Past Events

The City Circle is an open circle for open minds

Training British Muslim religious leaders



Title: Training British Muslim religious leaders
Speakers: Shaykh Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera, Shaykha Safia Shahid and Shaykh Hassan Rabbani
Date: 27 November 2015
Time: 18:45 - 20:30
Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP


Who speaks for Islam in Britain today?
Where are they trained and how?
Is their message authentic and relevant?


Event details

British Muslims have encountered greater scrutiny in recent years than ever before. There are many challenges that we face: extremist elements within the Muslim community, disenfranchisement of some youth, rapidly changing demographics, antagonistic government policies and negative media coverage.

In this talk, we are partnering with Cambridge Muslim College to ask how Muslim leaders are responding to these challenges. Are Muslim religious leaders equipped to tackle the plethora of challenges faced by the British Muslim community today, particularly the youth? Is their message representative, authentic and relevant?

While some of our leaders and imams have studied abroad, most are trained in the UK, usually in the dar ul-ulooms (seminaries). In this talk we are bringing together three Muslim leaders from different scholarly backgrounds and communities to participate in an honest, thought-provoking and timely discussion on what we want from our Muslim religious leaders in these turbulent times.

The Cambridge Muslim College was founded by Timothy Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad) to enhance training and Islamic scholarship in Britain.

Speaker details

Shaykh Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera is a British Muslim scholar educated in both the Islamic and Western traditions. He memorised the Holy Qur’an by heart, graduated from Darul Uloom seminary Bury, UK, and later earned a specialised licence to issue fatawa (legal responses) at Mazahir 'Ulum Saharanpur, India. He earned his BA from the University of Johannesburg and completed his MA and PhD in Islamic Studies from SOAS, University of London, continuing his research as a Fellow of Cambridge Muslim College in 2013-14. He has served as an imam on both sides of the Atlantic, including eight years in southern California and over five in London. He speaks regularly around the world on hadith as well as the current challenges facing Muslims in the West, and translates and publishes major works relevant to both through White Thread Press.

Shaykha Safia Shahid is a leading scholar embodying a rich tradition and history of female scholarship. Born and raised in Glasgow, she studied sacred knowledge in Syria for five years, where she attended classes of many leading scholars – including Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi – and received ijaza (licence) to teach tajwid (Qur’anic recitation), and major books of hadith. After returning to the UK, she began teaching online, before being appointed Head of Education for women at the Jamatia Islamic Centre in Sparkhill, Birmingham. She continues to teach across the UK and abroad, regularly appearing on television and radio, and speaking at university campuses and to business. In 2015, she was awarded a BISCA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Empowerment. . 

Shaykh Hassan Rabbani is a young Scottish scholar who completed the Dars-e-Nizami programme at Jamia Al-Karam in Nottinghamshire before studying at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, where he specialised in theology and hadith nomenclature. After graduating in 2010, he obtained an MA from the University of Aberdeen and a Diploma in Contextual Islamic Studies & Leadership from the Cambridge Muslim College. He is currently imam at a vibrant mosque in central Glasgow, while also pursuing an MA in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He teaches for the iSyllabus programme and is founder of the Zainab Cobbold Institute, an initiative aimed at educating young Muslims in and around Glasgow.


Free entrance. All welcome. Prayer space available. Street parking free from 18:30. Doors open at 18:45 and the talk begins at 19:00. If you have any questions, please contact us: