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May 13, 2005

Martin Lings (1909-2005)

(edit Friday 8:30 pm: Wow… I just found who “Emam” on Xanga is… all along I was thinking it was some punk kid and I was scratching the back of my head wondering: “Who the heck do I know in Texas that knows so much about me, including my bashing of the IFS chandelier?”… turns out it’s none other than our dear friend and scholar Shaykh Mawlana Nazim Mangera (former CPSA teacher, now teaching in Irving, Texas)… Mashallah this man is amazing, even if he is from Canada (hahaha, that’s right Mawlana Nazim, I had to take that shot… don’t be mad, eh?) As for me, lesson learned: next time someone pretends to know you online, assume scholar until proven otherwise.)

Martin Lings, author of the famous Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources and other influential works passed away last night at the age of 96.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji`oon. Also, I also learned that the father of a sister at UIC who served on shura with me two years ago also passed away. Please make du’a that Allah accepts their deaths with Iman, forgives their sins, makes the questioning of the grave easy for them, makes their graves to be gardens from the gardens of paradise, resurrects them amongst the nation of the Prophet (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam), and admits them (and us) to the highest garden of Paradise (jannat al-firdaus). Ameen.

Martin Lings at the Uniting for the Prophet Event held May 2nd in Wembley, UK

Taken from:
Martin Lings was born in Lancashire in 1909. After a classical education he read English at Oxford where he was a pupil and later a close friend of C. S. Lewis. In 1935 he went to Lithuania where he lectured on Anglo-Saxon and Middle English and subsequently he went to Egypt and and lectured mainly on Shakespeare at Cairo University. In 1952 he returned to England and took a degree in Arabic and in 1955 he joined the staff of the British Museum where from 1970–73 he was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts. For the following year he held the same post in the newly founded British Library. In addition to writing many books he is also the author of the chapter ‘Mystical Poetry’ in Abbasid Belles-Lettres, which is Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, and the chapter on ‘The Nature and Origin of Sufism’ in Vol.19 of World Spirituality, as well as articles for Studies in Comparative Religion, Sophia, The New Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Encyclopaedia Britannica

His bibliography may be found here

Subhanallah, I really don’t know how to talk about Martin Lings (rahmatullahi `alayh) and what he’s meant to me personally, and also the Muslim Ummah, particularly the English-speaking population. While I’ve only read a handful of the above works that he’s authored, it would be an understatement to say that his insight and writing style have left an indelible mark upon my poor excuse of an education. My favorite work of his, as is probably the favorite work of most Muslims that are familiar with Dr. Lings, has to be Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. For me personally, it helped me through some difficult times in my life. While there have been some complaints mentioned about this book (such as a reliance on some questionable hadith and narrations, etc.), the fact remains that this is perhaps the best original English work written on the Prophet (Ibn Ishaq/Ibn Hisham’s, being the prototype, is still the best but it’s originally written in Arabic). Regardless, the way that Dr. Lings is able to relate the sirah in a manner akin to a novel is uncanny; it makes even the most casual reader–particularly a non-Muslim one–eager and curious to see how this story will end. He masterfully weaved an already beautiful story with his own literary (I mean, the guy was C.S. Lewis’ boy…) and scholarly flair, making the reader feel as if he’s there as the story unfolds as the story is brought to life.

Most importantly, for many Muslims (those born into it and especially the converts), his work was the door to admit them into that boundless realm of loving the Prophet.

Subhanallah, imagine his reward for that.

For the one who brought to life
That which had once been dead–
His reward is with his Lord;
What more needs to be said?


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  1. Inna lillahi wa Inna ilaihi Raji’oon…
    SubhanAllah, I was just about to post about this.  BarakAllahu feek.

  2. inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raa ji oon
    ameen to all your duas, may Allah make the passing of Dr. Lings as well as the former shura member’s dad easy on their familys and reunite them in jannatul firdaus, ameen.

  3. Anonymous permalink

    Inna lillahi wa inna illayhi rajioon…
    I would also like to point out that my dear friend and brother touqeer’s uncle passed away today from a sudden heart attack so please keep him and his family in your dua’as insh’Allah…
    be safe

  4. Alti, I know we talked about this on AIM, but a clarification for those who may not know:
    Touqeer’s uncle = sister’s father, rahimahullah.

  5. From Allah we come, and to Him we return. 
    I offer my humble condolescences for the families of the two beloved people who recently passed, and to all Muslims who have left this short life.

  6. Anonymous permalink

    Two days ago, my brother was talking about how I should read the seerah made by Martin Lings.  My brother described him, and he seemed like a stud, and just as I was about to look up info on him, I heard what happened to him.  From Allah we come, and to Him we return.  Ameen to all those dua’s. 

  7. Inna lillahi wa inna illayhi raji’oon…

  8. When I used to work in Pilsen over the summer a few years ago, my shift ended at 9:30 p.m., and I’d wait for like the one bus that comes every half hour in the middle of nowhere.
    This book was my only companion. And man was it a good one. It was one of best books, with the most enchanting writing that I’ve ever read. Though personally, I liked Adil Salahi’s english seerah better – I think this one comes in at a solid second.
    May Allah bless Him and make his good deeds recurring for him, and grant mercy and glad tidings to the uncle who passed away.

  9. Our grandfather in Islam, the Door of Da’wah in the West / a vessel of the deen whose work left legions impressed / a rising star, illuminating a sky of sullen, falling moons / inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon
    Ameenin’ the du’as,IJB

  10. Anonymous permalink

    touqeer is cousin’s with the girl whose father passed away.. May Allah give Touqeer’s uncle Janaatul Ferdous – Ameen.

  11. Anonymous permalink

    nevermind you clarified it… i should read your comments before posting..

  12. Have read the book that you are currently reading.  May Allah grant him Jannatul Firdous.
    a.k.a. shaykh nazim 🙂
    do I know you Kamran? 🙂

  13. talking about chandaliers….kamran…on Sunday, January 02, 2005, whilst talking about how Masjid construction needs to be re-thought, you posted the following :
    .>>>>Instead of focusing on elaborate chandeliers and such, spend the money elsewhere and consider the bigger picture.
    Hafiz (of all of Kamran’s posts 🙂

  14. Allahumma ghfirlahuma warhamhuma wa adkhilhuma fil jannatil-firdaws ma`am nabiyyeen was siddiqeen was shuhadaa’i was saliheen.

  15. May he be granted a mountain of nuts in the hereafter…

  16. inna lillahi wa Inna ilaihi Raji’oonYeh its TQ’s Uncle, i went to the salatul Janazah, its a big reality check. Its pretty scary how death comes out of now where. His uncle went to the hospital for a check up and then suddenly he got a heart attack and passed away at the hospital. May ALLAH bless his soul and protect him from the punishment of the grave, and the punishment of the hell fire. May Allah give him Jannah and forgive his sins, and may Allah do this for all of us. Ameen.

  17. Anonymous permalink

    Jazakallahu khayr for all your duas. My family (mine and Touqeer’s) appriciate and in debt to you all for your thoughts and kind duas. Please continue to make dua for my father’s maghfirah insha Allah. And may this serve as a reminder to all of us of what this life really holds. My dad’s passing away was a huge reality check for all of us and its during these times that we can see Allah’s love for us. Jazakahallahu khayr Kamran for asking/making duas for my beloved dad; may you be rewarded for that insha Allah.

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