John Franklin Rhodus Jr.
Major: Religious Studies
School: University of Cambridge
Sponsor: Muslim Community Center East Bay (MCC)
John Franklin Rhodus Jr. was born in Kansas City, Missouri. At the age of 19, he embraced Islam in Santa Clara, California. He began his study of Islam with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and visiting Mauritanian scholars such as Shaykh Khatri wuld Baybba and Shaykh Abdullah wuld Ahmadna.
In 1998, Ustadh Yahya traveled to Mauritania to pursue a full-time course of study, where he learned from some of Mauritania’s greatest scholars, including the distinguished, Murabit al-Hajj. He also spent an interim period in Damascus, Syria where he received formal education in the Arabic language, grammar, and Qur’anic recitation.
In 2000, Ustadh Yahya moved to Tarim, Yemen to continue his studies at the prestigious learning institute, Dar al-Mustafa. There, he spent his formative years studying foundational Islamic sciences with the renowned scholars, Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz and Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri, along with other local scholars.
In the latter part of 2005, Ustadh Yahya returned to the U.S. and served as a full-time teacher at Zaytuna Institute. He subsequently returned overseas in 2007 to further his studies while he also participated in religious programs worldwide, lecturing, teaching, and translating. In 2008, he was the official translator for Habib ‘Ali al-Jifri at the Common Word Conference held at Yale University and he has translated for Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz at speaking engagements internationally.
In 2010, Ustadh Yahya completed his Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He finished his Masters Degree in Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 2012, and during this period, he was a full-time instructor at Zaytuna College.
He travels regularly teaching, lecturing, and conducting weekend seminars and also offers on-line instruction through SeekersGuidance. Ustadh Yahya is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge and lives in the UK with his wife and three children.