Greetings of Peace! I'm not sure what happens, but we have developed a mantra here at Usuli: "It is always Thursday!" The reason is that somehow, it feels like it is always Thursday! Thursdays are what are the beginning of our Usuli intensive work - prepping this weekly email, rolling into preparation for the Friday khutbah, and then prepping for the Saturday halaqa. After the Saturday halaqa, we have barely a day of rest, if at all, and then we are launched straight away into the work week, which is particularly brutal this law school semester for Dr. Abou El Fadl. On the one hand, time travels at lightning speed. On the other, there is so much that happens every week, when we look back, it feels like the week was packed end to end with a ton of work, with every minute squeezed out of it. Of course, time is constant. It is just our perception of it and how we fill it. I must say that many of us feel we are in a perpetual state of "catch-up" if not more like trying to dig out of an avalanche with a small shovel! That being said, perhaps this is a small way of apologizing to everyone who has written to us and who has not received a response. Please forgive me/us! A million thank you's for your patience, and a million more if somehow your message has fallen through the cracks and become lost in the oblivion that is my virtual desk. Please feel free to write again or resend your message if you haven't heard from me. I will not be bothered. :)
Thank you to everyone who sent their heartfelt and beautiful messages about the passing of Oso. It was sad, bittersweet and momentous. Most importantly, it was a blessed gift and lesson from God with so many gifts that keep on giving. I really appreciated everyone's warm wishes, support, and even stories of their own losses of beloved companions. Again, if for some reason I missed responding to your message, please forgive me and know that it meant more than you can know. May God bless you for taking the time to reach out. :)
Alhamdullilah, this past week, we began our journey with Surah 9: Al Tawbah, the second to last major surah, as Dr. Abou El Fadl explained, as we are nearing the end of the prophetic journey with the Prophet (pbuh), and God is preparing us for life to come without our Prophet. This is our 87th surah on the Project Illumine journey, but after this surah, only Surah Al Maidah remains that Dr. Abou El Fadl has not discussed either in a line-by-line format or in Project Illumine. He does plan to discuss all of the line-by-line tafsir he previously presented also in the Project Illumine approach, as close to in the order of revelation as possible, he said. Can't wait! We were only able to get through about ten verses in our first session, so I am looking forward to a good number of halaqas to cover the remaining 119 verses or so. In this surah, the Shaykh mentioned that virtually every ayat is significant so it will likely be both a Project Illumine and line-by-line tafsir!
Last week's khutbah on "The Pulpit of Truth and the Battle over Women's Hair" was absolutely fabulous and clarifying given the state of affairs with regard to our current Muslims condition. Be sure to read the summary below!
VIDEO OF WEBINAR ON BLASPHEMY LAWS IN ISLAM LAST SATURDAY!
Last Saturday, Dr. Abou El Fadl shared a panel with Mustafa Akyol, Ahmet Kuru, Radwan Masmoudi, and Basheer Ahmed, and moderated by Professor Sahar Aziz on the question of: Why do many Muslim countries have blasphemy laws? It was great! Here is the link:
Hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy & SMU Dedman College
Video of the Webinar: https://youtu.be/
THE "SHARE WITH A FRIEND" CAMPAIGN!!
As a point of clarification, we are willing to send a copy of The Prophet's Pulpit internationally and domestically! The best antidote to Islamophobia is a powerful education, and we are extremely blessed to have a very generous donor come forward to aid us in our mission. This donor was so moved by our new book, The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam, that he has made it his cause to get a copy in the hands of every Muslim who is committed to beauty and justice in Islam.
So, we are pleased to launch our "Share With A Friend" campaign! It is easy - if you have a friend who you feel will benefit from this book, send me their name, mailing address and email, and we will send them a free copy with this lovely welcome and introduction card:
And as a thank you for helping us with this campaign, we will be happy to send you your choice of an Usuli T-shirt (Black or White in S/M/L/XL), Usuli Mug or an eBook version of The Prophet's Pulpit (or a paperback if you don't already have one!). That's it! :)
I believe we are all connected and perhaps one or two degrees of separation from every thinking Muslim that can make a difference. Help us get The Prophet's Pulpit in everyone's hands and elevate our collective knowledge and empowerment! Feel free to write me if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions.
Also, if you know Muslim journalists, academics, activists, politicians or influencers that would benefit, definitely let me know so we can send them a copy as well! May God bless our collective efforts!
PERPETUAL TRIBUTE TO ALL OF OUR BELOVED DOGGIES
To honor the loving memory of Oso, Baby and all the other beloved dogs we have had the pleasure of sharing life with, I will leave this link here, in hopes that Muslims will one day be at the forefront of loving, caring, and advocating for these most blessed and divine creatures. For more of Dr. Abou El Fadl's writings and views on dogs in the Islamic tradition: https://www.
Looking forward to today's khutbah shortly and the continuation of our engagement with Surah 9: Al Tawbah (Day 2)! May Allah guide us to the best way always! Hope to connect with you online soon insha'Allah (God willing)!
In Peace and Hope,