Imam’s Corner


Imam Ousmane Sawadogo:

Imam Ousmane Sawadogo originates from West Africa and is fluent in Arabic, English, French, Mooré, and Bambara. He is a husband and the father of two children. He has been Imam of the Central Illinois Mosque & Islamic Center (CIMIC) since 2016.

Before being selected by CIMIC after a nation-wide search, Imam Ousmane was an assistant imam at the Carbondale Muslim Center (CMC)/Masjid An-Nur in Carbondale, Illinois. 

From 1993 to 2004, he studied traditional and academic Islamic Sciences as well as Arabic Language and Literature in Egypt and Syria. Throughout his time in the Middle East, he studied, in and out of the classroom, the Qur’an and its exegesis (tafsir), prophetic tradition and sayings (hadith), comparative Islamic jurisprudence (al-fiqh al-Muqaran), Arabic, and many other Islamic sciences under the tutelage of renowned scholars.


 Imam Ousmane earned a certification (Ijaaza) in memorizing, reading, and teaching of the Qur’an from Cheikh Abdur Razzaq Al Halabi, with whom he also studied the kutub as-sittah, Muwatta of Imam Malik, Tafseer al-Qurtubi, and many other Islamic classical works in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.

Imam Ousmane holds an Ijaaza Aaliyah Degree in the Foundations of Religion (Usul ud-Din), with a Major in Hadith and Hadith Studies from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He also holds a Certificate of Specialization in Hadith Studies, and a Diploma of Islamic and Arabic Studies, both from the Mahad al-Fath Al-Islami in Damascus, Syria.

Imam Ousmane also holds a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Master of Arts in Arab Studies from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. Currently, he is pursuing a doctorate in Arabic Linguistics from Al-Madinah International University in Malaysia.

Imam Ousmane leads the daily prayers, delivers Friday and Eid sermons, officiates marriage contracts (nikah) and leads funeral services, conducts regular classes in Islamic studies and spiritual development, and provides counseling and advice to members of the Muslim community of East Central Illinois. He serves as an advisor to the CIMIC Board of Directors and as an ex officio member of the CIMIC Worship (Ibadaat), Outreach, Education, and Seminar committees. He is also a Carle Pastoral Care Volunteer and a member of the Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County and of Champaign-Urbana Friends & Allies of Immigrants & Refugees (CU FAIR). He is regularly invited to speak at local and national community events and in the local media.

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