Born in California, he began the study of Islamic calligraphy in Tangier and London in 1964. In 1984, he was invited by the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture in Istanbul to study with the celebrated Turkish calligraphers Hasan Celebi and Ali Alparslan. He holds prized diplomas in sûlûs-nesih and ta’lik scripts. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world and he is well-known for his lectures and workshops. While in residence, Zakariya worked on a body of calligraphic sketches, resulting in new work and new ideas. He presented a free public, The Art of the Word: Origins, Techniques, and Meaning in Islamic Calligraphy, and a calligraphy workshop at the Honolulu Museum of Art on September 13, 2005.