Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller written a booklet called “Becoming Muslim” it is a personal account of his “con/reversion” to Islam.
His biggest achievement is that of translating a very important book on Islamic Laws called The Reliance of the Traveller [`Umdat as-Salik].
Mr. Keller, born in 1954 in the northwestern United States, was educated in philosophy and Arabic at the University of Chicago and UCLA. He entered Islam in 1977 at al-Azhar in Cairo, and later studied the traditional Islamic Sciences of hadith, Shafi’i and Hanafi jurisprudence, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh), and tenets of faith (`aqidah) in Syria and Jordan, where he has lived since 1980. His English translation of `Umdat al-Salik [The Reliance of the Traveller] (1250 pp., Sunna Books, 1991) is the first Islamic legal work in a European language to receive the certification of al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s oldest institution of higher learning. He also possesss ijazas or `certificates of authorisation’ in Islamic jurisprudence from sheikhs in Syria and Jordan
His other translations and works include: Al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam; The Sunni Path: A Handbook of Islamic Belief; and Tariqa Notes. He is currently translating Imam Nawawi’s Kitab al-Adhkar [The Book of Remembrance of Allah], a compendium of some 1227 hadiths on prayers and dhikrs according to the Prophetic Sunnah.
6. Certificate of al-Azhar and reviews of Reliance of the Traveller:
*Certificate of al-Azhar: “. . . We certify that the above-mentioned translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a). . .” al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s most prestigious institution of higher Islamic learning, Cairo. (Rajab, 1411/February, 1991)
*Review of the International Institute of Islamic Thought:
- “. . . The translation is far from literalism, but does not exceed the author’s intent, thereby demonstrating the translator’s knowledge of Sacred Law and ability in jurisprudence as well as his complete command of both Arabic and English languages . . . From a purely academic point of view,this translation is superior to anything produced by orientalists in the way of translations of major Islamic works, in that while faithfully maintaining the required scholary level, its aim is to imbue the consciousness of the non-Arabic-speaking Muslim with a sound understanding of Sacred Law, and the success of the translator lies in the notes, commentaries, appendices, and indexes he has added that help give the Muslim access to what will benefit him in his religion and this-wordly concerns and earn him the pleasure of Allah Most High. And this is the great triumph.”
By Dr. Taha Jabir al-`Alwani, President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, President of the Fiqh Council of North America, and Member of Islamic Fiqh Academy at Jedda. (Jumada al-Akhirah, 1411/December 1990)
*Review of Dr. A. Kevin Reinhart, Dartmouth College:
- “. . . This translation is a remarkable job from a number of prespectives . . . Of course it is the quality of the translation, not the apparatus that determines the translation’s value and this one is superb . . . Technical terms are clearly presented and then cross referenced so that the English version of the technical term is in effect glossed each time it appears . . . This text will become the standard by which other translations are judged.”
By Dr. A. Kevin Reinhart, Dartmouth College. (Published in the Middle East Studies Association, MESA Bulletin, December, 1993)
*Review of Dr. Farhat J. Ziadeh, University of Washington:
- “This is a truly magnificent piece of work that will prove to be indispensable to the English-speaking Muslims and to any Western student of Islam . . .”
(published in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, JAOS, January, 1994)
*Review of Dr. John A. Williams, The College of William & Mary:
- “. . . We have here in English an authoritative compendium of Muslim Law. All this makes it a valuable resource and reference, which anyone interested in Islam will want to have in his/her library.”
(published in The Muslim World.)
7. More information about Al-Maqasid:
Al-Maqasid: ma yajib ma’rifatuh min al-Din (The Objectives: what is necessary to know of the religion) is a synopsis of Shari’ah. It has 7 sections: Fundamentals of the religion, Purification, Prayer, Zakah, Fasting, Pilgrimage, and Virtues. The translation fills out the classic text with explanative notes. Transliterations and Arabic texts of the supplications and dhikr are provided.
8. Reviews of Al-Maqasid:
*Review of Dr. Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo:
- “. . . I can think of no work in English that says so much about the din al Islam so concisely, so authoritatively, and with such clarity.”
Nuh Ha Mim Keller, an American Muslim, has studied `Umdat al-Salik word by word in the traditional way with two Shaykh-s (teachers),in Damascus and Amman, over a period of five years after which they gave him their written warrant (ijazah) to expound the book and translate it into English. He continues his traditional Islamic learning there, his next translation will be al-Nawawi’s Kitab al-Adhkar (Hadith collection), Allah willing.
He is currently very busy working on a number of books one of which is a Hanafi Manual of fiqh with his wife who is a Hanafi `Alima, he is also working on a book called the Re-Formers of Islam which will be ready for publication in about 3 months insha’Allah, details of which I will supply nearer the time.
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