Monday, April 30, 2007

Imaam Abu Haatim Al-Raazi

Imaam Abu Haatim Al-Raazi (r.a.) was born in Ray (Tehran–Iran) the year 195 Hijri and he passed away in the year 277 Hijri .

He first set out in search of knowledge at the age of 18.

It is regarding this that he says : "The first time that I had set out to acquire of knowledge I remained away from home for 7 years. I had commenced counting the mileage that I had covered on foot till it reached 1000 Farsakh (1 farsakh is equal to approximately 5 kilometers , so 1000 Farsakh equals approximately 5000 kms./ 3000 miles!) Thereafter I stopped counting!!"

He further states : "I do not remember how many times I had traveled from Kufah to Baghdad and from Makkah to Madinah."

"I also went from Morocco to Egypt on foot. And from Egypt to Ramalah and from Ramalah to Baitul Maqdis and to Tabriyyah then to Damascus . And from Damascus to Hims then to Antaaqiyyah . And from Antaaqiyyah to Tarasoos . Thereafter I returned to Hims. Then from Hims to Baisaan to Ruqqah. And from there I crossed the Euphrates to Baghdad… all of this I did walking!!! This was my first journey which lasted 7 years. I had left Ray (Tehran) in the year : 213 and I returned in 221 Hijri. And I went out once more in the year 242 and returned in 245 – 3 years. My age at the time was : 47."1 (pg. 60-61)

His son Imaam Abu Muhammad Abdur Rahman bin Abi Haatim ( r.a. ) relates the following hair raising strange incidents that took place while Imaam Abu Haatim was on journey.

He says : "My father mentioned : "I was in Basrah in the year: 214 .I had been there for 8 months and I had intended to stay for 1 year but my wealth had expired. So I began to sell my clothes one after the other !! until I did not have any more clothes to sell. So I remained without any expenditure. However I continued to attend the gatherings of the 'ulamaa with one of my companions. At the end of the first day I returned hungry to my room. The only thing I had was water. The next day I joined my companion to the gatherings of the 'ulamaa despite my extreme hunger. However on the third day, when my companion came by to call me to the gatherings of the 'ulamaa, I said to him : "I'm unable to accompany you due to extreme weakness." He enquired the reason for my weakness upon which I said to him : "2 days have passed and I have not eaten anything." He replied : "I have 1 dinaar of which I can share half with you" so we left Basrah in this manner."

His son further states: "I heard my father mention: "When we left Madinah Munawwarah and boarded a ship at Al-Jaar (which is a days journey from Madinah and is a shore to the red sea) we were 3 people :myself, Abu Zuhair al-marwaruzhi and another Sheikh from Nisaabur."

"Whilst we were at sea one night I experienced a wet dream. I informed my colleagues in the morning so they suggested that I dive into the sea but I replied that I could not swim. They then decided to tie me up with a rope and dip me into the water and in this way I had to have a ghusl!! "

"We were lost at sea for 3 months until we reached a strange land."

"We walked on the land for a few days until all our food and water became exhausted. We kept walking for 2 full days in this condition of hunger. On the third day we continued walking though we were absolutely exhausted until the Sheikh Al-Marwaruzhi fell unconscious. We tried reviving him in vain and thereafter continued for 1 or 2 Farsakhs (5 – 10 kms) until I myself lost my footing and fell unconscious. So the Sheikh from Nisaabur left me and continued for a while until he managed to spot some people who had arrived from sea. After they gave him water he said to them: Go and search for 2 of my companions who have fallen unconscious behind me."

"Thereafter I could feel someone sprinkling water on my face. After I regained consciousness I asked for water to drink. Then I mentioned to them about our third companion. They replied that there is someone attending to him. They then dragged me till I reached their ship where they attended to us. We stayed with them for a few days till we regained our strength. They had really taken good care of us. Thereafter they gave us some provisions and a letter of recommendation for the governor of the next town which was called:" Raayah " . We continued in this manner till those provisions also expired. We still continued to walk in that condition of thirst and hunger till we found a Turtle lying on the shore. So we took some shells and we began to scoop of inside of the Turtle until our hunger and thirst was removed."

"We continued till we reached the town of Raayah and we gave that note to the governor. He took us into his house and took good care of us feeding us meat and bread etc."

"After a few days when we decided to leave he gave us food and provision for the road till we reached Egypt". (pg. 237-239)

When one looks into the life of such great Scholars, and at their sincere sacrifice for deen, despite the poor mode of transport and their meager means, their value for knowledge and their tolerance together with their courage, one tends to realize that the only way for success is to emulate them in the closest possible way. Imagine selling your clothes just for the sake of survival and to be able to continue with the search for knowledge!!! May Allah guide us all.

Imaam Abu Haatim' son has authored the the famous reference book on 'Ilmu Asmaa irrijaal: "Al jarhu Wat Ta'deel" in which he has documented the verdicts of his well renown father. This book is printed in 9 vols.
source: Madrassah In'aamiyyah

Monday, April 23, 2007


Unknown Author

We become de-sensitised a little bit at a time. Some years ago, I walked into my office after a Sunday morning service to find a sandwich bag on my desk containing three chocolate brownies. Some thoughtful and anonymous person who knew my love for chocolate had placed them there, along with a piece of paper that had a short story written on it. I immediately sat down and began eating the first brownie as I read the following story.

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go to the cinema to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the Internet, he denied their request.

"Ah dad, why not?" they complained. "It's rated PG-13, and we're both older than thirteen!"

Dad replied: "Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality as being normal and acceptable behavior."

"But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That's what our friends who've seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It's based on a true story and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie review websites say that!"

"My answer is 'no,' and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion."

The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognised the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, "Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he's going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all."

About that time I began eating the second brownie from the sandwich bag and wondered if there was some connection to the brownies I was eating and the brownies in the story. I kept reading.

The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies, which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Then their father said, "Before you eat, I want to tell you something: "I love you both so much." The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening.

"That is why I've made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I've made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic; the best organic flour, the best free-range eggs, the best organic sugar, premium vanilla and chocolate." The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad's long speech.

"But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from our own back yard. But you needn't worry, because I only added the tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me know what you think.

"Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat?"

"Why? The portion I added was so small. Just a teaspoonful. You won't even taste it."

"Come on, dad; just tell us what that ingredient is."

"Don't worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients."


"Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is poop."

I immediately stopped chewing that second brownie and I spit it out into the waste basket by my desk. I continued reading, now fearful of the paragraphs that still remained.

Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror.

"DAD! Why did you do that? You've tortured us by making us smell those brownies cooking for the last half hour, and now you tell us that you added dog poop! We can't eat these brownies!"

"Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won't hurt you. It's been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won't even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!"

"No, Dad...NEVER!"

"And that is the same reason I won't allow you to go watch that movie. You won't tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?"

I discarded what remained of the second brownie, as well as the entire untouched third brownie. What had been irresistible a minute ago had become detestable. And only because of the very slim chance that what I was eating was slightly polluted. (Surely it wasn't... but I couldn't convince myself.)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Satellite Navigation

A few weekends back I had to travel up to Newcastle by car in order to attend a wedding. It was approximately 3 hours drive to a place unknown to myself and my friend but we had the 'sat-nav' with us to guide us along the way.

We were supposed to meet up with another car that was travelling to the same place but they were coming from further afar than we were. As it happened they were running late and so we decided to stop off at a point in our journey for a break to grab a hot drink and 'chill a little' until the other car got nearer to us. As it transpired they took a different route and road to us but eventually we did meet them on the road more closer to our destination.

As I pondered during our return journey I thought of some lessons to be drawn from using our sat nav,
  1. Just as might use the sat nav to take guide us to our destination and make a certain turn or take a particular road, we have the Qur'an and sunnah as our guide and we need to refer to it all the while as to how we deal a situation. It not only tells our destination, but how to get there too and even warns us of the roadworks and traffic (Satanic tricks and deviations) we should be aware of and prepared for.
  2. At times we may lose our connection with Allah, as the navigation equipment might do from the satellite, but do we really feel lost without this connection to our Creator? Do we feel as though we have lost direction and make attempts to ensure we come back onto the right path and away from the deviated route?
  3. Our little break along the journey reminded me of the fact that life in this dunya is like a journey, we have to move on in a short while (experience death), to our ultimate and eternal abode in the hereafter.
  4. The invitation to attend a wedding had been received and plans and efforts made to attend the wedding, even so that a fairly time consuming and arduous journey was encountered. What then to say of the invitation to jannah we have? Surely we should adopt and continue to strive actively to secure our attendance/ entry into it in the hereafter. Also along the way we may well have to make sacrifices and efforts, nobody will just carry us along with them.

May Allah give us the ability to remain steadfast upon deen islam.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Killing Time

Killing time: the words ‘killing time’ are primarily an idiomatic expression, meaning ‘spending time in an inconsequential manner’, as in

I was just killing time.

A pertinent literalist question:

How can an attempt be made to kill a force that is solely responsible for the demise of every living creature that has ever graced (or dis-graced) the planet?*

Imam al-Ghazali:

Life is nothing but an accumulation of many breaths. So every breath is a precious diamond which cannot be purchased with anything in the world. It is a priceless jewel which has no substitute in value. So in movements and talks, and in sorrows and happiness, such a priceless breath should not be spent in vain. To destroy it is to court destruction. An intelligent man cannot lose it.

* Note: I do believe that our linguistic terms of expression, especially the more idiomatic, are so much a reflection of our intellectual, temporal, and spiritual states.

source: Ekhlas blog