seclusion-final-cover

 

Al-Salam ‘alaykum everyone. May divine mercy and light be with you.

Last year, Allah blessed me to complete the translation of a very important work by the Ottoman polymath Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (d. 1143 AH) entitled Takmil al-Nu’ut fi luzum al-buyut. The literal translation of the title is The Perfection of Good Qualities Through Remaining in One’s Home, but in English I’ve rendered it as

The Virtues of Seclusion in Times of Confusion

In this work, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi discusses the importance of avoiding strife (fitna), steering clear of conflict with others, and details the worldly and Afterworldly virtues of minding one’s business, keeping aloof from “drama,” maintaining a low profile, and focusing on what’s truly important—care for one’s self and family, and salvation and leaving this world with one’s faith intact.

Allah willing, The Virtues of Seclusion will be available some time before spring 2017. May Allah reward everyone who made this important work possible, specifically YS, Dr. Shadee Elmasry, and Ustadh Ahmad Ali Al-Adani.

Here’s a look at the Table of Contents

 

Preface

Foreword by Dr. Shadee Elmasry

Biography of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi

Introduction

Chapter 1: On Self-Imposed Isolation and Avoidance of People During times of Confusion and Strife

Chapter 2: The Legal Dispensation Allowing One to Avoid the “Imams of Strife” in the Mosques

Chapter 3: How the Early Muslims (Salaf) Behaved During Periods of Corruption

Chapter 4: Early Imams Who Withdrew from Society

Conclusion

Appendices

Appendix I: Selected Narrations from Ibn Abi al-Dunya’s Kitab al-‘Uzla wa al-Infirad (The Book of Withdraw and Seclusion)

Appendix II: Selected Narrations from Ibn Abi al-Dunya’s Kitab al-Tawadu’ wa al-Khumul (The Book of Humility and Obscurity)

 

Here are a few quotes from Chapter One:

Sahl b. Sa’d al-Sa’idi (Allah be pleased with him) reported, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) say, ‘The most amazing person in my eyes is a believer in Allah and His Messenger who establishes the prayer, pays the Zakat, puts his wealth to good use, safeguards his religion, and remains aloof from other people.” This was narrated by Ibn Abi al-Dunya in al-‘Uzla.

     Thawban (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Glad tidings to the person who safeguards his tongue, finds his house spacious enough, and weeps over his sins.” This was narrated by al-Tabarani in [al-Mu’jam] al-awsat and [al-Mu’jam] al-saghir. Its chain is sound.

      Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A time shall soon come upon the people when an individual will not find any safety for his faith—except for one who takes his faith from one mountain top to another, and from one rock to another. When that time comes, livelihood will not be gained except from what earns Allah’s wrath, and a man will suffer ruin at the hands of his wife and child; if he does not have a wife or a child then he will suffer ruin at the hands of his parents; and if he does not have any parents then he will suffer ruin at the hands of his relatives or neighbors.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah, how will that be?” He replied, “They will deride him for his limited means of livelihood and as a result he will expose himself to those things that cause his self-destruction.” This was narrated by al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-zuhd.

     The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “O Allah, I ask You that neither I nor my Companions reach an age where the people do not follow the knowledgeable, and where they do not feel shame in front of a judicious and forbearing person—whose hearts will be hearts of barbarians, and whose tongues will speak Arabic!”* This was narrated by Ahmad on the authority of Sahl b. Sa’d, and by al-Hakim on the authority of Abu Hurayra.

*Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ra’uf al-Munawi comments in Fayd al-Qadir, “[…] That is to say, do not let us live to an age where the people do not submit and follow the knowledgeable person in what he conveys as the Sacred Law, and where they do not feel shame before a judicious and forbearing person, meaning one who is intelligent and circumspect in all matters. Whose hearts, meaning the hearts of the people in that age, will be hearts of barbarians, meaning their hearts will be far from good character, filled with ostentation and hypocrisy, and whose tongues will speak Arabic, meaning they will speak Arabic affectedly and with overdone articulation, putting on airs and being fickle in their ways…” (Fayd al-Qadir, 2:148 §1543)