Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Jamadiul-Akhir / Rajab 1423 H
September 2002
Volume 15-09 No:189

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Children's Corner


Scholars of Renown
The First Prophet
Who are Allah's Angels?s
The Bee
Why are you not able to wake up for Fajr? Here are some tips to induce you to wake up for Fajr.
The World is Mine
Tit For Tat
A Lesson from History
Homoeopathy A boon for Children
Who is your Hero?
Time to Smile
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Hospitality comes First
King Bayazid and Timur


Scholars of Renown

Mahmood Al-Tanahi

Al-Tanahi devoted most of his scholarly efforts to Arabic,
as he considered language to be the main medium of civilization, national identity and culture.

Mahmood ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Al-Tanahi was born in a village called Kafr Tabluha in Al-Munoofiyah County, Egypt, in 1935, corresponding to 1353 AH. He was from a poor family, and he had to rely on his own efforts for much of his learning and achievements. Hence, we find him completing his formal education much later than other students. For example, he completed his secondary school education at Al-Azhar in 1958, when he was 23, but this does not mean that he neglected his education earlier. Indeed, he completed memorising the Quran when he was 13, and he learned the different methods of its recitation, which include different linguistic variations and nuances.

This was instrumental in focusing his interest on Arabic linguistics. His university education was in Dar Al-Uloom College, which is specialised in Arabic studies, and affiliated to the University of Cairo. He graduated with a B.A. in Arabic and Islamic Fiqh in 1962, and was determined to pursue his studies further in this area. He obtained a Master’s degree from the same college in 1972, and a Ph.D. degree in 1978. By that time, he was a well-established scholar, whose knowledge and achievements had taken him beyond anything a formal degree could gain for him. Together with his friend Dr. Abd Al-Atheem Al-Deeb, he was the first to enter Dar Al-Kutub, the main library in Cairo, and the last to leave every evening. After graduation, Al-Tanahi worked as a member of staff in the Arab-American Studies Institute in Cairo (1963-65). He was then chosen to work as a specialist in the Arab Manuscripts Institute of the Arab League, and continued in this work until 1978 when he joined the teaching staff of the Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, where he was given a special status of distinction. In 1989, he resigned to take up a teaching post at the University of Cairo until 1997, when he became professor and head of the Arabic Department at the University of Helwan in Egypt. Al-Tanahi devoted most of his scholarly efforts to Arabic, as he considered language to be the main medium of civilization, national identity and culture.

Mahmood Al-Tanahi was much interested in old manuscripts and he worked on many such manuscripts, editing them and preparing them for publication. Indeed, both his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees were in this area. Al-Tanahi edited a number of highly useful manuscripts, the most important of which were “Al-Nihayah fi Gharib Al-Hadith Al-Athar”, by Ibn Al-Atheer, in five large volumes; and “Tabaqat Al-Shafiyyah Al-Kubra”, by Ibn Al-Subki. This is a book giving the biographies of the main Shafie scholars over several centuries, in 10 large volumes. His original works were in several areas, such as his book “Mustaqbal Al-Thaqafah Al-Arabiyah”, or the “Future of Arab Culture, and Introduction to the History of Publication of Arabic Heritage”. He also compiled and published indexes to a number of highly important books. Mahmood Al-Tanahi died in 1999, at the age of 64.

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The First Prophet

Prophet Adam

Adam was the first man created by Allah. He was created to live on earth. However, Iblis did not like this. Although Iblis was made of fire, he lived with the angels. He thought he was better than Adam, so he became Adam’s enemy and decided to make Adam disobey Allah.

Adam and his wife used to live in paradise, where they were destined to be by Allah. Paradise was the most beautiful place you can imagine. It was neither hot nor cold. Adam and his wife were never hungry or thirsty. This was another thing which Iblis did not like. So Iblis came to Adam and his wife and told them to eat from a certain tree. Now, Adam and his wife knew very well that Allah had told them they must not even go near that tree. So they did not listen to Iblis, but Iblis kept on and on at them. He tempted them by saying that they could live for ever if they ate from that tree and would become like angels.

At last, worn down by the nagging of Iblis, Adam and his wife gave in. They came to believe what Iblis was telling them and they ate from the tree, against Allah’s command. But they soon came to regret very much their disobedience and their weakness in listening to Iblis. Adam and his wife were very sad and asked Allah for His forgiveness. Allah forgave them, for He is very forgiving. Allah then told Adam and his wife that they must now go down to earth and live there for some time. But He promised that they would be allowed to return to paradise as long as they and their children were obedient to Him in future.

Allah also told Adam that he would be Allah’s first prophet. Many prophets would be sent to mankind, and if man listens to the prophets’ words, he will come into paradise when he dies. But if he does not listen, then he will go to hell and remain there with the evil Iblis. So, Adam and his wife came down to earth. On earth, they raised their children, and their children in their turn raised their children. In this way succeeding generations of mankind lived on earth and Allah sent His prophets to all of them. These prophets said: Worship only Allah. Allah has created you. Allah has made for you the plants and the animals so that you can eat them. Be grateful to Allah and always do good. This is what Adam the first prophet of Allah, told his children. After him there came many other prophets, and Muhammad (Pbuh) is the last of the prophets.

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Who are Allah's Angels?

Angel Gabriel brought Allah’s words to the Prophet Muhammad and therefore we call Gabriel the Messenger Angel. There are many other angels and we can read about them in the Quran.

Each of us has two angels who accompany him. These angels take note of everything we do. They write down our good deeds and our bad deeds. We call these angels the Writing Angels. There are other angels, too. For example, there is an angel who helps people when they die. This angel brings death, so we call him the Angel of Death.

We cannot see the angels because they are made of things which our eyes cannot see. But all the same, we know that they are there, because Allah has told us so. Sometimes, we can even feel the presence of these angels.

Angels are created by Allah, just as man and everything else has been created by Him. Angels obey Allah and are His servants. They perform many tasks and keep the world in being by obeying Allah’s commands.

We know that when the sun rises and sets, when the clouds move in the sky, when the raindrops fall, when the plants grow and many other things happen in nature, it is Allah Who has created them and Allah Who sustains them. Nothing can happen without Allah’s will. In the same way, Allah created the angels who obey Him. They carry out His will, and take great care that everything goes according to Allah’s will. They are the obedient servants of Allah.

Allah wanted man to obey Him, to pray to Him and to do good. He wanted man to know about Allah. That is why the Angel Gabriel was sent by Allah. The Angel Gabriel told Muhammad what Allah wanted man to do. This was Gabriel’s task. Through the Angel Gabriel, Allah had spoken to many prophets before Muhammad, so that man would remember and not forget what Allah wants him to do.

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The Bee

Hai, I am Bee

And thy Lord taught the Bee
To build its cells in hills
On trees and in men’s habitations
Then to eat of all the
Produce of the earth
And find with skill, the spacious
Paths of its Lord, there issues
From within their bodies
A drink of varying colours
Wherein is healing for men
Verily in this is a Sign
For those who give thought

The above verse from Surah Nahl of the holy Qur'an gives valuable insight into the world of Bees. Here the bee's instinct like humility, obedience and collective effort is referred to Allah's teaching, which it undoubtedly is.

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Why are you not able to wake up for Fajr?
Here are some tips to induce you to wake up for Fajr.

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Reflections

The World is Mine

The World is Mine

Today, upon a bus,
I saw a girl with golden hair.
and wished I was as fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she gave me a smile.
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 legs, the world is mine.
I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
“I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you.
“You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 eyes, the world is mine.
Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play.
He did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join the others, dear?”
He looked ahead without a word.
And then I knew, he couldn’t hear.
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I’d go.
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow.
With ears to hear what I’d know.
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

Ahmed Khan

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Tit For Tat

The Mughals enjoyed a very good relationship with the Persians since the time of Babur. Persia was ruled by the Safavid dynasty. The relations between them were based on a feeling of amity and goodwill towards each other. They exchanged envoys and valuable presents with each other. The Mughals and the Persians tried to impress each other with the majesty and grandeur of their courts with these gestures. In the past, the Persians had helped Babur and his son Humayun in restoring them to power in Delhi and as such, they had adopted a patronising attitude towards the Mughal emperors of those times. On the other hand, the Mughals regarded themselves as superior to the Persians, because they were in command of a larger empire. The city of Qandahar was the cause of disagreement between the two powers of the time. It occupied a position of great importance both militarily and commercially as it formed the trade-link to the Indian subcontinent.

Babur had occupied the city in the year 1522. Humayun recovered the city from his brother Kamaran in the year 1545. Shah Tahmasp captured it again in 1558 from Akbar, who recovered it back from him at the close of his reign in the year 1595. During the time of Jehangir, Shah Abbas was the King of Persia. He made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Qandahar. Having failed in his attempt by military means, he resorted to diplomatic means to achieve his objective. He sent word to Jehangir through his emissaries expressing disapproval of his army officers in attacking Qandahar. The emissaries presented themselves in Jehangir’s court, armed with rich presents and the letter of regrets. Jehangir reciprocated this gesture by calling the Shah of Persia his brother. In the process, he neglected the defenses of Qandahar. Shah Abbas seized this opportunity to lay siege to the Fort of Qandahar. Jehangir ordered his son Shahjahan to rush to Qandahar to defend the city from the attack of the Persians. However, his son refused to obey the orders of his father for he considered it as a court intrigue to deprive him of a chance to succeed to the throne after him. As a result, Qandahar fell into the hands of the Persians in the year 1622.

In a letter to Jehangir, the Shah of Persia offered his apologies for occupying Qandahar justifying his action with lame excuses. The Mughal emperor in turn, rebuked the Shah of Persia for his insincerity and accused him of treachery. After his ascension to the throne, Emperor Shahjahan adopted the same diplomatic game with the Persians, which Shah Abbas had used with his father. Persia was then ruled by Shah Safi. He sent emissaries with rich presents and expressed his desire for closer ties with the mighty Persian emperor.

The Shah was made to feel the Qandahar episode was totally forgotten and the Mughal emperor had no desire to recover it from the Persians. Behind the scenes, Shahjahan had opened channels of communication with Ali Mardan Khan, the Governor of Qandahar, who was dissatisfied with the Persian rule. He won over the governor and when the Shah of Persia was busy fighting elsewhere, he marched his army to Qandahar and occupied it in the year 1638.

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A Lesson from History

When Samarkand was destroyed by the Mongols, the people of the city who were not killed in the fighting fled everywhere to escape the slaughter. Many of them died trying to cross the desert. Others became victims of famine and disease. The cruel Mongols had slaughtered many more. An estimated thirty million people, men, women, and children met their death at the hands of the Mongols, who had sworn to wipe out all human beings on the earth, who did not belong to their race. It is said that many of the refugees fled as far as Afghanistan and sought refuge in a settlement there. The man running the settlement was a kind Muslim, a pious and devout man. He managed to accommodate as many refugees as possible in his settlement. Seeing their despair, he spoke to them: “You blame the Mongols for your losses. Yet, it was your own habits and disunity among yourselves that has at least in part been responsible for reducing you into such a sorry state. You have called this scourge upon yourselves by your own mistakes that had accumulated over the centuries.”

“You have lost a battle, and you think that you have lost a war. Today the Mongols are happy and triumphant at having conquered your cities, displaced you from your homes, and have taken from you, your flocks and land. Today people of the world rank you among the cowards.” “In spite of your shortcomings and the belief of your detractors, you will prevail. I announce to you a law of people, which has never been negated.” “You and the generations after you will witness the humbling of these alien oppressors. Their humbling will be such that they will completely disappear. The world of Islam will rise again, and the Mongols in Turkistan, in Khurasan, in Iran, and in all other countries, which they have taken will remain only a memory.” “Even among those, who delight in their victories today, none will weep at their dissolving. That which seems impossible today at the moment is precisely what will come to pass.”

A. I. Makki

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Homoeopathy A boon for Children

For kids troubled by frequent respiratory tract infections, colds, allergies, asthma, cough, sinusitis and tonsillitis, Dr B. D. Patel has come up with his soothing Homoeopathic remedies. Dr Patel has to his credit a number of cases of little patients-that's kids coming to him for treatment for these cases. He offers these tips to keep these complaints at bay.

The above precautions can reduce 50 per cent of the problem and the remaining 50 per cent can be taken care effectively by Homoeopathy. It is a system which treats the patient in a holistic way. The medicines are prepared from natural products and are used in highly diluted form, and hence have no side effects. So you will notice that the child would be rapidly improving under Homoeopathic treatment. He may not even get other common diseases unless he over-indulges in wrong habits and lifestyle. All these positive effects of Homoeopathy are obtainable only through Classical Homoeopathy.

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Who is your Hero?

In my quest to find out who today’s heroes are, among the youngsters, I attempted a casual conversation with many people of various age groups. The results are in the first four lines here- Who is your hero?

Four year old : I want to be like Superman, (or is it Spiderman).

Ten year old : I want to be a pilot (or an engineer or a doctor)

Sixteen year old : I want to be like Shahrukh Khan.

Twenty year old : I want people to treat me like a man (and not a kid).

Our present day leaders leave much to be desired. Politicians of the pre-independence days were stalwarts and giants in their own ways.

Educationists have taken to money making and this noble profession has become an “ Industry”. Scientists keep a safe distance from public life and are busy in their labs and attending conferences. So, who are our Heroes? Whom does the Channel V generation choose as Heroes? Unfortunately, most youngsters choose film personalities, glamour queens or Vjs’ or smooth talking entertainers as their Heroes. Very few choose to have men of stuff as their role models. Men of stuff are those who have actually made a contribution to society and to humanity. The Kids hardly have enough time to learn about History or the great leaders our own country or the Muslim community has produced.

Gandhiji, Maulana Azad, Frontier Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Varghese Kurien, Dhirubhai Ambani, Vikram Sarabhai, G D Birla, and a host of leaders do not figure on the “ Heroes list” of most of today’s youth. These are men of substance who have shaped India into what it is today. Don’t these men deserve a closer look at their lives, so that a generation may understand its own roots and grow up to be more conscious of what “real-life” heroes are and what “ fake “ heroes of celluloid world are made up of?

Sabith Khan

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Time to Smile

Holmes & Watson Sharing Jokes ?????

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were on a camping trip. After a good meal, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

“ Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see,” Watson replied: “ I see millions and millions of stars.”

“ What does that tell you?”

Watson pondered for a minute. “ Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: “ Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent.”

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Arabian Nights

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Once upon a time in a certain city of Persia there lived two brothers, by name Qasim and Ali Baba. Both the brothers were married. Qasim had married a rich woman and through her became one of the richest merchant in the town. Ali Baba on the other hand, had married a girl from a poor family. He earned his living by selling wood, cut from a nearby forest and carrying it about the town to sell on his three asses. One day, Ali Baba had gone to the forest as usual, to cut wood. He had almost finished the task of loading them on his asses, when he noticed a thick cloud of dust over the horizon and the sound of horses galloping at high speed. Soon he was able to see a large number of men on horseback and they were all headed in his direction.

Now Ali Baba was a cautious man. He had heard about reports of thieves being seen in that area. He tied up his asses a little distance away in the forest hiding them out of sight. After that, he quickly climbed on to a tree that grew at the foot of a wall of rock, and hid himself carefully among the branches, for he wanted to watch these men without being seen. This was a forest area and he did not want to draw their attention until he was sure that these men posed no danger to him.

To Ali Baba’s dismay, the band galloped up their horses and halted underneath his hiding place. He noticed that they were a group of forty fierce looking men. They quickly dismounted, and untied the heavy bags that they all carried on their horses. Then one of them, who looked like their leader, walked up to the wall of rock beneath the tree and cried out in a loud voice, “Open Sesame.”

Before Ali Baba’s astonished eyes, a great door in the rock swung slowly open. They all passed through the door, the leader going last, with the door silently closing after them. Ali Baba was now convinced that these people were up to no good and they were all a band of thieves. The men stayed within the rock for some time. Ali Baba decided to wait patiently in his hiding place for he knew he would not get much mercy if the band of ruffians found out that he had discovered their secret!

At last, the door in the rock opened again, and the forty robbers came out and mounted their horses. When they were all seated on their horses, the leader shouted in a loud voice “Shut Sesame!” and the door slowly closed before them. Then they turned their horses and galloped off heading in the direction of the city. Soon they were out of sight, leaving Ali Baba rubbing his eyes in wonder at what he had seen.

He slowly climbed down from the tree and examined the wall of rock. He could not see any cracks and hinges in the place where he had seen the door. Then he remembered the magic words that had been said by the leader of the thieves and decided to see whether they would have the same effect on the wall of rock in front of him. Summoning all his courage, Ali Baba in his most commanding voice cried out, “Open Sesame!” Instantly, a crack appeared on the wall of rock in front of him and the door slowly opened.

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

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Hospitality comes First

The people all over the Arab world are known for their hospitality. Likewise, the people of Turkey are also known for their generosity, self-respect and their love for horses. A merchant from Turkey once owned a beautiful and highly pedigreed horse. Everyone loved it. However, the merchant could not simply bring himself to part with his horse, in spite of the high price that was offered for it. Time and again, a horse-dealer friend of his pestered the merchant to sell his horse to him. Nevertheless, he always refused to sell his horse.

One day, the horse dealer learnt that the horse owner had fallen upon hard times. He lost no time, in making his way to the merchant's house. He hoped that the merchant would sell his horse to him to recover his lost fortune. The merchant welcomed his friend, the horse-dealer. As usual, the merchant invited him to share a meal with him before discussing any business. His friend readily agreed and ate with relish the meal that was set before them. When at length, the horse-dealer was able to broach the subject of his visit, the penniless merchant said: "It is not possible now for me to have a discussion with you on the affair of the horse. Hospitality comes first; and since you visited me in my poverty and I had to entertain you to a meal, for you are my guest. For that, we had to kill the horse, which was the only thing of value that had been left with me to provide a meal for you, discharging in the best possible manner, my obligations as a host".

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King Bayazid and Timur

King Bayazid, the one-eyed Turkish King, was brought from the battlefield, and taken before the victorious Tamerlane the conqueror, also known as Timur the Lame. As soon as he saw that Bayazid had only one eye, Timur started to laugh uncontrollably.

Bayazid was sore at Timur for insulting him like this and addressed him with the following words: “You may laugh today at my defeat, but you would do better to reflect that kingdoms, wealth, power and rank are at the disposal of God. Allah, it is He, who presides over the destinies of thrones. Man should not laugh at the manifestations of His Will. You might do better to reflect that you might have been here in my place if the battle had gone in my favour.” Timur recovered from his fit of laughter with great difficulty and answered: “It is true, that with Allah, lies, the destinies of thrones. He is the best disposer of all affairs. It is the very thought that makes me laugh, for all these things of such little importance to Him. Look what He has done in our case, he has taken a kingdom of a one-eyed King and handed it over to a one-legged man.”

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News| Community Roundup | View from the Other Side | Editorial| Readers Comments| Investigation|
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Our Dialogue| Religion| Back to Past| Opinion| Living Islam| From Darkness to Light | Matrimonial|
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