Imam Fode Drame was born in the Senegambia region of West Africa. He descends from the clan of Jakhanke whose unique expression of Islam dates back over 1,100 years; when Drame's people first accepted Islam and became the primary teachers, healers and religious leaders for the entire region.
By the age of 5, Imam Drame had begun his formal studies, which included not only putting to memory the entirety of The Qur'an but also detailed study of Arabic grammar and poetry, Quranic exegesis, the traditions of the Prophet Muhummad, and most notably, the knowledge and practice of spiritual excellence, otherwise known as Sufism. In addition, Imam Drame is gifted in languages; before leaving his native Gambia for Quebec to pursue a BA in linguistics at University of Quebec, Imam Fode had already taught himself French, German, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
Since arriving in Canada in the 1990s, Imam Fode Drame has continued in the tradition of the Jakhanke imams, by serving as a community leader and scholar of Islam (commonly termed ‘Imam’), however he has also been an extraordinary teacher of Quranic exegesis, a guide for spiritual development or ‘tasawwuf’, and a healer to all those who seek his support.
In 2005, Imam founded Zawiyah Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to his vision for humanity. Zawiyah foundation has been at the forefront of a number of community development and support initiatives since its inception; through Zawiyah, Imam Fode has been pioneering the Islamic participation in interfaith dialogue in Vancouver, and continues to lead his Foundation through the hosting of yearly interfaith dialogue events. Among charitable endeavors, Zawiyah Foundation initiated the Hastings Project, a program which aims to provide warm meals to those in need in one of Canada's poorest neighborhood, the Vancouver Downtown East Side.
In addition to his community service activities, Imam Fode continues his scholarly contributions. He has authored a series of writings in both Arabic and English (called Expansions) of which he has currently published five volumes, and also an unique translation of the Quran into English, called Anwar ul-Quran. His vision for knowledge dissemination is also seeing fruit by the establishment of Qawsain Knowledge House -- the first certified Muslim school in the city of Vancouver.
The above are a few of his many accomplishments. But above all, Imam Fode Drame is, most importantly, to both his local and international community, an Imam who deeply cares. He is a hands-on community builder, a counselor, and a guide to any who seek his guidance no matter what their situation. And it is this quality, that has endeared him to all his students and the members of the community, and that marks him as a true Imam in the Islamic tradition.
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