Volume 15-05 No:173
This is a story of seven youngmen who wanted to worship one Almighty Allah. The story is related in Surah Kahaf or ‘People of the Cave’ in the Holy Quran. History tells us that this was at least 300 years before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and nearly 250 years after Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ), peace be upon him.
King Decius was ruling the kingdom of Ephesus. Now it is part of modern Turkey. He was very cruel. He did not want the people to follow the religion of Allah as was revealed to Prophet Isa. When Decius heard about the change of their faith by seven youth, he called them and questioned them about their faith. They told him that they worshipped only one Allah and made no partners with him. The king turned furious and gave them three days to come back to their old faith. They were warned of death penalty if they did not do so.
The seven youths fled the city and hid themselves in a spacious cave in the mountains outside the city. On the way, a dog also followed them. They did their best to scare it away, but it would not leave them. As they were very tired, they fell asleep inside the cave. The dog sat at the entrance. This happened in about 250 AD. They slept for nearly 196 years and woke up in 447 AD when King Theodosius was ruling Ephesus. By that time the people of entire empire had begun following the teachings of Hazrath Isa (Pbuh) and given up idolatry.
After waking up the youth begun asking each other about the period they would have slept. Some said it was about one day while others said it was just a part of the day. But they could not agree. So they decided to send one of their colleagues to the city to bring food and asked him to be cautious, lest he be caught by the King’s men.
But when he came to the city, he found that the whole city had a changed look. The surroundings, the dresses, the language they spoke and the lifestyle, everything had changed. The shopkeeper at the food shop where he presented his coin began asking him as to how he had a coin of the age of King Decius. He suspected the man had a treasure. As they argued, a crowd gathered. The youth was surprised to know that King Decius had died two centuries ago.
Meanwhile, some officers of the King Theodosius also arrived. When they were told that the stranger is one among the seven youngmen who had fled during the reign of Decius to escape death, he and a crowd followed him to the cave. It was fully confirmed that they belonged to King Decius’ period. The King The dosius also arrived to see the youth. When all the youngmen knew the truth of their having slept for nearly two hundred years, they went back into the cave and lay down and breathed their last. The King ordered a monument to be built over the cave.
This incident came as a big help to the King who was finding it difficult to convince the people who had no belief in the life-after-death. When Allah can make people sleep for nearly 200 years and wake them up after so long a period, why cannot He revive the people who have died.
All of us have seen the fireflies. They glow in the darkness and lit up bushes, jungles and roadsides during nights. They glow like neon lights. These creatures are yet another wonder of the nature created by Allah.
This quality of living beings to glow is called bioluminescence. There are several other living beings in the nature that glow like fireflies. Some of them are found in the deep oceans. They spread light in order to attract food, repel an attack from the enemy or simply light up their path in the darkness of the bottom of the sea.
Some creatures like Noctiluca produce light only when disturbed. When a ship passes by their way, they all suddenly begin producing light. Thus a vast surface area of the sea will come alive. Squid, another sea animal, uses light to defend itself from an enemy. When attacked, it leaves a cloud of shining liquid and escapes behind this “smokescreen”.
The angler fish ha bright light in front of its mouth. This shiny bait attracts smaller unsuspecting fish and as soon as the smaller fish approach the source of light, they are gobbled up. Most common glowing creatures are fireflies. These are actually beetles which produce light to attract males.
During the Second World War the Japanese soldiers used to carry a box of dry crayfish through forests. When dry, crayfish does not emit light. But on wetting enough light is produced to read a map. There are certain tiny bacteria which produce light but it would take million of them to produce as much as a candle’s light.
The light produced by these creatures is called “cold light” because this process generates little heat. The light in the creatures is produced when the protein luciferin combines with oxygen in the presence of enzyme luciferase.
Text and illustrations by Mohammad Farooq, Bangalore
The Battle of the Trench or Ghazwa e Ahzab took place 1416 years ago, in the month of Shawwal, five years after the Muslims migrated out of Makkah to Madinah. This was the battle in which the Makkans had gathered their entire might against Muslims and the last among the battles in which Makkans had marched to Madinah. Seeing the might of the enemy, the Prophet decided to defend the city of Madinah by digging a trench around the city.
One of the many miracles that took place in this battle is inspiring for further reflection and application of the Prophetic legacy in our daily lives.
The digging of trench was a very tedious job. Companion of the Prophet led by the Prophet himself toiled hard for over month to dig the trench in order to keep the enemy from a direct assault on the city. The story started when Jabir bin Abdullah, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), saw him (the Prophet) in an extreme state of hunger after having dug the trench in preparation to face the enemy. Jabir rushed and offered to feed the Prophet at home from the little food he had. Instead of going alone, the Prophet (Pbuh) invited all of the people working in the trench whose number was more than a thousand. Overwhelmed with the large crowd, Jabir and his wife were thrown in a total state of panic.
When the Prophet arrived, he ordered the host to bring out the dough and the pot that the food was cooked in. He invoked for the blessings of Allah and prayed to be able to feed a large number of people from the originally prepared small quantity by the host. Miraculously, the small amount of food that was prepared by Jabir ended up not only amply feeding all the companions but some more was left.
This and numerous other Prophetic miracles did not happen in vain. This miracle reminds us of Allah’s infinite bounties in our finite world. It teaches us never to give up hope in Allah, even in the times of despair. It also educates us that just leaders let the needs of their followers precede over their own.
A major Arab mathematician Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote an influential textbook in about 820 called Hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala (Calculation by Restoration and Reduction) that is known today as the Algebra.
This book was the starting point for Arab work in algebra, and it is credited for giving the subject its name. Al-Khwarizmi was probably born in Soviet Central Asia but he did most of his work in algebra in Baghdad, where he was an astronomer and head of the library at the House of Wisdom.
The second half of his book Algebra contains problems about the Islamic law of inheritance. According to the law, when a woman dies her husband receives one-quarter of her estate, and the rest is divided among her children so that a son receives twice as much as a daughter. If the woman chooses to gift / will money to a stranger, the stranger cannot receive more than one-third of the estate without the approval of the heirs. If only some of the heirs approve, the approving heirs must pay the stranger out of their own shares the amount that exceeds one-third of the estate. Whether approved by all heirs or not, the strangers share must be paid before the rest is shared out among the heirs.
Here is an example problem from Al-Kwarizmi’s Algebra:
Solution: The strangers receive 1/8 + 1/7 = 15/56 of the estate, leaving 41/56 to be shared out among the family. The husband receives one-quarter of what remains, or 1/4 of 41/56 = 41/224.
The son and the three daughters receive their shares in the ratio 2:1:1:1 so the son’s share is two fifths of the estate after the stranger and husband have been given their bequests (will) and each daughter’s share is one fifth. (2+1+1+1=5).
If the total estate is Rs.224,000, the shares received by each beneficiary will be:
1. Stranger: 15/56 of Rs.224,000 = Rs.60,000.
2. Husband: 41/224 of Rs.224,000 = Rs.41,000.
3. Son: 2/5 of (Rs.224,000 - Rs.101,000) = Rs.49,200.
4. Each daughter: 1/5 of (Rs.224,000 - Rs.101,000)
Total = Rs.224,000.
For you to Solve
1. Solve the following Islamic law inheritance problem.
A woman’s estate totals Rs.72,000. She dies leaving a husband, two sons and two daughters. In her will, she leaves a will of 1/9 + 1/6 of her estate to two strangers. Calculate how much of her estate each of her beneficiaries will receive.
2. Write out all of your calculations.
3. Check to make sure your beneficiary sums equal the total estate.
[Nelson, D., Joseph, G. and Williams, J. (1993). Multicultural Mathematics: Teaching Mathematics from a Global Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.]
(Answer: Stanger: Rs. 20,000, Husband: Rs. 13,000, Sons: Rs. 13,000, each , Daughter: Rs. 6,500 each.)
English is not longer totally English, I mean British. In this fast growing global village that we’ve come to live, language has gained immense importance as a means of expressing. Not only are there different languages but also variations within a language itself.
When we consider English for example, we can list a whole lot of different Englishes each having its own unique features e.g., Indian English, French English. But one type of English which seems to be emerging and fast gaining acceptance is American English.
We Indians who follow British English have always made fun of American English but also seem to be succumbing to it by dropping the ‘u’ from ‘colour’, ‘favour’ or ‘flavour’. And also in some cases adopting the pronunciation of Z as ‘zee’ and not the traditional ‘zed’ or getting tempted with skedule rather than the British schedule for schedule.
Some of the other words typical of American English differing from British English are:
Brinjal - Egg Plant Lady’s finger - Okra
Full stops - periods Gum - Glue
Bus - Streetcar Lift - Elevator
Coffin — Casket Oil — Gasoline
Stone - Rock Flat — Apartment
Quotation Marks - double quotes
Wardrobe - Closet (for Almirah in India)
Sidewalk - pavement (for footpath in India)
Barrister — Attorney (for lawyer in India)
Drugstore - Chemist (for pharmacy in India)
1. Don’t miss the boat. Be aboard or perish!
2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. Listen and Obey He who knows.
4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6. Build your future on high ground.
7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
9. When you’re stressed, float a while.
10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
1) The human eye can differentiate 10 million and over shades of colour.
2) The human brain can pass one trillion signals in one second.
3) The bones are harder than concrete and also called living concrete.
4) The elephant trunk has over 40,000 muscles
5) The ant can lift 50 times more weight than its own weight.
6) An ant in Africa can kill a man from his 30 bites
7) The shark has chemical substance in its stomach that can dissolve the steel and make into pieces.
8) One bite poison of King cobra is enough to kill 70 persons and also kills a person when he touch it.
* That the first mosque in the United States was founded in 1893?
* That the 19th century American Muslim Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb found a mosque in what is now downtown Manhattan? That the largest Muslim community in the Western Hemisphere in the 19th century was in Brazil?
* That the first Arabic cookbook was written in 10th century Abbassid Baghdad.
* That the tones used for Quranic recitation are 400 percent finer than those used in Western music.
* That Cordoba, Spain’s three famous millhouses designed and built by Muslims in the 12th century were still being used in 1950.
laa ‘ilaaha ‘illa-llaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu lahu-lmulku wa lahu-l-hamdu yuhyee wa yumeetu wa huwa hayyun laa yamootu biyadihi-l-khairu wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai ‘in qadeer.
There is none worthy of worship except Allah, alone, without any partner with Him. For Him is the Dominion and to Him is the praise. He gives life and He brings about death; He is living and does not die. In His hand is all good and He has power over all things. (Al-Tirmidi)
Here are 15 questions with several possible answers. All you need to do is pick out the right answer. Your entry should only indicate the answer by its alphabet putting it by the side of the question number. For example the entry should record the answer for the first question as 1.C,. The all-correct entry chosen by the drawing of the lots will be awarded Rs. 200. Two other all-correct entries or maximum-correct entries would be sent a children’s novel. Send your entry by June 10, 2001 along with this coupon. Please record your name, age, class, school, and postal address written clearly at the end of the answers. Entries with unclear addresses will be rejected.
1. What was the name of the Prophet’s (Pbuh) wife who was Hazrath Umar’s daughter?
A. Ayesha B. Asma C. Hafsa D. Safiya
2. Name the battle in which Khalid bin Waleed fought against the Muslims?
A. Badr B. Uhud C. Khandaq
3. What is the name of the Angel who keeps and takes care of Jahannam (hell-fire)?
A. Redwan B. Malek C. Ateed
4. Where did the Braille system originate?
A. France B. England C. Italy D. Spain
5. Who was the Prophet sent to Madyan?
A. Saleh B. Hud C. Shoayb D. Ilyas
6. Which is the strongest muscle in the human body?
A. Leg muscle B. Heart muscle C. Diaphragm
7. Galapagos group of islands is in which ocean?
A. Atlantic ocean B. Indian ocean C. Pacific ocean
8. The youngest man to have become captain of a test team was
A. Mansur Ali Khan, Nawab of Pataudi B. Don Bradman C. Clive Lloyd
9. The officer who ordered his men to open fire on the innocents in Jallianwala Bagh
A. General Dyer B. General William C. General Wellesley
10. The first Muslim woman to rule Delhi
A. Shah Bano B. Noor Jahan C. Razia Sultana
11. Which planet does not have a moon?
A. Mars B. Venus C. Mercury
12. Which country is known as the playground of Europe?
A. United Kingdom B. Italy C. Switzerland
13. If you have a saving of Rupees 100, what is th amount of zakath you should give?
A. Rs. 3.50 B. Rs. 25 C. Rs. 2.50 D. Rs. 4
14. In every Masjid there is a niche called
A. Mimbar B. Mihrab C. Qibla
15. Who is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces?
A. The President B. The Prime Minister C. The Defence Minister