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Bidding Farewell to the MA & BA Classes of 2020

Sunday May 17, 2020 | 12 pm PST

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In a semester that has brought unforeseen challenges with the Covid-19 crisis that forced us online, God, by His mercy, has given us the gift of another remarkable milestone: for the first time in Zaytuna’s history, the college celebrates two graduating classes, the master’s and the bachelor’s classes of 2020. 

We refuse to allow a tiny virus to dampen our spirits or deter our efforts to educate and prepare a new generation of young and thoughtful Muslim leaders, especially given that our Prophet ﷺ, when asked, described the source of epidemics as “a penetration (wakhzun) from your unseen enemies.” Rather, we see this crisis as a mercy from God, as our Prophet ﷺ said, “Epidemics are a punishment for some but a mercy to believers.” Panic and fear are not attributes of believers, but patience and prayer are. So let us be patient with this crisis and pray for our students’ continued success, and let us place our trust in a Generous Lord who promised us, “Whoever trusts in God, God will suffice” (65:3).

In particular, our graduating master’s cohort represents the first group of students who have completed Zaytuna’s rigorous graduate program that was launched two years ago. We are especially proud of this class, as the majority came from our undergraduate program and continued to excel in an even more demanding master’s program that focuses on primary Islamic texts in Arabic.  

 To honor our graduates’ immense achievements and celebrate the commencement of the next phase of their life’s journey, President Hamza Yusuf will be joined by the renowned jurist, humanitarian, and human rights advocate, His Excellency Adama Dieng, Esq., Special Advisor of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Prevention of Genocide. 

The proceedings will include remarks and a supplication for the students from Imam Zaid Shakir, as well as addresses from Provost Omar Qureshi and a student representative.  

Although we are unable to gather for this special event at our campus, we nonetheless feel an immense amount of joy and gratitude to have reached this milestone. Your support means so much to our students, and we hope you will join us to mark this occasion.

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Special Guest Speaker: His Excellency Adama Dieng, Esq.

His Excellency Adama Dieng, Esq., a renowned Senegalese jurist, has served as the Under-Secretary-General and Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide since 2002. Prior to his appointment, he had served since 2001 as Assistant Secretary-General and Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Dieng was the Secretary General of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists for ten years (1990-2000). During his tenure, Mr. Dieng was appointed as the United Nations Independent Expert for Haiti (1995-2000) and was also appointed as the Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Malawi in 1993. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the draft of the African Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.