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About Us

What is Deen Arts Foundation South Africa?

Deen Arts Foundation South Africa is a registered non-profit company  aimed to revive, promote and preserve the traditional Islamic sacred arts through offering a variety of workshops as well as connecting interested persons / students to master art teachers. 

Deen Arts Foundation South Africa supports and emphasizes the apprenticeship model of teaching and learning where students are connected to a qualified master art teacher who instructs them in a particular discipline. An ijaazah process is followed which entails completing a set curriculum under the guidance of a master art teacher which leads to certification once the art and discipline have been mastered.

To revive, promote and preserve traditional Islamic sacred arts as it is essential to rejuvenate the hearts and souls of Muslims, as well as connect them to their Islamic culture and identity.

To foster intimate, long-term relationships between students and teachers that can benefit for years; as well as to build student-to-student relationships as a form of support and motivation.

To provide a platform and space to learn traditional Islamic sacred arts as a means of empowerment in the South African communities.

Drawing from the meaning of the term “Deen” in the Islamic context, we aim to bridge the lack of opportunities to understand Islamic Arts from aesthetic and philosophical perspectives based in Revelation and Divine Unity. Through our classes in Islamic calligraphy, manuscript illumination, and geometric patterns, students can study under master artists, mirroring the traditional apprenticeship methodology codified in the Ijazah process. We also provide opportunities for Islamic art appreciation, resources, exhibitions, and tours to further engage individuals in the Islamic Arts. Our community is open to a diverse global audience of all cultural backgrounds, faiths, and geographical locations.

Core Team

Zulfar Tofie Samodien

Zulfar Tofie Samodien is from Cape Town, South Africa. She is a student of world renowned Master Calligrapher Haji Noor Deen from China, and is one of the first South African graduates to receive her ijaazah certificate for Arabic Calligraphy in Chinese Style script in March 2023. Zulfar is also studying Ottoman scripts and is the class facilitator for Master  Haji Noor Deen’s at the Deen Arts Foundation. Besides her love for Islamic calligraphy, Zulfar is a graduate of the Darun Na’im Institute of Higher Islamic Learning in South Africa.

Fatima Mahomed

Fatima Mahomed is from Cape Town, South Africa. She is a student of Master Calligrapher Haji Noor Deen from China, learning Arabic Calligraphy in the Chinese Style. She is also a student of Ustaadh Badr from Morocco, learning the Maghrebi Script. She attended the Summer Intensive for Islamic Geometry Patterns, in July 2022 under the tutelage of the very talented Dr Sonmez. She has been a student of Ustaadah Fatma Ulusoy Sirajuddin, from Istanbul, studying Tezhip. Her love for the Islamic Sacred Arts was ignited from trips to Morocco and Turkey, a few years back. She began her calligraphy journey as a student of Ustaadh Nazmie Paulsen, who studied in Egypt under Master Shaykh Belaid Hamidi.

Widad Sirkhotte

Widad Sirkhotte, originally from the Eastern Cape, is a course and curriculum design specialist at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. Prior to working at UCT, she has worked as an education project researcher and high school teacher. In 2019, she started learning Quranic calligraphy with the world respected Master calligrapher Haji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang; as well as learning the Maghrebi script with Badr Essaihi, a Morrocan Islamic calligrapher.  Widad is currently pursuing her PhD where she is exploring teaching and learning practices associated with learning traditional Islamic arts in online mode.

Shaykh Ismail Londt

Shaykh Ismail Londt is a highly accomplished Islamic scholar and Quranic expert who has dedicated his life to the study and teaching of the noble Quran. He began his journey at a young age and by the age of 13, he had memorized the entire Holy Quran. He engaged in Arabic and Islamic studies in Newcastle and furthered his studies in Egypt, obtaining several traditional certifications and narrative chains in Tajwid, Qiraat, and Quranic studies. Apart from his extensive Quranic knowledge, Shaykh Ismail is also pursuing studies at the University of South Africa. He actively translates and compiles texts related to the Holy Quran, contributing to the understanding and dissemination of Islamic teachings. In addition to his academic pursuits, Shaykh Ismail holds various influential positions within the South African Muslim community. He serves as the director of the DU Centre, where he focuses on holistic development from a Quranic perspective. He lectures at various institutions and is currently the Head of the Department of Quranic Affairs under the Muslim Judicial Council. Furthermore, Shaykh Ismail serves as the Imam of the Auwal Masjid, which is the first established masjid in South Africa. Additionally, he actively contributes to the Deen Arts Foundation South Africa organisation, playing a crucial role in promoting and preserving Quranic arts.

Nasreen Adhikari

Nasreen Adhikari serves as the Social Media Strategist and Coordinator for the Deen Arts Foundation in South Africa. With a diverse skill set, she brings a wealth of expertise in administration, social media, and project management to the organization. Nasreen holds a BA degree and an Honours qualification in Anthropology and Linguistics from the University of Cape Town, with a specialisation in digital cultures and languages. Her academic background reflects a deep interest in culture, art, and calligraphy. Nasreen’s dynamic approach infuses the organization with a fresh and vibrant energy, contributing to its mission with passion and creativity.

Our Affiliations

Darun-Na'im   Sheik Ismail Londt