Our Founder

 Shaykha Iman Badawi is an American-born Muslim female scholar of Egyptian origin. She is a descendant of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ through our master Husayn. In Ramaḍān of 1443, Shaykha Iman founded Fitra Foundation and Sayyida Nafīsa Seminary. 

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque
16th century, Ottoman
Edirnekapi, Turkey
Mihrimah Sultan was the daughter of
Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent
and his wife, Hurrem Sultan.


Shaykha Iman possess a rich background in the sacred sciences, having formally studied over 100 texts in all the main and auxiliary Islamic disciplines with over 30 teachers from around the world including the US, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. 


While she specializes in Ḥanafī fiqh and uṣūl, she has also studied with Shafiʿī scholars. In addition, she has an avid interest in Ḥadīth Studies and Qurʾānic Exegesis and holds an ijāzah in the recitation of the Qurʾān. Shaykha Iman also has extensive background in taṣawwuf (spiritual tenants), having practiced two tariqa styles for a decade each and studied others. 

Mihrimah Sultan was the most powerful
imperial princess in Ottoman history.
In Ottoman Turkish, her name means “Sun
and Moon” or "Moon of the Suns" in Persian.


Shaykha’s educational experience is diverse, having studied in the traditional method, university setting, Syrian-style, and dars-i-nizāmī. Through bringing these varied educational experiences together, she aspires to develop an optimum pedagogy for imparting the sacred sciences. 


Prior to embarking upon her journey in sacred knowledge, upon graduating high school, Shaykha Iman accepted admission into a seven-year medical program. During her undergraduate years, she founded and became the first president of her university’s Muslim Student Association. She was also the co-chair and program director of the MSA National East Zone convention. 

Mihrimah Sultan was well-educated and
disciplined, she was also sophisticated,
eloquent and well-read.
Mihrimah Sultan sponsored a number of
major architectural projects, the most famous
of which are the two Istanbul mosque
complexes that bear her name.


She received her undergraduate degree from RPI in Biology, with a focus on ecology and conservation, child development and Islamic pedagogy. Later, she left her medical career to focus on sacred study, teaching, and rearing her children. 


Shaykha Iman has been an educator for over 20 years, with experience in teaching adults, youth, and children, including home schooling her own children up to high school. As a young student of sacred knowledge, Shaykha Iman was given license to teach, leading to the founding of Ḥalaqat-un-Nūr (the Circle of Light), a study circle and community service initiative for women, providing religious education and philanthropic services. 

Her twin-minaret complex in Uskudar
consisted of a mosque, a medrese, a soup
kitchen to feed the poor, a clinic and a primary
school. The primary school, library, and
medrese are now used as an outpatient clinic.
(Iskele Camii, 1543)
Her single-minaret complex beside the
Edirne Gate (1562) consists of a fountain,
medrese and hamam.


In addition, Shaykha has taught in both weekend and full-time Islamic schools. She has spoken nationally and internationally at several Islamic conferences and college campuses for over a decade. 

After her mother’s death, Mihrimah
became Süleyman's advisor and confidant,
urging him to undertake the conquest of Malta
in 1565.


In addition to teaching women the Islamic sciences for over a decade, Shaykha Iman also mothered several community initiatives including refugee assistance, family counselling, and convert support. She founded the Family Enrichment Network (FEN) aimed at providing educational and recreational gatherings for parents and their children. She is a recipient of the CAIR award for distinction in community service. 



Shaykha Iman has been active in daʿwa and interfaith work for several years and was interviewed by the BBC during her Ḥajj journey. She has also been an advisor to textbook publishers on the sections related to Islam and Muslims. 

It is also likely that she encouraged
Süleyman's decision to launch a campaign
against Hungary in 1566, where he met his

Female Scholarship

Our Shaykha has dedicated her life to the preservation of sacred knowledge, the upholding of the standard of scholarship, community service, and the rearing of her children. 

She is a mother of three, an equestrian, amateur astronomer, orange-belt in bojutsu and falconer in-training. 

May Allah’s infinite peace & blessings be upon Rasūlullāh, his pure progeny & folk, along with his gleaming companions, illuminated inheritors and all loyal followers until the Last Day. 

Süleymaniye Mosque (1557)
Istanbul, Turkey
Mihrimah Sultan died in 1578 having outlived all her siblings.
She is the only one of Süleyman's children to have been buried
in his tomb in the Süleymaniye Mosque complex.