Welcome one and all to my blog, The Humble “I”. I hope you find the contents of some benefit, God-willing, in whatever small way. Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments (keeping within the bounds of civil, even if critical, discourse).
About the blog. Well I suppose the blog is essentially about Islam and Muslims and, with their faith and religious teaching and insights, how they can best navigate these complex, challenging and turbulent times. Thus at times I’ll blog about Muslims and modernity; at other times about purification of the heart; while sometimes I’ll write about marriage and family, spiritual wayfaring, politics, society, science, history, poetry, literature, ethics, law and legal theory, theology, or even some philosophy.
On the right hand side of the blog, there’s a “Key Readings” selection; this is followed by “Topical Reads.” Beneath these, there is a fairly comprehensive “Categories” listing. And whilst this isn’t a fatwa page, there is a listing of the many questions & answers that have been addressed on this blog, which can be found at the top of the page. I can be booked for talks, classes, presentations and seminars via the “Booking” email address provided near the top right. If you do happen to find the articles and posts on this blog beneficial or relevant, please do subscribe (where it says “Follow Blog”) and perhaps even share the page with others.
About myself. Barring family, relatives or those who knew me before the mid 1980s, most people now know me as Abu Aaliyah – “Father of Aaliyah”. My actual name, however, is Surkheel Sharif. Born and raised in London, England, I began my more formal studies of the Islamic sciences around the late 1980s (just a few years after having quit my degree in Astrophysics) and still continue to study with scholars. I gained an MA in Islamic Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London, in 2009.
Over the years, I’ve translated a few Islamic works from Arabic into English; the last was a short text on suluk or Muslim spirituality, called The Exquisite Pearl (2000). I have also authored two books, one called More Fish Please & the Earth’s Complaint (2011); the other, Fussing Over the 15th of Sha’ban & the Golden Rule of Differing (2011). I’m the founder and current Director of the Jawziyyah Institute (est. 1999): a non-profit organisation dedicated to cultivating an Islam true to its time-honoured tradition; relevant to its current context; and of benefit to wider society.
Barring a few TV programs (such as “Counsels of the Heart”), and a few radio shows, my time tends to be divided between teaching the sacred Islamic sciences, public speaking, delivering courses and seminars, pastoral work in the community, as well as researching, translating and authoring. I live with my wife and four grown-up children in London.
The goal is to post one or two blogs per month, God-willing – welcoming comments and constructive criticism, as well as endeavouring to reply to them. All this, in the hope that they will be part of the overall process of: knowing, doing and becoming; knowing faith, doing works of faith, and becoming transformed by faith.
Surkheel Abu Aaliyah