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 and his importance in the history of the Usuli Institute. 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.