Oral History Interview with Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha on April 10, 2021


Oral History Interview with Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha on April 10, 2021



Media is loading


Yayha, Shaykh AbdulKarim


Walid, Zayd; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha conducted by Zayd Walid on April 10, 2021. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zayd Walid. Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha was born and raised in Berkeley, California, graduating from Berkeley High School in 1990. Shaykh Yayha embraced Islam when he was seventeen years old, after reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Shaykh Yayha studied Islamic sciences in Syria and Yemen. At Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen, he learned directly from Habib Umar bin Hafiz and later served as a translator for this prominent scholar. Shaykh Yayha is the founder of Dar Al-Rahma (DAR), a center for Islamic worship, study, and service in Detroit. At DAR, Shaykh Yayha teaches classes and leads community organization efforts. Dar Al-Rahma supports the surrounding community by providing food and services for those in need and engaging in neighborhood revitalization. Shaykh Yayha is also an active membership in the Ansar Collective, a coalition of African American Muslim men who coordinate community service efforts in and around Detroit. In the interview, Shaykh Yayha details how he came to embrace Islam and his journeys seeking knowledge over the course of his life. He also discusses the importance of strengthening interracial and inter-ethnic ties among members of the Muslim community in Detroit, and key roles played by charity and service in religious devotion.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Abou Nour University, African-American community, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Agnosticism, Jabril Abdul-Nur Ahmad, Abu Bakr Al-Aydarus, Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Ansar Collective, Arab-American Community, Arabic language education, Arabic to English translation, Atlantic City, ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’, Berkeley, Berkeley Masjid, Black studies, ‘The Book of Assistance’, ‘The Book of Knowledge’, Shakir Bukhari, California, Canada, Jermaine Carey, Catholicism, Charity, Shaykh Kafani Cisse, Community development, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Dar Al-Mustafa, Dar Al-Rahma, Detroit, Dhikr, Diversity, Education, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Food distribution, Friday prayer, Global community of Muslims, Hadhramaut, Habib Ali al-Mashhur bin Hafiz, Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Umar bin Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz, Housing rehabilitation, Intergenerational relations, Interracial Muslim community, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic chanting, Islamic religious leadership in America, Islamic studies, Judaism, Imam Saleem Khalid, Kinship, Laney College, Malcolm X, Manitoba, Methodist Christianity, Michigan, Middle East, Imam Amin Muhammad, Imam Khalil Muminun, Muslim Americans, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim Unity Center (MUC), Muslims, Neighborhood revitalization, Oakland, Online Islamic education, Pennsylvania, Prophet Muhammad, Qur'an, Qur'an recitation, Qur'an translation, Ramadan, ‘The Red Sulphur’, Reversion to Islam, ‘The Revival of the Religious Knowledge’, Seeking knowledge, Imam Seifallah Shakur, Soup kitchen, Spiritual teacher, Sufism, Syria, Tarim, Ummah, University of California Berkeley, University of Damascus, Urban blight, Urban life, Virginia, Volunteerism, Imam Dawud Walid, Washington, D.C., Winnipeg, Yemen, Zawiyah


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Ethics in Religion | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted by Zayd Walid at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zayd Walid. Interview recorded under the direction of Supervising Producer Malikah Shabazz. Videography by Naimah Siddiq, facilitated by Abdul-Zahir Sadid. Video Edited by: Jayden Sibley. Transcribed by: Nyala Ahmed. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Sophia Wimberley. Metadata edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins.



Document Type


Rights Statement

Dream of Detroit Interviews were made possible by funding from the Pillars Grant and Whiting Foundation. Content is for educational purposes only and non-reproducible; interviews are not to be duplicated, but may be linked through ScholarWorks with appropriate attribution. Please direct any questions about copyright to scholarworks@wmich.edu.


Pillars Fund and Whiting Foundation


Dream of Detroit

Length of Video


Oral History Interview with Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha on April 10, 2021