Greetings of Peace (al salamu 'alaykum) dear Friends,
I pray that you are managing as well as can be expected despite the horrific news of the continuing genocide in Palestine. We have actively made the decision not to return to "business as usual" while the devastation in Palestine continues, and will gather when we have an appropriate event for the moment. In that spirit, I am so pleased to announce that our next event will consist of a conversation with Professor Khaled Beydoun, who has been doing spectacular work on the social media front and elsewhere, keeping the world informed of what no mainstream media channels will report about what is happening in Palestine and elsewhere. The event will take place on Saturday, December 16th. I will share more details as they are set.
In the meantime, I want to share this brilliant keynote that Shaykh delivered this past week via Zoom at the University of Tubingen, Germany, International Conference: "Torah - Worldliness - Quran: Beyond the Common Concepts of 'Secular' and 'Religious'," on 29 November 2023.
This is Shaykh at his best, presenting nuanced, original ideas on Shari'a, and why it is so much more than law. He presents the idea of obligations versus rights in understanding the difference in answering to God versus answering to the State. In my own paraphrasing, Shaykh argues that the State has the force of coercion from which we as people must demand rights for our own protection. The State has its own interests and is not equipped nor intended to enforce Shari'a, if we understand Shari'a to be God's law. The State maintains order through law, and serves its own purposes, which are not for "Godly" purposes. Conversely, Shari'a is God's law through which we do not need to demand rights for our own protection, but rather we must focus on obligations - to God, to our community, and to ourselves - and as such, develop a vibrant relationship that forms our identity as Muslims (mistakes are my own). The lecture was deep and insightful, and further presented in the khutbah on Friday, 1 December, called "The Debasement of Shari'a and the State of Muslims," one of the most powerful khutbahs we have heard to date, particularly since October 7th. I hope you will listen to both.
CATCHING UP THIS WEEK
I am still in catch up mode! Once again, so as not to overwhelm, below you will find the edited transcript for Dr. Abou El Fadl's incredible khutbah entitled, "Emancipation from 'Colonial Islam' and the Uselessness of Muslim Leaders," and in the coming next week, I will share the transcript for both: "Built on Racism: Modern Institutions and the Path to Liberation," and this past Friday's amazing khutbah, "The Debasement of Shari'a and the State of Muslims," so hopefully, we will then be all caught up insha'Allah (God willing)! One particularly powerful part of this past Friday's khutbah was Shaykh's response to the recent letter by Hamza Yusuf, President of Zaytuna College, which you can find at the 1:05:25 mark here.
My latest piece on Substack is entitled, "Team Light v. Team Darkness: A Redline Moment. On Faith and Lessons from A Modern Day Hero." This piece was inspired by the example of sacrifice of an animal rights activist, Wayne Hsiung, that I recently came across as I was exploring on Substack.com. His dedication, commitment, and willingness to risk everything to save animals from inhumane conditions was extremely inspiring and humbling. He is currently in jail for rescuing chickens from factory farms in California. His story had an impact on me and his actions humbled me and made me reflect on my own life. It also gave me an opportunity to talk about sacrifice and other Quranic principles of beautiful Islam that non-Muslims may not know. With the genocide in Palestine taking place in full public view, I believe we are witnessing a redline moment - where does one stand on issues of ethic, and what are we willing to sacrifice? Finally, what do we make of all that is transpiring in this moment? These are some of the themes and reflections of this piece. Hope you enjoy it! :)
And if you haven't had the pleasure of reading the work of Wietske Merison, now is the time! She writes as a "Muslim Birder," sharing powerful stories and reflections at the intersection of the Qur'an, nature, and God's incredible creation of birds. I am also in catch-up mode with sharing Wietske's work so will this piece from two weeks ago called "Wild Turkey: Genocide, gratitude, and the need for more," and another piece later in the week insha'Allah. Enjoy!
On her Substack: Gift from the Heavens: Musings of a Muslim Birder
Even though watching the atrocities in Palestine from afar is emotionally devastating and feels helpless, we can still make a difference. Let us continue to pray and act on behalf of Palestine and all the Muslims around the world who are suffering. May God empower us to take whatever action is within our means to make a difference in whatever way we can. May God strengthen, comfort, and forgive us all. Ameen. Look forward to seeing you online soon insha'Allah.
In Peace and Hope,