Al Qur’an: The biggest ever challenge!


The Qur’an is the ultimate and definitive Holy book revealed upon the final Prophet, Muhammad PBUH exclusively intended for the everlasting guidance and enlightenment of the entire mankind. Staunch belief in the divinity of Qur’an is a prerequisite to faith and constitutes one of the pillars of Eemaan.

Prior to the bestowing of Qur’an, Allah SWT revealed divine books – Psalms, Gospel, Torah and other holy scriptures for the betterment of the people. Instead of sanctifying, they unfortunately distorted the illustrated heavenly message beyond its reason, rendering it enormously imprecise from its authentic form. Allah SWT reprimands, “So woe to those who write the scripture with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.” [Al Baqarah; 2:79].

Quran

To counter this scandalous act, Allah SWT revealed the Holy Qur’an as an affirmation to the previous books. Allah SWT mentions, “And it was not (possible) for this Qur’an to be produced by other than Allah SWT, but (it is) a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of the (former) Scripture, about which there is no doubt from the Lord of the worlds.” [Yunus; 10:37].

Almighty Allah SWT ensures the accuracy of divine message by safeguarding Qur’an against addition. HE says, “Indeed, it is WE who sent down the message (i.e., the Qur’an), and indeed WE will be its guardian” [Al Hijr; 15:9]. Such is the purity of Qur’an that not even a single word of it has ever been altered or tampered despite countless attempts being made in past which were all defeated.

Narrated by Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “Every Prophet was given miracles because of which people believed, but what I have been given, is Divine Inspiration which Allah has revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will outnumber the followers of the other Prophets on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari and Muslim]. The Prophet PBUH was especially entrusted with the miraculous Qur’an that confronted mankind to create something akin to it.

Initially, Allah SWT challenged the disbelievers to produce at least ten chapters like that of Qur’an. The Almighty said, “Or do they say, “He invented it”? Say [O Muhammad], “Then bring ten surahs like it that have been invented and call upon (for assistance) whomever you can besides Allah, if you should be truthful”. [Hud; 11:13]. And then ALLAH SWT offered them relatively easier task to produce a single chapter like that of HIS book, The glorified Lord mentioned, “And if you are in doubt about what WE have sent down (i.e., the Qur’an) upon Our servant (i.e., Prophet Muhammad PBUH), then produce a surah (chapter) the like thereof and call upon your witnesses (i.e., supporters) other than Allah, if you should be truthful”. [Al Baqarah; 2:23]. Subsequently HE dared the skeptics to come up with one single verse. Allah SWT says, “Then let them produce a statement like it, if they should be truthful”. [At-Tur; 52:34]

The pagans, although believed to be most eloquent among all nations, developed tremendous hatred and enmity against the Prophet PBUH and his religion for being unsuccessful to withstand and respond to the challenge. Allah SWT befittingly mentions, “But if you do not, and you will never be able to…” [Al Baqarah; 2:24] signifying that they will never be able to confront the glorious Qur’an. This is indeed a miracle that ALLAH SWT has clearly stated without doubt that the noble Qur’an will never be opposed or challenged by anything alike for eternity.

The content of Qur’an has not been modified till date and shall never be amended. Every word and meaning in the Qur’an is eloquent and cannot be surpassed. The expressions in the Qur’an are perfect and its meanings are explained. The one who recites the holy Qur’an realizes that it reflects various levels of superiority through the apparent and obscured meanings that it reveals.

The Qur’an is true, just and complete with bless and guidance. It is devoid of exaggerations, myth or falsehood, unlike Arabic and other types of poems full of fabrication. As for the Qur’an, it is entirely eloquent in the most perfect manner, as those who have knowledge in such matters and understand Arabic methods of speech and expressions concord. The more frequent Quranic stories are repeated, the more beneficial and beautiful they become. The mystique of Qur’an seldom fades, nor do the scholars ever get bored with it. When the Qur’an promises, it opens the hearts and the ears, making them eager to attain the abode of peace – Paradise – and to be the neighbours of the Throne of the Most Beneficent.

It is impossible to ever produce something like the Qur’an, when the Qur’an is the Word of Allah SWT Who created everything. How can the words of the created ever be similar to the Words of the Creator? The challenge becomes audacious when Allah SWT the almighty, “Say (O Muhammad), “If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistance” [Al Isra; 17:88]. It implies that speech of the Lord of all that exists incomparable to the language of the created beings, just as HIS attributes are unique. Nothing resembles HIS existence. Exalted is HE, the Most Holy, and the Sublime.

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Umar bin Abdul Azeez, Fifth righteous Caliph


Hazrath Umar bin Abdul Aziz is popularly acknowledged as “Al-Khalifat-us-Saleh” (The pious Caliph) or “Al-Khalifa Al Khamis” (The fifth righteously guided Caliph). He was the son of Abdul Aziz (Governor of Egypt) and Umm-i-Aasim (grand-daughter of the Caliph, Hazrath Umar RA). Born in 63 A.H. (682 A.D.) in Halwan, a village of Egypt and pursued education in Medina under the auspices of his maternal uncle, Abdullah Ibn Umar. Student life in Medina, renowned as the pinnacle of learning in Islamic world at the time, was immensely instrumental in moulding his life on every aspects of Islamic code. Umar bin Abdul Aziz married Fatima, daughter of his uncle, Caliph Abdul Malik.

Appointment as Caliph

In 706 AD, he was appointed as the Governor of Medina by Caliph Waleed. The Umayyad Caliph, Sulaiman Bin Abdul Malik nominated Umar Bin Abdul Aziz as his successor. On his death, the mantle of Caliphate fell upon Umar Bin Abdul Aziz who reluctantly accepted it.  Relinquishing all pomp and pageantry, the pious Caliph returned the royal charger, refused security and deposited the entire Caliphate equipment in the Bait-ul-Maal (Government Exchequer) thereby shunning the entitled luxury. He longed for commoner life and preferred to abode in a small tent. Upon being queried about his downheartedness, the Caliph responded, “Is it not a thing to worry about? I have been entrusted with the welfare of such a vast empire and I would be failing in my duty if I did not rush to the help of a deprived person.” Thereafter, he ascended the pulpit and delivered a masterly sermon mentioning, “Brothers! I have been burdened with the responsibilities of the Caliphate against my will. You are at liberty to elect anyone whom you like.” But the audience unanimously cried out with one voice that he was the paramount personality for the esteemed high office. Thereupon the pious Caliph advised his people to observe steadfastness on the path of piety. He empowered his subjects to withdraw their oath of allegiance to him, if he ever wavered from the path of ALLAH SWT.

Administration

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was a competent administrator, well versed in his obligation towards this world and the Hereafter. He was extremely hard working and seldom enjoyed rest. His rule was envisioned based on Caliph Umar’s administration model. According to Imam Sufian Thauri, there are five pious Caliphs namely Abu Bakr, Umar Farooq, Uthman, Ali and Umar Bin Abdul Aziz.

Though his rule was brief, it is eminent for reinstallation of   democratic process which was left in the lurch by his predecessors. He replaced corrupt and tyrannical Umayyad administrators with accomplished and just ones. The primary act post assumption of office was restoration of the properties confiscated by the Umayyads to their rightful owners. He was hardly free from the burial ceremonies of Caliph Sulaiman and wished to take a short respite. His son reminded him whether if he would rest before dealing with cases pertaining to confiscated properties. He replied, “Yes, I would deal with these after taking rest.” “Are you sure, that you would live up to that time?” asked the son. The father kissed his dear son and thanked Allah SWT for blessing him with a virtuous son. He immediately dealt with the matter. He surrendered all his movable and immovable properties to the public treasury including a ring presented to him by Caliph Waleed. His faithful slave, Mazahim was deeply moved at this uncommon sight and asked, “Sir, what have you left for your children?” “ALLAH”, was the reply. SUBHANALLAH !!

Public Works Department

The public welfare institutions received greater stimulus. Thousands of public wells and inns were constructed throughout the expanse of vast empire. Charitable dispensaries were established. Government funded travelling expenses for the destitute travelers.

Crisis handling

The house of Umayyads, accustomed to luxuries at the expense of the common man, revolted against the revolutionary decree of the Caliph and bitterly protested against the disposal of their age-long properties.

To diffuse the crisis, the Caliph invited some prominent members of the House of Umayyads for dinner and advised his cook to delay meal preparation. As the guests were groaning with hunger, the Caliph ordered his cook to hurry up. At the same time he asked his men to bring some parched gram which he himself as well as his guests ate to their fill. Minutes later, dinner was served and the guests refused saying that they had satisfied their appetite. Thereupon the pious Caliph spoke out, “Brothers! when you can satisfy your appetite with a simple diet, then why do you play with fire and usurp the properties and rights of other.” These words pierced the conscience of the nobles of the House of Umayyads, rendering them to tears.

Compassion towards the poor

Once his wife witnessed him weeping after his prayers; she inquired reason for his grief; he replied: “O! Fatima ! I have been appointed as the ruler of Muslims and I am concerned about the poor that are starving, the sick that are destitute, the naked that are in distress, the oppressed that are stricken, the strangers  that are in prison, the venerable elders, one with a large family and modest means, and the likes of them in countries of the earth and the distant provinces, and I anticipate that my Lord would hold me accountable for them on the Day of Resurrection, and I fear that no defense would avail me, and I wept.”

 Benevolence

His promising son, Abdul Malik, advised his father to be severe in introducing his beneficial reforms. The wise father responded, “My beloved son, your proposal can be realized only by sword, but there is no good in a reform that necessitates the use of the sword.”

A Guest house for underprivileged was constructed from the funds of Bait-ul-Maal. His servant burned the firewood of this guest house to heat water for his ablution. He forthwith replaced the same quantity of firewood. On another occasion, he refused to use the water heated from the State charcoal. Umar Bin Abdul Aziz never dwelled in the Khansara’s government palatial buildings and instead chose to camp in the open.

Austerity

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was a loving father but he never pampered his children with luxuries and comforts. Once he sought audience with his favorite daughter, Amina but she could not appear as she was improperly dressed. Her aunt came to know of it and purchased necessary garments for his children.

 He never accepted any presents from anyone. Once, a person presented a basket full of apples. The Caliph appreciated the apples but refused to accept them. The Caliph clarified his stance, “No doubt, those were presents for the Prophet, but for me this will be bribery.”

 End

A slave of the Caliph was bribed to administer the deadly poison. The Caliph having felt the effect of the poison, detained the slave and questioned the rationale for his action. The slave replied that he was given one thousand dinars to accomplish the task. The Caliph deposited the amount in the public Treasury, acquitted the slave and advised him to abscond from the place immediately, lest anyone might kill him. Thus, he breath last in 719 A.D. at a youthful age of 36 at the place called Dair Siman (The convent of Siman) near Hams.

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was one of the noblest souls that ever subsist in this world. His martyrdom plunged the Islamic world into gloom. It was a day of national mourning: the populace of the small town came out to pay their last homage to the departed leader. He was buried in Dair Siman on a piece of land he had purchased from a Christian. He reportedly left behind only 17 dinars with a will that out of this amount, the rent of the house in which he died and the price of the land in which he was buried would be paid.

The Rights of a Neighbour


Islam is a religion that preaches and advocates humanity. It envisions us to dwell in a peaceful milieu with an abundance of love and unity. It instructs us to be harmonious and maintain best relationship with our neighbours. ALLAH SWT directs the command in holy Quran, “Worship ALLAH and associate nothing with HIM, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hand possess. Indeed, ALLAH does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful “ [An-Nisa 4: 36]. Narrated by ‘Aisha RA, that the Prophet PBUH said, “Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbours kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs”. (Bukhari)

Our rights towards a related neighbour are amplified, since besides being a neighbour, he is also a relative. In this respect, the closest neighbour is more rightful than a relatively far neighbour. Narrated by ‘Aisha RA: I queried, “O ALLAH’s Apostle! I have two neighbours. To whom shall I send my gifts?” He said, “To the one whose gate is nearer to you.” (Bukhari)

Our beloved Prophet PBUH mentioned, “Anybody who believes in ALLAH and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour.” (Bukhari). The harm stated in this hadith can be implied as physical, mental or even emotional. Narrated by Abu Hurairah, The Prophet used to say, “O Muslim ladies! A neighbour should not look down upon the present of her neighbour even it were the hooves of a sheep”. Looking down might hurt the neighbour emotionally. (Bukhari).

In another hadith, he said, “He cannot enter paradise whose neighbour is not safe from his evils” (Bukhari, Muslim). The evil constitutes major and minor vices. The greatest possible harm to a neighbour is the harm inflicted to his house members. Narrated by Ibn Masud: I said ‘O ALLAH’s Apostle! Which sin is the greatest?” He said, “To set up a rival unto ALLAH, though HE alone created you.” I said, “What next?” He said, “To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.” I further asked, “What next?” He said, “To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbour.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet said, “The neighbour has more right to be taken care of by his neighbour (than anyone else).” (Bukhari). Abu Hurairah RA said that the Prophet PBUH mentioned, “No one should prevent his neighbour from fixing a wooden peg in his wall.” (Bukhari). However, if this wooden peg is bound to affect the wall of the owner, then it is not permitted.

Those who disregard Islam as a religion opposed to peace and humanity, are in fact prejudiced to demean such a beautiful and absolute way of life, i.e. Islam. This wonderful faith, while emphasizing on developing best terms with the neighbour, does not differ if the neighbour is a non-muslim or a foe. In fact, these humane manners may leave a good and lasting impact in attracting non-muslim towards Islam and may appeal the enemy to lend a hand of friendship. Imam Bukhari has mentioned in his book, ‘Al Adabul Mufrad’ that once a sheep was slaughtered for Abdullah bin Amr RA so he began asking his servant repeatedly, “Did you present (some of it) to our jew neighbour?” On similar lines, Prophet PBUH said, “A person who has eaten to his fill while his neighbour is starving of hunger cannot be a muslim”. Even during adverse condition, the Prophet PBUH has advised us to take care of our neighbour. The Prophet PBUH said, “O Abu Zar! If you happen to cook broth, then add some water in it so that you share it with your neighbour”. Glory be to ALLAH! Do they not yet feel ashamed to malign such a religion of high esteem?

In conclusion, upholding good relationship, and treating your neighbour appropriately is an aspect of faith in Islam. Only if we could translate the wise and blessed teachings illustrated in Quran and hadith into action, this world will certainly be a better place to live with peace and brotherhood dominating our daily lives.

Love of Prophet PBUH: AN OBLIGATION


To love the Prophet PBUH is a supreme act of iman. It is indeed he, who bestowed us the true religion (of Islam), inculcated manners in us, guided us through every stride of our lives, and endowed us through his Sunnah, a recipe for successful life here and hereafter. Many at times the proclamation of love for our adored Prophet PBUH renders null and void by mere utteration. We either don’t accomplish the requirements of his love or else confine his love to make-believe boundaries suited to our liking. A true lover of Muhammad PBUH is the one who devotes self to the teachings of Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH. Allah SWT mentions, “Say (O Muhammad), if you should love Allah, then follow me, (so) Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Al-Imran 3:31]

Beloved becomes dearer as the love blossoms and bonds them together. Mostly love, the most special feeling within our hearts, will cease to exist if it is pre-occupied by other emotion. The only fear a lover constantly bears is the pain of separation. Alhamdulillah, he who faithfully loves the Prophet PBUH is guaranteed that he be won’t apart from the beloved Prophet PBUH even in hereafter. Narrated by Anas RA, a Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! When will The Hour be established?” The Prophet responded, “Woe to you, what have you prepared for it?” The Bedouin replied, “I have not prepared anything for it, except that I love Allah SWT and His Apostle.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We (the companions of the Prophet) said, “And will we too be so? The Prophet affirmed, “Yes” So we became very glad on that day,” [Bukhari]. Allah SWT says, “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of the truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions,” [An-Nisa 4:69].

A Muslim is he who adores the Prophet PBUH more than his parents, his children, his belongings and even more than himself. Reported by Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet PBUH said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is, none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children,” [Bukhari]. In another narration by Anas RA, it is stated “none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children and all mankind,” [Bukhari]. It is important to note that in both these hadiths, the Prophet PBUH has sworn upon ALLAH SWT which depicts the graveness of the subject matter. A person’s faith is incomplete until his love for the Prophet PBUH is complete and absolute. Abdullah-bin-Hisham RA narrated: We were with the Prophet and he was holding the hand of Umar bin Al-Khattab. Umar said to Him, “O Allah’s Apostle! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then Umar said to him, “However, now, by ALLAH, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O Umar, (now you are a believer),” [Bukhari]

A believer can experience the bliss and sweetness of Islam when he possesses the love of Allah SWT and His Messenger PBUH. Anas RA narrated that the Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith:

  1. The one to whom ALLAH and His Apostle become dearer than anything else.
  2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake.
  3. Who hates to revert to disbelief (atheism) after Allah has brought (saved) him out from it, as he hates to be thrown in fire.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

ALLAH SWT has stringently warned his slaves to beware if the desire for any worldly possessions, or materialistic life, or its temporary pleasures, etc exceeds the love for Allah SWT and HIS Prophet PBUH. Allah SWT declares, “Say (O Muhammad), if your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” [Al-Taubah 9:24]. This is a cautionary advice to wait for what will befall of Allah SWT’s punishment and torment. May Allah SWT engross HIS love in our hearts and protect us from this obscured retribution.  Aameen

Ali bin Abi Talib RA


Ali RA was one of the four sons of Abu Talib, the leader of Banu Hashim. He was the youngest (born 10 years before Muhammad PBUH was raised as a Prophet). Pitying his poverty, Muhammad PBUH took him under his guardianship. He was one of the earliest converts to Islam when the Prophet PBUH started his call to Islam. His young age did not an obstacle for him to stay away from Islam and remained steadfast on it until he met his end.

When the pagans entered the Prophet’s house after knowing about his plans of migration to Madina, they found Ali RA sleeping in the Prophet’s bed. He was instructed by the Prophet PBUH to handover all the things which were left in his trust, to their owners, before he too left Makkah. The Quraish roughed him up, because they wanted to bring harm to the Prophet PBUH. They detained him in the Grand Mosque for sometime but released him later. A few days later, Ali RA trekked his way to Madinah, arriving there with swollen feet. This brought tears to the Prophet’s eyes.

His entire life was sacrifice and courage personified. At Badr, the Prophet PBUH let him loose on the three Quraysh fighters who challenged duals. Ali RA, the least experienced in war, took on Waleed ibn ‘Utbah and beheaded him in no time. It will not be out of place here to mention that at that time, Ali RA was just about 20 years.

After the battle of Badr, Ali RA requested the Prophet PBUH for Fatima’s hand. He agreed and a paltry sum of 400 Dirham was decided as the amount of Mahr. Ali RA and Fatima’s life was an example of detachment from the worldly pleasures. Their hut had no furniture and the pair went hungry quite often. When the hardships turned beyond endurance, they would go to the Prophet’s house seeking a slave or a servant. Fatimah complained that the skin of her hand was torn from running the mill-stone and Ali RA complained that he suffered chest pain from working as a bucket puller irrigating Jewish orchards. Rather than giving them what they had asked for, the Prophet PBUH told them, ‘’Sing the praises of your Lord, a hundred times before you go to bed. This is better than what you have asked for’’.

At Uhud 3 H, the pagan flag was held by Talha bin Uthman. Several times the man challenged someone to meet him in duel. Finally, Ali RA fought him and Talha fell down as Ali RA severed his leg. Ali RA then abandoned him .When the war broke, Ali RA fought so hard that he received sixteen injuries. By now Ali RA seemed to have gotten good war skills. The only Prophetic campaign from which Ali RA abstained was when he was placed in charge of Madina, while the Prophet PBUH marched to Tabuk. By placing Ali RA at Madina, and marching out with a force of 10000, to a destination, thousand kilometres away, leaving behind hundreds of hypocrites, the Prophet PBUH left the message to them that if they misbehaved, they will find the person left in charge no easy man to deal with.

Then came the final assignment. In the 10th year after Hijra, Ali RA was sent to Yemen as a Judge and a caller to Faith. The Prophet PBUH was eager to win the Yemenis to Islam without any military confrontation. Success came up smiling and the Prophet was extremely pleased to receive their delegates arriving at Madina to enter into allegiance and receive religious instructions. It is from Yemen that Ali RA arrived at Makkah to perform Hajj with the Prophet PBUH.

Ali RA remained close by during the Prophet’s final illness. He was the one who stepped into the grave while burying the last Messenger of Allah. Bukhari reports that Ali RA’s son Muhammad ibn Hanaffiyah asked Ali RA about who was the best of men after the Prophet PBUH. He answered, ‘’ Abu Bakr’’. He asked, ‘’who after him?’’. He answered,’’ Umar’’. Muhammad added that if he asked ‘’who thereafter’’, Ali RA would have said, ‘’Uthman’’, and so he desisted.

The relationship of Ali RA with Abu Bakr and Umar was that of mutual love and respect. When Ja’far, Ali RA’s brother died, Abu Bakr RA married his widow. Ali RA used to wear a certain apparel quite often in winters. When someone asked the reason, he said, ‘’ Why not? It was gifted to me by my friend Umar.’’ Ali RA gave his daughter Umm Kulthum to Umar in marriage. Ali RA, who said that none were dearer to the Prophet PBUH than Abu Bakr RA and Umar RA, named one of his sons as Abu Bakr RA and another Umar RA.

Usman’s death left Ali RA shatteringly dismayed and devastatingly traumatised. After the death of Uthman, Ali RA was unanimously chosen as the next Caliph, in the Prophet’s Mosque. Restoring law and order in Madina was his first major task. The rebels in thousands were freely roaming the town. Uthman’s murderers were also among them but his wife could not identify them. Since the rebels were outsiders, identifying the killers among them was not easy. Slowly pressure started building on Ali RA to apprehend the killers of Uthman. But it was not an easy task since there was no police or no standing army as in today’s world. To make matters worse for Ali RA, the rebels started playing dirty tricks and claimed themselves as Ali RA’s supporters. Ali RA loathed them and his disapproval of them was spoken out in every public address that he delivered.

The rebels wrongly but deliberately started claiming that Ali RA was shielding the murderers of Usman RA. Slowly a core group of the Sahaba demanded that the murderers of Usman be brought to book. Chaos and confusion was reigning supreme. This gave rise to new problems every day and so didn’t give enough time to Ali RA to focus on running the state and bringing about peace. Mu’awiyyah was still not pledging his allegiance to Ali RA on the grounds that Ali RA was not doing anything about punishing the murderers of Usman.

Ali RA asked Abdullah ibn Umar to become the Governor of Syria, but he refused and fled to Makkah.

Ali RA could not arrest the killers of Usman because they were not identified and in the ensuing chaos it became extremely difficult for him to focus on arresting the culprits. In the meantime, Mu’awiyyah remained with his hold on Syria which he extended to a province between Northern Iraq and Syria. Even Egypt subsequently came under him.

On the other hand, Aisha, on her way back from Hajj received the news of Usman’s murder. She returned to Makkah. Talha and Zubayr met her there and the three decided to launch a movement demanding punishment of Usman’s killers. The three along with some other companions decided to first go to Basra to seek their help and then move on to Kufa. When they reached Basra a huge number of people joined them. In the face of these developments, Ali RA also decided to leave for Kufa. They were about a hundred people when they started from Madinah but after reaching Kufa, 6000-7000 people joined them. Some Basrans also joined them and their number rose to about 12000.

But in the meantime, efforts were made for reconciliation. Their efforts at reconciliation succeeded as Zubayr, Talha and Aisha agreed to join hands with Ali RA to find out the killers of Uthman. This development did not go down well with the hypocrites, rebels and the Saba’ians who tried to create misunderstanding between them and unfortunately succeeded. The Saba’ians, during a secret meeting decided that they should strike each other in the pre dawn hours to start off a war. They had placed their men near Ali RA, Talha and Zubayr. The Saba’ians falsely told them that the other party had betrayed and had struck. In this way, a fight ensued due to misunderstanding. It continued till afternoon when Ali RA, Talha and Zubayr reAli RAsed that there was something wrong. They tried to stop the fight but were not successful. Zubayr was murdered by a Saba’i, Ibn Jurmooz. Talha too received a blow and he was carried to Basra where he died.

Having heard the news of the battle, Aisha came out of Basra. Aisha was on a camel (Ja’mal in Arabic and hence the Ja’mal battle). The Saba’ians targeted her, but her companions stood before her camel like a wall. Finally Ali RA sent her brother Abd al-Rehman ibn Abi Bakr and another man to gore the camel she was riding and escort Aisha safely to one of the tents. With this smart move, Ali RA was able to stop further bloodshed and bring this fight to an end.

Ali RA arranged for Aisha RA to be taken to Madina. Forty ladies of noble families were chosen to escort her right upto Madina. Ali RA followed the caravan out of the town for some distance. She announced that whatever had happened, there was never any bitterness between the two, even before she came out seeking retribution for Uthman’s murder.

Mu’awiyyah remained seeking justice for Usman. Ali RA had written several times to him to submit but he refused. Ultimately, Ali RA decided to prepare a force and invade Syria. Mu’awiyyah also marched out with a force of around sixty thousand to camp at Siffin. The two armies faced one another for more than two months without any full fledged battle, because both wished to avoid violence. Finally the war started between the two sides. The battle lasted full three days. By the fourth day it had become obvious that the victory will be for Ali RA’s forces. But ultimately both the sides stopped fighting. After this battle a group of people broke away from Ali RA who later came to be known as Khawarij. Their number soon swelled to about ten thousand. They had very strange beliefs. They considered those Muslims as unbelievers who did not agree to their thinking.

Most of the area east of Iraq as well as in its north rebelled against Ali RA’s Governors, refusing to send the Kharaj money to him. This weakened his government. Ultimately Ali RA had to give in and sign a truce with Mu’awiyyah in 40H that said that Syria would remain under Mu’awiyyah while Iraq would be for Ali RA. The Khawarij planned to kill Ali RA, Mu’awiyyah and Amr ibn al-Aas, all at the same time. They agreed on attacking the three on a particular day with poisoned swords. A person named Ibn Muljam attacked Ali RA as he emerged from his house for prayers. His sword did not fail and struck a fatal blow to Ali RA. The other two of assassins assigned to murder Mu’awiyyah and Amr ibn al-Aas failed.

Three days later, on 21st Ramadan, 40H, at the age of 63, Ali RA succumbed to the injuries. His burial place is unknown. Several tombs have been identified but to no certainty.

ISLAMIC APPROACH TOWARDS VACATIONS


Students and parents expectantly anticipate vacations. They provide much needed break from hectic day-to-day schedule and form vital part of our lives. Vacations might be a boon if time is efficiently managed or could be bane if left slackly. Many a time vacations fall prey to unorganised and poor planning which reaps little or no benefit at all.

The religion of ALLAH SWT paves way for individuals’ rest and relaxes. A companion of the Prophet PBUH by the name of Handhalah Ibn ‘Aamir, RA complained ALLAH’s messenger that the intensity of his imaan diminishes when he in the company of wife and children (as opposed to the time when he was in the companionship of Prophet PBUH). ALLAH’s apostle responded by saying: “A time for this and a time for that” (Bukhari & Muslim) which means an hour of worship to enhance one’s imaan, and an hour of dedicating life for family being within the tenets of Islam to enrich imaan. ‘Ali Ibn Abu Taalib, RA used to say: “Relax your hearts and find some means of entertainment for them, because they become apathetic just as bodies get fatigued.”

One of the most exasperating habits cultivated during vacation is that of staying up for night and sleeping during the day thereby skipping dawn prayers. The widespread ill practices of vacations are gluing eyes to the television sets, surfing online, frequenting social networks, gaming addiction, so on and so forth. The content available on said media is most of times contemptible and leads to immense destruction.

Children reading QURAN

On contrary, vacations provide golden chance to unwind and analyse our lives. We should contemplate whether we are being better Muslims or the other way round. Plan your holidays such that it can provide you prospect of spiritual recharge. It presents us an ideal opportunity to boost one’s deen (religion).  Parents must ensure that their children offer all the obligatory prayers in congregation which may not be possible during school. Improve and enhance recitation of holy Quran. Initiate efforts to memorize parts of glorious Quran and learn ahadith of our beloved Prophet PBUH. Employ time in studying Seerah of prophets and sahaba. Foster the habit of implementing Sunnah in every walk of our lives. Endeavour to enlight our future generation with the awareness and beauty of Islam. It is an utter disgrace for us that our children are capable of solving complex problems pertaining to math and physics but possess little or no knowledge of our Prophet and his companions. More importantly, warrant vacations to be sin free.

In most cities there are arrangements for Islamic summer camps which provide an ideal atmosphere to learn deen (religion). Parents must try and get in touch with the organisers and enrol their wards in these camps. Most of these camps provide coaching as well as edutainment to children in order to make the course lively.

Vacations can be spiritually enriching for both parents and kids provided if engaged islamically. It is an excellent occasion for us to develop our kids’ character and uplift their Imaan! Let us pray and hope that inshALLAH these holidays are source for our salvation. Aameen

The Messenger of ALLAH PBUH said:“The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Hajj: Journey towards salvation


The holy pilgrimage of Hajj is fifth pillar of Islam. Let’s get enlightened about this obligation. Hajj was made obligatory in 9th Hijri (Islamic lunar calendar). Islamic terminology defines Hajj as a specific journey to the holy city of Makkah on the prescribed days of Zil-Hajj (Islamic month).

“learn rituals from me.” Prophet Muhammed PBUH

Hajj is a compulsion on a believer when one meets the two criterions of physical health, to perform the challenging obligation and sufficient wealth to accomplish the journey. The Quran says, “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to ALLAH for those who can afford the journey.” [Al Imran 2:97]

While explaining the above mentioned verse of Quran, Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever can afford this journey to the sacred House, by provision and transportation and he does not make the pilgrimage, there is no blame if he dies as a Jew or a Christian. This is because Allah SWT says, “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to ALLAH for those who can afford the journey.” [Al Imran 2:97]

All Scholars and Islamic Jurists are in agreement that, one who denies the importance of Hajj will be deemed out of the folds of Islam. The severity of opinion of the second Caliph of Islam, Omar bin Al-Khattab, about those Muslims who abstain from performing their Hajj as early as possible, could be gauged by one of his suggestions: he proposed to one of his cabinet members that Jizya (tax imposed on non-muslim for their welfare in an Islamic State) shall be levied on those who refrain to fulfil this Islamic obligation (Hajj) without any genuine rationale.                                                                                            

A number of traditions of Prophet of Islam PBUH speak about the virtues of Hajj. Once, the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked: What is the best deed? He stated “Belief in Allah and His Messenger PBUH.” He was then asked: What next? He said “Jihad in the way of Allah.” He was again asked: ‘What next? He replied: “The Hajj which is preformed correctly and accepted by Allah.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

He PBUH also said: “One Umrah until the next Umrah is an expiation for what is between them. And the Hajj that is accepted by ALLAH and performed properly has no reward other than Paradise.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Furthermore, for women in Islam, Hajj is their Jihad. When the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked, whether a woman is required to take part in Jihad or not? He replied: “Yes, upon them is Jihad which does not contain fighting: Hajj and Umrah.” [Sahih by Shaikh Al-Albanee in Irwa al-Ghaleel fi-Takhreej Ahadeeth Manar al-Sabeel]

Also, Ibn Umar (RA) reported the Prophet PBUH saying: “The one who fights for the sake of ALLAH and the pilgrim who goes for Hajj or Umrah are all guests of Allah. HE called them and they responded; they ask of HIM and HE will give them.” [Termed Hasan by Shaikh Al-Albanee in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah]

It is universal fact that believer cannot sustain without the mercy and help from Allah SWT. Hence to be successful it is crucial to establish and strengthen our relationship with our Sustainer Allah SWT. Man is a servant of Allah and he ought to live like one. This relation is best established while performing Hajj. When one analyzes the rituals of hajj, every step will make us feel we are nothing more than the dust. Pride is crushed paving way for hidayah (guidance).                                                                                               

One, who desires to strengthen ones relationship with Allah, should be willing and prepared for any kind of sacrifice for its creator. The holy Quran explains this concept in a very unique manner. “Say! My life, my Prayer and my Death everything is for the sake of Allah.” This is the most important thing that every pilgrim realizes “I am for Allah and I must be ready to sacrifice everything for Him.”

The second aspect which every pilgrim learns is that Hajj must be performed according to Sunnah of Prophet. Prophet said“learn rituals from me.” Thereby it inculcates a habit to adopt Sunnah in all walks of life. Subhanallah

Let me conclude by quoting a hadith of the holy Prophet PBUH: “Hurry to perform Hajj (the obligatory one), as none of you knows what may happen to him.” [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee]