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How to Approach the Qur’an – Shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo



Shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo is a rare breed – a self-taught scholar of Islam who has achieved a profound command of the original sciences of our religion.

In the West, we do not have many options to learn directly from scholars and students of knowledge for long periods of time but alhamdulillah Shaykh Jamaal has been teaching classes online (live video + audio) and onsite in California for more than a year. He teaches various classes on the Qur’an, hadith, fiqh and Arabic.

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Winter semester for his courses will start January 10th until March 17th 2010 inshaAllah and registration at the website is available now.

Two new courses are being offered this session. One is Beginning Sciences of Hadith. This will be similar to Beginning Usool al-Fiqh in that the topic will be covered at a general level with more intensive courses to follow in the future, Allah willing. A second new course is Contemporary Fiqh Topics: Abortion, Birth Control and Organ Transplants. Perhaps the title is self-explanatory. Organ transplants, though, will only be covered if “time permits.”

To see a full listing of courses, please visit:

Below is an edited transcription of his first class on “Principles of Tafsir”, before teaching students these principles, shaykh Jamaal discussed how we should approach the Book of Allah. A book of this same title is also available by him.

Principles of Tafseer

First Principle: How to Approach the Qur’an

The principles that we will be talking about are not the kind of things that are commonly mentioned in the classical books of Tafsir. The main goal here is to understand the meaning of the Quraan—and in doing so one will find that these principles will be of extreme importance.

Thinking of the fact that the Quraan is the Book of Allah ta’ala, which was revealed for the guidance of mankind, we realize how amazing it is for the Muslim Ummah to possess such a book. This Book is amazing in nature, has been completely preserved, and is like no other revelation. There are people who read it daily, many of which have actually memorized it in its entirety, or at least large portions of it. Yet despite all of this, we see the state that the Muslims are in—not just the political state, but also the state with respect to what the Quraan is telling us to do. The basic commandments and teachings of the Quraan have been abandoned by the Muslim societies today. This, in itself, shows us that there are major problems with how we perceive the book of Allah, and unfortunately those who suffer from this lack of understanding are not just the Muslims, but all of humanity.

This is the best ummah to have been raised in comparison to all of mankind, Allah says in the Quraan,

وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا

And thus we have made you a just community [2:143]

Allah has made us a balanced nation. We are supposed to be witnesses against all of mankind. We should be showing the rest of humanity the truth and what the Book of Allah is all about. Among the people we show, there will be people who recognize the truth and there will be people who reject the truth. Unfortunately, because the Ummah is not living up to its duty, much of humanity has no clue as to what the Qur’anic message is all about.

Now, reflect on our political state and think about how many times the Muslims face the same situation, over and over again, be it in Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Bosnia, or Kosovo. In response to this we make dua, give money, speak out, hold demonstrations, and ask for our rights. We do all of these actions, yet we do not see Allah ta’ala changing our plight. This in itself should be a warning sign and should make us realize that the solution is other than these things that we are doing, and that the source of the problem is something other than the problem we are looking at. Take a moment and think about something that Ummah has not done yet. The reality of the matter is the Ummah needs to return to the Quraan, understand it properly and implement it properly in our lives. Alhamdulillah, there are individuals who do this, but in respect to the Ummah as a whole, how many people actually turn to the Quraan for guidance and live their lives according to that guidance? If we, as a whole, did that then there would be a great change in our plight. One of the very important keys of our return to the Quraan, is understanding the Quraan in the proper manner.

One of the common difficulties within the Muslims is over emphasizing of some important aspects of the Quraan which should be seen as secondary. The main relationship with many of the Muslims and the Quraan is simply reading it. How many people take some time daily to read it? Their extent with the Quraan, however, is to read it for barakah. If we think this is all there is to the Quraan, then we have made a grave mistake.

Allah, in the Quraan, tells us of an example of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah and then failed in its obligations. They are compared to a donkey that carries huge loads of books. Allah ta’la is talking here about the Jews who have the book—they recite it—they memorize it, but they do not apply it. Allah says it is just like a donkey. You put books on the donkey, but what does the donkey benefit from those books? We have to take this lesson and take head so that we do not fall into the same situation that the Jews fell into. If we are simply reading the Quraan for the sake of barakah, then in reality, we are not reading it properly.

Allah ta’ala tells us:

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَتْلُونَهُ حَقَّ تِلَاوَتِهِ

Those to whom We have given the Book recite it with its true recital [2:121]

Currently we have people who study tajweed for hours and hours a day and some of them quote the previous verse as their reasoning for doing so. While pronouncing the Quraan properly is a part of haqqa tilaawatih, it is not the only part that needs to be focused on.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ood swore by Allah and said that haqqa tilawatih, or the proper recitation, is to treat permissible that which the Quraan states as permissible, to treat impermissible that which it states to be impermissible, to recite it in the way Allah revealed it, not to distort a word from its proper meaning, and not to misinterpret it.

The Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa salam, said that the Quraan and its people will be brought together on the day of judgement. Who are its people? Alatheena kaanu ya’maloona bih, those people who used to act according to it. Also, Allah ta’la says the Quraan is shifaa li ma fis-sudoor or a cure for that which is in the chest. The real disease that the Quraan is curing for us is not simply from Jinn, but the diseases of the heart (shirk, kufr, ignorance and kibr that prevent us from worshipping Allah the right way)—this is the healing that we should get from the Quraan.

The main goal of the Quraan is Guidance or Hidaayah. It is this guidance, which is all encompassing, that we should strive for as well. One of the ways that we can get this guidance is by turning to the Quraan and understanding it properly.

How to Approach the Qur’an:

You must approach the Quraan with an open mind so to allow the Quraan to speak for itself. You cannot approach the Quraan with the mentality that you already know the truth, as this will cause you to try and twist the Quraan to meet what you want to believe. If you approach the Quraan in such a manner, you will miss some of the intended guidance of the Quraan. This approach is the manner of Ahl-ul Bid’ah (the people of innovation), they only accept from the Quraan what they already believe and if there is any conflict they try and make it support their ways. Despite this, Ahl-ul Bid’ah are better than some Muslims today. Some Muslims today (progressives) have said that we have to approach it in progressive terms, for example feminists say we have to approach it in a feminist perspective.

One of the goals of claiming that the Quraan was created (Ahul-Sunnah believes it is the speech of Allah, uncreated), is to claim imperfection, because if it was created, like all other creations, there must be some defect in it. This would then open all types of interpretation—and this was seen when the mu’tazilah tried to change the Quraan. They could not accept the fact that Allah speaks, and tried to completely deny this attribute. When they came upon the verse kalam Allahu musa takleema in the Quraan, they said it should be kalam Allaha—so to say that Musa spoke to Allah rather than Allah spoke to Musa. The key factor that drove them to this point is that they approached the Quraan with preconceived notions and tried to make the Quraan fit those notions. If you approach the Quraan in this manner then it is as if you are saying that you are not in need of the guidance of Allah. Don’t speak for the Quraan, let the Quraan speak for itself.

The Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa salam, said the Quraan is Hujatun laka aw ‘alayk, or a proof for you or against you. With this being said, you have to understand and recognize your position with regards to the Quraan. Allah ta’ala tells us:

وَلَا يَزِيدُ الْكَافِرِينَ كُفْرُهُمْ إِلَّا خَسَارًا

And the disbelief of the disbelievers does not increase them except in loss. [35:39]

Notice, there is no neutrality here—either you will benefit from the Quraan or you will lose with the Quraan.

Principles regarding approaching the Quraan

Approach the Quraan with an open mind. When we read the Quraan, we must realize and understand that everything Allah ta’la says is true and we must have complete trust in this. Allah has said in the Quraan:

وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَدِيثًا

And who is more truthful than Allah in statement? [4:87]

The next principle is that we should realize that the Quraan is universal. Release the texts of the Quraan from the restraints of time and place. If we have the mindset that the Quraan is speaking about some people at some time, then we are at fault. Although the action or state did occur at a specific time—it can happen again and we must learn from it. Another example is when Allah ta’la says:

الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا

وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” [3:173]

When we read the Quraan—do we think about for whom this Quraan was revealed? It was revealed for us—it is our own personal guide. Allah, azza wa jal, leaves it to us to benefit from it or not. Allah ta’la says in many ayaat wa hudan wa rahmatan lil mu’mineen—there has come to you and an admonition from your Rabb, and it is healing for that which is n the chests and a rahmah and guidance for the believers. Fa man absara fa li nafsih, wa man ‘amiya fa ‘alayha—whoever takes it will do good for his own self, and whoever turns away only harms his own self. He revealed it for every individual, so approach it as if it is your guidance. Allah doesn’t need you to follow the Quraan—it is for your own benefit. Allah in His grace, Mercy and Compassion has revealed a book that should go directly to your heart so that you can see the path. The sahaba would say that if you hear yaa ayuha-al latheen aamano in an ayah, then you need to listen attentively because it shows that Allah ta’la will tell you something or benefit or keep you away from something harmful. Similarly when you read about the pleasures and reward of Jannah, imagine that this is you, and when you read about the punishment of hell-fire, know that Allah ta’la may be speaking about you as well—and this all goes back to your attitude towards the Quraan.

A’ishah radiy Allahu anha was told that there are people who finish the Quraan in one night. In response to that she said that whether they read it or not, it does not matter. She said that she prayed behind the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa salam, one night and he read Surat Al-Baqarah, Al-Imran and An-Nisaa, and he did not pass by any glad tidings except that he made dua that Allah gave it to him and did not pass by any warning except that he would ask Allah for protection from it. From this we see that despite the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa salam being a special case, He was still attentive to what he was saying. When you read the Quraan this way, you realize that blessings be referred to in the Quraan can be for you. You need to realize that this book has been revealed for your sake and for your benefit. Mohammad Al-Ghazali said that although everyone is addressed by the speech of the Quraan, the reader himself is the one who is addressed in actuality. He has nothing to do with the rest of the people and he must realize that what is being read is referring to him. There is an ayah in the Quraan that says “That I may warn you and whoever this Quraan reaches.” One of the tabi’een said that this verse means that whoever the Quraan reaches, it is as if Allah has spoken to Him himself. If one is able to reach this realization, then he will read this Quraan as if he is a slave reading a letter from his master and following up on what the master commands and leaving what he prohibits. The guidance from the Quraan is like your own personal guidance from Allah ta’ala. When this fact is realized it will change the way you read the Quraan because you will read it looking for that guidance yourself. You will not pass by a passage in the Quran without asking yourself “what does Allah mean for me in this passage? What is the point I’m supposed to get out of this passage?” It is the guidance for you. Don’t discard half or a third of the Quraan thinking it is not relevant to you, rather take the time and look for this guidance yourself. You are holding and reading the words of Allah ta’ala himself. He did not give us this book baatila or in vain, but He gave it to us to save ourselves.

When we read the Quraan, we have to realize what it is in essence. If you start with that, then you will not be able to take it lightly. Allah ta’la says:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember? [54:17]

Ibn Abbas said that if Allah did not make it easy for humans, no one would be able to speak the words of Allah. In fact, for philosophers, this entire idea is unheard of. It is beyond their comprehension but we take it for granted and simply say “Oh it is Allah’s words”. Our ulamaa discuss that this from Allah, and we have no means to understand and encompass Allah ta’ala and yet, He has made it easy for us to read His words. In fact, He has made it so easy we just ignore it! How many times in the Quran do you find that Allah ta’ala reminds us the source of this book? Very often. Allah ta’ala reminds us and states it in a way that highlight the attributes that this book is coming from. In Ali-Imraan he says:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّوم

نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنزَلَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلُ

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence. He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. [3:2-3]

Allah is reminding us where this book came from. Not simply that it came from Allah, but He is also reminding us of his many Attributes. Is there any being who can be more concerned about your well-being and want you to come to the bounties of this life and the hereafter more than Allah? He is reminding you this revelation from Ar-Rahmaan and Ar-Raheem. What more needs to be said to us to take this book seriously in our lives, other than the fact that it is the speech of Allah—the only ilaaah, Al Hayy, Al Qayoom, Ar-Rahmaan, Ar-Raheem? The Question is, do we approach the Quran in this way? Are these motivating factors for us? When we enter this into our subconscious, the Quraan will then affect us. Imagine the difference between someone who reads the Quraan in this nature versus someone who only reads it for barakah.

Lastly, let’s look at the importance of living in the shade of the Quraan. The more you live the Quraan, the more you realize what the Quraan is talk about. As you experience what Allah ta’ala is telling you to do, you will understand what the Quraan is talking about. It will no longer be a theoretical thing, but it will become part of your life and the more you increase in your understanding of the Quraan. If you do not take the steps to strive in any of these directions, you will not understand the Quraan. You will begin to understand more and more lessons of the Quraan when you begin to live the Quraan. On the other hand, one of the things that will take away your guidance and knowledge is the committing of sins. The more sins you commit, the less you will understand the Quraan. It is a dynamic relationship. The more you turn to Allah, the more Allah turns towards you.

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Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.



  1. Amatullah

    January 5, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Alhamdulillah I was able to take two semesters online with shaykh Jamaal and I benefited greatly. It’s amazing that we are able to learn directly from someone of his caliber (hafidhahullah) and that he is benefiting the Muslims in the West with in depth knowledge in English. I wasn’t able to sign up for the new semesters because I moved to a different country and the time zone difference conflicts with my schedule. Other than that, I would still be signing up.

    Although classes are only once a week, I personally feel I’ve benefited more from his class than other classes and I honestly believe Allah has placed great barakah in them…..classes are an hour and you feel as though you spent 5 hours learning!

    Please take these classes if you can, $130 for three months is more than worth it for the benefit you will gain. May Allah preserve shaykh Jamaal and reward him in this life and the next. Ameen.

  2. ibrahim

    January 5, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Self taught scholar of islam? alhmdLillah they are rare, otherwise islam will end.

    • Amatullah

      January 6, 2010 at 12:17 AM

      If you read the link on the quote by Yasir Qadhi, you will see that he meant shaykh Jamaal taught himself Arabic but he studied under scholars and students of knowledge for many years.

    • Uthman

      January 6, 2010 at 1:00 AM

      becareful what you say about the scholars of Islam. Their flesh is poisonous. You have been warned.

  3. Ahmad Sheikh

    January 5, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    I have taken two semesters of this class: Principles of Tafseer: Rules of Interpretation and I have found them very beneficial inshaaAllah. In this class we study first that, in fact, there are principles and rules on whose basis tafseer is made and that one may not interpret the Quran based on one’s whims and fancies. Then a detailed and systematic study of these rules.

    Weekend seminars and lectures are very beneficial in that they introduce one to a topic and pique their interest in it. But after that you must move on and study in more detail. And what better subject than trying to understand (with the sincere intention of obtaining guidance) what your Creator has sent down for you.

    In this day and age many ignorant people quote aayaat of the Quran and interpret them to prove a notion or advocate an arbitrary cause. The salaf were very reserved in relating tafseer as it is as if one is relating something on the authority of Allah. When one learns some of the principles and rules by which tafseer is made, he understands how one must have knowledge before speaking about the Book of Allah. And why speaking about the Book of Allah without knowledge is so dangerous.

  4. Uthman

    January 5, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    jazakillah khair sister Amatullah for this.

    Dear brothers and sisters, you don’t know what you are missing out on by not taking Shaykh Jamal Zarabozo (hafidhahullah u ta3ala)’s classes. The depth of knowledge is amazing mashAllah. He covers a range of topics. Wether, its Quran, hadith fiqh, comtemporary issues etc. It is a big blessing to take his classes. Benefit from it. Give your excuses a black eye. You can take them online if you cant come onsite.

    Almaghrib institute scratches the surface. They cannot cover things in depth because of time and resource constraint. This is a good long term investment both for our Deen and dunya.

    A few months ago, a brother Jalal who is a convert sent an email out to the community about the importance of taking Shakh Jamal’s classes.(Email reproduced with the brother’s permission).

    “Allow me to briefly introduce myself:
    I am a muslim convert and am known as Jalaal ibn Abdullah. I have known Sh.Jamaal for approximately 10 years. I have been taking his classes since I met him in Boulder, CO. As such, I feel uniquely qualified to write a brief recommendation.
    Sh. Jaafar Idris in his Introduction to Sh. Jamaal’s “Commentary onthe Forty Hadith of Al-Nawawi” has this to say about the book and its author: “great commentary on a great book”,”in-depth knowledge of hadith”,”studying the hadith in great detail and depth. Every phrase of the hadith is studied linguistically, logically, jurisprudentially, legally and so on.”

    He is the foremost authority in the sciences of hadith in North America.This is because of his great love for the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Whether dealing with extremism, ribaa or the desecration of the Quran,his approach has been calm and collected, devoid of histrionics. Both sides of the arguments are usually presented and the inescapable conclusion unfolds effortlessly.

    According to scholars of usul, mastery of the Arabic language is the first of many rigorous conditions which must be fulfilled by anyone wishing to claim the right of ijtihad for himself. His masterly translation of numerous books from Arabic to English attest to his expertise in the Arabic language.

    Taking classes with Sh.Jamaal involves more than learning; one learns meta-learning.One is led through the thought processes before arriving at the conclusion. Even as he sifts through the evidences, exposing his students to the numerous sources,one quickly appreciates his grasp of the vast literature and his diligence in researching them. (Of course, this can be attributed to the fact that he was a doctoral candidate at Berkeley before deciding to dedicate his life to seeking religious knowledge and making Da’wah.)
    Unlike the analytical methodology that we’ve been exposed to in learning Western knowledge, the methodologies involved in the study of our Deen include the evaluative and the synthesizing as well. Hence, the importance of being exposed to these types of thinking styles as opposed to merely being taught the rulings.

    With Sh.Jamaal, one learns about our Deen and how to go about gaining more knowledge. True to the legion of scholars before him, Sh. Jamaal is self-employed. As such he has truly been able to maintain independence of viewpoint, only following the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. (Needless to say, I am writing this without his knowledge; I am compelled to write this to impress upon you the golden opportunity of learning from him and how we should take advantage of it.)

    Pursuing religious knowledge is an ibaadat; it’s ruling is fardh. Under the guidance of Sh.Jamaal, it will even be enjoyable, inshaAllah.

    Jazakum Allahu Khairan for taking the time to read this.
    See you in class, inshaAllah!”

    Please take time out for this. May Allah(subahanwa ta3ala) help us in seeking beneficial knowledge and may He guide us to apply it in our lives.

    • Salam

      March 8, 2010 at 6:34 AM

      Asalamu Alaykum,

      Uthman, if you do not mind the question, what does Shaykh Jamal do for self-employment?

      Jazak’Allah khayr. Also, what if someone is in financial constraints but would like to take some of his classes?

      • Uthman

        March 8, 2010 at 8:06 AM

        walaykum salam wa rahmatullah Salam,

        f you are askng me what he does for a living then he is self-employed i.e. makes a living of of his writings, talks, classes he gives etc. Wallah u a3lam

        Wa iyyak. If someone has financial constraints, and they are really interested n taking the classes they can send an email to and inquire of scholarship options and if they qualify or not. inshAllah this answer is sufficient. May give us tawfeeq to understand Islam.
        wasalam o alaykum

  5. Jalaal al-Din Abdullah

    January 5, 2010 at 8:39 PM


    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Conversion was a decision in time and space, made in my adult life.

    Thereafter world view and belief had to be unified.

    The path has to be consistent with what has been revealed by the

    Creator; only then can our deeds be pleasing to Him.

    I had no knowledge as to “where” I was going when I moved to Boulder,

    CO in 1999. There I came under the tutelage of Sh.Jamaal Zarabozo unbeknownst to him.

    Through his khutbahs, evening lectures and weekend seminars, I was exposed

    to the teachings of Islam as revealed to His Prophet (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).

    It just occurred to me that my difficulty in understanding the differences

    that I have encountered when dealing with “born” muslims has been mainly

    due to this superior understanding of Islam as opposed to the “born” muslim learning it

    from his elders informally. Forgive me if I seem haughty but this is not about me.

    It is about that the teacher who has been excellent in his effort to gain the right knowledge

    through diligence before imparting it to his students. It infuriates me to know that

    this opportunity to learn from him is being passed over by the vast majority of well

    intentioned servants of Allah! If only they knew…

    The reward of His pleasure is reserved for the one who has been diligent

    in seeking that knowledge that when applied will save the servant; nevertheless the reward is for the

    diligence too…

    Jazak Allahu Khairan.

  6. amad

    January 6, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    There are few gems in the Islamic world that compare to Shaykh Jamal. Some people may not agree with some of what he teaches due to ideological reasons, but no one can deny the man’s taqwa and worship, as is apparent to everyone. He faced many hardships in his life on the account of his principles.

    I still remember the trips to Boulder, CO that we used to take almost annually to visit with him and learn the deen from him. Those were great times… brotherhood and deen, and zero commercialism :)

    • Jalaal al-Din Abdullah

      January 6, 2010 at 11:25 AM

      This is another phenomenon that I have difficulty with, “Some people may not agree with some of what he teaches due to ideological reasons…”. After the Quran and Sunnah how can there be differences of opinion due to ideological reasons? I am not talking about Fiqh issues; we know that there are differences of opinions. Even these are addressed by Sheikh Jamaal in his Usool al-Fiqh lecture series that he taught many years ago. And the founders of the 4 madhab themselves exhorted their students to abandon their rulings in the face of stronger evidence. After this how can there be ideological differences? Amad, I understand the situation but I am lamenting its existence. One thing is certain, Sheikh Jamaal encourages differences of opinion and critiques of his rulings provided they be presented with evidence. He will be the first to admit that we all have to be the muqallid of someone!

      Allahu A’lam.

  7. Kamran

    January 6, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    as salamu`alaykum

    Sh JZ is the man :-)

    All of his classes are amazing but for me, nothing compares to his Fiqh us-sunnah class. It’s truly out of this world. Things that you may have thought you know for sure are challenged in this class.

    May Allah preserve and bless sh Jamal


    • Jalaal al-Din Abdullah

      January 6, 2010 at 11:09 AM

      alaikum salaam wa rahmahtullah wa barakatuh.

      In my opinion, if you want to know how the sheikh thinks (like I do) then you should take his Contemporary Fiqh Issues class because by his own admission, this is the topic he is most interested in.

      wa salaam.

  8. abuMaahi

    January 6, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmathullahi Wa Barakathuhu

    I have been taking his class, personally have benefited from it so much that I have never from other courses that I have taken. Its is so amazing to see such scholar at current times who does not speak without backing it up with source and evidence.

    One of my favourite class was “Preservation of sunnah” which we had for 4 semesters, it was just amazing to study how important is sunnah and how the sunnah was preserved Alhamdulillah, where we analysed the each stage starting from Prophet (sa) all the way till Abbasid and what was the role of each leader/ruler on preserving the sunnah.

    One of the class favourite topic is Fiqh-Us-Sunnah and intitally I thought that sh. will be going through the text book and I skipped first semester and then I realised that This class is not about Sayyid Sabiq’s work but commentary on the work of Sayyid Sabiq’s fiqh-Us-Sunnah where we untied each and every knot related to each topic starting from decoding the hadees and grading the hadees with evidence from different classical source. Sometimes Sh. gets the photocopy of the classical books to show the proof to the class.

    Commentary of Fourty hadeeth is really one more gem of the class and as it was rightly said by one of the scholar that if anybook is qualified to be translated from English to Arabic and then it is “Commentary on the 40 Hadith of al-Nawawi” by J. Zarabozo

    We feel “Withdrawal syndrome” whenever there is break between semesters and I am eagerly waiting for the next semester which is starting on Jan 10 inshAllah.

  9. MuslimahCA

    January 6, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Sh. Jamaal Z is amazing mashaAllah. May Allah continue to preserve him and his wife. They are a gem and I pray that Allah gives us more scholars like him. His knowledge and random funny moments will have you in awe and laughing half the time.

  10. hendersoncnc

    January 7, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    so where was he taught? at a uni?

    does he have any dvd’s???

    When u take the course can u interact live with him or r they pre-recorded in that case its not worth the bread .

    • Uthman

      January 7, 2010 at 2:53 PM

      Please read this for an answer to the first question.

      And yes he has CDs and audio lectures. Please go to and search zarabozo and you will find what them.

      Yes the courses are live and you can interact with him live. You can give your opinion, ask questions etc. InshAllah I pray this will be beneficial for you.

    • Jalaal al-Din Abdullah

      January 7, 2010 at 3:39 PM

      UC Berkeley & Davis – economics. Self-taught as far as Islam and Arabic.

      He has CDs – I would recommend the explanation to Surah al-Fatihah; 28 CDs to explain 7 short verses of the Quran. The breadth and depth of the explanation is astounding; your recitation of this Surah will never be the same again!

  11. LearnFirst

    March 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Scholar? We have misused and abused this word “scholar” for every person that gives talks and writes lectures. We need to realize what a scholar is compared to a Student of Knowledge. For many that are active in the West, are mainly students of knowledge. Who has given them this title of being a scholar? Was it self attributed or mis-applied by the masses, who themselves do not have the correct understanding of what a scholar is. This is not meant to disrespect Jamal Zarabozo, yasir qadhi, yasir birjas for i am sure they will also say they are not scholars. They will not say this just out of humbleness, rather they will say this due to the fact that they know what a scholar is because they have studied from them. Lets just use the word ‘scholar’ more appropriately and not use this title for every person that has some knowledge. At most, we can call them students of knowledge and we all know, getting a degree from an Islamic Institute or a University does not mean one has become a scholar, rather this is the first step to becoming an actual student of knowledge. When we call the common lecturers scholars, we then start to lose focus on who the real scholars are.

    • Jalaal al-Din Abdullah

      March 2, 2010 at 11:43 AM

      Who then is a scholar?

      I challenge you to listen to Sh.Jamaal’s Surah al-Fatihah. Or any of his lectures. What is more amazing is the fact that he does not have a degree in Arabic or any of the Islamic Sciences.

      Please visit his website for class schedule.

      They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating…

      The bigger problem is with the people who do not want to learn from a scholar after acknowledging the fact. This points to their integrity about learning.


      • Siraaj

        March 2, 2010 at 12:54 PM

        With no disrespect intended at all to our teachers whom I benefit from all the time, it is for other scholars to certify the scholarship of others because they recognize, due to their own qualification, who meets the criteria for it.

        Having said that, I like to look at matters relatively – relative to my poor knowledge, they’re scholars to me, and have achieved a degree of distinction by way of their knowledge, and I always work to maintain that respect with the title of shaykh, imam, and so forth.

        Further, most people are not aware of what “student of knowledge” really means – they think it means “in school, studying”, so among laypeople, they actually need the term scholar, vs other students of knowledge and scholars who know the differences.


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