Zaytuna College (formerly known as Zaytuna Institute) is a Muslim liberal arts college located in Berkeley, California. Zaytuna is the first accredited Muslim undergraduate college in the United States and was founded in 2008 by Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir and Hatem Bazian. Prior to becoming a college, Zaytuna was an institute, founded in 1996 by Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir and Hesham Alalusi. Zaytuna College seeks to incorporate the importance of the liberal arts and humanities into a traditional Islamic education curriculum. In the academic year 2014-2015, Zaytuna College had an undergraduate student body of about fifty students, most of whom live on campus. Zaytuna College offers one major, in Islamic Law and Theology, with courses ranging from Arabic grammar and Islamic jurisprudence, to American history and literature. Zaytuna College also conducts an intensive Arabic language summer course.
Zaytuna College was conceived from the imperative to establish centers of Islamic learning for the Muslim-American community in the West which are equipped to interpret Islamic scriptures authoritatively and educate Western students in light of the cultural context in which they live. Zaytuna College has been recognized as an institution that has the ability to bridge the divide between America and the Muslim world.
The faculty of Zaytuna College consists of scholars of Arabic, Islamic Studies and Liberal Arts. The institution derives its name from the Arabic word Zaytuna, which means olive tree. Biblical and Qur'anic scholars deem the olive a source of great benefit and worth.
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