Summer Reading List 2012

These are the books I hope to read over the summer:

[1] Imam al-Shatibi’s, al-Muwaffaqat. [2] Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community by Wendell Berry; [3] Ziauddin Sardar’s, Islam, Postmodernism and Other Futures; [4] The Illusions of Postmodernism by Terry Eagleton; [5] Intisar al-Faqir al-Salik l’Tarjih Madh’hab l’Imam Malik by Shams al-Din Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Ra’i al-Andalusi; [6] Michel Foucault’s, The Archaeology of Knowledge; [7] Technopoly, by Neil Postman; [8] After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre; [9] Living in the Labyrinth of Technology, by Willem H. Vanderburg; [10] Sherman Jackson’s, Sufism for Non-Sufis?; [11] The Biography of Ibn al-Qayyim by Salahud-Din ‘Ali Abdul-Mawjud trans. by Abdul-Rafi Adewale Imam; [12] John Coltrane and BlackAmerica’s Quest For Freedom by Leonard Brown; [13] The Richness of Life: The Essential by Stephen Jay Gould ; [14] Abu Fatih ‘Uthman Ibn Jinni’s al-Khasa’is; [15] Alex Carberry’s Know Yourself; [16] Qur’an, Liberation & Pluralism by Farid Esack; [17] The Theft of Nations: Returning to Gold by Ahamed Kameel Mydin Meera; [18] Nur al-Din Muhammadi’s Riwayah Warsh min Tariq Abi Ya’qub al-Azraq; [19] The Devil’s Delusion by David Berlinski; [20] Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability, edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman.


Ramadan Preparation Part Too: A Khutbah

From the previous khutbah, we continue the topic of religious responsibility, deeds, and taqwa, all as a part of increasing our religious literacy. To sum things up again, we noted that taqwa can be thought of as a set of reflexes – a self-defense system if you will – for the believer. Again, to quote al-Tabrizi’s from the collection, al-Hamasah:

الإتقاء أن تجعل بينك و بين ما تخافه حاجزا يحفظك

“Taqwa is the idea that you [A] place something [C] between yourself and that which you fear could destroy you [B].”

So with this in mind, we will look at how avoiding disobedience can server as our “barrier” to put in between ourselves and what may lie in wait for us on the Day of Judgment. Let’s triage some of the acts of disobedience.

Avoiding Disobedience

This can prove to be one of the most difficult things a believer can do: put their desires in check so as to avoid the displeasure and disobedience of God. We forget that God has promised us that on the Day We Stand, our limbs themselves will bear testimony of what we did:

يوم تشهد عليهم ألسنتهم وأيديهم وأرجلهم بما كانوا يعملون

“On that day their tongues, hands, and feet will testify against them about what they used to do.” [Qur’an: al-Nur, 24].

So by keeping this in mind, we may be able to encourage ourselves, through hope and fear, of avoiding disobedience, by reminding ourselves that our eyes, our hands, and our tongues will testify against us. But the glass is not all half empty. As we shall see, as Ibn al-Qayyim relates a saying of one of the Salaf, that sins are also opportunities to return to obedience to God. He quotes in his work, al-Wabil al-Sayyib:

إن العبد ليعمل الذنب يدخل به الجنة و يعمل الحسنة يدخل بها النار

“A servant may commit a sin by which he goes to Paradise and he may do a good deed by which he enters the Fire.” [Hilyah al-Awliya’ wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya’, 242.]

Be careful here not to misconstrue Ibn al-Qayyim’s words: it’s not that sins in and of themselves are something “good”, but rather, when one commits a sin, there is the opportunity to feel shame, remorse, and to be regretful in committing the act. We all commit sins so we should never feel secure that because we’re doing other good deeds that we do not need to seek Allah’s forgiveness. On the other hand, if good deeds become something prideful, then we lose the benefit of those actions. In fact, if the servant heads down this path, he or she runs the risk of Allah abandoning them to their pride. But with so many things, God has given us a head start to obedience by not “leaving us to ourselves”. Again, Ibn al-Qayyim says:

العارفون كلهم مجمعون على أن التوفيق أن لا يكلك الله تعالى إلى نفسك والخذلان أن يكلك الله تعالى إلى نفسك

“Those who are Aware are in agreement that tawfiq [Divine Success] is that Allah does not entrust you to yourself and that Allah’s displeasure is that Allah leaves you to your pride, vanity or heedlessness”

God the Exalted has given us God to rely on. It is only when we are heedless, prideful, or both, that we are “left to ourselves” as we read in the Qur’an:

فنذر الذين لا يرجون لقاءنا في طغينهم يعمهون

“And so We left those who have no hope in meeting Us in wandering blindly in transgression.” [Qur’an: Yunus, 11]

From time to time, we allow Shaytan the Accursed to trick us into thinking that [aside from associating partners with God] the sins we have committed are beyond even God’s clemency to forgive and redeem. This quandary further illustrates the importance of understand God by the Attributes that Allah chose: al-Ghafur, al-Rahman, al-Tawwab, etc. These Names and Attributes, in the Divine Reality, are capable of forgiving the sons and daughters of Adam, even if their sins Were to be “like the foam on the ocean.” But despair leads to heedlessness which deceives us in giving up hope in meeting our Creator and being forgiven for our transgressions.

Mercy Over Wrath

In the modern discourse surrounding Islam, there is far little mentioned concerning the mercy and love that God has towards the Creation. This is especially absent in how Islam is presented towards non-Muslims, which has taken on a dry, textual, and ritualistically-empty practice. And yet, as we see in this hadith Qudsi [Divine Narration], God set a fundamental approach as to how the Creation would be treated:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم لما قضى الله الخلق كتب في كتابه على نفسه فهو موضوع عنده إن رحمتي تغلب على غضبي

“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, stated: When God decreed the Creation, God wrote in [His] Book in regards to His Self-which is laid down with God-that ‘My mercy precedes My wrath.'” [Abu Hurairah reports this in Muslim]

So as we prepare to greet the month of Ramadan, seek the Creators mercy and clemency. Strive to avoid disobedience through the limbs and the heart and keep this du’ah in mind:

يا حي يا قيوم برحمتك نستغيث لا تكلنا إلى أنفسنا ولا إلى أحد من خلقك طرفة عين وأصلح لنا شؤوننا كلها

“O Ever-Living, O Self-Subsistent, by Your mercy we beseech Your help. Leave us not to ourselves nor to any of Your creation for even the blink of an eye. Set right for us all our affairs.”
Listen to and download the khutbah below:

Additional Resources

For the reference to a “fiqh of the cubicle” [from the audio], see Imam Suhaib Webb’s khutbah.

Ramadan Lecture: The Importance of Adab

Delivered at United Muslim Masjid, Philadelphia

الله سبحانه و تعالى المسؤول المرجوُّ الإجابة أن يتولاكم في الدنيا و الآخرة و أن يسبغ عليكم نعمه ظاهرة و باطنة (ألم تروا أن الله سخر لكم ما في السماوات وما في الأرض وأسبغ عليكم نعمه ظاهرة و باطنة – سورة لقمان 20) و أن يجعلكم ممن إذا أنعم الله عليه شكر و إذا ابتُلِيَ صبر و إذا أذنب استغفر فإن هذه الأمور الثلاثة هي عنوان سعادة العبد وعلامة فلاحه في دنياه و أخراه ولا يَنفَكُّ عبدٌ عنها أبدا فإن العبد دائما يتقلب بين هذه الأطباق الثلاث

“Perfect is God the Exalted, the one we implore—and whose answer we await—to watch over you in this world and the next, to shower you with God’s grace, outwardly and inwardly, and to make you among those who, when blessed, give thanks; when tried, persevere and endure; and when sinful, seek forgiveness. For these three conditions are the supports of the servant’s happiness, and the signs of his success in this world and the next. No servant is without them, but is always shifting from one to the other.” [Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah – al-Wābil as-Ṣayyib].

نُعِمَ من الله تعالى تترادف عليه فقيدها الشكر و هو مبني على ثلاثة أركان الاعتراف بها باطنا والتحدث بها ظاهرا وتصريفها في مرضاة وليها و مسديها و معطيها فإذا فعل ذلك فقد شكرها مع تقصيره في شكرها (ومن كان يرجوا لقاء ربه فليعمل عملا صالحا سورة الكهف 110)

“The first condition is the blessings which come to the servant from God the Exalted, one after another. What secures them is gratitude, based on three supports: inward recognition of the blessing; outward mention and thanks for it; and its use in a way that pleases the One to whom it truly belongs and who truly bestows it. Acting in accordance with this, the servant shows his gratitude for the blessing—however small it may be.” [Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah – al-Wābil as-Ṣayyib]

عن عمر رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال حاسبوا أنفسكم قبل أن تحاسبوا وزنوا أعمالكم قبل أن توزن عليكم

“’Abd Allah Ibn ‘Abbas reports that the Prophet said: take stock of your selves before you are judged; weigh your deeds before they are weighed for you.” [Arba’īn al-Wad’āniyyah].

من ظن أنه بدون الجهد يصل فهو متمن ومن ظن أنه ببذل الجهد يصل فهو مستغن

“He who thinks he will attain his goal without effort is a fool and he who thinks he will achieve his goal purely by effort is presumptuous and arrogant.” [‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib].

ألعلم بلا عمل جنون والعمل بغير علم لا يكون

“Knowledge without action or deeds is madness and action without knowledge is void/useless.” [Imam al-Ghazali]

فاستحي من مولاك حق الحياء واجتهد أن لا يراك حيث نهاك ولا يفقدك حيث أمرك واعبده كأنك تراه فإن لم يكن تراه فإنه يراك

“Have modesty before your Lord as you should; make sure that He never sees you in a situation which He has forbidden you, and never misses you where He has commanded you to be; worship God as if you see God, for even though you can’t see God, know that God sees you.” [Imam al-Haddad]

ينبغي أن توزِّع أوقاتك وترتِّبَ أورادك

“You should structure your time and arrange your regular devotions.” [Imam al-Haddad]

قال لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له له الملك وهو الحمد وهو على كل شيء قدير في يومٍ مائةَ مرة ، كانت له عدلَ عشْرِ رقاب ، وكتب له مائةُ حسنة ، ومحيت عنه مائة سيئة ، وكانت له حرزا من الشيطان يومَه ذلك حتى يُمْسِيَ ، ولم يأت أحد بأفضل مما جاء به إلا رجل عمل أكثر منه

“Whoever says: “La ilaha illal-lah …,” one hundred times will get the same reward as given for freeing ten slaves; and one hundred good deeds will be written in his accounts, and one hundred sins will be deducted from his accounts, and it (his saying) will be a shield for him from Satan on that day till night, and nobody will be able to do a better deed except the one who does more than he.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

أكثر من السجود فإنه ليس من مسلم يسجد لله تعالى سجدة إلا رفعه بها الله درجة في الجنة وحط عنه بها خطيئة

“Prostrate much because there is no Muslim that prostrates to God except that God raises him one degree in Paradise by it and forgives for him a sin.” [Ahmad]

Endeavor to restrain your souls, and the Ultimate reward will be yours:

وأما من خاف مقام ربه ونهى النفس عن الهوى فإن الجنة هى المأوى

For the one who fears the Station of his Lord and denies the appetites of the lower self, the Garden will be his refuge.” [al-Nāzi’at 79: 40-1]

Listen to and download the lecture here.

Library of Islamic Books and Documents

For the students of Islamic studies, lay or otherwise, I thought, as I go, I would like to or provide books or other documents for download. I may also provide some reviews for books I’ve read in English on Islamic studies as well.

Books For Viewing & Download

‘Ilm Tajwid al-Qur’an علم تجويد القرآن: [download PDF] a concise introduction to science of  tajwid (rules for reciting the Qur’an) by Syrian scholar, Muhammad Hisham al-Burhani. Shaykh al-Burhani has been a faculty member of the University of Damascus in the department of Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh] as well as having spent some time in the Gulf, teaching at the University of al-‘Ayn [جامعة العين في أبي ظبي] in Abu Dhabi. I will be using elements of this book to teach a tajwid class for UPenn’s MSA, starting Spring 2012.

Kitab al-Miftah fi al-Sarf كتاب المفتاح في الصرف: [download PDF] a short introduction to sarf (morphology) by the medieval scholar of Arabic language, al-Jurjani (full name Abu Bakr Abd al-Qāhir bin Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad al-Jurjānī). The work here is a short but concise intro to the study of Arabic morphology. Recommended for students who are able to read in Arabic but are looking to tackle the study of sarf in the Arabic language.

Bidayah al-Hidayah: [download PDF] a classic in the field of Muslim spirituality as well as moral and ethical excellence, Imam al-Ghazzali’s Beginning of Guidance is also available in a bilingual edition translated by Mashhad al-Allaf via White Thread Press.

Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim: [download PDF] a large early tafsir by Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi [born in al-Rayy in 240/854]. The son of a well-respected scholar, Abu Hatim al-Razi, this tafsir is based on the accounts of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, the Companions, and the Inheritors [may God be pleased with all of them]: امتاز هذا التفسير بأنه جمع بين دفتيه تفسير الكتاب بالسنة و آثار الصحابة و البابعين بالإسناد.

Hikam Ibn ‘Ata Allah: [download PDF] a collection of aphorisms by the Alexandrian scholar. A few minor errors in the copy until I get a chance to re-type a new one. English and Arabic edition.

al-I’tisam: [Vol. 1 and Vol. 2PDF; Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 .docx; ebook format with .epub and .mobi files] by Imam al-Shatibi—literally translated as Holding Fast—is an important volume on fiqh, especially as it relates to the Sunnah. The two volumes go into detail on such important topics as bid’ah, as well as clarifying actions and spontaneous actions. I hope to be able to translate this work into English.

Sunan al-Darimi: [download the PDF] the author’s full name being ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Darimi (181H–255H), his Sunan is a hadith collection among the other prominent collections such as the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik and the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, etc. Despite its title as a Musnad, it is not arranged by narrator in the manner of other musnads, such as that of Tayalisi or Ibn Hanbal. It is arranged by subject matter in the manner of a book of Sunan, like the Sunan Ibn Majah.

al-Mudawwanah [10 parts]: a classic Maliki text on fiqh. I wrote a small piece about it here. Download the 10 parts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 [PDF’s].

Matn al-Risalah of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani: [download the PDF]. Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani was a scholar devoted to the education of the youth. His scholarship still remains in a prominent position as one of the earliest proponents of education in history. The book is a summary of the main aspects of Aqidah (Faith), Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Akhlaq (character), and explains the essences of education in terms of these three principles. It was divided into 45 small, easy to read and understand chapters.

Mushaf al-Sahabah: a small volume [PDF] on the 10 recitations via the accounts of the Companions.

Sahih Ibn Hibban [two parts]: 1, and 2 [PDF’s]. A great muhadith and Shaykh, Muhammad Ibn Hibban al-Busti [also known as Ibn Habban], died in the year 354/965. His collection of hadith were compiled as Sahih Ibn Hibban. The hadiths in his book are arranged neither as in a musannaf nor as in a musnad. Ali b. Balban rearranged the hadiths and published them as al-Ihsan Fi Taqrīb Sahih Ibn Hibban. Ibn Hibban’s collection contains 2647 hadiths, which do not appear in the collections of Bukhari or Muslim, published in legal order in the book Mawarid al-Zam’an Ila Zawa’id Ibn Hibban by Nur al-Din ‘Ali b. Abi Bakr al-Haythami.

al-Wabil al-Sayyib: by reknowned scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [download the PDF]. The volume, also know in English as The Invocation of God, is a commentary on his master’s work [Shaykh al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyya], al-Kalim al-Tayyib, or The Goodly Word, also available in English.

Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah [in 3 parts]: a short hadith collection from one of the early sources. Volume 1, 2, and 3 in PDF format.

Sahih al-Bukhari [in 12 parts]: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. All are Microsoft Word documents [.doc extension]. This files will only work on a PC to my knowledge, as the font is formatted for the PC. However, if you have a dual-book Mac with a PC side, it should work.

Sahih al-Bukhari [in 12 parts]: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. All are PDF documents. These files are best if your machine [Mac, for example] cannot read the Arabic font from a PC.

Mukhtasar al-Akhdari: a short Maliki text on worship [‘ibadat] by the reknown scholar Abu Zayd ‘Abd al-Rahman Bin Muhammad al-Sagir al-Akhdari. Word .doc, PDF or eBook format — Arabic only.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn: one of the most significant tafsīrs for the study of the Qur’an, Tafsir al-Jalalayn is generally regarded as one of the most easily accessible works of Qur’anic exegesis because of its simple style and one volume length. Download as a PDF.

Mushaf Riwayah Warsh ‘an Nafi’: a PDF document. For audio files of the entire Qur’an in the Warsh recitation, see here.

Mushaf Riwayah Qalun ‘an Nafi’: a PDF document. For audio files of the entire Qur’an in the Qalun recitation, see here.

Mushaf al-Susi min Abi ‘Amru al-Basri: a PDF document. For audio files of the entire Qur’an in the al-Susi recitation, see here.

Mushaf Riwayah Khalaf ‘an Hamzah: a PDF document. For audio files of the entire Qur’an in the Khalaf ‘an Hamzah recitation, see here.

Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary: The Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic is an Arabic-English dictionary compiled by Hans Wehr and edited by J Milton Cowan. First published in 1961 by Otto Harrassowitz in Wiesbaden, Germany. Download as a PDF.