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The Divine Reality Workshop – USA

This two-part workshop will help you understand and internalize why God is a reality and why atheism is unnatural and irrational.

Since the birth of modern secularism in Europe, atheism has proliferated globally on an unprecedented scale. With atheism knocking heads with core religious beliefs, its effects are reverberating across the spectrum of religious identity and thought. Muslims in the United States are especially affected since they are at the crossroads of debates directly associated with a dominant liberal atheistic worldview and a growing Christian conservative movement.

In such an environment, Muslims are forced to either completely accept a liberal paradigm with philosophical roots in atheism and capitulate core Islamic values or adopt those values and see their belief system watered down like Christianity which is assumed to have an epistemic value equivalent to fairytales.

This two-part workshop aims to break this paradigm by presenting a thorough understanding of atheism’s philosophical roots and its critical arguments in a lucid and palatable manner. A compelling case for the truth of Islamic theism based upon rationality and spirituality will be made, equipping students with not only a guide to fortify their convictions but act as a toolkit to help proactively invite others with compassion and empathy to the beautiful Islamic way of life.

In summary, this exclusive workshop has been designed to empower you with the tools, concepts and arguments to respond to the atheist narrative using Islamic and Western references.

Schedule for The Divine Reality – God & God’s Oneness (Part I):

Friday Evening Session (1.5 – 2 hrs):

  • (R)evolution: God, Evolution and Darwinism

Saturday Sessions (8 – 9 hrs):

Morning Sessions:

  • First Principles: Where to start?
  • Atheism: Past, Present and Future
  • Life Without God: The Implications of Atheism

Afternoon Sessions:

  • Self-Evident: Why Atheism is Unnatural
  • The Divine Link: The Argument from Dependency
  • Know God, Know Good: God & Objective Morality
  • Is God Merciful? Islam’s Response to the Problem of Evil

Evening Session:

  • The Free Slave: Why God is Worthy of Our Worship

Schedule for The Divine Reality – Revelation & Prophethood (Part II):

Friday Evening Session (1.5 – 2 hrs):

  • The Prophetic Truth: The Messenger of God

Saturday Sessions (8 – 9 hrs):

Morning Sessions:

  • Fitrah: The Foundational Bedrock
  • A Universe from Nothing:
    The Qur’an’s Argument for God

Afternoon Sessions:

  • Divine Precision: The Designed Universe
  • Denying God, Denying You: The Argument from Consciousness
  • Adversaries of Reason: Why Atheism is Irrational
  • Divine Singularity: The Oneness of God

Evening Session:

  • Allah, Worship and Freedom: Why God is Worthy of Our Worship

Make sure to review the requirements (see below) and then fill out the request form with a few open Friday/Saturday date options.

  1. The hosting organization (i.e. campus MSA, community, masjid, etc.) will be responsible for the instructor travel and hotel costs. These costs include:
    1. Travel to and from the departing airport (i.e. Uber / Lyft)
    2. Air Travel: The hosting organization will be responsible for purchasing the round-trip air ticket for the instructor along with one baggage allowance to and from destination
    3. Hotel: The hosting organization will be responsible for booking and purchasing hotel accommodations for the duration of the instructors stay
    4. The hosting organization will need to arrange a projector and whiteboard w/markers for workshop instruction.
    5. The hosting organization will need to arrange volunteers to help with set up, registration, etc.
    6. Since the workshop is a full day event, we strongly recommend that the hosting organization make arrangements for snacks, coffee/tea, meals, etc. for attendees.
    7. An instructor honorarium is recommended but not required.

While iERA requires attendees to register, we do not charge attendees for the workshop in most cases.  However, we are aware that the hosting organization may like to charge attendees to make up for hosting costs. In that case, we do stipulate that a maximum of $30 be charged and no more, along with a financial aid option for those who cannot afford to attend the workshop.  

The instructor for this interactive workshop will be Fahad Tasleem, the Head of US Outreach for iERA. He plays a multifaceted role as an instructor, a lecturer, a researcher and a student. His areas of interest include Islamic Theology, Dawah, History, Economics and Quranic Studies. He is also the founder of DC Seminary. Fahad studied Arabic at Georgetown University and is currently studying in the graduate program in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas.

A breakdown of topics covered in this course:

  • The definition of atheism
  • The history of atheism in Western and Islamic history.
  • What is ilhad?
  • Statistics and academic analyses on the contemporary atheist movement.
  • What is worship?
  • Why does Allah deserve our worship?
  • Defining dependency
  • Everything we perceive is dependent.
  • Why is Allah the best explanation for all dependent things?
  • The necessity of Allah: “Allah is free/independent of the need of the worlds.” Qur’an 3:97
  • Responses to contentions
  • The hard problem of consciousness
  • A Summary of Failed Biological Explanations
  • A Summary of Attempts to Explain Consciousness in the Philosophy of Mind
  • Near Death Experiences
  • Consciousness is best explained by theism
  • “Do they not contemplate within themselves?” Qur’an 30:8
  • Responses to contentions.
  • No hope: “Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” Qur’an 12:87
  • No ultimate value: “And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion?” Qur’an, 57:20
  • No ultimate purpose: “God did not create all these without a true purpose; He explains His signs to those who understand.” Qur’an 10:5
  • No ultimate meaning: “Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient? They are not equal.” Qur’an 32:18 Explains Nothing! “Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm Belief.” Qur’an 52:36
  • No true happiness: “And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” Qur’an 20:124
  • Kindness and gentleness
  • No harshness
  • The Prophet’s soft heart
  • No useless debates
  • Key principles
  • The Qur’an makes you think:
    • “Or were they created by nothing?
    • Or were they the creators (of themselves)?
    • Or did they create heavens and earth?
    • Rather, they are not certain.” Qur’an 52:35-36
  • Did the universe begin?
  • Created or brought into being by/via nothing?
  • Self-created?
  • Created by something else created?
  • Created by something uncreated?
  • Allah’s Oneness, Power, Will, Transcendence, Knowledge
  • Responses to contentions
  • What is objective morality?
  • No Allah = no objective morals
  • Biology? Social pressure? Moral realism?
  • Euthyphro’s dilemma
  • Why is Allah good?
  • “If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil befalls them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.” What is wrong with these people that they do not understand any word?” Qur’an 4:78
  • The correct context: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.
  • Tawhid ar-Rububiyya,
  • Tawhid al-Ibadah
  • Tawhid al-Asma was-Sifat.
  • Are you free? Allah presents an example: a slave owned by quarrelling partners and another belonging exclusively to one man – are they equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah ! But most of them do not know.” Qur’an 39:29.
  • What is the fitrah?
  • Scholarly views
  • Psychological, sociological and anthropological evidence.
  • How to awaken the fitrah?
  • Properly basic belief
  • “The sun and the moon [move] by precise calculation. And the stars and trees prostrate. And the heaven He raised and imposed the balance.” Qur’an 55: 5-7
  • The universe must have exactly the right set of laws and physical constants in order for (highly complex) life to exist.
  • Chance? Physical Necessity? Multiverse? Design?
  • Responses to contention.
  • Summary of the problem of evil and suffering
  • The problem of evil and the design argument
  • Three daring assumptions:
    • 1. That Allah is just Good and Omnipotent.
    • 2. That Allah doesn’t have good reasons to permit evil.
    • 3. Evil is objective.
  • Breaking down the assumptions
  • Tafsir of Moses and Khidr (Qur’an 18:65-82), and, Allah and the Angels (Qur’an 2:30)
  • The emotional and spiritual argument