Archives for the ‘ Lectures ’ Category

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.



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.



Imam Ali: The Champion of Good Governance

By • Jun 8th, 2020 • Category: Islam, Lectures, Politics

Throughout the Islamic history, Imam Ali has been recognized as the champion of social justice. His beliefs and behavior were anchored on the idea of justice. In the early days of Islam, his followers were called “adherents of justice” (عدلیه). When he was chosen by the people as the political leader of the vast Islamic Empire, Imam Ali picked one of his trusted aides, Malik Ashtar (مالک اشتر), as the governor of Egypt. Before Malik departed for his new post, Imam Ali penned down a document and detailed how Malik should govern in Egypt. This document is an astonishing manifesto for social justice, popular rule and respect for human rights. In this presentation, we will explorer some of Imam Ali’s teachings on good governance.



The Night of Power

By • May 17th, 2020 • Category: Islam, Mysticism

The Night of Power (ليلة القدر) is the climax of the holy month of Ramadan. Before he was chosen as a Messenger of God, the Prophet Mohammad practiced solitude in the Cave of Hira in the outskirts of Mecca. He performed meditation, contemplation and austerities for long periods of time. All that preparation bore fruit; one night, an extra-ordinary power appeared to him. He saw the world in a fundamentally different way. He vividly saw that the entire universe submits to the Lord and praises His Glory. The Night of Power transformed Mohammad and ushered in his mission. Is the experience of the Night of Power unique to the Prophet Mohammad? Can we also experience a Night of Power of our own? In this lecture, we will examine this question and what the Night of Power has meant to Muslim mystics such as Rumi.