A Muslim Vision of the Life Worth Living: An evening with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
April 6, 2016
What does Islam say about a life worth living?
Today, each of us must ask and answer for ourselves: What is a good life? What is a life worth living? This is not an easy task, but the world’s great philosophical and religious traditions provide us with invaluable resources as we attempt to tackle these most important questions. In our pluralistic moment, we need to learn to hear from these traditions and engage in conversation about meaning and purpose across important and enduring lines of difference.
Join us for an evening with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College and perhaps the most influential Islamic scholar in the Western world as he lays out a Muslim vision of a life worth living. After Shaykh Hamza’s remarks, he and Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Culture, will engage in an inter-tradition conversation about the good life—what it is, how we can get it, and how we can realize it together.
About Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:
“perhaps the most influential Islamic scholar in the Western world” – The New Yorker
“arguably the west’s most influential Islamic scholar” – The Guardian
“The Western word’s most influential Islamic scholar” by The 500 Most Influential Muslims
Hamza Yusuf is the president of Zaytuna College, located in Berkeley, California. He advises Stanford University’s Program in Islamic Studies and the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. He also serves as vice-president for the Global Center for Guidance and Renewal, which was founded by Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the top jurists of Islamic sciences in the world.
Yusuf is one of the leading proponents of classical learning in Islam. He advocates for social justice, peace, and conviviality among peoples and places. The Shaykh has been a passionate and outspoken critic of American foreign policy as well as Islamic extremist responses to those policies. For several years, he has argued that the “them versus us” problem is fundamentally flawed, as he considers himself one of “them” as well as one of “us.”
Born Mark Hanson to two academic parents, Yusuf grew up in Northern California. He was raised a practicing Greek Orthodox Christian. In 1977, he converted to Islam when he was only 17. He moved to the the United Arab Emirates in 1979, where he spent the next four years studying Islamic sciences. Yusuf became fluent in Arabic and studied Quranic recitation, rhetoric, poetry, jurisprudence, and theology. After meeting a number of Mauritanian scholars in the Emirates, Yusuf moved to North Africa in 1984. He studied in Algeria, Morocco, Spain, and Mauritania. In Mauritania he developed his enduring relationship with the renowned scholar Murabit al-Hajj.
Hamza Yusuf’s 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).