A Different Approach
Grounded in Principles
I believe to understand Islam you need to know and understand it’s first principles as articulated in the classical–usuli tradition. These principles serve as a compass so no one will get lost. While there are many, I took a high-level approach and tried to distill many of them in my Core-7 articles.
Islam in a Global Context
Understanding Islam in comparison to other traditions, philosophies, and paradigms we are familiar with helps our knowledge become deep-rooted and strong.
Practice & Devotion
Understanding coupled with practice is the best way to make our relationship with our faith better and more fruitful. I want to offer you the opportunity to work on both throughout this platform.
Read Core-7 Articles
Who am I, and why should you trust me? These are the real questions, aren’t they? And you have every right to ask them! There are a lot of voices out there teaching Islam, why should you listen to me? What do I have to offer you that is not already being offered somewhere else, by someone else? Like you, I had questions early on about Islam, religion, life, and the answer “that’s just the way it is!” never proved satisfactory for me.
For the past quarter century my quest has taken me to numerous universities in North America (including Princeton where I obtained my PhD in Islamic studies) as well as several centers of Sunni learning throughout the Muslim world, most notably al-Azhar seminary in Cairo where I did the bulk of my training. (Going to al-Azhar was like stepping through platform 9 3/4 and attending Hogwarts – we should talk about it sometime!) While I don’t think a drop down list of my CV will be useful, I do want to highlight the following, as it is essential to answering the questions we began with:
- My undergraduate degree was in comparative religions, with a focus on Judaism.
- My first MA degree was in a special combined program of Hinduism and Islam, where I was exposed to a deep study of the Dharmic faiths.
- While my seminary training covered the major Islamic disciplines, my focus was on fiqh, usul al-fiqh (including how to issue fatwas), and Sufism.
- I concluded my formal studies at Princeton, obtaining my PhD in contemporary Islamic law in 2014.
My business experience has given me the opportunity to work on some of the most challenging and sensitive issues related to Islam and the public square today. I have worked with: large media corporations, leading newspapers and news magazines, investment banks, heads of state, military personal, law enforcement groups, intelligence officers, universities, and international faith leaders of various traditions. Accordingly, I have a great deal of experience with:
- The relationship between Islam, scholars, and government.
- The process and trends of issuing fatwas in the contemporary Muslim world, including leading opinions on hot topic issues.
- Addressing the threat of violence and extremism.
- The inner workings of how both government and media cover Islam.
I mention all of this for one specific reason: my study of Islam, coupled with the work that I do, give me some unique insights into how we make sense of Islam today; how we apply something we hold dear, timeless, and sacred in a rapidly changing world.
On this platform I will present and distill for you complex issues into small packets of usable information. My hope is to inspire you to the beauty of our faith, and teach you strategies and techniques to make sense of Islam everyday in your life.
Tarek is a rare combination of someone who is quintessentially a first generation American immigrant entrepreneur, who is deeply steeped in the major Islamic sciences studying in the age-old tradition of sitting with scholars at Al-Azhar to obtain Ijazas, while also enduring the academic rigors of obtaining a PhD at Princeton.