Archives for the ‘ Lectures ’ Category

Oneness (توحید) – Part 2

By • Jul 20th, 2021 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study

Session 9: According to the Quran, there lies an essential oneness beneath the multiplicity we observe in the outside world. For example, we see different sexes, races, ethnicities and social classes: male, female, white, black, Hispanics, Asians, rich and poor. But, if we go beyond the surface, we will discover an essential unity: all such […]



Oneness (توحید) – Part 1

By • Jul 1st, 2021 • Category: Quran Study

Session 8: Oneness (توحید) is the central pillar of Islam. Although it is typically viewed as a metaphysical belief in oneness of God, Oneness (توحید) is far more than that: it is a world view and a way of life! It is a lens through which a person should see and experience the outside world. […]



Does the Quran misguide?

By • Jun 18th, 2021 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study

Session 7: In the past few decades, Islam has been in the spotlight mostly for some of its followers’ bad behavior (for example, repression and gross violation of human rights by Islamic governments, and terrorism by groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda). Casual observers and political pundits typically point the finger at Islam as the culprit. They claim Islam is an inherently violent and intolerant religion, which turns ordinary folks into beasts. The Quran’s teachings make people narrow-minded, hateful, violent and intolerant. Rumi would not dismiss such claims outright. However, he would argue that the Quran simply amplifies its reader’s longings and desires. Rumi likens the Quran to a rope; one can use this rope to climb out of the cave of darkness, or descend into it: both possibilities exist. In this presentation, we will examine Rumi’s teachings on this important topic.



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.



Gratitude (شُکر)

By • Feb 8th, 2021 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study

Session 5: Gratitude is an important virtue in Islam; it is considered a major component of faith (ایمان). However, gratitude is often misunderstood as uttering certain phrases such as “شكرا لله” (all thanks to God). But gratitude is more encompassing. In this presentation, we will explore gratitude (شُکر) through the verses of the Holy Quran.



The Unseen World

By • Dec 5th, 2020 • Category: Quran Study

Session 4: All world religions and spiritual traditions emphasize that there is more to ‘existence’ than meets the five ordinary human senses. The Quran divides ‘existence’ into two realms or dimensions: The Seen (الشهاده) and the Unseen (الغیب). The distinguishing feature of these two realms is that one (the Seen) is visible to our ordinary senses, and the other (the Unseen) is hidden from them. God, angels, Heaven and Hell, Afterlife, Day of Judgement and Revelation- they are all realities of the Unseen. The Quran itself is a product of the Unseen. Whereas scientists and philosophers seek knowledge of the Seen (or the natural world), messengers and mystics are champions of the Unseen (or the supernatural world). In this session, we will explore ‘الغیب’ (the Unseen) through the verses of the Quran.



Righteousness (تقوا)

By • Nov 5th, 2020 • Category: Lectures, Quran Study

Session 3: Righteousness is considered the mother of all virtues in Islam’s moral code. The Quran informs that God’s criterion for evaluating human excellence is not gender, race, blood lineage, IQ, wealth, celebrity status or even strong religious beliefs; rather, it is righteousness (تقوا). In this session, we will explore ‘righteousness’ from the perspective of the Quran.



The Meaning and Messages of Quran’s Opening Chapter (سُوۡرَةُ الفَاتِحَة)

By • Sep 14th, 2020 • Category: Quran Study

Session 2: The Opening chapter (al-Fatiha) has only 7 short verses, but it really is a preface to the Quran. Imam Ali says ‘the whole of the Quran is contained in al-Fatiha’, which explains why Muslims read it in their daily prayers. In this session, we will explore al-Fatiha in detail.



Introduction to the Quran

By • Aug 13th, 2020 • Category: Quran Study

Session 1. We explore the following topics in this session: 1) The history and structure of the Quran. 2) Quran’s descriptions of the Quran. 3) Human perfection: the central theme of the Quran. 3) The outward and inward meanings of the Quranic verses.