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Zaytuna College Center for Ethical Living and Learning

 “Muslims have always endeavored to be good stewards of the earth and pioneers in food production. Join us as we endeavor to revive that aspect of our glorious past.”

–– Imam Zaid Shakir

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Our Vision and Mission

The Zaytuna College Center for Ethical Living and Learning (ZCELL) aims to help revive and popularize ways of life which conform to prophetic ethical standards, and raise human consciousness to the levels needed to actualize the God-given role of humans as the vicegerents of God on earth. 

Our mission is to raise public awareness regarding holistic models of sustainability that are informed by the ethical ideals and practices introduced by prophetic teachings and Islamic tradition. Through academics, public engagement, experiential learning, and other education methods, we endeavor to present alternative models. 

The Zaytuna College Center for Ethical Living and Learning provides direct services to our college, our community, and a global audience. Our services include academic initiatives, workshops and seminars, experiential learning programs, and sustainable practices.

The Zaytuna College Center for Ethical Living and Learning is a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity registered as an auxiliary organization of Zaytuna College. 

What We Do

The Zaytuna College Center for Ethical Living and Learning works with a network of scholars to engage in curricula development and produce materials suitable for high schools, colleges, universities, and special seminars. The focal point of the curricula is explaining the flaws and destructiveness of current systems of production and patterns of consumption, and proposing an alternative system rooted in moral values informed by the ethical standards of divine law. The initiative also involves experimental farms where Permaculture and other alternative farming methods are taught, including urban gardening and natural methods of animal husbandry. The center promotes the “Sunna Sports” of archery, horseback riding, and swimming, through both research training and encouraging the active participation in these sports by Zaytuna College students. Additionally, the center offers experiential learning opportunities through outdoor enrichment programs, workshops, and Permaculture Design Certification courses. Through these services, the initiative works towards, among other things, the creation of a set of universally recognized and respected halal/tayyib standards.  

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Our Impact

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Sustainable Practices

As a center that prides itself on ethical ideals and educating communities on the topics of prophetic ethical standards, sustainable living, and halal/ tayyib lifestyles, we strive to be the paragon of what we preach. Our goal is to minimize campus-wide energy and material waste at Zaytuna College, and create a campus sustainability program modeled after leading global college and university sustainability initiatives. 


Permaculture Garden

The Zaytuna College Permaculture Garden, located at our Upper Campus at 2770 Marin Ave. in Berkeley, CA, provides a source of sustenance through food production, as well as a source of education through courses, maintenance, and student participation. Our Permaculture Garden can be enjoyed by students and visitors alike.

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As our center is a relatively new initiative at Zaytuna College, we are working closely with some of the top scholars and consultants in the field of Permaculture to build a garden that will benefit our college, our center, and our community for years to come. Exercises offered in our bi-annual Permaculture Design Certification course, such as composting, provide us with rich soil, which is the foundation of our garden. Sustainable composting practices and gray-water irrigation methods will help us minimize both our waste and carbon footprint.  

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Sunnah Sports

Zaytuna College students receive a rigorous education that challenges them intellectually and spiritually, but any well-rounded education also includes a physical component. Our tradition emphasizes the importance of physical wellness and health, and through the Center for Ethical Living and Learning, traditional prophetic sports are included in Zaytuna’s general undergraduate curriculum. As an auxiliary of Zaytuna College, the Center plays a supplementary role in a student’s education. As part of our vision for our students, we incorporate the three Sunnah sports of swimming, archery, and horseback riding as we believe that the body, alongside the intellect, also needs training: the shared Latin and Arabic proverbs state, “Mens sana in corpore sano,” and “al-‘aql al-salim fi al-jism al-salim,”: a sound mind in a sound body. Our commitment to preserving these sports traditions goes hand-in-hand with our advocacy for ethical living and learning.