moving to

i’ll try to migrate some of the posts and make some sort of re-direct here.

You take this too lightly.


The standards of scholarship
and critical reading...

which one would apply to any other text
are simply insufficient.  

The effort must be total
for the results to be meaningful.

a lot of students i know have been here for years without having gone home to see their families; others are separated from their spouses and perhaps children for extended periods, whether because of visa issues or finances or whatever…

as i check my email a niqabi is sitting beside me talking to her spouse, attempting as best she can to be discreet and remain unheard. for my part, i am doing my best not to hear her – i’ve covered my ears with the headphones. she’s telling him, in extremely eloquent classical Arabic, how much she misses him, and occasionally she throws in some classical poetry.

i’m embarassed and at the same time moved by listening to her.

“your pain cannot be compared to mine – it runs through my blood and i feel it with my heartbeats… ha!… believe or not, that is your affair, and mine is to be patient, and Allah is the best sufficiency…”

“As we rode through the streets of Riyadh my wonder and amazement increased and increased… gone was the barren desert, and here were wide streets, gardens of flowers and green grass, mansions and villas…

The students who were with me, noticing my expression, started to explain proudly about the advancement that had taken place in the city. One of them, after pointing out every new and modern thing that there was to behold, said to me: “Is this the first time you’ve been to Riyadh?”

“I knew Riyadh before you were born”, I replied.

As the car pulled up to al-Deera district, and we reached the Grand Mosque, my face lit up, like one who, lost in a great crowd, suddenly sees someone he knows.

“This is the Riyadh that I know!” I said, “This is it, with its narrow souqs, and its mud and clay houses…

these are the abodes of my memories – and memories are what give life to a place.

Those modern buildings, for all of their ornamentation, are foreign to me, and these – despite the state they are in – I feel as if they are from me, and I from them.”

— Ali Tantawi (the Damascene, not the Egyptian mufti),

 trans. w/ slight modifications  fr. Fusul fi-Da’wa wal Islah.

al Hasan, the son of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, mentioned the following story:

A man died, leaving his wife, son, and a servant. Before passing, he implored his servant to take good care of his son. The servant did, raising him to be a good person, and, when he was of age, he helped him to get married. Then the son wanted to seek knowledge, so he asked the servant to help him in that regard. The servant prepared a mount and got him ready, and he went off.

He found a scholar, whom he questioned about knowledge. The scholar told him: “When it is time for you to leave, then tell me – I will teach you all that you need to know.”

A short while later, the man said to the scholar: “The time has come for my departure, so teach me.”

“Be mindful of Allah, have patience, and do not rush.” said the scholar.

– and in these three things there is the sum total of goodness, said al Hasan –

The man set off to return home, unable to forget what the scholar told him – how could he, when they were only three things? – when he got back, he came down off of his mount and walked into the house.

His wife was lying asleep, and beside her there was another man, also sleeping. “What should I be patient for here?” thought the man, and he rushed to his horse to get his sword. But when he was about to take up his blade, he said to himself “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush.” So he walked back to the house.

When he went inside and saw them still sleeping, as before, he said “No! There’s nothing to wait for here!” And he rushed back to his sword. Then he said to himself: “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush”. So he went back.

But when he saw them the third time, he said “There’s nothing to wait for!” and he went back. Then he said: “Be mindful of Allah, and have patience, and do not rush”. So he returned.

When he went in, the man woke up, and rushed to him, hugging him and kissing him and congratulating him on his return. “What have you learned after leaving us?” (The man was his son, i believe… travel took a long time back then.)

“By Allah!,” said the man, “I have learned great things – I have walked back and forth between your head and my sword three times this night, wanting to kill you, and it was only what knowledge I learned that prevented me.”

(Narrated by al Bukhari in al Adab al Mufrad).

 If an acquaintance only burdens you with formality
           Then leave them, and trouble yourself not with worry 
For amongst men are replacements, and in leaving is relief – 
          And the heart will stay patient for a truly beloved eternally.  

Yet not everyone for whom your heart yearns shares the feeling, 
          Nor every ‘good do’er’ sincere in what they’re revealing –
If kindness comes not naturally then what joy
          Can there be in friendship that is only perfunctory.

No good is a friend who betrays a beloved,
         Meeting them after closeness with coldness;
Who rejects time spent together in happiness,
         And reveals secrets only yesterday veiled.

Farewell to this life if one cannot find
        A true friend – honest, noble, and kind. 

(trans.. well, tried to translate.. fr. the arabic; al-Shafi).

He who seeks pearls must dive into the sea

– al-Shafi’i


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