Imam Zaid Shakir
Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder of Zaytuna College, located in Berkeley, CA., and also teaches Islamic law and history. He obtained a BA summa cum laude in International Relations at American University in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science from Rutgers University. In 1994, he departed for Syria to further his studies in the traditional Islamic Sciences. Studying Arabic, Islamic law, Quranic studies, and Islamic spirituality for seven years in Syria, and briefly in Morocco, with some of the top Muslim scholars of our age, he graduated from Syria's prestigious Abu Noor University in 2001 with a BA in Islamic Studies and returned to Connecticut to continue his work with the Muslim community in America.
That same year, he began writing and speaking frequently on a host of issues. He translated from Arabic into English Ibn Rajab’s The Heirs of the Prophets, published by Starlatch Press. In 2005, Zaytuna Institute published Scattered Pictures: Reflections of An American Muslim, an anthology of diverse essays penned by him. In 2008, Imam Zaid authored an award-winning text, Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance, a translation and commentary on Imam Harith al-Muhasibi’s work, Risala al-Mustarshideen, and NID Publishers released Where I’m Coming From: The Year In Review in 2010, which is a collection of his essays concerning ideas and personalities shaping the news.
Trained in both the academic and religious intellectual traditions, Imam Zaid is uniquely qualified as a commentator on the substantial issues of our time. And, he brings clarity of mind and engaging honesty to even the most controversial issues. Imam Shakir has been invited to lecture at several prominent universities including Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Rutgers, and Temple University. As a compelling force for the improvement of race relations in America, and amongst the most respected global Islamic scholars, The New York Times describes him as a “leading intellectual light
He has served as an advisor to many organizations and influential leaders. As a gifted author and lecturer, Imam Zaid Shakir recently was ranked as “one of the most influential Scholars” in the West; by The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009).
Shaykh Jihad Brown
is Director of Research at the Tabah Foundation in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. After receiving degrees in Psychology and Near East Studies from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1994, he went on to study Arabic rhetoric, dialectic theology, and Islamic legal theory with prominent religious authorities in Damascus. In accordance with the criteria of traditional learning methods he studied privately with notable scholars like Muhammad Adib al-Kallas, Dr. Saeed Ramadan al-Buti, and Muhammad Ali al-Shuqayr receiving his scholarly licenses (ijazah) after ten years of intensive training. This included a year in the Minor Atlas of Morrocco reading the Comendium of Compendia of al-Taj al-Subki with the scholar and jurist Muhammad Ghali al-Dadisi in the “antique” madrasa of Tanalit. Mr. Hashim-Brown travels widely, teaching and lecturing in the service of engaging classical jurisprudence and theology with the contemporary age. He has also appeared frequently on numerous satellite television programs in the region.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, Nawar Taleb-Agha has always had a passion for the Deen. She graduated from the University of California- Berkeley with a BA in Linguistics. In 2003 she received her ijaza in Tajweed in the Hafs recitation from the late Shaykh Abu Al-Hassan Al-Kurdi (may Allah have Mercy on him.) This opened the door for her to further her studies in the Islamic Sciences.
She embarked on a three year journey to Damascus, Syria where she studied at the Nouriyah Hadith Institute (Madrasat al Hadith al Nooriyah) Uloom al-Hadith, Usool al-Fiqh, Inheritance law and Shamaail of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. In Damascus she was also able to study Arabic, Tafsir, and Shafi’i Fiqh at the hands of female scholars. By the Grace of Allah, she then received the prestigious ijaza for the memorization of Quran in the Hafs Recitation from Shaykh Muhammad Nizar al-Kurdi which requires having a thorough understanding of Arabic grammar as well as memorization of the Jazariya Poem of Tajweed rules.
Ust. Nawar has taught for the Zaytuna Institute Arabic Intensive and teaches Arabic and Tajweed classes locally. Currently, she is the head teacher for The Rahmah Foundation Girls’ and Women’s Hifdh (memorization) Program taught at Lighthouse Mosque.
Yaser Ali is currently a third year law student at UC Berkeley. Alhamdulilah, he memorized the Quran at a young age, and has been leading Taraweeh prayers at various masajid around the United States for the last 10 years, including the last two years at the Lighthouse Mosque. In 2008, he traveled to Amman, Jordan, where by the Grace of Allah SWT, he earned his ijazah in tajweed and memorization for the Hafs Riwayah on the Shatibiyyah Tariqa. Yaser teaches Tajweed classes at Lighthouse Mosque.
Sister Sumayyah Waheed studied Tajwid in Damascus, Syria, and received her Ijaza to teach the Hafs recitation in 2002 from the late eminent Syrian scholar, Shaikh Abu Hassan al-Kurdi. She also studied law at UC Berkeley, graduating in 2005. She currently works at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland. Sr Sumayyah teaches Women's Tajweed classes at Lighthouse Mosque.
Ustadh Abdul Irshad began his studies under the tutelage of Maulana Mootaz in Milpitas Ca. He traveled to Cairo Egypt where he lived for 4 years and completed a certificate in the Arabic Grammar. He will be teaching from the text Kitabul Assaasi.