Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Imam Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man

Al-Imam Abu Hanifah was born in Kufa in 80 AH. His given name was an-Nu`man ibn Thabit. Some historical accounts say that he was of Turkish origin. His father, a wealthy merchant, had presented himself to Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra), who gave him his blessing and prayed for his offspring.

Abu Hanifa memorized the Qur’an at an early age and taught himself Arabic language and literature, jurisprudence (fiqh), the hadiths, and theology (kalam). He debated people in the region who held heretical views and persuaded most of them. As a result, his reputation began to spread.

Feeling the presence of a large gap in knowledge concerning fiqh, he abandoned commerce and devoted himself to studying jurisprudential matters. At the same time, he continued his study of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and began deriving rulings from them. He also began researching the hadiths and examining those matters over which the Companions disagreed.

During his thirty years in the madrassah, he taught more than 4,000 students, among them such future mujtahids (a scholar who derives legal rulings) as Abu Yusuf, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, and Hasan ibn Ziyad.

He told his students that their knowledge would be based on solid foundations as long as they adhered to the following basic tenets:

- Attend circles of knowledge and assembly, whenever one is held, and understand its teachings.
- Spend time with people of knowledge and have contact with all of the intellectual movements of the age.
- Stay with the teacher instructing them in important matters.

After spending time with several Islamic scholars, he attached himself to Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, one of the greatest scholars of that time. Following his death, all eyes turned to Abu Hanifa’s direction.

The Umayyads were not pleased that the number of his followers continued to increase. Thus the governor of Iraq, Yazid ibn Amr, offered him the post of qadi (religious judge) to sever his influence over the public. When Abu Hanifah rejected this proposition, he was tortured for days and then imprisoned. However, he was soon released due to the government’s fear of the public’s reaction.

Abu Hanifah lived for many years in the Hijaz, and returned to Kufa after the Abbasids came to power. However, little changed under Abbasid rule. His response to Caliph al-Mansur’s request that he become qadi of Baghdad was: “If I am threatened with drowning in the River Euphrates in the event that I decline this proposal, then I prefer to drown. There are many around you who stand in need.” At this, al-Mansur had him tortured for several days. This event ruined his health, and he died in Baghdad in 150 AH. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims still visit his tomb every year.

Following al-Imam Abu Hanifa's death, his students produced books by collecting the hadiths he had related and presenting them in a systematic form. Deriving new rulings in the light of their teacher’s views, they spread his ideas throughout the Islamic world. As a result, his teachings gradually became the Hanafi school, which still has many active followers in Turkey, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Siberia, China, Pakistan, Albania, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Iraq.

Among the four established Sunni schools of legal thought in Islam, the Hanafi school is the oldest, but it is generally regarded as the most liberal and as the one which puts the most emphasis on human reason. The Hanafi school also has the most followers among the four major Sunni schools. (Both the Ottoman Empire and the Moghul Empire were Hanafi so the Hanafi school is still widespread in their former lands). Today, the Hanafi school is predominant among the Sunnis of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the most of the Indian Subcontinent, China, Southeast Asia, as well as in Iraq, Turkey, Albania, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

According to Abdalhaqq Bewley:
"The madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa (ra) was formulated in Iraq, a very different environment to that of Madina al-Munawwara where the deen had been laid down, and the number of Companions who had settled there had been too few to allow a complete picture of the Sunnah to emerge. For this reason Hanafi methodology involved the logical process of examining the Book and all available knowledge of the Sunnah and then finding an example in them analogous to the particular case under review so that Allah's deen could be properly applied in the new situation. It thus entails the use of reason in the examination of the Book and Sunnah so as to extrapolate the judgements necessary for the implementation of Islam in a new environment. It represents in essence, therefore, within the strict compass of rigorous legal and inductive precepts, the adaptation of the living and powerful deen to a new situation in order to enable it take root and flourish in fresh soil."

Some of Abu Hanifa's works that have come down to the present day are the Kitabul Rad `ala al-Khawarij, Kitab al-Rad `ala al-Qaadiriyah, Al-Fiqh al-Akbar and Al-Fiqh al-Absat.

Some noteworthy extracts from his works are given below:

“Show people as much love as you can. Greet everyone, even the very lowly. If you gather with others in an assembly and discuss various problems, during which someone expresses an idea to which you are opposed, do not oppose them. If they ask you, give your opinion, speak what is in your heart, and say that there are such and such opinions on this subject and the proof is as follows. Thus, they will listen to you and understand the degree of your knowledge.

Show some degree of knowledge to all who approach you and let each one learn something from you. Give them important things, not trivial ones. Be like a friend to them, even make witty remarks by way of jokes, because friendship and sincerity ensures the continuation of knowledge. Treat them gently and be tolerant. Show no boredom or weariness to anyone. Comport yourself as like one of them.

Trust no one’s friendship until it has been proven. Do not be friends with anyone low or vulgar. Be virtuous, generous, and deep of heart. Your clothes should be clean and new. Have a good horse to ride. Use pleasant scents. Be generous when you give people food to eat and satisfy everyone. Whenever you hear of any strife or corruption, hasten to resolve it. Visit those who visit you and those who do not. Always do good, whether others wish you good or ill. Forgive and turn a blind eye to some things. Abandon those things that distress you and try to do what is right. Visit those of your companions who fall ill, and ask after those you do not see. Take an interest in those who do not come to you.” (From Abu Hanifah’s bequest to his student Abu Yusuf.)

“Know that deeds go along with knowledge, just as the limbs move thanks to the vision of the eyes. A few good deeds with knowledge are better than much labor with ignorance. This resembles the following proverb: even if a man has little food with him, he will be saved if he knows the right path. That man is still in a better position than someone who has much food but does not know the way. As Allah (swt) tells us: ‘Are they the same – those who know and those who do not know? It is only people of intelligence who pay heed.’”

“Wish good on other people and give them advice. Go and converse with people when they see and approve of your behavior and wish to talk with you, so that you can discuss knowledge in their circles."

May each student consider him your son. Let labor directed towards [acquiring] knowledge increase every day. Do not chat with those who do not listen to you and people in the markets. Have no fear of speaking the truth to anyone. Perform more, not fewer, religious observances than the masses. Do not sit and talk with deniers and Ahl al-Bid`ah, but invite them to the religion when the circumstances are appropriate. I bequeath these things to you and to everyone. May you follow this path and lead the people to the true path.”

Imam Malik ibn Anas

Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn `Amr (93-179) was born and lived his whole life in Madina and saw the traces of the Companions and Followers and the grave of the Prophet (saw) and all the great places there. He felt an enormous esteem for Madina and all it contained which marked his life from his earliest childhood. He knew it to be the cradle of knowledge, the fountain of light and the spring of gnosis. He maintained this deep-rooted respect until his death and it had a profound impact on his thought, his fiqh and his life in general. He gave great importance to the practice of its people in his ijtihad. Indeed, the principle of the 'Practice of the People of Madina' was one of the more important foundations of his legal method.

Malik grew up in a household which was engaged in the science of Traditions and hadith. His family was interested in the knowledge of the reports and traditions of the Companions and their fatwas. His grandfather, Malik ibn Abi 'Amir, was one of the great men of knowledge of the Tabi'un. He related from many Companions. It is clear, however, that Anas ibn Malik, Malik's father, was not greatly concerned with hadith since it is not known that Malik related anything from him, although Malik's grandfather and uncles were. His family was well-known for their devotion to knowledge. Malik was originally known as 'the brother of an-Nadr', a brother of his who was esteemed for his knowledge. Then his own desire to seek knowledge grew to such an extent that people began to say, 'an-Nadr, the brother of Malik.'

After memorising the Qur'an he devoted himself to memorising hadith, which was much encouraged in the environment of Madina. Malik went to the assemblies of scholars to write down what they taught and study it. He told his mother that he wanted to go and study, and she dressed him in his best clothes and turban and then said, "Go and write now." She said, "Go to Rabi'a and learn his knowledge before learning his adab."

Malik devoted himself to knowledge from an early age and sought it out from the people of knowledge in Madina. He confined himself to two areas of knowledge: hadith and fiqh. He did not like to argue about the reports of the various sects regarding matters about which people become confused and disagree. That was not due to any ignorance of their positions but was based on knowledge and clear evidence because he saw that delving into such things had no benefit.

We mentioned these anecdotes about Imam Malik's quest for hadiths and what has been said about his shaykhs in order to bring out three points.
- Firstly, at that time, knowledge was taken by learning directly from the mouths of men and not from books in which knowledge was recorded. This is why the memory of students was so sharp: they were entirely dependent on it and were eager not to lose anything they heard. Malik kept track of the number of hadiths he learned by tying knots in a length of thread. If he forgot a hadith, he would return to hear it again. No reproach or rebuke would stop him, but even so he would only miss the odd one.

- Secondly, we learn that scholars had begun to record their knowledge in writing, even if they did not rely on what was written. Ibn Shihab encouraged his students to write down what they heard, out of fear that they might forget it. Malik went to him with slates in hand on which he wrote down what he heard. That did not prevent him from memorising what he wrote. So when Ibn Shihab took away the slates he could repeat what was on them.

- Thirdly, we gather from these extracts that Malik was tirelessly devoted to seeking knowledge and applied himself to it with an earnestness, energy and patience rarely emulated in the history of Islam. Undeterred by intense heat, he would leave his home and wait for the time when scholars left their houses for the mosque, and not even the irascibility of some of them prevented him from learning from them. He endured criticism for that at times but he kept at it until he managed to achieve his aim.

We should at this point elaborate on the different branches of knowledge that Malik studied in his pursuit of learning. He sought knowledge in four areas which are part and parcel of the formation of the complete scholar and faqih who knows the sources properly, who is able to derive rulings from them correctly, who is in touch with the spirit of his time and has true understanding of what is happening around him, and has the ability to disseminate among people the knowledge which he thinks are beneficial for them.

Firstly he learned how to refute adherents of deviant sects and how to resolve people's disagreements and clarify their disputes in respect of fiqh and other matters. He studied that with Ibn Hurmuz, as he himself said. He took from him much knowledge which he did not spread publicly. But when there was an occasion where it was necessary to impart it, he did so.

It seems that Malik divided knowledge into two kinds: knowledge to be taught to people in general, which was not to be confined to anyone since there was no harm in it for anyone and all intellects could accept it and listen to it and benefit from it; and another kind of knowledge which should be reserved for the elite. He did not teach that kind to ordinary people because it would harm some people more than help them. This was the case with the refutation of the adherents of sects, which can be difficult for people and even cause some people to deviate themselves.

Secondly he learned the fatwas of the Companions from the Tabi'in and the Tabi'i't-Tabi'in. He learned 'Umar's fatwas and those of Ibn Umar, 'A'isha and other Companions. He learned the fatwas of Ibn al-Musayyab and other great Tabi'un. Their fatwas are the source of much of Maliki's fiqh.

Thirdly he learned fiqh ar-ra'y (understanding by mental perception) from Rabi'a ibn 'Abdi'r-Rahman who was known as Rabi'a ar-Ra'y. It is evident that the method he learned from Rabi'a was not the same as analogy. Its basis was harmonization of different texts with the best interests of people and how they could best be benefited. That is why, according to al-Madarik, "Malik was asked whether they used to use analogy in the assembly of Rabi'a and discuss a lot with one another. He said, 'No, by Allah.'" From this we can see that Malik did not understand fiqh ar-ra'y as meaning opinion in which there is a lot of analogy and analysis because that might have led to involvement in the kind of hypothetical fiqh which was so common in Iraq and which resulted from the excessive use of analogy. Rabi'a's basic principle was the best interests of the people.

Fourthly he learned the hadiths of the Messenger of Allah; he sought out all who transmitted the Messenger's words and selected the most reliable among them. He was given great insight into men's understanding and the power of their intellects. It is reported that he said, "This knowledge is vital to the Deen, so look to the one from whom you take it. I have met seventy people who said, 'The Messenger of Allah (saw) said' within these pillars," and he pointed to the mosque, "and I did not take anything from them. Had any of them been entrusted with a treasure, they would have proved trustworthy, but they were not worthy to undertake this business."

After Malik completed his studies he took a place in the mosque of the Prophet to teach and give fatwas. There is no doubt that he used to sit in the place of those Tabi'in and their followers to whom people came from east and west. This must mean that he had both great knowledge and also the respect and esteem of the people and that made him the focus of students of fiqh and those who sought fatwas on many different subjects. This is why he said, to clarify his position when he set up to teach and give fatwa: "No one who desires to sit in the mosque to teach hadith and fatwa can do so until he has consulted people of soundness and excellence and the people in charge of the mosque. Only when they consider him worthy of it, may he sit there. I did not sit until seventy shaykhs of the people of knowledge had testified that I was ready to do so."

Malik lived his life surrounded by the traces of the Tabi'un and Companions, and he learned the fatwas of the Companions from the Tabi'un and singled out those whose opinions were best. He investigated the reports of 'Umar and Ibn Mas'ud and other fuqaha' of the Companions, studying their cases and rulings. He was eager to learn precedents in order to follow what had gone before and not to innovate. He thought that the actions, weights, measures, waqfs and reports of the people of Madina were sufficient to illuminate any faqih who followed their guidance and borrowed from their 'light.'

It is reported in ad-Dibaj that "Malik used to come to the mosque and attend the prayers, Jumu'a and funerals, visit the sick, and sit in the mosque; and his Companions would join him there. Then he ceased to sit in the mosque. He did not attend funerals but would go to his companions and console them. Then he ceased doing even those things. He did not attend the prayers in the mosque or go to Jumu'a or go to console anyone. But he continued to see people until he died." Most people agreed that he died in 179 AH, on the night of the 14th of Rabi' ath-Thani, at well over eighty years of age.

...from Imam Malik: His Life and Teaching, Muhammad Abu Zahra

Zayd ibn Thabit

It is the second year of the Hijrah. Madinah, the city of the Prophet, is buzzing with activity as Muslims prepare for the long march southwards to Badr.

The noble Prophet was making a final inspection of the first army mobilized under his leadership when a youth, not yet thirteen years old, walked up to the ranks. He was confident and alert. He held a sword which was as long or possibly slightly longer than his own height. He went up to the Prophet (saw) and said: "I dedicate myself to you, Messenger of God. Permit me to be with you and to fight the enemies of God under your banner."

The noble Prophet looked at him with admiration and patted his shoulder with loving tenderness. He commended him for his courage but refused to enlist him because he was still too young.

The youth, Zayd ibn Thabit, turned and walked away, dejected and sad. As he walked, in slow and measured paces, he stuck his sword in the ground as a sign of his disappointment. He was denied the honor of accompanying the Prophet on his first campaign.

One year later, as preparations were underway for the second encounter with the Quraysh which took place at Uhud, a group of Muslim teenagers bearing arms of various kinds - swords, spears, bows and arrows and shields - approached the Prophet. They were seeking to be enlisted in any capacity in the Muslim ranks. Some of them, like Rafi ibn Khadij and Samurah ibn Jundub, who were strong and well-built for their age and who demonstrated their ability to wrestle and handle weapons, were granted permission by the Prophet to join the Muslim forces. Others like Abdullah the son of Umar and Zayd ibn Thabit were still considered by the Prophet to be too young and immature to fight. He promised though to consider them for a later campaign. It was only at the Battle of the Khandak when Zayd was about sixteen years old that he was at last allowed to bear arms in defence of the Muslim community.

Although Zayd was keen to participate in battles, it is not as a warrior that he is remembered. After his rejection for the Badr campaign, he accepted the fact then that he was too young to fight in major battles. His alert mind turned to other fields of service, which had no connection with age and which could bring him closer to the Prophet (saw). He considered the field of knowledge and in particular of memorizing the Qur'an. He mentioned the idea to his mother. She was delighted and immediately made attempts to have his ambition realized. An-Nuwar spoke to some men of the Ansar about the youth's desire and they in turn broached the matter with the Prophet, saying: "O Messenger of Allah, our son Zayd ibn Thabit has memorized seventeen surahs of the Book of Allah and recites them as correctly as they were revealed to you. In addition to that he is good at reading and writing. It is in this field of service that he desires to be close to you. Listen to him if you will."

The Prophet (saw) listened to Zayd reciting some surahs he had memorized. His recitation was clear and beautiful and his stops and pauses indicated clearly that he understood well what he recited. The Prophet was pleased. Indeed he found that Zayd's ability exceeded the commendation he had been given by his relatives. The Prophet then set him a task which required intelligence, skill and persistence.

"Zayd, learn the writing of the Jews for me," instructed the Prophet. "At your command, Messenger of Allah," replied Zayd who set about learning Hebrew with enthusiasm. He became quite proficient in the language and wrote it for the Prophet when he wanted to communicate with the Jews. Zayd also read and translated from Hebrew when the Jews wrote to the Prophet. The Prophet instructed him to learn Syriac also and this he did. Zayd thus came to perform the important function of an interpreter for the Prophet in his dealings with non-Arabic speaking peoples.

Zayd's enthusiasm and skill were obvious. When the Prophet felt confident of his faithfulness in the discharge of duties and the care, precision and understanding with which he carried out tasks, he entrusted Zayd with the weighty responsibility of recording the Divine revelation.

When any part of the Quran was revealed to the Prophet, he often sent for Zayd and instructed him to bring the writing materials, "the parchment, the ink-pot and the scapula", and write the revelation.

Zayd was not the only one who acted as a scribe for the Prophet. One source has listed forty-eight persons who used to write for him, but Zayd was very prominent among them. He did not only write, but during the Prophet's time, he collected portions of the Qur'an that were written down by others and arranged these under the supervision of the Prophet. He is reported to have said:

"We used to compile the Qur'an from small manuscripts in the presence of the Prophet." In this way, Zayd experienced the Qur'an directly from the Prophet himself. It could be said that he grew up with the verses of the Qur'an, understanding well the circumstances surrounding each revelation. He thus became well-versed in the secrets of the Syariah and at an early age gained the well-deserved reputation as a leading scholar among the companions of the Prophet.

After the death of the Prophet (saw) the task fell on this fortunate young man who specialized in the Qur'an to authenticate the first and most important reference for the ummah of Muhammad. This became an urgent task after the wars of apostasy and the Battle of Yamamah in particular, in which a large number of those who had committed the Qur'an to memory perished.

Sayyidina Umar convinced the Khalifah Abu Bakr that unless the Qur'an was collected in one manuscript, a large part of it was in danger of being lost. Abu Bakr summoned Zayd ibn Thabit and said to him: "You are an intelligent young man and we do not suspect you (of telling lies or of forgetfulness) and you used to write the Divine revelation for Allah's Messenger. Therefore look for (all parts of) the Qur'an and collect it in one manuscript."

Zayd was immediately aware of the weighty responsibility. He later said: "By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains from its place, it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur'an."

Zayd finally accepted the task and, according to him, "started locating the Qur'anic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart)".

It was a painstaking task and Zayd was careful that not a single error, however slight or unintentional, should creep into the work. When Zayd had completed his task, he left the prepared suhuf, or parchments, with Caliph Abu Bakr. Before he died, Abu Bakr left the suhuf with Umar who in turn left it with his daughter Hafsah. Hafsah, Umm Salamah and Aishah were wives of the Prophet (saw) who memorized the Qur'an.

During the time of Uthman, by which time Islam had spread far and wide, differences in reading the Qur'an became obvious. A group of companions of the Prophet, headed by Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, who was then stationed in Iraq, came to Uthman and urged him to "save the Muslim ummah before they differ about the Quran".

Uthman obtained the manuscript of the Qur'an from Hafsah and again summoned the leading authority, Zayd ibn Thabit, and some other competent companions to make accurate copies of it. Zayd was put in charge of the operation. He completed the task with the same meticulousness with which he compiled the original suhuf during the time of Abu Bakr.

Zayd and his assistants wrote many copies. One of these Uthman sent to every Muslim province with the order that all other Quranic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. This was important in order to eliminate any variations or differences from the standard text of the Qur'an. Uthman kept a copy for himself and returned the original manuscript to Hafsah.

Zayd ibn Thabit thus became one of the foremost authorities on the Qur'an. Umar ibn al-Khattab once addressed the Muslims and said: "O people, whoever wants to ask about the Qur'an, let him go to Zayd ibn Thabit."

And so it was that seekers of knowledge from among the companions of the Prophet and the generation who succeeded them, known as the "Tabi'un", came from far and wide to benefit from his knowledge. When Zayd died, Abu Hurayrah said: "Today, the scholar of this ummah has died."

When a Muslim holds the Qur'an and reads it or hears it being recited, surah after surah, ayah after ayah, he should know that he owes a tremendous debt of gratitude and recognition to a truly great companion of the Prophet, Zayd ibn Thabit, for helping to preserve for all time to come the Book of Eternal Wisdom.

Truly did Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, say: "Surely We have revealed the Book of Remembrance and We shall certainly preserve it." (surah al-Hijr, 15:9)

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud

A young boy of short stature was grazing a herd of goats on the mountain trails on the outskirts of Makkah. He saw two men in the distance coming towards him. As they came closer they looked tired and thirsty.

They approached him and asked, "O young boy, can you offer us some milk from any of your goats to quench our thirst?"

In reply the young boy said, "I am sorry, these goats are not mine, they belong to Uqaba Ibn Ali Muait, so I will be dishonest if I give you this milk without his permission."

Both men were very impressed with the young boy's honesty.

This young boy was none other than Abdullah ibn Masud, and the two men were Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra).

They had left Makkah for the historical Hijrah that day to escape the persecution of the Quraysh. This incident shows the keen sense of honesty Abdullah ibn Masud had even before he accepted Islam and relates to the saying of The Prophet (saw) that, "The best of you before he accepts Islam are the best after accepting it".

Soon after this incident Abdullah ibn Masud became very attached to the Prophet (saw) and very soon he became a Muslim. He gave up herding goats and instead devoted himself to serving the Blessed Prophet (saw).

He used to accompany Prophet Muhammad on his journeys and tend to his personal needs. He received the unique training and guidance in the household of the Prophet (saw). He is known and recognised as one of the most knowledgeable companions with his knowledge of the Qur'an.

Once a man came to Sayyidina Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) and told him, "I have just come from Kufah in Iraq where I left a man filling copies of the Qur'an from memory".

"Who is he?" asked Umar angrily.

"Abdullah ibn Masud" replied the man.

Then Umar became calm and said, "Woe to you, by Allah I don't know anyone more qualified to do this".

Another time, the Prophet (saw), Abu Bakr and Umar (ra) passed the mosque while someone was reciting the Qur'an beautifully in prayer. The Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever wants to read the Qur'an as fresh as it was revealed, should read like ibn Masud", as he was the person reciting it.

Ibn Masud was one of the four people the Prophet (saw) recommended people to learn the Qur'an from; the other three were Salim Maula Abu Hudhayfa, Muadh Ibn Jabal and Ubayy Ibn Ka'ab (ra).

When the Sahabah were still very few in Makkah, weak and oppressed, one day they said, "The Quraysh have not heard the Qur'an being recited loudly, Who can do it?"

"I will do it" said Abdullah ibn Masud. This was a big task. The Sahabah were afraid for him because he did not have any tribe to protect him. The Quraysh could easily attack and harm Abdullah ibn Masud if he started to read the Qur'an for everyone to hear.

But ibn Masud said, "Allah will keep me safe from their mischief".

Ibn Masud went to the Kab'ah where some of the Quraysh were gathered and started reciting Surah Ar-Rahman of the Qur'an. When the Quraysh realised he was reciting the Qur'an, they came over to him, and started beating him till he bled. However, although he was very swollen and bruised, he finished reciting the Surah.

The Sahabah were sorry for Abdullah ibn Masud when they saw his condition, but Abdullah ibn Masud said, "By Allah, the enemies of Allah are more uncomfortable than me, and I would go and do it again."

The Sahabah said, "It is enough."

Ibn Masud had excellent manners and he loved to make sacrifices for Allah's sake. He took part in all the major battles of Islam with the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

In the battle of Badr, he killed Abu Jahl. He also fought in the battles of Uhud, Khandaq, Khaybar, were there during the conquest of Makkah and Hunayn.

Abdullah ibn Masud was also very careful in narrating hadith from the Blessed Prophet, to make sure he said the exact words of the Prophet, and didn't make any mistakes. Once after telling people a hadith, he smiled after it, because the Prophet (saw) also smiled after it when he recited the hadith. He knew that he said the hadith correctly, and that the Blessed Prophet was pleased. This shows us ibn Masud's truthfulness and determination to be correct.

Ibn Masud also never allowed injustice of any kind, no matter who was doing it. One day Wahid ibn Aqaba, the governor of Kufa was late to lead the prayers in congregation, so Abdullah ibn Mas'ud led the prayers. When ibn Aqaba came he was very angry and demanded an explanation from Ibn Mas'ud.

"Allah does not like the prayer delayed for you. Why should the people wait in the Mosque for prayer whilst you are busy in your work?," replied Ibn Mas'ud. Wahid could not reply.

Ibn Masud would treat his family with affection and kindness and made sure he educated them in the Qur'an and about Islam. He was very hospitable and in Kufah, he had emptied his house for serving guests.

His speeches very mainly about the Oneness of Allah, prayers, fearing Allah and the Hereafter. He used to say, "O people, he who wants this world loses the next, he who wants the Hereafter does not care about this world".

Ibn Masud was brave and pious, though he was short and had very thin legs. One day he climbed a tree and his legs were uncovered and some people laughed at them. But the Prophet (saw) said, "On the Day of Judgement, his legs will have more weight in Allah's sight than Mount Uhud."

Ibn Masud lived up to the time of the Khalifah Uthman (ra). On ibn Masud's deathbed, Sayyidina Uthman came to visit him and asked, "What is your illness?"

"My sins," replied ibn Mas'ud.

"And what do you desire?," asked Uthman.

"The mercy of my Lord," replied Ibn Masud.

"Should I give you your grant (salary), which you have refused for many years?," asked Uthman.

"I don't need it," said Ibn Masud.

"Let it then be for your daughters who survived after you," replied Uthman.

"Do you fear that my children will become poor, Uthman? I have commanded them to read Surah al-Waqi'ah every night, for I have heard the Prophet saying: "Whoever reads al-Waq'iah every night shall not be afflicted by poverty ever."

That night ibn Masud passed away, his tongue moist with remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Qur'an.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The (Not Original) Three Musketeers

The "Three Musketeers" worked in the same Ministry for the past 4 years. Tomorrow, one of the "three musketeers" will be posted to another Ministry, and while waiting for his farewell dinner, I took the time to make this entry.

Interestingly, as I mentioned to the other musketeer two weeks ago, there were actually 4 members to the Three Musketeers. Perhaps it may be due to the famous rule of 3, it is popularly known as the Three Musketeers. When asked, I explained: there are three of us, and the unseen fourth member is The Almighty who takes care of us. Subhan-Allah!

The two of us will miss having you working in the same building, but distance is a mere physical thing. We can always rely on our "fourth member" who have always provided and took us under His Shade without fail. So, I am left humbled by sending you to your new workplace with beautiful ahadeeth from our beloved Prophet (saw):

Hadith 1:
“There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade:
- a just ruler;
- a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic;
- a man whose heart is attached to the mosques;
- two people who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that;
- a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but be says: ‘I fear Allah’;
- a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and
- a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Hadith 2:
"Where are those who loved one another for My glory? Today I will shade them in My shade on the Day when there is no shade but Mine." (Muslim)

Hadith 3:
"There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith:
- if Allah, The Almighty and His Messenger (saw) are dearer to him than anyone or anything else;
- if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah, The Almighty; and
- if he would hate to return to disbelieve after Allah, The Almighty has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire." (Bukhari & Muslim)

Hadith 4:
“Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent says: “Those who have mutual love for the sake of My Glory will have pillars of light and will be envied by the Prophets and martyrs.” (Tirmidhee & Ahmad)

Having mutual love for the sake of Allah is one of the great doors leading to the good of the Hereafter and a cause of tasting the sweetness of faith. Loving one another for Allah’s sake means that the Muslim does not love another except for the correctness of his Deen. So it does not matter what the person looks like, what he wears, how rich or poor he is, where he comes from, or what the colour of his skin is - perhaps you dislike everything about him, but you love him for his faith: this is loving for Allah’s sake.

The remaining two musketeers therefore send you off tomorrow to your new workplace with our prayers and with our love. You have our love, always.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Abdullah ibn Abbas

Abdullah was the son of Abbas, an uncle of the noble Prophet. He was born just three years before the Hijrah. When the Prophet died, Abdullah was thus only thirteen years old.

When he was born, his mother took him to the blessed Prophet who put some of his saliva on the baby's tongue even before he began to suckle. This was the beginning of the close and intimate tie between ibn Abbas and the Prophet that was to be part of a life-long love and devotion.

When Abdullah reached the age of discretion, he attached himself to the service of the Prophet. He would run to fetch water for him when he wanted to make wudu. During Salat, he would stand behind the Prophet in prayer and when the Prophet went on journeys or expeditions, he would follow next in line to him. Abdullah thus became like the shadow of the Prophet, constantly in his company.

In all these situations he was attentive and alert to whatever the Prophet did and said. His heart was enthusiastic and his young mind was pure and uncluttered, committing the Prophet's words to memory with the capacity and accuracy of a recording instrument. In this way and through his constant researches later, Abdullah became one of the most learned companions of the Prophet, preserving on behalf of later generations of Muslims, the priceless words of the Messenger of God. It is said that he committed to memory about one thousand, six hundred and sixty sayings of the Prophet which are recorded and authenticated in the collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The Prophet would often draw Abdullah as a child close to him, pat him on the shoulder and pray: "O Lord, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things."

There were many occasions thereafter when the blessed Prophet would repeat this dua or prayer for his cousin and before long, Abdullah ibn Abbas realized that his life was to be devoted to the pursuit of learning and knowledge.

The Prophet moreover prayed that he be granted not just knowledge and understanding but wisdom. Abdullah related the following incident about himself: "Once the Prophet, peace be upon him, was on the point of performing wudu. I hurried to get water ready for him. He was pleased with what I was doing. As he was about to begin Salat, he indicated that I should stand at his side. However, I stood behind him. When the Salat was finished, he turned to me and said: 'What prevented you from being at my side, O Abdullah?' 'You are too illustrious and too great in my eyes for me to stand side by side with you,' I replied.

Raising his hands to the heavens, the Prophet then prayed: "O Lord, grant him wisdom." The Prophet's prayer undoubtedly was granted for the young Abdullah was to prove time and again that he possessed a wisdom beyond his years. But it was a wisdom that came only with devotion and the dogged pursuit of knowledge both during the Prophet's lifetime and after his death.

During the lifetime of the Prophet, Abdullah would not miss any of his assemblies and he would commit to memory whatever he said. After the Prophet passed away, he would take care to go to as many companions as possible especially those who knew the Prophet longer and learn from them what the Prophet had taught them. Whenever he heard that someone knew a hadith of the Prophet which he did not know, he would go quickly to him and record it. He would subject whatever he heard to close scrutiny and check it against other reports. He would go to as many as thirty companions to verify a single matter.

Abdullah described what he once did, on hearing that a companion of the Prophet knew a hadith unknown to him: "I went to him during the time of the afternoon siesta and spread my cloak in front of his door. The wind blew dust on me (as I sat waiting for him). If I wished I could have sought his permission to enter and he would certainly have given me permission. But I preferred to wait on him so that he could be completely refreshed. Coming out of his house and seeing me in that condition he said: 'O cousin of the Prophet! What's the matter with you? If you had sent for me I would have come to you.' 'I am the one who should come to you, for knowledge is sought, it does not just come,' I said. I asked him about the hadith and learnt from him."

In this way, the dedicated Abdullah would ask, and ask, and go on asking. And he would sift and scrutinize the information he had collected with his keen and meticulous mind.

It was not only in the collection of hadith that Abdullah specialized. He devoted himself to acquiring knowledge in a wide variety of fields. He had a special admiration for persons like Zayd ibn Thabit, the recorder of the revelation, the leading judge and jurist consult in Madinah, an expert in the laws of inheritance and in reading the Quran. When Zayd intended to go on a trip, the young Abdullah would stand humbly at his side and taking hold of the reins of his mount would adopt the attitude of a humble servant in the presence of his master. Zayd would say to him: "Don't, O cousin of the Prophet."

"Thus we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us," Abdullah would say. "And Zayd would say to him in turn: "Let me see your hand." Abdullah would stretch out his hand. Zayd, taking it, would kiss it and say: "Thus we were commanded to treat the ahl al-bayt members of the household of the Prophet."

As Abdullah's knowledge grew, he grew in stature. Masruq ibn al Ajda said of him: "Whenever I saw Ibn Abbas, I would say: He is the most handsome of men. When he spoke, I would say: He is the most eloquent of men. And when he held a conversation, I would say: He is the most knowledgeable of men."

The Khalifah Umar ibn al-Khattab often sought his advice on important matters of state and described him as "the young man of maturity".

Sad ibn abi Waqqas described him with these words: "I have never seen someone who was quicker in understanding, who had more knowledge and greater wisdom than Ibn Abbas. I have seen Umar summon him to discuss difficult problems in the presence of veterans of Badr from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. Ibn Abbas would speak and Umar would not disregard what he had to say."

It is these qualities which resulted in Abdullah ibn Abbas being known as "the learned man of this Ummah".

Abdullah ibn Abbas was not content to accumulate knowledge. He felt he had a duty to the ummah to educate those in search of knowledge and the general masses of the Muslim community. He turned to teaching and his house became a university - yes, a university in the full sense of the word, a university with specialized teaching but with the difference that there was only one teacher Abdullah ibn Abbas.

There was an enthusiastic response to Abdullah's classes. One of his companions described a typical scene in front of his house: "I saw people converging on the roads leading to his house until there was hardly any room in front of his house. I went in and told him about the crowds of people at his door and he said: 'Get me water for wudu.'

He performed wudu and, seating himself, said: 'Go out and say to them: Whoever wants to ask about the Quran and its letters (pronunciation) let him enter.'

This I did and people entered until the house was filled. Whatever he was asked, Abdullah was able to elucidate and even provide additional information to what was asked. Then (to his students) he said: 'Make way for your brothers.'

Then to me he said: 'Go out and say: Who wants to ask about the Quran and its interpretation, let him enter'.

Again the house was filled and Abdullah elucidated and provided more information than what was requested."

And so it continued with groups of people coming in to discuss fiqh (jurisprudence), halal and haram (the lawful and the prohibited in Islam), inheritance laws, Arabic language, poetry and etymology.

To avoid congestion with many groups of people coming to discuss various subjects on a single day, Abdullah decided to devote one day exclusively for a particular discipline. On one day, only the exegesis of the Quran would be taught while on another day only fiqh (jurisprudence). The maghazi or campaigns of the Prophet, poetry, Arab history before Islam were each allocated a special day.

Abdullah ibn Abbas brought to his teaching a powerful memory and a formidable intellect. His explanations were precise, clear and logical. His arguments were persuasive and supported by pertinent textual evidence and historical facts.

On this and other occasions, the courageous Abdullah showed that he preferred peace above war, and logic against force and violence. However, he was not only known for his courage, his perceptive thought and his vast knowledge. He was also known for his great generosity and hospitality. Some of his contemporaries said of his household: "We have not seen a house which has more food or drink or fruit or knowledge than the house of Ibn Abbas."

He had a genuine and abiding concern for people. He was thoughtful and caring. He once said: "When I realize the importance of a verse of God's Book, I would wish that all people should know what I know.

"When I hear of a Muslim ruler who deals equitably and rules justly, I am happy on his account and I pray for him...

"When I hear of rains which fail on the land of Muslims, that fills me with happiness..."

Abdullah ibn Abbas was constant in his devotions. He kept voluntary fasts regularly and often stayed up at night in Prayer. He would weep while praying and reading the Quran. And when reciting verses dealing with death, resurrection and the life hereafter his voice would be heavy from deep sobbing.

He passed away at the age of seventy one in the mountainous city of Taif. May Allah bless his soul.

The Best Worship

Some people worship Allah for the purpose of gaining His gifts: this is the worship of the merchants.

Some worship Him for the purpose of avoiding His punishment: this is the worship of the slaves.

Some worship Him as showing gratitude to Him: this is the worship of the genuine ones - it is the best worship.

... Sayyidina Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib

Lost & Found

"O Allah!
What did he find, who lost You?
And what did he lose, who found You?"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sayyidina 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (Asadullah)

Muslims greatly respect Ali for his knowledge, belief, honesty, his unbending devotion to Islam, his deep loyalty to the Prophet (saw), his equal treatment of all Muslims and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies. In addition, Ali retains his stature as the foremost authority on the Tafsir (Quranic exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and religious thoughts. Ali also holds a high position in almost all Sufi Muslim orders (Turuq) which trace their lineage to Prophet Muhammad (saw) through him. In this way, his influence continued throughout Islamic history.

With the exception of the Battle of Tabuk, Ali took part in all the battles and expeditions fought for Islam. He was the standard-bearer in every battle that he partook in.

Ali was prominent at the Battle of Uhud, as well as many other battles where he wielded a bifurcated sword known as "Zulfiqar", given to him by the Prophet (saw). Muslim historians reported that Ali, alone, destroyed all the standard bearers. He also had the special role of protecting the Prophet (saw) when most of the Muslims' army escaped at the battles of Uhud and it was said of him: "La fata illa Ali, La saifa illa Zulfiqar" (There is no brave man except Ali and there is no sword which renders service except Zulfiqar)." For his bravery and strength, he was known as "Asadullah" - the Lion of Allah.

On the nineteenth of Ramadhan, while Ali was praying in the mosque of Kufa, Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam assassinated him with a strike of his poison-coated sword. Ali, injured with the wound from the poisonous sword, lived for two days and died on the 21st day of Ramadan in the city of Kufa in 661 CE. He was born in the House of Allah (Ka'abah) and passed away in the House of Allah (Masjid-e-Kufa).

In these two days, he dictated his will to his household:

My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and be steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world, and do not be seduced by it. Do not resent anything you have missed in it. Proclaim the truth; work for the next world. Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed.

I advise you, and all my children, my relatives, and whosoever receives this message, to be conscious of Allah, to remove your differences, and to strengthen your ties. I heard your grandfather, peace be upon him, say: "Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting."

Fear Allah in matters concerning orphans. Attend to their nutrition and do not forget their interests in the middle of yours.

Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbors. Your Prophet often recommended them to you, so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance.

Remain attached to the Quran. Nobody should surpass you in being intent on it, or more sincere in implementing it.

Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. It is the pillar of your religion.

Fear Allah in relation to His House; do not abandon it as long as you live. If you should do that you would abandon your dignity.

Persist in jihad in the cause of Allah, with your money, your souls, and your tongue.

Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that, the worst among you would be your leaders, and you will call upon Allah without response.

O Children of Abdul Muttalib! Do not shed the blood of Muslims under the banner: The Imam has been assassinated! Only the assassin should be condemned to death.

If I die of this stab of his, kill him with one similar stroke. Do not mutilate him! I have heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say: "Mutilate not even a rabid dog."

Source: Najul Balagha

Sayyidina 'Uthman ibn Affan (Dhun Nur'Ain)

According to account, he was married to two of Prophet's daughters at separate times, earning him the name Dhun Nur'Ain or the "Possessor of Two Lights.".

In the sixth year after the emigration to Madinah, the Prophet decided to perform the `Umrah, so he set out with 1,400 Muslims in pilgrim’s dress, heading towards Makkah, but the Quraish did not allow them to enter the city. The Muslims halted at a place called Hudaibiyah. From there, the Prophet (saw) sent a messenger to the Makkans to tell them that the Muslims were there only to perform `Umrah and had not the slightest intention to fight. But the Makkans humiliated the messenger, and he returned without success.

The Prophet then wanted to send someone highly respected by the Quraish, so he chose `Uthman, who was from one of the most powerful families in Makkah, the Umayyah family. The Makkans detained him for three days and a rumor reached the Muslim camp that `Uthman was killed. This outraged the Muslims and, without exception, all of the 1,400 Muslims present took the famous pledge of Hudaibiyah. After everybody had taken the pledge, the Prophet placed his own right hand on his left hand and took the said pledge on behalf of `Uthman. `Uthman thus secured the unique honor that the Prophet himself took the pledge on his behalf. The Muslims’ pledge pleased Allah and it was revealed in the Qur’an:

"Surely, Allah was pleased with the believers when they took the pledge under the tree. Allah knew what was in their hearts. He sent down tranquility upon them, and rewarded them with near victory" ... al-Fath 48:18

Soon they learned that the rumor of `Uthman’s death was false. `Uthman returned from Makkah in the company of an emissary from the Quraish. When `Uthman came to know about the pledge the Muslims in the camp had taken in his absence, and that the Prophet had taken the pledge on his behalf, he immediately took the pledge in person.

The Treaty of Hudaibiyah
After considerable discussion, an agreement was arrived at, which came to be known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. According to the pact there was to be a truce between the Quraish and the Muslims for a period of 10 years. Each party was free to make its own alliances, but they were not to resort to war. Any person who deserted the Muslims and sought refuge with the Quraish was not to be returned, but any person who escaped from the Quraish to the Muslims was to be returned to the Quraish. It was stipulated that the Muslims were to return to Madinah that year without performing the `Umrah, but they could come to Makkah for three days the following year to perform it, during which time the Quraish would vacate the city for them.

After the pact had been signed, the Muslims sacrificed the animals they had brought with them, broke camp, and started on the return journey to Madinah.

On the face of it, the Treaty of Hudaibiyah appeared to be loaded in favor of the Quraish. Some of the Muslims, particularly `Umar, felt dissatisfied with the terms of the pact and expressed their dissatisfaction. `Uthman, however, felt satisfied with the terms of the agreement. He was confident that the pact, though apparently in favor of the Quraish, would ultimately turn out to be against them. He said that the Quraish were fast losing their will to resist Islam, and in pursuance of the pact the Muslims and the Quraish would come into contact, and most of the Quraish were likely to accept Islam. While on the way to Madinah, Allah revealed to the Prophet that the Hudaibiyah pact was indeed a victory for the Muslims, as it would work to their advantage and the disadvantage of the Quraish. When the Prophet told of these tidings to `Umar and his other Companions, all of them felt happy.

The assessment of `Uthman also proved correct, for in the period following the Hudaibiyah pact, many Quraish including such stalwarts as Khalid ibn Al-Walid and `Amr ibn Al-`Aas accepted Islam.

Compiler of the Qur'an
Uthman is perhaps best known for forming the committee which compiled the text of the Qur’an as it exists today. The reason was that various Muslim centres, like Kufa and Damascus, had begun to develop their own traditions for reciting and writing down the Qur'an.

Uthman feared that the nascent Rashidun Empire would fall apart in religious controversy if everyone did not have access to the original text of Qur'an. Towards the end of his reign, the committee finished compiling the text, and Uthman had it copied and sent to each of the Muslim cities and garrison towns, commanding that variant versions of the Qur'an be destroyed, and only the one version used. Zaid ibn Thabit was put in charge of this operation.

`Uthman’s Generosity
`Uthman’s generosity was boundless. Even before he became caliph, he was always ready to spend in the cause of Islam and to help the needy with his wealth. On two special occasions he proved to be one of the most generous men of his time.

In AH 9 the Prophet (saw) got the news that the Romans were plotting to destroy the newly emerging Islamic state, so he wanted the Muslims to equip themselves and prepare for the attack. That seemed impossible because in that year the Muslims suffered from reduced crops and limited resources, as they had faced an extremely hot summer. They did not have enough resources to meet such a powerful army, and most of the Muslims were poor. This situation did not stop the Prophet (saw). He urged his Companions to prepare for the battle. Every Companion tried his or her best to strengthen the army. The women sold the few jewels they had to help the men prepare for the battle.

Though hundreds of Companions were ready to enter the battlefield, they were short of many things that were required for the battle, such as horses, camels, even swords and spears. The Prophet told them that this was a matter of life or death for the new Islamic state. The Prophet made a loud and clear announcement: “Anyone who provides outfits for the soldiers will have all his sins forgiven by Allah.”

The moment `Uthman heard this, he outfitted two hundred saddled camels that were to travel to Ash-Sham, and presented them all with 200 ounces of gold as charity. He also fetched 1,000 dinars and cast them into the lap of the Prophet (saw). Again and again `Uthman gave till his charity topped 900 camels and 100 horses, besides the money he paid. Seeing `Uthman’s generosity, the Prophet made the following statement: “From this day on, nothing will harm `Uthman regardless of what he does.”

Opposition Till The End
During his caliphate, `Uthman faced a lot of hostility. His rivals started accusing him of not following the Prophet and the preceding caliphs. However, the Companions who were true defended him. These accusations never changed him. He remained persistent to be a merciful governor. Even during the time when his foes attacked him, he did not use the treasury funds to shield his house or himself. As envisaged by Prophet Muhammad, `Uthman’s enemies relentlessly made his governing difficult by constantly opposing and accusing him. His opponents finally plotted against him, surrounded his house, and encouraged people to kill him.

Many of his advisors asked him to stop the assault but he did not, until he was killed while reciting the Qur’an exactly as the Prophet had predicted. `Uthman died as a martyr.

Anas ibn Malik narrated the following hadith:
The Prophet once climbed the mountain of Uhud with Abu Bakr, `Umar, and `Uthman. The mountain shook with them. The Prophet said (to the mountain), “Be firm, O Uhud! For on you there is a Prophet, a Siddiq, and two martyrs.” (Bukhari)

... ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar), al-Mubaraakpuri Saif-ur-Rahman

Sayyidina 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (al-Faruq)

Ibn 'Abbas (ra) said: I asked 'Umar (ra): 'For what reason were you called Al-Faruq?' He said, 'Hamzah accepted Islam three days before me. I went to the mosque, and Abu Jahl hurried up to abuse the Prophet (saw) and Hamzah was told about it. He took his bow and came to the mosque, up to the circle of Quraysh in which Abu Jahl was. He leant upon his bow facing Abu Jahl and looked at him, and Abu Jahl recognised the mischief in his face, and said, "What is wrong with you, Abu 'Umarah?" He raised his bow and with it struck one of the veins in his neck, cutting it so that blood flowed. Quraysh rectified that from fear of mischief and trouble.'

He said, 'The Messenger of Allah (saw) was concealed in the house of Al-Arqam al-Makhzumi so Hamzah went off and accepted Islam. I went out three days after him and there was so-and-so son of so-and-so al-Makhzumi, and I said to him, "Do you yearn to get out of the deen of your ancestors and follow the deen of Muhammad?" He said, "If I did, then one who has much greater right upon you has also done it." I said, "Who is he?" He said, "Your sister and your brother in-law."

I went off, found the door locked and heard the murmur of lowered voices. Then the door was opened for me. I entered and said, "What is this I hear with you?" They said, "You didn't hear anything," and the conversation continued between us until I took hold of my brother in-law's head and hit him, making him bleed. My sister stood up to me and took hold of my head and said, "That has happened despite you."

I was ashamed when I saw the blood, so I sat down and said, "Show me this writing." My sister said, "No-one touches it except for the purified. If you are truthful then get up and bathe yourself." I got up and bathed myself, then I returned and sat down.

They brought me a page in which was, "In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate." I said, "Wholesome and pure names!" "Ta-Ha. We have not revealed the Qur'an to you for you to grieve, ..." up to His words, "... His are the most beautiful names." (surah Ta-Ha:1-8).

It became a great matter in my heart and I said, "From this Quraysh have fled!" I accepted Islam and said, "Where is the Messenger of Allah (saw)?" She said, "He is in the house of al-Arqam." I went to the house and knocked on the door. The people gathered and Hamzah said to them, "What is wrong with you." They said, "'Umar." He said, "And if it is 'Umar? Open the door for him. If he has accepted, then we will accept that from him, and if he turns his back, we will kill him."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) heard that and came out. I pronounced the shahadah and the people of the house said, "Allahu Akbar!" in such a way that the people of Makkah heard it.

I then said, "Messenger of Allah, are we not upon the truth?" He said, "Of course." I said, "Why do we conceal it?" We then went out in two ranks, in one of which I was and in the other Hamzah, until we entered the mosque, and Quraysh looked at me and at Hamzah. There came upon them gloom and depression the like of which had never before come upon them. The Messenger of Allah (saw) named me on that day "al-Faruq" because Islam had been shown openly and a separation made between the truth and falsehood.'

Ibn 'Abbas (ra) said: The first man to be open about Islam was 'Umar ibn al-Khattab.

Ibn Mas'ud (ra) said: The Islam of 'Umar was an opening, his hijrah (emigration) was a help and his caliphate was a mercy. I saw us unable to pray towards the House until 'Umar accepted Islam. When 'Umar accepted Islam, he fought them until they left us alone and we prayed.

Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas said: The Prophet (saw) said, 'Ibn al-Khattab, by Him in Whose hand is my self, the shaytan never met you travelling on a road but that he would travel on a road other than your road.'

Abu Hurairah said: The Prophet (saw) said, 'There were in the nations before you people who were inspired, and if there is one in my ummah, it is 'Umar.'

Ibn 'Umar related that the Prophet (saw) said, 'Allah has put the truth upon 'Umar's tongue and (in) his heart.'

Ibn 'Umar said: No affair ever happened among people and they spoke about it and 'Umar spoke about it but that the Qur'an was revealed confirming what 'Umar said.

Ubayy ibn Ka'b said: The Prophet (saw) said, 'Jibril said to me, "Let Islam weep over the death of 'Umar."'

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said: The Prophet (saw) said, 'Whoever is angry with 'Umar is angry with me. Whoever loves 'Umar loves me. Allah glorifies in the people on the evening of 'Arafah generally, and He glorifies in 'Umar particularly. Allah has not sent a prophet except that he put among his ummah an inspired man and if there is one such man in my ummah, then it is 'Umar.' They said, 'Prophet of Allah, how inspired?' He said, 'The angels speak by his tongue.'

... The History of the Khalifahs, Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Than What We Think We Are

The Islamic Golden Age from the 8th century to the 13th century witnessed a fundamental transformation in agriculture known as the Muslim Agricultural Revolution, Arab Agricultural Revolution, or Green Revolution. The global economy established by Muslim traders across the Old World, enabled the diffusion of many crops and farming techniques among different parts of the Islamic world, as well as the adaptation of crops and techniques from beyond the Islamic world. Crops from Africa such as sorghum, crops from China such as citrus fruits, and numerous crops from India such as mangos, rice, and especially cotton and sugar cane, were distributed throughout Islamic lands, which previously had not grown these crops. Some writers have referred to the diffusion of numerous crops during this period as the Globalisation of crops. These introductions, along with an increased mechanization of agriculture, led to major changes in economy, population distribution, vegetation cover, agricultural production and income, population levels, urban growth, the distribution of the labour force, linked industries, cooking and diet and clothing in the Islamic world.

Muslims introduced cash cropping and the modern crop rotation system where land was cropped four or more times in a two-year period. Winter crops were followed by summer ones, and in some cases there was in between. In areas where plants of shorter growing season were used, such as spinach and eggplants, the land could be cropped three or more times a year. In parts of Yemen, wheat yielded two harvests a year on the same land, as did rice in Iraq. Muslims developed a scientific approach based on three major elements; sophisticated systems of crop rotation, highly developed irrigation techniques, and the introduction of a large variety of crops which were studied and catalogued according to the season, type of land and amount of water they require. Numerous encyclopaedias on farming and botany were produced, with highly accurate precision and details. The earliest cookbooks on Arab cuisine were also written, such as the Kitab al-Tabikh (The Book of Dishes) of Ibn Sayyiir al-Warraq (10th century) and the Kitab al-Tabikh of Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi (1226).

For more reading on our Age of Discovery, please click here.

We are indeed, more than even what we think we are. The challenge for us now, is to produce another Ibn Batutta, Imam Ghazali, Ibn Sina, Ibn Khind etc ... all that we proudly speak about of the past, needs reliving in the present and in the future. That spirit of excellence that once was the hallmark of being Muslims must be upheld. We should do more, talk less.

Masya-Allah! What happened to us since then?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I acquired a true gem today. Was told of this book by my favourite, the late Martin Lings, by a friend yesterday entitled: "The Holy Qur'an: Translation of Selected Verses".

The renowned scholar and Sufi master, the late Dr Martin Lings (Shaykh Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din) was commissioned in 2004 and was working on a full translation of the Qur’an when he passed away in 2005 - and hence he was not able to complete this work. However, his translations of verses from the Qur’an were extracted from previously unpublished writings, and from all his other publications, both books and articles.

Among the translations are the all-important first chapter of the Qur’an (al-Fatihah); the Verse of Light (Ayat al-Nur); verses from the Chapter entitled Ya-Sin which is regarded as ‘the heart of the Qur’an’; numerous verses from seventy-six other Chapters; and full translations of nine of the short Chapters at the end of the Qur’an including the often-repeated last three Chapters.

Occasionally, Dr Lings translated a particular verse in more than one way; all the different versions have been retained in this book. On the one hand, this is a reflection of the fact that there can never be a definitive translation of the sacred text; and, on the other hand, this brings out the multiple meanings that may exist in one verse.

In addition, there is an appendix of Dr Lings’ translation of the Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of God with the original Arabic. The Holy Qur’an: Translations of Selected Verses is a short and accessible introduction to the Qur’an with the additional benefits of the profound learning of a best-selling author and the beautiful language of a published poet. This translation emphasises the spirituality at the heart of the Qur’an and its universal message; and, on a personal note, the choice of verses used by Dr Lings in his own daily prayers. Will be of interest to all those who wish to read the Qur’an, to non-Arabic speaking Muslims, to students of Arabic, to those working on translation from Arabic, and to all admirers of the writings of the late Dr Martin Lings.

For the uninitiated, Dr. Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Siraj ad Din) passed away on 11 May 2005. He is best known for his English language biography of the Prophet Muhammad, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

He was born in Lancashire in 1909. He received his degree in English at Oxford in 1932, and became a Lecturer in Anglo-Saxon at the University of Kaunas. In 1939, he went to Egypt to study Islam and Arabic, and converted to Islam. The following year he was given a lectureship in Cairo University. He returned to the UK in 1952, and got a degree in Arabic from London University. He was a student and friend of C.S. Lewis, and in turn, became a teacher and friend to Le Gai Eaton.

From 1970-74 he was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books at the British Museum where he had been in special charge of the Qur'an manuscripts, amongst other treasures, since 1955. Besides being a well respected biographer and a translator and author of texts about Sufism, Dr. Lings was a modern day authority on William Shakespeare. During Autumn 2004, he put forth his thesis that Shakespeare may have been influenced by Sufism.

If you wish to catch a glimpse of the masterpiece, click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Of Swimming

Swimming works your whole body, improving cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time. Your cardiovascular system in particular benefits because swimming improves your body’s use of oxygen without overworking your heart.

As you become fitter and are able to swim longer, your resting heart rate and respiratory rate will be reduced, making blood flow to the heart and lungs more efficient. If you’re looking to lose weight, swimming is just the ticket. On average, a swimmer can burn as many calories in an hour as a runner who runs six miles in one hour. Simply put, some call swimming the perfect form of exercise.

Additional Health Benefits of Swimming

- Whole body conditioning: Swimming tones your upper and lower body because you’re using almost all of your major muscle groups. The best strokes for all-over body toning are the freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke.

- Low risk of injury: There is a low risk for swimming injuries because there’s no stress on your bones, joints or connective tissues due to buoyancy and the fact that you weigh 1/10th less in water. If you’re looking for a safe daily workout routine, swimming is ideal because you can rigorously work out with a reduced chance of swimming injuries. Many athletes supplement their training with swimming.

- Low-impact exercise: So many people can reap the benefits of swimming. Pregnant women benefit from swimming because it helps strengthen the shoulder and abdominal muscles, which can be strained when carrying a baby. The elderly, women who have had a mastectomy and those recovering from an injury often turn to swimming or water aerobic exercises because it’s low impact, helps relax stiff muscles and isn’t weight-bearing. Swimming also increases circulation.

- Improve blood pressure: Studies have shown that a workout routine that includes swimming can help reduce and possibly prevent high blood pressure, which lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke.

- Stress reduction: You don’t have to be a water sign in the zodiac to feel the meditative and healing properties of water. Swimming is extremely relaxing because it allows more oxygen to flow to your muscles and forces you to regulate your breathing. It’s also a great way to relieve stress. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water so it’s no wonder why some feel such a draw to the water.

Brothers & Sisters

I have been glued to the telly every late Monday nights to catch the current ABC'c drama entitled "Brothers & Sisters". It has a tight ensemble and script, led by some great actors and actresses in the business. But, best of all, the show is not pretentious and is real with all the possible problems faced by some families.

The compelling one-hour drama series, which airs on Monday nights, is about a collection of five enmeshed and somewhat damaged adult siblings and their strong but passionately devoted mother, Nora Walker (Oscar and Emmy Award winner Sally Field). The Walkers' lives have not been without challenge; romance, parenting, divorce, infidelity, addiction, war and even death have pushed each of them to the limit, but they continue to work toward living their lives as individuals, while loving each other unconditionally and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy after the loss of their larger-than-life family patriarch, William Walker.

Eldest sibling Sarah Whedon (Emmy Award nominee Rachel Griffiths) is a mother of two who left a prestigious corporate job to spend time with her family and run Ojai Foods. After finding the business in ruins, she fights to salvage what's left of her failing marriage and keep Ojai alive. Kevin (Matthew Rhys) is an openly gay lawyer who is cautiously learning about love while keeping the family out of legal trouble. Loyal middle brother Tommy Walker (Balthazar Getty) struggles to provide the emotional support needed by his beautiful wife, Julia (Sarah Jane Morris), and their vulnerable newborn daughter, Elizabeth, while risking everything to open a winery with his father's lifelong mistress, Holly Harper (Patricia Wettig). The baby of the family, Justin (Dave Annable), struggles with war trauma and addiction, while Kitty (Calista Flockhart) hits the campaign trail alongside Republican presidential candidate Senator Robert McCallister (Rob Lowe) - her boss and fiancé.

Saul Holden (Ron Rifkin) is the emotional pillar of the Walker family, struggling to keep Ojai Foods above water while grappling with his own identity. Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) is the illegitimate daughter of William Walker and Holly, who was kept secret for two decades but now seeks a way to fit into this very complex family puzzle.

So you see, it is not the usual glamorous (at least not in lifestyle) sitcom but a complicated one. And with each family problems they faced, it brings them closer together and along with it, its own charm that keeps many glued to it every Monday.

This entry was inspired by the repeated trailers on telly now. Accompanying the trailer, is a gorgeous song by Embrace entitled "Gravity". It is a wonderful song. I have made an earlier entry of this song, but I am so in love with this song that I wanna put it up here again.

Embrace the beauty of "Gravity", yet again :)

Of Whirling Dervishes

Just returned from a full-capacity performance of the Whirling Dervish at the Singapore Esplanade. It was charming and surreal, yet I have seen a more enrapturing and enchanting performance in a smaller and more cosy setting. The performance started well with an introduction of the whirl celebrating the 800th birthday of its founding father, the revered Mevlana Jalalludin Rumi. But from the many uninitiated, they have asked me what the circular movements were all about. If only they had more background knowledge, I believe they would be able to appreciate more the performance, which to the practitioners, is actually a religious act.

The Mevlevi Order is a Sufi order founded by the followers of Mevlana Jalalludin Rumi in 1273 in Konya (present-day Turkey). They are also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Dervish is a common term for an initiate of the Sufi Path. The Mevlevi sect belongs to the Sunni or orthodox mainstream of Islam. Its doctrine never developed a revolutionary strategy - and although it was occasionally criticized for its heretical ideas, it always enjoyed the respect of the officialdom.

The Mevlevi or "The Whirling Dervishes" believe in performing their dhikr in the form of a "dance" and music ceremony called the sema. The Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to the "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives at the "Perfect." He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.

The sema was practiced in the semahane (ritual hall) according to a precisely prescribed symbolic ritual with the dervished whirling in a circle around their shaykh, who is the only one circling around his axis. The dervishes wear a white gown (as a symbol of death), a wide black cloak (hirka) (as a symbol of the grave) and a high brown cap (kûlah) (as a symbol of the tombstone). The fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve. The shared similarity between all created things is the revolution of the electrons, protons, and neutrons within the atoms that constitute their basic structure. From the smallest cell to the planets and the farthest stars, everything takes part in this revolving. Thus, the Semazens, the ones who whirl, participate consciously in the shared revolution of all existence.

The rituals of the Whirling Dervishes are among the enduring as well as the most exquisite ceremonies of spirituality. The ritual whirling of the dervishes is an act of love and a drama of faith. It possesses a highly structured form within which the gentle turns become increasingly dynamic as the individual dervishes strive to achieve a state of trans. The music that accompanies the whirling from beginning to end ranges from somber to rhapsodical; its effect is intended to be mesmerizing. Chanting of poetry, rhythmic rotation, and incessant music create a synthesis which, according to the faithful, induces a feeling of soaring, of ecstasy, of mystical flight.

The semazens stand with their arms crossed, ready to begin their turn. In their erect posture, they represent the number one, testifying to God's unity. Each rotation takes them past the shaykh, who stands on a red sheep skin. This is the place of the Mevlana Rumi, and the shaykh is understood to be a channel for the divine grace. At the start of each of the four movements of the ceremony, the semazens bow to each other honoring the spirit within. As their arms unfold, the right hand opens to the skies in prayer, ready to receive God's beneficence. The left hand, upon which his gaze rests, is turned towards the earth in the gesture of bestowal.

Fix-footed, the semazen provides a point of contact with this Earth through which the divine blessings can flow. Turning from right to left, he embraces all creation as he chants the name of God within the heart. The Sema ritual consists of seven parts:

(1) It starts with the singing of the eulogy to the Prophet Muhammed (saw), who represents love. Praising him is praising the truth of God that he and all the prophets before him brought.

(2) Then follows the call of the drum and the slap of glory, calling the semazens to awaken and "Be". This begins the procession known as the Sultan-Walad Walk. It is the salutation of one soul to another, acknowledged by bowing.

(3) Then begins the Sema ritual itself. It consists of four salams or salutations. The first salam is the birth of truth by way of knowledge. The second salam expresses the rapture of witnessing the splendor of creation. The third salam is the transformation of rapture into love; the sacrifice of mind and self to love. It represents complete submission and communion with God. The fourth salam is the semazen's coming to terms with his destiny and his return to his task in creation. In the fourth salam, the shaykh enters the circling dervishes, where he assumes the place of the sun in the center of the circling planets.

(4) The Sema ends with a recitation from the Qur'an. The shaykh and dervishes complete their time together with the greeting of peace and then depart, accompanied by joyous music of their departure.

One of the beauties of this seven-centuries-old ritual is the way that it unifies the three fundamental components of man's nature; mind, emotion, and spirit, combining them in a practice and a worship that seeks the purification of all three in the turning towards Divine Unity. But most significantly, the enrichment of this earth and the well-being of humanity as a whole.

Ash Wednesday

Been absorbed reading the genious of T S Eliot today to the point of sharing with you two consecutive entries.

Born Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), he was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. He wrote the famous poems "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "The Waste Land", "The Hollow Men", "Ash Wednesday", and "Four Quartets"; the plays "Murder in the Cathedral" and "The Cocktail Party"; and the essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent".

"Ash Wednesday" is the first long poem written by Eliot after his 1927 conversion to Anglicanism. Published in 1930, this poem deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lack of faith in the past strives to move towards God.

Sometimes referred to as Eliot's "conversion poem", Ash Wednesday, with a base of Dante's Purgatorio, is richly but ambiguously allusive and deals with the aspiration to move from spiritual barrenness to hope for human salvation. The style is different from his poetry which predates his conversion. "Ash Wednesday" and the poems that followed had a more casual, melodic, and contemplative method.

Ash Wednesday
By T S Eliot

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is
nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying:

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.

At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond
Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind
over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.

Who walked between the violet and the violet
Whe walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking,

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but
spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew
And after this our exile

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny
the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season,
time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.