Dr. Ahmed Bangura was born in Sierra Leone, where he did his undergraduate studies. He earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta in 1994. In 2017, he took early retirement from the University of San Francisco, where he had been a professor since 1994, and had taught courses in French, Literature, Islamic studies and Arabic.
Dr. Bangura has traveled extensively and has spent time with world renowned scholars overseas. He has authored several books both in English and Arabic including: Indelible Footprints: Stories from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam and West African Fiction: Politics of Representation, a work in literary criticism. He is also the founder and chair of the Ihsan Foundation for West Africa.
Shaykh Yahya Rhodus is one of the well-respected Muslim scholars in the Western world, Shaykh 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 al-Mustafa, with the renowned scholars Habib Umar bin Hafiz and Habib Ali al-Jifri.
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 United States, ShaykhYahya served as a full-time instructor at Zaytuna College. He holds a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley, an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, and is currently pursuing 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.