Tanyel Mustafa Saturday 23 Apr 2022
Welcome back to How I Made It, Metro.co.uk’s weekly career series.
It’s the month of Ramadan and Muslims across the country are not only fasting, but dedicating more time to worship.
Sabah Ahmedi, a 28-year-old Imam based on London, has devoted his life’s work to his faith.
He’s one of London’s youngest Imams and has served for three years.
When asked to explain his job, he says: ‘An Imam within Islam is quite similar to what a Priest is within Christianity.
‘Spreading the true teachings of their faith and striving to serve God and humanity.’
He’s keen for it to be known that being Muslim doesn’t limit his life nor does he conform to any stereotypes, using social media to communicate his message.
Earlier this year, he won the Visionary Honours ‘Community Person Of The Year’ award, given his efforts across faiths, having been seen working with Rabbis and Bishops too.
Here’s how he got to where he is today.
Hey, Sabah. So when did you decide to do this as a career?
From a very young age I had a close link with my faith and community and I would regularly go for prayers with my parents to the local mosque.
When I was around the age of 14 to 16 I wanted to become a police officer, a lawyer, at some points a teacher, but then when I was 17 during my A Levels, I literally woke up one morning and said to my mum that I wanted to go to Jamia (the seminary of our community).
That was literally it, and now 10 years on from making that decision, after studying for 7 years and now working in the press office of my community, I’m at a stage in my life where I couldn’t be happier Alhamdulillah (all praise to God).
What’s a common question you get about your career choice?
I get asked all the time by different people, ‘would you ever change your career?’
I always tell them that I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I honestly feel honoured to be able to serve my faith and my community and hope and pray that I’m able to do this until my very last breathes Inshallah (God willing).
Do you have any other work you take on outside of being an Imam, or is this full-time?
As an Imam and a life devotee of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, my full-time role is serving Islam and my community.
How did you become an Imam – what is the training like?
I trained to become an Imam at Jamia Ahmadiyya UK, which is the seminary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
I trained for seven years at the seminary along with 18 of my class fellows.
We studied the Holy Quran and it’s commentary, the Life and Character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Islamic history, theology, philosophy, other religious scriptures and Prophets, comparative studies and a few languages like Arabic, Urdu and English.
After the training we are placed by the community wherever there might be a need for us. It can be anywhere in the world.
At the moment, I’m working in the press and media office of the community.
As your job is an extension of your faith, do you find it hard to detach from your duties as an Imam in your day-to-day life?
Not at all. My faith is what I live by and I try to mould my life around it.
This means I can still see my friends, go to the gym, have days out with the family, go on holiday and even run a marathon if I wanted to.
Islam allows you to be British and be Muslim at the same time.
Islam is a way of life – and it’s amazing.
An average day in the working life of Sabah Ahmedi
6am: Sabah will wake up and have his first prayer of the day.
6.30am: As a dad, he’ll make his kids breakfast.
8.55am: He’ll be ready to leave and drop them off at nursery.
9.15am: He’s in the office and will grab a coffee first thing.
10am: He’ll create content for his social media platforms and set up tours of Britain’s largest mosque, as well as arranging meetings.
1pm: Time for afternoon prayers and lunch.
3pm: Back to the desk and work through emails.
6.30pm: He’ll leave work, go home and have dinner with the family. There will be another prayer.
8.30pm: He hits the gym, has a protein shake, then unwinds with Netflix.
What do you love most about your job?
The aspect of my work that I love perhaps the most is meeting people.
Everyday I am interacting with people from all walks of life, which allows me to learn about others’ way of life and traditions.
For me connecting with others on a human level allows us to unite on our commonalities.
I feel like once we realise that we have more in common than not, we can strive together to make the world a better place for everyone.
And is there anything you don’t like?
How negative the perception of Islam sadly is in the minds of many people.
But serving as an Imam gives me the chance to remove common misconceptions about my religion and fundamentally this is my core objective.