One of the most recognizable and well-respected Muslim scholars in the Western world, Yahya has spent the best part of two decades studying at some of the most prestigious learning Institutions in the Muslim and Western world. Having embraced Islam at the age of 19 in Santa Clara, California, he immediately began his study of the Islamic sciences with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and visiting Mauritanian scholars, such as Shaykh Khatri Wuld Bayba, and Shaykh Abd Allah Wuld Ahmadna. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Mauritania to pursue a full-time course of study where he was able to learn from one of Mauritania’s greatest scholars, Murabit al-Hajj.
Following an interim period of study in Damascus, Syria, Yahya went on to spend the best part of seven years in Tarim, in the Hadramawt Valley of Yemen. There, he studied at the reputable school, Dar alMustafa, with the renowned scholars Habib Umar bin Hafiz and Habib Ali alJifri. Since that time, Yahya has been the official translator for Habib Umar and Habib Ali at various international speaking engagements, including the Common Word Conference held at Yale University in 2008. Upon returning to the US, Yahya served as a full time instructor at Zaytuna College. He holds a B.A in Near Eastern Studies from the UC Berkeley, an M.A in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, and is currently reading for a PhD in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge, England, in collaboration with Dr. Tim Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad). He is the Founding Director of al-Maqasid.
Dr. Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey. He began studying Sharia at age eighteen after a summer in Fes, Morocco. Since then he has studied all over the world including Hadramawt (Yemen), Mecca and Madina (Saudi Arabia), London (UK), Cairo (Egypt) and New Jersey (U.S.) under several luminaries of our time.
In addition to traditional learning, Dr. Elmasry has received an academic education from Rutgers University, The George Washington University, with a thesis on Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki under the supervision of Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Finally he completed a Ph.D. from the University of London in 2007. His thesis was entitled Da’wa in the Works of Imam Abd Allah bin Alawi al-Haddad, and is in the process of revision for publication.
Dr. Elmasry went on to teach at several universities including Yale University, University of London SOAS, Trinity College, Hartford Seminary and Manhattanville College.
Currently, Dr. Elmasry serves as Scholar in Residence at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey. He is also the founder and head of Safina Society—an institution dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge.