Shaban / Ramadan 1423 H
Volume 15-11 No : 191
Camps \ Workshops
Hazrath Abdullah bin Abbas, (may Allah be pleased with him), was a cousin of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was an eminent scholar of the Quran and is widely quoted in Quranic exegesis (tafsir). Though he was far more younger than several other companions of the Prophets (sahabis), he was consulted by the caliphs for expert advice.
Abdullah was born just three years before the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. So when the Prophet died, he was just 13. But he had memorised 1,660 Hadiths. It is because of this that he frequently appears as a narrator in the Hadith compilations of Bukhari and Muslim.
When he was born, his mother brought him to the Prophet. The Holy Prophet kissed him and put his tongue over infant Abdullah’s tongue. He grew to become a young man with great scholarly traits. He would travel with the Prophet and serve water whenever the Prophet would intend to make ablution. He would preserve everything that the Prophet would utter and maintain a record of his sayings.
Once while praying with the Prophet, he stood behind the Prophet even though he had been signalled to stand beside him. When the Prophet queried him after the prayer, he told him that his lowly status did not deserve standing beside the Prophet. At this, Prophet Muhammad prayed for Allah’s special blessings for Abdullah.
When differences arose between the fourth caliph Hazrath Ali and Hazrath Muaaviya and a lot of sahabis sided with the latter, Abdullah was permitted by Ali to act as a mediator between the two. When Muaaviya’s side was approached, they asked him to offer satisfactory replies for three basic objections. Abdullah satisfied them with his scholarly replies and was helped with nothing, but his authoritative knowledge of the Quran. So resounding was the impact that nearly 20,000 persons switched back their loyalty to Caliph Ali and joined back forces.
His thirst for the sayings of Prophet Muhammad was insatiable. This quest led him to the doors of the people in distant places. He would visit the home of such people, spread a sheet of cloth outside the person’s house and wait for him to emerge. Embarrassed, people would turn to him squeamishly and urge him to send for them rather than he (Abdullah bin Abbas) calling on them.
Hazrath Masrooq bin Ajdaa was all praise for Abdullah’s phenomenal memory and masterly linguistic skills. As Abdullah’s fame spread far and wide, people began to flock to his house in great numbers and would often clog the approach to his house. People would come up with all kinds of questions and doubts. So he first began to categorise them as those who had questions pertaining to Quranic terms and language, then those who wanted explanations of the Quranic verses, about dos and don’ts and things permitted and prohibited by Islam, inheritance and finally those who had questions related to literary aspects of Arabic. But crowds were surging by each day. He finally fixed days for each category of questions. It slowly developed into a university like curriculum. The second caliph Hazrath Umar often consulted Abdullah on important matters of governance.
There was no difference between words and deeds of Abdullah bin Abbas. His transparent conduct was known to all. He would strictly keep away from things prohibited by the religion. He would worship through the night and fast during the day. Abdullah bin Mulaikah once observed him standing in prayer till the Fajr prayers during a night halt on the journey even while other weary travel mates were fast asleep after a tiring day’s journey.
Once both Abdullah bin Abbas and the contemporary Caliph Hazrath Muaaviya were performing the Hajj pilgrimage. Muaaviya was encircled by a small band of officials while a large crowd was trailing Abdullah. This was mainly because a lot of pilgrims wanted to have scholarly company of Abdullah.
Abdullah died at the age of 71. His funeral prayers were led by Muhammad bin Hanfiyya.
(Abridged and translated by
Maqbool Ahmed Siraj
from Suwaram Min Hayathus Sahaba by
Egyptian author Dr. Abdur Rahman Rafat Pasha)
Fasting becomes required as a duty when a boy or a girl attains the age of puberty. Prior to that, it is not obligatory. This is the case with all Islamic duties of worship. But we are recommended to train our children to pray when they become seven years old. A Hadith directs us to tell our children to pray when they are seven and to beat them up lightly for not praying when they are ten. The question arises whether the same applies to fasting. In other words, are children to be encouraged, or indeed ordered to fast before they attain the age of puberty?
Generally speaking, the best answer to a question like this is that which is provided by an authentic Hadith. In this respect, we have a Hadith related by Al Bukhari on the authority of one of the youngest lady companions of the Prophet named Arrubayyk bint Moawith. She reports: “The Prophet sent messengers to the villages of the Ansar on the morning of Ashura (i.e. tenth Muharram) with the message: He who has started the day not fasting, let him finish his day, and he who has started the day fasting, let him continue fasting. We used to fast that day afterwards, and make our children fast as well. We would make them woollen toys. If any of them cried of hunger, we would give him a toy to play with until it was time for ending the fast.”
It is important to note here that prior to making fasting obligatory during the month of Ramadan, it was a duty for Muslims to fast on the tenth of Muharram. When the Prophet migrated to Madinah, he found out that Jews fasted on that day. When he questioned them, they told him that they celebrated the anniversary of the event when Moses was saved by Allah from his enemies. The Prophet said that he and the Muslims have more in common with Moses and they were better entitled to celebrate that occasion. He ordered his companions to fast on that day. Although fasting on the tenth of Muharram is no longer obligatory, it is still recommended as a Sunnah.
It is perfectly clear from this Hadith that the companions of the Prophet used to make their children fast. It is important to understand that fasting is not obligatory to children until they have attained the age of puberty. Most scholars agree that children may be encouraged to fast, if they can bear the hardship. There are differences among scholars, however, with regard to when to start the training of children to fast. Some of them suggest the age of seven or ten, as in the case of prayers. Others, like Ahmad ibn Hanhal, suggest beginning at ten, while some mention the age of twelve. The Maliki scholars generally have a different view which suggested that children need not be encouraged to fast. But this view cannot be supported by valid evidence. I have already mentioned that the Maliki school of thought considers “the practice of the people of Madinah” a valid indicator of what is acceptable in Islam. The fact that Madinah was the cradle of Islamic society and that most of the companions of the Prophet lived there and continued to be there for a long time after the Prophet has moulded life in Madinah in the proper Islamic fashion, makes its way of life an example of Islamic life. Hence, when something is a common practice among the people of Madinah, it must be supported by Islamic teachings. Al Bukhari points out that the practice of the people of Madinah in this particular connection was to encourage children to fast. He relates that Umar, the second Caliph, saw a man who was drunk during one day in Ramadan. He rebuked him saying: “Confound you, how do you do this when our children are fasting?” This report suggests that it was a common practice among the people of Madinah at the time of Umar, when Islamic practice was still perhaps at its purest, to encourage children to fast, as a means of training.
According to the Hadith which we have quoted, the children who were encouraged to fast at the time of the Prophet must have been very young, probably less than ten years of age. This is evident when the companion of the Prophet who reports this Hadith says that mothers used to make soft toys in order to use them as a distraction to their children who might cry from hunger.
It is needless to say that encouraging a child to fast does not mean forcing him to fast throughout the month. That is neither wise nor necessary. Parents should approach the training of their children to fast in an easy, relaxed way which makes fasting desirable to the child. Perhaps the encouragement to fast should be coupled with reward which may be given at the end of the day and encouraging words by other members of the family which gives the child a sense that he is now joining the adults in the family. That is bound to make the hardship of fasting much easier to bear. Moreover, a child may be encouraged to fast one or two days to begin with, perhaps when he is nine or ten years old. The number of days may then increase gradually, so that when he attains the age of puberty, he finds that fasting the whole month presents no diffculty.. Such an easy way will be in tune with the Islamic approach to religious duties.
Qasim went inside the cave with all the bags he could carry. He filled the bags with gold and jewels. He went back to the door for he wanted to carry the bags outside, to his waiting mules. The door would not open for Qasim had forgotten the magic word. He thought about it for a long time, but he could not remember it. He could not get out and now he was a prisoner in the cave. When the thieves came back to deposit their loot, they found the ten mules of Qasim waiting outside the cave. Inside they found Qasim and they killed him at once. When his brother did not return from the forest, Ali Baba decided to go out and look for him. He found him there, dead and carried him back to his home. In the morning, the thieves returned to the cave, and found that the body of Qasim was no longer there. They discussed the matter between themselves and concluded that somebody other than the dead man knew about their cave. They had to find him out and kill him. The chief of the robbers ordered one of his men to go into the city to find out more about the person, who knew their secret. The thief arrived in the city disguised and started making inquiries discreetly and came to know that a man had died yesterday and they had just buried him. On questioning the people of the city, he came to know that the man had a brother by name Ali Baba. They also pointed out his house to the thief. The thief went to Ali Baba’s house and when nobody was looking, he took a piece of chalk from his pocket and made a mark of a cross on the door. Then he hurried away.
Soon after this, Fatima, a servant girl, who often came to Ali Baba’s house noticed this strange mark on his door. She cleverly reasoned that this mark meant danger to Ali Baba and took another piece of chalk and drew crosses on the doors of all other houses in the town. On the same night, the forty thieves rode into the city and tried to locate Ali Baba’s house. They soon found out all the houses of the city had crosses marked on it and realised that they had been tricked. Failing to locate the house in the moonlight, the chief of the robbers decided that he would locate the house the next day. He ordered twenty donkeys and forty oil jars to be brought to him. He filled one of the jars with oil and asked his companions to climb into all the remaining jars. He ordered that they should not move from there until he ordered them to do so. In the evening, he rode into the city and located Ali Baba’s house. He stopped at the door of his house and after introducing himself as an oil merchant, requested Ali Baba to let him stay in his house for the night, as all the inns of the city were full of people.
Ali Baba welcomed him, and served him dinner. They sat talking to each other for a long time. The hours passed and the light in the lamp began to get weaker.
He called out to his servant girl to fetch him some oil. There was no oil in the house. Going outside, Fatima noticed huge oil jars arranged neatly in the yard. She decided to take some oil from one of the jar, lifted its lid slowly, and peeped inside and to her horror she found a thief sleeping soundly inside.
Each jar held a thief. They were thirty-nine in all. She guessed immediately that the fortieth must be the oil-merchant the chief of all the robbers. She collected oil from one of the remaining jar, went back to Ali Baba, and filled his lamp.
She went into the kitchen, and grabbed hold of a big wooden club lying in the corner. Gathering all her courage, she went to the oil jars again, knocked on the first, and asked the thief to come out. As soon as the thief put his head out, she gave him a hard blow on his head that killed him on the spot.
She repeated the exercise with all the other thieves in the remaining jars and killed them one after the other, until she had killed them all.
When Ali Baba had gone to sleep, the chief of the robbers crept slowly into the yard. He went to the first jar and opened the lid. Inside, he saw the dead thief. He lifted the lid of the second jar to find another. He quickly examined the rest of the jars and found that all his companions had been killed. He became so frightened that he ran away from Ali Baba’s house. The next morning Fatima told Ali Baba what had happened. Ali Baba praised Fatima for saving his life.
Ali Baba realised straight away that his brother had been killed because of his greed. He had come close to being killed because of his ill-gotten wealth.
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Sometimes, don’t we wonder, “What did I do to deserve this”, or “Why did God have to do this to me”. A little boy is telling his Grandma how everything is going wrong...school, family problems and health problems. Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake. She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which, of course, he does. “Here, have some cooking oil.” “Yuck” says the boy. “How about a couple of raw eggs?” “Gross, Grandma!” “Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?” “Grandma, those are all yucky!” To which Grandma replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! Eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
Hope your day is a “piece of cake!”
By Masood Faraz
Each eye of an insect may be made up of as many as 30,000 hexagonal lenses.
The most dangerous frog in the world is undoubtedly the arrow poison frog found in Columbia. Its skin secretes the most active known poison called batrochotoxin. One millionth of a gram of this is enough to kill a man.
The longest glacier is the Lambert-fisher ice passage found in Antarctica in the 1950s. It extends for over 500 km.
The biggest solid gold object in existence is the coffin of the Egyptian boy pharaoh Tutankhemen. It weighs about 1,110 kg.
The smallest humming birds are no bigger than a bee. They beat their wings 70 times in a second during flight.
The largest iron mine on earth is at Lebodnsky in Russia. Its reserves would be enough to keep the world supply for a generation.
The largest gland in the human body is the liver. It weighs about 1.4 to 1.9 kgs.
In the tropic of Asia there is a type of squirrel that is able to fly. It has large loose flap of skin along each side that stretches from its fore legs to its hind legs. When it leaps, the flap opens out and it sails like a tiny glider from branch to branch.
In the Dalmatian Island of Yugoslavian coast, several lizards may be found sheltering in under the wings of each young gull before they learn to fly. In return, the lizards eat the gulls’ body parasites.
A big blue whale weighs more than 30 elephants. The tongue alone is as heavy as 10 men. A child could crawl through the largest arteries.
It has been estimated that all the DNA in a single tiny human cell would, if stretched out, form a chain nearly a metre long and would have about 6 million units of information on it.
The technically correct name of Greenland is Kalaallit Nunaat. It is part of Denmark. Only about 56,000 people live on this huge island which has a land area of 840,000 square kilometres. Its capital is Nunaat.
1.Which country has the largest number of volcanoes?
2.Which is the largest city in the Islamic world in terms of population?
3.What is the former name of the Iranian city of Isfahan?
4.What was the name of the shield of Prophet Muhammad?
5.What is http in Internet language?
6.What are the Arabic names of Euphrates and Tigris rivers?
7.What is the currency of Syria?
1) Indonesia, 2) Cairo, 10.5 million, 3) Ray, 4) Zanooq,
5) Hyper Text Terminal Protocol, 6) Farat and Dajlah, 7) Syrian Pound
Write the correct answers on a separate sheet of paper and send it along with the coupon given in this page. Write your name, complete address, age and school where you study. Entries without address will not be considered. The first three all-correct entries will receive Rs. 250, Rs 200 and Rs. 150. The entries close on November 10, 2002.