Make up your mind! May 31, 2007Posted by Muhajirah in General, Random Musings.
The other day this kid asked me if my niece is my granddaughter. =O
Then I have random people thinking that my sister is my mum. O_o
…and I thought I was bad at judging peoples ages!
As Salaamu ‘Alaikum
I was sorting out my stuff out when I came across a card that was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. When I opened it up it had the following verse written in it:
Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from your Lord, and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty. [Surah al Hadid, Verse 21]
Reading it, all I could think was Subhan’Allah what an amazing verse! So I opened up my Qur’an and read it together with the previous ayah:
Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment. [Surah al Hadid, Verse 20]
In these two ayaat, Allah it telling us that this life and all that it contains is nothing. All the material things we compete for are worthless. They appear to be beautiful and beneficial but in reality they aren’t, because they are all temporary. It is the hereafter that will be everlasting. Rather than competing for this dunya, Allah is telling us to compete with regards to seeking forgiveness and why is that? Because the path of forgiveness is the path to Jannah
Ways to Strengthen One’s Memory May 22, 2007Posted by Muhajirah in General, Hifz.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
It is human nature to be forgetful, as the Arab poet said:
“He is only called man (insaan) because of his forgetfulness (nasiyaan), and it is only called the heart (al-qalb) because it changes so rapidly (yataqallib).”
In the past they said that the first one to forget (awwal naasin) was the first man (awwal al-naas), meaning Adam, peace be upon him. Forgetfulness is something that varies from person to person according to each individual’s nature; some may be more forgetful than others. Some of the things that may help to combat forgetfulness are the following:
1. Keeping away from sin, because the bad effects of sin result in a bad memory and the inability to retain knowledge. The darkness of sin cannot co-exist with the light of knowledge. The following words were attributed to al-Shaafi‘ee, may Allah have mercy on him:
“I complained to [my shaykh] Wakee’ about my bad memory, and he taught me that I should keep away from sin. He said that knowledge of Allah is light, and the light of Allah is not given to the sinner.”
Al-Khateeb reported in al-Jaami‘ (2/387) that Yahya ibn Yahya said: “A man asked Maalik ibn Anas, ‘O Abu ‘Abd-Allah! Is there anything that will improve my memory?’ He said, ‘If anything will improve it, it is giving up sin.’”
When a person commits a sin, it overwhelms him and this leads to anxiety and sorrow which keeps him busy thinking about what he has done. This dulls his senses and distracts him from many beneficial things, including seeking knowledge.
2. Frequently remembering Allah, may He be glorified, by reciting dhikr, tasbeeh (saying ‘Subhan Allah’), tahmeed (‘Al-hamdu Lillaah’), tahleel (‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah’) and takbeer (Allahu akbar’), etc. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “…And remember your Lord when you forget…” [Qur’an al-Kahf 18:24]
3. Not eating too much, because eating too much makes one sleep too much and become lazy, and it dulls the senses, besides exposing one to the risk of physical diseases. Most of the diseases which we see result from food and drink.
4. Some of the scholars have mentioned certain foods which increase the memory, such as drinking honey and eating raisins and chewing certain kinds of gum resin.
Imaam al-Zuhree said: “You should eat honey because it is good for the memory.”
He also said: “Whoever wants to memorize hadeeth should eat raisins.” (From al-Jaami‘ by al-Khateeb, 2/394)
Ibraaheem ibn [sth. omitted] said, “You should chew resin gum, because it gives energy to the heart and gets rid of forgetfulness.” (From al-Jaami‘ by al-Khateeb, 2/397)
As they mentioned, too much acidic food is one of the causes of laziness and weak memory.
5. Another thing that can help the memory and reduce forgetfulness is cupping (hijaamah) of the head, as is well known from experience. (For more information see Al-Tibb al-Nabawi by Ibn al-Qayyim). And Allah knows best.
The Appointed Rounds May 15, 2007Posted by Muhajirah in General, History, Uni.
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“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Written by Paul Lunde
Those words, carved on the lintels of post offices across America, once capsuled a spirit that was the foundation of today’s sophisticated network of global communications—a spirit that sent Western Union boys pedalling into the rain with telegrams, urged pioneering pilots to fly the early airmail letters through wintry skies to Chicago and spurred the Pony Express across the untamed plains with mail for Sacramento.
But those inspiring words are much older than airmail pilots, Western Union boys or Pony Express riders. They were written by Herodotus, the father of history, in 430 B.C., and described the communications network of Xerxes, ruler of Persia in the fifth century, B.C. It was a remarkably efficient network, but even then was a relatively late development in the history of communications.
The need for an efficient postal system goes back to the ancient need of a ruler for swift and accurate information; a need clearly described by Nizam al-Mulk, a prime minister under Seljuk Turkish sultans in the ninth century:
It is the king’s duty to enquire into the conditions of his peasantry and army, both far and near, and to know more or less how things are. If he does not do this he is at fault and people will charge him with negligence, laziness and tyranny, saying, “Either the king knows about the oppression and extortion going on in the country, or he does not know. If he knows and does nothing to prevent it and remedy it, that is because he is an oppressor like the rest and acquiesces in their oppression; and if he does not know then he is negligent and ignorant.” Neither of these imputations is desirable. Inevitably therefore he must have postmasters . . .
Long before al-Mulk set that down for the instruction of Seljuk princes, rulers in other empires had already come to similar conclusions and acted on them.
As early as 2000 B.C. the Egyptians had developed a primitive postal system, by about 1000 B.C. ancient China had worked out a system not unlike the one developed by America’s Pony Express, and by the time of Islam other peoples—Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Sasanians—had refined and polished elements of the earlier systems into relatively sophisticated operations.
As the new Islamic state expanded, its leaders were quick to adapt and elaborate on what had been learned before. Indeed, the Arabic word for “post” (barid) is derived from the same Sasanian chancery term that gave the Greeks beredos and the Romans their veredus, meaning “post-horse.” Both are derived from a Persian word meaning “crop-tailed mule,” the mount the Sasanians used to carry the mail.
In the Islamic state, as Nizam al-Mulk’s description suggests, the postal service was an information agency as well as a means of communication with the provinces. By the ninth century, as a result, the Diwan al-Barid—the Ministry of Posts and Communications—was probably the most important arm of government. Its postal inspectors, stationed along major roads, not only saw that the mail got through, but gathered information for the central government and sent periodic reports to it. Those reports ranged from the state of the roads to the condition of crops and included notes on political problems, social unrest and even the efficiency of the regional governor.
The barid was organized in exactly the same way as the Pony Express in the American West—except that it used camels and mules instead of horses. Every four to six miles throughout the empire was a post house with quarters for the couriers and stables for the camels and mules. At each post house the couriers would switch mounts and at stated intervals the riders themselves would be changed to avoid exhaustion. Even the back-up organization was similar: the central government had to keep the roads open at all times, provision the post houses and pay the wages of thousands of postal inspectors.
There were limitations: only government communications could be sent along its network. Ordinary citizens either sent messages by caravan or, in urgent cases, hired special couriers. Yet the system proved to be remarkably efficient. A letter took four days to reach Damascus from Cairo—just about what it takes today—and Cairo could communicate with Spain in a week. The system also survived longer.
Whereas the Pony Express collapsed after 16 months, the barid flourished for centuries and spread to India where Muslim rulers maintained its efficiency—as traveler Ibn Battuta indicated after a trip to Sind in 1333. From the frontier of Sind to Delhi in India, he wrote, is a 50-day march, “but when the intelligence officers write to the Sultan . . . the letter reaches him in five days by the postal service.”
India also added an innovation. In addition to mounted couriers, they introduced foot couriers. These runners were often faster than the mounted postmen and always, as Ibn Battuta describes them, more colorful:
Every third of a mile there . . . are three pavilions. In these sit men girded up ready to move off, each of whom has a rod a yard and a half long with brass bells at the top. When a courier leaves . . . he takes the letter in the fingers of one hand and the rod with bells in the other, and runs with all his might. The men in the pavilions, on hearing the sound of the bells, prepare to meet him and when he reaches them one of them takes the letter in his hand and passes on, running with all his might and shaking his rod until he reaches the next station, and so the letter is passed on until it reaches its destination.
By such swift—and musical—couriers, Ibn Battuta goes on, the sultans not only accumulated intelligence and news, but also obtained fruits from far-away Khurasan, drinking water from the Ganges and, during the sweltering Indian summer, snow from the Himalayas to cool their beverages.
If efficient, however, the Islamic postal service was also vulnerable. Like their counterparts today, invaders knew that a government deprived of trustworthy information was powerless to act. By blocking roads and ambushing couriers they could disrupt communications and insure victory.
In some parts of the empire this strategy succeeded. But in others Islamic rulers came up with ingenious alternatives. One was an early warning system set up by the Mamluk sultans of Egypt when Hulagu Khan led his Mongol hordes across Persia in the middle of the 13th century. Fearful that the Mongols would cross the Euphrates and sweep across Iraq and Syria to Egypt., Mamluk engineers erected a chain of watchtowers along the postal routes between Iraq and Egypt. On top of each tower the prepared beacon fires—green wood for smoke signals in daylight, dry wood for bright fires at night—and assigned a corps of watchmen to 24-hour duty.
The system had faults and it could transmit just one basic message: the enemy has attacked. But it was astonishingly fast. News of a Mongol invasion could reach Cairo in eight hours—about the time it now takes to receive a telegram there from the same distance. More to the point, it worked. When the Mongols finally did sweep into Iraq the watchmen on the Euphrates lit their fires, the watchmen at the next tower lit theirs and, tower by tower, the alert flashed to the Mamluks. By the time the Mongols cut their way through Iraq, Syria and Palestine the Mamluks had had ample time to mobilize and were able to inflict a crushing defeat upon them—the first ever suffered by the Mongols in open combat.
During the Crusades, when even special couriers were intercepted or blocked, Mamluk leaders turned to courier pigeons.
They set up relays of dovecotes from Egypt to Iraq that could get a message from Cairo to Baghdad in two days. The pigeons were so efficient that the Crusaders themselves adopted the idea. One Crusader prince used them to announce his capture of Beirut and others carried pigeons back to England and Europe where, in 1850, Baron von Reuter used them to carry bulletins from Germany to Belgium and help found Reuters News Agency.
Under the Mamluks, only the Sultan himself could open a letter delivered by pigeon. All the pigeons bore the Sultan’s mark, either on their beaks or on their feet, and the letters they carried were immediately brought to the Sultan even if he were asleep. At one point they became so numerous that they were divided into companies, each with its commandant, and lodged in special dovecotes near the Citadel. In the year 1300 the Mamluk postal service employed 1,900 pigeons whose careful training led a German soldier of fortune named Johan Schiltberger to compose a lengthy description:
It is also to be noted, that the [Mamluk Sultan] also sends letters by pigeons, because he has many enemies, and is afraid that they might stop his messengers. They are sent mostly from Archey to Tamasgen, between which places is a great desert. It is also to be noted, how the pigeons are sent to any city to which the Sultan wishes to have them sent. Two pigeons must be put together, and sugar must be put into their food, and they are not allowed to fly; and when they know each other well, the hen-pigeon is taken to the king, and he keeps it, and marks the cock-pigeon that it may be known from which city it is; it is then put into a separate place that is prepared, and the hen-pigeon is no longer allowed inside. They no longer give him so much to eat, and no more sugar as he used to have; this is done that he may wish to return as soon as possible to the place where he was before, and where he was trained. When they wish to despatch him, the letter is tied under a wing and he flies straight for the house where he was trained. There he is caught and the letter taken from him, and they send it to whomsoever it belongs.
Like the runners in India, and their heirs with Parcel Post, the carrier pigeons were not used exclusively for military communications. There is a story, for example, that one day a Fatimid caliph in Cairo expressed a desire for the sweet plums of Baalbek in today’s Lebanon. His vizier immediately dispatched a pigeon to Baalbek ordering plums by return post. The ingenious postmaster at Baalbek at once complied, and before the day was out a flock of pigeons delivered a bowl of plums to the caliph. Each pigeon had carried a single plum tied to its leg.
Paul Lunde, who studied Arabic and Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, now lives and writes in Saudi Arabia.
This article appeared on pages 12-15 of the July/August 1976 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.
Ach-choo! May 14, 2007Posted by Muhajirah in General, Random Musings, Uni.
As salaamu ‘alaikum
Insha’Allah you are in the best of health and iman
So I’ve just had an exam. I’m ill, my nose won’t stop running, I feel exhausted and I left one hour early …you guess how well it went.
I always seem to be ill during exam time. I can’t remember a time that I have not gone into an exam without a taking a pile of tissues with me. Actually I do, I didn’t take tissues into an exam when I was sitting one of my gcse papers…. I spent the whole time sniffing and sniffing and sniffing. The teachers didn’t even take pity on me and get me a tissue!
Please make dua that I get better as I have two more exams this week. Need energy to revise since I don’t have a clue about both of them.
Evaluate yourself May 8, 2007Posted by Muhajirah in General, Random Musings, Reflections, Writings.
Based on some naseeha given to me by my teacher:
Evaluate yourself. Once a day (preferably at night when everyone is asleep and there are no distractions) take a deep look at yourself and think about all your negatives characteristics. Then make the intention to change yourself. Think about everything you’ve done wrong that day and ask Allah to forgive you. If you’ve wronged someone then make the intention to apologise to them. How could it be that the greatest of people repented for the tiniest of sins yet today we sin and sin but rarely turn to our Lord in repentance?
All too often we are quick to point the finger at someone, admonishing them for their faults and mistakes, but it is very rare to look at our own selves. We so easily expose the mistakes of others and speak ill of them for doing something wrong, but we tend to forget about our own wrong doings. Remember that your brothers and sisters are in need of your excuses, just like you are in need of theirs. Remember they are only human and prone to mistakes just like you yourself are. When the need to advice does come, do not do so in a harsh manner but be gentle. It is from the character of the believer to be merciful towards the Muslims and harsh towards the kuffar.
Never think that you are better than anyone else. So you fast on Mondays and Thursdays and you perform qiyam al lail. Do you think you’ve achieved something great? Know that there were people before you that exceeded you in ‘ibadah and there will be people after you who will exceed. Do you even know if your actions will be accepted? It could be that not a single one of your salaah is accepted, so how then can you boast? May Allah have mercy on our souls and accept our deeds that we perform sincerely for His sake only.
Remember also that we will never attain Jannah through our good deeds, even if we were to pray all night and fast all day; spend each and every second in obedience to our Lord. It will only be by the mercy and greatness of Allah that we will enter Jannah. Never will our deeds be enough for the bounties of Allah are just too great.
Seek knowledge, but not for the sake of wealth, power or status and neither for the sake of knowledge itself, rather seek it in order to increase in Imaan. Remember that the more you know the more you will be questioned about so act upon the ‘ilm that Allah has blessed you with.
And with that I finish. A reminder for first and foremost myself and then to anyone who may read this.
May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings and have mercy on our souls and may His peace and blessing be upon the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), his companions and the righteous
Wa ‘alaikum as salaam
Laysal Ghareeb May 5, 2007Posted by Muhajirah in Anasheed, Audio and Media, General, Heart Softners, Poetry.
As Salaamu ‘Alaikum
Just came across one of the most profound poems I have ever read! Subhan’Allah it’s amazing. I had to rely on the translation, if only I understood the real thing…
The Stranger Is Not..
1) The stranger is not the stranger to Yemen or Shaam
But the stranger is the stranger to the grave and the coffin
2) Verily the stranger has rights for his absence
Over the residents of the dwellings & homelands.
3) Don’t chase away the outlander in his state of unfamiliarity
For time is also chasing him with hardship & distress
4) My travels are far and my provisions will not suffice me
My strength has weakened and death is calling unto me.
5) I still have sins which I know not of
Allah knows of them; those made in secret & in manifest
6) How merciful has Allah been to me by giving me respite
And I have increased in sins but Allah has always shielded me
7) The hours of my days pass by without regret
No crying, no fear, no sadness
8) I am the one who closes the doors with fatigue
on disobedience, & The Eye of Allah watches over me..
9) O’ that which was written in a moment of heedlessness
O’ the sorrow which remains in my heart is burning me.
10) Leave me to bewail myself and weep
and pass the time in sadness and remembrance.
11) Leave off your Blaming of me O’ Ye who do so..
If you were but to know my situation you would have excused me..
12) Let me cry out tears that have no ending to them
for there will be no lesson that will set me free
13)It is As though I am with that family, laying..
Upon the mattress with their hands turning me over.
14) And they came to me with a doctor that he may cure me..
But of today I think not that medicine will benefit me..
15) My sufferings increased and death began to pull at me ..
From every vein, without ease or comfort..
16) My soul was then removed from me with a gurgle..
And my saliva became bitter at that point..
17) They then shut my eyes and left me…
after a long moment of despair,…. they hurried to the purchase of the shroud
18) And he who was dearest to me got up in a hurry..
To summon the person who was to wash me..
19) He said: O’ my people we have attained a Washer who is skillful, clever, bright & intelligent..
20)So then one of the men came and removed my clothing..
He undressed me and denuded me…
21) They then placed me on top of a board
And the sound of water above me began to clean me
22)He poured the water on top of me and washed me..
Three times, before calling out to the people for the Shroud..
23) They shrouded me in a sleeveless garment..
And my provisions became the embalmment in which they embalmed me
24. They Bore me towards my journey Out of this World, Oh How Sorrowful!!
Will be this journey for which I have no provisions to take along with me.
25. Upon their shoulders, they carried me, Four….
Men, and behind me are those who come to bid me farewell
26.They set me before the mihraab then turned away from me
Behind the Imaam they went and he prayed on me then bade me farewell
27. They prayed over me a prayer consisting of neither Rukoo’ nor Sujood
Asking that Allah may have Mercy upon me.
28. They lowered me into my grave slowly
And one of them came forward to place me in the Lahd
29 He raised the garment from my face to gaze upon me
And the tears spilt from his eyes awashing me
30 Then he stood, honoring me, firm and resolute
And lined the bricks on my body then left me
31. And he said “Throw the dirt upon him and reap
The great rewards from Ar-Rahmaan, The Most Gracious”
32. In the darkness of the grave, no mother is there nor,
Is there an affectionate father, or a brother to comfort me
33. Alone….The only inhabitant of the Grave Oh how Sorrowful!!
Am I on parting the world bearing no Deeds to provision me.
34. And a sight which beheld my eye struck terror into me.
From a place of terror it came and startled me..”
35. Munkar and Nakeer, what shall I say to them?
The thought of them strikes terror into me, it causes me fear
36. And they made me to sit and put forth their questions
I have none other Than You now O Lord to deliver me!!.
37. So bestow upon me from your Mercy O Lord, How I hope in You!!
For verily I am fettered in my sins, I am confined by them
38. The relatives have divided my wealth amongst them after leaving me.
And my sins are now upon my back, burdening me
39. My wife has taken another husband in my place
And she has appointed him as overseer over my wealth and my home
40. She has made my children into servants to bid unto her needs
And my wealth has become to them a worthless means of enjoyment
41. So let not this World and its adornments deceive you.
And look at its (evil) effects in your family and homeland
42. And look at the one who collects the wealth of this Dunya in abundance
Will he depart from this world bearing other than the death shroud and embalmment?
43. Take from the dunya that which suffices you and be contented with that
Even if you were to have naught but good health
44. O ye who sow good, you will reap the fruit of your efforts.
O ye who sow evil you will find yourselves overcome with grief
45. O soul of mine, abstain from sinning and attain instead
Deeds which are Beautiful, for which Allah may be merciful towards me
46. O soul of mine, Woe upon you! Turn towards your lord in Repentance, and do that which is good
So that you will be recompensed after your death with that which is delightful
47. Lastly sending prayers upon the Chosen one, Our Sayyid (leader)
48. All praise is unto Allah, May he fill our days and nights with that which is Good, with forgiveness
With Ihsaan and Grace.