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Shaykh al-Alawî - Intimate Supplication - A word from the translator Abdul-Majid Bhurgri
English - Articles written
Écrit par Ahmad al-Alawî   
Samedi, 29 Décembre 2012 14:28
Index de l'article
Shaykh al-Alawî - Intimate Supplication
Foreword by Muhammad Suheyl Umar
A word from the translator Abdul-Majid Bhurgri
The Shaykh Ahmad Ben Mustafa al-Alawî by Abdul-Majid Bhurgri
Blessing of Crown
Intimate Supplication
Toutes les pages



A word from the translator


This effort at translating a munajat, written by a great Muslim Saint, who lived at the turn of the century about hundred years ago, should not be judged pedantically or academically. I do not claim to be a scholar, nor do I claim sufficient knowledge of the languages as would qualify me for this kind of work. However, I have relied less on my ability as a translator and more on the grace (barakah) of the author of this munajat and above all on the Mercy of God to whom it is addressed. If the readers observe any shortcomings or faults, I squarely accept the responsibility for these.


I was introduced to the munajat a few years ago by Seyyed Muhammad Farooq Ahmad Sahib, a venerable saint himself, for whom I have great love and regard. He made a gift to me of a copy of the munajat which contained the Arabic text as well as its Urdu translation.


It was a fortuitous introduction since the author of the munajat was no other than Shaykh of my own late Shaykh ‘Issa Nur ed-Din Ahmad (may God sanctify his secret). Later, Farooq Ahmad Sahib asked me to translate it into English. Without his blessings and encouragements, I would not have been able to complete this work. Nor could this effort have been completed without blessings and prayers of my late Shaykh, other saintly patrons and last but not the least my own parents. For the translation, I frequently kept in view the excellent Urdu translation of learned Dr. Muhammad Habibullah Mukhtar. Nevertheless, the present English translation of the munajat is not a translation of the Urdu translation. I have translated it from the Arabic but I admit having taken extensive help from the Urdu translation without which I may not have been able to do this work. Whatever the quality of translation of this kind of work, a great deal of the beauty and effectiveness tends to get lost in the process. The play of words, which creates the effect by their sounds, is very difficult to reproduce especially when the languages are so very different as Arabic and English. Even the word munajat itself cannot be succinctly translated in a single English word. It has been translated as intimate prayer, intimate discourse, whispered prayer, and so forth; all of which are at the best approximations of the original. When my learned friend Muhammad Suheyl Umar used ‘Intimate Supplication’ for it, I also settled for it.


It is strange that this writing of Shaykh Ahmad Al-Alawi was not mentioned in the excellent biography of the Shaykh written by Martin Lings (late Shaykh Abu Bakr Seraj ed-Din). Anyhow, my effort not being of an academic nature, I neither felt the need for a thoroughly conclusive research to resolve this issue, nor indeed had the time and resources to carry it out. However, while searching the sources on internet, twice did I come across this munajat in Arabic and it had been attributed to the Shaykh. One of these websites, which is in French, is associated with Shaykh’s grandson (from his adopted daughter’s side, as Shaykh did not have any issue of his own). That this is not a full fledged book might explain why it did get not mentioned by S. Abu Bakr Seraj ed-Din (may Allah sanctify his secret) in his biography of the saint. I had considered asking S. Abu Bakr about this but, as the Providence would have it, he passed away to the eternal abode before I could do so.


Judging by the words and tone of this short work, and the circumstances which led me to it, I personally have little doubt as to its authorship. Also the fact that I was able to complete the translation despite my apparent lack of ability, for me, is a proof in itself that the munajat has been penned by the Saint to whose spiritual lineage I am connected.


I have tried that the translation, without being very literal, should stay close to the original. Thus it is neither literal nor a free rendering—it is something in between. I have tried to remain close to the meaning without compromising the spontaneous flow of the prayer. It is evident that in such cases one rendering always leaves room for other possible renderings, which may even be better. If someone, with greater knowledge of the language and the subject, finds that my rendering has failed to do justice to the original, such a person has perfect right to use such better rendering that he can come up with. And at the same time I seek forgiveness for such unintended lapses on my part and ask you to pray for me.


For the passages of Qur’an, I have referred to various translations and modified these as and where I felt necessary. References are made to the relevant Chapter and Verse in the format [Chapter: Verse]. In the Arabic section I have left out references because these can be easily checked with references in English section. While quotes of English translation are in italics, the quotes from Qur’an in Arabic are put in parenthesis to set these apart from rest of the text and also to facilitate its correspondence with English translation on the opposite page. An effort has all along been made to match the English rendering on each page with the Arabic original text on the opposite page.


We are deeply indebted to venerable saint Seyyed Raziuddin Ahmed Fakhri, on whose express desire this little known gem was translated into Urdu and thus introduced to the interested circle of readers in the Indo-Pak sub continent. But for his initiative, this present effort may not have been possible. May God bless his pious soul.


I am thankful to Professor Nicholas Heer who, having reviewed the Arabic transcript as well as the English translation, gave useful suggestions to improve it. I am grateful to Muhammad Suheyl Umar, whose piety and erudition need little introduction, for having penned the foreword, which is an enlightening as well as thought provoking piece by itself.


I deeply thank my family for the support and help extended to me in this effort, especially my sons, Abdul-Musavir, Abdul-Basit and Abdul-Bari who, by making me free from financial concerns, and by insisting that I busy myself with that which I enjoyed most, made this possible. I pray to God that He may grant them best in this world and the next.


I hope that despite my limitations, but through the blessing and grace of the venerable author, the readers will benefit from this English translation in achieving nearness to the Truth—a loftier goal than which does not exist.


Abdul-Majid Bhurgri, Seattle, USA
December 2005



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