Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Muharram / SAFAR 1424 H
April 2003
Volume 16-04 No : 196
Camps \ Workshops

News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Capital View Taliking Peace Community Development Muslim Perspectives Men, Mission and Machines Book Review Chennai Diary Trends and Traditions Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Reflection Religion The Month Of Safar Opinion Living Islam Person Of The Month Young Muslim Islamic History Journey To Islam Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Children's Corner


Abdullah bin Huzaifa Assahami
Today!
Encouraging Children To Pray
A lesson from a Frog Tale
Riot-Children's Perspective
The Amazing Dolphins
What a Waste of Time!
Children in the Masjid
99 Names of Allah


Prophet's Companions

Abdullah bin Huzaifa Assahami

The Sahabi of the Holy Prophet who took his letters to the Emperors of Rome and Persia caring little of their status, protocols and decorum of their courts.

Hazrath Abdullah bin Huzaifa Assahami is particularly known as the one who had the privilege of being Prophet Muhammad’s (Pbuh) special envoy to the two contemporary emperors, namely Khusroe of Persia and Caesar of Rome. Huzaifa carried out the mission with extreme obedience, with little care for the protocols and totally bereft of panoply that attends to such mission. Not alone this, he encountered risks to his own person. He was neither conversant of those languages which those emperors understood, nor did he care for the courtesies that go with such occasions.

He was first dispatched to Khusroe of Persia. He arrived in the imperial capital in utterly simple dress which also had a large chador wrapped around his shoulders. Abdullah had a large head and a stocky physique. When he reached the court of Khusroe, he signaled one of his courtiers to take the Prophet’s letter from his hand. But he refused. he said he would hand over the letter only to Khusroe as had been commanded by the Prophet. The letter was read out aloud in the court. It began thus:

“I begin with the name of Allah, the most merciful and Compassionate. This message is from Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah, to Khusroe of the Great Persian Empire. I guarantee peace and security to all those who accept the guidance of Allah.” Khusroe immediately took notice of the fact that Prophet Muhammad’s name had appeared before his own and flew into a wild rage. He cried out in anger, snatched the letter from Abdullah, tore it into pieces and asked Abdullah to be expelled out of his court.

Expelled, he rode out on his she camel and arrived in Medina, caring little for what Khusroe planned against him. He narrated the entire account before the Prophet. A little after he left, Khusroe sent his men for him in order that he could be presented in the court. But the men could not hunt him down.

Khusroe ordered his military general Bazan, stationed at Yemen to dispatch two of his strongmen to Medina and arrest Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). The generals reached Taif in pursuit of the Holy Prophet and enquired about him. The Quraish were jubilant over this development and sent the glad tidings to their counterparts in Medina.

Later the two emissaries came over to Medina and expressed their intention of arresting the Prophet. They asked the Prophet to accompany them to Persia, lest the rage of Khusroe could burn down the little city of Medina and its meager inhabitants. The Prophet coolly listened to them, smiled at their suggestion, and asked the duo to stay put in Medina for a couple of days.

The next morning, when the emissaries repeated the plea to the Prophet, he said: “Which Khusroe are you talking about? Listen carefully, you will not see the face of Khusroe again. Allah has him killed by his son and the son himself has enthroned himself.”

The duo looked askance at the Prophet and asked, “Are you sure of your words? Should we convey this to General Bazan.”The Prophet nodded in acknowledgement and asserted: “Tell Bazan that what I have said is not merely a fact, but that Islam would soon overwhelm the Persian empire and He (Bazan) should accept Islam in order that he could continue to rule over the people.”When the Prophet’s statement was conveyed to Bazan, he took it as a criterion to judge whether the Prophet was true or not. It did not take long for Bazan to receive a missive from Sheruvia who asked Bazan to pronounce his allegiance to him (Sheruvia) as he had taken over the reign of Persian empire after killing him (Khusroe), whom he accused of carrying out massacre of innocent people, dishonouring women and looting the people’s wealth. When Bazan received this missive; he tossed it aside, embraced Islam and all the ethnic Persian inhabitant of Yemen got into the fold of Islam.

But account of his mission to the court of Caesar of Rome is still more bizarre. He was produced in the court of the Caesar as a prisoner of war in the 19th Hijri year during the caliphate of Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and as one who had been a close ally of the Holy Prophet himself.

Caesar had been constantly receiving the information regarding the Islamic conquests. He realised it well that Islam was a growing force even beyond the Arabian peninsula. In order to know more, he had asked his troops as well as the intelligence network to catch a few Muslims and produce them in his court. Abdullah was one such detainee. Casting a glance at Abdullah, Caesar asked him to accept Christianity in which case he would reward him profusely and set him free. Abdullah rejected the offer without a minute’s hesitation and told Caesar that what he had for his faith was better than what was on offer.

Caesar: You seem to be a brave soul. If you accept Christianity, I would confer a high position in my sultanate. Abdullah (smiling while in chains): Even the offer of your sultanate would not deflect me from my faith.

Caesar (in rage): I will get you killed.

He then ordered him to be hanged and before the rope was pulled, asked his marksmen to shoot arrows at his hand in order to injure him. Even as he stood with the knot around his neck, Caesar again repeated his offer, but Abdullah did not budge. He then asked him to be brought down and ordered two Muslim prisoners to be brought and tossed into the smouldering cauldron of oil. Abdullah’s eyes saw the two men dying, their flesh melting, and skeleton disintegrating in the cauldron.

At this point, Caesar again invited him to the fold of Christianity. Still finding him adamant, he ordered him to be thrown in the cauldron. As Abdullah was brought near the inferno, tears welled up in his eyes. Noticing his tears, Caesar thought that Abdullah would no longer reject his offer. But when Abdullah was again produced before Caesar he explained it thus: “It is not fear of death that makes me cry. I am crying at my misfortune that I have just one life to offer. I wish I had a thousand lives to be laid down thus in the way of my Lord God.”

Caesar was dumbfounded at this reply and told him to just kiss his (Caesar’s) head to be set free.

Abdullah asked him if he (Caesar) would free all the Muslim detainees.

Caesar nodded in acknowledgement.

Abdullah kissed Caesar’s head and thus won the freedom for all the Muslim prisoners of war. He then headed straight to Madinah and narrated the entire account. Umar was extremely pleased with Abdullah bin Huzaifa and asked all the Muslims present there to kiss Abdullah’s head. He himself initiated the process.

(Abridged and translated by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj from
Suwarum min Hayathus Sahaba authored by Dr. Abdur Rahman Rafat Pasha).

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Today!

Today I will delete from my diary two days: yesterday and tomorrow
Yesterday was to learn and tomorrow will be the consequence of what I can do today.
Today I will face life with the conviction that this day will not ever return.
Today is the last opportunity I have to live intensely as no one can assure me that
I will see tomorrow’s sunrise.
Today I will be brave enough not to let any opportunity pass me by, my only alternative is to succeed.
Today I will invest my most valuable resource: my time, in the most transcendental work: my life;
I will spend each minute passionately to make of today a different and unique day in my life.
Today I will defy every obstacle that appears on my way trusting I will succeed.
Today I will resist pessimism and will conquer the world with a smile,
with the positive attitude of expecting always the best.
Today I will make of every ordinary task a sublime expression,
Today I will have my feet on the ground understanding reality and the stars’ gaze to invent my future.
Today I will take the time to be happy and will leave my footprints and my presence in the hearts of others.
Today, I invite you to begin a new season where we can dream that everything
we undertake is possible and we fulfill it, with joy and dignity.
Have a good day and a better one tomorrow!

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Encouraging Children To Pray

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Asr, narrated that the Apostle of Allah said, "Command your children to make salah when they become seven years old, and spank them for it (salah) when they become ten years old, and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately." (Abu Dawud)

Informal teaching should start when the child starts to show interest which usually occurs around the age of two.

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TIME FOR TALES

A lesson from a Frog Tale

Frog TaleA group of frogs were hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, the rest of the dismayed group agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead. Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless,and that the two frogs wouldn’t be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping as hard as they could, and after several hours of desperate effort were quite weary. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellows. Spent and disheartened, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died as the others looked on in helpless grief. The other frog continued to jump with every ounce of energy he had, although his body was wrecked with pain and he was completely exhausted. His companions began anew, yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and — wonder of wonders! Finally leapt so high that he sprang from the pit. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his miraculous freedom and then gathering around him asked, “Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?” Reading their lips, the astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and that when he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds. This simple story contains a powerful lesson. Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help them make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds; they may be the weapons that destroy someone’s desire to continue trying — or even their life. Your destructive, careless word can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them. “Watch What You Say” advised the Prophet (Pbuh), Hazrat Abu Musa enquired from the Prophet “Which of the Muslims are best ?” The Prophet (Pbuh) said that, those who do not cause trouble and injuries through their actions and words to anyone. (Bukhari, Muslim). Hazrat Sufyan Saqafi asked the Prophet (Pbuh), “Oh reverent Prophet ! what your honour feels, is more dangerous thing in me?” The Prophet held his tongue with his fingers and said, “this” (Abu Shaikh). The Prophet said to Hazrat Mua’az bin Jabal that the way of being saved from sins is to control the tongue. (Tirmizi). Hazrat Abdullah says that the Prophet has said that most of the lapses of man are due to the tongue. (Tibrani).

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Riot-Children's Perspective

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The Amazing Dolphins

Dolphins are remarkable animals created by Allah Taala.

DolphinsDolphins look like fish but it is not a fish. It is actually a small whale and all whales are mammals (mammals are animals which are born alive, feed on their mother’s milk, breathe air and are warm-blooded). Whereas fish hatch from eggs, find their own food from birth, get oxygen from water. While swimming dolphins move their horizontal tail fins called flukes, up and down, but fish swing their vertical tails from side to side.

Dolphins do not have hair or fur. Their skin is soft and smooth and is usually coloured grey. Dolphins breathe through a hole on top of its head called blowhole. Dolphins have two tiny ears, but they use echo-location to find food and spot objects like boats, sharks etc.

Dolphins’ eyesight varies from species to species. They have upper and lower eyelids without eyelashes. They have no sense of smell but have a very good sense of touch.

Dolphins have 100-200 upper and lower teeth all of the same size and shape and beautifully lined up except the Risso’s dolphin which has teeth in its lower jaw alone. But these teeth are meant for catching food and not for chewing because dolphins swallow their food without chewing. They don’t lose baby teeth as we do or grow new teeth once lost.

Like us dolphins do not drink salt water i.e., seawater. They get all the water they need from the food that they eat.

Longest life span of a dolphin is 32 years. Sharks are its worst enemies.

Do you know which fish often swim with dolphins - it is the Tuna fish since they both eat the same prey. Dolphins help fishermen. Fishermen on Africa’s West coast set their nets close to the shore. They then slap big broad sticks on the water. This noise attracts the dolphins. As these swim towards the sound, they drive a whole schools of fish before them and into the net.

Groups of dolphins are called herds, pods, shoals, and schools. Dolphins eat mostly fish and squid.

Compiled by Shafia Ahmed. Illustrations by Sana Ahmed

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What a Waste of Time!

By Sabith Khan

It is past Maghrib and the drawing room at Home is empty. The silence is deafening. A sharp contrast to the Pre-World cup days (this is a term I have started using of late). A typical pre-world cup day after Maghrib prayers would be noisy with four nine-ten year olds reading the Quran with my Ammi as the instructor correcting them each time they faltered. “Aunty, we will not come for Arabic classes till March 23rd “ informed Zubair and Shazia all of ten years; eager not to miss the “Action” on TV.

“ I haven’t made more than Rs. 2000 Since the World cup matches have started, “ says Umer, an Auto rickshaw driver, an acquaintance. He is one person who would love to see the Cricket World cup get over soon. Ask him if he isn’t interested in the matches, pat comes the reply. : “ Bhai sabith, with a kid and a wife to look after; how can I waste hours in front of the idiot box; and moreover what have I got to gain or loose if someone wins or loses?”.

Talking of passion, Cricket also offers a chance for many “patriots” and “faithful” to show off their patriotism and “belonging to the community”, whatever that means. Incidents of communal tension after a Indo-pak match are all too common to be worried about. Blaming any one group of people is futile as both the warring factions have more of misplaced “Josh” than “hosh”. That Mob mentality is never productive is proved beyond doubt by our own Muslim brothers indulging in petty politics of religion; forgetting the ramifications of their thoughtless actions on others and their own image.

In the ultimate analysis, lets look what we gain in this mad rush for entertainment. In my view; it’s just a few hours of adrenaline high (which an hour of exercise also can give you), many hours of debating about who played well and why; and many more hours of wasted attention on an issue, which would lose its newsworthiness in just about 24 hours. Is it all worth it? Is our time so cheap that we while it away in such trivial pursuits? Mirza Ghalib lamented the “Kaboortarbazi” which Muslims during his era indulged in and predicted that a community, which is engaged in “kabootars”, can never prosper and make a mark in this world. Looks like we are all proving him right; albeit in a field as equally irrelevant as kabootar bazi.

The writer can be reached at sabithullakhan@rediffmail.com.
The views expressed here are his own.

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Children in the Masjid

By Um Walid

Nowadays, it is unfortunate that in many masjids, both brothers and sisters are annoyed at the presence of children. A cry from a baby or a roaming toddler can sometimes illicit a rude comment. As always, our best example is the Prophet (Pbuh) These Hadith illustrate the Prophet’s attitude at the presence of children in the masjid.

The Messenger of Allah came out to us for one of the two later prayers (dhuhr or asr), carrying Hasan. The Prophet then came to the front and put him down (next to his right foot) said takbir for the prayer and commenced praying. During the prayer, he performed a very long prostration, so I raised my head and there was the child, on the back of the Messenger of Allah, who was in prostration. I then returned to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah had offered the prayer, the people said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! in the middle of your prayer, you performed prostration and lengthened it so much that we thought either something had happened or that you were receiving revelation!’ He said: ‘Neither was the case. Actually, my grandson made me his mount, and I did not want to hurry him until he had satisfied his wish.’ (Reported by Nasaa’i, Ibn Asaakir, and Haakim).

“The Prophet was praying. When he performed sajdah, Hasan and Hussein jumped onto his back. When the people tried to stop them, he gestured them to leave the two alone. After offering his prayer, he placed them in his lap and said, ‘Whoever loves me should love these two.’ (Reported by Ibn Khuzaimah and Baihaqi).

“The Messenger of Allah was praying and he was carrying Umama the daughter of Zainab, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, When he prostrated, he put her down, and when he stood, he carried her on his neck.”

(Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

“The Prophet said: ‘When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother.”

(Reported by Bukhari)

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There are 99 Names of Allah
"Al-Quddus"
This means that Allah is the Holy

99 names of Allah

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