Shaykh Tarik Ata was born and raised in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago. During his childhood, he attended conventions and learned the basics of Islam through formal and non-formal means. Shaykh Tarik pursued his higher education at Northern Illinois University where he attained a BA in psychology.
After graduating from NIU, Shaykh Tarik went to Jordan in pursuit of Islamic knowledge. While in Jordan, Tarik studied at the World Islamic Science and Education University (also called the Islamic University) where he achieved a BA in Islamic jurisprudence and its foundations as well as an MA in Islamic jurisprudence with a specialty in Islamic commerce and finance. While working on his degrees, Shaykh Tarik studied with scholars and achieved various certifications (ijazat) in Islamic jurisprudence, the foundations of jurisprudence, the science of hadith, the Arabic language, Quranic recitation, and Islamic creed/theology.
Upon returning to America, Shaykh Tarik continued his academic career at Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School and attained a Masters degree in Islamic Studies. He now serves as the Imam of the Orange County Islamic Foundation