The way her character has been shaped, her firm belief on the teachings of Islam, her confidence, the blessings she has, could have been attributed to her parents- their nurturing style, especially her mom Inaya. In fact, her decision to choose fencing as her field in sport was motivated by her mom,
I was driving past my local high school - I think I was about 12 - with my mom, and she noticed the fencing team practicing in the high school from the road and, you know, she suggested that I try out when I got to high school. And what drew us to fencing was the long sleeves and long pants that the fencers wore.
1. Mother knows best. (She really is, as real mothers truly know what is best for their kids).
2. Choose a sport, or anything for that matter, that is appropriate for you as a Muslim/Muslima (in the real sense of the word).
3. Take pride in where you belong and be comfortable with it.
4. Be proud you are a Muslim/Muslima. Show the real manifestations of it, wherever you are and whatever you do. (The saying, " be a Roman when you are in Rome", is not only obsolete, but has never been applicable for any believer of Islam).
5. Learn not to compromise Islam, as your way of life, with any material thing you desire. Be like Ibtihaj who said, " fasting is a part of my life. Being Muslim is a part of my life, and... fencing... I work into it, but I wouldn't fence if it hindered... me practicing my religion in any way".
The story of Islamic faith as a priority over the passion for sports in the lives of Muslim Americans had also been heard of widely in the time of Hakeem Olajuwon- the National Basketball Association (NBA) player for the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets [in a] back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. His unsurpassed achievements in sports included the 1996 Olympic gold-medal-winning for the United States national team in Basketball, and as the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP,Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards in the same season. Prior to playing Basket ball at the age of 15, he was a soccer goalkeeper.
Like Ibtihaj, Hakeem also recognized the influence of his parents, the manner of how they nurtured him and his siblings. He attributed his success and his sense of strong Islamic faith to them who instilled virtues of hard work and discipline into him as well as his siblings; "They taught us to be honest, work hard, respect our elders, and believe in ourselves".
“Olajuwon took an active interest in spirituality, becoming a more devout Muslim. On March 9, 1991, he altered his name from Akeem to the proper Arabic spelling Hakeem, saying, "I'm not changing the spelling of my name, I'm correcting it". He later recalled, "I studied the Qur'an every day. At home, at the mosque...I would read it in airplanes, before games and after them. I was soaking up the faith and learning new meanings each time I turned a page. I didn't dabble in the faith [as] I gave myself over to it." "His religion dominates his life" (Drexler 1995). Olajuwon was still recognized as one of the league's elite centers despite his strict observance of Ramadan (i.e., abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours for about a month), which occurred during virtually every season of his career. Olajuwon was noted as sometimes playing better during the month, and in 1995 he was named NBA Player of the Month in February, even though Ramadan began on February 1 of that year (http://en.wikipedia....Hakeem_Olajuwon).
Wherever you are and whatever you do, put Allah 1st in everything, life would be easy indeed in whatever endeavor you want to achieve and succeed. Faith is everything. Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, " Faith" (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya (This term "Haya" covers a large number of concepts which are to be taken together; amongst them are self respect, modesty, bashfulness, and scruple, etc.) is a part of Faith." (Book #2, Hadith #8)