How often do we meet a person who stays close in our heart despite the short encounter we’ve had? Very rare, and this is how I feel about Rayda Edding. She had impacted my perspectives on many aspects of life. She is a role model.
Many years ago, my daughter and I were in line to get entry to the Journey of Faith Conference in Toronto, when I met this amazing woman with her two daughters. They traveled all the way from Chicago to attend the conference, I thought, that’s admirable. Yet, it is their family’s tradition to attend Muslim conferences, in any part of the world, as much as they can to seek Islamic knowledge in which they base their way of life.
Smile radiates her face and with that inviting aura, I found myself in a conversation with her. Before we parted, I was already calling her Kah Rayda. The word “kah, kakah, or kakkah” is used as a respectful way of referring someone older. It’s used by some Muslim tribes in Zamboanga Peninsula. We are both from Zamboanga City, Philippines.
Our path crossed briefly, but I was captured by her disposition. She is successful in every endeavor she involves herself in.
Rayda is one of the authors of the best-selling book The Muslim Entrepreneur Mind Volume 1: Powerful Strategies, Beliefs & Habits of Elite Muslim Millionaires, Influencers and Entrepreneurs.
Along with her charity works such as Project Noor that provides free solar panel to poor families in Zamboanga, Rayda also founded Al Maghrib Philippines and brought well-known speakers to the country in the hope that Muslim-Filipinos will gain Islamic knowledge through the conferences organized by the group.
A happy wife to her Syrian husband, Ziad Ouyoun, the couple had been married for almost 27 years. They met when in 1989, Rayda went to the US as a scholar to pursue her PhD in Molecular Biology.
She is a mother to her adult and teenage children — ages 25, 24, 21, 19, 18 and 14. Her adult children are all successful in their own way, geared into having their own businesses — should that be a gauge as her success in motherhood and parenting.
The happy family of Rayda Edding.
The eldest, Mohammad Ouyon, is known for developing rollwithme app in 2014. He is a motivational speaker. He is an empowered man in a wheelchair who believes despite his disabilities, nothing is impossible to achieve. He talks highly of his mom.
Rayda loves travelling too, and when she is not on the road, or in an airplane, she is reading and cooking. “I love reading and cooking,” confirms Rayda.
Here are some words of wisdom shared by Rayda:
RK: How is it being married to someone of other culture?
RE: I blend into the marriage with an open mind. I was willing to learn and adapt to a new environment. Our biggest blessing was we had a common denominator which is Islam. So every challenge that came along was handled through Islamic perspective. Is this according to Quran and sunnah? Will this change make me a better Muslim? Alhamdulillah with these criteria we breezed through our differences and focused more on our similarities.
RK: What made you decide to homeschool your children?
RE: Our priority is to give our children strong Islamic foundation and raised them to be highly resilient and emotionally intelligent citizens of the world! One of the ways we reward our children for achieving great milestones is to send them to visit any country of their choice. The complexity of the trip, of course, depends upon their level of maturity and spiritual enlightenment. This is our way of empowering their resiliency.
The flexibility of being homeschooled had opened a lot of opportunities for our children and the experiences they had so far had helped them become stronger, more self-reliant, more confident, smarter, and ready to face anything. It had also strengthened their problem-solving skills. It helped them improve their ability to assess situations, which in turn strengthened the quality of decisions they made. Their traveling experiences had increased their level of flexibility and forced them to break out of their comfort zone, believe in themselves and to rely on faith to move them through obstacles, fear and the unfamiliar. Thus, making them learn that they are capable of much more than they ever imagined.
Alhamdulillah, all of these strengths had empowered their resilience. Definitely, a great way of investing in your children!!!
RK: What can you advice those parents who want to home-school their children and those who find homeschooling difficult and on the verge of giving up?
RE: It’s not an easy task and requires a lot of patience and resources, but definitely, definitely worth it!!!
Every time you feel like giving up, look back and remind yourself what made you decide to homeschool them? When you are on the verge of giving up I advise them to go over their goals and make sure those goals give you butterflies in your stomach …then… that should recharge you again!!!
RK: If you are to advice any woman about marriage, what would it be?
RE: Marriage is like working with a rough diamond. It needs a lot of work, grinding, polishing with different abrasives before it is given its final brilliance and luster. Make sure you know that you have chosen somebody with a lot of potential “a diamond in the rough” in areas that are important to you. That way you will know what to expect.
RK: How about an advice for mothers raising children?
RE: Keep in mind that the quality of work that you put into motherhood will have a great impact on future generations. Make sure to give your children a solid Islamic foundation based on Quran and Sunnah that will serve as their core and default values. Be a role model to them!
RK: How’s your journey in the business industry? What are the businesses you have?
RE: My family had always been my priority. My husband comes first, then my children and finally, my businesses. It’s been challenging sometimes but I never compromise my priorities. Alhamdulillah, in each of these priorities, I try my best to fulfill my obligation with the sole purpose of pleasing Allah (subhana wa taala). So far I am into real estate, restaurant and ecommerce, alhamdulillah.
RK: How do you manage your time with business, family and charity events?
RE: I try to involve the whole family in everything we do… in business, trips, charitable projects… it’s easier to manage when no one is left behind!
RK: How is project Noor going? How many have benefited from it?
RE: Alhamdulillah, project Noor is impacting a lot of people and because it addresses basic necessity (distribution of solar lights to poor people) and is not expensive to operate. A family can benefit from your contribution of $20 that will sustain their solar light for 7 years Insha’Allah. We are hoping to expand throughout the Philippines and eventually to several parts of the world Insha’Allah.
RK: What other charity activities are you involved with?
RE: We have Ramadan iftar caravan, feeding projects, da’wah projects, orphan sponsorship among others.
RK: Do you have any projects coming up?
RE: I hope to come up with a mentorship project that will encourage the youth to be entrepreneurs driven in dunya and akhirah.
There she is, at 53, a fulfilled woman – wife, mother, entrepreneur, philanthropy and a sister in Islam – a proud Muslim — all wrapped in one.
To know more of her journey, catch her, as she speaks at the upcoming 4th Muslim Mastermind in Chicago, IL. To join the event or more info visit: http://MuslimMastermindChicago.com