Name of Book: Islam - The Choice of Thinking Women
Author: Ismail Adam Patel
Publisher: Taha Publications
Number of Pages: 115
This book is no ordinary script on the status of women in Islam as it seeks to dispel the criticism often labelled by the West and unfortunately some Muslims. While the westerners purport feminism, women’s rights, gender equality, etc. a kind of paranoia has developed in the minds of Muslim women that makes them feel inferior. The perception that Muslim women are oppressed and kept in some kind of captivity with restricted movement, which the west believes, are some of the issues discussed in the book. Hence, the position and status of Muslim women in society is introduced, and the author has intellectually addressed some of the major topics regarding women.
The book makes an excellent reader for the non-Muslim in understanding the great dignity with which Islam has honoured women. Many confusions and distortions attributed on the subject of women in Islam have been cleared and demystified. The author has gone to great lengths in his research and has made accurate explanations so as to make the reader understand the issues.
The sister of the Muslim General Salahuddin al Ayubbi, she was well educated and established a great institution bfor religious learning near Damascus. She established a waqf (trust) in the form of an endownment of a very large property which met the expenses that were generated by the institution.
The sister of al-Mazni (the noted student of Imam Shafi), she was a highly placed scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence. It is said that because of her knowledge her opinions were highly respected including the difference of opinion she had with Imam Shafi regarding the zakat which was to be paid on minerals.
MULAYKAH BINT MUNKADAR
When Imam Malik ibn Dinar was making tawaf (circulation of the Kaba) he heard a woman saying "My Lord! Have mercy on me, I have come from a very distant place to Thy House. My Lord! I have come hopeful of Your favours and beneficience. Do not make me dependant on anyone but you". Having heard these words, the Imam and his companions asked her later in the day to speak to them some words of wisdom. He speech was persuassive and it left a strong and good opinion on them. After some time she asked them to leave her alone as her talking began interfering with her worship.
Seven centuries had passed since the Zubaydah canal which brought water to Makkah from outlying springs. The passage by now had reached a bad state of repair, with the wells and springs having dried up and the canal now being fullof sand/stoens. It was 965 AH (1557 AD) when a Turkish princess Fatimah, daughter of the Uthami ruler Sultan Salim came along. She took the task to rebuilt and redevelop the 'Zubaydah canal'. The rebuilding of the canal was extremely dificult ad involved Egyptian, Syrian and Yemeni engineers and masons. On their route, there was a large rock 50 feet wide and 2000 feet long which looked as if it was going to stop the efforts. The chief of the
project lost his heart in fear of not being able to overcome it. Fatimah refused to accept that.In this timeperiod dynamite didnot exist, rather the only way to cut through such large rocks would be to heat them up with coal to high degrees and them to cut the stones with sharp tools. It took hundreds of workers, who burnt millions of tons of fuel. In 979 AH (1571 AD) the rock was conquered. Soon afterwards water again began to flow to Makkah on the repaired Zubaydah canal. The event was celebrated with a great feast/party which involved not only the everyday people but also the government officials. Due to her committment to rebuilding the canal,Fatimah was nicknamed 'Zubaydah Thani' (Zubaydah the second).
A descendant of the famous conqueror Amir Taymur, she was a master of calligraphy with no one else in her time being able to match her skills of calligraphy of the Quran. It was said that in 1045 AH, she sent a gift of the Quran written by her calligraphy to the then ruler, which he was most appreciate of.
THE SLAVE WOMEN WHO CONVERTED THE MAGUS FAMILY
One of the leading scholars said that a slave woman would come to him to ask him questions about shariah (islamic law). Some years later he saw a man selling her in the market saying she was worthless. He enquired and the man said that his family were Zorasterians, they bought her beauce of her beauty. They would worship the fire and light. Some days ago a Muslim went to their house and recited the some words. Hearing these words she started to cry. From then she reused to eat their (Zorasterian's) food and she began to pray (like a Muslim). They tried to prevernt her but they couldnt so she was worthless. The scholar asked the girl if she was the same girl he remembered from years ago, she replied in the affirmitive. The scholar then asked her what verses that man recited, she said, "Therefore flee unto Allah, Lo I am a pla warner to you from Him". Hearing these words she became restless and said that is the condition she was now in. The scholar then offered to complete the rest of the verse, and said, "Lo Allah! He is the one who gives livelihood, the Lord of the unbreakable might". Hearing this she said, 'The matter, which is guarnteed by Allah livelihood) must be left unworried for'. (Basically she put her trust in Allah knowing that Allah would provide for her if she did the right things). Hearing this trust in Allah, the scholar was amazed. The scholar asked what her price was and wanted to buy her. The man trying to inflate the price said his cousin wanted to buy her. The scholar couldnt match the price, so the man sold her to his cousin. Now the cousin, also a Zorasterian was determined to convert her back to his faith. He set about trying to find a way to reprimand her. He decided to give her a purse of money to keep and protect or him for some time, a bag full of dinars. She took the money and kept it with her in a safe place. Later the man, when she was praying went to her safe place and took the bag. His intention was that after prayer he would ask her where the bag was and she would not be able to find it, so he would criticise her faith and tell her that she has to come back to Zorastianism. After the prayer he asked her to fetch the bag. She went and she retrieved the bag.The man was in shock, how could she have given him the bag which he took while she was praying? He concluded that she had help from a divine authority. Upon this, he decided to accept Islam. Upon this, his family, relatives and friends also chose to accept Islam. The slave girlthen lived with them, not as a slave girl, as she was set free, and she was invited to live with them as a member of their family.
MOTHER OF IMAM BUKHARI:
Imam Bukhari left with his mother and his sister to gain knowledge at the age of 14. All of his provisions were provided for by his mother and his sister.
[Ref: 'Leading Ladies: who made a difference in the lives of others, approved by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, and Mufti Abdul Qadir, published by Idara Talifat e Ashrafia]
Ml. Shah Abdul Qadir Raipuri Saheb (RA)
Every Shaikh of Tariqat envies a disciple like him
Very rarely Allah blesses humanity with people like him
The life of Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb Raipuri (Nawwarallahu Marqadahu) yields many precious lessons for the Muslim Ummah. Some insight into his life can be gained through reading Hazrat Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi’s “Savanih-e-Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri”. Hazrat Raipuri’s life can be looked at in three different stages: First, his childhood and education. Second, his search for Shaikh-e-Kaamil and acquiring training from him. Third, after the demise of his Shaikh, how he benefited thousands with the nur of Ma’arifate Ilahi (Divine recognition) of Allah.
Childhood and Education
Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb was born in the house of Hazrat Hafiz Ahmad Saheb in 1295 Hijri in district of Sarghoda (present day Pakistan). The father of Hazrat Raipuri belonged to a religious and knowledgeable family. Hazrat Raipuri became a hafiz of the Quran under the supervision of his uncle, Maulana Kaleemullah Saheb. He learned Arabic grammar from Maulana Muhammad Rafiq Saheb, who was a student of Qutbul Arshad Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Ala’ih). Thereafter, he left his home town for acquisition of higher Islamic studies. Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb went through great sacrifices and hardships in the pursuit of knowledge. He used to go from city to city on foot and had a very simple and content childhood. Never did he look towards any creation or ask from any person for help or dependency, because Allah alone was sufficient for him. He studied in Saharanpur, Panipat and Delhi. In Delhi, Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb studied the books of Hadith in Madrasa Abdur Rabb under Maulana Abd al-A’li (Rahmatullahi Ala’ih), who was a student of Hujjatul Islam Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Saheb Nanotawi (Rahmatullahi Ala’ih). Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb also had the honor of attending some lectures on Tirmizhi Sharif by Imamul Asr Hazrat Maulana Anwar Shah Saheb Kashmiri (Rahmatullahi Ala’ih).
After completing his studies in Quran, Hadith, Arabic, Farsi, Fiqh and Muntaq, Hazrat Maulana also studied Greek Medicine and likewise excelled in that as well. Thereafter, for some time he gave lectures relating to Quran and Hadith in Bareily and some other places. The knowledge of Quran and Hadith had ignited the fire of Ma’arifate Ilahi inside his heart. Hazrat left all his engagements and set out to find the Shaikh-e-Kaamil that could ingrain the recognition and love of Allah and Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) in the depths of his heart.
Search for Shaikh-e-Kaamil
Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb searched for a Shaikh-e-Kaamil very intensively. He had a strong urge in him for finding a guide that could connect his soul with the Creator of the universe. Somebody that could teach him how to suppress the nafs, desires and the whisperings of shaytan, the evil devil. Somebody that could quench the thirst of love in his heart. After his long and diligent search for Shaikh-e-Kaamil, he finally reached the Khanqah of Hazrat-e-Aqqadus Maulana Abdur Raheem Saheb Raipuri in Raipur (Utter Pardesh, India). In the very first meeting, he was overwhelmingly impressed and affected from Hazrat-e-Aqqadus Maulana Abdur Raheem Saheb. He requested Hazrat to take him under his bayat and become his pir. Hazrat Maulana Abdur Raheem Saheb gave him the suggestion to go to his Shaikh, Qutbul Arshad Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Saheb Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Ala’ih). But, Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb said: “I am totally related to you.” Thereafter, Hazrat-e-Aqqadus Maulana Abdur Raheem Saheb gave him some azkaar and said: “What is the hurry?” and then sent Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb back to his native land of Sarghoda. After a short span of time, Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb returned to Raipur and took bayat on the hand of Hazrat Maulana Abdur Raheem Saheb Raipuri. From then on, he remained busy in Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah), Mujahidaat (sacrifices) and Khidmat-e-Shaikh (service of his spiritual guide). Hazrat-e-Aqqadus Maulana Abdur Raheem Saheb remained pleased with him until his last breath and upon his demise, he made Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb his chief successor and Khalifa and commanded Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb to remain in his khanqah and continue his efforts in reformation of people.
While in the Khanqah, Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb was always consistent in his spiritual practices and became determined in achieving his purpose. He had the highest Adab (respect) for his Shaikh, who became the most dear to him after Allah and Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). His character was beautifully built to such an extent that all sorts of people flocked towards him for their spiritual rectification. Hazrat was very simple and self-less. He had used Tassawwuf as it was meant to be used to gain the recognition of Allah and please Allah through following Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). But, this condition of fana’iyat (absorption) in Allah which he had achieved was the result of his companionship with his Shaikh, who had been trained under the auspicious Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Saheb Gangohi himself, whose illuminated personality and attributes can not be explained in words. It was also the result of his consistency in his azkaar and other spiritual practices. If somebody wants to see what can be achieved through Tassawwuf, the life of Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb is enough as a proof of the benefits of Tassawwuf.
Once a person is trained to benefit humanity, he is called “Khalifa”. Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Saheb was the Khalifa and successor of his Shaikh. After the demise of his Shaikh, for forty-five long years, he remained benefiting people by connecting them to Allah and ingraining the love of Allah in their hearts. Hundreds of Ulama (scholars) achieved ma’arifate Ilahi under his supervision and thousands of common people came on the true teachings of Allah and Rasulullah (Alayhi Salatu wat-Tasleemat) through their connection with him. He reformed people from all branches of life, including farmers, businessmen, traders, politicians, lawyers, etc., A large number of Ulama benefited from their roohani nisbat (spiritual relationship) with him. Some of them are: Hazrat Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhalvi, Hazrat Ji Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Saheb Kandhalvi, Mufakkire Islam Hazrat Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Manzoor Saheb Nomani, Ameer-e-Shariat Hazrat Maulana Syed Ata’ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz Saheb of Sargodha, Maulana Syed Anwar Hussein Nafees of Lahore, Maulana Syed Abdul Mun’im Abu Zar Bukhari of Multan, and many others.
This lamp of guidance and source of enlightenment finally met the Lord of the universe and Creator of the heavens and the earth on 14th of Rabiul Awwal 1382 Hijri. May Allah elevate his status in the hereafter and give us all the ability to follow the footsteps of such illustrious and sincere followers of Syedul Bashr (Salallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). Ameen.
Ubayy ibn Kaab (RA)
"O Abu Mundhir! Which verse of the Book of God is the greatest?" asked the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace. "Allah and His Messenger know best," came the reply. The Prophet repeated the question and Abu Mundhir replied.
"Allah, there is no god but He, the Living the Self-Subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth, ..." and most likely he went on to complete the Verse of the Throne (Ayat al-Kursi).
The Prophet smote his chest with his right hand in approval on hearing the reply and with his countenance beaming with happiness, said to Abu Mundhir. "May knowledge delight and benefit you, Abu Mundhir."
This Abu Mundhir whom the Prophet congratulated on the knowledge and understanding which God had bestowed on him was Ubayy ibn Kab, one of his distinguished companions and a person of high esteem in the early Muslim community.
Ubayy was one of the Ansar and belonged to the Khazraj tribe. He was one of the first persons of Yathrib to accept Islam. He pledged allegiance to the Prophet at Aqabah before the Hijrah. He participated in the Battle of Badr and other engagements thereafter. Ubayy was one of the select few who committed the Quranic revelations to writing and had a Mushaf of his own. He acted as a scribe of the Prophet, writing letters for him. At the demise of the Prophet, he was one of the twenty five or so people who knew the Quran completely by heart. His recitation was so beautiful and his understanding so profound that the Prophet encouraged his companions to learn the Quran from him and from three others. Later, Umar too once told the Muslims as he was dealing with some financial matters of state:
"O people! Whoever wants to ask about the Quran, let him go to Ubayy ibn Kab..." (Umar went on to say that anyone wishing to ask about inheritance matters should go to Zayd ibn Thabit, about questions of fiqh to Muadh ibn Jabal and about questions of money and finance, to himself.)
Ubayy enjoyed a special honor with regard to the Quran. One day, the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, said: "O Ubayy ibn Kab! I have been commanded to show or lay open the Quran to you."
Ubayy was elated. He knew of course that the Prophet only received commands from on high. Unable to control his excitement, he asked:
"O Messenger of God...Have I been mentioned to you by name?" "Yes," replied the Prophet, "by your own name and by your genealogy (nasab) in the highest heavens."
Any Muslim whose name had been conveyed to the heart of the Prophet in this manner must certainly have been of great ability and of a tremendously high stature.
Throughout the years of his association with the Prophet, Ubayy derived the maximum benefit from his sweet and noble personality and from his noble teachings. Ubayy related that the Prophet once asked him:
"Shall I not teach you a surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Tawrah, nor in the Injil, nor in the Zabur, nor in the Quran?" "Certainly," replied Ubayy.
"I hope you would not leave through that door until you know what it is," said the Prophet obviously prolonging the suspense for Ubayy. Ubayy continues: "He stood up and I stood up with him. He started to speak, with my hand in his. I tried to delay him fearing that he would leave before letting me know what the surah is. When he reached the door, I asked: "O Messenger of God! The surah which you promised to tell me..." He replied:
"What do you recite when you stand for Salat?" So, I recited for him Fatihatul Kitab (the Opening Chapter of the Quran) and he said: "(That's) it! (That's) it! They are the seven oft-repeated verses of which God Almighty has said: We have given you the seven oft-repeated verses and the Mighty Quran."
Ubayy's devotion to the Quran was uncompromising. Once he recited part of a verse which the Khalifah Umar apparently could not remember or did not know and he said to Ubayy: "You have lied," to which Ubayy retorted; "Rather, you have lied."
A person who heard the exchange was astounded and said to Ubayy: "Do you call the Amir al-Muminin a liar?" "I have greater honor and respect for the Amir al-Muminin than you," responded Ubayy," but he has erred in verifying the Book of God and I shall not say the Amir al-Muminin is correct when he has made an error concerning the Book of God." "Ubayy is right," concluded Umar.
Ubayy gave an idea of the importance of the Quran when a man came to him and said, "Advise me," and he replied: "Take the Book of God as (your) leader (imam). Be satisfied with it as (your) judge and ruler. It is what the Prophet has bequeathed to you. (It is your) intercessor with God and should be obeyed..."
After the demise of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, Ubayy remained strong in his attachment to Islam and his commitment to the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. He was constant in his ibadah and would often be found in the mosque at night, after the last obligatory Prayer had been performed, engaged in worship or in teaching. Once he was sitting in the mosque after Salat with a group of Muslims, making supplication to God. Umar came in and sat with them and asked each one to recite a dua. They all did until finally Ubayy's turn came. He was sitting next to Umar. He felt somewhat over-awed and became flustered. Umar prompted him and suggested that he say: "Allahumma ighfir lanaa. Allahumma irhamnaa. O Lord, forgive us, O Lord, have mercy on us."
Taqwa remained the guiding force in Ubayy's life. He lived simply and did not allow the world to corrupt or deceive him. He had a good grasp of reality and knew that however a person lived and whatever comforts and luxuries he enjoyed, these would all fade away and he would have only his good deeds to his credit. He was always a sort of warner to Muslims, reminding them of the times of the Prophet, of the Muslims' devotion to Islam then, of their simplicity and spirit of sacrifice. Many people came to him seeking knowledge and advice. To one such person he said.
"The believer has four characteristics. If he is afflicted by any misfortune, he remains patient and steadfast. If he is given anything, he is grateful. If he speaks, he speaks the truth. If he passes a judgment on any issue, he is just."
Ubayy attained a position of great honor and esteem among the early Muslims. Umar called him the "sayyid of the Muslims" and he came to be widely known by this title. He was part of the consultative group (mushawarah) to which Abu Bakr, as Khalifah, referred many problems. This group was composed of men of good sense and judgment (ahl ar-ray) and men who knew the law (ahl al-fiqh) from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. It included Umar, Uthman, Ali, Abdur Rahman ibn Awl, Muadh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Kab and Zayd ibn Harith. Umar later consulted the same group when he was Khalifah. Specifically for fatwas (legal judgments) he referred to Uthman, Ubayy and Zayd ibn Thabit.
Because of Ubayy's high standing, one might have expected him to have been given positions of administrative responsibility, for example as a governor, in the rapidly expanding Muslim state. (During the time of the Prophet in fact he had performed the function of a collector of sadaqah.) Indeed, Ubayy once asked
"What's the matter with you? Why don't you appoint me as a governor?" "I do not want your religion to be corrupted" replied Umar. Ubayy was probably prompted to put the question to Umar when he saw that Muslims were tending to drift from the purity of faith and self-sacrifice of the days of the Prophet. He was known to be especially critical of the excessively polite and sycophantic attitude of many Muslims to their governors which he felt brought ruin both to the governors and those under them. Ubayy for his part was always honest and frank in his dealings with persons in authority and feared no one but God. He acted as a sort of conscience to the Muslims.
One of Ubayy's major fears for the Muslim ummah was that a day would come when there would be severe strife among Muslims. He often became overwhelmed with emotion when he read or heard the verse of the Quran." "Say: He (Allah) has power to send calamities on you, from above and below, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance, each from the other." (Surah al-An'am, 6: 65)
He would then pray fervently to God for guidance and ask for His clemency and forgiveness. Ubayy died in the year 29 AH during the caliphate of Uthman.
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from MuslimAccess.com
Life and works of Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (RA)
Taken from the English Translation of Fathul Bahri
Abu’l-Fadl Ahmad ibn Hajar’s family originated in the district of Qabis in Tunisia. Some members of the family had settled in Palestine, which they left again when faced with the Crusader threat, but he himself was born in Egypt in 773, the son of the Shafi‘i scholar and poet Nur al-Din ‘Ali and the learned and aristocratic Tujjar. Both died in his infancy, and he was later to praise his elder sister, Sitt al-Rakb, for acting as his ‘second mother’. The two children became wards of the brother of his father’s first wife, Zaki al-Din al-Kharrubi, who entered the young Ibn Hajar in a Qur’anic school (kuttab) when he reached five years of age. Here he excelled, learning Surat Maryam in a single day, and progressing to the memorisation of texts such as the Mukhtasar of Ibn al-Hajib on usul. By the time he accompanied al-Kharrubi to Mecca at the age of 12, he was competent enough to lead the Tarawih prayers in the Holy City, where he spent much time studying and recalling God amid the pleasing simplicity of Kharrubi’s house, the Bayt al-‘Ayna’, whose windows looked directly upon the Black Stone. Two years later his protector died, and his education in Egypt was entrusted to the hadith scholar Shams al-Din ibn al-Qattan, who entered him in the courses given by the great Cairene scholars al-Bulqini (d.806) and Ibn al-Mulaqqin (d.804) in Shafi‘i fiqh, and of Zayn al-Din al-‘Iraqi (d.806) in hadith, after which he was able to travel to Damascus and Jerusalem, where he studied under Shams al-Din al-Qalqashandi (d.809), Badr al-Din al-Balisi (d.803), and Fatima bint al-Manja al-Tanukhiyya (d.803). After a further visit to Mecca and Madina, and to the Yemen, he returned to Egypt.
When he reached 25 he married the lively and brilliant Anas Khatun, then 18 years of age. She was a hadith expert in her own right, holding ijazas from Zayn al-Din al-‘Iraqi, and she gave celebrated public lectures in the presence of her husband to crowds of ulema among whom was Imam al-Sakhawi. After the marriage, Ibn Hajar moved into her house, where he lived until his death. Many noted how she surrounded herself with the old, the poor and the physically handicapped, whom it was her privilege and pleasure to support. So widely did her reputation for sanctity extend that during her fifteen years of widowhood, which she devoted to good works, she received a proposal from Imam ‘Alam al-Din al-Bulqini, who considered that a marriage to a woman of such charity and baraka would be a source of great pride.
Once esconced in Egypt, Ibn Hajar taught in the Sufi lodge (khaniqah) of Baybars for some twenty years, and then in the hadith college known as Dar al-Hadith al-Kamiliyya. During these years, he served on occasion as the Shafi‘i chief justice of Egypt.
It was in Cairo that the Imam wrote some of the most thorough and beneficial books ever added to the library of Islamic civilisation. Among these are al-Durar al-Kamina (a biographical dictionary of leading figures of the eighth century), a commentary on the Forty Hadith of Imam al-Nawawi (a scholar for whom he had particular respect); Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (an abbreviation of Tahdhib al-Kamal, the encyclopedia of hadith narrators by al-Mizzi), al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-Sahaba (the most widely-used dictionary of Companions), and Bulugh al-Maram min adillat al-ahkam (on Shafi‘i fiqh).
In 817, Ibn Hajar commenced the enormous task of assembling his Fath al-Bari. It began as a series of formal dictations to his hadith students, after which he wrote it out in his own hand and circulated it section by section to his pupils, who would discuss it with him once a week. As the work progressed and its author’s fame grew, the Islamic world took a close interest in the new work. In 833, Timur’s son Shahrukh sent a letter to the Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay requesting several gifts, including a copy of the Fath, and Ibn Hajar was able to send him the first three volumes. In 839 the request was repeated, and further volumes were sent, until, in the reign of al-Zahir Jaqmaq, the whole text was finished and a complete copy was dispatched. Similarly, the Moroccan sultan Abu Faris ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Hafsi requested a copy before its completion. When it was finished, in Rajab 842, a great celebration was held in an open place near Cairo, in the presence of the ulema, judges, and leading personages of Egypt. Ibn Hajar sat on a platform and read out the final pages of his work, and then poets recited eulogies and gold was distributed. It was, says the historian Ibn Iyas, ‘the greatest celebration of the age in Egypt.’
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar departed this life in 852. His funeral was attended by ‘fifty thousand people’, including the sultan and the caliph; ‘even the Christians grieved.’ He was remembered as a gentle man, short, slender, and white-bearded, a lover of calligraphy, much inclined to charity; ‘good to those who wronged him, and forgiving to those he was able to punish.’ A lifetime’s proximity to the hadith had imbued him with a deep love of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), as is shown nowhere more clearly than in the poetry assembled in his Diwan, an original manuscript of which has been preserved at the Egyptian National Library. A few lines will suffice to show this well:
By the gate of your generosity stands a sinner, who is mad with love,
O best of mankind in radiance of face and countenance!
Through you he seeks a means [tawassala], hoping for Allah’s forgiveness of slips;
from fear of Him, his eyelid is wet with pouring tears.
Although his genealogy attributes him to a stone [hajar],
how often tears have flowed, sweet, pure and fresh!
Praise of you does not do you justice, but perhaps,
In eternity, its verses will be transformed into mansions.
My praise of you shall continue for as long as I live,
For I see nothing that could ever deflect me from your praise.
Article taken (with Thanks) from The Muhammidiyah Association
Abu Musa al-Ashari (RA)
When he went to Basrah as governor of the city, he called the inhabitants to a meeting and addressed them: "The Amir al-Muminin, Umar, has sent me to you to teach you the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of His Prophet and to clean your streets for you."
People were taken aback when they heard these words. They could easily understand that one of the responsibilities of a Muslim ruler was to instruct people in their religion. However, that one of his duties should be to clean streets was something new and surprising to them.
Who was this governor of whom the Prophet's grandson, al-Hasan, may God be pleased with him said: "There was no rider who came to Basrah who was better for its people than he."
His real name was Abdullah ibn Qays but he was and continues to be known as Abu Musa al-Ashari. He left his native land, the Yemen, for Makkah immediately after hearing that a Prophet had appeared there who was a man of rare insight, who called people to the worship of One God and who insisted on the highest standards of morality.
At Makkah, he stayed in the company of the Prophet and gained knowledge and guidance. He returned to his country to propagate the word of God and spread the mission of the noble Prophet, peace be on him. We have no further news of him for more than a decade. Then just after the end of the Khaybar expedition he came to the Prophet in Madinah. His arrival there coincided with that of Jaffar ibn Abi Talib and other Muslims from Abyssinia and the Prophet welcomed them all with joy and happiness.
This time Abu Musa did not come alone. He came with more than fifty persons from the Yemen all of whom had accepted Islam. Among them were his two brothers, Abu Ruhm and Abu Burdah. The Prophet referred to the whole group as the "Asharis". In fact he sometimes referred to all Yemenis as Asharis after Abu Musa al-Ashari. He often praised the group for their soft and tender-hearted nature and held them up to the rest of his companions as a high example of good behavior. He once said of them:
"If the Asharis go on an expedition or if they only have a little food among them, they would gather all they have on one cloth and divide it equally among themselves. They are thus from me and I am from them."
Abu Musa soon became highly esteemed in the Muslim community. He had many great qualities. He was a faqih endowed with intelligence and sound judgement and was ranked as one of the leading judges in the early Muslim community. People used to say: "The judges in this ummah are four: Umar, Ali, Abu Musa and Zayd ibn Thabit."
Abu Musa had a natural, uncomplicated disposition. He was by nature a trusting person and expected people to deal with him on the basis of trust and sincerity.
In the field of jihad, he was a warrior of great courage
and endurance and skill. The Prophet said of him: "The master of horsemen is Abu Musa."
"Abu Musa's insight and the soundness of his judgment did not allow him to be deceived by an enemy in battle. In battle conditions he saw situations with complete clarity and executed his actions with a firm resolve.
Abu Musa was in command of the Muslim army traversing the lands of the Sasanian Empire. At Isfahan, the people came to him and offered to pay the jizyah (in return for military protection) to make peace and avoid fighting. However, they were not sincere in their offer and merely wanted an opportunity to mount a treacherous attack on the Muslims. Abu Musa however saw through their real intentions and he remained on the alert. Thus when the Isfahanis launched their attack, the Muslim leader was not caught off-guard, He engaged them in battle and before midday of the following day, he had won a decisive victory.
In the major campaigns against the powerful Sasanian Empire Abu Musa's role was outstanding. In the great Battle of Tustar itself, he distinguished himself as a military commander.
The Persian commander, Hormuzan, had withdrawn his numerous forces to the strongly fortified city of Tustar. The Caliph Umar did not underestimate the strength of the enemy and he mobilized powerful and numerous force to confront Hormuzan. Among the Muslim forces were dedicated veterans like Ammar ibn Yasir, al-Baraa ibn Malik and his brother Anas, Majra'a al-Bakri and Salamah ibn Rajaa. Umar appointed Abu Musa as commander of the army.
So well fortified was Tustar that it was impossible to take it by storm. Several attempts were made to breach the walls but these proved unsuccessful. There followed a long and difficult siege which became even more testing and agonizing for the Muslims when, as we saw in the story of al-Baraa ibn Malik, the Persians began throwing down iron chains from the walls of the fortress at the ends of which were fastened red-hot iron hooks. Muslims were caught by these hooks and were pulled up either dead or in the agony of death.
Abu Musa realized that the increasingly unbearable impasse could only be broken by a resort to stratagem. Fortunately, at this time a Persian defected to the Muslim side and Abu Musa induced him to return behind the walls of the fortified city and use whatever artful means he could to open the city's gates from within. With the Persian he sent a special force of hand-picked men. They succeeded well in their task, opened the gates and made way for Abu Musa's army. Within hours the Persians were subdued.
In spite of the fact that Abu Musa was a strong and powerful warrior, he often left the battlefield transformed into a penitent, weeping person. At such times, he would read the Quran in a voice that profoundly stirred the souls of all who listened to him. Concerning his moving and melodious recitation of the Quran the Prophet, peace be on him, had said: "Abu Musa has indeed been given one of the flutes of the people of David."
Also, Umar, may god be pleased with him, often summoned Abu Musa and asked him to recite from the Book of God, saying:
"Create in us a yearning for our Lord, O Abu Musa." As a mark of his dedication to the Quran, Abu Musa was one of the few companions who had prepared a mushaf a written collection of the revelations.
Abu Musa only participated in fighting against the armies of Mushrikin, armies which tried to oppose the religion of God and extinguish the light of faith. When fighting broke out among Muslims, he fled from such conflict anti never look any part in it. Such was his stand in the conflict that arose between Ali and Muawiyah. It is in relation to this conflict and in particular his role as an adjudicator that the name of Abu Musa al-Ashari is most widely known.
Briefly, Abu Musa's position appeared to be that of a 'neutral.' He saw Muslims killing each other and felt that if the situation were to continue the very future of the Muslim ummah would be threatened. To start off with a clean slate, the Khalifah Ali should give up the position and Muawiyah should relinquish any claim to be Khalifah and the Muslims should be given a free choice to elect whoever they wanted as Khalifah.
It was of course true that Hazrat Ali (RA) held the position of Khalifah legitimately and that any unlawful revolt could only have as its object the challenging and overturning of the rule of law. However, developments had gone so far, the dispute had become so bloody and there seemed to be no end in sight except further bloodshed, that a new approach to a solution seemed the only hope of avoiding further bloodshed and continuous civil war.
When Hazrat Ali (RA) accepted the principle of arbitration, he wanted Abdullah ibn Abbas to represent him. But an influential section of his followers insisted on Abu Musa. Their reason for so doing was that Abu Musa had not taken part in the dispute from its beginning. Instead he had kept aloof from both parties when he despaired of bringing about an understanding and a reconciliation and putting an end to the fighting. Therefore, they felt, he was the most suitable person to be the arbitrator.
Hazrat Ali (RA) had no reason to doubt the devotion of Abu Musa to Islam and his truthfulness and sincerity. But he knew the shrewdness of the other side and their likely resort to ruses and treachery. He also knew that Abu Musa in spite of his understanding and his knowledge despised deceit and conspiracies and always wanted to deal with people on the basis of trust and honesty, not through cunning. Ali therefore feared that Abu Musa would be deceived by others and that arbitration would end up with the victory of guile over honesty and that the situation would end up being more perilous than it was.
Adjudication nonetheless began with Abu Musa representing the side of Ali and Amr ibn al-Aas representing the side of Muawiyah. A possible version of their historic conversation has been recorded in the book "Al-Akhbar at-Tiwal" by Abu Hanifah Ad-Daynawawi as follows:
Abu Musa: O Amr, what do you think of this suggestion in which there is the common good of the ummah and the pleasure of Allah?
Amr: What is it?
Abu Musa: Let us nominate Abdullah ibn Umar as Khalifah. He himself has not intervened at all in this war.
Amr: What do you think of Muawiyah for the position?
Abu Musa: It is neither opportune to have Muawiyah in this position nor does he deserve it.
Amr: Don't you know that Uthman was unjustly murdered?
Abu Musa: Certainly.
Amr: And that his status among the Quraysh you know (is one of honor), and that Muawiyah is the wali of the blood of Uthman.... And God says in the Quran: "Whoever is killed unjustly, We have given his heir authority...." (The full verse of the Quran is: Nor take life which God has made sacred except for a just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive). But let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped by the Law. Surah 17, verse 33 .) In addition to this he is the brother of Umm Habibah, the wife of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, and he is one of his companions.
Abu Musa: Fear God, O Amr.. Regarding what you have mentioned about the status of Muawiyah, if the position of the Khalifah is based on status, the person most deserving of it is "Abrahah ibn Sabbah". He is a descendant of Yemeni kings whose domain extended to the east and the west. And what status has Muawiyah in comparison with Ali ibn Abi Talib? Regarding your statement that Muawiyah is the wali of Uthman, the person who has the first right to this is his son, Amr ibn Uthman. However, if you agree with me, we could revert to the memory of Umar ibn al-Khattab and appoint his son Abdullah, the pious one.
Amr: What prevents you from appointing my son Abdullah he is virtuous, upright, one of those who were first to perform the Hijrah and who has been a long-standing companion of the Prophet.
Abu Musa: Your son is a man of honesty and truth. But you have plunged him deeply into these wars. Come let us appoint the Good One, the son of the Good One - Abdullah ibn Umar.
Amr: O Abu Musa! The only person who can set this matter aright is a man who has two wisdom teeth who eats with one and feeds with the other (referring to the political astuteness of Muawiyah).
Abu Musa: Woe to you, O Amr. The Muslims are depending on us to solve this matter. They have fought with swords and spears. Let us not return them to a state of fitnah.
Amr: What are you suggesting then?
Abu Musa: I suggest that we leave the two men-Ali and Muawiyah. Then we set up a shura among Muslims to let them choose from among themselves whoever they like.
Amr: I agree to this suggestion for indeed the common good of the people rests in it.
The above exchange shows Abu Musa to be a man of integrity and intelligence. He showed up the weakness of Amr's claims for Muawiyah to be the Caliph of the Muslims on the grounds of honor and status and on the grounds that he was the 'heir' to Uthman.
By his suggestion that the son of Umar ibn al-Khattab be appointed as Khalifah, Abu Musa showed that he was not prepared to stick uncompromisingly to the side he represented and that he was willing to consider an appropriate companion of the Prophet as an alternative, for the good of the Muslim community.
Abu Musa continued to remain neutral in the conflict which was ended by Ali when he made a treaty with Muawiyah confirming him as the one responsible for governing Syria and Egypt.
Abu Musa himself left for Makkah and spent the rest of his life near the Sacred Mosque. During his life he had remained devoted to the noble Prophet and his righteous successors. During the life of the Prophet, the Prophet had appointed him and Muadh ibn Jabal as governor of Kufah.
Abu Musa was particularly attached to the Quran, reading it constantly, memorizing it, understanding it and putting it into practice. His advice regarding the Quran is full of wisdom: "Follow the Quran," he said, "and do not desire that the Quran should follow you."
In Ibadah, he showed a great deal of strength and endurance. On days when the heat was intense and almost unbearable, Abu Musa would be found fasting and he would say: "Perhaps the thirst of the midday heat would prove to be quenching for us on the day of Qiyamah."
As his end drew near, the words which he kept saying were words which he was wont to repeat throughout his life as a believer:
"Allahumma anta-s Salaam Wa minka-s Salaam. "O Lord, You are the Source of Peace And from You comes Peace..."
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from MuslimAccess.com