Thursday, January 22, 2015

An evening with the scholars...

ON a windy, but hot Wednesday evening, 21 January, two scholastic and spiritual luminaries, Shaikh Muhammad ibnYahya al-Ninowy and Shaikh Afif ud-Din al-Jilani - who are both descendents of the Prophet Muhammad - spent the evening at the Azzawia Institution in Cape Town. Ninowy (originally from Syria but now the US, and Al-Jilani formerly from Iraq but now Malaysia) had been in town for the annual mass celebration of the Prophet's birthday.

Also present at the informal gathering were Shaikh Seraj Hendricks, one of the imams at the Azzawia and a leading local scholar, and Ahmad Tijani Bin Omar, whose melodious voice has transfixed audiences around the globe.

In introduction, Shaikh Fakhruddin al-Owaisi gave a quick history of the institution and its relationship with the Al-Maliki family of Makkah, stretching back four generations.

Shaikh Afif ud-Din pointed out that the key to awareness of the Prophet Muhammad was through the truly authentic scholars, through their academic and heart knowledge, as they were the beacons of the faith. He mentioned the late Sayyid Muhammad 'Alawi al-Maliki as a prime example. Shaikh Ninowy prompted the thought that a person should not think how one can love God, but rather, how one can make God love the person. The evening concluded with the harmonious rendering of qasidah - devotional poetry.

Shaikh Ninowy addresses the gathering.

Shaikh Afif ud-Din (right) meets Shaikh Seraj Hendricks.

Shaikh Afif ud-Din sitting in the same chair as
Shaikh Muhammad Salih Hendricks,
Azzawia founder in 1920. 

"It's not how you can love God, but how
you can make God love you."

Tribute is paid to Shaikh Seraj.

Ahmed Tijani Bin Omar regales the gathering. "I love you all.
I have no title, I'm Shaikh Hopeless!"

Qasidah time.

The late Sayyid Muhammad 'Alawi al-Maliki
at the Azzawia in 1997.

Azzawia Institute, Cape Town.

Photos copyright Shafiq Morton