Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, a Sunni Sufi (mystic) religious scholar, one of the best known and respected indigenous American Muslim leaders. Fluent in Arabic and trained in classical Sunni Islamic theology and religious sciences, he co-founded the Zaytuna Institute, one of the first major traditional Muslim seminary in the U.S. He is frequently interviewed on national television in the U.S.
"Hamza Yusuf was born in Washington State and raised in Northern California. In 1977, he became Muslim and subsequently traveled to the Muslim world and studied for ten years in the U. A. E., Saudi Arabia, as well as North and West Africa. He received teaching licenses in various Islamic subjects from several well-known scholars in various countries. After ten years of studies abroad, he returned to the USA and took degrees in Religious Studies and Health Care. He has traveled all over the world giving talks on Islam. He also founded Zaytuna Institute which has established an international reputation for presenting a classical picture of Islam in the West and which is dedicated to the revival of traditional study methods and the sciences of Islam. Shaykh Hamza is the first American lecturer to teach in Morocco's prestigious and oldest University, the Karaouine in Fes. In addition, he has translated into modern English several classical Arabic traditional texts and poems. Shaykh Hamza currently resides in Northern California with his wife and five children." [Official Biography]
Keynote, Islamic Circle of North America symposium [March 18, 2006]
For those readers inclined to practice their Arabic listening skills, here is a lecture Shaykh Hamza Yusuf gave during the last Ramadan in Morocco. May all of us studying Arabic reach such a level some day (إن شاء الله )