Archive | Islam RSS feed for this section

The Spirits (al-Jinn) – And we sought the heavens and found it filled with strong guards and flaming darts

8 Apr

72 The Jinns
Al-Jinn: Makki
________________________________________
In the name of Allah, most benevolent, ever-merciful.
SAY: “I HAVE been informed that a number of jinns had listened; then said:
‘We have heard the wondrous Qur’an,
2. Which guides to the right path; and we have come to believe in it, and will
not associate any one with our Lord.
3. Exalted is the glory of our Lord; He has neither wife nor son.
4. Certainly the foolish among us say preposterous things of God.
5. We had in fact thought that men and jinns would never speak a lie about
God,
6. But some men used to seek refuge with some jinns, and this increased their
waywardness;
7. So they began to think, even as you do, that God would not resurrect any
one.
8. We sought to pry into the secrets of the heavens, but found it full of fierce
guards and shooting flames.
9. We sat in observatories to listen; but any one who listened found a shooting
star in wait for him.
10. We do not know if this means ill for the dwellers of the earth, or their Lord
wishes guidance for them.
11. For some of us are upright and some otherwise: Surely we follow different
ways.
12. We realised that we could not weaken the power of God on earth, nor
outpace Him by running away.
13. So when we heard the guidance we believed in it; and he who believes in
his Lord will neither fear loss nor force.
14. Some of us have come to submission, and some of us are iniquitous.'”
Those who have submitted have taken the right course;
15. But those who are iniquitous will be fuel for Hell.
16. (Say): “If they keep to the right path We shall give them water in
abundance to drink
17. In order to try them through it. But whoever turns away from the
remembrance of his Lord, will be given increasing torment by Him.”
18. All places of worship are for God; so do not invoke any one with God.
19. When the devotee of God stood up to invoke Him (the jinns) crowded upon
him (to listen). Say: “I call on my Lord alone and I do not associate any one
with Him.”
21. Say: “Neither is your loss within my power nor bringing you to guidance.”
22. Say: “No one can save me from God, nor can I find a place of refuge apart
from Him,
23. Unless I convey from God and deliver His message.” For those who
disobey God and His Apostle is the fire of Hell, where they will abide for ever;
24. Until they see what they are promised, when they will understand who is
weaker in aid and poorer in numbers.
25. Say: “I do not know if what is promised you is near, or if my Lord prolongs
its term.
26. He is the knower of the Unknown, and He does not divulge His secret to
any one
27. Other than an apostle He has chosen, when He makes a sentinel walk in
front of him and a sentinel behind,
28. So that He may know if they have delivered their Lord’s messages. He
comprehends all that has been given them, and keeps count of everything.

 

http://www.studyquran.org/Ahmed_Ali_Al_Quran.pdf

http://www.answering-islam.org/Books/Wherry/Commentary4/ch72.htm

Islam Edited by John Alden Williams (Inside Dust Jacket)

24 Feb

 

Islam: The Seveners (Long Excerpt)

1 Feb

A most interesting and historically important sect of Islam has been the division of the Shī’a known as the Seveners,  Although they have been divided by many schisms, and given rise to at least one separate religion, they all trace their spiritual parentage of Ismā’īl, eldest son of the sixth Imām of the Twelvers, Ja’far al-Sādiq. Ismā’īl is said by some Twelvers to have died before his father, by others to have been disowned for a fault ranging from drinking wine to participating in religious activist and revolutionary activities.  The Twelvers make his younger brother their seventh Imām ; the Seveners followed the descendants of Ismā’īl and are often called Ismā’īlīs.

The explication of their doctrine was profoundly in accord with old Hellenistic-Oriental gnostic ideas which flourished in many isolated parts of the Islamic Empire.  It was skillfully and secretly taught as an esoteric system by dā’īs, or missionaries, while the whereabouts of the Imāms were carefully concealed.  In some areas, such as the Syrian mountains, Kurdistan and Central Asia, the doctrine was grafted on to earlier gnostic communities.

In the late third century, the Ismā’īlīs led a series of religious political revolts patterned on that of the ‘Abbāsīs, which culminated in the establishment of an Ismā’īlī Caliphate “of the Children of Fātima” under their own Imām in Tunisia in 909. In 969 these Fātimī Caliphs took Eqypt and built Cairo as their capital, while trying to expand eastward at Abbāsī expense.  A curious episode of the Cairene period is that of the Caliph al-Hākim, who proclaimed his own divinity and in 1021 disappeared during a palace coup. The Druzes of the Lebanese Mountains accepted his claim, severed their connection with Muslims and hold that he was God Incarnate, now in ghayba. With the death of al-Hākim’s grandson, al-Mustanir (A.H. 487/A.D. 1094), the Ismā’īlīs divided. Their younger son, al-Musta’lī became Caliph, and the elder son, al-Nizār was imprisoned.  The followers of the sect in ‘Abbāsī territory refused to accept this, and took Nizār’s son to one of their mountain fortresses, Alamūt. The Nizārīs. as they became known were accused of immoderate use of the Indian hemp (marijuana) or hashīsh hence the name hashshāskīn. Their well-known practice of the carefully planed murder of enemies of the sect was justifiable by their doctrine that opponents of the Imām were manifestations of the material world of nonbeing, and had no “real” existence. (This has given us the word “assassinate.”)

The Mongols destroyed the Nizārī strongholds, and for many years the sect was in another period of taqīya or concealment.  At times they have concealed themselves in the guise of Sῡfī orders; Seveners have always had a close affinity with some Sῡfīs, and influenced the teachers of Ibn al-‘Arabi.  In 1817 the Qajar Shah of Persia gave their Imām the title “Aghā Khān.” Nizārī dā’īs had had considerable success in converting Hindus to their doctrines,and the Imām moved to India in the nineteenth century.

The visible line of Must’lī Imāms ended in A.H. 524/ A.D. 1130. when Musta’līs son al-Āmir died. He is said by the sect to have left a son, the infant al-Tayyib, who went into occultation; the Musta’lī Imāmate is therefore invisible.  The Fātimī Caliphs who succeeded, not being in the direct line of succession, were not Imāms Even this limited Caliphate was brought to an end by Salāh al-Dīn al-Ayyῡbī in 1171; the leadership of the sect passed to dā’īs in Yemen, who converted numbers of Hindus in Gujerat in West India, the so-called Bohras. The Musta’lῑs have split several times.

A good deal of the Sevener literature has been published; it appears to be self-contradictory and confusing. This is because all explication of their doctrine was conducted on the sound principle that Truth, while absolute, is necessarily apprehended in a relative way by each individual-that one man’s deepest spiritual verity may be another’s scandal. Thus there might be many approaches in their propaganda, depending on who was involved and where, and when.

There were degrees of knowledge within the sect according to the amount of truth the individual was judged able to bear, though this aspect was much over-emphasized by their opponents.

To be sure, the doctrine changes in the forms in which it was presented, and varied from one time or area to another. In India, it might be convenient to explain the avatars of the gods as former prophets, or vice versa. But in all its known forms, the Islam’ili doctrine comes from the world of late Hellenistic thought-the metaphysics of Neoplatonism and the physics of Ptolemaeus. God is seen as pure Unity, the One, without attributes, incomprehensible to human thought. He is only to be approached by His emanations. He manifests Himself through prime or spiritual matter; here the Universal Intellect, Or Nous, is emanated. To it is imparted Divine knowledge it then passes this knowledge on to the Universal Soul, or Pneuma. at the bottom of the scale of emanations is the physical material world, but even it bears the stamp of the Divine. The emanation of the Universal Intellect in the world of nature is the Natiqs, or greatest prophets, in cycles of seven. The current cycle runs from Adam to Muhammad, the sixth. The emanation of the Universal Spirit is the Wasi, who accompanies each Natiq. He is the Imam, and may be incarnated in many bodies.

As a religious synthesis of all the science and philosophy available to medieval Islam, Isma ‘ilism had an immense intellectual appeal; is was a “scientific” religion. The mystical number seven and the science of the celestial spheres also figure in Isma ‘ili literature.

John Alden Williams Ed. Islam (Great Religions of Modern Man) Dissidents of Community The Seveners (George Braziller, New York 1962) pp. 231-234

Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam: Listen to the tale of the reed flute… (Poem)

12 Aug

Listen to the tale of the reed flute
Complaining of the pain of separation:
“Since they tore me from the reed-bed,
My laments move man and woman to tears
O, for a bosom torn like mine with the wound of
severance,
That I may tell it of the pain of longing!
He who is far from his place of origin
Longs for the Day of the Return
In every company I tell my wailing song.
I have consorted with the unhappy and the joyous;
Each one becomes my friend for his own sake;
None asks the secrets of my heart.
My secret is not far from my plaint,
But eye and ear lack light to discern.”
Body from Soul and Soul from body are not veiled,
Yet to none is it given to see the Soul.
A fire is this noise of the reed-flute!
May whoso has no fire be nought.
The fire of Love has caught the reed;
The ferment of Love has changed the wine.
The reed is comrade to him who has lost his Friend,
It strains rend the veil from our hearts….
It tells of the mystic path of blood,
I recounts the love of Manjun for Layla.
In our woe life’s days are grown untimely;
My days move hand in hand with anguish.
Though they pass away thus, let them go!
Thou remainest, Incomparable Purity….
Yet he who is raw cannot understand ripeness,
Therefore my words must be brief:
Arise, oh my son, burst thy bonds and be free!
How long wilt though be fettered with gold and
silver?

Jalal al-Din Rumi:  Rumi (died 1273), the theologian of Persian poetry , came of an East Persian family which emigrated to Konya, the Saljuq capital of Muslim Anatolia (Rum), shortly before the Mongol invasions devastated Persia and Iraq.

But Rumi’s greatest work is the Mathnavi  “The Qur’an of the Persian Language,’ a vast poem containing fables, allegories and reflections on Sufi thought.  While it has little artistic unity, being apparently written in periods of inspiration over a long space of time.

Rumi also founded the Mawlawi or Mevlevi brotherhood, the “Whirling Dervishes,” whose mystical dance in the sama’, to recall the order of the heavenly spheres, is a sedate gyrating.  Sections of the  Mathnavi or the Diwan such as the superb opening “Song of the Reed Flute.” from the Mathnavi, which plaintively tells of the soul’s longing for God, the Source of its existence, were chanted at these sessions.

John Alden Williams Ed., Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam (George Braziller, New York,1962 p. 162-163)

BBC drama Merlin to air on NBC (Newspaper Article)

5 Jun
First British drama shown on a mainstream US network for more than 30 years

The BBC1 drama series about the mythical wizard Merlin will make history this month when it becomes the first British drama to air on one of America’s main television networks since The New Avengers more than 30 years ago.

The new telling of the Arthurian legend, starring newcomer Colin Morgan and featuring John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon, will air on NBC in a prime 8pm slot on Sundays from 21 June.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/jun/06/bbc-merlin-nbc-british-us-tv

68th: Sura 88 AL-GHASHIYA (THE OVERWHELMING, THE PALL)

9 Apr

68th: Sura 88

AL-GHASHIYA (THE OVERWHELMING, THE PALL)

Total Verses: 26                                        Ibn Kathir on Sura 88    
Given in Mecca                                     Robert Spencer on Sura 88

088.001
YUSUFALI: Has the story reached thee of the overwhelming (Event)?
PICKTHAL: Hath there come unto thee tidings of the Overwhelming?
SHAKIR: Has not there come to you the news of the overwhelming calamity?

088.002
YUSUFALI: Some faces, that Day, will be humiliated,
PICKTHAL: On that day (many) faces will be downcast,
SHAKIR: (Some) faces on that day shall be downcast,

088.003
YUSUFALI: Labouring (hard), weary,-
PICKTHAL: Toiling, weary,
SHAKIR: Laboring, toiling,

088.004
YUSUFALI: The while they enter the Blazing Fire,-
PICKTHAL: Scorched by burning fire,
SHAKIR: Entering into burning fire,

088.005
YUSUFALI: The while they are given, to drink, of a boiling hot spring,
PICKTHAL: Drinking from a boiling spring,
SHAKIR: Made to drink from a boiling spring.

088.006
YUSUFALI: No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari’
PICKTHAL: No food for them save bitter thorn-fruit
SHAKIR: They shall have no food but of thorns,

088.007
YUSUFALI: Which will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger.
PICKTHAL: Which doth not nourish nor release from hunger.
SHAKIR: Which will neither fatten nor avail against hunger.

088.008
YUSUFALI: (Other) faces that Day will be joyful,
PICKTHAL: In that day other faces will be calm,
SHAKIR: (Other) faces on that day shall be happy,

088.009
YUSUFALI: Pleased with their striving,-
PICKTHAL: Glad for their effort past,
SHAKIR: Well-pleased because of their striving,

088.010
YUSUFALI: In a Garden on high,
PICKTHAL: In a high Garden
SHAKIR: In a lofty garden,

088.011
YUSUFALI: Where they shall hear no (word) of vanity:
PICKTHAL: Where they hear no idle speech,
SHAKIR: Wherein you shall not hear vain talk.

088.012
YUSUFALI: Therein will be a bubbling spring:
PICKTHAL: Wherein is a gushing spring,
SHAKIR: Therein is a fountain flowing,

088.013
YUSUFALI: Therein will be Thrones (of dignity), raised on high,
PICKTHAL: Wherein are couches raised
SHAKIR: Therein are thrones raised high,

088.014
YUSUFALI: Goblets placed (ready),
PICKTHAL: And goblets set at hand
SHAKIR: And drinking-cups ready placed,

088.015
YUSUFALI: And cushions set in rows,
PICKTHAL: And cushions ranged
SHAKIR: And cushions set in a row,

088.016
YUSUFALI: And rich carpets (all) spread out.
PICKTHAL: And silken carpets spread.
SHAKIR: And carpets spread out.

088.017
YUSUFALI: Do they not look at the Camels, how they are made?-
PICKTHAL: Will they not regard the camels, how they are created?
SHAKIR: Will they not then consider the camels, how they are created?

088.018
YUSUFALI: And at the Sky, how it is raised high?-
PICKTHAL: And the heaven, how it is raised?
SHAKIR: And the heaven, how it is reared aloft,

088.019
YUSUFALI: And at the Mountains, how they are fixed firm?-
PICKTHAL: And the hills, how they are set up?
SHAKIR: And the mountains, how they are firmly fixed,

088.020
YUSUFALI: And at the Earth, how it is spread out?
PICKTHAL: And the earth, how it is spread?
SHAKIR: And the earth, how it is made a vast expanse?

088.021
YUSUFALI: Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish.
PICKTHAL: Remind them, for thou art but a remembrancer,
SHAKIR: Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder.

088.022
YUSUFALI: Thou art not one to manage (men’s) affairs.
PICKTHAL: Thou art not at all a warder over them.
SHAKIR: You are not a watcher over them;

088.023
YUSUFALI: But if any turn away and reject Allah,-
PICKTHAL: But whoso is averse and disbelieveth,
SHAKIR: But whoever turns back and disbelieves,

088.024
YUSUFALI: Allah will punish him with a mighty Punishment,
PICKTHAL: Allah will punish him with direst punishment.
SHAKIR: Allah will chastise him with the greatest chastisement.

088.025
YUSUFALI: For to Us will be their return;
PICKTHAL: Lo! unto Us is their return
SHAKIR: Surely to Us is their turning back,

088.026
YUSUFALI: Then it will be for Us to call them to account.
PICKTHAL: And Ours their reckoning.
SHAKIR: Then surely upon Us is the taking of their account.

http://chronquran.blogspot.com/2011/01/68th-sura-88.html

Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam: The Whirling Dervishes (Excerpt)

5 Apr
Listen to the tale of the reed flute
Complaining of the pain of separation:
“Since they tore me from the reed-bed,
My laments move man and woman to tears
O, for a bosom torn like mine with the wound of
severance,
That I may tell it of the pain of longing!
He who is far from his place of origin
Longs for the Day of the Return
In every company I tell my wailing song.
I have consorted with the unhappy and the joyous;
Each one becomes my friend for his own sake;
None asks the secrets of my heart.
My secret is not far from my plaint,
But eye and ear lack light to discern.”
Body from Soul and Soul from body are not veiled,
Yet to none is it given to see the Soul.
A fire is this noise of the reed-flute!
May whoso has no fire be nought.
The fire of Love has caught the reed;
The ferment of Love has changed the wine.
The reed is comrade to him who has lost his Friend,
It strains rend the veil from our hearts….
It tells of the mystic path of blood,
I recounts the love of Manjun for Layla.
In our woe life’s days are grown untimely;
My days move hand in hand with anguish.
Though they pass away thus, let them go!
Thou remainest, Incomparable Purity….
Yet he who is raw cannot understand ripeness,
Therefore my words must be brief:
Arise, oh my son, burst thy bonds and be free!
How long wilt though be fettered with gold and
silver?Jalal al-Din Rumi:  Rumi (died 1273), the theologian of Persian poetry , came of an East Persian family which emigrated to Konya, the Saljuq capital of Muslim Anatolia (Rum), shortly before the Mongol invasions devastated Persia and Iraq.

But Rumi’s greatest work is the Mathnavi  “The Qur’an of the Persian Language,’ a vast poem containing fables, allegories and reflections on Sufi thought.  While it has little artistic unity, being apparently written in periods of inspiration over a long space of time.

Rumi also founded the Mawlawi or Mevlevi brotherhood, the “Whirling Dervishes,” whose mystical dance in the sama’, to recall the order of the heavenly spheres, is a sedate gyrating.  Sections of the  Mathnavi or the Diwan such as the superb opening “Song of the Reed Flute.” from the Mathnavi, which plaintively tells of the soul’s longing for God, the Source of its existence, were chanted at these sessions.

John Alden Williams Ed., Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam (George Braziller, New York,1962 p. 162-163)