Muhammad Adeyinka (pronounced: ah-deh-yin-ka) Mendes was born in the United States and raised in both the US and in Nigeria. At the age of 17, he embraced Islam after a life changing journey to Israel. While at Morehouse College and later at the Ohio State University, he pursued a BA in Arabic and began studying the classical sciences of Islam with scholars from various countries around the United States, among them were Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Shaykh Muhammad Shareef, Dr. Antar ibn Standford Smith, Shaykh Nuh Keller, Ustath Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, Ustath Hamidou Taal, and Ustath Amr Khalifa.
Upon graduation, he traveled to the Middle East and West Africa to sit at the feet of a number of notable scholars who further acquainted him with the major Islamic sciences of Qur’anic Recitation, Prophetic Narrations, Classical Arabic, Theology, Jurisprudence, and Purification of the Soul. Among the scholars he was blessed to learn from were Shaykh Fareed Azuz (Algeria), Shaykh Mustafa Turkmani (Syria), Shaykh Abdul-Halim al-Jaza’iri (Algeria), Shaykh Murabit al-Hajj (Mauritania), and Shaykh Ibrahim Makana (Nigeria). He also studied at Ma’had Abi Nour in Damascus, Syria, and has received licenses to teach (ijazat) from Shaykhs Uthman al-Imam an-Naijayri (Nigeria), Ibrahim Makana (Nigeria), Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi (Syria), Muhammad an-Ninowy (Syria), and Khalil Abdur-Rashid (USA).
After returning to the United States, he established the Annual Rawdah (www.therawdah.org), a grassroots educational initiative, continued his studies with various scholars in Houston and Pittsburgh, and has focused on translating and teaching rare Arabic manuscripts concerning theology, jurisprudence, ethics, spirituality, and the upliftment of the weak and oppressed authored by some of West Africa’s greatest spiritual and intellectual giants. Most recently, he partnered with the Travelling Light film project (http://mishkatmedia.com/travellinglight/) to film a documentary highlighting the spiritual and intellectual legacy of Senegal in which he taught chapters from Imam al-Gazzali’s magnam opus, Ihya Ulum ad-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences).
Muhammad Mendes invites people to learn the fundamentals of theology, worship, and spiritual evolution in accord with Revealed Scripture and Reason, appreciate their commonality as human beings, celebrate the God-given diversity that makes each one of us valuable, and to live lives of spiritual and material significance that leave their corner of the world in a better condition than that in which they found it.
He and his family reside in Atlanta, Georgia, where he serves as Imam at Masjid al-Mo’mineen (Mosque of the Faithful), a Researcher and Instructor with the DC-based Fawakih Qur’anic Arabic and Islamic Studies Institute, and founding director of Sacred Service, an organization committed to the spiritual healing of humanity and a lived articulation of Islam rooted in the socio-cultural realities of indigenous Americans. He also serves as Director of the Tahfeeth al-Qur’an Program and Chair of Islamic Studies at Mohammed Schools of Atlanta, co-founder of the youth mentorship program, Kombutsu Boys To Men Rites of Passage and is active supporter of Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence and the Bait as-Salaam Network for Homeless Women and Children. He continues his studies with various scholars in and outside of Atlanta, among them Shaykh Muhammad an-Ninowy, Shaykh Ahmad Zo Abdullah (Haiti), Shaykh Bashir Niasse (Senegal), and Shaykh Khalil Abdur-Rashid.