Radiant Reality

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Regd. No.: JKENG/2000/4174
Published From  Srinagar.

Editor, Printer & Publisher: Mawlana Hamidullah Lone.

February 2006.  VOL.7, No: 2.

1. Editorial - Arrogance, humbleness and inferiority complex
2. Questions & Answers
3. Lesson from Al-Quran

4. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief

5. Islamic beliefs

6. Islam and evolution

7. Quranic basis for the ideal Islamic Order

8. Islamic finance

9. Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh

10. Saviours of Islamic spirit
11. Conception of Islamic Mysticism
12. Domestic violence

Arrogance, humbleness and inferiority complex

It has been called ummul-amradh, or the root of all sicknesses of the heart. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) warned that a person having even an iota of it in his heart will never enter paradise. this deadliest of all sins is kibr, or arrogance.

No one likes arrogance -- in others. We never like a person who is haughty, too proud, or condescending. we detest a person who belittles us and has a huge ego. Similarly we love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to. We love people who give us respect and honour. thus if we follow the principle of treating others the way we like to be treated, most of these problems might be cured. In reality the treatment of ummul-amradh requires a deeper look.

For that we need to appreciate the difference between adab or manners, on the one hand and akhlaq or morals on the other. While adab deal with one's external disposition, akhlaq as defined by Islam deal with our inner thoughts, feeling, and attitudes. In a healthy personality, the manners and morals are in harmony. But it is also possible to have the former without having the latter. The first concerns itself with how a person deals with others. The second is concerned with what a person thinks of himself. Two persons showing humbleness in their dealing with others, may have exactly opposite ideas in their minds. One may do it out of his or her "generosity", the other may do it because he genuinely thinks that he is not better than the other person. The first person only has a shell of humbleness, which will crumble when tested. It is the second person who is really free of arrogance.

Real greatness belongs only to Allah, our Lord, Creator, and Master. Human beings are just a creation of Allah -- and a very small creation in comparison to the unimaginable vast universe. Anyone who understands this will realise that our proper status is only that of servants of Allah. In fact for a Muslim the real human model is none other than Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), who is the greatest of all human beings. His greatness lies in being the humblest of all servants of Allah! It is impossible for any person who has this consciousness to entertain any notions of his own greatness.

This leads us to the definition of kibr, given in a famous hadith: "Kibr is to knowingly reject Truth and to belittle other people". This hadith exposes two strains of this deadly disease, both dealing with our exaggerated ideas of self-importance. The first suggests that I am more important than the other people.

 We know about the Quraish and Jews of Arabia who had come in contact with Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and who knew in the heart of their hearts that he indeed was the Messenger of Allah. Their arrogance, though, kept them from accepting it. History has recorded statements from some of them who said we know he is the Promised Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) but we will keep on opposing his to maintain our leadership.

While that was the most blatant form of arrogance, we can witness the same attitude on a smaller scale in our discussions and arguments. A person realizes that he was wrong, but then his pride keeps him from admitting it. No matter how polite or "humble" that person may appear to be ordinarily, this test shows the presence of arrogance in his heart. It is arrogance that keeps a person from saying "I am sorry".

The second strain involves our feeling of superiority with respect to other people. Islam's teaching is that one should never consider oneself greater than other people, because that Judgment will come from Allah, and Allah alone, on the Day of Judgment. None of us knows what our end will be, whether we will end up being a winner or loser over there. The person who appears to be nobody here may end up with eternal bliss because of his goodness that only Allah knew. The person who is a big shot here may end up among the sinners who will be punished there, because of his evil that only Allah knew. How foolish, it is then to congratulate ourselves over our fleeting "superiority".

What if a person does have edge over another person in measurable worldly terms? How then can he not consider himself superior than the other person in that respect? The point is sometimes made in half jest: it is difficult to be humble when you are so great. Islam does not ask us to reject reality and imagine we don't have what we really do. Rather it asks us to take a deeper look at the reality and not be misled by a superficial perception of it. And the simple reality that escapes many is that our health, wealth, talents, and power are not of our own creation. God gave those to us as a test and He can take them back whenever He wills. Those who are conscious of this reality, their blessings will produce gratitude in them; those who are blind to it will develop pride and arrogance.

Some forms of kibr are subtle. If a person is embarrassed to bow to Allah in the presence of non-believers, that is a case of "kibr in the face of Allah", says Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA).

While throughout history humanity had agreed on the evil of arrogance and the virtue of humbleness (despite its failures in practice), this century has seen new dogmas that aim at changing the definitions of good and evil. Humbleness is no longer desirable. Rather, one has to avoid "Inferiority Complex". Alfred Adler (1870-1937) gave us that term. According to him, life is a continuous struggle to move from a position of inferiority to a position of significance. Those who fail to make the progress, develop inferiority complex, which can be treated by increasing self-esteem. Unfortunately today such pseudo-science is accepted as gospel truth.

The truth is that problems arise when we turn away from reality. A humble person is a happy, content, grateful person who thanks God for his blessings and has no notions of his own superiority. False notions of superiority or of one's entitlements in life, on the other hand, lead to frustrations and complexes.


2. Question and Answer

Interest in Present Times

 Q: A friend believes that in the present day and age the Muslims cannot progress economically without interest. According to him since other communities are making tremendous strides in the economic field on the basis of interest, Muslims should also follow suit.

 A: Each person views the things around him and formulates his opinion according to his level of intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. Thus a toddler sees the cat droppings on the floor and thinks it is something to devour. An adult, however, knows the reality and regards consuming such filth as repugnant and extremely harmful.


Likewise Allah Ta'ala in his infinite wisdom forbade interest. So repugnant is interest that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "The sin of Riba (interest) has seventy categories, the lowest of which is equal to having committed incest with one's mother" (Mishkaat). Hazrath Jaabir (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "Allah Ta'ala has cursed the one who consumes interest, the one who gives it, the one who records the transaction and the one who witnesses it - and all are equal in the sin" (Sahih Muslim).


Furthermore, Allah Ta'ala has not created us for economic advancement. Our primary object on earth is to recognise our Creator and establish His Deen everywhere. Even if we do not make any material progress but manage to fulfil our primary object on earth, we are successful. If we fail in our primary objective we are dismal failures even if we own the world. While economic progress in a lawful manner is permissible, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also drew the attention of the Sahaaba (R.A.) away from focussing in this direction. After the Battle of Khaibar a person came to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and exclaimed: "No one else has earned so much profit today (in buying and selling the booty that was gained) as I!" When he informed Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) that he earned 300 ouqiyah of silver, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) remarked: "Two rakaats of nafil salaah after the fardh is better than that (Abu Dawood)."


One should also consider the situation and circumstances of the Sahaaba (R.A.) when the prohibition of interest was revealed. Many Sahaaba (R.A.) were deep in debts which they owed to the kuffaar. There were those who had stones tied to their bellies due to hunger. Some Sahaaba (R.A.) would faint due to starvation. Many could not afford even two pieces of cloth to cover their bodies. A Sahaabi (R.A.) wishes to get married but does not have anything to give even as the mehr. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) himself had to keep his armour as security with a Jew for a debt to fulfil the needs of his household. Yet in these conditions also transacting in interest, whether taking or giving, was forbidden.

In this state of abject poverty Allah Ta'ala also forbade the Muslims from even raising their gazes to look at the "economic advancement" of the enemies of Allah Ta'ala. The Qur'an declares: "Do not raise your eyes in longing for what we have given for enjoyment to various groups among them (the disbelievers), (it is) the splendour of the life of this world so that we may test them thereby" (S20, V131).

Therefore we should not bother about the economic advancement of the kuffaar. Furthermore, in the light of the prohibitions of the Qur'an and Hadith we should harbour a deep aversion and hatred for interest and all that is associated with it - far more intense hatred than the aversion for animal droppings. The very thought of indulging in interest should make us shudder out of fear of incurring Allah Ta'ala's punishment.


3. Lesson from the Qur'an
Hadhrat Mawlana Mohammad Shaifi Sahib (RA)

  () () () ()

And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to create a deputy on the earth!. They said , will You create there one who will spread disorder on the earth and cause bloodsheds while we, along with Your praises, proclaim Your purity and sanctify Your Name? He said, Certainly, I know what you do not know. And He taught Adam names, all of them; then presented them before the angels, and said, Tell Me their names, if you are right. They said, To You belong all purity! We have no knowledge except what You have given us. Surely, You alone are the All-Knowing , All-Wise. He said, O Adam, tell them the names of all these. When he told them their names, Allah said, Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the skies and of the earth, and that I know what you disclose and what you have been concealing. (Verse 30-33)

Allah is the Creator of the Language

              This episode according to Imam al-Ashari, shows that language as such has been created by Allah Himself, and not invented by manits use by different kinds of men has later on produced the many forms of language.

              One should note a subtle suggestion here in the use of two words. In asking the angels for the names of things, Allah said Tell Me; but in commanding Adam to do so, He said Tell them. The difference in the mode of expression shows that Adam was given the rank of a teacher, and the angels that of pupils. It is thus an indication of his superiority over them. Another thing the episode indicates is that an increase or decrease is possible in the degree of knowledge the angels possess, for they were given, through Adam (AS), at least a primary knowledge about a thing which they did not know before.

Man is the vicegerent of Allah on the earth

These verses tell us that a vicegerent was appointed to keep order on the earth and to promulgate divine laws. From here we learn the basic principles for the governance of men on the earth. The ultimate sovereignty in the universe belongs to Allah Himself, as is explicitly stated in many verses of the Holy Quran: Judgment belongs to Allah alone (6:57);  The sovereignty of the skies and the earth belongs to Him alone (9:116); Verily, His is the Creation and the Command. (7:54)

But He has, in His wisdom, chosen to send His vicegerent to the earth for maintaining spiritual and temporal order. Their function is to announce and promulgate divine commandments, to teach men how to abide by these laws, and sometimes even to exercise temporal power as well as spiritual authority under divine guidance. The appointment is made directly by Allah Himself, and is in no sense a reward for the good deeds or the spiritual effort of the individual concerned. There is a total consensus of all the authentic scholars of the Islamic Ummah on the doctrine that prophethood is not a thing which one can attain through ones personal effort or on the merit of ones good deeds, but that Allah Himself, in His supreme knowledge and wisdom, chooses certain individuals for acting as His messengers, prophets and vicegerents. The Holy Quran has explicitly declared it in several verses: Allah chooses His messengers from among the angels and from among men; surely Allah is All-Hearing, All-seeing (22:75); Allah knows best whom to entrust with His message (6:124)

These vicegerents receive divine commandments directly from Allah, and then promulgate them in the world. The chain of vicegerents began with Adam (AS) and continued in the same way upto the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

The Holy Prophet (S) came to the earth as the last vicegerent (Khalifah), the last Messenger (Rasul) and the law prophet (Nabiyy) of Allah, endowed with certain special qualities peculiar to him which he does not share with any other prophet. We may mention some of these characteristics:

A.  Each of the earlier prophets was sent for the guidance of a particular country or people, and his authority was limited to his jurisdiction alone, - for example, Musa and Isa(Moses and Jesus) were sent to Bani Israiel (the Israelites). But the Holy Prophet (S) has been sent for the guidance of all the men and all the Jinns, and his authority extends to all the members of the two species. The Holy Quran has declared the universality of his prophethood in these words: Say: O mankind, I am the messenger of Allah to you all, of Him to whom belongs the sovereignty of he skies and of the earth (7:158). A hadith of the Sahih Muslim reports the Holy Prophet (S) as having said that he had been made superior to all other prophets in the six things. The first of these is, of course, the universality of the prophethood.

B.  Just as the vicegerency and prophethood of all the earlier prophets was limited to particular peoples and countries, in the same way it was also limited to specific periods; when the age of one prophet was over, another prophet would come to take his place as the new vicegerent. On the contrary, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) has been sent by Allah as the last of all prophets; his prophethood is not circumscribed within a specific period, but shall last till the end of time.

C.  It has so happened that the teachings and the Shariah of each of the earlier prophets would remain intact for a time, but then gradually people would start deviating from them and distorting them till they became unrecognizable; at this stage Allah would send a new prophet with a new Shariah. But the Shariah of the Holy Prophet (S) is to remain alive upto Himslef the responsibility of protecting the words and the meanings of the Holy Quran: It is We who send down the Remembrance (i.e., the Holy Quran) and We are its Protector (15:9)

      Similarly, He has made a special provision for the preservation of the Hadith which contains the teachings of the Holy Prophet (S) that is to say, in spite of all the vicissitudes of time there shall remain till the doomsday a group of people who will preserve these teachings and transmit them accurately to others, and who will receive help and protection from Allah Himself. Since Allah has ordained the survival of the Holy Quran and the Hadith, there is obviously no need for a new prophet or messenger or vicegerent and no room for a new Shariah.

D. Contrary to the case of all the earlier prophets, the prophethood and vicegerency of the last of them, Muhammad (S), is not limited to a particular period, but is to continue upto the end of time, and those who succeed him for the preservation of spiritual and temporal order in the world, are to be, not the vicegerents of Allah, but the vicegerents of the Holy Prophet (S) and his deputies. A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim both says:

The Israelites were governed by their prophets. When a prophet died, another would come to take his place. And beware, no prophet is to come after me. Of course, there will be my deputies (Khulafah), and there will be many of them.

 The issue of Caliphate after the Holy Prophet (S)

E. Allah has ordained that after the Holy Prophet (S) his Ummah, or the Islamic community, shall as a body enjoy the privilege which has been that of the prophets (AS). That is to say, the Ummah as a collective body has been declared to be innocent and under the special protection of Allah Himself, so that it will never unanimously agree upon a doctrinal error or a deviation, and hence any decision which has been arrived at in religious matters through the consensus of the Ummah is to be regarded as manifestation of Divine Commandment. That is why the consensus of the Ummah has been accepted as the third source of the Shariah, the first two being the Holy Quran and the Hadith. For the Holy Prophet (S) has himself said: My Ummah shall never collectively agree upon error. And we have already referred to another hadith which tells us that no matter how much the world has changed or how indifferent people have grown to the Truth, there shall always remain in the Islamic Ummah a group of people who will defend and preserve the Truth, and who will finally win.

Since it has been ordained that the Islamic Ummah as a body shall never go wrong, the responsibility of choosing a deputy to the Holy Prophet (S) has also been entrusted to it. Now, for the government of the earth the legitimate way is that the Ummah should select a Khalifah who, once chosen, would solely be responsible for the maintenance of spiritual and temporal order. And it is also possible that there should be a single Khalifah for the whole world.

The first to succeed the Holy Prophet (S) as his deputies were the First Four Great Khulafa, known as al-Khulafa al-Rashidin (or the rightly-guided ones, commonly translated as the Orthodox Caliphs), and the Khilafat order functioned according to the proper principles upto the end of their time. So, their decisions are not merely temporary judgments, but have a permanent legislative value, and carry an authority in their own degree, for the Holy Prophet (S) has said:  Follow my way steadfastly, and the way of the rightly-guided Khulafa.

After the age of the rightly-guided Khulafa, different rulers appeared in different regions, but none of them can be described as a Khalifah of the whole Islamic community in the proper sense of the term, though they may be called the Amirs of particular regions. When it became practically impossible for all the Muslims of the world to agree upon one man as their Khalifah, and it became customary to have a separate Amir for each region, people accepted the principle that the man who had been chosen or acknowledged by the majority or the Muslims in a country, should be called the Amir of that country. The basis for this procedure has been provided by the Holy Quran itself: And they conduct their affairs by mutual consultation. (42:38)

The modern legislative assemblies are a form of a mutual consultation, with the difference that they are quite free to make whatever laws they like according to their own opinion, while an Islamic legislative assembly, its members and their Amir all shall be bound by the law which Allah has sent us through the Holy Prophet (S). There are certain specific conditions for the membership of an Islamic assembly as well as for the choice of an Amir. And, most important of all, laws must be made within the bounds of the basic principles laid down by the Holy Quran and Sunnah, the authority of which the assembly cannot have the right to question.

Let me give a brief summary of the whole discussion. The verses which tell us of how Allah informed the angels about his intention to send a vicegerent to the earth, provide us with some of the fundamental principles of the governance of man:

a. The sovereignty of the skies and the earth belongs to Allah Himself.

b. The function of promulgating the Commandments of Allah on the earth is performed by a vicegerent who is at the same time a messenger of Allah and His Prophet (S).

c. The chain of such vicegerents ends with the Holy Prophet (S), for he is the last Messenger and Prophet.

d. Now the function of vicegerency is performed by the deputies of the Holy Prophet (S).

e. Such a deputy (Khalifah) is to be chosen by the Ummah or Islamic community.


4. Lesson from Bukhari Sharief
Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

Chapter (Baab) 23:

( )

Injustice Beyond Oppression

 Purpose of Tarjamatul Baab

              Here Imam Bukhari wants to convey that Zulm (injustice) has also many grades and the highest one is Shirk.   

 Hadith No. 31

( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )   () ( ) ( ) ( )  

Narrated by Hadhrat Abdullah (RA)

When the following Verse was revealed: "It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with wrong (worshipping others besides Allah.)" (6.82), the companions of Allah's Apostle asked, "Who is amongst us who has not done injustice (wrong)?" Allah revealed: "No doubt, joining others in worship with Allah is a great injustice (wrong) indeed." (31.13)

 Narrator: Hadhrat Abdullah bin Masood (RA)

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood (RA) belongs to the scholarly group of Sahabah who embraced Islam before Hadhrat Umar (RA) and participated in all the battles in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) took part. Great Sahabah like Abu Musa Ash'ari, Abu Hurairah, Ibne Abbas, Ibne Umar, Anas, Jaabir (RA) and many others have quoted Hadith from him. Hadhrat Alqamah was his distinguished student among the Taabaeen. His mother had also embraced Islam and they were very close to the family of Rasulullah (S),  so much so that Abu Musa Ash'ari (RA) says that when he came from Yemen,  he saw them so close to Rasulullah (S) that he thought that they (Ibne Mas'ood and his mother) belong to the family of Rasulullah (S). He used to be in charge of shoes, miswak, bedding and the Wudhu of Rasulullah  (RA) during all his journeys. He killed Abu Jahal after the latter was wounded by the two young boys in the battle of Badr.

Hadhrat Hudhaifa (RA) says that Ibne Mas'ood  (RA) resembled Rasulullah (S) in his morals, decisions and speeches (Khutba).

Hadhrat Umar (RA) used to say that Ibne Mas'ood (RA) is like a pot which is filled with knowledge upto the brim.

There are about eight hundred Ahadith narrated on the authority of Ibne  Mas'ood (RA). He died in 32 or 33 Hijra, may Allah be pleased with his soul and elevate his rank.


When the following verse was revealed:

"It is those who believe and confuse not their beliefs with wrong  that are (truly) in security for they are on (right) guidance". (6:82)

Sahabah-al-Kiram were highly perturbed by this as they thought that it would be highly improbable for anyone of them to have committed some or the other injustice in their lives. But this verse says that only those are in security and on true guidance who do not mix up their belief with injustice. They took the word  Zulm in its literal meaning, and got perturbed and expressed their concern infront of Rasulullah (S). He  told them that here Zulm means Shirk and substantiated his answer with the verse of the Qur'an which says,


"No doubt, joining others in worship with Allah is a great injustice (wrong) indeed." (31:13)

 Chapter (Baab) 24

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 Sign of the Hypocrite

 Hadith No. 32

( ) ( ) ( ) ( )  

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA)

The Prophet (S) said, "The signs of a hypocrite are three:

1.  Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.

2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise ).

3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.)"

 Hadith No. 33

( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )  

Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (RA)

The Prophet (S) said, "Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.

1.   Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.

2.   Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.

3.   Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.

4.  Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner."


What is Nifaaq (Hypocrisy)

Nifaq mean when someone pretends to believe something that he does not really believe or that is the opposite of what he does or says at another time. In Shari'ah it means to behave as Muslim externally when actually one is Kaafir internally. This word has been derived from "Nafaq" ( ) which means an underground tunnel. Since the tunnel has two ends, one deceives by entering the tunnel and people think that he is in there whereas he has already left from the other end.

Types of Nifaaq

Allama Kirmani says that there are two types of Nifaaq.

1. Nifaaq-i-Sharee

It means that one is actually Kaafir but poses to be a Muslim. It is a hypocrisy as regards to the beliefs.

2. Nifaaq-i-Urfi

It means that the external deeds of a believer are not matching to his internal ones. It is a hypocrisy as regards to the deeds.

Imam Tirmidhi says that this Hadith points towards the second type of Nifaaq i.e., the Nifaaq-fil-Amal ) and not the the Nifaaq-fil-Aqeedah ) - (Fathul Baari). Imam Qurtabi and Haafiz Ibne Hajar have appreciated this explanation.

In these two Ahadith five characteristics of a hypocrite are mentioned in total, viz.,

1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.

2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise ).

3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it).

4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.

5. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.

 If these Characteristics are Seen in a Believer, Will He Become a Real Munaafiq (Hypocrite)

Imam Ibne Taymiya says that a believer will not become a real hypocrite by having these characteristics of Hypocrisy, it is like  ( ), as you have grades of Kufr so are there grades of Nifaaq. (Faidhul Baari)

Imam Nawwawi says that resemblance of a believer to a Munaafiq is directly proportional to the number of signs he will be having of Nifaaq, more the signs of Nifaaq more will he resemble a Munaafiq.


 5. Islamic Beliefs
Hadhrat Sheikh-ut-Tafseer Mawlana Idris Kandhlawi (RA)


The first major sign of the signs of Qiyaamah is the appearance Imaam Mahdi (AS). 'Mahdi' is the title to one who guides. According to the dictionary meaning, every Aalim who possesses the correct and true knowledge is called a 'Mahdi', in fact every true and complete Muslim is a 'Mahdi'. However, the Mahdi, who is spoken about in the Ahaadith, is the one who will appear close to Qiyaamah, and it refers to one particular person. He will be from the progeny of Hadhrat Faatimah (RA). His name will be Mohammed, his father's name will be Abdullaah and his mother's name will be Aaminah. In external appearance and character, he will resemble Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). He will be a resident of Madinah and will make his appearance in Makkah. The pious people and the Abdaals (Levels in Sainthood) from Shaam and Iraq will take Ba'it (pledge allegiance) at his hands. The "Taaj-e-Kaabah" (Crown of the Kaabah - those, treasures that are buried underneath the Kaabah) will come out and it will be distributed amongst the Muslims. He will first become the king of the Arabs and then of all the Muslims around the world. The world will permeate with justice and peace, just as how its opposites, i.e. oppression and tyranny, had reigned (previously). The Shariah of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) will be rejuvenated. During the time of Imaam Mahdi (AS), dajjal will make his appearance. It will also be during his reign that Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will descend from the heavens onto the eastern minaarat of the Masjid in Damascus, and he will read his Salaah behind Imaam Mahdi (AS). Imaam Mahdi (AS) will fight the Christians and conquer Constantinople (Istanbul).


It is the firm belief of the Ahlus Sunnat Wal Jamaat that the emergence of Imaam Mahdi close to Qiyaamah is Haqq. It is necessary to bring faith and believe in this. The appearance of Imaam Mahdi (AS) is verified in authentic Ahaadith and there is a consensus of opinion of the Ummat on this. With regards the descriptions and explanations of Imaam Mahdi (AS), although there are few single reported Ahadith on the matter, this has come down to us right through the ages from the time of the Sahaabah, Taabi'een and all the pious Ulama throughout the east and west in all eras.

Sheikh Jalaaluddeen Suyuti (rahmatullahi alaih) has written an entire treatise on Imaam Mahdi (AS), wherein he has detailed all the Ahaadith and narrations of the Sahaabah regarding Imaam Mahdi (alaihi slaam). The name of this Kitaab is "AI-Arful Wardi Fi Akhbaaril Mahdi". Whoever desires may refer to it. Sheikh Ibn Hajar Makki has also written a treatise on the signs of Imaam Mahdi (AS), wherein he has listed up to 200 signs. With all these references and Ahaadith that exist on the signs of Imaam Mahdi (AS), it is indeed folly and asinine for anyone to refute the appearance of Imaam Mahdi (AS). There are those who have accepted the claim of the (false) claimants to being Imaam Mahdi. May Allaah Ta'ala grant them the guidance of the Straight Path. Aameen.


There were many people who claimed to be the promised Imaam Mahdi, but none measured up to the descriptions given in the Ahaadith, and none will, except the real one that Nabi (sailAllaahu alaihi wasallam) spoke about. They started making all sorts of interpretations and explanations with regard to the real signs of Imaam Mahdi and tried to make them apply to themselves. If making interpretations of the real signs of Imaam Mahdi was the object, then it would be very easy for every person to become a Mahdi. Whoever desires can claim to be a Mahdi, but one must remember that none can be the real Imaam Mahdi (AS) that was prophesied in the Ahaadith. If the descriptions given in the Ahaadith regarding the descriptions of Imaam Mahdi is not present in any claimant, then he will never be the prophesied Imaam Mahdi.

Mirza Ghulaam Ahmed, never had any signs of the prophesied Imaam Mahdi in him. The Mirzaees and Qaadianis were a strange breed believing their leader to be Maseeh and Mahdi. The English were declared as kaafir and dajjaals, yet (according to the Qaadianis) it was haraam to make jihad against them and they also encouraged and regarded as fardh, making du'aa for the continuation of the English rule.

O Muslims, what type of Maseeh is this! Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will be sent to annihilate dajjaal and not to make du'aa for his continuation and existence.


The second sign from amongst the major signs of Qiyaamah will be the emergence of dajjaal, which is established from the authentic Ahaadith and the consensus of the Ummat.

The word 'dajjaal' originates from the root word 'dajala', which translates as one who is a great liar and one who plots, plans, schemes and he confuses and mixes up the truth and falsehood. According to this dictionary meaning, every liar and schemer will be classified as a dajjaal. However, the dajjaal that is prophesied in the Ahaadith will be a specific kaafir person. He will be from a amongst the jews and will have the title of 'Maseeh'. He will be one-eyed, and his eye will protrude like a grape from his head. Between his two eyes will be written the Arabic letters "Kaaf", "Faa" and "Raa", which will be decipherable to every person. His hair will be extremely curly. His conveyance will be a large donkey. His first appearance will be between Iraq and Shaam. He will lay claim to Nabihood. He will then go to a place called 'Asfahan', and there 70 000 jews will follow him. Thereafter he will lay claim to godhood and he will spread great mischief throughout his travels.

Allaah Ta'ala will, as a test for the believers, allow many strange, "miraculous" and out of the ordinary occurrences occur at his hands, and at the end' he will be thoroughly disgraced and humiliated. His helplessness and weakness will become evident in a wonderful and sublime way. He will come upon a man and kill him. Thereafter he will make this person alive (with the Order of Allaah Ta'ala, of course!). Then he will again try to kill this person and he will never get it right. This incident will make very clear and apparent that his claim to godhood is a blatant lie and deception. Also, the fact that he is one-eyed, is a clear sign that he can never be a deity. Secondly, the word kaafir will be written on his forehead. The act of killing is in the power of every person. Even a weak person can kill a strong one with the strike of a sword. But the act of giving life is exclusively that of Allaah Ta'ala. Dajjaal will be able to give life to many people during his travels, and all this will only be possible with the Order of Allaah Ta'ala, as a test. Eventually, this will also be removed from him. Hadhrat Isaa (AS) was also able to bring to life some people, with the Order of Allaah Ta'ala. He used to make du'aa and turn his attention to Allaah Ta'ala, who would in turn give life to the dead soul. Allaah Ta'ala would grant life to the dead through the du'aa of Hadhrat Isaa (AS), and this is no proof of his godhood, in fact it shows that he was a special and chosen servant of Allaah Ta'ala.


Dajjaal will emerge at the time when Hadhrat Imaam Mahdi (AS) will have already made jihaad with the Christians and conquered Constantinople and whilst returning to Shaam, he will be stationed in the city of Damascus. He will be busy preparing the Muslims. At this time, dajjaal will emerge. Dajjaal, with his army, will wreak havoc on earth. From Yemen he will make his way to Makkah Mukarramah, but will be prevented therefrom by the angels. He will then head for Madinah. The entrance of Madinah Munawwarah will also be protected by the angels and he will not be able to enter. He will then roam around the world, and eventually end up in Shaam. Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will then descend from the heavens on the eastern minaarat of the Jaame Masjid in Damascus, resting upon the shoulders of two angels. He will eventually kill the accursed dajjaal, as explained in the forthcoming chapter.


The third sign from amongst the major signs that will occur close to Qiyaamah will be the descending of Hadhrat Isaa (AS) from the heavens, and his killing of the accursed dajjaal. This is Haqq and truth, as stated in the Qur'aan Majeed, the authentic Ahaadith and consensus of the Ummat. It is Fardh and necessary to accept and believe in this.

The one-eyed dajjaal will have already emerged by then and Imaam Mahdi (AS) will be preparing for Salaat in the Jaame Masjid in Damascus, when suddenly, Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will descend from the heavens on the eastern minaarat of this Masjid upon the shoulders of two angels. After the completion of the Salaat, he, together with.Imaam Mahdi, will head off towards dajjaal. The breath of Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will be such that the kuffaar will not be able to withstand it. They will die as soon as it reaches them. As soon as dajjaal will set his eye on Hadhrat Isaa (AS), he will (literally) disintegrate, just as salt does when it comes in contact with water. Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will pursue dajjaal and he will corner him at a place called "Baabe Lud", and he will kill dajjaal with his spear. The blood will be shown to the Muslims. Thereafter, the Muslim army will fight the army of dajaal, which will consist of jews. There will be a war where the earth will be cleansed of the jews, just as it was rendered unclean by their existence. The jews, who laid claim that they had killed Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will then witness with their own eyes that the person who they had claimed to have killed, was actually stationed in the heavens and that he had returned to kill them. One of the wisdoms behind the ascension of Hadhrat Isaa (AS) into the skies was to save him from the mischief and plots of the jews. He is kept in the heavens for a specified period, where after he will return and complete his life as a normal human being. He is after a Bani Aadam (human being) and all humans must necessarily complete their lives in the normal way and then be buried in the ground. As Aflaah Ta'ala says: "From it (earth) We have created you (human), and into it will We return you, and therefrom will We once again resurrect you". It is for this reason that Hadhrat Isaa (AS) will be made to return to the earth and he will live for a certain period, where after he will pass away and be buried close to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

Another wisdom behind the ascension of Hadhrat Isaa (AS) was that the jews had accused him of being a sorcerer and magician and they falsified him, whilst they readily followed the accursed dajjaal. And since the jews had always held the Muslims and Christians in contempt, they will deem this (coming of dajjaal) as an ideal opportunity to get revenge of the Muslims. At this time, Allaah Ta'ala will send Hadhrat Isaa (AS), who will slay the leader of the jews (dajjaal), and they will get to see that the very person they had always claimed to have killed, is the one who will be killing them. It will also be made clear at this time that the, Maseeh of guidance (Hadhrat Isaa Bin Maryam -alaihi salaam), who it was Fardh to follow (at the time), they belied him and the Maseeh of deviation (dajjal) whom it was Fardh to belie, they actually followed.


 6. Islam and Evolution

 Nuh Ha Meem Keller

               During my logic of scientific explanation period at the University of Chicago, I used to think that scientific theories had to have coherence, logicality, applicability, and adequacy, and I was accustomed to examine theory statements by looking at these things in turn. Perhaps they furnish a reasonable point of departure to give the question on evolution an answer which, if cursory and somewhat personal, may yet shed some light on the issues you are asking about.


It seems to me that the very absoluteness of the theorys conclusions tends to compromise its objective character. It is all very well to speak of the evidence of evolution, but if the theory is thorough-going, then human consciousness itself is also governed by evolution. This means that the categories that allow observation statements to arise as facts, categories such as number, space, time, event, measurement, logic, causality, and so forth, are mere physiological accidents of random mutation and natural selection in a particular species, Homo sapiens. They have not come from any scientific considerations, but rather have arbitrarily arisen in man by blind and fortuitous evolution for the purpose of preserving the species. They need not reflect external reality, the way nature is, objectively, but only to the degree useful in preserving the species. That is, nothing guarantees the primacy, the objectivity, of these categories over others that would have presumably arisen had our consciousness evolved along different lines, such as those of more distant, say, aquatic or subterranean species. The cognitive basis of every statement within the theory thus proceeds from the unreflective, unexamined historical forces that produced consciousness in one species, a cognitive basis that the theory nevertheless generalizes to the whole universe of theory statements (the explanation of the origin of species) without explaining what permits this generalization. The pretences of the theory to correspond to an objective order of reality, applicable in an absolute sense to all species, are simply not compatible with the consequences of a thoroughly evolutionary viewpoint, which entails that the human cognitive categories that underpin the theory are purely relative and species-specific. The absolutism of random mutation and natural selection as explanative principles ends in eating the theory. With all its statements simultaneously absolute and relative, objective and subjective, generalizable and ungeneralizable, scientific and species-specific, the theory runs up on a reef of methodological incoherence.


Speaking for myself, I was convinced that the evolution of man was an unchallengeable given of modern knowledge until I read Charles Darwins Origin of Species. The ninth chapter made it clear, from what Darwin modestly calls the great imperfection of the geological record that the theory was not in principle falsifiable, though the possibility that some kind of evidence or another should be able in principle to disprove a theory is a condition (if we can believe logicians like Karl Popper) for it to be considered scientific. By its nature, fossil evidence of intermediate forms that could prove or disprove the theory remained unfound and unfindable. When I read this, it was not clear to me how such an theory could be called scientific.

If evolution is not scientific, then what is it? It seems to me that it is a human interpretation, an endeavor, an industry, a literature, based on what the American philosopher Charles Peirce called abductive reasoning, which functions in the following way:

1. Surprising fact A.

2. If theory B were the case, then A would naturally follow.

3. Therefore B.

Here, (1) alone is certain; (2) is merely probable (as it explains the facts, though does not preclude other possible theories); while (3) has only the same probability as (2). If you want to see how ironclad the case for the evolution of man is, make a list of all the fossils discovered so far that prove the evolution of man from lower life forms, date them, and then ask yourself if abductive reasoning is not what urges it, and if it really precludes the possibility of quite a different (2) in place of the theory of evolution.


Is the analogy from micro-evolution within a species (which is fairly well-attested to by breeding horses, pigeons, useful plant hybrids, and so on) applicable to macro-evolution, from one species to another? That is, is there a single example of one species actually evolving into another, with the intermediate forms represented in the fossil record?

In the 1970s, Peter Williamson of Harvard University, under the direction of Richard Leakey, examined 3,300 fossils from digs around Lake Turkana, Kenya, spanning several million years of the history of thirteen species of mollusks, that seemed to provide clear evidence of evolution from one species to another. He published his findings five years later in Nature magazine, and Newsweek picked up the story:

Though their existence provides the basis for palaeontology, fossils have always been something of an embarrassment to evolutionists. The problem is one of missing links: the fossil record is so littered with gaps that it takes a truly expert and imaginative eye to discern how one species could have evolved into another. But now, for the first time, excavations at Kenyas Lake Turkana have provided clear fossil evidence of evolution from one species to another. The rock strata there contain a series of fossils that show every small step of an evolutionary journey that seems to have proceeded in fits and starts. (Begley and Carey)

Without dwelling on the facticity of scientific hypotheses raised under logic above, or that 3,300 fossils of thirteen species only cover several million years if we already acknowledge that evolution is happening and are merely trying to see where the fossils fit in, or that we are back to Peirces abductive reasoning here, although with a more probable minor premise because of the fuller geological recordthat is, even if we grant that evolution is the given which the fossils prove, an interesting point about the fossils (for a theist) is that the change was much more rapid than the traditional Darwinian mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection would warrant.

What the record indicated was that the animals stayed much the same for immensely long stretches of time. But twice, about 2 million years ago and then again 700,000 years ago, the pool of life seemed to explodeset off, apparently, by a drop in the lakes water level. In an instant of geologic time, as the changing lake environment allowed new types of mollusks to win the race for survival, all of the species evolved into varieties sharply different from their ancestors. Such sudden evolution had been observed before. What made the Lake Turkana fossil record unique, says Williamson, is that for the first time we see intermediate forms between the old species and the new.

That intermediate forms appeared so quickly, with new species suddenly evolving in 5,000 to 50,000 years after millions of years of constancy, challenges the traditional theories of Darwins disciples. Most scientists describe evolution as a gradual process, in which random genetic mutations slowly produce new species. But the fossils of Lake Turkana dont record any gradual change; rather, they seem to reflect eons of stasis interrupted by brief evolutionary revolutions (Begley and Carey).

Of what significance is this to Muslims? In point of religion, if we put our scientific scruples aside for a moment and grant that evolution is applicable to something in the real world; namely, the mollusks of Lake Turkana, does this constitute unbelief (kufr) by the standards of Islam? I dont think so. Classic works of Islamic `aqeedah or tenets of faith such as Al-Matan as-Sanusiyya tell us, As for what is possible in relation to Allah, it consists of His doing or not doing anything that is possible (As-Sanusi 145146). That is, the omnipotent power of Allah can do anything that is not impossible, meaning either

1. Intrinsically impossible (mustahil dhati), such as creating a five-sided triangle, which is a mere confusion of words, and not something in any sense possible, such that we could ask whether Allah could do it;

2. Or else impossible because of Allah having informed us that it shall not occur (mustahil `aradi), whether He does so in the Quran, or through the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a mutawatir hadith, meaning one that has reached us through so many means of transmission that it is impossible its transmitters could have all conspired to forge it. This category of the impossible is not impossible to begin with, but becomes so by the revelation from Allah, Who is truthful and veracious. For example, it is impossible that Abu Lahab should be of the people of Paradise, because the Quran tells us he is of the people of Hell (Surat Al-Masad 111).

With respect to evolution, the knowledge claim that Allah has brought one sort of being out of another is not intrinsically impossible ((1) above) because it is not self-contradictory. And as to whether it is (2), impossible because of Allah having informed us that it cannot occur, it would seem to me that we have two different cases, that of man, and that of the rest of creation.


Regarding the question whether the Quranic account of creation is incompatible with man having evolved, if evolution entails, as Darwin believed, that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from one primordial form, into which life was first breathed (455), I apprehend that this is incompatible with the Quranic account of creation. Our first ancestor was the prophet Adam (upon whom be peace), who was created by Allah in Jannah, or paradise and not on earth, but also created in a particular way that He describes to us:

[And [mention] when your Lord said to the angels, Truly, I will create a man from clay. So when I have completed him, and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down prostrate to him. And the angels prostrated, one and all. Save for Satan, who was too proud to, and disbelieved. He said to him, O Satan, what prevented you from prostrating to what I have created with My two hands? Are you arrogant, or too exalted? He said, I am better than he; You created me from fire and created him from clay.] (Saad 38:71-76)

Now, the God of Islam is transcendently above any suggestion of anthropomorphism, and Quranic exegetes like Fakhr Ad-Din Ar-Razi explain the above words created with My two hands as a figurative expression of Allahs special concern for this particular creation, the first human, since a sovereign of immense majesty does not undertake any work with his two hands unless it is of the greatest importance (Ar-Razi vol. 26, 231232). I say the first human because the Arabic term bashar used in the verse [Truly, I will create a man from clay] means precisely a human being and has no other lexical significance.

The same interpretive considerations (of Allahs transcendence above the attributes of created things) apply to the words [and breathed into him of My spirit]. Because the Quran unequivocally establishes that Allah is Ahad or One, not an entity divisible into parts, exegetes say this spirit was a created one, and that its attribution to Allah (My spirit) is what is called in Arabic idafat at-tashrif an attribution of honour, showing that the ruh or spirit within this first human being and his descendants was a sacred, exalted, and noble substance (Ar-Razi 228)not that there was a part of Allah such as could enter into Adams body, which is unbelief. Similar attributions are not infrequent in Arabic, just as the Ka`bah is called bayt Allah, or the House of Allah, meaning Allahs honoured house, not that it is His address; or such as the she-camel sent to the people of Thamud, which was called naqat Allah, or the she-camel of Allah, meaning Allahs honoured she-camel, signifying its inviolability in the Shari'ah of the time, not that He rode it; and so on.

All of which shows that, according to the Quran, human beings are intrinsicallyby their celestial provenance in Jannah, by their specially created nature, and by the ruh or soul within themat a quite different level in Allahs eyes than other terrestrial life, whether or not their bodies have certain physiological affinities with it, which are the prerogative of their Maker to create. Darwin says

I believe that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number. Analogy would lead me one step further, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants have descended from some one prototype. But analogy may be a deceitful guide. (454455)

Indeed it may. It is the nature of the place in which Allah has created us, this world (dunya), that the possibility exists to deny the existence of Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers, the Last Day, and destiny, its good and evil. If these things were not hidden by a veil, there would be no point in Allahs making us responsible for believing them. Belief would be involuntary, like the belief, say, that France is in Europe.

But what He has made us responsible for is precisely belief in the unseen. Why? In order that the divine namessuch as Ar-Rafi` or He Who Raises, Al-Khafidh He Who Abases, Al-Mu`ti He Who Gives, Al-Mani` He Who Withholds, Al-Rahim the Merciful, Al-Muntaqim the Avenger, Al-Latif the Subtlely Kind, and so onmay be manifest.

How are they manifest? Only through the levels of human felicity and perdition, of salvation and damnation, by the disparity of human spiritual attainment in all its degrees: from the profound certitude of the prophets (upon whom be peace), to the faith of the ordinary believer, to the doubts of the waverer or hypocrite, to the denials of the damned. Also, the veil for its part has a seamless quality. To some, it is a seamless veil of light manifesting the Divine through the perfection of creation; while to others, it is a seamless veil of darkness, a perfect nexus of interpenetrating causal relations in which there is no place for anything that is not material. Allah says

[Exalted in grace is He in Whose hand is dominion, and He has power over everything. Who created death and life to try you, as to which of you is better in works, and He is the All-Powerful, the Oft-Forgiving. And Who created the seven heavens in layers; you see no disparity in the creation of the All-Merciful. Return your glance: Do you see any fissures?] (Al-Mulk 67:1-3)

The last time I checked, the university scene was an atheistic subculture, of professors and students actively or passively convinced that God was created by man. In bastions of liberalism like the University of California at Berkeley, for example, which still forbids the establishment of a Religions Department, only this attitude will do; anything else is immature, is primitivism. The reduction of human behavior to evolutionary biology is a major journalistic missionary outreach of this movement. I am pleased with this, in as much as Allah has created it to try us, to distinguish the good from the bad, the bad from the worse. But I dont see why Muslims should accept it as an explanation of the origin of man, especially when it contradicts what we know from the Creator of Man.

 Other Species

As for other cases, change from one sort of thing to another does not seem to contradict revelation, for Allah says, [O people: Fear your Lord, Who created you from one soul [Adam, upon whom be peace] and created from it its mate [his wife Hawwa], and spread forth from them many men and women] (Quran An-Nisaa 4:1) and also says, concerning the metamorphosis of a disobedient group of Banu Israil into apes, [When they were too arrogant to [desist from] what they had been forbidden, We said to them, Be you apes, humiliated] (Al-A`raf 7:166).

And in a hadith we are told, There shall be groups of people from my community who shall consider fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful: groups shall camp beside a high mountain, whom a shepherd returning to in the evening with one of their herds shall approach for something he needs, and they shall tell him, Come back tomorrow. Allah shall destroy them in the night, bringing down the mountain upon them, and transforming others into apes and swine until the Day of Judgment (Al-Bukhari 7.138:5590). Most Islamic scholars have understood these transformations literally, which shows that Allahs changing one thing into another (again, in other than the origin of man) has not been traditionally considered to be contrary to the teachings of Islam. Indeed, the daily miracle of nutrition, the sustenance Allah provides for His creatures, in which one creature is transformed into another by being eaten, may be seen in the food chains that make up the economy of our natural world, as well as our own plates.

If, as in the theory of evolution, we conjoin with this possibility the factors of causality, gradualism, mutation, and adaptation, it does not seem to me to add anything radically different to these other forms of change. For Islamic tenets of faith do not deny causal relations as such, but rather that causes have effects in and of themselves, for to believe this is to ascribe a co-sharer to Allah in His actions. Whoever believes in this latter causality (as virtually all evolutionists do) is an unbeliever (kafir) without any doubt, as whoever denies the existence of ordinary causes has made the wisdom of Allah Most High inoperative, while whoever attributes effects to them has associated co-sharers (shirk) to Allah Most High (Al-Hashimi 33). As for Muslims, they believe that Allah alone creates causes, Allah alone creates effects, and Allah alone conjoins the two. In the words of the Quran, [Allah is the Creator of everything] (Ar-Ra`d 13:16).

A Muslim should pay careful attention to this point, and distance himself from believing either that causes (1) bring about effects in and of themselves; or (2) bring about effects in and of themselves through a capacity Allah has placed in them. Both of these negate the oneness and soleness (wahdaniyya) of Allah, which entails that Allah has no co-sharer in:

1. His entity (dhat)

2. His attributes (sifat)

3. Or in His acts (af`al), which include the creation of the universe and everything in it, including all its cause and effect relationships.

This third point is negated by both (1) and (2) above, and perhaps this is what your pamphleteer at Oxford had in mind when he spoke about the shirk (ascribing a co-sharer to Allah) of evolution.

In this connection, evolution as a knowledge claim about a causal relation does not seem to me intrinsically different from other similar knowledge claims, such as the statement The president died from an assassins bullet. Here, though in reality Allah alone gives life or makes to die, we find a dispensation in Sacred Law to speak in this way, provided that we know and believe that Allah alone brought about this effect. As for someone who literally believes that the bullet gave the president death, such a person is a kafir. In reality he knows no more about the world than a man taking a bath who, when the water is cut off from the municipality, gets angry at the tap.

To summarize the answer to the question on evolution thus far, belief in macro-evolutionary transformation and variation of non-human species does not seem to me to entail kufr (unbelief) or shirk (ascribing co-sharers to Allah) unless one also believes that such transformation came about by random mutation and natural selection, understanding these adjectives as meaning causal independence from the will of Allah. You have to look in your heart and ask yourself what you believe. From the point of view of tawheed, Islamic theism, nothing happens at random, there is no autonomous nature, and anyone who believes in either of these is necessarily beyond the pale of Islam.

Unfortunately, this seems to be exactly what most evolutionists think. In America and England, they are the ones who write the textbooks, which raises weighty moral questions about sending Muslim students to schools to be taught these atheistic premises as if they were givens of modern science. Teaching unbelief (kufr) to Muslims as though it were a fact is unquestionably unlawful. Is this unlawfulness mitigated (made legally permissible by Shari`ah standards) by the need (darura) of upcoming generations of Muslims for scientific education? If so, the absence of textbooks and teachers in most schools who are conversant and concerned enough with the difficulties of the theory of evolution to accurately present its hypothetical character, places a moral obligation upon all Muslim parents. They are obliged to monitor their childrens Islamic beliefs and to explain to them (by means of themselves, or someone else who can) the divine revelation of Islam, together with the difficulties of the theory of evolution that will enable the children to make sense of it from an Islamic perspective and understand which aspects of the theory are rejected by Islamic theism (tawheed) and which are acceptable. The question of the theorys adequacy, meaning its generalizability to all species, will necessarily be one of the important aspects of this explanation.


Of all the premises of evolution, the two that we have characterized above as unbelief (kufr), namely, random mutation and natural selection, interpreted in a materialistic sense, are what most strongly urge its generalization to man. Why must we accept that man came from a common ancestor with animal primates, particularly since a fossil record of intermediate forms is not there? The answer of our age seems to be Where else should he have come from?

It is only if we accept the premise that there is no God that this answer acquires any cogency. The Quran answers this premise in detail and with authority. But evolutionary theory is not only ungeneralizable because of Allah informing us of His own existence and mans special creation, but because of what we discern in ourselves of the uniqueness of man, as the Quran says, [We shall show them Our signs on the horizons and in themselves, until it is plain to them that it is the Truth] (Fussilat 41:53).

Among the greatest of these signs in mans self is his birthright as khalifat Ar-Rahman, the vicegerent of the All-Merciful. If it be wondered what this vicegerency consists in, the ulama of tasawwuf, the scholars of Islamic spirituality, have traditionally answered that it is to be looked for in the ma`rifa bi Llah or knowledge of Allah that is the prerogative of no other being in creation besides the believer, and which is attained through following the path of inward purification, of strengthening the hearts attachment to Allah through acts of obedience specified by Sacred Law, particularly that of dhikr.

The locus of this attachment and this knowledge is not the mind, but rather the subtle faculty within one that is sometimes called the heart, sometimes the ruh or spirit. Allahs special creation of this faculty has been mentioned above in connection with the Quranic words [and breathed into him of My spirit]. According to masters of the spiritual path, this subtle body is knowledgeable, aware, and cognizant, and when fully awakened, capable of transcending the opacity of the created universe to know Allah. The Quran says about it, by way of exalting its true nature through its very unfathomability, [Say: The spirit is of the matter of my Lord] (Al-Israa 17:85)

How does it know Allah? I once asked this question of one of the ulama of tasawwuf in Damascus, and recorded his answer in an unpublished manuscript. He told me

Beholding the Divine (mushahada) is of two sorts, that of the eye and that of the heart. In this world, the beholding of the heart is had by many of the arifin (knowers of Allah), and consists of looking at contingent things, created beings, that they do not exist through themselves, but rather exist through Allah, and when the greatness of Allah occurs to one, contingent things dwindle to nothing in ones view, and are erased from ones thought, and the Real (Al-Haqq) dawns upon ones heart, and it is as if one beholds. This is termed the beholding of the heart. The beholding of the eye [in this world] is for the Chosen, the Prophet alone, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). As for the next world, it shall be for all believers. Allah Most High says, [On that day faces shall be radiant, gazing upon their Lord] (Quran Al-Qiymah 75:22)

[I wrote of the above:] If it be observed that the term heart as used above does not seem to conform to its customary usage among speakers of the language, I must grant this. In the context, the term denotes not the mind, but rather the faculty that perceives what is beyond created things, in the world of the spirit, which is a realm unto itself. If one demands that the existence of this faculty be demonstrated, the answerhowever legitimate the requestcannot exceed, Go to masters of the discipline, train, and you will be shown. Unsatisfying though this reply may be, it does not seem to me to differ in principle from answers that would be given, for example, to a non-specialist regarding the proof for a particular proposition in theoretical physics or symbolic logic. Nor are such answers an objection to the in-principle publicly observable character of observation statements in these disciplines, but rather a limitation pertaining to the nature of the case and the questioner, one that he may accept, reject, or do something about. (Keller 12)

Mere imagination? On the contrary, everything besides this knowledge is imagination, for the object of this knowledge is Allah, true reality, which cannot be transient but is unchanging, while other facts are precisely imaginary. The child you used to be, for example, exists now only in your imagination; the person who ate your breakfast this morning no longer exists except in your imagination; your yesterday, your tomorrow, your today (except, perhaps, for the moment you are presently in, which has now fled): all is imaginary, and only hypostatized as phenomenal reality, as unity, as facticity, as realthrough imagination. Every moment that comes is different, winking in and out of existence, preserved in its relational continuum by pure imagination, which constitutes it as world. What we notice of this world is thus imaginary, like what a sleeper sees. In this connection, `Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah ennoble his countenance) has said, People are asleep, and when they die, they awaken (As-Sakhawi, 442:1240).

This is not to denigrate the power of imagination; indeed, if not for imagination, we could not believe in the truths of the afterlife, Paradise, Hell, and everything that our eternal salvation depends upon. Rather, I mention this in the context of the question of evolution as a cautionary note against a sort of fallacy of misplaced concrescence, an unwarranted epistemological overconfidence, that exists in many people who work in what they term the hard sciences.

As someone from the West, I was raised from early school years as a believer not only in science, the practical project of discovery that aims at exploiting more and more of the universe by identification, classification, and description of micro- and macro-causal relations; but also in scientism, the belief that this enterprise constitutes absolute knowledge. As one philosopher whom I read at the University of Chicago put it, Scientism is sciences belief in itself: that is, the conviction that we can no longer understand science as one form of possible knowledge, but rather must identify knowledge with science (Habermas 4).

It seems to me that this view, in respect to evolution but also in respect to the nature of science as a contemporary religion, represents a sort of defeat of knowledge by an absolutism of pure methodology. As I mentioned at the outset, the categories of understanding that underly every observation statement in the theory of evolution arise from human consciousness, and as such cannot be distinguished by the theory from other transient survival devices: Its explanative method, from first to last, is necessarily only another survival mechanism that has evolved in the animal kingdom. By its own measure, it is not necessary that it be true, but only necessary that it be powerful in the struggle for survival. Presumably, any other theoryeven if illusorythat had better implications for survival could displace evolution as a mode of explanation. Or perhaps the theory itself is an illusion.

These considerations went through my mind at the University of Chicago during my logic of scientific explanation days. They made me realize that my faith in scientism and evolutionism had something magical as its basis, the magic of an influential interpretation supported by a vast human enterprise. I do not propose that science should seriously try to comprehend itself, which it is not equipped to do anyway, but I have come to think that, for the sake of its consumers, it might have the epistemological modesty to get back, from its current scientistic pretensions to its true nature, as one area of human interpretation among others. From being the grand balance scale on which one may weigh and judge the reality of all matters, large and smallsubsuming the concept of God, for example, under the study of religions, religions under anthropology, anthropology under human behavioral institutions, human behavioral institutions under evolutionary biology, evolutionary biology under organic chemistry, organic chemistry (ultimately) under cosmology, cosmology under chaos theory, and so onI have hopes that science will someday get back to its true role, the production of technically exploitable knowledge for human life. That is, from pretensions to ilm or knowledge to its true role as fann or technique.

In view of the above considerations of its coherence, logicality, applicability, and adequacy, the theory of the evolution of man from lower forms does not seem to show enough scientific rigor to raise it from being merely an influential interpretation. To show the evolutions adequacy, for everything it is trying to explain would be to give valid grounds to generalize it to man. In this respect, it is a little like Sigmund Freuds Interpretation of Dreams, in which he describes examples of dreams that are wish fulfillments, and then concludes that all dreams are wish fulfillments. We still wait to be convinced.

 Summary of Islamic Conclusions

Allah alone is Master of Existence. He alone causes all that is to be and not to be. Causes are without effect in themselves, but rather both cause and effect are created by Him. The causes and the effects of all processes, including those through which plant and animal species are individuated, are His work alone. To ascribe efficacy to anything but His action, whether believing that causes (1) bring about effects in and of themselves; or (2) bring about effects in and of themselves through a capacity Allah has placed in them, is to ascribe associates to Allah (shirk). Such beliefs seem to be entailed in the literal understanding of natural selection and random mutation, and other evolutionary concepts, unless we understand these processes as figurative causes, while realizing that Allah alone is the agent. This is apart from the consideration of whether they are true or not.

As for the claim that man has evolved from a non-human species, this is unbelief (kufr) no matter if we ascribe the process to Allah or to nature, because it negates the truth of Adams special creation that Allah has revealed in the Quran. Man is of special origin, attested to not only by revelation, but also by the divine secret within him, the capacity for ma`rifa or knowledge of the Divine that he alone of all things possesses. By his God-given nature, man stands before a door opening onto infinitude that no other creature in the universe can aspire to. Man is something else.


7. Quranic basis for the Ideal Social Order

Sad-Ullah Khan

 Practical expression of welfare is the fabric of faith

              The pattern of universal goodwill and welfare is interwoven in every fabric of Islamic doctrine, legislation and practice. With such gravity does Islam view this obligation (of universal welfare) that none can righteously claim inclination to the Divine Universal Way of Life (Islam) without first furnishing practical proof of selfless commitment to this humanitarian ideal...

In the words of the Prophet ; "None of you have Faith unless he prefers for others what he prefers for himself. None of you can righteously claim to Believe until and unless you sacrifice for others that which you yourself love most. The highest expression of Faith is... that you love for humanity that which you love for yourself and despise for humanity that which you dislike for yourself".

Thus the customary flimsy claim to belief by mere pronouncing of certain formulae or the mere performance of certain rituals does not per se make one a true Believer. Belief is coupled with true commitment to the Divine in every sphere of activity. According to the Quran

It is not righteousness that you turn Your faces towards East or West; But it is righteousness - To Believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, For your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of those in bondage; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain, suffering, adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the People of Truth, the Allah - conscious. Quran 2:177

 Fundamental principles of the Ideal Social Order

It is not righteousness to ritually turn your face towards East or West; But righteousness is that you believe in:

Allah - The Supreme Authority, the Uncaused First Cause who is the Eternal Source and Origin of all existence and in Whom is inherent all manifestations of perfection.

And the Last Day - A future time period of accountability where each individual will be held responsible and accountable for his or her worldly deeds.

And the Angels - Who are the Divine functionaries of Allah.

And the Book - Though we accept all Divine scriptures like the Original Bible, Original Taurah, ... unfortunately (due to interpolation and alterations) none of the scriptures have been preserved in their original pristine form, except the Holy Qur'an, the Book.

And all the Prophets - Islam is the only Faith that has it as an article of faith to believe in all the Prophets that were sent to all the various peoples throughout history. In essence, they all brought the same message to different people at different periods. Their message was based on Divine Covenant aimed at establishing the universal, natural, true Way of Life; leading to the implementation of the social system of Goodness and Justice. "We sent our Prophets with clear Guidance and Scriptures, containing the ideal Criterion (and Balance) for the express purpose that humanity may establish justice." (Quran 57:25)

And out of the love for Allah, to avail what you possess for the benefit of those dear to you, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarers, those who ask, and for the freeing of those in bondage:

After proclaiming inclination to Islam one is required to give practical expression to this inclination by offering whatever abilities, flair, art, comfort, wealth, possession... that one has been entrusted with, for the benefit of humanity. It is with reference to this that the holy Prophet (pbuh) said: "Most certainly, Deen is expressed in man's treatment of fellow human beings."

Whatever we possess belongs to Allah; we are only trustees thereof. Whatever we are graced with in this world (whether it be knowledge, wealth, political power...) we are entrusted with these as vicegerents of Allah and we are to be accountable for each aspect of our trusteeship. Such is our responsibility towards the needy, downtrodden and oppressed that the Almighty Himself proclaims: "And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and the oppressed men, women and children, whose cry is - O our Lord! Save us from this place whose people are oppressors. Raise us from Thee one who will help us, one who will assist us." (Quran 4:75)

The true Muslim, committed to the universal welfare presented by Islam, is the one who is duty - bound to rise in assistance of these oppressed, for the true Believer is part of that ideal Global Community (the Ummah) which has been evolved for the benefit of humanity (Quran 3:110).

And establish regular Prayer (Salaah):

Prayer is the spiritual elevation of the Believer due to the fact that during Salaah the worshipper devotes his entire attention to his Creator without any intermediate, materialistic interference. The objective to be achieved is documented in the Holy Qur'an, "Establish prayer, for most certainly prayer prevents from shameful deeds, indecency, all forms of evil, corruption, exploitation; and the constant awareness of Allah is the greatest of virtues." (Quran 29:45)

The concept of prayer is not mere ritual devoid of Divine commitment and social welfare for the holy Prophet (pbuh) intimated that there are those who pray yet achieve nothing by their prayer except tiredness  from  bowing  and  prostration.

Allah only accepts the prayer of those who are humble and sincere, those who do not exceed the limits, those who meet the needs of the needy and who feed the hungry.

              Thus the establishing of Salaah is akin to the pursuance of spiritual and moral welfare.

And establish Zakaah (prescribed charity):

              Islam does not presuppose a class system of 'haves' giving meager handouts to the 'have-nots'. In Islam, everything belongs to Allah. Man is only the trustee of what he possesses and whatever is in his possession beyond his basic needs is to be availed to those who need it. The holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "In the possession of those who have lies the right of those who do not have. "

So after having provided welfare assistance to the best of your ability, if anything is left in your possession in excess of your basic needs, then Zakaah is still the prescribed obligatory tax on that. The establishing of Zakaah therefore is akin to the pursuance of economic welfare.

To fulfill obligations and promises you have made:

Indeed Islam is the order wherein it is obligatory to be true in thought, word and deed. Fulfillment of duty, responsibility and commitments is part of that obligation.

And to patiently persevere throughout all periods of panic and hardship:

All the above conditions have to be included and practically fulfilled for one to be a true Believer.

These are those who are truthful, they are the sincerely committed.

The requirements that have been laid down in this single verse of the Holy Qur'an (Chapter 2:Verse 177) contain the basic elements for that Ideal Social Order promoted by Islam... the Social Order of Truth, Justice and Goodness.



Justice Mawlan Mufti Taqi Usmani (DB)

Some objections on Musharqkah Financing

Let us now examine some objections raised from practical point of view against using musharahah as a mode of financing.

 Risk of Loss

1. It is argued that the arrangement of musharakah is more likely to pass on losses of the business to the financier bank or institution. This loss will be passed on to depositors also. The depositors, being constantly exposed to the risk of loss, will not want to deposited their money in the banks and financial institutions and thus their savings will either remain idle or will be used in transactions outside of the banking channels, which will not contribute to the economic development at national level

This argument is, however, misconceived. Before financing on the basis of musharakah, the banks and financial institution will study the feasibility of the proposed business for which funds are needed. Even in the present system of interest-based loans the banks do not advance loans to each and every applicant. They study the potentials of the business and if they apprehend that the business is not profitable, they refuse to advance a loan. In the case of musharakah, they will have to carry out this study with more depth and precaution.

Moreover, no bank or financial institution can restrict itself to a single musharakah. There will always be a diversified portfolio of musharakah. If a bank has financed 100 of its clients on the basis of musharakah, after studying the feasibility of the proposal of each one of them, it is hardly conceivable that all of these musharakahs, or the majority of them will result in a loss. After taking proper measures and due care, what can happen at the most is that some and them make a loss. But on the other hand, the profitable musharakahs are expected to give more return than the interest-based loans, because the actual profit is supposed to be distributed between the client and the bank. Therefore, the musharakah portfolio, as a whole, is not expected to suffer loss, and the possibility of loss to the whole portfolio is merely a theoretical possibility which should not discourage the depositors. This theoretical possibility of loss in a financial institution is much less than the possibility of loss in a joint stock company whose business is restricted to a limited sector of commercial activities. Still, the people purchase its shares and the possibility of loss does not refrain them from investing in these shares. The case of the bank and financial institutions is much stronger, because their musharakah activities will be so diversified that any possible loss in one musharakah will be more than compensated by the profits earned in other musharakahs.

Apart from this, an Islamic economy must create a mentality which believes that any profit earned on money is the reward of bearing risks of the business. This risk may be minimized through expertise and diversifying the portfolio where it becomes a hypothetical or theoretical risk only. But there is no way to eliminate this risk totally. The one, who wants to earn profit, must accept this minimal risk. Since this understanding is already there in the case of normal joint stock companies, nobody has ever raised the objection that the money of the shareholders is exposed to loss. The problem is created by the system which separates the banking and financing from the normal trade activities, and which has compelled the people to believe that banks and financial institutions deal in money and papers only, and that they have nothing to do with the actual results emerging in trade and industry. Therefore, it is argued that they deserve a fixed return in any case. This separation of financing sector from the sector of trade and industry has brought great harms to the economy at macro-level. Obviously, when we speak of Islamic banking, we never mean that it will follow this conventional system in each and every respect. Islam has its own values and principles which do not believe in separation of financing from trade and industry. Once this Islamic system is understood, the people will invest in the financing sector, despite the theoretical risk of loss, more readily than they invest in the profitable joint stock companies.

 2. Dishonesty

Another apprehension against musharakah financing is that the dishonest clients may exploit the instrument of musharakah by not paying any return to the financiers. They can always show that the business did not earn any profit. Indeed, they can claim that it has suffered a loss in which case not only the profit, but also tile principal amount will be jeopardized.

It is, no doubt, a valid apprehension, especially in societies where corruption is the order of the day. However, solution to this problem is not as difficult as is generally believed or exaggerated. If all the banks in a country are run on pure Islamic pattern with a careful support from the Central Bank and the government, the problem of dishonesty is not hard to overcome. First of all, a well-designed system of auditing should be implemented whereby the accounts of all the clients are fully maintained and properly controlled. It is already discussed that the profits may be calculated to the basis of gross margins only. It will reduce the possibility of disputes and misappropriation. However, if any misconduct, dishonesty or negligence is established against a client, he will be subjected to punitive steps, and may be deprived of availing any facility from any bank in the country, at least for a specified period.

These steps will serve as strong deterrent against concealing the actual profits or committing any other act of dishonesty. Otherwise also, the clients of the banks cannot afford to show artificial losses constantly, because it will be against their own interest in many respects. It is true that even after taking all such precautions, there will remain a possibility of some cases where dishonest clients may succeed in their evil designs, but the punitive steps and the general atmosphere of the business will gradually reduce the number of such cases (Even in an interest-b3.sed economy, the defaulters have always been creating the problem of bad debts) But it should not be taken as a justification, or as an excuse, for rejecting the whole system of musharakah.

Undoubtedly, the apprehension of dishonesty is more severe for the Islamic Banks anti Financial institutions working in isolation from. the main stream of conventional banks. They have not much support from their respective governments and central Banks. They cannot change the system, nor can they impose their own laws and. regulations. However, they should not forget that they are not just commercial, institutions. They have been established to introduce a new system of banking which has its own philosophy. They are duty bound to promote this new system, even if they apprehend that it will reduce the size of their profits to some extent. Therefore, they should start using the instrument of musharakah, at least on a selective basis. Each and every bank has a number of clients whose integrity is beyond all doubts. The Islamic banks should, at least, start financing them on the basis of true musharakah. It will help setting good precedents in the market and induce others to follow suit. Moreover, there are some sectors of financing where musharakah can be used easily. For example, the use of musharakah instrument in financing exports has not much room for dishonesty. The exporter has a specific order from abroad. The prices are agreed. The cost is not difficult to determine. Payments are normally secured by a letter of credit. The payments are made through the bank itself. There is no reason in such cases why the musharakah arrangement should not be adopted. Similarly, financing of imports may also be designed on the basis of musharakah with some precautions, as explained earlier in this chapter.

 3. Secrecy of the Business

Another criticism against musharakah is that, by making the financier a partner in the business of the client, it may disclose the secrets of the business to the financier, and through him to other traders. However, the solution to this problem is very easy. The client, while entering into the musharakah, may put a condition that the financier will not interfere with the management affairs, and he will not disclose any information about the business to any person without prior permission of the client. Such agreements of maintaining secrecy are always honoured by the prestigious institutions, especially by the banks and financial institutions whose entire business is based on confidentiality.

 4. Clients Unwillingness to Share Profits

Many a time, it is mentioned that the clients are not willing to share with the Banks the actual profits of their business. The reluctance is based on two reasons:

1. They think that the bank has no right to share in the actual profit, which may be substantial, because the bank has nothing to do with the management or running of the business and why should they (the clients) share the fruit of their labour with the Bank who merely provides funds. The Clients also argue that conventional banks are content with a meagre rate of interest and so should be. the Islamic Banks.

2. Even if the above was not a factor, the Clients are afraid to reveal their true profits to the Banks, lest the information is also passed on to the tax authorities and Clients' tax liability increases.

The solution to the first part; though not easy, is not difficult or impossible either. Such Clients need to be convinced and persuaded that borrowing on interest is a cardinal sin, unless there is a dire necessity for such borrowing. Mere expansion of business is not a dire need, by any stretch of imagination. By making a legitimate arrangement for obtaining funds for their business, by way of Musharakah, not only do they earn Allah's pleasure but also a legitimate return for themselves, as well as for the Islamic Banks.

In respect of the second factor, all that can be said is that in some Muslim countries, rate of taxation are indeed prohibitive and unjust. Islamic Banks as well as their Clients must lobby with the governments and struggle to change the laws which hamper the progress towards Islamic banking. The governments should also try to appreciate the fact that if rates of taxation are reasonable and if the tax-payers are convinced that they will benefit b honestly paying their taxes, this would increase, and not decrease, government revenues.


9.  The First Migration

Jafar Subhani

Migration of a group of Muslims to Ethiopia is a clear proof of their faith and deep sincerity. With a view to get rid of the mischief and atrocities of Quraysh and to acquire a peaceful atmosphere for observing their religious ceremonies and worshipping Allah the One, they decided to leave Makkah and to forsake their wealth, business, children and relatives. They, however, wondered what to do and where to go, for they saw that idolatry prevailed throughout the Arabian Peninsula and there was not a single point where the name of Allah could be proclaimed aloud or the laws of Islam could be introduced. They, therefore, decided to place the matter before the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) - the foundation of whose religion was laid on: "Allah's land is spacious. Worship Me alone" (choose that place for residence where you can worship Allah). (Surah al-Ankabut, 29:56).

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was fully aware of the pitiable condition of the Muslims. Although he himself enjoyed the support of Bani Hashim and they protected him from every harm, his devotees mostly consisted of slave-girls and slave-boys and some unprotected free men. The chiefs of Quraysh persecuted these helpless persons incessantly and, in order to forestall tribal wars, the powerful chiefs' of various tribes tortured those persons of their tribes who had embraced Islam. An account of the torture and prosecutions to which Quraysh subjected the people has already been given in the books of Islamic history. .

It was on this account that when the companions of the Prophet sought advice from him regarding migration he replied: "If you travel to Ethiopia it will be very profitable for you, because, on account of the presence of a mighty and just ruler, nobody is oppressed there and the land of that country is good and pure and you can live there till Almighty Allah provides you relief.

No doubt a pure environment, where a worthy and just person is at the helm of affairs, is a specimen of Paradise and the only object of the companions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in occupying such a land was that they might perform their religious duties with perfect security and peace of mind.

The penetrating words of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had such a wholesome effect that soon after that those, who were already quite ready, packed their luggage and proceeded to Jeddah at night, either mounted or on foot, without their enemies (idolaters) becoming aware of their departure. The total number of those who migrated this time was ten and they included four Muslim women as well.

It is worthy of none why the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did not mention other places. However, when the conditions then prevailing in Arabia and other places are studied the secret of the selection of Ethiopia becomes quite clear. The reason for this was that migration to places inhabited by the Arabs, who were usually idolater, was dangerous. The idolaters were reluctant to receive the Muslims either because they wished to please Quraysh, or because they loved the religion of their forefathers. The places in Arabia inhabited by the Christians and the Jews were not at all fit for migration, because they wee fighting and quarrelling with each other for their spiritual penetration, and there was no room for a third rival. Furthermore, those two groups considered people of the Arab descent to be inferior and humble.

Yemen was under the influence of the King of Iran and the Iranian authorities were not prepared to accommodate Muslims in that land, so much so that when Khusro Pervez received the letter from the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) he at once wrote to the Governor of Yemen to arrest the new Prophet and send him to Iran. Hira, too, was under-the domination of Iran like Yemen. Syria was far away from Makkah. Furthermore, Yemen and Syria were the markets for Quraysh and they had close relations with the people of these areas. If the Muslims had taken shelter there those people would have expelled them on the request of Quraysh, who had made a similar request to the King of Ethiopia who turned it down.

        During those days journey by sea, particularly with women and children, was an extraordinarily difficult job. Undertaking such a journey and abandoning means of livelihood was a sign of devotion and pure faith. Jeddah (and according to Jurji Zaydan the post of 'Shoaibiyah' of those days) was a developed trading port, and by chance two trading vessels were then ready to sail from there for Ethiopia. The Muslims, fearing pursuit by Quraysh, made known their intention to perform the journey and boarded the vessel in much haste, on payment of half a dinar. A report regarding the departure of the Muslims had also reached the ears of the chiefs of Makkah and they sent some persons to bring them back, but by the time they reached there, the vessel had left the coast of Jeddah and could not be seen.

        Pursuit of those, who had taken refuge in a foreign land only for the safety of their faith, is a clear proof of the villainy of Quraysh. The migrants had forsaken their property, children, residences and business, but the chiefs of Makkah were not, prepared to leave them alone. The elders of Darun Nadwah' feared the outcome of this journey and discussed amongst themselves the matters, which will be mentioned later.

        The members of this group did not belong to one family and according to Ibn Hisham, everyone of these ten persons belonged to a separate family. Another migration took place after this and the leader of these migration was Ja'far son of Abu Talib. This migration was arranged with perfect freedom and some of the migrants were, therefore, successful in taking their women and children also with themselves.

        Consequently the number of the Muslims in Ethiopia reached eighty three and if we take into account the children who were taken there or were born in that land the number would exceed this figure.

        As the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had described, the Muslims found Ethiopia to be a prospectus country with a calm and free atmosphere. Umma Salama, the wife of Abi Salma, who later had the honour of marrying the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), says thus about that country: "When we settled in Ethiopia we found ourselves under the protection. of the best patron. We did not meet with any trouble or hear any bad word from anyone".

        From the verses composed by some migrants it transpires that the atmosphere of Ethiopia was very pleasant. Details may be seen in the Seetah-i-Ibn Hisham.

 Quraysh send their representatives to the court of Ethiopia

        When the chiefs of Makkah learned about the freedom and peaceful life of the Muslims in Ethiopia, the flames of rancour kindled in their hearts, they were disturbed by the happy life being led by them there, because that country had proved to be a haven for them. They were very much afraid lest the Muslims should have access to the Negus (ruler of Ethiopia) and they might be able to attract him to the religion of Islam and thus arrange the invasion of the Arabian Peninsula by a well-equipped army.

        The elders of 'Darun-Nadwah' conferred once again and unanimously decided to send representatives to the court of Ethiopia and to arrange for proper presents for the king and his ministers to earn their good will, and then to accuse the migrant Muslims of stupidity and ignorance and of inventing a religion. In order that their plan might meet with an immediate success they selected from amongst themselves two persons known for their cunning and deceitful activities. One of whom later became a juggler in the field of politics. The lot fell upon 'Amr bin Aas' and Abdullah bin Rabi'ah. The president of 'Darun-Nadwah' instructed them that before meeting the ruler of Ethiopia they should present gifts to the ministers and have conversation with them in advance and should try to bring them round, so that when they meet the king, they (the ministers) might support them. After having been briefed on these lines the said two persons proceeded to Ethiopia.

The ministers of Ethiopia met the representatives of Quraysh and the latter, after presenting the gifts, spoke to them thus: "A group of our young men have abjured the creed of their forefathers and have invented a religion which is opposed to our religion as well as yours. They are now residing in your country. The elders-and chiefs of Quraysh earnestly request the King of Ethiopia to expel them as soon as possibly. Incidentally, we also desire that the council of ministers may support us in the presence of the king. And as we are fully aware of the shortcomings and ways and manners of these persons it will be expedient that the matter is not discussed with them at all and the head of the State should not also grant them an audience".

The greedy and short-sighted persons (i.e. the ministers) assured them of their full support. On the following day the representatives of Quraysh were admitted in the royal court and after conveying their greetings and presenting the gifts they communicated the message of Quraysh to the king in the following words:

"O honourable ruler of Ethiopia! Some foolish young men of ours have taken steps to propagate a religion which does not conform either with the official religion of your country or with that of their ancestors. These people have recently taken refuge in your country and are taking undue advantage of the freedom available in this State. The elders of Quraysh earnestly request your Majesty that orders may be issued for their expulsion so that they may return to their own country ".

As soon as the speech of the representatives of Quraysh ended the voices of the ministers, who were sitting round the royal throne, became loud. All of them supported the representatives of Quraysh and confirmed what they had said. However, signs of anger appeared on the face of the wise and just Ruler of Ethiopia. Opposing his courtiers he thundered. "This cannot be. I can't hand over to these two persons, without proper investigation, the people who have taken refuge in my country. It is necessary that the condition and particulars of these refugees should be looked into. And I will return them to their country only after the statements of these two persons about them have been substantiated thorough scrutiny. On the other hand, if what these persons have said about them is not based on reality, I will not forsake them, but will render them more assistance".

Thereafter a special emissary of the royal court was sent to the emigrant Muslims and he brought them before the king without providing them any prior information. Ja'far bin Abu Talib was introduced as the representative of those persons. Some of the Muslims were worried as to how he would address the Christian monarch of Ethiopia. To alleviate their anxiety Ja'far told them that he ,Would communicate to the king exactly what he had heard from the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

The King of Ethiopia turned to Ja'far and said: "Why have you abjured the creed of your forefathers and adopted a faith which does not conform either to our religion or to that of your ancestors?"

Ja'far replied: "We were an ignorant and idolatrous people. We did not avoid eating the dead bodies. We always indulged in abominable deeds. We had no respect for our neighbours. The weak and the helpless were oppressed by the strong. We quarrelled and fought with our kinsmen. We spent quite a long time in this manner till a person from amongst us, who has a very brilliant and pure past, rose up and invited us, under the commandment of Allah, to worship the One and only Deity, and declared the praise of idols to be despicable. He also ordered us to return the things entrusted to us by others; to avoid impurities, to behave well with our kinsmen and neighbours and to shun bloodshed, unlawful contacts, false evidence, usurpation of the property of orphans and imputing bad deeds to women.

He has ordered us to offer prayers, to fast, and to pay taxes on our wealth. We have believed in him and occupied ourselves with the praise and worship of Allah the One. We consider that which He has declared lawful to be lawful. However, Quraysh have behaved with us cruelly and have tortured us day and night so that we might abjure our faith, revert to the worship of stones and idols and do all sorts of evil deeds. We resisted them for quite some time till our energy was exhausted. Despaired of our life and property we have taken refuge in Ethiopia to save our faith. The fame of the justice of the Ruler of Ethiopia attracted us like magnet and now also we have perfect faith in his justice".

The appealing and fascinating speech of Ja'far impressed the king so much that he, with tears in his eyes, said to him: "Read something from the Heavenly Book of your Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)". Ja'far recited some verses from Surah Maryam. He continued reciting these verses and fully explained the viewpoint of Islam about the chastity of Maryam and the elevated position of Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) 'Isa. He had not yet finished the Surah when the king and the bishops began to cry loudly and their beards and the pages of the books, which were lying open before them, became wet with their tears.

For some time after this silence prevailed in the assembly and the humming ceased. Then the king intervened and said: "The words of their Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and that which Prophet 'Isa brought have emanated from one and the same source of light. Be gone. I will never surrender them to you".

Contrary to what the ministers and the representatives of Quraysh had expected, this meeting ended to their disadvantage and no ray of hope was left for them.

 'Amr Aas, who was a diplomatic and cunning person, had a conversation with his friend Abdullah bin Rabiyyah and said to him: "We had better adopt another method tomorrow and it is possible that method may end in the annihilation of the emigrants. Tomorrow I shall tell the King of Ethiopia that the leader of these refugees has a particular belief about Prophet 'Isa, which does not at all conform to the fundamentals of Christianity". Abdullah checked him from doing so and pointed out that amongst the refugees there were also persons who were related to them. His advise was not, however, effective. On the following day they went to the royal court along with all the ministers. This time they pretended sympathy and support for the official religion of Ethiopia and criticized the beliefs of the Muslims with regard to Prophet 'Isa and said: "These people have specific beliefs about 'Isa which do not at all conform to the fundamentals and beliefs of the Christian World and the presence of such persons is dangerous for the official religion of your country. It should be possible for Your Majesty to enquire about it from them". .

This time also the wise Ruler of Ethiopia decided to investigate the matter and ordered that the immigrants should be brought before him. The Muslims pondered over the reason for their being called again. It appeared as if it had been revealed to them by inspiration that the purpose of their being called was to enquire about their beliefs with regard to the founder of Christianity. Once again Ja'far was introduced as their spokesman.

He had already promised his friends that he would say only those things on the subject which he had heard from the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

The Negus turned to the representative of the refugees and said: "What is your belief about Prophet 'Isa?"

Ja'far replied: "Our belief with regard to 'Isa is that which has been taught to us by our Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He was the servant and Prophet of Allah. He was the Spirit and Word of Allah with which He blessed Maryam.

The King of Ethiopia was very much pleased to hear the remarks of Ja'far and said: "By Allah! 'Isa did not enjoy a higher position than this". The ministers and the deviated persons did not like this observation of the King. However, notwithstanding their views, he praised the beliefs of the Muslims and allowed them full freedom. He threw the presents of Quraysh before their representatives and said: "God has not taken any bribe from me while giving me this authority. It is not, therefore, appropriate that I should accumulate wealth by such means".

Return from Ethiopia

Some persons who had migrated to Ethiopia left that country and returned to the Hijaz on account of false reports to the effect that Quraysh had embraced Islam. On their return I they came to know that the reports received by them were false and the pressure and persecution of the Muslims by Quraysh had not yet abated. Most of them, therefore, returned to Ethiopia and only a small minority entered Makkah, either secretly or under the protection of some mighty person of Quraysh.

Uthman bin Maz'un entered Makkah under the protection of Walid bin Mughirah and became safe from the atrocities of the enemy. He could, however, see with his own eyes that other Muslims were being persecuted and tortured by Quraysh Uthman was very much grieved to observe this discrimination. He, therefore, requested Walid to declare publicly that the son of Marun was no longer under his protection so that he might also be in the same position in which other Muslims were, and should share their grief and sorrow. Walid, therefore, declared in the mosque: "From this moment the Ibn Maz'un is not under my protection". And Uthman also said aloud: "I confirm it".

Soon thereafter Labid, the Arabian poet, entered the mosque and began reading his well-known Qasidah (laudatory poem) in the big assembly of Quraysh.

He said: "Everything except Allah is unreal and illusory". Uthman said: "You are right". Labid then read the second hemistich:

"All the blessings of Allah are unstable". Uthman was disturbed and said: "You are mistaken. The blessings of the Hereafter are permanent and eternal". Labid took ill the objection of Uthman and said: "O Quraysh! Your circumstances have changed. In the past your assemblies were in good order and your companions did not feel any grief. Since when has this change occurred in your condition? Who is he?" One of those present said: "He is a foolish man who has abjured our creed and follows a man like himself. Don't pay heed to his words". Then the man rose and gave Uthman a strong slap in the face and blackened it. Walid bin Mughirah said: "O Uthman! Had you remained under my protection you would nothave suffered all this". Uthman replied: "I am under the protection of Almighty Allah" Walid siad: "I am prepared to offer you protection once again", Uthman replied: "I shall not accept it at all".

 Mission of the Christians

Consequent upon the propagating of Islam by the Muslim immigrants an inquiry mission visited Makkah on behalf of the religious centre of the Christians of Ethiopia. They met the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the mosque and asked him certain questions. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) gave replies to their questions and .invited them to embrace Islam and recited some verses of the Holy Qur'an before them.

The Qur'anic verses changed their mentality in such a way that tears began to flow from their eyes involuntarily and they immediately expressed belief in his prophethood and confirmed all the signs of the promised Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) about whom they had read in the Injeel.

Abu Jahl disliked this enthusiastic and well concluded meeting. He said to those persons with much harshness: "The people of Ethiopia sent you on an inquiry mission and it was not the intention that you should abjure the religion of your ancestors. I don't think there are more stupid persons than yourselves on the face of the earth".

Those persons uttered conciliatory words in reply to the Firaun of Makkah, who wanted to hide the invigorating rays of the sun, like a dark cloud, and thus put an end to the dispute.

 The mission of Quraysh

The mission of the people of Ethiopia became a means of the awakening of Quraysh and they also decided to make investigation. A group of persons including Harith bin Nasr and 'Uqbah bin Abi Mu'it left for Yathrib (Madina) as representatives of Quraysh with a view to place the question of the 'prophethood' and 'call' of Muhammad before the Jews. The Jewish scholars advised the mission to ask Muhammad the following questions:

1. What is the reality of the soul?

2. Story of the persons who disappeared in bygone times (the people of the Cave).

3. The adventures of the man who travelled in the east and in the west of the world. (Zulqarnayn).

They told them that if Muhammad was in a position to reply to these questions they should rest assured that he is the chosen one of Allah, but if he failed to give the requisite replies they should consider him to be a liar who must got rid of as early as possible.

The representatives returned to Makkah in a very happy mood and informed Quraysh of the above-mentioned questions. A meeting was, therefore, arranged to which the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was also invited. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) told them that he was waiting for Divine revelation in connection with the three questions.

Heavenly revelation came. Reply to the first question (regarding 'soul') is contained in Surah Bani Isra'il, 17:85. As regards the other two questions they have been replied to in detail in Surah AI-Kahf 9-28 and 83-98. Detailed replies of the Holly Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to these three questions are found in the books of exegeses and need not be repeated here.


10.  Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh

The Forty-fourth Discourse (From Jala' al-Khawatir

[The Removal of Cares])

 Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA)

              A certain righteous man is reported as having said: "The hypocrite [munafiq] remains in one and the same spiritual condition for forty years at a stretch, while the champion of truth [siddiq] experiences transformation forty times every single day."

              The hypocrite is totally involved with his lower self [nafs], his passions [hawa], his natural inclinations [tab'], his devil [shaitan] and his interest in the things of this world [dunya]. He is committed to their service, from which he never takes a break. He is never known to disagree with their point of view, and he will never say a word to contradict them. His only interests are food and drink, clothes, sexual intercourse and the accumulation of wordly goods, and he does not care how he comes by them. He cultivates his physical body and his worldly affairs, but he lets his heart and his religion [din] go to waste. He tries to please his fellow creatures [khalq], but he gives offense to the Creator [Khaliq]. The longer his hypocrisy [nifaq] continues, the harder and darker his heart becomes, so he is quite unmoved and unaffected by any spiritual counsel [maw'iza], takes no notice of any admonition ['iza], and pays no attention to any reminder. Thus it is undoubtedly a fact that he remains in one and the same spiritual condition for forty years at a stretch.

The champion of truth [siddiq] cannot possibly remain in such a static condition, because he is entirely at the disposal of the Transformer of hearts [Muqallib al-qulub], immersed in the ocean of His power, so that one wave raises him up and another sends him down. He is moved this way and that by the operations [tasarif] and transformations [taqalib] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), like a feather in a windswept desert, like a fresh stalk [khama] in the farmer's field, like the corpse in the hands of the ritual washer of the dead [ghasil], like the baby in the hands of the wet nurse [zi'r] or the midwife, like the ball on the receiving end of the polo player's mallet. He has surrendered both his outer [zahir] and his inner being [batin] to Him, and he is completely satisfied with His management. Far from taking any interest in his eating, his sleeping and his carnal appetites, he is interested only in the service of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and in earning His good pleasure. This is why a certain righteous man once said: "As for the people [of the Lord], their approach to eating is that of the sick, their form of sleep is the sleep of the drowned, and if they speak it is only out of sheer necessity." How could they not be like this? In their hearts there is something that is quite invisible to others. They have ceased to be aware of anything apart from their Lord. They have absented themselves from this world, the hereafter, and everything else apart from Him. They have settled humbly at His door. They have rested their heads on the threshold of His doorway, in readiness to comply with His orders. They have become accustomed to being contented, to needing nothing. Fate and destiny [al-qada' wa 'l-qadar] are now their servants, and these two approach them in visible form and then carry them on their heads.

If you are not one of the people [of the Lord], they are the people you must serve. You must befriend them, sit in their company and draw close to them. Put your material goods at their disposal. Follow them by emulating their actions, not by repeating their words and saying how excellent and wonderful they are. Carry your righteousness [salah] in your heart; do not wear it as part of your outer clothing. Dress as ordinary people dress, but do not behave as they behave. We Muslims do not recognize monasticism where food, clothing and marriage are concerned. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: But monasticism they invented; We did not prescribe it for them. (57:27)

In the words of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):  There is no such thing as monasticism in Islam.

Those who are sincere in their devotion [mukhlisun] have their hermitages [sawami'] inside their hearts, while their harsh austerity is imposed on their lower selves [anfus], their passionate desires [ahwiya] and their natural inclinations [taba'i']. When they are alone in their private quarters, they experience the intimate friendship [uns] of their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) in confidential converse [munajat] with Him.

Since the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is using my tongue to inform you about the spiritual state of the righteous [salihun], one of you may be used as a channel to convey such information to another. You must pay attention and take notice. It is He who is calling you through that person's mouth, so you must respond to the one who is transmitting His invitation. He is inviting you to pure serenity [safa']. He is urging you to abstain from His creation and to be satisfied with Him. He is urging you to be among those who remember Him, so that you may come to be among those who are remembered in His presence. In the quest for his Master [Mawla], the honest servant must remember Him constantly, both outwardly [zahiran] and inwardly [batinan], both privately and publicly, by night and by day, in hardship and in ease, in bliss and in agony, until he comes to be one who is remembered by Him. That servant must remember Him audibly, by pronouncing His name aloud, and silently within his heart.

You are too sound asleep to realize that you are letting the bliss of the people [of the Lord] slip by you. O you who are so heedless of that bliss, will you not come to your senses? You are out of touch with that which should really concern you. You are very clever at dealing with the affairs of this world, but when it comes to the affairs of the hereafter you are sheer ignoramuses. You are bogged down in mud, so that with every move you make you sink deeper and deeper. Stretch out your hands toward Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) with an honest plea for salvation, offering repentance and an apology, so that He may deliver you from the mess you are in.

Here I am, calling upon you to resist the demands of your lower selves [nufus], your passionate desires [ahwiya], your natural inclinations [taba'i'] and your carnal appetites [shahawat], and to bear with patience the disappointments you suffer. Respond to my call, for you will see the benefit of doing so, sooner or later.

Here I am, summoning you to violent death [al-mawt al-ahmar] in the Name of Allah. Who will dare to respond? Who will step forward to meet the challenge? Who will show that he has the courage for it? Who will be prepared to take the risk? This means death, but then life everlasting. Do not run away! Endure with patience, and then with still more patience. Courage [shaja'a] is an hour's patience. You must be patient in your compliance with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). If there is one among you who can bear the burden of readiness to accept the divine decree [qada'], Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will relieve him of it, and He will inscribe him in the register of the brave [diwan ash-shuj'an]. When someone is ready to sacrifice himself, he acquires a sense of certainty [yaqin]. When someone knows what he is looking for, he attaches little importance to what he must spend in order to attain his goal.

Be sure of where you stand, and then make haste. Come here on the footing of sincerity [sidq], so that you may knock at the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). You must stay there as long as it takes, until the door is opened for you and the angelic escorts [mawakib] come forth to welcome you. You may as well be importunate in asking Him for the things you need, since this will do you more good than your importunity [tawaquh] toward your kings and potentates and wealthy patrons.

Follow the example set by your predecessors in their quest for their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and their total absorption [fana'] in Him.

O Allah, You are our Lord [Rabb] and their Lord, our Creator [Khaliq] and their Creator, our Provider [Raziq] and their Provider, so deal with us as You dealt with them! Bring us out of us, away from us, toward You! Cause us to forget the kings and their slaves, the sultans and their subjects, the rich and the poor, the elite and the masses, the rise and fall of market prices, affluence and scarcity. Remind us to remember You. Treat us gently in Your workings. Bring us close to Your nearness, and let our hearts enjoy Your intimate friendship [uns]. Keep us safe from the evil of Your cities and Your servants, and from the evil of every crawling creature that You grasp by the forelock and seize by the tail. Keep us safe from the evil of the evildoers [sharr al-ashrar], and from the cunning deceptions of the morally corrupt [kaid al-fujjar]. Let us be members of Your party [hizb], guiding others to You while abasing ourselves before You, summoning others to You while humbling ourselves before You, but standing tall against those who behave with arrogance toward You and toward the true believers among Your creatures. Amin.


11. Saviours of Islamic Spirit

 Al-Ghazali (RA)

S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi (RA)

Ihya Ulum id-Din

              lhya Ulum id-Din occupies a distinguished place among the few literary works which have had a lasting effect in moulding the moral and spiritual life of the Islamic world. Hafiz Zain ud-din aI-Iraqi (author of Alfiyah), who brought out a collection of the Traditions quoted in the lyha, is of opinion that it is the foremost literary composition of Islamic peoples. Abdul Ghafir Farsi, a contemporary of AI-Ghazali and a disciple of Imam ul Haramayn, says that no book like it had been written before. Another reputed scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Gazruni, remarked that if all the sciences were effaced completely, he could revive them with the help of the Ihya. Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi differed from al-Ghazali on many issues, but he has acknowledged the popularity and matchless sincerity of the Ihya and has written a summary of it under the caption Minhaj ul-Qasidin. The Ihya was written at a time when al-Ghazali had returned home after more than ten years of seclusion and meditation in search of the truth. He now wanted to disseminate his message of reform and rectitude. In reflecting the tremendous sincerity and heroic sacrifice, heart-felt certitude and ardent zeal of the author to revivify the true faith the Ihya presents an striking example. Shibli Naomani writes in Al-Ghazali :

"In Baghdad he felt an irresistible urge to embark upon the quest for truth. He proceeded to study each religion but still remained dissatisfied. At last he turned to mysticism but it was something to be experienced in the recesses of one's heart rather than to be studied, and the first step towards it was purification of the heart and transformation of the self; The pre-occupations of alGhazali, however, left no room for it. What honour and fame, sermons and debates, had to do with the purification of heart and soul? Obviously, it was a path that lead to wilderness;

"At last, donning a mendicant's habit he left Baghdad and took to wandering. After a long period spent alternately in complete seclusion and meditation, he had an access to divine manifestation. He would have went the rest of his life lost in beatific visions, but witnessing the contamination of religion and morals all around him a malady from which the laity and the elite, the savant and the illiterate were suffering alike he begun to give expression to his experiences and convictions. He could not bear with equanimity the degeneration of the mentors of faith into a cess-pool of crass materialism. He wrote the book in these circumstances. As he himself writes in its preface:

"I found everyone hankering after the material gains. People had become forgetful of the eternal salvation, while the doctors of religion, who were guides to the right path, were not to be found any longer. There remained only those who had lost their soul to worldly temptations. These people had led every one to suppose that knowledge consists simply in the debates and arguments by which they spread their fame; or else ornate sermons, by which they held the people spell-bound; or else legal opinion, by which they sat in judgement to settle the disputes of others. The knowledge that was required to illuminate the path leading to the world-to-come had thus completely disappeared. I could not endure this state of affairs and had ultimately to sound the alarm." 

AI-Ghazali's critique of the Society

AI-Ghazali's object was to bring about a moral and spiritual transformation of the people of his time; he wanted to create for the purpose an awareness of the ills and weaknesses the Muslims as well as their religious and intellectual leaders were suffering from; to tell them how the devil of earthly passions had taken hold of the different sections of society; and, to let them realise what factors were responsible for diverting their attention from the true content of faith to its outer forms,. rituals and customs, thus making them oblivious of the eternal life and the will and pleasure of God. In order, therefore, to achieve the end he had in view, al-Ghazali undertook a detailed analysis of the intellectual and moral approach of the then society towards life and the world; high lighted the vices of different sections; defined the aims and the methods necessary to achieve those objectives; delineated the individual and communal obligations of the people; brought out the distinguishing features and differences between secular and religious sciences; invited the attention of the affluent and ruling classes towards their shortcomings; criticised the unjust laws and rules promulgated by the state; and exhorted them to give up their un-Islamic ways, customs and usages. It was thus the first detailed sociological study in Islam which brought out courageously and poignantly the social and moral ills of the society and suggested measures for its reform and transformation into a healthy community.

The Religious Preceptors

Al-Ghazali held the religious doctors, the Ulama, responsible for the all round religious and moral degeneration of the Muslim peoples. To him, religious doctors were the salt of the earth; if they went astray, nothing could keep the people on the right path. An Arab poet has expressed the same idea in these words: "O! teachers of Faith, you are the salt of the earth. If the salt gets contaminated, what is there to purify it again."

Complaining that the prevailing widespread vices were accountable to the negligence of religious teachers, al-Ghazaii writes: "The third reason, which really constitutes an incurable disease is that the patients are there, but no physicians are available for their treatment. Ulama are the physicians but these days they are themselves confined to the sickbed and unable to cure others."

The same reason has been attributed by al-Ghazali for the waywardness of the rulers and kings. He writes: "In short, the debasement of the people proceeds from the corruption of their rulers, who get perverted on account of the demoralization of the doctors of religion. Had there been no self-seeking Qadhis and religious scholars, the rulers would not have become so depraved, for, in that case, they would have had to be mindful of the warnings of the 'ama."

The neglect of the then Ulama to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, as the savants of the old used to do, was severely criticised by al-Ghazali. He deplored the timidness of the religious teachers of his time who were not courageous enough to uphold what was right in the face of kings because they had been infected by the love of wealth, power and honour. After citing numerous instances where the Ulama had fearlessly stood against the injustice of powerful despots and tyrannical rulers, he says in the Ihya: "This is how the learned enjoined the right and forbade the wrong. They did not care at all for the pomp and glory of the kings for they used to put their trust in God alone and were confident that He would protect them. They were ever willing to lay down their lives for the sake of a righteous cause, if God so desired. Whatever they said was taken to heart, for, their intentions were pure; their immaculate sincerity moulded even the hard-hearted brutes; but, now, the earthly temptations have made them dumb; and even if they speak out it has no effect because they lack sincerity. They can be effective even now if they cultivate selflessness, detachment and earnestness. People have become depraved because of their rulers; and, the rulers, because of the Ulama, who have been demoralised on account of their love for wealth, power and honour. One who has been infected by worldly temptations cannot admonish even the lowly and the poor much less the elites and kings."

Most of the religious scholars of his day, as Ghazali pointed out, had given themselves up to the hair-splitting of juristic issues and cavilling of real or imaginary problems. In social gatherings and religious meetings, royal courts .and scholarly seminars specious contentions of a juristic nature had come to be regarded as an inevitable intellectual diversion. It had become such a rage in those times that in their craze to arm themselves for a knock-out victory in the debates and disputations, the scholars were neglecting all other branches of learning including even the religious sciences-the knowledge necessary for spiritual and moral rectitude or for the preparation of the life in the Hereafter. AI-Ghazali protests against this state of affairs in the Ihya in these words:

"If any scholar-jurist is asked about the virtues and vices like patience and thankfulness, fear and awe, envy and malice, hypocrisy and deception, contentment and earnestness or how to avoid hankering after the praise and respect by others, he would not be able to give any answer although he ought to know these as the preparation for life in the world-to-come depends on them. On the other hand, if you ask him about lian, zihar, sabaq or rami, he will give out a detailed description of each although one seldom comes across these issues and, if anybody does need a juristic opinion on these matters, he can easily obtain it in every town. These scholars thus devote their entire time and energy in learning and teaching the details of similar insignificant issues but remain oblivious of the knowledge essential for a religious teacher. If these scholars are. ever asked about it, their reply is that they are engaged in acquiring a religious knowledge which constitutes a communal obligation (Fardh-i-Kifayah) enjoined by the Shariah. They are really keeping their own-selves in dark and deceiving others; for, as everybody knows, he who wants to acquit himself of a communal obligation should first discharge the obligations enjoined on him personally. Also, there are many other communal obligations which claim a preference, as, for example, we have many nonMuslim physicians in the city whose evidence is not acceptable under the Shariah in religious matters requiring medical opinion. But we do not find any scholar turning to the study of medicine. Students overcrowd the classrooms of the sciences pertaining to jurisprudence, logic and dialectics although there are hundreds of jurisconsults who are ever willing to let one have their legal opinions. I fail to understand how these scholars can defend their engagement in a communal obligation which is being already performed by numerous Ulama, while disregarding another obligation which is not being attended by anyone. Is there any reason for it except that the study of medicine cannot help them to secure trusteeship of the charitable trusts, enforcement of the wills, guardianship of the orphans and management of their property, appointment to the posts of judges and official jurists, respect and honour in governmental circles or a precedence over their compatriots, friends and foes?"

At another place in the Ihya he writes: "There is not a town in which several matters do not assume the position of joint or communal obligations, but there is none to look after these nor any scholar pays any heed to them. Take, for instance, the study of medicine. There are a number of towns in which there is no practising physician whose evidence is admissible in law, but the scholars lack all interest in this profession. Similar is the case with the obligation incumbent on all Muslims to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong (but it is being overlooked by everybody)."

AI-Ghazali laments over the general lack of interest in and apathy of the people towards the tenets of faith and calls attention towards the need of spreading literacy and disseminating the knowledge of religion. After emphasising the paramount need for spreading religious knowledge he continues:

"For anyone who is solicitous of his religion, the teaching and spreading the knowledge of the faith, which is also a joint obligation, is such a serious occupation that it would not permit him to go into unnecessary juristic details and waste his ties in any scholastic hair-splitting or similar other trivialities."

AI-Ghazali explained why the wrangling over disputed issues had come to assume such an importance among the pedagogues of his time who, in due course, had began to devote their time and energy to those fruitless quibblings. Tracing the history of these vain disputations he writes:

"The Caliphs succeeding the Prophet of Islam, were scholars and jurists, competent to give juristic opinions in all matters and they seldom required the help of other companions of the Prophet in this task. The learned among the companions, therefore, occupied themselves with the studies and orisons leading to salvation in the world-to-come. If they were ever asked for any legal opinion, they would refer the question to another jurist and remain absorbed in the recollection of God. Numerous instances of this kind have been preserved by the annalists. Thereafter, undeserving and incompetent persons came to preside over the Islamic common wealth. They were also incompetent to give legal opinions or settle the disputes of the people and, therefore, they had of necessity to depend upon the jurisconsults in the administration of justice. The scholars among the descendants of the companions of the Holy Prophet generally followed in the footsteps of the scholars of the old; they were aware of the true content of the faith, were selfless and detached, and hence they avoided the company of the rulers and kings. The Ummayyad and the Abbasid Caliphs had to look round for them and implore them to accept the offices of jurists and judges. The plebeian masses of the time, who witnessed the solicitations of the kings and disdainful indifference of the devout scholar-jurists, thought that the study of juristic sciences was the easiest way to acquire riches and honour as well as to gain an access into the entourage of the nobility. These elements, therefore, themselves applied for the governmental offices and maneuvered to win the favour of rulers and administrators in the hope of achieving worldly success. Some of them gained their end while others licked the dust but even those who did succeed had to humble themselves by applying for these offices. They had to come down from the exalted place of scholars to that of plebeians. Another result of it was that the scholars who were earlier implored to accept these offices began to offer themselves as candidates; earlier they were honoured for their selfless detachment from the ruling circles but now they lost their respect by becoming the henchmen of the kings and rulers. A few scholars were, however, an exception to it in every age:

"The analogical deductions drawn up on legal or theological questions in accordance with the principles of jurisprudence and the teaching of the Shariah, were needed primarily to meet the requirements of administration and justice during the earlier times. In due course, however, the nobles and administrators too cultivated an interest in these matters and they began to encourage the scholars to discuss these issues in their presence. In view of the interest taken by the nobility in these discussions, people began to devote themselves to the study of dialectics; Numerous treatises came to be written on the science of disputation; rules were evolved for these debates and gradually the wranglings were turned into an art of logical syllogism. These persons tried to justify their endeavours on the ground that their aim was to protect the scripture and the Sunnah and to oppose the innovations and deviations. Those who were earlier engaged in giving legal opinions had also made a similar claim that they intended to serve the faith and the people by helping them to settle their disputes.

"A few rulers and administrators of the later times, undoubtedly, looked upon the dialectics and disputations with dis-favour for they thought that these polemics gave rise to academic orthodoxy and quarrelsome disputes, and not un often even to violent strife and blood-shed. On the other hand, there were also nobles and chiefs desirous of finding out which of the two schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Hanafite or Shafeite, was nearer to the right path. These elements encouraged discussions and debates on juristic issues. The scholars belonging to their entourage, accordingly, put aside all the dialectical quibblings on other issues and took up the controversies between these two juristic schools, overlooking the differences of opinion between other jurists such as Malik ibn Anas, Sufyin Thauri and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, simply because their masters were not interested in their differences. Laying a claim to the refinement and amplification the corpus juris of Islamic law, and to formulation of the principles of analogical deduction, these scholars compiled innumerable dissertations on the subject, cultivated logical syllogism and developed it into a science of ratiocination. They are still preoccupied with this vocation and only God knows to what extent they would go. Thus, the reason for undue interest taken by the scholars in these controversies and contentious reasonings is what we have stated above. If the nobility or the powers that be were to take interest in the juristical differences of the schools other than those of Abu Hanifa and al-Shafei, these people would immediately start quibbling over the questions relating to those schools. And, they would still claim that their aim is simply to acquire knowledge and to seek the pleasure of God."

After tracing the origin of contentious debates, al-Ghazali sets forth in some detail the ill-effects. springing from these wranglings. He also describes his own experiences since he had himself earlier taken a keen interest in such polemics.

The vocabulary employed to denote the new sciences then being cultivated was also creating a misunderstanding. Words or phrases occurring in the Quran, Traditions of the Prophet or the sayings or works of his companions were being widely used for the new sciences being evolved in those times. To give a few examples, the word fiqah (legal theology) was being commonly used for the intricate and hypothetical details of legal questions as well as for the differences in legal opinions in regard to such issues; ilm (knowledge) was a common term employed to describe all sorts of learning, religious or secular. The scholasticims or logical syllogism was known as tawhid (Unity of Godhead). Tazkir (re-collection or act of devotion to God) was the name assigned for all sorts of lectures replete with fantastic tales while hikmat (wisdom) denoted occult and uncommon practices. With their indiscriminate use the peculiar sense conveyed by these terms in the context of the Qur'anic text and the Sunnah had come to be associated with these new sciences as well. Thus, the Qur'anic verse so that they may understand religion and the Tradition God grants understanding of religion to those who intend to be virtuous were applied to the, unforeseeable legal quibblings; the Divine tidings that those granted wisdom (in religion) have been bestowed a great favour was appropriated to philosophy and scholasticims of the fifth century; and the verse of the Qur'an remember God, for ye

may be one of the devoted was employed for the vile sermons of the ignorant and misguided preachers. AI-Ghazali explained. how these words were being used out of their context to mean something which these terms were never intended to convey. He traced the original meanings of these words and phrases which had not only been lost owing to their misuse but which also differed widely from the sense conveyed during his times. The analysis made by al-Ghazali was as much instructive as it was helpful in removing the misconceived notions created by the careless and indiscriminate use of religious terminology which was being employed as a vehicle for the furtherance of the new sciences.


12. News: Around The Globe

 Surfing Islamic Art

              The first ever virtual museum on Islamic art and architecture in the Mediterranean, launched recently, gives navigators an opportunity to explore the splendid Islamic monuments of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The second phase of Museum With No Frontiers Project (MWNF) is aimed at developing cultural relations between countries north and south of the Mediterranean by enhancing the landmarks of a shared history. The Discover Islamic Art Virtual Museum gives instant access to 850 artifacts and 385 monuments, linking every Islamic item exhibited to sites on the MWNF itineraries, which was created between 1999 and 2004. The electronic display was achieved through the installation of a special network through 17 European and Mediterranean museums in 14 countries Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The site www.discover-islamicart.org, which is available in English, French and Arabic in addition to the local language of each participating country, creates an innovative exhibition style showing the Islamic heritage of the Mediterranean basin, alongside the collections of Islamic art held by the participating museums, within a virtual environment.

New South Wales police considering adding turbans and hijabs to uniform

IRN News, New South Wales, Australia

New South Wales police are considering adding turbans and hijabs to their standard uniform, to encourage more Sikh and Muslim people to join the force.

Police in Western Australia have already made the move.

Beards worn on religious or cultural grounds will also be approved.

The oldest Quran in the world

In an obscure corner of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, lies one of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran.

It is a reminder of the role which Central Asia once played in Muslim history - a fact often overlooked after seven decades of Soviet-imposed atheism.

The library where the Koran is kept is in an area of old Tashkent known as Hast-Imam, well off the beaten track for most visitors to this city.

It lies down a series of dusty lanes, near the grave of a 10th century scholar, Kaffel-Shashi.

The Mufti of Uzbekistan, the country's highest religious leader, has his offices there, in the courtyard of an old madrassa.

Just across the road stands a non-descript mosque and the equally unremarkable Mui-Mubarak, or "Sacred Hair", madrassa, which houses a rarely seen hair of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, as well as one of Central Asia's most important collections of historical works.

"There are approximately 20,000 books and 3000 manuscripts in this library," said Ikram Akhmedov, a young assistant in the mufti's office.

"They deal with mediaeval history, astronomy and medicine. There are also commentaries on the Koran and books of law. But the oldest book here is the Othman Koran from the seventh century."