Shaykh Yusuf Badat was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He has studied under several great scholars, receiving several formal authorizations in the sacred sciences with top honours. His commitment to the sacred sciences began early in his life when Allah blessed him with the ability, by age 14, to complete the memorization of the Noble Qur’an. He completed a rigorous 6-year ‘Alim course at Darul ‘Ulum Zakariya, South Africa where he achieved his masters in the Islamic sciences, which included but was not limited to, language, exegesis (tafsīr) and jurisprudence (fiqh). He earned authorizations in Hadith under the Grand Mufti of South Africa- Shaykh Radha-ul-Haq. Shaykh Yusuf Badat is an Ontario registered minister of religion & licensed marriage officer. He also holds a diploma in Network Administration from the Toronto School of Business.
Learning Calligraphy with Shaykh Yusuf
I grew up in the Toronto area, not too far from the Islamic Foundation of Toronto. In 2012, I learned that Shaykh Yusuf would be teaching a calligraphy workshop and was very excited to learn that he was professionally trained in calligraphy, especially because I was really looking for a teacher at the time and felt a great lack of resources in the Toronto area. I attended Shaykh Yusuf's workshop, Art of the Ages, presented by Mathabah. Though I began practicing calligraphy in 2007, this was the first workshop I had attended, and it really changed my perspective and understanding of calligraphy. I began one-on-one classes with Shaykh Yusuf to learn the Naskh script. This experience really solidified my basic understanding of calligraphy and taught me lessons not just about writing, but very valuable lessons about what it means to be a calligrapher, which I will never forget.
Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang is a renowned master of Arabic calligraphy, known in particular for his fusion of Chinese and Arabic styles. He brings an immense learning in traditional thought and Islamic art to a modern audience, juxtaposing them in a new calligraphic style all his own, both Eastern and Western. The Chinese and Arabic calligraphic traditions have often been compared as the two of the world's finest manifestations of the written word, but never likened; indeed, they are at once opposites and complements. When combined the result is an artistic piece that is a work of incredibly unique beauty, and a testimony to man's synthesizing genius.
Haji Noor Deen's extraordinary mastery and genius along with his unique ability to spectacularly deliver his craft to an audience has brought him lecture and workshop invitations from some of the most renowned and prestigious institutions around the world, including: Harvard University, Cambridge University, University of California-Berkley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Bukhari Institute and many others. He has delivered lectures on calligraphy at the Islamic College in Zhengzhou, China, and the Zaytuna Institute in California. Currently, Haji Noor Deen is developing his own gallery entitled "The Chinese House for the Arts of Islamic Arabic Calligraphy" and the "Arabic Calligraphy Creative Centre", at the National Academy of Painting and Calligraphy in Henan Province, China.
LEARNING CALLIGRAPHY WITH HAJi Noor
I first met Haji Noor in 2013 during one of his workshop and exhibition tours around Toronto. I remember the day so vividly; it was February 24th, a cold and snowy day, at the Islamic Institute of Toronto. I sat at the front of the class, so eager to learn and be in the presence of a Master Calligrapher in my city. I spent the day trying to absorb as much as I could, wishing the hands on the clock would tick just a little slower. When the workshop was wrapping up, he asked to speak to me after the class. I could hardly contain my excitement as he explained to me the passion he recognized in me for calligraphy, and went on to offer me to be his student so I could earn my ijaza (calligraphy certification), which I had been dreaming about since I first began practicing the art. The offer came with two conditions: one was that when I earned my ijaza and was qualified to teach my own students formally, I would not charge them, as is the custom in traditional calligraphy. The second condition was to visit him in China upon achieving my ijaza. I gladly accepted both conditions.
Since then I have been studying under him via e-mail correspondence, scanning and sending my completed homework, receiving his corrections, and practicing again. In 2014, he was holding a workshop in Michigan, a 4-5 hour drive from Toronto. My father and I drove to Michigan for the class, another day so memorable to me. I recently met him again in the summer of 2015, while he was in town for live demonstrations and workshops at Muslimfest. Every opportunity I get to spend learning with him is so valuable and a blessing I can never be thankful enough for.