This site is dedicated to enhancing the spiritual and religious development of Muslims through sound, balanced & moderate Islamic teachings. It seeks to bridge orthodox and contemporary Islamic knowledge, bringing to light issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West.
Here are the contributors whose valuable work make all of this possible! May Allah reward them.
Ubah A | View Articles
Ubah was born and raised in Western Canada. She received her BSc in Psychology and is currently training as a psychotherapist through a Masters program focused on spiritually-integrated psychotherapy. In her spare time, she engages with her community through running an all-girl’s program focussed on Muslim Canadian identity and broader community involvement. She is passionate about seeking the links between human behavior, psyche, spirituality and Islamic traditions, and the quest for self-actualization and truth. A comprehensive body of her written articles, poetry, and essays can be found on her website, www.seekingtobetter.com.
Shazia Ahmad | View Articles
Shazia Ahmad was born and raised in upstate New York. She graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany with a Bachelors in Psychology and History. During her time in university, Shazia was involved in the Muslim Students’ Association, community and interfaith work, and a local radio show entitled ‘Window on Islam.’ She has studied with Dr. Mokhtar Maghraoui and is a long time contributor to jannah.org and themadina.com. After graduating, Shazia spent two years in Syria, studying briefly at the University of Damascus and then at Abu Nour University where she completed an Arabic Studies program for foreigners (Ad-Dawraat) and a program in Islamic Studies (Ma’had at-Taheeli). She also studied in a number of private classes and attained her ijazah in Qur’anic recitation from the late Sh. Muhiyudin al-Kurdi (rahimahullah). While in Syria, Shazia composed a blog of her experiences entitled Damascus Dreams. She currently resides in Cairo, Egypt with her husband and one-year old son, and is seeking to further her education through private lessons and study. She currently blogs at Cairo Caprices.
Abdul Sattar Ahmed | View Articles
Abdul Sattar Ahmed is a young IT professional from Chicago, IL. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006 with a Bachelors in Finance with a second Major of Management Information Systems. He was a member of Young Muslims of North America for over ten years, serving in roles at the local, regional, and national levels with a focus on the organization’s educational program.
He currently works in the Software Engineering field in Chicago, and is receiving training in the Islamic sciences part-time at Dar ul Qasim Institute and the Islamic Learning Foundation’s Chicago Campus, and studies Islamic subjects independently with other scholars. He is a board member of the Islamic Learning Foundation and teaches Arabic and Islamic studies there under the lead of his teachers. His interests include software development, the study of the Qur’an, Islamic education, law, and history.
Mansoor Ahmed | View Articles
Mansoor Ahmed recently graduated with a Bachelors in Computer Information Systems and is working as an IT professional in the healthcare industry. During college, he served as President of the Muslim Student’s Organization. He is studying Qur’an and the science of Tajweed with Shaykh Uthman Khan of Canada at Jaamiah Jazriyyah. His interests include technology, swimming, Arabic, Qur’anic studies, Tajweed and history, and plans to write on Quranic reflections and practical lessons.
Maryam Amirebrahimi | View Articles
Jinan Yousef | View Articles
Jinan is a graduate of law. During her university years, she was heavily involved with the Students’ Union Islamic Society, and she is currently a course instructor for Al Buruj Press. Her main interests within the field of Islamic Studies are the Names of Allah, the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ, tazkiya and Muslim personalities. You can find her on Facebook at: Jinan Y
Andrew Booso | View Articles
Andrew Booso is originally from London, England and is a graduate of law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He has taken religious instruction from Shaykh Iqbal Azami and Shaykh Muhammad Akram Nadwi, as well as numerous students of knowledge. He is currently on the Advisory Board of the England-based Spring Foundation, which is a scholarship charity for students of the Islamic sciences.
Jamaal Diwan | View Articles
Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Third World Studies and a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego . He accepted Islam in 2003 and has been married to his wife, Muslema Purmul, since 2004. He has served with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), MSA West, and Muslim American Society (MAS) at varying capacities. He remains an active MAS member and is a scholarship student with the Islamic American University. Jamaal is a graduate of the Faculty of Shariah at al-Azhar University in Cairo and has done some graduate work in Islamic Studies from the Western academic perspective. He recently finished serving as the Resident Scholar at the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI).
John (Yahya) Ederer | View Articles
Imam John Yahya Ederer left a life of spiritual decadence and embraced Islam in 1998. In 2002, he accepted a scholarship offer from the Islamic American University in Michigan and spent 6 years travelling the Muslim world studying with prominent scholars. He attained an associates with IAU, a certification of mastery of the Arabic sciences from the ministry of education in Egypt, a diploma in Islamic Studies from the Cordoba Institute in Kuwait and a license with one of the highest chains of transmission in Qur’an memorization and recitation. He served as the Religious Director of the Islamic Foundation of South Florida for two years and now lives with his wife and two children in Charlotte, North Carolina where he serves as Imam of the Muslim American Society. He currently sits on the clergy board of one of the largest interfaith coalitions in Mecklenburg Ministries and is a board member of the Shamrock Drive Development Association.
Muhammad Haq (Haq) | View Articles
Muhammad Haq was born and raised in the United Kingdom. He studied the Islamic Sciences (Sharia) for several years in the UK under the tutelage of many shayukh in the United Kingdom (may Allah preserve them). He has a particular interest in Fiqh and its related sciences. Currently he is studying for a Bachelors in Comparative Religion and is involved with several grassroots projects.
Naiyerah Kolkailah | View Articles
Naiyerah Kolkailah was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California. She graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, and a minor in Religious Studies. During her college years, she served as President of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and Vice President of the statewide organization, MSA-West. In 2011, Naiyerah received a Diploma in Islamic Studies from the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Qatar Foundation in Doha, Qatar. In 2012, she received a license in memorization and recitation of the Qur’an from Shaykh Uthman Khan, whom she continues to study Tajweed with at Jaamiah Jazriyyah. Naiyerah currently lives in Pismo Beach, California, where she co-directs an Islamic Studies youth program, private tutors women and children in Qur’anic recitation and memorization, and speaks about Islam at local churches, interfaith events and Islam classes. She is also serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Society of San Luis Obispo County. Naiyerah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lobna Mulla | View Articles
Lobna Youssef Mulla was born and raised in greater Los Angeles, California. She graduated from California State University, Northridge in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting. Lobna served on the board of the Muslim Public Affairs Council for two years. She also worked as an accountant for ten years until she began her career as a mother. Lobna moved to Egypt for three years with her husband, Shaikh Suhail Mulla, and her children where she studied Arabic, Qur’anic Recitation and Islamic Studies before moving back to the United States.
Lobna works for the Muslim American Society (MAS), as their Personal Development Program Director. She is also an active member of MAS, a non-profit organization promoting a balanced understanding of Islam. She has been working with the youth for the past fifteen years in various capacities such as organizing youth camps, providing mentorship, leading study circles and classes in her community, as well as giving lectures nationwide. She also writes for myvirtualmosque.com, a resource website addressing various topics pertaining to Muslims across the globe. She is a recent graduate of Chapman University with a Masters of Fine Arts in Screenwriting. She is the creator of a YouTube channel, Double Shot Mocha Productions, where she hopes to entertain and promote social awareness through humor. Lobna Mulla currently lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and four children.
Amatullah | View Articles
Amatullah is a student of the Qur’an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta’leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur’an, Tajweed (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and will be completing a Masters program in 2014. Her experiences include working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement, and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Muslema Purmul | View Articles
Shaykha Muslema Purmul was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and raised in San Diego, California. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in the Study of Religion and a Bachelor’s in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California at San Diego. She was a scholarship student with the Islamic American University and participated in the International Union of Muslim Scholars “Future Scholars Program” in 2008/2009. She has completed the Bachelor’s degree program in the College of Shari`ah at al-Azhar University in Cairo. Currently, she is a busy new mom and gives weekly classes at the Islamic Center of Irvine
Shafiur Rahman | View Articles
Shafiur Rahman was raised in London, England. He earned a B.A. (Hons) degree in Accounting and Finance, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Masters degree (with distinction) in Addictive Behaviour. He has over 15 years of professional management and consultancy experience in the ‘not for profit’ sector. In 1999 he was appointed as the founding director of Nafas, a pioneering Muslim drug treatment and education centre based in London. In 2006, he was the lead author of ‘Voices from the Minarets,’ a groundbreaking research into the situation of Mosques and Imams throughout the UK. Apart from his work and studies, he has always had a keen interest in youth and community work which led to him and his peers setting up the Brick Lane Youth Development Association (BLYDA) in 1989. He has also served Islamic Forum Europe (IFE), a grassroots dawah organisation, in various senior capacities since 1995. His Arabic and Islamic studies began in 1994 with scholars in the UK. In 2006 he travelled to study shariah at Ma’had al-Fath al-Islami in Damascus. He later moved with his family to Cairo where he is currently studying for a shariah degree at al-Azhar University and pursuing private Arabic and Islamic studies. Shafiur Rahman is also a founding director of Angelwing Media and is currently working on translating several Arabic texts into English. Shafiur can be reached at email@example.com.
Reehab (Ramadan) Aref | View Articles
Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.
Yusuf Rios (Abul Hussein) | View Articles
Yusuf Rios was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While becoming a Catholic priest, Yusuf discovered the path to Islam. He studied Islamic sciences for a period of seven years, studying with scholars in Cleveland, Ohio before receiving a work-study contract with the Islamic American University. At the Islamic American University, he read Arabic and a limited number of Islamic sciences intensively for one year. He then traveled to Cairo, Egypt where he resided for five years. There, he attended a number of intensive courses at Arabic learning centers. After these courses, he joined various scholarly circles, reading Islamic sciences with a host of scholars of diverse expertise and orientations. Yusuf takes particular pride in having studied intimately with a number of scholars from al-Azhar University. Likewise, he has great love and attachment to Egypt and especially al-Azhar Mosque where he studied for the major portion of his residence in Egypt. Yusuf has a Bachelors in Western Philosophy and Sociology and is working on a Masters in Education. He serves as an instructor in Islamic Sciences with Islamic American University and in local mosques in Dearborn, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. His four main research areas in Islamic sciences are in the areas of Usul al-Fiqh, Maqasid ash Shar’ia, Hadith Sciences, and Fiqh.
Shibli Zaman | View Articles
Shibli Zaman was born in Summit, New Jersey and raised in Houston, Texas. Since his childhood, he has frequently traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Later in life, much of this time was spent studying Islamic jurisprudence in the Shafi`i and Hanbali schools of law. He has a deep appreciation for different cultures and is literate in several languages such as Arabic, Persian, Pashto and Urdu. Surprising for a Muslim, he is also adept in Hebrew and Aramaic. Having a proclivity for Semitic linguistics enabled him to study the Biblical texts from a unique perspective. He holds a gold medal in Bible Memory from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has contributed to one of the most significant websites defending Islam’s textual sources and traditions from an academic perspective, Islamic-Awareness.org. He was an employee of Shaykh Salman al-`Awdah from whose inspiration he benefited tremendously and assisted in the early phases of his English website, Islamtoday.com.
A. Elasmar (Nomad78) | View Articles
A. Elasmar is of Palestinian decent and was raised in Qatar. He earned a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree and is currently an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice. A. Elasmar is active in his local masjid, helps organize a halaqa, and gives Friday Khutbahs. He is also active in da`wah and is a guest lecturer for a World Religions class. His former pseudonym for this website was Nomad78.
Asmaa Elkabti | View Articles
Asmaa lives in sunny Southern California and recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology-Chemistry. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and public health. She enjoys reading about Islamic history. Asmaa hopes to see an increase in the understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah amongst Muslim youth, as well as a stronger connection to the Arabic language and Islamic heritage. Asmaa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sumayah Hassan | View Articles
Sumayah Hassan was born in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the third oldest of seven children and daughter to a Somali father and African-American mother. Sumayah spent her childhood and teen years in Cairo, Egypt, where she learned Arabic and graduated from high school. She then returned to Virginia and attended George Mason University, where she completed a B.S. in Biology. Despite switching her major from Art, she continued taking video editing and graphic design classes throughout her stay in university. Last year, Sumayah moved to London, United Kingdom to live with her husband Mohamed. She is also pursuing her MBA in Marketing in the UK. Hassan works from home as a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. On the weekends, she teaches basic Qur’an classes at the local mosque in Lewisham.
Aysha Khanom | View Articles
Aysha is from the United Kingdom. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 2009 and is currently working as a teacher. She is working on establishing a Muslim women’s organization in the United Kingdom to facilitate efforts to gain knowledge, parenting, and other areas of need. She has contributed to writing for Al-Ameen Newspaper in Canada, Sama Ghazal Poetry Collection Book, and other magazines based in the UK. Her dream is to see justice in the world again, not only between nations, but also between individuals.
Amal Killawi | View Articles | View VMCounselors Column
A Detroit native, Amal Killawi is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in mental health and marriage education. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she is also currently pursuing a Certification in Sexual Health. She is also a researcher focused on addressing health disparities among American Muslims and providing patients with culturally-competent care. Currently, she is employed as a researcher focused on addressing health disparities among American Muslims and providing patients with culturally-competent care.
Amal’s past experiences include working as a counselor at the University of Michigan’s Counseling and Psychological Services and ACCESS, the largest Arab American social service agency. She has also served as a case manager and community educator for Muslim Family Services, editorial assistant for the Journal of Muslim Mental Health, and research coordinator for a study on domestic violence in the Arab American community.
As a community activist, Amal serves on the board of several non-profits, particularly focused on cultural competence, mental health, marriage and family life education, social services, and youth empowerment. She has been involved with the Muslim Students’ Association at the local, regional, and national levels. Amal is a fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI). God-willing, she hopes to make a difference in this world. Amal formally contributed to the VMCounselors advice column designed to answer readers’ personal questions.
Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine | View Articles | View VMCounselors Column
Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine formally contributed to the VMCounselors Column from 2011-2014. She is the author of Before the Wedding: Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married. She has written prolifically for various Muslim publications and co-hosted a radio show on One Legacy Radio. She has a Master’s in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton and Bachelor’s in Economics from UCLA. She is a certified Positive Discipline educator as well as Prepare/Enrich Premarital Counseling facilitator.
Anam Majeed | View Articles
Anam Majeed is a postgraduate student with a background in International Relations and the Biological Sciences. She enjoys reading about history, politics, and medicine, and likes to write about current affairs and society.
Yasmin Mogahed | View Articles
Yasmin Mogahed received her B.S. Degree in Psychology and her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her graduate work, she taught Islamic Studies and served as the Sisters’ Youth Director for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. She also worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News. Currently she’s an independent media consultant and a writer for the Huffington Post, where she focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development. Her written works, including a book chapter on the portrayal of Islam post-911, have appeared in print and online publications worldwide.
Mustafa Umar | View Articles
Mustafa Umar was born and raised in Southern California. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies from the European Institute of Islamic Sciences, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Information and Computer Science from the University of California Irvine. He has traveled extensively and studied under scholars from around the world, particularly at Nadwatul Ulama in India and Al-Azhar and Dar Ul-Ulum in Egypt. He has served as Religious Director at the Islamic Foundation of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah and the Associate Director of the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in Southern California.
Osman Umarji | View Articles
Osman Umarji was born in West Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California Irvine in 2005 with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering where he served as president of the Muslim Student Union. He worked as an engineer for four years, specializing in mobile communications. Osman moved with his wife to Cairo to pursue Islamic Studies and is currently majoring in Islamic Law and Legal Theory at Al-Azhar University. His areas of focus are Hadith and Legal Theory. His hobbies include reading, playing sports, and traveling. He previously served as the Director of the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco in Southern California. Osman can be reached at email@example.com.
Suhaib Webb | View Articles
Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.
From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.
Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.
Omar Zarka | View Articles
Omar Zarka was born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Irvine, where he was involved with the Muslim Student Union. Omar then went on to receive a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles. He is married.
VMCounselors | View Column
VMCounselors was a collaborative advice column produced by two former authors, Amal Killawi, a Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in mental health and marriage education, and Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine, a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in premarital counseling. Please note that the VMCounselors are not religious scholars and will not issue religious rulings.