The Youngest Student

Meet Ilyas Evans. At 16 years, he is the youngest student enrolled in the Madina Institute Usul-ud-Din program. At an age when so many of his peers are undergoing an emotional turmoil within themselves, he is letting his deen teach him to 'just be comfortable being himself.'


When my mom converted to Islam I was six and I was excited to earn about Islam. As new Muslims getting accustomed to a new lifestyle my mom felt it best to go at our own pace rather than trying to do everything all at once. When Shaykh Ninowy came to North Carolina in 2006 and we met him for the first time, my mom said, “Bismillah. We’re moving to Atlanta to study with him.”

Looking back ten years later, I realize my mom was raising me to prepare me for scholarly study, as she took me to her college classes regularly and used to share her love of different cultures and traditions with me. I believe that growing up embracing different cultures has helped me in making friends from different backgrounds as well as helping me be more open to learning about religion. Ever since we moved to Atlanta in 2006, my mom has taken me to learn from Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy and Shaykh ‘Issa al-Ninowy. I think learning from these two shuyukh from an early age has shown me the value and importance of knowing and loving Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam).

Being in the Usul ud Din program you get a better sense of what it means to better yourself as a Muslim through knowledge of the Quran, Prophetic Sunnah, and how to treat one another as fellow human beings. You learn from various shuyukh about the foundations of Islam such as Fiqh, Aqidah, Hadith, and Tazkiyah. You also learn how to be comfortable just being yourself, as a Muslim. I am glad that I have been given the opportunity to learn from these blessed scholars and I encourage other students my age to study at Madina Institute USA as well.

With Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy:

With Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi and Ustadh Abbas Darab:

With Shaykh Ali Laraki and Ustadh Ryan O'Meallie:

With Shaykh Suheil Laher:

With Iman Nawaz: