Thursday, September 15, 2005

Podcast - Fall of Adam (Part 1 of 3)

Several years ago William Chittick gave a lecture at our local university on Ahmad Sam'ani's view of Adam's fall as elaborated in Sam'ani's work, "The Ease of Spirits in Explaining the Names of the All-Conquering King" ("Rawh al-arwah fi sharh asma' al-malik al-fattah").

It's a fascinating and beautiful lecture (reflective of the excellence of Chittick's work in general) and I have wanted for some time to make it available online but did not feel right doing so without first obtaining Chittick's permission. I was recently put in contact with him and he has very graciously, granted permission. The lecture is now available as a podcast. You can listen to the first part or it here or at (or click the title of this post to link to the audio) or subscribe/listen to it as a podcast in iTunes or any other podcast aggregrator. Due to file size, I've divided the audio into three parts. The other two parts will follow.

The theme of the lecture is God's Mercy and is elucidated through a beautifully detailed and nuanced exposition of Sam'ani's commentary on the fall of Adam. Sam'ani's audience were Muslims who followed and reflected the values of a society where the practical and legal injunctions of Islam were routinely and regularly observed - where the external aspects of the faith were well established and evident in the lives of the people and society in general. While the external, shariah/fiqhi aspect of the religion highlight God's commanding, kingly and legislative qualities, Sam'ani's work had the purpose of illuminating the internal, more esoteric aspects of the faith - focusing especially on the precedence of God's mercy over His wrath, illuminating for his readers aspects of the religion that are often veiled by the more visible external form.

Note: A revised/updated version of this lecture is available in written form in chapter 9 of Chittick's book "Sufism: A Short Introduction".

- Irshaad Hussain


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At 2:40 AM, Blogger Tim said...

I really enjoyed this series on Adam. I found it fun to listen to.

Ahmad Sam'ani's view is not Biblical by any means but it was still interesting to hear an Islamic view of the fall. Thanks for posting this. I liked hearing the view of human history and seeing the differences with the Biblical account.

It was amazing to see how different they are.


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