The Inauguration of The Usuli Institute

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl inaugurates the grand opening of the Institute for Advanced Usuli Studies ("The Usuli Institute"). This session begins a new monthly halaqa series and the efforts to build this new Islamic think tank. In this introduction, Dr. Abou El Fadl presents an honest and critical assessment of the current state of Islam nationally and globally. We encounter a term new for most of us: Usuli. He offers his vision and dream for this effort, a forum for bringing together our most talented individuals to push intellectual and creative boundaries in addressing humanity's most pressing problems. And we take our first step towards reclaiming a beautiful, reasonable and moral Islam, the final chapter of a continuing divine message to all the Abrahamic prophets, from Prophets Abraham to Moses to Jesus and Muhammad. In 5 parts. Recorded on December 9, 2017.


part 1


part 1 time index


0 – 13:20 Introduction by Grace Song (Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl's wife) onto Dr. Abou El Fadl and the Usuli Institute.

13:22 – 17:00 About the Usuli Institute. The formation of knowledge and the “egotistical ‘I’” i.e. the idea of being a leader and the hesitancy to set up another group with a structure.

17:30 – 21:00 Defeatism we as Muslims feel, i.e Muslims always having to explain themselves.

21:00 – 22:10 'Ta'aruf', i.e. “coming to know the other.” Self-reference comes from our own insecurities.

22:15 – 23:15 Why Dr. Abou El Fadl finally agreed to lead the Usuli Institute. His dream for others to lead it eventually. A coming together of great Muslim minds.

23:45 – 27:00 Why the Usuli Institute, and why the name 'Usuli'? "The divine inspires the human self to rule itself, not for the divine to rule every small action of the human."

27:00 – 30:00 What does God want of us?

31.06 -  35:00 How Islam is practised. Hijab discussion by al-Azhar.


part 2


part 2 time index


0 – 1:25 The difference between Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them.

1:30 – 4:00 Creative impulses, ritualism, being at the forefront of humanistic thought, i.e. the call for justice. "God cannot be equal to stupidity and ignorance…and if you find a formula in which the religious manifests itself in a lack of intelligence and creativity, you immediately notice that there is something instrinsically wrong with their practise of religion"

4:00 – 5:20 Today’s Islam will not produce Rumi, Ibn Tufayl, Hafiz or Ibn Rushd, etc.

5.30 – 7:50 The phenomenon of Islamophobia, which is racism at its heart. Discussion on Jerusalem.

7.50 – 10:00 Islam and patriarchy.

11:30 – 16:25 The dream of the Usuli Institute: to discuss issues that Muslims do not discuss dynamically. Finding the intellectual minds to discuss these issues. Issues such as patriarchy, hijab and the role of migrants, etc.

16:30 – 20:45 Racism and whiteness within our communities, externally through Islamophobia.

21:00   - 24:00 The ethical and truthful imperative of Islam

26:00 – 28:00 The nature of life and Iman: we must testify in the context of where we exist in time and place.

28:00 – 35:00 The concept of jihad in Islam. The consistent protest of our messengers and Prophets against unjust situations. Jihad doesn't mean you are waging war, it means constant struggle and discomfort. Your life on this earth is supposed to be hardship. The more you speak out against injustice, the tougher your life will be.


part 3 and Q&A

Q&A part 2

Q&A part 3

part 3 time index


0 – 1:52 Becoming non-entities, as we are now unfortunately. We must challenge injustice everywhere.

1:52 – 5:25 The Usuli institute aims and gaining independent funds. The contribution you can make should you be inspired.

5:33 – 6:30 Having creative thought and artistic thought - a much needed resource needed in Islamic thought.

6:30 – 8:00 Rohingya Muslims’ Genocide

8:00 – 10:00 "Islam is nothing if it's not a revolution against oppression" – Our muslims organisations need to be at the forefront against sexism, racism and oppression.

10:00 – 13:24 "Why do we invest our resources in redundant institutions that repeat what we already know, ad nauseum?"  We must use our intellect and remarkable ability to think creatively. Say something original!

14:00 – 16:00 A brief description of Dr. Abou El Fadl’s in-house Library.

17:00 – 19:28 Our intellectual history making things haram, why? We are at the forefront at musical scales; without music flourishing in Andalusia, western classical music would not have existed.

19:30 – 22:40 We need to nurture our talent within the Muslim community. We alienate our brilliant minds. A brilliant mind will not produce orthodoxy.

23:00 – 24:50 Jesus performed miracles. The miracle of Islam is the intellect.


25:00 – Q&A


25:00 – 35:00 In Andalusia, our intellect and art were flourishing, when did it die down and why? Why did our intellect die down?

The Movement to Reinvigorate Beautiful and Ethical Islam has begun.  Join us.

Your donation to The Institute for Advanced Usuli Studies will help fund important work to combat extremism and ignorance. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity dedicated to research and education to promote humanistically beautiful and morally elevating interpretations of Islam. We seek to support our brightest minds to advance knowledge and to build a community of individuals founded on dignity, respect and love for all of God's creation. See The Usuli Institute Credo for our statement of values. Please give generously to support a beautiful, reasonable and vibrantly human Islam for future generations to come. All donations are tax-deductible and zakat eligible.


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