Friday, April 22, 2011

About Rain in the Holy QURAN

The article, attempts to convince us that the Qur'an contains statements of scientific fact concerning clouds and rain. The author reaches his conclusions by simply searching for Suras which mention rain then attempts to attach scientific meaning to these passages through a great deal of extrapolation

The article begins:

Rain, which carries great importance for all living things including human beings, is mentioned in various verses of the Qur'an where substantial information is given about the formation of rain, its proportion and effects. The fact that it was not possible for any of this information to have been discovered at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an shows us that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.Rain is important for all societies on this planet. Water is especially valuable in the arid regions of the world, such as Arabia, therefore, it is not surprising that the Qur'an, which was written in Arabia, places so much emphasis on water - even to the point of mentioning the abundant presence of water in paradise.

I. The Proportion of Rain

In the eleventh verse of Surat az-Zukhruf, rain is defined as water sent down in due measure. The verse is as follows:
"And He who sends down (from time to time) water from the sky in due measure, and We raise to life therewith a land that is dead. Even so will you be raised (from the dead) (Surat az -Zukhruf, 11)
This "measure" mentioned in the verse has to do with a couple of characteristics of rain.
Now the elusive search for the "meaning" of "measure" begins.
Measure 1 : The Water Cycle

First of all, the amount of rain that falls on the earth is always the same. It is estimated that in one second, 16 million tones of water evaporates from the earth. This number is equal to the amount of water that drops on the earth in one second. This means that water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle according to a "measure".No, the amount of precipitation varies, and has varied, throughout history. As the earth becomes warmer, precipitation increases globally, as does evapo-transpiration.
In respect to the water cycle, if the Qur'an were scientifically accurate, it would say:

"And He who sends down water from the sky in due measure, is equal to evapo-transpiration minus the precipitation that is stored as frozen on the ground"Clearly, the Qur'an does not say this and this meaning does not fit the idea which this passage is attempting to convey.
Measure 2 : The Speed of a Raindrop

Another measure related with rain is about its falling speed. The minimum altitude of rain clouds is 1200 meters. When dropped from this height, an object having the same weight and size as a rain drop, would continuously accelerate and fall on the ground with a speed of 558 km/h........Once again, Mr. Yahya is trying to impose his ideas on the text of the Qur'an. This passage is not talking about the speed on a raindrop, or the damage that it would cause if at fell at a faster speed!
Measure 3 (In case you are not convince by 1 or 2) : A Super-cooled Liquid at 400C ?!!

This is not all about the "measures" of rain. For instance, in the atmospheric layers where it starts to rain, the temperature may fall so low as 400 C degrees. Despite this, rain drops never turn into ice particles*. (This would certainly mean a fatal threat for the living things on the earth). The reason is that the water in the atmosphere is pure water. As known, pure water hardly freezes even in very low temperatures.Yet again, the author attempts to impose his meaning on the text! How can we derive the idea of a super-cooled liquid from this passage? In other words, is the Qur'an telling us:

"And He who sends down water from the sky as a super-cooled liquid [due measure],"?Also, if rain were 400 C, it would not be a super-cooled liquid, it would be super-heated steam!

II The Formation of Rain

How rain forms remained a great mystery for people for a long time. Only after air radars were discovered, could it have been possible to learn by which stages rain formed. The formation of rain takes place in three stages: First, the "raw material" of rain rises up in the air. Later, clouds are formed and lastly, rain drops appear. These stages are clearly defined in the Qur'an in which precise information was given about the formation of rain centuries in advance;
"It is Allah Who sends the Winds, and they raise the Clouds: then does He spread them in the sky as He wills, and break them into fragments, until you see rain-drops issue from the midst thereof: then when He has made them reach such of his servants as He wills behold, they do rejoice!"
Mr. Yahya continues by cutting and pasting textbook explanations of how rain clouds form, however, the Qur'an says nothing of the sort. The passage presented to us is nothing more than a human observation. The Arabs were, and are, an intelligent people who were aware of the environment around them. I am certain that the scarcity of precipitation in Arabia probably led the Arabs to regard precipitation as a very significant event, worthy of notice and description.

III Pure water from the sky?

" We send down pure water from the sky. That with it We may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things We have created,- cattle and men in great numbers. Surat al-Furqan, 48- 49)Salts that fall with rain are small examples of some fertilizers (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.) used for increasing fertility. The heavy metals found in these types of aerosols, on the other hand, are other elements that increase fertility in the development and production of plants. Forests also develop and are fed with the help of these sea-originated aerosols. In this way, 150 million tons of fertilizer falls on the total surface of lands every year. If there was not a natural fertilization like this, there would be very little vegetation on the earth, and the ecological balance would be damaged. What is more interesting is that this truth, which could only be discovered by modern science, was informed by Allah in the Qur'an centuries ago.The problem with this explanation is that it contradicts what the Qur'an tells us. According to this passage, God is sending pure water, yet the author claims that this water contains impurities, including heavy metals! The author is correct that rain water does indeed contain impurities, therefore, we can conclude that the Qur'an makes a scientific error when it claims that rain water is "pure"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Istikharah: The Guidance Prayer

We are humans, powerless in this sphere of life, knowledgeable only enough to survive. So why shouldn't we turn to Allah and seek His perfect help whenever we require it? Allah responds to the call of His servant when he asks for guidance, and we are after all seeking to do something in order to please Him.

Istikharah means to ask Allah to guide you to the path best for you concerning an affair with two halal options. In matters that are wajib (obligatory), haram (forbidden) or makruh (disliked) there is no need to pray Istikharah. Salaat-ul-Istikharah should only be used for matters that are mubah (allowed) or in matters that are mustahabb (liked or encouraged), in which there is a decision to be made as to which one should be given priority (i.e. get married or go to grad school).

Many wrong notions exist concerning istikharah. Many Muslims will pray, read the du'a, and run to bed expecting to see a dream showing them their future wife, what her favourite colour is, and some other weird fantasy. That is not the purpose of this salat.

The results of an istikharah can take many forms. Basically, you go by your feelings, whether you now feel more favourable or not. Also, you may notice events have changed, either for or against you. Note that you must follow the results of an istikharah, because not doing so is tantamount to rejecting Allah's guidance once you've asked for it. Also, you should firstly clear your mind, not have your mind already decided, and then afterwards follow the results willingly.

It is a sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternaratives, one may pray two non-obligatory rak'at, even if they are of the sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering the mosque, and so on, during any time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qur'an after reciting al-Fatihah. Then one praises Allah and sends salutations to the Prophet and recites the supplication in the Hadith below.

The description of Salaat-ul-Istikharah was narrated by Jabir ibn 'Abd- Allah al-Salami (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
"The Messenger of Allah used to teach his companions to make istikharah in all things, just as he used to teach them surahs from the Qur'an.

He said: 'If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak'ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:

'O Allah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it."

The Prophet added that then the person should mention his need. [Sahih Bukhari]
Salat-ul-Istikharah is just two rakats of a non-obligatory prayer, prayed at anytime during the day, with a specific dua at the end. While reciting the dua, you should be thinking about the situation you want to be advised about with pure intentions and from the bottom of your heart. And Allah says that whenever he guides a heart aright it can never be misguided. Afterwards, you should 'have a good feeling' about one of your options. Whatever option you feel is best right after you say the dua should be your decision. If you're still in doubt, you can repeat.

An-Nawawi holds that
"...after performing the istikharah, a person must do what he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and should not insist on doing what he had desired to do before making the istikharah. And if his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, otherwise he is not completely leaving the choice to Allah, and would not be honest in seeking aid from Allah's power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah's choice, means that one should completely leave what he himself had desired or determined."
Some people mistakenly wait for a dream to give a clear sign as to what decision to make, but this is not true, and often times it never really happens. In fact, dreams may lead you away from what Allah wants you to do, as Shaytan might try to deceive you in your dreams.

Salat-ul-Istikharah is for everybody. It's a way for all of us to implore Allah for divine guidance and mercy. It is yet another invaluable resource from Allah to keep us on the straight and narrow Sirat al-Mustaqim. The Prophet told all Muslims about Istikharah, not just the scholars. Despite this gift, too many of us take the advice of our friends and parents, or accept the norms of our society and act without ever wondering what Allah wants us to do. We must stop looking to the dunya for guidance. We must begin to consult Allah.

I cannot provide a better conclusion than saying that you must put your trust in Allah. You must have trust in His concern for us, and His ability to help us. Allah says:
"Put your trust in Allâh, certainly, Allâh loves those who put their trust (in Him)." [Surah Al-Imran Ayah 159]

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Islam and Friendship

Humans are social creatures by nature; they're always in need of friends and companions. Most of our lives depend on interaction with others. Strong individuals are the core of a strong community, something that Muslims should always strive for.
We all know that Allah (SWT) the Most High has brought us to life in order to test us. Thus we are here for a relatively short period of time and that we shall meet Allah (SWT) one Day, so we need to use our present life for what is best for us in the hereafter. Once we know our purpose and our goal in life, we should seek ways to achieve them so as to benefit our own selves.
In an authentic Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you associate with."
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who has the most noble character and dealings with fellow humans gave us a very clear and simple message and advice in regard to friendship.
How should we choose our friends? We should choose the friend that believes and abide by our religion (Islam) and gives great respect to what Allah (SWT) and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) has ordered us. And we should stay away from that who is not well mannered and gives no attention to what Islam is about or what pleases or displeases Allah (SWT), for he will surely affect us negatively. There is no good in the companion drowns us in sins and displeasing Allah (SWT).
In another Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him."
When choosing our friends we should ask ourselves first: Are they going to help us achieve the purpose for which we were brought to life? Or will they take us away from it? Will they desire for us Allah (SWT)'s pleasure or is that completely irrelevant to them and not their concern at all? Are they leading us to Paradise or to the Hell?
Islam and friendship: Islamic Sayings on Friendship or Friendship Sayings (Friendship Stories)
Islamic Sayings on FriendshipProphet Mohammad (pbuh) stated, "The believer is like a mirror to other believers (in truthfulness)." Like a mirror, your friend gives you an honest image. He forgives your mistakes, but does not hide or exaggerate your strengths and weaknesses.
Once the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was asked, "What person can be the best friend?" "He who helps you remember Allah (SWT), and reminds you when you forget Him," the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), counseled.
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was further asked, "Who is the best among people?" Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied, "He who, when you look at him, you remember Allah (SWT)". Such a friend reflects qualities of love, mercy, honesty, service, patience, optimism, professionalism, and the entire lifestyle taught by Islam.
Imam Ali (as) Says: "The poor is one who does not have any friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company (friendship)."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Friendship transfers a stranger in to a relative."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Do not choose as your friend the enemy of your friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Two true friends are a single soul in different bodies."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "He who discards a friend for slight offence risks loneliness."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "In time of distress a man can distinguished between his friend and enemy."
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Says: "Be careful to have truthful friends and try to obtain them, for they are your support when you are in welfare, and your advocator when you have misfortune."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Be not friend with a fool, for he will harm you while meaning to do good to you."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "It is better to listen to a wise enemy than to seek counsel from a foolish friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Keep away from friendship of liar surely he will show you as near what is far from you and will show as far what is near you."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "O' Kumayl! Say what is just in any condition. Be friends with the righteous and avoid the evil doers, stay away from the hypocrites and do not accompany the treacherous."
Imam Sajjad (as) Says: "Beware of the companionship of the sinful, and helping of the unjust."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "If a friend envies you, then he is not a true friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Verily, there are three (types of) friends for a Muslim,
  • The friend who says: I am with you whether you are alive or dead', and this is his deed.
  • The friend who says: I am with you unto the threshold of your grave and then I will leave you', and this is his children.
  • The friend who says: I will be with you until when you die', and this is his wealth which will belong to the inheritors when he dies."
Friendship SayingsImam Ali (as) Says: "He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers."
Imam Hassan (as) Says: "Befriend people in the same manner you would like them to befriend you."
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Says: "Be the friend of him who may grace you, not of one whom you are better than." (Viz. make friends with ones who are higher than you so that you progress.)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Says: "My most beloved brother is he who (makes me aware of) my faults."
Imam Hassan Askari (as) Says: "Those who advise their friend secretly are respecting them, and those who advise them openly are humiliating them."
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) has narrated from his father Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) who said his father Imam Sajjad (as) stated: "O' my son! Beware of five (groups) and do not seek companionship (friendship) with them, do not speak with them, and do not make friends with them on (the) way."
Then, Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) asked his father who they were and might he introduces them to him. Imam Sajjad (as) responded:
  • "Beware of and do not associate with the one who tells lies. He is as a mirage which makes near for you what is far, and makes far to you what is near."
  • "Beware of and do not associate with an immoral person, because he will sell you at the price of a morsel or less than that."
  • "Beware of and do not associate with a miser because he will deprive you of his wealth when you are seriously in need of it."
  • "Beware of and do not associate with a fool, because he wants to be of avail to you but he harms you."
  • "Beware of and do not associate with the one who disregards his kinfolks, because I found him (such a person) cursed in the Book Allah, Almighty and Glorious, in three occurrences." They are: (Sura Al-Baqarah, 2:27; Sura Ar-Rad, 13:25; and Sura Muhammad, 47:22).
Islam and friendship: The Bear and the Two Friends (Islam and Companion, Friendship Story)
Islam and Companion: The Bear and the Two TravelersTwo friends were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When the Bear was quite gone, the other friend descended from the tree, and jokingly inquired of his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear. "He gave me this advice," his companion replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger."
A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.
The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?" The other friend replied "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.
Friendship for Allah's Sake: How To Be a Friend for the Sake of Allah (SWT)
Friendship for Allah's Sake: How To Be a Friend for the Sake of Allah (SWT)"Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken such-and-such as a friend!" Noble Qur'an (25:28)
The one who is always there to console you when you want to talk about a problem, the one who sticks by you through thick and thin, the one whom you can count on to be there for you - this is the person who leaves no doubts in your mind that he or she is your "best friend". You like each other's company and love to spend time together. If something important happens in your life, they're the first to know. You trust them and depend upon them in times of need. They may be a classmate, a colleague, a neighbor, a sister, a mother; or even your spouse! It could be anyone who fits this description.
But are they really your "true" friend? How can you find out? Ask yourself: are they taking you towards the most certain and perpetual success and benefit: that of the Hereafter, or are they going to be the cause of regret for you on the Day of Judgment? See for yourself. Here is a checklist.
When in each other's company, you both:
  1. Comfortably backbite and make fun of people. Pass comments about others.
  2. Laugh at others together, be it a passerby or someone you are discussing.
  3. Call each other demeaning names in fun. Laugh at each other's cruel jokes about someone else.
  4. Start a conversation with "Hi instead of Salaam" and plunge into an exchange of the latest gossip.
  5. Hardly ever mention or discuss Allah (SWT), Noble Qur'an, Ahlul Bayt or Hadith in the time spent together.
  6. Feel hesitant to discuss religion, unless it is a criticism of any aspect of Islam.
  7. Confirm each other's doubts about the Hereafter.
  8. Get involved in activities that delay/do away with salaah (Islamic Prayer), the major obligation from Allah (SWT). Have never prayed any salaah together.
  9. Support each other in fulfilling every desire - a dress that caught your fancy, or the in-fashion shoes, even if they are not needed. End up spending money on things you don't need.
  10. Discuss unimportant things and events in meticulous detail, such as a film, the latest clothes you got tailored, or a wedding party you attended.
  11. Never point out each other's faults politely; if one does, the other quickly changes the subject or gets defensive.
Besides the above points, you both are fully aware of each other's family's and in-laws' faults and short-comings. When one of you feels guilty about having committed a sin, the other quickly offers reassurance that "It's no big deal, everyone does it", and comes up with convincing excuses for the other not to feel guilty about it. When one of you starts doing something that is impermissible in Islam, the other offers support and help; for example, when one starts to backbite, the other becomes attentive and listens closely. When one discovers a shortcoming of the other, they leave no chance to make fun of it.
About a 'friendship' that has most of the above characteristics, Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Quran:
"Friends on that day will be foes to one and another - except the Righteous Ones." Noble Qur'an (43:67)
All such "friends" will, on the Day of Judgment, become each other's enemies, each lamenting and blaming the other before Allah (SWT), for having supported and encouraged them towards the ultimate and eternal destruction. Allah (SWT) makes an exception to this situation in the Qur'anic verse above: "except those who are al-muttaqeen: the righteous ones". So who are these 'righteous ones', who will be happily together in the Hereafter just as they were together in the world? How can you tell whether your friend is really and truly your sincere "friend"? Here is another checklist of characteristics that depict a friendship that will lead to success in the Hereafter.
When together, you both:
  1. Remind each other of Allah (SWT) when you set eyes on each other.
  2. Leave each other's company with a higher level of imaan [faith in Allah (SWT)].
  3. Inevitably start the conversation with the Islamic greeting 'As-Salaamu Alaykum', and receive the masnoon reply for it.
  4. Do the masnoon mu'aanaqah (hug) and musafahah (handshake) on a regular basis.
  5. Almost always mention Allah (SWT), Noble Qur'an, Ahlul Bayt or Hadith in some context or the other, in your conversations.
  6. Strengthen each other's belief on the Hereafter. Give each other more duaa's (well wishes) than material gifts.
  7. Always end up exchanging useful and mature ideas and thoughts. Love each other above and beyond worldly benefits.
  8. Attend religious study-circles/ halaqah's together. Have prayed salaah together many times.
  9. Have watched each other cry, out of fear of Allah (SWT) or out of regret for committing a transgression.
  10. Listen attentively if the other is saying something that pleases Allah (SWT).
  11. Politely point out and reform each other's mistakes or bad habits in the best way possible.
  12. Return an Amanah (item placed in other's trust/safekeeping) belonging to the other in its original state.
  13. Smile together, but with decent, non-malicious humor. Enquire regularly about the health of the other's family.
  14. Become uninterested and change the subject if the other starts to say something that is impermissible.
  15. Always discourage the other if they plan to do something wrong.
  16. Always encourage the other if they intend to do a good deed that they're hesitant to do.
  17. Consult each other in important matters. Give each other advice seriously and sincerely.
  18. Never waste each other's time in useless activities. Never invite the other to a place or gathering of sin.
  19. Have full trust that they will never reveal secrets or personal problems to others, nor will they gossip about you behind your back.
  20. Address each other in a respectful and loving manner. Forgive each other's faults and shortcomings, and hide them from others.
Those whose friendships possess most of the above characteristics are among the fortunate people who can experience a glimpse of the assembly of Paradise in the life of this world itself, where they have such sincere and true friends - friends who love them for the sake of Allah (SWT). It is they who shall be saved from all kinds of discomfort and pain on the Day of Judgment when their Lord will provide them with a special place, as per His promise.

Friday, April 15, 2011

IMAM BUKHARI (Rahmatullahi alaihi)

The most authentic book after the Holy Qur’an.” This is the conclusion that every learned religious Scholar came to. No matter how great these Scholars were, they were forced to unanimously agree that ‘Sahih Al-Bukhari’ is the most authentic work in Hadith literature ever compiled.

We seem to have heard a lot about the magnificence of this compilation, but how much do we really know about the person who actually compiled this book? How much do we know about the man who had spent endless years traveling to many lands in search of people who had picked up the gems that had fallen from the lips of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) so that he may gather these precious gems and present them to the world in the form of ‘Sahih Al-Bukhari.’

I feel it necessary to express my indebted honour to have the opportunity to make an attempt of presenting a brief outlook on the life of this celebrated personality.

His name, ‘Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah Al-Bukhari.’ He was born on 13 Shawwal 194 AH / 810 CE after the Jumuah Salaah in Bukhara in the territory of Khurasan (West Turkistan).

Ismail, the father of Imam Bukhari, died during the Imam’s childhood leaving him along with a brother and sister in the care of his mother, where he was nourished with love and care.

Historians relate a remarkable incident that occurred during the Imam’s childhood. He had lost the use of both his eyes. Because of the endless prayers of his mother and the nights spent weeping, the Imam’s sight was miraculously restored. The Imam’s mother was informed by means of a dream in which the Prophet Ibrahim (alaihissalam) had appeared and said:
“Because of your bountiful and sacred prayers, Allah has returned the eyesight of your son.”

Imam Bukhari began to learn traditions (hadith) by heart at the age of ten. His intelligence was already showing at that age, for he is credited with having been able at an early age to correct his teachers.

It was at the age of sixteen, after having memorized the compilations of both Imam Waki and Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, that he made the pilgrimage to Makkah accompanying his mother and elder brother. Upon completing the pilgrimage, the Imam decided to remain in Makkah. He would spend the next six years in Hijaz (Makkah and Madinah) in the pursuit of Hadith (traditions). He traveled widely in search of traditions, visiting the main centers of knowledge, namely Basra, Kufa, Baghdad, Egypt and Syria. Iraq was the place where Imam Bukhari would occasionally return (Kufa and Basra were both historical ‘powerhouses’ of knowledge).

There are a great number of teachers from whom Imam Bukhari gained his knowledge. It is reported that the Imam has heard traditions from 1080 different people, all of whom were Scholars.

The Scholars who taught the Imam were the likes of Muhammad Ibn Salam and Muhammad Ibn Yusuf Baikandi, Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Musnadi, Ibrahim Ibn Ash’ath and even Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. However, he had mostly benefited from Ishaaq Ibn Rahway and Ali Ibn Madeeni.

Many a story has been told regarding the Imam’s remarkable memory. Many considered his memory to be inhuman! The Imam was able to repeat a hadith immediately after it was recited to him.

During his student years, whilst visiting Baghdad, he had memorized 15,000 traditions in sixteen days. There is another spectacular incident that also took place in Baghdad when the Imam had taken up temporary residence there. People had heard about the Imam’s extraordinary memory. They decided to test him to see if the Imam was worthy of the attributes that were being issued to him. One hundred different ahaadeeth were chosen that had their testimonials and text altered. These altered ahaadeeth were to be recited to Imam Bukhari by ten people. By now, a crowd had gathered to witness the outcome of this deliberate test. One by one, each altered tradition was recited. The Imam remarked at the end of each recital:
“Not of my knowledge.”
After all the traditions had been presented, the Imam demonstrated the power of his memory by correcting the testimonial and text of each tradition in order.

Imam Bukhari had memorized over 200,000 traditions and written over 300,000. Unfortunately, some of these traditions were not genuinely authentic and unreliable, for he was born at a time when traditions of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) were being forged and distorted either to please kings and rulers or to corrupt the religion of Islam.

It was because of this reason that Imam Bukhari decided to dedicate the rest of his life in compiling a book that would strictly comprise of authentic traditions. The Imam’s mission was further strengthened when he was advised by his respected teacher, Sheikh-ul-Hadith Ishaaq Ibn Rahway to compile such a book that would exclusively contain ‘Sahih’ (authentic) Prophetic traditions.

The Imam’s determination grew stronger after seeing himself in a dream, standing in front of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). He had a fan in his hand and was driving away the flies from the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). After relating the dream to numerous Scholars whom were experts in interpreting dreams, he was told that the dream meant that he would drive away and remove the false traditions that were claimed to have been heard from the Blessed Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). It was this dream that fuelled his determination to compile the book that the world recognizes today as ‘Sahih Al-Bukhari.’

Wherever the Imam went, the compilation of his book would remain constant. At times he was seen compiling his book in Bukhara. Others state that he was seen in Basra. It has also been stated that he was seen writing in both Masjid-ul-Haraam and the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim).

After sixteen years of exceptionally hard work, his famous book had been completed. Despite the excessive number of traditions that the Imam had memorized, he only selected 7275 ahaadith because these were the traditions that held strong testimonials as well as having no doubt in their authenticity. The above number consists of traditions that have been repeated. If the repeated ahaadith were to be excluded, the number of traditions will then become a total of 4,000. It is reported that the Imam would first have a bath then perform two rakat salaah and pray for guidance before inserting a new tradition to his book. The book was reviewed and approved of by great Scholars of his time including Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ali Ibn Madeeni and Yahya Ibn Mu’een.

The Imam had inherited a fair amount of wealth which he decided to spend in the path of Allah leaving him with no money. He would spend his days on one or two almonds.

In spite of the high status and respect that the Imam was worthy of, he would always search for ways however small they may be, to please Allah. There was one such incident where a man from a crowd inside a Mosque had noticed a feather in his beard. The man removed the feather and threw it on the floor. Imam Bukhari was aware of what the man had done, he looked around to make sure nobody was looking, bent down to pick up the feather and placed it in his pocket. The fact that he had just conducted an act of good had immensely pleased him.

There are lessons to be learned in the piety of Imam Bukhari and the enjoyment that he received from performing salaah. He was once performing the Zuhar prayer. After completing his prayer he began to perform his Nafl. The salaah was performed with complete devotion and composure. Once the salaah had been completed, the Imam turned to face his companions and lifted his shirt asking whether there was anything under it. The crowd saw a wasp fall out leaving seventeen places on the Imam’s body that were swollen and red. The companions were astonished and asked why he had not terminated his salaah, but the Imam replied with an answer that is worth pondering upon. He said that he had felt a certain pleasure in his salaah that made him carry on.

The Governor of Bukhara, Khalid Ibn Ahmad Al-Dhuhli requested the Imam to make visits to the Governor’s home in order to teach his children. The Imam refused, saying that it was an indignity to convey learning to people’s houses. The Imam stressed on the fact that he had greater respect for knowledge than people. A second request was made for the Imam to hold sessions strictly for the Governor’s children. The Imam again refused to give the Governor’s children preferential treatment. This second refusal enraged the Governor; the Imam was therefore expelled from Bukhara.

Hearing Imam Bukhari’s situation, the people of Samarqand invited him to their hometown. Unfortunately, the Imam again suffered opposition and was forced to make his way towards Khartank where he stayed with his relatives.

It was here in Khartank, where he spent his final Ramadhan and on 1 Shawwal 256 AH / 870 CE whilst on a journey from Kartank to Samarqand, that the great Imam Bukhari departed from this world (To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return). The body of this great man was buried in Khartank (May Allah shower blessings upon his soul).

We have come to the end of what I believe is not even a mere glimpse at the life of Imam Bukhari. Many detailed biographies have been written that should be studied in order to understand exactly why this man had been elevated to such a high status and the reason why the whole of the Islamic World attributed the titles, ‘Commander of the Faithful in Hadith’ and ‘Possessor of the most powerful memory in the world’ to him.

Lessons should be learned from the Imam’s steadfastness, piety and manners. May Allah strengthen our love for the beautiful traditions of the Chosen Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) and may Allah bless us and accept our efforts in the cause of Islam like He accepted the man who has left a mark on the pages of Hadith forever.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Importance of Friday

Friday is the best day of the week. Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H.) had said, "We (Muslims) came last and yet we are the first on the day of judgment. They have received the books before us (meaning Torah and Injil). We have received the book after them (meaning the Qur’an). Friday was their day to be glorified. However, they disputed on that while Allah had told us Friday is the day to glorify. Thus they will follow us. The Jews glorify Saturday, and the Christians glorify Sunday.

Also reported by Imam Muslim, Abo-Dawod, Al-Nesaii, and Al-Termithi, that Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H.) had said, "The best day during which the sun have risen is Friday. It is the Day Adam was created. It is the day when Adam entered paradise and also when he was taken out from it. It is also the day on which the day of judgment takes place."

Muslims are supposed to do the following on Fridays:
  1. Men are obligated to participate in Friday Prayer. Allah (S.W.T.) said in Surat Al-Jumauah, (verse 9), what can be translated as, "O’ you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to Prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business. That is best for you if you but knew."
In addition, prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H.) had warned from not attending Friday Prayer. Imam Muslim and Ahmad had reported that Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H.) said about people who do not attend Friday Prayer, "I wanted to ask a man to lead people in the prayer so that I may go and burn houses of men who did not attend the Friday Prayer with us" He also said reported by Imam Muslim, Ahmad and An-Nesaii, "Either they (meaning people who do not attend the Friday prayer) stop neglecting Friday prayers or Allah will set a seal on their hearts so they can not find the right path again." In another authentic hadithreported by Abu Dawod, Termithi, An-Nesaii, and Ibn-Majah, that the prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, "Who ever does not attend three Friday prayers, (without a valid excuse) Allah will set a seal on his heart"
  1. It is also recommended to increase supplication especially at the last hour of the day since it is the hour when requests are replied by Allah. In an authentic hadithreported by Imam An-Nesaii, Abu-Dawod, and Al-hakim, that the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, "Friday has 12 hours, one of which is the hour where cries are granted for Muslim believers. This hour is sought at the last hour after Asar."
  1. It is encouraged to wish peace be upon prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) during Fridays and Friday’s night because of an authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod, An-Nesaii, and Ibn-Majah, that the Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) said, "The best day is Friday. On Friday Adam was created, and died. On Friday is the first time the trumpet is blown (meaning when every creature dies) and the second time the trumpet is blown (referring to resurrection). So increase the number of times you wish peace upon me since this prayer will be shown to me." They asked him, How will our prayers be shown to you after you have vanished. He replied,"Allah has prohibited earth to cause the body of prophets to decay."
  1. It is also recommended that Muslims recite surat Al-Kahf, because of the authentic hadith reported by Imam Al-Baihaqee, and Al-Hakim, that the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) had said, "Who ever recites surat Al-Kahf on Friday, Allah will give him a light to the next Friday."
  2. It is also recommended that Muslims clean and wash themselves and make sure they smell nice when they attend Friday Prayers. Imam Muslim and Bukhari reported that the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said, "Every Muslim is obligated to wash on Fridays and wear his best cloth. Also, he should use perfume if he has any."
  3. It is important to come early to the Friday prayer. All of the hadith collectors, except Ibn-Majah, reported in an authentic hadith that the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, "If one washes himself and then went to Friday Prayer, it is considered as if he donated a camel for the sake of Allah. However, If he went in the second hour then it is considered as if he donated a cow and if the third hour then as if he donated a big sheep and if the fourth hour then as if he donated a chicken and if the fifth hour then as if he donated an egg. Then when the Imam starts delivering the speech the angels come and listen to it." Also in anther authentichadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod that the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said, "On Friday the angels come to stand on the doors of the mosque (masjid), the angels record who comes first, if the Imam starts delivering the speech, the angles close their files and come to listen to the speech."
It is forbidden to work on Fridays after the call for the prayer was announced because Allah says in surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 9), what can be translated as, "When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business."
Also, it is forbidden to talk during the Khutbah. Several sayings of prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) covers this subject. In an authentic hadith reported by (the group ofAhadith collectors), except Ibn-Majah that prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, "If you told your friend to pay attention on Friday while the Imam is delivering the speech then you committed a sin of vain talk." Another authentic hadith which was reported by Imam Ibn-Majah and Attermizi that prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said, "Even who touches the gravel on the floor then he committed vain talk, and he who does commit that there will be no (Jumuah) Friday for him."
It is also disliked to walk between sitting people during Friday gathering unless there is an empty spot to fill. In an authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod, An-Nesaii, and Ahmad that, A man came and started walking between people during a Friday gathering while Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was delivering his speech, so the Prophet told him, "Sit because you caused harm to other people and came in late."
It was not legislated to consider Friday as a day off and not work during it. Because Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 10), what can be translated as, "And when the prayer is finished, then you may disperse through the land and seek of the bounty of Allah." It was not a habit of any of the companions to consider Friday as a day to take off work. On the contrary Imam Al-Malek said, "It is disliked to take Friday off since we will be resembling the Jews and Christians for taking, respectively, Saturday or Sunday off."
Finally , there are two important matters for us in this country to be cautioned of. First of all, we must not neglect Friday Prayers because of work, study, or other matters. Every Muslims should make attending Friday Prayer as his top priority. It is important to do so since ignoring it three times with no valid reason will cause the heart to be sealed from the right path.
The second matter to watch for is the loosing of one’s interest in the importance of Friday. This is especially important for the growing generation who are used to the concept of weekend being Saturday and Sunday and know almost nothing about the importance of Friday in the eyes of Muslims. So it is our duty to remind them and ourselves about this great day which is the best day of the week and try to spend it according to Islamic teaching

Loving with all your ... brain

 Close your eyes for a minute and envision all the romantic parts of the human body.
Her beautiful eyes. His strong shoulders. We'll stop there, but you go right ahead and think about all the body parts you want.
Bet you didn't think about the caudate and the ventral tegmental areas, did you?
These areas of the brain, while little known to most people, are helping scientists explain the physiological reasons behind why we feel what we feel when we fall in love.
By studying MRI brain scans of people newly in love, scientists are learning a lot about the science of love: Why love is so powerful, and why being rejected is so horribly painful.
In a group of experiments, Dr. Lucy Brown, a professor in the department of neurology and neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and her colleagues did MRI brain scans on college students who were in the throes of new love.
While being scanned, the students looked at a photo of their beloved. The scientists found that the caudate area of the brain -- which is involved in cravings -- became very active. Another area that lit up: the ventral tegmental, which produces dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that affects pleasure and motivation.
Dr. Brown said scientists believe that when you fall in love, the ventral tegmental floods the caudate with dopamine. The caudate then sends signals for more dopamine.
"The more dopamine you get, the more of a high you feel," Dr. Brown says.
Or as her colleague, Dr. Helen Fisher put it: When you fall in love, "exactly the same system becomes active as when you take cocaine. You can feel intense elation when you're in love. You can feel intense elation when you're high on cocaine.

Is it love -- or sex?

Scientists then wondered: Does a brain in love look much like a sexually stimulated brain? After all, we associate love and sex and sometimes confuse them.
The answer is: Brains in love and brains in lust don't look too much alike.
In studies when researchers showed erotic photos to people as they underwent brain scans, they found activity in the hypothalamus and amygdala areas of the brain. The hypothalamus controls drives like hunger and thirst and the amygdala handles arousal, among other things.
In the studies of people in love, "we didn't find activity in either," according to Dr. Fisher, an anthropologist and author of "Why We Love -- the Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love."
"We now have physiological data that suggests there are different brain systems for sex and love," says Dr. Fisher.
At some point, the two do become linked. People in love have elevated levels of dopamine. Lots of dopamine, in turn, triggers the production of testosterone, which is responsible for the sex drive in both men and women.
This helps explain why falling in love can make someone all of a sudden seem sexy.
"Three weeks ago he was just another nice guy in the office and now everything about him is sexual," says Dr. Fisher.
All this research into sex and love got the researchers thinking: Most other mammals don't have this drive for romantic love and attachment. Why do humans have it? After all, we could easily propagate the species just with our sexual urges.
Dr. Fisher thinks it has a lot to do with how difficult it once was to raise children.
"Go back millions of years to the grasslands of Africa. A woman was carrying the equivalent of a 20-pound bowling ball in one arm, and sticks and rocks in another arm to protect herself in this dangerous environment. She needed a partner to help her. She couldn't do it alone," Dr. Fisher says.
And even today, when we have strollers and the environment isn't quite as dangerous, having a mate still helps. "There are women who raise a baby by themselves, but it's a lot harder," she says.

Male brain - female brain

In their work with the lovestruck, the scientists found brain differences between men and women.
"The men had quite a bit more activity in the brain region that integrates visual stimuli. This isn't surprising considering that men support the porn industry and women spend their lives trying to look good for men," says Dr. Fisher.
But she adds there's probably a more anthropological reason at work. Simply put: A man's evolutionary mission is to spread his seed. That won't work if he mates with an 80-year-old grandmother.
"Men have to be able to size up a woman visually to see if she can bear babies," says Dr. Fisher.
The women's brain activities were a bit more puzzling.
The scientists found that women in love had more activity than men in the areas of the brain that govern memories. Dr. Fisher theorizes that this is a "female mechanism for mate choice." There are no visual clues for whether a man is fertile, but if a woman really studies a man and remembers things about his behavior, she can try to determine whether he'd make a reliable mate and father.
Thus, if it sometimes seems like a woman remembers everything -- good and bad -- about a man, "it's not just her being picky. It's an old Darwinian evolutionary strategy."

What's love got to do with it?

In the end, Drs. Fisher and Brown say what they learned from lovers' brains is that romantic love isn't really an emotion -- it's a drive that's based deep within our brains, right alongside our urges to find food and water.
"This helps explain why we do crazy things for love," says Dr. Brown. "Why did Edward VIII give up the throne for Wallis Simpson? The systems that are built into us to find food and water are the things that were also active when he renounced the throne of England."
Now their research is centered on the flip side of love. They've recruited college students who'd just been rejected by their sweethearts. Again, the scientists performed MRI's while these students looked at photos of the objects of their affection.
This time, the results were different, Dr. Brown says. The insular cortex, the part of the brain that experiences physical pain, became very active.
"People came out of the machine crying," she said. "We won't be doing that experiment again for a long time."

Elizabeth Cohen is a correspondent with CNN Medical News. Producer Amy Burkholder contributed to this report.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This Article is Taken from 

Mishkât Al-Anwar

  By Imam Gazzali 
The Seven Planetary Heavens played a great part in Platonic,[1] Neoplatonic, and Gnostic-theosophical schemes. The naive adoption by Mohammed (in the Koran) of the Ptolemaic celestial construction was one of the things which added picturesqueness to early Mohammedan tradition and theology; caused endless trouble to generations of later theologians; made it easier for Neoplatonic ideas to graft themselves on to Islam; gave to the raptures of the Mystics sensuous form and greater definition; and afforded to the Philosophers a line of defence, and even of attack, in their war with the Theologians.[2] And the allusions of the Koran were heavily reinforced by the legend of the Mirâj, the exact origin of which is obscure, but which appears in a highly developed form almost from the first. The influences of the Mi`râjare indeed evident in page after page of the Mishkât.
Al-Ghazzâlî's sympathies in regard to this subject were divided. He disliked the Philosophers,
[1. See the Vision of Er in the Republic, bk. X.
2. See Averroes' Ki tab al Kashf an manâhij al adillâ, quoted above on p. 11, note 2.]
{p. 47}
and this made him displeased with their confident assertions about the Heavens, while he detested the "philosophical" profit to which they put them. On the other hand, he was a Sûfî and thus in closest touch with persons who made very similar assertions about the Heavens, and also put them to profit in their own way. Finally, he was an Ash`arite Theologian, belonging to a school which had recently, after much trouble, eliminated from theology the dangerous ideas to which Mohammed's naive attitude to the Heavens, had given rise.
This uncertainty of touch comes out, as, might be expected, in a treatise like al-Mishkât with its blend of scholasticism and Neoplatonically-tinctured mysticism. The Heavens figure continually in its pages. They seem to play a most important part both in thought and in experience--towards the close of the book a determining part. Yet it is impossible to make. out exactly what that part was, in the mind of al-Ghazzâlî himself.
On p. [23] we have a correlation of the human microcosm and the macrocosm of the
{p. 48}
celestial realm, Ptolemaically construed, in describing the Ascension of a God-united soul. The, adept's body-and-soul structure is conceived of as subsisting in three planes or Spheres, which are correlated with the three lower spheres of the Seven Planetary Heavens. From the highest of these (the Intelligence) the soul takes its departure and ascends through the four upper Heavens (ila saba`i tabaqât) to the Throne [beyond the outermost Heaven]. Thus he "fills all things"' by his upward Ascent just as Allâh did by His downward Descent (nuzûl). In all this the pronoun "he" stands for the soul who is now Allâh-possessed and united, as described in what immediately precedes. It is the upward ascent of Allah (corresponding to His nuzûl illa-l samâ'i-l dunyâ), and not of the Adept only.
On the other hand, in p. [29], this Ascent is described in purely psychological terms, without this schema of the Heavens. And on p. [13] we have the following: "Do not imagine that I mean by the World Supernal the World of the [Seven] Heavens, though they are 'above' in respect of part of our world of sense-perception. {p. 49} These Heavens are equally present to our apprehension and that of the lower animals. But a man finds the doors of the Realm Celestial closed to him, neither does be become of or belonging to that Realm (mala-kûtî), unless this earth to him 'be changed into that which is not earth; and likewise the heavens;'[1] . . . and his 'heaven' come to be all that transcends his sense. This is the first Ascension for every Pilgrim who has set out on his Progress to the nearness of the Presence Dominical." And he continues: "The Angels ... are part of the World of the Realm Celestial, floating even in the Presence of the Transcendence, whence they gaze down upon our world inferior.
The last lines hardly give us the same ultra-spiritualizing impression which is conveyed by their predecessors. And, as we have already seen (Introduction, pp. 12-17), the part played by the Spheres with their Angels in the last section of the book is decisive, and there does not seem to be there any spiritualizing whatever.
[1. S. 14, 48.]
{p. 50}
How far, therefore, these passages are mere word-play, pious picturesqueness, or how far they represent speculation of a rather far-reaching character, is one of the puzzles of the book. In the Tahâfut, demolishing the arrogant claim of the Philosophers to prove their doctrine of the Spheres by syllogistic demonstration (burhân), he said: "The secrets of The Kingdom are not to be scanned by means of such fantastic imaginations as these; Allâh gives none but His Prophets and Saints (anbiyâ' and awliyâ') to scan them, and that by inspiration, not by demonstration."[1] So then there were mysteries and secrets in regard to the Spheres. In the Mishkât we are able to see pretty clearly that Ghazzâlî had his; but we are not able to see just what they were. He has kept this secret well.