Imam Fode Drame
Imam Fode Drame was born in the Senegambia region of West Africa. He descends from the clan of Jakhanke whose unique expression of Islam dates back over 1,100 years; when Drame's people first accepted Islam and became the primary teachers, healers and religious leaders for the entire region. By the age of 5, Imam Drame had begun his formal studies, which included not only putting to memory the entirety of The Qur'an but also detailed study of Arabic grammar and poetry, Quranic exegesis, the traditions of the Prophet Muhummad, and most notably, the knowledge and practice of spiritual excellence, otherwise known as Sufism. In addition, Imam Drame is gifted in languages; before leaving his native Gambia for Quebec to pursue a BA in linguistics at University of Quebec, Imam Fode had already taught himself French, German, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Since arriving in Canada in the 1990s, Imam Fode Drame has continued in the tradition of the Jakhanke imams, by serving as a community leader and scholar of Islam (commonly termed ‘Imam’), however he has also been an extraordinary teacher of Quranic exegesis, a guide for spiritual development or ‘tasawwuf’, and a healer to all those who seek his support. In 2005, Imam founded Zawiyah Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to his vision for humanity. Zawiyah foundation has been at the forefront of a number of community development and support initiatives since its inception; through Zawiyah, Imam Fode has been pioneering the Islamic participation in interfaith dialogue in Vancouver, and continues to lead his Foundation through the hosting of yearly interfaith dialogue events. Among charitable endeavors, Zawiyah Foundation initiated the Hastings Project, a program which aims to provide warm meals to those in need in one of Canada's poorest neighborhood, the Vancouver Downtown East Side. In addition to his community service activities, Imam Fode continues his scholarly contributions. He has authored a series of writings in both Arabic and English (called Expansions) of which he has currently published five volumes, and also a unique translation of the Quran into English, called Anwar ul-Quran. His vision for knowledge dissemination is also seeing fruit by the establishment of Qawsain Knowledge House -- the first certified Muslim school in the city of Vancouver.
Imam Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes
Imam Mendes was born in the United States and raised in both the US and in Nigeria. At the age of 17, he embraced Islam after a life changing journey to Palestine. While at Morehouse College and later at the Ohio State University, he pursued a BA in Arabic and began studying the classical sciences of Islam with scholars from various countries around the United States, among them were Shaykh Hamza
Yusuf Hanson, Shaykh Muhammad Shareef, Dr. Antar ibn Standford Smith, Shaykh Nuh Keller, Ustath Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, Ustath Hamidou Taal, and Ustath Amr Khalifa.
Upon graduation, he traveled to the Middle East and West Africa to sit at the feet of a number of notable scholars who further acquainted him with the major Islamic sciences of Qur’anic Recitation, Prophetic Narrations, Classical Arabic, Theology, Jurisprudence, and Purification of the Soul. Among the scholars he was blessed to learn from were Shaykh Fareed Azuz (Algeria), Shaykh Mustafa Turkmani (Syria), Shaykh Abdul-Halim al-Jaza’iri (Algeria), Shaykh Murabit al-Hajj (Mauritania), and Shaykh Ibrahim Makana (Nigeria). He also studied at Ma’had Abi Nour in Damascus, Syria, and has received licenses to teach (ijazat) from Shaykhs Uthman al-Imam an-Naijayri (Nigeria), Ibrahim Makana (Nigeria), Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi (Syria), Muhammad an-Ninowy (Syria), and Khalil Abdur-Rashid (USA).After returning to the United States, he established the Annual Rawdah (www.therawdah.org), a grassroots educational initiative, continued his studies with various scholars in Houston and Pittsburgh, and has focused on translating and teaching rare Arabic manuscripts concerning theology, jurisprudence, ethics, spirituality, and the upliftment of the weak and oppressed authored by some of West Africa’s greatest spiritual and intellectual giants. Most recently, he partnered with the Travelling Light film project (http://mishkatmedia.com/travellinglight/) to film a documentary highlighting the spiritual and intellectual legacy of Senegal in which he taught chapters from Imam al-Gazzali’s magnam opus, Ihya Ulum ad-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences).
Muhammad Mendes invites people to learn the fundamentals of theology, worship, and spiritual evolution in accord with Revealed Scripture and Reason, appreciate their commonality as human beings, celebrate the God-given diversity that makes each one of us valuable, and to live lives of spiritual and material significance that leave their corner of the world in a better condition than that in
which they found it.
Shaykh Ismael Essa
He is the Founder & Director of Tarteel Academy at the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton, MCGP. -Specialized in Qur’anic Sciences and the ten recitations and graduate of Al-Azhar. He holds many Ijazaat with connected Sanad (Chain of knowledge) to the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) for both reciting and teaching the Qur'an. Used to teach Tajweed, Qira’at and Qur’aninc Sciences at many Masajid, institutions in Egypt, U.K. and Ireland. Was an Imam of Traweeh at masjid Al-Birr, UK from 2004 - 2011 then he moved to U.S. in 2012 to serve as an Imam for Traweeh and Director of Qur’an studies at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, ISCJ then he moved to MCGP to start Tarteel Academy in September 2018. He has been part of different Islamic conventions and conferences across the U.S.
Shaykha Abeer Mohamed
She is an avid Islamic scholar with a deep interest in Qur’anic studies. Her highest achievement is her attainment of Ijaazah in the Ten Qira’at of the Qur’an, certified by the Honorable Al-Azhar University. In addition to her Ijaazah for Memorization of the Qur’an - Hafs ‘an Aasim method - also certified by the Honorable Al-Azhar, she has received Ijaazat in Itqan Al Qur’an Al Kareem, Sahih Albukhari, the 40 Hadith Nawawy, Tayseer Alulaam in the Explanation of Umdat AlAhkam, Matn Tuhfatul-Atfaal, Matn Aljazariah among numerous other certifications and licenses issued and authorized by the Honorable Al- Azhar. She pursued further studies at The Institute for Da’wa and Islamic Studies in Alexandria, Egypt which has led to the following academic certifications:
- Fiqh Al-Sunnah
-The Science of Stopping and Starting
-Accent & Tajweed
-The ‘Aqeedah First
-Al Arba’oon Al Qur’ania
Dr. Yamina Bouguenaya
Originally from Algeria, after completing her Ph.D. in Quantum Physics in England, Dr. Bouguenaya lived in Turkey for more than a decade before moving to the United States. By then, her interest had shifted from the world of physics to the vast and much more illuminating inner world of the self and Islamic spirituality. This interest led her to pursue an intensive training in the Islamic sciences under various renowned Muslim scholars. She did doctoral work in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Indiana University and is fluent in Arabic, French, English and Turkish. Dr. Bouguenaya has published extensively in several of those languages on Islam, especially on Quranic Studies, Islamic theology, and the Islamic philosophy of science. She taught Arabic and Islamic studies in different universities in the US, her last university position being an Associate Professor of
Islamic Studies at Carthage College, before she dedicated herself to full-time non-profit work. She offers extensive spiritual counseling and coaching, workshops, classes and retreats. She is currently the director of a non-profit Quranic spirituality organization called "Receiving Nur.
Dr. Nadia Katrangi
Some scholars have the gift of communication, able to share what they learn easily with those around them. Other scholars have a penchant for the written word, giving them the ability to read and translate it easily. Nadia has the rare combination of both gifts. As a scholar who is highly intellectual, especially in the field of medicine, Nadia uses her gifts at Good Tree Institute to teach, translate and inspire. Growing up in Syria with a deep Muslim faith, Nadia was always as much drawn to her religious studies as she was to her academic studies, receiving multiple certifications by renowned scholars in Damascus, Syria. Her training in the Islamic Sciences included The Biography of The Prophet Mohammad, Quranic Sciences and Interpretation, Islamic History, Islamic Jurisprudence and the Sciences of Hadith (the legacy and tradition of the prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him). Dr. Katrangi also received a certification of memorization and “tajweed” recitation (Ijaza) in Quran from the esteemed scholar, Sheikh Hasan Al-Kurdi. As she studied medicine, and eventually moved into pathology as a career path, she found her academics and her faith continued to be intertwined. “Our body, mind and soul as humans are very connected,” she said. “To live to your highest potential, you must use all three.” At Good Tree, Nadia created a place that felt like home to her and felt like home to the other original founders. Today, she prides herself on finding beauty in the Quran, provoking thoughtful and nurturing conversations and encouraging an open space for all who attend Good Tree retreats, classes or camps. The most rewarding thing she sees time and again? When someone connects to themselves, those around them and to their Creator. “One of the biggest things you can do is recognizing who God is for you,” Nadia says. “There is so much love in the Divine. When you live your life from that place, you have that on your side.”
Ustadha Youssra Kandil
She is a motivational speaker, whose goal has been to bring focus back to the beautiful pearls and wisdoms of the Quran and Sunnah. With her tender approach and the use of her real life examples, she strives to have those pearls enlighten and reconnect hearts back to the spirit and light of Islam. Currently her videos have gone viral and have captured the hearts and minds of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims, young and old, around the world. Originally from Egypt, Ms Youssra worked in Islamic media with the world renowned preacher, Amr Khaled. Under his tutelage she took part in the weekly Islamic show, "Parables of the Quran", broadcast worldwide, geared toward supporting the young generation of Muslims around the world. After moving to the United States, she continued her studies while teaching Quranic studies and Islamic history to children at a prominent Islamic school. Concurrently, she ran religious classes, fundraisers and matrimonial events around the United States. Currently she is studying towards the Uwaylim Scholarship track with Sh. Shadee El Masry.