Zaytuna College Blog

Imam Zaid Shakir

Zaid Shakir is co-founder and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College and also serves on its Board of Trustees. He is also the chair of Zaytuna’s Student Affairs Committee, which looks after student residential life and co-curricular activities. In 2003, Zaid Shakir moved to Hayward, California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute.
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Recent Posts

Muhammad Ali: A Humble Mountain

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Aug 9, 2016 9:44:36 PM


Imam Zaid Shakir officiated both the janazah and public memorial service in Louisville, Kentucky for Muhammad Ali, the most well-known American Muslim of the twentieth century. In this blog, he reflected on the experience.

I was honored to attend the waning hours of Muhammad Ali’s life along with his immediate family. Taking a brief break from the stream of Qur’anic recitation, invocations, and devotional songs we were dedicating to Ali, one of the Champ’s daughters asked how would I describe her father? After momentarily reflecting on her query, I responded, “This may sound oxymoronic, but I would describe him as a humble mountain.” All present agreed that the description was apt.

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Let Us Mock the Muslims (For We Traffic in Mockery)

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Aug 9, 2016 9:40:54 PM


Mockery: Behavior or speech that makes fun of someone or something in a hurtful way.Mockery of entire groups has effectively been criminalized in Western societies. One would think thrice before publicly mocking Jews, African Americans, homosexuals or many other groups. Yet when it comes to Muslims, all bets, and societal protections are off. To quote Yeats, “we traffic in mockery.” From his moving poem, “Nineteen Hundred Nineteen”:

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Topics: Muslim, Islam, Poetry, Muslim mockery, Mocking Muslims

Seeking Refuge in Allah

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Jul 22, 2016 9:54:29 AM

In a five-part video series, "Seeking Refuge in Allah,” Imam Zaid takes a deep dive into the meanings of a comprehensive prophetic prayer:

.اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ الْهَمِّ وَالْحُزْنِ وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ 

"O Allah! I seek your protection from sorrow and grief, and I seek your  protection from incapacity and sloth, and I seek your protection from cowardice and avarice, and I seek your protection from the stress of debts and the tyranny of men."  

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Topics: Ramadan, Refuge in Allah, Seeking refuge, refuge in religion

Should We Apologize?

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Jul 14, 2016 12:59:27 PM

In the aftermath of the Orlando murders many Muslims are adamant that they will not apologize for anything. This is a proper stance as our religion does not advocate collective guilt, nor collective punishment. We are informed in the Qur’an, “No bearer of burdens (a sinner) can bear the burdens of another.” No one needs say, “I am sorry” for crimes they did not commit. On the other hand, many are viewing clarifying Muslim teachings, attempting to manage popular perceptions, or condemning criminal actions as unacceptable “apologizing.” Such a view is misguided.

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Topics: Muslim, Islam, orlando, apolgies, terrorism

The War Within Our Hearts

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Jul 12, 2016 2:52:22 PM

Verily, they were youth who believed in their Lord and we increased them in guidance. And we strengthened their hearts when they took a stand, saying: “Our Lord is the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth; we will never call on any God besides Him. Were we to do so we would have uttered a grave enormity”. (Qur’an 18:13-14)

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Topics: Muslim, Islam, technology, war within hearts, the war within our hearts, muslim literature, the war within our hears

Taking Up Ali's Torch

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Jun 16, 2016 12:47:03 PM

Physically, the last phase of Muhammad Ali’s life was very difficult. The ravages of Parkinson’s Disease had robbed him of his health, vigor and voice. Spiritually, however, Ali was only strengthened as he approached the end of his earthly tenure. His illness could not steal his generous heart and noble spirit. Despite that, his departure was painful and represents a great loss.

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Topics: Muslim Community, Muslim, Islam, Ramadan, Ali, Peaceful Protest, Muhammad Ali, Ethics, Love

Who Are We?

Posted by Imam Zaid Shakir on Dec 15, 2015 12:05:49 AM

Who are we?

The entire world is waiting to see,
Just what this Ummah might be,
But can we tell them who we could be,
When we ourselves cannot see…
Who we are.

Are we the proverbial raisin withering in the sun?
Are we the stinking sore,
Festering, waiting to run?
Are we unto the world a sagging, heavy load,
Are we the suicide bomber,
Ready to explode?

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Topics: General, who are we, poem about muslims, muslim identity, identity of muslims

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