Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rajab / Shaban 1423 H
October 2002
Volume 15-10 No:190

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Children's Corner


Prophet's Companions : Abul Aas bin Rabee
Allah is the Best Guide
Removing Anxiety
Quiz - October 2002
Scholars of Renown
Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves
Bring out the Weeds of the Mind!
Are Birds Intelligent?
Journey to the Past


Prophet's Companions

Abul Aas bin Rabee

Hazrath Abul Aas bin Rabee was a debonair youth of the Quraish and had earned a name for his matchless integrity, honesty, gallantry and self-respect. He took to business and prospered. His trade caravans would normally carry 100 camels and 200 servants. The people invested their money with him and trusted him.

He married the holy Prophet's (Pbuh) daughter, Hazrath Zainab. Even before this marriage, he was related to the Prophet's wife Khadija. His mother and Khadija's mother were sisters. He loved Zainab intensely. When the Prophet received the prophethood, all his daughters including Zainab chanted the shahadah to join the fold of Islam. But Abul Aas stayed with his ancestral faith. Yet he did not restrain Zainab from being a Muslim. The men of Quraish pleaded with him to divorce Zainab, but he would not brook any such suggestion. The Prophet had not been advised by Allah to separate couples where spouses followed different faiths. But same was not the case with Umme Kulsoom and Ruqaiyya who were divorced by their husbands. The Prophet wanted Abu Aas to divorce Zainab, but did not press for it.

Zainab stayed back with her husband even after the Prophet and numerous other companions left for Madinah after constant persecution. Abul Aas was part of the army of the Quraish despite his unwillingness to fight against the Muslims of Madinah. Following the war, he was taken a prisoner and taken to Madinah. The Prophet fixed the compensation from Dirham one to 4000 for the release of the prisoners and conveyed the message to the Makkans. Zainab sent some Dirhams and a necklace which had been gifted by her mother Hazrath Khadijah at her marriage. The sight of the necklace caused intense pain to the Prophet. He asked his holy companions to return the Dirhams and the necklace to Zainab and set Abul Aas free. However he made it conditional for him to send back Zainab upon returning to Makkah. Abul Aas agreed to the proposal, though unwillingly. Zainab was sent to Madinah with a large retinue of caravans and servants with Abul Aas'brother Amir bin Rabee leading the caravans. The men of Quraish accosted the caravan and asked Amir to return Zainab to Makkah. But Amir, a sharp shooter, held them at bay at the point of arrow. But then Abu Sufyan persuaded him not to make a public show of Zainab's migration to Madinah as it hurt the self-respect of the Quraish.

He conceded and later dispatched her to Makkah secretly. Thus Zainab and Abul Aas lived separately till a little before the conquest of Makkah when a trade caravan of Abul Aas was ambushed by the Muslims of Madinah, a normal practice till then, between warring groups. The caravan had 100 camels and 170 persons. The camels were seized and the men were taken as prisoners. But Abul Aas somehow escaped. As darkness enveloped Madinah, Abul Aas stealthily entered the city and made his way to Zainab's house. He sought asylum with her. Zainab announced her intention to grant asylum to Abul Aas while the Friday prayer was being led by the Prophet. The Muslims who heard the Prophet's daughter promised to honour her commitment. However the Prophet told Zainab that any conjugal relationship with Abul Aas would not be legitimate as he was not a Muslim. The Prophet also asked the seized camels and merchandise of Abul Aas to be returned to him. When Abul Aas came to reclaim his camels, the Muslims advised him to join the fold of Islam.

They suggested to him that he can live in Madinah and continue trading with merchandise that belonged to the Makkans. But Abul Aas did not consider it proper. He returned to Makkah and settled accounts with everyone who had invested in him. He then addressed them: O people of the Quraish, do I owe anything to anyone among you?" They said in unison: " We found you loyal, gentle and honest to the core." He then chanted the shahadah loudly and told them that he had embraced Islam. He told them that the fear that people would accuse him of deceiving them and cheating them of their goods restrained him from embracing Islam at the hands of the Prophet in Madinah. He then arrived at Madinah and presented himself to the Prophet (Pbuh). The Prophet reunited Abul Aas and Zainab. The Prophet said: Abul Aas, you fulfilled your promise.

Abridged and translated from
Suwaram Min Hayathus Sahaba
by Egyptian author Dr. Abdur Rahman Rafat Pasha of Egypt)

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Allah is the Best Guide

Salatul Istikharah

It is a sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternatives, one should pray two rak'ahs sunnah, be they regular sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering a mosque, and so on, during any time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qu'ran after reciting Al-Fatiha. Then one should praise Allah and send salutations to the Prophet (Pbuh) and recite the following supplication which has been recorded by Bukhari in Jabir's narration:"The Prophet,(Pbuh) would teach us al-Istikharah for all of our affairs as he would teach us a surah of the Qu'ran. He said 'if one of you is deliberating over an act, he should pray two rak'ahs and say":

"O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You to give me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favour, for You have power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters. O Allah! If you know that this matter (then mention it) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter (or he said 'for my present and future life') then ordain it for me, make it (easy) for me and bless it for me. And if You know that this matter is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter (or he said 'for my present and future life') then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and ordain the good for me wherever it be and make me be pleased with it." After performing the istikhara, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he has desired to do before making the istikhara.

And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, otherwise he is not completely leaving the choice of Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah's power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah's choice means that one should completely leave what one oneself desired or determined.

(Sourced from Fiqh-Us-Sunnah by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

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Removing Anxiety

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri, (may Allah be pleased with him), narrated that one day the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him), entered the mosque and found a man from Ansar, named Abu Umamah. He said: "O Abu Umamah! Why do I see you sitting in the mosque outside the time of prayer?" Abu Umamah replied: "Anxieties and debts have remained with me." The Messenger of Allah asked: "Should I not teach you words, which if you say Allah will remove your anxiety and will settle your debt?" He replied: "Definitely, O Messenger of Allah." He said: "Say when you wake up in the morning and when you reach the evening: 'O Allah! I seek Your protection from anxiety and sorrow, and I seek Your protection from helplessness and laziness, and I seek Your protection from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek Your protection from the burden of debts and from the tyranny of men." Abu Umamah said (later): "I did (as the Messenger of Allah said) and Allah removed my anxiety and settled my debt." Related by Abu Dawud.

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Quiz - October 2002

Match the Capitals to the Country

1. Portugal  A. Colombo
2. Bahrain  B. Sarajevo
3. Cambodia  C. Male
4. Senegal  D. Kabul
5. Sri Lanka  E. Manama
6. Maldives  F. Phnom Penh
7. Ireland  G. Lisbon
8. Bosnia  H. Dakar
9. Zimbabwe  I. Harare
10. Afghanistan  J. Dublin

Name the Capitals of the following Indian States.

1. Orissa 2. Kerala 3. Meghalaya 4. Chhatisgarh
5. Mizoram 6. Rajasthan 7. Haryana 8. Sikkim 9. Arunachal Pradesh 10. Jharkhand

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.

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Scholars of Renown

Abu al-Walid Muhammad bin Rushd had received an invitation from the Caliph of Marrakesh. In the invitation, the Caliph Abu Yusuf Ya'qub (1163 C.E-1184 C.E) had desired his presence in the court. Although he was a mature man of 38 years, Ibn Rushd became nervous at this summons by the ruler. Why had he been sent for? What was the reason behind it?

Gathering his courage, Ibn Rushd went to the palace to keep his appointment with the ruler of the land. Soon he was ushered into his presence and after the greeting; the Caliph asked him to take a seat near him and began questioning him about philosophy. Ibn Rushd was well versed in matters of philosophy and a doctor of medicine. However, he was terrified in the exalted presence of the Caliph and his probing questions into a subject that was considered taboo by many theologians of that age. He immediately denied all knowledge of philosophy before the King. Now it was the turn of the Caliph to be puzzled.

Abu Bakr ibn Tufayl had talked about the man sitting before him in the most glowing terms. He had been told that this man was a scholar, who had studied law and medicine under distinguished scholars in Cordoba, of Muslim Spain. He had also studied philosophy and was familiar with the works of the ancient Greek scholars. Yet, the man sitting before him was denying all knowledge of a subject in which he was interested. The king was an avid reader of philosophical books. He had studied Aristotle and he found the book difficult. He wanted Ibn Rushd to comment on the works of Aristotle. At last, the Caliph recognised the discomfort of the man sitting before him and immediately put him at ease. This was not going to be an inquisition. Rather, he wanted the scholar to take up a project that he had in mind. He wanted the scholar to simplify the works of Aristotle, which approached the works of the Greek philosopher on three levels-for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. The works would be first at a simple level, and later a line-by-line approach, and then in-depth treatments, which would be far longer than the Greek originals.

In the conversation that followed, Ibn Rushd gradually started to open up before the Caliph. Ibn Rushd immediately impressed the enlightened ruler with his knowledge of different subjects. The Caliph appointed him Qadi (religious judge) of Seville and ordered him to begin his work. Shortly thereafter, Ibn Rushd was made Chief Qadi of Cordoba and became attached to the court as the royal physician.

Ibn Rushd composed his greatest works with the backing of this patron. The two important works written by him Fasl al Maqal (Relation of Philosophy and Religion) and al-Kashf 'an Manahij al-'Adiallah (Methods of Proof Concerning the Beliefs of the Community), earned him the title "The Commentator." To those works, he added another book Tahafut al Tahafut (Incoherence of the Incoherence), which was his great philosophical rebuttal of al-Ghazali. As a human being, Ibn Rushd was humble and generous. He would be charitable even to his enemies. When his friends criticised him for this, he said, "There is no virtue in being generous to a friend. But, he is virtuous who gives to an enemy. He also stood by his friends in their hour of need, defended their reputations, and supported them far more vigorously than he would do to his own interests. Born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1126 C.E, he had come from a family of scholars and jurists. He died in Marrakesh in the year 1198 C.E at the age of seventy-two.

A scholar and a perfectionist until the very end of his life, he had never missed a day in reading or writing, except the day he married and the day his father died, observed one of his biographers.

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Arabian Nights-II

Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves

Ali Baba was amazed to see a spacious, vaulted chamber cut out of the rock. It had a high roof with a slit in the top to allow in the light. Before him, lay a huge treasure of costly silks, brocades, gold, silver and money filled in leather bags stacked on the floor of the cave. He ignored the merchandise, made directly for the shining gold coins, and dragged bags of them to the mouth of the cave. When he had heaped enough he commanded the door to open again using the magic words. He untied his asses and brought them to the mouth of the cave and started loading them with bags of gold, and covered them cleverly with bundles of wood. After completing the task, he pronounced the words, "Shut Sesame!" The door silently closed behind him, and he set off towards his house in the city. Once inside, he carried the bags and emptied the contents before his wife. His wife was speechless at the sight of the gold. Ali Baba related to her his wonderful adventure in the forest. They decided to bury the gold in his house before any prying eyes could see it. His wife wanted to count the money before her. But, that would take too long. She decided to borrow a measuring scoop from her sister-in-law, who was the wife of Qasim. Her house was only a short distance away. Ali Baba's wife asked Qasim's wife to loan her a small measure.

Qasim's wife agreed to lend her the measure, but she was very curious to learn the type of grain they wanted to measure for she knew they were poor. She decided to put a sticky substance beneath the measure in such a way that it could not be seen. Her trick worked. When Ali Baba's wife returned the scoop, she turned it upside down, and sticking into the bottom was a single gold coin. Qasim's wife became green with envy. The gold coin had told her that Ali Baba had come in possession of a huge amount of wealth that he measures it instead of counting it. She was jealous with their good fortune. When Qasim returned home that evening, she related him the entire story. Qasim also became jealous at his brother's unexpected fortune. The next morning, before sunrise, he went up to Ali Baba's house determined to solve the mystery. He forced Ali Baba to part with his secret. When Ali Baba realised that his secret was out, he knew it would be useless to hide the truth any longer. He told Qasim the whole story and agreed to share the riches with him only if he would keep the matter secret between them.

Qasim was a greedy man. He wanted to know the exact spot where this wealth was hidden. Ali Baba told him all that he needed to know. Qasim went home determined to take all the riches that remained in the cave for himself. The next day before daybreak, he set off towards the spot that had been described by his brother, with ten mules carrying large sacks on their backs. Before noon, he was standing beneath the tree, where his brother had hidden from the thieves the previous day. Standing in front of the wall of rock, he shouted, "Open Sesame!" and to his delight, a great door swung open. He went into the cave and the door closed behind him.

(to be continued)
Sourced By A.I. Makki

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Soul Talk

Bring out the Weeds of the Mind!

What differentiates man from other animals? Thought – the ability to reason, to imagine and to differentiate between good and bad. This is the essential difference between man and beast. To live as a good human being,one must think clearly and not with a clouded mind .

How does one think clearly? You might ask. To what extent does our thought lift us or limit us?

Thought and achievement : How many times have you experienced fear before writing an exam and have ended up doing well ? Chances are, that if you are confident, you will end up doing well. This is because your confidence will add to your recalling power and help you to think clearly. Remember what Henry ford said "If you think you can, you can ; if you think you can't, then you are right".

Thought and circumstances : How often have you seen people blame their fate for the situation they are in? Though we as Muslims believe in fate, even Allah says that he helps those who help themselves. A man's mind is like a garden, if you sow good thoughts ; healthy and beautiful thoughts, it will yield good results, like a garden full of flowers. If you think only of failure, rejection and defeat ; you cannot expect much, can you ? To cultivate flowers bring out the weeds out of the mind. The weeds may be –fear, jealousy, anger, hatred, prejudice, lack of confidence and many more things.

Allah tests us all in our lifetime. With each passing phase in our life, we learn a lot from the mistakes we make. All the prophets went through severe tests during their lifetime and it is with their high thinking that they all overcame the obstacles placed in their way.

Thoughts become actions : Be careful about what you think because any moment it may become an action. You cannot hide what you think !. If you envy someone's intellect or physical beauty, it will become obvious in your dealing with the person. Never harbour any wrong feelings about any person. Keep a small book in your pocket and put a tick mark each time you think something - some thought of hatred, jealousy or any negative thought and at the end of the day, check out how many entries you have made. So, the next time you plan to think deeply about something- first ask this question –"Is this thought worth my time?" then proceed.

By Sabith Khan

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Nature Watch

Are Birds Intelligent?

Are they really Intelligent

Scientists working on animal behaviour are totally convinced that birds are intelligent and astonishingly like humans. Their studies suggest that individual birds have unique personalities. They understand their surroundings and have flexible behaviour, which resembles those of human beings. The most thoroughly studied bird until date is a male African Gray Parrot named Alex. Experiments conducted in the University of Arizona reveal that this parrot has mastered more than 100 English words and uses them correctly. He can speak meaningfully, and understand what is said to him.

The scientists working on him are absolutely convinced that he is far more intelligent than what humans beings imagine him to be. It has also been noted that a parakeet had developed a friendly relationship with a goldfish in a bowl. He would peek at one side of the bowl and the fish would come to that side of the bowl getting as close to the parakeet as possible—sometimes the parakeet would hang over the water and the fish would come to the surface. When the fish died (and a new one did not help), the parakeet showed depression with typical human symptoms of inactivity and lack of appetite. Chapter 27, verse 22, of the Holy Quran illustrates the intelligence of birds in the verses that have been quoted . We notice here, that Prophet Sulayman carries out a lengthy conversation with a Hoopoe, a bird, which reads as follows: "But the Hoopoe tarried not. For he [came up and] said: "I have compassed which thou hast not compassed and I have come to you from Saba with tidings true"

The verse tells that the Hoopoe was late in appearing before Prophet Sulayman because it had to traverse a long distance. We find here a clear indication that birds cover long distances by flight. The Hoopoe further states that it has come from Queen Saba [Sheba] with information that would please Prophet Sulayman. In other words, the Hoopoe in the Holy Qur'an exhibits a remarkable sensitivity to the needs of Prophet Sulayman to gather correct information by which he could rule his kingdom.

In verse 23 of the same chapter of the Holy Qur'an, the Hoopoe elaborates further on his story of his experiences in the land from, which he had just arrived. He says: "I found there a woman ruling over them provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne."

The holy Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) 1400 years ago, has proved beyond doubt that birds possess an amazing degree of intelligence, which is very similar to human beings, a fact that had been unknown to the scientists until now.

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Mysore Railway Museum

Journey to the Past

By A Staff Writer

Journey to the past If you are interested in the history of railways and different models of trains, or for that matter wish to go on a ride in a mini train, just drop in at the rail museum in Mysore, close to the Mysore railway station. The Mysore rail museum, inaugurated on June 2, 1979 is a landmark not just in Mysore city, but also for the railway industry. With a very small entry fee, you can view the Chamundi Gallery which has on display photographs and paintings of trains and locomotives. The evolution of signals depicted through images is fascinating. A painting has this caption: "The Rocket, an earlier locomotive built in 1829, hauled a load of 12.75 tons, completed a journey of 35 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes. It's maximum speed was 29 miles per hour." As you go further, you will see a double-decker-third class carriage used by Bombay, Baroda and the Central India Railways, 1863, a new double-decker coach, a picture of a train crossing Thane Bridge, between Bombay and Thana in the year 1853, a painting of an Electrical Multiple Unit train and also a photograph of the world's first steam locomotive for passenger service, a vintage model. Check out the models of the longest bridge in the Hassan-Mangalore Railway Project across river Nethravathi, Rail-cum-Road Bridge of Ernakulam, Lokapavani Bridge, Mysore-Bangalore section hand-grinding machine, Venner time switch-automatic electrically operated, magnetic telephone, Morse telegraph instrument, old amplifier and the Mysore State, railway metre gauge built in 1899. While you get set to see the toy train, the walls of the second section are adorned with paintings of the first steam locomotives-The Rocket, 1829 and of Mono Rail of 1802. The Electric mini train of 1980 also called the toy train is designed to entertain the kids through a ride for just a small fare. The museum is a treasure house of original unique "trains of the past" including the steam locomotives metre gauge stand hand crane 1885, steam locomotives metre gauge (tank type), 1932, E-Class engine 1920, metre gauge inspection car 19011, Patent centre and side-discharging wagon, Mysore gauge coach 1927, continental liver frame double wire used in the year 1920, narrow gauge engine, 1900 from Stafford England and Builders Stable Ford and Company, England. A visit to the Mysore Rail Museum is a must if one wishes to appreciate the glorious history of Indian railways.

By Laeequllah Khan

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