Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Wymann-Landgraf) is an American Muslim, born to a Protestant family in Columbus, Nebraska. He grew up in Athens, Georgia, where both of his parents taught at the University of Georgia. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Missouri with dual majors in history and English literature. In his last year there, he won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and entrance to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to pursue a Ph.D. program in English literature. Shortly after coming to Cornell, Dr. Abd-Allah read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which inspired him to embrace Islam. He subsequently altered his field of study and transferred to the University of Chicago, where he studied Arabic and Islamic studies and received his doctorate with honors for a dissertation on the origins of Islamic law, “Malik’s Concept of ‘Amal in the Light of Maliki Legal Theory.” He taught at the Universities of Windsor (Ontario), Temple, and Michigan. He then went to Spain to teach Arabic in Granada. In 1984, he was appointed to the Department of Islamic Studies at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, where he taught Islamic studies and comparative religions for several years. During the time he spent in Jeddah, Dr. Abd-Allah was able to study with a number of traditional scholars. He returned to the United States in 2000 to work with the Nawawi Foundation (Chicago), where he remained for more than a decade. He then taught Islamic Studies at Darul Qasim Institute (Chicago) from 2012 to 2013. He currently works under the auspices of The Oasis Initiative (Chicago). He is engaged in independent research, writing, lecturing, and teaching across the United States, Canada, Europe, West Africa, and elsewhere with a focus on Islamic theology, spirituality, law and legal theory, and history.
Books authored by Dr. Umar:
-The Devotion of Imam al-Nawawi: Translation, Introduction, and Commentary (Amal Press, 2017)
– الإيمان فطرة (Dar al-Faqih, 2014)
-Malik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period (Leiden: Brill, 2013)
-A Muslim in Victorian America: the Life of Alexander Russell Webb (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
-The Islamic Struggle in Syria, (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1983).
Papers and articles authored by Dr. Umar:
-“Turks, Moors, and Moriscos in Early America: Sir Francis Drake’s Liberated Galley Slaves and the Lost Colony of Roanoke,” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2010) available at www.nawawi.org
-“Theological Dimensions of Islamic Law” in The Cambridge Companion to Islamic Theology, T. J. Winter, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
-“Living Islam with Purpose,” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2007) available at www.nawawi.org
-“Seek Knowledge in China: Thinking beyond the Abrahamic Box,” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2006) available at www.nawawi.org
-“Innovation and Creativity in Islam” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2006) available at www.nawawi.org
-“Islam and the Cultural Imperative,” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2004) available at www.nawawi.org
-“One God, Many Names,” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2004) available at www.nawawi.org
-“Mercy, the Stamp of Creation,” Nawawi Foundation Paper (2004) available at: www.nawawi.org
-“Abû Hanîfah,” entry in the Encyclopaedia Iranica, ed. Ehsan Yarshater, 1:295-301, (London, Baston, Melbourne, and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983).