**BEGINNING IN JANUARY 2019, DR. ABOU EL FADL BEGAN DELIVERING WEEKLY FRIDAY VIRTUAL PRAYERS THROUGH THE USULI INSTITUTE (www.usuli.org).
WATCH THEM WEEKLY VIA ONLINE LIVESTREAM AT THE USULI INSTITUTE YOUTUBE CHANNEL AT 12:45 P.M. EASTERN TIME
Muslims gather for congregational prayers on Fridays. At the beginning of each service, according to Islamic tradition, the most learned of the community should address the community regarding topics that are pressing and pertinent to the community and the obligations of the faithful. Unfortunately, many khutbahs today do not engage or enliven the spirit of Muslims seeking inspiration, honest and direct confrontation with important issues, or spiritual comfort. Dr. Abou El Fadl does not disappoint when it comes to tackling difficult issues, challenging the intellect and heart, and underscoring ethics, morality and virtue in the Islamic message through his khutbahs.
1 March 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl addresses questions arising from his previous khutbahs regarding how to receive and assess knowledge and develop and trust one's own intuition or native instinct (fitrah) in determining what is authentically Islamic. He elaborates on the example of pure water entering a clean vessel versus a dirty vessel in understanding the impact of a divine message on the soul (vessel) receiving that message. He discusses how to evaluate the moral character of religious authority, be it an imam, faqih, shaykh or other religious teacher. He reminds us that leadership and authority must be judge according to conduct and action rather than words and the willingness to judge others before oneself. He discusses the fundamental building blocks of morality and ethics that God has given every human being. To elaborate by example, he brings all of the above to bear upon the real-life current tragedy of Uighur Muslims being imprisoned and tortured in concentration camps in China and lack of moral response from global Muslim leadership. Delivered 1 March 2019. For previous khutbahs, visit www.usuli.org and www.searchforbeauty.org.
22 February 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl delves into the depth of the modern day re-colonization, re-subjugation and re-domination of Muslims fueled by racism, Islamophobia, and the desire to appease the culture of the elite in the world-- and its dark consequences. He reminds us that in our tradition, God in the Quran has made it abundantly clear that among the greatest gifts of creation is the intellect and the use of reason ('aql). Referencing once common but long forgotten traditions of the Prophet (hadith), Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that God holds in highest esteem those who reflect and reason; and that a single word of wisdom is more worthy than the entire earth and its contents. He presents four points of guidance: 1) Knowing what to be cautious and suspect towards; 2) Glorifying one's ability to reason; 3) Pursuing knowledge vigorously; and 4) The weighty responsibility of knowledge and its requirements. Delivered 22 Feb. 2019.
15 February 2019
In this transformative moment in human history, Dr. Abou El Fadl recounts the ways in the last three decades since the publication of his book, The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses, that the methodology of justice, beauty and reason he advocated came under attack as a source of "fitnah" (creating discord and dissent). As Muslims, we learned from well known shuyukh that many things like music, art, pictures, relations with non-Muslims and other things identified as "from the West" were haram (forbidden). Suddenly, overnight, the same shaykhs who claimed such "incontrovertible truths" have reversed their positions without any evidentiary basis, nor any reference to Islamic law or jurisprudence. He reminds us that God gave us a religion of fitrah (intuition, innateness and natural instinct), and that messages of Islam from the lands of despotism and hypocrisy in the Middle East have become intolerable. It is time for Muslims in the West to liberate themselves from the Islam coming from the colonized, dominated and subjugated Middle East, and rethink anew what the Islam of justice and beauty should entail as pioneers in our current times. He encourages Muslims to become pious and trust in the intuitive attraction to goodness, justice and beauty that God gave all human beings. Delivered 15 February 2019.
1 February 2019
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that the Qur'an calls us to establish regular prayer as the means to build perseverance and patience that will strengthen our ability to withstand all of the trials, tribulations, frustrations and doubts that will surely attempt to pull us away from the path to the divine, especially in such difficult times as today for modern Muslims. He relates that when the overall health and condition of Muslims is good, the relationship with the Qur'an is strong; when the overall condition of Muslims is poor, their relationship with the Qur'an is distant and weak. We must turn inward to develop our own light and relationships with God and learning to be comfortable with ourselves alone with God. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, 1 February 2019.
25 January 2019
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl begins by discussing the Quranic intent of the Friday congregational prayer (jumu'a) prayer and the weekly address to the community (khutbah) at the time of the Prophet, and its role in serving as the divine uplift, community accounting, and spiritual re-invigoration of the Muslim community. He then recounts how this purpose became usurped over time. He continues by covering the required qualifications of the person who should lead the jumu'a -- the most learned in the community -- and what the jurists (faqih) of various schools of thought asserted when these qualifications are not met. Dr. Abou El Fadl then addresses the current state of affairs in mosques, what has become of Friday prayers, and why he has chosen to offer this virtual alternative. He discusses what various schools of thought (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi'i and Maliki) have said about "virtual" jumu'a prayer, the history of "virtual jumu'a" from the 1960's, and what constitutes a proper congregation (jamaa). In the second half, he reminds the congregation what it means to ignite the light of God inside of you, such that divine light, as opposed to darkness, emits from you. Surprising, illuminating and uplifting!