Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Distressed Persons

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has related: 
“Three persons from the tribe of Bani Israel got together and started out on a journey.  On the way, clouds gathered above them and it started to pour with rain and so they sought shelter in a nearby cave.
Suddenly, a large boulder slipped and blocked the entrance to the cave, trapping the three inside and transforming the day into a dark night for them.  They had no other alternative except to turn to God for help.
“Let us use our sincere deeds as a means to obtain deliverance from this predicament,” suggested one of them. 
All the others agreed with the suggestion.

One of them said, “O’ Lord! You are aware that I have an extremely attractive cousin and that I was infatuated and obsessed with her.  One day, finding her alone, I took hold of her and wanted to satisfy my carnal desires, when she spoke out to me saying: O’ My cousin!Fear God and do not harm my chastity’. Hearing this, I crushed my lustful tendencies anddecided against the evil act.  O’ Lord!  If that deed of mine had been out of absolute sincerityand only for the purpose of acquiring Your pleasure, deliver us from grief and perdition.”  Suddenly they witnessed that the huge boulder had moved away a little, faintly brightening up the interior of the cave.

The second person spoke out,“O’ Lord! You know that I had a father and a mother, so old that their bodies had bent over due to their excessive age, and that I used to tend to them regularly.  One night, having brought them their food, I observed that both of them were   asleep.  I passed the entire night near them, the food in hand, without waking them up for fear of disturbing them.  O’ Lord!  If this deed of mine had been only for the sake of Your pleasure and happiness, open up a way for us and grant us salvation.” 
As he completed his speech, the group noticed that the boulder had moved aside a little more.

The third person supplicated, “O’ Knower of every hidden and manifest! You know Yourself that I had a worker who used to work for me.  When his term had reached its termination, I handed over to him his wages, but he was not pleased and desired more and, in a state of dissatisfaction and displeasure, he went away.  I used his wage to purchase a goat, which I looked after separately and very soon I had a flock in my possession.  After a period of time,the worker again approached me for his wage and I pointed towards the flock of sheep. Initially, he thought I was ridiculing him, but later, realizing my seriousness, took the entireflock and left.[30]  O’ Lord! If this act had been prompted by sincerity and had only been for Your pleasure, deliver us from this quandary.” 
At this point the entire boulder moved aside from the mouth of the cave and all three emerged from it, joyous and ecstatic, and continued their journey.[31]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Brothers of Prophet Yusuf (a.s.)

Years after the incident when the brothers of Yusuf (a.s.) had deceptively taken him outside the city, beaten him and flung him into the well thereby forcing their father into perpetual weeping and anguish over his loss, the brothers heard that Yusuf had become the king of Misr. They and their father went to meet him.

The very first sentence which Yusuf uttered upon seeing them, was: And He was indeed kind to me when He took me out of the prison[ Holy Qur’an, ch. Yusuf (12), vs. 100 ]

Apparently, it was out of courtesy that Yusuf desisted from mentioning the troubles he had experienced; first being flung into the well, then his subsequent slavery and then unpleasant incidents, which he had to endure due to the acts of his brothers. He did not wish to revive those bitter memories, which would cause them to experience mortification and embarrassment.

 He then added, “It was Shaitan who incited my brothers to commit those inappropriate deeds towards me, hurling me into the well and separating me from my father; however, the Glorious God exhibited kindness towards me in that he made those very acts a means for granting eminence and reverence to our family!”

Attributing the unjust acts of his brothers to Shaytan and regarding him as the prime culprit for the crimes of his brothers, was another example of Yusuf’s (a.s.) magnanimity. He thus shielded them from embarrassment and left them with an opportunity to apologize for their deeds.

He said:
“There shall be no reproof against you, (from) this day. [Holy Qur’an, ch. Yusuf (12), vs. 92.]   You can rest assured with respect to me, for I have forgiven you and chosen to disregard all that has happened previously, and on behalf of God too, I can give you this good news and seek from Him that Allah may forgive you and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful. [ Holy Qur’an, ch. Yusuf (12), vs. 92. ]

“Surely he who guards (against evil) and is patient (is rewarded) [Holy Qur’an, ch. Yusuf (12), vs. 90]for surely Allah does not waste the reward of those who do good.” [Taareekh-e-Anbiya, pg. 334-347 ]

Friday, April 6, 2012


In the darkness of the jet-black night, when eyes were asleep and voices were silent, a Heavenly procession left Ali's house while carrying the Messenger of Allah's daughter to her final abode.
This was on the night of the third (3rd) of Jamadi Al-Thani (the second), 11 A.H.
The heartbreaking procession moved towards an unknown location followed by a small number of devoted ones. They were Ali , Hasan, Husain, Zainab and Um Kulthum... Abu Dhar, Ammar, Miqdad, and Salman were following them. Where are the thousands who inhabited Medina?
One asks, and the answer came: Fatima (A.S) requested that they may not be present at her funeral! The family and their friends hurry to bury Fatima…then they rush back to their own homes so that no one would know where Fatima was buried!
At sunrise people gathered to participate in Fatima's funeral, but they were informed that the darling of Allah's Messenger (P.B.U.H.) had been secretly buried during the night.
Meanwhile, Ali (AS) made the shapes of four fresh graves in Baqi' so as to conceal the location where Fatima was buried. When the people entered the graveyard, they were confused as to which spot was actually Hazrat Fatima Zahra's grave; the people turned towards each other and with feelings of guilt said:
"Our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) has not left behind but one daughter, yet she has died and was buried without our participation in the funeral or the prayer rituals. We do not even realize the place where she has been buried!"
Noticing that a revolt might be ignited because of the emotional atmosphere this event created, the governing party announced:
"Select a group of Muslim women and ask them to dig these graves so that we may find Fatima and perform prayers on her."
Yes! They attempted to execute the plan, violating Fatima's will and causing Ali's (AS) attempts to hide the grave to lie vainly.
Have they forgotten Ali's sharp sword and his well-known courage!!
Did they really think that Ali would remain indifferent to their outrageous actions up to the point of letting them dig Fatima's grave?
Imam Ali (A.S) did not fight back after the Prophet's (PBUH) death because he considered the Muslim's unity and overall interests. Yet, this did not mean that he would ignore their villainous crimes against Fatima even after her death. In other words, Ali (A.S) was asked by the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to have patience, but only to a certain extent; when Ali (P.B.U.H.) received the news of the about-to-be-executed plot, he put on his fighting gear and rushed towards Baqi'.
A man from among the people called out:
"This is Ali Ibn Abu Talib leveling his sword and saying:
'If anyone moves even a mere stone from these graves, I shall strike even the "back of the last follower of the unjust.”
People, who realized Ali's seriousness, took his threats with complete belief that he would do just as he said if anyone were to oppose him.
Yet, a man from the governing ones addressed Ali (A.S) by saying:
"What is the matter, Abu Al-Hasan? By Allah, we shall dig her grave out and perform prayers on her."
Ali (A.S) then grabbed the man by his clothes shook him and threw him to the ground and said;
“Son of the Sawada! I have abandoned my right to prevent people from forsaking their faith, but as regards Fatima’s grave, by Him in whose hand is my soul if you and your followers attempt to do anything to it, I will irrigate the ground with your blood!"
At this, Abu Bakr said;
'Abu Al-Hasan, I ask you by the right of Allah's Messenger and by Him who is above the Throne: leave him alone and we will not do anything, which you would not approve of.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prophet Nuh (a.s.)

Hadhrat Nuh (a.s.) lived a very long and difficult life which resulted from his spending a lot of time among stout idol worshipers, attempting to rid them of their false beliefs.  However, in spite of this, he persevered and exhibited steadfastness, withstanding their tortures and troubles.

At times, the people would beat him up to such an extent that for three whole days he would be in a state of unconsciousness while blood continued to ooze out of his ears.  They would pick him up and throw him in a house but upon regaining consciousness, he would pray:

“O’ Lord!  Guide my people for they comprehend not!”

For approximately nine hundred and fifty years, he invited people towards God, but the people only increased in their rebellion and obstinacy. They would bring their children towards Nuh (a.s.), point him out to them and say:

“O’ Children! If you happen to remain alive after us, beware that you do not follow this insane person!”

Then, they would say to him,“O’ Nuh!  If you do not stop your speeches, you shall be stoned to death.  These people who follow you, are base and ignoble ones, who have listened to your talks and accepted your invitation without the slightest of reflection and deliberation.”

When Nuh (a.s.) spoke to them, they would insert their fingers into their ears and pull their clothes over their heads so that they would neither hear his words nor see his face.  The situation reached such an unbearable point that Nuh (a.s.) saw no alternative but to seek God’s help and so he supplicated:

“O’ Allah!  I am overpowered.  Assist me and grant me relief from them.” 
Taareekh-e-Anbiya, pg. 48-52.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Every Hijabi has a Story

Hajar Sakhi, a Rhodes College student from Nashville, was working at a fast-food restaurant in high school. One day, a customer looked at her wearing a uniform visor over her headscarf and started laughing. He left without ordering.
"My manager said, 'You're lucky we hire your kind,'" Sakhi said.

Irem Khan, a Rhodes student and White Station High grad, was with her mother at a gas station one day. They had just left a holiday celebration. As they were gassing up their Honda, a man next to them asked if the gas was running low because it was being used to burn more Qurans.
"He started laughing and began to make more snide remarks, indirectly at us, claiming that if those 'Maazlems' could do 9/11 to us, we could do whatever to them," Khan said.

Lettia Shaw, the daughter of an Alabama Baptist, was in her Cordova front yard when two guys driving by in a truck started shouting obscenities at her. "Until my husband stood up and they saw him, at which point they shut up," Shaw said.

Those were some of the stories told this week by Muslim women in Memphis who have chosen -- for personal and religious reasons -- to wear hijabs, or headscarves, in public.
The Hijabis, who spoke at separate events Monday evening at the University of Memphis and Tuesday evening at Rhodes College, say they are used to dirty looks and disdainful comments. But lately, they are feeling a bit more anxiety.

Last week, a Hijabi in California, a 32-year-old mother of five, died after being severely beaten in her home by a killer who left a note that reportedly said, "Go back to your own country. You're a terrorist."

Just about every Hijabi has heard the T-word and other forms of verbal abuse. All have felt threatened in some way. But the Hijabis who spoke this week about their experiences said they never have been physically attacked, or knew any Hijabis who had.

"Memphis is better than most places," said Noor Eltayech, a Cordova High grad who helped organize Tuesday's "Hijabi for a Day" event at Rhodes. "There's a lot more tolerance here. Most people here treat us with respect. But what happened in California has all of us more concerned."

Eltayech, Khan and Sakhi are the only Hijabis at Rhodes. On Tuesday, they were just three among dozens. More than 100 female students and professors at Rhodes wore hijabs on campus -- to raise awareness about why Muslim women choose to cover their heads, and as a show of interfaith tolerance and solidarity.

About 100 male students and faculty joined in by wearing brimless kufi caps.

"It's really hot," said Hannah Breckenridge, a sophomore and Baptist from Memphis who wore a hijab Tuesday for the second time in her life. The first time was two summers ago at an Interfaith Youth Core meeting in Atlanta, where a man spit on her as she was walking down the street.

"It was scary," said Breckenridge, who brought the "Hijab for a Day" idea to campus. "We're doing this because we want people to realize that behind every hijab is a real person."

Eltayech said some non-Muslim students initially opposed the event, saying they view the hijab as a symbol of male dominance and oppression. But Hijabis in Memphis say it's just the opposite.
"It's a woman's choice to cover or not," said Eltayech, whose parents are from Jordan and who decided to wear a scarf at age 13. She wore a hijab while playing soccer at Cordova High.

"No man has ever told me to cover my head. I chose to cover my head because of my faith and because I want people to see me for my brains, my intellect, and my behavior first, not my hair or my body."
The Quran advises women and men to dress modestly. Some Islamic scholars say modesty requires a woman to cover her entire body, including her hands with gloves and her face with a veil. Others say a woman can leave her face, hands and feet uncovered, and cover her head with a scarf. Still others just say a woman should not dress like a prostitute.

"We wear the hijab because God wants us to," said Shaw, a mother of five who talked about her Hijabi experiences at a program about Islam on Monday evening at the U of M.
"God loves women and has enjoined modesty through hijab in order to protect herself from harm, injury and mischief. She wears it knowing it gives her dignity, beauty and respect."

Not all Hijabi stories are scary.

"One day, I was at Wolfchase mall at the carousel, and a little girl about 3 or 4 was with her mother," Shaw said. "When she saw me, she turned around and asked her mom, 'Mommy, is that Jesus' mother?' "