"ISLAMOPHOBIA, RACISM AND THE NEW ZEALAND MASSACRE"
15 March 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl powerfully addresses the evil acts of murder committed against Muslims in New Zealand. He addresses how this history of massacres committed against Muslims have been ongoing since the Bosnian Genocide through today and is grounded in the well-funded Islamophobia industry campaigns of our day. He talks about the impact of racism in acts of terror against Muslims and how similar acts of terror by white extremists are addressed by comparison. He discusses the manifestos of both this New Zealand shooter and Anders Brevik, who wrote a 600+ page manifesto of hate, both drawing deeply from the American Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer and Steven Emerson. Dr. Abou El Fadl read each of these manifestos in full. The insights from these hate tracts were not those of simply deranged human beings, but the dark fruit and lethal consequence of massive, steady investments in the Islamophobia hate industry. He calls on Muslims to step up and do the necessary work to match if not exceed their investment in actively countering the American Islamophobia hate industry. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, 15 March 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl begins by discussing the Quranic intent of the Friday congregational prayer (jumu'a) prayer and the weekly address to the community (khutbah) at the time of the Prophet, and its role in serving as the divine uplift, community accounting, and spiritual re-invigoration of the Muslim community. He then recounts how this purpose became usurped over time. He continues by covering the required qualifications of the person who should lead the jumu'a -- the most learned in the community -- and what the jurists (faqih) of various schools of thought asserted when these qualifications are not met. Dr. Abou El Fadl then addresses the current state of affairs in mosques, what has become of Friday prayers, and why he has chosen to offer this virtual alternative. He discusses what various schools of thought (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi'i and Maliki) have said about "virtual" jumu'a prayer, the history of "virtual jumu'a" from the 1960's, and what constitutes a proper congregation (jamaa). In the second half, he reminds the congregation what it means to ignite the light of God inside of you, such that divine light, as opposed to darkness, emits from you. Surprising, illuminating and uplifting! Delivered 25 January, 2019.
Part 1 of 2: Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl presents his methodology and original commentary on the Qur'an, covering Surah 100: Al 'Adiyat. In presenting the various layers of meaning in the this chapter, as in others before, he discusses three levels of meanings, beginning first with the straight translation presenting in English translations of the Qur'an. Usually, these are the most basic interpretation/translation. Then he presents a more nuanced second level, supported by tafsir (Quranic commentary) of various other well-known historic Islamic jurists, to demonstrate the range of potential meanings, all supported by the language and evidence. Finally, he presents the third, deepest and often most figurative potential meanings of the verses, also supported by the language and interpretations of jurists. All in all, one sees the potential depth of meanings from literal to figurative of a seemingly "simple" chapter. Each chapter can be transformative in a person's life.
In the introduction, Director Grace Song discusses the powerful net take-away from Dr. Abou El Fadl's most recent Friday virtual khutbah, in which he argues that Muslims in the West can and must start anew in defining their faith, casting away the hypocritical and despotic messages of Islam coming from Middle Eastern lands, and instead, relying on the God-given religion of fitrah (natural instinct, intuitiveness and innateness) where the justice, beauty and reasonableness inherent to each human being is their guide. She encourages everyone to watch and share this transformative khutbah, which gives Muslims back their faith, releasing them from all of the ugly, oppressive and backwards messages that make people turn away from Islam. Muslims in the West have now been given permission and license to redefine what it means to be a thinking, ethical and moral Muslim in our day and age. Lastly, she pays honor and tribute to Guido Santi, a dear friend and documentary filmmaker, by telling the story of Guido, his importance in the history of the Usuli Institute, and the impact of his living example as a beautiful, moral and ethical human being. Delivered 16 February 2019.
Part 2: In the Q&A, Dr. Abou El Fadl answers questions about how to understand and navigate the three different levels of interpretation of the chapter from more literal to more figurative; how to access this knowledge given one's understanding of Arabic; cremation and organ donation; prayer on non-Muslims and more.
"...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