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African American Islamic Institute Legacy Academy


Our Founder

Sheikh Hassan Ali Cisse (RA)

Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse was the Founder and Chairman of the African American Islamic Institute (AAII) from 1988 until his death in 2008. He was an internationally respected Islamic scholar and leader, as reflected in the responsibilities entrusted to him.

  • Chief Imam, The Central Mosque, Medina-Kaolack, Senegal

  • President, Elhadji Ibrahim Niass University, Dakar, Senegal

  • President, Network of African Islamic Organizations for Population and Development

  • Special Adviser for Islamic Affairs, Republic of Ghana

  • Honorary Member, Ulama League of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

A Distinguished Leader of the Tariqa Tijaniyya.
Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse was born in Kaolack, Senegal in December, 1945, the first grandson of Shaykh-al-Islam, Al Hajj Ibrahim Niass and the son of Seydi Aliou Cisse and Fatimata Zahra Niass. His educational accomplishments include:

  • Memorization of the Holy Qur’an at 10 years of age

  • Completion of elementary and secondary studies in Senegal and Mauritania

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Islamic Studies and Islamic Literature, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

  • Master of Philosophy (MA), University of London, England

  • Diploma in English Language, University of London, England

  • Diploma in French Language, University of London, England

  • Courses and Research toward Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Islamic Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA (interrupted).

  • Fluency in English, French, Arabic, Hausa and Wolof

Shaykh Hassan Cisse emerged as the preeminent leader of the Tariqa Tijaniyya. In 1976, he introduced the Tariqa Tijaniyya to American Muslims. Since then, he continued to teach, guide and inspire Muslims throughout the world to fear Allah and love Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and reminded them to do what Allah says do, and stop where Allah says stop.

Current President of AAII

Imam Cheikh Ahmad Tijani Ali Cisse

Imam Cheikh Ahmad Tijani Ali Cisse (born 1955) is the spiritual leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order. The Tijaniyya is the largest Sufi order in Western Africa and its leader is responsible for nearly 300 million Sufi adherents
Imam Cheikh Cisse is the second son of Shaykh Ali Cisse and Fatima Zahra Niasse, daughter of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, a major leader of the Tijānī Sufi order.

He studied under his father Ali and grandfather Ibrahim in Senegal focusing mostly on Arabic literature and poetry. Thereafter, he went to Egypt where he lived with his elder brother, Sufi scholar Shaykh Hassan Cisse who was in his last year of advanced study. In 1974, he graduated first in his class at the Al-Azhar preparatory school receiving a diploma in Arabic language.

In 1977, he received a B.A. in Arabic Language from Al-Azhar University and in 1981, he earned a M.A. in Theology later serving on the faculty of Al-Azhar University in the department of Hadith (or religious edicts).
After completing his education in Egypt, he went on a religious mission to Africa, the Middle East and the Americas to seek converts to Islam (or Dawah) through religious debates and public speaking.


At the same time, he published several books including a complete edit of Shaykh Ibrahim’s Kashif al-Ilbas, published a collection of Shaykh Ibrahim’s writings (which he named Sa’adat al-Anam), and assisted in the publication of a comprehensive collection of Shaykh Ibrahim’s supplications, Kanz al-Masun.
On August 15, 2008, Cisse was unanimously elected to the Imamnate by the leading members of the Tijaniyya Sufi order Cisse is based in Senegal and serves as the Imam of the Grand Mosque in the village of Medina Baye, now part of the city of Kaolack, one of Western Africa's key positions of Islamic leadership. The Tijaniyya Sufi order was founded by Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tijani al-Hasani in the late 18th century. As the spiritual leader of the Tijaniyya, Cisse is considered have direct spiritual inspiration (or Fayda Tijaniyya) which gives him supreme authority to advise and direct the order's followers.
In 2001, he was appointed Senegal’s General Commissioner for the Hajj. In 2006, he was appointed by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade as a “Special Missions Ambassador.” In 1993, he received Senegal’s distinguished award, the Ordre de Merite. He has been named among the world's 500 most influential Muslims, placing at #23 as of 2012.


Chief Spiritual Advisor

Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse

Shaykh Mouhamadou Mahy Cisse is an Islamic scholar and spiritual guide in the Tijani Sufi order. He is the official spokesperson for the largest branch of the Tijani order, the Jummat al-Faydah (Community of the Flood of Divine Grace), which has over 100 million followers. Shaykh Mahy is the grandson of the prolific Senegalese Islamic scholar Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse (R). He is the son of Shaykh Ibrahim's foremost student, Sayyidi Ali Cisse (R) and his daughter, Fatima Zahra Niasse, also an accomplished scholar. After extensive study in Medina Baye, Senegal, Shaykh Mahy obtained a Masters from Al-Azhar University in Egypt. Upon returning to Senegal, he served as the Director of Studies for the African American Islamic Institute, which was founded by his eldest brother, the renowned scholar and humanitarian Shaykh Hassan Cisse (R). Since Shaykh Hassan’s passing in 2008, Shaykh Mahy has worked closely with his older brother, Imam Cheikh Tijani Cisse, the Imam of the Jummat al-Faydah.

About Our Director

Hajjiya Kubra Askari-Cisse

Hajjiya Kubra Askari-Cisse is a scholar, educator, and community leader. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Hajjiya Seyda Kubra moved to Medina Baye, Senegal at the age of 13. In Medina Baye, she memorized Qur'an at Shaykh Hassan Aliou Cisse's African American Islamic Institute (AAII) school, becoming a hafiza (or woman who has memorized the entire Qur'an) in 2001. During her studies, she supported other African and African American children and youth in their own pursuit of Qur'anic education. Since 2002, she has housed more than thirty students in her own home in Medina Baye. Under her care, at least six African American young women and men have become hufaz. In 2003, with the permission and encouragement of Shaykh Hassan, Seyda Kubra founded the African American Islamic Institute (AAII) Preschool, a school that introduced young children between the ages of 3 and 6 to basic Arabic, French, and Islamic Studies, as well as other academic subjects aimed at preparing them for their future Islamic and secular and academic endeavors.

It was the first preschool established in Medina Baye.


In 2017, after more than fifteen years of housing Qur'an students in her own home in Medina Baye, Seyda Kubra established an official dormitory to house international students attending AAII. In 2018, she opened the AAII Legacy Academy I, an international Islamic boarding school. Her various educational and humanitarian efforts are inspired by her beloved Sheikh, the late Sheikh Hassan Ali Cisse, whose life mission was the advancement of humanity through initiatives in education, healthcare, and dissemination of information. Seyda Kubra lives in Medina Baye with her husband, Shaykh Mouhammadou Mahy Cisse, and her daughter, UmmuSulaiman Cisse. 

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