Burhan was born in Germany in 1980, where his parents had found asylum as political refugees from Afghanistan. In 2002, he began his film studies at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.
His short film Illusion won numerous awards, including the 2008 German Film Critics Prize.
Shahada (2010), his first full-length feature film, participated in the main competition of the Berlin Film Festival. The film captured several prizes in various festivals, including Berlin (the German Arthouse Theatres Prize), Chicago, Potsdam, Ghent, Hesser, and more.