Pulpit - The Minbar
Swearing of Hazrath Solomon
Zikrullah - Remembrance of Allah
Virtues of Darood
Words from Qur'an
By Rafiq Pasha
The ubiquitous resemblance of the majority of the mosques the world over are 3 M’s. They are the minbar, mihrab and the minaret. The antediluvian feature which still exists and which was used by the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) himself is the minbar. The other two M’s were introduced well after His time.
The English oxford dictionary defines mimbar (minbar) as raised platform for preaching. The word was probably developed from the raised seat used by judges since the days of yore. Minbars are normally located on the right side of the niche (mihrab) in every mosque, from which the pulpiteer gives the sermon.
The design and architecture of the pulpit have changed with times, so has the pulpit in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah Al-Munawwarah. In the beginning Prophet (Pbuh) never used any support when he spoke. Later on He started leaning on a palm tree stem and subsequently He started using wooden pulpit with three steps. He would stand on the third step and give sermons.
The caliphs were also the imams of their times and they would lead the prayers. When Abu Bakar became the Caliph, he addressed the public by standing one step lower on the pulpit than the Prophet (Pbuh) stood. When Umar Ibn El-Khattab became the caliph he also followed the same trend but he stood two steps lower to give homily to the Muslims. Whereas Uthman who reigned for almost six years, would stand at the bottom of the pulpit and address the public but never stepped on it.
Marwan Ibn El-Hakam was appointed as the agent of Mu’awiya in Madinah. He added six steps to the bottom of the pulpit. A fire broke out in the mosque in 654H (1256G) and the wooden pulpit perished in the flames. El-Muzaffar of Yemen sent a new pulpit as replacement. But soon the King Ez-Zaher replaced it with his own. Later in 797 H (1394G) even this was replaced by the one sent by Barquq. In 820 H (1417G) Sultan El-Muayed replaced it with a wooden one. In 886 H (1481G) there was another fire in the mosque which destroyed the sultan Muayed’s pulpit. This time the inhabitants of Madinah took initiative and installed a new pulpit made of bricks. El-Ashraf Qaitbai sent a marble pulpit in 888 H (1483G) replacing the one built by the citizens of Madinah. At last in 988 H. (1589G) Sultan Murad sent a new pulpit to replace the one supplied by Qaitbai (pulpit of Qaitbai was installed in Kaabah mosque). The pulpit being used today is the one supplied by Sultan Murad, which has eleven steps.
Mosques are been built in different parts of the world using the latest technology and providing latest amenities for the worshippers. At the same time even the minbars are being constructed beautifully using building material or marbles or stones. Compared to other material the wooden minbars are being lesser used.
Minbars have come a long way since the time of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). At first the minbar was simple wooden seat raised on three short steps. As the time passed and Islam started spreading into the different parts of the world, the art and architecture of the various lands have inculcated in the style of making the minbars. The minbars slowly became larger; the steps became staircase sometimes demarcated with an archway at the bottom. The archways were sometimes provided with doors. The seat at the top of the minbar was also elaborated and particularly in Egypt and Iran regions it was covered with a wooden canopy.
There were no inalterable rules for the use and placement of minbars; the regulations differed from place to place. There was difference of opinion regarding the number of minbars a city should have. Some school of thought believed that a city should not have more than one minbar, located in the city’s prime mosque. Some learned scholars felt that there should not be any restriction for the number of minbars in a city. Also there was difference of opinion regarding the placement of the minbars. Some felt that it should be brought out only for Friday sermon and stored back when not needed. In some parts of the world they were stationed in one place even during the week days when the minbar was not used. This was a common sight in our subcontinent. In some regions of North Africa and Spain (Al-Andalus) it became common practice to build a closet into the wall to the right of the mihrab, to store the minbars. Some of the heavy pulpits were attached with wheels. In some places wooden tracks were laid on the carpets or mats so that they could be rolled out of the closet in easily.
The oldest surviving minbar in North Africa is the one in the great mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia, which was assembled more than thousand years ago, in the middle of ninth century.
In traditional Islamic societies of middle east, until recently the use of wooden household furniture was little known. In this warm and dry land majority of the people were comfortable to sit on the floor. They would use soft carpets and lean against cushions and firmly stuffed bolsters. Even the rulers usually went along with the common practice and sat cross legged on rugs and cushions that were sometimes laid out on slightly raised platforms. An important reason for the absence of furniture in these parts of the world was the scarcity and high cost of wood. Timber was usually reserved for essential uses, such as building boats, supporting roofs, or making doors and shutters. After Muslims forces reconquered Acre from the crusaders in 1291, Pope Nicholas IV barred Christians from selling timber to Muslims in an attempt to prevent the Muslims from building ships. This ‘war of wood’ continued for many decades. Perhaps because the wood was precious, Muslim crafts men used wood to make minbars; the one article of furniture required in every congregational mosque.
By Mufti Md.Shahbuddin
Hazrat Solomon (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “tonight I will sleep with seventy ladies each of them will conceive a child who will be knight for Allah’s cause” His companion said, “If Allah wills” ( Insha Allah). But Hazrat Solomon did not say so, therefore none of those women got pregnant except one who gave birth to a half-child. The Prophet (Pbuh) further said, “if Prophet Solomon had said it (i.e if Allah wills) he would have begotten children who would have fought in Allah’s cause “ (Bukhari: 1/487)
Moral of the Story:
The above Hadith emphasises that Prophet Solomon was deprived from seventy sons who might had been knights in the cause of Allah as he ignored saying “If Allah wills”. Likewise, some people enquired of the Apostle of Allah about “The men of the cave”. The Prophet (Pbuh) said that he would inform next day and forgot to say “If Allah wills”. Therefore, the revelation was stopped for a fortnight. (Abridged Tafseer Ibn Kaseer : 2/145)
Then the Prophet (Pbuh) was instructed: “And say not of anything”. I shall be sure to do so tomorrow “If Allah so wills”. And remember thy Lord when thou forgetest and say, I hope that my Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than this to the right course. (Qur’an: 18/23,24).
This Hadith tells that informing about something with firm determination is allowed. And we can swear while making a promise. (Fathul Bari: 6/462)
Accordingly there is a Hadith, A large number of careless and profane people are such that when they swear about something. Allah fulfills their promises. (Muslim: 2/329)
However, if their oaths are not observed, it would be considered an act of profanity and they have to expiate for it. Since the Prophet (Pbuh) said about Hazrat Solomon that if Hazrat Solomon had said “If Allah wills” he would have begotten children and would not be an oath breaker. (Muslim: 2/49). A Hadith emphasises that whoever said “If Allah wills” at the time of swearing he would never be a perjurer”. (Tirmizi: 1/280)
The Qur’an itself made a mention about expiation of oaths. “But he will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten poor persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families, or clothe them, or set a slave free. If that is beyond your means fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye had sworn. But keep to your oaths thus doth Allah make clear to you His signs that ye may be grateful.” (Qur’an: 5/89)
Through the above event we could also draw a conclusion that the Prophets might forget and it does not lessen or degrade their exalted positions. Because Prophets are not omniscient as Allah alone is. (Fathul Bari: 6/402)
The Qur’an says: With Him are the keys of the unseen, the treasures that none knoweth but He. He knoweth whatever there is on the earth and under the sea. Not a leaf doth fall but with His knowledge. There is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry (green or withered) But is (inscribed) in a record clear (to those who can read). (Qur’an: 6/59)
The last Apostle of Allah Hazrat Muhammad (Pbuh) was instructed to make it clear: “I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me, I am but a warner and a Harbinger of glad tidings to those who have faith”. (Qur’an: 7/188).
By: Muslim Sister from Singapore
“And remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do. “
Aminah looks forward to subuh prayers every morning. She loves the fresh smell of dew that the morning brings. Everything is so fresh in the morning and the two rakaat of subuh makes her feel really close to Allah s.w.t.
But she always has one nagging question in her mind. “How do I ensure that I always remember Allah throughout the day?”, she wonders.
So one day she decides to observe what her family does to remember Allah.
First, she observes her father and she notices that right after fajr prayers he begins to recite, ‘Subhanallah, Subhanallah’. And so Aminah repeats after him.
After filling her tummy with a hearty breakfast, Aminah notices that grandma says, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah ‘ after her meal. Grandma tells Aminah , “Praise Allah for His Greatness for giving us this food to make us strong”. So Aminah lovingly repeats the zikir to praise Allah for the breakfast He has given them.
Aminah then sits down to finish her homework with her sister, Aishah. After finishing the homework Aishah says, “Allahu Akabar, Allahu Akabar “ and encourages Aminah to do the same. “Why?” Aminah asks. “Well, it is so that we give praise to Allah for helping us achieve what had we set out to do”, replied Aishah.
“Well then,” asks Aminah, “When do we say ‘A’uuzobillah?”.
“Whenever you have a bad thought in your mind,” quips in Aminah’s elder brother, Rashid. “A’uuzobillah is to request protection from Allah s.w.t from bad thoughts or actions”.
Aminah gave Rashid a grateful smile for teaching her a new zikir to remember Allah by.
Later that day, after praying jamaah prayers for Asr with her grandpa, Aminah noticed that he repeatedly recited “astarghfirullah, astarghfirullah”. Curious to know why, Aminah asks, “Why do you say this zikir grandpa?”
“Well,” replies grandpa, “ I like to say astarghfirullah so that I will always seek forgiveness from Allah s.w.t.”
And so for the rest of the evening, Aminah rehearsed what she had learnt from watching her father, her grandma, her sister, her brother and her grandpa. But as maghrib drew near, she discovered two more useful zikirs for her to recite to remind her of Allah.
She learnt the value of ‘bismillah’. “This means ‘In the name of Allah’”, mother had said. “Begin everything you do in the name of Allah’ or with ‘bismillah’,” mother says, “particularly before eating, so that Allah will bless you for your actions” And so before eating her dinner, Aminah silently says ‘bismillah’.
For maghrib prayers, Aminah accompanied her father and their neighbour Mr. Abdul Hamid to the nearby mosque. As they walked to the mosque, Mr Hamid kept reciting ‘La ilaha illallah’.
“What does it mean?”, Aminah curiously asks him.
‘La ilaha illallah’ means there is no god but Allah”, says Mr. Hamid. “As Muslims we believe that Allah is One and that He has no partners. This is the most important belief in Islam. Saying ‘La ilaha illallah’ will remind us of this very important belief in Islam. So recite it regularly, Aminah”, Mr Hamid told her.
Aminah thanked Mr Hamid for his advise and in her heart gave a silent thanks to Allah s.w.t. for helping her learn the many ways that she can bring herself closer to Him. She set it firmly in her heart to apply whatever zikir she has learnt everyday. Everyday starting from today. Insha Allah, Aminah will be close to Allah s.w.t.
The Qur’an says : “wa lazikrul la_hi akbar wal la_hu yalamu ma_tasnau_n”
“And remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do. “ (Surah Ankabut 29:45)
Hazrath Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (R.A) reports that Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Verily the nearest of people to me on the day of Qiyamah will be those who recited most darood on me” (Tirmizi and Ibn Hibbaan).
Hazrath Anas (R.A) reports that Prophet (Pbuh) said: “On the day of Qiyamah the one from amongst you who shall at all times be nearest to me shall be he who reads much darood on me.”
Tabrani also reports that Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Whoever recites darood on me in the morning ten times and in the evening ten times, for him shall be my intercession on the day of Qiyamah.”
Imam Mustaghfiri (R.A) reports: “Whoever recites one hundred times darood daily, one hundred of his needs shall be fulfilled, thirty in this world and the rest in the Hereafter.”
Another Hadith says: “Recite darood on me plentifully for verily it shall be a light in the darkness on the siraat, and whoever desires that his deeds should weigh heavily on the scales, let him recite much darood.”
Dr. Hasanuddin Ahmed