Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the category “Literature”

Mauritania’s Manuscripts

From Saudi Aramco World

By Louis Werner

One could easily lose something precious in Mauritania’s million square kilometers (398,000 sq mi) of dune fields and rocky steppes, stretching north from the Senegal River and east from the Atlantic into the Sahara’s most desolate corners. Nomadic encampments are few, villages are far between, and the wind blows inexorably from the west, scattering all that comes before it.

But Ahmad Ould Mohamed Yahya, director of manuscripts at the Institut Mauritanien de Recherche Scientifique (IRMS) in Nouakchott, believes it is not a fluke that something precious should recently have been found in the small town of Boutilimit, some 150 kilometers (95 mi) east of the capital city of Nouakchott: the world’s only known complete manuscript of a work on grammar by the great Spanish-Arab physician and philosopher Ibn Rushd, known in the West as Averroës. This find, so far from the Mediterranean basin, means that historians must rethink just how far Ibn Rushd’s writings and influence extended into the Arab hinterland.

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Sheikh Hamza Yusuf: Creed of Imam Al Tahawi Parts 1-6

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Alerting the Self Deceived – Wisdom: Sincerity in Religious Acts Part 1

From Sheikh Zaid Shakir’s New Islamic Directions

The sayings gathered here, entitled Wisdom, are extracted from, Alerting The Self Deceived, a book written by the great Islamic scholar and mystic, Abdul Wahhab ash-Sha’rani, d. 973 AH/ 1565 AD. In this book Ash-Sha’rani gathers the aphorisms of the early pious scholars of the Islamic tradition as part of an effort to demonstrate to his contemporaries the lofty religious and human character of their spiritual ancestors. In writing this book, Ash-Sha’rani hoped to encourage the sincere seekers of spiritual excellence to redouble their efforts by reflecting on the way of their righteous predecessors, just as he intended to expose as fraudulent those who claimed to be spiritual guides, but were themselves far removed from the path trod by the luminaries whose words he highlights in the book.

By making these sayings available to the English-speaking public, we intend to encourage the Muslim to reflect on the great spiritual legacy bequeathed to us by our righteous forebears, and to begin to live that legacy, while simultaneously encouraging the non-Muslim to look beyond the propagandistic rhetoric that presents Islam as an empty purveyor of irrational violence. These sayings should help all to understand that Islam is a great world religion that has left a deep and indelible, beautifying mark on human history.

Imam Zaid Shakir

Part One: Sincerity in Religious Acts.

1. Wahb b. Munabbih would say: “Whoever seeks worldly advancement through his religious acts, God will invert his heart and record him amongst the people destined for Hell.”
2. Al-Hasan al-Basri relates that Jesus, Peace upon Him, said: “Whoever endeavors to implements his religious knowledge is a true friend of God.”
3. Sufyan b. Tahwri used to say: “My mother advised me: ‘My son! Only seek religious knowledge if you intend to implement it. Otherwise, it will be a source of torment for you on the Day of Resurrection.’ ”
4. Dhun-Nun al-Misri was asked: “When does the servant know that he is sincere in religion?” He replied: “When he asserts himself to the fullest in worship while desiring to gain no esteem with the people because of that.”
5. Muhammad b. al-Munkadir used to say: “I love to see the brothers being at their very best during the night [in humble devotion] for surely that is nobler than being at ones very best during the day. The reason for this is that during the day one is seen by people while during the night one is seen by the Lord of the Worlds.” Read more…

Fundamentals of Tasawwuf by Imam an-Nawawi Part 4

From AhlusSunna

One reaches Allah Most High by ten:

1. Repenting from all things unlawful or offensive;
2. Seeking Sacred Knowledge in the amount needed;
3. Continuously keeping on ritual purity;
4. Performing the prescribed prayers [fard] at the first of their times in a group prayer (and praying the confirmed sunnas [sunna mu’akkada] associated with them);
5. Always performing eight rak’as of the nonobligatory midmorning prayer (al-duha), the six rak’as between the sunset (maghrib) and nightfall (’isha) prayers, the night vigil prayer (tahajjud) after having risen from sleeping, and the witr prayer;
6. Fasting Mondays and Thursdays;
7. Reciting the Koran with presence of heart and reflecting on its meanings;
8. Asking much for Allah’s forgiveness (istighfar);
9. Always invoking the Blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); and
10. Persevering in the dhikrs that are sunna in the morning and evening.

Fundamentals of Tasawwuf by Imam an-Nawawi Part 3

From AhlusSunna

By Imam an-Nawawi

The principles of tasawwuf’s signs on a person are also five:

1. Seeking Sacred Knowledge in order to perform Allah’s command;
2. Keeping the company of shaykhs and fellow disciples (murids) in order to see with insight;
3. Foregoing both dispensations from religious obligations and figurative interpretations of scripture, for the sake of cautiousness;
4. Organizing one’s time with spiritual works to maintain presence of heart; and
5. Suspecting the self in all matters, in order to free oneself from caprice and be safe from destruction.

Fundamentals of Tasawwuf by Imam an-Nawawi Part 2

From AhlusSunna

By Imam an-Nawawi

The foundations of all of these consist of five:

1. High aspiration,
2. Keeping Allah’s reverence,
3. Giving the best of service,
4. Keeping one’s spiritual resolves, and
5. Esteeming Allah’s blessings.

Fundamentals of Tasawwuf by Imam an-Nawawi

From AhlusSunna

By Imam an-Nawawi

The basic rules of the way of Tasawwuf are five:

1. Having godfearingness privately and publicly,
2. Living according to the sunna in word and deed,
3. Indifference to whether others accept or reject one,
4. Satisfaction with Allah Most High in scarcity and plenty, and
5. Turning to Allah in happiness or affliction.

Shaping Islam in America: 10 Young Muslim Visionaries – Murad Kalam – The Novelist

From Islamica Magazine


There will always be novels—books to sit on our laps with pages to be turned. No blinking screen, no gadget will ever replace the novel.” Can Muslims make sure of that? Can we contribute to a global civilization that simultaneously seems intent on sidelining us? Murad Kalam has already served notice with Night Journey, his spectacularly well-received novel. “Remember also that many, even well-meaning people in the West, think that Islam is no longer compatible with civilization—that we cannot produce art. Prove them wrong.”

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Quotations: I Decline to Accept the End of Man

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice, which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

– William Faulkner

Is Marriage Sinful?

From Islamica Magazine

Understanding Mutual Responsibilities


At a recent dinner invitation, I noticed that most of those present had business relationships with each other. I feared that if there wasn’t some radical intervention, the conversation would center on things like guerilla marketing and such—not my cup of tea. So I decided to say something radical, hoping to shift the flow of conversation to human relationships instead. I said, “You know, I think that it is haram for many people to marry.”

Heads turned very fast. Some asked me whether I’d lost my mind. Others simply asked me what I meant.

I wasn’t joking, I said. No, I was very serious.

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