Having co-founded Al-Madina Institute, I have come to know many amazing Muslims doing some really wonderful things. Below is a list of ten Muslims from across the globe that deserve to be recognized for their work.
Abdul Aziz Suraqah is one of the top Arabic to English translators of our time. It's rare to find a translator who does not interject himself between the reader and original author's work but Abdul Aziz has been able to master that skill. He has translated many titles which include In Praise of the Messenger, selections of poetry in celebration of the Prophet ﷺ and Prophetic Grace: The Qur'anic Merits of the Prophet Muhammad. An excerpt from the latter is available here. You can see more of his work at: http://ibriz.net.
Ayman Hasan was born in Egypt and is Syrian by lineage. He now resides in Kuwait. Ayman is a rising star in the world of Islamic calligraphy. He took his ijaza (authorization to write) in the sulus and naskh scripts in 2003 and in taliq in 2010. Having studied under some of the greatest Islamic calligraphers living today, Ayman's work is a delight for anyone who sees it and a prize for anyone who acquires it. He is part of a new generation of sacred artists that are continuing the chain of traditional calligraphy in the modern world. His art adorns private collections across the world.
Reima Yosif is an upcoming voice in female scholarship. Having founded the Al-Rawiyah Foundation and its yearly Shaykha Fest, Reima has been a pioneer in reviving Islamic female scholarship, and she has the credentials to back it up. A hafidha of the Qur'an, she has scholarly licenses to teach books of hadith and tafsir (exegesis) of the Qur'an and has composed books on comparative Islamic jurisprudence. Her non-profit contributions have helped bridge divides, including her work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina which looked at the the impact of natural disasters on children and recommended ways to help them recover through faith. From authoring her own poetry, to translating classical and contemporary Islamic texts, to teaching, Reima is filling a much needed role.
Recep Senturk is a man I truly admire. I was lucky enough to spend time with him in his hometown of Istanbul as we visited various Islamic educational centers he established and now operates. He is the director of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Waqf University. Dr. Senturk has invested his life efforts into building long-lasting institutions geared to produce the leaders of tomorrow. He himself wears many hats, from international scholar to spiritual mentor, and his days are filled with productive work. Of all the things I can mention about him, what stands out the most is his close companionship with the late Muhammad Emin Er (may Allah have mercy on him), the great wali of our age. Shaykh Emin greatly loved Dr. Senturk.
Eda Funda Ozkan ranks among the most sought after tezhip artists in the world of Islamic arts. Tezhip, the art of illumination, like calligraphy, requires written authorization to practice. Eda received her diploma in 2007 and rapidly rose to the top of her field. Her illumination work, as well as paper marbling (ebru), can be found in collections across the world. You can see some of her work on her website here and find her on Facebook.
Sajjad Husain is one of the most humble brand managers you will ever meet. At the young age of twenty-six, Sajjad is helping many Muslim organizations effectively define their brands and roll out successful online marketing campaigns. From the Muslim Food Festival to Al Madina Institute, Sajjad’s work has a large digital footprint. You can follow him from his Twitter page.
Mohamed Ghilan is what I would call an “unboxed” traditionalist with an even-keeled approach. His East meets West training has given him the unique ability to tackle pressing issues Muslims face in a modern context. From homosexuality to philosophy, Mohamed is not afraid to broach often untouched issues. Mohamed is currently completing his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Victoria and you can find many of his writings online. You can follow him on Twitter.
Marc Manley has served as a Muslim Chaplain, and is in touch with the grassroots issues Muslimsare facing. He concentrates his thought on the "Muslim American Experience" without alienating indigenous or immigrant Muslims alike. Marc conducts regular Friday sermons in the Philadelphia area, as well as lectures across the states. Follow him on Twitter. I do!
Manal Omar is the Director of the Iraq, North Africa and Iran programs at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. If there is a place in the world where women are suffering, count on Manal to be their voice. From Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Kenya and Palestine, Manal has crisscrossed the globe working to improve people's lives. She has been featured in many media platforms, from NPR to the LA Times. You can follow her on her website.
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali started his studies at Temple University and went on to obtain a degree from the prestigious Karaouine University in Fes, Morocco. Returning to the States he founded LampPost Productions, a website dedicated to his writings, teachings and thought. He currently is a professor at Zaytuna College in Berkley, California. Shaykh Abdullah has lots of great knowledge to share. Just take a course with him and find out for yourself!