||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
Hamza Yusuf at Doha Academy Education Conference in Qatar, 2010.
1958 (age 54–55)
Walla Walla, Washington, United States
|Residence||Northern California, United States|
|Religion||Sunni Islam Maliki|
|Spouse(s)||Liliana (Umm Yahya) Hanson|
Hamza Yusuf is an American Islamic scholar, and (with Zaid Shakir and Hatem Bazian) is co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, United States. He is one of the leading proponents of classical learning in Islam and has promoted Islamic sciences and classical teaching methodologies throughout the world.
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 a member of the board of advisors of George Russell’s One Nation, a national philanthropic initiative that promotes pluralism and inclusion in America. In addition, he serves as vice-president for the Global Center for Guidance and Renewal, which was founded and is currently presided over by Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the top jurists and masters of Islamic sciences in the world.
He is a convert to Islam, and is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding. The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom reported that he "is arguably the west's most influential Islamic scholar."
Yusuf was born as Mark Hanson to two academics in Washington State and raised in Northern California. He grew up a practicing Greek Orthodox Christian and attended prep schools on both the east and west coasts. In 1977, after a near-death experience and reading the Qur'an, he converted to Islam from Chrisitanity (he seemed destined for the Greek Orthodox priesthood at his early age).
Soon after converting, Yusuf moved to England, Spain, and eventually to Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates to pursue serious study of Islam. There he primarily studied Arabic and also served as a muezzin of a local mosque. There he was introduced to Mauritanian scholars and began more serious study of various Islamic disciplines including Maliki fiqh. This eventually led him to travel to Mauritania itself in order to study directly with the renowned scholar and sage of the land, Sidi Muhammad ould Fahfu al-Massumi, more famously known as Murabit al-Hajj. During his intermittent stays there, Yusuf both lived and studied directly with Murabit al-Hajj.
He and colleagues founded the Zaytuna Institute in 1996, dedicated to the revival of traditional study methods and the sciences of Islam. Eventually, in the fall of 2010 it would open its doors as Zaytuna College, a four-year Muslim liberal arts college, the first of its kind in the United States. It incorporates Yusuf's vision of combining the classical liberal arts - based in the trivium and quadrivium - with rigorous training in traditional Islamic disciplines. It aims to "educate and prepare morally committed professional, intellectual, and spiritual leaders."
Yusuf has taken a stance against religious justifications for terrorist attacks. He described the 9/11 attacks as "an act of 'mass murder, pure and simple'". Condemning the attacks, he has also stated "Islam was hijacked ... on that plane as an innocent victim".
Jordan's Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre currently places him 42nd on its list of the top 500 most influential Muslims in the world. The magazine Egypt Today described him as a kind of theological rock star, "the Elvis Presley of western Muslims." Recently, Hamza Yusuf was ranked as "the Western world's most influential Islamic scholar" by The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin (2009).
In 2003, Hamza Yusuf initiated a media challenge to the Arab world that resulted in a highly successful cultural religious program , "Yallah Shabab" that he hosted for three years. It 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.
Books and Pamphlets Authored
- Prayer of the Oppressed (2011) - with CD
- The Burda (2003)
- Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart (2004)
- The Content of Character (2004)
- The State We Are In: Identity, Terror, and the Law of Jihad (contributing Author) (2006)
- The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi (2007)
- Agenda to Change our Condition co-authored with Zaid Shakir (2007)
- Walk on Water: The wisdom of Jesus Walk on Water: The wisdom of Jesus (2010)
- Educating your Child in Modern Times
Books with Foreword or note
- Instruction of the Student: The Method of Learning
- The Prophetic Invocations By Mostafa Al-Badawi
Book Edited with Zaid Shakir
- Submission Faith and Beauty Submission Faith and Beauty, The Religion of Islam by Joseph Lumbard (2009)
- Caesarean Moon Births Part 1
- Caesarean Moon Births Part 2
- Climbing Mount Purgatorio
- Religion, Violence, and the Modern World
- Generous Tolerance in Islam and its Effects on the Life of a Muslim
- Chess in the Light of the Jurist
- Who are the Disbelievers?
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfL0Fl9d0iA&feature=related at 4:22 a lecture by Hamza Yusuf on the Dajjal
- "Prominent Malikis in the American milieu include the founder of the Zaytuna Institute Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson". Jocelyne Cesari, Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States, p 23.
- Edward E. Curtis, The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States, p. 405
- Z. Grewal, Islam Is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority, p 377
- Jocelyne Cesari, Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States, p 643
- O'Sullivan, Jack (October 7, 2001). "If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country". The Guardian (London). Retrieved November 22, 2011.
- Raquel Ukeles, The Evolving Muslim Community in America: The Impact of 9/11, p 101
- Z. Grewal, Islam Is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority, p 161
- Daniel Brumberg, Dina Shehata, Conflict, Identity, and Reform in the Muslim World: Challenges for U.S Engagement, p 367
- Charles L. Cohen, Ronald L. Numbers, Gods in America: Religious Pluralism in the United States, p 186
- "The 500 most influential Muslims in the world". Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. Archived from the original on October 2, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hamza Yusuf.|
- Sandala.org – Official website of Hamza Yusuf
- Zaytuna.org – Zaytuna College
- Sheikhhamza.com – Contains list of books recommended by Hamza Yusuf and a biography
- AlimTube.com – Videos by Hamza Yusuf on Alim Tube