Ramadan 2019 Campaign

Give the Gift of Islamic Knowledge
To Mothers, Fathers, Youth & Converts in Ottawa

Aisha, a mother of 3 teens, has only ever put herself second. In her 40s, she thinks back to the years lost neglecting her own needs, her own growth, her own spirituality.

A 21-year old Mohamed, university student, ends each day barely catching his breath resisting pulls from friends and relentless questions about his faith.

Each week, Aisha and Mohamed, together with 73 other students, look forward to the one thing that lights their way.

Students of Siraj Institute access traditional Islamic learning and empowerment from local scholars in Ottawa – mentors who understand local issues and challenges.

Aisha is now doing something meaningful for her personal growth, so one day, she can share her wisdom with other sisters – young and old.

And Mohamed attends each week to strengthen his resolve, learn about his faith and to one day be a trained Islamic teacher.

Support Local Islamic Education

Siraj Institute empowers Muslims in Ottawa to learn about their faith in structured and mentored learning environments.

Local scholars and mentors
Accredited curriculum
Spiritual mentorship
Group in-person learning

Give Students Like Aisha and Mohamed the Gift of Scholarship

Ellena is a convert of 6 years who’s dabbled in online learning and local halaqas. She had the basics, but struggled with deep, insightful questions about God and faith.

After 1 year with Siraj, she completed introductory courses on Aqeedah (Creed), Ibadah (Worship), and Seerah. With access to trusted scholars, she engaged in healthy dialogue and became more grounded in her faith.

Your support today will help mothers, fathers, youth and converts like Aisha, Mohamad and Ellena to continue their education with the growing Siraj Institute.

Here’s Where Your Support Will Go

The Siraj Scholarship Fund will support 75 students complete their education
Secure 12 classrooms holding 7 students each for an intimate learning environment
Accreditation fees with the Islamic University of Minnesota and a dedicated faculty of local scholars

Who Is Behind Siraj Institute?


Dr. Ali Saadi: Dr. Ali holds a PhD in the Science of Usool al-Fiqh, or the Principles of Islamic Law. He taught this subject for years at the University of Umm al-Qura in Makkah. He continues to supervise the work of Masters and PhD candidates until today. He is also a regular khateeb in Ottawa, and a scholarly member of the Muslim World League.

Shaykh Abdulrazak (Abul Abbas) Abdulsalam: Shaykh Abdulrazak memorized the Quran in his native Libya, then he embarked on the journey of seeking Islamic knowledge, first in Makkah and then in Madinah, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hadeeth. In his time in Madinah, Shaykh Abdulrazak also specialized in the sciences of the Arabic Language, Tafsir and the Laws of Inheritance. For nearly 2 decades, the shaykh has taught in mosques and schools around Ottawa. He is a regular khateeb and his weekly Tafsir Halaqah has been running at the Ottawa mosque for over 15 years; the oldest running Islamic class in Ottawa.

Shaykh Mehdi Abd (Abu Kudus):

Shaykh Mehdi is Ottawa’s leading imam when it comes to the Quran. He graduated from from Faculty of Islamic Studies in Baghdad, then he worked as an Imam and Quran teacher in Iraq, then in Syria, and then to Ottawa. For the past 15 years, he has helped hundreds of students of all ages master the recitation and memorization of the Quran. He has Ijazaahs and is certified in the 10 narrations of the Quran.

Ustadh Ramadn Owda: Ustadh Ramadan is a passionate and an enthusiastic instructor of the Arabic language. He brings decades of experience in teaching Arabic to native speakers as well as non-native learners. He also trains Canadian diplomats in Arabic language skills before they assume their diplomatic responsibilities in the Middle East.

Ustadh Ihab Darawaish: Ustadh Ihab is an avid student of the Arabic language and history. He is a regular khatib and enjoys teaching the Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Dr. Ali Al-Halawani: Dr. Ali is a lifelong student of the world renowned Al-Azhar University. In his youth, he completed the intermediate/high school curriculum of Al-Azhar. Then moved on to complete his Bachelor’s degree and graduate studies there as well. He completed a PhD in Computational Linguistics and Translation of the Meanings of the Quran. He was a professor at the International Islamic University of Malaysia and over the past 15 years, he has been teaching, researching and translating Islamic texts from Arabic. He moved to Canada in late 2018 and joined Siraj Institute in Jan 2019.


Hesham Alaghbari (Executive Director & Director of Academics): Hesham holds a B. Com (Marketing) degree from the University of Ottawa and has been working in the field of education for a decade. He is an eager student of Islamic Sciences and has studied with scholars in Yemen, Ottawa and continues his studies with teachers from different parts of the world online. In 2016, he completed the ‘Alimiyyah Programme (Islamic Scholarship Programme) at Al-Salam Institute in the UK under the tutelage of Dr. Akram Nadwi.

Having benefited from the opportunities to learn sacred sciences through various means, Hesham co-founded Siraj Institute to extend such opportunities to the people of his hometown of Ottawa.

Dr. Ahmed Gabr (Director of Finance & Scholarships): received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ottawa in 2016 and currently works as a photonics system developer. Ahmed has been active in the Muslim community for the past decade. In 2010, Ahmed founded the Assunnah Muslims Association Youth Committee. He also contributed to iLEAD conference since its foundation in 2013.

Majed Jarrar (on leave): Majed teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Ottawa, and is currently pursuing a PhD in E-Business. He holds a P.Eng.EIT designation, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from uOttawa, and a Bachelor’s degree with double major in Electronics Engineering and Physics, and a double minor in Mathematics and Computer Science from the American University in Cairo. Aside from all the engineering; He holds Ijaza in Quran (hafs), the nine collections of Hadeeth, and Hanbali Fiqh. His journey for pursuing Islamic studies for the past 14 years has included learning from scholars in Madina, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

For many years, he thought about establishing an Islamic studies institution that not only taught traditionally, but also inspired students to give back to their communities, and make them a force for good in their environments. After years of thought and reflection, Majed co-founded Siraj Institute in 2017.


Rana Abu Nafeesah (Operations Manager): Rana has a Master Degree in Computer Science, with more than 10 years of progressive experience in an educational environment. She held many positions, such as a Research Assistant; and Executive Program Manager in the College of Computer and Information Sciences. Rana also worked with management to develop program strategic plan. Rana acquired an in-depth experience through her work as a teaching assistant and a member of a group for developing faculty members skills. She has a passion for preparing materials for courses as per the education goals and vision.

Rana uses her extensive knowledge in project management, business analysis, evaluation, documentation and reports authoring in profit and non-profit organizations. Designing documents and presentations is her passion. She is talented in data management, archiving and organizing the working environment to make it accessible easily. Rana has developed effective communication skills to engage stakeholders in managing successful events, workshops, seminars, and academic conferences.

At Siraj Institute, Rana is the operations manager. She monitors the progress of the academic process, follows up on a daily basis with students and teachers. In addition and along with the Director of Academics, she works on course design and evaluation.

What Path of Studies Will You Be Supporting?

Currently Siraj Institute offers the Siraj Diploma in Islamic Studies, and with future plans to offer recognized and accredited bachelors, masters and PhD. programs in sha Allah.

The Siraj Diploma in Islamic Studies allows students to travel on a weekly basis from their homes, schools and workplaces to attend our evening classes alongside others. While many have and continue to benefit from intensive weekend courses offered by visiting institutions, or benefit from various online institutions through studying from the comfort of their homes dressed in their pajamas, we wanted to do things differently in Siraj.

At Siraj, we recognize that old is gold and we wanted to bring our long standing tradition back to people in Ottawa. We wanted to rekindle the love and zeal of actually being on the arduous yet very rewarding path of seeking knowledge. The way of learning from the teachers before they even speak. The way of forming comradery between students and teachers.
With each student, like Ellena and Mohamed, Siraj Institute works on two broad areas; Muslim Identity & Islamic Knowledge. We work on strengthening the Muslim Identity through teaching the Biography of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), history of his notable companions, and different parts of Islamic history. These courses allow student to take a look at the struggle, nobility and achievements of our pious predecessors. Along with that, students are taught Aqeedah (creed) to highlight main Islamic beliefs regarding the World of the Unseen. And because all sets of beliefs must be manifested somehow, students are taught a course on Adab; which encompases manners, decorum and etiquette. In addition, student are taught the Arabic language in order to be more familiar with primary Islamic texts, including the Quran and the corpus of Prophetic tradition. And finally, all of this comes together in the two practicums that students must complete in order receive the diploma. The practicums are a means for the students to give back to their communities and improve the general welfare. These courses together form the basis of a well-rounded Muslim personality that is well versed in creed, mannered and kind, better connected with history and more involved in the community.

Regarding Islamic Knowledge, students are taught how to properly read the Quran, memorize at least ¼ of it in order to graduate, and learn the meaning of certain passages of it. In addition, students learn from the Hadith corpus of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) in relation to creed, manners and legislation. And to make sure that students are spiritually and practically connected with the acts of worship, conduct valid transactions, lead a prosperous personal and family life through knowing their rights and obligations, student are required to study at least 4 fiqh courses.

We’ve seen passionate and motivated Muslims who want to do good, but they have been limited by their lack of knowledge. On the other hand, we’ve also seen some Muslims who have some knowledge, however, this knowledge did not reflect on their personality and conduct.

That’s why in Siraj, we focussed on the two areas Muslim Identity & Islamic Knowledge. With Allah’s Guidance, first and foremost, and then with the dedication of our faculty, staff and volunteers, we work with our students to bring out their best; to be proud Muslims who know their religion, who are compassionate and kind; and bring positiveness to their surroundings.

Siraj is committed to staying true to the long legacy of Islamic tradition, while being relevant in the 21st century and keeping the Canadian context as the focal point.

Siraj has been a guiding lantern for its 75 students for 3 terms now. Please help us to continue illuminating the way for Ellena, Mohamed, Aisha and the many new and potential students.

Our challenge is provide quality, professional and practical Islamic education without making it prohibitively expensive for our students. Your financial support goes towards helping us with the day-to-day expenses of running the Institute as well as in providing scholarships, bursaries and financial aid for students, who otherwise will not be able to fund their studies.

Your financial support is an ongoing charity that will continue to earn rewards for you as long as the student is learning, practicing and preaching what he/she has learnt. Your support may be a one-time action; but its effects are everlasting in sha Allah.

Help us this Ramadan with whatever you and help in continuing to illuminate the way.

Jazakum Allah khair. May Allah reward you best and Ramadan Mubarak to you and your families.