Virtual Khutbah TODAY, 4/15 at 1:45 pm ET
Next Project Illumine Halaqa: Saturday 4/16 at 6:00 pm ET 

Scroll down for our Weekly Newsletter and the Latest at Usuli!
This Past Week at The Usuli Institute (8 - 14 April 2022)
Q&A Session
Project Illumine
The Oldest Dhikr Book
Rewarding Best Efforts and The Nature of Piety
A Manuscript on Maliki Fiqh
(Summary Description Below)
Grace's Message

Dear Friends,

Al salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatohu! I pray that your Ramadan has been full of light, meaning, and connection to God. My favorite part about Ramadan is the feeling in the air - palpably different - and the promise of Ramadan blessings and the unexpected Ramadan miracle, which can come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. May you experience a Ramadan miracle! It is hard to believe (and a bit sad) that Ramadan is already almost halfway over!  

A Prayer for Cameron Lee
Sadly, we just recently learned that our dear friend and long-time Usuli community member, Cameron Lee, left this world to return to his Lord on April 1, 2022, the first evening of Ramadan. I had the great blessing and pleasure of sharing a very touching and unique conversation with Cameron, shortly after he learned that his liver was failing in his six-year battle with cancer and likely had about one month to live. I had the very special opportunity to ask Cameron about his life, legacy and experiences as a Muslim convert last month. If you didn't have a chance to watch, here it is again.

Life at Death: A Conversation with Cameron Lee and Grace Song
6 March 2022

Please keep Cameron and his family in your prayers. We ask that God receive him with love, forgiveness and mercy, and that God will grant patience and strength to his loved ones who are suffering from the loss of his presence. From God we come and to God we all shall return.

We will be starting a new surah tomorrow insha'Allah!
Alhamdulillah that after twelve halaqa sessions, we were blessed to complete Surah 4: Al Nisa' last Saturday, concluding with a fabulous Q&A! We will be starting our 75th surah in Project Illumine tomorrow night insha'Allah!

Let's pause for a moment and reflect on that incredible number. With the completion of Surah Al Nisa', we completed 74 surahs of the Qur'an in incredible depth, comprehensive consistency, and with life-transforming clarity. We have before us 40 surahs left to cover in the Project Illumine series. We are WAY past the halfway point. Further, if one takes into account the previous surahs that have been presented by Dr. Abou El Fadl in the traditional line-by-line style, I believe we have taken deep dives into 96 total surahs, or in other words, there are 18 surahs that are yet to be discussed. 

The fact that we are witnessing this one unusual scholar's deep mastery of every single chapter of the Qur'an - and what one must learn and understand to achieve that mastery - is nothing short of mind-blowing and historic. I simply cannot wrap my brain around it. We are seeing something unprecedented, and sometimes in the speed of life, it is hard to recognize the significance of an event unless we stop and have a moment to take it in. 

In the halaqas, Dr. Abou El Fadl has often referenced the idea of "Muslim Mozarts," Muslims who are given incredible talents by God in some area of command like art, music or the humanities, but who never meet their full potential because they were pressured by culture and society to pursue medicine, engineering or business. How many Muslim Mozarts, Beethovens or Bachs have been lost to the Muslim Ummah? The same could be said for gifted Islamic scholars. But in our case, it feels like we are witnessing a Muslim Mozart of the Qur'an - what we are learning is nothing short of symphonic and elevated, something presented to us with the command of a maestro immersed in the music of the Qur'an - and not just parts here and there but the ENTIRE Qur'an! Dr. Abou El Fadl's treatment of and approach to the message of the Qur'an is consistent, comprehensive and cuts right to the core of what we feel in our hearts is the truth. I am consistently blown away.

The fact that we are trying to capture this entire tafsir and publish it - and the fact that nothing original like this has been done at least since Muhammad Asad 40 years ago only points out how rare this is in any person's lifetime, especially in our lifetime. I have lived with this unusual scholar for decades and had no idea what was happening in his journey with the Qur'an. I did not know that I could ever understand the Qur'an in this way, especially as a non-Arabic speaker. All I can say is that I feel blessed to be experiencing this moment, which I believe has the potential to leave an important mark in history. Think about what we are doing in the context in which we live. Truly amazing and often hard to fully comprehend. If you are reading this and you feel the same, I am so grateful that you are with us on this often lonely journey. May God help us each learn what we need to learn, and do our part in carrying forward and elevating the learning from God's Magnificent Book to others.

Virtual live-streamed Taraweeh Prayers!
With the start of Ramadan, we have once again been live-streaming nightly Taraweeh prayers! If you would like to join us in prayer virtually, be sure to subscribe to The Usuli Institute YouTube channel and you will get notifications when we go live. We usually go live sometime between 10:30 pm to 11:30 pm ET, depending on the day. 

Catch up on Usuli Institute Content!
It is really stunning how much content we have created since we began Project Illumine in earnest last January 2021. If you just do a search on the Usuli Institute, you will get a wealth of content, whereas a year ago the main link that would come up would describe Usuli as a religious movement by Persian Shiite Muslims in 17th century Iran! What a difference a year makes as we try to tilt the Artificial Intelligence about Muslims and Islam towards the positive on the Internet!

If you have the blessing of more time or headspace during Ramadan to dedicate to learning, be sure to watch some of our recent events that were especially transformative and eye-opening:

Master Class on Muslims, Race and Law: Experience Professor Abou El Fadl's UCLA Law School class on Muslims, Race and Law! In this session, he discusses the history of Black Muslim movements in the U.S.; post-colonial history in the Middle East; and the politics of Saudi Arabia, among many other things. Importantly, it is an edifying, holistic view of the history, dynamics, challenges and place of Muslims today as a racialized group.

Dispelling Myths from an Islamic Perspective: Q&A on Sexual and Spiritual Abuse:
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.

We are working on Part 2 soon insha'Allah (!) to 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.

Keynote Lecture to the 2022 National Muslim Law Association Conference: Dr. Abou El Fadl shares his experiences as a Muslim pioneer - the only Muslim in his law school class - and throughout his 30-year career as a law professor at UCLA Law School. Given the climate for Muslims in America now, it is an opportune time for Muslim lawyers and aspiring lawyers to think beyond the prestige, paycheck and power that lawyers can achieve. Dr. Abou El Fadl counsels the importance of considering what God would find most pleasing in yielding that path to power in the service of social justice and the disempowerment of Muslims everywhere.

**We are rattling the cages of the Islamophobes!! Whenever they find something spectacular that Dr. Abou El Fadl does that can change the hearts and minds of reasonable people, they can't stand it and write him up! Once again, Dr. Abou El Fadl was featured by several Islamophobic websites including Campus Watch and Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes) on his keynote speech! Check it out! 

Ramadan Matching Gift Program - Double your impact!
We have created a new LaunchGood campaign to draw more attention to our Matching Gift Program for the month of Ramadan! (You can donate through LaunchGood, The Usuli Institute website or through our PayPal page - ALL DONATIONS WILL BE MATCHED!)


Some very kind souls have gifted us the ability to hold our very first Matching Gift Program during the month of Ramadan! So, all during our blessed month, every donation to The Usuli Institute will be matched dollar for dollar up to $40K! 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 mark your calendars! I pray that we can take full advantage of this blessed gift over the course of the month!

Want to discover the beauty of Islam anew?
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 Project Illumine halaqa tomorrow night at 6 pm ET - FEATURING A NEW SURAH!! TO BE DETERMINED!!

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



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
8 April 2022

The month of Ramadan invites a revisiting of one's relationship with God. It is in the way that God decrees fasting and informs us about Ramadan. The purpose and the dynamics of fasting and Ramadan is in Surah Al-Baqarah itself. Surah Al-Baqarah was revealed shortly after the hijra of the Prophet, which anchored the basic principles of how Muslims are going to interact, the type of relationships that Muslims will have with society at large, their place in society, and indeed, the very purpose of their society.

With Surah Al-Baqarah, God reminds us that fasting is not a new law. "Fasting has been decreed upon you, Muslims, like it has been decreed for many people before you.” Fasting, the art of denial, is to deny oneself what one wants. God, addressing those of us who are believers, sincere in their faith, tell us that the very purpose of fasting is that you might learn to become God-conscious. In learning to control the self, to deny yourself, you are learning that you do not exist simply to consume and continue to exist. In reminding ourselves of these things, because when you deny yourself what you desire, you are always reminded of why you deny yourself. And every time you remind yourself that you are in a state of denial because of your relationship to God, if you do it the way it should be done, the natural result of this is to be God-conscious, God-aware. This itself is crowned in Surah Al-Baqarah in verse 186.

The very point of Ramadan and the process of self denial is that you remind and drill into the self where God, in truth, is and that God is all pervasive. When a human being is in a state of coveting and fulfilling the desire of this covetousness, when a human being is in a state of consumption, when a human being desires and consumes, whatever the consumption is, it is not just food or drink, but when a human being desires fame and quenches that thirst, when a human being desires money and quenches that thirst, whatever a human being desires and then is in the process of fulfilling the object of this desire, God is far away. God is hardly remembered.

A human being after the fact, often as an afterthought, may say, "God, thank you." But it is not a thank you, because you are worshipping whatever God gives you. It is a thank you because you believe that God has given you what you want. It is not about God, it is about you. This “Alhamdulillah” that comes subsequent to the fulfillment of a desire, as harsh as it is to realize this, is really not about God. It is about you.

The true hamd, the real hamd is the hamd that remains constant in all conditions: before you are granted what you want, and if you are granted what you want, and in the aftermath. Normally, Muslims read the verse: “I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me,” (Q2:186) and think that if you learn to be God-conscious, that the proof that God is close to you is if God fulfills your dreams; so God is there to fulfill your dreams.

Reflect upon the sheer arrogance of this. “I learn to be close to God, not because God is the creator and I am the created. God is the ultimate truth and ultimate reality, and I am derivative.” Instead, “I learn to be close to God, so that God can fulfill my dreams.” “The proof is in when I pray, God answers my prayers by giving me what I want.” This is not the relationship to God based on the education in taqwa, because fasting itself is premised on denial not fulfillment, and premised on the art of hamd—of gratitude as you are denied, not as you are fulfilled. It is, if you will, the practice in learning to have a relationship with God based on the truth of who you are and the truth of who God is, separate from the materiality and the dependence on the material things that separate you from your maker.

When you are consuming wealth, food, sex, fame, prestige, God is not first and foremost in your consciousness, because whatever relationship you have with your maker, it is processed through the prism of this consumption. So if I am earning a lot of money and I feel close to God because I am making a lot of money, the way I understand my God is as if my God is a money machine, there to make me richer and richer. This can apply to all types of things that we human beings covet. In truth, the reason so many people find their faith weakening when they are not consuming what they want to consume—when they do not get the job they want to get, when they do not get the wealth they want to get, when they do not get the relationships they want to get, when they do not get the love they want to get, when they do not get whatever it is—is because in truth, they really do not have a relationship with God based on the truth of who they are and the truth of what God is.

They never got to the stage beyond being simple children. What is the attitude of a child? The child understands love through the dynamic of, "Give me, give me, give me." If you never get beyond being a child, your relationship with God is exactly that, therefore, when you are denied, you have nothing to fall back on because you really have never experienced your Lord other than through the relationship of dependence on a giver. “It is not that I answer your du’a for material things. It is that, in the midst of denying yourself for me, if you turn to me with a sincere heart, not just, ‘I am denying myself food and water, but I cannot wait till it is Maghrib so I can break my fast and this is what Ramadan is for me;’ but if you truly desire me, call for me in the midst of the practice of denial, I answer your call. I come close to you until I am closer to you than your jugular vein. I become the eyes you see with, the tongue you speak with, the ears you hear with, the heart you feel with. In fact, I become so much that you do not need your ears anymore, you do not need your eyes anymore, and you do not even need your heart anymore. The space is occupied with God.”

So many of us do not even try and yet, we constantly complain about how we have never felt anything like this, but this is precisely why God gave us Ramadan. Not so that we can deny ourselves consumption and be grumpy about it, or deny ourselves consumption and be impatient. It is not so that Ramadan just passes like any other month, where we learn nothing about God consciousness or closeness to God. Ramadan is a month in each year where you engage in deep reflection and in a sincere call to God to become your companion, regardless of what you might or might not enjoy materially. In other words, you are telling God, "I want to be your friend, not because of what you can give me, but because of who you are." 

If we Muslims are honest with ourselves, we will freely admit that so many of us have forgotten these paths to God, often because we go to one extreme or the other. On the one extreme are those who turn a relationship with God into an amazingly selfish dynamic. They exist for themselves by themselves, all their thoughts, all their supplications, their entire existence is only about who they are or who their jamaa is or who their asabiyya is - whatever little group they care about. On the other extreme are those who care very deeply, but because they cannot change the world, they become very frustrated and find themselves alienated from their Lord.

Every Muslim out there must remember that you have not been charged with the obligation to change the world. This is not what God has placed on your shoulders. And indeed, it is truly a form of illness that is found in so many Muslims, many who are so young and who think that it is their obligation, their privilege, or their mission, that they are going to change the path of history. This tends to be quite prominent among intellectual Muslims, pseudo-intellectual Muslims, or intellectualized Muslims, so it is not surprising that they become frustrated, despondent, and see no path forward.

It is all interconnected. If you learn to have a relationship with God in a state of denial, you also learn how to be close to God when the Muslim Ummah is defeated and broken. Because the desire for victory in itself is a form of egoism that is intoxicating and often deceptive, because you often feel, "I do not want victory for the Muslim Ummah for myself, I want it for God. How could that be bad?" It is bad when it makes you despondent and leaves you with a sense of being aggrieved and broken, when it drives you away from a real relationship with God.

I shall give you concrete, real examples, because it is easy to talk in abstractions, but it is hard to commit yourself to actual examples. In recent news around the world, something like a thousand scientists from the most prestigious institutions, just after the beginning of Ramadan, alarmed at all the recent reports about climate change, engaged in acts of civil disobedience that led to the arrest of many of these scientists, as they blocked businesses and bridges. The thing that struck me about it, of course, is that many of these scientists are from very prestigious academic institutions, and the act of civil disobedience that they engaged in is because the fate of this earth on the current trajectory is absolutely disastrous. It is absolutely disastrous.

God has warned us about those who are not God-conscious and as a result, corrupt God's earth. But the failure of religious institutions and non-religious institutions in the trajectory that this earth is taking and the consequences of climate change, is a truly grim picture. [As an aside, the religious institutions in the west are the only religious institutions that actually have any power—relatively speaking, compared to their Muslim counterparts, for instance, which have absolutely no weight; or Buddhist counterparts, which for the most part, again carry little weight beyond the countries they are in.]

At the same time, it is easy for a Muslim to look at this and to note that it is non-Muslims that created the climate change for the most part, it is non-Muslims who are warning about it, and it is non-Muslims who are objecting and protesting the climate change—and then to be overcome by a sense of despondency, futility and marginality. That is, if they are on one of the two poles that we have talked about. On the other side of things are the Muslims who simply do not care and the Muslims who think that being a good Muslim is to just exist for yourself and by yourself, and not care what is happening to God's earth and what God created.

Take another story, something that is closer to Muslims, and that is yet again, Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The injury that will not heal. It does not surprise anyone, or at least it does not surprise Muslims who have their senses and their piety about them, that with the entry of the month of Ramadan, Israelis escalate their acts of ethnic cleansing. Recently, the UN Special Rapporteur, in very strong language, condemned Israel because, again, during the month of Ramadan, Jewish settlers have escalated their violence against Muslims and escalated their acts of aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The UN Special Rapporteur, in his recent report, notes that the Israeli government does not just protect the Israeli settlers as they assault, beat and evict Palestinians. But in fact, "The Israeli occupation forces respond to settler related violence by ordering Palestinians to leave the area, including Palestinian-owned land, or even actively support the settlers." This is quoting from the recent report, "That in the first 10 months of 2021, the UN documented 410 attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians," The Special Rapporteur noted, "What is particularly worrisome is that settlers are organizing and joining armed militia groups in preparation for a campaign of terror against Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem. They are focused on Shaykh Jarrah. Like last year, in the City of Lod, the settlers formed a military group called the Guardians of Lod, where they stormed and attacked Palestinian homes and vandalized mosques and other properties under the protection and even the involvement of Israeli forces."

Of course, we know that last year, an escalation of attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque led Gaza to respond and led to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which killed 260 Palestinians, including 67 children and 39 women. Now, as we have come to expect, the pattern is well known: there is the escalation of the Israeli settler violence, and eventually Israel will bombard Gaza during the Month of Ramadan. In addition, this year in occupied Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is, Israel has closed down 28 Palestinian civic organizations that are focused on civil rights, human rights, international law, et cetera. As expected, while the entire world is outraged at what Russia is doing in Ukraine, not even Muslims themselves–including Muslims in the Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Bahrain–seem to give a hoot about the ethnic cleansing, the racism, and the politics of settler colonialism that continues on in occupied Palestinian Territories.

Now pause, take these two alone. All the time I hear people, especially young people, say constantly, "Your khutbahs are such a downer. Why do you always talk to us about problems? We just want to come at jumu'a to hear a nice word about closeness to God and just go on in our merry way." You do not want to hear a word about closeness to God, because you do not know what closeness to God is. You want to feel good and you want your God to cater to your “feel-good” feeling. That is what you want. You want God to be your cheerleader. You want God to be your servant, to be at your beck and call. You have not learned anything from fasting.

Fasting, the art of closeness to God through denial, is feeling helpless before the destruction of the world, the climate of the world, the death of earth. A denial? Absolutely. It is feeling helpless before the racism, the bigotry and the deep injustice of what is happening in Palestine, absolutely. But if you learn to be a strong Muslim, your relationship to God is not contingent on that. In fact, your deep belief and your deep knowledge of your Lord tells you, “I must be ever conscious of what is right and wrong. I must observe and testify, not on some fancy podium or stadium, not before an adoring crowd, not in some ISNA Convention or ICNA Convention, no.” Testify before the only one that matters, and that is God.

The art of fasting. “I must observe and testify. My only witness is God, and that is enough. I need no other witnesses. Furthermore, my faith in God tells me that corruption and injustice is not sustainable. Those who are unjust, Muslim or not Muslim, whether it is those who destroy the earth for profit or the racists who brutalize Palestinians and colonize their lands, cannot last. How long do they last? My faith tells me, it depends on the individual's relationship to God. Have you done your part in cleansing yourself? Maybe the change will come in your lifetime and you will see it and maybe not, but true God consciousness and true faith, through the art of denial, makes you satisfied in either case.

If the change happens in my lifetime, I have kept myself pure, so I can be a part of it. If the change does not happen in my lifetime, I have testified in truth till the moment I died. Evil cannot last. Whether it is the capitalists who are destroying our earth, or it is the Saudis, the Emiratis or the Egyptians who follow the West blindly. Whether it is those who wage wars of aggression, killing innocent people for absolutely no rational reason, or it is those who colonize the lands of others. My belief in God and my knowledge that God is supreme and that God, with absolute certitude, knows that the time will come where they will crash. The only question will be, when the time comes, will Muslims be ready to make a difference, even in something like climate change? If you have true belief, you know that the entire infrastructure and ecosystem of the earth could crumble. But if Muslims have their act together, they could be the salvation, the saviors of this earth. It is not your job to say, "Oh well, that is a tall order because Muslims do not have their act together." No, the only question is, do you have your act together? That is the only question for you. Do you have your act together? God only obligates you, and no one else but you.

Dalia's Corner

Following the theme of the Usuli content I have been sharing the past few weeks, I wanted to again share a clip related to fasting and Ramadan. Specifically, this clip comes to us from a Ramadan Q&A session in which Dr. Abou El Fadl was asked to share his opinion on pregnant and breastfeeding women fasting. 

Even if this matter is not directly relatable to your own life at this moment, I still feel it is a video worth watching because not only is good to know in case any non-Muslim has "what if" questions (something I know many of us encounter nearly daily during Ramadan) regarding this topic; but more importantly, understanding the reasoning behind Dr. Abou El Fadl's response provides a deeper understanding of fasting- who is able to fast, what circumstances may provide a license to not fast, and what one should do if they are unable to fast. To watch the clip, please follow the link below!

Stay safe,
On pregnant and breastfeeding women fasting
Excerpt from the Usuli Institute Ramadan Q&A,23 May 2020


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 $40,000 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 74 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. 


SIXTY-THREE 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!

For More Learning


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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