Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Thani 1424 H
August 2003
Volume 16-08 No : 200
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Children's Corner


Asma bint Abu Bakar
Remember! We have to answer Allah!
A Cat's Healing Purr
Something to Ask....
Take Responsibility For Your Actions!
Prophet Sulaiman (Pbuh)

Prophet's Companions

Asma bint Abu Bakar

A valiant mother who advised her son to get slain rather than surrender before a tyrant ruler.

Among the holy companions of the Prophet Muhammad,(Pbuh) Asma bint Abu Bakar is found at the centre of a galaxy. Her father was Hazrath Abu Bakar. Her sister Ayesha was the wife of the holy Prophet. Her husband Zubair bin Awwam was a close associate of the Prophet. Her son Abdullah bin Zubair was one of the leading lights of early Islam.

Asma was one of the early reverts to Islam. Only 17others preceded her in embracing Islam. She left Madinah a few days after Abu Bakar and the Prophet set out for hijrath (migration) following long years of persecution at Makkah by the non-believers. Asma prepared the food and other material necessary for the journey for the Prophet’s caravan which secreted out of Makkah one night. During her own journey, on the approach to the city, while camping in the Valley of Quba, she delivered his son Abdullah bin Zubair. The Prophet was the first to kiss the child and offer his sputum into its mouth. He blessed the mother and the infant.

Asma had been married to Zubair in Makkah itself. Zubair was poor and had nothing save a horse. Asma tended the horse carefully and used to arrange fodder for it everyday. But such were the blessings of the Prophet, the couple grew rich soon after they set up their business on arrival in Madinah. Yet she never hoarded wealth. Both sisters, Ayesha and Asma, were extremely generous. While Ayesha would collect things to distribute among the poor, Asma gave them as they came to her and never left a farthing with herself.

When Abu Bakar left for Madinah, he took away the entire worth of the material he possessed till then. It all totalled up to 6000 dirhams. Soon after this, his old and blind father Abu Qahafa came to Asma’s house and expressed his dismay that Abu Bakar had left nothing behind for her to sustain herself. But Asma kept a few pebbles in a niche, covered them with a cloth and made grandfather Qahafa to feel them from outside. She told him that Abu Bakar had left enough for her and she desired nothing but his blessings. She did all that lest Qahafa should take pity on her and sent for her something out of his money. She did not want to accept anything from a non-believer for herself as Qahafa had till then not entered the fold of Islam.

Asma chose to lead a life in penury but never compromised on principles. The most moving incident related to her is her advice to her son, Abdullah bin Zubair to accept the death as a martyr but not to accept the caliphate of Malik bin Marwan long after the rightly guided caliphate had come to an end.

When Yazid bin Muawiyah died, Abdullah bin Zubair was declared as the caliph in Madinah. People came from as far as Egypt, Iraq, Khorasan and Syria to vow their allegiance. But Banu Umayyah soon began to challenge him and Hajjaj bin Yousuf was dispatched with a large contingent of army. Though initially Zubair notched up a few victories, his men began to leave him and it became evident to him that he would not be spared for long and would be asked either to surrender or will have to go down fighting. A few hours before the final moment could arrive, he came to mother Asma who was into her 100th year of life. The dialogue went on like this:

Asma: Abdullah, How come you are here when Hajjaj bin Yousuf is leaving nothing to chance to defeat and kill you.

Abdullah: I am here to seek your advice at this crucial juncture. My companions have either been lured by Hajjaj or are too frightened to stand by me. I have been sent a missive from Banu Umayyah offering me whole lot of wealth in lieu of surrender. They are asking me to declare my allegiance to Malik bin Marwan. What do you suggest?

Asma: Abdullah, it is not a matter of life and death. If you think you are on the right path, you should embrace death for the sake of upholding the truth. If indeed you intend to forsake the truth, there could be nothing perverse than that.

Abdullah: Mom, I would sure be slain today.

Asma: It is better to be slain than surrender before the tyrant Hajjaj. The people will only mock at you then.

Abdullah: Death does not scare me. What I fear is that they will mutilate my body.

Asma: Why fear the mutilation. All that matters is your life to you. Once the soul departs the body, you should not bother who does what with your corpse.

Abdullah: Mom, you are really great. This world does not enamour me at all. I am ready to embrace death smiling. Assure me that you would not grieve when the news of my death reaches you.

Asma then called Abdullah to her side, kissed his forehead. Abdullah too kissed Asma’s hands and feet. He took out the iron dress he was wearing on Asma’s advice lest there be any distance between him and his death. Asma lifted her cupped hands skywards and prayed for the welfare of his son.

Abdullah’s death came soon. He was martyred at the hands of the men of Hajjaj before the sunset the same day.

Asma bint Abu Bakar died 10 days later. She was 100 and had lost no teeth and was in perfect health. Nor was there any trace of any physical frailty in her.

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

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Remember! We have to answer Allah!

Once Shaikh Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (RA) intended to travel by train. He approached the counter where the luggage was weighed. There was a guard present there who incidentally knew the Shaikh. He said: “ Why trouble yourself to get the luggage weighed? Board the train and as I am the guard on the train you wish to travel in, I will ensure that you are not troubled enroute.” Shaikh Thaanwi asked him how far he would accompany him and the guard named the place. “ And who will accompany me after that?” Shaikh Thaanwi asked.

“ I will instruct the next guard to let you travel with the excess baggage,” was the answer. The Shaikh asked, “ How far will the guard see me through?” “ He will accompany you to the end of the journey.” “But,” Shaikh Thaanwi said to him, “ I have to go further down.” The guard asked the Shaikh, “How far?”

“I have to go beyond that to Allah. Which guard will accompany me there and help me through the reckoning”? The guard watched speechless.

Shaikh Thaanwi then explained that the train was not his property and that he had no authority to allow anyone to carry extra baggage without paying the fare for the train.

“ I may be able to cleverly evade the customs and fool the authorities of this world, but I will not be able to fool Allah and which guard will accompany me there?” he said.

The guard realized his mistake and apologized to the Shaikh who then paid for the excess baggage and boarded the train. (Jamiat.org.za)

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A Cat's Healing Purr

Abu Rahman, the Prophet's (PBUH) companion loved cats and always carried a cat with him. Noticing this, the Prophet endowed the title of Abu Hurairah on him. Hurairah in Arabic means cat.

By Dr Lev G. Fedyniak

Cat

We’ve always intuitively felt that a cat somehow knows when we’re not feeling well and even where it hurts. Got a headache and a cat just seems to wrap around your head. A stomachache and a cat can’t seem to get off your abdomen. And purrs and purrs and purrs!

It was always believed that a cat’s purr was relaxing or stress reducing and that led to any number of healthful benefits. While that may be so, science has shown that the cat’s purr is much more than just relaxing. Remember that it’s not just the sound of purring that’s important but more the tremor or vibration it produces.

Interestingly, science has known for many years that vibrations at specific levels or frequencies cause healing changes in the body. They can, for example, induce bone growth and regeneration. Bone fractures heal faster and weakened bones begin to strengthen and rebuild.

It was also known through various veterinary studies, such as the one reported in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association that cats rarely suffer bone or joint related diseases, including hip dysplasia, arthritis and ligament problems. Even bone cancers, such as myeloma or osteosarcoma, are almost unheard of in cats.

But it took researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina (FCRI), a specialist in the field of bioacoustics, to put it all together. Bioacoustics is the study of the frequency, pitch, loudness, and duration of animal sounds as it relates to the animal’s behavior. Based on her research, she proposes that nature has endowed all kinds of felines with an evolutionary healing advantage in the simple act of purring.

But it’s the cat’s “healing by association” that most people find interesting: that ability of a cat to sympathetically help cure illnesses in people simply by being around them. Studies have also shown that owners, especially senior citizens, who have cats have lower blood pressure and can live longer than humans who don’t own pets.

Many individuals swear they can ease or completely eliminate their migraine headaches simply by lying down with a purring cat next to their head.

So, go get a cat. Keep it happy and purring. You’re likely to be healthier and you’ll have a great friend who truly understands how you’re feeling.

Lev G. Fedyniak, MD, based in Ukraine began his medical career in alternative medicine, studying acupuncture, herbs and other healing traditions in China, Hong Kong, Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world.

He can be reached at
drLev@IntegrativeMedicineOnline.com

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Something to Ask....

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Take Responsibility For Your Actions!

By Kirin Patel

I was diagnosed eight years ago with diabetes. I was 11 and the idea of sticking needles in me, testing my blood sugar, monitoring what I ate and visiting my doctor every three months, was not my idea of fun.

I sat in the hospital room for three days, angry with the world, feeling sorry for myself, and wondering what I had done wrong. Perhaps this is the natural reaction of people diagnosed with a life altering disease, but Alhamdu lillah, (all Praise be to God), this attitude did not last long.

My friend arrived with a giant stuffed-animal and wished me well. I, in return, promised her that I would keep the stuffed toy forever and take care of it to remember her kindness.

Hours later, as I had moved my IV cart to a quiet place in the hospital to make Salat (prayer). I sat in supplication realising that I, like the stuffed animal, had been given life, a body, health, a brain, and everything else as a gift from Allah. I realized that it was up to me to take care of Allah’s gift, and that this disease was simply a test from Allah to see if my Iman, my faith, was stronger than my dislike of needles and blood. At the moment, I accepted the fact that I had to take care of my health and my body, I had to take care of Allah’s gift and not suffer in self pity. In the Quran it says, “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear” (2:286). Feeling almost honored that Allah knew I could handle this obstacle, I went to find the other sick children and see if I could help cheer them up.

I knew that I had not beaten diabetes, but I had not lost either. Rather, I had learned that my ability to live with this disease was dependent upon my faith in Allah.

I left the hospital feeling confident and in control. However, a couple of years later I realized that I was putting my health and my diabetes on a back shelf to junior high and high school life. While I still strove to please and remember Allah at all times, the connection I had between my health and my relationship with Allah had greatly weakened.

I found ways to remain healthy, and not let my diabetes take precedence, but at the same time I was not in “good health”. I was doing the minimum requirements of taking four shots of insulin a day, but I was not testing my blood sugar. I would eat my required number of meals, but I would not eat the right foods or eat at the right times.

One day I was in the second period of ceramics listening to a demonstration on glazing when I felt my body go numb. I woke up moments later on the ground, bleeding and surrounded by bits of broken pots. I had gone into what is known as a “diabetic coma”. My blood sugar had gone so low that I passed out.

Now that I’m in college, I find that my parents no longer bother me about taking care of my diabetes. I guess that is what it means to be mature . . . it means you begin to take responsibility for your own decisions, choices and actions.

The truth is, I have no excuse for not caring. Surah Rahman asks, “which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” To say that I deny nothing would mean that my health held a top priority in my life.

As I work toward better control, I remind myself of the Hadith: “the likeness of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him is like that of a living to a dead person” (Bukhari). If I forget my health, I die. If I forget Allah, I am already dead.

Allah has undoubtedly granted me assistance, mercy and blessings. And I must find a way to take care of my body and not deny myself further the gifts of Allah or else I know I will lose the battle.

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Stories of Prophets

Prophet Sulaiman (Pbuh)

Allah taught Prophet Sulaiman to understand the languages of birds and animals!

Prophet Sulaiman (Pbuh) was the son of Dawud(Alaih Assalaam). Sulaiman was very just, even as a young boy, and he became well known and respected for his wisdom. When he became a man, Allah made him His prophet. Allah also taught him to understand the languages of birds and animals. yet in spite of his wisdom and many wealthy possessions, Sulaiman never forgot Allah. He knew that all goodness comes from Allah. Thus, he always told his people: Thank Allah for the good He has given you and for His generosity. Worship Allah and do good deeds.

Once, Sulaiman and his soldiers were passing through a valley inhabited by ants. Sulaiman heard one ant say to another: Quick, get out of the way and hide! Sulaiman and his soldiers are coming, and they will trample on us and not even know they have done so!

Sulaiman, of course, was able to understand the ants’ language. He laughed and ordered his soldiers to stay still and wait until all the ants had crawled away to safety. Then he prayed to Allah: O Allah, help me in doing the right things so that You will be contented with me.

One day, Sulaiman called all the birds to gather round him, but as he glanced through the flock, he noticed that the Hoopoe bird was not there. Sulaiman waited for some time, and just as he was deciding not to wait any longer, the Hoopoe suddenly came flying in and sat himself down next to Sulaiman. I have come from a far-away city called Saba, the Hoopoe said. The people there are very rich and they have a Queen who sits on a magnificent throne. These people worship the sun and believe that they are right in treating the sun as God. But they are wrong, are they not? They will never find the right way to Allah if they go on like that. Allah is the only One Whom all creatures should worship.

Sulaiman then wrote a letter to the Queen of Saba and sent the Hoopoe to take it to her. When the Queen of Saba received the letter, she called all the wise men of the city to her. I have received a letter from Sulaiman, said the Queen. In it, Sulaiman writes that we should believe in Allah and worship only Him. What would you advise me to do? We are very powerful and can make war against Sulaiman, but you have to decide yourself what is to be done, the wise men answered.

But a war could cause destruction to our city, and our best warriors will turn into cruel fighters, the Queen protested. Therefore, I would prefer not to make war. Instead, I will send Sulaiman a present.

When the messengers of the Queen of Saba arrived with the present, they were very surprised because Sulaiman became very angry and said: Why do you bring me these riches instead of listening to my advice? What Allah has given me is much better than all these riches. Go to your Queen and take her presents with you!

When she heard Sulaiman had refused her valuable gifts, the Queen of Saba, in her turn, was surprised. So, she decided to go to see Sulaiman herself. She called her people and made preparations for the journey to Sulaiman’s city.

When the Queen arrived, Sulaiman explained to her about Allah and she realised how wrong she had been to worship the sun. You are right, she told Sulaiman, from now on, I shall worship only Allah. He is our only Lord and we should obey only Him.

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