Inspiration from Past & Present

October 5, 2016

When your private (conduct) is the same as your public, then that is good character, when your privacy is better than your public appearance, then that is virtue, and when your public appearance is better than your private, then transgression.

—Sufyān b. ‘Uyaynah [d. 198H/813CE]

Tarikh Baghdad (13/173)

(Read on pg 230, Salahuddin Ali Abdul Mawjood, Imam Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah. Darussalam. Riyadh: 2006.)

February 4, 2015

Words of the Prophet versus Words of Men

أَنَائِمٌ أَنْتَ عَنْ كُتُبِ الْحَدِيثِ وَمَا     أَتَى عَنِ الْمُصْطَفَى فِيهَا مِنَ الدِّينِ 
كَمُسْلِمٍ وَالْبُخَارِيِّ اللَّذَيْنِ هُمَا     شَدَّا عُرَى الدِّينِ فِي نَقْلٍ وَتَبْيِينِ 
أَوْلَى بِأَجْرٍ وَتَعْظِيمٍ وَمَحْمَدَةٍ     مِنْ كُلِّ قَوْلٍ أَتَى مِنْ رَأْيِ سُحْنُونِ 
يا مَنْ هَدَى بِهِمَا اجْعَلْنِي كَمِثْلِهِمَا     فِي نَصْرِ دِينِكَ مَحْضًا غَيْرَ مَفْتُونِ 

In slumber do you be, toward the books of ḥadīth which do. . . comprise the faith, that from the Chosen does ensue

Like Muslim and Bukhārī too, both of which who do . . . tie the bonds of faith, through report and explanation true

More worthy so of gain, and praise and honor too . . . than any word that rests, on Sahnoun the mortal’s view

O He who guides through them, do set me on their pattern . . . in service to religion, without the tribulation.

—Ibn Ḥazm of Andalus [d. 456H/1064CE], translated by Dr. Abu Zayd

January 17, 2015

The Richness of the Islamic Intellectual Tradition

To be sure, the Islamic intellectual tradition is a rich source of insights and wisdom articulated by a host of outstanding scholars and seers over the last fourteen centuries: insights and wisdom to which they were led in the course of their effort to understand the meaning of God’s message and the way of His last Messenger. Hence, it would not be surprising if a great many men and women of our time, who are baffled by the bewildering circumstances confronting them, will find a great deal in this tradition that will help them find a new, constructive orientation in their lives. It goes without saying that the way to benefit from the treasures of Islamic tradition is not to carbon copy the ideas of these great thinkers and blindly apply them. This tradition will yield the riches of its meaning only to persons with keen minds and genuine curiosities. It is only such persons who will discover valuable gems of wisdom in the writings of Muslim thinkers and savants that would either elude the grasp of the mediocre and the undiscerning, or would appear to them as utterly irrelevant to the problems of the age.

—Zafar Ishaq Ansari, Editor’s Note, Muḥammad al-Ghazali, The Socio-Political Thought of Shāh Walīullah. International Institute of Islamic Thought. Islamabad, Pakistan. 2001.

May 29, 2014

Two Types of Knowledge

There are two types of knowledge: knowledge of the tongue, which can be a case against the son of Adam, as is mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet (S): ‘The Qur’an is either a case for you or a case against you’; and knowledge of the heart, which is beneficial knowledge. The second type is the beneficial kind which raises people in rank; it is the inner knowledge which is absorbed by the heart and puts it right. The knowledge that is on the tongue is taken lightly by people: neither those who possess it, nor anyone else, act upon it, and then it vanishes when its owners vanish on the Day of Judgement, when creation will be brought to account.

—Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī [d 110H/728CE]

(Read on pg 13, Ibn Rajab, Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Ghazali, The Purification of the Soul. Al-Firdous Ltd. London:1993.)