Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Seraj Hendricks’

We may either choose to stand on the edge of darkness (and note how darkness is often pluralised in the Qur’an in the form of Dhulumat), or we may choose to stand on the edge of light (and note how light – or Nur – is never pluralised in the Qur’an because light is One); or we may choose to dwell in those vast empty spaces in between where missionaries and zealots find the room to inflate their profoundly insecure egos. In those vast spaces they seek out bedrocks of granite upon which to build their castles of stone. But in their zeal they mistake the certainty of their castles for the fragility of their egos – and it is through the fragility of their egos upon which their castles are built that they announce their self-righteous triumph. And so it is that their “triumph” is spawned and proclaimed in a hail of belligerence and corrupted elemental bigotry. In these vast cemeterial plains, corpses put to the torch are often paraded as light.

While the Devil may be seen to personify darkness pluralised; or while he may even be seen to be the details, he is yet not in the details. He is in those vast spaces seeking out those so sure of themselves, so sure of their incorrigible bigotry – men and women alike – that even Santa Claus would stand envious of his facility in handing out infinite gifts of hatred, division, rancour, animosity, enmity, revulsion and aversion, all in gilt-wrapped boxes that would make Pandora scream with envy. In the Promethean scheme of things Pandora had a point; but you don’t set out to destroy evil with evil.

But beyond those vast and dark plains of burning corpses there is always the hope of life…the hope of love – a life and a love that shine with the radiant unicity of Light. I dedicate this as a prayer to the fitra of existence, to that which IS, to that which is so endearingly Pure and incorruptible.

(This “sharh” is a response in agreement with an article about women’s inclusion in sacred spaces.)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A number of my students have asked me about the position of our beloved teacher, the late Sayyid Muhammad ‘Alawi al-Maliki regarding the question of madhahib (Legal Schools of Thought) and ijtihad (the creative exercise of reason). It is important to remember that while he endorsed the distinction between those qualified to engage in ijtihad and those who are bound to follow the opinion of one or another mujtahid (one qualified to perform ijtihad) that his distinction was certainly not one of an absolute nature. He was far more wary of sectarianism than any degree of taqlid (imitation). He was acutely aware of the fact that both the mujtahid, particularly those who are mujtahidin within any particular school of thought, and the muqallid (the one bound to the learned opinion of a mujtahid), may well find themselves entrapped in the snare of rigidity and bigotry. In short, the relationship between the individual and any learned opinion or school of thought is defined and determined more by the attitudes inculcated in those individuals than any degree of adherence to a madhab or taqlid of an opinion could ever be.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Precious Extracts is a collection of excerpts, translated by Shaykh Seraj from the works of his revered and beloved Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki (ra), as well as reminiscences of their time together, containing gems of wisdom, for the discerning heart and mind.

It would be impossible to recollect, in its entirety, the  biography of Sayyid Muhammad in a few paragraphs. The immensity of his life and its far-reaching impact are like the ripples which form when a stone is dropped on still water, ever-expanding and perpetually resonating.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

An important aspect of tasawwuf (Islamic Spirituality/Sufism) is to cultivate those virtues and qualities of character that would encourage a sense of togetherness amongst people. In pursuit of this communal sense of elevated and loving togetherness, symbolised in the very word that defines the nature of the global Muslim community viz. ummah (a word with its etymological roots in the idea of the concept “mother”) one of the virtues Islam encourages to cultivate is that of forgiveness.

To pardon and forgive others for the wrongs done against one is one of the greatest acts of grace any human being is capable of. And why should it not be so? Forgiveness is something we constantly seek from Allah. But it certainly makes little sense if we seek that forgiveness while we, ourselves, refuse to be the well-springs of such forgiveness for our fellow human beings. As Muslims we are often aware and seemingly conscious of observing the laws of Islam. It behoves us equally, if indeed not more so, to embrace its spirit. Laws are there to regulate the affairs of society, not necessarily to create unity. Unity, or oneness of spirit, can only be realised within the spiritual and ethical framework of Islam. Not anywhere else. Those with bad manners – regardless of how erudite they might be or claim to be – are repulsive people. “Manners maketh the man” is a timeless truth.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Oh Allah, of Grace I ask You its perfection;

and of protection its duration;

and of mercy its completion;

and of health its attainment.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Allah says: “Say, He is Allah, the Unique (Ahad), the Absolute, the Sempiternal (Samad)…” (Qur’an, 112: 1-2).

Also: “That God does not change the condition of a people unless they effect the necessary change within themselves.” (Qur’an, 13: 11).

Within the framework of Ramadan and with a view to the Hajj I would like to examine two critical ideas that impact upon the making or unmaking of the ego (nafs – part of the anfus mentioned in the ayah) – the ideas of sincerity and change.

The Samadiyyah of Allah refers to two aspects:

1) His absolute independence from all things and,

2) The absolute dependence of all things on Him.

When we say

He (Huwa) is Allah, the Unique (Ahad), the Absolute, the Sempiternal (Samad)

the “Huwa” (He) here – while personalizing Allah in a sense so that we might relate and identify with His “Presence” – simultaneously references Allah in His absolute freedom from all need.

What is the relevance of this to the fast of Ramadan and Ikhlas (sincerity) – the name of the surah? In a very critical sense it has everything to do with Ramadan. “Ikhlas” has been variously defined as the Zahir (the outer) and the Batin (the inner) of a person mirroring each other, or as doing things exclusively for the sake of Allah alone (li wajhi Allah).

(more…)

Read Full Post »

“And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among your yourselves so that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them. And He has ordained between you love and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Q. 30 : 21).

“None honours women except he who is honourable, and none despises them except he who is despicable.” (Hadith).

The above verse and prophetic saying – and many others in addition to these – form an almost natural part of our repertoire of Islamic knowledge. Why and how did these sublime and divine imperatives become buried in contemporary Muslim society? This paper will attempt to explore the more fundamental causes that underlie the appalling status of women in our society. I will also in the process attempt to show that it is almost impossible to de-link what occurs in a society at large from the specifics of particular areas of interest. The macro, in other words, is intrinsically linked to the micro. Symptomatic treatments are no longer good enough. Another primary objective would be to examine, from a Muslim’s perspective, the present state of the house of Islam itself – rather than non-Muslim and Orientalist perceptions and prejudices of Islam which are for the most part legend. We shall look at the manner in which they have constructed that house and the way in which they perceive themselves within the broader parameters of that terrain.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »