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.
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that every human being carries the light of the divine; that the soul is of the divine. The soul of every human being is an extension of the divine and thus deserving of dignity, to be honored and elevated in oneself and others. If one does not honor and dignify this divine light, and instead dishonors the divinely given worth and purpose of each soul, then darkness can accumulate to the point that the human no longer feels or sees the light or divinity in oneself any longer. But if one honors and dignifies the light of oneself and others, God will respond. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, on February 16, 2018.
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us of God's message in the Qur'an that God is with us wherever we go, and whenever the world deludes us into thinking we are alone, we are not. Everything is in God's knowledge, and God is an intimate part of every conversation, interaction, and engagement that takes place in this life in secret or in public. To internalize this message is revolutionary. God is fully present with you. Nothing happens outside of the purview of God. Remembering that God is your constant companion should transform your behavior and instill in you a sense of modesty and refrain. With the understanding that God truly is your partner, it becomes impossible to be in a state of egoism. If you have such a powerful partner, everything becomes a deep look inside of yourself in light of this partnership to ask, Is God pleased with me? Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, on January 19, 2018.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl speaks to the meaning that Islam, as a gift from God, brings to humanity. What do we as Muslims bring? As a largely immigrant community, do we bring a bit of Egypt, Pakistan, India or parts of respective home countries to the U.S.? Will this ring true for our children and future generations? Or do we share the gift that is the meaning and purpose in life--the beauty of Islam that transcends all ethnic boundaries? What does it mean when people have lost all sense of meaning? How should we treat this gift of Islam, the continuation of the message from God from Adam and Eve, to all of the Prophets from Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad? Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, on November 17, 2017.
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us that we each have a purpose, and that each human being is sacred and has rights and is worthy of dignity. Each person is so important that when one enters into a relationship with God, God and the angels reciprocate by praying over that person. This means that each person should be assured of their remembrance before God when they remember God. In addition, humans pray on the Prophets to affirm the singular message of the prophets from our Creator from time immemorial. All of the prophets were Muslims and we Muslims are part of the singular message from God. Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds us of the implications of our role as the living examples of the ethical examples set for us by the Prophets, and how to gain strength and beauty from these examples. He discusses what it means to be a pious person in this age of uncertainty. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, on October 20, 2017.
In an emotional and powerful presentation, Dr. Abou El Fadl calls Muslims to remember that Islam was a message of rebellion and liberation to humanity like no other--that humans are equal by nature, and that submission to God means that humans should not submit themselves or their dignity to anyone other than God. Muslims were liberated from submitting themselves to a class of priests, an aristocracy, an oligarchy, or a privilege. Muslims were also liberated from imitating blind habits and following the status quo. Muslims were given a charge to follow what they understand and believe. Humans are born free and will die free, only to be held accountable to God. Every soul will be held responsibility only for what it does and no other--a liberating and serious responsibility. Islam stands for an unrelenting protest against all blind and disgusting -isms: nationalism, classicism, racism, materialism, commercialism. The essence of Islam is dignity and joy and liberty. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, on September 15, 2017.
Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl reminds Muslims how Islam came as a revolution in its time--a redefinition of social justice in that all humans were equal in the eyes of God with no differentiation based on race, gender, ethnicity, social status, wealth, influence, tribe, ancestry or any other such distinction. He recalls the Prophet Muhammad's injunctions and teachings as to the same, and the imperative of wanting for others what one wants for oneself as a measure of true faith. Dr. Abou El Fadl emphasizes the Qur'an's repeated and fervent calls for the use of the intellect, reason, rationality, thinking, reflecting and pondering. A stirring and powerful call to the conscience and action of Muslims to live up to their charge and potential to change the world. He calls attention the recent white nationalist events in the U.S. and the associated chants of "Blood and Soil," the historic call for genocide and warns of its dangerous precedents. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA on August 25, 2017.
Dr. Abou El Fadl presents the reminder of Surah al-Shams, the Qur'anic chapter entitled, "The Sun," on how each soul knows the difference between right and wrong, the power of mercy, and the banality of evil. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA on July 21, 2017.
Dr. Abou El Fadl returns to the heart and soul of the premises of Ramadan and how this annual window of opportunity to elevate the soul from the physical body allows Muslims to advance their progress towards the divine and remember the special place that we as humans occupy before God, separate and apart from more animal-like beings focused solely on consumption and the trappings of consumption. Delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA on May 19, 2017.
Dr. Abou El Fadl speaks to a time that the Qu'ran refers to in which it is as if people have become tempted, teased and confused by demons on earth until it is as if people are walking on earth perplexed and not knowing what to do. It is at these times in which people can wake themselves by returning to the Center -- the Truth, the Mercy and the Guidance of their Lord that sustains and nourishes. What does it mean to find that Center? How does one find it? Worse, what does it mean to lose it? As a largely immigrant community, Muslims in America confront the challenge of remaining an immigrant phenomena leading to the eventual assimilation and demise of their Center, or working to create success through building native institutions to defend their Center for generations to come. What will become of our children's children? Friday khutbah delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, April 7, 2017.
Dr. Abou El Fadl discusses the urgency of the need to focus the Muslim world's attention to the development of the intellect such that it is relevant, current, and compelling for our age. Muslims have excelled in the areas of engineering, science, medicine and other such fields. However, when it comes to the development of ideas, the intellect and the approaches to modern day discourses that affect our global human condition, Muslims are completely absent or underdeveloped. To engage, contribute to, and make a difference in the matters of global importance in our day and age, Muslims must invest as much if not more in the engineering of the mind and intellect. Friday khutbah delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, March 17, 2017.
On the occasion of the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Dr. Abou El Fadl addresses the challenges facing the religious community -- people of virtue -- and on the importance of their role as representing and standing up for the virtues of the United States in these dark times. He discusses what the Muslim community will confront in the climate of hate and xenophobia, and how after the Muslims, all other minority groups will be next in line. He underscores the importance of coming together for the sake of all good that the religious communities represent and must continue to pursue. Friday khutbah delivered at the Islamic Center of Southern California, January 20, 2017.