One of the ayahs of the Qur’an that I used to reflect on is “Ask the people of Dhikr if you do not know.” (16:43). This ayah always perplexed me as I couldn’t understand what a person of dhikr was. Doesn’t everyone do dhikr? What does a person of true dhikr look like? It wasn’t until I met Shaykh Nuh that I was able to understand that the ayah was referring to a person who was fully engaged in the remembrance of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). The people of dhikr are those whose mere presence assists those around them to engage in the remembrance of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). The heart softens and becomes still, our hands wander to dhikr beads, and our tongues move silently. It is in scholars like Shaykh Nuh that the verse “People of dhikr” becomes fully realized.
Having benefited from Shaykh Nuh’s talks, I’d strongly recommend the following book “Sea Without Shore” that has just been released by him regarding the spiritual path. If you haven’t already done so, also pick up a copy of the fiqh manual “The Reliance of the Traveler” which has been translated by Shaykh Nuh.
Title: Sea Without Shore
Sea Without Shore is a practical manual for those travelling the path of Sufism or Islamic mysticism, which strives, in Junayd’s words, “to separate the Beginninglessly Eternal from that which originates in time,” in a word, to be with the Divine without any relation. The book opens with narratives of five Sufis met by the author in Syria, Jordan, and Turkey whose lives exemplified the knowledge and practice of the Sufi path.
About the Author: NUH HA MIM KELLER was born in the northwestern United States in 1954. He read philosophy and classical Arabic at the University of Chicago and UCLA, and became a Muslim in Cairo in 1977. He was a disciple in the Shadhili order of the Sufi master and poet Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri of Damascus from 1982 until the latter’s death in 2004, and was authorized as a sheikh in the order by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman in 1996. He has studied Shafi‘i and Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith, and other subjects with traditional scholars in the Middle East, and in the 1980s, under the tutelage of Islamic scholars in Syria and Jordan, produced Reliance of the Traveller, the first translation of a standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s oldest institution of higher learning. Among his other works and translations are Becoming Muslim, Sufism in Islam, al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam, Invocations of the Shadhili Order, Port in a Storm: A Fiqh Solution to the Qibla of North America, and an illuminated calligraphic edition of Dala‘il al-Khayrat. He has travelled and lectured on Islam extensively, and he writes and teaches in Amman, where he has lived since 1980.