Volume 15-08 No:176
The Story so far: Poor fishermen in the villages of Ratnagiri coast had elected one of their leaders to the Parliament. During elections he had promised that he will solve their problems. He soon became a minister and got a bungalow on the hill top. Now he had car, servants and bodyguards. He enjoyed the sight of the hills and the sea but never entered his own village. Comforts of life had made him forget the miseries of the people. He continuously postponed his visit. He considered peoples problems as petty matters. Drought, hunger, starvation and poor catch compelled an old fisherman to take courage and approach the minister one evening in order to convey the complaints to the minister. The minister though offered him a cup of tea but refused to recognize the problem. Now read on:
He thought quickly. He had to act fast. He immediately responded, “I see your point, and, naturally, you are right. And just so that you know I mean you only well, I would like to invite you to come fishing with me. I have heard that you loved to go fishing before you got busy with your new job, and I am the only one to know the most wonderful place to fish in this part of Ratnagiri area. The water is stiff with fish, and you can have a wonderful time fishing and relaxing on a nice picnic spot, which I know on the beach.”
Now the minister couldn’t resist an invitation like this, for he had a weak spot for fishing and so he went with the fisherman. They got into the fisherman’s almost decaying rowboat. The old fisherman rowed hard, and the minister rested, sunning himself. Finally, after an hour of hard rowing along the shore, they arrived at a beautiful little inlet. The minister looked around for fish and he saw nothing but rocks and seaweed.
“This is the spot from which we head out to sea,” said the old fisherman, and he rowed straight out away from shore for another hour and a half until they were deep into the sea.
Then the old fisherman pulled his oars into the boat, took a tool out of his back pocket, and began chipping away a hole in the bottom of the boat under his seat.
“What are you doing, you crazy old man?” shouted the minister in alarm.
“Stop making that hole this instant! Do your realize what you’re doing? You’re going to sink the boat!”
“Yes, I know. That is what I intend to do,” responded the old man quietly.
“I am trying to sink the boat. I am so hungry, like all the people in your constituency, that I want to die.”
“But I do not want to die!!” shouted the minister.
“No, I know that,” replied the old fisherman. “That is the reason I am only making a hole at my end of the boat. What happens at your end of the boat is not my concern.”
The minister at once understood the point the old man was trying to put across. He said: “I see what you are saying, my good man. You have made your point well. I have closed my eyes to what others feel because I did not feel it myself. Please row me back to shore — safely — and I will use all my power to see that everyone’s needs are immediately met. And I thank you, old man, for your great wisdom in teaching me a lesson I sorely needed to learn.”
The minister lived up to his promise. He activated all emergency services to meet the immediate necessities of the people of the town. He worked untiringly till all the people in his constituency got rid of their day-to-day problems and those caused by the drought. At the end of his five-year term, he retired from active politics and devoted his entire life to service of the poor and the needy of his former constituency.
Whenever somebody would question him on his decision to retire from active politics, he would relate to them his experience with the old fisherman, who made him see the light of reason and the error of his ways.
Just imagine, how much do we love luxuries of life. Cars, bungalows, ornaments, electronic gadgets, lawns, air journey, expensive pens, purses, watches, shoes, cellphones, and what not. Yet nothing satisfies us. We go after riches more and more, till death takes possession of us.
Masa’ab bin Umair was one such young man from Makkah. He was rich and handsome. He wore most expensive attires and loved perfumes. Such was his passion for perfumes that wherever he went, the people would tell by the lingering fragrance in the air that Masa’ab had passed through the way. He was known for his rich taste and refined manners.
It was during the early days of Islam that Masa’ab came in touch with the Prophet Muhammad. He was moved by the message and the language of the Quran. Islam was in its infancy in Makkah. Those who had embraced Islam used to gather in Dar e Arqam, the residence of the Holy Prophet and discuss the ways and means to take Islam’s message to everyone. One day Masa’ab came to Arqam and recited the kalima at the hands of the Prophet. Thus began the hard part of his life. The road ahead of him was strewn with obstacles and sacrifices. Yet he was not afraid of difficulties. He gave up all the luxuries of life at once.
Masa’ab was no longer the same colourful youth. He had embraced Islam at a time when opposition against Islam was just beginning. Masa’ab’s parents turned hostile against him. His loving mother rejected him. All his relatives ganged up against him. He was tied in ropes and imprisoned in a dark cell at home. He remained there for quite some time and came out when the Prophet issued a call to Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia across the Red Sea then ruled by Kings of Negus dynasty. He stayed there for some years and when he returned he had just a scruffy blanket hanging by his shoulders.
By this time, the message of Islam had reached the people of Madinah who were urging the Prophet to send someone who could teach them practical aspects of Islam. Masa’ab was dispatched for the purpose. He began visiting homes, addressing gatherings at bazaars and fairs and meetings. People started joining the fold of Islam, first in ones and twos and later family after families. His forceful personality charged the atmosphere so much that Islam became the talk of the town. He was a guest at the house of Asad bin Zararah.
Saad bin Maaz and Usaid bin Huzair were the leaders of tribe of Ash’hal. They were alarmed with Masa’ab’s activities. Saad asked Usaid to look into it. Usaid was at the door of Asad bin Zararah’s house within no time. He appeared stern and inquired about Masa’ab’s activities in Madina. Saad asked him to listen to Masa’ab and decide for himself if he would accept or reject Masa’ab’s invitation to Islam. At this Usaid pitched his spear into the mud and began to listen Masa’ab’s speech. Masa’ab explained the broader teachings of Islam and recited a few verses of the holy Quran. As the Quranic verses were recited, Usaid began to melt. At the end, he was a changed man. He said: There could be no better literature and no better teachings than what he had just heard. He took bath and declared the kalima there itself. Saad bin Maaz also followed suit. Their conversion to Islam almost demolished the fortress of opposition in Madinah. The two went straight among their tribesmen and asked them point blank about how they thought about them. They shouted in unison, “You are the best of the men we have.” Saad then declared that he would have nothing to do with them if they did not join the fold of Islam. At this all the men and women came into the fold of Islam.
Masa’ab returned to Makkah after spending a year in Makkah and presented a report to the Prophet. The Prophet was happy at the progress of his mission in Madinah. From there he headed for his ancestral home in order to once again invite his mother to Islam. But the old woman was in no mood to listen. She rejected him out right. Heart broken, Masa’ab returned to Madinah and engaged himself in teaching and preaching among its people. He joined the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he migrated from Makkah after years of opposition of Makkan infidels.
Masa’ab loved the Prophet intensely. He would move behind him like his shadow. He participated in the battle of Badar and Uhud. He was appointed the standard bearer (one who holds the flag) of Islamic forces in the battle of Uhud. It was a fierce battle and he was attacked from all sides. He first lost his right arm. So he took the standard in the left. But soon even the left arm was severed. He applied his chopped arms to hold the standard firm with the help of his teeth. But this he could not do for long. He succumbed to the attacks and went down fighting and became one of the most prominent martyrs of Islamic history.
When he was taken for burial, the scruffy blanket was used for covering his body. It fell short. If head was covered the feet would come out and if feet were covered, the head was exposed. Finally, the Prophet ordered the head to be covered and grass to be put to conceal the feet. Many who remembered the flamboyant days of his youth, could not prevent their tears.
Here was a youth, full of energy, dynamism, whose love for good things of life was legendary. But he sacrificed everything for the cause of Islam. So much so that he didn’t even have the funeral dress to cover his body in full measure.
Masa’ab’s life was full of sacrifices. First he discarded the luxuries of life. Then he stepped out of the confines of his home deserting the doting parents. Then followed the migration, jihad, and martyrdom. Nothing deterred him in carrying forward the message of Islam. It was the love for the Holy Prophet that kept him propelling. He would love what the Prophet loved and reject anything that the Prophet disliked.
Translated by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj from Sahaba Karam ka Dawaati Kirdar by Markazi Maktaba Islami, New Delhi.
Prophet Yunus, peace be upon him, was sent by Allah to a big town where the people had forgotten Allah’s orders and did many things which Allah had forbidden. You should believe only in Allah and obey only Him, Prophet Yunus told them. You should worship Him alone and do good, otherwise a severe punishment will come upon you!
But the people did not listen to him. He lost patience with them and left the town in anger. He went across the sea, and boarded a ship for the voyage. When the ship was in the middle of the ocean, Yunus suffered a great misfortune. He was thrown overboard and swallowed up by a giant fish. Fortunately, the fish had swallowed Yunus in one big gulp, so he landed in its stomach unhurt.
It was very dark inside the fish’s stomach, and Yunus grew very fearful. In his loneliness, he started to think over what had happened in the town, and came to realize that he should not have acted so hastily and should have stayed and kept on asking the people to return to Allah. In this despair, Yunus started to pray to Allah. He said “O Allah, there is no God apart from You. I have done wrong; if You do not help me, I shall be lost for ever.”
Allah heard Yunus’ prayer, and he caused Yunus to come out of the fish’s stomach, and to be swept by the waves of the sea onto the shore. Poor Yunus was in a terrible state and lay on the shore, weak, ill and helpless. He felt dreadfully miserable, but Allah caused a tree to grow and this tree provided him shade and nourishing fruits. Before long, Yunus had recovered his health and strength.
When he was better, Allah sent Yunus back to the town. This time, though, the people there listened to Yunus when he told them: You should believe in Allah and worship Him alone. You must do good.
Cycling was a passion for me. My ever-burning zeal for adventure perked up when as an NCC cadet I was selected as the captain of a team of youth. I was asked to lead a team of cyclists to Ooty from Bangalore and return within seven days. Among my other teammates were Ramesh, Gopal, Chandrashekhar, Iqbal, Srinivas, Shetty, Ravi, Bhaskar and Prasad. Ooty is about 300 kms from Bangalore. We had to come back to Bangalore on the seventh day. On the route lay towns of Mandya, Srirangapatnam, Mysore, Nanjangud and Bandipur sanctuary. But more important than this was the hilly highway we had to travel. Bangalore is at a height of 3000 feet above sea level while Ooty is almost 7000 feet in the Nilgiri Hills. We were 21 youths from Karnataka selected by the NCC Directorate in order to encourage the spirit of adventure.
We set out on January 29. We used to pedal for four hours in the morning and six hours in the evening. On the way we had to camp for nights at Srirangapatnam and Bandipur sanctuary. But as fate would have it, we could not make it to Bandipur Forest Lodge in time. The dark night overtook us. So we decided to spend the night in the compound of a village school amid the deep jungles that were the Veerappan territory. We had nothing to eat that night and hunger was gnawing. The owner of a petty shop arranged a few packets of puffed rice and buns, which was gulped down with water. It was a terrible night. Cries of wild animals kept us awake. We also lit the campfire. Mercifully nothing happened and we resumed the journey the next morning. As we penetrated into the deeper forest, we saw pythons crossing the road, deer, elephants and peacocks roaming around and a variety of birds.
At least seven bicycles developed punctures which were then laden over a truck which was following us with a first-aid kit. One of our colleagues had a fracture due to fall from the bicycle. He had to return from after the half journey. We took bath at various streams, rivulets and changed clothes.
The ascent became very tough after Bandipur as there were sharp hairpin bends and deep gorges. A moment’s forgetfulness would have cost us lives. Village folk along the way offered us sherbet or lassi and were highly hospitable. The reception by the NCC Commanding Officer in Ooty was grand. We stayed there in the NCC headquarters for a day and visited the century-old Botanical Gardens, the famous Ooty lake, did some boating and went for horse riding.
While returning, there was an overpowering urge to come back to Bangalore. Our hearts were thumping with excitement. So we did not halt on the Mysore-Bangalore Highway. We covered the 139 km distance in nine hours. It was a grand reception at Vidhana Soudha by Battalion Commandant Lt. Col. Dondhi. Altogether it was a memorable journey. I will cherish those moments forever. As told to Islamic Voice.
A man who was troubled in mind once swore that if his problems were solved he would sell his house and give all the money gained from it to the poor.
The time came when he realized that he must fulfill his oath. But he did not want to give away so much money. So he thought of a way out.
He put the house on sale at the price of one silver coin. Included with the house, however, was a camel. The price asked for this animal was ten thousand coins of silver.
Another man bought the house and camel. The first man gave the single piece of silver to the poor, and pocketed the ten thousand silver coins for himself.
Many people’s minds work like this. They resolve to follow a teaching, but they interpret their relationship with it to their own advantage.
Giraffes have more neck bone than humans do
A giraffe has the longest neck, around 11 feet long. A human’s neck is no more than a few inches long. But both giraffes and humans have the same number of bones in their neck. Humans and giraffe each have exactly seven neck bones. Even Whales, which don’t have necks, have the same seven bones. But there is one big difference between humans and giraffes. Giraffes have much longer bones than humans do. The longer bones make a giraffe’s neck long enough to reach the tree tops.
A Rabbit likes to be picked up by its ears
A rabbit’s ears are very sensitive. Picking up a pet rabbit by its ears may seem an easy way to lift it. But it’s very painful for the rabbit. If you want to pick up a rabbit, grasp the loose skin over the rabbit’s shoulder. As you raise the rabbit, support its weight with your other hand under the rabbit’s body.
Compiled by Shafia AhmedTop
Answer the Following:
1. What was the old name of the city of Madinah?
2. Name the Prophet(S) foster mother.
3. Name the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) uncle who was martyred in the battle of Uhud.
4. Which country is called the ‘Land of Golden fleece’?
5. What was the name of Prophet Ibrahim’s father?
6. Name the four books revealed by Allah (SWT).
7. Name the Iron man of India?
8. What do we call animals that can live both on land and on water?
10. Name the two hills between which one has to run during Hajj.
11.How many Sajdah (prostrations) related ayats are there in the Quran?
12. Name the person who won the world chess championship in the year 2001?
Send your answers by Sep 10, 2001 Please write your answers together with your name, address, school, and age on a plain paper and also cut and paste the contest coupon. The contest is open only for students upto 12th standard or upto the age of 18.
There will be three prizes. The first all-correct entry chosen by drawing of the lots will be awarded Rs. 300. Second will receive Rs. 200 and the third will receive Rs.100.
The June 2001 contest had an overwhelming response. There were seven all-correct entries. The jury has found the following as the winners by drawing of the lots.
First Prize Rs. 200
Sara Tabu, Bhatkal, Karnataka
Two other all-correct entries awarded Rs. 100 each are:
Aqeela Ibrahim, Cochin
M. A. Aleem, Hyderabad
Other all-correct entries were received from :
Sheikh Aziza Taskeen, Goa
Chowdhry Shazia Samreen, Ambur, (TN)
Mohammad Fazil, Bangalore
S. Shafiyullah, Pudukkottai,(TN)
1. WHO - World Health Organization
2. UNICEF- United Nations International Children’s Emergency Foundation
3. FIFA -Federation of International Football Associations
4. IPC- Indian Penal Code
5. ICHR- Indian Council for Historical Research
6. WTO- World Trade Organization
7. UAE- United Arab Emirates
8. OPEC- Oil Producing and Exporting Countries
9. OIC - Organization of Islamic Conference
10. SAARC- South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation
11. BBC- British Broadcasting Corporation
12. MBBS- Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
13. IST- Indian Standard time
14. IAS- Indian Administrative Service
15. AIR- All India Radio
16. EU- European Union
17. CEO- Chief Executive Officer
18. VIP- Very Important Person
19. MLC- Member of Legislative Council
20. GCC - Gulf Cooperation Council
The Prophet (Pbuh) used to tell his friends: “He who is not trustworthy has no faith, he who does not keep his word has no religion.”(Anas, Baihaqi)