Ya Seen: a hifdh journey in America includes many of the characters first introduced in A Qur’aanic Odyssey: Towards Juz ‘Amma. Characters are introduced below, largely chronologically, as family units, and not alphabetically. Characters have all aged one year since A Quranic Odyssey: towards Juz ‘Amma.
Ibrahim: aged six at the start of Ya Seen: a hifdh journey in America (set in Ramadan 2011/1432), moved to Houston, Texas from Cape Town, South Africa, approximately one year prior; he is commonly referred to as ‘bhai jaan’ by his sister, Amna
Amna: aged three at the start of the story and fellow traveller
Ammi/Khadija: mother of Ibrahim and Amna and the narrator of the story, international water specialist, and aspiring hafidha
Papa/Abdurrahman/Nico: father of Ibrahim and Amna, financial analyst, amateur poet, and aspiring hafidh
Nani/Nasheeta: meaning maternal grandmother in Urdu, the children’s maternal grandmother, retired community journalist, who has also recently started studying geography
Uncle Geo: Ibrahim and Amna’s uncle and Abdurrahman’s older brother, presently living in Boston, Massachusetts, professor of mechanical engineering
Aunt Margaret: Geo’s wife, librarian
Alexandra/‘Alex’: Ibrahim and Amna’s cousin, daughter of Geo and Margaret, twin
David: Ibrahim and Amna’s cousin, son of Geo and Margaret, twin
Hafidha Rabia: accomplished Islamic scholar, based in Jakarta, who mentors Khadija and Ibrahim (via Skype), which, for Ibrahim, is supplemented by daily lessons, primarily with his mother; during Ramadan, the lessons with Hafidha Rabia are suspended (due to her own focused ‘ibadah throughout the holy month), however, mention of her is made throughout
Nonna/Carmen: meaning grandmother in Italian, Ibrahim and Amna’s paternal grandmother, retired international journalist, based in Brooklyn, New York, who also recently started learning Spanish
Taleem: one of Abdurrahman’s closest friends, presently living and working in Abu Dhabi
Abdullah Mamoo: Ibrahim and Amna’s uncle and Ammi’s younger brother (Mamoo being the term for maternal uncle in Urdu), computer engineer, presently living in Houston
Najma Mumani: Ibrahim and Amna’s aunt (Mumani being the term for mother’s brother’s wife), presently completing her medical studies, specializing in cardiology
Yaseen: Ibrahim and Amna’s cousin and Abdullah and Najma’s first born. The spelling of Ibrahim’s older cousin, Yaseen differs from the spelling used for the 36th chapter of the Quran, Surah Ya Seen. Both are transliterations and pronounced the same and in common usage. The decision to differentiate the spellings for the cousin and the surah was deliberate to avoid confusion between the two.
Yasmeen: Ibrahim and Amna’s cousin and Abdullah and Najma’s second born
Uncle Bill: Ibrahim and Amna’s former neighbor, retired entomologist
Aunt Beatrice: Uncle Bill’s wife
Jamie: lead swimming instructor
Eric: Ibrahim’s swimming teacher
Aruna: Amna’s swimming teacher
Ms Suzy: Ibrahim and Amna’s teacher (outside the home) in Houston
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