Project illumine: the light of the quran


What if...

  • we could give 2, 3 or 4 of our best and brightest young students one to two years to study, train and intensively "download" as much wisdom as possible from a distinguished scholar's lifetime engagement with the Quran - in order to carry it forward to the next generation. What would that be worth?

And what if...

  • that scholar, from his life-long relationship with the Quran, had discovered how to unlock the chapter-by-chapter meaning of the text in a way never before uncovered in our Islamic intellectual tradition, and could impart that knowledge to the students during that time? 

And what if...

  • every single week, we could experience the shared learning from virtual Quran halaqas? 
  • and The Usuli Institute could record, transcribe, edit and publish all of the findings from that year-long research for future generations?

This is PROJECT ILLUMINE: THE LIGHT OF THE QURAN, changing the way we understand our relationship with God, our faith, and how we live our lives as committed, vibrant, merciful, justice-oriented, loving and dignified Muslims IN OUR AGE. 


Excerpt from the "Pilot" Halaqa describing the Project (Read The Transcript Here)

What is "Project Illumine: The Light of the Quran"?

A one to two year-long intense and accelerated journey for scholar and students focused on mining the full meaning of each chapter of the Quran - chapter by chapter - based on a ground-breaking methodology. 

  • Scholar and 2-4 students in intense study, training, special dhikr to unlock the meaning of each surah
  • Ground-breaking methodology
  • Weekly public virtual halaqas on each surah
  • All research preserved and published for future generations

Traditional approaches follow a line-by-line exegesis of the text or thematic analyses of the Quran as a whole. From his research and lifelong engagement with the text of the Quran, Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl has developed a novel methodology for approaching and analyzing the unique  meaning of each chapter of the Quran.


The research explores:

  • What role does each chapter play in the Quran?
  • Why is a chapter a chapter?
  • Why does the Quran have 114 chapters, no more and no less?
  • Is there a Divine intentionality?
  • Does each chapter have a thematic coherence?
  • Is there a message in each chapter?
  • Why were verses grouped together in one chapter even though they were revealed years apart, some in Mecca and some in Medina?
  • Looking at the Quran as a total package, how would it differ without a particular chapter?

The ambitious goal would be to complete the analysis of all 114 chapters of the Quran in approximately one to two years.


The full "Pilot" Halaqa on Surah Al Hadid (Iron), Part 1: Introduction and Tafsir, 27 June 2020

Why is this project important?

The Quran is the central text that anchored the entire Islamic message, the heart and soul of:

  • What is Islam?
  • What is a Muslim?
  • What are the boundaries for how we can identify a Muslim, and
  • What should the direction and trajectory of that Muslim be?

Muslims for a variety of reasons have lost touch with the Quran. It is not the central text that directs their lives, shapes their value system or consciousness, or contributes to their understanding of the world or how to relate to the world.


For centuries, Muslims would begin the process of literacy by teaching and absorbing the Quran, and for many, memorizing the Quran, even if they were not going to become scholars or jurists. Even for people who would go on to enter many vocations in life, literacy always began with the Quran.


For many centuries, Muslim understood that at the heart of the educational process is a close and intimate engagement with the Quran. That practice began weakening significantly during the colonial era, but even after colonialism, it continued to weaken. Quranic literacy deteriorated very seriously throughout the Muslim world until our day and age, where it is not unusual for there to be zero Quranic literacy.


Many educated Muslims have a greater amount of exposure to Shakespeare than the Quran, which has become a foreign text. We don’t know how to read the Quran or unpack the world of meanings and relate to the text in a way that shapes our consciousness, emotions or intellectual paradigms.


Dr. Abou El Fadl emotionally closes the "Pilot" Halaqa by sharing The Dream of the Project.

What is "the dream" of this ambitious project?

On June 27, 2020, Dr. Abou El Fadl gave a "pilot" class (halaqa) to talk about his lifelong engagement with the Quran, the intellectual and spiritual search that brought him to the journey, and his approach to delving deep into the chapters of the Quran. He chose one chapter, Surah al Hadid (Iron) to demonstrate the methodology he developed and presented the output of his research. It brought the audience to tears. At the end of the halaqa, he shared the dream  for passing on this knowledge to students who can carry it forward and further.

why should i support this project?

With your committed monthly donation:

  • Access to accelerated weekly halaqas to share in the ground-breaking study of the Quran
  • Earn special blessings now and in the Hereafter
  • Dedicate blessings in perpetuity to your loved ones
  • Make amends with God by doing good
  • Invest in the future of your children remaining Muslim
  • Support the production of lasting, revolutionary knowledge of the Quran
  • Rediscover the beauty of Islam anew

The Quran was intended to be our timeless guide but Muslims don't know it anymore.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to create an intellectual and spiritual incubator for our best and brightest to advance our collective knowledge and engagement with the Quran.


Those who do not have the ability to mine the Quran at this level of intensity MUST financially support those who do, so that ALL Muslims can rediscover the strength and sustaining beauty of the Quran. 


For more information, email us at

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

Your donation to The Institute for Advanced Usuli Studies will help fund important work to combat extremism and ignorance. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity dedicated to research and education to promote humanistically beautiful and morally elevating interpretations of Islam. We seek to support our brightest minds to advance knowledge and to build a community of individuals founded on dignity, respect and love for all of God's creation. See The Usuli Institute Credo for our statement of values. Please give generously to support a beautiful, reasonable and vibrantly human Islam for future generations to come. All donations are tax-deductible and zakat eligible.


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