Shaykh Hamzah Wald Maqbul
He was born in Whittier, California, and lived in Southern California until the age of ten when he moved to Blaine, Washington. After graduating from Blaine High School, he went on to attend the University of Washington and in 2004 completed a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelors of Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
During his study at the university he was active on campus, serving as the president of the UW Muslim Students Association, which was and is one of the largest and most active student groups on campus, as serving for two years as a student senator, and the Senate- appointed member of special funding committee, which disbursed tens of thousands of dollars to student groups on campus to help fund student-run events. After 9/11 he was also listed by the University of Washington as an expert on Islam and was invited to address various groups from all walks of life from universities to high schools to community groups as well as all forms of media (TV, Radio, Newspaper, Internet).
Twitter - @HamzahMaqbul
After graduation Shaykh Hamzah went on to pursue traditional Islamic studies, which took him to a number of countries, including Syria and Egypt where he studied the Arabic language, Morocco, Mauritania, and UAE, where he studied the madhab of Imam Malik, grammar, usul al-hadith, and the two renditions of the qira’ah of Imam Nafi’, Warsh and Qalun, and finally Pakistan where he had the opportunity to study tafsir, usul al-hadith, hadith, ‘ilm al-rijal and Hanafi fiqh.
All of these studies culminated in him receiving an ijazat al-tadris, literally meaning “a license to teach” which is the equivalent in Pakistani Islamic seminaries to a MA in Arabic and Islamic studies, as well as an unbroken chain of transmission by which to narrate the hadith of such books as the Muwatta of Imam Malik, the Sihah al-Sittah (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah), and the Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar of Imam al-Tahawi.
After his return to the United States, Shaykh Hamzah spent five years as the resident scholar of the Thawr Institute, a non-profit religious and educational organization based in Seattle, Washington, teaching, giving khutbahs in local masajid, and travelling through America promoting the knowledge and practice of the sunnah. In parallel with his work at Thawr, he was worked closely with Islamic Relief, CAIR Seattle, and a number of other non-profit organizations that serve the Muslim Community.
Hamza was born in Whittier, California and lived in Southern California until the age of ten when he moved to Blaine, Washington. He later attended the University of Washington and in 2004 completed a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelors of Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He served as the president of the University of Washington Muslim Students Association, one of the largest and most active student groups on campus, as a student senator for two years, and as the Senate-appointed member of the special funding committee. After 9/11, he was listed by the University of Washington as an expert on Islam and was invited to address various groups including high schools and universities, community groups and television, radio, newspaper and internet media. After graduation, Hamza went on to pursue traditional Islamic studies, which took him to Syria and Egypt where he studied the Arabic language; Morocco, Mauritania, and the UAE.
Contemporary Maliki Scholars from The West
Shaykh Rami Nsour was born in Amman, Jordan and moved to the United States at the age of 9. He was first introduced to the study of sacred knowledge while attending classes taught by shuyukh in the San Francisco Bay Area; notably, Shaykh Khatri bin Bayba, Shaykh Abdullah bin Ahmedna and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Studying at the hands of these inspirational shuyukh kindled his desire to further his studies of the Deen. With their encouragement, Ustadh Rami embarked on a journey to the West African country of Mauritania in 1998 where he became a full-time student of the sacred sciences for several years.
In Mauritania, he studied under the tutelage of some of the greatest scholars of our times such as his foremost teacher, Shaykh Murabit al Hajj bin Fahfu. He was also blessed to study with Murabit Muhammad al-Amin bin al-Shaykh, Murabit Ahmed Fal bin Ahmedna, Shaykh Abdullah bin Ahmedna, Shaykh Tahir ibn Murabit al Hajj and Shaykh Sa'd Bu among others. During the many years he spent in Mauritania, he studied at the School, or Mahdara, of Murabit Al Hajj. All of his lessons were one-on-one. This Mahdara is famous for producing some of the most learned scholars in history. Due to the rigors of its studies, this Mahdara attracts many serious students. Its academic make-up allows for the complete study of the Shari'ah by way of individual lessons with each scholar, followed by review of the lessons with seasoned students and finally, by witnessing the Deen come to life as the laws are implemented on a daily basis by all.
While studying at the Mahdra, Ustadh Rami completed studies in the subjects of Qur'an, Aqeedah, Fiqh, Seerah, Nahu and Ihsan. He dedicated much of his time to studying Maliki Fiqh up to the highest level. He has completed the final text of Maliki fiqh, Mukhtasar Khalil, with memorization has been granted permission by his shuyukh to teach Maliki fiqh. In addition to his extensive study of fiqh, he was afforded the unique opportunity to attend one-on-one sessions with his teachers where he would engage them in countless hours of discuss on the application of fiqh in general and in the West, in specific. It was during these unique sessions that Ustadh Rami developed a love for applying the knowledge gained from his studies to real-life situations. The acquisition of this exceptional skill coupled with his desire to take knowledge to others, would later aid Ustadh Rami in helping countless people and prove to be of immense benefit to all those who would come in contact with him.
Upon returning to California, he continued his study of advanced texts with Shaykh Saleck bin Sidine, a visiting scholar from Mauritania at the Zaytuna Institute. In the years that followed, he lived with Shaykh Saleck and was again afforded the opportunity to learn practical applications of fiqh and fatwa during this extraordinary "in-residence" experience. Ustadh Rami had been teaching and translating for the Zaytuna Institute on visits home to California and continued teaching classes while living and studying with Shaykh Saleck. The classes he taught at the Zaytuna Institute spanned from 2000-2004 and included Maliki fiqh and topics on adab/ihsan based on the works of Shaykh Muhammad Mawlud.
Ustadh Rami has also been gifted with the ability to translate traditional Islamic texts from classical Arabic into the English language in a clear and precise manner. His partial translations of Tadrib as-Salik, al-Izziyyah and Aqrab al-Masalik have been of great service to Malikis living in the West. In addition, his contribution to the science of Islamic etiquette/Adab by translating several works of the great Mauritanian scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Mawlud, have also been of immense benefit to all who have studied these texts. They include Birr al-Walidayan (The Rights of Parents), Ishraq al-Qarar (The Spiritual Aspects of Prayer), and the Adab of Sadaqa. He has also translated a versified version of Adab of the Student entitled Inayant al-Mutafahim (The Assistance of the Student), by Shaykh Muhammad al Hasan.
In addition, Ustadh Rami has dedicated much of his time to community work. He has taught at several local masajid, conducted seminars on Fard Ayn topics and has been involved in marriage counseling. He has spent a great deal of his time teaching and aiding Muslims in prison that are seeking traditional knowledge. His students in the prisons have in turn taught countless people and invited many people to Islam. He has been invited to speak at several national and international Islamic programs and has taught extensively throughout the US and Canada. He was also instrumental in founding Dar as-Salaam, a project dedicated to building and supporting a school which teaches the traditional sciences to adults and children in Mauritania. Ustadh Rami's experience with children includes teaching them the subjects of Arabic, Aqeeda, Fiqh and Adab/Suluk.
He is founder and director of the Tayba Foundation, an educational organization dedicated to preserving the sacred sciences by developing educational programs based on the traditional Islamic texts. At the forefront of the Tayba Foundation's efforts is the compilation of comprehensive educational curriculum whose aim is to teach Muslim children their Fard Ayn knowledge and thereby instill in them a strong sense of Islamic identity. Ustadh Rami currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, is married and has one child.
Shaykh Rami N'sour
Shaykh Abdus Shakur Brooks
It is mentioned in the famous compilation of Sunnan Al-Darimi:
“Whoever is met by death while he is seeking knowledge to revive Islam, then between him and the Prophets will be only one degree in Paradise.”
Abdus Shakur Brooks considers seeking knowledge his primary passion and God-given direction, and for this reason he studies, writes, and teaches as his primary path of focus and worship. Abdus Shakur Brooks is a Canadian from Toronto who converted to Islam in 1998. In 2000 he began his correspondence in traditional studies with a learned Hanafi scholar. During the period of 2000-2003 to Taiwan as a full-time ESL teacher.
Here is where Abdus Shakur says he gained his initial ability to explain ideas and concepts presented in texts clearly because teaching ESL entails communicating the knowledge of a native language to foreign students in a way they can understand by making it as simple as possible without resorting to their native language
In 2003 he traveled to the renowned school Mazharatul-Uloom in India where he spent a short period of time. Since 2004-2011 he carried out studies mainly in a variety of sciences, mainly Maliki fiqh and Arabic grammar, learning from teachers of West Africa, Yemen, Syria, Turkey and Egypt. Abdus Shakur Brooks continues to study, focusing on the study of the 6 standard books of Hadith and specialization in hadith sciences.
Shaykh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is the founder of Lamppost Productions and the Lamppost Education Initiative, and he is the head of Zaytuna College’s Islamic law program. He teaches family law, inheritance law, business law, jurisprudential principles, and hadith science at Zaytuna College. He is a lifelong student of the Islamic tradition being born to Muslim parents having begun a serious study of Islam in his early teens.
He attended Temple University for 2 years (1995-1997) prior to pursuing studies that culminated in a 4-year collegiate license (ijaza ‘ulya) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fes, Morocco (1997-2001). He has also served as adjunct professor of Arabic at UC Berkeley (2013), and adjunct professor of Intro to Islam at the Graduate Theological Union (2014). He holds a BA (ijaza ‘ulya) in Islamic Law (Shar’ia) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fez, Morocco, an MA in Ethics & Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union.
In 2016, he completed his dissertation work (The “Negro” in Afro-Arabian Muslim Consciousness”) and received his Ph.D in Cultural & Historical Studies of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley).
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Abdullah relocated with his family by invitation from Zaytuna College’s Board of Trustees in 2007 to the Bay Area to instruct pilot seminarians in the Islamic rational sciences (theology, legal theory, hadith science) after spending 5 years as assistant full-time chaplain at the State Correctional Institution of Chester, PA (SCI Chester)
Abdullah is a very active member of the Bay Area community who regularly delivers the Friday service address at a number of mosques, and conducts regularly scheduled online classes. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Northstar Islamic School.
Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Wymann-Landgraf) is an American Muslim, born in 1948 to a Protestant family in Columbus, Nebraska. He grew up in Athens, Georgia, where both parents taught at the University of Georgia. His father taught Veterinary Medicine and Organic Chemistry, while his mother’s field was English. In 1964, his parents took positions at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where his grandfather had been a professor emeritus of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Abd-Allah did his undergraduate work at the University of Missouri with dual majors in History and English Literature. He made the Dean’s list all semesters and was nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society. In 1969, he won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and entrance to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to pursue a Ph.D. program in English literature.
Shortly after coming to Cornell, Dr. Abd-Allah read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which inspired him to embrace Islam in early 1970. In 1972, he altered his field of study and transferred to the University of Chicago, where he studied Arabic and Islamic Studies under Dr. Fazlur Rahman. Dr. Abd-Allah received his doctorate with honors in 1978 for a dissertation on the origins of Islamic Law, Malik’s Concept of ‘Amal in the Light of Maliki Legal Theory.
Shaykh Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
From 1977 until 1982, he taught at the Universities of Windsor (Ontario), Temple, and Michigan. In 1982, he left America to teach Arabic in Spain. Two years later, he was appointed to the Department of Islamic Studies at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, where he taught (in Arabic) Islamic studies and comparative religions until 2000.
During his years abroad, Dr. Abd-Allah had the privilege of studying with a number of traditional Islamic scholars. He returned to Chicago in August 2000 to work as chair and scholar-in-residence of the newly founded Nawawi Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation. In conjunction with this position, he is now teaching and lecturing in and around Chicago and various parts of the United States and Canada, while conducting research and writing in Islamic studies and related fields. He recently completed a biography of Mohammed Webb (d. 1916), who was one of the most significant early American converts to Islam. The book was released September 2006 under the title A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb (Oxford University Press). Dr. Abd-Allah is presently completing a second work entitled Roots of Islam in America: A Survey of Muslim Presence in the New World from Earliest Evidence until 1965 and is also updating his dissertation for publication.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson
Hamza Yusuf is the current president of Zaytuna College, located in Berkeley, California. He is an advisor to Stanford University’s Program in Islamic Studies and the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. He also serves as vice-president for the Global Center for Guidance and Renewal, which was founded and is currently presided over by Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the top jurists and masters of Islamic sciences in the world. For almost a decade, Hamza Yusuf was consecutively ranked as “The Western word’s most influential Islamic scholar” by The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009).
Yusuf is one of the leading proponents of classical learning in Islam. He has promoted Islamic sciences and classical teaching methodologies throughout the world. He has also been a strong advocate for social justice, peace, and conviviality among peoples and places. For several years, he has argued that the “them versus us” problem is fundamentally flawed, as he considers himself one of “them” as well as one of “us.”
He has served as an advisor to many organizations, leaders, and heads of state. Yusuf has been an innovator in modern Islamic education, founding the highly imitated Deen Intensives, and with Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Afa, he started the first Rihla program in England, which has been running for over fifteen years. Dozens of young Muslims who were influenced by his call to reviving traditional Islamic studies in the West went to the Muslim lands in the nineties and early part of the current decade to study, many of who are now teachers in their own right. Hamza Yusuf’s contribution to the development of Islam in England has been described as “immense”, “considerable”, and “enormous”, by the academic Haifaa Jawad in her recent book, Towards Building a British Islam.
With Eissa Bougari, Hamza Yusuf initiated a media challenge to the Arab world that resulted in a highly successful cultural religious program that he hosted for three years and was one of the most watched programs in the Arab world during Ramadan. Cambridge Media Studies stated that this program had a profound influence on subsequent religious programming in the Arab world. He has also been interviewed on BBC several times and was the subject of a BBC documentary segment The Faces of Islam, ushering in the new millennium, as it aired at 11:30pm on December 31st 1999.
Hamza Yusuf has been a passionate and outspoken critic of American foreign policy as well as Islamic extremist responses to those policies. He has drawn criticism from both the extreme right in the West and Muslim extremists in the East. Ed Hussain has written that Hamza Yusuf’s teachings were instrumental to his abandoning extremism.
Shaykh Walead Muhammad Mosaad
Walead Mohammed Mosaad was born in New York City in 1972 and grew up in New York and central New Jersey. He obtained a Bachelors degree in Engineering in 1994. He has also completed degrees from al-Azhar, the University of Liverpool, and is currently a PhD candidate in Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK.
Since 1997 he has been studying and teaching the Islamic sciences in the Muslim world as well as Europe and North America. He has been blessed to study with such luminaries as Shaykh Ahmad Taha Rayyan, Shaykh Ali Gomaa, Shaykh Saeed Albouti, Shaykh Kurayyim Rajih, Shaykh Bakri Altarabishi, amongst others. From 2005 to 2011 he worked with the Tabah Foundation in Abu Dhabi as the Cultural and Education Projects manager, where he developed educational initiatives to address the needs of new Muslims, as well as initiatives to foster cross-cultural and interfaith understanding.
He has lectured on various topics of interest, including Muslims as minorities, interfaith understanding, and the importance of purification and spirituality in addressing the human condition. He has taught or lectured in the US, Canada, Trinidad, Guyana, the UK, France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, India, Bahrain, Jordan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and the UAE.
Dr. Sherman Jackson
Dr. Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He was formerly the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).
Dr. Jackson received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. From 1987 to 1989, he served as Executive Director of the Center of Arabic Study Abroad in Cairo, Egypt. He is the author of several books, including Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihâb al-Dîn al-Qarâfî (E.J. Brill, 1996), On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abû Hâmid al-Ghazâlî’s Faysal al-Tafriqa (Oxford, 2002), Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Towards the Third Resurrection (Oxford, 2005) Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering (Oxford, 2009), and most recently Sufism for Non-Sufis? Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari’s Taj al-‘Arus (Oxford, 2012).
Dr. Jackson is a co-founder, Core Scholar, and member of the Board of Trustees of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), an academic institution where scholars, professionals, activists, artists, writers, and community leaders come together to develop strategies for the future of Islam in the modern world. Additionally, Dr. Jackson is a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America, former President of the Shari’ah Scholars’ Association of North America (SSANA) and a past trustee of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT).He has contributed to several publications including the Washington Post-Newsweek blog, On Faith, and the Huffington Post. Dr. Jackson is listed by the Religion Newswriters Foundation’s ReligionLink as among the top ten experts on Islam in America and was named among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.