Discovering our ‘Spiritual Code’

What is a 'Good Muslim': Discovering Islam's Spiritual Code

We like to call people a 'good Muslim' or a 'bad Muslim' but who actually decides?

Is it based on what Muslims say, on Muslim culture? Or is it based on the Shari'ah or scholars, or the example of the Prophet (S) or the Qur'an? If it's the Qur'an, then which bits?

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ISB's Classical to Contemporary Curriculum

This ambitious curriculum journeys through profound ideas on the questions of our time: exploring how we should define our understanding and priorities to best fulfil our purpose. At various points the curriculum will examine our attitudes, fiqh, culture and language in relation of our context today.

Students can expect to develop a deep understanding of our faith, society, culture and greater confidence in how to live our faith naturally and positively, with relevance to our modern lives, here in the West.

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Course Details

This short course has essentially two parts. The first part asks the searching question, "Who defines Islam?" This is a question of essentialism, and whilst on the face of it, the answer seems simple, there are in fact many layers and complexities to the answer.

The question could be simplified down to, "What defines a good Muslim?" We delve into reasons why it is not what Muslims say, nor what scholars say, and why it is even difficult to find the answer in the hadith of the Prophet (PBUH), leaving us to ultimately derive the answer from the Qur'an itself.

The second section of the course describes how these core teachings can be extracted from the Qur'an, and how they are inspiring, ethical, surprisingly simple, easy to grasp and easy to share. Finally, we discuss the wider implications of this discovery on our understanding of ethics and humanity.

We will show how a good Muslim would have to be a good human - and conversely, why a bad human can never be a 'good' Muslim.

We will also ask how it is that many of the teachings of our 'Spiritual Code' are universal and cherished and practiced by people of many religions or even those not belonging to any religion. What then, are the ramifications of this discovery on how we relate to other communities?

Course Instructor - Dr Rizwan Syed

Dr Rizwan Syed is a longstanding member of initially, the Young Muslims UK and later, the Islamic Society of Britain, where he has held numerous posts, including currently, Lead of Tarbiyah for ISB (Development & Education). He was course organiser for the advanced level Summer Islamic Studies Residential courses for some years and teaches in a number of study circles as well as recently, being the lead teacher at the ISB Classical to Contemporary e-circles. He is also a mentor for ISB Campus.

Dr Rizwan has been studying and teaching Islam at a lay level since his late teens, developing interests in comparative religion, usul al hadith, usul al fiqh and history. He is particularly concerned with the challenge of how to make core Islamic teachings relevant to our contemporary context.

He is also a GP with interests in training, mentoring and musculoskeletal medicine.

· September 24, 2021
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