How do the 20 Common Sense Islamic values contribute to the well-being of humanity?
If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.
Program presented by Dr. Safi Kaskas & Dr. Mike Ghouse
Every Sunday 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM EST (NEW TIME) on Zoom
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Join Zoom Meeting – Same link for all the 20 Values
Videos for the values presented are included below, and the videos for the remaining programs will be added as they happen.
After all, God has created everything in harmony and balance, and we are asked to observe the limits as it affects us all (55:5-11) and it is our duty as the viceregent (Manager of surroundings) to restore harmony whenever it is off. That is all God wants us to do – Islah al-Alam is the word.
Islam remains a myth to many people, including Muslims. Its essence, purpose, and its role vis-à-vis humanity are seldom understood or even explained. The teachings of Islam were designed to build kind, just, and caring societies where every human feels secure.
A few Muslims have reduced Islam to a religion of rituals. Rituals are indeed the pathways to achieving milestones of peace in one’s life. However, Islam is much more than the five pillars. God wants us to care for his creation, i.e., fellow humans and the environment. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) led the way in establishing the role of a model citizen, also known as —the Amin, Al-Amin.
Islam has always been guidance in creating harmony and peace in societies. A majority of Muslims believe and practice it. However, they are afraid to speak up for what the misguided ones may tell them to follow the “Islam of Muslim scholars from the past” rather than the Islam of the Quran; the straight path guidance to humanity.
Never before in the history of Islam, the values that contribute towards building just, kind and merciful societies have been taught.
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20 SESSIONS ON LEARNING ABOUT COMMON SENSE ISLAMIC VALUES
If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.
Sunday, Jul 18, 2021
The Common Sense Islamic Value 1/20
Topic: Eid Al Adha – what should you sacrifice
Precisely: The ultimate sacrifice one would make is to give away their precious assets in gifts to the needy. A thousand years ago, a man’s assets comprised goats, camels, and cattle. But today, Money is our precious asset, as it allows one to buy whatever their needs are. A proposal is made to consider parting with Money, which will give choices to the needy to buy food or clothes once, or invest in small business that will give them livelihood for a long time to come.
Sunday, Aug 1, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 2/20
Topic: Essence of Islam
Precisely: A few Muslims have reduced Islam to mere rituals. Many believe that it is all about the five pillars, burqa, beard, and headgear. Sadly, that is how fellow humans understand it. Islam is much more than that. After all, God has created everything in harmony and balance, and we are asked to observe the limits as it affects us all (55:5-11). It is our duty as the vice-regent (intelligent beings) to restore harmony whenever it goes off. That is all God wants us to do. The word is “Islah-al Alam,” which is restoring peace to the world, including human interactions and the environment.
Sunday, Jul 25, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 3/20
Topic: Al-Amin – Exemplary Citizenship
Precisely: Al-Amin that is the Ultimate Citizenship – the Al-Amin. Did you know that the foundation of Islam rests on good citizenship? Indeed, A good Muslim is the definition of a good citizen. What does Al-Amin, the foundational Sunnah of Islam, mean to American Muslims? Join the conversation about the universal Islamic values (not the five pillars) that contributes towards a cohesive world, where people can live in harmony and peace. 20 Common Sense Islamic Values on 20 Sundays.
Sunday, Aug 8, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 4/20
Topic: Tauhid – the oneness of creation
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQZF3qHqOyY
Precisely – An abstract idea of God that everyone could relate to was the need of the day. No one on the earth will agree on what God looks like, or if it is a being or a thing, he, she, or it, but they all can see that there is a causer, a creator for all that we see, hear, feel and can imagine. Thus, the concept of the abstract God’s oneness and humanity’s oneness was evolving to be a source of healing and bringing unity to the given diversity in society. The universe evolved with one action, and the causer of such activity is called God.
Sunday, Aug 15, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 5/20
Topic: Accountability of one’s actions
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S7WKi6qP-w
Precisely – We are responsible for what we do individually, and no one but us is responsible for our actions. The Quran says you will never be burdened with others’ excesses. My mother used to tell me that you are on your own on the day of accountability (a real one or our conscience in our loneliness). I will not be there for you as I will be busy with my responsibility. Quran places a great emphasis on accountability of one’s actions. We are accountable to the one who created us, and in common sense terms, it is our conscience. Quran says God is closer to us than our jugular veins.
Sunday, Aug 22, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 6/20
Topic: Truthfulness, Quran emphasized being truthful
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxZM2x9T8LA&t=4s
Precisely – How does the truth contribute to a better world? How does it affect us all in today’s context? You’ll not believe the number of times the Quran has emphasized being truthful. It goes to the fullest extent of asking one to tell the truth even if it goes against them. Overall, societies are better off when everyone tells the truth – if one is wrong, there is an option to correct through repentance, forgiveness, and reparation.
Sunday, Aug 29, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 7/20
Topic: Justice – how do we create a just world
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-98Hn4QdEKQ
Precisely – If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam. How does “Justice” contribute towards safe and secure societies? Justice verses in the Quran have a definite formula: if someone wants to be aggressive towards you, ask him to stop. If he continues, ask him to stop again; if he attacks, chase him wherever you can find him and subdue him. Then again, the Quran guides, if the man begs forgiveness, stop hitting him and extend your hand of friendship with caution. God loves those who forgive and clean mutual slates rather than brood and carry the tension. Quran also guides humanity to stop injustice, as it messes up societies. If you cannot stop with your hand, the least you can do is to speak up.
After all, the end goal of the Quran’s guidance is to create peace and harmony in the world. By the way, please read three sentences before and three after the given verse to fully understand the meaning—more on the program.
Sunday, Sep 5, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 8/20
Topic: Forgiveness contributes to the well being of humans
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSLW54eFBT4
Precisely – Forgiveness is one of the twenty values of building cohesive societies. It is as crucial as the other values identified in contributing to the wellbeing of the individuals, families, communities, and nations. Let’s not forget that the Quran is a book of guidance for humanity, indeed from the very first chapter to the last one, and throughout the book, God addresses humankind as all of us are his creation. Forgiveness releases everyone from tensions and apprehensions. I have shared some real examples in the video. The favorite person of God is the one who forgives and forgives often.
Sunday, Sep 12, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 9/20
Topic: Service to fellow beings
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmJmYJOkqUc&t=1719s
Precisely – Caring for fellow beings is the mother of all values. It is an all-encompassing value. It is one of the critical Common Sense Islamic values that contribute to creating safe societies for everyone. God says in the Quran, it does not matter what faith you follow, but if you take care of my creation, that is your fellow beings and environment, you need not worry; your recompense is with me. Examples abound; God forgave a sinner for quenching the thirst of a dying dog, and such is the emphasis placed on service to fellow humans. From a common-sense point of view, the euphoric feeling you get when you save a life or help someone in need in itself is a reward.
Sunday, Sep 19, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 10/20
Topic: Humility builds bridges whereas arrogance destroys relationships.
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5xSkzJiwhY
Precisely – Humility is an integral part of teaching Islam. Humility builds relationships, whereas arrogance kills relationships. The conflicts between family members, communities, and nations that lead to wars are due to arrogance that our way of life is better than yours. Indeed, arrogance is the source of all conflicts. The value of humility is part of the teachings among Muslims through social norms and rituals. Humility is one of the values Muslims are taught regularly.
Sunday, Sep 26, 2021
Sunday, Oct 3, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 11/20
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqUPxj6Rh_g&t=9s
Precisely – Equality is the mother of all values of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) may be the first man in history to restore gender equality and liberate women from the tyranny of men and work on gradually ridding slavery. Indeed, equality permeates every aspect of Islam, particularly rituals. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God (3:195, 33:35). Men and women are each other’s garments: protectors, defenders, secret keepers, and soul mates. On the day of the Judgment, each individual is responsible for his and her actions alone. Equality creates peaceful societies.
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 12/20
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10xS0fuqM1Y
Precisely – Quran is about pluralism, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a living example of it. It means respecting the otherness of the other in religion, culture, and other aspects of life. 109:6 You have your religion, and I have mine.” Safi Kaskas. You are who you are, and I am who I am – let’s figure out how to live with minimum conflicts. Pluralism is an Islamic value that contributes to building cohesive societies. It creates active functional communities with the least rows. I chose to become a Muslim because of this aspect of the Quranic teachings.
Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 13/20
Topic: Free will
Precisely – Free will is one of the essential values of humanity; everyone is born free. Freedom to think, believe, speak and act are the inalienable rights of every individual. Indeed, this freedom is extended to the animal kingdom as well. All the progress we have made moving from caves to living in New York is because of free will. Abandoning Paradise and living and enjoying on the earth is because of Adam’s free will. A dramatized version of Adam & Eve story based on verses 2:35-239 in the link on freewill.
Sunday, Oct 24. 2021
Sunday, Oct 31, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 14/20
Precisely – Al-Shura has a great place in Islam. God has named a chapter in the Qur’an as Al-Shura. But what is Shura? In its simplest form, it is for a person to consult with people of sound minds and the right ideas until what he is convinced to be the right decision becomes clear to him, and he follows it. This process, however, is in matters where there is no guidance from God or a suggestion from the Messenger as new issues come up in the society. Shura is the form of original democracy.
Sunday, Nov 7, 2021
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 15/20
Video: YouTube link
Precisely – Peace is a composite word meaning living in complete security and freedom from conflicts and tensions. It is like a baby sleeping in a mother’s lap, as the Prophet had said. How do we achieve that? Of course, Muslims begin their greetings with peace, Salaam Alaikum, broadly meaning may God shower peace and mercy on all of us. There are over 85 verses in the Quran related to peace. Quran, 10:25 — And [know that] God invites [man] unto the abode of peace, and guides him that wills [to be guided] onto a right path, the path of caring for fellow beings.
Sunday, Nov 14, 2021, 11:00 AM EST
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 16/20
Topic: Integrity in Islam
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncVTNVRSD8w
Precisely – Integrity is when your thoughts and actions are aligned. Integrity is when you tell the truth even if it goes against you (there is no 5th in Islam). Integrity is stopping at the traffic light even when there is no one around. Integrity is a natural disposition (Fitrah) of human beings to peace. Integrity is when you treat all fellow humans as equals. Integrity is human behavior in sync with intrinsic human nature, God-like, whose sun shines on the dirtiest puddle and the crystal clear mountains. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), referring to the natural state of the human being, said: “Every newborn child is born in a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian, just as an animal is born intact. Do you observe any among them that are maimed (at birth)?” [Ahmad].
Sunday, Nov 21, 2021, 2-3 PM EST
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 17/20
Topic: Gratitude, thanksgiving special
Description – Expression of gratitude is the ultimate balancing act in everyone’s life. We know whom we receive the good from and offer our gratitude. The absence of a simple thank-you creates an imbalance in the relationship and spiritual energy, while a simple thank you restores that energy. I cherish, Sura Rahman, Chapter 55 of the Quran, it is about gratitude.
Sunday, Nov 28, 2021, 2-3 PM EST
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 18 of 20
Sunday, Dec 5, 2021, 2-3 PM EST
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 19 of 20
Topic: Civil Dialogue
Sunday, Dec 12, 2021, 2-3 PM EST
The Common-Sense Islamic Value 20 of 20
There are more values we can add from the input from our friends of all faiths or no faith.
A new series will begin with Christmas
Please contact Mike Ghouse at SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com
We welcome your donations to meet the expenses. Dr. Safi Kaskas
Dr. Safi Kaskas is a management executive and a strategist with more than 40 years of broad-based experience in strategic planning, leadership, and business ethics, with an emphasis on strategic management in the corporate and academic worlds. For the purpose of this program, Kaskas has co-authored “The Qur’an – with References to the Bible, A Contemporary Understanding,” a new, never-before-completed translation of the Qur’an into contemporary English featuring more than 3,000 parallel references to the Bible.—-
Dr. Mike Ghouse
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, author, community consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and interfaith wedding officiant. Mike is deeply committed to Free speech, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and Business. He is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism and a writer at the World Muslim Congress, a Think Tank. His book The American Muslim Agenda – building a cohesive America is available at Amazon. Mike has dedicated his life to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and policymakers on issues of the day. Everything about him is at www.TheGhousediary.com
MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM
We hope this becomes a teaching tool in Mosques besides the five pillars. At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate acknowledging your knowledge of Islam. You can even go on to become a Muslim Speaker. The full schedule and details are in the following link.
Religion is a system that guides one to live in balance with the self and with what surrounds—life and matter.
Dr. Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi[JV1] was crystal clear. “The role of religion is to answer the big questions for us, those relating to our existence, origins, destiny, and the purpose for which we are created. It is to provide us with a system of values and principles that would guide our thinking, behavior, and the regulations to which we aspire.” He added, “Islam is a religion of civilization,” which he suggests elsewhere is the essence and purpose of every world religion.
Chief Seattle, a Native American, said this perfectly, “All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the webs, he does it to himself.”
What is Jannat/ Paradise?
Quran offers guidance to set your goalposts, and that is to enable humans to dwell in an abode of peace; a conflict-free, hassle-free, and tension-free life. It is termed variously as Nirvana, Mukti, Moksha, Salvation, Nijat, and other narratives.
Quran 6:127 (Asad) Theirs shall be an abode of peace with their Sustainer, and He shall be near unto them as the result of what they have been doing.
Quran 6:127 (Kaskas) They will have the Home of Peace with their Lord, and as a result of their deeds, He will be their Protector.
Quran 10:25 (Asad) And [know that] God invites [man] unto the abode of peace, and guides him that wills [to be guided] onto a straightway.
Quran 10:25 (Kaskas) God invites you to dwell in peace, and He guides whoever chooses to a straight path.
The Quran repeatedly affirms that Allah is consciousness—He “knows,” “hears,” “sees,” and is “wise”—both at the impersonal- and personal levels. At the impersonal levels:
Allah said [to the angels], “Indeed, I know that which you do not know” (2:30). He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did on the Day of Resurrection. (al-mujadilah 58:7).
To sum it up, Quran 50:16 (Asad) NOW, VERILY, it is We who have created man, and We know what his innermost self whispers within him: for We are closer to him than his jugular vein.
Quran 50:16 (Kaskas) We have created man and We know what his inner soul is whispering. We are closer to him than his jugular vein.
“Alternative understanding is that the universe self-created itself by its own consciousness, and Allah is the name given to the consciousness of the universe. Allah then becomes the internal cause of the universe.” Bharat Jhunjunawala
Whether we are created or evolved, we are here, and we have to figure out how to be a part of the abode of peace now and in this life.
Islam does stand on the five pillars or rituals, they are the pathways to accomplish the end result to be a good human being, also known as a good citizen.
Islamic values are the essence of Islam, these values contribute to creating a better world to include all of God’s creation. God does care that you respect his property—the whole universe. It is your duty to restore harmony whenever it goes off. Indeed, God has created the universe in harmony. (55)
The shortage of Muslims to communicate Islamic values has been a significant problem in society. If we don’t speak, someone else will talk negatively about Islam because that is all they know and they have something to gain by producing stereotypical images of Muslims, pitting fellow humans against the Muslims.
We have to speak about the values that contribute to creating a better world for every one of God’s creations.
What has to change?
To the American public, if a guy is not wearing a beard, or a woman is not covering her head (the Muslim garb), he is not a “full” Muslim; and if the woman is not wearing a hijab, she is not either. Even Muslims have fallen into this trap. If two individuals are being considered to speak at a mosque, one is wearing a beard and the other is clean-shaven, guess who gets the call. If one is wearing a hijab and the other is not, guess who gets the call. It has to change. We should hear the message and not go by the “Muslim garb.”