to start SUHAYLAkids, with the intention of earning Allah SWT's pleasure by instilling a love for our deen in our children, and other mini Muslims in South Africa. We aspired to do this by sourcing books, toys and other products through which our children can learn about Islam and themselves, as Muslims, in a fun and an exciting way.
And, through the infinite grace of Allah SWT, that is what inspired the formation of SUHAYLAkids, in January 2017, which eventually evolved into SUHAYLA in March 2021 … Alhumdulillah!
WE LOVE MUSLIM CHILDREN'S BOOKS
While we love reading many book genres, we really love books with Muslim protagonists or characters (with or without religious content), as we value the importance of our mini Muslims being able to relate to and connect with what they are reading. This is most effective when a child is able to see themselves and their families depicted in the book they are reading. This may be, for example, either via a character that looks similar to them or has a familiar-sounding name, or if the child recognises familiar elements such as a bearded man or hijab-wearing lady.
At the same time, we acknowledge the need for them to feel part of the world we live in - a world which is growing smaller and smaller and increasingly more connected - and a world where the ability to empathise with each other is of paramount importance. We therefore seek diversity in our children’s titles, through both content and author.
SUHAYLA is passionately run by a family of four - co-founders Naeem and Taahirah, together with their two young children, who are growing up with SUHAYLA and very involved in the day-to-day operations, alhamdulillah.
WHAT DOES SUHAYLA MEAN?
Contrary to popular belief, SUHAYLA is not the name of our founders nor their children. "Suhayla" is the Arabic word for Canopus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky, and the chosen name for our brands SUHAYLA and SUHAYLAkids. We believe, through reading, a child is able to reach for the stars.. The future is bright for children who read avidly (& are read to!).. the sky's the limit!
For more information about the Canopus star, please visit the following link.
OUR SINCERE DUA
Oh Allah, guide us to what is most pleasing to You. At every turn in our lives, allow us to live our lives seeking Your pleasure. Fill our lives with Your light, our homes with Your tranquillity, and our families with Your love. Ameen.
Oh Allah, it is only through Your guidance that we, as parents and caregivers, are able to guide the mini Muslims in our lives. We humbly ask You to grant us the ability to do so in a manner that is pleasing to You. May the children of this Ummah, grow to love You and the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), and may they strive to attain closeness to You. Ameen.