Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah is an American Muslim who was raised a Protestant Christian in Columbus, Nebraska. In 1969, 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. Abdallah read the autobiography of Malcolm X, which inspired him to embrace Islam in early 1970.
He taught at the Universities of Windsor (Ontario), Temple, and Michigan. He also taught Arabic in Spain, and at the Department of Islamic Studies at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Since 2000, he has been working as the Chair and scholar in-residence at the Nawawi Foundation, Chicago. Of note, in June last year, he delivered a program entitled 'The Obligation of Muslims in the Provision of Good to the World' to King Muhammad VI of Morocco and his court. He remains a sought-after speaker internationally as a scholar of Islam.