Archives for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Trust in God – Part 1

By • Aug 25th, 2022 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study, Uncategorized

Session 23. Trust in God (Tawakkul /تَوَكُّل) is a hallmark of faith. In the eye of the Quran, Tawakkul is an essential ingredient of faith: if a person does not put her full trust in God in daily life, she would not have true faith. She may believe in the “idea” of God, but she would not have faith in God. Conceptually, Tawakkul is difficult to comprehend, and even more difficult to practice. The difficulty is partly due to the fact that there are no concrete activities associated with Tawakkul. Daily prayer, invocation, fasting… are concrete practices we call “religious acts”; however, there are no such activities associated with Tawakkul. And therein lies the problem. We will explore some of the Quran’s teachings on the nature and meaning of Tawakkul in this presentation.

The Philosophy of Fasting in Ramadan

By • Jun 28th, 2022 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study, Uncategorized

Session 20. According to the Quran, the spiritual harvest of Ramadan is “taqwā ” (تقوى): piety / righteousness / God-consciousness. Fasting is a great exercise for self-control, which in turn enables the person to say “no” to temptations and the call of the ego. Self-control is not only critical for moral behavior, it is also a requirement for enlightenment and spiritual discovery. Centuries ago, humans in Persia, India, Greece, China and elsewhere discovered that there is an inverse relation between body (materialistic cravings / pursuits) and the soul. As Rumi puts it, “bread” is nourishment for the body, and “light” is nourishment for the soul. When we eat less bread, more light will enter our soul. And that is the underlying philosophy of fasting in spiritual traditions. In this presentation, we will explore the Ramadan fast in the Quran and Rumi’s teachings.

Imam Ali’s Last Will

By • May 11th, 2021 • Category: Islam, Lectures, Uncategorized

Imam Ali was an exemplary Muslim- best known for his piety, wisdom and sense of justice. He was raised by the Prophet Mohammad from childhood, and was the first male person to embrace Islam. Five years into his reign as the political leader of the original Islamic empire, Ali was assassinated by a member of the renegade group “Kharijites” (خوارج). In his deathbed, Ali penned his last will summarizing his vision and values. In this presentation, we will examine Imam Ali’s directives in his last will.

Pure Heart

By • Mar 13th, 2021 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study, Uncategorized

Session 6: Pure / sound heart is a key requirement for “meeting God”. The Quran informs that Prophet Abraham came to meet God only when he had acquired a pure heart (قلب سلیم). According to the Gospel of Matthew, when Thomas asked Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.” Jesus told Thomas,  “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  For this reason, Sufi Muslims view the heart as a sacred place, where the seeker’s journey to unite with God, ends. In this presentation, we will explore Pure / Sound Heart (قلب سلیم) in the Quran.

What Went Wrong In Islam?

By • Jul 8th, 2020 • Category: Islam, Lectures, Uncategorized

With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the magnitude of the decline and underdevelopment of the Muslim world became more apparent. The breakup of the Ottoman Empire ushered in a painful period of soul searching for Muslim intellectuals: What is the underlying cause of the economic, political, cultural and scientific decline of the Muslim nations? Does the religion of Islam play a role in their backwardness? These questions slowly made their way into the public discourse, and young Muslims began to ask: if our religion is so great, why are we in such a bad shape? In this presentation, we will examine what went wrong in Islam in history.