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This Past Week at The Usuli Institute (29 April - 5 May 2022)
Project Illumine
Usuli Institute Khutbah, 29 April 2022
(Summary Description Below)
The Launch of USULI PRESS and The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam by Khaled Abou El Fadl
23 April 2022
Grace's Message

Al salamu alaykum dear Friends,

An extended Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones! I pray that you all enjoyed and beautiful and blessed Eid and that the coming year ahead with be full of advancement, growth, and drawing ever closer to the Divine on your personal journey! 

It is nice to have a better functioning brain during the day now after fasting is over, but I do miss the lightness of being and the almost effervescent quality of the air that accompanies the month of Ramadan. As Ramadan retreats, so does the added divine boost of simply everything. The air feels heavier, my steps less light, and my push forward on all fronts is back to being powered by my own efforts like before. It feels like riding a bike on an upward incline rather than the downward slope of a divinely powered glide. Alhamdulillah for everything.

As we look ahead to the next Ramadan, insha'Allah, I take to heart what Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us in every Ramadan khutbah. Will we be here next Ramadan? Where will we be next Ramadan? As individuals or as a collective? Will the Muslim condition be any better? The same? Or much worse? We, as Muslims, are a sum total of the state of Muslim individuals, and we as individuals are the sum total of the individual choices we make. Each of us is empowered to make choices that, when all is said and done and put together, leaves us better, or not. 

This past Ramadan was full of hard-hitting khutbahs by Dr. Abou El Fadl, which emphasized on the one hand, how our Muslim situation has grown dark all around the world. It is easy to become despondent with all the bad news. Yet on the other hand, Dr. Abou El Fadl also gave us answers as to how to turn things around. He empowered us with insight on where to begin to make change - as individuals with the power to choose and act. When this change comes from within, if we as Muslims reach a critical mass of caring hearts committed to change, God will know if we are worthy of divine help. With God's help, of course, we can accomplish anything, or at a minimum, start to turn the tide and light a spark for change. I do believe the change will come from Muslims in America and the West, where we still have the liberty to speak and act without fear of immediate retribution. It begins with education - to empower and enlighten. With that in mind, I would like to share with you one of my favorite excerpts from Usuli Press' new book, The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam by Dr. Abou El Fadl (edited by Josef Linnhoff): 

From Chapter 1 of The Prophet's Pulpit: "The Usuli Institute's First Virtual Khutbah":

"...In a hadith that is not often heard in the modern age, the Prophet praises those who are consistent in the remembrance of God. The Prophet says that this group, which he calls “al-Mutanazzihun,” are lit up by this remembrance; the first thing God does is put light in their hearts; when that light ignites their hearts, they come to know God as God knows them. God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The heavens and the earth are otherwise dark matter, anti-matter. The only a formative beauty is the light of God. If you are among al-Mutanazzihun, the remembrance of God becomes a consistent part of your existence. God ignites light in your heart so that you have knowledge of God as God has knowledge of you. Can you imagine a more intimate and beautiful relationship? Is it not something to aspire for? Is it not something to make all your troubles wash away? “God, let me know You as You know me.” What more could one want? Ask yourself: do I reflect light? Do I exhibit the light of the Divine everywhere I go and in everything I do? Or do I reflect darkness, boredom, or paleness? If you have the light of God, you exhibit the light of God. The light of God does not make people sad. It does not hurt people. It does not make people suffer. It does not imprison people, torture people, or make people cry in despair. The light of God makes people happy. If you have and reflect that light, that will be your state and your affair..."

You can see why this is a very special book. It is full of wisdom, knowledge and inspiration for change and action. If you haven't purchased your copy yet, please do - it is fabulous! The paperback and hardbacks are gorgeous and the eBook will be available very soon insha'Allah! It is also available on Barnes and Noble online here!

There are some great reviews so far on Amazon - if you have read it and can leave a 5-star review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any place that allows you to leave a review, we would be most grateful, especially before the Islamophobes jump on the bandwagon and decide to start writing negative reviews to undermine sales (yes, it happens). 

Also, if you or someone you know would be interested in reviewing or writing about the book for a journal, newspaper, blog or other media outlet, let me know and we can send you a review copy. Same for professors who would like an examination copy for possible adoption in a course. Any questions, write to me. :) Time for an intellectual revolution!

On that note, if anyone would like a T-shirt, we are happy to sell them at cost! 

Here are the details: If you live in the U.S., they are $20 and will be shipped to you directly from If you live outside of the U.S., we will receive your order and ship to you for an additional shipping and handling fee of $10, so $30 total. Send your payment via PayPal (@UsuliInstitute) and indicate in the notes the size (S-M-L-XL-XXL) and shipping address (with phone number) if different from your billing address. Let me know if you have any questions! If you would like an Usuli T-shirt (available in black or white), you can follow the same process.

Transparent, honest and empowering. This is a discussion to be shared far and wide - we cover an important list of questions that many people have about what to do in cases of abuse, especially at the hands of religious authority.


Part 2 will address more myths, misconceptions and misapplications of Islamic law in approaching the issue of spiritual and sexual abuse. If you have any questions you would like to suggest, please do write and let me know.

Another very kind soul upped the ante another $12,500 and we have extended our matching gift program up to a total of $52,500 until we reach our goal! Alhamdulillah! THANK YOU to the most generous and blessed donors who have allowed us to double the impact of donations beyond Ramadan! 


Every donation to The Usuli Institute will be matched dollar for dollar up to $52.5K! You can double your impact with your support! Alhamdullilah, we are so grateful that this opportunity will increase blessings for all involved insha'Allah! Please spread the word and take full advantage of these blessed gifts!

People often ask me where to start if they want to take this journey with us from the beginning. My own recommended reading list begins with The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books and The Great Theft: Wresting Islam from the Extremists. Then third would be And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses. Fourth would be Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age. AND of course, everything by Dr. Abou El Fadl either through the Usuli website or the online archive for Dr. Abou El Fadl's work at

Want to stock up on three of those books while they are on sale? Here they are! In conjunction with our virtual events, our publisher is running special discounts on three of Dr. Abou El Fadl's amazing books! Take 30% off the paperback versions ONLY:

1) Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age Reg. $32.00 / Sale: $22.40

2) The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books Reg. $54.00 / Sale: $37.80

3) And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses Reg. $43.99 / Sale: $30.79

ORDER NOW on and use code RLFANDF30 at the checkout!
These books are absolute MUST READS for every thinking Muslim! This is the perfect time to load up your Ramadan reading list and get some amazing books at great prices! :) For those who want to know more about Usuli Institute methodology and the scholarship of Dr. Abou El Fadl, these books are gems.

Looking forward to seeing you online for our khutbah today and for DAY 2 of Surah 63: Al Munafiqun tomorrow night at 6 pm ET! Please keep all of us in your prayers!! May God keep you and your loved ones safe and protected and on the most beautiful path always! Hope to see you online soon insha'Allah!

In Peace and Hope,

Grace Song
Executive Director
The Usuli Institute



A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ROSS for maintaining this valuable site! Find the links to articles and references mentioned in Usuli khutbahs and more!

Great independent news sources for an alternative to corporate funded media:
CJ Werleman's Patreon Page (includes Pepe Escobar, Sharmine Narwani) Matt Taibbi, a very seasoned journalist (Rolling Stone Magazine), publishes on a variety of topics. an independent media outlet promoted by Chris Hedges. with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti Israel-Palestine news with Alison Weir

If you have other independent news outlets that you recommend, let me know and we can add them to our reference list!


The Usuli Institute SoundCloud Channel

Playlist: Project Illumine: The Light of the Quran

And please support our hard work to publish this entire Project Illumine tafsir in a multi-volume work! May God bless and elevate you for investing in knowledge and understanding God's Blessed Qur'an!

Link to donate at

See you online soon insha'Allah! :)

Khutbah Summary Description
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Founder of The Usuli Institute and
Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
29 April 2022

It is the last Friday of Ramadan of the year 1443. Although we do not register it as such, it is a year in our life that will never return, a year in the life of our Ummah that will never return, and a year in the life of this planet that will never return. It is remarkable that our relationship with time itself is a reflection of our relationship to our Ummah and our relationship to God. Time is not just the way that the earth revolves and interacts with its two partners, the sun and the moon, but time is the registrar of our existence.

Ramadan of 1443 now gets to go in the annals of the history of the Muslim Ummah, and in your own individual history, what you have managed to do with it, what memories stay with you for the rest of your life, how this becomes part of your personal narrative or not.

Ramadan comes to the Muslim Ummah in the year 1443, and I am amazed by how, on the one hand, it is overwhelmingly critical and important, and on the other hand, I am astounded by the extent to which it is remarkably treated with a great deal of carelessness and lack of seriousness. This Ramadan came and left with unprecedented violations against the Aqsa Mosque by Israeli settlers, who were protected and guarded by the Israeli Army. Even in the last jumu’a, Israel made sure to violate the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque, sending a message very clear to Palestinians and to the Muslim world: “You do not control the space of the Aqsa mosque, we control it.” The message is unmistakable. “We decide who gets to pray in your mosque and under what conditions, for how long, what age group, what gender, all material decisions. The very point of the violations was to underscore the decision is ours, not yours. We even decide who gets to visit the Aqsa Mosque and when.”

Can I honestly say that the attention of the Muslim Ummah was in any way proportional to the extent and the level of the violations? This all goes back to your notion of Izzah. Izzah is your sense of dignity, your sense of pride, your sense of feeling good about yourself. Izzah, if defined in the negative, is whatever is opposite of humiliation, whatever is opposite of degradation, whatever is opposite of feeling lowly. God tells us that all Izzah belongs to God. Izzah is what the Prophet Muhammad came to empower the disempowered with. Izzah is what Islam was about for all the oppressed people at the time that Islam was transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad. 

God reminds us in the Qur'an, although we rarely listen, that all Izzah belongs to God. We never pause to think, what does that really mean? It is precisely the way that we understand and scrutinize. The meaning of things is precisely in analyzing the way we relate to Ramadan, like the Ramadan of 1443. Is your sense of what raises your indignation, is your sense of validation, your sense of feeling good about yourself anchored in protecting your own domain, your own kingdom, your own space? Or is it about protecting the space and the domain of something that is beyond you?

The first thing that Satan does is defeat you from the inside. In Surah Al Mu’minun, when God teaches us to seek protection from Satan and from demonic influences, what does this translate to concretely? Satan comes to a human being and turns their sense of Izzah from God to the self and nothing but the self; so that your sense of outrage, your sense of hurt, your sense of offense, your sense of indignation is all about what you experience personally and your rule over this domain and this kingdom of the self, however your sense of violation of being transgressed upon. It is really that simple.

As shaytani as it may be, there are people who wake up and go to bed, and the only thought in their mind is, “how we can invade Muslim spaces, violate the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque, and humiliate Palestinians?” Their sense of dignity is tied to denying Palestinians their dignity. For them, time becomes far more significant. For them, they will remember and memorialize this Ramadan as the Ramadan in which they got to do what they were never able to do with the Aqsa Mosque; as “the blessed Ramadan where we came a step closer to making the Muslim Ummah disappear once and for all.”

I am always amazed by the relationship of serious people to time, as well as the lack of relationship of whimsical people to time. Ramadan 1443: is it a meaningful Ramadan in your life? It entirely depends on where your Izzah is. If your Izzah is basically about your own ego and your own sense of pride, then this is just a Ramadan like any other Ramadan. You live within yourself, for yourself, while you theoretically tell yourself you believe that your Izzah belongs to God. But it is not real, you do not truly believe that your sense of validation, self-worth, and importance is derived from your relationship with God. If the way you treat God is as if God should just be happy with whatever it is that you determine is due to God, but you have assigned yourself the lord of your manor, the sovereign of your will, the effective autonomous ruler of the self; if that is the case, then sovereignty cannot belong to God. If that is the case, then you have declared yourself a sovereign over yourself, and if you truly confront yourself, God has no place in your kingdom.

The way some of us treat God's Izzah is as if God is there to be content with the scraps off your table, “whatever time I feel like giving to God, good enough.” “Whatever attention I feel is due to God, good enough. If I do not feel like shaping up today, God should just wait. This Ramadan, my faith is not strong. God should wait till next Ramadan.” The Aqsa Mosque? After all, you have not transferred sovereignty and Izzah to God, so unlike the people who violate the Aqsa Mosque, what makes you happy? What makes you sad? What makes you long? What drives your passion is not al-Izzah lillah [dignity founded in God]; is not what is happening to the Aqsa Mosque or your Ummah. If you are honest with yourself, it is what is happening to you, it is how YOU feel.

It is confounding. A non-Muslim, a journalist named Michael Winterbottom, committed himself to turning the gaze upon Muslims to shame them before themselves. How? Michael Winterbottom remembered something about we Muslims, as we throw our posh parties, buy our expensive cars, live it up, enjoy the status symbols of life, and dream of what makes us happy. Michael Winterbottom makes a documentary called Eleven Days in May, which documents the more than 60 Palestinian children who were butchered last Ramadan by the Israelis. The documentary shows the child back when they were alive and healthy. Then the broken and mutilated body of the child. When focusing the camera and trying to humanize these Palestinian children, when refusing the narrative of those who are spoiled, who are entitled, who think that Izzah was created for them and through them and by them, he confronts them with the reality. As you Muslims have your expensive parties, buy your expensive homes, buy your expensive cars, here is the face of your Ummah. The filmmaker interviewed the parents of these children and reported on how their life has been since losing their child. I am amazed because someone like Michael Winterbottom has used the year to give al Izzah lillah ta’ala, while those who say they believe in God begrudge God's Izzah.

Another recent news item is that Saudi Royals bought a Boeing 747 for 235 million pounds. It was ordered by Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2012. The man who spent 235 million pounds, Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, had the plane go to Switzerland to be fitted for VIP status. Imagine how this money could have transformed the Ramadan and the year for many Muslim children around the world. The man spent 235 million pounds, then had the plane go to Switzerland to be fitted for luxury. For this man, honor and pride and dignity belongs to God? Well, before he could take possession of his airplane, God called him to the Divine Self. He died. As for the airplane, although the plane now belonged to the Al Saud family, none of them wanted the airplane that a now dead man had bought.

So, the plane sat in Switzerland for 10 years until a decision was made. Although the airplane had cost 235 million pounds and had only flown about 40 minutes in its entire life, it was going to be sold for scrap. When Boeing heard that the Saudis had never taken possession of the plane and were now preparing to sell it for scrap, Boeing contacted the Saudis and offered to buy it back for a minimal amount, and the Al Saud family said, "Here, take it." It was sold for a couple million dollars.

This is also 1443. This is also how we remember God's year. This is also how Ramadan is marked. This is also an indication of where our Izzah is. All Izzah belongs to God? With this type of behavior, it is not the Saudis who spent the money to memorialize the lives of the Palestinian children killed. It was not even a Muslim. Imagine what 235 million pounds could do. This is precisely when people's sense of Izzah, dignity and pride is no longer about God. It is about themselves. They have declared sovereignty over themselves and they concede sovereignty to no one over themselves. Even their concession to God is sheer hypocrisy because it is not real. They do not mean it. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of life, they do not mean it.

What happens to that Ummah that forgets that the only Izzah, the only pride and honor and dignity it ever had was when it adhered to the book of God, when it understood what sovereignty belongs to God [Arabic 00:41:47] means? It does not mean having a caliph rule in God's name and the caliph's will is God's will, or a mullah or an ayatollah. That is not what sovereignty lillah means, because then sovereignty belongs to the dictator who “god-ifies” himself, who effectively overthrows God and sits in God's place.

Sovereignty to God means at the individual level, you do not live, fight and die for your own kingdom, but you recognize that sovereignty over yourself belongs to God, so your conscience, your awareness, and your consciousness revolves with God, not with yourself. How?

This Ramadan, 1443, the world is shocked by three Muslim countries. What are they doing in this Ramadan? Protecting the dignity of the Aqsa Mosque? No. Remembering the Palestinian children who were slaughtered? No. Indeed, a group of non-Muslim lawyers are bringing proceedings and charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court because Israel has been systematically murdering Palestinian journalists. Of course, we will not find the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Egyptians or Muslims anywhere near a lawsuit like this. It seems that non-Muslims understand al-Izza lillah better than Muslims do. At least their lives are about something, a meaning.

The world is shocked because Saudi, Egypt, and the Emirates have emerged as three particularly brutal nations in aiding and empowering the Chinese genocide against the Muslims of China. This Ramadan, Saudi authorities transferred a Uyghur mother and her 13-year-old daughter to be deported from Riyadh to the concentration camps of China. A religious scholar named Amidoula Waili was arrested in Saudi Arabia and handed over to the Chinese.

Egypt hunted down 200 Uyghur Muslims, most of whom were students at Al-Azhar University at Cairo. Forty-five of them were already deported to China, where they were never heard from again. Chinese officials have attended the interrogation sessions, a representative of the Chinese government was there as the Emiratis, Egyptians and Saudis interrogated the Chinese detainees, tortured them and then handed them over to the Chinese, where they disappear forever.

I ask you because you judge yourself. What was this Ramadan to you? The sum total of your thoughts in this Ramadan that is just about to end. Was it, “If the Egyptian government does this to my Uyghur brothers and sisters, I will never visit Egypt as long as it has such a corrupted, foul government”? There is a lot that is going on in Syria, I do not even want to get into it. Have your thoughts been, “I cannot spend money on luxury. I cannot waste money on weddings, baby showers, whatever showers, because the money has to go to all those suffering in Syria”? Have your thoughts been with the Aqsa Mosque? Have your thoughts been, “I cannot afford to think about what makes me happy because I am so preoccupied with the Aqsa Mosque,” or has this Ramadan been yet another betrayal of God? Because year after year after year, your thoughts have been about you: “What makes me happy?” “What hurts my feelings?” “What makes me feel relaxed?” “What stresses me out?” What have you been about?

You see, the folly of human beings is that they just take God for granted. “There will be another Ramadan.” “There will be another year.” “There will be another month,” “There will be another week,” “There will be another day. Eventually I will repent.” Amazingly, you would not treat a friend this way. If your significant other treated you this way, you would not accept it. “What? You want to straddle me along until your majesty decides to change and take me seriously? No, I will not stand for it.” But that is exactly the way we treat God. “Ah, God, just wait. Eventually I will get to you. Eventually, I will take you seriously, but not now. Not this minute. Not this day. Not this Ramadan. Eventually.”

God puts up with it and God continues to bless you everyday, although this is your attitude. This is your message. This is what you do with God, and yet God continues to let you enjoy your eyesight, your ears and your sense of taste. God continues to let you have food, to have shelter, to have clothes, to have an intellect, to have a memory, and then we begrudge God and say, “Ah, I do not know if I have a strong relationship with God.”

The Prophet Saleh in Surah Al A’raf looks at his people and he sees that the rajfa, the shakes, has started to overtake them. We do not know what these shakes are, maybe a virus, maybe cold, maybe very strong winds, but it has started. Yet, although the punishment has commenced and they are trembling and shaking, those who are high and mighty, those who are sovereign over themselves and do not have time for God’s sovereignty, sit there and assure one another, “Ah, this has nothing to do with what we have done with Saleh and his camel. This will pass.”

They go to Saleh and say, "You are taking this seriously? It is about iman? It is about our relationship with God and those who are oppressed?" They are told, "Yes, this is about God and about Saleh." The high and mighty, the arrogant, say, "No, you are wrong, it is not." Saleh then tells them, "I have given you advice time and again. I have warned you so many times. So many times, I have tried to wake you up, but you do not like hearing advice. You are so self-involved. You are so arrogant. You are so entitled, that the worst thing that irritates your ears is for someone to tell you, 'This is wrong.'"

Because Saleh was a prophet, we know what happened to these people. But our test is worse than the people of An Nabi Saleh, and it is worse because for most of us, including those who are hearing me, it is very likely that God will give them another Ramadan. If God wanted to actually do you a favor, God would wrap it up so the sins do not keep compounding. The real test is when another Ramadan comes, then another, and yet another; and each Ramadan, al-Izza lillah - honor and dignity and pride - truly belongs to God. Meaning the causes of God is not a reality, because the reality of your Ramadan is al Izzah li  - honor and dignity and pride belongs to me. 


Our Ummah is so injured, but it is because God gives people what they deserve. God knows those of us who, whatever religious duties they perform in Ramadan, they do it, but fundamentally their mind and their being and their thoughts are about, “I want salvation. I am taking care of myself. God’s Izzah does not concern me.” When I see a Palestinian here in the US or in Europe, with all that is going on, splurge money upon themselves, I am shocked. How in God's name do you think you are going to justify this?

When I see an Egyptian, and there are so many of all nationalities and all citizenships, their Ummah is living in absolute dire necessity. Yet they live serving a master other than the real master, and that is the truth of their being. They may go to the mosque. They may pretend to be very religious. They may put on all the trappings of religiosity. They may play the game really well. But their hearts? Their hearts are vacuums. Their hearts are empty. There is no space in their hearts for al Izzah lillah.

They do not even like An Nasaeen; they do not like to hear advice. They do not like to learn. They do not like anyone to tell them they are ignorant, they are hypocritical and they are untrue. They treat any reformer exactly like the Qur'an tells us have been treated throughout history. “How dare you talk to us? How dare you disturb us?”

But open up Surah Mu’minun. Reread Surah Mu’minun. Reflect upon Surah Mu’minun. It tells us so many of us are like that. Then comes the time when God allows other types of harm, tests and tribulations. Then when they find themselves drowning in calamities, they remember, "Oh, God, please,” and as soon as God lifts the calamity, they go back. Until the final panic, the panic of death. Then God tells us in Surah Mu’minun, that is the point where God says, "Too late. No more. I have put up with your games for an entire lifetime. For 60, 70, 80, 90 Ramadans, I have watched you play this game, and now time is up." If only we would remember, if only we would comprehend, if only we would understand.

Dalia's Corner

I again wanted to share a short clip of Dr. Abou El Fadl sharing a piece from the Usuli Library; here specifically it is the complete collection of The Mu'ayyad. It is so interesting to hear Dr. Abou El Fadl briefly speak about what it is, as well as its significance. To check out this piece of Islamic history, follow the link below! 

Stay safe,
A Complete Collection of The Mu'ayyad, The Usuli Library


Between live-streamed weekly khutbahs, original English language Quranic commentary (tafsir) halaqas twice per week during the Project Illumine: Light of the Quran series, and a wealth of other free educational resources on our multimedia platforms, The Usuli Institute produces critical knowledge for Muslims to navigate the challenges of our world while anchored in the timeless moral and ethical virtues of our rich, nuanced and beautiful faith tradition.
We are working towards publishing the first complete English Commentary on the Quran in the last 40+ years insha'Allah (God willing)! This would be a major achievement and legacy for future generations to be able to reconnect with God's Book in a meaningful and modern way, but it will take a massive investment of time and money. Transcription, editing and publishing costs will be completely donor-funded. Currently, we spend over $1500 per week on transcription costs alone between two halaqas and our weekly khutbah. We offer all of our virtual content for free. 
The Usuli Institute is home to one of the largest private collection of Islamic intellectual sources - over 100,000 books and counting. Help to preserve the Usuli Institute Library and its books for future generations of scholars. Its holdings span the humanities, law, ethics, comparative religion and original Arabic sources covering a broad range of topics across the Islamic intellectual tradition. 

Supporting knowledge is the most blessed and important struggle (jihad) for our faith. Multiply your blessings by supporting knowledge at The Usuli Institute. All donations are zakat-eligible and tax-deductible! We have three important projects ongoing that need your support. Pay It Forward and have your blessings multiplied for yourself and your loved ones. May Allah accept!
Support The Usuli Institute

LAUNCHGOOD: Matching Gift Program for Qur'anic Tafsir Publication:


WHAT: Publishing a New English-language Commentary (Tafsir) on the Qur’an 

WHO: Tafsir by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of The Usuli Institute


HOW: Every donation up to $52,500 will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor!

WHERE: The Usuli Institute ( This English commentary project first kicked off in the summer of 2020 when Dr. Abou El Fadl decided to teach his approach to the Qur’an through a series of classes (halaqas) called Project Illumine. Since then, the project has grown substantially with an international audience tuning in weekly to view the halaqas for free on YouTube. The classes are currently ongoing, with 75 surahs covered since the start of the project. With each halaqa, the surahs are being transcribed by a professional transcription company and edited with the goal of publishing the first complete multi-volume Qur'anic commentary in over 40 years.

WHY THIS PROJECT IS IMPORTANT: It is a smart, beautiful, and common-sense approach to the Qur’an for an English-speaking audience, steeped in the Islamic tradition of ethics and morality. Dr. Abou El Fadl's commentary combines his vast knowledge of the classical tradition as well as contemporary thought, and offers spiritual, theological, and ethical insights. Most importantly, his commentary underscores the relevance of the Qur’an for our day and age. Social justice, human rights, women's rights, climate change and Islamophobia are just some topics touched upon in this tafsir.

WHY YOUR CONTRIBUTION IS IMPORTANT: The goal of this commentary is to reignite passion for the Qur’an and show that, as a living revelation, its message speaks directly to the issues Muslims are faced with today. 



Costs of Publication including:
Book Interior and Cover Design 
Publishing House


Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, and one of the world’s leading authorities on Shari'ah, Islamic law, and Islam. He was also formerly the Chair of the Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA.  He has served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch. Among his many honors and distinctions, Dr. Abou El Fadl received the University of Oslo Human Rights Award in 2007, and the 2020 Martin Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion by the American Academy of Religion (AAR). A prolific scholar and prominent public intellectual, Dr. Abou El Fadl is the author of Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age; The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists; Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women; Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law; And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses; Islam and the Challenge of Democracy; The Place of Tolerance in Islam; and The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books. 


NINETY-ONE surahs have already been adopted to date! Some AMAZING surahs that we have already covered in Project Illumine are still available to be sponsored! Adopt a Surah is your chance to sponsor the publication of a chapter of the Project Illumine Tafsir, and earn special blessings for anyone who benefits from the knowledge of the tafsir, and your "adopted" surah in particular! To check what surahs are still available, click here. Join this very special and blessed group of sponsors!

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We have covered seventy out of one hundred fourteen surahs though Project Illumine! For Quick Links to all of the surahs and halaqas we have presented at Usuli, click here.

We have been giving Weekly Virtual Friday Khutbahs since January 2019! For Quick Links to all previous Friday khutbahs, click here:


Interested in getting more connected at the Usuli Institute? Apply to be a part of our Project Illumine Interactive Group! As a member, you will join us virtually online so that Dr. Abou El Fadl can see you, and possibly answer your questions during the halaqa sessions. We have a limited number of spaces available, please email us at and tell us about yourself (your background, interests, how you came across the Usuli Institute, and anything else you would like to share!) As a member of the interactive group, you can submit questions through the chat function during the Q&A, and these get priority after the Project Illumine Fellows who are attending in person. Also, after the halaqa if time permits, we try to spend a little time connecting with members of the interactive group to say hello and connect virtually at a personal level.


Check out our websites which include scholarly archives and more!

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