Category Archives: Islam & Society

Family: All Created From One Soul

Al-Araf (The Heights)

Chapter 7 : Verse 189

All Created From One Soul

«“It is He who has created you all from a single soul, and out of it brought into being its mate, so that he might incline with love towards her.” »

It is thus a single soul and a single nature, although it has different functions for the male and the female. These differences also serve as a means to make a man incline with love towards his wife and find comfort with her. This is the Islamic outlook on the nature of man and the role of marriage. It is a complete, integrated and honest outlook stated by this religion over fourteen centuries ago when other religions that had deviated from the right path used to consider the woman as the root of human misery. She was looked on as a curse, an impurity and a tool for seduction that man should guard against as much as he could.

The original purpose of the meeting of a human couple is to provide love, comfort, and a settled happy life, which provides an ideal setting for the rearing of young children. It is in such a happy and loving environment that a new human generation is prepared to take over the task of promoting and adding to human civilization. The meeting of a human couple is not meant only to satisfy a fleeting desire or give a temporary pleasure. Nor is it made the basis of a quarrel, or a stage for a conflict between rules and specializations, or for a duplication of such rules and specializations. Ignorant communities, past and contemporary, have often fallen into such traps.

Author : Sayyid Qutb

Family: Being Good To Your Parents

In today’s rapid-paced life, we often tend to get so busy that we forget our parents’ rights. Family values have significantly dropped in our lives, and our friends often become more important to us than our own relatives.

What better can emphasize the good treatment of our parents than the following verse from the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning) {And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) “Ugh” nor rebuke them, and speak to them in honorable terms} [Qur’an Al-Israa 17:23]. There are two noteworthy conclusions that may be noticed from this verse. First, Allah the Exalted has called for good treatment of parents immediately after ordering us to worship Him. This proves the importance of being kind to our parents and the elevated status in which Allah (SWT) has placed parents in our lives. Second, He has ordered us not to utter even the least of inappropriate comments to them; thus it is very surprising that some people yell at their parents or even tell them to shut up.

Furthermore, when Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked which deed was the best, he replied: “The prayer at its appointed hour”. He was asked: “Then what?”, to which he replied: “Kindness to the parents”. Again he was asked: “Then what?”. He replied: “Earnest struggle (Jihad) in the cause of Allah [Muslim].”

Whether or not you live with your parents, or if both of them are still alive, here are some tips to a good relationship with them:

If you live with your parents

Bring something home every now and then. For example, buy them a gift or a cake whenever you receive your paycheck.

Make sure to spend time with them every day, whether it be for reciting Qur’an or reading hadiths together, conducting household chores, or just plain friendly talk.

Take them out. My mother is extremely happy when I go out for a walk with her.

Obeying whatever they ask you to do, as long as it complies with Islam.

If you don’t live with your parents

Visit them regularly — say once a week or every two weeks.

If you are unable to visit them often because you live far away for example, then do the next best thing and call them frequently. Also, you may send them letters, and don’t forget greeting cards on Islamic occasions (Ramadan, Eid, etc.)

If one or both of your parents have passed away
In the authentic hadith, a man came to the Prophet (may peace be upon him) and asked him whether he can do any good for his parents after they passed away. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) told him to do the following:

· Supplication and istighfar for them,
· Executing their will,
· Connecting with relatives that are likely to be cut with the parents’ death, and
· Honoring their friends

In another hadith, the Prophet (may peace be upon him) also taught us that among the good deeds that benefit one who has passed away is a ‘righteous son that supplicates for him/her.’

Difficulties with parents

Reverts to Islam often tend to face difficulties with their non-Muslim parents. Likewise, Muslims who take up new acts of worship might get into unpleasant situations with them. Although one should not abandon such acts of worship in order to obey one’s parents, one should still retain a good relationship with both parents and treat them kindly. Allah the Exalted has ordered us to obey our parents even if they are non-Muslims – but, once again, as long as what they ask complies with Islam. Conditions such as this require a good deal of patience and can be considered opportunities to show your parents that your newly-found beliefs have actually made you better and closer to them.

Finally, I would like to close with the supplication of prophet Ibrahim (may peace be upon him) as in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning) «“My Lord! Make me keep up prayer and from my offspring (too), O our Lord, and accept my prayer: O our Lord! grant me protection and my parents and the believers on the day when the reckoning shall come to pass”» [Ibrahim 14:40-41]

Source : Islamway

Family: Courtship In Islam

The most common questions I get from young people are, “Do Muslims date?” and “If they don’t date, how do they decide whom to marry?”

“Dating” as it is currently practiced in much of the world does not exist among Muslims — where a young man and woman (or boy/girl) are in a one-on-one intimate relationship, spending time together alone, “getting to know each other” in a very deep way before
deciding whether that’s the person they will marry. Rather, in Islam pre-marital relationships of any kind between members of the opposite sex are forbidden.

The choice of a marriage partner is one of the most important decisions a person will make in his or her lifetime. It should not be taken lightly, nor left to chance or hormones. It should be taken as seriously as any other major decision in life – with prayer to God, careful investigation, and family involvement.

So in today’s world, how do young Muslim people manage? When a young person decides to get married, the following steps often take place:

The young person makes du’a (prayer) for Allah(God) to help him or her find the right person.

The family enquires, discusses, and suggests candidates. They consult with each other to narrow down potential prospects. Usually the father or mother approaches the other family to suggest a meeting.

The couple then agrees to meet in a chaperoned, group environment. This is done because the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Not one of you should meet a woman alone unless she is accompanied by a relative (mahram).” (Bukhari/Muslim). The Prophet (peace be upon him) also reportedly said, “Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan (Shaytan) is the third among them.” (Tirmidhi). When young people are getting to know each other, being alone together is a temptation toward wrongdoing. At all times, Muslims should follow the commands of the Qur’an (24:30-31, their Holy book, to “lower their gaze and guard their modesty….” Islam recognizes that we are humans and are given to human weaknesses, so this rule provides safeguards for our own sakes.

Next, the family investigates the candidate further by talking with his/her friends, family, Islamic leaders, co-workers, etc. to learn about his or her character.

The couple prays salat-l-istikhara (a certain prayer for guidance)to seek Allah’s help in making a decision.

After that, the couple agrees to either pursue marriage or part ways. Islam has given this freedom of choice to both young men and women – they cannot be forced into a marriage that they don’t want.

This type of focused courtship helps ensure the strength of the marriage, by drawing upon family elders’ wisdom and guidance in this important life decision. Family involvement in the choice of a marriage partner helps assure that the choice is based not on romantic notions, but rather on a careful,
objective evaluation of the compatibility of the couple. That is why these marriages often prove successful.

Author : Huda Dodge
Source : About.com Islam guide

Family: Marriage In Islam

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are
signs for those who reflect”
(Quran 30:21).

“O Humans revere your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your
mutual rights”
(Quran 4:1).

The above verses of the Quran lay out the framework as to what are the basis, the objectives and the goal of marriage in Islam. In the ultimate Wisdom of Allah we are first told that both partners man and woman are
created from the same source. That this should be paid attention to as it is one of His signs.

The fact that we come from the same soul signifies our equality as humans, when the essence of our creation is the same, the argument of who is better or greater is redundant. To stress on this fact and then to talk
about marriage in the same verse is of great significance for those of us who are in the field of marriage counseling.

The shift in this attitude of equality of genders as human beings cause a imbalance in marital relationship that leads to dysfunctional marriage. When ever one party considers themselves superior or above the
law there is a shift in the balance of power that may lead to misuse or abuse of power as the less valuable partner is seen as an easy prey. Many marital difficulties are based on or caused by control and rule stratagem.

By stressing on the equality of all humans men or women and making it the basis of marriage, Allah in His infinite wisdom has laid the ground rules for
establishing peace, as well as the assigning of different roles to husband and wife as functional strategy rather than a question of competence as
humans.

Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has stated that: “men and women are twin halves of each other” (Bukhari). This Hadith also brings home the fact that men and women are created from single source. Furthermore, by using the analogy of twin half the Prophet has underlined the reciprocal nature and the interdependent nature of men and women’s relationship.

The objective and the goal of marriage in Islam according to the above Quranic verse is to enable us to dwell in peace and tranquility. It is important for us to reflect on these words and their significance in
the Islamic frame of reference.

In order to have peace certain condition must be met.
These prerequisites to peace are Justice, Fairness, Equity, Equality, and fulfillment of mutual rights.
Therefore any injustice whether it is oppression, or persecution, cannot be tolerated if there is to be peace in Muslim homes.

In the domestic realm oppression is manifested when the process of Shura (consultation) is compromised, neglected or ignored. When one partner (in most cases the husband) makes unilateral decisions and applies
dictatorial style of leadership, peace is compromised. Persecution is present when there is any form of domestic abuse being perpetrated.

Tranquility on the other hand is a state of being which is achieved when peace has been established.
Tranquility is compromised when there is tension, stress and anger. It is a mistake to take tranquility to mean perpetual state of bliss. Since being Muslims does not make us immune to tragedies and catastrophes.

In fact Allah tells us in the Quran that we will betried (2:155,57). What a state of tranquility does is to empower us to handle life’s difficult moments with our spouses as obedient servants of Allah. Allah in His infinite Mercy also provides us with the tools by which we can achieve this state of peace and tranquility.

The second principle besides Shura on which the Islamic family life is based is Mercy (Rehma), and in this verse Allah is telling us that He has placed
mercy between spouses. We are therefore inclined by our very nature to have mercy for our spouses. Mercy is manifested through compassion, forgiveness, caring and humility.

It is obvious that these are all ingredients that make for a successful partnership. Marriage in Islam is above all a partnership based on equality of partners and specification of roles. Lack of mercy in a marriage or a family renders it in Islamic terms dysfunctional.

Allah further states that He has also placed in addition to mercy, love between spouses. It should however be noted that Islamic concept of love is different from the more commonly understood romantic love so valued in the Western cultures.

The basic difference is that love between man and woman in the Islamic context can only be realized and expressed in a legal marriage. In order to develop a healthy avenue for the expression of love between man and woman and to provide security so that such a loving relationship can flourish, it is necessary to give it the protection of Shariah (Islamic law).

Marital love in Islam inculcates the following:

Faith: The love Muslim spouses have for each other is for the sake of Allah that is to gain His pleasure. It is from Allah that we claim our mutual rights (Quran 4:1) and it is to Allah that we are accountable for our behavior as husbands and wives.

It sustains: Love is not to consume but to sustain. Allah expresses His love for us by providing sustenance. To love in Islam is to sustain our loved
one physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, to the best of our ability (to sustain materially is the husbands duty, however if the wife
wishes she can also contribute)

Accepts: To love someone is to accept them for who they are. It is selfishness to try and mould someone as we wish them to be. True love does not attempt to crush individuality or control personal differences,
but is magnanimous and secure to accommodate differences.

Challenges: Love challenges us to be all we can, it encourages us to tap into our talents and takes pride in our achievements. To enable our loved one to realize their potential is the most rewarding experience.

Merciful: Mercy compels us to love and love compels us to have mercy. In the Islamic context the two are synonymous. The attribute Allah chose to be the supreme for Himself is that He is the most Merciful.
This attribute of Rehman (the Merciful) is mentioned 170 times in the Quran, bringing home the significance for believers to be merciful. Mercy in practical application means to have and show compassion and to
be charitable.

Forgiving: Love is never too proud to seek forgiveness or too stingy to forgive. It is willing to let go of hurt and letdowns. Forgiveness allows us the opportunity to improve and correct our selves.

Respect: To love is to respect and value the person their contributions and their opinions. Respect does not allow us to take for granted our loved ones or to ignore their input. How we interact with our spouses reflects whether we respect them or not.

Confidentiality: Trust is the most essential ingredient of love. When trust is betrayed and confidentiality compromised, love loses its soul.

Caring: Love fosters a deep fondness that dictates caring and sharing in all that we do. The needs of our loved ones take precedence over our own.

Kindness: The Seerah (biography) of our beloved Prophet is rich with examples of acts of kindness, he showed towards his family and particularly his wives. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in word or deed. To love is to be kind.

Grows: Marital love is not static it grows and flourishes with each day of marital life. It requires work and commitment, and is nourished through faith when we are thankful and appreciative of Allah blessings.

Enhances: Love enhances our image and beautifies our world. It provides emotional security and physical well being.

Selflessness: Love gives unconditionally and protects dutifully.

Truthful: Love is honesty without cruelty and loyalty without compromise.

Author : Shahina Siddiqui
Source : Soundvision

Family: Paradise At Mother’s Feet

Where do you find Paradise? The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.”

This is variously interpreted to mean that the mother is responsible for teaching her children their religious obligations and good behavior that will win them Paradise; or it may mean that we earn Paradise by serving our mother throughout her life.

Either way, it shows the great esteem, honor and respect that Islam has for mothers. While the fourth Commandment in the Bible is Honor thy father and thy mother, the Bible does not mention the mother separately as deserving good treatment.

The Qur’an, in contrast, gives special recognition to the mother’s suffering in bearing and nursing her child: “And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents: In travail upon travail did his mother bear him and in two years was his weaning. Show gratitude to Me and to your parents” (31:14). (see themodernreligion.com under women)

Women are more psychologically fitted to nurturing, more compassionate and patient

Today in the Muslim world, even where many of the precepts of Islam are ignored, Westerners are often amazed at the gentle, loving treatment that parents receive. An Arab proverb says if you want to know how a man will treat his wife, look how he treats his mother.

Becoming a mother is one of the greatest joys of a Muslim woman. She knows that her child is both a gift and a trust from God. She carries a great
responsibility in raising a family, not only in caring for their physical needs, but also in educating them in their religion and morals.

For this and other reasons, Islam calls upon all Muslims, male and female, to be educated, for how can a woman teach her children when she herself is
ignorant?

Islam also recognizes that, compared to the man, the woman is by nature more psychologically fitted to nurturing, more compassionate and patient. For that reason, Islam decrees that husbands must maintain their wives and children, and it encourages mothers with young children to remain at home with their children rather than work outside the house. And, in case of divorce, custody of young children goes to the mother.

All this respect and honor goes to the mother, even if she is a non-Muslim, and also to maternal aunts. Thus the woman does not cut from her own family when she marries, but her children continue to honor the kin relationships of both their mother and father.

Author : Flfwine Mischler
Source : Islam Online

Family: Polygamy In Islam

Polygamy has been practiced by mankind for thousands of years. Many of the ancient Israelites were polygamous, some having hundreds of wives. King Solomon (peace be upon him) is said to have had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. David (Dawood) had ninety-nine and Jacob (Yacub, peace be upon them both) had four. The advice given by some Jewish wise men stated that no man should marry more than four wives.

No early society put any restrictions on the number of wives or put any conditions about how they were to be treated. Jesus was not known to have spoken against polygamy. As recently as the seventeenth century, polygamy was practiced and accepted by the Christian Church. The Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) have allowed and practiced polygamy in the United States.

Monogamy was introduced into Christianity at the time of Paul when many revisions took place in Christianity. This was done in order for the church to conform to the Greco-Roman culture where men were monogamous, but owned many slaves who were free for them to use- in other words, unrestricted polygamy. Early Christians invented ideas that women were “full of sin” and man was better off to “never marry.” Since this would be the end of mankind these same people compromised and said “marry only one.”

In the American society many times when relations are strained, the husband simply deserts his wife. Then he cohabits with another woman immorally, without marriage. Actually there are three kinds of polygamy practiced in Western societies: (1) serial polygamy, that is, marriage, divorce, marriage, divorce, and so on- any number of times; (2) a man married to one woman but having and supporting one or more mistresses and (3) an unmarried man having a number of mistresses. Islam condones but discourages the first and forbids the other two.

Wars cause the number of women to greatly exceed the number of men. In a monogamous society these women, left without husbands or support, resort to prostitution, illicit relationships with married men resulting in illegitimate children with no responsibility on the part of the father, or lonely sisterhood or widowhood.

The truth of the matter is that monogamy protects men, allowing them to “play around” without responsibility. Easy birth control and easy legal abortion has opened the door of illicit sex to woman and she has been lured into the so-called sexual revolution. But she is still the one who suffers the trauma of abortion and the side effects of the birth control methods. Taking aside the plagues of venereal disease, herpes and AIDS, the male continues to enjoy himself free of worry. Men are the ones protected by monogamy while women continue to be victims of men’s desires.

Polygamy is very much opposed by the male dominated society because it would force men to face up to responsibility and fidelity. It would force them to take responsibility for their polygamous inclinations and would protect and provide for women and children.

Among all the polygamous societies in history there were none, which limited the number of wives. All of the relationships were unrestricted. In Islam, the regulations concerning polygamy limit the number of wives a man can have, while making him responsible for all of the women involved.
“Marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one or one that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.” (Qur’an 4:3)

This verse from the Qur’an allows a man to marry more than one woman, but only if he can deal justly with them.

While the provision for polygamy makes the social system flexible enough to deal with all kinds of conditions, it is not necessarily recommended or preferred by Islam. Taking the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is instructive. He was married to one woman, Khadijah, for twenty-five years. It was only after her death when he had reached the age of fifty that he entered into other marriages to promote friendships, create alliances or to be an example of some lesson to the community; also to show the Muslims how to treat their spouses under different conditions of life.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was given inspiration from Allah about how to deal with multiple marriages and the difficulties encountered therein. It is not an easy matter for a man to handle two wives, two families, and two households and still be just between the two. No man of reasonable intelligence would enter into this situation without a great deal of thought and very compelling reasons (other than sexual).

The bottom line in the marriage relationship is good morality and happiness, creating a just and cohesive society where the needs of men and women are well taken care of. The present Western society, which permits free sex between consenting adults, has given rise to an abundance of irresponsible sexual relationships, an abundance of “fatherless” children, many unmarried teenage mothers; all becoming a burden on the country’s welfare system. In part, such an undesirable welfare burden has given rise to bloated budget deficits, which even an economically powerful country like the United States cannot accommodate. Bloated budget deficits have become a political football, which is affecting the political system of the United States.

In short, we find that artificially created monogamy has become a factor in ruining the family structure, and the social, economic and political systems of the country.

It must be a prophet, and indeed it was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who directed Muslims to get married or observe patience until one gets married. ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud reported Allah’s Messenger as saying, “Young man, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for it keeps you from looking at strange women and preserves you from immorality; but those who cannot should devote themselves to fasting, for it is a means of suppressing sexual desire.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Islam wants people to be married and to develop a good family structure. Also Islam realizes the requirements of the society and the individual in special circumstances where polygamy can be the solution to problems. Therefore, Islam has allowed polygamy, limiting the number of wives to four, but does not require or even recommend polygamy.

In the Muslim societies of our times, polygamy is not frequently practiced despite legal permission in many countries. It appears that the American male is very polygamous, getting away with not taking responsibility for the families he should be responsible for.

According to statistics, there are more women than men and women live longer than men. There would be many women without a partner, so Islam has a way to deal with that.

Family: The Basis Of Family

Unlike some other religions that consider celibacy a great virtue and a means of salvation, Islam considers marriage to be one of the most virtuous and approved of institutions. There is no monasticism in Islam. Further, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) urged all those who can afford to provide for a wife to marry, as marriage is the legal means by which to avoid lewdness and immorality. Since family is the basic unit of society, Islam lays great emphasis on the family system and its values. The basis of family is marriage. Islam prescribes rules to regulate family life so that both the spouses can live in tranquility, security and love. Marriage in Islam has aspects of `ibadah (worship) of Allah (God) in the sense that it is in accordance with His commandments that a husband and wife should love and help each other and rear their children to become true servants of Allah (God). Marriage in Islam is a social contract that requires the consent of both parties. Neither the bride nor groom can be forced into a marriage. The man must give the bride a dower or gift called “mahr”. This is usually money, but it can be any gift according to his means. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) even allowed one of his poor Companions to marry a woman with his mahr being a promise to teach her some verses of the Qur’an. The dower goes to the bride, not her family, and she has the total right to decide what to do with it. Thus it is not, as some critics have said, a “bride price”. The man also has the total responsibility to pay the household expenses. Even if a woman is wealthy, she does not have to spend any of her money on the maintenance of herself or the couple’s children. In fact, many Muslim women do work outside the home. They can contribute to the household budget if they choose, and they receive the Heavenly reward for giving charity, but they are not required to do so. Every group needs a leader, and Islam gives that responsibility to the husband because he is the breadwinner. He should consult his wife on family matters, but the final decisions are his. The wife should lovingly obey her husband, even when she disagrees, to keep peace in the family and to win the pleasure of Allah (God). That does not mean that she is his slave and must wait on him hand and foot. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself helped his wives with housework. Furthermore, if a woman had a servant before marriage, she has the right to have a servant at her husband’s expense. A man and woman should enter into marriage with the intention of it being permanent, and Islam has many teachings on how husbands and wives should deal with each other lovingly. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the woman has the right to choose her husband; Islamic law does not permit her to be forced into any marriage. The wife also has the right to retain her family name and to keep and manage her own money from her work, inheritance, investments, gifts or other sources. It is her right to keep her money separate from her husband’s, and he has no right to it. While men and women should enter into marriages with the intention of it being permanent, Islam recognizes that people do sometimes make poor decisions or change. Thus, divorce and remarriage are allowed as a last resort after estranged couples have attempted to reconcile their differences with the help of family or other counselors.

Source : Islam Online

Family: What Does Islam Teach About The Family And It’s Roles

Praise be to Allaah. Before we find out about the role of Islam in organizing and protecting the family, we should first find out what the situation of the family was before Islam, and what it is in the west in modern times.

Before Islam, the family was based on mistreatment and oppression. All affairs were controlled only by men or in other words, the males, and women and girls were oppressed and humiliated. An example of that is that if a man died and left behind a wife, his son by another wife had the right to marry her and control her life, or to prevent her from getting married. Men were the only ones who could inherit; women and children had no share. They viewed women, whether they were mothers, daughters or sisters, as a source of shame, because they could be taken as prisoners, thus bringing shame upon the family. Hence a man would bury his infant daughter alive, as is referred to in the Qur’aan, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

«“And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonour or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision”» [al-Nahl 16:58]

The family in the broader sense, i.e., the tribe, was based on supporting one another in all things, even in wrongdoing. When Islam came, it did away with all that and established justice, giving each person his or her rights, even nursing infants, and even the miscarried foetus who was to be respected and prayed for (i.e., given a proper funeral).

When you examine the family in the west today you will find that families are disintegrating and the parents cannot control their children, whether intellectually or morally. The son has the right to go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants; the daughter has the right to sit with whoever she wants and sleep with whoever she wants, all in the name of freedom and rights. And what is the result? Broken families, children born outside marriage, (elderly) mothers and fathers who are not looked after. As some wise men have said, if you want to know the true nature of these people, go to the prisons and the hospitals and seniors’ homes, for children do not remember their parents except on holidays and special occasions. The point is that among non-Muslims the institution of family is destroyed.

When Islam came it paid a great deal of attention to the establishment of strong families and protecting them from things that could harm them, and preserving family ties whilst giving each member of the family an important role in life. Islam honoured women, whether as mothers, daughters or sisters.

It honoured women as mothers. “It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, who among people is most deserving of my good company?” He said, “Your mother.” He asked, “Then who?” He said, “Your mother.” He asked, “Then who?” He said, “Your mother.” He asked, “Then who?” He said, “Then your father.”” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5626; Muslim, 2548)

Islam honours women as daughters. “It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever has three daughters or three sisters, or two daughters or two sisters, and takes good care of them and fears Allaah with regard to them, will enter Paradise.”” (Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, 2/190)

And Islam honours women as wives. “It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of you are those who are best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.”” (Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, 3895).

Islam gave women their rights of inheritance and other rights. It gave women rights like those of men in many spheres. “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Women are the twin halves of men.”” (Narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan, 236, from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 216).

Islam encourages men to treat their wives well, and gives women the freedom to choose their husbands; it gives women much of the responsibility for raising the children. Islam gives fathers and mothers a great deal of responsibility for raising their children. “It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The man is the shepherd of his family and he is responsible for his flock. The woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock. The servant is a shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for his flock.” He said, I heard this from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 853; Muslim, 1829)

Islam paid a great deal attention to implanting the principle of respect for fathers and mothers, taking care of them and obeying their commands until death. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): «“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour”» [al-Isra’ 17:23]

Islam protects the honour, chastity, purity and lineage of the family, so it encourages marriage and forbids free mixing of men and women. Islam gives each family member an important role to play. So fathers and mothers take care of the children and give them an Islamic upbringing; children are to listen and obey, and respect the rights of fathers and mothers, on a basis of love and respect. Even our enemies have borne witness to the strength of family ties among the Muslims. And Allaah knows best.

Source : Islamway

Community & Society: Appearance Of New Diseases

Professor T.V.N.Persaud: I have no difficulty in my mind in concerning that this is a divine inspiration or revelation, which led him to relay the statement.

We present to you Professor T.V.N. Persuad who is the Head of the Department of Anatomy at the Medical School of the University of Manitoba in Canada. Professor Keith Moore introduced him to us and he thinks that there are free-minded scholars and scientists whose main preoccupation is searching for the Truth. Professor Persaud is one of those. He is well known in his field and has authored several books on obstetrics. He also includes in these books some Qur’aanic verses and prophetic ahadeeth and he also presented these verses and ahadeeth at several conferences that he attended.

Following is one of the Ahadeeth which Professor Persuad studied:
“”When forty-two nights have passed over the conceptus, Allah sends an angel to shape it and create its hearing, vision, skin, muscles and bones. Then the angel asks: O Lord, male will it be or female? And Allah decides what He wills and the angel records it.”” [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab Al-Qadar]

The prophetic hadeeth in this respect says:
When forty two nights have passed over the conceptus, Allah sends an angel to shape it and create its hearing, vision, skin, muscle and bones.

Dr. Persaud presented many researches concerning the relationship between both the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and modern science. The following is another hadeeth which Professor Persuad studied and made it the subject of one of his presentations:
“”If lewdness exists among people and then appears as a common and open practice, plagues and new diseases, which did not exist before, will spread among them.”” [Ibn Maajah, Al-Hakim]

Let us listen to Professor Persaud’s explanation of this hadeeth:
It is widely accepted that these malignant changes in the uterus cervix are related to the age of the woman, frequency of intercourse, and the number of partners. Several epidemiological studies have clearly indicated a significant correlation between exposure to multiple sexual partners and the high incidents of cervical carcinoma. The consequences and dangers of promiscuous sexual relationships and deviant sexual practices have been expressed in this Hadeeth some 1400 years ago. The word ‘lewdness’ encompasses adultery, fornication, I am told: homosexuality, bestiality, and all other sexual perversions, and it is not wide stretching of an imagination that we should consider Herpes and AIDS as clear examples of new diseases, and indeed at the present time new diseases for which we have no cure.

Today we can understand the significance of this hadeeth because homosexuality, prostitution and lewdness have become widespread and even legalized in many western countries. It was not many years after sexual revolution that these diseases, which Professor Persaud spoke of, have become widespread and some of them, such as AIDS, are constituting a serious health problem today. The words of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) are very exact. AIDS is a very good example of the kind of disease that did not exist in the previous generations, but which is now increasing at an alarming rate and many people are now too afraid that they might catch it.

To Professor Persaud, we must express our gratitude for his effort. When we asked him his opinion about this phenomenon which to himself is well known and which he has researched, he stated the following:

It seems to me that Muhammad was very ordinary man. He could not read or write. In fact, he was illiterate. We are talking about 1400 years ago, you have someone who was illiterate making profound pronouncements and statements which are amazingly accurate about scientific nature. I personally can’t see how this could be a mere chance, there are two many accuracies and, like Dr. Moore, I have no difficulty in my mind in concerning that this is a divine inspiration or revelation which led him to these statements.

These revelations have come to Prophet Muhammad, (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), from Allah. Allah sent it from His knowledge, as Allah Himself states:
«“But Allah bears witness that what He has sent unto thee He sent with His (own) knowledge.”» [Qur’aan 4:66]

This Book, the Qur’aan, is the Guide, The Proof, the Proven, and Ever-Lasting Truth among us until the Last Hour. «“This is no less than a reminder to (all) the worlds. And you shall certainly know the truth of it (all) after a while.”» (38:87-88)

Community & Society: Human Rights In Islam

Islam has been from its inception very concerned with issues of human rights. Privacy, freedom, dignity and equality are guaranteed in Islam. The holy Qur’an states clearly: «“There is no compulsion in religion.”»

And there are no reliable reports to confirm the old accusations that when the Muslim armies were expanding into Asia, Africa and Europe the people were put to the sword if they failed to convert to Islam. The best proof is that not only did the Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Hindus in those areas not perish or otherwise disappear, they actually flourished as protected minority communities, and many individuals rose to prominent positions in the arts, sciences, even in government.

The lives, property and privacy of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether or not the person is Muslim. Non-Muslims have freedom of worship and the practice of their religions, including their own family law and religious courts. They are obliged to pay a different tax (Jizyah) instead of the Zakah, and the state is obligated to provide both protection and government services. Before the modern era it was extremely rare to find a state or government anywhere in the world that was as solicitous of its minorities and their civil rights as the Islamic states.
In no other religion did women receive such a degree of legal and moral equality and personal respect.

Moreover, racism and tribalism are incompatible with Islam, for the Qur’an speaks of human equality in the following terms: «“Mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety.”»

Community & Society: Is Family Planning Allowed In Islam ?

The question of family planning and birth control was discussed in detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami. They had twenty three scholars research this topic and present their findings on this matter. The participants involved represented many different trends and schools of thought. Among the participants were Muhammad Ali al-Baar, Ali al-Saaloos, Muhammad Saeed Ramadhan al-Booti, Abdullah al-Basaam, Hasan Hathoot and Muhammad Sayid Tantaawi. Their proceedings, papers and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami (1988/1409 A.H.). These proceedings are 748 pages all about the question of birth control and related issues.

The following are important points related to the issue of birth control in Islam. These were mentioned by some of the participants in the above program:

The institution of marriage and the want to have children was the custom of the best of creation, the prophets and messengers chosen by Allah.
Allah says about them:

«“And indeed We sent messengers before you and made for them wivesand offspring”» (al-Raad 38)

The best example for the believers is the example of the prophet Muhammad (saw), who married and had children. These prophets and messengers are the people whom Muslims should look to emulate. Allah says:

«”They are those whom Allah has guided. So follow their guidance”» (al-Anaam 90)

They should be emulated and not the disbelievers of the West, whose new lifestyles – mostly out of concern for enjoying this life or obtaining as many worldly goods as possible – discourage women from having more children.

Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such purposes. The prophet (saw) made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: “I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me.” The prophet (saw) not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged marrying those women who are child-bearing. He stated: “marry the loving, child-bearing women for I shall have the largest numbers among the prophets on the day of Resurrection.” (Recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban.)

From the Islamic perspective, children are a gift and a blessing from Allah. Allah mentions some of the bounties that He has bestowed upon mankind in the following verse:

«“And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed upon you good provisions.”» (al-Nahl 72)

Allah also said:

«“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world.”» (al-Kahf 46)

The only true provider for all mankind is Allah. If Muslims follow what Allah has prescribed for them, Allah will provide for them.
Allah has warned about killing one’s children out of fear of poverty for either parents or the child. Allah says:

«“Kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them”» (al-Anaam 151)

Allah also says:
«“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin”» (al-Isra 31)

Hence, Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them.

Based on the above points and numerous others, the scholars who participated in the research on this question came up with the
following resolution:

It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom of spouses in having children.

It is forbidden to “permanently” end a man’s or a woman’s ability to produce children, such as by having a hysterectomy or vasectomy, as long as that is not called for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic framework.

It is permissible to control the timing of births with the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay it for a specific amount of time, if there is some Shariah need for that in the opinion of the spouses, based on mutual consultation and agreement between them. However, this is conditioned by that not leading to any harm, by it being done by means that are approved in the Shariah and that it not do anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy.

Author : by Jamaal Zarabozo

Social Issues: Humour In Islam

We are all drawn to people with a good sense of humour. Humour has the power of warming people’s hearts and lifting the spirits like no other human characteristic, and it provides a welcome break amidst the pressures of life.

Humour and joking are permitted in Islam. We learn this from several ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Abu Huraira radi allahu anhu said that the Prophet peace be upon him was told, “O Prophet of Allah, you are joking with us.” He said, “I only say what is true.” (Tirmidhi) Another Hadith relates that the Prophet would nickname Zainab bint Salama by repeatedly calling her ‘O Zuweinab’.

Other ahadith relate that the Prophet peace be upon him would play and joke with small children. Thus we see that joking is a Sunnah. Sufyan ibn Aiyna was asked, “Is joking prohibited?” He replied, “It is a Sunnah, but the point is that it must be done appropriately.” Many of the scholars agree. Umar said, “I admire a man who is like a child with his family (playful), and once he leaves them, he is more serious.” Thabit ibn Ubaid said, “Zayd ibn Thabit was one of the most humorous men in his home. Outside of his home, he was as serious as any man.” It is also related that Ibn Abbas asked some of his guests to have light and humorous conversation so that they would have a good time and not feel bored. Rabi’a said, “Virtue is made of six parts, three while in town (at the place of your home) and three while on journey. The first three are reciting the Qur’an, frequently being at the mosque, and spreading the way of Allah to other lands. The other three parts while travelling are spending, showing virtuous behaviour and joking in what Allah has permitted.” Ibn Abbas said, “Joking appropriately is permissible. For the Prophet joked but he said what was true.” Al ibn Ahmad Al Faraheedi said, “People would feel imprisoned if they did not joke”

On the other hand, some of the scholars have prohibited joking and they are supported by some ahadith. It is related that the Prophet said, “Do not be vague with others and do not joke.” (Tirmidhi) Another Hadith states that the Prophet said, “Everything has a beginning and hostility begins with joking.” Ja’far ibn Muhammad said, “Beware of joking for it causes embarrassment.” Ibrahim Al Nakh’I said, “Joking shows foolishness and arrogance.” Imam ibn Abdul Bar said, “Some of the scholars denounced joking for what it causes of offences, spite and malice between people.”

So how are we to compromise between these two views? Al Hafeth said, “What is prohibited is exaggerated or continuous joking as it distracts from worship of Allah and being serious about religious matters. This often leads to hard-heartedness, envy and loss of respect. Useful joking, which aims to calm people or entertain or relieve them for a short time is permissible.”

Types of Joking:

According to ibn Hayan, there are two types of joking. The first is preferred and defined as, “That which Allah has permitted, which commits no sin and does not lead to separation between people.” The second is the negative harmful kind, which is defined as, “Causes hostilities and sadness, and creates disrespect amongst people.” Outlining some of the benefits and harms of joking is beneficial in that it entertains, lifts the spirit and lightens the burdens of life, bringing people closer together. In describing this kind of joking, a man wrote, “Such humour does not hurt or criticize anyone. It leads a person from sadness to happiness, ceases the frown an allows people to relax and be themselves.” Joking defeats its purpose when it separates people, causes hostilities and envy between them.

Guidelines for Humour:

• Joking should not deviate from the truth. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “I only say what is true.”

• Joking should not become consistent in a person’s manner, for seriousness is also a virtue. Muhammad ibn Ar Rashid said, “The issues of Islam are more serious than to be dealt with jokingly. Smiling, joking, relaxing and laughing are certainly welcome at appropriate times and places. But at times of work, seriousness is called for.

• Bad language or reference to improper topics of conversation may not be subject of jokes.

• Joking must be at the appropriate time and place. Dr Adel Shuweikh said, “Humour is most welcome after the Fajr prayer. He is supported by what has been related by Sammak ibn Harb, “I asked Jaber ibn Samra if he spent time with the Prophet and he said, “Yes, the Prophet would often not leave the mosque after the Fajr prayer until the sun rose. They would be laughing and he would be smiling.” (Muslim).

He also said, “Another time for making light was after the ‘Isha prayer. Humour is permitted with family uncles and siblings. It is more preferred if it serves the purpose of advice and guidance, or if it creates friendship and warmth between people.” It is up to the person to decide whether the time is right for humour.

Thus it can be seen that it is the topic of humour and its effects, which determine whether or not it is permissible by Islam. Imam Nawawi said, “Joking is prohibited when it is excessive and consistent. It becomes ineffective and causes the heart to harden. It distracts a person from worship of Allah and concern with religious issues. It often causes harm, envy and disrespect. If these elements are absent from a joke, then it is what is permissible by Islam. The Prophet would use humour to reach people and draw them together.”

In any case, being modest and natural will, much of the time, serve the same purpose as joking. This is useful for people whom jokes do not come naturally. It is good to always remember in mind that humour must have a purpose in order to be fruitful. Joking is like adding salt to food. It must be measured and we must remember that some people do not eat food with salt. In other words, it is in appropriate to joke with some people.

Ad-Dhahabi related that Khalaf ibn Salim said, “We were at Yazeed ibn Haroun’s and he made a joke. Ahmad ibn Hanbal cleared his throat, and Yazeed said, ‘Who cleared his throat?’ When he found out who it had been, he put his hand on his forehead and cried, ‘Why didn’t you tell me Ahmad ibn Hanbal was here so I would not joke?”

At other times, joking may cause you to lose dignity. It is said, “Do not joke with children to the extent that they lose respect for you.” Ibn Hayan said, “Whoever jokes with an inappropriate person will lose that person’s respect, even if what he is saying is true. One should be selective with whom he jokes.” Ibn Al Muqafa’ said, “One should separate his behaviour between two groups of people. One group is made up of public. Here he should be serious and purposeful with every word he speaks. The other group is made up of people who are closer to him. With this group, he should be humorous and caring. Each of these behaviours will be beneficial and productive in the right place.”

Try to understand the people you deal with, in order to decide whether or not it is appropriate to joke with them. Such was the way of the Prophet, for he would not joke with all his friends. Here are a few points to keep in mind. Although it may seem common sense that we should be respectful when joking but many of us end up hurting someone’s feelings unintentionally. Humour is a great way to diffuse a bad situation, or ease an uncomfortable one but it must be used appropriately. Just as a knife is useful and necessary to prepare food, so it can cause you to bleed. Many people don’t realize it, but sarcasm is anger thinly veiled.

Points to remember:

• Is this time right time to joke?
• Is this an appropriate person to joke with?
• Is this an appropriate topic to joke about?
• Is this the right place?

Also remember these points while joking:

• Never criticize while joking.
• Do not impose jokes if they do not come naturally.
• Beware of excessive joking with certain individuals.
• Show respect to the person you are joking with, as the Prophet Muhammad did when he told a man he was joking with, “In the eyes of Allah you are great.”
• Monitor yourself when you are feeling humorous.
• Maintain good behaviour with people who make a mistake when joking with you. Do not answer harshly or stare back.
• It is better not to joke with someone when you meet for the first time.

We must be careful to maintain a Muslim code of behaviour and never harm another Muslim through humiliation or insensitivity. While joking we should implement all the above-mentioned points and maintain a good Muslim personality.

Source : Islamway

Social Issues: In Search Of Body Beautiful

There seems no limit nowadays to the extent that women (and men!) are prepared to go to in order to achieve that ‘perfect look’. Forget false eyelashes and wigs, we are now talking scalpels, implants and liposuction! Cosmetic surgery amongst film actresses has been commonplace for quite some time now, but these days, we wouldn’t be too hard pressed to find ordinary women on the street who are more plastic than real! Indeed, in some circles, having multiple facelifts has become a status symbol: the more you have, the higher you are in the status rankings. If questioned whether cosmetic surgery was Islamically correct or not, then without doubt, most Muslims would instinctively respond by saying that it isn’t, for the simple reason that it would be interfering with Allaah’s creation. And certainly, this would be the correct response. The Companion, Ibn Mas’ood, radiAllaahu ‘anhu, once said (quoting what he had heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say): “Allaah has cursed the tattooers and those who have themselves tattooed, and those women who have their teeth filed for beauty and those who have their [facial] hair plucked and thus alter Allaah’s creation.” A woman remarked, “What’s all this?” So Ibn Mas’ood – radiAllaahu ‘anhu – said: “Should I not curse one whom Allaah’s Messenger cursed? And it is in the Book of Allaah!” She said: “I have read the Qur’aan from cover to cover, but I did not find that in it.” He replied: “If you had read it thoroughly you would have found it. Allaah says, ‘Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it and whatever he has forbidden, retrain from it’” [Sooratul-Hashr (59): 7]. 1 So the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, forbade women from performing these three practices which the women commonly did for the sake of beauty in those days – seemingly ‘insignificant’ practices for which they would incur the CURSE of Allaah. And this forbiddance isn’t just restricted to the procedures mentioned in the hadeeth. Because Allaah says in more general terms in His Book: “So set your face truly to the faith, Allaah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind, [Let there be] no change in the creation of Allaah.” 2 [Soorah ar-Room (30): 30]. Therefore, it is obligatory for us to accept the creation of Allaah as it is, not making any alterations to it.3 More importantly though, it is obligatory on us to believe that all of Allaah’s creation is beautiful, because Allaah, the Khaaliq (Creator) does not create anything except with beauty and perfection, which is why He says to mankind: “You can see no fault in the creation of ar-Rahmaan [the Most Merciful]. Then look again: can you see any rifts? Then look again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out.” [Soorah al-Mulk (67):3]. This may all sound quite strange when we consider how often we hear women complaining about their appearance. In fact, it is estimated that over half of the Western women today actually perceive themselves to be ugly. In addition, surveys show that nearly all women feel under pressure to “look good”. As a result, the quest for beauty has become a serious preoccupation for many women. Open up any women’s magazine and you will not fail to find a single one which doesn’t contain tips on how to “look good”, or which don’t contain huge adverts promoting new creams that halt the aging process or hide wrinkles, etc. Beauty today is big business. Beauty contests are very profitable and – contrary to popular belief – more are spawned every year. The cosmetics market is a multi-billion dollar industry; the demand for cosmetic surgery is growing at a tremendous rate. All three industries promote the same notions of beauty that woman everywhere is expected to meet: mainly a white, European, “Barbie-doll” like standard. The pressures on women to conform to these standards are enormous and few are able to withstand them.4 The fact is that Western women today may complain that they are not treated with equality and respect, but it is they themselves who have made it acceptable for society worldwide to see women merely as beauty-objects who are there to be ogled by the men who in turn are the impolite voyeurs. When viewed in this light, we find that beauty contests are not too dissimilar to reality itself: just as the tallest, slimmest blonde girl gets the title in the beauty contest, in the real world it’s the tallest, slimmest blonde girl who gets the man! In Islam, beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, beauty is in the whole of creation, because Allaah – the One free of all imperfections – is the one responsible for it. And as Allaah says: “Your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses: no choice have they. SubhaanAllaah! And far removed is He from the partners they ascribe [to Him].” [Soorah al-Qasas (28):68]. So it is from the wisdom of Allaah that He has chosen to create some of us short, others tall, some fat, some thin, some dark-coloured, some light – all are beautiful and perfect in their own right. That is why we are taught from the Sunnah, the beautiful du’aa (supplication) that the Prophet, peace be upon him, would say: “O Allaah, as You have made my appearance beautiful, likewise make my character beautiful.” (Allaahumma kamaa hassanta khalaqee fa hassin khuluqee). 5 As Muslims, we must believe that evil and imperfection cannot be attributed to Allaah.6 The desire to change any aspect of ourselves means, in effect, that we are dissatisfied with Allaah’s choice and His handiwork, and that there is imperfection in what He has created. Thus to say about anyone or ourselves else that they or we are ugly is a great sin. This point was reinforced by the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he once saw the Companion, ‘Amr ibn Fulaan al-Ansaaree, radiAllaahu ‘anhu, whose izaar (lower garment) was hanging low (to the ground), so he, peace be upon him, ordered that he raise it. ‘Amr made an excuse saying that he had skinny shins (i.e. he was embarrassed to show them), so the Prophet responded by saying: “O ‘Amr! Verily Allaah – the Mighty and the Majestic – has created everything in the best form.” 7 All this is certainly not intended to discourage women to look after themselves and adorn themselves in lawful ways (e.g. wearing nice clothes, having nicely done hair, etc.). Indeed, adorning oneself is something that the wives are obliged to do for their husbands and Allaah rewards the woman who pleases the husband when he looks at her.8 But with these tremendous pressures on women to conform to the ideals set by the marketing media, it may be hard for Muslim women to resist feeling insecure or uncomfortable about their appearance. Consequently, many Muslim women have shed their hijaabs (headscarf) for the sake of following fashion; Muslim women too develop inferiority complexes about themselves. We must bear in mind that this search for the ‘body beautiful’ is, in reality, a deception from Shaitaan (Satan). Shaitaan has vowed that he will create such false desires in mankind. He has said (as stated in the Qur’aan): “Surely I will arouse in them [mankind] false desires; and certainly I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah.” [Soorah an-Nisaa’ (4):119]. May Allaah always keep us safe from the false promises of Shaitaan, for Verily He is the One who guides to the Truth.

——————————————————————————–
Notes
——————————————————————————–

1. Reported by Ibn Mas’ood and collected in Saheeh Muslim (English trans, vo1. 3, p.1166, no.5301). This incident is a good illustration of the status, which the Sunnah held in front of the Companions.

2. Note that this forbiddance applies to the whole of creation, not just human beings. Therefore, defacing any part of Allaah’s creation is haraam. By extension, this ruling also applies to all forms of genetic engineering, which are carried out on farm animals, for example, in order to procure more profitable meat from them.

3. This is with the exception of those things which have been prescribed in the Sharee’ah, e.g. clipping the nails, shaving the underarms and around the private parts, etc.

4. In fact, some women go to such extremes that it results in them developing health problems – anorexia nervosa – for instance. The carcinogenic nature of breast implants is also well documented now. No doubt, the future will reveal more harmful effects of these artificial means of changing creation.

5. One hadeeth which contains this supplication mentions that this du’aa should be recited on looking in the mirror. However, the chain (isnaad) of this hadeeth is not authentic. But it is authentically reported as a supplication to be recited at any time. (See Ibn Taimiyyah’s al-Kalimat-Tayyib with al-Albaanee’s footnotes.)

6. For an explanation of this important aspect of belief, please refer to The Prophet’s Prayer Described (p.15).

7. Saheeh – collected in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad (vo1.4, p.200).

8. See Musnad Ahmad, an-Nasaa’ee and others. Also, it is forbidden for the husband to invoke ugliness upon the wife -, as was a common practice amongst the pre-Islamic Arabs.

Science: Medicine Surgery – Albucassis

Albucassis, born near Cordoba in 936AD, was one of the greatest surgeons of his time. His encyclopedia of surgery was used as standard reference work in the subject in all the universities of Europe for over five hundred years.

The Muslim Scientists, Avicenna, Al-Razi and Zahrawi Abul-Oasim (also known as Albucasis or Al-Zahrawi) are among the very first of those who worked in the field of medicine. They have presented scientific treasures to the world, which are today still considered important references for medicine and medical sciences as a whole. Al-Zahrawi Abui-Qasim Khalaf ibn Abbas (Abuicasis or Albucasis) was born at Medinat al-Zahra near Cordoba in Islamic Spain on 936 A.D. and died in 1013 AD. He descended from the Ansar tribe of Arabia who had settled earlier in Spain. His outstanding contribution in
medicine is his encyclopedic work ‘at-Tasrif li-man ajiza an Al-talif’ in thirty treatise. His at-Tasrif completed about 1000 AD was the result of almost fifty years of medical education and experience in his own word…

“What ever I know, I owe solely to my assiduous reading of books of the ancients, to my desire to understand them and to appropriate this science; then I have added the observation and experience of my whole life” Albucasis.

At-Tasrif is an illustrated practice of medicine and surgery. As a miniature encyclopedia of 1500 pages it that shows Albucasis was not only a medical scholar, but a great practicing physician and surgeon. It influenced and progressed surgery in Europe. At-Tasrif comprises 30 discourses and was intended for medical students and the practicing physician, for whom it was a ready and useful companion in a multitude of situations since it answered all kinds of clinical problems. At-Tasrif contains the earliest picture of surgical instruments in history, about 200 are described and illustrated. In places the use of instrument – i.e. the surgical procedure itself is shown. Discourse l and 2, were translated into Latin as “Liber Thoricae”, which was printed in Augusburg in 1519. In them, Abuicasis classified 325 diseases and discussed their symptomatology and treatment. In folio 145, he described, for the first time, in medical history, a haamorrhagic disease transmitted by unaffected women to their male children; today we call it hemophilia. Discourse 28 is on pharmacy and was translated into Latin as early as 1288 as “Liber Servitoris”.

Of all the discourses of Albucasis’s Al-Tasrif, discourse 30, on surgery, became the most famous and had by far the widest and the greatest influence translated into Latin by Gerard Cremona (1114-1187) it went into at least ten Latin editions between 1497 and 1544. The last edition was that of John Channing in Oxford (I778) this contains both the original Arabic text and its Latin translation on alternate pages. Almost all European authors of
surgical texts from 12th to the 16th centuries referred to Albucasis’s surgery and copied from him. They included Roger of Salerno (d. 1180), Guglielmo Salicefte (I201-1277), Lanfranchi (d.1315), Henri de Mondeville (1260-1320), Mondinus of Bologna (1275-1326), Bruno of Calabria (1352), Guy de Chaulliac (1300-1368), Valescus of Taranta (1382-1417), Nicholas of Florence (d. 1411), Leonardo da Bertapagatie of Padua (d. 1460).

The 300 pages of Abulcasis’s surgery represent the first book of this size devoted solely to surgery, which at that time also included dentistry and what one may term surgical dermatology. Here in Albucasis developed all aspects of surgery and various branches; ophthalmology diseases of the ear, nose, and throat, and of t he head and neck, general surgery, obstetrics, gynecology; military medicine, urology, and orthopedic surgery. He divided the discourse into three part : (i), on cauterization (56 sections); (ii) on surgery (97 sections), and (iii) on orthopedic (35 sections). It is no wonder then that Albucasis awakened in Europe a prepossession in favour of Arabic medical Literature, “that his book reached eminence
as the foremost text book in Western Christendom”.

Serefeddin Sabuncuoglu (1385-1468) was a surgeon who lived in Amasia in central Anatolia, he wrote his book Cerrahiye-tul- Hanniyye in 1460 at the age of 80 after serving as a chief surgeon in Amasiya Hospital (Darussifa) for years, his text Cerrahiye- tul- Hanniyye was presented to Sultan Mohammad, the conqueror, but the manuscript disappeared afterwards till its emergence in 1920s. The book is roughly a translation of al-Tasrif of al-Zahrawi but over the translation he added his own experiences and brought interesting comments on previous application and every surgical procedure is illustrated in this work.

William Hunter (1717-1783) used Arabic manuscripts brought from Aleppo for his study on Aneurysm. In the University of Glasgow one can find a paper written under the title ‘William Hunter and his Arabic Interest’. There was also a chapter in Sir Charles lllingworth’s biography of William Hunter entitled ” The story of William Hunter published from Edinburgh by E. S. Livingstone published in 1967. Chapter 9 page 58 was devoted on flavour of
Arabic work of Albucasis which has been in his study and was obtained on his behalf from Aleppo in Syria an Arabic manuscript of al-Tasrif.

The oldest medical manuscript written in England around 1250 according to British Medical Journal has startling evidence. In reference to Albucasis’ volumes:

“This interesting relic consists of eighty-nine leaves of volume, written in beautiful gothic script in the Latin tongue. The work contains six separate treatise, of which the first and most important is the DE CHIRURGIA OF ALBU-MASIM (Albucasis, Albucasim ). This occupies forty four leaves, three of which are missing, it may be contended that, if this really is the oldest extant medical textbook written in England.” Nova Vetera BMJ July 8, 1939 pp 80-81. Thus it is in conclusion that “Albucasis was not only one of the greatest surgeon of medieval Islam but a great educationist and Psychiatrist as well. He devoted a substantial section in the Tasrif to child education and behaviour table etiquette school curriculum and academic specialisation.” Professor S. Hamarneh (Health Sciences in Islam).

In his native city of Cordoba there is a street called ‘Al-Bucasis’ named after him. Across river Wadi Al-Kabir on the other side in the Calla Hurra Museum his Instruments are displayed in his honour and a tribute in gold 200 surgical instruments constructed by Professor Fuad Sezgin was exhibited in 1992 Madrid Archaeological Museum and a catalogue in El-legado scientifico Andalusi has good colour photos and manuscripts published by the museum.

Hakim Saead in Karachi Pakistan Hamdard foundation has permanent display silver surgical instruments of albucasis in the library and also published in colour a booklet. Professor Ahmed Dhieb of Tunis has also studied the surgical instruments and constructed them which were displayed in the 36th International Congress for the History of Medicine held in Tunis City in Tunisia. Ahmed Ohieb has published and has illustration of all surgical instruments of Albucasis in detail in three languages, French Arabic and English under the title Tools of Civilisation.

Author : Dr Ibrahim Shaikh

Science: Muslim Astronomers

An overview of Muslim Astronomers

Summarised extracts from a full article, see resources below, where end notes, references and bibliography are given

The work of the Muslim astronomers who lived between 9th and 12th centuries was both innovative and accurate. Its influence was felt for generations to come. Many of the most basic concepts of modern astronomy were either developed directly by them, or came about through their influence on later astronomers.

This concise biographical overview presents the work of eight of them.

Muslim scholars who worked on the subject of astronomy receive a good treatment in The Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

There are also, of course, Suter, Brockelmann, Sezgin and Sarton for more details on each of such astronomers. Amongst these astronomers was Al-Battani (d 929) who wrote The Sabian tables (al-Zij al-Sabi), a very influential work for centuries after him.

Al-Battani’s work also includes timing of the new moons, calculation of the length of the solar and sideral year, the prediction of eclipses and the phenomenon of parallax.’

Al-Battani also popularised if not discovered the first notions of trigonometrical ratios used today, and made serious emendations to Ptolemy.

Al-Sufi (903-986) made several observations on the obliquity of the ecliptic and the motion of the sun (or the length of the solar year.) He also made observations and descriptions of the stars, setting out his results constellation by constellation, discussing the stars positions, their magnitudes and their colour, and for each constellation providing two drawings from the outside of a celestial globe, and from the inside.Al-Sufi also wrote on the astrolabe and its thousand or so uses.

Al-Biruni (973-1050) claimed that the earth rotated around its own axis.(endnote 45) He calculated the earth circumference, and fixed scientifically the direction of Makkah (Mecca) from any point of the globe. Al-Biruni wrote in total 150 works, including 35 treatises on pure astronomy, of which only six have survived.

Ibn Yunus (d 1009) made observations for nearly thirty years (977-1003) using amongst others a large astrolabe of nearly 1.4 m in diameter, determining more than 10,000 entries of the sun’s position throughout the years.

Al-Farghani was one of Caliph Al-Mamun’s astronomers. He wrote on the astrolabe, explaining the mathematical theory behind the instrument and correcting faulty geometrical constructions of the central disc, that were current then. His most famous book Kitab fi Harakat Al-Samawiyah wa Jaamai Ilm al-Nujum on cosmography contains thirty chapters including a description of the inhabited part of the earth, its size, the distances of the heavenly bodies from the earth and their sizes, as well as other phenomena.

Al-Zarqali (Arzachel) (1029-1087) prepared the Toledan Tables and was also a renowned instrument maker who constructed a more sophisticated astrolabe: a safiha, accompanied by a treatise.

Jabir Ibn Aflah (d. 1145) was the first to design a portable celestial sphere to measure and explain the movements of celestial objects. Jabir is specially noted for his work on spherical trigonometry. Al-Bitruji’s work ‘Kitab-al-Hay’ah’ was translated by the Sicilian based Michael Scot, and bore considerable influence thereafter.

On how the works of various Muslim astronomers have been used, or relied upon by scholars who followed them has received attention by many of the sources already cited. There remains many matters of contention as can be expected. Indeed, if it is easy for many scholars to find the Greek origin in many Islamic works, however
flimsy the evidence, the other way round, that is recognising the Muslim origin of any breakthrough of significance amongst the likes of Copernicus, Galileo, etc, is denied even when the evidence is beyond the glaring.

No better instance than Copernicus’ theories based on those of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Ibn Shatir. Pedersen, for instance, noting the resemblance, still finds no line of transmission.

This line of transmission North bluntly states it, holding that Greek and Latin materials that made use of al-Tusi’s device were circulating in Italy at about the time Copernicus studied there. And North does not hesitate to add that Copernicus made repeated uses of al-Tusi’s and his followers’
devices.

On this issue see also works by Gingerich, and above all the masterly delivery by George Saliba, which explains all about this matter at:
http://www.columbia.edu/~gas1/project/visions/case1/sci.1.html

Source : Foundation for Science Technology & Civlilsation

Science: Muslim Engineer – Al-Jazzari

By Prof. STS Al-Hassani, UMIST, Manchester, UK

Al-Jazari was the most outstanding Mechanical Engineer of his time. His full name was Badi Al-Zaman AbulI-Ezz Ibn Ismail Ibn Al-Razzaz Al-Jazari and he lived in Diyar-Bakir (in Turkey) during the 6th century AH (12th century CE).

He was called Al-Jazari after the place of his birth, Al-Jazira, the area lying between the Tigris and the Euphrates in Iraq. Like his father before him he served Urtuq kings of Diyar-Bakir, from 570-597 AH (1174-1200 CE) as a Mechanical Engineer. In 1206 he completed an outstanding book on engineering entitled “Al-Jami Bain Al-Ilm
Wal-Amal Al-Nafi Fi Sinat’at Al-Hiyal” in Arabic. It was a compendium of theoretical and practical mechanics. Writes Sarton (1884-1956):
“This treatise is the most elaborate of its kind and may be considered the climax of this line of Muslim achievement.” Sarton vol.2; page 510.

Al-Jazari’s book is distinctive in its practical aspect because the author was a competent engineer and skilled craftsman. The book describes various devices in minute detail hence an invaluable contribution in the history of engineering. British charter engineer Donald Hill (1974) who has a special interest in Arab technology writes:
“It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of Al-Jazari’s work in the history of engineering, it provides a wealth of instructions for design, manufacture and assembly of machines.”

Al-Jazari describes fifty mechanical devices in six different categories, including water clocks, hand washing device (wadu machine) and machines for raising water etc. Following the “World of Islam Festival” held in the United Kingdom in 1976 a tribute was paid to Al-Jazri when the london Science Museum showed a
successfully reconstructed working model of his famous “Water Clock.”

Hill translated Al-Jazari’s work in 1974, seven centuries and 68 years after it was completed by its author. Al-Jazari’s book includes six main categories of machines and devices. Several of the machines, mechanisms and techniques that first appear in this treatise, later entering the vocabulary of European mechanical
engineering, including double acting pumps with suction pipes and the use of a crank shaft in a machine, accurate calibration of orifices, lamination of timber to reduce warping, static balancing of wheels, use of paper models to establish a design, casting of metals in closed mould boxes with green sand etc. Al-Jazari also
describes methods of construction and assembly in scrupulous detail of the fifty or so machines in it to enable future craftsmen to reconstruct them.

And he was successful in that, for many of his devices were constructed following his instructions. The work by al-Jazari is also unique in the way that other writers often fail to give sufficient details, because amongst others, they are not craftsmen themselves, or kept their secrets, or if they were craftsmen, they
could have been illiterate. Al-Jazari in this respect was unique, and this gives his work immense value. His book, Hill states, is an absolute wealth of Islamic mechanical engineering.

In their paper in the charter Engineer of the I.Mech.E., Ludlow and Bahrani have raised the important point that it is more than likely that there is more on the subject in some of the thousands of Arabic
manuscripts in the European and North American libraries which have been inspected closely, and obviously require looking into. Hill, too, and constantly raises the two major issues with respect to the history of engineering in general, and that of fine technology in particular. He first states the fact that the field, which is absolutely immense, is yet totally unexplored. The other issue is related to fine technology. One of his concluding points states that `it is hoped that, as research proceeds, firmer evidence for the transmission of Islamic fine technology into Europe can be provided.’ Hill also offers some hints for such transmission. The most likely route being Spain. Such fine technology could have followed the same route as the astrolabe (itself part of this fine technology.) Apart from Spain, there was Sicily, another land of transfer, Byzantium, and Syria during the Crusades. And Hill is also right on a further account, that what will be seen in this work is just a fraction of the whole process, which, as with much else has hardly been explored.

The animation shows a virtual model of one of al-Jazari’s water raising pumps. The details of this unique pump were obtained from his manuscript and Hill’s diagrams. We see two suction pumps in synchronous motion driven by a paddle wheel, which is driven by a water stream.

The other animation is for a 3D model recreated from the description of the elephant clock as described by Al-Jazari. Full details of this animation are given in the book by Prof. S T S Al-Hassani on “The History of Muslim Engineering”, to be published.

Author : By Prof. Al-Hassani
Source : Foundation for Science Technology & Civlilsation

Science: Muslim Scientist – Al Khawarizmi

To celebrate the 1200th birth anniversary of Muhammad bin Musa Al-Khawarizmi the former USSR issued this postal stamp pictured to the left.

The terms Algebra and Algorithm are familiar to all of us but how many have heard of their founder Mohammed Al-Khawarizmi. In Geography he revised and corrected Ptolemy’s view and produced the first map of the known world in 830 CE.

He worked on measuring the volume and circumference of the earth, and contributed to work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes.

His Life

Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khawarizmi. The last-mentioned name (his nisba) refers to his birthplace, Khwarizm, modern Khiva, south of the Aral Sea. He was born around 780 in the town of Kath part of Khwarism. Kath is now buried in the sand. He died around 850. He was summoned to Baghdad by Caliph Al-Mamun and appointed court astronomer. From the title of his work, Hisab Al-Jabr wal Mugabalah (Book of Calculations, Restoration and Reduction), Algebra (Al-Jabr) derived its name.

Algebra symbolizes the debt of Western culture to Muslim mathematics.Ironically, when it first entered the English language it was used as a term for setting of broken bones, and even sometimes for the fractures themselves. This reflects the original literal meaning of the Arabic word al-Jabr, ‘the reuniting of broken bones,’ from the verb jabara ‘reunite.’ The anatomical connotations of this were adopted when the word was borrowed, as algebra, into Spanish, Italian and medieval Latin from one or other of which English acquired it. In Arabic, however, it had long been applied to the solving of algebraic equations (the full Arabic expression was ‘Ilm aljabr wa’l muqabalah’ ”the science of reunion and equations,’ and the mathematician Al-Khawarizmi used aljabr as the title of his treatise on algebra.

In the twelfth century Gerard of Cremona and Roberts of Chester translated the algebra of Al-Khawarizmi into Latin. Mathematicians used it all over the world until the sixteenth century. A Latin translation of a Muslim arithmetic text was discovered in 1857 CE at the University of Cambridge library. Entitled ‘Algoritimi de Numero Indorum’, the work opens with the words: ‘Spoken has Algoritimi. Let us give deserved praise to God, our Leader and Defender’.

It is believed that this is a copy of Al-Khawarizmi’s arithmetic text, which was translated into Latin in the twelfth century by Adelard of Bath (an English scholar). Al-Khawarizmi left his name to the history of mathematics in the form of Algorism (the old name for arithmetic).

His Work

Al-Khawarizmi was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He was perhaps one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, as, in fact, he was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. In the words of Phillip Hitti:
“He influenced mathematical thought to a greater extent than any other mediaeval writer.”

His work on algebra was outstanding, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic form but he also developed it to the extent of giving analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations, which established him as the founder of Algebra.

Hisab Al-jabr wAl-muqabala, contains analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations and its author may be called one of the founders of analysis or algebra as distinct from geometry. He also gives geometrical solutions (with figures) of quadratic equations, for example x2 + 1Ox = 39, an equation often repeated by later writers. The ‘Liber ysagogarum Alchorismi in artem astronomicam a magistro A. [Adelard of Bath] compositus!’ deals with arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy; it is possibly a summary of Al-Khawarzmi’s teachings rather than an original work.

His astronomical and trigonometric tables, revised by Maslama Al-Majrti (Second half of tenth century), were translated into Latin as early as l126 by Adelard of Bath. They were the first Muslim tables and contained not simply the sine function but also the tangent (Maslama’s interpolation).

His arithmetic synthesised Greek and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution of fundamental importance to mathematics and science. Thus, he explained the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental importance developed by the Arabs. Similarly, he developed the decimal system so that the overall system of
numerals, ‘algorithm’ or ‘algorizm’ is named after him. In addition to introducing the Indian system of numerals (now generally known as Arabic numerals), he developed at length several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions. It was through his work that the system of numerals was first introduced to Arabs and
later to Europe, through its translations in European languages. He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing the sine functions, which were probably extrapolated to tangent functions by Maslamati.

He also perfected the geometric representation of conic sections and developed the calculus of two errors, which practically led him to the concept of differentiation. He is also reported to have collaborated in the degree measurements ordered by Al-Mamun which were aimed at measuring of volume and circumference of the earth.

His Books

Several of his books were translated into Latin in the early 12th century. In fact, his book on arithmetic, Kitab Al-Jam’a wal-Tafreeq bil Hisab Al-Hindi, was lost in Arabic but survived in a Latin translation. His astronomical tables were also translated into European languages and,later,into Chinese. His geography captioned
Kitab Surat-Al-Ard,(The Face of the Earth) together with its maps, was also translated. In addition, he wrote a book on the Jewish calendar Istikhraj Tarikh Al-Yahud, and two books on the astrolabe. He also wrote Kitab Al-Tarikh and his book on sun-dials was captioned Kitab Al-Rukhmat, but both of them have been lost.

A Servant of God

Al-Khawarizmi emphasised that he wrote his algebra book to serve the practical needs of the people concerning matters of inheritance, legacies, partition, law suits and commerce. He considered his work as worship to God.

Science: Major Contributions To Science by Muslims

Astronomy

Muslims have always had a special interest in astronomy. The moon and the sun are of vital importance in the daily life of every Muslim. By the moon, Muslims determine the beginning and the end of the months in their lunar calendar. By the sun the Muslims calculate the times for prayer and fasting. It is also by means of astronomy that Muslims can determine the precise direction of the Qiblah, to face the Ka’bah in Makkah, during prayer. The most precise solar calendar, superior to the Julian, is the Jilali, devised under the supervision of Umar Khayyam.

The Qur’an contains many references to astronomy.

«“The heavens and the earth were ordered rightly, and were made subservient to man, including the sun, the moon, the stars, and day and night. Every heavenly body moves in an orbit assigned to it by God and never digresses, making the universe an orderly cosmos whose life and existence, diminution and expansion, are totally determined by the Creator.”» [Qur’an 30:22]

These references, and the injunctions to learn, inspired the early Muslim scholars to study the heavens. They integrated the earlier works of the Indians, Persians and Greeks into a new synthesis. Ptolemy’s Almagest (the title as we know it is Arabic) was translated, studied and criticized. Many new stars were discovered, as we see in their Arabic names – Algol, Deneb, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Aldebaran. Astronomical tables were compiled, among them the Toledan tables, which were used by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Kepler. Also compiled were almanacs – another Arabic term. Other terms from Arabic are zenith, nadir, albedo, azimuth.
Muslim astronomers were the first to establish observatories, like the one built at Mugharah by Hulagu, the son of Genghis Khan, in Persia, and they invented instruments such as the quadrant and astrolabe, which led to advances not only in astronomy but in oceanic navigation, contributing to the European age of exploration.

Geography

Muslim scholars paid great attention to geography. In fact, the Muslims’ great concern for geography originated with their religion. The Qur’an encourages people to travel throughout the earth to see God’s signs and patterns everywhere. Islam also requires each Muslim to have at least enough knowledge of geography to know the direction of the Qiblah (the position of the Ka’bah in Makkah) in order to pray five times a day. Muslims were also used to taking long journeys to conduct trade as well as to make the Hajj and spread their religion. The far-flung Islamic empire enabled scholar-explorers to compile large amounts of geographical and climatic information from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Among the most famous names in the field of geography, even in the West, are Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Batuta, renowned for their written accounts of their extensive explorations.

In 1166, Al-Idrisi, the well-known Muslim scholar who served the Sicilian court, produced very accurate maps, including a world map with all the continents and their mountains, rivers and famous cities. Al-Muqdishi was the first geographer to produce accurate maps in color.

It was, moreover, with the help of Muslim navigators and their inventions that Magellan was able to traverse the Cape of Good Hope, and Da Gama and Columbus had Muslim navigators on board their ships.

Humanity

Seeking knowledge is obligatory in Islam for every Muslim, man and woman. The main sources of Islam, the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad’s traditions), encourage Muslims to seek knowledge and be scholars, since this is the best way for people to know Allah (God), to appreciate His wondrous creations and be thankful for them. Muslims were therefore eager to seek knowledge, both religious and secular, and within a few years of Muhammad’s mission, a great civilization sprang up and flourished. The outcome is shown in the spread of Islamic universities; Al-Zaytunah in Tunis, and Al-Azhar in Cairo go back more than 1,000 years and are the oldest existing universities in the world. Indeed, they were the models for the first European universities, such as Bologna, Heidelberg, and the Sorbonne. Even the familiar academic cap and gown originated at Al-Azhar University.

Muslims made great advances in many different fields, such as geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, architecture, linguistics and astronomy. Algebra and the Arabic numerals were introduced to the world by Muslim scholars. The astrolabe, the quadrant, and other navigational devices and maps were developed by Muslim scholars and played an important role in world progress, most notably in Europe’s age of exploration.

Muslim scholars studied the ancient civilations from Greece and Rome to China and India. The works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid and others were translated into Arabic. Muslim scholars and scientists then added their own creative ideas, discoveries and inventions, and finally transmitted this new knowledge to Europe, leading directly to the Renaissance. Many scientific and medical treatises, having been translated into Latin, were standard text and reference books as late as the 17th and 18th centuries.

Mathematics

It is interesting to note that Islam so strongly urges mankind to study and explore the universe. For example, the Holy Qur’an states: «“We (Allah) will show you (mankind) Our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation is the truth.”» [Qur’an, 14:53]

This invitation to explore and search made Muslims interested in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, and the other sciences, and they had a very clear and firm understanding of the correspondences among geometry, mathematics, and astronomy.

The Muslims invented the symbol for zero (The word “cipher” comes from Arabic sifr), and they organized the numbers into the decimal system – base 10. Additionally, they invented the symbol to express an unknown quantity, i.e. variables like x.

The first great Muslim mathematician, Al-Khawarizmi, invented the subject of algebra (al-Jabr), which was further developed by others, most notably Umar Khayyam. Al-Khawarizmi’s work, in Latin translation, brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe, through Spain. The word “algorithm” is derived from his name.

Muslim mathematicians excelled also in geometry, as can be seen in their graphic arts, and it was the great Al-Biruni (who excelled also in the fields of natural history, even geology and mineralogy) who established trigonometry as a distinct branch of mathematics. Other Muslim mathematicians made significant progress in number theory.

Medicine

In Islam, the human body is a source of appreciation, as it is created by Almighty Allah (God). How it functions, how to keep it clean and safe, how to prevent diseases from attacking it or cure those diseases, have been important issues for Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad himself urged people to “”take medicines for your diseases””, as people at that time were reluctant to do so. He also said, “”God created no illness, but established for it a cure, except for old age. When the antidote is applied, the patient will recover with the permission of God.””

This was strong motivation to encourage Muslim scientists to explore, develop, and apply empirical laws. Much attention was given to medicine and public health care. The first hospital was built in Baghdad in 706 AC. The Muslims also used camel caravans as mobile hospitals, which moved from place to place.

Since the religion did not forbid it, Muslim scholars used human cadavers to study anatomy and physiology and to help their students understand how the body functions. This empirical study enabled surgery to develop very quickly.

Al-Razi, known in the West as Rhazes, the famous physician and scientist, (d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine and was unrivaled as a diagnostician. He also wrote a treatise on hygiene in hospitals. Khalaf Abul-Qasim Al-Zahrawi was a very famous surgeon in the eleventh century, known in Europe for his work, Concessio (Kitab al-Tasrif).

Ibn Sina (d. 1037), better known to the West as Avicenna, was perhaps the greatest physician until the modern era. His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700 years. Ibn Sina’s work is still studied and built upon in the East.

Other significant contributions were made in pharmacology, such as Ibn Sina’s Kitab al-Shifa’ (Book of Healing), and in public health. Every major city in the Islamic world had a number of excellent hospitals, some of them teaching hospitals, and many of them were specialized for particular diseases, including mental and emotional. The Ottomans were particularly noted for their building of hospitals and for the high level of hygiene practiced in them.

Science: The Advent Of Experimental Chemistry

Here we give highlights of three main founders of Experimental Chemistry: Jabir Ibn Hayyan, Al-Razi and Al-Majriti.

Jabir Ibn Hayyan

One of the points raised by Holmyard, which was fundamental to chemistry, and to the development of science in general, is the development of its practical side, that is experiment. This, in fact, is one of the most sticking points in the history of science, a fact that has suffered much from the distortions of scholarship dealing with the history of science. Experiment is what differentiates Muslim science from Greek speculation (called science). Experiment also began with the Muslims, centuries before the likes of Grosseteste, whom scores of scholars, in their usual short-sightedness, behind which lurks dishonesty, or incompetence, or both at once, keep attributing to. Indeed, Holmyard notes how Jabir Ibn Hayyan (722-815), one of the earliest Muslim scientists, and the promoter of chemistry (not to use that silly word many of our scholars tend to use: father; as if a science has a father and a son) was acquainted with chemical operations of crystallization, calcination, solution, sublimation, reduction, etc, and, above all, that he describes them. Of greater interest even, as Holmyard notes, Jabir seeks to understand the changes that take place during the process, besides giving opinions to their aims; for instance, explaining how the aim of calcination is to remove impurities from metals, and how metals are calcinated in different ways. Jabir also describes processes for the preparation of steel, the refinement of other metals, for dyeing cloth and leather, for marking varnishes to waterproof cloth, for the preparation of hair-dyes, etc.. He also gives recipes for making a cheap illuminating ink for manuscripts, and mentions the use of manganese dioxide in glass making. He was also acquainted with citric acid and other organic substances, and so on. On the crucial role of experiment, Jabir had this to say: `The first essential in chemistry is that thou shouldest perform practical work and conduct experiments, for he who performs not practical work nor makes experiments will never attain to the least degree of mastery. But thou, O my son, do thou experiment so that thou mayest acquire knowledge. Scientists delight not in abundance of material; they rejoice only in the excellence of their experimental methods.’

Jabir’s overral achievements are elsewhere summarised by Al-Faruqi. Some of his writing includes Al Khawass al-kabir (the Great Book of Chemical properties), al-Mawazin (Weights and measures), Al-Mizaj (Chemical combination, and Al-Asbagh (Dyes). On top of that, he built a precise scale that weighed items 6, 480 times smaller than the ratl (approx 1 kg.) Before John Dalton by ten centuries, he defined chemical combinations as a union of the elements together, in too small particles for the naked eye to see, without loss of character. And he invented a kind of paper that resisted fire. Jabir’s other achievements include his perfecting of chemical processes already cited of sublimation, liquefaction, purification, amalgamation, oxidation, crystallization, distillation, evaporation, and filtration. He also identified many new products, including alkalines, acids, salts, paints and greases. He prepared sulphuric acid, nitro-hydrochloric acid (used to dissolve some metals), caustic soda and a multitude of salts such as sulphates, nitrates and potassium and sodium carbonates. Jabir’s works with metals and salts subsequently helped develop foundry techniques and glazing processes for tiles and other ceramics. Thus are illustrated Jabir’s tremendous achievements in the science. However, instead of focusing on his pure scientific contribution to chemistry, many non Muslim scholars dealing with `Alchemy’, prefer to dwell on the rather tedious, obscure, and un-scientific aspects of his work of the fanciful and folkloric sort of Greek and ancient origins (aspects which both Ibn Sina and Ibn Khaldoun instead denounce very much). Such aspects are also those frequently raised by many Western scholars to discredit Muslim chemistry.

Al-Razi to follow Jabir

Nearly a century had elapsed after Jabir before flourished another Muslim maker of modern chemistry: al-Razi (b. 866). Al-Razi maintained the excellence began by Jabir, and gave chemistry foundations it kept up to our day. In his work Secret of Secrets, he made the very useful classification of natural substances, dividing them into earthly, vegetable and animal substances, to which he also added a number of artificially obtained ones such as lead oxide, caustic soda, and various alloys. He went further in the cataloguing and description of his experiments, describing first the materials he used, then the apparatus, and methods and conditions of his experiments. Al-Razi also set up the laboratory in the modern sense, designing, describing and using more than twenty instruments. Both Anawati and Hill provide a good account of such laboratory, the precursor of the modern laboratory, of which many parts are still in use today (to which Hill points out, whilst Anawati does not.) Al-Razi does not just list the instruments used in chemistry, he also gives details of making composite pieces of apparatus, and provides the same sort of information as can be found today in manuals of laboratory art. Also his systematic classification of carefully observed and verified facts regarding chemical substances, reactions and apparatus, all in very clear language, further contribute to make Al-Razi of `exceptional importance in the history of chemistry,’ according to Holmyard. These are, indeed, symbols of modern science; hence, the obvious conclusion that modern science, in practice and methodology, and not just chemistry, found roots in the works of Muslim scientists; Muslim chemistry itself proving to be no occult practice that ended with the European Renaissance.

The Chemist from Madrid

Al-Majriti (950-1007), from Madrid, hence his name, and already cited briefly, was particularly noted for his work Rutbat Al-Hakim (The Rank of the Wise), which amongst other things gives formulae and instructions for the purification of precious metals. This was collected and put together in the year 1009, two years after his death. In this work, Al-Majriti was also the first to prove the principle of conservation of mass, credited eight centuries later to the French Lavoisier, the so called father of chemistry.

Source : Foundation for Science Technology & Civlilsation

Economy: Economic Principles Of Islam

Islam has laid down certain principles and limits for the economic activity of man so that the entire pattern of production, exchange and distribution of wealth may conform to the Islamic standard of justice and equity. Islam does not concern itself with time-bound methods and techniques of economic production or with the details of organizational patterns and mechanisms. Such methods are specific to every age and are evolved in accordance with the needs and requirements of the community and the exigencies of the economic situation. Islam’s concern is that whatever the particular form of economic activity in operation, its underlying principles should always be the same.

According to the Islamic point of view, Allah has created for mankind the earth and all that it contains. It is, therefore, the birthright of every human being o try to secure his share of the world’s wealth and sustenance. Islam does not allow a particular person, class, race or group of people to create a monopoly in certain economic activities: equal opportunities for all is its watchword.

This is a new and revised translation of a talk given by the author on Radio Pakistan, Lahore, on 2nd March, 1948.

Right of Property

Resources which are provided by nature and which can be used directly by man may be utilised freely, and everyone is entitled to benefit from them according to his needs. Water in the rivers and springs, timber in the forests, fruits of wild plants, wild grass and fodder, air, animals of the jungle, minerals under the surface of the earth and similar other resources cannot be monopolised by anyone nor can restrictions of any sort be imposed on their free use by Allah’s creatures to fulfil their own needs. Of course, people who want to use any of these things for commercial purposes can be required to pay taxes to the state. Or, if there is misuse of the resources, the Government may intervene. But there is nothing to prevent individuals availing themselves of Allah’s earth as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others or of the state.

It is not right that things created by Allah for the benefit of mankind should be taken possession of, and then kept idle and useless. One should either benefit from them oneself, or make them available to others. On the basis of this principle Islam holds that no one can keep his land unused for more than three years. If, during this period, he does not himself use it for cultivation or for construction of buildings or for some other purpose, such lands shall be treated as ‘vacated’, and anyone else who makes use of it shall not be liable to be proceeded against in law, nor shall the Government have any authority to hand it over to someone else (including the previous owner).

Anyone who takes possession of the earth’s natural resources and puts them to good use acquires a rightful title over them. For instance, if somebody takes possession of an uncultivated piece of land, on which nobody has a prior right of ownership, and makes productive use of it, he cannot be arbitrarily dispossessed of that piece of land.

This is how every right of ownership originated in the world. When man first appeared, everything was available to everyone, and whoever took possession of anything and made it useful in any manner became its owner; that is to say, he acquired the right to use it specifically for his own purpose and to obtain compensation from others if they wanted to use it. This is the natural basis of all the economic activity of mankind.

The rights of ownership are to be honoured, though it is always open to ascertain if a particular ownership is legally valid or not. Islam cannot approve of economic policies which destroy the rights conferred by the Shari‘ah, however attractive their names may be and whatever welfare pretensions they may make. Social justice and collective good are very dear to Islam, but in their name the rights given by the Shari‘ah cannot be trampled. It is as unjust to reduce or remove the restrictions placed by the Shari‘ah, for the sake of the good of the community as a whole, on the rights of individual ownership as it is to add restrictions and limitations on them which do not fit into the Shari‘ah. It is one of the duties of an Islamic state to protect the legal rights of individuals and, at the same time to compel them to fulfil their obligations to the community as enjoined by law. That is how Islam strikes a balance between individualism and collectivism.

The Problem of Equality

Allah has not distributed His gifts and favour equally among mankind but, in His infinite wisdom, has given some individuals more than others. Just as this is true of pleasantness of voice, excellence of physique and intellectual power and so on, so, too, is it the case with the material conditions of life. Human existence has been so ordained that divergence, variety and inequality among men in their ways and standards variety and inequality among men in their ways and standards of living seems to be natural. Variety is the spice of life, and the driving spirit of behind human endeavour and excellence. Allah has not distributed His gifts and favour equally among mankind but, in His infinite wisdom, has given some individuals more than others. Just as this is true of pleasantness of voice, excellence of physique and intellectual power and so on, so, too, is it the case with the material conditions of life. Human existence has been so ordained that divergence, variety and inequality among men in their ways and standards variety and inequality among men in their ways and standards of living seems to be natural. Variety is the spice of life, and the driving spirit of behind human endeavour and excellence.

Consequently, all those ideologies which want to force an artificial economic equality on mankind are mistaken, unrealistic and impossible to realise. The equality which Islam believes in is equality of opportunity to secure a livelihood and to climb the ladder of success and prosperity. Islam desires that no obstacles should exist in society to prevent an individual from striving for a living according to his capacity and talents; nor should any social distinctions exist with the object of safeguarding the privileges of a certain class, race, dynasty or group of people.

All those ideologies which serve vested interests, or which seek to perpetuate the power of a certain group, are also repugnant to Islam and can have no place in its scheme of things. Such movements seek to establish, through force if necessary, an unnatural inequality in place of the natural limited inequality which provides incentive to effort in society. At the same time, Islam does not agree with those who want to enforce complete equality in respect of the means of production and the fruits of economic endeavour, as they aim at replacing limited natural inequality by an artificial equality.

Only that system can be the nearest to human nature in which everyone joins the economic struggle at his own level and in the circumstances in which Allah has created him. He who has inherited an aeroplane should make use of it; while he who has only a pair of legs should stand on his feet and try to improve his lot. The laws of society should neither be such as would establish a permanent monopoly for the aeroplane-owner (over his aeroplane) and make it impossible for the bare-footed to acquire an aeroplane nor such that the race for everyone should compulsorily begin from the same point and under the same conditions so that they would all be tied to each other right till the end of the race. On the contrary, economic laws should be such as to make it possible for the bare-footed, who started his race under adverse conditions, to possess an aeroplane, if he can do so by dint of his effort and ability, and for he who inherited the aeroplane to be left behind in the race and to lose it, if he does not have the ability or efficiency to keep it. Effort should be rewarded and laziness penalised.

Social Justice

Islam does not want this economic race to take place in an atmosphere of moral neutrality and social apathy. The participants should be just and kind to one another. Islam, through its moral injunctions, aims at creating a feeling of mutual love and affection among people, through which they may help their weak and weary brethren, and at the same time create a permanent institution in society to guarantee assistance to those who lack the necessary means and abilities to succeed. People who are unable to take part in the economic race and those who need help to get started in it should receive their share of the blessings of life from this social institution.

To this end Islam has commanded that Zakat should be levied at the rate of two and a half percent per annum on the total accumulated wealth [of each individual] in the country, as well as on invested capital; five percent or ten percent, depending on the method of watering, should be collected on agricultural produce; and twenty percent on certain mineral products. The annual Zakat should also be levied, at a specified rate, on cattle owned by anyone who has more than a certain minimum number. The amount of Zakat thus collected is to be spent on the poor, the orphans and the needy.

This system provided a means of social insurance where by everyone in an Islamic society is provided with at least the necessities of life. No worker can ever be forced, through fear of starvation, to accept conditions of employment which may be unfairly imposed on him by employer. And nobody’s physical health is allowed to deteriorate for lack of proper medical care and hospitalisation.

Islam aims at striking a balance between the individual and the community, which will promote individual freedom and at the same time ensure that such freedom is positively conducive to the growth and tranquillity of the community as a whole. Islam does not approve of a political or economic organisation which aims at submerging the identity of the individual beneath that of the community, and depriving him of the freedom essential for the proper development of his personality and talent. The inevitable consequence of nationalising a country’s means of production is the annihilation of the individual by the community; in these circumstances the existence and development of his individuality becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Just as political and social freedom is essential for the individual, economic freedom is necessary for a civilized moral existence. Unless we desire to eliminate completely the individuality of man, our social life must have enough freedom for an individual to be able to earn his living, to maintain the integrity of his conscience and to develop his moral and intellectual faculties according to his own inclinations and aptitudes. Living on the dole or on charity at the hands of others cannot be very satisfying, even if the sums involved are generous: the retardation of mental, moral and spiritual development which it ultimately leads to can never be counteracted by mere physical welfare and prosperity.

Nor does Islam favour a system of unbridled economic and social freedom which give individuals a blank cheque to achieve their objectives at the possible cost of the good of the community as a whole, or which enables them to misappropriate the wealth of others. Between these two extremes, Islam has adopted the middle course according to which the individual is first called upon, in the interest of the community, to accept certain restrictions, and is then left free to regulate his own affairs. He has freedom of enterprise and competition within a framework which guarantees the good of both the individual and society. It is not possible to explain all these obligations and restrictions in detail and I shall, therefore, content myself with presenting a bare outline of them.

Obligations and Restrictions

Take first the example of earning a living. The meticulous care with which Islam has distinguished between right and wrong in respect of the means of earning wealth is not to be found in any other legal and social system. It condemns as illegal all those means of livelihood which injure, morally or materially, the interests of another individual or of society as a whole. Islamic law categorically rejects as illegal the manufacture and sale of liquor and other intoxicants, adultery, professional dancing, gambling, transactions of a speculative or fraudulent nature, transactions in which the gain of one party is absolutely guaranteed while that of the other part is left uncertain and doubtful, and price manipulation by withholding the sale of the necessities of life.

If we examine this aspect of the economic laws of Islam, we will find a long list of practices declared illegal, most of which can and are making people millionaires in the capitalist system. Islam forbids all these by law, and allows freedom of earning wealth only by those means through which a person renders some real and useful service to the community and thereby entitles himself to fair and just compensation for it.

Islam accepts the right of ownership of an individual over the wealth earned by him by legitimate means; but these rights are not unrestrained. A man can only spend his legitimate wealth in certain specified ways. he may not waste his riches on idle luxury, nor may he use his wealth to behave arrogantly towards his fellows. Certain forms of wasteful expenditure have been unequivocally prohibited at the discretion of an Islamic Government.

One is permitted to accumulate wealth that is left over after meeting one’s legitimate and reasonable commitments and these savings can also be used to produce more wealth; there are, however, restrictions on both these activities. A rich man will, of course, have to pay Zak~ t at the rate of two and a half percent a year on the accumulation exceeding the specified minimum. He can only invest it in a business which has been declared legitimate. In this connection, he may own the legitimate business himself or he may make his capital available to others on a profit-loss sharing basis.

It is not at all objectionable in Islam if, working within these limits, a man becomes a millionaire; rather, this will constitute a Divine favour. But in the interests of the community as a whole, Islam imposes two conditions on the individual: first, that he should pay Zak~ t on his commercial goods and ‘Ushr (one tenth) on the value of agricultural produce; second, that he should deal fairly and honestly with those he does business with in trade, industry or agriculture, with those he employs and with the Government and the community at large. If he does not voluntarily act justly to others, particularly his employees, the Islamic state will compel him to do so.

Even wealth that is accumulated within these legal limits is not allowed by Islam to be concentrated at one point or in one place for a long time. Through its law of inheritance Islam spreads it among a large number of people from generation to generation. In this respect the Islamic law is different from that of other inheritance laws; most of them attempt to keep the wealth once accumulated by a person concentrated in the hands of one main beneficiary from generation to generation. In Islam, wealth accumulated by a person in his lifetime is distributed among all of his near relatives soon after his death. If there are no near relatives, distant relatives benefit from it in the proportions laid down by the law for each one of them. And if no distant relative is forthcoming, then the entire Muslim society is entitled to share in the inheritance. Under this law the creation or continuance of any big family of capitalists or landlords becomes impossible.

Author : Syed Abul Aala Maududi
Source : Islam101