Abdul Karim Yahya is Beacon Foundation (Michigan)’s Scholar-in-Residence Beacon foundation and an interpreter for Habib Umar bin Hafiz. Born and raised in Berkeley, California, AbdulKarim embraced Islam in the late 1980s. In the mid-1990s, AbdulKarim had traveled to the Middle East to seek Sacred Knowledge. His study pursuits have brought him to blessed places such as Damascus, Syria, and Tarim, Yemen. Under the tutelage of Habib Umar bin Hafiz and the teachers of Dar al-Mustafa, AbdulKarim has primarily been trained in Prophetic biography, the sciences of Islamic spirituality, and law (fiqh) according to the Shafi’i school of thought. He has been permitted to teach these disciplines, among others, as well as answer questions in Sacred Law.
Sacred Knowledge Training
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Shaykh AbdulKarim, by the Grace of Allah, embraced Islam in 1989 in his home city. ! In 1996, due to his responsibilities at Masjid Al Islam in Oakland, California, the books of Imam Ghazali, and the call to the revival of Islamic knowledge, he recognized his need to learn and undergo spiritual training. Shaykh AbdulKarim thus traveled with his family to Damascus, Syria, where he embarked on a course of active pursuit of traditional Islamic knowledge. During his two year stay in Damascus, he focused his attention on the acquisition of Arabic language and Qur’anic recitation, studying the latter under the tutelage of the respected Shaykh of Qur’an, Abu Anas, at the Rawda Mosque in Damascus.
Since 1997, Shaykh AbdulKarim has been studying at the hands of Habib Umar bin Hafiz and his older brother, Habib Mashhour, the two sons of the late Habib Muhammad bin Salim Bin Hafiz, as well as the other teachers of Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim, Hadramaut, Yemen.
As a student at Dar al-Mustafa, he has primarily turned his efforts towards keeping the company of his Shaykhs from the Noble Prophetic Descendants of Ba’Alawi, as well as attaining knowledge of the various branches of Islamic Sciences, including tafsir, hadith, law (fiqh), legal theory (usūl), Prophetic biography (sīrah), spirituality (tasawwuf), creed (aqīdah), and Arabic grammar (nahw).
Specializing in jurisprudence according to the school of Muhammad bin Idris al-Shafi’i, Shaykh AbdulKarim has studied the curriculum of Shafi’i jurisprudence at Dar al-Mustafa all the way to the Minhaj of Imam Nawawi. Shaykh AbdulKarim has been given permission to answer questions according to the Shafi’i School and also teach jurisprudence and other disciplines by his Shaykh, Habib Umar bin Hafiz, who has given him license (ijaza) in Habib Umar’s narrations of Sacred Texts (riwayāt).
Shaykh AbdulKarim has been involved in teaching Islamic sciences virtually through online academic initiatives, such as SunniPath (now Qibla Institute), where he taught Islamic spirituality and Shafi’i jurisprudence between 2006 and 2011. He is currently serving as an adjunct teacher at Seekers Guidance in addition to teaching courses via the Beacon Foundation virtual platform.
Shaykh AbdulKarim has been involved in Dar al-Mustafa’s team of English translators since 2001. In addition to translating for the annual summer Dowra intensive, he has also traveled with Habib Umar and others, to serve as their interpreter at various conferences, knowledge retreats and dawa trips to countries such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. Shaykh AbdulKarim had served as Habib Umar’s interpreter at the Common Word for the Common Good Conference in Cambridge, UK, in 2008.
Shaykh AbdulKarim has also traveled to Canada, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Mexico, Sweden, and United Kingdom, to deliver sermons and religious lessons as part of a concerted effort to summon to Allah Most High and His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and accordingly raise spiritual awareness through the dissemination of sound Islamic knowledge and practice.
After spending over a decade abroad, Shaykh AbdulKarim relocated back to the United States in the Summer of 2012 and has since been serving as Resident Scholar with the Beacon Foundation, Michigan.
During his tenure with Beacon Foundation, he has also been involved in various collaborative efforts with numerous Metro-Detroit Muslim organizations, including Detroit Muslim Center, Project Unity, Muslim Family Services, Muslim Enrichment Project (MEP), American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), MCWS and others.
AbdulKarim loves studying Prophetic biography, supporting the oppressed, and the outdoors.