Who is Ustadh Usama Canon?
Ustadh Usama Canon embraced Islam in 1996 and was an early student of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf under the then-Zaytuna Institute (together with others such as Mustafa Davis and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus) before continuing his study of the traditional Islamic sciences with some of the foremost scholars across Africa and the Middle East.
Ustadh Usama is the founding director of the Ta’leef Collective. Originally formed in 2002 as part of the outreach programme for the Zaytuna Institute, Ta’leef became an independent body in 2005. It is now a non-profit organisation based in California that aims to provide a healthy, culturally relevant understanding of Islam, serving not only converts but also Muslim youth who find themselves alienated from the religion.
A man of many hats, Ustadh Usama also serves as a Muslim Chaplain for Muslim prison inmates under the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as well as a spiritual advisor for the Chicago-based Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), in addition to the many speaking and teaching engagements he has worldwide. Ustadh Usama is also one of the founders, together with Ta’leef Collective projects coordinator Micah Anderson, of Oudimentary, a company dealing in traditional incense and perfumes.
A popular and engaging speaker, Ustadh Usama Canon is no stranger to these shores, having been to Singapore several times to speak and teach at various events, including most recently in 2011 for Darul Arqam’s Love Retreat and SimplyIslam’s Journey to Ihsan- A Seekers’ Retreat .
Besides issues affecting converts to Islam and Muslim prison inmates, one of Ustadh Usama’s primary areas of concern is the youth and ensuring that religion remains both accessible and relevant to them. Aside from his work with the Ta’leef Collective to engage disenfranchised Muslim young adults, he has spoken at and conducted workshops for youth across the United States and the world for organisations such as SimplyIslam, SeekersGuidance, the Risala Foundation, and others.
Ustadh Usama has also spoken on a variety of issues affecting the Muslim community in Reflections, a series of short videos directed by Mustafa Davis, filmmaker and co-founder of Ta’leef Collective.
Always conducting his talks with both humility and humour, Ustadh Usama Canon marries a knowledge of the traditional sciences of Islam with an engagement with the day to day concerns of the average Muslim, ensuring his talks and lessons are both relevant and grounded in deep spirituality. His talks are not to be missed.
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Ahmad Zhaki Abdullah
Ahmad Zhaki holds a degree in English Literature from the University of London. He is a full-time executive at a local training institute and a part-time writer.