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!

New INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM Course for the Toronto Jewish Community (Temple Emanu-El members and friends)

Beginning Sunday, January 9, Dr. Timothy Gianotti will be offering a four-part introduction to Islam at Noor's synagogue "twin" -- Temple Eamanu-El, a  vibrant, progressive community committed to Jewish renewal.  As an extension of our annual November "twinning" of synagogues and mosques, this January course will be followed by a four-part February Introduction to Judaism (for Muslims) course offered by Temple Emanu-El's Rabbi Debra Landsberg at the Noor Cultural Centre.  For details and registration information, please consult the community websites by clicking on the institutional names above.

LIGHT UPON LIGHT Retrospective

On Friday, December 10, we had our final Light Upon Light for 2010.

Devoted to "The Divine language of Signs (ayat)," it blossomed into a beautiful evening of exploring the theoretical, scriptural, and experiential dimensions of God's ongoing disclosure to the creation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who braved the cold and dark December night to gather and add their light and their voice to this circle of spiritual discussion, this evening of sacred speaking and listening.

As the faithful LUL participants know, this series was born of a recognition that, as spiritual beings, we need more than a steady diet of "Hell and Hijab" to live religiously complete and spiritually fulfilling lives.  "Light Upon Light" thus came into being with the hope and intention of reclaiming some of the forgotten and/or neglected spiritual treasures of the faith, and in the hope of opening up a religious space where every voice, female and male, young and old, would be honored and listened to with reverence and respect.  As we enter into a new year, we pray that God will accept what we have done so far and that God will bless and guide our efforts to continue our search for the Divine light of wisdom within sacred texts, within the signs woven into the natural world, and within the signs woven into the fabric of our life experiences.

SELECTED TOPICS (from fall, 2007 until present): Spiritual Knowledge / Love / Tests & Trials / Loving Universally while Living within Particularity (featuring the writings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook) / On the Importance of Being a Stranger in the World / Dreams, Death and the Journeys of the Spirit / On the Art of Being Grateful / The Importance of Solitude / Core Paradoxes: freedom in servitude, wealth in poverty, life in death, gaining by spending, spiritual advancement through sin / The World of the Unseen / Spiritual Storytelling / Being a Perpetual Beginner / The Poetry of Kabir / "with a little help from my friends..." The indispensability of community for walking the path to God / Rumi & the Wisdom of the Reed Flute / Spiritual Chivalry / Tests and Trials Revisited / Glimpses of the Religious Ideal: Spiritual Masters, Sages, and Other Friends of God in the Jewish and Islamic Traditions (special Muslim-Jewish "Twinning" session at Temple Emanu-El, Toronto) / The Mysteries of Light and Darkness / Pilgrimage / Alchemy / The Balance / The Divine Language of Signs (al-ayat) /