Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl delivers a virtual Friday weekly address (khutbah) and congregational prayer (jumu'a)
via Facebook livestream beginning at 1:15 pm Los Angeles time.
In response to the increased alienation that Muslims, particularly women and converts, experience at their local mosque due to the lack of inspiring, spiritual uplifting and intellectually stimulating khutbahs, The Usuli Institute offers this ALTERNATIVE virtual khutbah and jumu'a for those who cannot or would not attend jumu'a otherwise. Please join us online (www.facebook.com/usuli.org).
If you are in our time zone (ie. it is Zuhr where you are when we are livestreaming), this can count as your jumu'a prayer. If you are in a different time zone, it can be sunnah prayer. Gather your friends to listen and pray with you. This will allow those who have been alienated from the mosque to create alternate spaces for Friday prayer, with Dr. Abou El Fadl as your virtual khatib. Or, watch the recording afterwards for a weekly intellectual and spiritual invigoration.
Is this Islamically permissible? Watch the first khutbah (below) to hear Dr. Abou El Fadl explain the purpose, history, meaning and juristic opinions about virtual congregational prayer. Listen to why he has resisted offering such a virtual khutbah until now, and why he has come to the conclusion that our current circumstance as Muslims warrants such alternatives.
Delivered 17 May, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl marks the last Friday jumu'a of Ramadan 2019 as the demarcation of another Ramadan passed in the historical legacy of Muslims in the world. It is also the Day of Jerusalem. He recalls that the state of Jerusalem is a window into the health of Muslims. He reminds Muslims that Islam is intended to be a liberation theology for human beings, and that so much Muslim suffering taking place today around the world is because there are those who do not wish for this version to exist. Instead, there are those who wish for a dead Islam, devoid of ethics, justice or values. This leaves Muslims at a crossroads to choose between the Islam of dignity, liberation and ethics; or the Islam of blind ritual, obedience to unjust rulers, and effectively death. He surveys the state of suffering of Muslims around the world. He shares several important hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, which attest to the centrality of justice and dignity to the Islamic message, and the imperative of answering only to God rather than other human beings. The Prophet Muhammad emphasizes that those who believe the lies of unjust rulers or support unjust rulers have no place with Prophet Muhammad and will never make it to jannah. Such hadith have been buried by modern rulers. Muslims must choose which of the two versions of Islam is of the divine. Delivered 31 May 2019.
Delivered 17 May, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl reminds us of our covenant with God, as representatives on this earth, to uphold justice. He discusses the verses in the Quran that equate justice with divinity, and divinity with justice, and explains the covenant and its implications. He discusses the Quranic verses where God states unequivocally what happens to Muslims who kill other Muslims unjustly, and those who kill those who uphold God's justice. He calls Muslims to their conscience and action to stand up for justice, particularly in light of the scores of Muslims being tortured, killed, executed, disappeared around the world, especially the three prominent Saudi scholars, Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari, who have been recently slated for execution after Ramadan. Dr. Abou El Fadl gives an impassioned defense of their right to live and speak without fear of retribution. He distinguishes between those Muslims who are concerned primarily with pietistic affectations versus those who heed the call for action and stand for justice for the sake of the divine covenant with God. Delivered 24 May 2019.
Delivered 17 May, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl explains why fasting for Ramadan is much more than simply learning to empathize with those who have less than us during this holy month. He reminds us that we are not simply animals that consume, but we have a covenant of action and purpose with God on this earth. He elaborates on the Qur'anic verse that tells us we are poor and in need of God, but how this is easily forgotten when our stomachs are full and our needs are met. In fact, those who have the most in this life are the most easily vulnerable to the temptations before us and the most prone to forgetfulness towards the Divine. He points out that God promises to be with us as we develop through the "school of fasting" that is Ramadan. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, 17 May 2019.
Delivered 10 May, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl discusses the true meaning of kufr (an act of ingratitude) and what it means when we do not believe or act as if we are an extension of divinity. He explains why kufr is not just about atheism or violating laws, but about what happens when things like prayer and fasting do not increase one's faith or awareness of the umbilical relationship between a human being and his or her Creator. He elaborates on how Islam is being emptied of substance and how this is causing a crisis of faith among so many, especially Muslim youth. He talks about the threat of oppression upon the faith, and reminds us of the story of Moses, who was called by God to confront Pharoah, the oppressor and tyrant of his time. We live in a time full of oppression and tyrants, and we are reminded of the call to confront all tyrants and oppressors. What would have happened if Moses did not confront his tyrant? What is happening today, when Muslims will not confront their own modern-day tyrants? Delivered 10 May 2019.
Delivered 3 May, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl delves deeper into the theme of love in Islam. He addresses negative responses to his recent khutbahs, which demand dalil (evidence) and juristic references to justify the centrality of love in the Islamic tradition--demands that arise from obstructionism and an insistence on legalistic details over obvious moral and ethical fundamentals of the faith. He explains why Islam is the only religion that makes sense, and how God calls upon followers to understand that to love God is to love beauty and justice and to live in a constant state of resistance to oppression and despotism. He discusses a number of important Quranic verses and hadith (Prophetic traditions) that describe the reciprocal love between God and God's beloved; that the path of Islam is the path of love; and the promise that God will replace those who do not love God with those that do love God and that God loves. He shares traditions that emphasize the centrality and importance of love, and the non sequitur of being Muslim and not being in love with God. He asserts that Muslims are at a crossroads--Muslims must choose whether to follow the Islam of ugliness, colonialism, harshness, despotism, oil and gas, big money, bitter hearts and angry souls; OR the Islam of justice, equity, love, beauty, and light. A powerful and passionate khutbah. Delivered 3 May 2019.
Delivered 26 April, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl reminds us of a prayer of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the Prophet regularly recited asking God to grant him the love of God, the love of those who love God and the love for those deeds that God loved, and how the theme of love was central to being Muslim. He discusses the vast difference between seeking the love of God and building a loving relationship with God versus the act of coping with being Muslim and meeting requirements only to avoid punishment or earn paradise. He argues that it is the passion of love for God and all that God loves (justice, mercy, beauty, compassion) that is ultimately what humans are seeking. He addresses the recent corruptions and tragedies in the world and emphasizes that the way to earn God's love is not through acts of murder, oppression, despotism or ugliness, but only through love. Delivered 26 April 2019.
Delivered 19 April, 2019
In this month of Shaban, preceding Ramadan, Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us of the preparations of the Prophet Muhammad for the month of Ramadan. He discusses the deeper meaning of the word "ibadat," often translated as "worship" but which is much more than just ritual worship. He explains what it means to be in a state of ibadat, which goes much farther and deeper than simply the physical acts, but which encompasses love, knowing the other, knowing the Creator, knowing the truth of oneself: pure unadulterated Truth. It is possible to engage in the physical acts of ibadat but still not achieve the fuller meaning of the word, which is to love God. He elaborates on what it means to be in a state of loving God and the power of existing in the state of reciprocal love with God. He calls on Muslims to fulfill their role as the manifestation of Divine love on this earth--to manifest beauty and justice--in the face of the many abominations of God facing Muslims and humanity in our times. Delivered 19 April 2019 at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Delivered 12 April, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl explains the act of creation by God as an act of love and describes how beauty, love, justice and the act of returning the love of God are at the core of one's understanding of Islam. He reminds us of how God's love is the beginning and the end, and how God continually extends and offers love to every human being regardless of whether that human being is good or bad; a believer or a non-believer, awaiting reciprocation if humans so choose. God is light and light is love. For the vast majority of history up until the 1930's and the rise of Wahhabism and Salafism, it was taken for granted that the God of Islam was the God of Love, and that God was a loving God; quite the reverse of our modern times. He discusses the implications of this understanding of God and love. Without God's love, there is darkness upon darkness, which is demonstrated in many states of the Muslim world today. He discusses the example of the evil darkness of the trafficking of human organs from the Muslim concentration camps in China, sold to others in the Muslim world. God will not bless those who insist on the darkness over light; remembering the light and love of God and Islam must be the path forward. Delivered 12 April 2019.
Delivered 5 April, 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl establishes the critical distinction between the remembrance of God (dhikr Allah) as an individual, one-on-one with God, versus as a community or congregation of worshippers, ie. as a society, vis a vis God. The difference in a moral accounting of an individual versus a community before God becomes especially important when evaluating the role of jumu'a, when the community is intended to come together to take a moral inventory of how they are performing as a collective, in relation to God's imperatives of justice, beauty and mercy. In this light, Dr. Abou El Fadl discusses the Quranic commands to care for orphans in our world, and how the reality of our current day with regard to orphans truly is. We must address the issue of orphans according to the best approaches of our times. From all indications, we have failed to do so, and God will not bless a people that have not cared for their orphans. He discusses our collective accountability vis a vis God. Further, in light of Isra wa al Miraj this week, he discusses the current discourse around the truth of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa mosque as part of our Islamic heritage, and the efforts to undermine this heritage for political reasons. A powerful calling to account for the truths and untruths of our day. Delivered 5 April 2019.
Delivered 29 March, 2019
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl delivers the Friday khutbah at Princeton University, 29 March 2019. Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us of the sanctity of human life, the light of the soul that is uniquely divine, given to each human being regardless of faith or lack of faith or any other distinction. Each human soul is endlessly valuable, thus the Quranic exhortation that to murder a soul is as if to murder all of humanity. This only begins to suggest the horror, devastation and moral abomination of the murder of over 12.5 million Muslims in wars and the like over the past 20 years--a conservative yet well evidenced and documented estimate. Muslims will be held to account by God as to what they did with what God gave them to address this abomination. This is especially pertinent for those Muslims with privilege, like those at Princeton. Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that Muslims must exert their best efforts according to what God has given them to address the moral crises of our age.
As is the tradition of the Princeton Muslim Life Program which hosts the Friday khutbahs at Princeton, each khutbah is followed by an original du'a by a female member of the congregation. The du'a this day was given by Grace Song, Executive Director of the Usuli Institute. Delivered 29 March 2019.
Delivered 22 March, 2019.
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds that God expects Muslims to be the bearers of God's words unto humanity, in a constant state of beautification and doing what is beautiful. God loves those who do beautiful deeds. When God gives us this charge, we must take it seriously such that we become as if a lighthouse of morality and ethics onto humanity; the moral pilots of humanity. Further, he reminds us that God endowed human beings with dignity and those humiliate and degrade others through despotism and ugliness, taking dignity away from people, are whose who are cursed by God and every prophet. This is a call to ethics and justice. This must light a fire under Muslims so that what defines them is a conscientious ethical existence.
Muslims cannot ethically pilot humanity unless we learn first to be ferocious, fearless and brave in confronting ugliness and the unethical and unIslamic. He presents the example of the organized killing of a witness to the gang rape of a 7 year old Yemeni boy, an injustice that fired up days of protest in Yemen, but over which American Muslim "leaders" were silent and in some cases, worse. This was an indication of deep moral rupture and failure. God will not bless or aid us or support the unjust. As long as Muslims continue to be cowardly and equivocal towards injustice, God will not be with us but will leave us to our hawa (whims) and our own destruction.
In the second half, he discusses the deep roots of Islamophobia that led to the massacre in New Zealand (may Allah accept the victims as martyrs). He discusses the manifesto of the shooter titled “The Great Replacement,” which is extremely significant for Muslims to study and reflect upon, or else Muslims could confront another Bosnian genocide or Holocaust. He calls out the deep relationships between the so-called Muslim leadership and global Islamophobic forces. As long as Muslims and Muslim leadership continue to support injustice, God will continue forsaking us. God does not gaze upon the immoral and ugly. Delivered 22 March 2019.
Delivered 15 March, 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl powerfully addresses the evil acts of murder committed against Muslims in New Zealand. He addresses how this history of massacres committed against Muslims have been ongoing since the Bosnian Genocide through today and is grounded in the well-funded Islamophobia industry campaigns of our day. He talks about the impact of racism in acts of terror against Muslims and how similar acts of terror by white extremists are addressed by comparison. He discusses the manifestos of both this New Zealand shooter and Anders Brevik, who wrote a 600+ page manifesto of hate, both drawing deeply from the American Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer and Steven Emerson. Dr. Abou El Fadl read each of these manifestos in full. The insights from these hate tracts were not those of simply deranged human beings, but the dark fruit and lethal consequence of massive, steady investments in the Islamophobia hate industry. He calls on Muslims to step up and do the necessary work to match if not exceed their investment in actively countering the American Islamophobia hate industry. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, 15 March 2019.
Delivered 8 March, 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl reminds Muslims of the "obvious" and forgotten basics of ethics of our faith. He illuminates why Islamophobia has permeated every part of our existence in subtle and unseen ways. He shares why the new Crusades in our day and age are fought with weapons of information, data and knowledge, and how it is incumbent upon Muslims recognize and appropriately address the challenges facing them in this age. He calls upon Muslims to "clean their own house" first. Delivered 8 March 2019.
**Please excuse lack of focus of recording due to technical difficulties.
Delivered 1 March, 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl addresses questions arising from his previous khutbahs regarding how to receive and assess knowledge and develop and trust one's own intuition or native instinct (fitrah) in determining what is authentically Islamic. He elaborates on the example of pure water entering a clean vessel versus a dirty vessel in understanding the impact of a divine message on the soul (vessel) receiving that message. He discusses how to evaluate the moral character of religious authority, be it an imam, faqih, shaykh or other religious teacher. He reminds us that leadership and authority must be judged according to conduct and action rather than words and the willingness to judge others before oneself. He discusses the fundamental building blocks of morality and ethics that God has given every human being. To elaborate by example, he brings all of the above to bear upon the real-life current tragedy of Uighur Muslims being imprisoned and tortured in concentration camps in China and the lack of moral response from global Muslim leadership. Delivered 1 March 2019.
Delivered 22 February, 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl delves into the depth of the modern day re-colonization, re-subjugation and re-domination of Muslims fueled by racism, Islamophobia, and the desire to appease the culture of the elite in the world-- and its dark consequences. He reminds us that in our tradition, God in the Quran has made it abundantly clear that among the greatest gifts of creation is the intellect and the use of reason ('aql). Referencing once common but long forgotten traditions of the Prophet (hadith), Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that God holds in highest esteem those who reflect and reason; and that a single word of wisdom is more worthy than the entire earth and its contents. He presents four points of guidance: 1) Knowing what to be cautious and suspect towards; 2) Glorifying one's ability to reason; 3) Pursuing knowledge vigorously; and 4) The weighty responsibility of knowledge and its requirements. Delivered 22 Feb. 2019.
Delivered 15 February, 2019.
In this transformative moment in human history, Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl recounts the ways in the last three decades since the publication of his book, The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses, that the methodology of justice, beauty and reason he advocated came under attack as a source of "fitnah" (creating discord and dissent). As Muslims, we learned from well known shuyukh that many things like music, art, pictures, relations with non-Muslims and other things identified as "from the West" were haram (forbidden). Suddenly, overnight, the same shaykhs who claimed such "incontrovertible truths" have reversed their positions without any evidentiary basis, nor any reference to Islamic law or jurisprudence. He reminds us that God gave us a religion of fitrah (intuition, innateness and natural instinct), and that messages of Islam from the lands of despotism and hypocrisy in the Middle East have become intolerable. It is time for Muslims in the West to liberate themselves from the Islam coming from the colonized, dominated and subjugated Middle East, and rethink anew what the Islam of justice and beauty should entail as pioneers in our current times. He encourages Muslims to become pious and trust in the intuitive attraction to goodness, justice and beauty that God gave all human beings. Delivered 15 February 2019.
Delivered 8 February, 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl honors the life of his dear friend and "brother," Guido Santi, documentary filmmaker and professor of cinema at The College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA, who unexpectedly passed away this week. He discusses the beautiful example of the moral life and decisions made by a moral man, and the lessons that should be imparted upon us in their passing. Further, he discusses the cycle of life and what we should reflect upon with the passing of those we love, as the Prophet reminds us that the reward for goodness is goodness; and the reward for ugliness is ugliness. Delivered 8 February, 2019.
Delivered 1 February, 2019.
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that the Qur'an calls us to establish regular prayer as the means to build perseverance and patience that will strengthen our ability to withstand all of the trials, tribulations, frustrations and doubts that will surely attempt to pull us away from the path to the divine, especially in such difficult times as today for modern Muslims. He relates that when the overall health and condition of Muslims is good, the relationship with the Qur'an is strong; when the overall condition of Muslims is poor, their relationship with the Qur'an is distant and weak. We must turn inward to develop our own light and relationships with God and learning to be comfortable with ourselves alone with God. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, 1 February 2019.
Delivered 25 January, 2019.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl begins by discussing the Quranic intent of the Friday congregational prayer (jumu'a) prayer and the weekly address to the community (khutbah) at the time of the Prophet, and its role in serving as the divine uplift, community accounting, and spiritual re-invigoration of the Muslim community. He then recounts how this purpose became usurped over time. He continues by covering the required qualifications of the person who should lead the jumu'a -- the most learned in the community -- and what the jurists (faqih) of various schools of thought asserted when these qualifications are not met. Dr. Abou El Fadl then addresses the current state of affairs in mosques, what has become of Friday prayers, and why he has chosen to offer this virtual alternative. He discusses what various schools of thought (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi'i and Maliki) have said about "virtual" jumu'a prayer, the history of "virtual jumu'a" from the 1960's, and what constitutes a proper congregation (jamaa). In the second half, he reminds the congregation what it means to ignite the light of God inside of you, such that divine light, as opposed to darkness, emits from you. Surprising, illuminating and uplifting!
For Dr. Abou El Fadl's Friday Khutbahs prior to 2019, please visit https://www.searchforbeauty.org/friday-khutbahs-latest/