During the blessed month of Ramadan, we launched an effort to raise money for a new Usuli Institute model prayer space and center of learning. We want to:
1) Create a model masjid to reflect the beauty, love, openness and forward thinking approach the Usuli Institute represents;
2) Be able to accommodate many more people that we currently are able to in our limited space; and
3) Provide a welcoming center for spiritual and intellectual growth, and a home base for launching new and innovative programs to advance the Islam of beauty, reasonableness and love.
Will you help us? Your donation is tax deductible and zakat eligible. Create your own fundraiser to help us reach our goal!
WEEKLY VIRTUAL FRIDAY PRAYERS WITH
DR. KHALED ABOU EL FADL!
This Friday, 23 August 2019
at 1:15 p.m. Los Angeles, CA Time
NEXT USULI HALAQA:
Saturday, 31 August 2019
at 4:30 pm Los Angeles, CA Time
All khutbahs will be recorded and posted online afterwards.
"ON FITNA, ETHICS AND THE MODERN DAY 'MARKETPLACE'"
16 August 2019
Dr. Abou El Fadl begins by reminding of the often recited prayer (du'a) taken directly from the Qur'an that asks God to not allow us to be a source of misguidance (fitna) to others, and especially not to be a source of misguidance to those who do not believe in God. He reflects on the deeper meaning of this Qur'anic verse, and the ways in which Muslims, despite all good intentions, could be a source of misguidance for themselves or for others--especially those who are not Muslim, or do not believe in God at all--either through misrepresenting God's message through ignorance or insufficient knowledge; or by conducting themselves in such a way as to repel others from Islam or Muslims.
He recalls another prayer (du'a) reported to be regularly recited by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in which the Prophet tells God that he takes it upon himself to be the first Muslim, meaning that he takes the covenant with God of being God's representative on earth as a great personal responsibility. He discusses the implications of this understanding and personal commitment to Islam upon Muslims in our day and age; if Muslims truly took this du’a to heart, their concerns about fitna would not be about covering or minding women, but rather about whether or not their own conduct as Muslims invites others to the beauty of Islam, or repels them away from Islam.
He reminds that it is not enough simply to have good intentions; intentions must also be followed with action. Further, context matters, and it is important to understand one's actions in light of their current time as well as their social, cultural, political and economic circumstances. In other words, the good conduct of a Muslim, whether in words or behavior, must be recognizable as such to other human beings within their own time and context. Muslim are ambassadors of the faith, and will answer to God on the final day for the impressions and reactions that their words or conduct creates for Islam. So for example, groups like ISIS and Daesh, who post horrific videos of murders and executions while yelling “Allahu Akbar” will not only answer to God for these killings, but will also answer for the way in which they represented Islam, God, God’s message, and the impressions that these vile images created in the hearts and minds of both Muslims, non-Muslims and those who do not believe in God.
Dr. Abou El Fadl discusses the importance of ethics and virtue at the foundations of the Islamic message, and underscores the necessity of living virtue. It is not enough to understand and believe in abstract theories of justice and ethics, but theories must be coupled with the reality on the ground. Dr. Abou El Fadl recounts two traditions that demonstrate how ethics is at the core of the Islamic message--one in which the Prophet runs to his wife Khadijah after receiving revelation, and what she tells him about his character that reveals the authenticity of his Prophecy; and a second in which an ethical man comes to the Prophet to convert to Islam and what the Prophet tells him. Both of these traditions emphasize the centrality of ethics and living virtue to the Islamic message.
Importantly, Dr. Abou El Fadl further develops his discussion from a previous khutbah about the great source of misguidance of our day - the Internet - and likens it to what the Prophet called the worst place in his time - the marketplace. The internet has become the modern day "marketplace," in which people are easily exposed to all sorts of dangerous misguidance (fitna), much of which is intentionally promoted by the Islamophobia industry against Muslims to plant seeds of doubt in their faith. He gives key examples of supposed "proofs" about the so-called falsehoods of the Qur'an and Islam, which are being promoted on YouTube and across the internet. Such videos make scholarly claims designed to target mainstream Muslims who, unlike trained scholars, do not have the knowledge to counter such claims, but which do leave Muslims in doubt. He advises Muslims who do not have the requisite training in ancient languages, history, religion or the like to avoid such intentional and targeted “fitnas” against Muslims by "lowering the gaze" by way of NOT clicking, and not watching or engaging such "marketplace" temptations as a way to practice humility in the age of the net. Delivered 16 August 2019.
QURANIC COMMENTARY (TAFSIR) ON SURAH 93: AL DUHA
10 August 2019
In the introduction to the halaqa on Surah 93, Al Duha, Director Grace Song builds upon her last introduction in which she criticizes a group of Muslim female comedians, and presents her own attempt at a comedic monologue. She also shares a number of humorous real-life stories from her experiences as a convert.
Part 2: Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl begins his original Quranic commentaries on Surah 93, Al Duha, providing the background to the chapter; detailed insight into the context in which it was revealed; eye-opening reflections on the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); and the foundational nature of this chapter for the Islamic message, not just for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but for all individuals. Because of the depth and richness of the discussions on this short chapter, Dr. Abou El Fadl only covers the first 3 verses of the chapter, the remainder to be covered in the next halaqa.
Part 3: In the Q&A portion of the halaqa, Dr. Abou El Fadl answers some important questions about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and how to get to know him by understanding his dhikr (remembrance of God); and how much of the Prophet's day was occupied by dhikr. This understanding will help Muslims navigate questions and accusations leveled against the Prophet on his moral character and behavior.
Delivered 10 August, 2019.
A CONVERSATION WITH KHALED ABOU EL FADL AND ABDULLAH ALAOUDH
On Saudi Arabia, Political Islam, and the State of the Middle East
22 June 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl and Dr. Abdullah Alaoudh, son of distinguished Saudi scholar Salman Alaoudh, discuss the background, history and thought of Salman Alaoudh and the reasons why the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), arrested Salman Alaoudh. They discuss the situation of imprisoned scholars who, like Salman Alaoudh, have been subjected to horrific human rights violations as brought to light by such organizations as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others. They delve into the current situation in Saudi Arabia and the priority projects of MBS, and the situation outside Saudi Arabia among exiled Saudi dissidents. They elaborate on often used terms such as "Muslim Brotherhood" and "Political Islam," and unpack the meaning of each and demonstrate how such terms are used for political advantage. They shed light on how the current priorities of MBS dovetail with those of the Crown Prince of the UAE, Egypt, Israel, the U.S. and others, and the implications upon Muslim around the world. A deep, poignant and insightful discussion. Hosted by The Usuli Institute, 22 June 2019.
"...To win this very real war that has done inestimable damage to so many Muslims and to the truth of the Islamic faith, it is absolutely imperative that moderates declare a counter-jihad against the puritan heresy. This is not a call for the shedding of blood; it is a call for matching the zeal of puritans through unrelenting intellectual activism. This is a counter-jihad to reclaim the truth about the Islamic faith and win the hearts and minds of Muslims and non-Muslims all around the world..."
Khaled Abou El Fadl, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists