Introduction to Islamic Virtue Ethics
Instructor: Abdullah bin Hamid Ali (Imam Zaid Shakir to teach until September 26)
Text: The sections on tasawwuf from Matn Al-Murshid al-Mu`inand Matn al-Zubad
Sept 12 through Dec 5 with a break for Eid (Sept 26) | Saturdays: 10am–11:15am PST | Free
Al-Murshid Al-Mu’in, a classic text by Ibn ‘Ashir (1040 AH/1630 CE), the seventeenth century Moroccan scholar, covers three pivotal topics: creed, ritual, and virtue ethics. This course will cover the third of these topics, virtue ethics. The goal of virtue ethics is to teach us how to be good at “being” human. Virtue ethics assumes that mastery over the dangerous aspects of one’s appetitive and intellectual powers is necessary in order for a person to perfect his or her humanity. In this course, students learn about the cardinal vices and virtues, the difference between acts and dispositions, the treatment for vice, the pursuit of virtue, repentance, forgiveness, spiritual formation under the guidance of another, and many other lessons related to perfecting our humanity.
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is a graduate of the University of al-Qarawiyin in Fes, Morocco, and a doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. At Zaytuna, he teaches classes on Islamic law, theology, and hadith.
Quranic Exegesis (tafsir) of Surah al-Kahf
Instructor: Faraz Khan
Text: Surah al-Kahf
Sept 12 through Dec 5 with a break for Eid (Sept 26) | Saturdays: 11:30 am to 1pm PST | Free
Based on classical works of exegesis and spirituality in the Islamic tradition, authored by Imams al-Baydawi, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Ibn Ajiba and others, this course introduces students to a study of Surah al-Kahf, the eighteenth chapter of the Holy Qur'an. According to sound reports from the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), Surah al-Kahf is a source of great illumination for those who regularly recite it, as well as a protection against the Anti-Christ (dajjal) who emerges at the end of time. The stories addressed in this blessed surah include those of the people of the cave, the man with two gardens, the journey of Prophet Moses and Khidr (peace be upon them), and Dhul-Qarnayn. The ethical lessons in these stories apply to both the individual and society as a whole, centering on principles of sacrifice, altruism, humility, the pursuit of knowledge, and ultimately, the remembrance of God Most High.Faraz Khan has studied the traditional Islamic sciences in Amman, Jordan. He directs Zaytuna College's Honors Program and teaches classes on theology, logic, and prophetic biography.