During this blessed month of Ramadan, we are launching 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!
"WHY OUR YOUTH LEAVE ISLAM; WHEN MOSES WILL NOT CONFRONT THE PHAROAH"
10 May 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl discusses the true meaning of kufr (an act of ingratitude) and what it means when we do not believe or act as if we are an extension of divinity. He explains why kufr is not just about atheism or violating laws, but about what happens when things like prayer and fasting do not increase one's faith or awareness of the umbilical relationship between a human being and his or her Creator. He elaborates on how Islam is being emptied of substance and how this is causing a crisis of faith among so many, especially Muslim youth. He talks about the threat of oppression upon the faith, and reminds us of the story of Moses, who was called by God to confront Pharoah, the oppressor and tyrant of his time. We live in a time full of oppression and tyrants, and we are reminded of the call to confront all tyrants and oppressors. What would have happened if Moses did not confront his tyrant? What is happening today, when Muslims will not confront their own modern-day tyrants? Delivered 10 May 2019.
"THE DALIL (EVIDENCE) OF LOVE"
3 May 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl delves deeper into the theme of love in Islam. He addresses negative responses to his recent khutbahs, which demand dalil (evidence) and juristic references to justify the centrality of love in the Islamic tradition--demands that arise from obstructionism and an insistence on legalistic details over obvious moral and ethical fundamentals of the faith. He explains why Islam is the only religion that makes sense, and how God calls upon followers to understand that to love God is to love beauty and justice and to live in a constant state of resistance to oppression and despotism. He discusses a number of important Quranic verses and hadith (Prophetic traditions) that describe the reciprocal love between God and God's beloved; that the path of Islam is the path of love; and the promise that God will replace those who do not love God with those that do love God and that God loves. He shares traditions that emphasize the centrality and importance of love, and the non sequitur of being Muslim and not being in love with God. He asserts that Muslims are at a crossroads--Muslims must choose whether to follow the Islam of ugliness, colonialism, harshness, despotism, oil and gas, big money, bitter hearts and angry souls; OR the Islam of justice, equity, love, beauty, and light. A powerful and passionate khutbah. Delivered 3 May 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.
Dr. Abou El Fadl presents his original Quranic commentary (tafsir) on Surah 98: Al Bayyinah and the levels of meanings and understandings beyond the typical English translations.
In the introduction, Director Grace Song discusses her early days as a Muslim convert and discovering the tradition of knowledge and how it had the effect as an antidote to "checklist mentality" she encountered at the mosque. She addresses the confusions around a convert's experiences and expectations vis a vis Islamic law, Shariah and American law as a new Muslim, and her understanding of scholarship as an art form.
Part 2 includes Q&A.
"...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