Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"What they strove to achieve

 was a continuous state of recollection (dawām al-dhikr) or, in another formulation, the transformation of the dhikr into a natural disposition (malaka) that even the reciter's heart would cease to sense, so as to become oblivious of anything that was not God, including the very act of remembrance.
-Dina Le Gall, A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandīs in the Ottoman World, 1450-1700. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005), p. 114.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Every trade's motive is the hope for gain

Every trade's motive is the hope for gain
Even if toil should make you suffer pain.

Going down to the store to sell each morning
Is always with the hope to make a living:

If there's no prospect, then why step outside?
Who can feel strong with fear they'll be denied?

How can fear you'll forever be without
Not make you hesitant to seek it out?

You say, 'Although I fear I'll be denied,
That fear gets worse if I've not even tried:

When I strive hard, my hope feels stronger, while
In idleness I face a harsher trial.'

Why then in spiritual works, you doubting twit,
Does fear of loss prevent you seeking it?

Have you not seen how in our marketplace
Prophets and saints gain profit and much grace?

Huge gold-mines opened when they reached this store,
And in this marketplace they've gained much more.

To Abraham the flames became obedient
And waves bore Noah safely like a servant.

Iron obeyed, melting in David's hand;
Wing turned to Solomon's slave at his command.

-Rumi, The Masnavi, Book Three, trans. by Jawid Mojaddedi, (Oxford: Oxford University Press/Oxford World's Classics, 2013), pgs. 188-9.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

513 titles available online from Islamic Studies Library from McGill

The Islamic Studies library was founded in 1952, along with the Institute of Islamic Studies by Prof. Wilfred Cantwell Smith. The library has grown from a modest departmental collection to a very well regarded library of over 150,000 volumes covering the whole of Islamic civilization in a number of languages including Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu. This sizable and rich collection is unique in Canada with only the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library comparable in size and breadth. The physical collection is spread between the Islamic Studies Library in Morrice Hall and Rare Books and Special Collections in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. More information at: mcgill.ca/library/branches/islamic/about 

Article by Akbar Ahmed on Abdal Hakim Murad

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Social and cultural institutions

were also subjected to state control. Two important cases included the Islamic institutions of al-Azhar in Egypt and Zaytuna in Tunisia. The first was used by the Egyptian regime to bolster the regime's legitimacy and power vis-a-vis Islamist movements. Nasser ensured that al-Azhar became part of the state by placing it under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Endowments. The president nominated the grand shaykh of al-Azhar, who subsequently became beholden to the Egyptian president for his appointment.
fn 63. Malika Zeghal, "Al Azhar and Radical Islam." International Journal of Middle East Studies, 31, 1 (2000), pp. 3-22.
Al Zaytouna were also marginalized due to the secularizing thrust of the presidencies of Bourguiba and Ben Ali. Under both rulers, Zaytuna morphed into a small institution of higher education, completely separated from the Zaytuna mosque and placed under the tight grip of the authoritarian state. Moreover, similarly to al-Azhar in Egypt, it was barred from playing any political role, even in the service of the authoritarian leader.
fn. 64. Malika Zeghal, "Teaching Again at the Zaytuna Mosque in Tunisia," On Islam and Politics: http://onislamandpolitics.wordpress.com/tag/bourguiba/

-Nadine Sika, "The Arab State and Social Contestation," in Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East, ed. Mehran Kamrava, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 89-90.

NYT Editorial Board: President Trump Picks Sides, Not Diplomacy, in the Gulf June 7, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"Even if the Mufti of Constantinople

were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service." 
-Benjamin Franklin
-Cited by Juan Cole, Engaging the Muslim World, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), p. 238. His footnote (#3) is Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 2nd ed. (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 176. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"When does the disease of the lower self become its own remedy?"

Al-Junayd said, "I got up one night to keep my period of private night prayer, but I did not experience my usual consolation. I decided to go back to sleep but I could not. So I sat up, but I could not do that either. So I opened the door and went outside, and there was a man wrapped in a woolen cloak lying on the path. 
When he noticed me, he raised his head and said, "O Abū 'l-Qāsim come quickly!' 
'Right away, good sir,' I replied. 
The he said, 'I asked the Inciter of Hearts to arouse your heart.' 
'He has done just that,' I responded. 'What is that you need?'  
He asked me then, 'When does the disease of the lower self become its own remedy?
I replied, 'When the lower self acts against its passions its disease becomes its cure.' 
The man was pensive for a moment and then said, 'Had I given you that answer seven times you would have rejected it. But now you have heard it from al-Junayd, so you have listened to it.' 
Then he turned away from me but I did not know him. [12]
-Ibn 'Abbād of Ronda: Letters on the Sūfī Path. Translation and Introduction by John Renard, S.J. Preface by Annemarie B. Schimmel. (New York: Paulist Press, 1986), pgs. 120-1.

"While I was there

I also met with a young black man who worked at McDonald's. He and I chatted for a while. He informed me that, to him and his friends, politics was totally irrelevant to their lives. It was not something they cared about or even talked about.
Frankly, this lack of political consciousness is exactly what the ruling class of this country wants. The Koch brothers spend hundreds of millions to elect candidates who represent the rich and the powerful. They understand the importance of politics. Meanwhile, people who work for low wages, have no health insurance, and live in inadequate housing don't see a connection between the reality of their lives and what government does or does not do. Showing people that connection is a very big part of what a progressive political movement has to do. How can we bring about real social change in this country if people in need are not involved in the political process? We need a political revolution. We need to get people involved. We need to get people voting.
-Bernie Sanders, Our Revolution (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2016), p. 66.