The Golden Rule by Surkheel Sharif

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Fussing Over the 15th of Sha‘ban & The Golden Rule of Differing

Surkheel Sharif

Published: July 2011

Historically, Muslim jurists have differed about whether the 15th night of Sha‘ban has any special merit or not, and if singling-out the night for extra acts of devotion is an innovation (bid‘ah) or not. This is the second Jawziyyah Papers, and tackles the mid-Sha‘ban dilemma. It explains why the difference exists, and how each view is a perfectly valid one. It then lays down the Golden Rule of Differing, without which we run the risk of turning an Islamic opinion into the Islamic opinion, with the usual suspects following: schisms, divisions, accusations of deviancy, and the breakdown of brotherhood. Explaining this Golden Rule, and when differences are considered a mercy is, therefore, imperative; and is the paper’s greater goal.


  More Fish Please by Surkheel Sharif

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More Fish Please & The Earth’s Complaint

Surkheel Sharif

Published: June 2011

This is the first of the Jawziyyah Papers which address contemporary challenges to Muslims. This paper discusses two themes. Firstly, the idea that the more material possession we have, the happier we will be. Secondly, it looks at Islam in the wider context and sketches the four strategies lived by Muslims in the West. Yahya Birt says in his introduction: ‘The coming planetary crisis will affect us all, and Surkheel rightly points out that the global response must reflect the virtues of stewardship and of holding the Earth as a bestowed trust.’ Political consideration require we navigate ‘between isolation, rejection and assimilation, and … avoid extremism and assimilation into easy liberal-consumerist conformity.’ More Fish Please! is a timely wake-up call.


The Exquisite Pearl

Imam al-Sa‘di

Translator: Surkheel Sharif

Published: April 2002

The book consist of a didactic poem with a brief commentary to it. Together, the poem and commentary explain the main spiritual stations (or “works of the heart”) we are obliged to nurture within us, as part of our journey to God and the Afterlife. Chapters begins with a line of poetry spotlighting one of these stations, followed by a clear and lucid exposition about it. Footnotes pepper the book, quoting insights from Islam’s early renunciants and spiritual masters. The book’s nature and brevity makes this an ideal primer to the science of suluk, or spiritual wayfaring, for those seeking to deepen the inward realities of their faith.