Biography: Aisha Bewley

[Taken from Hajj Aisha Bewley’s own website]

People keep asking me for biographical information. There is part of an interview done for the Islamic Society of Brooklyn College in 1998 which provides some information.

1.) Name: Aisha Abdurrahman Bewley

2.) Place of birth: USA

3.) Date of birth: 1948

4.) Were you born Muslim or did you convert? If so, when did you convert?

What most influenced you to convert? Converted, 1968. My family was a strong Christian one, but I eventually I felt that there was something missing in Christianity. That eventually led me to become involved in Zen Buddhism for a number of years, which was really a process of realising that dunya is not as real or permanent as it seems and of dismantling a structuralist approach to existence.

At the same time, I was reading a lot of philosophy, starting with Nietzsche and moving on to Schopenhauer, Kant, Hegel, and so forth, in an attempt to get a grasp on the significance of our existence. One thing that always stayed with me was the manner in which Nietzsche had alluded in a positive way to Islam while proceeding to demolish the edifice that passes for Christianity today. I think at one point he actually rails against Christianity for ‘robbing’ us of Islam. When I finally read some books on Islam, I immediately recognised that that was what I had been looking for.

5.) School of jurisprudence: Maliki (I presume.)

Inasmuch as it represents the school of early Madina.

6.) Sufi tariqa: (Is it perhaps the ‘Alawi branch of the Darqawi tariqa?)

The Habibiyya branch of the Shadhili Darqawi tariqa.

7.) Someone has said that practically all Malikis, with a few exceptions, are Ash’ari. Would you call yourself Ash’ari? If not, why not?


8.) What is your educational background (in both worldly and Islamic sciences)?

9.) Who are your teachers in the Islamic sciences? What subjects did you study with them? Which texts did you read with them?

I have a BA in French and MA in Near Eastern Languages from the University of California, Berkeley. I spent a year with a fellowship at the American University in Cairo and at the same time attended a seminar on Sufism and Islamic philosophy at Dar al-‘Ulum. As well as the teaching I received from Shaykh Abdalqadir al-Murabit, I also studied Ibn ‘Arabi with the late Sidi Fudul al-Hurawi in Fes, Morocco.

10.) A list of your published works (Please give title and author, with place and date of publication, and name of publisher.):

The Tawasin of Mansur al-Hallaj, Diwan Press, 1974; The Islamic Book of the Dead (Hadith on the Garden and the Fire), Diwan Press, 1977; The Meaning of Man by ‘Ali al-Jamal of Fez, Diwan Pess, 1977; Self-Knowledge (Commentaries on Sufic Songs), Diwan Press, 1978; The Darqawi Way (Rasa’il Mawlay al-‘Arabi ad-Darqawi), Diwan Press, 1979; The Diwans of the Darqawa, Diwan Press, 1980; The Subatomic World in the Qur’an, Diwan Press, 1980; The Invocations of Shaykh al–’Alawi, Diwan Press, 1980;The Seals of Wisdom (Fusus al-Hikam) by Ibn al-‘Arabi, Diwan Press, 1980; Signs on the Horizons: The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, Zahra Publications, 1981; Muwatta’ of Imam Malik (joint translation with Ya’qub Johnson), Diwan Press, 1982. New revised edition, Kegan Paul International, 1989; Muhammad Messenger of Allah (ash-Shifa’ of Qadi ‘Iyad), Madinah Press, 1991; Women of Madina, Vol. 8 of Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, TaHa 1995; Handbook on Islam, Iman, Ihsan (a translation of Kitab Usul ad-Din and Kitab ‘Ulum al-Mu’amala by ‘Uthman dan Fodio), Diwan Press, 1980, Madinah Press, 1996;Defence Against Disaster, Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi, Madinah Press, 1996; Men of Madina, Vol. 7 of Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, TaHa 1997; Glossary of Islamic Terms, TaHa, 1998.

(This doesn’t include books translated for other people. There is a whole list of books done for Dar al-Taqwa: Handbook on Islam, Iman, Ihsan (a translation of Kitab Usul ad-Din and Kitab ‘Ulum al-Mu’amala by ‘Uthman dan Fodio), Diwan Press, 1980, Madinah Press, 1996; The Soul’s Journey After Death, Ibn al-Qayyim, Dar at-Taqwa, 1987; The Jinn in the Qur’an and the Sunna, Mustafa Ashour, Dar at-Taqwa, 1989; Stories from Islamic History for Children, Abul-Hasan Ali Nadwi, UK Islamic Academy. 1992; Stories of the Prophets, Abul-Hasan Ali Nadwi, UK Islamic Academy, 1993; Muhammad, the Last Prophet, Abul-Hasan Ali Nadwi, UK Islamic Academy, 1993; Fate and Predestination, Muhammad al-Sha’rawi, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; Good and Evil, Muhammad al-Sha’rawi, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; The Interpretation of Dreams, Ibn Sirin, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; How Allah Provides, Muhammad al-Sha’rawi, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; Magic and Envy, Muhammad al-Sha’rawi, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; The World of the Angels, ‘Abdu’l-Hamid Kishk, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; The Laws of Marriage in Islam, Muhammad Rafit ‘Uthman, Dar at-Taqwa, 1994; Dealing with Lust and Greed, ‘Abdu’l-Hamid Kishk, Dar at-Taqwa, 1995;The Water of Zamzam, Dar at-Taqwa, 1996;Yajuj and Majuj, Dar at-Taqwa, 1997; The Mahdi, Dar at-Taqwa, 1997; The Day of Rising, Layla Mabruk, Dar at-Taqwa, 1997.)

11.) A list of your unpublished works (title and author):

New translation of the Noble Qur’an with my husband, Abdalhaqq Bewley ;Tafsir of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi (Kitab at-Tas-hil li’Ulum at-Tanzil); Tartib al-Madarik by Qadi ‘Iyad; Governance according to the Prophet (at-Taratib al-Idariyya) by ‘Abdu’l-Hayy al-Kattani; Bustan al-‘Arifin by Imam an-Nawawi; Sihhat Usul Madhhab Ahli’l-Madina by Ibn Taymiyya; Risala of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (together with Yasin Dutton); The Science of Qur’an Recitation (‘Ilm tajrid al-Qur’an) by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham al-Burhani; The Chess Game of the Gnostics (****ranj al-‘Arifin) by Muhammad ibn al-Hashim at-Tilmansani; Various Letters of Ibn al-‘Arabi; Futuhat al-Makkiyya of Ibn ‘Arabi (All of volume 1 and part of 2 of the 4 volume edition); Dala’il al-Khayrat of al-Jazuli; The Hikam of Ibn ‘Ata’llah; The Crown of the Bride (Taj al-‘Arus) by Ibn ‘Ata’llah; The Dropping of Management of Affairs (Isqat at-Tadbir) by Ibn ‘Ata’llah; The Book of the Ismu’l-Mufrad by Ibn ‘Ata’llah; The Defense of the Sunna by Muhammad b. Abi Madyan ash-Shinjiti.

(There are also some translations for various publishers, including a book on each of the four Imams by Abu Zahra; Adab al-Mufrad by Imam al-Bukhari; The Riyad as-Salihin of an-Nawawi; Sahih al-Bukhari (not completed); Tadhhib al-Akhlaq by ‘Abdu’l-Hayy Fakhru’d-din al-Hasani; Al-Fiqh al-Muyassir by Ahmad ‘Ashur; and Mukhtasar at-Targhib wa’t-Tarhib by Ibn Hajar.)

That should cover it. Other than the fact that I’m married to Hajj Abdalhaqq Bewley with whom I translate (he keeps my translations from turning into Arab-lish (usually). Three children, the oldest of whom is studying in Morocco having received a MA in Arabic from the University of Edinburgh.



~ by The Murabit Blog on 11/21/2009.

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