He was born in Whittier, California, and lived in Southern California until the age of ten when he moved to Blaine, Washington. After graduating from Blaine High School, he went on to attend the University of Washington and in 2004 completed a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelors of Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

During his study at the university he was active on campus, serving as the president of the UW Muslim Students Association, which was and is one of the largest and most active student groups on campus, as serving for two years as a student senator, and the Senate- appointed member of special funding committee, which disbursed tens of thousands of dollars to student groups on campus to help fund student-run events. After 9/11 he was also listed by the University of Washington as an expert on Islam and was invited to address various groups from all walks of life from universities to high schools to community groups as well as all forms of media (TV, Radio, Newspaper, Internet).

After graduation Shaykh Hamzah went on to pursue traditional Islamic studies, which took him to a number of countries, including Syria and Egypt where he studied the Arabic language, Morocco, Mauritania, and UAE, where he studied the madhab of Imam Malik, grammar, usul al-hadith, and the two renditions of the qira’ah of Imam Nafi’, Warsh and Qalun, and finally Pakistan where he had the opportunity to study tafsir, usul al-hadith, hadith, ‘ilm al-rijal and Hanafi fiqh.

All of these studies culminated in him receiving an ijazat al-tadris, literally meaning “a license to teach” which is the equivalent in Pakistani Islamic seminaries to a MA in Arabic and Islamic studies, as well as an unbroken chain of transmission by which to narrate the hadith of such books as the Muwatta of Imam Malik, the Sihah al-Sittah (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah), and the Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar of Imam al-Tahawi.

After his return to the United States, Shaykh Hamzah spent five years as the resident scholar of the Thawr Institute, a non-profit religious and educational organization based in Seattle, Washington, teaching, giving khutbahs in local masajid, and travelling through America promoting the knowledge and practice of the sunnah. In parallel with his work at Thawr, he was worked closely with Islamic Relief, CAIR Seattle, and a number of other non-profit organizations that serve the Muslim Community.

Muhammad Zakariyya Panchbhaya is born and raised in Ontario, Canada. After schooling in Mississauga, he travelled to the UK where he enrolled in the well known seminary, Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury.

Muhammad Zakariyya memorized the Holy Quran and mastered the Islamic sciences of Arabic, Hanafi Fiqh, Hadith, Tafseer and Islamic History with honors role during his entire study period of 10 years.

He also earned ijazah in Iftaa under the tutelage of Mufti Mohammed Saeed Motara in the Islamic university in Azaadville, South Africa. Since his arrival back to Canada, after the completion of his intense training and studies in the Islamic sciences, he is currently the imam of Masjid Huzaifa in Scarborough, where he resides with his family.

Sister Speakers

Saleha Gangat was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec and travelled with her family to India for the acquisition of Islamic studies. There she spent eight years completing the Aa'limiyat course in Panoli, Gujarat where she learnt the Islamic sciences of Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh, and Hifz under the guidance of the late Qari Abdul Hameed Dhudhat Rahimahullah and obtained her ijazah. Thereafter, she has taught for over 15 years around the GTA mainly focusing on the youth. She has an Hounours BSc from the University of Toronto in psychology and Neuroscience and a medical degree from McGill University. She is a part time family doctor in Hamilton and A full time mother of four young children. She is the Co-Founder of Al-Fatihah Learning which is currently offering classes for adult sisters in Tajweed and Qirah. She is also a member of the Jamiatul Ulema of Canada. Her passion is for the youth to develop an integrated Muslim Canadian identity and to change the Muslim women stereotype.

Zainab Kamani was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. While completing her elementary education, she enrolled in the traditional six year Dars-e-Nizami curriculum of Islamic education at Darul Uloom Chicago. Alongside her religious education, she recently graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with distinction in English, Psychology and Secondary Education. Alhamdulilah, she has been blessed with the opportunity to work with many youth by conducting various lectures, halaqas, classes and counseling sessions. Currently, she co-leads weekly halaqas and teaches Quran to young children at the Islamic Center of Chicago and is also pursing further Islamic education.