Happy November (Really??)!! I pray you are well and that the remaining days of this year are full of light and beauty for you and your family!
Have you read The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam yet? :) I am so grateful to our generous donor who has made it possible for us to send GIFT copies of The Prophet's Pulpit literally anywhere in the world! May God elevate and multiply his rewards! This book is magical and the response has been incredible! We are blown away by the responses to the book and the pictures and messages we receive from all parts of the world. If you would like a copy or if you have a friend whom you would like to gift a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, we are hard at work on Volume II of The Prophet's Pulpit, which will be available insha'Allah (God willing) Ramadan 2023. It is hard to express the excitement of digging into the new chapters of Volume II. If you thought Volume I was amazing, Volume II will knock you off your chair. It is just as powerful and life-transforming. I am struck by the power of the words that are spoken here at Usuli every Friday. Seeing them on paper again, they take on a whole new effect. Let me share a few short excerpts to whet your appetite!
"The Qur’an, God’s revealed book, sets out for us a path that is an entire methodology of life. The point of the Qur’an is not to affirm, but, rather, to challenge what we are. The nature of God's revelation is such that if we find in it an affirmation of what we are, or an affirmation of our feelings and ideas, with nothing beyond this, then we have not given this book its due. We do not then have a relationship with the Qur’an. The very idea of a revelation from God is to challenge, and inherent to the notion of a challenge is the demand for change. We do not read the Qur’an as a feel-good exercise. We do not read the Qur’an to affirm our presuppositions and natural inclinations. Rather, we read the Qur’an for guidance. To guide is to teach, and to teach must, necessarily, mean to challenge. Inherent to the notion of a revelation from the Divine is the idea of a challenge. When God tells us that we have been created to compete in good deeds (Q 2:148; 67:2), embedded in this is the idea of a challenge. The moral challenge for human beings is to go beyond what we know and are comfortable with. Otherwise, the notion of reward makes no sense. If the point of the Qur’an is to simply affirm our natural inclinations and biases – to rubber stamp our material, psychological, and intellectual comforts – then what does God reward us for? Does God reward us for simply being what we are?"
"People are born and die. People find and lose wealth. People marry and divorce. People find love and lose love. People rejoice and despair. These are all events. Without God, however, they have no meaning. They are just events. Without God, a job is just a job. A career is just a career. Life is just life. Death is just death. Only when you see the light of God flowing through everything is any of it gifted with meaning. God is light. If you see God in these events, then you see light. If you miss God in these events, then the absence of God is the absence of light, and the absence of light is darkness. Then, even if you rejoice at a career, wealth, or marriage, without God, its truth is darkness. When your heart is broken by death, divorce, betrayal, or the many things in life that sadden us, these things will truly become darkness unless you see God in them, unless you see the light of the Divine speaking to you amid the heartache, despair, and tragedy, giving you meaning. And meaning consoles. Meaning soothes the soul. Meaning comforts and saves. Be among those who long for meaning. Do not long for meaning only when you are sad. Long for meaning amid happiness and joy, and long for meaning amid tragedy and despair. Long for meaning when you find companionship and when you lose companionship. Long for meaning when you find success and when you confront failure."
"I keep returning to the idea of following the Sunna of the Prophet because so many pontificators in the modern age pretend to be people of the Sunna. When you scrutinize what they mean by “Sunna,” however, it is only the most superficial things. They ignore the heart and soul of what the true Sunna of the Prophet is about. In fact, they butcher it. They adhere only to the most superficial things about hygiene, appearances, or other affectations, ignoring what truly matters. The true Sunna of the Prophet is to have the ability to search for and speak the truth. If you do that, then you follow the Sunna of the Prophet. If you do not do that, then you do not follow the Sunna of the Prophet...The Prophet says that if you are convinced that something is the truth, then you have an obligation to speak it, and the failure to do so is a major problem. We must therefore think of what conditions are conducive to the fulfillment of that moral command. We cannot tell people to be interested in the truth if they are too poor, too hungry, or too sick, for example, or if searching for the truth means they could be arrested, tortured, or killed. If we want to follow the Sunna of the Prophet, then we cannot have a tyrannical society. We cannot have a society in which the aristocracy, rich, and powerful tell us, “Obey, and do not ask any questions.” By definition, that violates the Sunna of the Prophet."
CAN.NOT.WAIT!! If you like these excerpts, you will LOVE The Prophet's Pulpit Volume I. Get a copy for yourself and everyone you know! :) May God guide all of us to the best way always and allow us to become vessels of light that shine light with great beauty!