Book Buzz Updated August 22, 2014
Where I Live
Author of The Spirit of a Sultan
Divine Afterglow – A review of the book ‘Sufi Light: The Secret of Meditation’
“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays” - Soren Kierkegaard
In this very busy world of ours the only thing we seem to be doing with any sort of consistency is constantly run around, our minds filled with distractions and a whole lot of stress. And while this was once limited to only adults, it now seems to have spread to our children as well; distractions and stress hindering our ability to focus and achieve our goals. This situation has manifested to such a level that people now claim that even their prayers don’t work anymore or that they are not able to pray like before, perhaps as they once did in their childhood, before the advent of all the busy distractions. So when such a claim arises it is worthwhile to study if it is the prayer that is to be blamed or the way we are praying that should take blame. Praying is nothing but connecting with God, the supreme one and if you try to communicate without your heart and soul in it, you would be just going through the motions and not really taking full benefit of the power of worship.
And how can we attain that level of concentration and participation in our prayers?
Well, author and Doctor Ahmad Javid say in his book, ‘Sufi Light’, that meditation is the key. And he stresses that the meditation introduced by invoking the mystic Sufi element in Islam religion seems to be the way forward. Because when we lead a life without meditating, we are just passing through time and space without contemplating about anything of consequence. And like a lot of other world religions, Islam too values the important role that meditation plays in one’s life. The book explains that meditation, or rather meditating on the personal name of God, Allah can be done in many ways. It can be as simple as visualizing Allah’s name and reciting it out aloud and through conscious and controlled breathing. Sufism extrapolates further that there has always been a divine and close relationship between God and his creation and therefore encourages the creation to shed its human trappings to become whole once again with his creator.
Dr. Ahmad Javid encourages us to identify and recognize that only Allah is worthy of our praise and worship. And it is his truths and thoughts that should guide us on our life path. There have been many prophets and saints who have further addressed and propagated his words but for you to take full advantage of it, you must meditate. Meditating through concentration, contemplation, reflection and observation of your mind will lead to an increased awareness of your body and mind which will eventually lead to real spiritual development and obtaining maximum benefits from your prayers.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather whose book ‘Irfan’ was a ground breaking revelation on Sufism; Dr. Ahmad Javid has crafted this book in a very unique manner. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that this book doesn’t read like a drab version of one of those ‘How to Improve your life’ self-help books. In fact he made a clear case for simplicity and helpfulness by taking on a esoteric subject like Sufism and has tried to broaden its appeal and shed its very definite tag of exclusivity and thereby inculcate more people into its midst.
By narrating so many personal stories Dr Ahmad Javid has successfully managed to envelop the reader with an aura of faith, magical mysticism and belief that sets up the platform for narrating the message on Sufism and meditation through it. He truly seems to have had an enlightened childhood which apart from the great lineage can also be assessed through the many real life incidents and anecdotes that he has so graciously shared with the public. We are also introduced to Hazrat Sultan Bahu, the poet and saint and his many poems and thoughts. He has given a detailed explanation bordering on a biography in a standalone book dedicated to him in, ‘The Spirit of Sultan’.
The verses from Quran seem to have been selected after much afterthought and are appropriate to the occasion. Sufi Light is an informative book on Islam and its tenets that also provide much disclosure on Sufism and meditation; it is a must buy for everyone who prays.
Timeless Song of Love – A review of the book ‘The Spirit of a Sultan’
“The secret of Sufism is that it has no secret at all” ― Idries Shah
‘The essential truths of Sufism exist in all religions’, and no one knows this better than a Sufi practitioner who are often know to be mystic; and Sufi practices are considered as the mystical practices of Islam. Mysticism often refers to the collective of all the outer forms of a religious practice, along with living a life based on certain moral and ethical principles. If religious laws give religion a firm base to stand strong, it is often mysticism that helps one to reach the ultimate truth or God. The many saints and sages of the Islam religion were in fact all Sufi masters. For thousands of years, Sufi practices have co-existed and grown and helped grow Islam’s reach throughout the world along with its other practises & cultures.
Teachings of Sufi too are very practical in nature. Even though one would attribute teachings told within a mystical framework as something one would find difficult to comprehend, but surprisingly this isn’t the case with Sufism; the idea to spread the word and wisdom of God in such a way that even the lay man can understand him better is its main goal. Becoming one with God, becoming whole once again is what a Sufi practitioner strives to achieve.
In author Ahmad Javid’s latest book, ‘The Spirit of a Sultan’, the author narrates a historical novel centred around the life and times of one of history’s most revered and venerated Muslim scholar and poet, Hazrat Sultan Bahu. Bahu whose name itself means ‘with God’ was a saint and a Sufi poet who founded the Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order. Most books on Sufism and Islam and its mysticism are attributed to him. His couplets and poems have had a lasting impact and are sung even today in qawali and kafi forms. Although based on true events and historical people, the novel employs certain fictional liberties to tell a biographical story of a great poet and saint. It follows Sultan Bahu’s life history, his spiritual journey and the impact he had on the world, all the while showing us how to connect better with God in our hearts and minds.
The Spirit of a Sultan is a biographical account of Hazrat Sultan Bahu’s life and times. Whatever it is that we know today about Sultan Bahu has been in the form of tales and written works like the Manaqib-e-Sultani written by Sultan Hamid Sarwari Qaderi in the Persian language. Dr Ahmad Javid has brought out a very thoroughly researched and well written book that not only introduces to the reader the life of a gentle spirit but also shows a fictionalized account of a glimpse into the life in the Mughal times and their various conflicts all of which transports the reader to a historical world.
The book starts with a bang and the thrilling and mind captivating battle scenes will pull you right into the story. Bazaid Muhammad Awan’s courage and fighting skills will enthral the readers completely and sets up the first chapter and the book just perfect. Bazaid marries Bibi Rasti and out of their union is born the great Bahu. The rest of the book shows Sultan Bahu’s quest for divine knowledge and the way his teachings & messages of mystic Sufism, journeys your soul on a path of spiritual highway and towards the final destination that is God. All things present comes from him and will eventually need to find its way back home, getting immersed in the oneness and wholeness of the single God.
The Spirit of a Sultan oscillates between telling a story and telling about the history behind an event, and this works well because this is also probably the best way to teach history to students. And although narration of history can never be full and final or complete, as each historian will have his own way to interpret the happening of events to better suit the message he has chosen to send out; Dr Ahmad Javid’s book is pretty accurate in its retelling of events and you won’t find anything controversial in them. All in all there are four parts to the book, each part dealing with a particular phase in Sultan Bahu’s life. And the last chapter is devoted to Faqir Nur Muhammad who was Sultan Bahu’s devotee and disciple and whose efforts bore fruit to ensure that the saint’s teaching spread all across the world.
I recommend this book to both Muslims and non Muslims alike and anyone who is interested in learning more about the life of the great Sufi saint Sultan Bahu. This fictional style of writing makes this book a must read and the real photographs and original poems and prayers are a definite bonus. The Spirit of the Sultan enjoys the best of both what the fiction and nonfiction worlds has to offer and is a wonderful work from a very learned mind.