Al salamu 'alaykum (Greetings of Peace)! I pray you are well! We are less than two months away from the start of Ramadan, which is estimated to begin on March 23rd insha'Allah (God willing). Mind-blowing! The month of fasting is always such a precious and blessed time of the year! For us at Usuli, it is an exciting time for another reason - we have been working hard towards the goal of releasing Volume II of The Prophet's Pulpit around that time as well insha'Allah! :)
Volume I and Volume II (Mock-up)
This week, I wanted to share an exciting development that came as a result of our preparations for the release of Volume II - we asked a number of esteemed academics, activists, and journalists to consider writing endorsements of Volume I of The Prophet's Pulpit so that we can publish them in the very front pages of Volume II. Thank God, so far we have received some truly stunning endorsements! I wanted to share one in particular because not only did we receive an endorsement that was out of this world, but also because it resulted in something beautiful, totally unexpected, and very important.
As people know, I often highlight the work of the amazing Australian journalist, CJ Werleman, who has dedicated his time, energy and talent to focusing attention on the atrocities committed against Muslims - he provides insight and coverage of important news stories that don't see the light of day on any other media platform, not to speak of mainstream media. He is the host of the CJ Werleman Show. He is truly a gift to Muslims - a voice for the disempowered - and he is not even Muslim! I am not aware of any other journalists - even Muslim journalists - who choose to dedicate 100% of their time to covering stories of injustice, racism, genocide, and the insidious impact of Islamophobia that purely focus on the damaging impact on Muslims - and humanity at large. CJ Werleman's story is fascinating. He was an Islamophobe who changed his worldview through education and immersion with Islamic culture, but further, is someone who has determined from his own research and studies that the injustices being committed against Muslims are emblematic of the greatest threats confronting humanity. Fascism is on the rise, and it enters through the gateway of Islamophobia, where racism and injustices against Muslims are not just tolerated, but normalized, if not celebrated.
I first contacted CJ Werleman in late 2021 after I became aware of his work, and we had a lovely conversation. He was unaware of Dr. Abou El Fadl or our work at Usuli. I subsequently sent him a copy of The Prophet's Pulpit, Volume I, shortly after it was released, and was very happy when he agreed late last year to write an endorsement. The most beautiful surprise came right after he read it and told us that the chapter entitled, "Resisting the Colonization of Muslim Minds" inspired him for a future episode on his show. That show just came out this past week, and in it, he highlights Dr. Abou El Fadl, The Usuli Institute, and The Prophet's Pulpit! It is an amazing episode so definitely watch it and support CJ Werleman's important work here!
But the icing on the cake was his endorsement for The Prophet's Pulpit:
“This book has left me totally and utterly gobsmacked. If I were a Muslim, or Islamic scholar, this is the book I would have hoped to have written. This is the Islam I want to believe in. Every ethic and value I hold dear to my heart is conveyed in these writings. To read a religious scholar speak to terrestrial concerns and injustices, rather than just celestial aspirations is beyond refreshing. I’m so happy to have read this. Brilliant and inspirational stuff!”
CJ Werleman, journalist and host of the CJ Werleman Show
This endorsement set my heart alight, brought tears to my eyes, and made me immensely grateful that we were able to produce a book that could elicit this kind of reaction. Alhamdulillah (thank God)! Thank you CJ! And thank you to all of the incredible endorsers that have blessed Volume II - can't wait to share them when Volume II comes out insha'Allah!
I am so excited for tonight's Project Illumine halaqa installment of Surah 5: Al Ma'idah, Day 7! Hope to connect with you online soon insha'Allah (God willing)! May God uplift, guide and empower you always!