Shaykh Naeem Abdul Wali was born Gary Edwards in Crossville, Tennessee, USA, but grew up in Indiana. He embraced Islam while attending Purdue University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Entomology.
In 1991 he moved to Medina, Saudi Arabia, to begin a series of studies in Islamic disciplines. After two years he pursued further studies in the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey under various traditional scholars including his spiritual director Sh.Mahmud Ustaosmanoglu (popularly known as Mahmud Effendi).
Since receiving his traditional certication (Ijaza) to teach the disciplines & texts he studied he has taught in the United Kingdom, Western Europe, United States, Canada and Australia.
He currently resides in Houston, Texas, with his family and is the resident scholar at Sunna Institute.