Salaam, one and all! We welcome you with heart-felt prayers for God's peace and mercy and blessings.

This blog is maintained for the readers of In the Light of a Blessed Tree, as well as for all those interested in the wider work of Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti: including the Islamic Institute for Spiritual Formation (IISF, Toronto), which he serves as the Director and Principal Teacher, the Studies in Islam program at Renison University College (University of Waterloo), where he serves as an Associate Professor, and the American Islamic College (Chicago), where he served as the Director of Islamic Studies (2013-2015).

Please stay tuned for new blog entries and announcements for new programs in Toronto and beyond!

Circle of Sacred Knowledge

On the last Friday of each month Dr. Timothy Gianotti will be hosting an open study session devoted to traditional texts of spiritual formation and sacred knowledge. This will take place in the upstairs library/classroom space of the Noor Cultural Centre from Noon until 1:00 pm, concluding well before the congregational (jum'ah) prayer service. While the texts and topics will come from the Islamic spiritual tradition, people from all faiths are invited to participate and stay for the Friday (jum'ah) prayer service which begins at 1:20 pm.

The first three session dates are: Friday October 31, Friday November 28 and Friday January 30, 2009. Time: Noon to 1 PM

We will continue to update this site. For more information email us here.


Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti Biography

Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti is an asscoiate professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Canada.  Prior to joining the faculty at Renison, he served as the Director of Islamic Studies at the American Islamic College (AIC) in Chicago, where he oversaw the students and faculty in AIC's three degree programs (BA, MA, and MDIS - Master of Divinity in Islamic Studies), in addition to teaching at all levels and managing the accreditation portfolio as the chief academic officer.  He is also the Founder, Director, and Principal Teacher of the Islamic Institute for Spiritual Formation (IISF) in Toronto. 
Holding a B.A. (1988) from the University of Notre Dame (Great Books, Classics), his M.A. (1990) from the University of Toronto (Islamic Intellectual History, Arabic language & literature), and his Ph.D. (1998) also from the University of Toronto (classical Islamic Philosophy & Theology), his undergraduate and graduate studies included several periods of residence in the West Bank and Jordan, where he studied literary Arabic, Islamic History, the traditional Islamic religious sciences, and various topics in Christian and Jewish thought.
His scholarly research and writing reflect a fascination with the soul, especially as understood by the classical Islamic philosophical, theological, and spiritual traditions. Because this study of the soul naturally leads to the larger “worlds” of the state, the cosmos, and, ultimately, the Hereafter, the arenas of ethics, moral theology, spiritual formation, politics, and eschatology all factor into his preoccupation with human nature.  More generally, Dr. Gianotti's teaching and interests span the fields of Islamic spirituality, Islamic theology, Islamic ethics and political thought, medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophy, mysticism within the Abrahamic traditions, Qur'anic interpretation, and the language and imagery of war within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
He is the author of Al-Ghazali’s Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2001) and In the Light of a Blessed Tree: Illuminations of Islamic Belief, Practice, and History (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2011), in addition to an array of articles, book chapters, and theological essays. He is also at work on a new scholarly book with the working title, Walking the Way of the Afterlife: al-Ghazālī on the Jurisprudence of the Heart (fiqh al-qalb). Based largely on al-Ghazālī’s compendium, Reviving Religious Knowledge, this new project explores the inner processes of moral education and character formation within a traditional Islamic framework.

Also a former York-Noor Chair of Islamic Studies, he has served on the Religious Studies faculties of York University (Toronto), the University of Virginia, the University of Oregon, and Penn State University.

Community Feedback

We provide this space for your comments, feedback, suggestions and views. Please click on "Post a Comment" below to share your thoughts. Jazakum allahu Khairan


Community Office Hours

Community Office hours for March 2009 have not yet been set. To request a meeting with Brother Timothy please email us here.

In February 2009 Dr. Timothy Gianotti will be keeping the following community office hours at the Noor Cultural Centre:

Wednesday January 28, 1:30-4 pm

Thursday February 5, 1 pm to 3 pm
Thursday February 12, 1 pm to 3 pm
Timothy will not be in his office on February 19, 2009.
Thursday February 26, 1 pm to 3 pm

You are welcome to drop by for a visit with Timothy. If you have a special need for a more private meeting, please contact us to schedule an appointment.


Islamic Illuminations - About Us

Islamic Illuminations is one of the primary websites through which Dr. Timothy Gianotti reaches out to the broader community. We encourage you to browse freely. By staying tuned to this site, you can keep up to date on Timothy's public speaking engagements, his khutbah schedule acoss the Greater Toronto Area, his public service courses, community office hours, and the study circles, spirituality discussions, and retreats he facilitates.

Islamic Illuminations also represents the somewhat informal organization through which Timothy and the team of luminous souls who volunteer with him bring educational programming and spiritual work to the wider community.

If you have any questions or inquiries or would like to get involved in the work, please email us by clicking here.


Dr. Laury Silvers - Biography

Laury Silvers is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at University of Toronto for the 2008-2010 academic years. Her scholarship focuses on Islam in the Formative Period in particular Sufism, Sufi Metaphysics, and Gender. Her book, A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism will be published by SUNY Press in 2009. She is preparing a second book, Simply Good Women: Gender in Early Piety and Sufism. In addition to her scholarly work, Silvers writes on ethical and theological matters in Progressive Islam and is active in the Shared Authority Movement in Islam.