The Four Friends and Islamic History

Assalamu alaikum all,

We thought it would be a good time to point you all in the direction of a couple of sets of informative talks given by the Sheikh.

The Four Caliphs

The first set concerns the lives of the Khulafa al-Rashidun, the first 4 Caliphs, 'rightly guided'. The talks on Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have already been given (the last one pending uploading to the site) and the last talk entitled 'Ali: the Mortal Choice' will be given soon insha-Allah. To view the videos and sign onto the mailing list so that you can take part in the last session live, please visit the following link:


A Crash course in Islamic History

The next set of talks is entitled 'a crash course in Islamic history'; 7 sessions which was given over the course of a weekend in Oslo in early 2011. The audio has been kindly uploaded and made available by www.lastprophet.info:


Picture from the Eski Camii (Old Mosque) in Edirne, calligraphic depiction of the name 'Uthman'. Taken by the CKETC team.

Shari'a and the Modern World

Circle - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - April 2012 - 1hour 14mins 48secs

In this circle the Sheikh tackles the fraught topic of Shari'a and what form and role it has taken and might take in the contemporary context. A number of notable contrasts are pointed out in comparing religious law, which is the only credible legal system that can claim to be associated with Universals, with post-Enlightenment codes. Shari'a is thus described as a both a celebration of peoples' innate rights that can't be transgressed, but also as means of ennobling one's self through the promulgation of virtues and dignity. Thereby the religious law protects others as well as ourselves from ourselves, respecting the rights of God and His servants, ideally and in reality facilitating an atmosphere of serenity and repose. This contrasts sharply with modern civilisation's championing of the virtues of individualism whilst also being the most tightly regulated and legislated age in history; the cracks in the system are being all too evident to see. 

The second part of the circle includes an informative sketching out of different forms of law; statutory, case-based and juristic law, the latter representing the classical Islamic model. The Sheikh outlines how Islamic society traditionally had minimal interference from the state, with the qadi and mufti regulating law at a local, personal level. This system started to change in the 19th century following Ottoman changes to the statutory system, as well as Colonial interventions in other Muslim lands. The question that the circle then examines is in the modern 'Arab Spring' era, can contemporary attempts at establishing a religious law be credibly considered as such, when they are rooted in the post-colonial nation-state with all that this involves, in contrast to the system of shari'a that had operated for many centuries previously?

Download this circle (MP3, 71.4MB)

The Ethics of the Prophet

Circle - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - February 2012 - 1hour 14mins 48secs

In this circle the Sheikh tackles the topic of ethics and what it means within the context of Islam. He begins with a fundamental point; that in the foundation of Islam as with other great faiths the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was no mere theoriser; he laid down no well outlined manifestos or texts titled 'ethics'. Instead he, foremost amongst the greats of the religion, took history by the horns and changed it for the better in a natural way. It was up to those who followed, up to our day, to discover the spirit of how the Prophet was able to take his people and turn them around in an unprecedented time and manner. Many who followed him tried to find that subtle thing, that charisma, that made people hand over the keys to their hearts to him in a way that unified a land that had never been brought together before. It is revealing to note what his wife A'isha - may Allah be pleased with her - said about him: kana khuluquhu al-Quran, his character was that of the Qur'an. The message of Islam is thus intertextual, in a way the Book and the messenger are two facets of the same thing. Thus the Sheikh notes that Akhlaq, 'character traits', is the Islamic term for ethics.

The Sheikh outlines the current polarities of the age, where a post-Enlightenment West claiming to have found a Universal basis for ethics that apply to all human beings clashes with an often Muslim world that is seen as puritanical and backward. Sheikh Abdal Hakim goes on to see whether the virtues of the the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, can go some way to bridging this divide that is felt so keenly in contemporary society. 

Picture taken in the Eski Camii (Old Mosque) In Edirne, Turkey. Taken by the CKETC team.

Listen to this circle

Download this circle (MP3, 68.5MB)