Doris Lessing and Idries Shah – The Nobel Prize Winner and the Sufi

October 14, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Doris Lessing won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, it was announced on Friday, October 12th. Congratulations to the lovely and beautiful 88-year-old Ms. Lessing. May God bless her with many more years of good works.

The press reports have included her flirtation with Communism, which she disavowed in 1956, and her most famous novel, The Golden Notebook, considered one of the first feminist works, though she also disavowed being a feminist. What is missing, or scarcely mentioned, in the press coverage is her Sufi affiliation.

For thirty years, she was a student of Idries Shah, and speaks only praise of him, his books and his teachings. There is a lesson here in what the press and the world finds newsworthy and important. I am personally a great admirer of Idries Shah and his books, all of which I have read at one time or another. His Tales of the Dervishes began my interest and ultimately my journey on the Sufi path. Alhamdulillah!

Idries Shah claimed no mastership, no lineage to any particular Order, and no disciples as such. Yet his influence through his books was profound to those who became his students and to generations of young idealists, even unto the present day. May Allah bless his soul.

To read a tribute by Doris Lessing on Idries Shah, click HERE.

To read her 1996 obituary of Idries Shah, click HERE.

Ya Haqq!


Eid Mubarak – Feed the Hungry

October 13, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

This letter came recently from our Sister Aaminah, of the Writeous SisterSpeaks blog. Please read it and then do what love demands.

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Rahiim
Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
Eid Mubarak to my dear brothers and sisters in deen!

At this time of celebration, I wanted to share a simple way that we can continue to remember one of the purposes of Ramadan throughout the year, and inshaAllah continue to provide sadaqah to those in need. Many of you may already be familiar with this site, but I hope this serves as a reminder if you know of it already and as a source of knowledge if you were not aware of it, inshaAllah.

At The Hunger Site, you can click on a link, and through the sponsorship of advertisers to the site, food is donated to organizations that distribute it to those in need. THIS COSTS YOU NOTHING! It takes less than 2 seconds, so it costs you no time. It does not require you to write a check or give your credit card number; it costs you no money.

There are other worthy sites linked on The Hunger Site that provide other beneficial services, including raising money for breast cancer research and providing books to children. If you want to spend your money towards these causes, you can make purchases from the sites’ stores, or support the advertisers who are actually paying for your clicks.

This is one very simple way that we can extend our charity all year, and continue to feed those in need, inshaAllah. May Allah continue to bless you and your family.

Aaminah

“And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good”. – (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayah 195)

Ya Haqq!


Rumi’s Masnavi read by Jawid Mojaddedi, With Music

October 12, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

This is wonderful!!

Rumi’s Masnavi, Book One, is read by Jawid Mojaddedi from his own excellent translation, and in his beautiful voice. The first seven tales are included in the ongoing project, all podcast in mp3 format, which you can play on the Windows Media Player or download to your own music player.

This translation, the Oxford World’s Classics edition, which was awarded the 2004 Lois Roth Prize, follows the Persian original by using rhyming couplets. To add to the experience, Toure Moumouni and Alain Kersanty perform backround music on ney, robab, tar, and daf, to enhance the lovely words.

Alhamdulillah! Jawid, Toure and Alain are all dervishes of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

There is also a Paypal donation button on the site. Donations received by the author are given to the Nimatullahi charity that maintains medical clinics for the neediest citizens of several West African nations, where no one is turned away.

(It is the same charity that receives 10% of all profits from my book Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel).

Click HERE and scroll down to listen.

To order Book One and/or Book Two from Amazon, click HERE.

Ya Haqq!


Hazrat Ali’s Sermon on Eid-ul-Fitr

October 11, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

On the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, Hazrat Ali (A.S.) delivered a sermon in which he said:

“O people! Verily this day of yours is the day when the righteous are awarded and the wretched are losers. It is a day which is similar to the one on which you shall be standing (before your Lord). Therefore, when you come out of your homes to go to places of your prayer, remind yourselves about the day when you (your souls) shall come out of your bodies to go to your Lord. When you stand on places of your prayer, remind yourselves of your standing in the presence of your Lord (on the day of Judgment). And when you return to your homes (after prayer), remind yourselves about your returning to your homes in Paradise. O Servants of Allah! Verily the minimum reward for those men and women who fasted (during Ramadan), is an Angel, who calls out to them on the last day of the month of Ramadan (saying): O SERVANTS OF ALLAH! REJOICE THE GLAD TIDING THAT ALL YOUR PREVIOUS SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN…”

- From the Nahjul-Balaghah.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a unique festival. It has no connection with any historical event nor is it related to the changes of seasons or cycles of agriculture. It is not a festival related in any way to worldly affairs. Its significance is purely spiritual. It is the day when Muslims thank God for having given them the will, the strength and the endurance to observe the fast and obey His commandments during the holy month of Ramadan.

Alhamdulillah! May Allah bless us all, and grant that we use this Eid as a lens to focus the sun of good works that have shone so brightly during Ramadan to light the way through this coming year until the next Ramadan. Amin.

Eid Mubarak! 

Ya Haqq!


A Buddhist Lesson for Eid

October 10, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Gold dawn disk edges purple cliffs.
Old woman bends to sweep temple steps.
She bathes each stone with loving care.
How many worshippers think of her work?

I went at dawn to a magnificent temple. Its architecture was such a supreme expression of the human spirit that it was a treasure. Generations of worshipers had left offerings at the shrines, hundreds of monks had reached their enlightenment on the consecrated grounds, and thousands had been blessed in life and death in the venerable halls.

Yet my most moving observation was an old woman silently sweeping the steps. Her concentration was perfect. Her devotion was palpable. Her thoroughness was complete. Her uncelebrated act showed a true holy spirit.

Later in the day, wealthy people came to worship. Children with brightly colored toys ran over the gray stones. The abbot walked to his ceremonies. Monks passed in silent prayer. Of all who passed, how many were aware of the saintly service that had made their own devotion possible?

When the way is all we have to walk, those who prepare the way should be truly honored.

__________

-Deng Ming-Dao, from the 365 Tao website, taken from the lovely and spiritual Kozi Wolf blog.

Alhamdulillah! This beautiful observation is indeed worth remembering during Eid. Watch the women – the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts - in the kitchen preparing the food, cleaning the home, setting the table or the sufreh. Observe the care they take, the devotion and love they put into the tasks, and remember to thank them.

Eid Mubarak! 

Ya Haqq!


The Beggar – For the Last Days of Ramadan

October 8, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Is there anyone who can give something to this beggar? A whole heart? Is there anyone giving away a pure, whole heart?”

For a whole heart, I would give the life of this world: every moment of monotone emotion felt, every numb pleasure that kills my soul, every restless feeling that eats away inside.

For a whole heart, I would give away all my broken dreams, gathering each piece from it’s scattered place, blown in every direction by the winds of confusion and desire.

For a whole heart, I would give all of my bitter tears, shed from mistaken hurts and affected wrongs, or complexities that I myself constructed.

For a whole heart, I would give my own tongue that speaks ill instead of truth.

I would give my very eyes, that see the night sky in all its splendor and that still chooses slumber over vigil. I would give my soul, troubled and heavy, always foolishly choosing darkness over Light.

But who would accept this currency or this exchange?

I’m just a poor beggar, with nothing to give. Instead, I depend on the compassion of the Owner to fulfill my needs, and be generous with me, though I have nothing to give Him in return; my worthless possessions clutched tight.

____________

- From our dear brother at the spiritual and beautiful Darwisiy Blog. His words bring tears to the eyes of this unworthy darvish. May Allah the most merciful forgive us our blindness in the light of His truth, and our ignorance when He gives us knowledge so freely. Amin.

Ya Haqq!


Virtues of the Prophet (pbuh)

October 6, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Once when the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, was returning from battle, he told his companions: ‘Now we are returning from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’ ‘And what is the greater jihad?’ they asked. The Prophet answered: ‘The struggle against the self.’

                                                                – Prophetic Hadith

It has been said that ‘Islam is the meeting between God as such and man as such.’ For the nature of God, we have the first part of the shadaha: ‘I testify that there is no god but God.’ For the nature of man – for there can be no conception of Who God is without a corresponding idea of what man is – we have the second half: ‘And I testify that Muhammad is God’s Prophet.’ For Islam, the door to the true nature of man is the character of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. He is the Complete Man, al-Insan al-Kamil. He is the exemplar of our fitrah, of the human form in its original nature as God created it. The love Muslims feel for the person of the Prophet has to do with the fullness of his humanity – not in any sentimental sense, but rather because in him is revealed an unfailing and providential capacity to bring out the full humanity of any and every situation, and act upon it. Whichever way you turn, there is the face of God, says the Qur’an. But it would be almost equally true to say, ‘Whichever way you turn, there is the example of the Prophet.’

- From the Introduction to Virtues of the Prophet: A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Greater Jihad, the War against the Passions, by Charles Upton.

This is a wonderful book, with insightful writing into the Mercy, Spiritual Poverty, Detachment, Humility, Courtesy, Modesty, Discretion, Generosity, Hospitality, Trustworthiness, Veracity, Fear of God, Trust in God, Patience, Contentment, Courage, Justice, and Dignity which are the Synthesis of the blessed Prophet’s Virtues (pbuh).

These virtues are capitalized because they are the general chapter headings, each being a gem of understanding into the nature of the particular virtue as it is exemplified in the totality of the character of the Prophet (pbuh). It is an excellent book for a young Muslim man or woman. Inshallah, they will benefit from it.

Ya Haqq!


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