As a freshman in High School, Shaykh Furhan remembers his friend telling him about a “cool Shaykh who plays basketball” while teaching young men Quran on the weekend. He decided to check him out for himself. “We didn’t know any Imam’s or scholars here back then,” recalls Shaykh Furhan. “We had mosques that had no staff there, and we had Dr. [Muzammil] Siddiqui leading our community as an elder.” When he first met the young Shaykh Nomaan Baig, and saw his 97 Camry with the spoiler and rims, they made an instant connection, and Shaykh Furhan hasn’t looked back since.   “He’s the man I consider, teacher, mentor and friend—When I need advice or consultation, he’s the one I go to.”   Having lived in 7 cities by the time he was 18, Shaykh Furhan maintains a thoughtful and open mind in his approach towards the world, and ambition to match. “I was always a hardworking student .. took all AP classes in High School… majored in biology in my time at UCI… My mom wanted me to go to med school, but I wanted to complete my Hifdh al-Quran.”   Having taken AP classes, Shaykh Furhan had a head start in college and was one year ahead in courses compared to the rest of his peers. With the advice of Shaykh Nomaan, he decided to take one year off and head to Pakistan to the same Seminary as his mentor, to complete his Hifdh al-Quran with two of his IOK weekend school friends. There, he was inspired to go the route of becoming a scholar. “When I told my mom, she was really frustrated, but I was adamant so we made a deal – I’d come back, finish college, major in biology, consider med school, and then I could do whatever I wanted.”   His first stop after graduation from UCI on his journey of scholarship was Egypt, where he had the honor of studying with people who he calls friends and colleagues even today – “Shaykh Jamaal Diwan and his wife Shaykha Muslema [Purmul], picked me up from the airport… and there I met Shaykh Suhail Mulla, his wife Ustadha Lobna Mulla, (all four who went on to become IOK Chaplains) as well as Shaykh Ahmed Billoo (who now serves as IOK Seminary Instructor) and Imam Suhaib Webb.” After a few months there, he decided to transfer his credits to Darul ‘Uloom Karachi, and went on to complete the Alimiyyah program until his return to the United States and IOK in 2011.   As Dean of IOK Seminary, UCI Chaplain and father of three young daughters, Shaykh Furhan wants for them what he wants for his Seminary students – a strong foundation, love for the Quran and Sunnah, and a desire to pursue the path of Knowledge. “Through the IOK Seminary, we have the opportunity to produce home-grown scholars. Folks who understand the society in which they live, and have studied the traditional sciences.” The Seminary, which recruits competitive and ambitious candidates trains them in Quran, Hadith (the subject Shaykh Furhan is most passionate about teaching), Arabic and all the history associated with each aspect of this.   “When people come to the IOK seminary, they don’t have to choose between becoming students of knowledge, and their careers – they can pursue their careers full-time and spread knowledge as a passion, without financial constraints and limitations.” Students of the IOK seminary are often full-time college students, full-time employees, business owners and parents. With the support of leaders like Shaykh Furhan, they are often reminded “You can do it – we will teach you discipline and time management. The essence of our existence is to serve the community – and we want to help.”