The Nativity- An Islamic Glance #3 (Glad tidings and the birth of Prophet Jesus, upon him be peace)

Greetings of Peace, Mercy and Blessings upon you all…

It has been a year since I last posted a blog, and thus felt now was a fitting time to return to complete some ‘unfinished business’. This time last year I had began the story of the Nativity from an Islamic perspective. This is the third and final instalment.

So in my last blog I had discussed the virtues of Maryam and her servitude to the Masjid in Jerusalem…

The Glad tidings of a Son

It is common throughout Islamic History that before a Prophet is born, the glad tidings of their arrival is always prophesied before hand. The coming of Prophet Jesus (Isa) was revealed by Prophet John (Yahya) when Allah said to Prophet Zacharia (Zakariyyaa), ‘Allah gives you the good news of Yahya who shall confirm the word from Allah’ (Surah Aal Imran; Verse 39).

The term ‘word from Allah’ has been understood by the scholars to refer to none other than Prophet Jesus. From this we learn that the people of the land were anticipating the coming of another apostle….

Mary (Maryam) grew up within the walls of the Mosque of Jerusalem and would only leave her abode for the call of nature.Thus, she never came into contact with men or males she was unfamiliar with. The Qur’an mentions that at such times she would head towards the east (Surah Maryam; verse 16). It was during her time  that Angel Gabriel (Jibra’eel) came to her in the form of a handsome and perfectly symmetrical man as mentioned in the Qur’an (Surah Maryam; Verse 17).

Now this point in the story bears testimony to Mary’s chastity and modesty. In her presence is this strange, yet handsome man. No one else is present. Yet Mary does not even ask who he is, but rather her chastity and Taqwa (God-consciousness) shines through. She says to this strange man, even before he could say anything to her, ‘Verily! I seek refuge with the Most Merciful (Allah) from you, if you do fear Allah’. From this sentence alone we learn so much about this noble lady Mary. We firstly learn that the her stance is a stance of piety and that if this man has come with an evil intention, then she is not interested whatsoever. We secondly learn that she is seeking refuge in the Allah, through his mercy. Not wrath. Not power or might. Mercy. This is an indirect way of showing this strange man that if his intention are evil, then he still has the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. It was at this point that Angel Gabriel realised this lady’s trust in Allah was so strong, that he transformed back into his original form, as he knew she would not be overwhelmed or taken aback.

Gabriel now spoke to her, saying that he is only a messenger from the Lord who has come to give news of a pure boy. Mary became worried and questioned how she could have a son when no man has touched her nor is she an unchaste lady. Gabriel said that such a thing is easy for Allah and he then began to reassure her by describing the special qualities her son shall possess. Allah mentions this dialogue in the Qur’an in Surah Aal Imran; Verses 45, 46, 47 and 49. Allah says ‘(And mention) when the angels said “O Mary, indeed Allah give you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah; Jesus, the son of Mary- distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near (to Allah). He will speak to people in the cradle and in maturity, and will be of the righteous. And He (Allah) will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel. And (make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (who will say to them) “Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you birds from clay, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by the permission of Allah. And I cure the blind and leper, and I give life to the dead- by the permission of Allah. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses…”‘.

After conveying the glad tidings, Angel Gabriel blew into the collar of Mary and disappeared into thin air…

Birth of Jesus (peace be upon him)

It wasn’t long until Mary began to feel that she was pregnant. Worried about how her community would react to her giving birth to a child in such circumstances, she left her abode in the Mosque and withdrew herself into the wilderness. She had reached the mountains of Saraat (present-day Bethlehem), which is approximately 9 miles outside of the vicinity of Jerusalem. At this point she felt the pains of labour over come her. She could not continue and thus stopped and sat at the foot of a date palm. She began to weep for herself; saying that she wishes she had never existed and died before all of this. What will she say to her people? What will they say and do to her? ‘The daughter of the noble and pious Imran- giving birth to a child outside of wedlock!’ Mary could not bear to think of what is yet to come. It is at this point that Allah responded to Mary, through angel Gabriel. Gabriel called out to Mary saying ‘Do not grieve; your Lord provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.’ (Surah Maryam; Verse 24-25. These provisions sent from Allah satiated her and gave her strength and happiness that Allah is indeed with her. She delivered her child and held her blessed son in her lap, marvelling at this miracle and thanking Allah abundantly. Note that not once did she complain about why Allah gave her such difficulties, but rather she remained steadfast and thanked Him for His assistance and blessing.

[Many Muslim scholars and historians use this incident to try and explain the Islamic view that Jesus was born in the summer months and not during the winter i.e. December the 25th. The rationale behind this is that Allah commanded Mary to shake the tree so that ripe dates will fall. It is well known that in the areas of the Levante, the date season is within the summer months and that the date harvest usually takes place towards the end of September/beginning of October. Having said that, ultimately only Allah knows exactly when and where Prophet Jesus and all the other prophets (peace be upon them all) were born.]

Allah knew Mary still had a few lingering anxieties, and thus spoke again through Gabriel. ‘So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, “Indeed , I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to (any) man’. Allah instructed Mary to remain silent when her people question her about her son Jesus.

Mary knew Allah is with her, thus she returned to her people cradling her son, with no anxiety or fear. Upon observing the return of Mary with a new born in her grasp, the people naturally began to question and mock her. As they scolded her, they referred to her as ‘sister of Prophet Aaron’, because she was known of that noble and pious ilk. Yet now she has brought shame upon herself and her family. The people continued to ridicule her, stating how her parents never committed such acts and that she had betrayed her legacy. Yet Allah was creating and building for her a legacy.

Mary continued to hold her silence and began to point to her blessed son. The people erupted in a fit of laughter and frustration. ‘How can we speak to one who is still a baby in the cradle?’ This is when baby Jesus (peace be upon him) began to speak. Allah mentions the dialogue of baby Jesus in Surah Maryam; Verse 30-33. He says, ‘Jesus said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has blessed me wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and charity as long as I am alive. And made me dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace be upon me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive”‘. 

When the people saw and heard this miracle, they realised his birth was indeed miraculous and that Mary was blameless and pious and noble as she ever was. The news of this miracle child began to spread far and wide…

A new star in the sky

The nativity mentions a new star being seen in the sky during the birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). A similar narration has been heard from some of the companions of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The narration states that the emperor of Persia noticed a new star in the sky. His courtiers mentioned to him that such a birth of a star denotes the birth of an important and eminent person. They identified the direction of the star and the king sent a delegation of gift and perfumes to present it to this new born person.

Conclusion

That (in a nutshell) is the extremely shortened and abridged Islamic perspective on the miraculous birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him).

Peace be upon him the day he was born, the day he will die and peace be upon him the day he is raised alive…

 

The Nativity- An Islamic Glance (#2 The Virtue and Miracle of Mary)

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Asalaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh,

 

Greetings of peace and blessings to you all, and welcome to my second blog entry pertaining to The Nativity- An Islamic Glance.

As previously discussed, Mary (Peace be upon her) was the daughter of Imran and Hannah. Hannah was childless all her life and would invoke God to bless them with a child, and thus He did. Anne pledged to give this child in the service of God in particular to His house, The Mosque in Jerusalem Bait Al-Maqdis.

This blog will shed light upon the life, virtues and blessings bestowed upon Mary (Peace be upon her).

The dispute of Guardianship

Hannah was true to her word and addressed her people, telling them about her oath. The only issue at hand was that since she was young, someone will have to take care and guardianship over her during her time in the Mosque. Everyone knew that it would be an honour to take care of such a special child and thus many people stood forward to be Mary’s guardian. Prophet Zakariya [Peace be upon him (known as Zachariah in Christianity)] was the first to step forward, since he was related to Mary and her family. However, many others wanted this honour as well and thus a dispute broke out over who should be her Guardian during her time in service to Allah. And so they decided to draw lots to resolve the matter, which has two different narrations pertaining to it. The first narration states that the pens that used to write the Tawrah (also known as the Torah) were cast into the river, and a young child was instructed to draw a pen from the river thrice, and each time the name of Zakariya was drawn. The second narration mentions that several pens were cast out into the river, and the pen which went against the current would be the chosen individual. Again it was Prophet Zakariya (Peace be upon him). Regardless of narration, Allah had selected him to be the guardian and carer of Mary (Peace be upon her), and how a fitting selection, since he was a Prophet of Allah and the most knowledgeable from among the people. Not only was this a virtue and blessing for Maryam, but also for Zakariya himself, as it was Allah’s will to inspire him through Maryam, as we will come to see later on.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) spoke about Prophet Zakariya (Peace be upon him), mentioning that he was a carpenter by trade and would eat from his daily earnings. Thus Zakariya was an honest and sincere person and an example to those around him.

Zakariya built Maryam a separate room above the Mosque, where Maryam could reside and be in constant devotion to Allah. Since the associates of the Mosque were mainly men, this room of residence gave her ample room for convenience as well as privacy, thus there was no compromise in her modesty and chastity. Classically, such a room/chamber is known as a Mihraab in Arabic, derived from the root word Haaraba, the meaning of which is ‘to wage war’. Now what kind of war is being waged here? Not a war on the battle field but a war against one’s Nafs (ego or lower desires). Maryam (Peace be upon her) was implicitly fighting her human ego sacrificing her energy and strength and ultimately her life for the pleasure of Allah, by staying within the vicinity of the Mosque and worshipping Allah. And she loved it. She craved the remembrance and worship of Allah. Thus was her love that when she was unable to remain in the vicinity of the Mosque due to her monthly cycle, she would exit and head towards the East, and remember Allah whilst she watching the sun to rise. It could be said that the remembrance of Allah was her lifeblood.

The sustenance from Paradise

Prophet Zakariya (Peace be upon him) would regularly check up on Maryam (Peace be upon her) within her chamber and he would find her in constant prayer and remembrance of Allah. He also marvelled at the fact that every time he entered the chamber, he found her in the presence of food and sustenance, in particular fruits which were not in season and thus not readily available within Jerusalem and Canaan. It’s not as though they had facilities to store and preserve such food. He was intrigued and thus one day questioned her about it, which Allah talks about in the Qur’an. He says (about Zakariya) ‘Every time he entered the chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said ‘Oh Maryam! From where have you received this?’ She said ‘From Allah. Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without any limit’ (Chapter 3, verse 37)

Notice how Maryam doesn’t claim to have a lofty status or rank in the eyes of Allah, but rather she emphasises that it is all from Allah, and that he gives to whom he wills without any restrictions. So she is teaching and inspiring Zakariya to invoke Allah and beseech him, since he is The Giver. Maryam’s reply has a deep impact on Zakariya and he invokes Allah there and then for a yearning he has had for many years. He learns that rather than him asking Maryam to pray for him, he himself should turn to Allah and ask him for that which he seeks, Allah says in the Qur’an ‘At that time Zakariya invoked his Lord, saying: Oh my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocations.’ (Chapter 3, verse 38)

Zakariya prayed for a child, since he and his wife did not have any children. Zakariya was an elderly man now, yet the words of Maryam increased his conviction in Allah hearing his pleas, regardless of his age. And thus, once Zakariya was stood in prayer, an angel called out to him saying ‘Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John) confirming in the Word of Allah (i.e. Jesus), noble, keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous.’ (Chapter 3, verse 40) From this we learn that Allah is The All-Seeing and All-Hearing, and The Bestower of bounties upon his righteous servants. Regardless of our situation or condition, we should ask him and place our trust in his will.

We also learn how all the Prophets are beautifully connected and related, as well as how each one confirms and prophesises the coming of the next Prophet. All of this relates back to the verse in The Qur’an where Allah mentions how all the Prophets are connected through family, some offspring from others. The story of each prophet is not in isolation, but rather they are connected to the lives of each other; to the lives of their parents and forefathers. They are all organically intertwined and subtlety dependent on one another, because after all, the Prophets are brothers of each other. They were sent with the same message; same call; same intention. To ignite the dead hearts of mankind and rotate them towards The Light and Truth, being God. Peace be upon each and every single one of them.

In my next blog entry I shall discuss the glad tidings of a pure son given to Maryam (Peace be upon him), as well as the miraculous birth of this son (Peace be upon him the day he was born, the day he will die and the day he will be resurrected).

Thank you for reading and JazakumAllahu Khairan

The Nativity- An Islamic Glance (#1 The Lineage and Birth of Mary)

Maryam 2

Greeting of Peace, Mercy and Blessings to you all,

I apologise for the lack of blogging over the last few months; I’ve been extremely busy and caught up in my own world I suppose.

Anyway… it’s that time of the year again. ‘Tis the season to be jolly’ as they say. Yes, it’s Christmas. A time of good cheer and good will towards our kith and kin. I for one do not celebrate Christmas, since I’m a Muslim. However, being born and bred in the UK I would be lying if I said I wasn’t familiar with the seasonal festivities, TV Christmas specials and Boxing Day Sales which happen around about this time of year. Growing up as a child, we would have our ‘Christmas Dinner’ at school (and yes, it was Halaal) as well as having the annual Nativity Play.

Now I’d like to put all of that to one side and focus on the supposed ‘nucleus’ or ‘epicentre’ of Christmas. The Nativity, or in other words, the birth of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him).

In Modern Christian theology the nativity revolves around the 25th of December, Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus Christ. (Please note my usage of the word ‘Christ’. This term isn’t alien to Islam. But rather, it is used by God in the Qur’an. The Arabic equivalent being Maseeh, which means ‘Christ/The Anointed’.) It also includes the 3 wise men, bringing precious gifts for Jesus. We are all too familiar with the image of a stable in the midst of snow; with baby Jesus laying in a manger, surrounded by all these people.

Before I continue, I’d firstly like to apologise if I’ve made any mistakes or errors above in giving a brief overview of the nativity. That was not my intention, nor do I intend to offend anybody. These series of blog entries are not to poke holes or ridicule the Christian Faith, but rather to give an account of the Nativity from an Islamic perspective. I hope that these entries will help develop understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs, as well as develop a deeper and more comprehensive appreciation of this amazing and multi-faceted personality; Jesus, The Prophet, The Anointed (Peace be upon him).

Mary; Her lineage and birth

Before commenting on the birth of Prophet Jesus, also known as Isa in Arabic (Peace be upon him), let’s look at the birth of his noble mother, Virgin Mary (known as Maryam in Arabic). She was the daughter of Joachim and Anne (known as Imran and Hannah in Islam). Their Family tree can be traced back to Prophet David (known as Dawud in Islam) Peace be upon all the aforementioned].

This lineage is such a blessed and noble lineage that God mentions it in the Qur’an. It states: Allah chose Adam, Nuh (Noah), the family of Ibrahim (Abraham) and the family of Imran (Joachim) above the ‘Alameen (All the worlds) of their times. Descendants, some of them from others, and Allah hears all and knows all.” Chapter 3, Verses 33-34.

Allah attests to the virtue of the lineage of Imran, by naming a whole chapter of the Qur’an after it, titled ‘The Family of Imran’.

Hannah was barren and thus childless. Yet, she and Imran longed for a child and would regularly pray to Allah to bless them with offspring. Imran was the leader of the people, and they too longed that their leader have an offspring to continue their parents’ legacy. One day, Hannah saw a bird feeding and tending to her young. Overwhelmed by her emotion, she invoked Allah to bless her with a child, even then in her ripe age. Allah accept her prayer, and thus Imran and Hannah conceived a child.  When she felt the movement of the child in her womb, Hannah and Imran praised Allah for this bounty and blessing bestowed upon them. The people of Imran were overjoyed at this great occasion and praised Allah for his infinite blessing and kindness. Out of gratitude and thanks to Allah, Hannah swore an oath that this child will be given in His service; to praise him and glorify him during its lifetime.

Her implicit want was a male child who will look after the Mosque Bayt Al-Maqdis, also known as Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), per tradition at the time. The child would maintain and take care of the Mosque and praise Allah throughout their residence there. Such a task would have been complicated for a female, since the main delegations and associates of the Mosque were male thus the atmosphere would be attuned to a male, and also a female would have to leave the vicinity of the Mosque during her monthly cycle, which would make it difficult for her to attend to the daily maintenance needs. With all this in mind, Hannah and Imran desperately wanted a son, as did their people, since they hoped that the birth of a son could potentially be the birth of a prophet and a source of blessing and guidance for them, akin to the father of the child and their leader Prophet Imran.

However, tragedy strikes. Imran dies a sudden death. Hannah and the people of Imran are deeply upset and distraught that he won’t have the opportunity to witness the birth of his child he has been praying for all of these years. Thus he left behind a widow and unborn child.

Now any solace that Hannah could draw upon, would be the birth of a son who could fulfil her oath. However, she finds that she has given birth to a girl. In her disappointment, who can she turn to other than Allah? In the Qur’an it mentions Hannah invoking Allah, saying ‘My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah.’ (Chapter 3, verse 36).

Hannah complained to Allah in such a way, since she was expecting her child to be a boy, yet she named her Maryam and prayed such a prayer for her that Allah readily accepted it, and blessed her through this prayer. Thus Maryam and her son Prophet Isa were protected from the whispers and enticement of Satan. Allah knew that Hannah yearned for a son. He also knew that she will give birth to a girl. This was Allah’s ultimate plan all along and his plan is perfect and complete.

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) spoke about the purity of Mary and Jesus, and how Allah accepted the prayer of Mary’s mother Hannah. He said that No son of Adam shall be born unless that he should be afflicted (touched) by the Satan at the hour of birth, when he initiates his life crying out of the Satan’s touch, except Maryam and her son.’ (Recorded in Bukhari). There are a number of such narrations from Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), which attest to the virtue and status of Maryam and Isa in Islam.

My next entry will discuss the life and miracles of Virgin Mary and how she was bestowed with the news of a miraculous son.

Thank you and JazakumAllahu Khairan for reading.

The Scholar’s Scribe

Greets of Peace to you all.

I pray that you are all dandy.

Apologies for not blogging for a while, i guess I’ve been sort of caught up in my own world. I thought I’d share this piece I wrote a while ago.

Enjoy…

Tread a path where angel wings lower in respect,

Forgiveness flowing with each breath from those who tread on land and ocean; in its depth,

For the one who seeks pearls of wisdom; from the cradle of birth till crimson is purged from his nervous system,

Sip at the oasis of Knowledge,

Quench it with a pen tip,

Drink from the fountain of Scholarship,

Retrieving the deep and dark promises from the Shaykh’s bleeding sarcophagus,

An obligation of men: To comprehend that which God did send,

Decipher scripts till you can paint an enlightened pic…papyrus, ink.

Light a lantern; ignite a wick, inspire a kid, let a few lifeless, ‘live’

A scholar shared a thought with I ‘Dunya’s though I lay in a prison’

Now shackles and cages plays with his vision, straining his ligaments, pain is like militants blading the innocent; souls exit, escape with incisions,

Death lives…

Saheeh.

Like an authentic chain of transmission…

Meaning of Sacrifice & Preservation

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‘I have a garden in the depths of the desert, and oh how beautiful she is,

However you will never find me frolicking amongst her flowers,

You will find me laid outside, bleeding; jabbed and pierced by her thorns,

Protecting her beauty.

– Unknown Persian Poet-

This is what sacrifice is, to protect and preserve that which you cherish…

My Ode to Chocolate

chocs

My friends and I were messing around writing pieces on chocolate. Here is mine:

(Some of it isn’t very serious, as well as having pretty poor structure and rhyme-scheme. But it was for nothing more than a laugh. Enjoy.)

Galaxy, you are the reason for my anarchy,

Sweeter than these words my Ballad speaks,

From Mars to the Milky Way,

I start with a bar of you to chew each and everyday,

Shimmering like a knight clad in armour,

You shall be served at my Wedding as the main course meal, dessert and starter,

I become intoxicated with your enticing taste,

Your texture smooth as a shining blade,

Indeed a temptress; you are so tempting,

Like Paracetamol; I take two when my head spins,

People say ‘Diary Milk and Snickers are better’,

 But to me they are just shouting nonsense,

Shall I fall in love?

No way, I’d rather drown in Chocolate…

The virtue and blessing in the family of Abu Bakr RadiAllahu ‘anhu

Tayammum

The Tayammum (Dry Ablution) is quite an interesting phenomena. The literal meaning of Tayammum is ‘aim’ or ‘purpose’ while its jurisprudential meaning refers to the removal of the state of impurity via the usage of clean earth, in a scenario where water is not an option as a primary purifying agent.

From the Qur’an we understand that Allah sent down water as a purifying agent, and that water in itself is naturally pure and purifying. This same quality cannot be given directly to soil or earth. That is why Allah tells us in the Qur’an to seek ‘pure soil’ to perform Tayammum with.

Now the incident behind the Qur’anic legislation of Tayammum is testimony to the virtue and blessing in the family of Abu Bakr (RadiAllahu ‘ahu). The story is as follows:

The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was on a journey, and they reached a place known as Baida. At this place, The mother of the Believers, Aisha (RadiAllahu ‘anha) noticed that a bracelet of hers had gone missing. Knowing the sentimental value it held to Aisha and her attachment to it, the Prophet decided that they shall camp here for a short period of time to try and locate the lost jewellery. If it wasn’t located soon, they would continue forth with their journey, since it was not the habit of the Prophet to camp for long periods at a place other than their place of destination.

So The Messenger of Allah and his companions began their search of this bracelet. As they continued to search, salah time began to draw nearer and nearer, and the problem was that there was no water available at this place, nor did anyone travel with water with them. There was slight confusion among the sahaba; as salah time crept in many of them began to pray without wudhu, whilst others decided not to pray. Perplexed, they decided to approach Abu Bakr (RadiAllahu ‘anhu) and reproach him for the actions of his daughter Aisha. They blamed her for putting them in this very difficult situation.

Abu Bakr decided to have a word with Aisha about this. He went to his daughter and poked her in her thigh for causing this distress and difficult upon the Muslims. Even though she was his daughter and the wife of The Messenger of Allah, he still had the interests and welfare of the believers at heart. He scolded his daughter for her behaviour . Aisha could not say anything back or move from her place, since the Prophet was sleeping on her lap.  The Prophet was asleep at this time, so when he woke up he enquired about all this commotion he saw his companions in. His companions told him about the difficulties they were in due to Aisha’s lost jewellery. The Prophet informed them that Allah had just revealed verses to him pertaining to this very matter:

O you who believe! … If you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you has come from toilet, or you have `touched’ your women and you cannot find water, then you should do Tayammum on the pure earth by wiping a part of your face and your hands.” (4:43)

The exasperation and hostility towards Abu Bakr and his daughter had all of a sudden transformed to wonderment, admiration and delight. Many of those who had complained to Abu Bakr now returned to him saying ‘That was not the first blessing from the family of Abu Bakr.’ To make matters even better, as the Muslims began to continue with their journey, they had found that Mother Aisha’s bracelet had been under the camel she was sitting all this time!!!

It’s amazing how the actions of the household of Abu Bakr was a means of benefit for the Muslims, even till this day.

Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

Braincell Feast (Random Piece)

Eaten alive,
Demons grip my sleeve, I grit my teeth as they feed on my mind,
Clock The pristine belief in my eyes,
Never flee from Police in The Street, Deceive radars with a sweep,
Like a ‘Miskeen’ in the Night,
You’re extreme with the hype, I just kick back relax and unleash Heat with a Mic,
Intrigue with my wordplay, Exceeding the work rate,
As I’m increasing the birth-rate of my ingenious rhymes…

Bent thoughts,
Brain cells tend to flex when my pen talks,
Cleft a nerve end with Perspex and I bend jaws,
Torment with a forcep in a clenched paw,
So for tonight’s chore, I’m about to turn life form, to no more than a cell wall.

When you come to learn from this book, The Qur’an, approach it in the condition of The Prophet (saw); unlettered. Without knowledge. Do not approach it as a learned person, but rather approach it with the intention to learn from it. Since this book wasn’t revealed to the learned or intellectuals, like Aristotle or Ibn Sina…

Shaykh Muhammad Akram Al-Nadwi

A flower from among the flowers…

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I start in the name of The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful; all praise and glory be to Him. And I continue with salutations upon salutations to His Most Beloved, The Leader of all The Prophets, Our Master and Our Intercessor on the Day of Judgement Muhammad (saw). And I forward his greetings of glad tidings to all those who strive to adopt perfection in following this most noble path of his, till time draws to a close and Yawmul Qiyamah dawns upon us…

Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh,

It was an average Summer’s day. The sun was high in the sky and there was not a whisper of a cloud in sight. I had left the house to purchase some groceries from the local shop. If I remember correctly, it was the day of Jumu’ah, so virtue and blessings were in abundance.

As everyone knows, it is during the summer when many flowers begin to bloom and display their beautiful artistry of colours and emanate their most sweet fragrances. I’m not exactly a ‘flowery’ person, so all that about the flowers blooming etc. doesn’t really apply to me. However, little did I know that in a matter of a few minutes I would witness such a virtuous flower, not from the flower gardens of this world, but from a garden which our eyes have never seen and our minds could never conjure nor comprehend.

So I walked into the shop and set about my business collecting the groceries I needed to buy. A little girl donning a hijab was stood next to me, no older than 7 or 8 years old. She stood for a while, staring up at the various drinks held in the drink’s fridge. A little girl looking for which drink to buy on a summer’s day; I thought nothing of it. I glanced at this little girl a couple of times. She seemed slightly worried and perplexed for some reason or another.

She grabbed a fizzy drink’s can and turns to the shopkeeper asking ‘Is this Halaal?’. I assumed that her mother was close at hand, and that she wanted to know if this was drinkable before putting it into her shopping basket. The shopkeeper was not a muslim, so he replied saying that he wasn’t sure. Again, this little girl picked up another can and repeats the question. ‘Excuse me, is this Halaal?’. The shop keeper again replied ‘Errr, I’m not sure’.

I looked at the face of this little girl again. I could see she was becoming overwhelmed by the worry that she may be purchasing and consuming something which is potentially not permissible. Never before have I seen an adult, let alone a child, look so worried about differentiating between Halal and Haraam.

The girl turned to me noticing that I was Muslim and began to ask me the same question.

So I decided to intervene. I explained to the shop keeper that Halaal basically is a religious condition for Muslims where the foodstuffs are prepared as prescribed by Muslim Law. The shopkeeper was glad that I explained to him and said that he was glad to have learnt something new. Now I turned to the girl and told her that the drink she had selected was halaal, and that the drinks in this fridge are all Halaal, since they don’t contain any forms of Alcohol or impermissible substances.

Relieved, she happily paid for her drink and skipped out the shop to continue with her innocent childhood, perhaps never to remember this spectacle again. On the other hand, I have not forgotten and can not forget this beautiful scenario. A scenario which made my heart melt in awe and admiration.

An 8 year old girl, who has such a level of awe and fear of God that she questions each drink she holds in her hand, and that there’s a possibility that by consuming this drink I may be violating a command of God. This form of abstinence is a Principle of Islam and a common trait of those who have little concern about this Dunya or in other words; the ascetics. Never have I seen even among the pious adults in our community, such behaviour. It could be naivety or paranoia, I don’t know and I don’t care. To see such noble and virtuous disposition in someone so fair in the year…nothing but a Prophetic Narration springs to mind:

‘A virtuous child is a flower from among the flowers of Paradise’

Indeed I had witnessed and smelt the fragrance of Paradise emanate from the piety of that flower in that grocery store.

I pray that Allah rewards the parents of this girl for teaching her such admirable etiquettes, and may He raise their ranks in Jannah. I pray that Allah keeps this girl steadfast upon the Religion and increases her in her piety. May she be her parents reward on Yawmul Qiyamah, and may she become a forerunner and an example for the Muslims of today and tomorrow.

Ameen Ya Rabb…