Real Talk on Palestine No. 5: A Conversation with Professor Khaled Beydoun!

Greetings of Peace (al salamu 'alaykum) dear Friends,


I pray that you are well. Not gonna lie, it has been a very tough week over and above the ongoing monstrosity in Palestine. Thank you to everyone for your prayers for Shaykh's health. I believe the demands, the stress, and the exhaustion of everything finally caught up and took its toll. I am extremely grateful for the gifted Shayan Parsai, who stepped up and knocked it out of the part with yet another brilliant khutbah, two weeks running, especially that he agreed on minimal notice.


And what a powerful khutbah it was! Look forward to the edited transcript of this past Friday's khutbah, "Calamity: The Great Moral Criterion," to come in next week's email. This week, we offer the transcript of his amazing khutbah from two Fridays ago, entitled "Parable of the Palm Tree: Morality as the Language of Deceit" (below). Be sure to listen to both, as Shayan skillfully builds upon the learning from our Project Illumine Qur'anic Commentaries and elevates our collective knowledge. This is the hope of all teachers - that their students will take what they learn and advance it. Shayan did Shaykh proud! 


With the ongoing genocide continuing to intensify, we continue to refuse to return to "business as usual." So, I am especially grateful when we can gather and offer something we believe to be particularly pertinent and valuable for the moment. This past weekend, we had the honor, blessing, and even-better-than-expected gift of a Zoom conversation with our dear friend, Professor Khaled Beydoun, alongside our community superstar, Jana al-Akhras, Dr. Abou El Fadl, and myself. Professor Beydoun (@khaledbeydoun) and Jana have both been doing tireless and heroic work on the social media front and elsewhere. It was a fabulous conversation.



With this email, we will be all caught up! First, below you will find the transcript for Shaykh's incredible khutbah: "The Debasement of Shari'a and the State of Muslims," which explains how colonialism stunted the divine power of God's Shari'a, and why understanding and reclaiming God's Shari'a is the path forward. Of course, this means we must learn and care about what God's Shari'a is. It is not doled out by any government, which has its own objectives, none of which are divine elevation. 


Below, you will also find the transcript from Shayan's brilliant khutbah entitled, "Parable of the Palm Tree: Morality as the Language of Deceit." Given the upcoming holiday week, hopefully, you will find time to catch up too! 



My latest piece on Substack.com is entitled, "Team Light v. Team Darkness: A Redline Moment. On Faith and Lessons from A Modern Day Hero." This piece was inspired by Wayne Hsiung, an animal rights activist, whose example of sacrifice was so inspiring, it made me rethink my own attitudes and behavior about veganism and animal cruelty.


"Team Light v. Team Darkness: A Redline Moment. On Faith and Lessons from A Modern Day Hero."

On my Substack: In grace and song: Love Letters to God from an Unlikely Muslim Convert


On the catch-up front, I am happy to share two pieces by Wietske Merison, who 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 feel so blessed to learn so much week after week through Wietske's deep and skillful writing. It is always a journey rich with knowledge, insight, and introspection - and fun facts! Don't miss these two absolutely brilliant pieces: 


European Turtle Dove: Love beyond symbolism by Wietske Merison

8 December 2023


Peregrine Falcon: The tradition of innovation

15 December 2023


On her Substack: Gift from the Heavens: Musings of a Muslim Birder


And, we are all caught up! :) With this holiday week, hopefully you will also have a chance to catch up on some of this content as well! Although the news and images from Palestine are dark and devastating, we can at a minimum fight back by educating ourselves as an act of resistance.



As we near the close of 2023 (!!), I would like to make a heartfelt plea for your financial support (if you are able), especially since our tax dollars in the U.S. are currently funding a genocide. I hope that you will consider taking this opportunity to divert those tax dollars to a tax-deductible donation towards supporting our work here, teaching and applying Qur'anic ethics and speaking truth to power. We are proud to offer what I believe is tremendously valuable knowledge. And, we have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline that we would like to complete, most importantly, the publication of the entire Project Illumine Qur'anic commentaries, and in the nearer term, Volume III of The Prophet's Pulpit - and much, much more! In these especially dark times, we believe we offer something unique and compelling, fully rooted in our rich intellectual tradition, and powerful as an antidote to the injustices of our day. Many people are curious about Islam as a silver lining to the genocide in Palestine. We would love to make Usuli's ethical, humanistic, and beautiful approach to Islam more visible and accessible to a larger audience. Please help us do more and better with your support. Every tax-deductible donation to our work is one less dollar potentially used to support the genocide! Thank you so much for considering, and may God return your investment exponentially! You can donate here: https://www.usuli.org/donate/


May God empower bless you and your loved ones always, and empower us to take whatever action is within our means to make a difference. May God strengthen, comfort, and forgive us all. Ameen. Look forward to seeing you online soon insha'Allah.


In Peace and Hope,


The Movement to Reinvigorate Beautiful and Ethical Islam has begun.  Join us.

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