Thursday, July 13, 2017



existence originating from and having no source other than itself.

Tim Winter's translation for al-wujūb al-dhātī 

 Winter, Tim, "Ibn Kemāl (d.940/1535) on Ibn 'Arabī's Hagiology" in Sufism and Theology. ed. Ayman Shihadeh, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), pg. 147.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

"God has been so good to us!

We were idolaters, and if the Messenger of God had come with this entire religion all at once, and with the Quran all at once, the responsibilities would have weighed heavily upon us, and we would not have entered Islam. Rather, he called us to a single word, and when we accepted it and tasted the sweetness of faith, we accepted what came after it, word upon word, in a gentle way, until the religion was completed and the law was perfected.
-Imām 'Alī, quoted in The Study Qur'an, p. 174, commentary on Q3:159.

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: 

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:

-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