The 10th lecture in the Islamic Literacy Series is entitled “Islam, Modernity and Reform” and will be presented by Abbas Rattani

The lecture will explore the question of whether there is a clash between the “Western” world and “Muslim world?”  It will examine what some of the leading intellectuals in Islamic thought are discussing today including an introductory survey of current intellectual discourse regarding topics of human rights, theology, politics, and identity.  We will consider the intellectual  contributions of Tariq Ramadan, Abdullahi an-Na’im, Nasr Abu Zayd, Shirin Ebadi, and others.

Date: March 31, 2010
Time: 6:45pm
Place: Huntsman Hall (Wharton Building) – Room G92

All students are welcome to attend.  If you are not a student, but would like to attend please email azulfiqa@sas.upenn.edu or call 215.645.2073


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The Islamic Literacy Series (ILS) returns this semester with a lecture by Dr. Sadik Kassim entitled ISLAMIC MEDICAL ETHICS, which was postponed last semester. This lecture will be an introduction to the basic principles underpinning Islamic Medical Ethics.  There will also be a brief discussion regarding Islamic perspectives on bioethical issues such as abortion, end-of-life care, euthanasia, stem cell research, fertility treatment, and organ donation.

Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
Time: 7pm to 8pm
Location: Steinburg/Deitrich Hall, Room 215


Lectures are open to all students.  If you are not a student and would like to attend, please email azulfiqa@sas.upenn.edu or call 215.645.2073.

Upcoming Lecture: March 17th – “Islam and Reform” by Abbas Rattani

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For those who have asked about the Islamic Literacy Series (ILS) for the Spring Semester, its coming soon!  This semester ILS will include 5 classes and two new instructors!  The classes will cover a range of topics from ethics to etiquettes, history and contemporary issues.  The lectures will happen in March and April, so STAY TUNED!

Volunteering in Haiti

For those who have asked about volunteering, here is a great website for leads on how to register to volunteer.  Many organizations are looking for specialized skills right now, but others require volunteers in general: http://www.tonic.com/article/how-to-volunteer-in-haiti

Salam and Welcome Back!  Office hours for this semester will be of two kinds.  First, there will be fixed office hours on Tuesdays from 1:30 – 4pm. All students are welcome to drop by whenever they want.  In addition, there will be office hours by appointment during the rest of the week.  For those students interested in setting up an appointment contact me at azulfiqa@sas.upenn.edu or 215.645.2073.

Office hours will be held in the Religious Activities Common (RAC) in the basement of the Graduate Student Center located on Locust Walk between 36th and 37th street.

Resources to Help Haiti

Salam (Peace).  Many have asked about ways in which they can help Haiti.  Right now the primary need is financial.  Below are some avenues through which you can help.  UPDATED: You can also visit the following website for more resources.

Red Cross
You can donate in a number of ways.
1) Text “HAITI” to “90999” and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill. (www.state.gov)
2) Go online to www.redcross.org and click Donate, or call (800) REDCROSS.

YELE (Wyclef Jean organization)
Text “Yele” to 501501 and make a $5 contribution to the relief effort over cell phone

Islamic Relief
Has launched a $1 million appeal to help the victims.  Please donate at http://www.islamicreliefusa.org/emergencies/haiti-earthquake.

Save the Children
Focusing on children and families and taking truly grass roots actions like sending out motorbike teams to help people in the capital.  Donate at www.savethechildren.org or make checks out to “Save the Children” and mail to: Save the Children Income Processing Department, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, Conn. 06880.

Care USA
Distributing stocks of high-protein biscuits that it already had in warehouses in Haiti.  Donate at www.care.org.

United Nations Children’s  Fund (UNICEF)
One of the largest development agencies dedicated to working exclusively with children.  Go online to www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call (800) 4UNICEF.

Direct Relief International
Arranging emergency airlifts containing medicines and medical supplies.  Donate online at www.directrelief.org

Mercy Corp.
Food, clean water and shelter.  Go online to www.mercycorps.org or mail checks to Haiti Earthquake Fund, Dept. NR, PO Box 2669, Portland, Ore. 97208 or call (888) 256-1900

“Whispers” – a poem for Haiti by Chaplain Charles Howard

Toussaint L’overture whispers from the other side,

“The media does not know Haiti.

All they can say of us is

‘They are the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere…’

They say, ‘The city is destroyed…The nation is crippled.’

But they forget that a city is not made up of buildings, but it is made up of souls.

That a nation is not simply just land, but rather that a nation is made up of those who walk and live upon that land.

Our National Cathedral has crumbled – but our spirit is still alive.

Our Presidential Palace has fallen – but the Haitian flag has not hit the ground.”

Jean-Jacques Dessalines whispers from the other side,

“Pat Robertson does not know Haiti.

He does not know of the courage God gave us to fight for our freedom.

He does not know of the God-given love it takes to risk one’s life so that her or his children might live without chains.

He does not know of this rich culture that has blessed the world.

He forgets that without Haiti, there would be fewer stars on his nation’s flag.”

The voice of Love whispers from the other side,

“Remember that I said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

And I reply, “What can I do to help Lord?”

“Why did you not ask that last week?  Or last month?  Or last year?  Help was certainly needed then.” Love asks.

“I was not loving my neighbors as myself…I was just loving myself.”  I whisper.

Love says, “It is never too late to love.

Love is more than sharing money.

Love is sharing tears,

Love is sharing time,

Love is sharing yourself.

Go and Love.”

Love whispers from the other side, “Go and Love.”

Perhaps there is a message in the fact that while other things have been destroyed, the airport was not.  Buildings

have been grounded, but the people of Ayiti, by God’s grace, will always fly.  Go and love!

Over the course of the last 8 weeks the Islamic Literacy Series has tried to increase the level of understanding about Islam through a series of lectures.  The topics have included history, law, Qur’an, philosophy, etc.  If you were able to attend even one lecture, the following evaluation will help us improve the series for next semester.  Your feedback is valuable!

Thanks  – click on the link below to take the survey.


The scheduled lecture – “Islamic Medical Ethics”- by Dr. Sadik Kassim has been postponed until next semester.  The lecture this week will be Understanding and Interpreting Hadith and will be given by Adnan Zulfiqar.

This lecture will focus on providing a basic background to the history of hadith compilation, the categories of hadith and the science of interpreting hadith.  It will also touch on the proper way for the lay Muslim to approach and use hadith in their lives.

When: WEDNESDAY, December 9th, 2009
Time: 8pm – 9pm (note: this is a later start time)
Location: Huntsman Hall (Wharton Building), Room 340 – University of Pennsylvania

All students are welcome to attend.  Non-students who would like to attend, please email azulfiqa@sas.upenn.edu or call 215.645.2073.  Pizza is served!

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Lecture: Introduction to the Mad’habs (Legal Schools of Thought)
A brief introduction regarding the historical development of today’s major schools of thought, their similarities, and differences with respect to legal theory and practice.

Instructor: Dr. Sadik Kassim

Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm

Location: Huntsman Hall (Wharton Building), Room F36

All students are welcome to attend.  Non-students who would like to attend, please email azulfiqa@sas.upenn.edu or call 215.645.2073.  Pizza is served! Continue Reading »