New Category: Biographies

February 18, 2008 § 1 Comment

The Sirat an-Nabawiyya is the recorded history of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). It is the biography of the Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) from which most historical information about his life and the early period of Islam is derived. I will be posting biographical excerpts as I find them on the Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him), his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), the Successors (may Allah be pleased with them) and the Saints of Islam (may Allah keep their Secret) in a new category called “biographies“. The emphasis on these biographies will be on the unbroken Golden Chain of the 40 Grand Shaykhs of the Naks-i’bendi Sufi Order, from the present day Sultan Awliya, Shaykh Nazim al-Hakkani reaching all the way back to the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). There will also be a number of scholars and salihin that I will post on. So this is just an introduction to the new project. I pray that it is of benefit to us both for you and for me, inshaAllah.

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§ One Response to New Category: Biographies

  • James says:

    Good luck on the project.

    You are a much braver man than I. History is always a subject that is fascinating and perilous: Biography is doubly so. In biography you are righting the history of a person; it is hard to avoid the twin errors of hagiography and screed. It becomes even more difficult to avoid partisanship and error when one is writing about religious figures and religious leaders.

    When a biography is done right it is a revelation. I just finished an audiobook biography of Francis Bernardone also known as Francis of Assisi written by G.K. Chesterton and it left me hungry to know more about the founder of the Friars Minor. The book strikes a perfect balance between story and history; between faith and reason. It explains the man and the age; and it explains both with wit and sympathy. Saint Francis as he is known to Christendom was and is a dynamic figure to the World. He gladly became God’s Holy fool. He was an ascetic and a mystic, perhaps a man that Sufis might be sympathetic to. It was claimed that he managed to impress the reigning Calif of the day.

    Be that as it may, Francis Bernardone is a man that is very hard to write a fair biography of; G.K. Chesterton does, Thomas Cahill gives a very interesting thumbnail sketch of Francis of Assisi in “Mysteries of the Middle Ages” but far too many “biographies” fall into hagiography when Francis is concerned. The worst offenders are (surprise, surprise) written by either members of the Friars Minor or other Roman Catholics.

    Again, good luck on the project. Choose your sources well, and keep a discerning eye out over-enthusiasm. Good biography always starts with recognizing the humanity of your subject. Even the last prophet had bad days at the “office.” (from what I have read he had one really bad year!)
    It is best to remember these things when we write about people, even holy and enlightened people.

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