About the Foundation
Irfa'a Foundation is a registered not for profit organization in Canada, that aims to elevate all it's members to the full manifestation of their Divinely ordained unique gifts. The vehicle we use is Islamic spirituality. The methodology is to combine sound knowledge with steady practice in a community setting built on love and mercifully raising and supporting each other. Our happiness is to see you reach your full potential. That each of you realize your calling and fulfill what you were uniquely created to do, creating a peaceful, harmonious, just, prosperous and equitable world thereby where all may live in truth and beauty.
Founder, Director and Teacher
Irfa'a Foundation is founded and directed by Dr. Farah Zahir, PhD. She is a scientist with over 13 years experience in medical and human genetics research. Completing her doctoral training at one of Canada's premier universities, she went on to identify either directly or indirectly nine new Intellectual Disability syndromes, as well as discover several new genes that cause Intellectual Disability and other neurodevelopmental diseases. She has published over 20 scientific papers, all in top-tier journals for her field, and her work has been cited over 1000 times. Recognizing her scientific achievements, she was awarded eight prestigious funding awards, including a post-doctoral award that ranked her in the top 2nd percentile of young investigators in Canada at the time. She has served as an Assistant Professor in Genomics and Precision Medicine, and sits on research grants for Islamic ethics and genomics pro bono, as well as takes an ongoing active interest in the progress of her academic students' research and studies.
Dr. Farah's islamic training was completed under the guidance of Imam Fode Drame of the Jahanke peoples of the SeneGambia region or West Africa - spiritual masters with over 11 centuries of recorded scholarship. She has also traveled and studied in several parts of the Muslim world, and to date has lived in four different countries. She is authorized to conduct training in Islamic spirituality by her guide, and is honored and humbled to carry out the most important work of connecting people back to their inherent spiritual light. Her written works are to be published by Ras-al-Haq Publications, under her spiritual name - Ifra'aha. The Irfa'a name and logo are as they came to her in her final khalwa (spiritual retreat) under the guidance of her teacher, when she received graduation and the call to publish and teach.
The Irfa'a logo:
The Four Ladies of Paradise
Our Logo represents the four ladies of Paradise - women, who according to the Islamic tradition will be the first to enter Paradise. Each of them represents a unique strength of Muslim womanhood and hence the Muslim nation. These strengths should benefit all and at Irfa'a Foundation our goal is that we raise the embodiment of these virtues in all people. Please see below for a brief description of each of these four ladies of paradise, and see our blog for detailed portraits.
Our mother, Khadija Al Kubra (Khadija the great) is represented by the sun, the golden globe at the base. She was the first to believe in Muhammed as the messenger of God (peace be upon him). She sacrificed her wealth and health for a cause greater than herself. She saw the light in Muhammed and proposed marriage to him when he was a 25 year old young man and she a 40 year old widow. A great merchant, successful business woman, community leader, and mother of all of Muhammed's surviving children; his four daughters. She was the one he ran to when the revelation first descended on him and he was called to his mission. She is our mother, the great lady, represented by the sun.
Then comes the silver moon, representing the lady Asiya, who was the wife of the Pharoah in the time of Moses (peace be upon him), and foster mother to this great prophet. She believed and responded to the message of Moses, who called to the worship of One God, despite being under the tyrannical control of her husband the Pharoah. Pharoah tortured her to death in an effort to make her renounce her faith. Her plight was immense for she knew she could no means to escape this situation. In the Islamic tradition it is recorded that she died while being tortured, saying to those around her that she could see her house being built in Paradise. She is our great role model, she brought up a great prophet, she stood up for truth even against her husband who was a proclaimed 'god-king', a lady of the greatest faith, she is our leader in paradise, represented by the crescent moon.
The green star is our lady Fathima Al Zahra (Fathima the resplendent). The daughter of Muhammed (peace be upon him) and of Khadija Al Kubra. The wife of Sayyiduna Ali and the mother of Sayyiduma Hasan and Hussain. She was known for her piety, beauty, modesty and as the child who took most after her father Muhammed, the messenger of God (peace be upon him). When she walked into the room, Muhammed even in the midst of addressing a gathering, would rise and go to greet her and then lead her to his place of sitting and sit her there. Delicate and beautiful but incredibly strong, she was the first of the family of Muhammed (peace be upon him) to die after his death. It is through her that the greatest lineage of the prophet is established. She is our mother and her hand is over the hands of all men and women when they are weak and in need of gentle comfort. She is a guiding light, the resplendent one, represented by the green star.
The seven rivers of water flowing out of the fountain made from the sun, the moon, and the star is Maryam Al Siddiqah (Mary the Pure). She of piercing blue eyes, she is a beacon of the strength and beauty of womanhood, honoured by all Muslims and revered as the virgin mother of the great prophet Jesus. The enormity of the task placed upon her, to serve in a temple as the first woman allowed inside. Then to bear a child to term as a virgin, to give birth alone, and trust to the protection of God to uphold her dignity and virtue. To do all this with no man beside her side. What a tremendous calling, a sign for all time! Her name is honored in the Quran, titling the 19th chapter, which is also the most beautiful in recitation. It is said our lady Fathima takes most after her 'older sister' Maryam. Maryam the pure and holy, honored to bear the word of God, represented by the seven flowing blue rivers.
All four women are our mothers. They are unique and they are the same. Biological mothers, foster mothers, single mothers, older women who became mothers later in life, some married to the greatest of men, some to the worst, and some not married. These four ladies give Muslim women, and Muslim men, role models who embody the strength, breadth and beauty of true womanhood, indeed a great creation. We honour them with our logo, and pray to continue in their footsteps as true worshipers of the Divine. This is the purpose of Irfa'a Foundation, to continue in the footsteps of these foremost four, bringing the light and love enshrined in the female, to the Muslim nation and all humanity.