Usama embraced Islam in 1996 and was an early student of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf under the organization known at the time as Zaytuna Institute before continuing his studies of the traditional Islamic sciences with some of the foremost scholars in North Africa and the Middle East. He benefitted greatly from serving as a Chaplain for Muslim prisoners for several years building friendships and empathy with the incarcerated community.
Affectionately known to the community as 'Ammu (or Uncle), he was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. He studied traditional Islamic Sciences at Al-Fath Institute, al-Azhar branch in Syria. His teachers include Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghuri, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Dr. Mustafa al-Khin and Shaykh Dr. Samer al-Nass.
Alia is a native of Chicago who graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in International Studies and a concentration in Islamic World Studies. She has supported and facilitated convert care programming at Ta'leef Chicago for over 5 years, and currently co-teaches a monthly circle for sisters about sorority, support and spirituality titled "Gathering of Hearts" at our our Chicago campus.
“Taleef Collective is a semi-sacred space which aims to provide learning, healing, and connection for its attendees on all levels; from the physical, to the psycho-emotional, to the spiritual. All the while, it attempts to maintain rooted in the Islamic traditions of excellence and service. It is part of a larger movement whose time has come in the West.”
“Serving my community at Ta'leef has helped me learn more than I could ever imagine about myself. I have been honored to experience the most joyous, the most trying, and even the most painful of times. Service is our hustle. Compassion is our vehicle. God is our destination. I am thankful for being given an opportunity to try and be of use to my people.”
Hosai is the co-founder of MH4M (mentalhealth4muslims.com) which was established in 2010. For nearly 20 years, she has been actively involved in the Muslim community in the Bay Area and southern California working and volunteering for many notable organizations.
Hisham Mahmoud has studied theology, hadith, legal theory, jurisprudence, ethics, Qur'an recitation, and Arabic with scholars in Morocco, Mauritania, and Egypt. He co-authored a forthcoming work entitled, “A Portrait of the Prophet,” as a translation of one of the most important commentaries on the personal qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He has lectured internationally on the Islamic sciences and on world religions, and continues to read with scholars and students in the United States. He has taught for more than a decade at Yale, Princeton, and Harvard Universities, then left the Academy to institute his own national initiative, Lanturna, a non-profit, educational institution that intends through its various projects to establish learning collectives to enhance personal practice and enrich community life. Currently, he resides in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.
After completing his bachelor's degree in Islamic studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, As’ad continued his study of Islamic theology, sacred law, philosophy and spirituality with some of the country’s most prominent Muslim scholars including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Dr. Sherman Jackson, among others. He served as the curriculum director for the Deen Intensive Foundation for the last ten years and has a particular interest in creating sustainable models of education for new and returning Muslims. He has been designing Islamic educational programs and teaching the basics of Islam for more than a decade. He lectures and teaches courses on Islam across the country. “Being Muslim: A Practical Guide” is his first published work. He is an emergency physician by training and lives in California with his wife and three children.
“Ta'leef is not about buildings or spaces. Ta'leef is about the hearts that gather. Some hearts are greather than others. And when you encounter a heart that is connected to the greatest of hearts, the heart of the Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings be upon him) miracles take place!”
Mahdy is a Zaytuna College alumnus and practicing attorney. He also teaches Islamic Studies at ILM Tree and serves as Convert Care Coordinator for Ta'leef.
Upon conversion in high-school, Ubaydullah began studying some of the foundational books of Islam under the private tutelage of local scholars while simultaneously pursuing a degree in journalism from Columbia. Since then he has studied at Chicagoland’s Institute of Islamic Education (IIE), in Tarim, Yemen, and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he is the first African-American to graduate from its Shari’ah program. Besides being a regular instructor at Ta’leef Collective in Chicago, Ubaydullah also instructs at Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) at times.
“Ta'leef is a place where all are welcome and loved and valued. For me, it has been a place that fosters real, authentic, human connection, and where I can come to heal, grow, love and be loved.”