Imam Zaid Shakir - USA
Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, chairman of the board, and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College located in Berkeley, CA. He is also the chair of Zaytuna’s Student Affairs Committee, which looks after student residential life and co-curricular activities, 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. Co-founder and Imam of Masjid al-Islam from 1988 to 1994, he taught political science and Arabic at Southern Connecticut State University, columnist for the New Haven Register, co-founded the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee, and spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti-drug effort. He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at Yale University and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital.
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 community activism.
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).