Biography of Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui
Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui traces his lineage to our Master Muhammad ﷺ through his grandson, Hasan (May Allah be pleased with him), through his grandson, Idris (May Allah be pleased with him).
Shaykh Mokhtar was one of the foremost and most beloved students of Shaykh Muhammad Emin Er, who conferred upon him an ijaza (a traditional diploma and authorization) of both sacred knowledge and tasawwuf, and licenced him with spiritual authority to guide seekers to Allah.
The distinctiveness of Shaykh Mokhtar’s teaching and spiritual guidance lies in its unity of purpose. Every field of knowledge – whether theoretical, legal, historical, exegetical or spiritual – must serve the twin, inseparable constants of our faith: experiential (and not merely intellectual or academic) tawhid (Divine unicity); and beautiful, refined character (akhlaq).
The essential means to realizing these twin constants is through the purification of our lower selves, or tazkiyat al-nafs. The heart is the seat of our perception, emotional experience and will. Only its purification will ensure correct thought, feeling, will and consequently, conduct. Without learning to live every aspect of our lives within an envelope of inner purification, our individual and collective reform will be futile.
Shaykh Mokhtar has taught and offered spiritual guidance in the United States for decades. Muslims across the United States and Canada have experienced and benefited from his retreats, seminars and lectures. Since 2009, Shaykh Mokhtār has been the Senior Scholar at Al-Madina Institute and is currently the teacher and spiritual mentor of the ongoing Suhba Program that the Institute runs in Istanbul, Turkey.
Shaykh Mokhtar also holds an MA in physics and a PhD in electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, and has lectured at the university level in the fields of engineering, math, physics and religion.
Ustadh Naeem Saloojee
Ustadh Naeem’s lifelong pursuit of sacred knowledge and practice, his work with teens, and his diverse work experience allows him to bridge, project and translate the rich spiritual and rational legacy of Islamic teachings in ways that are practical and contextual for modern teens. Before becoming the Director of Educational Programming for the Hearts in Resonance program, he worked in media, politics, business and management, and was most recently the CEO of a company in artificial intelligence.
He was instrumental in launching the Suhba Teen Co-op School in Istanbul and in developing its unique IQ/SQ (intelligence and spiritual quotient) Curriculum. The intent of the year-long curriculum is to provide Muslim teens with a clear rational and spiritual compass to negotiate the waters of an increasingly turbulent future.
His aim is to connect teens to the essential teachings of Islam’s traditional, spiritual, and rational legacy, and to use this legacy to critically examine the intellectual, ideological and emotional challenges that many of them will undoubtedly face. He uses a variety of resources – literature and poetry, critical book reviews, acclaimed documentaries, and classes in critical reasoning, among others – to build their spiritual and intellectual certainty that Islam is the only path to true freedom and happiness.
Ustadh Amir Abdelzaher
After teaching in university, and with years of extensive experience in Islamic teaching, planning and organization, Ustadh Amir realized that clothing secular, status-quo educational paradigms with an ‘Islamic garb’ has failed us. Spiritual upbringing, or tarbiya, is critical: “Acquiring knowledge,” he states, “Is essential, but insufficient.”
He sees a teacher as a bridge that takes youth gradually and progressively to higher levels of spiritual understanding, maturity and practice. For the past three years, he has been the principal of the Suhba Children’s School and oversaw the integration of a visionary Islamic paradigm of practical character-centric spirituality in the school’s ethos, curriculum and teaching.
Ustadh Amir uses the theme of “Becoming a Real Superhero” to present the life-path of a believer. Through many age-appropriate examples, stories, parables, metaphors, and audio recordings of real Muslim superheroes, youth will be guided to deeper spiritual maturity, thinking and practice. Ustadh Amir finds that youth thrive in interactive settings. He welcomes questions, discussions, and reflections, and will be asking his students to complete weekly “spiritual missions” to help them apply what they learn in their daily lives and become real superheroes.
Ustadha Kamrun Nahar
Ustadha Kamrun was a top-student at a renowned Islamic seminary where she studied full-time for four years, has a degree in early childhood education, and has a long and rich experience teaching young hearts. She has a natural skill of anchoring building-block concepts in Islamic education in ways that linger in the spiritual imaginations of her students and reflect in their words and deeds.
She teaches children using age-appropriate pedagogical teaching methods, including encouragement and interactive discussions. To further assist the child in consolidating concepts, she uses visual aids such as slides with pictures, props, virtual live illustrations, puppet shows, storytelling, Islamic nashids, dramatic play and visual games. Children will be asked to do assignments which will involve verbal reflections, drawing, writing and craft activities.
For the last three years, Ustadha Kamrun has taught the young children of Muslim families from around the world. There is not one single family who will not attest that Ustadha has turned the tables. Our children frequently inspire us with their knowledge, character and etiquette. They have, quite simply, become our teachers. And with Allah is all success.
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