Zaytuna College: Preparation for a Life Lived Well

 Dear Zaytuna Supporter, 

 Salam alaykum wa rahmatullah. 


Today, most proclaimed goals of institutions of higher learning are centered around vocational training -- training that will enable a graduate to find a job and make a good living in a competitive marketplace. Our goal is to help students prepare for a life of learning and growth that will have as one aspect of it what a graduate will do for a living. Every life is worth living, but it must be lived well in order for it to be truly fulfilling. To live life well, one must acquire the tools necessary to cultivate the garden of the soul. The Qur'an reminds us that whoever causes his soul to grow is triumphant, while whoever stunts its growth is a failure {91:9-10}. The Prophet, God's peace and blessings be upon him, told us that learning was from the cradle to the grave and that learning should be for the sake of God. Even vocational training should be acquired with the intended goal of serving God through serving creation. At Zaytuna, we are striving to realize a college of higher purpose, a place where learning and growth go hand in hand. Our means to achieve that goal are as follows: Firstly, our integrated curriculum is designed from the ground up in order to equip our students with the instrumental arts of learning that enable students to acquire knowledge their entire lives, long after they have left the classroom. Among these tools are Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, known as the Trivium in the Liberal Arts tradition, and the 'ulum al-alah in the Islamic. Students are immersed in this tradition in both the English and Arabic languages. By taking the time to ground our students in these sciences, we provide them with a solid foundation that will translate into enhanced mastery of whatever field they may subsequently pursue. 


This approach, along with our low student-teacher ratio and emphasis on the Arabic language and the other core Islamic sciences, exposes the Zaytuna student to a unique, enriching learning experience. That experience is further enhanced by our emphasis on lively classroom discussion and the active involvement of our faculty members in informal intellectual exchanges outside of the classroom. 


Zaytuna College: Where the lived experience of a community of learning is the greatest preparation for a life lived well. 


Zaid Shakir

Chairman and co-founder

Investing in Student "Leisure" - Apply Now!
Year-end 2012 Student Reflections

Today, we witness the astronomical event of a winter solstice, a reminder of our greatest resource: time.   


At Zaytuna, we recognize four years of college as precious leisure time. The acclaimed 19th century author Henry David Thoreau wrote, "He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate." By the grace of God and through trust in His Providence, Zaytuna freshmen like Reema Lateef, class of '16, from Florida, begin their estate planning early. "In the beginning of the semester, I was struggling to keep up with the workload, but once I realized my purpose, it was easier," she says. "I wasn't just studying to take a test; I was studying to carry on the Islamic tradition of knowledge and give back to the community."


For our students, December brings final exams followed by the bliss of winter recess.  Before departing campus for winter recess, Imam Zaid Shakir, Chairman and Co-Founder of the College, reminded his students that a true student of knowledge is never on vacation. Reema took heed, as she packed her suitcase for one month. "I'm taking all my books home with me," she said. "I think I'm taking more books than clothes -- because knowledge doesn't just stop at the walls of Zaytuna. It goes on wherever I go, and I'm going to carry that knowledge with me, in sha Allah."


As finals week concludes, freshmen gather and reflect on the beginning of their four-year journey.  "I've always dreamed to philosophize," says Omar Bayramoglu, class of '16, from New Jersey.  He recalls a conversation with friends that made him realize he was living his dream. "We quoted Einstein and Tagore, touched upon a little bit of George Orwell, and wrapped it up with some Socrates. It completely blew my mind. I can't wait for next semester."

Our Admissions Office invites young and gifted minds to join us for quality "leisure" time at our Berkeley estate.  Applications are due by March 1st, 2013.  

Zaytuna College is Hiring

We are looking for a full-time Arabic language instructor to join our team in 2013. Click here to learn more and apply! 

New Year's Resolution: Planting Seeds for a Greener Tomorrow


Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "If the Hour comes upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, then let him plant it."

On January 1st, join Zaytuna College for the public launch of a workshop on Experiential Environmental Education in Islamic Schools. This event gathers leaders of Islamic schools from across the United States for a multi-day workshop hosted at Zaytuna in partnership with the Graduate Theological Union and the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security at the University of Vermont. Invited participants will hear theological discussions on the importance of caring for the environment and acquire hands-on experience in the field. The activities are specifically designed to train participants to implement environmental education at their respective institutions.


You are cordially invited for the inaugural event on January 1st, which will include a welcome to the College by Dr. Mahan Mirza, an introduction to the workshop and participants by Imam Dawood Yasin, a keynote address by Imam Zaid Shakir, and a roundtable discussion among our distinguished guests: Imam Afroz Ali (Seeker's Guidance), Ibrahim Abdul-Matin (author of Green Deen), Dr. Marion Grau (GTU),   Ameena Jandali (ING), Rhamis Kent (Permaculture Research Institute), and Nana Freeman. 


Place:  Zaytuna College, Easton Hall, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA

Date:  January 1st, 2013

Time: 7pm


Space is limited, so please RSVP. Light refreshments will be served.

Year-End Conferences and Campaigns - Special Gift Included!
Participate in our 2012 year-end campaign with a $60 one-time donation and receive a 16-hour download of Hamza Yusuf's Prohibitions of the Tongue class.

      An Arab proverb states that, "Wars begin with words." Most of the              
      world's problems arise out of the mischief of our tongues. The    
      Prophet, God's peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever
      believes in God and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or keep
      silent." Imam Malik said, "Nine-tenths of well-being is in silence, and
      the tenth is in avoiding mingling with people." The tongue takes more
      people to Hell than any other of the seven limbs. Prohibitions of the
      Tongue, a text authored by the Mauritanian mujaddid, Muhammad
      Mawlud, explores the legal rulings in Islam related to the tongue and
      how we can discipline our tongues and draw near to our Lord. This
      class was taught in Istanbul at a famous spiritual retreat center of
      some of the greatest Turkish scholars who were masters of the      
      tongue -- its control, its eloquence, and its purpose. Close your mouth,          
      open your ears, and explore the vastness of Islam's moral power and
      transformative force in this wonderful exploration of a life-changing


Our goal is to raise $500,000 by December 31st. These funds will be used to start the renovation on our recently acquired campus, commence

preparation for the 2013 Summer Arabic Intensive and academic year, and support our program development needs. 


We are looking forward to hosting you at our booths -- #1306 & 1308 -- during the 2012 Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference. You can meet our cofounder and Chairman of the Board, Imam Zaid Shakir, and other guest speakers, and converse with them about the importance of building the first Muslim Liberal Arts College in North America. While you are at the booth, you can also support Zaytuna College and participate in our year-end appeal, purchase Zaytuna College merchandise, and enter a raffle to win an iPod Touch.


We will also be co-sponsoring the 11th MAS-ICNA conference in Chicago from December 21st -- 25th. Zaytuna College's cofounders, Imam Zaid Shakir and Dr. Hatem Bazian, will be in attendance. Visit our booth # 508 to learn about our Summer Arabic Intensive and 4-year degree programs.


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