Executive Summary:

An exposé of some major angles of the aspect of change in the Quran, its various facets, results, and how Muslims are called to change themselves within and the world without.

Short Description:

What is change? How does change happen? The is the purpose of change? What are the spiritual and worldly keys to change—for the individual, for groups, for communities, and for believers?

In this first segment, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explores by the idea of change by clarifying the key terms related to this concept. He looks at the scholarly definitions given by the ulema for (1) change (taghayyur), (2) changing (taghyir), (3) reform (islah), (4) corruption (ifsad), (5) justice (ʿadl), (6) excellence (ihsan), (7) rights (huquq), and responsibility (fard/wajib) and how these key concepts fit in to the Islamic idea of personal and social change.

In the Second part, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani begins by looking at Quran 6.52-53, where he explains the verse “Allah does not change a blessing He bestows upon a people until they change what they are upon.” Commenting next on a verse where a well-off people who met Allah’s favours with ingratitude were recompensed with hunger and fear (16.112), he explains that gratitude is a key to change, and outlines some practical steps for its deployment. Next Shaykh Faraz looks at the relation of striving and struggle with change, looking at two sets of verses of the Qur’an: “And those who struggle for Us, We will surely guide them along our ways,” (29:69) and “And by the human self and how He fashioned it, and inspired it to its corruption and its consciousness. Successful indeed is the one who purifies it. And a true failure is the one who corrupts it.” (91.7-10)

In the third part of this seminar, Shaykh Faraz looks at making change happen and key Prophetic guidance on change. He starts out by exploring the Prophet’s command to change any wrong one sees with one’s hand, one’s tongue, or, finally, one’s heart. Next, he looks on the hadith ”The strong better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer,” and explores the idea of having true strength. Shaykh Faraz begins the final segment “The Prophetic Vision—Prophetic Silence and the End of Religion” by listing the five higher aims of the religion outlined by the ulema: preserving (1) religion, (2) life, (3) intellect, (4) property, and (5) honour. He sheds light on a hadith on the lengthy silence of the Prophet. He closes by looking at the end of religion—closeness through excellence—and how to find one’s pathways to closeness in one’s personal life, social life, work, and free time.