Happy new year to all our Jewish readers and friends around the world! May you have a sweet year!
As Muharram and Rosh Hashana are so close together this year, let this be an auspicious sign that our people can find peace together as well. We are brothers and sisters from the tent of Abraham and Sara and Haggar. Our common bonds of kinship are stronger than our struggles. Peace, Peace Peace!
Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi was an Islamic scholar and reformer. He worked for the revival of Muslim rule and intellectual learning in South Asia, during a time of waning Muslim power.He despised the divisions and deviations within Islam and its practice in India and hoped to “purify” the religion and unify all Indian Muslims under the “banner of truth”. He is also thought to have anticipated a number of progressive, social, economic, and political ideas of the modern era such as social reform, equal rights, labour protection, welfare entitlement of all to food, clothing, housing, etc.
Hazrat Khawaja Syed Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Semnani Noor Bakhshi (Urdu and Persian:سیداشرف جهانگیر سمنانی) was a legendary Sufi saint of Persian origin who was affiliated with fourteen different Sufi orders. He made a notable contribution to the advancement of the Chishti silsilah in particular.
Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur was born on the 21st of January in the year 1861 at a place called Kamptee situated near Nagpur in the state of Maharastra. He was one of the Five Perfect Masters of Meher Baba.
Tajuddin Baba was born as a unusual child. It is said that he did not cry as a baby and physical torture was done to him by his parents in order to make the child cry. Baba wore the marks of these tortures on his body until last.
The 4th Imam after Imam Hussain(a.s.) was his son Imam Ali Zain-al-Abideen(a.s.). His mother was Bibi Shahar Bano who was a princess from Persia, the daughter of the King Yazd Gard II. She was brought as a prisoner of war during the caliphate period of mam Ali(a.s.) during 31 A.H. and Imam Ali(a.s.) got her freed and married her to Imam Hussain(a.s.). Imam Zain-al-Abideen was born from this wedlock. She, however, died within 10 days of the birth of Imam Sajjad(a.s.).
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“I have been requested by Shaykh, Sidi Muhammad al-Buzidi al-Hasani, as well has his Shaykh, the Qutb, Mulay al-‘Arabi al-Darqawi al-Hasani, to set down in writing a commentary that would combine both exoteric explanation and esoteric allusion, and I have responded to their request…in hopes that this work will benefit many and be a joy to the heart as well as to the ear.”
The 18th century Moroccan mystic and scholar, Ahmad ibn ‘Ajiba, virtually unknown in the west before the 1967 publication of Jean-Louis Michon’s Le Soufi Marocain Ibn ‘Ajiba et son Mi’raj, spent six year towards the end of his life working intermittently on his single greatest work, The Immense Ocean (al-Bahr al-Madid), a complete commentary on the Holy Quran. The finished work would differ from all other previous Quranic commentaries (tafasir) by the fact that in addition to presenting the exoteric explanation for every verse, it also included esoteric commentary (ishara) which related each verse to the mystic path of Islam, Sufism.
The present translation is of one section— the fifty-fourth hizb (or part) containing the Chapters of The All-Merciful, The Event, and Iron—from this unique and monumental work. Its intention is to provide the Anglophone reader with access not only to how the generality of educated Muslims have understood the dominant themes of these Chapters since the earliest days of Islam, but also how traditional Sufic sources have viewed these same themes in respect to the microcosm of the soul and the journey towards God.
To this latter dimension, Ibn ‘Ajiba adds insights arising from his own spiritual quest, that of a man who, in his early 40s, having lived the life of a scholar from a noble Tetouani family, turned away from all the rank and respect he had previously enjoyed in order to become the disciple of two of the greatest Sufic teachers of his day, Mulay al-‘Arabi al-Darqawi and Muhammad al-Buzidi, and immerse himself in the rigorous spiritual training and practice that characterized their way, al-Tariqa al-Shadhiliyya al-Darqawiyya. This translation, then presents both an example of Islamic scholarship based on traditional formal sources as well as insight into Ibn ‘Ajiba’s own personal journey of discovery.
In the course of this work, the reader will find commentary, both exoteric and esoteric, on verses concerning the interrelation between Divine benevolence and human gratitude; the blessings of Heaven and the place of faithful men and women there; the relationship between practice, grace, and salvation; the role and meaning of the invocation and remembrance of God (dhikr Allah); the ephemeral nature of this world; the essential traits of Christians; the meaning of earthy tribulations; and the benefits of charity.
In addition the reader will discover the depths at which Quranic discourse has been understood by the mystics of Islam over the centuries (and up to the present day), a depth at which formal differences between traditions become less and less distinct and the similarities in the human quest for knowledge of the Divine ever more inspiring.