Archive for February, 2010
The Mawlid:a season of thanks and celebration
Jihad Hashim Brown
- Last Updated: February 27. 2010 12:09AM UAE / February 26. 2010 8:09PM GMT
Only a tentative peace held in those first days after the opening at Mecca. The Quraysh tribe had submitted to the Prophet without bloodshed, but the air was still tense with uncertainty. While some members of the vanquished city explored the depths of their subconscious confidence in the integrity of Mohammed, others licked wounds of defeated pride. A lasting closure would have to wait until the defeated of today would be rallied together with the victors in one single community of purpose at Taif; but that was still days away.
Fadalah ibn Umayr, a young man from Mecca, was planning to kill the Prophet. Through stealth, he would wait for his opening as he followed closely behind him while circling the Kaabah. He was so close to his target that he could smell the perfumed perspiration of the Prophet. He was confident in his purpose, until, in one quick moment the Prophet turned to him, face to face, and said, “Is that Fadalah?” “Yes,” he replied, “it is Fadalah, O Messenger of Allah.”
“What were you saying to yourself just now?” “Nothing,” he replied, “I was only remembering Allah.” The Prophet smiled, saying: “Ask Allah to forgive you,” and he placed his hand on the young man’s chest. In that instance he was overcome with a feeling of calm and serenity.
Fadalah would say: “Until that point there was no one on the face of the Earth more hated to me than Mohammed, until he lifted his hand from my breast. After that there remained nothing in the creation of God more beloved to me than him.”
Everyone longs for that peace of heart and mind; that serenity that was found by Fadalah. We seek comfort in others, the friends we keep, sometimes even strangers. But what attracts us to others, what enables us to find a healing solace in their company, is the refractions of the character traits of Mohammed within them.
It is a belief held by Muslims that Mohammed is the model of the completed human being and the standard for beauty in character and conduct.
The biographical genre of “Shama’il” enumerate 12 primary traits of the Prophet Mohammed; forbearance, generosity, forgiveness, courage, modesty, humility, honesty, patience, dignity, fairness, trustworthiness and compassion. Ever wonder what it takes to be a saint? These are the qualities that draw us like moths to the flame of friendship, love and confidence. They are the refractions of that first resplendent source. They inspire, illumine, enthuse, and instill hope.
It is these qualities that the Prophet brought that we celebrate this month. Our consciousness of the Divine and comprehension of the meanings of His eternal speech only come to us through the conduit of Mohammed. And it is for this that we give thanks.
When his companions were asked by the Ethiopian king what their Prophet teaches, they responded: “We were uneducated, devoted to hollow idols, we consumed illicit food, we were involved in corruption, we damaged our relationships with family, and the strong among us would abuse the weak among us.” They continued saying that he taught them to devote themselves to Allah, who is timeless and eternal, and to leave the false idols of their past. “He enjoined us to be honest, to be dutiful to our family ties, leave corrupt practices.” No sooner did they finish, than tears were seen in the king’s eyes. Did he recognise the echoes of these states of affairs in his own society as we inevitably do in ours? Was he heartened by the clarity and simplicity of the message? We can only know what it can mean for us. Today though, we celebrate.
Jihad Hashim Brown is the director of research at the Tabah Foundation. He delivers the Friday sermon at the Maryam bint Sultan Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Egypt is a tourist’s haven because of its well maintained hereditary and monuments. But one would suggest the underlying green beauty of this country itself is an attraction to the visitors. The river Nile has to tell much on the prosperity of this land which has at the other hand biggest desert in the world!
If you travel along side of Nile the green sceneries will take you off from other thoughts. I always admire greenery as my own village is full of it. One of Cairo – Alexandria highway is cut through green fields. This highway is named as “Zerae’e” (over plantation) and there is another fast highway named “Sahrawy” (over desert). Our flight was from Alexandria Burg al Arab airport and we boarded in a Cairo hotel so we got opportunity to travel through this highway.
During our return trip in a fine sunny afternoon we could view the sights in close ups. Unfortunately we were in a hurry to reach Alexandria as we had plans for many other destination visits. We only managed to snap some photos on the move. We had seen many Orange fields, Olive farms, Banana cultivations, Mango plantations and last not the least Date palms! Along side the highway farm traders were selling the collections of the day. We even spared thought to buy some fresh ripe fruits but we couldn’t do it!
We saw an auto rikshaw (a 3 wheeler with driver in front and passenger seat in back). Egyptians call it ‘Tuk-tuk’, may be the name derived from the special sound it makes! According to one taxi driver they are not privileged to enter in City and they can ply in suburbs. Other common means of transport in village areas are mule and horse carts.
We diverted from ‘Tanta’ to take another route to ‘Dasouq’ through pure village greeneries. The sights were just amazing as we were traveling in a two way carriage way along side a tiny river. We saw many villagers in farm with cows, goats, buffalos and other livestock. Some people were waiting for transportation in small village towns but I couldn’t see any public transport buses servicing in the route. I exclaimed how these people used to travel for their daily commutes!
We also caught a glimpse of a wedding caravan just in front of our car heading towards a marriage hall. What we could assume is that wedding is a joyful yet noisy event everywhere!
Pharaohs ruled Egypt for a long time through many dynasties. They kept ‘Banoo Israel’ as if slaves and burdened them with hard jobs. Pharaohs though adorned Egypt with some wonderful constructions had done a grave mistake by worshipping other than Allah. Allah had given them provisions and powers to establish great kingdom but they refused to obey his commands.
Prophet Moosa Alihisslam came with message from Allah to Pharaoh to obey Allah and free Banoo Israel from the severity. The Pharaoh who confronted Prophet Moosa Alihisslam is known to be Ramses II. He heard from fortune tellers that a boy from Banoo Israel will topple his empire. So he ordered to kill all boys born in Banu Israel house hold and accordingly as much as 70,000 newborn boys were brutally murdered by Pharaoh’s militia.
But eventually it was Allah who won the trick. When Prophet Moosa Alihisslam was born Allah informed his mother to put the baby in a box and float it in the river Nile. Pharaoh’s wife spotted the floating box and retrieved it. When she opened it, she was amazed to see the cheerful baby and wanted to bring him up under her custody. So Allah made Pharaoh look after his enemy Moosa Alihisslam in his childhood!
Later Moosa Alihisslam got divine message and called Pharaoh to eternal truth that ‘There is no god other than Allah’. But Pharaoh refused to obey and maintained his false theories. He even told his people that ‘I can’t visualize any god other than me for you’!
Pharaoh’s wife ‘Asiya Raliya Allahu anha’ believed in Moosa Alihisslam and she was cruelly killed. Pharaoh’s atrocities didn’t stop there and he massacred a group of men who believed in Moosa Alihisslam. Those men were wizards summoned by Pharaoh to display their magic to defeat Moosa Alihisslam’s stick which becomes a snake upon putting on earth. The wizards were beaten by Muejizah (Miracle) of Moosa Alihisslam which prompted them to believe in religion taught by Him.
Allah had sent many tiny punishments to test the Pharaoh and his men. Blood stains used to appear in water they use. They reached Moosa Alihisslam to ask Allah to clear this penalty. It was cleared upon Dua of Moosa Alihisslam. Once it was cleared they returned to their old habits. In another occasion lice appeared all over their bodies. Yet in another occasion frogs used to jump all around them. With all these sample punishments those stupid people didn’t believe in Allah and His Messenger Moosa Alihisslam. Instead they added up their crimes against Banu Israel.
Finally, Allah ordered Moosa Alihisslam to take his tribe away from Egypt and they walked towards Red Sea. Hearing this news Pharaoh set up his troops and chased Moosa Alihisslam and Banu Israel. They met at bank of Red Sea and the people with Moosa Alihisslam were frightened down to earth. They were expecting sudden death by any means and started complaining Moosa Alihisslam.
Allah is glorious and he never let down His righteous believers. Allah ordered Moosa Alihisslam to beat the sea with his stick! Soon the sea opened up to 12 path ways and the water stilled as if an ice mountain in both sides. Moosa Alihisslam and His men scurried through these paths to other side of the sea.
Seeing this Pharaoh followed suite. But Allah ordered the sea the merge back and Pharaoh and his cavalry were drowned. When he was sure of death Pharaoh proclaimed that he do believe in Allah, the God taught by Moosa Alihisslam. But it was too late. So story of Pharaoh and his atrocities ended there.
Yet Allah wanted to keep future generations aware of what will the fate of disbelief and arrogance. So he maintained Pharaoh’s body without decay. Allah has mentioned it in holy Quran.
فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ
(سورة يونس – 92)
“This day we shall save your body, so that you may be a sign to those who come after you but verily, many among mankind are heedless of our signs”
Great Mufassir Imam Qurtuby (R.A) has given following explanation for this verse
قوله تعالى: “فاليوم ننجيك ببدنك” أي نلقيك على نجوة من الأرض. وذلك أن بني إسرائيل لم يصدقوا أن فرعون غرق، وقالوا: هو أعظم شأناً من ذلك، فألقاه الله على نجوة من الأرض، أي مكان مرتفع من البحر حتى شاهدوه
And Imam Ibn Katheer’s (R.A) explanation is as follows
وقوله “فاليوم ننجيك ببدنك لتكون لمن خلفك آية” قال ابن عباس وغيره من السلف إن بعض بني إسرائيل شكوا في موت فرعون فأمر الله تعالى البحر أن يلقيه بجسده سويا بلا روح وعليه درعه المعروفة على نجوة من الأرض وهو المكان المرتفع ليتحققوا موته وهلاكه
From both explanations it is understood that Banoo Israel was in doubt on whether Pharaoh is really drowned. So Allah ordered the sea to throw his body out so that they can witness and confirm his death.
Cairo Museum has a royal mummies section where some recovered bodies of Pharaohs are preserved. The first one among them is captioned as “Ramses II” which is widely accepted as the body of Pharaoh drowned in Red Sea. There is some conflicting material available in internet about Pharaohs. One thing is sure that Allah has preserved body of a Pharaoh as a confirmation for future generations.
A study headed by Professor Maurice Bucaille done at France on this particular mummy reveals some interesting facts. Scientists concluded that remaining salt in the mummy is an overt evidence that it was drawn in the sea, and the body was rescued very shortly where it was immediately embalmed to be save. An amazing thing was still confusing Professor Maurice is that how could this body possibly be safer than any other mummy despite being taken out of the sea up until this time.
The professor was given a hint that Qura’n has mentioned something on Pharaoh who chased Moosa Alihissalam and ultimately drowned in sea. His study on this subject led way to embrace Islam.
As per many verses from Quran, Pharaoh’s palace was some where near the river Nile. During 19th and 20th century excavations some remains are found in bank of Nile in Luxor (some 500 KM away from Cairo). Red Sea lies east to Nile and there is historic evidence that Banoo Israel lived in Sinai Peninsula after they were saved from Pharaoh.
Cairo Museum is located in a busy area in the City. There is a metro train station only two stops away from our hotel (I stayed in Doki area almost near Nail delta). There wasn’t much rush in the ticket counter. As usual there are different ticket rates for Foreigners, Egyptians and Students. To enter Royal mummies room another 100 pound is charged per head.
Pyramids of Giza are outstanding! I don’t have words to express its greatness! Subhana Allah… If Allah have given men the know-how to build such great structures in an era when modern construction equipments were unthinkable, how would be the Paradise He had build for good believers!
Egyptian pyramids are stunning! I have studied about them during my early school days. Before viweing them right in front of my eyes my imagination set its height as a few meters. I was astounded when I saw the biggest pyramid. It is a massive structure built from well cut stones having overall height around 140 meters (as high as a 40 floor building). There are 3 big pyramids in a row and many small pyramids in surrounding area. The sphinx – a lion like structure cut and carved on solid stone lay with its front paws stretched a little ahead as if guarding the pyramids compound.
It was a wonderful sight in my life. Now I know why it was branded among wonders of world. I took a snap of a single stone at the base of the pyramid. It is well cut and leveled without sharp edges 1.5 meters tall and 1 meter wide! Its weight would be some 2.5 ton! Some stones cut in a slanted angle are placed at surface of the pyramid to give it a smooth homogeneous look.
Our taxi driver told some of these stones were detached from the pyramid and used to build a fort in another part of Cairo. He also told the pyramids were built as tomb for Pharaohs. About the sphinx his theory was interesting. The sphinx was erected to terrify robbers and thieves who might break in to steal precious items kept in royal chambers inside the pyramids!
According to Egyptologist’s accounts the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu and constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2551 BC (4560 years ago). The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. The Great Pyramid was originally 280 Egyptian cubits tall, 146.478 meters (480.57 ft) but with erosion and absence of its pyramidion, its current height is 138.75 meters (455.22 ft). Each base side was 440 royal cubits, 230.37 meters (755.81 ft) in length. Refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza for more information.
There is an entrance to interior of the great pyramid and some other pyramids. One has to pay separate entry fees to enter into it. There is a discounted rate for Egyptian nationals and students. But for foreigners the fee is 100 pound for entering the compound, 100 pound to enter into the great pyramid and 50 to enter into other pyramids! If you can spend some time there, it is worth I suppose! (1 pound is approximately 0.7 Dirham Emarati and 0.2 US Dollar)
Visitors used to rent Horse carts and camels to ride around pyramids compound. We preferred walking to have a closer look.
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إن الإيمان ليأرز إلى المدينة كما تأرز الحية إلى جحرها
“Verily, Faith returns and goes back to Medina as a snake returns and goes back to its hole” (Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Number 100)
Love of Rasoolullahi Sallallahu alihi wasaallam is dissolved in blood of true believers!
They chant ‘Salat’ upon hearing His name!
They listen silently while hearing His admirations and the love towards him grew upon hearing it!
Their hearts tick to reach Al Madinah al Munawwarah to visit His holy Roudah and Musjidu Nnabavi!
Upon reaching at vicinity of Roudah al Shareef their hearts are pumped up with emotions!
Oh! That Rasoolullahi Sallallahu alihi wasaallam whom we loved is here resting in this place!
Oh! What peace, serenity and calmness over here!
His companions didn’t speak loudly at his presence as Allah ordered them! They paid utmost respect to Him and loved Him than their parents, children and others and even themselves!
We poor believers have got chance to be at this holy place. Alhamdu Lillah…
We thank Allah for bringing us here as many other believers have aspirations yet can’t reach here.
We have to be very careful as this place is so sacred and any disobedience or even a thought of it will spot us bad in front of Allah.
Words can’t express the feelings and we stood there for long time reciting Salat and praying to Allah. Oh Allah! Don’t make this visit our last visit here. Oh Allah! Don’t let our hearts turn away from love of your beloved chosen Rasoolul Huda Sallallahu alihi wasaallam.
مولاي صلــــي وسلــــم دائمـــاً أبــــدا علـــى حبيبــــك خيــر الخلق كلهـم
أمن تذكــــــر جيــــــرانٍ بذى ســــــلم مزجت دمعا جَرَى من مقلةٍ بـــــدم
َمْ هبَّــــت الريـــــحُ مِنْ تلقاءِ كاظمــةٍ وأَومض البرق في الظَّلْماءِ من إِضم
Nile, The longest River in the world.It has many stories to tell about civilizations.