— The Risale-i Nur Collection (Turkish: Risale-i Nur Külliyatı, Ottoman Turkish: رسالة نور كلىاتي) is a tafsir (Islamic exegesis) on the Qur’an written by Said Nursi between the 1910s and 1950s in Turkey. In fact, this commentary doesn’t keep the ayah order in commenting on the meanings, unlike the methodology of classical Islamic exegesis. It is rather a thematic tafsir in dealing with the doubts about the basic doctrines and principles of Islam. This collection includes fourteen books and every book includes several chapters and every chapter is about a distinctive topic regarding the Islamic issues that are criticized and attacked by modernity or in particular, atheism and naturalism. So that, the primary purpose of the Risale-i Nur is the revitalization of the faith of the ordinary believers, along with the moral renewal. This magnum opus of Said Nursi is a deep reflection on the Qur’an that includes a rational analysis of the Islamic sources and reinterpreting it for the mentality of his age. However, it isn’t just an exegesis but also it is a reflection of the author’s own life.
Lucifero, circa 1450-75.
From Divine Comedy, version of a 14th century manuscript.
Trivulziana library, Milan, Italy.
Imam Fode Drame was born in the Senegambian region of West Africa. He descends from the Jakhanke tribe, which is primarily known for producing erudite and distinguished Islamic scholars. The curriculum vitae of the Jakhanke are of an excellent quality, nurturing children with value placed in learning in their natural environment as early as age six. Many still remain active as scholarly Muslim teachers. The Jakhanke highly value education and scholarship and are known for their success in all areas of Islamic Education and beyond. You can read more about his family in the book “The Jakhanke Muslim Clerics: A Religious & Historical Study of Islam in Senegambia" by Lamin Sanneh (ISBN 0819174815).
Imam Fode learned the formal recitation and memorization of the Qur’an at a very early age and was fully immersed in all his formal studies of Hadith, Fiqh, Arabic Grammar, Language Acquisition, and Tafseer (Qur’anic Exegesis). Imam Fode’s desire for learning lead him to Senegal to pursue further studies in French. He remained in Senegal as a teacher until he departed to Canada. Upon moving to Canada, he pursued further education in Montreal, while being the resident Imam of the West Island Islamic center. He studied in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Quebec. As a multilingual speaker, Imam Fode Drame is acquainted with several African and European tongues, Hebrew, as well as with a mastery of Arabic.
He left Montreal in 1999 and subsequently moved to Vancouver. Along with reading and writing at a hectic pace, he currently heads the Zawiyah Foundation, where he gives regular classes on a variety of topics, including Islamic spirituality or Tasawwuf. He has become a lead figure in the community acting as an Imam, scholar, and teacher.
Some of Imam Fode’s writings termed the “Expansions” are due for publication in the next few months. Imam Fode Drame is also quite active in Multifaith work both locally and globally.
May Allah make us benefit from him, Ameen.
More information can be found here: www.zawiyah.ca
The first in a series of classroom-style lectures held at the world famous Abiquiu Madrassa in New Mexico. The primary objective of this series was to educate non-Muslim teachers about the fundamental Islamic beliefs and practices within the context of an interactive and intensive spiritual retreat. In introducing this ambitious topic, Abdal Hakim Murad, a lecturer in theology at Cambridge University in England, asks two very engaging questions: What happens when you try to grasp the meaning and reality of another faith and why is Islam worth studying? After providing a more than adequate answer, he proceeds on to the much anticipated overview of the five pillars of Islam. Murad provides a highly intellectual perspective that is useful for non-Muslims as well as Muslims. (Recorded at the Dar al Islam Teachers’ Institute seminar). Other topics discussed: Islamic “clergy”, humility in studying another religion, the modern Muslim resurgence, Islamic “fundamentalism”, “Muhammadanism”, the Hadith of Gabriel, the idea of original sin, mosque architecture, and wudu (ablution).
Effects of White Phosphorus and Depleted Uranium; in case you forgot.
Iraq still pays compensation for the 6 month war waged on Kuwait by Saddam in 1990. The US does not pay compensation for the 9 year illegal occupation of Iraq. These are the effects and the consequences of an illegal war, it is always the children who suffer.
As sent to a small group of friends and family:
June 1st, Friday, 2012;
I have been on a spiritual path oscillating in and around Islam for some time now. At first it was just a curious extension of my interest in the middle east and my concern of the events taking place there. However, I continued, as I always have, to question my existence and explore the many offered answers to these questions. The whole of this experience including the beliefs I’ve long felt strongly about, began ascending, coalescing, into this Islam. It has since developed into the most beautiful thing.
The small niche in which I’ve existed, wherein contains my heart, has now a luminance which only appeared so fleetingly before, by a lamp that according to all clinical trials I did not put there.
I’m aware that some of you might think it is weird, stupid, or particularly bad. It might remind you about patriarchy, violence, forced primitivism, or other oppressions. If you look you will find all the bad stuff; moreover, if you look you will find all the good stuff. It is not often as simple as is seemingly evident. And I can assure you with utmost certainty that it is not to be internalized or judged as it is presented in the western media contraption.
The Islam I have found is a soft Islam, a moderate Islam, an egalitarian Islam, a complex Islam, a loving Islam, a powerful Islam, an empowering Islam. It is about being a disciplined, contented, gracious, conscious, good-natured human; it is about reflecting the majestic qualities, striving for a higher morality, a higher justice, to achieve a higher spirituality and equilibrium, to harness a strength of character. I don’t mind praying five times a day because it is meekly five times more I will stop and recognize the moment in gratuity, a meek five more times I will stop and open my heart to those I love and those I struggle with, a meek five more times I will stop and consider my actions; a meek five more times I can yearn to be in the cusp of that loving magnificence I find so elusive, yet ever present.
So, I just wanted to extend my happiness and declaration (because that is what the Shahada is!) to a few of you, not for acceptance but as a nod in sight of you whom I love and who love me back. This is an update with love. I wanted to say this in gratuity for you, my friends, and as a prayer to your hearts. May they, in any and all ways, be lit and continue as an eternal flame, to light your way. Arise as lanterns, beacons. As stars.
Payphones of the Middle East
Payphones of the Middle East
Hijama (Arabic: حجامة lit. “sucking”) is the name in Arab traditional medicine for wet cupping, where blood is drawn by vacuum from a small skin incision for therapeutic purposes. Hijama is generally performed by Muslims as it is a form of medicine specifically mentioned and encouraged by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Among other hadith, it is mentioned in that recorded by Muhammad al-Bukhari (5263) and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (2952), saying “The Hijama is the best of your remedies” (خير ما تداويتم به الحجامة).
One night a man was crying,
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer for that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage,
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express
is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them.
- Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, ‘Love Dogs’
My sufi teacher, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, when he saw me, and knowing my name was Barks, would go into a wolf howl for a joke and a teaching. He mirrored some need to howl that he saw there walking in. He himself would often break into spontaneous praise songs while sitting on his bed. Crying out loud for help is Rumi’s point. With that vulnerable breaking open in the psyche, the milk of grace starts to flow”
- Coleman Barks, ‘The Essential Rumi’, chapter #14 The Howling Necessity: Cry Out in Your Weakness
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