Zaytuna College has one of the richest and most diverse faculties for a major in Islamic Law and Theology in the country. Trained by individual scholars and in institutions for advanced study in the Muslim world (Morocco, Mauritania, Jordan, Syria, the UAE, and India), and in graduate programs in the West (Stanford, UC Berkeley, the GTU, Yale, University of Exeter, the University of Notre Dame), Zaytuna’s faculty consists of Muslims and scholars of other faiths, PhDs, JDs, MDs, and instructors with licenses (ijazahs) to teach the traditional sciences of Islam.
Zaytuna fosters a rich and sustained engagement of the faculty in collaboration to support the core function of the College in curriculum design and learning inside the classroom. Every semester, the faculty gather in retreats and meetings to discuss classes, syllabi, teaching method and philosophy, and assessment of outcomes. The faculty also read and discuss texts from across the curriculum, along with contemporary works in the field of liberal education. A January, 2015 report issued by a team of external reviewers from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges distinguished the unique culture of Zaytuna’s faculty with the following words: “Indeed the devotion of the faculty as a whole to the mission of the College and the students’ education is beyond what many of the team members have seen elsewhere.”
Nethal Abdul-Mu'min is a faculty member in tajwid and hifz at Zaytuna College. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Berkeley, California. During eight years of studying abroad, she graduated from Abu Nour University in 2001 with a Bachelor's degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies, and through private study, received ijazahs (authorization) in tajwid of the Qur'an, two on the narration of Hafs, and one on the narration of Warsh.
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is a full-time faculty member specializing in Islamic Law, Theology, and Hadith Science at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA. He is a lifelong student of the Islamic tradition. Born to Muslim parents, he began a serious study of Islam in his early teens.
Tahir Anwar is a faculty member of Zaytuna College. He was born in London, England, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1983. Upon completing his religious studies at the renowned Darul Uloom Falah Darain in India, he has been serving as the imam of one of the oldest masjids in the country, the Islamic Center of San Jose, since 2001.
Ali Ataie has been involved in interfaith activities for over fifteen years. He has been a guest lecturer and guest instructor at several colleges and universities, including Cal Poly State, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cal State East Bay, and others.
Cindy Ausec was born and raised in California. After graduating high school, she entered the US Army where she was trained as a German Linguist and spent four years in Germany. After army service, she earned a BA in International Relations from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Rania Awaad has received a traditional license (ijazah) to teach Qur’anic recitation (tajwid) in both the Hafs and Warsh recitations from the late eminent Syrian scholar, Shaykh Abu Hassan al-Kurdi. In addition to completing several advanced texts of the Shafi’i school (madhhab), she is licensed to teach texts of Maliki jurisprudence (fiqh), literature (adab), and spirituality (ihsan).
Dr. Hatem Bazian is a co-founder and faculty member at Zaytuna College. He is also a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, Dr. Bazian is also a visiting Professor in Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California and advisor to the Religion, Politics, and Globalization Center at UC Berkeley. In 2009, he founded the Center for the Study of Documentation of Islamophobia at UC Berkeley. Dr. Bazian is on the board of several organizations, including the Islamic Scholarship Fund and Muslim Americans for Palestine, for which he is also the founding president.
Qari Amar Bellaha teaches hifz, memorization of the Qur’an, at Zaytuna College. Raised in Morocco, he memorized the Qur’an at 17 from Madrasat Imam Nafia. He has ijaza for the Hafs and Warsh forms of Qur’anic recitation. In 1994 and 1995, he was awarded top prizes in the National Moroccan Tajweed competition. He is recognized for the beauty, clarity and excellence of his recitation and is one of the Bay area’s foremost Qur’an teachers.
Mark Damien Delp
Dr. Mark Damien Delp is lecturer in Logic and Philosophy at Zaytuna College. After having studied continental philosophy and existentialism as an undergraduate, he pursued primarily ancient and medieval topics, especially the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas and Neoplatonism, in his graduate study.
Dr. Fadi Elhin is the Director of the Arabic Program and a full time faculty member at Zaytuna College. Before joining Zaytuna College, he taught Arabic at the University of Montana. He also taught Arabic at a community college in New Jersey. His devotion to the Arabic language is matched only by his deep concern for student learning. Dr. Fadi Elhin received his Ph. D. from the University of Jordan in 2009. Education: Ph.D., Islamic Jurisprudence, University of Jordan, 2009 M.A., Islamic Jurisprudence, University of Jordan, 2002 B.A. Islamic Jurisprudence, University of Jordan, 2000
Dr. Youssef Ismail teaches Astronomy, History of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Youssef’s knowledge of the scientific world is complemented by his appreciation for photography of the natural world. This is reflected in his entrepreneurial venture of Organic Light Photography. Outside of Zaytuna College, he is an instructor and curriculum developer at A Schmahl Science Workshop. He previously worked as an engineer and was a certified speaker with ING. Courses: Astronomy, History of Science, Mathematics Education PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 1996 M.S,Engineering from Stanford University, 1991 B.S., Engineering, California State University – Northridge, 1990
Colleen Keyes is the Dean of Student Affairs for Zaytuna College. She earned her B.A. degree in Psychology and Spanish from Clark University, an M.A. in Second Language Education from Fairfield University, an M.A. in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theology and Religion from the University of Exeter, UK.
Faraz A. Khan
Faraz A. Khan is a full-time faculty member and the Honor’s Program coordinator at Zaytuna College. He lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years, studying and teaching the traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi law and legal theory, theology, logic, hadith studies, and Arabic grammar.
Zaid Shakir is co-founder and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College and also serves on its Board of Trustees. He is also the chair of Zaytuna’s Student Affairs Committee, which looks after student residential life and co-curricular activities. In 2003, Zaid Shakir moved to Hayward, California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute.
Munes Tomeh is an adjunct faculty member at Zaytuna College. He spent a year and a half studying in Mauritania where he was exposed to classical texts in nahw (Arabic grammar), sarf (Arabic verb morphology), and fiqh (Islamic law), including study of several chapters of Mukhtasar Khalil, a classical handbook of Maliki law.
Hamza Yusuf is the President, Co-founder, and a senior faculty member of Zaytuna College. He is an advisor to Stanford University’s Program in Islamic Studies and the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union.
Bilal Ansari graduated from Hartford Theological Seminary with a masters and graduate certificate in Islamic chaplaincy. Bilal served as Muslim chaplain for the State of Connecticut's Department of Correction and Islamic Faith Leader for the Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons for 15 years. Bilal Ansari has over 7 years of higher education administration experience serving as Evening Administrator for Tunxis Community College and as Williams College's first Muslim chaplain and Assistant Director of the Center of Learning in Action. In the Fall of 2014 Bilal left Williams to become Zaytuna College's first Dean of Student Services.