Virtual Khutbah TODAY, 4/8 at 1:45 pm ET
Next Project Illumine Halaqa: Saturday 4/9 at 6:00 pm ET 

Scroll down for our Weekly Newsletter and the Latest at Usuli!
This Past Week at The Usuli Institute (1 - 7 April 2022)
Original English Commentary
Project Illumine
The Manuscript Room: Rare Books on Palestine, The Usuli Library
(Summary Description Below)
Grace's Message

Dear Friends,

Al salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatohu! I pray that your Ramadan is going well and that "fasting brain" has not been too debilitating insha'Allah! :) It is amazing how quickly the first week of Ramadan has already passed. I feel like I need to savor every moment and grab hold of the time so it doesn't pass too quickly!

We finished Surah 4: Al Nisa'!
Alhamdulillah that after eleven halaqa sessions, we were blessed to complete Surah 4: Al Nisa' last Saturday, and what a journey it was! We covered a lot of familiar ground in our journey, reexamining verses, words and ideas that we had heard hundreds of times over, but never stopped to investigate and truly reflect upon. I believe that when you feel the meaning of the Qur'an in your heart and you understand the message in this way - at a deeper, clarifying and humanistic level - it only strengthens your confidence in and empowerment from your faith. The power of knowledge grants liberation like nothing else, especially in our dark times as Muslims. I am really looking forward to the Q&A for Surah Al Nisa' at tomorrow's halaqa. Please feel free to send me your questions at in advance of the halaqa, preferably by noon, Eastern Time. 

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.

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!

Give the Gift of Knowledge! Virtual Book Sale!
Next, a Ramadan gift for yourself and others! Give the gift of knowledge! 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 the Q&A on Surah 4: Al Nisa' - Day 12!!! - tomorrow night at 6 pm ET. 

I pray that every day will bring you love, mercy, forgiveness, acceptance and elevation from our Beloved Maker. May you reach your Ramadan goals, and may God aid and sustain you on your journey insha'Allah! Please keep all of us in your prayers as we continue on our mission to complete and publish the entire Project Illumine tafsir in book form! 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

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
1 April 2022

Another Ramadan is upon us, and as I have said on previous occasions, it is not coincidental that you can measure your life by the Ramadans that you have lived and the Ramadans that remain. How many Ramadans do you have left in your life? By the time that next Ramadan rolls around, where will you be from one Ramadan to another? What will your relationship to your Maker look like? How will the distance between you and your Maker shift? Equally as important, what is the distance between you and your demons? Everything that is satanic in your existence and everything that counters the satanic, what is the distance between you and the beauty embodied in your life? What is the distance between you and the embodiment of ugliness in your life? 

We do not know, by the time next Ramadan comes, whether you or I will still be here. Are we going to have another opportunity? Will we remain standing? Will we be able to engage in the speech that we are engaging in now? This is the test. This is the challenge, and only a fool takes things for granted. Only a fool assumes they can just count on the coming Ramadan. God invites us to this one month every year, where we are supposed to pause, to take a step back, and to reflect upon where you have been, where you are, and where you are heading. One month every year, God tells us, "Challenge yourself, ponder and reflect on, to what extent are you dependent on material things? To what extent do you take what you consume and what you drink for granted?” 

During this one month, we intensify our prayers, like Taraweeh prayers, not because we are just performing rituals, but because during this one month, we are supposed to make a concerted effort to grow from the previous year. During this one month, we are supposed to enter a boot camp, to make a concerted effort to improve our relationship with our Maker. During this one month, we engage in the art and the challenge of self-denial. During this one month, we are supposed to focus not on our desires, but on what other human beings experience, and to work on developing our abilities to empathize and feel for other human beings.

It is a month of real opportunities for those who are conscientious enough to be aware of those opportunities. One month where you are forced to break with your habits, with what you take for granted during this one month. You are supposed to desire, but not fulfill that desire; to crave, but not to succumb to the craving. To reflect upon where you are and where you are heading and what your faith will be.

As I was reflecting on the blessings and challenges of a new Ramadan, the revelations of Surah Al-A'raf kept playing over and over in my mind. That God has facilitated a truly remarkable experience, a planet that is carefully calibrated to support human life. That God has measured everything in this remarkable planet, and yet we exist in this planet and often pay very little attention to the marvel of how it is readied for our very existence. Here, God reminds us how remarkable everything that was so carefully calibrated to support human life is. We are placed on a planet that is capable of producing an enormous variety of things that can support our consumption, we can consume endlessly on this planet from a wide variety of diverse things. All types of things that on this planet can be easily processed for human consumption, for supporting human indulgence and human will.

But at the same time, God warned us about a very formidable foe. A foe that, from the very beginning, suffered the singular sin of arrogance, of egoism, of the fallacy of independence and supremacy. God warned us in Surah Al-A'raf that this foe in a foreboding, even terrifying sense tells God, “In fact, I will be their close companion in their existence upon this earth. I will stalk them. I will stalk the straight path that you have inspired and encoded within human beings. I will stalk them, and I will come to them from every side and every way. I will come to them from above, from below, from the right, from the left.” Ultimately, Satan promises God that: “At the end of it, most of those human beings that you created, most of those human beings that you believed in, that you entrusted and you gave the earth to, will not be grateful and will not acknowledge you. In fact, they will betray you. The truth of the matter is that they will treat you, as the Maker, as the Giver of gifts, in the most unfair and treacherous fashion. Most of them will betray their own potential, the potential that God has coded within us, the potential for goodness, for beauty, for justice, for morality.” 

Surah Al-A'raf is telling us the point is not to think about Satan as a corporal entity. The point is not to reflect as to whether Satan's self, as in Iblis, is or is not actually present with you in the room. What if creation is far more marvelous and puzzling than we ever could imagine? We know that we exist in only 5% of all the material reality that God has created. What if in the same way that at the micro level, reality is created upon observation, what if in reality, all of us are born with the potential energy of our antithesis? What if Satan, as the Prophet said, accompanied you as the flow of blood in your veins? What if in fact, every time you indulge in your own egoism, you indulge in your own selfishness? When you allow yourself to indulge in any of the attributes that are not godly, you in fact create your own Satan that preys upon you, that is no less evil and is no less ugly than Iblis himself.

Think about it. One month each year, the entire thrust of our focus is on an essential question, how can we defeat our demons? How can we resist the temptation to focus only upon the self and its most base desires? The desires of consumption, indulgence, and self-promotion. The desires that, in fact, constitute the ethical melody of arrogance and superiority - every time you consume and do not think about other human beings and the opportunities they may have or not have. Every time you choose to ignore the reality that you exist in this world as a guest, not as an owner, but as a guest. Every time you choose to pay heed to your own emotions and ignore the feelings and the plight of others. Every time you indulge without worrying about moral principles like justice, mercy, and compassion, you are feeding Satan, and this Satan, year after year, can become truly monstrous. It can grow into something that truly controls you.

While you think you are free - that you have autonomy or that you have self-determination - in reality, you have become enslaved by your own Satan a long time ago. Even as Ramadan comes and Ramadan leaves, you fail Ramadan, not because you did not fast or you did not pray, but because you did not challenge your Satan, because you did not recognize the immensity of that Satan's power in your life. Most of the time, we live headlessly. Most of the time, when we are hungry, we eat. Most of the time, we do something that we never notice and never reflect upon. Most of the time, we prey upon each other. In other words, we use a fellow human being, not because we reflect upon the mutual benefit or because we reflect upon the principle of justice in our relationships with other human beings, but we use other human beings to propel ourselves.

We use other human beings as an object in feeding our own ego. We do not reflect very deeply about the way that we use other human beings. We may even convince ourselves that whatever we do in using other human beings is not really damaging to them or really that much of a big deal. But the issue is consistently the issue of pride, of arrogance and of being oblivious to others, of being entitled and assuming that your decisions in life do not build up and have a cumulative effect.

During this month of Ramadan, God demands that we pause and reflect. If you eat, you reflect upon whether others are eating. If you indulge in anything that fulfills desires, you think about how fulfilling these desires reflects upon other human beings, and upon creation in general. During that one month, you are called upon not to take things for granted. Put it simply, you are called upon to confront the enormity of your Satan. To ask yourself the very difficult question of, “How big is my Satan?” If your Satan became embodied in a corporal reality, what would that Satan look like? Would that Satan be enormous? Would it be truly terrorizing? Would it be the worst monster you can imagine?

Often people say, "I do not know why I cannot feel God. Why can I not build a relationship with God?" If you journey towards the Lord, your Satan cannot come along. Your Satan cannot come along. If you want to travel towards your Lord, but your Satan exists and is in your company, how are you going to access the jurisdiction of your Lord? Growing closer to God demands that you first confront your Satan, that you first gain control over your Satan, and you cannot gain control over your Satan unless you first learn that you are not simply entitled to consume whatever you desire to consume, but that consumption is a moral responsibility. That every time you consume, you are engaging the moral question of, “How does my consumption affect creation?” 

This is the point of Ramadan. This is why we fast. This is why we pray. This is why God emphasizes self-denial during Ramadan. To train, practice to confront, and control your demons. Perhaps if you gain sufficient control, then your path to your Lord becomes possible. Perhaps if your personal space is not contaminated by your own demons, then you will feel God. You will get the taste of the pleasure of your Lord's company. You will know how it feels to fall in love with your Maker. You will know that any sweet feelings you may have felt towards your mother and your father, multiply that a million times, and these are the feelings that await and embrace you when you come to really acknowledge the presence of your Lord in your life. But first, you must discipline your demon, the demon that you have created through your own indulgences and desires, and the ways that you went about satisfying these desires.

Ramadan comes upon us again, and I know that I am commanded by God not just to look within, but to think about my ummah. If we start talking about the plight of our ummah, we really are opening an endless topic, but I want to focus on two things that I think would be immoral to overlook. For a number of years, and I do not know if this is just coincidence or if God engineered it as such, but right before Ramadan, I start hearing of many testimonials by women who have been taken advantage of by religious figures. In summary, these religious figures typically target the nicest, the purest, and the kindest of women. They hone in on the women that would respond to their deceptions and they take advantage of these women, and it is clear that what they do has everything to do with sex and power. Years ago, in the '80s, Shaykh Muhammad Al Ghazali said something that I have never forgotten.

There was the son of a well-known religious figure who took advantage of a woman, married her in secret, and then eventually just dumped her and cast her away. In the same way that he married her in secret, he left her in secret. And when the matter was exposed, all the leaders of the community, knowing who this person was and knowing who his father was, were not concerned about doing justice by the woman, nor were they concerned about the man's deception, treachery and betrayal.

All the men were far more concerned about covering up the incident and going on flattering each other about their piety. When the father of this girl went to Shaykh Muhammad Al Ghazali and he told him how the leaders of the Muslim community - and these were national leaders, not even local leaders - were acting, Shaykh Al Ghazali said, "I now know that the Islamic Movement in the United States has failed." Ramadan is not about ostentatious displays of piety.

Ramadan is not about an Imam finding an exotic looking kufiya and taqiyah and wearing it. It is not about all the displays of piety that Muslims are so adept at engaging in. Muslims have become so good at putting on a show that impresses only fellow Muslims. If Ramadan does not translate into confronting the demons that plague our community, then it serves no purpose and Ramadan becomes an occasion for God to curse us further, not liberate us. To further doom us to our own follies and failures, rather than the other way around.

The thing that breaks my heart is that these Imams usually take advantage of converts, and if it is not converts, then it is the most innocent and pure women in the Muslim community. They do not take advantage of the women who are rebels, who defy their parents, who basically refuse the authority and the displays of piety by these Imams. God looks at an ummah, and looks at the most underprivileged, most vulnerable in the ummah, and whether God supports an ummah or not does not depend on how the rock stars and the Imams on the podiums are doing, it depends on how we fare vis-à-vis the most vulnerable and the most disempowered. If God looks upon us and sees that there are so many suffering injustice in silence and that as an ummah, we do not vindicate them and we do not support them, then we are cursed. What type of God would support the unjust? What type of God would say, "Oh yes, you take advantage of women. You use them and then cast them away as if they are nothing, no problem." These same men are celebrated as rock stars in Islamic events and Islamic organizations. How much more demonic can you get? What could Iblis possibly engineer to haunt the straight path of God worse than this? 

The second issue I must say something about at the beginning of Ramadan. I remind everyone that recently, the UN publicly and officially reminded the world that what is happening to the Rohingyas is a genocide. I remind everyone that the amount of children and human beings suffering in Yemen is unimaginable. As we complain about fasting from sunrise to sundown, and how horrible it feels that we cannot eat and drink when we want, millions of human beings just like us are starving to death in Yemen at the hands of their fellow Muslims in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. And because our government continues to arm the Saudis and the Emiratis, they can continue committing a genocide in Yemen.

I remind everyone that according to just a recent report, 13,000 Afghan babies died of malnutrition just recently in 2022, and that 95% of the country is unable to access food. Every day that passes, 170 Afghan babies die. All of this because of what? Because the United States government has usurped all of Afghanistan's money and refuses to give any of it back. At the same time we are watching Russia commit notorious human rights abuses in Ukraine, our own government is directly responsible for the death of thousands of babies and children in Afghanistan because of the sovereign decision made by our government to take their money and the decision of our government to sell arms to the Saudis. It is within the power of our government to truly command the Saudis, and to not give them a choice, to cease and desist in massacring people in Yemen, but we choose not to, because as I said before, for us, Muslims are the living dead.

For the west, Muslims are the living dead. If you are Muslim, Western governments consider you already dead. Your life is a mere technicality. As we welcome this new Ramadan for the millionth time, we look at Al-Aqsa mosque and Palestine. At this time last year, the Israeli army went on a killing spree against Palestinians, whether the army perpetuated it directly itself, or by protecting armed fanatic settlers who murdered Palestinians. Just this week, in response to the attacks carried out by Palestinians, the Israeli army and Jewish settlers have been going on a  killing frenzy against Palestinians.

The articles are numerous, overwhelming and depressing. A 16 year old was shot and killed. A child was shot and killed, but on top of this, the Israeli army gassed a hospital. The medical staff choked and could not breathe, and there was a panic in the nursery, pediatrics and surgery departments, and the babies in the hospital had to be evacuated. All of us heard of the Russians attacking a hospital, as Western media could not stop talking about it. Israelis gassed babies in the hospital, but the response of Facebook and Twitter was to censor any content that brings attention to the plight of these Palestinians.

Itamar Ben-Gvir is an extreme right parliamentarian who Israeli media itself calls a racist. Itamar is a notorious racist who thinks that Arabs and Muslims are nothing better than pigs and animals. According to someone like Itamar, they do not even deserve to live. Even the Israeli media itself calls Itamar a notorious racist. According to Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Goldstein, The Jewish settler who murdered 29 Palestinians during Ramadan prayers in Hebron in 1994, is a hero. That mass murderer, that terrorist, is someone that Israel should celebrate because he murders Muslims and even better, murders Muslims during Ramadan during their prayer.

What does Israel do, right before Ramadan? At the same time that the Israeli Police want to restrict access to the Aqsa Mosque to men over 60 years old, and the Israeli army says we restrict access to Aqsa Mosque to men over 45 years old, Israel allows Itamar - guarded and protected by the Israeli army - to violate the sanctity of the Aqsa Mosque, to walk through the Aqsa Mosque. And what do so-called Muslim countries do?

Morocco, Egypt, the Emirates and Bahrain all meet with the Israelis to coordinate security measures with them. The dictators of the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, and perhaps even led by Saudi Arabia, have betrayed all of our causes and still, we gloat about self-declared Imams that go study in Medina, come back to the West and exploit the hell out of Muslim women. How much more demonic can you get?

This is what we do about the Aqsa Mosque. Israel usurps Jerusalem and murders Palestinians at will. A truly apartheid state. And what do we do? The leaders of so-called Muslim countries do not even dare object. They do not even dare say, “We are unhappy.” Instead, according to them, our real danger, our real enemies, are the Iranians. Our real enemies are the Shia. No, do not worry about Aqsa Mosque, worry about the Shia. Let us execute the Shia as Saudi Arabia did to 81 poor souls. Still all of this, and the Emirates props up Muslim American organizations, and we do not have a problem with it. How much more demonic can you get? Do you not hear the laughs of Satan? Do you see that we are far closer to Satan than we are to God? How much more true can it get than when Satan tells God, “I will haunt your straight path and I will approach them from every way, from the left, from the right, from between their arms.”

What is your moral responsibility? When you look at this picture, does this not translate into a personal obligation to gain dominance over your demons? To defeat your demons, to lock up your demons? Maybe you cannot change what Saudi Arabia is doing about the Aqsa Mosque. But surely you can journey closer to God. Maybe if you are closer to God, God will inspire in your heart what you can do to make your life on this earth truly meaningful. Maybe God will guide you to what is truly righteous, truly just, and truly beautiful. Commit to make this Ramadan your starting point.

Dalia's Corner

The idea that the devils are locked up during all of Ramadan is an extremely popular belief in the Muslim community. With this belief, coming from a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari, being commonly regarded as true by the majority of Muslims today, I wanted to share a clip from the Ramadan 2020 Q&A series in which Dr. Abou El Fadl was asked his thoughts on this hadith, as well as a couple follow-up questions regarding the ramifications of the devils being locked up in Ramadan. 

Not only is the subject matter highly relevant as we are currently in the month of Ramadan, but it is also a topic that is interesting and yet, not often talked about in Islamic circles. Yes, we are always told that the devils are locked up all month, but it is not often that the topic is expanded on any more than that singular sentence. It is refreshing to hear it delved into more detail, and so I hope that you give the clip a watch! 

Stay safe,
On the Hadith concerning the Chaining of Devils during Ramadan
Excerpt from the Usuli Institute Ramadan Q&A,16 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!

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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.

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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.


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