Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf is an Islamic scholar, teacher, and co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, United States.

The Guardian refers to him as “one of the West’s most influential Muslim scholars”. Jordan’s Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre placed him on its list of the top 50 most influential Muslims in the world. Recently, Sheikh Yusuf was ranked as “the Western world’s most influential Islamic scholar” by The 500 Most Influential Muslims.

In 1977, (at the age of 19) just after starting Junior College at Ventura [XII] , Shaykh Hamza was involved in a serious car accident. It was a head-on collision, causing serious injury, bringing him close to Death. The accident began a serious inquest on his part about life and death. The search for meaning after the accident would take another year, culminating in his conversion to Islam.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Background: American
Resides: California, USA
Current Occupation: Islamic scholar, President of Zaytuna College
Education: Ph.D. candidate Islamic Studies, B.A. Religious Studies, Islamic Studies
Denomination: Sunni
Jurisprudence: Maliki
Aqeedah: Ashari’
Preferred Subject: Tassawuf, International relations, socio-economic relations
Notable Teachers: Shaykh Muhammad al- Yaqoubi, Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah

Hamza Yusuf Hanson is president, co-founder, and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College. In March 2015, Zaytuna College was the first Muslim college in the U.S to be awarded accreditation. He is an adviser to the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. He also serves as vice-president for the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, which was founded and is currently presided over by Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the top jurists and masters of the Islamic sciences in the world. In addition, he has joined the Emirates Fatwa Council under the leadership of Shaykh Abdallah.

In January 2015 he attended the World Economic Forum in Davos with Shayk Abdallah Bin Bayyah. He was on the panel discussing the session ‘Religion: A pretext for conflict?’ with names such as Tony Blair & Rabbi David Rosen.


  • Ph.D. candidate, Islamic Studies, GTU/UC Berkeley, CA, 2013 – present;
  • B.A., Religious Studies, San Jose State University, CA, 1997;
  • Honorary doctorate, conferred by Shaykh Shadhili Naifer, Dean of Zaytuna University, Tunisia, 1991;
  • A.S., Nursing, Imperial Valley College, CA, 1990;
  • A.A., English, Imperial Valley College, CA, 1990;
  • Islamic Institute of Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi, (1981-1984); studied grammar, prosody, literature, logic, philosophy, and rhetoric with his father, David J. Hanson; studied philosophy and educational theory in seminar format with Mortimer Adler.
  • Madrasah Studies, Granada, Spain, 1987.
  • Madrasah Studies, Medina, Saudi Arabia, 1986.
  • Madrasah Studies, Twaymarat, Mauritania, 1984–1985.
  • Madrasah Studies, Madrasah Bilal ibn Abi Rabah, Tizi, Algeria, 1984.
  • Madrasah Studies, Islamic Institute of al-Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, 1981–1984.
  • Islamic Studies, Norwich, England, 1977–1980.
  • Received Teaching Licenses in the following subjects: Qur’anic Sciences; Arabic Grammar, Morphology, Elocution (tajwīd), Rhetoric (balāghah), Dialectics (bahth wa munādharah); Legal Theory (usūl al-fiqh); Mālikī Jurisprudence (fiqh); Hadith Sciences, Theology (‘aqīdah), Timekeeping (Sacred Astronomy), Logic, Ethics, Traditional Psychology (tasawwuf)

Private Studies with Shaykh Abdallah Ould Ahmadna, Shaykh Murabit Muhammad Amin, Shaykh Iqbal Ahmad al-Adhami, Shaykh Ahmad Badawi Tayyid al-Asma, Shaykh Muhammad Fatatri al-Azhari, Shaykh Murabit al-Hajj, Shaykh Abd al-Rahman Ould Murabit al-Hajj, Shaykh Murabit Muhammad Hassan Ould al- Hassan, Shaykh Abdal Hayy al-Imrawi, Shaykh Abdallah al-Kadi, Shaykh Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki, Shaykh Hamid Omar al-Wali, Shaykh Muhammad al- Yaqoubi, Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, Shaykh Murabit Ahmad Fal, Shaykh Ahmad Jabir Jibran, Shaykh Anas Abu Murad, Shaykh Abdal Aziz Qassar, Sidi Abu Said, Shaykh Bayyah Ould Salik, Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Shaybani, Shaykh Abdallah Ould Siddiq, Shaykh Muhammad Mahmoud Ould Zaydan, Shaykh Salih al-Ghursi.


  • He is an adviser to Stanford University’s Program in Islamic Studies and the Centre 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. Sheikh 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.
  • Before there was Zaytuna College, there was Zaytuna Institute. Before Zaytuna Institute, there was the Islamic Study School in Hayward, California, where a young Shaykh Hamza Yusuf began teaching a small group of eager students at the invitation of Feraidoon Mojadedi in the mid 90’s. With the generous support of local Muslim businessman, Dr. Hesham Al-Alusi, an abandoned property was purchased and lovingly beautified by the growing community to become Zaytuna Institute, “For the Revival of Islamic Sciences”. The institute, through various programs and media, established an international reputation for its efforts to help revive Islam’s advocacy of traditional modes of education in a modern context.


  • The Burda of al-Busiri: The Poem of the Cloak (2002)
  • Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms, and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart (2004)
  • The Content of Character: Ethical Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (2005)
  • Caesarean Moon Births: Calculations, Moon Sighting, and the Prophetic Way (2007)
  • The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi (2007)
  • Agenda to Change our Condition (2008)
  • The Prayer of the Oppressed (2010)
  • Walk on Water: The Wisdom of Jesus from Traditional Arabic Sources (2010)
  • The Pearls of the Faith (2017)


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