Imam Tahir Anwar was born in London, England, in 1978, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California in 1983. He completed the initial studies of the Qur’an and the Arabic language under his father, who is also a scholar of the Islamic sciences. In 1991, he traveled to Gujarat, India where he enrolled in a traditional Islamic University named Darul Uloom Falah-e-Darain (The House of Knowledge which is of benefit in both worlds). In recognition of his academic achievements at this institution in 1999, Imam Tahir was given the title of ‘Aalim, which is bestowed upon a person who successfully completes the course in Islamic Theology.
Since 2000, Imam Tahir has been serving as the Imam (religious leader) and Director of Religious Services at the South Bay Islamic Association, located in San Jose, California. He is also the head of the Islamic Studies Department, and an Islamic Studies teacher at Granada Islamic School in nearby Santa Clara. He has also taught Hanafi fiqh at the world-renowned Zaytuna Institute.
Much of Imam Tahir’s passion is in doing outreach work, and he currently sits on the following Boards:
- Human Relations Commissioner for the County of Santa Clara
- Zaytuna College’s Management Committee
- Muslim Chaplain at the Santa Clara County Correctional Facilities
- Northern California Islamic Council — A peer-to-peer network of advice and support for Islamic non-profit organizations, whose aim is to provide a united Muslim voice to the community at large
- Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) — A group of 300 young dynamic Muslim leaders from around the world who are committed to creating positive social change. The program provides a venue for these Muslim leaders to propose and debate solutions to the problems facing their societies and the global Muslim community
In the past, Imam Tahir has served various panels and commissions, including:
- Human Rights Commissioner for the City of San Jose (2003-2008)
- Community Advisory Panel for CPBS (California Public Broadcasting System), a local radio and television channel (2005-2008)
- The Interfaith Council on Religion, Race, Economic, and Social Justice (2007-2008)
Imam Tahir has also been awarded the following awards due to his work in the community:
- February 2009 – Human Relations Award by the County of Santa Clara
- May 2008 – Unity in Diversity Award by the County of Santa Clara
- May 2005 – Community Service Award, North-American Islamic Shelter for the Abused
He is frequently invited to speak to forums at various universities and religious institutions. Imam Tahir is fluent in English, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, and Gujarati. He currently resides in San Jose, California with his wife and two sons.