The Importance of Learning Traditional Arabic

arabic-home-design-modern-home-design-traditional-arabic-home-designOne of the greatest pleasures that providence has thrown my way is that I was given the opportunity to learn Arabic in the traditional manner studying at the feet of masters. This prodigious good fortune to have inherited from my forebears a language that has two really special features. One is that it is the language chosen by our Lord Most High to be the vehicle for His Divine Message. The other is that during the last fourteen centuries, it has been, one of the great vehicles of thought, communication and culture of all time.

I personally believe that there is no better way that you can spend your time – that is to say, that there is no way you can spend your time more valuably, more satisfyingly, or even, other than in the sense of instant and swiftly-come-and-gone gratification, more enjoyably.

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How to Give a Persuasive Presentation

A merry soul by the name of Miss Khadim, who writes under the nom de plume: the Silent Soliloquy asked me last week to write something on how to give a presentation. Although what she asked was about instructive speech, I will focus today on persuasive speech and return to instructive speech in a forthcoming blog.

Aristotle, who is commonly known as a philosopher, and you might be forgiven to think what might a philosopher have to say about giving presentations. But, as we shall see in this blog, Aristotle has great insight in this area; given that a presentation in other words is the act of persuading others to act or believe in a certain way; this is precisely what Aristotle is a master of – the art of persuasion – and his book entitled Rhetoric is the masterpiece that he produced on this topic.

There are basically three main strategies that one employs to persuade others. And the best words to describe these three strategies are the ones that the Greeks used. They are: ethos, pathos and logos.

rhetoric Continue reading →

The Quran – Deciphering Holy Writ

quran

Literally, the Quran in Arabic means recitation. Fulfilling this purpose, it is perhaps the most recited – as well as the most read book in the world. Certainly, it is the most memorised book in the world, and possibly one that exerts the most influence on those who read it. So great was the Prophet Muhammad’s, Allah bless him and give him peace, regard for its contents that he considered it the major miracle that God worked through him. He himself, unschooled to the extent that he was unlettered, could not have produced a book that provides a ground plan of all knowledge and at the same time is without poetic peer.

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Understanding the Daughters of Eve

Love is to man a thing apart, 

‘Tis woman’s whole existence. 

(Lord Byron)

In millions of homes everyday there are men leaving for work who probably have as their last words, “Who can understand a woman? What makes her act that way?”

This lack of understanding between the sexes arises from the fact that women are not like men. They do not think as men do. They are different in temperament, characteristics and needs. They have a different world of responsibility and therefore a different set of problems.

And yet women can be understood. To gain such an understanding is to gain a liberating education – one that is essential for the ying and yang  balance in marriage. The following are some of the most basic needs and characteristics to understand if you (men) are to live with a woman in peace and happiness. Continue reading →

The Importance of Being Grateful

WordsworthThe onslaught of technology has left us with little energy or mental space to ponder over creation. In times gone by, nature spoke the language of God; it still does but we fail to comprehend it. William Wordsworth, the celebrated English poet, repeatedly lamented the loss of the connection with the divine. His ode, ‘Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’ begins with these words:

‘There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparelled in celestial light

The glory and freshness of a dream.’  Continue reading →

Philosophy of the Hijab

hijabA relative of mine asked me about the hijab, and this is what I replied:

The concept of hijab is based on modesty, which as Muslims, is a praiseworthy trait and in this sense of the term it is not gender-specific. It is incumbent on both male and females to adopt and adorn themselves with modesty and decorum when they interact with each other. This should be obvious. This notion of hijab thus goes beyond the outward dictates of the law – it is an inner trait that one adopts. A non-hijabi in this sense can be adorned with the praiseworthy trait of modesty, and a hijabi can be completely divest of it.

The law possesses both an outward conformance and inward reality – the letter and spirit of the law respectively. The ideal is to create an inward and outward harmony. Even a superficial reading of Quranic verses and related hadiths will attest that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace,  has always emphasized the balance that is reached by this.    Continue reading →

Remembering Maulana Hasan Tai (1930-2017)

 

Sadly, on the 28th of December 2017, Maulana Muhammad Hasan departed from this temporal abode and left us with his memories.

عن عاءـشة قالت : ما غرت على أحد من نساء النبي  ما غرت على خديجة – وما رأيتها – ولكن كان يكثر ذكرها، وربما ذبح الشاة فيقطعها أعضاء، ثم يبعثها في صدائق خديجة، فربما قلت: كأنه لم يكن في الدنيا امرأة إلا خديجة فيقول: «إنها كانت وكانت وكان لي منها      ولد

 

Aisha, Allah be well pleased with her, states that:

“I was not envious of any of the wives of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, more than I envied Khadija – and I had not seen her – but the Prophet used to remember her frequently. He, at times, used to distribute meat amongst Khadija’s friends, whereupon I would exclaim, “It’s as if there is no other woman in the world except Khadijah!”

He would remark, “She was like this …and like this.. and I have had children from her”

(Bukhari)

As I sit down to write this, there are many memories that I recall about Maulana Hasan Tai – too many to mention here. Somewhat similar to how the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to reminisce over Khadijah. Continue reading →

Shah Rafi Uddin’s Metaphysics

blind men

John Godfrey Saxe’s (1816-1887) version of Blind Men and the Elephant:

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

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Islamic Tradition of Books

The visitor to an Islamic bookstore is struck by the orderly rows of
Arabic sets, usually handsomely bound in rich colours with calligraphic
titles framed in arabesque and stamped in gold or silver. Nowadays, the
title commonly runs boldly across the spines of all the volumes.

 

A well run
bookstore will have these works sorted by discipline: commentaries
on the Qur’an; collections of the reported words and deeds of the Prophet
and his Companions, with their commentaries; Islamic law, both rulings
and studies of the principles to be followed in deducing law; theology;
large biographical dictionaries of individuals of various classes, most
commonly scholars; histories and geographies; and Arabic grammars
and dictionaries. Continue reading →

Shah Rafi’ Uddin’s Risala fi Tatbiq al-Araa

tn_takmil_al-azhanwmShah Rafi’ Uddin, the son of Shah Waliullah, has developed a systematic approach in dealing with differences of opinion in his Risala fi Tatbiq al-Araa‘. He deals with differences of opinion per se – regardless of whether they are theological, educational, or practical – his method is philosophical and it attempts at understanding all differences. This is not to be confused with synthesism nor for that matter a triumphalist attempt at rebutting all opposing opinions but rather he defines it as: Continue reading →