Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Last ten Days and Nights of Ramdan

In this blessed month of Ramadan, we have now come to the grand finale – the last ten days of Ramadan that are even more blessed than the rest of Ramadan. In it is a night that Quran tells us is better than 1000 months (yes, months – not days).

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” Narrated by al-Nasa’i, 2106; Ahmad, 8769. classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 999.

So, in preparation for the grand finale, here is a checklist of some of the things that we can all do to make the remaining days of Ramadan work to our advantage –

1) Get in high gear for the next 10 nights and days –

Time is of the essence. Every moment counts. Whatever you need to do for the next ten days to make the most in Ibada, good deeds, reciting Quran, dhikr, making dua, etc., rewards are going to be multiplied. No one knew about the importance of these days more than the prophet (saws). Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadan began, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and tie his lower garment tight. According to Ahmad and Muslim: he would strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan as he did not do at other times.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said “When Ramadan would come, the Messenger of Allah would say,

Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all. It is a blessed month, which Allah has obligated you all to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are shackled. In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.)” An-Nasa’i recorded this same Hadith.

If we lose this opportunity, we get our next opportunity next year – assuming we are still around and are in good health and shape to make use of it. Even if we are – we have the past years’ sins on our shoulders and life’s normal trials and tribulations to face the coming year. So, there is no better time to ask Allah to make all that easier NOW.

2) Get a Quran and recite as often as you can –

A few lines on this post can’t even come close to explaining the benefits and virtues of Quran. It is proven in the saheeh Sunnah that the Quran will intercede for those who read it at night, as Ahmad (6626) narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Fasting and the Quran will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say, ‘O Lord, I deprived him of his food and his desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.’ And the Quran will say: ‘I deprived him of his sleep at night so let me intercede for him.’ Then they will intercede.” Narrated by Ahmad; classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jami’, no. 3882.

Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet said,

The example of a believer who recites the Qur’an is that of a citron (a citrus fruit) which is good in taste and good in smell. And the believer who does not recite the quran is like a date which has a good taste but no smell. And the example of an impious person who recites the Qur’an is that of Ar-Rihana (an aromatic plant) which smells good but is bitter in taste.And the example of an impious person who does not recite the quran is that of a colocynth which is bitter in taste and has no smell.” (Book #93, Hadith # 649)

As is stated in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with them both), in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever recites ten aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the devout, and whoever prays a thousand aayaat (verses) in qiyaam will be recorded as one of the muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds).” (Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan. It is a hasan report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 635).

3) If your sins are holding you to move forward, this is the time to get them forgiven –

First the bad news – In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said:

A man is deprived of provision (Rizq) because of the sins that he commits.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah).

And now for the good news

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.”

4) What to say on Laylat al-Qadr –

One of the best dua’s that can be recited on Laylat al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). It was narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who classed it as saheeh, that ‘A’ishah said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah, If I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say?” He said: “Say: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are All-Forgiving and You love forgiveness so forgive me).”

5) Get in the class of the Pious People –

Allah has described the pious as follows (interpretation of the meaning):

They used to sleep but little by night (invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope). [Quran: Surah Adh-Dhariyat (17)]

And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness, [Quran: Surah Adh-Dhariyat (18)]

6) Finally……

Think of all that you need to ask Allah for and ask Him now. If you haven’t before, this is the time to connect with Him and feel closer to Him. And when you do during these last ten nights and days of this Ramadan, you would want to do this again and again – even after the month is over.

And finally, when you are in a state of prayers and worship, please open your heart for others as well and please do remember your brothers and sisters in your prayers. Remember what the Prophet said:

“The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.” Reported by Abu Daw’ud and Tirmidhi

May we all make the most of the last ten nights and days of Ramadan

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Islam and Science

By: Magdy Abd AL-Shafy

Islam is unfairly attacked and always presented as a religion of backwardness . in this short article , we will show the true face of Islam and how it ,Contrary to ancient religions ,can be hailed the religion of science ; there are many verses that urge Moslems to search and read .

Seeking science in Islam is given the main priority over any thing else, it should be the target of every Moslem since the very beginning and it should not be halted for any reason . prophet Mohummed says :Seek science since the time you are in the cradle to the time when you die "

Also , seeking science is stressed in Islam , the first revealed verse in the Holy Quran is the verse which says " Read …." , also Allah(SWT) says in the Holy Quran what means "Nun. By the pen and that which they write (therewith) " Science is the capstone of Islam , the first revealed verse means the first priority , in the second verse, Allah(SWT) swears by one of the Arabic letters " Nun " and the pen ; the letter is the symbol of the language and the pen is the symbol of knowledge . WhenAllah(SWT) swears , though He needn't to swear , this means that the thing he swears by should be given much interest and attention .

This is not the only verse that calls for reading but there are many others but for the sake of brevity we will mention some of the Holy verses and Hadiths that call for learning .The status of science and scientists is superlatively sterling in Islam ,Allah(SWT) says "Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.( Al-Zomer :9)also those scientists are the only who can understand , appreciate , glorify Allah(SWT) and fear Him ,Allah(SWT) says in this regard what means" The erudite among His bondsmen fear Allah alone. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Forgiving."( Fater :28) , science is among the many blessings that He conferred on people and because of the greatness of this blessing Allah(SWT) asks us to increase our knowledge , so He says : Then exalted be Allah, the True King! And hasten not (O Muhammad) with the Quran ere its revelation hath been perfected unto thee, and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge."(Taha:114) , the reward of the scientists on the Day of Recompense is high ranks , so Allah(SWT) says "Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have knowledge, to high ranks. Allah is informed of what ye do" , the same fact is also stressed in the Holy prophet Hadiths . ; seeking paradise is the ultimate goal in this life as there is no other choice in the afterlife , so according to the following Hadith seeking science means winning the paradise , the prophet says " Whoever makes his way in search for science ,Allah(SWT) will make for him an easy way to paradise ."

Nothing is greater than being rewarded while you are in grave but how can this be ? the following Hadith says that scientists are among those who will remain rewarded daily till the day of recompense , prophet Mohummed says "If man dies, his righteous deeds will be ended and so is the reward but this righteous deeds can be incessant if he left behind continuously-rewarded (Sadka) alms or useful science or a righteous son who would invokes Allah(SWT)'s mercy on him .( Narrated by Moslem ) , the following Hadith also puts the scientists far higher than other people "The preference of scientist over the worshipper is equal to my preference of mine over the least among you ." Also in Islam , man should seek science unmindful of its place , the prophet says " Seek science even if it is in china( china , to the early Moslem , was the furthest place ) , In Islam seeking science is worshipping , moreover it is the highest rank of worshipping , the prophet says " Science is better than worshipping." ( on condition you do the imposed duties)

Nothing can express the whole-heartedly submission toAllah(SWT)as being willfully killed for the sake of Allah , so martyrdom in Islam means a lot and the reward of a martyr is matchless , scientists are in the same rank of martyr and even above as the prophet says "Scientists ink and the blood of the martyrs will be equally rewarded on the day of Recompense "

The same concept is also stressed in the following Hadith " The similitude of the place of a scientistto the place of the worshipper is like the place of the sun to the other planets .

A scientists or learner of science whatever the amount you learn or teach will overweigh the reward of the much worshipping , the Prophet says: Little science is better than much worshipping "

the Prophet alsosays : Science helps in obeying and worshippingAllah(SWT) and the goodness in this life and the Hereafter iswith science and the evil in this life of the world and the Hereafter is with ignorance ."

The Holy Quran and science are two siblings that wherever one goes the other goes , the human history has witnessed the emerging of great scientists who were inspired by the teachings of this great religion while the world was still sleeping besmeared in the mire of ignorance .

The Holy Quran deems science so high as it is conductive to the belief inAllah(SWT) and even the Holy Quran uses science to prove its divine source ,Allah(SWT) says in the Holy Quran what means " We shall show them Our portents on the horizons and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them that it is the Truth. Doth not thy Lord suffice, since He is Witness over all things? "( Fuslat "53) ,the Holy Quran is replete with scientific facts that are compatible with modern science , for example we can read about : the Big Bang, the expansion of the universe, theBig Crunch , the magnetic columns that hold the universe , atom , pulsar , black hole , supernova , Solar Apex , rotation of the earth , death of the sun and other stars , the joining of the sun and the moon , the nature of the sun and the moon , the relativity of time , the internal waves in the deep sea , the sea set on fire , the barrier between the two different water in density , the shape of the earth , nature of clouds , mountains , evolution of embryo and fetus in wombs(embryology) and many others and many other scientific references that are compatible with science .Add to these hundreds of scientific references in the prophets sayings .The Holy Quran always addresses the human mind and deems it so high . The Holy Quran calls for searching most of modern scinces branches ,Allah(SWT) says in the Holy Quran in this regard what means: Say (O Muhammad): Travel in the land and see how He originated creation, then Allah bringeth forth the later growth. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things. "(29:20)

So the early Moslems , being inspired by the spirit of the Holy Quran , started to work their minds and they did discover and invent what our modern civilization owe to. Cities like Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo and Cordoba were the centers of civilization. Muslim scientists made tremendous progress in applied as well as theoretical Science and Technology. ‘In the ninth century, the library of the monastery of St. Gall was the largest in Europe. It boasted 36 volumes. At the same time, that of Cordoba contained over 500,000!’.The idea of the college was a concept which was borrowed from Muslims. The first colleges appeared in the Muslim world in the late 600's and early 700's. In Europe, some of the earliest colleges are those under the University of Paris and Oxford they were founded around the thirteenth century. These early European colleges were also funded by trusts similar to the Islamic ones and legal historians have traced them back to the Islamic system. The internal organization of these European colleges was strikingly similar to the Islamic ones, for example the idea of Graduate (Sahib) and undergraduate (mutafaqqih) is derived directly from Islamic terms.

C.H. Haskins said: 'The broad fact remains that the Arabs of Spain were the principal source of the new learning for Western Europe.

They are the ones who placed the fundamentals from which modern civilization advanced. Whoever reviews the 'Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace' would certainly conclude that sixty percent of the known stars are given names that are derived from Arabic. The books and works of early Muslim scholars were the main resource texts which the West benefited from, especially the Europeans who used these works during the Renaissance period. Many of these texts were used in European universities. Marquis of Dufferin and Ava said:'It is to Mussulman science, to Mussulman art, and to Mussulman literature that Europe has been in a great measure indebted for its extrication from the darkness of the Middle Ages.'

Scientific knowledge that originated in India, China and the Hellenistic world was sought out by Muslim scholars and then translated, refined, synthesized and augmented at different centers of learning in the Islamic world from where the knowledge spread to Western Europe. (History of Medicine, Arab roots of European Medicine, David W. Tschanz, MSPH, PhD. Also see: J.H. Denison said: 'In the fifth and sixth centuries the civilized world stood on the verge ofchaos. The old emotional cultures that had made civilization possible, since they had given to men a sense of unity and of reverence for their rulers, had broken down and nothing had been found adequate to take their place. It seemed then the great civilization which it had taken four thousand years to construct was on the verge of disintegration, and that mankind was likely to return to that condition of barbarism where every tribe and sect was against the next, and law and order was unknown. The old tribal sanctions had lost their power. The new sanctions created by Christianity were working division and destruction instead of unity and order. It was a time fraught with tragedy. Civilization, like a gigantic tree whose foliage had overarched the world and whose branches had borne the golden fruits of art and science and literature, stood tottering rotted to the core. Was there any emotional culture that could be brought in to gather mankind once more into unity and to save civilization? It was among these people that the man (Muhammad) was born who was to unite the whole known world of the east and south.

A Treatise on Astrolabe by Tusi, Isfahan 1505

A Treatise on Astrolabe by Tusi, Isfahan 1505

Muslims had advanced in all technical, scientific and intellectual fields. Here we will mention a few of the outstanding scholars in various fields.

It is when Europe was still in its dark ages , that out of the womb of Islam budded into the world scientists that laid the foundation of many of sciences , for the sake of brevity we give these examples :

  • Al-Khawarizmi (780-850CE) was a great scholar in the fields of mathematics, algebra, logarithms and geometry. He was perhaps one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, as, in fact, he was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. He was also the founder of Algebra. Al-Biruni (973-1050AD) was a great scholar in many fields. He wrote on topics ranging from astronomy to mathematics, mathematical geography to mechanics, pharmacology and history.
  • Al-Biruni discussed the theory of the earth rotating on its own axis six hundred years before Galileo!

The German Orientalist E. Sachau said about al-Biruni: 'He was the greatest intellectual known to man.'

  • As to medicine , Ibn Rushd (Averroes 1126-1198 CE) was an Andalusian philosopher and physician, a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics and medicine.

Ibn an-Nafees (1213-1288 CE

Ibn an-Nafees (1213-1288 CE) was a physician who is mostly famous for being the first to describe the pulmonary circulation of the blood. He discovered blood circulation before the Englishman Harvey and the Spaniard Michael Servetus by hundreds of years.

Am'maar b. Ali al-Mo'sili b. Eesa al-Kah'haal was highly skilled in ophthalmology. He invented specialized instruments used in operations, such as the "injection syringe", a hollow needle. Al-Hasan b. al-Haitham (Alhazen 965- 1040AH) was a great mathematician. He was a pioneer in optics, engineering and astronomy. According to Giambattista della Porta, Al-Hasan was the first to explain the apparent increase in the size of the moon and sun when near the horizon. His seven volume treatise on optics Kitab al- Manadhir (Book of Optics) is possibly the earliest work to use the scientific method. He used the results of experiments to test theories. Al-Mansoori and Abu Bakr ar-Razi were renowned, versatile physicians. They made fundamental and enduring contributions to the fields of medicine and philosophy.

Muwaf'faq al-Baghdadi and Abul-Qasim az-Zahrawi were renowned in dental practices. They wrote books concerning this, and put illustrative pictures of the tools used in surgical operations and how to use the tools.

In the field of geography and geology many notable scholars can be mentioned, among whom are:

Shareef al-Idrisi (1100-1165H) was a cartographer, geographer and traveler. He was renowned for his excellent maps of the world. He also invented navigational instruments. There are many Muslim scholars who participated and took part in advancing civilization..

Major Arthur Glyn Leonard said: " Do not we, who now consider ourselves on the topmost pinnacle ever reached by culture and civilization, recognize that, had it not been for the high culture, the civilization and intellectual, as the social splendors of the Arabs and soundness of their system, Europe would to this day have remained sunk in the darkness of ignorance?