HAPPY NEW YEAR! I pray you are well and savoring the last precious moments of 2022! If you need a last minute tax write-off or want to finish the year off with a special gift to support our work, please consider donating to Usuli here! And may God reward you with much more and much better when it matters most!
The end of the year is always a momentous occasion for reflection, rejuvenation, and inspiration for me. The time passed so quickly, but we have done a lot, thank God, and come a long way in the Project Illumine journey! We have learned so much and yes, our accountability has increased for that knowledge, but isn't that the point? I wouldn't want it any other way. I am beyond grateful for all that we have received, been able to share, and been fortunate to create, not the least of which was a new imprint, a new book, and a new outlook for so many people who were looking for something beyond the status quo - and found Usuli. I can't count the number of messages I have received that told me they prayed for guidance, help, or a different understanding of an issue and then found us online. Alhamdulillah (thank God)! As I have often said, there are so many people who feel alone in their outlook about the beauty of Islam - who feel they cannot relate to the irrational, unenlightened, or less than humane expressions of Islam they encounter - and who come upon our work to discover something that rings true with their heart and mind. This connection with us, and then by extension with all the others who have connected with us, creates a global networked community that comes together in beauty and dedication to the light of the Qur'an - and then they are not so alone any more. I pray that we are all planting seeds of beauty that will spread over time.
The other thing that I love about end of year reflections are top ten lists! So, if you don't mind, I will share my own top ten list of the best things that happened at Usuli in 2022!
So here we go!
10. Receiving unbelievably beautiful messages from all around the world about our impact from Pakistan to Australia to Singapore to Kashmir to Uzbekistan and beyond! We grew our global network of beautiful souls!
9. Adopt a Surah progress - only six surahs left to be adopted! We are so grateful for everyone who sponsored the publication of the Project Illumine commentaries! Whether you adopted a surah or not, everyone who supported our work is part of this project!
8. Finishing the Unpacking of the Boxes of the Usuli Library - The books still need organizing (it is a never-ending project!) but we open and sorted all the boxes of books!! Whew!
7. Launching Usuli Press: This is part of our mission - to produce spectacular books inside and out, in preparation for our legacy project, the entire collection of Project Illumine Commentaries (tafsir)!
6. Actually doing everything to succeed in publishing our first book, The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, edited by Josef Linnhoff. We learned so much and are proud of the outcome! Look what we were able to accomplish together! :)
5. The Share with a Friend Campaign - One important achievement inspired another! A blessed donor came forth to support our gifting this important book to anyone in the world who wanted it! 2267 books at last count with more in the queue! We have been empowered to spread more light and knowledge around the world through The Prophet's Pulpit! If you want one, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
4. 50 powerhouse khutbahs in 2022! Ready to populate future volumes of The Prophet's Pulpit! :)
3. Completing the tafsirs (deep dive commentaries) into 21 Surahs (chapters of the Qur'an) in 2022
2. 56 total Project Illumine Halaqas in 2022 (some surahs required multiple sessions, like the incredible halaqas on Surah al Nisa', Surah al Nur, Surah al Hajj, and Surah al Tawbah among so many more!)
And drumroll for #1 - the greatest thing that happened at Usuli in 2022.....
1. Dr. Abou El Fadl reaching Surah 5: Al Ma'idah, his 114th surah, after which he will have presented deep dives into the meanings of EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an - a 20+ year journey of teaching the Qur'an intensively! Now, we just need to complete the Project Illumine versions (Dr. Abou El Fadl's personal journey with the Qur'an)! Ninety-one down, 23 to go!
And there were so many more amazing things that happened that didn't make the top ten! Thank you all for supporting and being with us on this incredible journey in 2022! I pray that 2023 will be a much better year for all of us insha'Allah! May God bless, protect, and guide you to the best way always and may we continue to work together to elevate ethics, critical thinking, and dignity through education through our mission at Usuli!
From our family to yours, we send our love and warmest wishes and prayers for the New Year and beyond insha'Allah!
I am so excited for tonight's Project Illumine halaqa installment of Surah 5: Al Ma'idah, Day 3! Hope to connect with you online soon insha'Allah (God willing)!