Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California. His mother is from Newfoundland, Canada and his father from Karachi, Pakistan. He grew up in a household that strongly emphasized good manners, sports, and education. Most of his childhood was filled with playing basketball, studying, and spending time with friends. He did not grow up as a Muslim and it was not until he was a sophomore at UCSD that he accepted Islam at the age of 19. His journey was a combination of multiple influences including Underground Hip-Hop, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, reading the Quran, and meeting Muslims on campus. Slightly before his last year at UCSD he married his wife, Muslema Purmul. He graduated from UCSD with a BA in Third World Studies and a minor in Psychology. After finishing they both went to Egypt where they studied off and on for the better part of the next 7 years. At the end of that journey he finished the equivalent of a law degree in Sharia from al-Azhar University in Cairo and nearly completed an MA in Islamic Studies from the American University in Cairo.
He thereafter served as Religious Director for the Muslim American Society Greater Los Angeles Chapter for six months before transitioning to the Islamic Center of Irvine where he served as the Resident Scholar for two and a half years. During that time his work was highlighted by a number of local media outlets and he published a small booklet called “A Brief Introduction to Islam.” He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
He serves the Muslim students at UCI and USC as a chaplain with Institute of Knowledge and is the Director of the IOK Chaplaincy Initiative.