Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks on purposive thinking


Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks in an article published on IslamicTextWordpress.com defined tafakkur as purposive thinking. The other word for purposive is purposeful. That is thinking with a purpose.

The shaykh translates the word tafakkur as: "purposive thinking" not simply "thinking" or "contemplation." He quoted Imam al-Haddad in his book Key to the Garden, in which the imam defines tafakkur as "the focus and movement of the heart and mind through the meaning of things in order to reach the underlying intention, and by this, the pearls of truth is reached."

Or in Shaykh Ahmad's simpler words: "Tafakkur is the art, if you like, of churning a matter around in one's mind. The intention driving this process must be to discover the truth behind a saying or clarify the real nature of a principle or belief."

The underlying intention ultimately, if I may add, is to know and understand the Lord's attributes and actions. And perchance discover the pearl of truth, that is the Reality, the haqiqah.

I summarize the virtues of tafakkur which Shaykh Ahmad quoted from Imam Al-Haddad's Book of Assistance:
  • That it can reform the deen and the world.
  • A person who masters the ability to tafakkur 'has gained a portion of every possible good.'
  • Tafakkur for an hour is better than a years worship.
  • That Saidina Ali says, there is no worship like tafakkur
  • Tafakkur is the lamp of the heart, if there is no tafakkur then there is no light.  

It is a skill we have to acquire. So, let's forget for a while about acquiring the taste of this and that. Tafakkur or purposeful thinking is a skill worth acquiring. 

There are four types of tafakkur for different levels of people: the ordinary people, the worshipers, the ascetics and the gnostics.

Shaykh Ahmad ends his article by quoting Imam al-Haddad:
"Knowledge comes from tafakkur, and from knowledge adoration, and from adoration love."

Therefore, love is actually a fruit of tafakkur.

Read his full article here:

Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks

We have been told that Shaykh Ahmad who is based in Cape Town
has just regained his health after quite a long spell of illness.
May Allah grant him sihah wal afiah 
and bless him with a long and prosperous life.

Pic credit: Allie Khalfe FB

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