Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion. (Surah Hadid, 57:20)
We are often reminded in the Qur’an that the world around us is filled with distractions that can keep us from realizing the true potential of our humanity. The modern world’s incessant concentration on material and social pursuits has granted many of us with lots of possessions and ideas, yet we still feel empty inside. Even as Muslims’ identity appears galvanized in a response to an endlessly news cycle, Islamophobia and injustice, this reactive activism to those challenges in itself often paralyzes and distracts us from the pressing issues of the soul that are humanity’s greatest need. In this session we will seek to examine how we can shed the weight from our hearts and unlock our spiritual potential.
The Qur’an tells us that “God does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition” (13:11). We also know that the Prophet (God’s peace and blessings be upon him) told us that our greatest enemy is the ego that resides between our two sides. What is the ego (nafs), and why is it such a formidable foe? The current Muslim crisis can be solved only by divine change. But first we must learn to change our own condition so that it may help bring about the change we want in the world. This talk will include a Qur’anic diagnosis and treatment plan for the current Muslim crisis.
Sherman Jackson of the University of Southern California delivers a lecture entitled, “Whither the Modern Muslim: Negotiating Creed, Theology, & Spirituality”. From the Zaytuna conference, Reclaiming Our Faith: Negotiating Modern Theological Fault Lines held in Anaheim, California on May 25, 2013.
Dr. Tariq Ramadan visits Zaytuna College, part of the visiting scholars lecture series, and discusses a wide variety of topics including Islam in academia, politics, philosophy, logic, rationality, the Muslim tradition and Islamic education.
Imam Suhaib Webb talks about the power of prayer and supplication to Allah for protection and strength from the traps of the dunya. He also discusses the idea of “transhumanism” or how people can live forever.
Mercy does not emerge from a vacuum, for a believer it has a spiritual foundation. In this lecture, Dr. Altaf Husain will examine the relationship between mercy and spirituality and he will offer practical advice as to how a believer can cultivate a heightened level of spirituality and therefore manifest greater degrees of mercy and compassion in his/her everyday life
After thoroughly addressing the first dimension of Islam in his first four lectures of this series, Abdal Hakim uniquely explores the final two dimensions in Islam of iman and ihsan. This talk, which consists of two parts, is another highly intellectual discourse about a vast religious science. The speaker begins by providing a historical background in an effort to identify the processes that brought this science about. This lecture effectively paints a colorful picture of the nature of the spiritual life in Islam and examines its foundation. What does the Qur’an say about these two types of higher knowledges, imam and ihsan? How does the Muslim come to know God if He cannot be seen? And what about the early Islamic controversies of free will vs. predestination and the existence or “problem” of evil? How does Islam answer the age-old philosophical questions of why the world exists and what the purpose of life is? (Recorded at the Dar al Islam Teachers’ Institute seminar). Other topics discussed: Emanuel Kant, the 99 names of God, the film “Barakah”, the volition of God to create the universe, heedlessness, thikr (meditation or contemplation), and the absence of symbols for God in Islam.
In this session, Hamza Yusuf takes a traditional approach to this science based on the teachings he received while studying in West Africa. The result is a rich and refreshing look at exactly how the Muslim goes about making his or her experience in the world a thing of beauty so one can truly contribute to the human condition in a positive way. He begins this discussion by placing the concept of “ihsan” in the context of the contemporary political scene in the Muslim world to show how important this concept is for the proper practice of Islam and what happens when it is neglected. Then he defines “ihsan” and analyzes ways in which the Muslim can go about recapturing the station of “ihsan” enjoyed for so long by the early generations of Muslims. A useful talk for non-Muslims on the topic of Islamic spirituality and a vital lesson for Muslims about how to regain the deeper understanding and appreciation of their own tradition. (Recorded at the Dar al Islam Teachers’ Institute seminar). Other topics discussed: the highest act of making beautiful, the fountainhead of all misdeeds, back-biting, obsession with young age, arrogance, remembering death, and the most hidden of all blessings.
I want to dedicate it to every individual who is struggling with life and doesn’t know what to do. I want to dedicate it to every individual who may have been abandoned by a father. I want to dedicate it to every individual who may have a love that was not reciprocated. I want to dedicate it to every individual who lost someone to death and found their own selves lost. I want to dedicate to everyone that just wants to be reminded. I want to dedicate this lecture to you.