The Prophet’s (Pbuh) early life was a preparation for the great task ahead. There are numerous instances in his life which set him apart from ordinary mortals. The humility, honesty, piety and courage he displayed were the gifts of Prophethood. Eventually when the message came it was the most natural thing for people like Abu Bakr and Khadijah to accept it. They had known the Prophet (Pbuh) so well and they knew he would never lie.
Indeed people who were most bitterly opposed to him acknowledged his integrity. One outstanding incident is worth narrating. The most powerful leaders of the Quraysh, some of them kinsmen of the Prophet (Pbuh), had become his bitter enemies after he began to preach Islam. Being lords of Makkah they sensed that their long hegemony would come to an end. But the Prophet (Pbuh) spared no occasion to invite them to the truth.
One day he climbed the hill of Al-Safa and called, “Tell me, O men of Quraysh, if I were to tell you that I see a cavalry on the other side of the mountain, would you believe me?” His greatest enemies replied, “Indeed, for we trust you, and we have never known you to tell a lie”. Such was the reputation he enjoyed.
Recorded in history are many instances from his social and personal life. His early life as a herdsman and later a businessman endeared him to his people. In trade it is said that he would tell the buyer beforehand if there were any defects in the goods he was selling. His people loved him and insisted on buying from him.
He would always be the first to greet people in the street often pausing to say a kind word. He was never known to have removed his hand away after a hand-shake!
His youth was spent away from the colourful life of Makkan aristocracy. The solitude of the outskirts of the city provided him ample scope for contemplation. Like his forefather Abraham (Pbuh) he was a ‘Hanif’ the worshipper of one God. They were people especially endowed with power to understand the ultimate reality through contemplation of Allah’s creation.
The Prophet (Pbuh) was twenty-five when he was married to Khadijah a rich widow. She was so impressed with the business trip he had conducted on her behalf that she proposed through her sister and was accepted. The Prophet (Pbuh) as a husband was a model of kindness and affection. It was a life of peace and security. Khadijah bore him two sons: Al Qasim and Abdullah, and four daughters: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah. The sons did not survive and died in infancy.
Khadijah gave him all the support she could. She was rich and influential and her sympathetic understanding was so essential to him in the early days of the revelation. It was Khadijah who first accepted Islam. Why not? For he was Al-Ameen. When the Holy Prophet (Pbuh) had come shivering from the cave after the Angel had spoken to him, it was Khadijah who had consoled him with these words. “By Him who dominates my soul I pray and hope that you will be the Prophet (Pbuh) of this nation. By God, He will not let you down.”
These are only a few of the many incidents in the Prophet’s (Pbuh) life permanently enshrined in the Holy Qur’an and books of Hadith for all mankind to read and be rightly guided.
In Allah’s plan for the Universe He had a reason for sending the Holy Prophet (Pbuh). The Qur’an says, “We have sent you only as a mercy for (everybody in) the Universe.” (Qur’an 21:107)
In the distinguished company of the companions of the Holy Prophet (Pbuh), there was one man whose ambition was to acquire as much knowledge as possible from close observation of the Prophet (Pbuh). His name was Abu Huraira.
Tradition has it that Abu Huraira had a cat which used to accompany him everywhere. This prompted people to call him Abu Huraira or “father of the cat”, since ‘Hirun’ means Cat in Arabic. His real name was Abdur Rahman. Ever since Abu Huraira migrated from Yemen he was fascinated by the personality of the Prophet (Pbuh). He would spend all his time in the company of the Holy Prophet (Pbuh), carrying little for his own livelihood. Abu Huraira had no wife or children and spent his time with the ‘Ashab-e-Safa’, a group of people who spent time in meditation at the Prophet’s (Pbuh) Mosque in Madinah.
Abu Huraira’s burning desire was to memorise the sayings of the Holy Prophet (Pbuh). On one occasion afraid that his memory was failing him, Abu Huraira said, “O Prophet of God! I fear that I am unable to remember some of the hadees you have narrated.” The Holy Prophet (Pbuh), it is said, placed his hands on Abu Haraira’s mantle and when he wore it, he never again forgot a hadees.
More than one thousand hadees come from Abu Huraira alone; a testimony to his dedication. Anyone who cares to go through the famous hadees books by Bukhari and Muslim will notice this.
Abu Huraira was seventy eight years old when he passed away, leaving behind a legacy of the finest Islamic scholarship. The world had never seen such dedication to truth and it is rightly said that no one doubted Abu Huraira’s hadees, for he narrated with such exactness whatever he had heard from the Holy Prophet (Pbuh) of Allah. His contribution to Islamic scholarship can never be under estimated and posterity will remain forever indebted to him.
Once there lived a ‘Qazi’ (judge) during the days of the famous Caliph Haroon al Rasheed of the “Alif Laila” (A thousands and one nights) of Baghdad. The Caliph summoned him on one occasion but the “Qazi” refused to come to the Caliph’s palace saying that a well does not go to the thirsty but it is the thirsty who has to go to the well to quench his thirst. The Caliph was furious and wanted to punish the “Qazi” but dared not take any open drastic action against him as the latter was very popular amongst the commoners. So he hit on a plan to wreak vengeance. Learning that the “Qazi” was a bachelor, he presented him with a good fat cow, which yielded a large quantity of milk. The “Qazi” could not refuse the Royal gift as it was unethical and un-Islamic to refuse a gift given without any clear ulterior motive or from one whose character and conduct is bad. The “Qazi” received the cow and kept it tied to a tree in a corner of his garden. As the cow was not milked, it mooed and mooed so loudly and so pathetically and so continuously that it disturbed his “ibadath” (religious service), and disturbed his neighbours’ peace. The “Qazi” cut short his meditation and took to the milking of the gifted cow. The milking of the cow also interfered with his temporal as well as spiritual duties. So he decided to employ a servant to look after the cow. To look after the servant properly, he decided to get married. And when he got married, he got entangled in the family guagmire. How truly has a poet remarked:
“Needles and pin; needles and pin; When a man marries, his worries begin.”
This is exactly what happened in the Qazi’s case. After and since he got married, he begot children and the size of his family increased, with the increase in the size of the family, his expenditure too increased, whilst the income remained the same. He wanted that the income should also increase, in proportion to the expenditure. Hence, he was obliged to run to the Caliph seeking his favours.
Moral: When a person becomes a slave to earthly pleasures, he or she becomes a slave to his or her fellow beings, losing, thereby, his or her independence, dignity, happiness and peace of mind.
Next tale, next month, Insha Allah * Tales based on the parables narrated by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, but given an Islamic colour.
Dr. Manzur Ahmad
Abu Yousuf Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al-Kindi was born at Kufa around 800 C.E. His father was an official of Haroon al-Rashid. Al-Kindi was a contemporary of al-Mamun, al-Mu’tasim and al-Mutawakkil and flourished largely at Baghdad. He was formally employed by Mutawakkil as a calligrapher. On account of his philosophical views, Mutawakkil was annoyed with him and confiscated all his books. These were, however, returned later on. He died in 873 C.E. during the reign of al-M’utamid.
Al-Kindi was a philosopher, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, physician, geographer and even an expert in music. It is surprising that he made original contributions to all of these fields. On account of his work he became known as the philosopher of the Arabs.
In mathematics, he wrote four books on the number system and laid the foundation of a large part of modern arithmetic. No doubt the Arabic system of numerals was largely developed by al- Khawarizmi, but al-Kindi also made rich contributions to it. He also contributed to spherical geometry to assist him in astronomical studies.
In chemistry, he opposed the idea that base metals can be converted to precious metals. In contrast to prevailing alchemical views, he was emphatic that chemical reactions cannot bring about the transformation of elements. In physics, he made rich contributions to geometrical optics and wrote a book on it. This book later on provided guidance and inspiration to such eminent scientists as Roger Bacon.
In medicine, his chief contribution comprises the fact that he was the first to systematically determine the doses to be administered of all the drugs known at his time. This resolved the conflicting views prevailing among physicians on the dosage that caused difficulties in writing recipes.
Very little was known on the scientific aspects of music in his time. He pointed out that the various notes that combine to produce harmony, have a specific pitch each. Thus, notes with too low or too high a pitch are non-placet. The degree of harmony depends on the frequency of notes, etc. He also pointed out the fact that when a sound is produced, it generates waves in the air which strike the ear-drum. His work contains a notation on the determination of pitch.
He was a prolific writer, the total number of books written by him was 241, the prominent among which were divided as follows:
Astronomy 16, Arithmetic 11, Geometry 32, Medicine 22, Physics 12, Philosophy 22, Logic 9, Psychology 5, and Music 7.
In addition, various monographs written by him concern tides, astronomical instruments, rocks, precious stones, etc. He was also an early translator of Greek works into Arabic, but this fact has largely been over-shadowed by his numerous original writings. It is unfortunate that most of his books are no longer extant, but those existing speak very high of his standard of scholarship and contribution. He was known as Alkindus in Latin and a large number of his books were translated into Latin by Gherard of Cremona. His books that were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages comprise Risalah dar Tanjim, Ikhtiyarat al-Ayyam, Ilahyat-e-Aristu, al-Mosiqa, Mad-o-Jazr, and Aduiyah Murakkaba.
Al-Kindi’s influence on development of science and philosophy was significant in the revival of sciences in that period. In the Middle Ages, Cardano considered him as one of the twelve greatest minds. His works, in fact, lead to further development of various subjects for centuries, notably physics, mathematics, medicine and music.
(Kitaabul - Ilm)
It is necessary for a student of knowledge to protect his time from being wasted. Time-wasting occurs in a number of ways:
1. That one leaves committing to memory and revising what one has read.
2. That one sits with his friends and indulges in vain talk which contains no benefit.
3. This is THE MOST HARMFUL OF THEM upon a student of knowledge: That he has no concern except pursuing people’s statements, [for] “maa qeela wa maa qaala” (What was said and what he said), and [for] “maa hasala wa maa yahsul” (What occured and what is taking place), regarding an issue of no concern to him.
No doubt, this is from a weak Islam, as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “From a person’s good Islam is to leave that which doesn’t concern him”.(**)
Busying oneself with “Qeela wa qaala” (What was said and what he said), and excessive questioning are a time-waster. In reality it is a disease, which, when it comes into man - we ask Allah for well-being it becomes his greatest concern. He may show enmity to one who does not deserve enmity, or he may ally one who doesn’t deserve alliance, due to concerning himself with these issues, which busy him away from knowledge, with the pretext of “championing the truth”, while this is not the case. Rather, this is pertaining to occupying oneself with an issue which does not concern him.
If a report comes to you, without you having pursued or sought it, then all people receive news but they don’t busy themselves with it, nor does it become their greatest concern, because this occupies the student of knowledge. It corrupts his affair, and opens for the Ummah the door of hizbiyyah then the Ummah will split.”
Al-Hasan a1-Basri (May Allah bestow His mercy upon him)] said: “What a bad servant [of the Lord] is he! I am speaking of a servant who fits the following description:
1. He asks for forgiveness (maghfirah), while he is actively engaged in sinful disobedience (ma’siya).
2. He behaves in a humbly submissive manner, so that he may be credited with loyalty (amana), but he is only pretending, to hide his disloyalty (khiyanah).
3. He forbids what is wrong, but does not refrain from it himself.
4. He enjoins what is right, but does not act upon his own instructions.
5. If he gives, he does so very stingily, and if he withholds, he offers no apology.
6. If he is in the best of health, he feels secure, but if he falls sick, he becomes remorseful.
7. If he is impoverished, he feels sad, and if he gets rich, he is subject to temptation.
8. He hopes for salvation, but does not act accordingly.
9. He is afraid of punishment, but takes no precautions against it.
10. He wishes to receive more benefit, but he does not give thanks [for what he has received].
11. He likes the idea of spiritual reward, but he does not practise patience.
12. He expedites sleep and postpones fasting” [From Ghunyat-ut-Talibeen of Shaikh ‘Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaani (rahimahullaah)]
On my lips comes a “Dua” as necessity of mine
Let my life have a face of flame O God of mine
Let the darkness of the world disappear Due to me
Let every place be englightened by brightness Due to me
Let the pride of my country in me be in a manner
As the pride of a garden lies embedded in the flower
let the face of my life be like that of a moth, O my lord!
Make me love the falme of knowledge, O my Lord.
Let my work be to help the poor people
To relieve those in pain, and to serve the old people.
!Allah guard me from the bad way
Lead me on a path which is the right way.
* 605: The Holy Prophet arbitrates in a dispute among the Quraish about the placing of the Black Stone in the Ka’bah.
* 610: The first revelation in the cave at Mt. Hira. The Holy Prophet is commissioned as the Messenger of God.
* 613: Declaration at Mt. Sara inviting the general public to Islam.
* 614: Invitation to the Hashimites to accept Islam.
* 615: Persecution of the Muslims by the Quraish. A party of Muslims leaves for Abyssinia.
* 616: Second Hijrah to Abyssinia.
* 617: Social boycott of the Hashimites and the Holy Prophet by the Quraish. The Hashimites are shut up in a glen outside Makkah.
* 619: Lifting of the boycott. Deaths of Abu Talib and Hadrath Khadijah. Year of sorrow.
* 620: Journey to Taif. Ascension to the heavens.
* 621: First pledge at Aqaba.
* 622: Second pledge at Aqaba. The Holy Prophet and the Muslims migrate to Yathrib.
* 623: Nakhla expedition.
* 624: Battle of Badr. Expulsion of the Bani Qainuqa Jews from Madinah.
* 625: Battle of Uhud. Massacre of 70 Muslims at Bir Mauna. Expulsion of Banu Nadir Jews from Madinah. Second expedition of Badr.
* 626: Expedition of Banu Mustaliq.
* 627: Battle of the Trench. Expulsion of Banu Quraiza Jews.
* 628: Truce of Hudaibiya. Expedition to Khyber. The Holy Prophet addresses letters to various heads of states.
* 629: The Holy Prophet performs the pilgrimage at Makkah. Expedition to Muta (Romans).
* 630: Conquest of Makkah. Battles of Hunsin, Auras, and Taif. * 631: Expedition to Tabuk. Year of Deputations.
* 632: Farewell pilgrimage at Makkah.
* 632: Death of the Holy Prophet. Election of Hadrat Abu Bakr as the Caliph. Usamah leads expedition to Syria. Battles of Zu Qissa and Abraq. Battles of Buzakha, Zafar and Naqra. Campaigns against Bani Tamim and Musailima, the Liar.
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* Drinking with the right hand.
* To say Bismillah before you begin to drink.
* Drinking at least three sips or more and not drinking the entire drink at once.
* To praise Allah after finishing the drink.
* To drink sitting down.
* The person giving the drink to others should drink last.
* The person passing out the drinks should start on his right hand side when distributing the drinks.
* An individual should not drink from the pitcher, but instead pour some of the drink into a dish or cup, and then drink.
* A person should not drink from gold or silver dishes.