The Story of Taloot, Jaloot and Dawood.

باسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

. أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلۡمَلَإِ مِنۢ بَنِيٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مُوسَىٰٓ إِذۡ قَالُواْ لِنَبِيّٖ لَّهُمُ ٱبۡعَثۡ لَنَا مَلِكٗا نُّقَٰتِلۡ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۖ قَالَ هَلۡ عَسَيۡتُمۡ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَٰتِلُواْۖ قَالُواْ وَمَا لَنَآ أَلَّا نُقَٰتِلَ فِي سبيل ٱللَّهِ وَقَدۡ أُخۡرِجۡنَا مِن دِيَٰرِنَا وَأَبۡنَآئِنَاۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوۡاْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّنۡهُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ ٢٤٦. وَقَالَ لَهُمۡ نَبِيُّهُمۡ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدۡ بَعَثَ لَكُمۡ طَالُوتَ مَلِكٗاۚ قَالُوٓاْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ ٱلۡمُلۡكُ عَلَيۡنَا وَنَحۡنُ أَحَقُّ بِٱلۡمُلۡكِ مِنۡهُ وَلَمۡ يُؤۡتَ سَعَةٗ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَالِۚ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱصۡطَفَىٰهُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَزَادَهُۥ بَسۡطَةٗ فِي ٱلۡعِلۡمِ وَٱلۡجِسۡمِۖ وَٱللَّهُ يُؤۡتِي مُلۡكَهُۥ مَن يَشَآءُۚ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٞ. ٢٤٧. وَقَالَ لَهُمۡ نَبِيُّهُمۡ إِنَّ ءَايَةَ مُلۡكِهِۦٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَكُمُ ٱلتَّابُوتُ فِيهِ سَكِينَةٞ مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ وَبَقِيَّةٞ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ءَالُ مُوسَىٰ وَءَالُ هَٰرُونَ تَحۡمِلُهُ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لَّكُمۡ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ ٢٤٨. فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِٱلۡجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُبۡتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٖ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنۡهُ فَلَيۡسَ مِنِّي وَمَن لَّمۡ يَطۡعَمۡهُ فَإِنَّهُۥ مِنِّيٓ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱغۡتَرَفَ غُرۡفَةَۢ بِيَدِهِۦۚ فَشَرِبُواْ مِنۡهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّنۡهُمۡۚ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُۥ هُوَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُۥ قَالُواْ لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا ٱلۡيَوۡمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦۚ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَٰقُواْ ٱللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٖ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتۡ فِئَةٗ كَثِيرَةَۢ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ ٢٤٩. وَلَمَّا بَرَزُواْ لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَآ أَفۡرِغۡ عَلَيۡنَا صَبۡرٗا وَثَبِّتۡ أَقۡدَامَنَا وَٱنصُرۡنَا عَلَى ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ ٢٥٠. فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُۥدُ جَالُوتَ وَءَاتَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمُلۡكَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُۥ مِمَّا يَشَآءُۗ وَلَوۡلَا دَفۡعُ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّاسَ بَعۡضَهُم بِبَعۡضٖ لَّفَسَدَتِ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ذُو فَضۡلٍ عَلَى ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ ٢٥١. تِلۡكَ ءَايَٰتُ ٱللَّهِ نَتۡلُوهَا عَلَيۡكَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ ٢٥٢. سوره البقره. (٢).

Translation: “Have you also reflected upon the matter concerning the chiefs of the Israelites after (the death of) Moses? They said to their Prophet, “Appoint a king for us so that we may fight in the way of Allah.” The Prophet asked them, “Might it be that you will not fight, if fighting is prescribed for you?” They replied, “How can it be that we would refuse to fight in the way of Allah when we have been turned out of our homes and separated from our children?” But (in spite of this assurance) when they were enjoined to fight, they all, except a few of them, turned their backs. And Allah knows each and everyone of these transgressors.” 246. “Their Prophet said to them, “Allah has appointed Taloot (Saul) to be king over you.” Hearing this, they replied, “How has he been entitled to become king over us? We have a better right to kingship than he, for he does not even possess enough riches.” The Prophet replied, “Allah has preferred him to you and blessed him with abundant powers of mind and body. And Allah has the power to give His kingdom to whomever He wills: Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.”247. “Their Prophet further informed them, “The sign of his appointment as king from Allah is that during his reign you will get back the Ark, wherein are the means of your peace of mind from your Lord, and which contains the sacred relics of the family of Moses and Aaron, and which is being borne at this time by the angels. Herein is a great Sign for you, if you are true believers.” 248. “And when Taloot (Saul) marched out with his army, he warned: “Allah is going to put you to a test by the side of a river: whoso drinks of its water shall cease to be my companion. Only he shall be my companion who does not quench his thirst with its water. You may, however, take a sip or two. Except a few, most drank their fill of it. Afterwards, when Taloot (Saul) and those who had accompanied him crossed the river and advanced forward, the former who had drank water from the river said to Taloot, “We have no power left this day to fight against Jaloot and his army.” But those in Taloot’s army who believed that one Day they shall meet Allah declared, “lt has often been that a small host has, by Allah’s grace, overcome a big host: for Allah is with those who show fortitude.” 249. “Accordingly, when they marched forward to fight with Jaloot and his forces, they prayed, “Our Lord, bless us with fortitude, make firm our foothold and give us victory over the unbelieving host.” 250. “Consequently, by Allah’s grace, they routed the unbelievers, and Dawood killed Jaloot; and Allah gave him kingship and wisdom and taught him whatever other things He willed. And if Allah had not been repelling one set of people by means of another, the earth would have been filled with chaos. But Allah is bountiful to the world (and so repels chaos in this way).” 251. “These are Allah’s revelations, which We are conveying to you accurately. And O Muhammad, most surely you are one of those who have been sent as Messengers.” 251. (Surah Al Baqarah. The Cow. Verses

Commentary:
In this story which also appears in other Biblical texts seven key lessons are drawn.

Lesson 1) People assert their right to leadership on the basis of kinship or riches (as Israelites protested to their Prophet when they heard that Taloot was going to be appointed their king but he was neither from their tribe nor he was rich to qualify for this position). But Allah alone has the power to give honour and authority to whomsoever He wishes. For Allah, the standards are different. Taloot was high in piety (Taqwa) and Allah had given him both knowledge and strength (علم و الجسم). He would bring the Israelites victory over Jaloot and would bring back the heirlooms of Moses and Aron to them.

Lesson 2). The king is expected to obey the laws of Allah and people are expected to follow his orders, but he is not the religious authority. Often the king is misguided because he relies on the counsel of his advisers. They are not impartial because they have a conflict of interest between keeping their positions and the greater good of the people and the universal truth. The religious authority rests with the Prophet. The Prophet may not always say things which people want to hear because he is guided by Allah, not by people.

Lesson 3). The claim that knowledge or power qualifies one to claim the political throne is challenged in this story because Allah alone has the power to bestow honour or dishonour on anyone He pleases. Even knowledge and strength are attributes of Allah. It is He who gives knowledge and strength. Man is but a mortal being who is born weak and dies weak. Allah gave Dawood knowledge and all he needed to know to be a king; otherwise he was but an ordinary soldier in Taloot’s army.

Lesson 4). In Allah’s scheme there is greater wisdom and benefit far more than what men can decide for themselves. The Israelites could not win over Jaloot’s forces and expand their reach in the land if they had a king other than Taloot at the time of their humiliation and disorganised nationhood.

Lesson 5). In the battlefield victory comes only from Allah, not from arms or large armies. The story shows that a small number of faithful soldiers easily defeated the powerful army of Jaloot. Some historians estimate that those who heeded Taloot’s warning not to drink the water to the fill were only 340 out of an army of 70,000 men who initially made up Taloot’s army to fight Jaloot. This was a test of their faith. Those who passed the test placed their trust in Allah. They knew their circumstantial vulnerability but they asked for victory from Allah. It reminds one of the small number of Muslim soldiers in the battles of Badr, Al-Ahzab, Tabook and Khyber in which they achieved victory over their enemy whose soldiers were many times over in numbers and arms.

Lesson 6). People make tall claims of bravery which they conveniently forgets when faced with adversity. The way of Islam is peace. Muslims are advised to use kind words with their adversaries when arguing over a point, avoid reaching a stage where fighting is the only option left and be magnanimous in forgiving others. The Israelites were not given the commandment to fight until they insisted they wanted to fight and put forward arguments in favour of it. But when the commandment to fight came from Allah, the same people turned back on their demand and started to look for excuses to avoid it. Allah does not put His servants in hardship but whey they choose it themselves, they ungratefully complain about it. Such people are called by Allah the transgressors.

Lesson 7). Allah repels one group of people by another to maintain peace and tranquility on earth. This is because by nature man causes chaos by his insatiable desire to conquer the universe. While man thinks he is doing good, in fact his greed and excesses cause destruction and war. Allah’s Sunnah or method to restore order in the world is to repel one group of people when they become transgressors and troublesome by another group of people who are peaceful and respectful of the laws of nature and God.

Biblical reference.
In the Judaic and Christian texts Dawood is mentioned as David, Taloot as Saul and Jaloot as Goliath. Soon after this battle, David succeeded Saul, the first king of Israelites after Moses. David was a soldier in Saul’s army and was a strong and wise man. He killed Goliath by using a sling. The stone hit the head of Goliath and caused his death. It is also mentioned in their texts that the Prophet who predicted David becoming king was Samuel.

Non-Muslim historians have considered Taloot as one who disobeyed God and caused hardship for the Israelites. They also maintain that he had known about Dawood and had recruited him in the army to have him killed. Even after the killing of Jaloot he had become an enemy of Dawood and also had intended to kill him through some deceit but he ironically got himself killed. The Islamic tradition does not support these accounts. The object of the story narrated in the Quran is to draw the lessons for the Muslims and not to correct or comment on the historical accounts.

Parables of Animals in the Quran

bismillah

“Allah has created every [living] creature from water. And of them are those that move on their bellies, and of them are those that walk on two legs, and of them are those that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.” Surah Noor 24: Verse 45.

stallion

The method of Quran is to present the Divine Message in the most appealing way through everyday examples and parables of kings and people from earlier generations, animals, birds and insects to make it easy for mankind to understand the message of peace and the order of universal in which man, as the representative of God is placed at the Centre.

bumble_bee

The animals, birds and insects mentioned in the Quran are either parts of parables or brief examples to illustrate a point. Seven of the 114 Chapters in the Quran also bear names of animals. These are: The Cow 2, The Cattle 6, The Bee, 16, The Ant 27, The Spider (29), The Horses 100 and The Elephant 105.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some of the stories in the Quran mention animals more than once. These are: the stories of Moses and Pharaoh and the Children of Israel (serpent, cow, calf, fish, apes, monkeys, swine, locust, vermin and toads); the story of the Cave people (dog); the story of Abel and Cain (crow); the story Abraham (mosquito, ram, birds); the story of Uzair (ass); the story of Jonah (fish); the story of the people of Thamud (camel); the story of the Elephant people (elephants and birds) the story of King David (sheep) and the story of King Solomon (hoopoe, ant).

blue-whale

In the verses of the holy Quran where animals are mentioned as examples are cow 6:144; calf 2:51 & 7:148 & 11:69; camel 6:144, 7:73, 11:64 & 77:33; fish 18:61 & 21:87; cattle 7:179 & 22:33; dog 5:4, 18:22 & 7:176; donkey 2:259, 16:8; 62:5 & 74:50; lion 74:51; termite 34:14; bird 5:110 & 105:3; serpent 26:32 & 27:10; spider 29:41; elephant 105:1; sheep 21:78, goat 6:143; locust, bugs and toads 7:133; fly 22:73; ant 27:18; bee 16:68; monkey 2:65; pig 2:173 & 5:60; apes 7:166; horses and mules 16:8, 38:33 & 100:1; mosquito 2:26; hoopoe 27:20; and wolf 12:13.

hoopoe

There is also a reference to an unidentified earthly animal in 27:82 who will appear “when the time for fulfillment of Our word against them will come”, this beast from the earth will speak to people because they did not believe in Our signs”.

May Allah increase our knowledge of the holy Quran and give us the understanding to comprehend the Divine Message correctly.

Syed Sharfuddin
21 June 2016
London

Instruments of Shaitan

 

Bismillah_Calligraphy_76

Three things that assist Shaitan who is man’s declared enemy are: Self (nafs); Desire (hawa) and World (dunya). It is a lethal combination against living a good life and staying on the right path. Shaitan uses these instruments to tell man (insaan) to go to hell in such a way he looks forward to the trip. “He led me away from the message of Allah after it had reached me. Shaitan is indeed a deserter to man.” Surah Al-Furqan 25, Verse 29.
Self prods man to do evil; Desire opens the doors to debauchery, rebellion and transgression; love of Dunya leads to denial of the rights of other human beings, greed and injustice. Shaitan uses these tricks especially when man in most vulnerable and weak and when Shaitan succeeds in completely derailing man from the right path, he abandons him as if he never knew man.pathway

Pure Food: Milk and Honey

milk and honey

small bismillah

سوره النحل القران
وَإِنَّ لَكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ لَعِبۡرَةٗۖ نُّسۡقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِۦ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ فَرۡثٖ وَدَمٖ لَّبَنًا خَالِصٗا سَآئِغٗا لِّلشَّٰرِبِينَ. ٦٦. .وَمِن ثَمَرَٰتِ ٱلنَّخِيلِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَٰبِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنۡهُ سَكَرٗا وَرِزۡقًا حَسَنًاۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَعۡقِلُونَ. ٦٧..وَأَوۡحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلنَّحۡلِ أَنِ ٱتَّخِذِي مِنَ ٱلۡجِبَالِ بُيُوتٗا وَمِنَ ٱلشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعۡرِشُونَ. ٦٨..ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ فَٱسۡلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلٗاۚ يَخۡرُجُ مِنۢ بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٞ مُّخۡتَلِفٌ أَلۡوَٰنُهُۥ فِيهِ شِفَآءٞ لِّلنَّاسِۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ.٦٩.
Translation. Surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle: We provide you to drink out of that which is in their bellies between the faeces and the blood – pure milk – which is a palatable drink for those who take it. 66. And out of the fruits of date-palms and grapes you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome sustenance. Surely there is a sign for those who use reason. 67. Your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Set up hives in the mountains and in the trees and in the trellises that people put up. 68. then suck the juice of every kind of fruit and keep treading the ways of your Lord which have been made easy.” There comes forth from their bellies a drink varied in colours, wherein there is healing for men. Verily there is a sign in this for those who reflect. 69. Surah Al-Nahl. The Bee.
Commentary
These verses provide three beautiful comparisons in the context of food and drink which Allah has provided abundantly to his servants on earth. In verses 66 and 67 which predate the verse concerning prohibition of drink خمر او سكر in the Holy Quran in another Surah, the purity of milk is contrasted with the impurity of blood and waste of the cattle. This comparison advances to the next level in verse 67 where pure food is contrasted with intoxicants made from the juice of dates and grapes, which Allah allows when fresh but forbids when fermented and made into drink سكر. The contrast is further advanced in verses 68 & 69. Here unlike the belly of the cattle which produces both milk and faeces, the belly of the bee produces honey in different colours which is pure and natural and is a cure for many human ailments.
These verses carry two fundamental lessons. When man produces food, it can be good food such as fresh juice from fruits, or food which is not good or is imperfect such as intoxicating drink from fermented dates and grapes. The forbidden foods are similar to blood and faeces which are mentioned in the preceding verse. But when Allah provides food it is pure and clean such as milk or honey. The second lesson is that Allah alone has the power to produce fruits in a variety of species, colours, tastes and qualities from trees irrigated with the same water. He alone provides the best food from the bellies of his creations that eat, digest and excrete to survive and multiply. Despite man’s ability to copy God, he cannot even fathom Allah’s creativity and mastery over His creation.
و ما علينا الا البلاغ المبين

What is Man

 

standard bismillah

 

man

In the holy Quran, Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala has stated that He created man out of the extract of clay (23:12) but he created him with so many defects that without divine guidance and help from his Creator man cannot return to the Garden of Eden from where he was expelled because of his disobedience to Allah and taking the ill advice of his arch enemy Satan.

Listing man’s many weaknesses, Allah says in the Holy Quran man is created ungrateful (kafoora -17:67); narrow hearted (qatoora – 17:100); argumentative (jadala – 18:54); ignorant (jahoola – 33:72); unjust (zaloom – 14:34); impatient (halooa – 70:19); in haste (ajal – 21:37); in loss (lafi khusr – 103:2); rebellious (le yatga – 96:6); in hardship (kabad – 90:4); weak (daeef – 4:28); and pretentious (garrak – 82:6). These are traits with which we can easily identify ourselves by applying them in our personal lives and behaviour.

Allah then goes on to say that those men who submit themselves to the Will of Allah and do good, stay with the truth and exercise patience are able to overcome their birth defects (weaknesses) and rise above their mundane life, destined to be the inheritors of heaven where they will live forever without fear or sadness.

May Allah give us the understanding to overcome our faults and weaknesses by following Allah, His prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and the holy Quran, which is Guidance to all mankind.

Ramadan and Muslim Charities

4_40
Surah Nisa Verse 40  “Verily Allah does not do injustice even of the weight of an atom, and if there he a good deed He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.”

 

For Muslim charities this is the season of fundraising in the UK. Muslims usually pay zakat in the holy month of Ramadan and also exceed in acts of charity such as feeding the hungry, sponsoring orphans, supporting the destitute and collecting funds for refugees, widows and the elderly, as well as for natural disasters and emergencies worldwide.

To attract donors from the public these charities publish their annual reports, print bold posters, launch nationwide fundraising campaigns and mail flyers and donation material to thousands of British households in Ramadan. Mostly their mailing lists revolve around Muslim names and addresses. Their mailing lists overlap and often compete with the many of the same donors with the result that each Muslim household ends up receiving promotional literature from over a dozen Muslim charities based in the UK. Some of these charities do not have sophisticated mailing software to eliminate duplicate addresses. Consequently they end up sending up to 4 letters to each household with the same address but addressed to different individuals who reside at the address.

There is a lot of charity money that goes into fundraising effort. Each charity spends at an average around GBP 70,000 into a large mail shot comprising their report and coloured brochure for various charity appeals. This is on top of the expenditure earmarked by charities for Google ads, Iftar dinners, sponsorship of motivational speakers and nasheed artists and TV appeals. This expenditure cannot be unfortunately avoided due to the nature of the charity model that has developed in the UK for all public fundraising charities. However, if charities can eliminate duplicate mailing and agree to send no more than one mailing shot per Ramadan to their donors they may be able to save an odd GBP 100,000 per annum each on this exercise. In fact they can save more if they all agree to go online to reach out to their donors and do away with mailing completely. I doubt very much if they will agree to it but it hurts me to see Muslim household dishing out dozens of letters in their waste bins in Ramadan after being bombarded by letters form charities soliciting donations. The Muslim Charities Forum should look into this and come up with creative ways of cutting costs where the waste of paper, time and effort is so glaringly obvious.

It must be said, however, that the Muslim charity sector is very vibrant in the UK compared to its limited size and donor base. It is most active in providing services to the British charity sector. Muslim charities do an amazing job of raising funds for good deeds in the most difficult economic circumstances from a community which is not amongst the most affluent in Britain but which always tops the donors lists in terms of the proportion of their income going out for charitable work.

Syed Sharfuddin
London: 10 June 2016

Qualities of a Muslim

Tafsir-ibn-Kathir-cover-English

In his famous commentary of the Holy Quran known as Tafseer Ibn Kathir, Imam Hafiz Imaduddin has stated that Islam consists of 30 qualities. Ten are narrated in Surah Asra (Chapter 17) in the Holy Quran; five are in Surah Mominoon (Chapter 23), ten are in Surah Al -Ahzab (Chapter 33) and five in Surah Al-Ma’arij (Chapter 70). When I went over these verses I counted the total to be 39, with 15 in Surah Asra, 6 in Surah Mominoon, 10 in Surah Al-Ahzab and 8 in Surah Al-Ma’arij.

Of these, the quality of worship or prayer is mentioned five times. Two qualities are reiterated thrice. These are about guarding chastity and paying alms. One quality is reiterated twice. This is about keeping trust and covenants. After subtracting 8 reiterations, I did reach the total of 30 qualities which Imam Hafiz Imaduddin has described in Tafseer Ibn Kathir. However, this exercise did help me in showing the correct order of qualities. The quality of prayer is reiterated 5 times in these Surah. Therefore this is the most important quality of a Muslim. The next important quality is paying alms and guarding chastity because these are repeated thrice in the Surah. Then the next quality is keeping trust and covenants, which are reiterated twice, followed by 26 other qualities as follows:

I. Fifteen Qualities of a Muslim in Surah Isra (Chapter 17)

1. She/he does not worship anyone other than Allah. Verse 22
2. Is kind to parents. Verse 23
3. Recognises and fulfils the rights of relatives, the poor and those in transit during travel, and is not mean to them. Verse 26
4. Neither is paltry nor spendthrift. Verse 29
5. Does not kill his/her babies for fear of penury. Verse 31
6. Does not engage in adultery or fornication. Verse 32
7. Does not murder any human being whose blood is forbidden by Allah. Verse 33
8. Does not usurp the estate or rights of orphans. Verse 34
9. Observes correct weight and measure in business transactions. Verse 35
10. Does not insist on something he/she does not know. Verse 36
11. Is not arrogant on God’s earth. Verse 37
12. Engages with others nicely and with good manners. Verse 53
13. Stands for prayers at daybreak till darkness of night and recites Quran at dawn. Verse 78
14. Performs additional prayers at night. Verse 79
15. Thanks and Glorifies Allah. Verse 111

II. Six Qualities of Muslims in Surah Mominoon (Chapter 23)

1. They observe humility in their prayers. Verse 2;
2. Guard their prayers. Verse 9
3. Abstain from vanity and trivialities. Verse 3
4. Pay their alms. Verse 4
5. Safeguard their chastity. Verse 5
6. Are true to their trusts and covenants. Verse 8

III. Ten Qualities of Muslims in Surah Al-Ahzab (Chapter 33)

In Verse 35 of Chapter 33, Muslim men and women:

1. Submit to Allah
2. Have faith in Allah
3. Are obedient
4. Truthful
5. Steadfast in adversity
6. Are humble and fearful of Allah
7. Give alms
8. Fast for Allah
9. Guard their chastity
10. Remember Allah much

IV Five Qualities of Muslims in Surah Hujarat (Chapter 49)

1. They do not put their own likes or dislikes before that of Allah and his prophet Muhammad. (verse 1)
2. They verify any information brought to them by an ungodly/immoral person before acting upon it. (verse 6)
3. They make peace between two factions of Muslims when they are at war with each other. (verse 9)
4. They do not mock nor call others by derogatory names, for they may be better than them. (verse 11)
5. They don’t pry into the personal lives of other people, shun suspicion and do not backbite about others (verse 12)

V. Eight Qualities of Muslims in Surah Al-Ma’arij (Chapter 70)

1. They are constant in their prayers. Verse 23.
2. Take due care of their prayers. Verse 34
3. Know there is a share of beggars and dispossessed in their wealth. Verse 24-25
4. Believe in the Day of Recompense. Verse 26
5. Are fearful of the chastisement of their Lord. Verse 27
6. Guard their modesty and private parts. Verse 29
7. Keep their trusts and covenants. Verse 32
8. Are upright in their testimonies. Verse 33

The above provides a complete template of the qualities of a Muslim and enables a believer to see where he/she stands in relation to following the Commandments of Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala. Whoever follows these Commandments with sincerity and purity of thought and intention, Allah promises him/her a great reward in the noblest part of the Garden of Eden (Jannat Al Firdous) in the afterlife. Moreover, such person will neither be anxious nor worried nor feel miserable in this mortal life on earth as long as he lives in this world. (Chapter 23, Verse 11).

Wama Alaina Illal Balaghul Mubeen.

Syed Sharfuddin
London: 10 June 2016

Observing Silence in Mosques

Unlike other places of worship in other Abrahamic religions, Muslims love to socialise in Mosques except for the brief period when the congregational prayer led by the Imam is held. It is good to socialise and love thy neighbour even in the Mosque and for this Muslims deserve 10 out of 10 with additional brownie points for the warm hand shake. However, there are times when silence must be observed in Mosques both out of respect and to give fellow worshippers the opportunity to offer additional prayers, read the Holy Quran and engage in Zikr in total peace and quiet. This is more true of Ramadan than any other month because in this month Muslims want to spend extra time in Mosques praying and seeking the blessings of Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala. How can this be achieved remains a big challenge for many Imams and Managers of Mosques.

One occasion when conversation gets real loud and undesirable is after Janaza prayers when these are combined with a Fard prayer and performed inside the main prayer hall. Most mosques in the UK are constrained by area and inclement weather to observe Janaza prayers inside the main hall and not in an open courtyard where people can easily gather and disassemble after the Janaza prayers. A good practice observed by some mosques to keep the level of conversation down is to pray the Janaza prayer immediately after Fard Jamaat prayer without any break so that after the Janaza prayer the remaining sunnah and nafil prayers are offered by worshippers in peace and quiet. A volunteer of the mosque takes the coffin box on the side of the prayer hall from where, after the remaining prayers, it is rolled away outside for people to see the uncovered face of the deceased if he is a male.

The role of the Imam is also very important in making sure that silence is observed in Mosques at all times and especially at Janaza prayers. Some Imams perform only the Janaza prayer and otherwise keep quiet throughout the proceedings. Other more intelligent Imams give a brief speech for a couple of minutes reminding the worshippers that as they as praying for the dead today, one day other Muslims will also be praying for them when their call comes from the Almighty Allah. These Imams also say a word or two about the deceased and enquire if anyone has a financial claim on the person whose Janaza prayer is being read, advising them to contact his heirs or forgive the debt. Where Janaza prayers are held only occasionally, the Imam also explains the procedure for performing Janaza prayer, even though every Muslim should be familiar with it as part of his religious education from childhood. Such announcements help to maintain the required sobriety and seriousness of the occasion and people are discouraged from letting loose their tongues to make the mosque a market place. AstagfiruAllah.

It is also said that our community is illiterate, indifferent and uncivilised. Numerous reminders to them to observe silence inside the Mosque or even around the Mosque in neighbourhoods where Fajr and Isha prayers take place outside normal working hours in Muslim minority localities fall on deaf ears and the congregation keeps behaving like the tail of the dog which got curled when it was taken out from a straight tube after 12 years. The answer lies in treating each congregation as a new congregation and the advice to worshippers to remain quiet should be repeated by Imams as many times as Iqama is called for each Fard prayer. Repeating it again and again will make people listen. If not listen, at least remember. If not remember, at least act. After all, this is also the golden principle of advertising. You advertise a beverage so many times again and again that when someone feels thirsty, he does not ask for water but goes straight for the beverage that has been drilled into his ears umpteenth times.

May Allah give us the wisdom to observe silence in Mosques, apply good practice and borrow good traditions from other Mosques in the spirit of bringing quality and taqwa in our Ibaada and submission to Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala. Ameen.
Syed Sharfuddin
London: 9 June 2016

Time Management

Ghazali

Imam Al-Ghazali on Time Management
“Your time should not be without any structure, such that you occupy yourself arbitrarily with whatever comes along. Rather, you must take account of yourself and order your worship during the day and the night, assigning to each period of time an activity that must not be neglected nor replaced by another activity. By this ordering of time, the blessing in time will show itself. A person who leaves himself without a plan as animals do, not knowing what he is to do at any given moment, will spend most of his time fruitlessly. Your time is your life, and your life is your capital: by it you make your trade, and by it you will reach the eternal bounties in the proximity of Allah. Every single breath of yours is a priceless jewel, because it is irreplaceable; once it is gone, there is no return for it. So do not be like fools who rejoice each day as their wealth increases while their lives decrease. What good is there in wealth that increases while one’s lifespan decreases? Do not rejoice except in an increase of knowledge or an increase of good works. Truly they are your two friends who will accompany you in your grave, when your spouse, your wealth, your children, and your friends will remain behind.”
— Imam al-Ghazali

Chicken

Chicken

In his famous book The Moqaddama, Ibn Khaldoon writes that the Arabs eat camel and it makes them men of honour and vengeance. He goes on to say the Turks eat horse which gives them strength and agility; the French eat swine, which makes them bold and debauched. The tribesmen of Africa eat monkey from whom they get the muscle to dance and shake. Another great philosopher of classical times, Ibn Al Qaiyyem says different types of animals possess different characteristics, which get transferred to man when he eats them. Their meat strengthens those parts of our body, which are suited to perform some or all of the traits of these animals. In the light of these two opinions, we note that in our times we are eating a lot of chicken. May the Good Lord protect us from the habits of chicken getting into us!