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5 books to help you pass the best Ramadan ever, alternating the Koran with Sufi texts and medieval encyclopedias in love with the divine
It would be a contradiction not to advise the Quran in Ramadan month in which it descended on the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Tradition has it that it is read or listened to in full during the sacred month, not surprisingly in this period taraweeh is practiced, a particularly long supergatory prayer that recites the whole sacred book. With the mosques closed, however, a personal reading and study becomes even more interesting, openly confronting the text and thus exploring it. In 8 years of Islam he has been able to surprise me every single time, I’m sure it will be the same for you too.
Warmly recommended to anyone regardless of religious belief, Ramadan must also serve to open up Islam and anyone who reads it or advises it will have done a good deed.
“The Conference of the Birds ” by Farid ad-Din Attar
“One day all the birds of the earth came to parliament, the known and the unknown. “There is no place in the world,” they said, “that does not have a king: why does a sovereign not reign over our country? If we unite in fraternal partnership, we will be able to start looking for kings, being clear that order and harmony do not reign among subjects without a sovereign. ” It was then that the hoopoe, excited and anxious, jumped to the center of the restless assembly. On his breast he wore the robe of those who know the way, on his head the crown of truth. Along the way she had sharpened her mind, she had learned of good and evil. “Bird friends”, he began “in truth I am the courier of divine majesty, the messenger of the invisible …” “
It is truly impossible not to mention the perfect union between a fairy tale and a religious parable. “The Conference of the Birds ” is a magnificent story for anyone who wants to try to understand the essence of Sufism and its origins. Thanks to Attar’s story, it will also be much easier to understand the transformation of the ego through faith. “Illuminating” work.
“The Wonders of Creation” by Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Al Qazwini
“An atom does not move in the heavens or on the Earth that in its movement does not have one, two, ten, a thousand divine wisdoms.” These words reveal the profound meaning of a work such as “The wonders of creation and the oddities of beings” by Zakariyya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (1202-1283), the greatest encyclopedist and cosmographer of the Islamic Middle Ages. The entire universe, from the celestial spheres to the lowest animals, obeys the design of an architect who has made it with supreme wisdom and beauty, arousing in those who know how to observe it a continuous wonder.
Sometimes, to be able to understand the wonder of the present, it is necessary to go back in time, trying to observe what surrounds us with the eyes of the past. Al Qazwini’s book responds perfectly to needs, transporting us to an era where magic is alive and around us and where wonder dominates the landscape. Fabulous in the true sense of the word.
“The book of stops” by Sheikh Abd-el Qader
For Algeria, Emir Abd el-Kader is the father of the nation, the hero who surrendered only to preserve the Algerians from an unequal and lost war at the start. For us, the book of stops is the sum of his thought, the masterpiece of this man: in these pages Islamic mysticism certainly reaches one of its highest expressions. To an external glance it might seem the work of a late nineteenth-century guerrilla who dedicated his life to defending his country: in reality the spiritual writings of Abd el-Kader are of such depth that they immediately reveal a piece of Islam unknown to the Western world, a very pure religious feeling. We let the Emir speak directly and we hear in these words the echo of something else: “Know that the becoming of everything brings it back to God and that it returns to Him. The return of creatures to Him occurs after the Resurrection, and the latter follows the extinction of the creatures. “
Text of very complicated comprehension for non-experts but which really manages to enrich the reader inwardly. Both for the greatness of the character and for the purity and refinement of the thought, this book is a must for any Islamic library; for Ramadan it can really be “the icing on the cake”.
“A small death” by Mohamed Hasan Alwan
In this ambitious novel, Mohamed Hasan Alwan leads us to a distant era, at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, reconstructing the life of the “supreme master” Muhyi-d-din Ibn ‘Arabi step by step and in great detail , one of the greatest Sufi sheikhs of all time, philosopher, mystic and poet whose work has influenced many intellectuals and mystics both in the East and in the West (according to some scholars it would have influenced, albeit indirectly, also Dante Alighieri and San Giovanni della Croce ).
Having spoken before of Sheikh Abd el-Qader, one of the greatest students of Ibn Arabi, it was impossible not to mention the best biography ever made to date. “A little death”, winner of the award for the best Arabic fiction book of 2018, is a journey into the most human side of one of the greatest figures ever within Islam and the Sufi world. Its Italian version has won the prize for the best translation of the year, one of the few cases where there should be no particular differences with the original.
Bonus: “The travels” by Ibn Battuta
In 1325 Ibn Battuta, who left Tangier 28 years earlier, returned definitively to Morocco after twenty-eight years of travel and one hundred and twenty thousand kilometers traveled with all means of transport then in use, from horse to dromedary, from wagon to the most varied types of boat. According to today’s geographic atlas, it has crossed the equivalent of forty-four modern states from Africa to the whole Middle East, from the Volga plain to the Maldives islands, from India to China, meeting thousands of people and taking note of their customs and traditions Three years after his return, a young literate of Andalusian origin, Ibn Juzayy, began by order of the sultan to write down Ibn Battuta’s memories and his travel observations, thus writing one of the most famous books of medieval Arabic literature.
Impossible not to conclude with “The book to travel far”, especially in this particular period. Thanks to the legendary Moroccan traveler, you will be able to explore the whole Islamic world in its maximum splendor, moreover with the eyes of those who, in the abstract, left for Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina).
Do you want to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Ibn Battuta? You will find here how to do it. Follow us on our facebook page, Spotify, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, or on our Telegram channel. Any like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to devote ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East.