Year of Knowledge

Instructor Bios


Dr. Sh. Haifaa Younis

Main Instructor, Year 1 and Year 2

Dr. Sh. Haifaa Younis is an American Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist with roots from Iraq. She is the founder and Chairman at Jannah Institute, and a resident scholar at Jannah institute and the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI). Dr. Younis graduated from the Mecca Institute of Islamic Studies and Al-Huda Qur’an Memorization School (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) where she completed the memorization of the Qur’an. Currently, she lives and works in the United States, and teaches various Islamic studies courses with a focus on purification of the heart (Tazkiyah).

Shaykha Dr. Zainab Alwani

Guest Instructor, Year 2

Dr. Zainab Alwani is the Founding Director and the first Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD). She is also the chair of the Master of Arts (Religious Studies) program at HUSD. Dr. Alwani received her Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences and Islamic Jurisprudence from the International Islamic University in Malaysia. Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on the implementation of the higher aims of Islamic law (Maqāṣid al Shariah) within the domain of the American Muslim family. She has authored and co-authored a wide variety of publications ranging from books, textbooks and book chapters, to scholarly articles. She is particularly interested in deriving methodologies for approaching the Qur’an, Sunna and Islamic jurisprudence in the area of women and family relations.

Dr. Alwani is currently serving as the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Islamic Faith and Practice, a scholarly peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Islamic Seminary Foundation in partnership with IUPUI University Library. Her research focuses on Quranic studies, Islamic jurisprudence, the relationship between civil and religious law in the area of women and family.

Sh. Zaynab Ansari

Guest Instructor, Year 1

Zaynab Ansari serves as an adjunct instructor at Boston Islamic Seminary and a full-time instructor at Tayseer Seminary, where she teaches classes on Islamic law, Qur’anic studies, Prophetic biography, American Muslim history, and women in Islam. She also serves on the boards of Tayseer Foundation and the Muslim Community of Knoxville.

Prior to joining the latter, Zaynab Ansari was based in Atlanta where she was active in interfaith dialogue and bridge-building through the award-winning Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. A strong believer in women’s education and leadership training, Zaynab Ansari is a regular contributor to the Rabata curriculum, a pioneering online resource for women’s theological training. She studied in the Middle East, spending her formative years in Damascus, Syria, where she was introduced to the foundations of traditional Islam and the etiquette of seeking knowledge. Upon her return from the Middle East, she enrolled in Georgia State University where she focused on interdisciplinary studies in the humanities.

Shaykha Muslema Purmul 

Guest Instructor, Year 1

Shaykha Muslema Purmul was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and raised in San Diego, California. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a double major in Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. During these years she served a number of different roles at her local MSA at UCSD as well as MSA West. After graduating she left to study in Egypt where she spent the better part of the next 7 years. She completed the Bachelors program in Sharia from al-Azhar University in Cairo and also completed almost two years of graduate work at the American University in Cairo in Islamic Studies. She also attended the International Union of Muslim Scholars “Future Scholars Program” while she was studying in Cairo.
Upon her return to America, she served the Southern California community in various capacities including religious instruction, directing youth and young adult programs, university chaplaincy, and offering community pastoral care at and with local masjids and organizations. She has taught classes and spoken nationally and internationally about issues related to Islamic law and ethics in an array of educational settings including conferences, retreats, universities, libraries, and mosques. Currently she serves as Religious Director at The Majlis, a community organization she and her husband co- founded together seeking to nurture safe community spaces where people can learn and live Islam, based on the traditional sources of understanding the faith, while acknowledging the particular challenges of the American context. She is a mother of two and resides with her family in Southern California.

Ustadha Fatima Kalla

Guest Instructor, Year 2


Ustadha Fatima Kalla is a dedicated student of Islamic knowledge who completed Qalam Institute’s Alimiyyah program in Dallas, TX. Originally from South Africa, she spent 20 years in Atlanta, GA serving the community and building successful Muslim youth programs before moving to Dallas to pursue her own Islamic Education. She has a strong passion for Islamic Studies and has devoted much of her time to furthering her understanding of the deen.

Since completing the Alimiyyah program, Sister Fatima spent the last three years continuing her studies under the tutelage of Shaykh Mokhtar, a renowned Islamic scholar and founder of Medina Institute. Under his guidance, she has delved deeper into the various branches of Islamic knowledge and learned to apply the principles of Islam to her daily life.

Sister Fatima’s experiences and journey with Islamic knowledge has also led her to actively engage with the broader community. She currently teaches part-time at Jannah Institute, a female-led women’s institute that she helped found in 2012. Additionally, she teaches at her local masjid in Plano, Texas, where she can make a positive impact by sharing her knowledge and inspiring others to grow in their faith.