Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
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 it here or subscribe/listen to it as a podcast in your favorite podcast app.
Due to file size, I've divided the audio into three parts:
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.
1 – A revised/updated version of this lecture is available in written form in chapter 9 of Chittick's book "Sufism: A Short Introduction".
Note: “Ahmad Sam'ani died in 1140 - he belonged to a family of famous scholars from Nishapur in Iran.” (William C. Chittick, “Teaching Islam in Medieval Iran”)