Monday, February 23, 2009

Pearls & Gem : Abdullah al Ansari

"Friends ,Human sorrow spring from three 'wants' :
To want before your time ,
To want more than your allotted share ,
To want what belongs to others ."

Abdullah al-Ansari ,a 11th century Persian sufi saint .

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haqqan ya akhi..

Polkadot said...

Is this Abdullah al Ansari the sufi who wrote the commentary on the Quran called Unveiling of the Secrets? From which poetry did you extract the "wants" ? Worth elaborating really.

Pearls & Gem said...

I am not sure now whether it is 17 or 18th century but I am certain he did not write the 'unveiling of the secret' .For you guys who do not enjoy reading voluminous tafsir work but want to to have a working knowledge of the Quran from which you guys can 'leap frog ' upwards latter on when you are more 'energised' I would suggest you start with Prof Ghazali al-Ghazali's seminal work on the Quran titled "Thematic Interpretation of The Quran " ,about slightly thicker than the Quran itself .

Ghazali al Ghazali ,I feel is [ was actually .he died a couple of years ago ,was head of Institute of Islamic Thoughts and Civilization in Morocco if I can remember correctly ] a genius .Even reading an interpretation of his writing was so inspiring make one wonder what it is like if you know Arabic .

He went surah by surah even in the 'bigger Quran',discussing only the theme of that surah .

If you decide to go 'big' and 'slow' ,and want to remain in the Malay world ,nothing beats Prof Hamka's voluminous Tafsir AlAzhar .10 volumes altogether ,bounded excellently for a mere 220 RM .Could be obtained at Pustaka National ,along Jalan Masjid India .
What I like about Prof Hamka was that he did not assume that he was the sole expert .He would discuss what the others think of an ayat 1st eg Sayyid Qutb ,Al Razi ,Ibnu Kathir than only lastly he gave his viewpoint .

Certainly not for someone in a great hurry .I took 2 years in my early 30's to finish the 10 volumes .A few pages at a time every day .A great adventure .Hamka's Malay is not typically Indonesian so not a tedious read .

The beauty in reading tafsir of this volume is that you get to know rightaway the relevant hadiths quoted to strengtened the position the writer took in his interpretation .
Sambil menyelam sambil minum air '.

Who say you cannot learn the Quran from all these great gurus ,and must learn from a living one ! Utter nonsense !These gurus are very much alive in their books !

Pearls & Gem said...

Sorry Polkadot ,you are right and I stand correceted .Abdullah alAnsari was actually an 11th century Persian sufi saint and his most famous contribution to sufi literature was his "Dialogue with God " .He did not actually tafsir the whole quran as that was authoured by a group of his students who tafsir the quran wholly with a deep 'sufic bent'.

That small comment of Abdullah al Ansari on 'human sorrow ' I dig from my reading of Abdul Qadir as Sufi's [ aka Douglas 'Something' ]short discourse on our Prophet titled "The Ways of Muhammad ".He is a contemporary Scottish journalist who later in life spent a long time in Algeria ,throw away his earlier Trinitarian upbringing and join a sufi order .

"The Ways of Muhammad" is just over a hundred pages ,but is a difficult read and I still understand half of it .Too much 'neurons ' consumed by the daily 'cari makan' things and also on hoarding .