Local Time

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hospital Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital
room .

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help
drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families,
their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where
they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would
pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see
outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his
world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the
world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on
the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm
in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline
could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on
the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque
scene .

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his
mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive
words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to
find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in
his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the
body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved
next to the window . The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after
making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look
at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window
beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who
had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, " Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you ."

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own
situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money
can't buy.

Dieting Rules for Women

1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no
calories.

2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the
candy bar are canceled out by the diet soda.

3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't
eat more than they do.

4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER counts, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.

5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.

6. Movie-related foods (Milk Duds, buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, Red
Hots, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) do not have additional calories because they are
part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

7. Cookie pieces contain no calories -- the process of breaking causes
calorie leakage.

8. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples are peanut butter on a knife making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon making a sundae.

9. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories.
Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and white chocolate. NOTE: Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for
any other food color.

10. Anything consumed while standing over the kitchen sink, has no
calories.

100 name of ALLAH

1. ALLAH Any person who is suffering from a big
disease which is uncureable reads this name 100 times
and prays for his good health God will grant him health.

2. AL-RAHMAN If a person reads this name 100 times
after every prayer God will remove all kind of
irresponsibilites from his heart.

3. AL-RAHEEM If a person reads this name 100 times
after every prayer all the nation of God will love that person.

4. AL-MALIK Any person who reads this name of God
after every prayer of Fajar God will make that person a Ghani.

5. AL-QUDOOS The person who reads this name after
zawal as much as he can God will remove all the
soulely problems from his heart.

6. AL-SALAAM If any person reads this name as much as
he can he will always be prevented from all mishappenings and if
a person reads this name 115 times and prays for an unhealthy
person that person will get good health.

7. AL-MOMINO If a person is suffering from any kind of
terror he should read this name 630 times his terror
will be vanished at the moment.

8. AL-MOHAIMENO If a person reads this name 115 times
then God will give him the power to know the hidden facts.

9. AL-AZIZ Any person who reads this name after every
prayer of Fajar God will never make him let down in front
of other people and that person will get great respect.

10. AL-JABAR Any person who reads this name 226 times
he will always be prevented from his enemies.

11. AL-MUTAKABIR Any person who reads this name before
starting any kind of work and read it as much as he
cnan God will succed him in that work.

12. AL-KHALIQ Any person who reads this name all the
time as much as he can God will make an angel for him
who will always pray to God on that person's behalf.
(But still that person is suppose to offer his prayers).

13. AL-BARI If a women who has no chlidren fasts 7
days and after opening her fast with water reads this
name God will grant her children.

14. AL-MUSAVER (same as above)

15. AL-GHAFFAR Any person who reads this name 100
times after every prayer of Friday God will show that
he is being blessed for his sins.

16. AL-QAHAAR Any person who is despartily involved
in the worldly things reads this name as much as he can God
will remove the love for the world and produce his love in his heart.

17. AL-WAHAB If a person really wants somethig so he
should do three sajda's in his house's yard and raise
his hands and read this name 100 times God
will give him his desired need.

18. AL-RAZZAK If a person who reads this name before
the prayer of the morning 10 times in all the four
corners of his house God will open the door of Rizk to
his house and keep away all the problems.(Start from
the right corner and satnd towards the Qibla)

19. AL-FATAH Any person who reads this name after the
prayer of Fajar and keeps his both hands on his chestand
reads this name 70 times God will fill his heart with Noor.

20. AL-ALEEM If a person reads this name as much as he
can God will open the learning door to him.

21. AL-QABIZ Any person who writes this name on four
pieces of a roti and eats it for 40 days he will always be
prevented from the problems of food, thirst, injuries and pain.

22. AL-BASIT If a person after the prayer of Chasht
reads this name 10 times with his hands raised and then
put his hand on his face God will never let him down.

23. AL-KHAFIZ Any person who reas this name 500 times
every day God will listen to all his prayers.

24. AL-RAFIEH I f person reads this name on every 14th
night of a month 100 times God will make him a little superior.

25. AL-MOAIZ Any person who reads this name 40 times
after every prayer of Magrib God will bless him with
respect in front of others.

26. AL-MUZIL Any person who reads this name 75 times
and then pray in while being in sajda God will prevent
him from all his enemies and if a person has a special
enemy he should take his name and pray that
God should prevent him from that enemy.

27. AL-SAMEE Any person on the day of thursday after
the prayer of Chasht reads this name 500 or 100 or 50
times God will listen to his prayer but it is necessary
that the person should not talk to anyone during
reading the name.

28. AL-BASEER Any person who reads this name 100 times
after the prayer of Friday God will give him good
sight and noor in his heart.

29. AL-HAAKIM Any person who reads this name 99 times
at the last night being in wazo God will
bless that person's heart.

30. AL-ADAL If a person who writes this name on 20
pieces of a roti and eats it God will make him good
for his nation.

31. AL-LATEEF Any person who reads this name 133 times
God will bless him in his Rizk and any person ahving
any need of any kind offers 2 rakats of a prayer keeping
his desired need in his heart God will bless him with his need.

32. AL-KHABEER Any person who reads this name 7 days
as much as he can God will let him know the hidden facts.

33. AL-HALEEM If a person writes this name on a piece
of paper and then washes it with water and splits that
water on the thing he wants to be blessed God
will bless him with that thing.

34. AL-AZEEM Any person who reads this name as much as
he can God will bless him with respect.

35. AL-GHAFOOR Any person who reads this name as much
as he can God will prevent him from all pains, sadness
and bless with good children and money and it has been
said in a Hadees that a person who reads this name
"YA RAB AGFARLY" while being in sajda God will
bless all his sins done before and now.

36. AL-SHAKOOR If a person is in very problem or has
different kind of pain he should read this name 41
times everyday and God will bless him.

38. AL-ALI Any person who keeps this name with him
written on a paper and reads this name as much as he
can God will give hima high place and happiness.

39. AL-KABEER Any person who has fallen down from his
place should keep 7 fasts and everyday read this name
1000 times GOd will again give his place back to him.

40. AL-HAFEEZ Any person who keeps this name with him
written on a paper or reads it as much as he can he
will always be prevented from dangers and terrors.

41. AL-MUQEET Any person who reads this name in an
empty glass and then fills it water and then drinks
himself or make it drink to any one else or just
smells it God will give him desired need.

42. AL-HASEEB Any person who is scared of any other
person or something else he should start form thursday
to read "HASBEE ALLAH AL HASEEB" he will be
prevented form all the dangers.

43. AL-JALEEL Any person who reads this name as much
as he can God will bless him with great respest.

44. AL-KAREEM Any person who reads this name at the
time of sleeping and sleeps while reading it God will
give him respect among big learned people.

45. AL-RAQEEB Any person who reads this name 7 times
for his family members God will always prevent them
with all the mishappenings.

46. AL-MUJEEB Any person who reads this name as much
as he can then his pryers will start getting fullfilled by God.

47. AL-WASE'O Any person who will read this name as
much as he can God will bless him.

48. AL-HAQEEM Any person who reads this name as much
as he can God will open the doors of knowledge for him and not
even a single work of a person is never completed he should read this
name.

49. AL-WADOOD Any person who reads this name 1000 on
a food and eats it with her wife then God will remove all the
tentions and fights between husband and wife.

50. AL-MAJEED Any person is in an unhealthy stage he
should keep the fasts o f 13,14 and 15 and after the iftar
read this name as much as he can God will give him good health.

51. AL-BAESO If a person reads this name 101 time at
the time of sleeping with his hands on his chest his
herat will be filled with knowledge and power.

52. AL-SHAHEED If any persons wife or children are
irespectable then he should keep his hand on their forehead and read
this name 21 times they will become respectable.

53. AL-HAQ If a perosn writes this name on a square
piece of paper on its every side and then in the morning keeps
that paper in his palm and raises his hands and prays to God he will
get back the missing thing or person with out any loss or misshappen.

54. AL-WAQEEL Any person who reads this name at time
of any dangers through the sky and makes God his
lawyer he will be prevented from the dangers of sky.

55. AL-QAVI Any person who is really misrable he only
should read this name so let his enemies go.

56. AL-MATEEN The Firm one.

57. AL-WALEIH If a person is not happy with the
habbits of her wife he whenever goes in front of her
should start reading this name and her wife will
become a good responsible wife.

58. AL-HAMEED Any person who reads this name everyday
93 times in alone then all his bad habbits will be gone.

59. AL-MOHSEY Any person who writes this name on 20
pieces of a roti and eats it everyday all the nation
will come to learn from him.

60. AL-MUBDEE The Originator

61 : AL-MUEED After all the person's have gone to
sleep a person should read this name 70 times in all
the four corners of his house then if a person has
been lost or gone from his house will return back.

62.AL-MUHEE If any persn is not healthy he should
read this name as much as he can and he will become
healthy.

63.AL-MUMEET Any person who's brain is not in his
control should read this name while going to sleep with his hands on
his chest and go to sleep then his brain will be under
his control.

64.AL-HAYE'O Any person who reads this name 3000
thousand times he will never fall ill.

65.AL-QAYOOM Any person who reads this name will get
respect amongothers.

66.AL-WAJID A person should read this name while he
is eating it will be good for him.

67. AL-MAJID The Noble

68. AL-WAHID Any person who has no children should
write this name on a piece of paper and keep it with himself God will
give him good children.

69. AL-AHAD Same as above.

70 .AL-SAMAD The Eternal

71. AL-QADIR If anynperson his having problems in
his work then he should read this name 41 times then
his problem will be solved .

72. AL-MUQTADIR Any person who reads this name as
much as he can after waking up in the morning or atleast 20 times
all his wrok will be done easliy.

73. AL-MUQADIM Any person who reads this name at the
time of war his feet will never return and he will be
prevented from his enemies.

74. AL-MOAKHIRO The Delayer

75. AL-AWAL Any person who is a traveller should
read this name 1000 times so he will return home ver soon without
any loss.

76. AL-AKHIR Any person who reads this name 1000
times then all the love for any other God will be removed from his
heart.

77. AL-ZAHIR Any person who reads this name after the
ishraq God will god sight to his eyes.

78. AL-BATIN Any person who offers 2 rakat prayers
and then reads "HO WAL AWAL O AKHIR O ZAHIR O BATIN ALI KUL SHAYE
QADEER"
God will fullfill all his prayers.

79. AL-WALI The Governer

80. AL-MUTALI Any person who reads this name as much
as he can then all his problems will be gone.

81. AL-BER Any person who has bad habbits like
smoking , gambeling etc should read this name 7 times all his bad
habbits
will be gone.

82. AL-TAWAAB Any person who rreads this name 320
times after the prayer of Chasht then God will liten to his tuba.

83. AL-MUNTAQIM Any person who is right but does not
have the courage to take his revenge the he should read this
name as much as he can and God will take the revenge
for him.

84. Al-AFO Any person who reads this name as many
times as he can God will forgive him for hi sins.

85. AL-RAUF Any person who reads this name 10 times
with durood sharif also reading it 10 times will soon get rid of
his anger.

86. MALIQUL-MULK Any person who always reads this
name he will never have to let down in front of others.

87. ZUL JALAL WALIKRAM Any person who reads this
name a lot will get lot of respect.

88. AL-MUQSITO Any person who reads this name for a
certain reason 700 times his prayer will be fullfilled.

89.AL-JAME O This name can be read for true love.

90. AL-GHANI Any person who reads this name 70 times
God will give him profit.

91. AL-MUGHNI The Enricher

92. AL-MANEO Any person who reads this name 100 times
at the night of Friday he will be prevented form all the dangers.

93. AL-NAFI'O Any person who reads this na,e before
starting any work 41 times his work will be done according to his
choice.

94. AL-NOOR Any person who after offering his prayer
for Fajar reads surse noor and then reads this name
1001 times God will fill his herat with Noor.

95. AL-HADI The Guide

96. AL-BADEEY Any person who reads this name after
offering the prayer of Isha 1200 times for 11 days for any special
reason his work will be done before the 11 days.

97. AL-BAQI Any person who reads this name 1000 times at the
night of Friday he will be prevented form all the dangers. and miss
happens.

98. AL-WARIS Any person who reads this name 100 times
at the time when the sun is rising he will have no sadness.

99. AL-RASHEED Any person who reads this name everday
will get a good running bussiness.

100. AL-SABOOR Any person who is in any kind of
problem should read this name 1020 times and his
problem will be solved.

Understanding is . . .

To understand is to love... to look out upon the world and see there in
the human conflicts, the pain, the joys, sorrows, and agonies
in sensitive hearts who seek refuge and help,
who need a stronger power to guide their lives. To understand is to have compassion on the multitudes, to hate sin but not the sinner.
It is to know weakness, yet rise above it,
to see it in others, yet not condemn,
but uplift those hearts and encourage
them to go on to better things. To understand- to truly understand is to suffer with others, to desire to relieve their pain and to take it on oneself.
it is to sympathize, to truly live and love
with a full heart made wide and full. This is understanding. This is love.

Character

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because
your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely
what others think you are."

DIET IS NECESSARY FOR THE SICK PERSON

Hadrat [1] Imam-i Rabbanı says in the 75th letter of the second volume of his Maktûbat:

May Allahu ta’ala make you safe against unbecoming things! The coming of disasters and troubles upon the beloved is an atonement for the forgiveness of their sins. Begging, weeping, taking refuge, and with a broken heart, you should ask for forgiveness and good health from Allahu ta’ala. Until it is understood that the prayer has been accepted and the fitna (affliction) has come to an end, you should pray so. Your friends and those who wish goodness for you are praying for you, yet it is better for the aggrieved person himself to supplicate. To take medicine and diet are necessary for the sick person himself. What others will do, at the very most, is to help him. To tell the truth, everything coming from the Beloved should be encountered with smiles, with pleasure. Everything coming from there should be found sweet. The Beloved’s treating harshly and humiliating should be like a kindness, a gift, an exalting. In fact, they should be sweeter than such desires of one’s own nafs [2]. If a lover is not so, his love will be incomplete. In fact, his saying that he loves will be a lie.
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] Hadrat: title of respect used before the names of great people like prophets and Islamic scholars.
[2] nafs: a negative force within humans that prompts them to do evil.

WHAT IS A TRUE MUSLIM LIKE?

The first advice is to correct the belief in accordance with the tenets which the Ahl-i sunnat [1] savants communicate in their books. For, it is this Madhhab [2] only that will be saved from Hell. May Allahu ta’ala give plenty of rewards for the work of those great people! Those scholars of the four Madhhabs, who reached up the grade of ijtihad, and the great scholars educated by them are called Ahl as-sunna scholars. After correcting the belief (iman), it is necessary to perform the worship informed in the knowledge of fiqh, i.e., to do the commands of the Shari’at [3] and to abstain from what it prohibits. One should perform the namaz [4] five times each day without reluctance and slackness, and observe its conditions and ta’dil-i arkan. He who has as much money as nisab should give zakat [5]. Imam-i a’zam Abu Hanifa says, “Also, it is necessary to give the zakat of gold and silver which women use as ornaments.”

One should not waste one’s precious life even on unnecessary mubahs [6]. It is certainly necessary not to waste it on the haram [7]. We should not busy ourselves with taghanni, singing, musical instruments, or songs. We should not be deceived by the pleasure they give our nafses [8]. These are poisons mixed with honey and covered with sugar.
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] Ahl as-Sunna (wa’l-Jama’a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali.
[2] Madhhab : all of what a profound ‘alim of (especially) Fiqh (usually one of the four-Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanbali) or iman (one of the two, namely Ash-ari, Maturidi) communicated.
[3] Shari’at: (pl. of Shari’a) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.
[4] namaz: prayer that is performed five times per day in Islam.
[5] zakat: (fard duty of giving annually) certain amount of certain kinds of property to certain kinds of people, by which the remaining property becomes purified and blessed and the Muslim who gives it protects himself against being (called) a miser.
[6] mubah: (act, thing) neither ordered nor prohibited; permitted.
[7] haram: an action, word or thought prohibited by Allahu ta’ala.
[8] nafs: a force in man which wants him to harm himself religiously; an-nafs al-ammara. A negative force within man prompting him to do evil. (Nafs-i ammara). Nafs is ammara by creation, that is, it always wishes evil and harmful deeds to be done. It is reluctant to obey the Shari’at. The nafs of a man who obeys the Shari’at and makes progress in the way of tasawwuf becomes mutmainna. It wishes to obey the Shari’at.

THERE IS NO GOODNESS OR BEAUTY IN ANY BID’AT

Hadrat [1] Imam-i Rabbani says in the 19th letter of the second volume of his Maktubat:

Following the highest of the Prophets requires carrying out all his sunnats [2], that is, his commands and prohibitions, and avoiding the bid’ats [3], which he dislikes. Even if those bid’ats looked bright like the breaking of dawn that annihilated the darkness of night, it would be necessary to abstain from all of them. For, there is no nur, no light in any bid’at, nor any cure for an ill person. They cannot be medicine for a sick person. For, each bid’at either annihilates a sunnat, or it has nothing to do with the Sunnat. However, those bid’ats which have nothing to do with the Sunnat overflow the Sunnat and are superfluous. So they annihilate the Sunnat. For, to do any command more than commanded means to change the command.

Hence, it is understood that each bid’at, no matter how it is, annihilates the Sunnat, and is at loggerheads with the Sunnat. There is no goodness or beauty in any bid’at. I wish I knew why and how they ever said ‘beautiful’ about some of the bid’ats which appeared after the blessings had been completed in this perfect din, Islam, which Allahu ta’ala likes. Why did they not know that when something has been perfected, completed and liked, supplements added to it cannot be beautiful? Any change made in something correct and right is deviation, heresy. If they realized the fact that to say beautiful about something which appeared later in this perfect and complete din would mean to say that the din did not reach perfection or the blessing was not completed, they would not say beautiful about any bid’at. O our Allah! Do not call us to account for what we have forgotten or what we have erred on! I send my salam (greeting) to you and to those being with you.
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] Hadrat: title of respect used before the names of great people like and Islamic scholars.
[2] sunnat: i) (when used alone) The Shari’at; ii) (when used together with the name Book) The hadith of the Prophet. iii) (when used together with the word Fard) Any action, word or thought liked and commanded by the Prophet.
[3] bidat: (pl. bida’) heresy; false, disliked belief or practice that did not exist in the four sources of Islam but which has been introduced later as an Islamic belief or ‘ibada in expectation of thawab (blessings).

THE MOST MISERABLE VICTIMS

May hamd (praise) be to Allahu ta’ala, who is the Rabb of everything, that is, who creates and raises all beings! May goodnesses and salvations be upon our beloved Prophet, Muhammad ‘alaihis-salam’, who has guided us to the right way. May benedictions be over his close relatives and over his Ashab (companions), who had the honor of believing in him and seeing his beautiful and luminous face!

Of all the seventy-two different miscreant groups who have deviated from the right way in this world, which is a place of examination for mankind and an open space of ground whereon the good are distinguished from the bad, haters of the As-hab-i¬kiram are the most staunch followers of the devil and the most miserable victims of the deceitful human nafs, so much so that they have already surpassed the devil in this respect. These people make a show of excessive love for the close relatives and the children of our Prophet ‘sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam’, and say that loving them is the greatest worship. They claim to be adherent to the ayat-i-karima [1] that purports, “I do not demand any return for having brought you the Islamicreligion. All I want from you is to love my Ahl-i-Bayt, who are close to me.” Yet the evil cult they actually adhere to is based on vituperating, cursing Rasulullah’s ‘sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam’ As-hab ‘radiy-Allahu anhum ajma’in’, who are Islam’s greatest teachers. Some of them go even further, so that they censure our master the Messenger of Allah ‘sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam’ and even Jebrail ‘alaihissalam’, the trustworthy Archangel who carried the Wahy [2] from Allahu ta’ala. They consider this wicked behaviour of theirs as a worship.
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] al-ayat al-karima: a verse of al-Qur’an al-kerim.
[2] wahy: the knowledge revealed to the Prophet from Allahu ta’ala.

BELIEF IN ALLAH’S EXISTENCE (PART 1)

The young human being, a mere child as he is, begins to wonder from whence and how the things he sees around him came into existence. As he grows older, he better realizes and thus marvels at what a tremendous masterpiece the earth is, whereon he lives. When he becomes a highly educated adolescent, his wonder turns into admiration as he begins to learn of the elaboration involved in the things and beings seen around us every day. What a great phenomenon it is that men can remain and live solely by the gravitational force on a spherical, –or, rather, an oblate–, planet, which internally is full of molten metal and which revolves by itself in space. And what a great power it is, by whose origination mountains, rocks, seas, innumerable kinds of living beings and plants come into being, grow, and exhibit so many different properties. Some animals walk on the earth, while others fly in the sky or live in water. The sun, which sends its light on us, produces the highest grade of heat we can think of, effects the growth of plants and makes chemical changes in some of them to bring about the existence of flour, sugar, and other substances. But we know that our globe is only a tiny speck in the universe. The solar system, which consists of planets revolving around the sun, and to which our earth belongs, is one of the countless systems within the universe. A small example will contribute a little to our understanding the energy and power in the universe. The latest great source of energy obtained by man is atomic energy released during fission or fusion types of atomic reactions. Yet a comparison will show that the energy released in great earthquakes is still greater than the energy of tens of thousands of atomic bombs, which mankind proudly assumes to be “the greatest source of energy.”

When you look at your body you probably do not notice what a stupendous factory and laboratory it is. In fact, breathing is an astounding chemical event by itself. Oxygen, inhaled from the air, is used in the burning process of the body, and exhaled out of the body as carbon dioxide.

As for digestion, it functions like a factory. After the food and drink taken through the mouth are decomposed and digested in the stomach and bowels, the parts useful to the body are percolated in the small intestines and transfused into the blood, while the dregs are excreted through the bowels. This extraordinary process is done automatically with the utmost precision, resulting in the body working like a factory.

BELIEF IN ALLAH’S EXISTENCE (PART 2)

The human body not only contains apparatuses producing various kinds of substances with intricate formulas affecting various chemical reactions, doing analysis, treating illnesses, purifying, annihilating poisons, curing boils, filtering various kinds of substances, and giving energy, but also embodies an immaculate network of electricity, leverage, an electronic computer, an alarm system, an optical set, an apparatus for receiving sounds, an apparatus for making and controlling pressure, and a system for fighting against microbes to annihilate them. And the heart is a stupendous, ever-working pump. Of old, Europeans used to say, “The human body consists of plenty of water, a little calcium, a little phosphorus, and a few inorganic and organic substances. Therefore, the human body is worth a couple of pounds.” But today the calculations done in American universities have clearly indicated that the value of various rare hormones, enzymes, and organic preparations, which the human body produces incessantly, is worth millions of dollars at least. As a matter of fact, an American professor said, “If we were to attempt to make an apparatus that would produce such valuable substances automatically and in precise order, all the Money existing in the world would not finance its accomplishment.” There remains the fact that, alongside this material perfection, man has very great immaterial powers, such as comprehension, thinking, memorizing, remembering, reasoning, and deciding. It is impossible for men to assess the value of these powers. Moreover, man has a soul as well as a body. The body dies, but the soul does not.

A careful look at the world of animals reveals to man how amazing the Creator’s omnipotence is. Some living creatures are so small that they can be seen only under a microscope. For some others to be visible (for example to observe viruses), an electronic microscope, which magnifies a million times, is needed.

The efficiency of silk production in the greatest artificial thread factory comprised of automatic machines is far below that of a small silkworm. If a small cicada were enlarged to the size of a sound-producing machine used today, the noise it would produce would break windowpanes and destroy walls! Likewise if a firefly became as large as a street lamp, it would illuminate an entire quarter of a town to the extent that it is illuminated during the day. Is it possible not to get lost in admiration for such inconceivably perfect and excellent work? Do they not suffice to show how great and powerful the Creator is? Consequently, this universe, of which we see only a very tiny part, has a Creator with very sublime powers, Who can establish it, and Whom our minds are far too weak to grasp. This Creator must be unchanging and eternal. We, Muslims, call this Creator Allahu ta’ala. The basis of Islam is to believe in Allahu ta’ala and His Attributes.

A LETTER OF CONDOLENCE BY MUHAMMAD ALAIHI ’S-SALAM

This letter was dictated by Allahu ta’ala’s Prophet, Muhammad (’alaihissalam) for Mu’az bin Jabal ‘radiy-Allahu ta’ala ’anh’:
"May Allahu ta’ala bless you with salvation!

I offer up my hamd to Him. He, alone, can do good or harm to anybody. Unless He wills, no one can do good or harm to anyone.

May Allahu ta’ala give you plenty of thawab (reward). May He bless you with patience! May He grace you with gratitude for His blessings!

We must know for certain that our own existence, our property and wealth, our women and children are samples of Allah’s innumerous blessings, sweet and useful gifts. He has not given us these blessings for eternal retention, but has entrusted them to us so that we may use them until He takes them back. We utilize them for a certain duration of time. When the time comes He will withdraw all of them.

Allahu ta’ala has commanded us to thank Him when He pleases us by being generous and to be patient when we feel sorrow when the time comes for Him to take back His gifts.

That son of yours was one of the sweet, useful blessings of Allahu ta’ala. He had entrusted him to you on condition that He would take him back. Through your son He had blessed you. He had pleased and delighted you so as to make others envy you. Now, taking him back, He will give you plenty of thawab and goodness, and, by His Mercy, He will bless you with making progress and improvement on the right way. To attain this mercy and blessing you must be patient. You must tolerate what He has done! If you become angry, cry and yell, you will not attain the thawab and mercy, and will regret in the end. Know it very well that crying and lamenting will not ward off a catastrophe. Nor will it do away with the sorrow! You will undergo whatsoever is in your qader (fate). You must be patient and not become angry with what has already happened.

May Allahu ta’ala bestow salvation on you all! Amin."

MUHAMMAD ALAIHI ’S-SALAM’S SUPERIORITY

Allahu ta’ala had addressed other prophets by their names. As for Muhammad (’alaihi ’s-salam), He favoured him by addressing him, “Oh My Prophet (Rasul)!” The like of every miracle that had been granted to every prophet was presented to him. Allahu ta’ala bestowed upon His Beloved Prophet more gifts and granted him more miracles than He had done to any other prophet of His. He was made superior to all prophets with countless honours and excellences: the moon split into two when he made a sign with his blessed finger; the stones in his palm uttered the Name of Allah; trees greeted him by saying, “O Rasulallah”; the dry log named Hannana cried because Rasulullah (’alaihi ’s-salam) departed from its side and left it alone; pure water flowed down through his blessed fingers; the high grades of al-Maqam al-Mahmud, ash-Shafa’at al-kubra, al-Hawd al-Kawthar, al-Wasila and al-Fadila were said to be given to him in the next world; he had the honour of seeing Allahu ta’ala’s Jamal before entering Paradise; he had the greatest moral quality in the world, the most perfect faith, knowledge, gentleness, patience, gratitude, zuhd (devotion, asceticism), chastity, justness, heroism, bashfulness, bravery, modesty, wisdom, beautiful manners, helpfulness, mercy and inexhaustible honors and honourable traits. No one but Allahu ta’ala knows the number of miracles given to him. His religion abrogated all other religions. His religion was the best and highest of all the religions. His umma[2] is higher than all other ummas. The Awliya’ [2] of his umma are more honourable than the Awliya’ of other ummas.
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] Ummat: (pl. of umma) the community, body of believers, of a prophet.
[2] awliya: (pl. of Wali) a person loved by Allahu ta’ala.

SYMPTOMS OF DISBELIEF

The type of things which disbelievers use are the things which are symptoms of disbelief, symptoms of denying and disbelieving the shari’at [1] and Islam, and it is wajib [2] for us to debase them. One who does or uses them becomes a disbeliever. They cannot be used unless one is threatened with death or with the cutting off of one’s limbs or some other reasons causing these results such as severe thrashing or imprisonment or the taking away of all one’s property. Also, he who does or uses one of them, which is commonly known, without knowing or as a joke in order to make people laugh, becomes a disbeliever. For example, it is kufr (disbelief) to wear (or use) things specially worn or used by priests during their worships. This is called Kufr-i hukmi. It is written in the basic books of fiqh [3] by Islamic ’alims [4] that to wear the ‘things that are peculiar to disbelievers is kufr. The enemies of Islam, in order to deceive Muslims, try to hide the fact that it is kufr to adopt the customs of the disbelievers and to celebrate their festivals. They call these customs ‘Islamic customs’ and these days ‘sacred days’. They represent the Noal (Christmas), which was introduced into Christianity by the Great Constantine, and Nawruz, which was invented by Jamshid as a national celebration; and they want Muslims to accept the same things. Young and innocent Muslims should not fall for these things. They should learn the truth by asking those sincere Muslims they trust, their relatives who perform namaz [5], and those family friends who know their religion. Today, no matter where in the world, not to know what is iman [6] and what is kufr or how to perform ’ibadats (worship) correctly is inexcusable. He who is deceived because he does not know his din will not be saved from Hell. Today, Allahu ta’ala has made His din known everywhere in the world, and He has made learning iman, the fards [7], the harams [8] and the halals [9], beautiful morals very easy. Everybody should learn as much as necessary and this is a fard. One who does not learn them is deemed to have disobeyed the fard. But a person who says there is no need to learn them or who gives no importance to them becomes a disbeliever.
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] Shari’at: (pl. of Shari’a) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.
[2] wajib: (act, thing) never omitted by the Prophet, so almost as compulsory as fard and not to be omitted.
[3] fiqh: knowledge dealing with what Muslims should do and should not do; actions, a’mal, ‘ibadat.
[4] ’alim: i) scholar trained in Islamic knowledge and his contemporary science. ii) (pl. ‘ulama’) Muslim scholar.
[5] namaz: prayer that is performed five times per day in Islam.
[6] iman: faith, belief, beliefs of Islam; kalam, i’tiqad.
[7] fard: an act or thing that is commanded by Allahu ta’ala in the Qur’an al-karim.
[8] haram: an action, word or thought prohibited by Allahu ta’ala.
[9] halal: (act, thing) permitted in Islam.

NO MERCY FOR DISBELIEVERS IN THE HEREAFTER

Although Allah’s mercy and compassion reaches everybody, Muslims and disbelievers alike, in this world and He rewards everybody’s good deeds in this world, there will not be a mote of mercy for the disbelievers in the Hereafter. As a matter of fact, it is declared in the Qur’an, in the fifteenth ayat [1] of surat-u Hud, “Those with a short sight and defective mind do every favour in order to obtain worldly comforts and benefits such as fame, rank and reverence. We give the rewards for these efforts of theirs only in this world. Their earnings in the Hereafter will only be fire of Hell. For they have received the recompense for their efforts in this world. They have only one credit left, which is fire of Hell, the punishment for their corrupt intentions. Their efforts in this world, which they have done for their ambitions and lusts and for show, will prove to be to no avail to them, nor will they be able to rescue themselves from Hell.”

It is declared in the eighteenth ayat of Surat-ul-Isra’, “Those with minds and visions which are restricted within the frame of this world give up the Hereafter and run after the transient pleasures of the present life. We easily and abundantly give what We choose of these blessings, which they think of day and night and of which they vie for by enduring many hardships, to whomever We choose. But by doing this, We are not really doing them a favour. We are preparing the fire of Hell for them. In the next world, they will be kept far away from mercy and will be drawn to Hell in a degrading manner. As for those who, instead of holding to only worldly blessings, each of which is transient and leaves torments and disasters behind, wish for the endless, real and never-changing blessings of the Hereafter, which I point out and like, We like all their efforts because they follow the way which I declare in the Qur’an. Both to the lovers of this world and to those who believe My words and carry out My commands, We shall give what they want in this world. We shall not deprive anybody of what he expects. We scatter our blessings to all. There is nobody whom your Allah’s blessings do not reach.”
________________________________________
GLOSSARY
[1] Ayat al-karima: a verse of al-Qur’an al-kerim; al-ayat al-karim.

FORCES OF NATURE CANNOT CREATE ANYTHING

Substances, objects, and energies existing in substances, altogether, are called “alam” or “nature.” Every object in nature continuously moves, changes. This means that every object is affected by various forces every moment, thus a change takes place. The change that takes place in substances is called an “event.”

We see that some things cease to exist while other things come into being. Our ancestors, ancient people, as well as their buildings and cities, ceased to exist. And after us, others will come into being. According to scientific knowledge, there are forces affecting these tremendous changes. Those who disbelieve Allahu ta’ala say, “These are all done by Nature. Everything is created by the forces of Nature.” If we ask them, “Have the parts of an automobile been brought together by the forces of nature? Have they been heaped together like a pile of rubbish which has been brought together by flowing water with the effects of waves striking from this and that direction? Does a car move with the exertion of the forces of nature?” Will they not smile and say, “Of course, it is impossible. A car is a work of art which a number of people have built by working together strenuously and by using all their mental abilities to design it. A car is operated by a driver who drives it carefully, using his mind while obeying the traffic laws?”

Likewise, every being in nature is also a work of art. A leaf is an astounding factory. A grain of sand or a living cell is an exhibition of fine art, which science has explored to only a small extent today. What we boast about as a scientific finding and accomplishment today is the result of being able to see and copy a few of these fine arts in nature. Even Darwin, the British scientist whom Islam’s adversaries present as their leader, had to admit: Whenever I think of the structure of the eye, I feel as if I will go mad.”

Could a person who would not admit that a car is made by chance, by the forces of nature, say that nature has created this universe, which is entirely a work of art? Of course, he could not. Should he not believe that it has been made by a creator, who has calculation, design, knowledge, and infinite power? Is it not ignorance and idiocy to say: “Nature has created it” or “it has come into being by chance?”

AN ADVICE

On an occasion, somebody asked [the great Wali] Ibrahim ibn Ad’ham (quddisa sirruh) for advice. He said:
“If you accept six things, nothing you do will harm you. These six things are:

1) When you mean to commit a sin, do not eat the food He gives! Does it befit you to eat His food and to disobey Him?
2) When you want to rebel against Him, go out of His Domain! Does it befit you to be in His Domain and to be in rebellion against Him?
3) When you want to disobey Him, do not sin where He sees you! Sin where He does not see you! It simply is unbecoming to be in His Domain, to eat His food and then to sin where He sees you!
4) When the Angel of Death comes to take away your soul, ask him to wait till you repent! You cannot turn that angel back! Repent before he comes, while you are able, and you have the chance at this very hour, for the Angel of Death comes unexpectedly!
5) When the two angels Munker and Nakir come to question you in the grave turn them back! Do not let them test you!” “It is impossible,” said the person who asked for his advice. Shaikh Ibrahim said, “Then prepare your answers now!
6) On the Day of Resurrection, when Allahu ta’ala orders: ‘Sinners, go to Hell!’ say that you will not!” The person said, “Nobody will listen to me,” and then repented, and he did not break his repentance till death. There is Divine Effect in the words of Awliya’.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Join a Peaceful Protest and let your voice be heard‏

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu,

You will by now have witnessed the horrific scenes of murder of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli missiles. There has been widespread revulsion about this massacre and a sense of helplessness from people around the world, unable to do anything about it. Aside from our prayers to Allah to seek His Mercy, many of us may wonder what we can do to help the people of Palestine and persuade our government to condemn the Israeli military machine and stop giving it diplomatic cover to carry out its task with impunity.

I am writing this email to suggest ways you can join other MCB affiliates to make a difference, and do things yourself in your own community and call for change from the grassroots:

1. Donate Money - The Palestinian people are in urgent need for your donations for urgent medical aid and you can donate to:

MCB affiliate - Interpal, the specialist charity helping Palestinians:
Phone: Call the Interpal hotline: 02089619993
Online: Go to www.interpal.org and follow the online instructions
Interpal Account Details:
Account Name: Interpal
Bank: Islamic Bank of Britain
Sort Code: 30-00-83
Account Number: 01095401
BG52LOYD3096401024192

Other MCB charity affiliates specialising in the region are: Islamic Relief (www.islamic-relief.org.uk ), Muslim Aid (www.muslimaid.org ), Muslim Hands (www.muslimhands.org) and Ummah Welfare Trust www.uwt.org

2. Join a Peaceful Protest and let your voice be heard

A list of events can be found here:

Tuesday 30th December 2008: 2pm – 4pm (In front of the Israeli Embassy, 2 Palace Green, Kensington High Street tube station London W8 4QB)

Wednesday 31st December 2008: 2pm – 4pm (In front of the Israeli Embassy)

Thursday 1st January 2009: 2pm – 4pm (In front of the Israeli Embassy)

Friday 2nd January 2009: 2pm – 4pm (In front of the Egyptian Embassy, 26 South Street London,W1K 1DW)

National Protest Saturday 3rd January 2009: 2pm onward (Trafalgar Square London)

3. Sign the following petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/gaza2812/petition.html

4. Get your community to write, call and meet your Member of Parliament. Our MPs have been elected to serve us and we should make sure that we contact them and pressurise them to do something against this Israeli brutality. Lobby your MP to sign or initiate an Early Day Motion that calls on our government to condemn the Israeli government for massacre of Palestinians. Be polite, to the point and make your request specific. You can find out you your MP is here: www.theyworkforyou.com

5. Let others know. Participate by writing letters to the editor and taking part in television, radio and online discussion forums. Remember to keep your points succinct and polite. You can find some letter-writing tips here: (www.arabmediawatch.com/amw/Resources/LetterWritingTips/tabid/134/Default.aspx). Change starts at home so you might also wish to seek local coalitions and work with people around you, of all faiths, to highlight the plight of the Palestinians.

6. Call the Foreign & Commonwealth Office - Express your concern with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, please call 020 7008 1500.

The MCB will also be writing to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and will be asking for tougher action against Israeli war crimes. We will be seeking a meeting with key influencers to make our points known. In addition, a wide coalition of groups will be publishing an open letter in the press tomorrow.

And finally, do not forget the power of Dua, our work should always be coupled with our prayers to Allah to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Wassalam

Dr Daud Abdullah
Deputy Secretary General, MCB

Monday, December 29, 2008

Salman al-Farsi

This is a story of a seeker of Truth, the story of Salman the Persian, gleaned, to begin with, from his own words:

I grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia in the village of Jayyan. My father was the Dihqan or chief of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house.

Since I was a child my father loved me, more than he loved any other. As time went by his love for me became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose me or have anything happen to me. So he kept me at home, a veritable prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept.

I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night.

My father had a vast estate which yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and the harvest. One day he was very busy with his duties as dihqan in the village and he said to me:

"My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go and look after matters there for me today."

On my way to the estate, I passed a Christian church and the voices at prayer attracted my attention. I did not know anything about Christianity or about the followers of any other religion throughout the time my father kept me in the house away from people. When I heard the voices of the Christians I entered the church to see what they were doing. I was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. "By God," I said, "this is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sun sets."

I asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in Ash-Sham (Greater Syria). I did not go to my father's estate that day and at night, I returned home. My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said:

"My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better."

"No, their religion is better than ours," I insisted.

My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria. There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and said:

"I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, learn from you and pray with you."

The bishop agreed and I entered the church in his service. I soon found out, however, that the man was corrupt. He would order his followers to give money in charity while holding out the promise of blessings to them. When they gave anything to spend in the way of God, however, he would hoard it for himself and not give anything to the poor or needy. In this way he amassed a vast quantity of gold. When the bishop died and the Christians gathered to bury him, I told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, showed them where he kept their donations. When they saw the large jars filled with gold and silver they said.

"By God, we shall not bury him." They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at him. I continued in the service of the person who replaced him. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. I was greatly devoted to him and spent a long time in his company.

(After his death, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last one had told him about the appearance of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs who would have a reputation for strict honesty, one who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself. Salman continues his story.)

A group of Arab leaders from the Kalb tribe passed through Ammuriyah and I asked them to take me with them to the land of the Arabs in return for whatever money I had. They agreed and I paid them. When we reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Madinah and Syria), they broke their agreement and sold me to a Jew. I worked as a servant for him but eventually he sold me to a nephew of his belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This nephew took me with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves, which is how the Christian at Ammuriyah had described it.

At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Makkah to Islam but I did not hear anything about him then because of the harsh duties which slavery imposed upon me.

When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, I was in fact at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master doing some work. My master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of his came up and said:

"May God declare war on the Aws and the Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Yathrib). By God, they are now gathering at Quba to meet a man who has today come from Makkah and who claims he is a Prophet."

I felt hot flushes as soon as I heard these words and I began to shiver so violently that I was afraid that I might fall on my master. I quickly got down from the tree and spoke to my master's nephew.

"What did you say? Repeat the news for me."

My master was very angry and gave me a terrible blow. "What does this matter to you'? Go back to what you were doing," he shouted.

That evening, I took some dates that I had gathered and went to the place where the Prophet had alighted. I went up to him and said:

"I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions with you who are strangers and are in need. Here is something from me as sadaqah. I see that you are more deserving of it than others."

The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it. I gathered some more dates and when the Prophet left Quba for Madinah I went to him and said: "I noticed that you did not eat of the sadaqah I gave. This however is a gift for you." Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.

The strict honesty of the Prophet was one of the characteristics that led Salman to believe in him and accept Islam .

Salman was released from slavery by the Prophet who paid his Jewish slave-owner a stipulated price and who himself planted an agreed number of date palms to secure his manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman would say when asked whose son he was:

"I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam."

Salman was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim state. At the battle of Khandaq, he proved to be an innovator in military strategy. He suggested digging a ditch or khandaq around Madinah to keep the Quraysh army at bay. When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Makkans, saw the ditch, he said, "This stratagem has not been employed by the Arabs before."

Salman became known as "Salman the Good". He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak which he wore and on which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof but stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him:

"Shall I not build you a house in which to live?" "I have no need of a house," he replied. The man persisted and said, "I know the type of house that would suit you." "Describe it to me," said Salman. "I shall build you a house which if you stand up in it, its roof will hurt your head and if you stretch your legs the wall will hurt them."

Later, as a governor of al-Madain (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad, Salman received a stipend of five thousand dirhams. This he would distribute as sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When some people came to Madain and saw him working in the palm groves, they said, "You are the amir here and your sustenance is guaranteed and you do this work!"

"I like to eat from the work of my own hands," he replied. Salman however was not extreme in his asceticism. It is related that he once visited Abu ad-Dardaa with whom the Prophet had joined him in brotherhood. He found Abu ad-Dardaas wife in a miserable state and he asked, "What is the matter with you."

"Your brother has no need of anything in this world," she replied.

When Abu ad-Dardaa came, he welcomed Salman and gave him food. Salman told him to eat but Abu ad-Dardaa said, "I am fasting."

"I swear to you that I shall not eat until you eat also."

Salman spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu ad-Dardaa got up but Salman got hold of him and said:

"O Abu ad-Dardaa, your Lord has a right over you. Your family has a right over you and your body has a right over you. Give to each its due."

In the morning, they prayed together and then went out to meet the Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet supported Salman in what he had said.

As a scholar, Salman was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Kab al-Ahbar said: "Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdom--an ocean that does not dry up." Salman had a knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Quran in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion. Salman in fact translated parts of the Quran into Persian during the life-time of the Prophet. He was thus the first person to translate the Quran into a foreign language.

Salman, because of the influential household in which he grew up, might easily have been a major figure in the sprawling Persian Empire of his time. His search for truth however led him, even before the Prophet had appeared, to renounce a comfortable and affluent life and even to suffer the indignities of slavery. According to the most reliable account, he died in the year thirty five after the hijrah, during the caliphate of Uthman, at Ctesiphon.

Habib ibn Zayd al-Ansari

He grew up in a home filled with the fragrance of iman, and in a family where everyone was imbued with the spirit of sacrifice. Habib's father, Zayd ibn Asim, was one of the first persons in Yathrib to accept Islam and his mother, the celebrated Nusaybah bint Kab known as Umm Ammarah, was the first woman to bear arms in defence of Islam and in support of the blessed Prophet.

Habib, still at a tender age, was privileged to go with his mother, father, maternal aunt and brother to Makkah with the pioneering group of seventy five who pledged fealty to the Prophet at Aqabah and played a decisive role in shaping the early history of Islam.

At Aqabah, in the darkness of the night, the young Habib stretched out his small hand and pledged loyalty to the Prophet. From that day, the Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, became dearer to Habib than his own mother or father and Islam became more important to him than any care for his personal safety.

Habib did not participate in the Battle of Badr because he was too young. Neither did he have the opportunity to take part in the battle of Uhud because he was still considered too young to bear arms. Thereafter, however, he took part in all the engagements which the Prophet fought and in all he distinguished himself by his bravery and willingness to sacrifice. Although each of these battles had its own importance and was demanding in its own way, they served to prepare Habib for what was to prove the most terrible encounter of his life, the violence of which is profoundly soul-shaking.

Let us follow this awesome story from the beginning. By the ninth year after the Hijrah, Islam had spread widely and had become the dominant force in the Arabian peninsula. Delegations of tribes from all over the land converged on Makkah to meet the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, and announce before him, their acceptance of Islam.

Among these delegations was one from the highlands of Najd, from the Banu Hanilab. At the outskirts of Makkah, the members of the delegation tethered their mounts and appointed Musaylamah ibn Habib as their spokesman and representative. Musaylamah went to the Prophet, peace be upon him. and announced his people's acceptance of Islam. The Prophet welcomed them and treated them most generously. Each, including Musaylamah, was presented with a gift.

On his return to Najd the ambitious and self-seeking Musaylamah recanted and gave up his allegiance to the Prophet. He stood among the people and proclaimed that a prophet had been sent by God to the Banu Hanifah just as God had sent Muhammad ibn Abdullah to the Quraysh.

For various reasons and under a variety of pressures, the Banu Hanilab began to rally around him. Most followed him out of tribal loyalty or asabiyyah. Indeed one member of the tribe declared: "I testify that Muhammad is indeed truthful and that Musaylamah is indeed an imposter. But the imposter of Rabiah (the tribal confederation to which the Banu Hanilab belonged) is dearer to me that the genuine and truthful person from Mudar (the tribal confederation to which the Quraysh belonged)."

Before long, the number of Musaylamah's followers increased and he felt powerful, powerful enough to write the following letter to the Prophet, peace be upon him: "From Musaylamah, the messenger of God to Muhammad, the messenger of God. Peace be on you. I am prepared to share this mission with you. I shall have (control over) half the land and you shall have the other half. But the Quraysh are an aggressive people."

Musaylamah despatched two of his men with the letter to the Prophet. When the letter was read to the Prophet, he asked the two men: "And what do you yourselves say about this matter?" "We affirm what the letter says," they replied. "By God," said the Prophet, "were it not for the fact that emissaries are not killed I would have smitten both your necks." He then wrote to Musaylamah: "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Compassionate. From Muhammad the Messenger of God, to Musaylamah the imposter.

Peace be upon whoever follows the guidance. God will bequeath the earth to whosoever of His servants He wishes and the final triumph will be for those who are careful of their duty to God." He sent the letter with the two men.

Musaylamah's evil and corrupting influence continued to spread and the Prophet considered it necessary to send another letter to him inviting him to abandon his misguided ways. The Prophet chose Habib ibn Zayd to take this letter to Musaylamah. Habib was by this time in the prime of his youth and a firm believer in the truth of Islam with every fibre of his being.

Habib undertook his mission eagerly and proceeded as quickly as he could to the highlands of the Najd, the territory of the Banu Hanilab. He presented the letter to Musaylamah.

Musaylamah was convulsed with bitter rage. His face was terrible to behold. He ordered Habib to be put in chains and to be brought back before him the following day.

On the following day, Musaylamah presided over his assembly. On his right and on his left were his senior advisers, there to further his evil cause. The common people were allowed to enter. He then ordered Habib, shackled in his chains, to be brought before him.

Habib stood in the midst of this crowded, hate-filled gathering. He remained upright, dignified and proud like a sturdy spear firmly implanted in the ground, unyielding.

Musaylamah turned to him and asked: "Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God?" "Yes," Habib replied. "I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

Musaylamah was visibly angry. "And do you testify that I am the Messenger of God?" He was almost insisting, rather than questioning. "My ears have been blocked against hearing what you claim," replied Habib.

Musaylamah's face changed color, his lips trembled in anger and he shouted to his executioner, "Cut off a piece of his body."

With sword in hand, the menacing executioner advanced towards Habib and severed one of his limbs.

Musaylamah then put the same question to him once more and Habib's answers were the same. He affirmed his belief in Muhammad as the Messenger of God and at the expense of his own life he refused to acknowledge the messengership of any other. Musaylamah thereupon ordered his henchman to cut off another part of Habib's body. This fell to the ground beside the other severed limb. The people looked on in amazement at Habib's composure and steadfastness.

Faced with Musaylamah's persistent questioning and the terrible blows of his henchman, Habib kept on repeating:

"I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." Habib could not survive this torture and these inhuman atrocities much longer and he soon passed away. On his pure lips, as his life-blood ebbed away, was the name of the blessed Prophet to whom he had pledged loyalty on the night of Aqabah, the name of Muhammad, the Messenger of God.

News of Habib's fate reached his mother and her reaction was simply to say: "It was for such a situation that I prepared him... He pledged allegiance to the Prophet on the night of Aqabah as a small child and today as an adult he has given his life for the Prophet. If God were to allow me to get near to Musaylamah, I would certainly make his daughters smite their cheeks and lament over him."

The day that she wished for was not long in coming. After the death of the Prophet, peace be on him, Abu Bakr declared war on the imposter. With the Muslim army that went out to confront the forces of Musaylamah were Habib's mother, Nusaybah, and another of her courageous sons, Abdullah ibn Zayd.

At the Battle of Yamamah which ensued, Nusaybah was seen cutting through the ranks of fighting men like a lioness and calling out: "Where is the enemy of God? Show me the enemy of God ?" When she eventually reached Musaylamah, he had already perished. She looked at the body of the vain imposter and cruel tyrant and felt serene. A grave threat to the Muslims had been removed and the death of her beloved son, Habib, had been avenged.

At Habib's death, the noble Prophet had commended him and his entire family and had prayed: "May God bless this household. May God have mercy on this household."

Fayruz ad-Daylami

When the Prophet, peace be on him, returned to Madinah from the Farewell Pilgrimage in the tenth year after the Hijrah, he fell ill, News of his illness spread rapidly throughout the Arabian peninsula. Sincere Muslims everywhere were greatly saddened by the news but for others it was a time to disclose hidden hopes and ambitions and reveal their real attitudes to Islam and the noble Prophet.

In al-Yamamah, Musaylamah the Imposter renounced Islam. So too did Tulayhah al-Asadi in the land of the Asad. And in the Yemen, al-Aswad al-Ansi also became an apostate. More than that, these three imposters claimed that they were prophets sent to their respective peoples just as Muhammad the son of Abdullah was sent to the Quraysh.

Al-Aswad al-Ansi was a soothsayer who practised magic arts. But he was no minor magician or fortuneteller who dabbled in his evil arts in obscurity. He was powerful and influential and possessed a strange power of speech that mesmerized the hearts of his listeners and captivated the minds of the masses with his false claims. With his wealth and power he managed to attract not just the masses but people of status as well. When he appeared before people he normally wore a mask in order to surround himself with an air of mystery, awe and reverence.

In the Yemen at that time, a section of the people who had much prestige and influence were the "Abna". They were the scions of Persian fathers who ruled Yemen as part of the Sasanian Empire. Their mothers were local Arabs. Fayruz al-Daylami was one of these Yemeni Abna.

At the time of the appearance of Islam, the most powerful of the Abna was Badhan who ruled Yemen on behalf of the Chosroes of Persia. When Badban became convinced of the truth of the Prophet Muhammad and the Divine nature of his mission he renounced his allegiance to the Chosroes and accepted Islam. His people followed him in tiffs. The Prophet confirmed him in his dominion and he ruled the Yemen until his death shortly before the appearance of al-Aswad al-Ansi.

Al-Aswad's tribe, the Banu Mudh-hij, were the first to respond positively to his claims to prophethood. With this tribal force he mounted a raid on San'a. He killed the governor, Shahr the son of Badhan and took his wife to himself. From San'a he raided other regions. Through his swift and startling strikes, a vast region from Hadramawt to at-Taif and from al-Ahsa to Aden came under his influence.

What helped al-Aswad in deceiving the people and drawing them to him was his guile and cunning which knew no bounds. To his followers he alleged that an angel visited him, disclosed revelations to him and gave him intelligence of people and their affairs. What allowed him to appear to bear out these claims were the spies he employed and despatched everywhere, to bring him news of people and their circumstances, their secrets and their problems, their hopes and their fears.

Reports were brought back in secrecy to him and when he met anyone, especially those in need, he could give the impression that he had prior knowledge of their needs and problems. In this way he astonished people and confounded their thoughts. He acquired a large following and his mission spread like wildfire.

When news of al-Aswad's apostasy and his activities throughout the Yemen reached the Prophet, peace be on him, he despatched about ten of Iris companions with letters to those of his companions in the Yemen whom he felt he could trust. He urged them to confront the blind fitnah with faith and resolve, and he ordered them to get rid of al-Aswad by any means possible.

All who received the Prophet's missives set about to carry out his orders implicitly. In the forefront of these was Fayruz ad-Daylami and those of the Abna who were with him. Let us leave Fayruz to relate his extraordinary story:

"I and those of the Abna who were with me never for one moment had any doubt about the religion of God. No belief in the enemy of God entered the heart of any one of us. (In fact) we waited for opportunities to get hold of al-Aswad and eliminate him by any means.

When we received the letters of the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, we felt strengthened in our mutual resolve and each one determined to do what he could

Because of his considerable success, pride and vanity took hold of al-Aswad al-Ansi. He bragged to the commander of his army, Qays ibn Abd Yaghuth, saying how powerful he was. His attitude and relationship towards his commander changed so much so that Qays felt that he was not safe from Iris violence and oppression.

My cousin, Dadhawayh, and I went to Qays and informed him of what the Prophet, peace and blessings be on him, had told us and we invited him to "make lunch" out of the man (al-Aswad) before he could "make supper" out of him. He was receptive to our proposal and regarded us as a Godsend. He disclosed to us some of the secrets of al-Aswad.

The three of us vowed to confront the apostate from within (his castle) while our other brothers would confront him from without. We were all of the view that our cousin Dadha, whom al-Aswad had taken to himself after the killing of her husband, should join us. We went to al-Aswad's castle and met her. I said to her:

'O cousin, you know what harm and evil this man has visited upon you and us. He has killed your husband and dishonored the women of your people. He has massacred their husbands and wrested political authority from their hands.

'This is a letter from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, to us in particular and to the people of Yemen in general in which he asks us to put an end to this fitnah. Would you help us in this matter?' 'On what can I help you? she asked. 'On his expulsion...' I said. 'Rather on his assassination,' she suggested. 'By God, I had nothing else in mind,' I said, 'but I was afraid to suggest this to you.' 'By Him Who has sent Muhammad with the Truth as a bringer or' good tidings and as a warner, I have not doubted in my religion for a moment. God has not created a man more detestable to me than the devil (al-Aswad). By God, from the time I saw him, I have only known him to be a corrupt and sinful person who does not promote any truth and does not stop from committing any abominable deed.' "How can we go about eliminating him?' I asked.

'He is well-guarded and protected. There is not a place in his castle which is not surrounded by guards. There is one broken down and abandoned room though which opens out into open land. In the evening during the first third of the night, go there. You will find inside weapons and a light. You will find me waiting for you...' she said.

'But getting through to a room in a castle such as this is no easy task. Someone might pass and alert the guards and that will be the end of us' I said. 'You are not far from the truth. But I have a suggestion.' 'What is it?' I asked.

'Send a man tomorrow whom you trust as one of the workers. I shall tell him to make an opening in the room from the inside so that it should be easy to enter.' 'That's a brilliant suggestion you have,' I said.

I then left her and told the two others what we had decided and they gave their blessings to the plan. We left straightaway to get ourselves prepared. We informed a select group of believers who were assisting us to prepare themselves and gave them the password (to signal the time they could storm the castle). The time was to be dawn of the following day.

When night fell and the appointed time came, I went with my two companions to the opening in the room and uncovered it. We entered the room and put on the lamp. We found the weapons and proceeded to the apartment of God's enemy. There was our cousin standing at his door. She pointed out where he was and we entered. He was asleep and snoring. I plunged the blade in his neck and he bellowed like a bull being slaughtered. When the guards heard this, they ran quickly to his apartment and asked: 'What is this?'

'Don't worry. You can go. The prophet of God is receiving revelation,' she said, and they left. We stayed in the castle until the break of dawn. Then I stood on a wall of the castle and shouted:

'Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!' and went on with the adhan until I reached': 'Ashhadu anna Muhammadur Rasulullah ! (Then I added) 'Wa ashhadu anna al Aswad al-Ansi kadh-dhab ! I testify that al-Aswad is an imposter.'

That was the password, Muslims then converged on the castle from every direction. The guards took fright when they heard the adhan and were confronted by the Muslims shouting Allahu Akbar.

By sunrise, the mission was accomplished. When it was full light, we sent a letter to the Messenger of God giving him the good news of the death of God's enemy.

When the messengers reached Madinah they found that the Prophet, may the blessings of God be on him, had passed away that very night. They learned however that Revelation had been communicated to the Prophet informing him of the death of al-Aswad al-Ansi the night it took place."

Years later, the Khalifah Umar ibn al-Khattab wrote to Fayruz ad-Daylami, may God be pleased with them both, saying:

"I have heard that you are busy eating white bread and honey (meaning no doubt that he was leading an easy life). When this my letter reaches you, come to me with the blessings of God so that you may campaign in the path of God."

Fayruz did as he was commanded. He went to Madinah and sought an audience with Umar. Umar granted him permission. Evidently there was a crowd waiting to see Umar and a Quraysh youth pushed Fayruz. Fayruz raised his hand and hit the Quraysh youth on the nose.

The youth went to Umar who asked: "Who did that to you?"

"Fayruz. He is at the door," said the youth. Fayruz entered and Umar asked: "What is this, O Fayruz?"

"O Amir al-Muminin," said Fayruz. "You wrote to me. You didn't write to him. You gave me permission to enter and you didn't give him permission. He wanted to enter in my turn before me. Then I did what you have been told."

"Al-Qisas," pronounced Umar in judgment, meaning that Fayruz had to receive the same blow from the youth in retaliation. "Must it be so?" asked Fayruz. "It must be so," insisted Umar.

Fayruz then got down on his knees and the youth stood up to exact his retaliation. Umar said to him then: "Wait a moment, young man, so that I can tell you something which I heard from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace. I heard the Messenger of God say one evening: 'This night, al-Aswad al-Ansi the Imposter has been killed. The righteous servant Fayruz ad-Daylami has killed him' Umar then asked the youth:

"Do you see yourself taking retribution on him after you have heard this from the Messenger of God?" "I forgive him," said the youth, "after you have told me this from the Prophet." "Do you think," said Fayruz to Umar, "that my escape from what I have done is a confession to him and that his forgiveness is not given under duress?" "Yes," replied Umar and Fayruz then declared: "I testily to you that my sword, my horse and thirty thousand of my money is a gift to him."

"Your forgiveness has paid off, O brother Quraysh and you have become rich," said Umar no doubt impressed by the sense of remorse and the spontaneous generosity of Fayruz, the righteous.

Fatimah bint Muhammad

Fatimah was the fifth child of Muhammad and Khadijah. She was born at a time when her noble father had begun to spend long periods in the solitude of mountains around Makkah, meditating and reflecting on the great mysteries of creation.

This was the time, before the Bithah, when her eldest sister Zaynab was married to her cousin, al-Aas ibn ar Rabiah. Then followed the marriage of her two other sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum, to the sons of Abu Lahab, a paternal uncle of the Prophet. Both Abu Lahab and his wife Umm Jamil turned out to be flaming enemies of the Prophet from the very beginning of his public mission.

The little Fatimah thus saw her sisters leave home one after the other to live with their husbands. She was too young to understand the meaning of marriage and the reasons why her sisters had to leave home. She loved them dearly and was sad and lonely when they left. It is said that a certain silence and painful sadness came over her then.

Of course, even after the marriage of her sisters, she was not alone in the house of her parents. Barakah, the maid-servant of Aminah, the Prophet's mother, who had been with the Prophet since his birth, Zayd ibn Harithah, and Ali, the young son of Abu Talib were all part of Muhammad's household at this time. And of course there was her loving mother, the lady Khadijah.

In her mother and in Barakah, Fatimah found a great deal of solace and comfort. in Ali, who was about two years older than she, she found a "brother" and a friend who somehow took the place of her own brother al-Qasim who had died in his infancy. Her other brother Abdullah, known as the Good and the Pure, who was born after her, also died in his infancy. However in none of the people in her father's household did Fatimah find the carefree joy and happiness which she enjoyed with her sisters. She was an unusually sensitive child for her age.

When she was five, she heard that her father had become Rasul Allah, the Messenger of God. His first task was to convey the good news of Islam to his family and close relations. They were to worship God Almighty alone. Her mother, who was a tower of strength and support, explained to Fatimah what her father had to do. From this time on, she became more closely attached to him and felt a deep and abiding love for him. Often she would be at Iris side walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Makkah, visiting the Kabah or attending secret gatherings off, the early Muslims who had accepted Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet.

One day, when she was not yet ten, she accompanied her father to the Masjid al-Haram. He stood in the place known as al-Hijr facing the Kabah and began to pray. Fatimah stood at his side. A group of Quraysh, by no means well-disposed to the Prophet, gathered about him. They included Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, the Prophet's uncle, Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, and Shaybah and Utbah, sons of Rabi'ah. Menacingly, the group went up to the Prophet and Abu Jahl, the ringleader, asked:

"Which of you can bring the entrails of a slaughtered animal and throw it on Muhammad?"

Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, one of the vilest of the lot, volunteered and hurried off. He returned with the obnoxious filth and threw it on the shoulders of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, while he was still prostrating. Abdullah ibn Masud, a companion of the Prophet, was present but he was powerless to do or say anything.

Imagine the feelings of Fatimah as she saw her father being treated in this fashion. What could she, a girl not ten years old, do? She went up to her father and removed the offensive matter and then stood firmly and angrily before the group of Quraysh thugs and lashed out against them. Not a single word did they say to her. The noble Prophet raised his head on completion of the prostration and went on to complete the Salat. He then said: "O Lord, may you punish the Quraysh!" and repeated this imprecation three times. Then he continued:

"May You punish Utbah, Uqbah, Abu Jahl and Shaybah." (These whom he named were all killed many years later at the Battle of Badr)

On another occasion, Fatimah was with the Prophet as he made; tawaf around the Kabah. A Quraysh mob gathered around him. They seized him and tried to strangle him with his own clothes. Fatimah screamed and shouted for help. Abu Bakr rushed to the scene and managed to free the Prophet. While he was doing so, he pleaded: "Would you kill a man who says, 'My Lord is God?'" Far from giving up, the mob turned on Abu Bakr and began beating him until blood flowed from his head and face.

Such scenes of vicious opposition and harassment against her father and the early Muslims were witnessed by the young Fatimah. She did not meekly stand aside but joined in the struggle in defence of her father and his noble mission. She was still a young girl and instead of the cheerful romping, the gaiety and liveliness which children of her age are and should normally be accustomed to, Fatimah had to witness and participate in such ordeals.

Of course, she was not alone in this. The whole of the Prophet's family suffered from the violent and mindless Quraysh. Her sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum also suffered. They were living at this time in the very nest of hatred and intrigue against the Prophet. Their husbands were Utbah and Utaybah, sons of Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil. Umm Jamil was known to be a hard and harsh woman who had a sharp and evil tongue. It was mainly because of her that Khadijah was not pleased with the marriages of her daughters to Umm Jamil's sons in the first place. It must have been painful for Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum to be living in the household of such inveterate enemies who not only joined but led the campaign against theft father.

As a mark of disgrace to Muhammad and his family, Utbah and Utaybah were prevailed upon by their parents to divorce their wives. This was part of the process of ostracizing the Prophet totally. The Prophet in fact welcomed his daughters back to his home with joy, happiness and relief.

Fatimah, no doubt, must have been happy to be with her sisters once again. They all wished that their eldest sister, Zaynab, would also be divorced by her husband. In fact, the Quraysh brought pressure on Abu-l Aas to do so but he refused. When the Quraysh leaders came up to him and promised him the richest and most beautiful woman as a wife should he divorce Zaynab, he replied:

"I love my wife deeply and passionately and I have a great and high esteem for her father even though I have not entered the religion of Islam."

Both Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum were happy to be back with their loving parents and to be rid of the unbearable mental torture to which they had been subjected in the house of Umm Jamil. Shortly afterwards, Ruqayyah married again, to the young and shy Uthman ibn Allan who was among the first to have accepted Islam. They both left for Abyssinia among the first muhajirin who sought refuge in that land and stayed there for several years. Fatimah was not to see Ruqayyah again until after their mother had died.

The persecution of the Prophet, his family and his followers continued and even became worse after the migration of the first Muslims to Abyssinia. In about the seventh year of his mission, the Prophet and his family were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in a rugged little valley enclosed by hills on all sides and defile, which could only be entered from Makkah by a narrow path.

To this arid valley, Muhammad and the clans of Banu Hashim and al-Muttalib were forced to retire with limited supplies of food. Fatimah was one of the youngest members of the clans -just about twelve years old - and had to undergo months of hardship and suffering. The wailing of hungry children and women in the valley could be heard from Makkah. The Quraysh allowed no food and contact with the Muslims whose hardship was only relieved somewhat during the season of pilgrimage. The boycott lasted for three years. When it was lifted, the Prophet had to face even more trials and difficulties. Khadijah, the faithful and loving, died shortly afterwards. With her death, the Prophet and his family lost one of the greatest sources of comfort and strength which had sustained them through the difficult period. The year in which the noble Khadijah, and later Abu Talib, died is known as the Year of Sadness. Fatimah, now a young lady, was greatly distressed by her mother's death. She wept bitterly and for some time was so grief-striken that her health deteriorated. It was even feared she might die of grief.

Although her older sister, Umm Kulthum, stayed in the same household, Fatimah realized that she now had a greater responsibility with the passing away of her mother. She felt that she had to give even greater support to her father. With loving tenderness, she devoted herself to looking after his needs. So concerned was she for his welfare that she came to be called "Umm Abi-ha the mother of her father". She also provided him with solace and comfort during times of trial, difficulty and crisis.

Often the trials were too much for her. Once, about this time, an insolent mob heaped dust and earth upon his gracious head. As he entered his home, Fatimah wept profusely as she wiped the dust from her father's head.

"Do not cry, my daughter," he said, "for God shall protect your father." The Prophet had a special love for Fatimah. He once said: "Whoever pleased Fatimah has indeed pleased God and whoever has caused her to be angry has indeed angered God. Fatimah is a part of me. Whatever pleases her pleases me and whatever angers her angers me."

He also said: "The best women in all the world are four: the Virgin Mary, Aasiyaa the wife of Pharoah, Khadijah Mother of the Believers, and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad." Fatimah thus acquired a place of love and esteem in the Prophet's heart that was only occupied by his wife Khadijah.

Fatimah, may God be pleased with her, was given the title of "az-Zahraa" which means "the Resplendent One". That was because of her beaming face which seemed to radiate light. It is said that when she stood for Prayer, the mihrab would reflect the light of her countenance. She was also called "al-Batul" because of her asceticism. Instead of spending her time in the company of women, much of her time would be spent in Salat, in reading the Quran and in other acts of ibadah.

Fatimah had a strong resemblance to her father, the Messenger of God. Aishah. the wife of the Prophet, said of her: "I have not seen any one of God's creation resemble the Messenger of God more in speech, conversation and manner of sitting than Fatimah, may God be pleased with her. When the Prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting." She would do the same when the Prophet came to her. She would stand up and welcome him with joy and kiss him.

Fatimah's fine manners and gentle speech were part of her lovely and endearing personality. She was especially kind to poor and indigent folk and would often give all the food she had to those in need even if she herself remained hungry. She had no craving for the ornaments of this world nor the luxury and comforts of life. She lived simply, although on occasion as we shall see circumstances seemed to be too much and too difficult for her.

She inherited from her father a persuasive eloquence that was rooted in wisdom. When she spoke, people would often be moved to tears. She had the ability and the sincerity to stir the emotions, move people to tears and fill their hearts with praise and gratitude to God for His grace and His inestimable bounties.

Fatimah migrated to Madinah a few weeks after the Prophet did. She went with Zayd ibn Harithah who was sent by the Prophet back to Makkah to bring the rest of his family. The party included Fatimah and Umm Kulthum, Sawdah, the Prophet's wife, Zayd's wife Barakah and her son Usamah. Travelling with the group also were Abdullah the son of Abu Bakr who accompanied his mother and his sisters, Aishah and Asma.

In Madinah, Fatimah lived with her father in the simple dwelling he had built adjoining the mosque. In the second year after the Hijrah, she received proposals of marriage through her father, two of which were turned down. Then Ali, the son of Abu Talib, plucked up courage and went to the Prophet to ask for her hand in marriage. In the presence of the Prophet, however, Ali became over-awed and tongue-tied. He stared at the ground and could not say anything. The Prophet then asked: "Why have you come? Do you need something?" Ali still could not speak and then the Prophet suggested: "Perhaps you have come to propose marriage to Fatimah."

"Yes," replied Ali. At this, according to one report, the Prophet said simply: "Marhaban wa ahlan - Welcome into the family," and this was taken by Ali and a group of Ansar who were waiting outside for him as indicating the Prophet's approval. Another report indicated that the Prophet approved and went on to ask Ali if he had anything to give as mahr. Ali replied that he didn't. The Prophet reminded him that he had a shield which could be sold.

Ali sold the shield to Uthman for four hundred dirhams and as he was hurrying back to the Prophet to hand over the sum as mahr, Uthman stopped him and said:

"I am returning your shield to you as a present from me on your marriage to Fatimah." Fatimah and Ali were thus married most probably at the beginning of the second year after the Hijrah. She was about nineteen years old at the time and Ali was about twenty one. The Prophet himself performed the marriage ceremony. At the walimah. the guests were served with dates, figs and hais ( a mixture of dates and butter fat). A leading member of the Ansar donated a ram and others made offerings of grain. All Madinah rejoiced.

On her marriage. the Prophet is said to have presented Fatimah and Ali with a wooden bed intertwined with palm leaves, a velvet coverlet. a leather cushion filled with palm fibre, a sheepskin, a pot, a waterskin and a quern for grinding grain.

Fatimah left the home of her beloved father for the first time to begin life with her husband. The Prophet was clearly anxious on her account and sent Barakah with her should she be in need of any help. And no doubt Barakah was a source of comfort and solace to her. The Prophet prayed for them:

"O Lord, bless them both, bless their house and bless their offspring." In Ali's humble dwelling, there was only a sheepskin for a bed. In the morning after the wedding night, the Prophet went to Ali's house and knocked on the door.

Barakah came out and the Prophet said to her: "O Umm Ayman, call my brother for me."

"Your brother? That's the one who married your daughter?" asked Barakah somewhat incredulously as if to say: Why should the Prophet call Ali his "brother"? (He referred to Ali as his brother because just as pairs of Muslims were joined in brotherhood after the Hijrah, so the Prophet and Ali were linked as "brothers".)

The Prophet repeated what he had said in a louder voice. Ali came and the Prophet made a du'a, invoking the blessings of God on him. Then he asked for Fatimah. She came almost cringing with a mixture of awe and shyness and the Prophet said to her:

"I have married you to the dearest of my family to me." In this way, he sought to reassure her. She was not starting life with a complete stranger but with one who had grown up in the same household, who was among the first to become a Muslim at a tender age, who was known for his courage, bravery and virtue, and whom the Prophet described as his "brother in this world and the hereafter".

Fatimah's life with Ali was as simple and frugal as it was in her father's household. In fact, so far as material comforts were concerned, it was a life of hardship and deprivation. Throughout their life together, Ali remained poor because he did not set great store by material wealth. Fatimah was the only one of her sisters who was not married to a wealthy man.

In fact, it could be said that Fatimah's life with Ali was even more rigorous than life in her father's home. At least before marriage, there were always a number of ready helping hands in the Prophet's household. But now she had to cope virtually on her own. To relieve theft extreme poverty, Ali worked as a drawer and carrier of water and she as a grinder of corn. One day she said to Ali: "I have ground until my hands are blistered."

"I have drawn water until I have pains in my chest," said Ali and went on to suggest to Fatimah: "God has given your father some captives of war, so go and ask him to give you a servant."

Reluctantly, she went to the Prophet who said: "What has brought you here, my little daughter?" "I came to give you greetings of peace," she said, for in awe of him she could not bring herself to ask what she had intended.

"What did you do?" asked Ali when she returned alone.

"I was ashamed to ask him," she said. So the two of them went together but the Prophet felt they were less in need than others.

"I will not give to you," he said, "and let the Ahl as-Suffah (poor Muslims who stayed in the mosque) be tormented with hunger. I have not enough for their keep..."

Ali and Fatimah returned home feeling somewhat dejected but that night, after they had gone to bed, they heard the voice of the Prophet asking permission to enter. Welcoming him, they both rose to their feet, but he told them:

"Stay where you are," and sat down beside them. "Shall I not tell you of something better than that which you asked of me?" he asked and when they said yes he said: "Words which Jibril taught me, that you should say "Subhaan Allah- Glory be to God" ten times after every Prayer, and ten times "AI hamdu lillah - Praise be to God," and ten times "Allahu Akbar - God is Great." And that when you go to bed you should say them thirty-three times each."

Ali used to say in later years: "I have never once failed to say them since the Messenger of God taught them to us."

There are many reports of the hard and difficult times which Fatimah had to face. Often there was no food in her house. Once the Prophet was hungry. He went to one after another of his wives' apartments but there was no food. He then went to Fatimah's house and she had no food either. When he eventually got some food, he sent two loaves and a piece of meat to Fatimah. At another time, he went to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and from the food he was given, he saved some for her. Fatimah also knew that the Prophet was without food for long periods and she in turn would take food to him when she could. Once she took a piece of barley bread and he, said to her: "This is the first food your father has eaten for three days."

Through these acts of kindness she showed how much she loved her father; and he loved her, really loved her in return.

Once he returned from a journey outside Madinah. He went to the mosque first of all and prayed two rakats as was his custom. Then, as he often did, he went to Fatimah's house before going to his wives. Fatimah welcomed him and kissed his face, his mouth and his eyes and cried. "Why do you cry?" the Prophet asked. "I see you, O Rasul Allah," she said, "Your color is pale and sallow and your clothes have become worn and shabby." "O Fatimah," the Prophet replied tenderly, "don't cry for Allah has sent your father with a mission which He would cause to affect every house on the face of the earth whether it be in towns, villages or tents (in the desert) bringing either glory or humiliation until this mission is fulfilled just as night (inevitably) comes." With such comments Fatimah was often taken from the harsh realities of daily life to get a glimpse of the vast and far-reaching vistas opened up by the mission entrusted to her noble father.

Fatimah eventually returned to live in a house close to that of the Prophet. The place was donated by an Ansari who knew that the Prophet would rejoice in having his daughter as his neighbor. Together they shared in the joys and the triumphs, the sorrows and the hardships of the crowded and momentous Madinah days and years.

In the middle of the second year after the Hijrah, her sister Ruqayyah fell ill with fever and measles. This was shortly before the great campaign of Badr. Uthman, her husband, stayed by her bedside and missed the campaign. Ruqayyah died just before her father returned. On his return to Madinah, one of the first acts of the Prophet was to visit her grave.

Fatimah went with him. This was the first bereavement they had suffered within their closest family since the death of Khadijah. Fatimah was greatly distressed by the loss of her sister. The tears poured from her eyes as she sat beside her father at the edge of the grave, and he comforted her and sought to dry her tears with the corner of his cloak.

The Prophet had previously spoken against lamentations for the dead, but this had lead to a misunderstanding, and when they returned from the cemetery the voice of Umar was heard raised in anger against the women who were weeping for the martyrs of Badr and for Ruqayyah.

"Umar, let them weep," he said and then added: "What comes from the heart and from the eye, that is from God and His mercy, but what comes from the hand and from the tongue, that is from Satan." By the hand he meant the beating of breasts and the smiting of cheeks, and by the tongue he meant the loud clamor in which women often joined as a mark of public sympathy.

Uthman later married the other daughter of the Prophet, Umm Kulthum, and on this account came to be known as Dhu-n Nurayn - Possessor of the Two Lights.

The bereavement which the family suffered by the death of Ruqayyah was followed by happiness when to the great joy of all the believers Fatimah gave birth to a boy in Ramadan of the third year after the Hijrah. The Prophet spoke the words of the Adhan into the ear of the new-born babe and called him al-Hasan which means the Beautiful One.

One year later, she gave birth to another son who was called al-Husayn, which means "little Hasan" or the little beautiful one. Fatimah would often bring her two sons to see their grandfather who was exceedingly fond of them. Later he would take them to the Mosque and they would climb onto his back when he prostrated. He did the same with his little granddaughter Umamah, the daughter of Zaynab.

In the eighth year after the Hijrah, Fatimah gave birth to a third child, a girl whom she named after her eldest sister Zaynab who had died shortly before her birth. This Zaynab was to grow up and become famous as the "Heroine of Karbala". Fatimah's fourth child was born in the year after the Hijrah. The child was also a girl and Fatimah named her Umm Kulthum after her sister who had died the year before after an illness.

It was only through Fatimah that the progeny of the Prophet was perpetuated. All the Prophet's male children had died in their infancy and the two children of Zaynab named Ali and Umamah died young. Ruqayyah's child Abdullah also died when he was not yet two years old. This is an added reason for the reverence which is accorded to Fatimah.

Although Fatimah was so often busy with pregnancies and giving birth and rearing children, she took as much part as she could in the affairs of the growing Muslim community of Madinah. Before her marriage, she acted as a sort of hostess to the poor and destitute Ahl as-Suffah. As soon as the Battle of Uhud was over, she went with other women to the battlefield and wept over the dead martyrs and took time to dress her father's wounds. At the Battle of the Ditch, she played a major supportive role together with other women in preparing food during the long and difficult siege. In her camp, she led the Muslim women in prayer and on that place there stands a mosque named Masjid Fatimah, one of seven mosques where the Muslims stood guard and performed their devotions.

Fatimah also accompanied the Prophet when he made Umrah in the sixth year after the Hijrah after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. In the following year, she and her sister Umm Kulthum, were among the mighty throng of Muslims who took part with the Prophet in the liberation of Makkah. It is said that on this occasion, both Fatimah and Umm Kulthum visited the home of their mother Khadijah and recalled memories of their childhood and memories of jihad, of long struggles in the early years of the Prophet's mission.

In Ramadan of the tenth year just before he went on his Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet confided to Fatimah, as a secret not yet to be told to others:

" Jibril recited the Quran to me and I to him once every year, but this year he has recited it with me twice. I cannot but think that my time has come."

On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet did become seriously ill. His final days were spent in the apartment of his wife Aishah. When Fatimah came to visit him, Aishah would leave father and daughter together.

One day he summoned Fatimah. When she came, he kissed her and whispered some words in her ear. She wept. Then again he whispered in her ear and she smiled. Aishah saw and asked:

"You cry and you laugh at the same time, Fatimah? What did the Messenger of God say to you?" Fatimah replied:

"He first told me that he would meet his Lord after a short while and so I cried. Then he said to me: 'Don't cry for you will be the first of my household to join me.' So I laughed."

Not long afterwards the noble Prophet passed away. Fatimah was grief-striken and she would often be seen weeping profusely. One of the companions noted that he did not see Fatimah, may God be pleased with her, laugh after the death of her father.

One morning, early in the month of Ramadan, just less than five month after her noble father had passed away, Fatimah woke up looking unusually happy and full of mirth. In the afternoon of that day, it is said that she called Salma bint Umays who was looking after her. She asked for some water and had a bath. She then put on new clothes and perfumed herself. She then asked Salma to put her bed in the courtyard of the house. With her face looking to the heavens above, she asked for her husband Ali.

He was taken aback when he saw her lying in the middle of the courtyard and asked her what was wrong. She smiled and said: "I have an appointment today with the Messenger of God."

Ali cried and she tried to console him. She told him to look after their sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn and advised that she should be buried without ceremony. She gazed upwards again, then closed her eyes and surrendered her soul to the Mighty Creator.

She, Fatimah the Resplendent One, was just twenty nine years old.

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