Imam Zaid Shakir: Towering Western Islamic Scholar Basharat Hossain
Imam Zaid Shakir is a converted American legendary Muslim pundit, orator and thinker. He is the man who has been trying to expose the factual message of Islam among both Muslim and non-Muslim community around the world especially in the United States by founding different Islamic knowledge centers like masjid, college, and institute. For his selfless activities he is known as “leading intellectual light” a name given by New York Times.
Imam Zaid Shakir was born on May 24 in 1956 at Berkeley, California, USA. In early life, after successful ending of primary, high school and one year of college education, he joined the US air force in 1976 and served there for four years. He received a medal for his committed service and embraced Islam in 1977. He found Islam as the way of truth and justice as he said after about Islam-“I was literally searching for truth, and I made various stops along the way and I found what I believed was the truth.”
Subsequently, Imam Shakir achieved bachelor degree (BA) in international relation with honors in 1983 from American university at Washington DC. In 1986 he attained masters’ degree (MA) in political science from Rutgers University and co- founded New Brunswick Islamic centre, also called as Masjid al-Huda at the same year.
Furthermore, to realize the proper massage of Islam, honorable imam learnt Arabic from Cairo, Egypt and appointed as a lecturer in political science, Arabic and Middle East studies at southern Connecticut state university. As a preacher of Islam, he cofounded the masjid al-salam, where he served as imam from 1988 to 1994, the tri-state Muslim education initiative and the Connecticut Muslim coordinating committee.
During at Connecticut life, this scholar was an interfaith council chaplain at Yale University and build up the chaplaincy sensitivity training for physicians at Yale new haven hospital.
As a part of his knowledge enriching fervor, imam Shaker left for Syria and Morocco and studied Arabic, Islamic law, Quranic studies, Islamic sciences and spirituality under the supervision of some eminent Islamic pundits.
In 2001, he came back to Connecticut after receiving the graduation from Syria’s high-status Abu Noor University and began to write and deliver lecture on different issues like religion, society & politics, race, war etc. Imam Shakir has been invited to lecture at several famous universities including Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Rutgers, and Temple University.
Imam Zaid joined at Zaytuna institute, California in 2003 as a scholar in residence and lecturer in Arabic, Islamic law, history and Islamic spirituality correspondingly. In 2008, The Zaytuna College was also cofounded by this pundit.
He is an famed orator on Islam, middle east politics, issues related to African Americas and international Islamic issues which made him as one of America’s most influential scholars ‘ranked by the 500 most influential Muslim report, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin in 2009.
In 2009, Imam Shakir issued a proclamation concerning the Fort-Hood shooting in Iraq and Afghanistan as he wrote- “I begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the families of all of the dead and wounded. There is no legitimate reason for their deaths, just as I firmly believe there is no legitimate reason for the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians who have perished as a result of those two conflicts”. It was extolled by the president of and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) by considering it as “solidly grounded in the Islamic legal, ethical and intellectual tradition”.
Imam Zaid’s features on faith are also available on washingtonpost.com and Newsweek blog. He has written many books including ‘to change our condition (co-authored with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf), Scattered pictures: a reflection of an American Muslim and also Translated Books including ‘treatise for the seekers of guidance, Heirs of the prophets. Some important Books which include his forward or note are: Living with Blindness: Lesson from Life of Imran Sabir, Faith and Beauty, A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation, Dear Self: A Year in the Life of a Welfare Mother, the Empire and the Crescent.
Some important article and interviews of Imam Zaid are: Graveyard Detroit, Saving the Ship of Humanity, who are They?, Islamic scholars plan for America’s first Muslim college, Obsessed with Defamation and Slander, American Muslim College in Works, American Muslim must rise to the Challenge of Change, Hillary, Obama and the Clash of Civilizations, First Accredited Islamic College planned for US, Color Blind Equality, Homegrown Imam and Leader, scholars plan U.S. first four year accredited Islamic college, the Empire and the Crescent, Islamic Seminary in America, From Original Sin to the Color of Skin: Gender, Class and Racial Equality in Islam, On Being Muslim in America, Religion and Technology, Beufort, Border Angels and the Imam, Mecca and Main Street, Muslim Liquor Store Owners Face Criticism, Devotion and Extremism in the Modern Age, How Much More and so more.
Important videos of Imam Shakir are: Imam Zaid Shakir responds to the tragedy at Fort Hood, NPR roundtable with Imam Zaid: Muslim Americans battling bias, Imam Zaid Shakir on opening the first Islamic college in the united states, Imam Zaid interviewed by Bill Moyers, PBS discussion with Imam Zaid: images reinforcing stereotypes, Radio program interview with Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir, Imam Zaid Shakir audio and video lectures and so more.
Imam Zaid Shakir is the second among seven children of the family. Currently he is living with his wife and son at California, USA.
Imam Zaid has been spent his life for the welfare of humanity. The every steps of Imam may be the key education for every youth to be practical Muslim in life. By influencing the activities of Imam Shakir, Dr. Cornel West writes “he is one of the towering principle voices not only in contemporary Islam, but in American society.”To know more about him, we should visit-
www.zaidshakir.com and www.masjidalislam.net.