Shaykh Qasim Hatem’s Biography
Shaykh Qasim Hatem was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his forefathers built one of the very first mosques in North America. His family moved to Washington State in 1993, where he would later earn a full-ride scholarship to play football for the University of Washington. Originally recruited as a linebacker, he would go on to earn a starting position in 2001 at nose tackle on the top-ranked and Rose Bowl-winning Huskies. Appearing in Sports Illustrated and being scouted by NFL teams, Shaykh Qasim seemed destined to fulfill the “All-American Dream.” Shortly after that spectacular finish in the Rose Bowl however, Shaykh Qasim incurred a life-threatening injury. Although he would not be able to play football that fall, he had the opportunity to return and play in the next two seasons to complete his collegiate football career. He chose a different path entirely: his faith.
A year after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2003, Shaykh Qasim traveled to Yemen to study in the blessed city of Tarim. He first enrolled in the Badr Language Institute and then moved on to the prestigious seminary, Dar al-Mustafa, to study the traditional Islamic disciplines under some of the most illustrious scholars of our time. Shaykh Qasim completed his rigorous studies in 2011, with primary ijazaat (licenses to teach) in: Shafi’i fiqh (jurisprudence), ’aqeedah (Islamic creed), nahu (Arabic grammar), tajweed (Quranic recitation in hafs), and da’wa (methodology of inviting to Islam).
Currently Shaykh Qasim is the Executive Director and Resident Scholar of the Mihraab Foundation based in Seattle, Washington. He is also the Muslim Chaplain for Harborview and University of Washington Medical Centers and the Muslim Chaplain for a Washington State prison.