Dr. Ahmad Totonji

Dr. Ahmad Totonji is the founder secretary General of IIFSO. He is also co-founder of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, along with Anwar Ibrahim, Dr. Hisham al Talib, and the late Dr. Jamal al Barzinji.  He was also a Chairman of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), and Deputy Secretary-General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).

Dr. Ahmad Totonji was born in Arbil, in North of Iraq, and is a citizen of Saudi Arabia.  He speaks Arabic, English, Turkish and Kurdish. Dr. Ahmads father “Al Haj Mohammad was a prominent businessman in Arbil who focused on daily teaching his children to read the Quran “everydayâ at Fajr time.  By the age of 6, Ahmad has read the entire Quran.  After school, Dr. Ahmad and his brothers developed business skills working in the family business.

He graduated from high school in Baghdad in 1958.  

Throughout his life, Dr. Ahmad Totonji has pioneered the establishment of many International Islamic Organizations.  While still a university student in England, he was one of the founders of the Muslim Students Society of UK & Eire (MSS) in 1960; United Muslim Student Organization of Europe (UMSO) in 1961; and the Federation of Islamic Student Society in UK and Eire (FOSIS) in 1963.  In addition he also helped develop the activities of the Muslim Community in Birmingham, England from 1960–1963.

In 1963, Ahmad Totonji graduated with distinction in Petroleum Production Engineering from Birmingham University and was subsequently awarded a scholarship from Penn. State University in USA for Masters and Ph.D. studies.

Upon his arrival in the USA in 1963, he soon became one of the organizers of the establishment of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) of US & Canada. As the first publication Secretary of MSA in 1964, he produced the MSA Newsletter and The Horizon Magazine in 1964.  By the time of his appointment as the second President of the MSA in 1965, at least 20 new chapters of MSA were established. 

He first visited Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana in 1968 when he was invited by IMG to attend their conference.  He then became a member of the committee in acquiring the first MSA hostel in Ann Arbour, Michigan and was also instrumental in establishing the Al-Ameen Mosque in Gary, Indiana, to house the first headquarters of MSA of US & Canada. For this purpose, the North American Islamic Trust was established to register the building, and Ahmad Totonji provided invaluable assistance, voluntarily and full time, to upgrade the headquarters in 1971-1972.

It was earlier in 1969, together with a few associates, when he organised the foundation of the International Islamic Federation of Students Organizations and became the first Secretary General, representing MSA of US & Canada. This organization initially launched the translation of 40 Islamic books into more than 100 languages and organized International Youth Camps in 5 continents of the World.

In 1970, Ahmad Totonji completed his Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering.  In 1972, Dr. Ahmad Totonji helped to establish the College of Petroleum and Mineral Engineering, Al-Fateh University, Tripoli, Libya.  In 1974, he established the Department of Petroleum Engineering in King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Dr Ahmad Totonji has been instrumental in the establishment of many Islamic based think tank organizations and charity groups.

Among them are the International Institute of Islamic Thoughts (IIIT) in USA, SAAR Foundation in USA, International Islamic Forum for Science, Technology and Human Resources Development IFTIKHAR  in Indonesia with Dr. Habibi who became the President of Indonesia after Suharto, International Islamic Charitable Organization in Kuwait, Islamic Call Society in Tripoli, Libya and others.

During his time of involvement in Muslim organizations throughout the World, he has organized and arranged scores of Islamic National & International conferences and training programs all over the World, visited more than 135 countries including Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana and assisted in Islamic Educational activities in more than 180 countries.

Many Malaysian Muslim students who graduated in UK and USA from the 1970s throughout the end of the 1990s are familiar with Dr. Ahmad Totonji’s work as an inspiration for developing networks with Islamic intellectual bodies Worldwide.

Dr Ahmad has 5 children and 18 grandchildren. He is a brother, friend, father, uncle, companion, scholar, educator, leader and a most generous human.  His smile does not leave his face and has a positive impression and sometimes a lasting impact on people who meet him “once” and remember him after decades.  He still goes to his office 7 days a week with the conviction and motivation to help make our world a better place for Humanity.