Our History

Zaytuna College was founded in 2009 by Imam Zaid Shakir, Hamza Yusuf, and Dr. Hatem Bazian to restore broad-based and pluralistic scholarship to its proper place as a central priority of Muslims. In 2004, Imam Zaid initiated a pilot seminary program at Zaytuna Institute, which was useful in Zaytuna College’s refinement of its Islamic Studies curriculum and its educational philosophy. For four years, students in the pilot program were engaged in the study of contemporary and classical texts, and in 2008, three men and two women graduated from the program.


Since the culmination of the pilot program, the Board of Directors has been guiding Zaytuna through a major transition that has oriented the organization toward the goal of establishing Zaytuna College as America’s first accredited Muslim institution of higher learning. Zaytuna Institute was founded by Hamza in 1996. During its early years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zaytuna rapidly established a national reputation for providing premier educational programs, publications, and audio and visual materials for the local and national Muslim community.

“I view the Zaytuna approach as trying to increase knowledge [and] Islamic education. Having authentic, traditional shaykhs who have a continuous transmission from the past and learning from them—that is a most excellent idea.”

Dr. Khalid Blankinship
Professor, Temple University