New Tales for Old

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Introduction

Horace thought an author should leave a poem for nine years before publishing it. Most of this book was written more than twenty years ago and only now sees the light of day.

The Robin Hood story deals with the interesting figure of the man who, when tyranny and corruption reigns, finds himself an outlaw. The Dracula story is about the dualism of our age’s imagination and its necessity to believe in an ultimate metaphysical evil. “And why not?” derives from a personal experience. Billy the Kid was inspired by the early American history of opposition to banking, a history that is less well known than it ought to be.

Otello was a response to Zeferelli’s film of the Verdi opera of the same name.

Gaelic literature is replete with accounts of the meeting between Oisin (Ossian) and Patrick, and expresses eloquently the ambivalent attitude of the old Gaels to the new Christianity.

“The Greatest Name of Allah” is a story that I heard orally, and, while on Hajj, some aspects of it came to me and I wrote them down.

The poem “God is Dead” was conceived as prose on O’Connell Street in Dublin while gazing on the happy shoppers.

“The Colt” is a much later poem, which, contrary to God is Dead, I actually intended from the first as a poem.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

The most enduring literature of any language is still and always that which has a divine purpose, however symbolically treated, and however that may be defined. Even great political works may resonate. But with this collection of stories, the heart is foremost and the intellect lively. This deliciously animated collection of tales by master Irish storyteller ventriloquist (taking many voices in these stories and poems) author, scholar, book designer and Imam, Abdassamad Clarke, brings out the wished for hidden history of Muslims in classics such as Robin Hood, and the old Merlin tales with Clarke’s sweet wizardry — sterling examples of tales told with a moral and an instructive agenda, but all made easy to digest by the sheer magic of the language and imagination engaged in forging them. Two poems of symbolic counsel for the Path of spiritual attainment round out the collection to a T (for Tawheed!).

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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