Interfaith/International Experiences shared at Turkish Coffee night
Fort Lauderdaleâ€”July 15â€”The Reverend George R. Earhart, pastor at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in North Miami and Shepherd of the Coast Lutheran Church in Forth Lauderdale, delivered a talk entitled â€œDream Trip to Turkey, My Experiences,â€ at the monthly Turkish Coffee Night of the Anatolia Cultural Center (ACC) in Fort Lauderdale.
Usually, at the coffee nights, the topic is arts and crafts, architecture, the history of Turkey, etc., followed by a conversation between the guests, and then deserts of baklava or other Turkish desserts, and other sweets.
â€œIt takes around two hours but sometimes conversations become so sweet and nobody wants to leave,â€ says Anatolia Center director Mustafa Yucekaya.
Julyâ€™s event also featured a talk on the classical architecture of Turkey in history and today by Professor Vural Buyukozturk, who teaches classes on architectural design at Broward Community College and Florida Atlantic University in Ft. Lauderdale. It also included a small Powerpoint presentation from the Boward County Cultural Division.
The coffee nights are free, informal events open to the public and requiring no RSVP. They are held at ACC at 6250 NW 28 Way. The groupâ€™s goal is to introduce Turkish culture as an addition to South Floridaâ€™s diverse cultural backdrop. Recently, the ACC has also started to offer free Turkish language classes for adults on Saturday from 12 to 2 PM. The August Coffee Night is upcoming.
For more info visit www.anatoliaculturalcenter.org or call 954-956-8828.
Zaytuna scholars seeks to â€˜Unite Hearts, Uplift Soulsâ€™ in 3 day visit
Miamiâ€”June 30â€”The Madinah Foundation and the Islamic School of Miami/Masjid Al-Noor (on SW 147th Ave. in Miami) hosted visiting Islamic scholar Yahya Rhodus for a series of three lecture programs on Friday, June 30 and Saturday July 1.
Originally a Midwesterner, Rhodus became Muslim at the age of 19 in the San Francisco bay area in 1996. There, he began studying with the fiery bay-area imam and community speaker Hamza Yusuf Hanson, as well as with then-visiting scholars Shaykh Khatry and Abdullah Ould Ahmadna, from the threadbare yet historically rich North African country where Hanson himself had earlier gone for Islamic study, Mauritania.
In 1998, Rhodus himself left for Mauritania to further his studies of various Islamic disciplines. He spent over two years sitting in ascetic simplicity with some of the countryâ€™s best-known scholars, including Murabit al-Hajj, Hansonâ€™s teacher.
In 2000, Rhodus moved to another center of traditional Islamic teaching in Tarim, Yemen, to continue his studies at the Dar al-Mustafa school with Yemeni scholars Habib â€˜Ali al-Jifry, Habib â€˜Umar bin Hafiz, and others. The Habib family traces its descent from the family of the classical Islamic scholar Al-Ghazzali, well known in Islamic history.
In 2005, Rhodus returned from his studies overseas to serve as a full-time teacher at Zaytuna Institute, an Islamic learning facility which Hanson and others established in Hayward, CA.
The Madinah Foundation is the Zaytuna Instituteâ€™s South Florida affiliate, and Madinah Foundation board member Rehan Mirza, who helped organize Rhodusâ€™ visit, has also been a student with the Habibs in Yemen.
Rhodusâ€™ Miami engagements started with the Friday prayer sermon at Masjid Al-Noor on Friday. This was followed by a family night program at the mosque that evening entitled â€œUnite the Hearts, Uplift the Souls.â€ The event was billed as â€œa practical look at the dynamics of creating healthy, empowering, and enriching brotherhood, sisterhood, and communities according to the highest ethical and social principles of Islam. This talk program will provide insight on what divides us and guidance on how to genuinely bring the hearts of the Muslims together.â€
His final talk was a two-part full-day program at the mosque on Saturday entitled â€œThe Prophetic Characteristics.â€ Described as â€œa study of the inward and outward characteristics of the Prophet, upon him be peace, from his lineage to his names to his physical stature to his noble attributes, taken from the text of the late scholar Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabahani, Wasâ€™il al-Wusul ila Shamaâ€™il al-Rasul (The Means of Arrival to the Characteristics of the Messenger). Studying the characteristics of the Messenger of Allah (s) fills oneâ€™s heart with love for him and inspires one to follow his great example.â€
According to Mirza, audio recordings of the lecture will soon be up on the Madinah Foundation website at www.madinah.org.
Miamiâ€”July 14â€”Orlando-area imam Radwan Kouatli, also known as â€œAbunour,â€ was guest-imam at the Miami Gardens Masjid on NW 183rd St on Friday, July 14. On-hand to deliver the khutbah, Kouatli also presented a special session in the evening entitled â€œEmpowered by Allah,â€ after the maghrib sunset prayer, in the mosqueâ€™s prayer hall.
Born in Damascus, Syria, where he acquired his early religious education, Kouatli came to the United States 1987. He graduated in 1991 from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, with a business administration degree and a major focus in marketing. He is also a certified Qur`an teacher. Imam of the somewhat conservative Masjid Al-Ihsaan in Orlando, Kouatli also conducts a local talk radio program on Islamic topics there.
â€œAllah helped me to devote a great portion of my time to Islamic studies. I studied with well known scholars overseas,â€ he explains.
â€œLiving in the US brought to me many blessings. After graduation, I got married to an American girl. Now we have four children,â€ says the upbeat Kouatli, whoâ€™s offered lecture topics include a 8-session seminar on â€œhappinessâ€ with sub-topics such as â€œprayers to remove sadness,â€ â€œseeking Allahâ€™s counselâ€ and â€œhow to tame your sadness.â€ His websiteâ€™s theme reads: â€œLet the love of Allah Reside in Your Heart and Revive Your Life.â€
Kouatliâ€™s sermon at Miami Gardens was well-attended, as Friday prayers at Miami-Dade Countyâ€™s largest mosque have regularly been full-to-brimming this summer. Hundreds of congregants now fill the large, green-carpeted prayer hall right to the back wall and foyer and almost to the shoe-racks. The mosque has also seen a diverse series of guest speakers in the wake of the departure of regular-imam Abdul-Hamid Samra for his native Syria earlier in the year.
More information about Kouatliâ€™s work can be found on his website, www.loveallah.net. His wife also has a blog online where she discusses the challenges and victories in the coupleâ€™s efforts to home school their children at http://www.lovingallah.blogspot.com.