An Institute for Exploring the Timeliness & Universality of Islam
The news regularly tells us of crises. But, before being financial, political or sanitary, the deepest crisis of our time is a crisis of the Human-God-Nature relationship.
The first modernity, with its ideology of progress, science and industrial development is now a dead idea. The wars of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries show us that all values - not only religion - can be instruments to spread injustice in the world. Indeed, for the last few centuries, it is in the name of Progress, Freedom and Democracy, that modern societies have scientifically produced the greatest number of deaths in the history of humanity.
The second modernity, with its individualistic ideology that revolves around disposable love, well-being and personal development, is the most powerful justification of the liberal industrial order, the very one that is destroying the planet.
The year 2020, with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, has sounded a global alarm. It is the sign of the end of a world: the Earth can no longer support the individualistic way of thinking and living, because it would take as many planets as individuals to support all of our desires. The Earth is the mirror of our feelings, our ideas, our projects and our daily actions. The good and the bad that we do can be seen in the mirror that the Earth offers us:
Corruption has arisen on the land and in the sea because of what people have done with their own hands; that God may make them taste some of the consequences of their deeds; perhaps they will return (to the path of righteousness)?
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
Religious, political, cultural, technological, scientific, intellectual and moral conformism kills. Nowadays, we are all compelled to ask ourselves radical questions more than ever before:
Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? What are our societies running after? What kind of man and society do we want to 'develop?' What are you, as a person, running after? What are you good for in life?
To recognize that God is Reality is to accept to live on Earth in a common Home, where each one has their place, where each one must collaborate with the other, where each one must encourage the other to do good and to resist evil and injustice. It is to accept to commit oneself to making the world more just by reforming the Human-God-Nature relationship. It is therefore to commit oneself to reforming individualistic success, individualistic ecology, individualistic religion, individualistic technology, individualistic development, individualistic family, individualistic love, in short, the individualistic relationships of Human-Human, Human-God and Human-Nature. It is also a commitment to reform communitarianism, nationalism and ethnocentrism, which are forms of collective egoism that produce injustices on a global scale.
Islam is a universal invitation to build together a more just world, where everyone can enjoy a share of Paradise on Earth while ensuring their success in the next life.
The Islam Actuel Institute wants to respond to an expectation that animates men and women today. Every day, people of all generations, religions and cultures, come knocking at the door of Islam to get to know it, beyond political and media caricatures that depict is as extremist, communitarian or individualistic. They seek to understand what Islam has to say to our time to enlighten their personal quest but also their collective agency to build a better world. To better understand Islam is to better understand its place in the world, its raison d'être, its personal and collective vocation. It is to better understand the way in which one can engage to live in the common Home, to better that Home and to become a better person.
It is with these people that Islam Actuel Institute wants to converse, reflect, and cooperate, in the simplicity of a cup mint tea, a meal, a debate, a training program, a collective action, arts and prayer.
An Institute for Taking the Great Inner Journey
Each of us goes through modern life like a journey with stages to pass: 'You must graduate high school,' 'You must succeed in your studies,' 'You must succeed in your career,' 'You must love yourself,' 'You must blossom,' 'You must succeed in your celibacy or in your relationship,' 'You must spend weekends with your lover and travel to feel good...'
At school and university, we specialize to succeed or to have a good job. We try to integrate ourselves into a liberal economic machine to earn a living or to show our personal success, without seizing the opportunity to question the meaning of life and the impact of our choices and actions on others and on the Earth. We become consultants, engineers, traders, lawyers, entrepreneurs..., but we don't know how to answer the big questions that God whispers in the heart of each one of us: what am I good for? What can I do to become a better person and to contribute to making the world a better place? How can I make sure that my good intentions do not lead me to produce more injustice than good around me? What does God expect from me?
The Islam Actuel Institute offers students and young professionals the opportunity to accompany them on a great inner journey, to discover Islam as a wisdom that offers universal answers to these great personal questions. Far from the political and media noise, from the cramming, from the careerism and from the individualistic quest for happiness, the institute proposes to meditate on the essential, to enter into "real life", into a life where each one can understand who he is, what he can and must do with others to make the world better, in response to the invitation that God gives us.
The present Islam Institute proposes to be an Oasis where the traveler can pause to take stock and regain strength before setting out again into the desert of life with a purer heart, with a more just discernment, with a firmer will, with projects and actions in the service of the Common Good.
This spiritual and intellectual Oasis proposes a path towards the reality of God, the world and the wisdom that He invites us to actualize in our daily life. It is a path that helps each of us to bring out the beautiful values and ideas that animate us, to enrich them through contact with wisdom and with others. It is a demanding path that is made real in daily life, and that must therefore be verified in actions, day by day.