The Islamic Studies and Research Association (ISRA) is an Islamic organization founded on the affirmation that Allah is One, Muhammad (S) is His final Prophet, and the religion of Islam has three dimensions: Islam, which is the surrender of one´s body, heart and soul to Allah; Iman, faith in the Unity of Allah and the truth of His books, His guidance and His prophets; and Ihsan, the spiritual awareness of the Presence of Allah which is also known as tasawwuf. These have been revealed and described in the Qur´an and in the model of the Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, his family, and his followers.
Many calamities have befallen the Ummah during the last 200 years but one of the worst has been the rejection of tasawwuf. We find ourselves without coherent leadership and following self-proclaimed scholars who teach a dry, literalist and legalistic religion cut off from its traditional and spiritual heritage. In some cases this develops into a harsh and uncompromising political ideology, with violent results. While we understand the sources of this ideology, we cannot condone its methods or attitude. Islamic civilization, which was remarkably stable and united for over 1200 years, is now in a crisis of disunity.
The function of ISRA is to be a positive, non-sectarian, tolerant and compassionate response to this crisis. Its members want to recover the spiritual roots of Islam, and to promote an alternative, deeper and truer vision of Allah's guidance to the two-dimensional legalistic and political version so widely publicized today.
ISRA intends to become a world-wide Muslim network, centered in the United States, which links together a broad coalition of various broad-minded and intelligent Muslim individuals and organizations to serve the cause of Allah. What we wish to avoid is brothers and sisters who have succumbed to the dictum of Satan: “I am better than you.” We wish to encourage and support clear and inspired leaders who are not afraid to speak, examine, and understand what is happening in society. We have had enough of tyranny hidden in democracy, politics passing for prayer, and legal posturing covering over the truth.
We also need to acknowledge elements of Islam which have been forgotten or buried by local customs, including the equality of all souls, the extensive rights of men and women, the great rewards of remembrance of Allah, and the superiority of generosity over the material gains of this world. We wish to uncover the real Islam from within our hearts, not a suffocating social fabric inherited from this or that cultural past. We wish to discover the way Islam can manifest today, for each of us, by exploring the principles and guidance that Allah in His wisdom set down for us to apply within each age and circumstance.
We also hope to improve relations and understanding between the Muslims and other faith groups, “to compete with one another in good works,” for the well-being of the entire community. Such efforts are needed on local, national, and international levels, and we intend that ISRA chapters form in many places and co-operate with one another.
All Muslims long for community and unity. Unity will be achieved as we serve one another fi sabil-il’Lah, whether in one physical place, through virtual means, or in frequent gatherings and conferences promoting the remembrance of Allah and the love of His Messenger, blessings of Allah and peace be on his hand his family and followers. Unity will be achieved when our hearts are cleaned, and hearts will be cleaned by the revival and practice of tasawwuf. We ask Allah to make our work fruitful through the personal experience of the Divine Presence in our lives, and the deepening of our own compassion, mercy, and service. The role of ISRA will be to help to spread this understanding, so that the Muslims may lay aside fears, open their hearts, and work together for the spiritual revival of Islam.
The Islamic Studies and Research Association (ISRA) was founded by the grace of Allah, by Syed Zain al-Abedin in 1987, in the United States of America. Its members have worked informally through various, local, regional, and national organizations on several projects to enhance and spread Islamic knowledge.
ISRA was revived in 1998 as an international organization through the work of many prominent Muslims from a variety of schools of thoughts and perspectives. Since its revival, ISRA has made remarkable progress in presenting Islam as a religion based upon islam, iman, and ihsan (tasawwuf). Over a short period of time, the organization has come to enjoy many great successes and its appeal is steadily growing on an international level.
The Irshad Council of ISRA
The Irshad Council of ISRA
The affairs of ISRA are guided by the concept of shura through a council named the Irshad Council. The Irshad Council consists of a working committee and a board of distinguished scholars and shuyukh who serve as Islamic advisors to the council.
Board of Advisors of the Irshad Council:
ISRA International Headquarters
P.O. Box 357
Turbeville, South Carolina 29162-0357
© 2009 Islamic Studies and Research Association (ISRA)
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