A couple of months back, I found this little book at a bookshop. I must admit that this little gem was unfamiliar to me. As the title succinctly says, this book contains a collection of fifteen letters written by the great shaykh to…, you know I am not sure to who originally! But as this story winds to an end, we may find a surprising answer.
It appears the letters were originally written in Persian by the great shaykh. Thus far, four manuscripts have been found, one in Berlin, another in King Saud University, the third in Oxford University and the fourth in Michigan University. The translator and commentator of the book is Louay Fatoohi, who gained access to 3 of the manuscripts, save for the Berlin copy. May Allah (swt) be pleased with his efforts.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have a history with the great shaykh’s books, a part of which I have shared in a 2011 article entitled The Servant & the Master in my earlier blog, the Sinners’ Almanac, which you can jump to by clicking here.
The letters are written in a unique way, mixing short sentences of the great shaykh with Quranic scripture. The words of the great shaykh himself are cast in mystical language. There is really no other way for me to describe to you, so perhaps an extract from the Third Letter (of which I am fond of) will educate us a little. The words in italics are the Quranic verses: -
At times you will be drowned in the seas of independence of:
Allah is rich enough to be independent of all creatures, (29:6)
-at other times you will be bewildered in the entanglements of sandstorms of the majesty of:
Do they feel secure from Allah’s devising? (7:99)
-and at other times, influenced by longing, you will chant like a nightingale in the orchard when the breeze of gentleness of:
And do not despair of Allah’s mercy (12:87)
Perhaps you may gain a little from this. Certainly, it makes you question your own contemplation. The juxtaposition of the words of the great shaykh with the Holy Quran leaves me breathless at times, wondering just where he is leading me.
Well, today, on this holy day of Friday, I am pleased that it has led me here at least. To share this oh-so brief snippet of the Fifteen Letters with you – with the sincere hope that a copy of the book may find its way into your hands, and into your heart.
For I, I am not worthy, and I understand that this book is meant for more discerning hearts. Perhaps like the one beating in yours?
Of course, I am right, sunshine. Ask for the book. Godwilling, you will receive it. For I really do believe now that the Fifteen Letters are meant for you, though written many centuries before your birth. And I am actually not much surprised. For this is how Love plans His way. Subtly and over eons.
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way