The Path to Sacred Knowledge

Certificate Program In Islamic Sciences

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Meet the exceptional team of scholars and educators behind the Path to Sacred Knowledge. Explore their profiles to discover their diverse expertise, accomplishments, and commitment to helping students succeed.  

Please note that the backgrounds of the instructors are presented based on the alphabetic 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 Jahid 

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. 

Ustadh Mahmoud Mansour 

Ustadh Mahmoud Mansour is an Arabic Instructor with an MA in Arabic Studies from Middlebury College. He has 15 years of experience in teaching Arabic language, curriculum development, testing and publishing. He has published two Arabic textbooks titled Bil-Araby El-Faseeh. He also developed Arabic test for City University of New York and an Arabic course for North Carolina Public Schools. 

He is a Fulbright scholarship winner to teach Arabic in the USA, and is certified ACTFL Arabic OPI tester and rater. He has been awarded Training courses and credits from Harvard and Stanford university in Project Zero and Startalk Arabic Flagship programs. 

Imam Abdul-Malik Merchant 

Imam Abdul-Malik Merchant completed his undergraduate program in Islamic Studies, with a focus on Islamic culture from Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where he realized his passion for service, particularly to the disenfranchised.  

After nearly 10 years of studying and living abroad, Imam Merchant returned to Boston, MA in 2016 to take a leadership position primarily focusing on spiritual care and counseling in New England’s largest mosque. Then, in 2019, he served as the Muslim Chaplain at Tufts University and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. In these roles, Imam Merchant offered mentorship and support, taught students and inmates, and coordinated programs and activities related to Muslim life in their respective facilities. 
In the Spring of 2020, Imam Merchant completed a Master of Theological Studies at Boston University’s School of Theology concentrating on practical theology, and he was awarded the Tisch Faculty Fellowship and Boston Bridges Fellowship upon graduation. He served as the Resident Imam at MAS-DC in Alexandria for 2 years before he joined ADAMS Center as the Lead Chaplain. 

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 leading Qurtuba Institute and teaching many courses in every Quarter of the Certificate program in Islamic Sciences. He has also been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Islam and world religions at NOVA College in Virginia, and he has taught many Islam courses at Shenandoah University, Johns Hopkins University, and Kabul University and Salam University in Afghanistan.

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, Friday Khateeb, instructor, and youth/family counselor at ADAMS Center and many other Masajid in Northern Virginia for 24 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 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 about 15 years. Then, because of his passion in Islam and serving the society in more meaningful ways, he decided to move his career from engineering to Islamic Studies and Services.

Dr. Nassimi started his academic Islamic studies by first studying the Arabic language at Imam Muhammad University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Then, he moved to Virginia to join the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Sciences. Later, he earned a second master’s degree in Islamic Studies at Cordoba University, 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. 

Imam Abd Ar-Rafa holds degrees in Islamic Civilization with a focus on 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. He 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. 

As an Imam of ADAMS Center, he conducts Friday khutbahs, 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 established and administered across the U.S. and the Virgin Islands in the past 25 years. 

Ustadh Assem Salama 

Ustadh Assem Salama is the instructor of The Qur’an Recitation. He started his journey of recitation and memorization of the Quran at a very young age with his father, who is also a Hafidh. He finished his memorization at the age of 17.  

When he finished memorizing, he started a very rigorous review process with his father to learn the Tajweed rules. He also loved to listen to Sheikh Minshawi and Sheikh Husary to improve his recitation. He has been leading the Tarawih prayers every year since he finished his memorization that has helped him maintain his memorization. After his marriage and based on his wife’s encouragement, he got his Ijazaa in the recitation of Hafs-An-Asim with Sheikh Muhammad Al-Raee. 

Professionally, Ustadh Assem Salama has studied Computer and Electrical engineering at SUNY Binghamton university in New York. He has been working in a company that builds modems for Satellites, with a focus on the algorithms and waveforms group of the modems, which are used in ships and airplanes for disaster zones and relief work. 

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.