Qurtuba Institute of ADAMS Center is offering a wonderful certificate program in Foundations of Islamic Knowledge, using a very structured, systematic, and academic methodology. 

The program is called “The Path to Sacred Knowledge”. 

The objectives of this program are to:

  • – Disseminate sound Islamic knowledge to the members of the community   
  • – Increase level of Islamic knowledge in the community to gain a deeper understanding of how Islamic values and principles can be applied in one’s daily life   
  • – Instill a deeper understanding and appreciation of the vast Islamic sciences within the community 
  • – Help community members become closer to Allah SWT by serving as exemplary Muslims in the society 
  • – Foster a holistic environment of learning, thinking, analyzing, resolving, planning, adventuring, leading, etc. 
  • – Bring forth distinguished Islamic leaders, scholars, and thinkers  

About the Certificate Program

The certificate program at ADAMS Center includes the following 15 courses to be taken over four quarters of 10-weeks each:  


1. Islamic Theology and Worldview 

2. Intro to Qur’an and its sciences 

3. Life and legacy of the Prophet (Seerah) 

4. Introductory Arabic Language 

5. Intro to Hadith Studies 

6. Intro to Fiqh and Islamic Law 

7. Overview of Islamic History and Civilization 

8. Islamic Ethics and Character (Akhlaq) 

9. Fiqh of Acts of Worship  

10. Qur’anic Recitation 

10. Family System in Islam 

12. Methodology of Presenting Islam 

13. Inner Dimensions of Worship

14. Intro to Comparative Religion 

15. Contemporary Topics and Issues 


Please see the descriptions of these courses under Course Descriptions. The first 4 of these courses were offered in the first quarter. The second 4 courses, in addition to the first four courses, will be offered in the second Quarter which starts on May 1, 2023. The students who are newly joining the program, are recommended to register in some or all of the first four courses. However, all courses of the second Quarter are open to everyone.


This program is structured in the following way: 


·     Total of 15 classes to be taken over the course of 4 Quarters or more    

·     Each class requires passing of exams and fulfilling other class requirements per the class syllabus for credit 

·     Each quarter is 10 weeks in length 

·     Each class is 1 day per week for 2 hours in person   

·     Certificate will be awarded upon passing all of the 14 required classes 

·     The community members who do not expect credit and certificate, can audit the classes for their general knowledge, but they should still register and pay the tuition. 


Who can benefit from this program?

This program is meant for the following three groups of people: 


1.      General Public: Any attendees of the Masjid who are interested only in sitting and learning and moving on, but not interested in teaching or activism with the knowledge gained (with option of auditing pass/fail) 

2.      Activists, Speakers & Teachers:  Those who are interested or already involved in working for Islam, speaking about Islam, offering Friday khutbahs, teaching in weekend schools of Islamic centers, doing da’wa work, and leading various Islamic activities    

3.      Special students for Advanced Studies of Islam: Those who are serious in advancing their studies towards additional higher degrees   


In case you are not sure if this program is for you or not, see if any of the following applies to you (if so, then this certificate program is for you): 

·     I am looking for an authentic and structured program to learn the essentials of Islam 

·     I would like to improve my foundations in Islam in a systematic manner 

·     I would like to join a serious study program to prepare for advanced Islamic studies 

·     I want to give Friday Khutbahs and speak about Islam whenever needed 

·     I want to teach Islam in the Islamic weekend school 

·     I want to clear confusion about Islam/Muslims from the media 

·     I want to be able to answer people’s questions about Islam with confidence 

·     I want to equip myself with proper Islamic knowledge to join interfaith programs and civic activities 

·     I would like to have a good foundation in Islam so I can effectively work as an Islamic activist, or work at an Islamic charity organization, or an Islamic center

Academic Calendar

The four Quarters of 2023 are scheduled as follows: 


·     First Quarter:      January 9 – March 19 

·     Second Quarter: May 1 – July 16 

·     Third Quarter:    July 24 – Oct 1 

·     Fourth Quarter: Oct 9 – Dec 17 

Schedule of classes for the second Quarter

The following is the schedule of the classes for the second Quarter: 


·     Islamic Theology & Worldview: Monday (Instructor: Dr. Daoud Nassimi)

.     Overview of Islamic History and Civilization: Monday (Instructor: Ustadh Saad Yacoob)  

.     Basic Arabic Language: Tuesday (Instructor: Dr. Kia Jahid)

.     Intro to Hadith Studies: Tuesday (Instructor: Imam Mohamed Magid)

.     Intro to the Qur’an and its sciences: Wednesday (Instructor: Dr. Zainab Alwani)

.     Islamic Ethics and Character (Akhlaq): Wednesday (Instructor: Ustadha Kouthar Muttardy)

.     Life and legacy of the Prophet SAW (Seerah): Thursday (Instructor: Ustadh Shad Imam)

.     Intro to Fiqh and Islamic Law: Thursday (Instructor: Ustadh Umar Shareef)


All of the classes are scheduled in the evenings of Monday through Thursday from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM, with a break for the prayer(s) in between. New students are recommended to take one or more of the courses of the first Quarter (Theology, Qur’an, Seerah, and Arabic).

Course Descriptions

The following provides the course descriptions for the classes of the first and second Quarters of 2023: 


Introduction to Islamic Theology: 

This course uses a systematic approach to develop a deeper understanding of Islamic Theology and other pillars of Islamic Beliefs. It addresses the applications of the pillars of Islamic beliefs in our daily life and the challenges related to existentialism, materialism, and atheism. The wisdom of different kinds of human sufferings and injustices in this world will also be explained in the light of Islamic beliefs. 


The belief system in Islam is referred to as Eman. Eman is the foundation of Islam upon which the whole structure of Islam stands. Eman is having a firm conviction and certainty about the truth. To be a true believer, one’s heart and mind must be fully convinced and settled in the foundations of Eman beyond any doubts and uncertainties. These foundations or pillars are called Arkan-ul-Eman which consist of belief in Allah and His Oneness, the Angels, the books of Allah, the prophets of Allah, the next life and accountability, and Qada and Qadar (the Divine decree and plan).


Having a full conviction in these foundations based on knowledge is, indeed, intellectually liberating and spiritually uplifting. The materials of this course are designed to be very interesting, thought-provoking, and useful for everyone – requiring no other prerequisite courses or information.  



Introduction to the Qur’an and its sciences: 

The course will provide an introduction to the Quran. It will briefly explore the history of Quranic sciences, meanings, and methods. While a multiplicity of interpretations is a consistent historical feature in Qur’anic scholarship, the course will apply the methodology of the intra-textual method (tafsir al-Qur’an bi-l-Qur’an) that has been accepted as a central method of interpretation. Building upon this method, the course will explore and furthers the methodology of Al-wahda al-bina’iyya li-l-Qur’an (the Qur’an’s structural unity) to analyze and discuss different themes.


The students will analyze Quranic concepts to understand contemporary issues such as: self-transformation, family structure, and community development. The holistic method reads the Qur’an as unified text through its, and conceptual elements. The goal is the awakening of the heart in an effort to understand and engage with the Qur’an on a deeper, more personal level.


Upon the completion of the class, the students will be able to strengthen their relationship with the Qur’an by applying the skills they learned in contemplating the Quran. The students will be able to re-evaluate their perceptions and perspectives of Allah’s creations, the role they play maintaining the sanctity of relationship and using the Qur’an for finding solutions to contemporary challenges.



Arabic Language: 

This Arabic introductory course to Classical Arabic aims to provide the linguistic background needed for students of the Islamic Sciences to comfortably engage with classical texts on an intermediate level, through reading and comprehension, and eventually grammatical inflection and morphological construction.


Like any language, mastering Arabic requires constant practice and abundant motivation. Yet for the Muslim, the motivation cannot be any greater, as Arabic is the language of the Qur’an and the Hadith of our beloved Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam). It is a gateway into Islamic history as well as a passport into modern civilization. While the journey may seem long for the beginning student, the path is well trodden, and the guides are readily available. 


Begin your journey into this great language here at ADAMS Center with this Islamic Certificate course.



Life and Legacy of the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam):

The word Seerah in Arabic literally means “manner of proceeding.” Unlike other Seerah classes that simply look at the life of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) from a historical perspective, this invigorating course by Imam Magid and Ustadh Shad Imam seeks to teach students the lessons and character traits exemplified in the life of the Messenger of Allah and his companions.

All of this will be taught against the backdrop of how the Seerah relates to the American Muslim context. The students will be taken on a journey through the life and times of Rasulullah (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) in order to give them the proper context and perspective on the myriad of issues that are faced in one’s daily life.


By understanding the process by which the Prophet brought guidance to others, this class aims to teach students not only how to live in today’s society based upon the Sunnah of our beloved prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam), but also the various parts of our foundational learning as Muslims.



Introduction to Hadith Studies:

This course provides an introduction to the science of Hadith and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Salam. It will cover the authority of Sunnah as a source of law, the history of Hadith collection and compilation, Hadith terminology and classification, major books and scholars of Hadith, analysis and critique of the chain of narration and text of Hadith, relationship of Hadith with the Qur’an, and contemporary issues & alleged doubts related to Hadith.



Introduction to Fiqh and Islamic Law:

This course provides a general introduction to Islamic law (fiqh). It will give students a comprehensive fiqh background through an in-depth exploration of Islamic hermeneutics and the historical emergence of the four legal schools (madhāhib).

In the process, students will learn about Islam’s primary and secondary sources, the five categories of rulings, and the objectives (maqāṣid) of the Sharia. They will also gain familiarity with Islamic legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) and legal maxims (qawāʿid al-fiqh). Over the semester, students will discuss contemporary subjects from anti-Sharia propaganda to issues like feminism, pluralism, democracy, gender, homosexuality, and secularism.



Overview of Islamic History and Civilization:

This course will explore the development of Islamic civilization and the institutions characteristic of it: political, social, educational, economic, welfare, and military. After a brief overview of Islamic political history, the course will turn to understanding the ways in which Muslim society was organized by tracing the different ways society was structured around its institutions.

A few of the institutions that will be explored are the iqṭāᶜ, the waqf, the madrasah, the ghulām soldiers, and the qāḍī courts. We will explore the ways in which these institutions adapted to their environment while also maintaining their core features. By exploring not only the political, but the social and economic institutions that defined Islamic civilization. We hope to explore what it is that Muslims prioritized as central to their civilizational ideals.



Islamic Ethics and Character:

The study of Islamic Ethics is one of the most important sciences in the Islamic tradition, focusing specifically on the development of the human soul. This course examines the principles and practices that lie at the heart of personal moral development in Islam, and those traditional frameworks that help Muslims live ethically and with integrity.

The content of the course includes both traditional and modern sources that expound upon spiritual purification (Tazkiya) and Islamic ethics (Akhlaq), the understanding and application of which are essential to the cultivation of righteousness.


Students will explore the sacred virtues, values, and practical ethics that are foundationally rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah, understanding that that true honor and distinction lies in realizing the completeness of the guidance of Allah’s Messenger PBUH, and in fully embracing his fine and noble character.  


Brief biographies of Instructors (ordered by the alphabetical order of their last names): 

Dr. Zainab Alwani 

Dr. Zainab Alwani is the first Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and the chair of the Religious Studies Master of Arts program at HUSD. She is an Islamic scholar, researcher, author and educator. Dr. Alwani received her Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences and Islamic Jurisprudence from the International Islamic University in Malaysia. Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on the implementation of the higher aims of Islamic law (Maqāṣid al Shariah) within the domain of the American Muslim family.


Dr. Alwani is the first female jurist to serve on the board of the Fiqh Council of North America and currently serves as the Council’s Vice-Chair. She has authored and co-authored a wide variety of publications ranging from books, textbooks, and book chapters to scholarly articles. Dr. Alwani is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Islamic Faith and Practice Her research focuses on Quranic studies, Islamic jurisprudence, the relationship between civil and religious law in the area of family, women and gender, and inter-religious relations.


Ustadh Shad Imam:

Ustadh Shad Imam has been teaching various classes specializing in Prophetic Seerah, Hadith Jibreel, Stories of the Prophets, Islamic History (pre and post-Crusades, Islam in America, etc.), and Diseases of the Heart for over 10 years at ADAMS Center. He has dedicated himself to being a student of knowledge under Imam Mohamed Magid since 2000.  He is actively engaged as a Speaker for College and High School MSAs and regularly delivers Friday Khutbahs in the area.

Ustadh Imam attended the ALIM Summer Program in 2000 studying under Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Muneer Fareed and Shaikh Ali Sulaiman Ali as well as the Zaytuna Arabic intensive in 2001 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Dr. Hatem Bazian.  He organizes educational programs with visiting national and local scholars through the Qurtuba Institute, and He is a past Board Member of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. 


Professionally, Br. Imam works as a Senior Director for Public Sector Presales at MuleSoft (a Salesforce company) and holds an MBA from the University of Maryland. He resides in Sterling, VA with his wife and four children.


Dr. Kia Jahed:

Dr. Kia Jahed is a Musculoskeletal Radiologist by training. He has done Arabic and Islamic studies in Egypt and Syria, studied comparative religion in Turkey, and has pursued higher Islamic learning with various institutes and scholars here in the states.


Dr. Jahed has previously taught various levels of Arabic language with Dar Al-Qasim, he is active with ICNA educational programs in teaching comparative religion and Tafsir, and he is helping teach in various educational endeavors at ADAMS Center and in the broader community. 


 Imam Mohamed Magid: 

Imam Mohamed Magid is the Executive Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia.  He was born in Sudan, the son of a leading Islamic scholar who was an Azhar graduate that served as the Mufti of Sudan.


Imam Magid is the Chairman of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC) and the former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He is also the Chairman of Muflehun, which focuses on prevention of violence and hate. He serves on the advisory board of the Peaceful Families Project and as Co-President of Religions for Peace. He is also the Co-Founder of the Multifaith Neighborhood Network which focuses on building bridges between Muslim, Evangelical Christian, and Jewish communities.  


Imam Magid has co-authored three books: Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples and Reflections on the Qur’an, and Change from Within. He has written for the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and has been featured in Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.  Imam Magid has received several awards including the El-Hibri Foundation’s Peace Education Prize in 2017.  


Ustadha Kouthar Muttardy:

Ustadha Kouthar is currently in pursuit of a Master of Arts in Islamic Studies. She completed her Islamic Studies Teacher Certification at the Ribaat Academic Institute in 2020. Also, she has been studying traditional Islamic sciences, including Tajwid, Tafsir, Aqeeda, Seerah, Hadith, and Hanbali & Shafi’i fiqh since high school. She has been serving the ADAMS community as a teacher & halaqa leader.


Ustadha Kouthar has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in child development from George Mason University and has completed a master’s degree in education from Marymount University. She has worked as a K-12 teacher, teacher trainer, & curriculum development specialist for over 20 years. She was born and grew up in Northern Virginia, the daughter of an American convert and a Libyan immigrant. She is the mother of 3 children, ages 21, 19, & 17.

Dr. Daoud Nassimi:

Dr. Daoud Nassimi has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Islam and world religions at NOVA College in Virginia for the last 11 years. He has also taught many Islam classes at Shenandoah University, Johns Hopkins University, Qurtuba Institute at ADAMS Center in Virginia, Kabul University and Salam University in Afghanistan. He has been leading this certificate program at ADAMS Center for the last few months.


Dr. Nassimi served as the vice-chairman of Council of Muslim Organizations in Washington, DC Metropolitan area for 7 years. He has also served as a volunteer Imam, instructor, and as a youth and family counselor in multiple Masajid in Northern Virginia. He has been a regular Khateeb of Friday prayers in most of the major Masajid of Washington DC area for the last 23 years.  


Dr. Nassimi has a unique and combined educational background in Engineering and Islamic Studies. After growing up and finishing his BS in Electrical Engineering from Kabul University in Afghanistan, he came to USA in 1983 and did his master’s degree in electrical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana. He worked as an electrical engineer in the field of telecommunications and satellite communications for 15 years. Then, because of his passion in religion and serving the society in better ways, he decided to move his career from engineering to Islamic Studies and Services. 


Dr. Nassimi started his academic Islamic studies in 1995 by first studying the Arabic language in Imam Muhammad University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Then, he moved to Virginia to join Institute of Arabic and Islamic Sciences. Later, he earned a second master’s degree in Islamic Studies at Cordoba University in 2004 and then he did his PhD in Islamic Studies from University of Birmingham in England in 2008. His PhD thesis was on a comparative review of English translations of the Qur’an which is currently available in the university online library.


Imam Abd Ar-Rafa Ouertani: 

Imam Abd Ar-Rafa Ouertani was raised in North Africa and is currently an Imam at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, VA. He received his traditional education from scholars at the Zaytuna University and he continued to further his education by studying Fiqh and Aqeedah with scholars from Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.


He also holds degrees in Islamic Civilization, specialize in Firaq الفرق from University of Kairaouan, Philosophy and Logic from the University of Tunis, and has an intensive background in Astronomy and the History of Sciences.


As Imam of ADAMS Center, he conducts khutbahs on Fridays, offers counseling to the community members, and is a strong promoter of interfaith activities. His passion lies with the youth which is evident through the numerous Islamic schools he has established and administered across the U.S. and the Virgin Islands in the past 25 years.


Imam Abd Ar-Rafa also promotes causes such as Boy Scouts by volunteering with Boy Scouts of America and coaching youth soccer leagues. He is a passionate environmental activist, children’s rights activist, and he speaks on issues of child abuse and domestic violence.


Ustadh Umar Shareef:

Ustadh Umar Shareef is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University with a focus in Islamic law. He holds a B.A. in Political Science & Arabic from Tufts University. He completed his classical Arabic studies at Qasid Arabic Institute in Jordan, where he also studied fiqh, uṣūl, ʿilm al-ḥadīth, naḥū, and tajwīd traditionally. His thesis constructs a genealogy of the legal concept taqyīd al-mubāḥ (‘restricting the permissible’) from its contemporary usage to its historical origins. Ustadh Umar is also proficient in Persian and German.

Ustadh Saad Yacoob:

Ustadh Saad Yacoob is pursuing his PhD in Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, where he has researched into development of state formation and communal difference in Hanafi jurisprudence as well as the work of the poet Muhammad Iqbal. He has also studied traditionally within the Hanafi Madhhab with teachers both abroad and in the US, covering basic and intermediate texts in the Hanafi school and Maturidi Aqeedah.


Ustadh Yacoob grew up in the ADAMS Community and completed the Hifz of the Qur’an at ADAMS in 2003. He holds a bachelors in English Literature.

Admission Requirements

Registration Application for the second quarter of 2023 will open very soon!


While the certificate program is open to the general community without any prerequisites, the following requirements should be met: 

·     Application should be filled out and submitted 

·     Ages of students: 18 and up.   

·     College level of English in writing and comprehension 

·     Dedication of time and efforts for attending the classes, studying, and doing assignments outside of the class 

Tuitions and Fees

·     Registration fee (one time): $50  

·     Course fee: $150 per course 

·     Fee for the whole certificate program as a package: $1200.00 

·     There will be financial aid available for those who cannot afford to pay the tuition, but any such arrangements should be made in advance with the details.  

·     Those who take the courses without the expectation of credit and certificate, they should still pay the tuition and registration fees.  


Cost: The registration fee is $50

The full program for $1200

Or each course at $150



 You can sign up in below for consideration in the second quarter, which starts on May 1st. Registration link will become available real soon.