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  Children loved Dhu’l Nun so much that when he left the Mosque

 after Prayer to sit beneath a tree, there could always be found one of

them in his lap. Never was there any fear in the heart of the Child’s

mother when their Child was with with Dhu’l Nun.

 

 

An Account of Dhu'l Nun

In the Name Of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

By Amin Sharif

 

What the Tongue has spoken the Eye has seen. But the Sons and Daughters of Adam have been granted two Eyes. One which discerns the Outer World of corporeal forms and another that perceives the Inner World of the Spirit. One Eye opens at our physical birth. The other opens upon our spiritual rebirth. But whether these Eyes open at our birth or rebirth, the Light by which we see comes from God--who is Great and Glorious.

There are times when God looks upon a Nation of People lost in the Darkness of Sin and sends them a Great Light. These Great Lights are the Prophets of OldMay God Be Pleased with Them. The Greatest and Last of these Lights was our Master Muhammad, May Peace Be Upon Him, who was veiled in the Attribute of Hadi, the Guide of Humankind.

It was Muhammad who completed the Architecture of ProphecySo that all 124,000 prior Prophets could dwell in the completed Mosque of Revelation. And to ensure that Humankind would never again fall into Darkness, save by their own neglect; Muhammad was given the Light of the Holy Koran which was added to the Light of his own existence. Thus it was written in the pages of the Holy Book, “Light unto Light.”

Muhammad was one of God’s blessings on Earth. But the Holy Prophet wore the Cloak of Flesh and Bone bestowed upon every man. And so to ease the fears of Humankind that there would be no Light among them after the Prophet’s Death, God in His Mercy created Lesser Lights. These Lesser Lights are called the Saints of Allah. Among these Saints was one called Dhu’l Nun. He is the subject of this discourse and those which shall follow.

                   Muhammad is the Seal of Prophethood

                   And God’s true Friend,

                   Without God’s Breathe of Mercy

                   This World would surely end.

                   So every righteous Soul is found

                   to Plead,

                   And stand before its Lord

                   unworthy and in Need.

I first gazed upon Dhu’l Nun as he entered my town, in North Africa, some thirty years ago. He was tall. His Blackness bespoke that he was a Nubian. And to me his Blackness would always remind me of another Dark Servant of GodBilal, the Companion of our Master Muhammad.

The Nubian gave no evidence that he was different from any other man. Yet Children seemed to be attached to him. Often they could be found running after him upon their small legs, seeking to touch his cloak or place their small hands upon his wooly hair. Sometimes, a Child, as is their custom, would ask Dhu’l who had given this hair to him. Dhu’l Nun would smile and say, “It comes from God, Great and Glorious. He is the Giver of Life and Light to all things.”

And then he would place his own Black hand upon their small heads and give them each a Blessing. Children loved Dhu’l Nun so much that when he left the Mosque after Prayer to sit beneath a tree, there could always be found one of them in his lap. Never was there any fear in the heart of the Child’s mother when their Child was with with Dhu’l Nun. For it was said and written that to give anything to Dhu’l Nun was to place it in the hands of Muhammad, May Peace and Blessings be Upon Him. All things given to the Prophet rested in the Shade of Divine Trust and were therefore secure.

Some said that Dhu’l Nun was the Son of Bilal. And indeed I looked upon him as such. This was because the Nubian’s reputation as a Singer of the Holy Koran, like Bilal, was known throughout the Land of Believers. It is said that the Black skinned Children of Adam are endowed with the most beautiful voices of all Humankind. And that they will be chosen to sing God’s Praises with the Angels in Paradise. If this be so, Dhu’l Nun shall surely stand among them.

For I have often heard the Nubian sing the Sura Fattah at Prayer in a manner that seemed to transport me to the very Gates of Paradise. Often during the Saint’s reciting of the Opening Sura, a poor Soul would enter among us declaring that an Angel had told him to come to our Mosque. And in that instant, this Soul would bear witness that “There is no God but Allah. And Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” Many times that Soul would add to his Holy Declaration that “Dhu’l Nun is the Saint of God.”

Once I asked Dhu’l Nun what was the meaning of these incidents. He replied that the Souls that were beckoned by the Angels are those who declared that Allah was their Lord in Pre-Eternity. I call these Souls to Remember their Lord and bring them through the Darkness of Disbelief to the Light of Faith. The Words of the Holy Koran are a Bridge between Paradise and Hellfire. When I sing the Sura Fattah the Bridge appears and an Angel tells the Soul of the Sinner to cross.

I have said that Dhu’l Nun was the Companion of All Children. But he held little Patience for the Rulers of this World. Often he would stand before some Pasha or Sharif, a Jurist, or Imam awaiting punishment for something he said at Mosque or in the Streets. I have seen Dhu’l Nun severely beaten for his Admonishments to the Rulers of some far off Land. At other times, I have seen these Rulers with downcast heads, shedding tears at the Words of Dhu’l Nun. I asked him once why one Ruler would act to punish him; while another felt punished by him?

In answer, the Saint declared, “Some rulers are made for the Fire, others stumble into it.” Those who beat me and those who my Words punish are Brothers in the Family of Pharaohs. But each Pharaoh is different. One opposed Moses. While another placed Yusef (Joseph) on the Throne of Egypt. One accepted God’s Mercy on Earth. The Other was arrogant. I have come to tell the Pharaohs of this Age that they must be Merciful lest they be pulled from their High Places. I am here to warn them of the Weight of their Scales. Those who weep know that they are in peril. Those who beat me wish only that I would leave them to dwell in the Palace of their Illusions. Such were the Words of Dhu’l Nun!

Perhaps the most touching memory I have of Dhu’l Nun took place within those first few days that I cast my Eyes upon him. I saw him standing outside of the house of a woman who had borne in this world a child who was severely crippled. No one in our town could gaze upon the lad without having the Well of their Heart filled with the deepest Sympathy. And the condition of the Mother and Child was made even more desperate by the absence of the Father whom Allah had called to His Judgment.

There, at the door way, of this woman’s house stood Dhu’l Nun. Upon his Lips was the Declaration: “God is Great.” He repeated his Declaration with such force that flecks of foam appeared upon his Lips and perspiration soon drenched his Body.

Out of Fear, some of the townspeople sent for the Physician thinking that Dhu’l Nun had gone mad. Upon his arrival, the Physician, who was a learned man, recognized the Nubian’s State. He calmed the people and waited for the State to pass. Then he conveyed the Saint to his home and washed Dhu’l Nun’s face with his own Hands.

Patiently the Doctor waited upon the Nubian until he felt that Dhu’l Nun was ready to speak. Then he listened. Dhu’l Nun Praised God for bringing him to our town and giving him the privilege to look upon the boy. The Saint declared the lad was a great blessing to us. God, the Nubian declared, had placed this infirmed creature in our midst so that we might perform Acts of Mercy. For, Dhu’l Nun stated, whomever bestowed Love and Alms upon this lad would find that God would bestow His Mercy and Blessings upon them.

When those in town heard what the Nubian had proclaimed, each sought to outdo the Other in providing the lad and his mother with all they needed. The Physician was the first to open his purse. He paid for Doctors of the Law to teach the lad the Higher Sciences. Other fed and clothed the humble Family. These Acts of Mercy brought the town renown. Everywhere in the Land of Believers people spoke of the Generosity of its inhabitants.

In the Fullness of Time, a Great Mosque and Hospital was built in the center of our town. And, each Day a beautiful Voice was heard to Call the Faithful to Prayer. Each Night, the Doors of the Mosque were opened and the Koran was recited for all to hear. The Voice that Called the Faithful and the Hafiz who recited the Koran was One and the Same. For they both belonged to the crippled lad who had grown to Manhood by the Grace of Allah.

But, by this time, the Nubian Saint had long left our town. And, I had rolled up my own Prayer Carpet and taken to the road as his Companion.   

*  *  *  *  *

Note: Dhu 'l-Nun180/796-246/861)His full name was Abu 'l-Fayd Thawban b. Ibrahim Dhu 'l-Nun al-Misri. An important Egyptian sufi, he edited the Commentary on the Qur’an written by Ja’far al-Sadiq. Dhu 'l-Nun was imprisoned and persecuted by Mu’tazila for his belief that the Qur'an was uncreated. Dhu 'l-Nun, whose Arabic name means "the holder (or possessor) of the fish," gained a considerable reputation as an alchemist. Although none of his mystical writings have survived, he is created with being the first to provide a systematic exposition of tasawwuf (spiritual development) and its doctrines. It may also be noted here that the prophet Jonah, called in Arabic Yunus, is also sometimes called Dhu 'l-Nun for obvious reasons.

Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri, born in Upper Egypt near Sudan, is regarded as the founder of Sufism.  Muslim Saints and Mystics : A. J. Arberry (Translator)

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Africans in the Arabian Gulf—Well, one interesting indicator of that is names.  You have people who are identifying themselves as affixed to tribes.  They have Bedouin tribal names, and in some ways this parallels the way that, for example, a slave in the United States would have the name of the family that owned him.  Washington.  Jefferson.  These are the names of African Americans today.  They reflect the fact that their origins were those slave-holding families.  You have similar relationships and nomenclature in the Gulf, names that I heard and asked people about, who were obviously of African stock.  I'd say, "This is obviously a Nejdi Tribal name, and yet you would appear to be not have Bedouin origin, but of African origin, or some combination."  So he would say, "No, my family goes back a long way as clients of that tribe.”  “Clients” denotes a range of relationships to a patriarchy that has included slaves and indentured servants.  So I'm certain that that could have happened in the 19th century, but it also could have happened much earlier as well.

In general—and this is a broad generalization—I think it is fair to say that in the Gulf, in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait, a large number of African ethnics who are nationals in those countries are lower on the socioeconomic ladder.  That said, there are notable exceptions, including senior people in politics and government in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.  When you have conversations with Gulf nationals of African origin, they are not necessarily acculturated to welcoming discussions of family genealogy and African roots, or asking the sorts of questions that might help situate their particular family history in the context of broader histories of cultures and peoples in Africa.  So it is not necessarily common to find people who'll wax poetic on their family origin, and their odyssey from Africa, and in some circles it's kind of a taboo topic as well.  People don't like to dwell on the slave history of the country. AfroPop

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

 

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

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Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered.

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Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington's political outlook on race. The group's respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.—Publishers Weekly

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I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters 

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“The time it took to complete the research was much longer than I had predicted, not just because of the number of letters I had in hand, but also especially because for their high quality. It was incredibly difficult to weed out those letters I really liked but that did not serve the purpose of putting together a publishable narrative of letters. And there are quite a few of those that are topically fascinating but not easily fitting for a narrative.”phillytrib

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

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The White Masters of the World

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By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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