Al salamu alaykum dear Friends,
An extended Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones! I pray that you all enjoyed and beautiful and blessed Eid and that the coming year ahead with be full of advancement, growth, and drawing ever closer to the Divine on your personal journey!
It is nice to have a better functioning brain during the day now after fasting is over, but I do miss the lightness of being and the almost effervescent quality of the air that accompanies the month of Ramadan. As Ramadan retreats, so does the added divine boost of simply everything. The air feels heavier, my steps less light, and my push forward on all fronts is back to being powered by my own efforts like before. It feels like riding a bike on an upward incline rather than the downward slope of a divinely powered glide. Alhamdulillah for everything.
As we look ahead to the next Ramadan, insha'Allah, I take to heart what Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us in every Ramadan khutbah. Will we be here next Ramadan? Where will we be next Ramadan? As individuals or as a collective? Will the Muslim condition be any better? The same? Or much worse? We, as Muslims, are a sum total of the state of Muslim individuals, and we as individuals are the sum total of the individual choices we make. Each of us is empowered to make choices that, when all is said and done and put together, leaves us better, or not.
This past Ramadan was full of hard-hitting khutbahs by Dr. Abou El Fadl, which emphasized on the one hand, how our Muslim situation has grown dark all around the world. It is easy to become despondent with all the bad news. Yet on the other hand, Dr. Abou El Fadl also gave us answers as to how to turn things around. He empowered us with insight on where to begin to make change - as individuals with the power to choose and act. When this change comes from within, if we as Muslims reach a critical mass of caring hearts committed to change, God will know if we are worthy of divine help. With God's help, of course, we can accomplish anything, or at a minimum, start to turn the tide and light a spark for change. I do believe the change will come from Muslims in America and the West, where we still have the liberty to speak and act without fear of immediate retribution. It begins with education - to empower and enlighten. With that in mind, I would like to share with you one of my favorite excerpts from Usuli Press' new book, The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam by Dr. Abou El Fadl (edited by Josef Linnhoff):
From Chapter 1 of The Prophet's Pulpit: "The Usuli Institute's First Virtual Khutbah":
"...In a hadith that is not often heard in the modern age, the Prophet praises those who are consistent in the remembrance of God. The Prophet says that this group, which he calls “al-Mutanazzihun,” are lit up by this remembrance; the first thing God does is put light in their hearts; when that light ignites their hearts, they come to know God as God knows them. God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth are otherwise dark matter, anti-matter. The only a formative beauty is the light of God. If you are among al-Mutanazzihun, the remembrance of God becomes a consistent part of your existence. God ignites light in your heart so that you have knowledge of God as God has knowledge of you. Can you imagine a more intimate and beautiful relationship? Is it not something to aspire for? Is it not something to make all your troubles wash away? “God, let me know You as You know me.” What more could one want? Ask yourself: do I reflect light? Do I exhibit the light of the Divine everywhere I go and in everything I do? Or do I reflect darkness, boredom, or paleness? If you have the light of God, you exhibit the light of God. The light of God does not make people sad. It does not hurt people. It does not make people suffer. It does not imprison people, torture people, or make people cry in despair. The light of God makes people happy. If you have and reflect that light, that will be your state and your affair..."
You can see why this is a very special book. It is full of wisdom, knowledge and inspiration for change and action. If you haven't purchased your copy yet, please do - it is fabulous! The
paperback and hardbacks are gorgeous and the eBook will be available very soon insha'Allah! It is also available on Barnes and Noble online here!
REVIEWS OF THE BOOK
There are some great reviews so far on Amazon - if you have read it and can leave a 5-star review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any place that allows you to leave a review, we would be most grateful, especially before the Islamophobes jump on the bandwagon and decide to start writing negative reviews to undermine sales (yes, it happens).
Also, if you or someone you know would be interested in reviewing or writing about the book for a journal, newspaper, blog or other media outlet, let me know and we can send you a review copy. Same for professors who would like an examination copy for possible adoption in a course. Any questions, write to me. :) Time for an intellectual revolution!
On that note, if anyone would like a T-shirt, we are happy to sell them at cost!
Here are the details: If you live in the U.S., they are $20 and will be shipped to you directly from Canva.com. If you live outside of the U.S., we will receive your order and ship to you for an additional shipping and handling fee of $10, so $30 total. Send your payment via PayPal (@UsuliInstitute) and indicate in the notes the size (S-M-L-XL-XXL) and shipping address (with phone number) if different from your billing address. Let me know if you have any questions! If you would like an Usuli T-shirt (available in black or white), you can follow the same process.
**SAVE THE DATE! PART 2 OF DISPELLING MYTHS FROM AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE: Q&A ON SEXUAL AND SPIRITUAL ABUSE! SUNDAY, 15 MAY 2022 at 4 PM EASTERN TIME!!**
Transparent, honest and empowering. This is a discussion to be shared far and wide - we cover an important list of questions that many people have about what to do in cases of abuse, especially at the hands of religious authority.
Part 2 will address more myths, misconceptions and misapplications of Islamic law in approaching the issue of spiritual and sexual abuse. If you have any questions you would like to suggest,
please do write and let me know.
MATCHING GIFT PROGRAM EXTENDED - Double your impact!
Another very kind soul upped the ante another $12,500 and we have extended our matching gift program up to a total of $52,500 until we reach our goal! Alhamdulillah! THANK YOU to the most generous and blessed donors who have allowed us to double the impact of donations beyond Ramadan!
Every donation to The Usuli Institute will be matched dollar for dollar up to $52.5K! You can double your impact with your support! Alhamdullilah, we are so grateful that this opportunity will increase blessings for all involved insha'Allah! Please spread the word and take full advantage of these blessed gifts!
DISCOVER ISLAM ANEW!
People often ask me where to start if they want to take this journey with us from the beginning. My own recommended reading list begins with The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books and The Great Theft: Wresting Islam from the Extremists. Then third would be And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses. Fourth would be Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age. AND of course, everything by Dr. Abou El Fadl either through the Usuli website or the online archive for Dr. Abou El Fadl's work at www.searchforbeauty.org.
Want to stock up on three of those books while they are on sale? Here they are! In conjunction with our virtual events, our publisher is running special discounts on three of Dr. Abou El Fadl's amazing books! Take 30% off the paperback versions ONLY:
1) Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age Reg. $32.00 / Sale: $22.40
2) The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books Reg. $54.00 / Sale: $37.80
3) And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses Reg. $43.99 / Sale: $30.79
ORDER NOW on Rowman.com and use code RLFANDF30 at the checkout!
These books are absolute MUST READS for every thinking Muslim! This is the perfect time to load up your Ramadan reading list and get some amazing books at great prices! :) For those who want to know more about Usuli Institute methodology and the scholarship of Dr. Abou El Fadl, these books are gems.
Looking forward to seeing you online for our khutbah today and for DAY 2 of Surah 63: Al Munafiqun tomorrow night at 6 pm ET! Please keep all of us in your prayers!! May God keep you and your loved ones safe and protected and on the most beautiful path always! Hope to see you online soon insha'Allah!
In Peace and Hope,
The Usuli Institute