Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

June 2005
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Prophet's (pbuh) Companions

Suraqa bin Malik

The holy Prophet (Pbuh) told Suraqa that he would one day wear the bangles of Khusrow of Iran.

Suraqa bin Malik is known to be one of those members of the Quraish who pursued Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when the Prophet was on his way to Madinah on the mission of Hijrah (migration). The Prophet had taken asylum inside the cave of Saur outside Makkah. Abu Jahal and three of his accomplices, hot on the trail of the Prophet and his bosom friend Abu Bakr, even reached the mouth of the cave. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was trembling with fear at the sound of the advancing steps of the pursuers. But the Holy Prophet was counseling patience reminding him that no one could hurt them because Allah was with them. As ordained by Allah, a spider spun a cobweb on the mouth of the cobweb. This was enough for the pursuers to abandon the hunt and return.

The Quraish announced a reward of 100 red camels for anyone who tracked the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr. Suraqa was enticed. He was an intelligent pursuer who sniffed the trail of the people by identifying their footprints on the sand, the excreta of the camels and horses and with abundant patience at his disposal. He had an agile mare. He asked his slave woman to prepare the mare, take her out of Makkah at a point where no one could get an air of the mission at hand. He also left his house from the rear door, hung his weapons from the neck and provided to put a tight saddle to the slave woman.

It did not take him much to track down the two-man caravan of the Prophet on its flight to Madinah. But as soon as he caught sight of the duo, his mare got stuck into the sand. It was a bad omen. With some effort, it got out, ran for a distance but got into the sand again. No amount of persuasion would work. Meanwhile, the Prophet and Abu Bakr became visible and were very much within the range of his arrow. He lifted the bow and was about to shoot the arrow. But his hands suddenly got paralysed. He cried out, ‘O Muhammad, pray for me in order that my mare could get out of this mess. I promise, I will retrace my steps and give up the pursuit.’

The Prophet prayed for Suraqa and his mare got released. But such was the lucre of the reward that Suraqa went back on his word and returned to the pursuit of the duo. But as he came within the sight of the Prophet, the mare got stuck into the sand again. Suraqa began to pray for help again: ‘O Prophet, if I was released again, I would surrender my arms and return to Makkah never to pursue you. I would dissuade even others from pursuing you.’

The Prophet prayed and the mare came out of the sand. Suraqa then declared that the Prophet’s religion would prevail one day and requested the Prophet to hand him a written promise that he would be honoured whenever he (The Prophet) became the head of the Islamic state. Abu Bakr wrote the promise at the behest of the Prophet on a bone and handed it over to Suraqa. Even as he began to return, the holy Prophet told him that he would one day wear the bangles of Khusrow of Iran. He asked in wonderment if the Prophet meant the bangles of Khusrow bin Hormuz, the emperor of Iran. The Prophet nodded in acknowledgement.

Suraqa encountered several contingents of Quraish who were looking for the Prophet and persuaded them to get back to Makkah as ‘he (Suraqa) could find no hint of the duo on the route to Madinah. However, he narrated the detailed account of his encounter with the Prophet to Abu Jahl. Abu Jahl reproached him for his cowardice.

Time flew and within eight years of his migration to Madinah, the holy Prophet entered Makkah at the head of a vast army and declared general amnesty. Suraqa chose a day and entered the court of the Prophet by tearing through the crowd of the holy companions and declared shahadah.

Suraqa always rued the day he decided to pursue the holy Prophet merely to grab the insignificant reward of 100 red camels. He was struck with profound grief the day the Prophet died. But he remembered the promise of the Prophet that he would one day receive the bangles of Khusrow of Iran.

Years passed. Iran was conquered during the caliphate of Hazrat Umar. Umar received a missive from Saad bin Abi Waqqas, commander of the Islamic forces about the conquest of Iran. A fifth of the booty was sent to Umar in Madinah. It contained the famed crown of Khusrow studded with rubies, a gold belt studded with pearls and the gold bangles. Umar was looking at each of the items sent by the Commander of the forces. Suddenly Umar requisitioned Suraqa and put the crown on his head, asked him to put on the gold embroidered dress and wear the gold bangles on his hand.

But Suraqa was feeling uncomfortable in the royal outfit. He raised his hands towards the sky and prayed: ‘O my Lord, how could I put on something which your Prophet and his close buddy Abu Bakr deserved. I smell the air of punishment in it’.

He then turned towards Umar and asked him to distribute all those royal appendages among the Muslims.

Slow as a Snail?
By Nigar Ataulla

Humans take pleasure in comparing their friends and foes to feathery and furry creatures of Allah.

Recently, email inboxes were invaded with a file titled-”Revenge of the Mouse.” God alone knows if this was generated by the animal rights activists abroad or elsewhere. At first thought, this seemed like a suspense thriller from Hollywood. Open the file and there you see a cute mouse with long whiskers seated before a computer busy at work, but in place of the mouse which we use, there was a man shrunk to the size of the mouse-so this was the Revenge of the Mouse!

How often unconsciously or consciously we humans compare our friends and foes to the natural creatures created by Allah. In the process, we degrade these humble unpretentious loving animals.
Maths was a childhood nightmare for me at school. Added to this was my Maths teacher who could not figure out why I did not use my brain to calculate the sums. So, I had my ear pulled and also told in clear terms that I was stupid as a Donkey. There ended my hate-hate relationship with Maths and my entry into the study of the amazing world of feathers and fur which has continued to this day.

Donkeys are not stupid. They are among the most fascinating members of the equine family, which also includes horses, zebras, and mules. They make gentle, loving pets, especially for children and the elderly. Donkeys can be ridden, pull carts and buggies, or be used as pack animals. They make excellent stable companions for horses, and when pastured with sheep and goats will protect them from attack by dogs

You must have heard this-its pretty common- “He is as cunning as a fox.?”. The fox is not cunning.The fox is at the top of it’s food chain and has never naturally been hunted. It’s survival depends upon the availability of food in it’s territory.

Foxes use scent for their main communication. The big bushy tail (brush) helps to spread this around! Some hunts people have claimed that the fox does not seem worried by the fact that he is being chased. This is because the fox is generally a solitary animal and unlike a herd animal, has no one to call out to and raise the alarm. So you see foxes are self-reliant creatures of Allah.

Then we take great pleasure in comparing someone’s pride to that of a peacock-“as proud as a peacock.” People and peacocks have had a very long association. Today, Indian peafowl congregate safely near villages and shrines where they are still protected by sacred Hindu law. If the Peacock displays its gorgeous feathers, it has all right to do so. It is a common misconception that the peacock’s train is made of very long tail feathers. In reality, the 150 or so “feathers” in the train are actually protective extensions, or coverts, that cover the tail feathers. The tail feathers are the short, stiff quills that stand up behind the coverts to hold the fan aloft. Because the coverts are different lengths, the exotic eyespots at the end of each covert appear to be scattered about the fan.

We label quiet and soft people as “timid as a hare.” Hares and rabbits are not timid, but they fight bravely in defence of their young and in self-defence. They may leap over the back of another animal or a snake, and give it a fierce kick with the hind legs. They may bite if necessary. Those with eyes, but still cannot see straight or call the colour purple as blue are branded as “blind as a bat”. No, bats aren’t blind. All bats can see, although some species aren’t exactly eagle-eyed. While scientists believe smaller bats don’t see in color, many species get around amazingly well in the dark. Some bat species have the added advantage of echo-location — the ability to bounce sounds off an object, including prey, to determine its size, shape, and location.

Snails move by means of a wavelike series of muscular contractions along the bottom of the foot. This motion is often aided by cilia and, in land snails, by a track of laid-down slime. Snails feed mainly on algae and decaying matter and are important members of the food web, being a source of food to fish and waterfowl. A snail browses by means of a radula, a ribbon-like tongue often containing many thousands of denticles, or teeth, that are projected from the mouth opening and drawn along rocks or leaves. So if your friend has not mailed you for a long time, don’t, say “he or she is slow as a snail”. First of all, snails don’t send mails-they are quite happy parking themselves in green gardens.

Dragging these innocent creatures of Allah into a conversation or controversy between humans would be gross injustice to them!

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