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!

THOUGHT FOR REFLECTION & DISCUSSION: the activist implications of monotheism

The classic and generic Arabic term for a monotheist is "muwahhid" -- the active participle of the verb, wahhada/yuwahhidu, which carries a causative or emphatic quality that builds upon the root that denotes singularity or unity.  A muwahhid might then be better translated as a "unity maker" or "promoter of unity" for the form suggests an active role in promoting or affirming unity.  First and foremost, of course, this must be taken in reference to God, whose singularity and unicity are central to Muslim belief.  All conceptualizations of divinity must collapse into the mystery of "the God" (Allah), who simultaneously qualifies Godself with diverse qualities or attributes and yet exists in a unity that transcends all distinction.   Secondarily, this can also be taken in reference to the unity of humankind, who began as a "single soul" before becoming the diverse and divided multitude we witness today.  In spite of our vast diversity and fragmentation, however, we are told that we are all headed back toward unity, back toward an ultimate point of convergence, back to the One who set the many into motion in the first place.  The call to be a "muwahhid" -- a unity maker -- may thus be understood as something more than a call to bear witness that God is One; it may be seen also as a call to rise up and assist in the Divine work of re-uniting humankind by promoting understanding and working for justice and peace and all that might help to heal the pathologies of division, prejudice, and war.