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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Abu Bakr Sirajuddin|
|05/28/05 at 19:43:32|
|Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Sirajuddin)|
"Thousands of people have known our Prophet by reading his books."
- Adil Sarmusak, Head of the Bouquinistes Association and the owner of Book Palace, Turkey
One of the leading Muslim thinkers in the world, British-born Abu Bakr Sirajuudin (Martin Lings) died at the age of 96 in England on May 13. Having introduced thousands of people to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him) with the books he wrote, the coffin of Lings was buried in the garden of his village house in Britain after the funeral prayer held following the Friday prayer.
Martin Lings was born in Lancashire in 1909 and was raised a protestant, and then he became an atheist. After a classical education he read English at Oxford where he was a pupil and later a close friend of C. S. Lewis. At the age of about 25, he started to investigate other world religions. In 1935 he went to Lithuania where he lectured on Anglo-Saxon and Middle English and subsequently he went to Egypt and lectured mainly on Shakespeare at Cairo University. Meeting with Algerian Shaykh Ahmed Alevi es-Sazeli in 1938 by means of North African Muslims, he became a Muslim. Taking the name Abu Bakr Sirajuudin, Lings went to Egypt in 1939. There, in the University of Cairo he lectured primarily on Shakespeare for 12 years. In 1952 he returned to England and took a degree in Arabic and in 1955 he joined the staff of the British Museum where from 1970–73 he was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts. For the following year he held the same post in the newly founded British Library. In addition to writing many books he is also the author of the chapter ‘Mystical Poetry’ in Abbasid Belles-Lettres, which is Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, and the chapter on ‘The Nature and Origin of Sufism’ in Vol.19 of World Spirituality, as well as articles for Studies in Comparative Religion, Sophia, The New Encyclopedia of Islam and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The man famously known for his book covering the seerah called, ‘Mohammad, His Life based on the Earliest Sources’ heading the list of best-known books in the world.
Telling that the best-known book of Martin Lings in Turkey is "Mohammad, His Life based on the Earliest Sources", the head of the Bouquinistes Association and the owner of Book Palace, Adil Sarmusak said, "Thousands of people have known our Prophet by reading his books." Sarmusak said that Lings’ work is within the top 3 in the selling list of the books about the life of our Prophet. The work has been turned into an audio book also.
This book was awarded a prize by the government of Pakistan, and was selected as the best biography of the Prophet in English at the National Seerat Conference held in 1983 at Islamabad.
Since then it has been published in French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Danish, Malay and Tamil, and is shortly to be published in Arabic, German, Urdu, Sindi and Sinhalese. In 1990, after the book had attracted the attention of the Azhar University in Cairo, the author received a decoration from President Mubarak.
Ibrahim N. Abusharif, the editor of Starlatch Press, writes in his tribute to this great thinker,
"One of the damned things about this world now is the ease with which we can go through a day and not feel the dimming of light. Our sense of sacred connection is so co-opted by Starbuck casualness, essential spiritual accoutrements within us are disabled from perceiving the depth of loss that humanity suffered recently with the passing of Martin Lings. In Islamic tradition (and I’m pretty sure the tradition is widespread), when a great person dies, whether a saint or scholar or sage, the whole world is somehow affected, even the fish in the sea.
"The night before Mr. Lings passed, I happened to have been reading one of his books that my wife had ordered and just received, Symbol and Archetype: A Study in the Meaning of Existence. Once again, I was awestruck by the ease with which Mr. Lings was able to convey tiers of profundity in a short passage (even one sentence) and to do so with uncanny consistency. His translation of verses from the Quran are, in themselves, masterpieces of High English, which none before him could achieve, and not for lack of trying. As I put down the book, I made a short prayer that God bless this man. The next day, I learned of his passing.
"Mr. Lings was among the early lights of my life. More than two decades ago, I read his gripping narrative on the life of the Prophet (Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources). I remember reading almost all of it in one sitting. Had it not been for my need to sleep, I would not have stopped. Shortly thereafter, though, I finished, and when I put the book down I finally understood what it meant to "taste the sweetness" in having love of the Prophet and of prophet hood in general. It would be but the first book of Mr. Lings that would be transforming.
"A University of Chicago graduate student, whose first name is Ibrahim, handed me Mr. Lings’ book, A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century. He told me, "Read this. You’ll like it." I didn’t touch the book until a couple of years ago, about 21 years later, in fact. I then started. No exaggeration, it took me a full year to read it. It was so packed, I could not dare dishonor it with cursory handling. I compare the experience with a long epiphany. For some months, before being accosted by the world again, it was hard for me to look at things the same flat way that our era trains us to do. Purpose was everywhere, hidden right there in plain sight.
"The "tyranny of quantity" once again shows its cracks: one man inspiring so many to reclaim the esoteric and also to love the Last Prophet. The sâbiqûn (the "foremost" in faith and certitude) are few in our times, as the Quran says. It seems that they’re even fewer now.
"I end this very short personal tribute as I started, with an indictment of the ethos of the times: the shame of our day is the postmodern flattening of existence, the demotion of anything special, anything transcending and capable of a lasting narrative. We’re trapped in the glorified Soup Cans of Andy Warhol, his canvas celebration of banality and caustic attempt at making what is ordinary appear special, which, after all, is a backdoor, slinking strike against "special," the concept and possibility. Jagger sings "Paint it Black," and so they do."
May Allah (SWT) reward sidi Abu Bakr Sirajudin in abundance and sanctify his secret and allow us to benefit from his legacy.
|05/28/05 at 23:02:43|
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji'oon. Why is he in a coffin? Was he buried by Muslims (after Friday praye and funeral prayer)? And why is it called "the coffin of Lings"? Am I missing something?
Allah (SWT) bless...
|Why a Coffin?|
|05/29/05 at 12:41:31|
[quote] Why is he in a coffin? Was he buried by Muslims (after Friday praye and funeral prayer)? And why is it called "the coffin of Lings"? Am I missing something? [/quote]
In many cases, Muslims must adhere to the health laws of the country/state in which they are buried. If the law requires a coffin, the Muslim is buried in a coffin. In that case, the coffin is generally of the most rudimentary type, i.e. a simple pine box and not a satin-lined, brass-trimmed mahagony coffin.
|05/29/05 at 20:53:59|
|coffins and shrouds|
|05/29/05 at 13:11:13|
On TV, I saw Bosnian Muslims being buried in coffins, and wondered about that.
My niece died after an operation in Paris, and she was embalmed and brought here in a coffin, and was buried like that. It didn't seem right to take her out of the coffin.
My nephew also died in the US after an operation, and while he was also embalmed and brought back in a coffin, he was taken out and buried in a shroud.
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