Seeking Beauty: Travels in Islam with Khaled Abou El Fadl

Seeking Beauty: Travels in Islam with Khaled Abou El Fadl
Seeking Beauty: Travels in Islam Podcast

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1. “Approaches to the Qur’an” - July 13, 2014
In this session, Dr. Abou El Fadl provides the platform on which this series will continue. The Qur’an is explored as the “primary ethos” of Islam and Muslim civilizations with commentary on the Qur’an’s unique impact on civilization, from the foundations of Arabic grammar to the evolution of Islamic art and music, and as the foundation of Islamic morality and ethics, and a foray into the Qur’an’s place and usage in the modern era.

2.“The Five Cornerstones of the Qur’anic Message” - August 3rd, 2014
In this session, Dr. Abou El Fadl lays out five “pillars” necessary for a fully engaged reading of and relationship to the Qur’an. Arranged in order of hardest to easiest, they are: 1. The Monothesitic Message, God’s absolute Onesness. 2. Creating Points to the Creator. Everything exists as if attached or connected to or pointing to the Creator. 3. The Qur’anic Parables, stories that teach us about God, creation, and human relationships to God and creation, normative moral principles, and much more. 4. The Affirmation of Accountability, about the central message of the life to come, and 5. The Ethics of Life, normative, specific commands on how to live morally. Importantly, if this structure of engagement is incomplete, extremisms and fundamentalisms are the natural result. If this structure is complete, it becomes possible to begin to develop an engaging, deep, and whole relationship with the Qur’an, and with God.

3. "The Five Cornerstones of the Qur'anic Message: Part 2" - August 17, 2014
In the third installment of Seeking Beauty: Travels in Islam, Dr. Abou El Fadl goes into deeper detail regarding each of the five cornerstones of the Qur'an in order to more strongly anchor the lessons that will follow in the understanding of these important pillars, creating a firm base for the pyramid that will be the continuation of this learning. *Note, verses and other examples cited were given as introduction, and will be revisited again as the halaqa goes on. As this halaqa progresses, Dr. Abou El Fadl will begin with verses in chronological order, those revealed first to the last.

4. "Al-Alaq - 'Read!': Part 1" - September 7, 2014
In the fourth halaqa of Seeking Beauty: Travels in Islam, Dr. Abou El Fadl begins with the first revelation of the Qur'an, surah al-Alaq. In the first part of the halaqa on this surah, Dr. Abou El Fadl explains the significance of the first word of the new revelation, "read", as well as the interpretation of "pen" as the instrument through which God teaches, to begin. In addition, Dr. Abou El Fadl unpacks the phrase "A'udu bilamin el shaitan el rajim", commonly translated as "I take refuge with Allah from the accursed shaytan", especially what "shaytan" in this sense truly means.

5. "Al-Alaq Part 2 & Meaning of Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem" - September 21, 2014
In the fifth halaqa of Seeking Beauty: Travels in Islam, Dr. Abou El Fadl continues with his commentary on surah al-Alaq and the profound significance of the first revelation. Dr. Abou El Fadl also continues the lesson on the essence of human creation and meaning, as well as diving deep into the true meaning of "Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem" and the essence of God, and what that implies for human beings.

6. "On Faith and Gratitude" - October 5, 2014
Dr. Abou El Fadl discusses the definition of being Muslim - someone who does not harm people by their tongue or action, and who is fundamentally a moral and ethical human being leaving clear footprints of good deeds - and the role of faith and gratitude in one's relationship with the Creator.

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