The Path to Sacred Knowledge

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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.
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.

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 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.

Imam Abd Ar-Rafa 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. 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 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.

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.

Ustadh Assem Salama

My name is Assem Salama. I started my journey with the Quran at a very young age by the grace and mercy of Allah (SWT). My father, who is also a hafiz, was an inspiration for me to become a hafiz. I remember watching him review every day and rarely made a mistake. Al-Hamdulillah, I finished my memorization when I was a senior in high-school at the age of 17. When I finished memorizing, I started a very rigorous review process to help maintain my memorization. My father was always encouraging me and helping me along the way.

I have been blessed to lead Tarawih prayers since shortly after I memorized the Quran. Leading Tarawih prayers helped me to maintain my memorization and develop good habits of always reviewing the Quran. I had learned the Tajwid rules as a young child, but I also learned by listening to the Quran. I always loved to listen to Sheikh Minshawi and sheikh Husary.

When I got married, my wife encouraged me to recite the Quran in front of a Sheikh so I can get an Ijazaa in Hafs-An-Asim. Ijazaa or Sanad is a chain of narration of the Quran that goes back to Prophet Muhammad PBUH. I pursued the sheikh whom my wife recommended, sheikh Muhammad Al-Raee, until I earned the Sanad from him. This journey was a very fruitful journey as it taught me much more about the recitation of the Quran and the process of acquiring knowledge. I was very blessed to spend time with the Sheikh and I am grateful to Allah SWT that he opened this opportunity for me.

My professional background:

I studied Computer and Electrical engineering after high school. I was always intrigued with computers and wireless communication. During my studies at the university, I concentrated on wireless communication systems. I graduated from SUNY Binghamton (part of the New York State university system). After graduating, I worked in different fields related to Electrical Engineering and finally settled in Herndon in a company that builds modems for Satellites. I work on the algorithms and waveforms group of the modems. These modems are used in the ships and airplanes for disaster zones and relief work.

Imam Abdul-Malik Merchant

Imam Abdul-Malik Merchant completed his undergraduate program in Islamic Studies — specializing in Islamic culture from Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia — and 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. Imam Merchant served as the Resident Imam at MAS-DC in Alexandria for 2 years before he joined ADAMS Center as the Lead Chaplain.