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This Past Week at The Usuli Institute (15 - 21 April 2022)
SURAH 58: AL MUJADALA (DAY 1) 
ORIGINAL COMMENTARY
Project Illumine
BEHIND THE SCENES
A Complete Collection of The Mu'ayyad, THE USULI LIBRARY
Why is Justice
Important to Allah?
USULI EXCERPT
BEHIND THE SCENES
The Oldest Dhikr Book
THE USULI LIBRARY
DREAMING IN DARKNESS AND THE PLIGHT OF MODERN DAY ISRAELITES, Usuli Institute Khutbah, 15 April 2022
(Summary Description Below)
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Grace's Message

Dear Friends,

Al salamu alaykum! Greetings of Peace! Welcome to the last ten days of Ramadan! May your last days of Ramadan be full of love, beauty, elevation and deeper connection with God! First, let us pray for all the Muslims around the world who are suffering under injustice, oppression or worse during this blessed month. May God give them strength, patience, comfort and endurance, while those of us who are able to act freely without fear of imprisonment or oppression can hopefully work to do something, and at a minimum, pray.

Last week, I wrote that one of my favorite parts of Ramadan is the unexpected Ramadan miracles. I want to share my Ramadan miracle with you. Years ago, I dreamed of one day creating a small press - a publication outfit that could publish Dr. Abou El Fadl's works and convert stories. My first experience with publishing our own book was with the first edition of Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam, back around the year 2000. A little history. Back then, we had collected all of the essays that Dr. Abou El Fadl had published in "The Minaret Magazine," part of the Islamic Center of Southern California, and created a book manuscript. I put together a marketing plan and shopped it around to all the Muslims presses. All of them rejected the manuscript.

I knew how valuable these essays were and was determined to publish the work. Ultimately, we published it with a small imprint of Rowman and Littlefield, called University Press of America (UPA). This little imprint was in the business of publishing high quality, often esoteric, work that deserved to be published but was not perceived to have enough market value to justify being published by a larger press. Although UPA agreed to publish it, the catch was that we had to do all the legwork ourselves - we had to provide everything from the camera-ready artwork for the interior pages to the book cover design, and have the text copy edited and indexed. We delivered everything and they printed it. For me, it was a great learning experience and absolutely worth the trouble. It gave me the confidence to do it a second time with Dr. Abou El Fadl's book, And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses. The first editions of that book, The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses, were published by Muslim presses and looked horrible. Trivia question: what were the colors of the covers of the first three editions of A&A published by Muslim presses? Answer: Orange, Brown and Green. You can see what they look like here along with the original covers of Conference of the Books.

Fast forward twenty years, and I was still dreaming of this press. By now, The Usuli Institute had been offering weekly virtual khutbahs and they were amazing. How wonderful would it be to collect these khutbahs and publish them as a collection in a book?

In August 2019, a PhD from the University of Edinburgh - an Usuli admirer - contacted me and offered to help with anything I needed. I shared with him the idea of this khutbah book project, and he agreed to take it on. Thus began Josef Linnhoff's journey to ultimately becoming the Editor in Chief of the Project Illumine Tafsir Project! Fast forward to 2021, now we are in Ohio in the middle of Project Illumine, and it is Ramadan. One day, Joe surprises me with the finished draft. A Ramadan gift! The dream is taking shape! Over the next year, we continue fine-tuning, designing, developing, keenly aware that if we succeed in publishing this khutbah volume, we will have accomplished several important things:

1. We would be demonstrating to the world our capability as a Muslim education institute - whatever comes out of the gate first will be our proof of product. It will answer the question of what are our true standards, values, and even quality control. We did not want to be just another Muslim press, but we wanted to be on par with other professional mainstream or academic presses. First impressions would be extremely important.

2. We would have gained valuable learning experience for our legacy project - ultimately publishing the complete multi-volume Project Illumine Qur'anic commentaries. It would be an important step in preparing for the most weighty responsibility of doing justice to publishing an entire tafsir!

3. In publishing our first book, it would mean that we would also be establishing the press that I had dreamed of for so long.

My Ramadan miracle came through earlier this week, when to our collective surprise, after submitting all the necessary elements and anticipating a much longer wait time, we found that this entire dream came true shockingly early! All of us were caught off guard, but absolutely delighted!

I am so pleased and proud to share with you this dream realized, facilitated and accelerated by the grace of God! Let me introduce to you (drumroll....) the new imprint of The Usuli Institute - USULI PRESS (check out our new website here:


www.usulipress.com


- AND our first book publication! The paperback version is NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon.com here!

The hardback and eBook will be right around the corner insha'Allah!

There is so much to be said about the launch of a new Muslim press and a new book...and I plan to say more in my introduction before tomorrow's halaqa insha'Allah, when we will officially announce the launch of USULI PRESS and The Prophet's Pulpit. It is a Ramadan miracle, a dream come true, and to me, much more than the launch of a new book. I believe this book sets a new standard for Muslim publishing, in terms of aesthetics, rigorous content, and unapologetic conviction of belief. But more than anything, it is a symbol for what Muslims can and should be - at the forefront of creating knowledge that is consequential for humanity, delivered in an aesthetically pleasing presentation, and rigorous in its quality of content. 

What is the book about? Here is the description:

"In this collection of twenty-two Islamic sermons, Khaled Abou El Fadl, distinguished law professor and classically trained Islamic jurist, delivers incisive commentaries on the current state of Islam and the Muslim world from the symbolic pulpit of the Prophet of Islam. Part Qur'anic exegesis and part socio-ethical commentary, this volume showcases the knowledge, enlightenment, and dedication to justice that once propelled the Islamic civilization to great heights of human achievement. It attempts to illuminate the spiritual and ethical path forward for Muslims amid the challenges of injustice, oppression, and the rising tide of Islamophobia in our world."

Joe has done an incredible job of editing these powerhouse khutbahs. You will "hear" the Shaykh's voice in every profound chapter. The book is readable, accessible and soul moving - your mind is stimulated, your heart is lit, and your understanding of Islam elevated. It is an education in applying Islamic ethics to our current environment. It is proof that Muslims have an inspired message for humanity, and the potential to be a moral force for change. It is tangible evidence that Muslims are smart, articulate and relevant. If you are like me, you are done with Muslims being seen as stupid, backwards or apathetic. It is time for an intellectual transformation... and it begins with good knowledge.

The Prophet's Pulpit is a beautiful book, inside and out! I believe it has the power to turn things around for Muslims - if they know about it and read it! Help us get it into the hands of everyone you know so we can work together towards a transformation. I am buying THE PROPHET'S PULPIT as my Eid present to everyone I know. Will you join me?

Lastly, I want to mention the book's dedication:

"The book is dedicated to Muslims around the world suffering under injustice and oppression."

Perhaps with this knowledge, we will make a difference. May God help us all!

To be continued. I will say more tomorrow! Join us online for the concluding session of Surah 58: Al Mujadala, our 75th Project Illumine surah!

**SAVE THE DATE! PART 2 OF DISPELLING MYTHS FROM AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE: Q&A ON SEXUAL AND SPIRITUAL ABUSE! SUNDAY, 15 MAY 2022 at 4 PM EASTERN TIME!!**
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.


WATCH PART 1 NOW

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.

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 CONTENT DURING RAMADAN!
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.


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.

DR. ABOU EL FADL TARGETED BY ISLAMOPHOBES AGAIN
**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!)


MATCHING GIFT PROGRAM - DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT DURING RAMADAN!


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 www.searchforbeauty.org

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 Rowman.com 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! 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
grace@usuli.org


MORE RESOURCES FOR LEARNING:

USULINEWS.WORDPRESS.COM

Find the links to articles and references mentioned in Usuli khutbahs and more!

https://usulinews.wordpress.com/


Great independent news sources for an alternative to corporate funded media:
CJ Werleman's Patreon Page
www.democracynow.org
www.theintercept.com
www.mintpressnews.org
www.commondreams.org
www.propublica.org
www.newlinesmag.com
https://thecradle.co/ (includes Pepe Escobar, Sharmine Narwani)
https://taibbi.substack.com/ Matt Taibbi, a very seasoned journalist (Rolling Stone Magazine), publishes on a variety of topics.
https://consortiumnews.com/ an independent media outlet promoted by Chris Hedges.
www.counterpunch.org
https://bylinetimes.com/

www.electronicintifada.net
www.breakingpoints.com with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti
https://ifamericansknew.org/ 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!

LISTEN TO PROJECT ILLUMINE ON AUDIO AT OUR SOUNDCLOUD CHANNEL!

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 www.usuli.org/donate

See you online soon insha'Allah! :)

Khutbah Summary Description
DREAMING IN DARKNESS AND THE PLIGHT OF THE MODERN DAY ISRAELITES
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Founder of The Usuli Institute and
Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
15 April 2022
 

I do not know how anyone can take the podium this Friday and dare talk about anything other than what is transpiring in our beloved Jerusalem and our beloved Aqsa Mosque. As I say this, I am certain that there will be plenty of khutbahs and plenty of mosques that will not even mention the Aqsa Mosque. But what is new, right? This is the sign of the ailment and disease of our Ummah.

First, it would be immoral to not mention the fact that throughout the West Bank, Israeli forces have been killing unarmed Palestinians for the past two weeks in response to the attacks that were carried out by some Palestinians in the Israeli mainland. Here we find a common scenario: collective punishment. The big difference is that the Palestinians being killed by the Israelis in response to the attacks that took place, have nothing to do with the attackers or the attack, other than the fact that they are Palestinians; and those who are being killed by the Israeli army throughout the West Bank are unarmed Palestinians. 

But of course, we are now accustomed to the fact that for decades, Israel has been carrying a policy of collective punishment in response to whatever it deems a terrorist attack. Whether it is a terrorist attack or not is not the issue, the issue is the collective punishment. Terrorism is wrong when it targets people that have nothing to do with the colonial settler's project. When terrorism targets innocent civilians going about their day, it is wrong. But Israel has adopted a policy of responding to whatever terrorism that is perpetuated through a deeply racist policy, a policy of collective punishments. All Palestinians are the same. All Arabs are the same. If one of them attacks, then you kill another. It is all the same. The obvious racism of this hardly needs comment.

But I want to go back to the Aqsa Mosque. We have become accustomed that every time Ramadan rolls around, Israel escalates its violence against the Aqsa Mosque. We have become accustomed now that every Ramadan, Israel ends up bombarding Gaza, killing droves of civilians. Of course, as we follow the news of the violent attacks on the Aqsa Mosque, we brace for Gazans to try to send the message to Israel, “You are not going to be allowed a freehand with the Aqsa Mosque,” the type of events that result in horrendous violence unleashed upon Gaza.

Yet again, in another Ramadan, Israeli fanatics, extremists and racists have made it very clear that they intend to violate the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque, because as far as they are concerned, the Aqsa Mosque does not have the right to exist. In fact, they made their intention very clear that they not only want to transgress upon the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque, but also to carry out animal sacrifices in the compound of the Aqsa Mosque. Of course, the significance of the animal sacrifices is that they claim that this is the site of the Temple of Solomon that they plan to rebuild. In order to rebuild this temple, as they openly admit, they plan to tear down the Aqsa Mosque. The significance of slaughtering the animals, without even announcing that they intend to do so, is to send a clear message to Muslims, "You have no rights in the Aqsa Mosque and we have every intention of tearing it down."

It is important to note, Israeli forces are in the habit of protecting settlers when they violate the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque, and unleashing violence upon any Palestinian that dares to defend the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque. But as would be expected, brave Palestinians decided to flock to the Aqsa Mosque in an effort to protect it. The number of Palestinians praying Fajr at the Mosque swelled because of the threats of the racist settlers; and after Fajr prayers, Israeli forces opened fire upon Palestinians worshippers. They ordered them to disband immediately. Of course, I do not think they have the right to tell anyone to disband, because considering Israel's record, Palestinians have every right to make sure that they protect the Aqsa Mosque from the announced plan to violate a sanctity. But before even being given adequate time to disband, Israeli forces opened fire.

Israel opened fire with tear gas and rubber bullets, and the immediate results include 90 Palestinians injured and droves of Palestinians arrested, though this is not even the most updated count. Yet again, the Aqsa Mosque witnesses the spilling of Palestinian blood, repeated violations by Israeli racists and religious bigots. Yet again, we see the absolute silence of the Muslim world, or at least the parties in the Muslim world that we hoped would have any sense of vigilance, honor or piety about protecting the Aqsa Mosque. Nothing from Egypt. Nothing from Saudi Arabia. Nothing from the Emirates. It looks that even Turkey has been quite timid in condemning the most recent Israeli violations.

We cannot take this as an isolated event. It is imperative that we as Muslims read the world in which we live in very carefully and with wide open eyes. We cannot afford blindness, because our role as Muslims, even in the darkest of times, is to provide a moral exemplar to humanity.

At the same time the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque is again being violated, Palestinians again are being assaulted and attacked by a clear apartheid state. Leave alone the conscience of the non-Muslim world with the conscience of the Muslim world. In the midst of this, what is the news that strikes us coming from Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia has awarded Jared Kushner's company $2 billion, including a clear payout to Trump's son-in-law, because Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are not making it secret that they do not like Biden and they want Trump, and Kushner, back.

Kushner - the same man who spearheaded the movement of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the same man who spearheaded the “Deal of the Century,” which involved displacing a large number of Saudis from Saudi territory and a large number of Bedouin Egyptians from Sinai to clear land to create something called the Neom project, the same man who is responsible for the Sudanese, Moroccan and Bahrain recognition and deals with Israel, the same man who spearheaded the collective betrayal of Arab Muslims towards Jerusalem - is being awarded; gifted by Saudi Arabia $2 billion.

As the article points out, everyone knows it is corruption, yet there is nothing anyone could do about it. Because this is the same man who is being rewarded for staunchly defending MBS when he killed Khashoggi. This is the same man who made sure that regardless of the abysmal human rights record in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia remains untouchable. He is rewarded $2 billion of Muslim money. This is the world we live in.

Recently, a journalist named Mehdi Hasan brought an obvious question to the Biden administration: “You keep telling us that Putin is a war criminal for what he is doing in Ukraine. Why is it that MBS and the Saudi regime are not war criminals for what they are doing in Yemen? You have not talked about the International Criminal Court, or any efforts about holding the Saudis and the Emiratis responsible before an International Criminal Court for the war crimes that they committed in Yemen, leave alone Israel and what it does with occupied territory.”

The world we live in. A world of hypocrisy, betrayal and treachery. At the same time that Israel violates the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque and butchers Palestinians, we look at the state that is supposed to be the guardian of the two holy sites, and it is giving a $2 billion payoff to what they hope is an incoming American administration. Another American administration, the Biden administration, does not dare take a moral stand. In the midst of all of this, we find plenty of Muslims cheerfully and jovially going on about organizing and raising money for Umrah. Oblivious.

Sure, Mecca and Medina can be under occupation by colonial agents. What if Mecca and Medina were directly occupied by Britain or the United States? What do you think they would do that would be worse than the current regime in Saudi Arabia? Clearly, Mecca and Medina are under occupation by a family and a regime that have betrayed the Muslim ummah, a betrayal of historical proportions. Yet, there are Muslims gleefully talking about organizing Umrah and going to Hajj. Oblivious. This is the world we live in. However, I am not here to recount narratives of tragedy. I am here to tell you that it is precisely because this world is the world we live in. If you have faith, if you have iman, what you do about this world must be crystal clear in your mind.

Let me put it very bluntly. This Muslim ummah requires a new spirit, a new soul. Not only that, but our entire world requires a new spirit, a new soul. Whether it is the hypocrisy and the racism that we see exhibited over the Ukraine conflict versus Yemen versus Palestine; whether it is the genocide perpetuated by China against the Uyghurs, whether it is the exploding Islamophobia in India and the plight of Kashmiri Muslims, and Muslims all over India for that matter; if you believe in God, you will also believe that God has the power to change things in an instant.

In Surah Al-A'raf, God is speaking about the Israelites and their historical journey with God. God decreed, because of the betrayals committed by the Israelites against their Lord, that the Israelites will be tried with tragedy and plight until the Hereafter. God explains to us the precise reason for the plight of the Israelites,and the answer is in Surah Al-A'raf, that they take the most superficial aspects of their faith. Their connection, their relationship with their revealed book, has become minimal. They become presumptuous and say, “God will forgive.”

Remarkably, God, in the verse directly after this, tells us what the Israelites did with their revealed book. It does not mean as some commentators have thought, that they have studied what is in their revelation and ignored it. The word used to describe what they did actually means to ignore something until it becomes covered with dust and neglected. So, the Israelites have neglected their own book until it has become as if abandoned, collecting dust. But in the midst of this, God says, still in Surah Al-A'raf, regarding those who adhere to the book, and establish a vigilant relationship with God, “We do not waste their good deeds.”

Everything that the Qur'an tells us about the Israelites is not a message to the Israelites as much as it is a message to us Muslims. We are the Israelites of today. God has now decreed that you suffer the consequences of your historical betrayals, of your abandonment of the revelation and abandonment of the book. In the same way that you look at Israelis today and you say clearly, “When they took their tradition seriously, especially after the Holocaust, God changed their fate.” The very relationship of the Israelites to God is a direct lesson for us. But we Muslims - and this is the real paradigm shift - we cannot just be another nation state the way Israel is. We cannot repeat historical mistakes. We can neither colonize nor desire to colonize the lands, the cultures or the languages of others, or the societies that belong to others.

We cannot compete just to compete. We cannot just be another betrayal of the earth. We cannot as Muslims emerge just to be another ummah that pollutes and that corrupts the earth. We cannot be just another capitalist system that exploits workers. We cannot be just another nation that lives off the sweat of the oppressed, that trafficks human beings and lives off human misery and human suffering.

Here is the paradigm shift. If our aspirations are to just come together as Muslims to compete over corrupting the earth, just to be another team that comes together to corrupt the earth, we do not offer a higher moral plane. In other words, in order for God to favor a Muslim Ummah, it has to live up to what divinity is. Study your Qur'an. Do not be like those who bury the Qur'an with dust. Notice that God does not accept corrupting the earth. We Muslims must dream of being the salvation for our dunya, being its moral salvations through our moral example.

As believers, it should be an article of faith. Once God sees that we in fact have a relationship with God's revelation, that we have the correct understanding of God's will on Earth, that we will colonize no one, that we understand that we cannot oppress anyone, that the Islamic alternative is a morally superior alternative. That with Islam, no minority will be oppressed, no race will be oppressed, no gender will be oppressed. That with Islam, we will cure the ailments of racism that plague the Western civilization, so much so that it has become the Western civilization's cancer. Look at the Western civilization. It is anchored in race. It breathes, eats and lives race. Every success is racially based, and every historical crime is racially based.

If the Muslim Ummah is just more of the same, then we can count on God not supporting us. If the Muslim Ummah is the cure for the ailment, then my faith tells me God will support us. God, who gives the Israelites the upper hand in our lifetime, will give Muslims the upper hand, but it requires moral conscientiousness. We cannot be like the Muslims who are in bed with the Emiratis, who, when they see something, say, "You cannot impute anything to a silent person." It is a misuse, a complete misunderstanding and lack of comprehension. This is, of course, what Hamza Yusuf said when he was asked why he still has such a chummy relationship with the Emirate. You cannot morally just be oblivious and casually say, "Oh yes, we are raising money for Umrah." Our khutbahs must reflect our morality. Even our social presence on electronic platforms must reflect our morality. Think of it quite simply as a paradigm of fasad. Wherever we turn, we see those who are willing to cause corruption on earth.

God looks upon us, and it is a very simple question. If I bring you to the fore, if I aid you, what do you have to offer this earth? If what you have to offer this earth is more corruption of the earth, then I would rather give the power to commit such corruption to non-Muslims. Then at least it is not a degradation of God's faith and Qur'an. It demands of us a different consciousness, different thinking, and a seriousness about our historical mission and historical role.

The world that we live in is replete with, in religious language, all the signs of the demonic. Just in the past couple of weeks, at the same time that Europe is opening its arms for Ukrainian refugees and there are droves of volunteers to help Ukrainian refugees; at the same time that the UK has promised to pass special laws to take in Ukrainian refugees, the UK announces a deeply racist plan that all asylees and refugees coming from places like Africa or the Middle East would not be processed in Britain if they managed to reach British territory, and instead they will be sent to Rwanda to be processed.

Australia had a very similar program, and the refugees that Australia sent to an African state to be processed, what happened to these refugees was entirely predictable. There were beatings. There were tortures. There were rapes. There were abductions and disappearance of children. Australia had to cancel its program after the complaints about the human rights abuses reached a horrendous pitch. I believe the British administration likely knows well what is going to happen to the refugees that it sends to be processed to Rwanda. Human trafficking, sexual assaults, beatings and torture. Deeply racist. The people who lead our world today are deeply racist. The history and legacy of colonialism is deeply racist.

 

Any Muslim that pretends that race is not important knows that they are a buffoon and an idiot. Ignore them. Just cut them out of your life because of the Islamic alternative. What is it that you are going to offer the world? You see, it is exactly when oppression and plight gets the worse is when my dreams reach the highest level. I dream of a khilafah. I dream that Muslims will get over their colonial brainwashing and reclaim the institution of khilafah. But this khilafah that I dream of, that will become the symbol of Muslim unity, will not be an imperial entity. It will not be about invading Eastern Europe. It will not be about fighting at the gates of Vienna. It will not be about veiling women. It will not be about any of the evils of our modern world, from colonizing and the destruction of indigenous cultures and indigenous people, to the deep racism and the deep economic inequality. This khilafah will offer the world moral and ethical hope that if and when Muslims come together, it will be about saving the earth. It will not be about competing to consume material products and polluting the earth without regard as if we own this planet, as if it already does not have an owner.

I am going to leave you with this. How can we in the midst of this darkness dream that we will be the world's ethical example? History is never static. Like you reveal, the book is not static. The Qur'an is not static and history is not static. In the same way that you read the Qur'an and when the Qur'an revealed, the Israelites were powerless. But the message of the Qur'an, if we pay attention, told us over 1,000 years ago that if the Israelites got their act together, they would no longer be parsed. It told us that our ummah is an ummah that is about justice, and that if you want God’s favor, then what you are about must be clear at least in your mind and in your conscience.

The pendulum of history swings back and forth. There is no end of times or end of history, as Fukuyama and others have claimed. The pendulum of history swings back and forth. The only question is how fast, with Muslim in action and the current state of Muslims, the pendulum is going to be in that period of Muslim dark ages for the longest time. Having the right morality in your hearts and having the right morality and vision that animates your actions will not do away with the pendulum. It simply speeds up the pendulum. The pendulum will swing the other way inevitably. That is how history works. What rises must fall and what falls will rise. But the only question is how fast. Do you want the dark ages to last another 500 years? We are well on that path.

But if you have iman, and this is an issue of iman, not an issue of if you believe in a powerful God that cares about justice and cares about what is right. You want to be a Muslim and be racist, then welcome to the dark ages for hundreds of years to come. You want to be a Muslim and not care about the genocide being committed in Yemen, then welcome to the dark ages for hundreds of years to come. You want to be a Muslim and not care about the plight of refugees and displaced people around the world, and the millions of people being trafficked? You want to be a Muslim and not care about the elements of human trafficking, pornography and prostitution? You want to be a Muslim and not even care about the explosion of prostitution in Iran, in Egypt, in Accra and Morocco and across Muslim countries, and live for yourself and for your kids, then welcome to the dark ages for centuries to come. Might as well just stop complaining and instead just wear a sign saying, "I am a Muslim, I am disgusting and I am doomed,” and just wear it as you tell women to wear hijab and women to stand behind the partition. You might as well own it.

You have the moral vision. You understand what God's justice is about. You desire the rise of an ummah, the rise of a khilafah, an agency on behalf of God. That is what you desire, not to conquer anyone, not to impress anyone, not to dominate anyone, but to be an exemplar of God’s Sunnah, the signs of God, and, God's beautiful names.

I submit to you that my faith tells me it is the same God that controls the fate of everything. We will emerge from the dark ages much faster. It is in your hands and mine. This is as small a thing as deciding whether to spend money on the corrupt Saudi regime in Umrah or give it to those who need it makes such a difference? Absolutely. Do small decisions, like what you click on sitting late at night by yourself in your room, make a difference? Absolutely. That is a small thing like deciding. Even just simply, what offends you or what does not offend you, makes a difference? Absolutely. If you believe in God, because God knows what is in your heart and what is in our hearts collectively, and God knows whether we deserve for the pendulum to swing back from darkness to light later or sooner, that is the question.

Dalia's Corner
Salaams!

To have the ability to explore the Usuli Library is truly an experience like no other; not only is it home to thousands upon thousands of books, but amongst the collection are manuscripts and books that are, simply put, incredible. 

Usuli's YouTube and Instagram pages have been providing glimpses into some of the more notable finds in the Usuli Library, including the oldest Dhikr book in the collection. In the clip below, Dr. Abou El Fadl allows us to get a more close-up look as he flips through its pages. While a short clip, seeing the book and imagining the centuries of history it has experienced is undeniably powerful. Please enjoy this small look into the Usuli Library by following the link below!

Stay safe,
Dalia
dalia@usuli.org 
The Oldest Dhikr Book, The Usuli Library


WHAT HAPPENS AT USULI?
 


PRODUCING KNOWLEDGE: 
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.
 
PUBLISHING KNOWLEDGE: 
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. 
 
PRESERVING KNOWLEDGE: 
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!
 
Donate
Support The Usuli Institute

LAUNCHGOOD: Matching Gift Program for Qur'anic Tafsir Publication:
DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT!

DONATE HERE.

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

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

WHEN: RAMADAN Matching Gift Program – DOUBLE YOUR BLESSINGS!

HOW: Every donation up to $40,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor!

WHERE: The Usuli Institute (www.usuli.org) 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. 

TOTAL MATCHING GIFT GOAL: $40,000

WHAT YOUR DONATION WILL SUPPORT:

Costs of Publication including:
Transcription
Editing
Printing
Book Interior and Cover Design 
Publishing House
Labor

ABOUT DR. KHALED ABOU EL FADL

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. 

ADOPT A SURAH:

EIGHTY-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!

For More Learning

QUICK LINKS:

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:

JOIN OUR INTERACTIVE GROUP:

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 info@usuli.org 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.

FOR MORE LEARNING:

Check out our websites which include scholarly archives and more!

www.usuli.org 
www.searchforbeauty.org

Copyright © 2022 The Usuli Institute, All rights reserved.


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