Meet the three sisters of Qurtuba Publishing House:
Co-Founder and CEO
Ilhan Ibrahim is an upcoming videographer, entrepreneur and writer. She is currently an undergraduate at the University of Ottawa. She is driven by her passion for social good, spirituality and education. She loves to use arts as her primary form of communication and expression. Her vision for Qurtuba Publishing House is to ignite an intellectual renaissance in the Muslim world and help shift the Muslim narrative.
Co-Founder and Marketing Manager
Hodan Ibrahim is a social entrepreneur, author, and publisher who specializes in capacity development for emerging businesses. Her passion lies in helping develop the next generation of social change makers and entrepreneurs by cultivating eco-systems to help them thrive.
Co-Founder and Managing Editor
Ayan Ibrahim is writer, aspiring photographer, and registered nurse. Her writings focus mainly on cultural/social, political and global health issues. As an fitness enthusiast and first degree black-belt in Taekwondo, she aims to cultivate a new generation of health-conscious Muslims through health education and fitness motivation.
| 1. How did Qurtuba publishing come about?
From an early age, the environment my sisters and I were raised in placed value in learning and knowledge. Our home was overflowing with books- both Islamic and non-Islamic. Television was removed from our home at an early age, so all we could do was read our books and let our imaginations run wild with ideas we loved and were passionate about.
Qurtuba Publishing House was one of those ideas that was born out of an accumulation of conversations and thoughts over a period of time between my sisters and I. We’ve always had a passion to support and encourage social growth in Muslim communities. We were curious as to how we could create a venture that would inspire Muslims to overcome the numerous social and spiritual obstacles they face.
| 2. How were you able to set up your business?
Thankfully, one of our co-founders, Hodan Ibrahim, is a social entrepreneur with experience in publishing and digital marketing, which which was very helpful when we set out to establish Qurtuba Publishing House. Other than that, much of the process of setting up Qurtuba was trial and error. Because we are beginning with a small team, we outsourced some aspects of our products to professionals, mainly the creative/design aspects of our products. Things got a bit hectic in the beginning, but Alhamdulillah we were able to create an effective and sustainable business model that would be able to meet its own ambitions and the needs of the Muslim community.
| 3. You have published your own books. Tell me about some of them.
The focus of our books is to provide relevant and practical solutions for Muslims; helping them overcome common challenges through cutting-edge publications. In addition, they are platforms for Muslims to discuss issues that are relevant to them and to inspire leadership, engagement and productivity in Muslim communities worldwide.
A Guide to Overcoming Conflicts with Immigrant Parents
There is a struggle that often goes unnoticed in our communities. This struggle is an intergenerational conflict between parents and their children that is rooted in misunderstanding and differences in cultural mindsets. As a result, many young first generation immigrant children find themselves struggling between their traditional roots and their Western identity. Whether it is social, financial or spiritual issues, immigrant communities face an almost insurmountable number of challenges which further ignite conflict and struggle between parents and their children. This book, A Guide to Overcoming Conflicts with Immigrant Parents, provides a simple and practical solution to ending intergenerational conflict.
How to be a Muslim Woman Entrepreneur
A personal story of triumph, persistence and grit from a Somali-Canadian Muslim entrepreneur. This book documents a colored female’s entrepreneurial journey and step-by-step on how to start your own business in 90 days. It’s an inspiration manifesto for anyone who has grown up in a disadvantaged community that you can contribute to the world and live the life you’ve always wanted to live. The entrepreneurial worlds need to understand the lived “entrepreneurial experience” differs from one person to another. The odds are stacked against people of color, especially woman.
We have some upcoming releases that are currently on pre-order. One of them titled Lead Like Muhammad: 25 Proven Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Prophet to Lead Effectively and The Health Conscious Muslim: One Muslim Woman’s Journey of Navigating the World of Health and Fitness. We aspire to expand our publications to cover topics such as environmentalism, leadership sustainability and personal finance from an Islamic Perspective in hopes to revive these aspects of Islam that have been forgotten or underrepresented in the contemporary Muslim world.
| 4. Its so wonderful that you have a call to authors. What should people know about applying?
Our vision is to define the Muslim narrative and reclaim the voice of Muslims by creating platforms that inspire Muslims to become innovators, leaders and contributors in their communities, and reverse the negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam.
We are looking for Muslims who have an expertise in a subject area that can enlighten Muslims or are passionate about bringing attention to underrepresented subjects in the Muslim mainstream discourse. If you are an aspiring writer who wants to be part of a collective movement of creative, innovative and passionate Muslims who want to see change in the Muslim narrative, we’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest, or check out our website www.qurtubapublishing.com/submissions with details about contributing to our Blog!
| 5. Why do you feel that setting up a Muslim publishing company is important?
Qurtuba Publishing House is more than a publishing house. There is a strong social aspect in our venture which truly makes our publishing house unique. We are living in such a dynamic and ever-changing world. Muslim communities are struggling to find practical and spiritually sound solutions that do not require them to relinquish their values. Our vision is to fill the void between knowledge acquisition and knowledge application. There is a strong emphasis on acquiring knowledge in Muslim communities. However, it seems that there are little to no resources for Muslims to apply such information in a manner which is feasible and most importantly practical for everyday life. We created Qurtuba Publishing House to be a platform not only to aid Muslims in reclaiming our narrative, but for us to come together and have conversations about relevant issues that are pertinent to the needs of Muslims today and develop the tool and solutions required to overcome these challenges.
| 6. What advice do you have for others who are also looking into publishing?
My advice to anyone who is looking into publishing to preserver, be patient, and most importantly, be passionate. The world of publishing requires a lot of patience and perseverance, for both Publishers and Authors. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice and time management. In spite of it all, it’s more than worth it. There’s no greater feeling than serving others for the sake of Allah, and seeing your dreams come to reality. For publishers, sometimes the shear thought of all the work you need to do can discourage you. However, you must be determined in your pursuit. For authors who are looking for publishers, I’ll be honest- you won’t always find a publisher who is willing to publish your work. Do not let that dampen your spirits! Keep striving and never give up, because you will find someway to publish your work, whether someone publishes it for you or you self-publish, insha’Allah.
Finally, I want to emphasize the absolute importance of passion when it comes to publishing. You must have a strong, unwavering desire for what you are doing. Because the process of publishing is very long, and at some points very tedious, your passion to pursue your vision is of paramount importance in your ability to reach you goal. Furthermore, make sure that your intentions are for the sake of the Almighty, for no success in our work is from our own abilities, but from the grace of Allah.
| 7. Mashallah you are balancing other careers with this business. What is some time management advice you can share with us?
Time management is definitely the key to success, along with consistency and perseverance. Being a full-time student myself, and both my sisters working full time in their respective careers, you can imagine how hectic it can get with all of our schedules! Some time management strategies that I personally find really effective is planning and preparing in advance. I keep a planner on my phone and in my agenda which always has important deadlines/dates noted weeks in advance. This way, I can plan my days to run smoothly and effectively. Also, one trick that I find super helpful and super important (especially when I have an enormous amount of work to complete) is to ALWAYS take breaks. Now I know this may sound counterproductive, but burning yourself out is not the answer. What many individuals do is they work and work endlessly until they’ve absolutely hit their breaking point in order to complete their tasks. Yes, they may have completed all their work, but they have also cause a significant amount of damage to their mental and physical well-being. Believe it or not, long periods of working like this will continue to decrease our level of productivity and dull your ability to focus. In the end, I encourage you to work hard, but also work smart!
| 8. What advice do you have for other young Muslimahs who are trying to be authors/ get published?
Along with what I mentioned above, I strongly believe that the only people who can truly and accurately represent Muslim women in media (t.v., radio, publications, forums etc…) is Muslim women themselves. Every Muslim woman has a personal, and sometimes very inspiring story. In order for the Muslim world to reclaim our narrative, we must tell stories that matter to us, and truly illustrate the diversity of Muslim communities worldwide. For all Muslim woman who are trying to become authors, know that your voice matters. We need individuals from minority/underrepresented groups to join and lead the collective movement of change-makers and innovators in the Muslim world and to come forward and share their perspectives. If you have the passion to write and witness a new era of leadership and productivity in the Muslim world, you must be unconventional and pursue your dreams! Allah (swt) tells us that He will not change the condition of a people until they are willing to change themselves. If we want Allah (swt), by His grace, to change our condition, we must be willing to step outside of our comfort zone and work for His sake.
| 9. Where do you hope to see your business going in the future?
Our vision for Qurtuba Publishing House is definitely ambitious! Our goal is to serve Muslims globally by creating knowledge-sharing platforms that will not only reclaim the Muslim narrative, but to inspire Muslims to become productive leaders and innovators in our world today. We want to spark an intellectual renaissance in the Muslim World again. When we look into Islamic history, we can vividly see how influential the Muslim world was. Not only was there such high regard for knowledge acquisition, but there was a strong emphasis on applying that knowledge in improving the world they lived in. As Muslims, we believe that we should always be in a state of self-improvement and we should be selfless in our contributions to those around us. We do not believe that the solutions to the issues Muslims face today lie with Qurtuba Publishing House, rather these solutions are within us all. Qurtuba wishes to inspire Muslims globally to pursue that potential and provide the intellectual support to create productive and sustainable Muslim communities all across the globe!