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Short Courses

So you want to know about the Signs? - Demystifying Muslim ‘End of Times’ narratives Starting Sat 31st July 2021 with Shaykh Ruzwan

The real threat of nuclear annihilation, the environmental destruction of the biosphere or even the wiping out the human species by viral infections. Each of these are constantly postulated as mechanisms for the end of life as we know it. Projects such as the ‘Doomsday Clock’, a tracking system designed by leading scientist to record the probability of humans wiping themselves out, started in 1949 by predicting that striking midnight (at which point we would reach annihilation) was just seven minutes away. The last substantial update, for 2020, put the clock at just 100 SECONDS to midnight. This is just one example how the ‘End of times’ is being articulated in purely materialistic circles. Modern society sees progress as a holy grail, and yet seem resigned to accept that this very process will lead to an end to the human species.  

Belief in the ‘End of Times’ is central to most faiths, yet modern man frames this as a distant if not suspicious concept. Amongst Muslims, the current perceived weakness and helplessness of the Ummah has given rise to fatalistic readings of future events, with an awaited saviour the only route out of the current ills affecting the Ummah. Armageddon and the Occult add further layers to an already obscure area of study. Humans are more than ever less well equipped than ever to understand what to believe in or who to trust. The role of popular media and idolised cultural icons in spreading subverted versions of reality is increasingly impactful on Muslims and their views or reality, who despite being the recipients of the final message, are increasingly taken in by popularised distortions of truth and reality. 

In this mix come the subject of ‘The End of Times’ narratives in Islam, an area of clear portents of the last days, but also clouded in misinformation and misunderstanding. 

This course will survey, critique and analyse classical and contemporary readings on apocalyptic reports in the Islamic tradition. Relying on classical and contemporary experts on the area, it will provide a framework within which to further study reports on the End of Times narratives.

On completion, the content of this course will provide clarity to the complexities inherent in discussions on the end of times, and empower students to be able to critically engage with numerous theories and prediction spreading confusion on an already unclear area of Islamic studies. 

The Final Journey - The practicalities of dealing with death, burial rites & inheritance matters Starting Sat 9th October 2021 with Shaykh Amer

Every week we hear of Muslims passing away in the community. Many of us have lost loves ones, and know that experiencing death is not easy. It can be a very distressing and confusing time for families. At such a time many questions arise: Who do we call to arrange washing and shrouding his body? Where will the deceased be buried? What are the correct Islamic practices and which are cultural?

With world events like Covd-19, death has become an even closer reality. Such unprecedented events raised new questions about ways of dealing with death related rites, such as the washing of the deceased and as we saw these can vary depending on changing circumstances.

At such testing times there is little time to start studying these urgent matters. Being prepared for that day, can make all the difference, and provide the clarity to know what you should, and should not do.

In this course will cover the following:

  • Fiqh rulings surrounding burial rites including: washing and shrouding the body, the funeral (janazah) prayer and the burial
  • Delve into the soul’s journey after death once it leaves the body
  • Practical issues including immediate contact, Medical/Death & Burial Certificate, post-mortems and other procedural matters
  • Dealing with bereavement, wrestling with the emotions of grief, offering condolences, acceptance and moving on
  • The Islamic etiquettes of visiting the graves
  • Understanding the most important fundamentals of inheritance law which often cause so many family feuds
  • A practical demonstration of the washing and shrouding of a body

It is only a matter of time before we experience a death of a someone close to us, so the question is, will we be ready for that difficult day? Will we be able to have the knowledge to REALLY help the deceased? Will we be able to help those around us who will be struggling to come to terms with the situation? Will we have the knowledge to provide CLARITY to ourselves and those around us, or will we join the crowd of the CONFUSED, adding confusion to confusion? Isn’t a small amount of time taken out to learn about such matters worth it?

Join iSyllabus as we give YOU the opportunity to learn about what we do when a Muslim dies from the moment of death to beyond the burial.

Islam Engendering Change - When Ideology, Theology and Biology collide Starting Sat 4th December 2021 with Shaykh Ruzwan

Surveying and critiquing Classical and Modern thinking on Patriarchy, Feminism and Gender orientation.

Gender and sexuality is now a major point of discussion and controversy within Islamic discourse. There are a number of reasons for this, each of which point to a different fault line in the contemporary faith and practice of Islam. Some aspects of this discussion are of a theological nature, looking at the divine wisdom of some people having urges towards same-sex relations. Others issues are more political in nature, looking at the degree to which Muslims may be seen to condone queer sexuality when fighting for their own ‘minority rights’. Arguably the most important aspect of this discussion is the (historically recent) perception that Islam is an inherently patriarchal, even misogynistic, religion which is structurally oppressive towards females. All three areas will be engaged with fully in the course, with outlines of major feminist thinkers and their views.

On completion, the content of this course will provide clarity to the complexities inherent in discussions on gender both within Islam and Western discourse, and provide a framework for engagement and understanding.

The lives of Man - The human journey before, during and after this world Starting Sat 12th February 2022 with Shaykh Amer

Some believe this life is everything, there is nothing before or after it, the world simply came into existence through chance and that after death when are just a biodegradable substance which nourishes the earth and nothing more.

In the Islamic tradition we are taught that in fact this life is only one life. Rather every human being passes through 5 stages in their existence; 5 lives! In comparison to the 5 lives, this life is actually very short, so what are the other 4 lives?

The Prophet ﷺ said “What is the world to me? What am I to the world? Verily, the example of this world and myself is that of a rider who seeks shade under a tree, then he moves on and leaves it behind.” (Ahmad)

Every human to come into existence in this world from the beginning of time until the end, already exists! We have all experienced one life before we come into this world; the world of the souls or spirits.

“(Remember) when your Lord extracted from the loins of Adam’s children their descendants and made them testify (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify to it.’ (This was) in case you say on the Day of Judgment: ‘We were unaware of this.’ Or you say: ‘It was our ancestors who worshipped others besides God and we are only their descendants. Will you then destroy us for what those liars did’?” (Quran 7:172-173)

“What is the example of this worldly life in comparison to the Hereafter other than one of you dipping his finger in the sea? Let him see what he brings forth” (Muslim)

“This worldly life is nothing but diversion and amusement. Verily, the home of the Hereafter is the true life if only they knew” (Quran 29:64)

The real retirement package that we should all be investing in, is the eternal retirement which each and everyone of us will find once we leave this world. Is not worth learning where you and all your loved ones are heading? Is it not important to know where you may or may not end up for the rest of eternity? Would you not like to know what happened to you before you came into this world, and what happens next in your journey? What if you were told you were going on a journey of NO RETURN, a place from which you would never return, would you not want to know details of that place?

Learn about the journey of the human; learn about YOUR journey, where you came from and where you are going. Join iSyllabus as we cover the basic questions all human beings are seeking answers to, by examining each phase of the human journey from before conception, the life in this world, the life in the grave, the Resurrection, and finally the final eternal abode.

Islam in the West - Vistas on Citizenship, Belonging and Religious Status Starting Sat 4th June 2022 with Shaykh Ruzwan

What is the status of Muslims currently living in the West in the light of Islamic legal theory? What are their roles and responsibilities to the countries of which they see themselves as integral parts? Has there been a change on how Muslim scholars discussed a ‘minority’ presence in ‘non-Muslim’ lands in the past and the present, and can we envisage further changes in religious fatwas given the ongoing prejudice that such communities feel they are subject to?

The rise of new civil movements based on ‘left wing’ ideology have provided vitality to aspects of Muslim engagement with wider society, yet it is also undeniable that this also sits uncomfortable with more conservative trends within religious discourse in general.

The presence of Muslim populations in lands that have majority non-Muslim citizens has in recent memory also given rise to what is referred to as ‘The Fiqh of Minorities’. For its proponents, this is a new area of Islamic law dealing with those legal cases and issues which have widespread relevance and require urgent attention for Muslims living in a situation of being a minority since such issues are now considered to be unavoidable (Umum al-balwa).

This course will take an in depth and nuanced look at: Ideas of citizenship and identity politics; ‘The Fiqh of Minorities’, The methodology of Islamic law and issue of minorities rights; Debates on Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb; General criticisms of Western Muslim’s exceptionalism; ‘Salafi’ and ‘Traditionalist ‘scholar’s fatawa on ‘Minority’ status.

The module will include selected Case studies:
Fighting for non-Muslim state Militaries against Muslim states; The permissibility of Muslims’ permanent residence in non-Muslim countries; The wife in a marriage embracing Islam; Interest based loans; Inheritance from non-Muslim relatives.

The beginning and the end - Explanantion of al fatiha and the last 10 surahs Starting Sat 23rd July 2022 with Shaykh Amer

The Quran is the book of God which every Muslim aspires to read and understand. If you are travelling and have a guide book, but can’t read the book, it will no be able to aid you on your travels; the information is there but you can’t access it!

“And we have sent down the Book to you as an explanation for everything, a guidance, a mercy and glad tidings for Muslims” [Quran 16:89]

“I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah, if you follow them you will never go astray” (Bukhari)

Muslims are commanded to pray 5 times a day and to recite surah al fatiha in every unit of those prayers. Typically that means reciting al Fatiha around 29 times a day just in the prayers alone. That’s over 10,000 times a year! Yet for many of us, the meanings and hidden gems of this great chapter of the Quran remain unlocked and unaccessed. Isn’t that very unfortunate?

This course aims to unlock the meanings of not only surah al Fatiha (the greatest of all the chapters of the Quran), but also the last 10 chapters – the most memorised and recited chapters in our daily worship.

The Quran is a book which is not only meant to be recited with beautiful recitation but also a book to be pondered over with deep reflection. It is meant to guide the human throughout one’s life. How can one affectively do this without understanding the meaning of what they are reading? How would you feel if you could finally understand what you are reciting day in day out? Would you not like to communicate more effectively with your Creator? Wouldn’t you like to develop a deeper connection to your faith?

“The example of a people who recite the Qur’an and do not know its explanation is like a group of people who have a written message from their king that comes to them during the night, and they do not have a lamp. Therefore, they do not know what is in the message. The example of one who knows Tafsir (Quranic commentary) is like a person who comes to them with a lamp and reads to them what is in the message.” (Iyaas ibn Mu’aawiyah)

Join iSyllabus as we together unlock the hidden jewels contained in the most oft recited chapters of the Quran.

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