Co-founder, Zaytuna College
Imam Zaid Shakir was born in Berkeley, California, and accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force. He obtained a BA with honors in International Relations at American University in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science from Rutgers University, where he emerged as an active leader in campus activities. After a year in Cairo, Egypt, studying Arabic, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut in 1988 where he co-founded Masjid al-Islam and also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Southern Connecticut State University until his departure for Syria and Morocco to further his studies in the traditional Islamic Sciences. After studying Arabic, Islamic law, Quranic studies, and Islamic spirituality for seven years with some of the top Muslim scholars of our age, he returned to Connecticut in 2001 to continue his work with the Muslim community in America.
Imam Zaid Shakir is a respected writer and popular lecturer on African-American issues and Islam in the American context. He has translated three books from Arabic into English, including “The Heirs of the Prophets” which was published in 2001. In 2003, he moved with his family to Hayward, California to serve as a professor and scholar-in-residence at the highly regarded Zaytuna Institute. In 2009, Imam Zaid Shakir co-Founded Zaytuna College with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Dr. Hatem Bazian where he serves as a Trustee and continues to teach law, theology, political science and other subjects. Imam Zaid has been annually ranked in the top 500 most influential Muslims of our time.