"Thinking Islam Anew Away from the Lands of Despotism and Hypocrisy"

In this transformative moment in human history, Dr. Abou El Fadl recounts the ways in the last three decades since the publication of his book, The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses, that the methodology of justice, beauty and reason he advocated came under attack as a source of "fitnah" (creating discord and dissent). As Muslims, we learned from well known shuyukh that many things like music, art, pictures, relations with non-Muslims and other things identified as "from the West" were haram (forbidden). Suddenly, overnight, the same shaykhs who claimed such "incontrovertible truths" have reversed their positions without any evidentiary basis, nor any reference to Islamic law or jurisprudence. He reminds us that God gave us a religion of fitrah (intuition, innateness and natural instinct), and that messages of Islam from the lands of despotism and hypocrisy in the Middle East have become intolerable. It is time for Muslims in the West to liberate themselves from the Islam coming from the colonized, dominated and subjugated Middle East, and rethink anew what the Islam of justice and beauty should entail as pioneers in our current times. He encourages Muslims to become pious and trust in the intuitive attraction to goodness, justice and beauty that God gave all human beings. Delivered 15 February 2019.


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