Sunday, August 21, 2016

only majnun knows laila........

Friends, Dato and Tansri,

Everyone think they know Laila, but actually only Majnun knows Laila.

I count one of my current 'tok guru', Shaykh Muhammad al Ninowy as one of those 'majnuns' who knows his 'Laila'.
In this age of  the ubiquitous 'Maggi Mee and instant noodle'; 'instant experts and instant gurus';  'google scholars and google ulama';....I am always extra careful with whom  I am to follow.

I always only look for  a 'majnun' to be my 'tok guru'. A chap who is quite 'mad' with his ugama and vocation.

The late Tok Guru Nik Aziz  was one of them. The late Prof Hamka was my 1st ' majnun'.
I read his voluminous Tafsir al Azhar 2 times over at age 34.
Shaykh Ninowy is one of my current ones.
In the background , standing tall, al Ghazali, the biggest  and best 'majnun' , the world has ever known.

Put yourself in the position of Abu Hamid al Ghazali., just some 350 years after Nabi.

You have just been nominated by Nizam Shah, the all powerful Governor, to be head of  theology department at Nizamiah University in downtown Baghdad at the relative young age of 20 plus, akin to being head of school of theology at Harvard in current time.

You  can out-debate all and sundry on matters of ugama as well as philosophy, from far and near.

...And if you live long enough, you will come to know that some famous Christian luminaries like St Thomas Aquinas for example [ 1225- died 1274 ], have been lurking in the 'background', some 200 years later, cheery picking your lifetime work, to pick up some pearls and gem, from your discourses, etc etc and etc.

Out of the blue, you  just decide to give up your post, to taste 'experiential Islam, on the whims that your knowledge of the faith at that time is just hollow and carries no weight [ try google.. al Ghazali's existential crisis ]. Not helped by having a tassawuf -inclined younger brother, harping on your 'hollowness' , on a daily basis, always in the background.

' dear brother, you may a big time , big town full prof in theology, but you have not taste  real iman yet, despite your apparent stature and position, etc etc and etc...Abu Hamid! Your life is a big fraud and charade!.....'

With this realization, you relegated yourself to being a lowly janitor for 8 years at the world famous Umayyad Mosque in Damascus! All the time listening to the post magrib discourses in the mosque of upstarts and ustazs discussing your ideas and teaching!...and quoting you wrongly for that.

You are almost persuaded to barge in and correct them but that would end your camouflage in the mosque........

If this is not 'majnun' enought,what is !?

I am still stuck at his  short threatise, a TJ Winter's excellent translation of 'Kitab dhikr al Mawt wa-ma ba'dahu',  ' Remembrance of DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE'.

I 'wrongly' started with his last thesis of the IHYA and I am still stuck at it some 20 years later, when a friend gave it as an umrah  gift in Makkah some 20 years back.  

Another 'majnun',  Prof TJ Winter of Cambridge, started his great translation work of al Ghazali's opus magnum into excellent English.

I started at the wrong end and found myself still mesmerized by this monumental work of al Ghazali.

Let us listen to Shaykh Ninowy's  new perspective on the issues of 'Signs of the Last Days'.
This 'majnun' stresses rather on the 'things that we can change and are movable' rather than ' the immovables'........ 

Dr Nik
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