Dr. Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He was formerly the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).
Imam Fode Drame has served as a community leader and scholar of Islam (commonly termed ‘Imam’) since arriving in Canada in the 1990's. He has been an extraordinary teacher of Quranic exegesis, a guide for spiritual development or ‘tasawwuf’, and a healer to all those who seek his support. Imam Drame is a gifted teacher of the Qur'an and provides rich, detailed and inspiring explanations of the Book of Allah.
Dr. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is the Founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative and a faculty member at Zaytuna College who teaches courses in Islamic law and prophetic tradition. A lifelong student of the Islamic tradition, he was born to Muslim parents and began a serious study of Islam in his early teens. He attended Temple University for two years (1995-1997) prior to pursuing studies that culminated in a four-year collegiate license (ijaza ‘ulya) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fes, Morocco (1997-2001). He holds a BA from the Al-Qarawiyin University’s Faculty of Islamic Law (Shariah), an MA in Ethics & Social Theory (2009-2012) and a PhD in Cultural & Historical Studies in Religion (2012-2016) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Courses: Prophetic Tradition, Commercial Law, Family Law, Inheritance Law, Jurisprudential Principles
Imam Dawud Walid is currently the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) , which is a chapter of America’s largest advocacy and civil liberties organization for American Muslims and is a member of the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) Imams Committee. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Lamppost Education Initiative
Walid has been interviewed and quoted in approximately 150 media outlets ranging from the New York Times, Wall St Journal, National Public Radio, CNN, BBC, FOX News and Al-Jazeera. Furthermore, Walid was a political blogger for the Detroit News from January 2014 to January 2016, has had essays published in the 2012 book All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim, the 2014 book Qur’an in Conversation and was quoted as an expert in 13 additional books and academic dissertations.
Dr. Rudolph Bilal Ware, Professor of History, University of Michigan, specializes in pre-modern West African history. His research interests include Islam, popular religious culture, and race. His book, The Walking Qur’an Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa, interrogates the role of Islamic education in shaping Muslim identities, and examines the ways in which Qur’anic schools have articulated with Sufi orders, Muslim reformers, and the state in the recent past.
Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, serves on its Board of Trustees, and senior Faculty Member of Zaytuna College located in Berkeley, CA. He is amongst the most respected and influential Islamic scholars in the West. As an American Muslim who came of age during the civil rights struggles, he has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty issues and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work.
Ieasha Prime is a traditonal Islamically trained educator, activist and public speaker. She studied Arabic and Quran at the Fajr Institute followed by general Islamic studies in Cairo, Egypt. After two years in Egypt, she moved to Hadramaut, Yemen and enrolled in Dar al Zahra, an Islamic University for Women. There she studied Aqeedah, Quran, Hadith, Arabic, Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Islamic law, Purification of the Heart and other religious related learning. Her lineage of scholarship from whom she received direct education can be traced directly back to the Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu alaihi wa Salaam) from the Husseini lineage. Under the tutelage of her professors, she has established several circles of knowledge and continues to teach and lecture across the United States and abroad.
Imam Jihad Saafir has been Masjid Ibaadillah’s resident Imam since 2007. Imam Jihad received his BA in Arabic studies in 2011 and has received his Graduate Degree in Leadership from Claremont Lincoln University and recently became a new member of the Shura Council in 2012. He also works as a Muslim Chaplin at California Institute for Women (CIW). Continuing in the tradition of Masjid Ibaadillah, Imam Jihad has committed himself to teaching weekend classes in Tajweed, Classical Arabic and Fiqh for the Ibaadullah Institute. He also serves as the President of the Islah L.A a community restoration initiative that promotes the betterment of community, education, social and economic empowerment in South LA
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid is the religious and spiritual leader (Imam) of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. The mosque , located in Harlem, New York City, is the lineal descendant of the Muslim Mosque Inc. founded by the late El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), in 1964. Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid is also the Amir (President) of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York. Nationally, he serves as the Deputy Amir (Vice President) of The Muslim Alliance in North America.
Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans is ALIM’s first Scholar-in-Residence and now Executive Director. He converted to Islam while in high school. Upon conversion, Ustadh Ubaydullah began studying some of the foundational books of Islam under the private tutelage of local scholars while simultaneously pursuing a degree in journalism from Columbia. Since then he has studied at Chicagoland’s Institute of Islamic Education (IIE), in Tarim, Yemen, and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he is the first African-American to graduate from its Shari’a program.
Dr. Aminah McCloud is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University. Dr. McCloud is the author of four books and over twenty articles about a wide range of subjects, such as Islamic Law and Muslim women. Her books include The Religion and Philosophy of the Nation of Islam, Immigrant American Islam, African American Islam, and Questions of Faith: A Guide for Muslim Prisoners. She is a Fulbright Scholar, an Islamic Legal Expert, and current managing editor of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. Dr. McCloud is the founder of the Islam in America Conference at DePaul University, which houses the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture and the Islam in America Archives.
Imam Marc Manley is the Religious Director for Middle Ground. A convert to Islam (1992), Imam Marc has had the opportunity to sit and study with many of the top Muslim teachers in Detroit, Philadelphia and Saudi Arabia. Imam Marc has been an active educator having taught Arabic and Islamic Studies as well as being appointed the Muslim Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania and starting the Muslim chaplaincy program at Drexel University.
Zaynab Ansari spent a decade studying Farsi, Arabic, and traditional Islam, sitting with male and female scholars in seminaries in the Middle East, including traditional scholars in Damascus in the 1990s. Upon her return to the United States, she earned degrees in history and Middle Eastern Studies from Georgia State University.
Since 2014, Zaynab Ansari has served as a scholar-in-residence for Tayseer Foundation, offering enrichment courses and halaqahs to women and youth in the Muslim Community of Knoxville, and working on interfaith dialogue. She is currently an instructor at Tayseer Seminary, which features a one-year intensive in Islamic Studies, drawing students from Tennessee and all regions of the United States. She also a board member of the Lamppost Education Initiative
Imam Dawood Yasin-during his residence in South Africa, Imam Dawood converted to Islam and then spent five years in Damascus studying Arabic, Islam, and spirituality. Upon completion of his studies, he relocated to New Haven CT where he served as Imam of Masjid Al-Islam. While in New Haven he also worked as a teaching assistant and engaged in research at Yale University. Dawood also served as Director of Outreach at the Zayed Center for Islamic Culture in the United Arab Emirates, engaging in public speaking within U.A.E. and abroad, emphasizing ethics and tolerance between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Dawood spent five summers teaching Arabic language at the Zaytuna Summer Arabic Intensive. Dawood has worked with colleagues to establish “Learning Outside of the Classroom” program at Zaytuna College, which includes service learning trips and a revival of traditional athletics found in swimming, archery and horseback riding.
Dr. Jamillah Karim is an award-winning author, lecturer, and blogger. Karim specializes in race, gender, and Islam in America. Her most recent academic appointment was as associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Spelman College, where she taught courses on the study of Islam for six years. In 2010 Karim traveled with her family to Malaysia, where she began her blog Race+Gender+Faith. She is the author of Women of the Nation: Between Black Protest and Sunni Islam (2014, with Dawn Marie-Gibson), which explores women’s experiences and contributions in the Nation of Islam, and American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender within the Ummah (2008). She occasionally contributes articles on spirituality for Azizah magazine. She was recently highlighted as a young faith leader in the black community by JET magazine. Karim holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Duke University.
Sundiata Rashid is a native of Oakland, CA that received his Masters in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union's Center for Islamic Studies in 2014. He is the Head Administrator of the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland where he teaches and gives regular Friday sermons. He has been active in both the fields of education and human services serving as the an educator in the Oakland Unified and West Contra Costa School Districts as well as serving as a case manager to the Bay Area's homeless population. He currently works with homeless Veterans at Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco.