Born in Washington State and raised in Northern California, Hamza Yusuf became Muslim in 1977, after which he traveled to the Muslim world. He studied for ten years in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, and in North and West Africa, and received teaching licenses in various Islamic subjects. He then returned to the United States and earned degrees in Religious Studies and Health Care. He has traveled all over the world giving talks on Islam. In 1996 he founded the Zaytuna Institute, which is committed to presenting a classical picture of Islam in the West and reviving traditional study methods and the sciences of Islam. In 2009 he co-founded Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, America's first accredited Muslim institution of higher learning. Yusuf is the first American lecturer to teach in the Qarawiyin, Morocco's most prestigious and oldest university. In addition, he has translated into modern English several classical Arabic traditional texts and poems. He currently resides in Northern California with his wife and five children.