Archive for December, 2006

RIS 2006, Sherman Jackson and Mawlid w/ Shaykh Hamza

December 31, 2006

I will not be expanding on the Mawlid too much because it was a private event and nor will I be providing a hagiographic account of it. There were however, some things that are of some interest.

1) I was lucky enough to be seated between Ustadh Yahya Rhodus and Shaykh Ramzy Ajem. I didn’t even realize it was Shaykh Ramzy until much later: he is shockingly good-looking [mashaAllah] and fools you with his youthful appearance. Ustadh Yahya was like a rock. Didn’t move throughout the whole Mawlid. Him and Shaykh Hamza were both perfectly stationary throughout.

2) Shaykh Hamza said something very significant during the Mawlid. These lines of poetry that we recite were written by ‘Aarifin that were in a state most of us are only capable or re-terating in their words. In essence, it is a true benefit that they were able to transfer their experiences to word so that we may atleast get a taste of what they had. After peeking over at Ustadh Yahya’s copy of the Divan we were using, it was blatantly obvious that Shaykh Hamzah couldnt have been more right.

3) Shaykh Talal Ahdab and Shayhkh Hamza had a very long discussion before the Mawlid started. From what I could pick up, it was regarding manuscripts of the Aqida Tahawiyya and orientalist english renditions of it. For all not aware, they are both independently working on their own translations and compilations. I have a copy of Shaykh Talal’s first draft and it looks like a winner. We will have to wait and see what Shaykh Hamzah comes up with. Interestingly, I was able to sneak a peak at Shaykh Talal’s ‘gift’ to Shaykh Hamzah later on at the retreat: It was a truckload of volumes of Al-Dhahabi’s Maliki fiqh work.

4) Sherman Jackson got a chance to break out of his academic skin and relaxed on the podium. He should. Most people are nowhere near understanding one of his real lectures. He is handcuffed by his audience: after last year’s deplorable selection of answers the Shuyukh had to deal with, they realized we need to slow down.

5) Imam Zaid is the people’s man. People love him and he loves people. He creates that human bond that is not always available with intellectuals. Of note, Shaykh Hamzah, after the last session, stuck around and answered every single person until there was not a single person left. Actions speak louder than words: especially from a man whose words have been the catalyst of so much action.

6) Everyone has their opinion of Dr. Tareq Suwaidan. However, if there’s one thing I admire him tremendously for is his consistent preaching of two things: Reading atleast two books a month on any subject and professionalism and self-respect in every matter. Dr. Tareq is a successful man and it shows.

7) Shaykh Hamzah’s choice of using Sidi Ahmad Zarruq’s tassawuff manual was brilliant. It was hilarious because Shaykh Hamzah had to explain just why Sidi Ahmad Zarruq was against the false sufis and the effectiveness of sama. This is why I love Shaykh Hamzah. He’s not caught up in projecting a dreamy, utopian image of Sufis. There were [and still are] deviant sufis and unless traditional Muslims say this openly, they are doing a disservice to themselves and the awam.

8 ) Sherman Jackson, Shaykh Hamzah and Imam Zaid were sneaking into each other’s lectures. That was some sight.

9) They invited all local ‘ulama to the last day to discuss the moon-sighting issue. It was good to see them interact with Shaykh Hamzah and Imam Zaid. There were many times when the Deobandi ulama were smiling and laughing along with Shaykh Hamzah’s witty musings. I was informed later on that a respected local Deobandi Mufti told an aquaintance that he rarely ever takes notes in a lecture. That changed during Shaykh Hamzah and Imam Zaid’s seminar where he came back with pages of them.


Iran & Saudi Arabia are ‘true’ Muslim countries.

December 3, 2006

Next time you decide to criticize someone for using the draconian Saudi laws as a benchmark for ‘muslimness’, keep in mind that there are people out there who perpetuate that very view. Don’t blame angry non-muslims, blame this guy (and his ilk I suppose):

In Kuwait, Shiite cleric Abdul-Hussein Qazwini said he believed the pope’s visit would have been more meaningful “if had it been made to a Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia or Iran,” rather than to secular Turkey.

Link to full article