Eloquence

Abou Ben Adhem. A poem by Leigh Hunt

Ibrahim ibn Adham was one of the early ascetics in Islamic history. According to legend, he gave up his throne in order to live a life of a simple worshiper. Whether or not that’s historically accurate, Ibrahim ibn Adham is particularly known for his exhortations towards piety, simple living, and focus on worship. The poem below was written by Leigh Hunt, …

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Ahmad Shawqi and the Weightlifter

Ahmad Shawqi was an Egyptian poet who pionereed the modern Egyptian literary movement. He was considered by many to be one of the greatest Arabic poet laureates of the modern age and was given the title Amīr al-Shu‘arā’ meaning The Prince of Poets. In 1930, an Egyptian man by the name of As-Sayyid Naseer won an international weightlifting competition. The people of …

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Malcolm X’s Letter from Mecca

There is perhaps no American Muslim who left behind a larger legacy than Malcolm X. Born in Omaha, Nebraska as Malcolm Little, he bounced from foster home to foster home until he eventually found himself in prison at the age of 20. In prison, he became a member of a black supremacist organization called the Nation of Islam. The NOI taught …

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A Poem of Imam Shafi’i

Not always wealth, not always force, A splendid destiny commands; The lordly vulture gnaws the corse That rots upon yon barren sands. Nor want nor weakness still conspires To bind us to a sordid state; The fly, that with a touch expires, Sips honey from the royal plate. Translated by W. A. Clouston in Arabian Poetry for English Readers. If anyone …

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The Prophet ﷺ’s dua at Taif

After a decade of preaching in Makkah, the Prophet ﷺ had lost his uncle and his wife and was still rejected by tribesmen. In an attempt to find a more receptive audience, the Prophet ﷺ traveled to Taif, hoping that his message would find a home in the oasis city. Instead, he was rudely insulted by the city leaders and then …

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Ibn Taymiyyah’s Letter from Prison

Ibn Taymiyyah stands as one of the towering intellectual giants of Islamic history. Beyond his academic contributions, however, ibn Taymiyyah was known for his high moral character. The following is an excerpt from Sh. Abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi’s famous book Rijal al-Fikr wa’l-dawa fi’l Islam (titled Saviours of Islamic Spirit in translation). — The episode of Ibn Taimiyah’s arrest and release revealed …

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15 Aphorisms from ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari

One of the signs of relying on one’s own deeds is the loss of hope when a downfall occurs. Your striving for what has already been guaranteed to you, and your remissness in what is demanded of you are signs of the blurring of your intellect. Actions are lifeless forms, but the presence of an inner reality of sincerity (sirr al-ikhlāṣ) within …

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Haroun Al Raschid – A poem by Abul ‘Atahiya rewritten by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The son of the Abassid Caliph al-Mahdi and a Yemeni slave girl, Harun al-Rashid became caliph during the peak of what is known as the Islamic Golden Age. During his rule, Baghdad grew into the greatest city of the world. The historian Mas’udi writes that shortly before the death of Harun al-Rashid, he was reading poetry about the ephemeral nature …

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Imam al-Layth’s letter to Imam Mālik

For the context of this letter, please refer to this post. — In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Form al-Layth b. Sa`d to Mālik b. Anas. I salute you with peace and praise Allah besides whom there is no God. May Allah grant prosperity to us both, and bless us with the good in this world and …

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Imam Mālik’s letter to Imam al-Layth

Of the most famous intellectual rivalries in Islamic history is the rivalry of Imam Mālik ibn Anas and Imam al-Layth ibn Sa’d. Both were tremendous legal scholars, both founded a madhab, and both were intellectual powerhouses. More importantly, both were men of impeccable adab and held each other in the utmost respect. Ibn al Qayyim al-Jawziyyah records some correspondence between …

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