At the age of 17, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali began a serious study of Islam and the Arabic language. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, born to Muslim parents, he took advantage of many of the local scholars and teachers, including Dr. Khalid Blankenship, Hafiz Anwar Muhaimin, Ustadh Anas Muhaimin, their father―Imam Nafea Muhaimin, Imam Aberra―a native of Eritrea who studied Islam and Arabic in Egypt, and others. Ustadh Abdullah Ali has served as a resident scholar for Zaytuna Institute since 2007. Prior to moving to California from Philadelphia, he served for five years as a full-time Assistant Head Chaplain for the State Correctional Facility of Chester, Pennsylvania. In 2001, he became the first and only Westerner to attend and graduate from the University of al-Qarawiyyin’s Faculty of Shariah located in Fes, Morocco, having acquired a four-year collegiate license (al-ijazah al-‘ulya) to teach the Islamic sciences.
Prior to studying under the tutelage of a number of Morocco’s prestigious scholars, he acquired fluency in the Arabic language, having spent close to seven years in the US studying with some of America’s most influential academic leaders in Philadelphia and surrounding cities. Before traveling to Morocco to pursue higher studies in Islam, he attended Temple University for two years, majoring in Computer Science, while concurrently attending graduate level lectures on Islam with Dr. Khalid Blankenship. He has worked as an Islamic school teacher, a barber, a painter, and was as an active member of the hip-hop generation, being at one time a breakdancer and a rap artist who produced a single in 1986 and an LP in 1990 with a local Philadelphia group, Rock Hard Delegation. Ustadh Abdullah has authored over 40 scholarly articles, and authored and translated four published works: Muslim Funeral Guide (Lamppost Productions); Explanation of Murshid Al-Mu’een: Ibn Ashir Recited: Part 1 (Lamppost Productions); The Attributes of God (Amal Press); and A Return to Purity in Creed (Lamppost Productions). His work can be found at www.lamppostproductions.com.