"ON LOVE AND A LOVING GOD IN ISLAM"
12 April 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl explains the act of creation by God as an act of love and describes how beauty, love, justice and the act of returning the love of God are at the core of one's understanding of Islam. He reminds us of how God's love is the beginning and the end, and how God continually extends and offers love to every human being regardless of whether that human being is good or bad; a believer or a non-believer, awaiting reciprocation if humans so choose. God is light and light is love. For the vast majority of history up until the 1930's and the rise of Wahhabism and Salafism, it was taken for granted that the God of Islam was the God of Love, and that God was a loving God; quite the reverse of our modern times. He discusses the implications of this understanding of God and love. Without God's love, there is darkness upon darkness, which is demonstrated in many states of the Muslim world today. He discusses the example of the evil darkness of the trafficking of human organs from the Muslim concentration camps in China, sold to others in the Muslim world. God will not bless those who insist on the darkness over light; remembering the light and love of God and Islam must be the path forward. Delivered 12 April 2019.
"ON THE TRUTH OF JUMU'A, ORPHANS AND AL AQSA MOSQUE IN JERUSALEM"
Los Angeles, CA
5 April 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl establishes the critical distinction between the remembrance of God (dhikr Allah) as an individual, one-on-one with God, versus as a community or congregation of worshippers, ie. as a society, vis a vis God. The difference in a moral accounting of an individual versus a community before God becomes especially important when evaluating the role of jumu'a, when the community is intended to come together to take a moral inventory of how they are performing as a collective, in relation to God's imperatives of justice, beauty and mercy. In this light, Dr. Abou El Fadl discusses the Quranic commands to care for orphans in our world, and how the reality of our current day with regard to orphans truly is. We must address the issue of orphans according to the best approaches of our times. From all indications, we have failed to do so, and God will not bless a people that have not cared for their orphans. He discusses our collective accountability vis a vis God. Further, in light of Isra wa al Miraj this week, he discusses the current discourse around the truth of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa mosque as part of our Islamic heritage, and the efforts to undermine this heritage for political reasons. A powerful calling to account for the truths and untruths of our day. Delivered 5 April 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. Khaled Abou El Fadl continues his original Quranic commentaries (tafsir) covering Surah 99: Al Zalzalah, a surah which confirms that people will see the consequences of their actions, both large and small, and the implications of this. Includes important discussions on hadith methodology and abuses of taking hadith without proper technical training, as is common among modern day Muslims. He also discusses Islamophobia and its use of recurring themes and tropes to instill doubt among Muslims and fear among non-Muslims.
In the introduction, Director Grace Song discusses the New Zealand massacres as the evil fruit of a long and well orchestrated, well funded campaign of Islamophobia. She talks about how to immunize oneself from the powerful effects of Islamophobia through education and spiritual and mental liberation. She addresses questions she receives about crises in faith and what Muslims need to do to make a difference. She shares stories and examples of how as a convert, she navigated questions of faith using the tools discussed at the Usuli Institute.
In the Q&A, Dr. Abou El Fadl addresses questions related to the implications of being made aware of all of the consequences of one's actions, good and bad, big and little, and the difference between being aware versus accountable for those actions. He discusses the idea of predestination; what it means to think only of this world without the ability to think beyond the material world; the impact of Sufism in Islamic history, particularly given the fact that 90% of Muslims were Sufi's prior to the age of colonialization and that most conversions around the world took place because of Sufi music, dancing and art; the question of whether or not the Prophet owned slaves, and more. Delivered 16 March 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