10 Methods of the Heavenly Dragon – Book Review!

January 9, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A truly remarkable book, Ten Methods of the Heavenly Dragon is profound and deeply moving! This first person account of a lifelong seeker Robert Sheaffer’s apprenticeship with Shun Yuan, a gentle, Western-born Adept of the Tao and Taiji martial arts, enthralls the reader both as a teaching story and an introduction to as remarkable a man as any hero out of fiction. In the end, though I did not want it to end, I was left with a sublime sense of inevitability and peace. A truly amazing achievement!

The unfolding of the 10 Methods of the Heavenly Dragon are beautifully told within the intricacies of Bagua, the “eight symbols” used in Taoist cosmology and the elegant, deadly forms of Chinese martial arts, each method translated into hard learned lessons of everyday life. The Tao emphasizes getting past your preconceptions and your ego; in effect, getting out of your own way. I for one am very grateful for the lesson.

Ya Haqq!

Note:  The book has also won the Gold Medal in the Living Now Book Awards for 2013.  Congratulation!

 

 


“The whole universe… is the Qur’an.”

July 16, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“The whole universe, everything, including you, is the Qur’an.”

- Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti 

Ya Haqq!


Sufi Wisdom – The Four States of Life

June 12, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Here is blessed advice from Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi, the second Shaykh of the Shadhili Sufi Order, to Muhammad ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari, that precipitated a major shift in Ibn Ata’illah’s life. He stated that after this conversation he felt that his worries and grief were like a garment that had been taken off.

There are four states in a man’s life:

1. Blessings
2. Trials
3. Obedience
4. Disobedience.

If you are blessed, what Allah requires of you is thankfulness.

If you are tried, what Allah requires of you is patience.

If you are obedient, what Allah requires of you is your contemplating His blessings upon you.

If you are disobedient, then what Allah requires of you is your asking for forgiveness.”

- from the Book of Aphorisms by Ibn ‘Ata’illah (( Being a translation of the Kitab al-Hikam)

 

Ya Haqq!

Note:  Ibn ‘Ata’illa eventually became the third Shaykh of the Shadhili Order.


Origin of the Spiritual Species

June 8, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

I maintain that we are born and grow up with a fondness for each other, and that we have genes for that. We can be talked out of that fondness, for the genetic message is like a distant music, and some of us are hard-of-hearing. Societies are noisy affairs, drowning out the sound of ourselves and our connection. Hard-of-hearing, we go to war. Stone deaf, we make thermonuclear missiles. Nonetheless, the music is there, waiting for more listeners.

- Lewis Thomas, quoted in the book, The Universe and the Teacup, by K.C. Cole.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this view of the world, which is becoming more and more prominent among a growing group of biological and genetic scientists.

Cooperation, not competition, may be the true reason why life abounds in such a vast network of symbiosis, of working together for the life-sustaining mutual benefit of all.

On the Sufi path, as on every mystical path, this has long been taken for granted, as a gift of God’s grace to His creation.  Indeed, the biological evolution of humanity and its spiritual evolution, as the Sufi Master noted in the novel Master of the Jinn, are like two inextricable strands of the same rope. It is now more and more evident that they are bound together even on the genetic level.

Every mother knows this bonding energy; every father knows this protective instinct. It is this natural instinct to love that is at the core of this new concept of evolution, the origin of the spiritual species. I suspect that it may even be the case that spirituality itself is also biological in essence, for what is evolution but a quest to reach higher than our grasp, the genetic drive to better ourselves as individuals and as a species.

“To love thy neighbor as thyself,” and its corollaries of kindness, generosity, mercy and compassion, are then not only noble attributes, but a sign of the biological evolution of humanity’s consciousness.  We are very slowly but constantly growing away from our war-like and destructive primitive origins;  It may take another fifty thousand years of doing good and being good, of being kind and civil to each other  (which is the true meaning of civilization), but each conscious act of compassion is a step on that path of physical and spiritual evolution toward the Source of all Goodness.

We evolve in love towards God!

 

Ya Haqq!


English Book and Ebook of Master of the Jinn in Germany

April 25, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The English paperback and Ebook of Master of the Jinn is now being sold in Germany on the Amazon.de website.

To buy the English Master of the Jinn Paperback in Germany click HERE.

To buy the English Master of the Jinn Ebook in Germany, click HERE.

And of course, for the German translation, Meister der Jinn, click HERE.

Ya Haqq!


Tale of the Jinn – Sequel to Master of the Jinn – Pages Two and Three

March 21, 2011

Belief brings me closer to You, but only to the door.
It is only by disappearing into Your mystery that I will come in.
– Hakim Sanai

In the late summer of the following year, Professor Freeman completed his translation. Tonight he is to come to the khaniqah and present his work. The Master is also to return this evening. He has been traveling abroad nearly the entire year, recently accompanied by Aaron and Rebecca. Their return has thrown us into a frenzy of preparation and joy.

Glad Tidings! My brother and sister darvishes are to be married later this month, and a feast has been ordered to celebrate the return of the Master and the confluence of all our labors.

As happy as I am that the Master will soon be here, and that all the companions will be together once more, I am most curious about the final translation of the Jinn i Nama, the Book of the Jinn, in which I have had some small part.

I have not yet seen Professor Freeman’s final draft, and from the beginning the difficulties of such a task thoroughly daunted us. The Jinn do not speak as humans do, but communicate directly to each others’ minds. They know the full meaning and context of each others’ thoughts as well as the full range of emotions behind them. It is as complete a philology as is possible of a language without words. They also cannot lie to one another, and thus have no concept of deception. And they are the second children of Allah; their thought encompasses past, present and future, though how far into the future they see is still a mystery.

Soon after we began the translation, Professor Freeman and I approached the Master with these concerns.

“How can I possibly do justice to such a work?” the Professor asked. “My mind is locked in the present.”

“Remember that this book was given as a gift,” the Master said. “And as such, since he knows your innate natures, he is also speaking to both of you through it.”

“But how am I able to help with the translation?” I asked. “I do not know Canaanitish. Why could not the Jinni have used a language we both could understand?”

“You have listened, but you have not heard,” the Master said. “You will know Canaanitish before the end. Did I not say that the tale would also translate you? It is the faqir who wrote the book, not Ornias the Jinni, and he meant it for both of you: One to decipher the words, the other to help bring forth the subtler meaning. Consider, O darvishes, that when he aided you by allowing your minds to see through his, he also read your minds and hearts, their distinctiveness and their similarities, but he already knew both of you. Do you still not understand? Time is not a veil to his kindred. The book was written before you both were born, but he wrote the book for you!

“Oh my God!” the Professor said.

So there is no need to fear, Shlomo! As you continue on the path, even the meaning of the words you thought you knew will reveal their hidden depth, and the tale will become the clearer still.”

The tale will also translate you!

The thought emboldened us. Did we not survive fire and deep water, storm and demons? We resolved to begin without delay. Here, after all, was the real treasure of our journey. Within its pages we hoped to glimpse a measure of living history, witnessed by a being that lived it, unaltered by time and memory.

“Guide us then, Master!” the Professor implored. “How shall we begin?”

“Begin as a darvish would when undertaking any new task,” the Master said. “Ask God’s blessing, and commit your affairs to Him. Then clear your hearts of all motives related to yourselves, for no blessing arises from anything in which selfish interest has a part.”

The Master departed on his travels the next day, and we were left without his further guidance. No doubt he meant for us to decipher the ancient tongue and its meaning by ourselves, but it was soon apparent that Ornias had written not only a history, but a cosmology.

Jinn-i-Nama I

And God, the One, made first the Angels, the Holy Ones, and they were born of His light, the first children of his thought, and they served the Lord and dwelt in the house of His mercy.

And the second offspring of His design were the Jinn, and they were created out of the fire of His will, and they dwelt in the Subtle Realm, near to Him, though farther than the Angels who served Him only. And the Jinn were given free will, both a blessing and a curse.

In the green beginnings of the earth we made our home, on a vast mountainous island in the midst of the sea. And the mountains burned.

Great fires spewed forth, and rivers of molten earth ran into the waters, so that the land was utterly surrounded by vast walls of steam. Here we thrived and grew strong, for God was ever with us, and we rejoiced in Him. Our fiery spirit was well suited to the land, and we dwelt in the great cave cities of the high mountains.

Yea, the memory of the Jinn spans the ages, and the Jinn do not forget!


Ya Haqq!

Note: These pages are from the sequel to Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel, which will be forthcoming, inshAllah (God-willing), by the end of the year. To read excerpts, reviews and comments from Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel, click Here!


Tale of the Jinn – Sequel to Master of the Jinn – Page One

March 7, 2011

“Verily, Satan has said, ‘By Your Honor and Grandeur, O Allah, my temptations will not depart from your servants as long as their souls are in their bodies.’ And the Lord said, ‘By My Honor and My Grandeur, never will I cease forgiving those who ask My forgiveness.’”
– A hadith of the Prophet (peace be unto him), recorded by Ahmad and al-Haakim

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

O Lord, bestow on us Thy mercy, and provide for us a right course of action!  Praise be to God the Highest, who has revealed the mysteries to His intimates and the subtleties of the Way of Truth to His friends . He it is that brings the day in its glory and the night in its beauty, and brings dead hearts to life by the perception of His eternity.

I, Ishaq, named the scribe, am commanded by my Master to set forth the Jinn-i-Nama, this Book of the Jinn, to which, by the mercy of God, my companions and I have in part born witness.

Therefore, I have asked God’s blessing and resolved to tell the full tale, so that the eyes of the people may be opened and the truth of the Jinn and the Subtle Realm revealed. For verily an Age of Wonder is upon us, wherein the  two kindred, if they will, may know the love and mercy of God.

Thus, may Allah guide my pen, for by His will alone is the Truth revealed.

Ya Haqq!

Note: In two weeks, the next page of the Jinn-i-Nama, the Book of the Jinn, will be posted, the long awaited sequel to Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel.


Justice in Islam

February 24, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“His Throne is upon the waters, and in His other hand is the balance (Justice), and He raises and lowers (whomever He will).” – a hadith of the Prophet (pbuh)

One of the Names of God is Al-Adl, the Just, and in Islam, Justice demands a balance, a fairness that is clearly seen and felt. And the best example may be the ‘best of creation’ himself:

When the Prophet (peace be unto him) was drawing near death, he availed himself of one last chance to practice justice:

He came to the mosque wrapped in a blanket, and there were those who saw signs of death in his face. “If there is any among you,” he said, “whom I have caused to be flogged unjustly, here is my back. Strike in your turn. If I have damaged the reputation of any among you, may he do likewise to mine. To any I have injured, here is my purse… It is better to blush in this world than in the hereafter.” A man claimed a debt of three dinars and was paid.

In Islam and on the Sufi path as well, the highest level of Justice is to do Justice without demanding it, recognizing that our own demands may be the cause of the imbalance itself. Thus, a story is told of Dhu’l Nun al Misri, the great Egyptian Sufi saint. There was a drought in Egypt, and the people implored him to pray to God for rain. He did so, and during his prayer, God informed him that he himself was the source of the drought. So he left Egypt, and the rains came.

And for the dictators in the world,  a reminder:

Beware of oppressing someone with no defense against you except God. – Hazrat Ali

- Edited from The Virtues of the Prophet, (Chapter IX) by Charles Upton.

Ya Haqq!


El Maestro de los Jinn – The Spanish Translation!

October 19, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Alhamdulillah!  I am happy to announce that Master of the Jinn has been translated into Spanish and is now an Ebook entitled El Maestro de los Jinn. It can be read on Amazon’s Kindle book reader, any PC or Mac, and also the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, and Android devices. If any of you can read Spanish, here is a link to the Amazon Kindle pages in the US and the UK, which covers Europe.

US: El Maestro de los Jinn

UK: El Maestro de los Jinn

Please let me know how it looks if you buy a copy :)  The paperback version will be out either by Eid al-Adha (November 17th in the US) or the Christmas Holidays, inshallah.

Ya Haqq,

Irving


Master of the Jinn in India

October 13, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Mohammed Ali Vakil, a friend from the Sufi Comics blog, sent this photo of Master of the Jinn for sale in a bookstore in Bangalore, the third largest city in India :)

If you are in India and see Master of the Jinn for sale, please take a photo and send it to me at:  Irvingk1945 at gmail dot com.

I will post them on the Master of the Jinn Facebook group page :)

Ya Haqq!

PS:  You can also order the book in India directly from Hay House, the publisher, by clicking HERE.


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