Linking Our Community to a Living Tradition
Living Links is a new Zaytuna College educational initiative that seeks to revive two traditions: the time-tested Islamic tradition of conveying religious knowledge from teachers to students through sound chains of transmission, and Zaytuna’s own tradition as an American Muslim institution committed to community-based learning.
The Living Links courses, all taught by Zaytuna College faculty, are part of the Zaytuna Honors Program but are also open to the local community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The classes aim to restore the experience of a traditional circle of knowledge, a model once prevalent throughout the Muslim world. Another key element of classical Muslim learning was memorization, and each Living Links course has a core text that students are expected to memorize.
One of the great wisdoms of the Islamic tradition is that learning involves more than the mere transfer of information from the lines of books to the student. It also involves human hearts connecting with one another, and the transfer of states of being. Zaytuna’s Living Links program affirms what Muslim scholars have always said: “Knowledge is to be found in the hearts of humans, not in the lines of books.”
Classroom seats reserved for community members are extremely limited, so please apply early. Living Links courses will also be streamed live online as a free service for long-distance students not able to attend locally.
Courses for Academic Year 2013–2014
All courses will run over the course of both the Fall and Spring semesters. Course dates are from September 21 to December 7 in Fall 2013 and from February 1 to May 3 in Spring 2014.
The Forty Hadith of Imam al-Nawawi
Instructors: Zaid Shakir and other instructors (various parts of course covered by different instructor)
Saturdays: 10am–11:15am | Tuition: $250 (both semesters)
The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, is reported to have said: “Whoever memorizes and preserves for my people forty hadith pertaining to their religion, with the aim of seeking the pleasure of God and the Hereafter, God will raise him on the Day of Judgment in the company of jurists and religious scholars.”
Imam al-Nawawi’s collection of forty hadith, said to summarize the entire spirit of the religion, is widely regarded as the most popular anthology of prophetic sayings. This class is an entry into the significance and meaning of this enduring work of Islamic literature and includes a requirement to memorize the entirety of the collection.
The Precious Pearl of Divine Unity (Jawharat al-Tawhid)
Instructor: Hamza Yusuf and Faraz Khan (various parts of course covered by each instructor)
Saturdays: 11:30am–12:45pm | Tuition: $250 (both semesters)
The science of divine unity (tawhid) has three divisions: divinities (ilahiyat), prophecy (nubuwat), and revealed truths (sam’iyat). This format, which has been in use for more than a thousand years in the Muslim world, exists today through the codification of the science in the fourth century after Hijrah.
This class introduces students to the tripartite science of tawhid through a creedal poem by Imam Ibrahim b. Ibrahim al-Laqqani (d. 1041). The poem, Jawharat al-Tawhid, is written in the Arabic tradition of expository, didactic verse that serves as a memory peg for the essential topics of a subject. It is also written in a rajaz meter that facilitates its memorization through the simplicity of the rhythm of each verse.
- Students must possess a basic level of Arabic for admission
- Attendance and punctuality are mandatory
- Students are expected to commit the core Arabic text to memory
- A high level of commitment and excellent classroom comportment (adab) are expected
- Programs held at new Zaytuna College campus: 2401 Le Conte Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709
- Online application available
- Course fee covers both semesters
- Fees due at registration for first class
- A copy of the course text will provided to students
These weekend courses are one component of the Zaytuna College Honors Program. Zaytuna College students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree in Islamic Law and Theology are offered an Honors Program through which they complete additional courses beyond those required for the degree. The student must uphold a record of conduct without reprimand or formal sanction. The Honors Program consists of an extensive memorization component and a Senior Thesis that demonstrates mastery of a subject through research, writing, and a public presentation. The College offers weekly sessions for students in the Honors Program to study the texts that are being memorized. These sessions are also open for enrichment to students not enrolled in the Honors Program.
Frequently Asked Questions