Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson was born in Walla Walla, Washington, and grew up in Northern California.
Shaykh Hamza embraced Islam in 1977 in Santa Barbara, California, when he was still a teenager and set off almost immediately to study Arabic, Islamic jurisprudence, philosophy, and spiritual psychology with masters in the Muslim world. He first studied for four years in the United Arab Emirates and then moved to Madina, followed by Algeria, Morocco, and then finally to a unique madrassa in the Saharan desert of West Africa to study with the scholar Shaykh Murabit Al-Hajj.
After ten-years of studies abroad, he returned to the United States and completed degrees in nursing at Imperial Valley College and religious studies at San Jose State University.
In the early 1990's he began to teach classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and in 1996 he established Zaytuna Institute. Two years later the institute acquired a property in Hayward, California, where it is now based. Zaytuna Institute is committed to inspiring a traditional understanding and study of the core Islamic sciences. In addition to weekly classes, week-long and month-long educational programs, and annual conferences that addresses contemporary issues affecting the American people, Zaytuna Institute has published four small books and several major audio-tape sets of Shaykh Hamza's classes.
His classes on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, produced as a 24-audio tape set, has sold well thousands of copies world-wide.
As the executive director of the Zaytuna Institute, Shaykh Hamza travels frequently to major North American and European cities to teach and lecture to both Muslims and non-Muslim audiences.
(For more information on Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson and the Zaytuna Institute please visit http://www.zaytuna.org/)