Dr. Umar Faruq was born in 1948 to a Protestant family in Columbus, Nebraska but grew up in Athens, Georgia.
Dr. Umar 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. Umar then 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.
He started a career in teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies. 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.
Resides: Chicago, USA
Current Occupation: Teacher
Education: Dual major in History and English Literature, Ph.D
Preferred Subject: Arabic, Legal Theory
Notable Teachers: Dr. Fazlur Rahman
During his years abroad, Dr. Abd-Allah had the privilege of studying with a number of traditional Islamic scholars.
After nearly a 20 year absence, it was time to return to the US. Abd-Allah returned to Chicago in 2000 and took office as to work as the chair and scholar-in-residence of the newly founded Nawawi Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation. Abd-Allah, who continues to work and teach today at the Nawawi Foundation, where Ingrid Mattson is also present, teaches and lectures in different parts of the United States and Canada.
He recently completed a biography of Mohammed Webb (d. 1916) A Muslim in Victorian America: The Story of Alexander Russell Webb who was one of the most significant early American converts to Islam. 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.
He also continues to visit various countries teaching students on retreats and weekend courses.
- 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.
- Both of his parents taught at the University of Georgia. His father taught Veterinary Medicine and Organic Chemistry, while his mother’s field was English
- He graduated 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.
- Malik’s Concept of ‘Amal in the Light of Maliki Legal Theory – Thesis.
- A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb,
- The Islamic Struggle in Syria
- Mālik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period.
- Abu Hanifa in Encyclopaedia
- Theological Dimensions of Islamic Law in The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology
- One God, Many Names.
- Islam and the Cultural Imperative.
- Living Islam with Purpose.
- Dr. Umar is currently 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.