Hamza Yusuf currently serves as president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States, with both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. He was ranked by The Muslim 500 as the 23rd most-influential Muslim worldwide. A leading proponent of classical learning, the traditional liberal arts, and great books education in both the Western and Muslim traditions, he has translated, authored, and coauthored numerous publications, including scholarly books and articles as well as papers on major current areas of ethical concern. He serves as vice president of the UAE-based Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. He is a co-president of Religions for Peace and served on the Ethics in Action for Sustainable and Integral Development initiative, a collaboration between Religions for Peace, the Vatican, the United Nations, and other organizations. He is a member of the Jordanian Royal Academy for Islamic Studies and has worked with Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad on key initiatives promoting peace between Muslims and Christians. He works closely with Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, the architect of The Marrakesh Declaration, a groundbreaking document in defense of the rights of non-Muslims in Muslim-majority societies, translating it into English and promoting it globally. He holds traditional advanced degrees (ijazaat) in Islamic law and theology, as well as a BA in Religious Studies (San Jose State University) and a PhD from UC Berkeley (Graduate Theological Union).
Yusuf has served as an advisor to many organizations, leaders, and heads of state. Yusuf has been an innovator in modern Islamic education, founding the highly imitated Deen Intensives, and with Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Afa, he started the first Rihla program in England, which has been running for over fifteen years. Dozens of young Muslims who were influenced by his call to reviving traditional Islamic studies in the West went to the Muslim lands in the nineties and early part of the current decade to study, many of who are now teachers in their own right. Hamza Yusuf’s contribution to the development of Islam in England has been described as “immense”, “considerable”, and “enormous”, by the academic Haifaa Jawad in her recent book, Towards Building a British Islam.
With Eissa Bougari, Hamza Yusuf initiated a media challenge to the Arab world that resulted in a highly successful cultural religious program that he hosted for three years and was one of the most watched programs in the Arab world during Ramadan. Cambridge Media Studies stated that this program had a profound influence on subsequent religious programming in the Arab world. He has also been interviewed on BBC several times and was the subject of a BBC documentary segment The Faces of Islam, ushering in the new millennium, as it aired at 11:30pm on December 31st 1999.
Hamza Yusuf has been a passionate and outspoken critic of American foreign policy as well as Islamic extremist responses to those policies. He has drawn criticism from both the extreme right in the West and Muslim extremists in the East. Ed Hussain has written that Hamza Yusuf’s teachings were instrumental to his abandoning extremism.
Hamza Yusuf has also authored several encyclopedia articles and research papers. His published books include The Burda (2003), Purification of the Heart (2004), The Content of Character (2004), The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi (2007), Agenda to Change our Condition (2007), Walk on Water (2010), and The Prayer of the Oppressed (2010).