Rafed English

Islamic Culture and Religious Studies Book - Volume 1

Islamic Culture and Religious Studies Book - Volume 1


by :

A Group of Shi'a Scholars

In The Name Of Allah (S.W.T.), the Beneficent, the Merciful

TAWHEED : Knowing God and Worshipping Him

A Human being is constantly in search of knowing the Truth. He explores different ways in which to confirm his beliefs and when he succeeds in going back to his FITRA (Nature), he eventually reaches the point where he realises the need of a Master and Creator - Allah (S.W.T.).

In the Islamic beliefs (Aqaidi-Islami), 'To Know God' is one of the fundamental issues for Muslims. It is only after proving His existence that a Muslim can believe in His divine system of Law and Order. All other moral, spiritual and religious values are included in the essence of Tawheed (Oneness) of Allah (S.W.T.).

In order to understand Tawheed and be able to submit to Him, it becomes necessary for us all to undertake the spiritual journey towards Imaan (Faith) and Taqwa (Piety). A person might believe that this is a difficult path to walk on but it not impossible. All it requires is a strong urge to know the great Maker of the Universe!

We must remember that by learning the true Islam, we will be able to practise its valuable teachings.

It is necessary for us to understand that if we want to reach perfection in both Imaan and Amal-e-Saaleh (Good Actions), we have to study the lives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and Infallible Aimmah (a.s.).

In this book, each and every chapter is directed towards appreciating the deeper meaning of Tawheed (Absolute Oneness of Allah (S.W.T.)). The ideas and rules we will study are all ways in which to discover the truth and when we learn Akhlaaq (Moral Excellence) it is because our good conduct will allow us to reach out to other people around the world and call them back to the Truth.

We need to strive to have a deep understanding of our Lord. We also need to reflect upon the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. Remember, our main aim in studying the following chapters is to create a strong bond with Allah (S.W.T.)!

May He make us all successful in this aim. Ameen.

My class teacher is one of the best teachers in our school. She is kind, friendly and has the most beautiful smile! She always makes sure that we understand what she is teaching and never gets angry no matter how many questions we ask! Mrs. Jawad is my favourite teacher!

Before she begins any lesson, Mrs. Jawad always recites Bismillahir Rahmaan Rahim. It is a verse from the Holy Qur'an meaning 'In the Name of Allah (S.W.T.), the Most Kind, the Most Merciful' and when we hear it reminds of our Creator and our purpose in studying. This makes it easier to concentrate and understand what she is teaching us. Isn't it amazing what strength one Holy verse can give us?

The other day, Mrs. Jawad asked us, "Children! Do you think it would be a good idea to study about ourselves?"

We all replied, "Yes!"

She smiled and told us, "Well then, let's go out and investigate the Human Body!" How excited we were as we gathered our books, drawing papers and pencils! Soon we were set to go. As we walked out of the school gates, we met a builder and his crew at work.

We greeted the men and then Mrs. Jawad drew our attention to the tall building next to our school and said, "Look at the building. See all the construction work? Come a little closer and see how the bricks stick to one another and form strong walls.

Isn't it amazing? You can obviously see that the workmen are very skilled and the design must be that of a gifted architect. This is just an example of the talent it takes to plan and create anything. When the building is completed, it will look even better that it does today!"

As we were studying the building in a new light, she continued, "Did you ever think of your own bodies and how delicate everything inside you is? What about the various processes that go and the parts that work like big machines every second? Think about it for a moment…

"Can you remember the names of each and every organ of your body? Can you imagine the cells that are within your body? You all know that cells cannot be seen by our naked eyes, they can only be seen through a microscope because they are so tiny, and yet, they are so important that without them we would not be alive!

"My dears! Do you know how each cell works? Do you know that each one has its own unique shape and function? Yes! It does! The white blood cells and the red blood cells are different but at the same time, they work together in perfect harmony and do their task so well, it is mind-boggling!"

By now, we were all captivated by what she was saying and each one of us was straining to hear her soft voice above the noises from the construction site. Mrs. Jawad looked at all of us and asked, "Have you thought about the more complex systems in your body, like the nervous and digestive systems?

Have you ever thought of how many muscles contract and expand in our bodies when we perform the simplest actions? How about the hundreds of messages that are sent to the brain all the time, which allow us to co- ordinate our actions so easily? Sub'haana-Allah! Glory belongs only to Allah (S.W.T.)! "Isn't it really amazing how complex our bodies are and how they work! When you hurt yourself, the cells in your body immediately react to cure the wound!

"Therefore, dear children, what do you understand from all this? What do you learn from comparing the construction of the building with your bodily functions?

Don't you think that just like the building there is a Master Planner behind the workings of your body? And is this Planner anyone other than the Supreme Creator who has designed everything - big and small - so perfectly in the universe?

"When we realise and appreciate Allah (S.W.T.)'s favours, then we understand that it is our duty to show obedience and gratitude to our Merciful Creator.

"Children! I am very happy that we had this lesson today. I hope what we have learnt will show you the importance of a Creator. Through such simple examples we can increase our faith and certainty in our Supreme Lord, Insha Allah."

After this we all headed back to class filled with thoughts about the wonderful things Allah (S.W.T.) has created, most importantly, ourselves!

A Holy Verse

The Qur'an says:

"And in the earth are signs for those who are sure in conviction, and also in your ownselves; will you then not see? …" Sura Zaariaat, Verses 20 & 21

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT …

1. We, as Allah (S.W.T.)'s creation, must try to learn about and investigate the human anatomy.

2. We need to find out more about the functions of various cells in our body.

3. As Muslims, it is our duty to Allah (S.W.T.) is to:

a) Show thanks for His countless favours and b) Try to follow His divine path even in simple ways.

Think and Answer

Name the smallest organ in the human body.
Name 5 different body cells and describe their characteristics and functions.
How would you recognise your Creator from the examples discussed in the lesson?

What is our duty towards our Kind Lord?

ANECDOTE : FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE SUN

A young man once asked a Wise Teacher, "Why is it that the sun is so bright and charming and yet no one has ever fallen in love with it?"

The Wise Teacher replied: "It is because, it is seen every day in most places. Where it is not seen often, it is really loved and anxiously awaited."

My uncle Ali is a farmer. He loves his job and works tirelessly day and night on his land. "Farming is the best of occupations," he often says.

It was a fine morning in spring, when my uncle asked us to join him and our Aunt Sarah for a picnic. Fatemah - my sister - and I were very excited to visit them at their farm. What an awesome sight! The flowers and the roses in full bloom were beautiful. The air was fresh, the sun was bright and the sky a clear, cloudless blue. Everything seemed perfect for our picnic that day.

Uncle Ali was sitting in the middle of their small garden preparing hot cocoa as we played around him when suddenly heavy, grey clouds appeared from nowhere! The sky turned dark and angry and it began to pour! By the time we managed to grab our things and rush to the cottage, we were totally drenched! What a drastic change in the weather!

Once in the cottage, we quickly changed into dry clothes and then stared out the window at the sheets of rain as they fell. We felt let down and began to complain about the storm that had ruined our picnic.

I went to sit next to Uncle Ali who was setting up the hot cocoa again and grumbled, "Uncle, why of all the days did it have to rain today?"

Fatemah, who was still at the window, turned when she heard my question. "Oh, Hassan! Why do you ask such silly questions! It's raining and our picnic is spoilt, what does it matter why it rained?"

Aunt Sarah came over and put her arm around Fatemah. "Don't worry, dear," she consoled her. "Be patient and I'm sure the storm will clear."

Uncle Ali then spoke again as he poured out the hot milk into four mugs. "In the meantime, why don't I answer the question you asked, Hassan? It was a very good one ..."

We always enjoyed the stories that Uncle told us and so we huddled under the blankets Aunt Sarah brought and with mugs of steaming cocoa we settled down around him. He began:

"Children, tell me, do you think we would be able to get food, milk, vegetables, fruits and other things without rain on the earth? The wonderful rain makes the crops that we eat grow and also nourishes the plants that feed the animals. From the animals we then get meat, milk and the other products we use in our daily lives. What would happen to farms and cattle without rain? And what about drinking water? Without rain, we would have a difficult time finding water to quench our thirsts with! Rain helps us to get the basic necessities of life, without which we would certainly die."

"I can understand that we need rain." I replied. " But, why did it have to rain today when we had planned to play outside and have some fun?"

Uncle Ali smiled again, " Hassan, that is the Will of Allah (S.W.T.). He knows best whether the land needed rain or not. Surely you couldn't expect him to put off what others need just because of our fun? It is at times like this when He wants to see our patience and calmness."

I realised how unreasonable I had been. Embarrassed, I looked at the floor. Suddenly, Fatemah asked, "Aunt Sarah, how does rain fall and where does it come from?"

I was interested in knowing this too, so both Fatemah and I listened quietly as Aunt Sarah explained the wonderful system of the water cycle. At the end she recited verse 164 of Sura Baqara that says:

"Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alteration of night and day, and in the ships that sail in the sea with that which is of use to men, and in the water which Allah (S.W.T.) sends down from the skies thereby giving life to the earth after its death, and scattering therein (every kind of) animal, and in the changing of the winds and the clouds controlled for service between the heavens and the earth:

surely there are signs (of Allah (S.W.T.)'s Rule) for the people who understand." As we thought about the verse, we realised that Almighty God has designed this magnificent universe through His Power and Knowledge and He controls everything.

Uncle Ali was very happy to see that we were so interested in what he and Aunt Sarah had said. "Keep it up!" he told us. "You have been able to learn a lot of things today. Now you can understand that Allah (S.W.T.) works in mysterious ways, but always for the good of His creatures."

We smiled at him and thanked him and Aunt Sarah for telling us all the amazing things they had.

"Look the sun is out again!" Fatemah exclaimed, pointing out the window. She was right! The rain had stopped and the sun was shining through the clouds that were already clearing up. So we were able to have our day out after all and lucky enough to have learnt more about Allah (S.W.T.) at the same time! Alhamdulillah! Allah (S.W.T.) worked in a mysterious way to teach us more about Himself!

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ...

1. One of the most amazing things in the world is the water cycle. A simple explanation of the cycle is as follows:

The sun heats the surfaces of large bodies of water and this cause evaporation to occur. When the warm air filled with this moisture rises up to the sky, it cools in the low temperatures there, forming what we call clouds. Winds normally blow these clouds inland and when the temperatures are low enough for the moisture to turn back into water, it falls to earth as rain. Some of this rain gives the soil important nutrients and revives the plants and the rest falls back into the oceans and rivers.

Then the cycle begins again! Can you imagine what perfect planning is required to make sure that all these different forces of nature work in perfect harmony and co-ordination?

2. From the above we can see that Allah (S.W.T.) in His perfect Knowledge and Wisdom controls all the universal systems for the well being of His creations. This is why we need a Creator who is absolutely perfect and independent. Allah (S.W.T.)'s work is all in perfect balance.

3. Whatever is in the Heavens, and the Earth and other extra-terrestrial worlds, are the glorious signs of Allah (S.W.T.). We only need think about them to realise it. So next time, you find yourself looking at the world around you, stop for a few minutes and try to see Allah (S.W.T.)'s signature in the wonders you see!

Think and Answer

1. Give some examples of God's perfection and how He controls the world.

2. How can you learn and appreciate Allah (S.W.T.)'s Greatness?

3. Why did Uncle Ali have to explain to his niece and nephew about the formation of rain and its importance to the earth?

4. What do you understand from verse 164, Sura Baqara in the Holy Qur'an?

5. How does the above-mentioned verse show us Allah (S.W.T.)'s Power and Greatness?

Introduction to Chapter Two

In The Name Of Allah (S.W.T.), the Beneficent, the Merciful

MA'AD

The Life in the Hereafter

There is a great need for us to understand that human beings are created for a sacred goal in this world. This is the world for actions and it is our continuous purpose to try and understand the philosophy of this life.

Here are a few fundamental points that we must know to begin with:

1. We as human beings have not been created in vain and have a specific, sacred goal in life.

2. All other creations in this universe have been made for the purpose of serving human beings and also to beautify the awesome universe.

3. In this world, we have been given an opportunity to sow the seeds of good actions. Our harvest will follow in the life after death and the hereafter. All actions - whether good or bad - performed by human beings will receive their deserving compensation. The good deeds that one does will turn into beautiful rewards. On the other hand, when a person does anything bad he will obviously reap punishment in the life of the hereafter.

In this chapter, we will study about the nature and the need of the great event of the Day of Judgement. We will also familiarize ourselves with what Allah (S.W.T.)'s plan for this Day is.By knowing, appreciating and fully understanding the holy aims of Allah (S.W.T.), we will be better equipped to serve Him in the best possible manner.

In our discussion, we will study the meaning of death and the concept of Shahaadat (Martyrdom). Are they different names for the same thing? Hardly! Martyrdom is a most noble choice made by those who wish to taste the sweetness of Shahaadat.

Through all this, we will see that those who work hard in this life and try to do good will definitely see the results of their efforts. One may not see the fruits immediately but it is important to fully trust Allah (S.W.T.) and place our hope and confidence in Him.

Finally, we will read parts of the "Will of a Martyr". In this, we will see how a martyr prepares himself to remain firm and take up all sorts of challenges just to gain the nearness of Allah (S.W.T.).

Summer was leaving and the warm colours and chill breezes told us that autumn was around the corner. The week before school opened, Uncle Ali invited us to join him on his farm for the long weekend.

We started our journey early in the morning. By the time we reached the orchards, the sun was high and bright and the sky was clear. As we walked past the trees towards the cottage, we could see large, ripe apples ready for picking. The other trees in the distance looked equally heavy with healthy fruit.

Uncle Ali had seen us arrive and he opened the door before we even had a chance to knock. "Welcome!" he said heartily. "I see you are nice and early."

After the usual greetings and hugs, we settled down to breakfast all together. Aunt Sarah set down a large tray, full of fresh, rosy red apples, on the table and then went to fetch the tea. Uncle Ali smiled warmly at all of us and then gestured towards the fruit.

"I thank Allah (S.W.T.) for accepting my hard work and rewarding me with good results this year. The trees in the orchards are full of similar colourful gifts from the Almighty." Then he looked at Fatemah and me and asked, "Do you remember the last time you came over in spring?

Do you remember how annoyed and upset you were because of the sudden rain? Well, I am sure you have realised that if it hadn't rained during last spring, we wouldn't have seen our plants grow and our trees wouldn't have had such lovely fruits.

When you eat and enjoy the juicy apples, let it remind you of the rains!" We nodded as we reached out for an apple each. Neither of us had forgotten what Uncle and Aunt had taught us that day and we hoped we would get a chance to learn something new on this visit too.

As we munched on our apples and waited for the tea, Uncle Ali gave us some magazines to read. We pored over them while he and Daddy talked. I was going through one of the magazines when I came across a page that read: ' The Will of a Martyr'.

I was reading the article and did not notice that Aunt Sarah had brought the tea. Seeing how engrossed I was in the magazine, she called out "What are you reading, Hassan? Why don't you read it aloud to us."

"It is a very interesting article about martyrdom," I replied. "This is how it begins: 'And do not think those who are slain in the way of Allah (S.W.T.) are dead, nay, they are alive and Allah (S.W.T.) sustains them…' That is an ayat from the Holy Qur'an, isn't it?" I asked after quoting the verse.

"Yes, it is," my aunt agreed. "What else does the article say?"

"Well, it is a Martyr's will that he left behind for his mother. It is too long to read out entirely but I liked one particular paragraph," I answered. "Listen to this :

'… How beautiful it is to become a Shaheed in the way of Allah (S.W.T.). Its fragrance is like a tulip. Yes! It is indeed a road of resistance and patience in defending Islam and its enemies. One may become a Shaheed by seeking God's guidance and the teachings of the Holy Qur'an.

In case I am blessed with such an honourable status - that of a shaheed - my deepest congratulations will be to my beloved mother as it is she who taught me and encouraged me to follow that sublime path. Indeed! I shall be received as a special guest of Allah (S.W.T.).'"

There was a moment of silence when I finished reading out the passage. How beautiful it sounded and what confidence the Martyr had in Allah (S.W.T.). Rather than sounding scared of what was to face him, the Martyr spoke with eagerness to meet this fate! I wondered at his attitude.

Even as we sat down to eat, thoughts about what I had read kept running through my mind. Finally, when we had eaten and my mother and aunt were in the kitchen, I sat down near Uncle Ali. Seeing that he was not very busy, I asked him softly, "Uncle! I have been thinking during breakfast. Tell me, how does a person attain martyrdom and seek Allah (S.W.T.)'s pleasure in the way of Islam?" My Uncle looked intently at me.

"Hassan, in order to find an answer to that, you must first ask yourself some important questions. Ask yourself, who are you? Why were you born? What is the purpose of this life? Why do you have to work so hard in this world and expect the results much later, that is, in the Aakhera? Why has Allah (S.W.T.) created some things that the naked eye can see and others that cannot be seen nor perceived?"

He paused for a while to let the questions sink. Then he continued, "Allah (S.W.T.) has created all these things - seen and unseen - so that as human beings, we may benefit from them not only physically but also spiritually because they remind us of His Blessings and allow us to realise His Greatness.

"When we understand what a Magnificent Creator He is, we then seek nearness to Him and want to please Him because He deserves to be pleased. This makes us prepare more eagerly for death and the life after death.

"You see, Death is the next stage of life, leading us to another world, which is eternal. Do you think that all our actions and good deeds in this world will go in vain? Aren't we going to earn the fruits of our hard work in the next world? Doesn't this encourage us to find out more about death itself? For a true believer, the life after death is the best place since it allows him to be closer to Allah (S.W.T.), which is his dearest wish. This is why he looks forward to it so much."

As Uncle Ali finished speaking, I finally understood why the Martyr sounded so happy and confident. Fatemah who had also been listening came up and tugged at Uncle's sleeve. " But Uncle! What exactly is Martyrdom?" she asked.

"What an excellent question!" Uncle exclaimed smiling as he lifted her up on his lap. "My dear Fatemah, Shahaadat - which is the Arabic word for Martyrdom - in its true sense means 'to give away one's life for the pleasure of the Creator'. A person who chooses to face all the difficulties that come his way and fights against the enemies till the last moments of his life is a 'shaheed'.

"A martyr is a person who knowingly walks on the path towards death with a deep love for Allah (S.W.T.) and yearning to meet with His Lord. A shaheed looks forward to achieving the highest stage of shahadah. Paradise (Jannah) waits for such people and they will keep the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and Aimmah (a.s.) in the hereafter.

"We need to remind ourselves from time to time that this world is for performing our good deeds. Our actions should be such that our Creator, Allah (S.W.T.), is proud of and happy with us. Remember that only those who work sincerely for His sake and thank Him for His countless blessings will be rewarded! We must be careful of our deeds and stay away from forbidden acts that displease Him.

"When we all rise and face accounting on Yawmul-Hisaab - the Day of Judgement - it will be a terrible time! That day will be equivalent to 50,000 years! Those of us who had been good in this world will be happy on that day but those who had been bad will curse themselves then!"

"Oh!" cried Fatemah. "Then I am going to try and be the best girl!"

"That is wonderful to hear!" Uncle smiled. " Now, let us go and enjoy the fresh air and pick some apples for you to take home!"

Aunt Sarah and Mummy joined as we all walked out to the orchards to pick fruit. As we walked Uncle advised us saying, "Always keep alert to the Glory of Allah (S.W.T.) because He has said in the Holy Qur'an:

"The sun, the moon, the planets are all in motion, O men! Then wake up from the deep sleep of negligence."

A Holy Verse

The Qur'an says:

"Every soul shall taste death, and then they will return back to us." Sura Ankabut, Verse 57

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ...

1. Our Almighty Lord, Allah (S.W.T.), is the Creator of everything: big, tiny or even microscopic. Not only that, He created even those things that the human being cannot see! He is the Maker, the Planner and the Creator. All this, He has created for a purpose.

2. Human beings, in particular, have been created to seek obedience from Allah (S.W.T.) and to follow His chosen path. This world is the place for putting our total faith in Him and performing actions that would please our

Lord, the hereafter is the eternal world for getting our rewards or punishment according to what we did.

Think and Answer

1. Pretend that you are trying to relate what you have just read to a friend. Explain Uncle Ali's discussion about Shahadah and the hereafter with the children.

2. Why do you think we have to wait for so long to get the results of our actions i.e. until the Day of Judgement?

3. What are the wonderful blessings of God in the hereafter, and who would deserves these blessings?

4. What is the status of a shaheed in this world and the next?

5. This world is the passageway for the next world. What does this mean?

We send heartiest greetings and salutations to those who have attained the glory of martyrdom in the way of Islam! They have been examples for us, showing us the way to Freedom, Faith, Love and Adoration for the true Islam. They remained steadfast to the end and were strong enough to keep up the dignity of Islam. A shaheed reminds us of the life after death - which is indeed the eternal life.

Let us look at a brief text written by a shaheed who embraced martyrdom during the early days of the Imposed war on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Read his words carefully and try to reflect on how he saw Shahaadah. He wrote:

"A human being comes to this world once and leaves this world once and that is for eternity! So why fear death? Why shouldn't one prepare oneself for death?

"Dear mother, shahaadah is another life-giving life. A shaheed gives a new, fresh spirit to Islam. Death is not an end to life but it is just a transfer to the next world, which is everlasting.

"Remind yourselves! One does not perish with death; rather it is another chapter to the real life.

"My beloved mother! Don't be afraid of death! A shaheed receives his continuous sustenance from the Merciful Lord and enjoys His blessings.

"I hope and pray that I attain this most beautiful status of shahaadah and may my wish of becoming a shaheed be fulfilled and may my Lord accept me."

Such were the words of the shaheed. Look at how he longs to taste the sweetness of Martyrdom! This is the spirit and true commitment in attaining shahaadah in Islam. Death is a natural and inevitable conclusion to life. It is the duty of a Muslim to understand this and accept it positively instead of looking at it as an ending.

There have been numerous traditions from our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and Aimmah (a.s.) regarding this important subject. From them we know that death is a different experience for each and every individual.

If a person is much attached to worldly pleasures and materialism and has forgotten why he was created in the first place, his experience of death will of course be very different from someone who has a understood the purpose of life and become an obedient servant of Allah (S.W.T.).

There remains no doubt in anyone's mind that a non-believer will face a death that will be full of misery, torture and despair. Those who do not obey the commands of Allah (S.W.T.) and do not believe in Him will suffer because they will be unable to give up the pleasures of this world. It will be very hard for them to leave its amusements.

Unlike the Kafir, a Mo'meens' death will be the complete opposite. For him, tasting death will be like removing old, shabby clothes and wearing new, beautiful ones. Because, he truly believed in the unseen world and remained faithful to Allah (S.W.T.) and His prophets, the Believer will gracefully enter Jannah. He will have finally achieved his wish to embrace the sweetness of death and meet with his Lord.

FOLLOWERS OF THE HEREAFTER

The Believers are those who love Allah (S.W.T.), accept His true message and seek His obedience and pleasure. They remain patient and steadfast in their deeds in order to accumulate their good deeds.

They choose to remain pure as the servants of Allah (S.W.T.) and they worship and serve Him alone. They live simple lives and prefer not to indulge in materialistic activities and worldly temptations. They accept all difficulties that come their way and all sorts of hardships just for His sake.

On the eve of Ashura (10th Muharram), our 3rd Holy Imam Hussayn (a.s.) said:

"Oh my beloved friends, Oh You who have been exalted with a high status in faith and piety! Perform Jehad against the enemies and in defence of Islam and its divine values.

I remind you that death is a bridge and transition to the next world. Is there anyone who does not want to free himself from remaining prisoners of this world? Rise above all and gain His acceptance. Death is indeed a garden for freedom seekers, surely the lovers of this world are indeed the lovers of being imprisoned."

Our 4th Holy Imam, al-Sajjad (a.s.) says:

"Death for a believer is like wearing beautiful clothes and removal of dirty clothes, thus removing all chains from the body.

"Death for a believer is a means to the most exalted abode, but for a Kafir, it is like wearing the dirtiest clothes and entering the wildest of places.

"It is a prestigious and honourable thing for believers."

A Holy Verse

The Qur'an reminds us all about death saying:

"Every soul shall taste death; We try you with evil and with good (by way of) a test; and unto Us shall you (all) be returned." Sura Ambiya, Verse 35

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ...

1. Death is a natural course of action, not an ending to life, but a journey to a new life.

2. The taste of death and its after effects for a non-believer is scary and dangerous.

3. The taste of death and its after effects for a believer is sublime, joyous and a beautiful experience.

Think and Answer

1. Do all people taste death and its aftermath in the same way?

2. Why is death difficult for some and easy for others?

3. What was the message of Imam Hussayn (a.s.) on the eve of Ashura?

4. Why do believers not fear Death?

5. What prevents a strong Mo'meen (Believer) from humiliating himself for the sake of worldly gains and pleasures?

ANECDOTE PRAYER OF THE PIOUS

A famous prayer of Abdul Qadir Jeelani (a man of great learning ) is as follows : "Spare and pardon me, O Allah (S.W.T.)! And if I deserve punishment, cause me to arise blind on the Day of Judgement so that I might not be ashamed to face other righteous men. Every morning after dawn, with my face on earth, I pray to You, O Almighty. O Allah (S.W.T.), I can never forget You. Please do remember me."

Introduction to Chapter Three

In The Name Of Allah (S.W.T.), the Beneficent, the Merciful

NUBUWWAH; Seeking guidance from our Noble Prophets

When we travel to another city or country, we need to follow many rules and regulations before we can undertake our journey. Depending on our destination, we sometimes need a passport and at other times a visa. We also have to have vaccinations, health checks and ensure that our documents are in order according to the travel laws of the country we want to go to.

If we need laws and regulations just to go from place in this world to another, does it not make sense that we should also need a special set of rules for travelling to the next world? Just as in this world, a travel agent is trained to explain the rules to us, Allah (S.W.T.) has also trained a special set of people who were sent to teach us the laws for travelling to the hereafter. These are individuals who are familiar with the both the journey to the Aakhera and with the hereafter itself.

You must already have realised that we are talking about the numerous Prophets that Allah (S.W.T.) through His Mercy and Kindness sent to the different nations and tribes of the earth.

In this chapter, we hope to learn more about the need for the prophets that have been sent to us by Allah (S.W.T.). After having studied the important aims of these prophets, we shall then try to look at some of their teachings. We will also talk of the important aspect of leadership in Islam.

We must be willing to search for the difference between truth and falsehood as it is through such an aim that we will be able to give our commitment to the prophets sent by God. These prophets were sent to show mankind the path of truth i.e. Tawheed (Oneness of God) and to fight against falsehood i.e. Jahalat (Ignorance).

If we study the histories of previous societies, we will realise that those people who had absolutely no belief in One God and worshipped idols failed to build up morally sound communities. They had lost the essence of life and remained ignorant of the right path. It is for this reason, amongst many others, that the need for Ambiya and Aimmah (a.s.) as our perfect guides, arose in the world.

We were all sitting on the steps outside the front entrance to the school. The mid term holiday stretched out in front of us and everyone had an idea on how to best spend it.

Suddenly we hit on the perfect plan! Mountain climbing! There were some wonderful peaks to climbing just a few hours out of town and it was something none of us had done before. We all agreed that we definitely wanted to try it out but there were many questions in all of our minds. How would we go? Would it really be possible? What if we failed?

As we sat and discussed it, we managed to find solutions to all the problems except for one. "We can attempt it for sure," Baqir said. "But we need an experienced guide for this adventure, so that we can make it to the top of the mountain! Where can we get such a person?"

While some of the group nodded in agreement, I protested, "Why do we need a guide? We are strong and capable. We'll just make sure we carry all the necessities and a clear map for directions. Besides we see documentaries all the time and it doesn't look so difficult. Why can't we reach the top without a guide?"

Baqir's face fell at my words, "I'm surprised at your attitude, Hassan!" he said. "You are greatly mistaken if you think mountain climbing is an easy task. We know nothing about it - neither the roads nor the skills! What guarantee do we have that we will reach the top on our own? What happens if we have a problem? Imagine if we were caught halfway by a strong wind or a hurricane? Did you ever think what would happen if we got lost?"

"What Baqir says makes sense," Fatema said, "at the same time, I really want to see the peak of a mountain for myself and not just on the T.V. screen or in a photograph! I don't want to miss out on that just because we can't get a guide."

After that, everyone had something to say either for or against the idea and by the time we headed for home, we still had not come to any decision. Luck was on our side though and the following day, Hussein rang me up to tell me that he had the perfect solution.

Apparently his father had a lot of experience in mountain climbing expeditions and had agreed to be our guide for the trip. I quickly called Baqir and the others and we arranged to meet that afternoon at Hussein's house to plan for the trip.

By three o'clock we were all seated in sitting room of Hussein's house eager to get started. Hussein introduced us to his father - Uncle Mustafa - and we waited him to speak. "I understand that you would like to go mountain-climbing tomorrow," he said. We nodded our heads in reply. He smiled and asked us, "What measures and preparations you have made for the trip?"

As he waited for an answer, we looked at each other sheepishly. What amateurs we were! We wanted to undertake an adventure but hadn't even begun planning for it!

As Uncle Mustafa explained what we would need, we began to realise how different his advice sounded from the ideas we had in our minds. We decided that we would all start the journey at 4:00 a.m. the following morning. We were to go home and pack some warm clothes, hot drinks, lots of dried and canned food, dates and a First Aid kit, each.

The next morning, most of us reached Hussein's place before dawn and we prayed Salaatus-Subh together. By four o'clock, everyone was present and it was time to leave. As we drove to the mountainside, Uncle Mustafa went through all the climbing rules and emergency codes with us. He emphasized that we would have to be extremely disciplined if we wanted to make this trip a success.

In a couple of hours we reached the mountains and a beautiful sight greeted us! The high snow-capped mountains were bathed in the rosy hues of the early morning sun. It was awesome and we stopped for a while just to admire the beauty of the scene. The fresh air energized us and after having a quick breakfast, we finally began our big adventure!

What hard work it was! Sometimes we would be walking upright along the sloping paths on the mountain and at other we would have to be extremely careful and follow Uncle Mustafa's directions and he searched for stable footholds to pull ourselves up with. I had lost all track of time and when Uncle Mustafa announced that it was almost time for Dhohr, I was astonished! When we reached a small ledge, we all stopped and unloaded our baggage.

I hadn't realised how heavy my bag was until I shrugged it off and felt my shoulders lighten. Looking around and seeing the others with similar looks of relief on their faces, I grinned. It seemed that Baqir had been right after all! As I heard Uncle Mustafa's steady voice giving instructions,

I tried to imagine what it would have been like if we would have been there all alone without him. I didn't like the image that came to my mind and quickly pushed it away, silently thanking Allah (S.W.T.) for preventing us from making such a mistake.

We performed wudhoo with extremely cold water, which helped to energize us and after Salaat, our rumbling stomachs led us straight to the food. Uncle Mustafa had built a small fire and set our food to simmer over it while we prayed so that by the time we were ready for the meal, the food was deliciously warm! The fare was simple - just soup with bread and cheese - but it tasted better than anything I had eaten.

When I mentioned this, everyone agreed with me and Uncle Mustafa laughed saying that it was the fresh air and exercise that made the food taste good. I declared that I would make sure I spent more time in the fresh air if it had such good effects and that made everyone laugh.

After lunch, Uncle Mustafa said that we could rest for a few more minutes before continuing our climb. The food and excellent company had filled me with a warmth and I settled down with my back against the mountain, looking around. We were almost half way up and the sight around us was amazing! It was like being suspended in mid air. I could look down on the peaks of some of the smaller mountains and yet others rose up higher than even the one we were on. What majesty and beauty surrounded us! I could not help remembering Allah (S.W.T.), who had created all this and to whom even these great giants bowed in submission! My heart filled with love and joy for Him.

All too soon, Uncle Mustafa called out to us to begin and I reluctantly pulled myself away from my view. All of the sudden, I didn't want to climb any higher. What could be more beautiful than what I had already seen? I spoke to Uncle Mustafa as we began out ascent. He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. "I'll ask you that same question when we reach the top!" he said.

As the evening progressed, we all became more and more weary. It took all our concentration to keep our feet on the ground and move forward. It seemed to me as if the mountain rose endlessly above us and I despaired of ever reaching the top.

When Baqir slipped and almost fell. Uncle Mustafa made us pause and spoke firmly. " I know you are all tired but you must all be very careful as one mistake on your part could put all the rest in danger as well. Come on, remember how excited you were when we began the climb? Keep that enthusiasm in mind. It's not far and with the help of Allah (S.W.T.) we shall soon be at the peak."

His words encouraged us and as we started climbing with renewed energy, our eagerness caught on and the air was tense with excitement. Suddenly, we heard Uncle Mustafa cry out "Allaho Akbar!" and we knew he had finally reached the top. Urging each other forward we scrambled up as fast as we could and were pulled, one after the other, up the final ridge by his strong hand.

I dropped my bag, tired beyond belief and took a deep breath. Then I opened my eyes and froze at the sight that greeted me. Mountain peaks covered in blankets of white, were spread all around us, rising up from the clouds like islands in a pale sea. The rays of the setting sun on the snow made the most fascinating plays of light. Now the mountains seemed bathed in a gentle pink light, then they began to glow slightly in a golden-orange hue and suddenly they blazed in a fiery red furnace.

Spellbound, I could not tear my eyes away from the scene and from the silence around me, I knew the others were going through a similar experience. I felt a hand on my shoulder and Uncle Mustafa's voice spoke softly in my ear. "Well, Hassan, what do you have to say now?" I continued to look at the majestic view and searched for words to answer him. I could find only one. "Mashallah!" I whispered.

"Truly, there is no better answer." Uncle Mustafa replied. Uncle Mustafa then turned to the others and said, "Why don't we all recite a loud Salawaat to celebrate our victory?"

We willingly complied with his request, shouting it out at the top of our lungs. As the last words left our lips, I wondered at how perfectly fitting it sounded to hear the name of our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) echo in the midst of the gigantic mountains.

We ate a quiet supper, watching the sunset and talking in soft tones until the time for Maghrib when we all performed wudhoo and stood together to pray. By the time we finished Isha, we wanted to do nothing more than sleep. Spreading out our sleeping bags we were all dead to the world in seconds! The last thing I remember before drifting of myself is the image of Uncle Mustafa with a mug of steaming tea in his hands softly reciting tasbeeh.

It felt like we had only slept a few minutes before we heard Uncle Mustafa giving Adhaan to wake us up for Salaatu-Subh. Bleary-eyed, we dragged ourselves out of our warm bags and performed wudhoo with the water that was now almost ice cold. It had the good effect of jolting us awake and by the time we finished praying, none of us felt like going back to sleep.

Uncle Mustafa took this opportunity to talk to us. "Well, children, Let us thank Allah (S.W.T.) that we were successful in achieving our aim. I must congratulate all of you for your bravery and discipline! It was your first attempt at climbing but you have made it. Let me ask you now, do you think you could have managed on your own?"

"Of course not!" We all protested.

"If you hadn't been our guide we would have failed in even the first step! We would never have reached the top!" Baqir said. "We might have been lost …" I added. "…or slipped and broken our bones …" Fatema joined. " …or monsters might have eaten us…" Hussein cried.

"I hardly think there are monsters in these mountains!" Uncle Mustafa laughed and he became serious and continued, "but you are all right in your answers, without a guide who knew about the task you wanted to undertake, you would not have succeeded. Look around and you will see that we have guides in every journey or trip we undertake. We also have guides in school and in madrassah."

He stopped to make sure we were listening and seeing that he had our full attention he asked. "Children! What do you think is the most important journey you will ever undertake?" There was silence, as we thought about his question.

"I think the most important journey is our life.

volunteered Fatemah timidly. It is the journey to the hereafter," "That is perfectly right!" exclaimed Uncle Mustafa, looking very pleased. "And when we as human beings understand the need for and provide guides in our daily worldly activities, does it make sense that Allah (S.W.T.), Who is perfect should not provide guides for the greatest journey He created for us?

"Of course He has! The prophets who were sent by Allah (S.W.T.) to show us the path towards perfection are these very same guides. Although they encountered many hardships and difficulties, they delivered the message of Allah (S.W.T.).

"They taught us that as Muslims, if we are to be successful in this journey, there are 3 crucial things we must achieve: Faith, Taqwa and Good Deeds "If we have the strong faith in Allah (S.W.T.), become God-conscious (taqwa) and perform good deeds, we will see the results of our actions in the form of great rewards from the Almighty.

"But if we fall into the trap of disbelief and mischief, the results will surely be severe punishment from Him. In preparing for this journey, we must be very careful of our actions. Just as we were so careful in trying not to slip as we climbed the mountain yesterday, we must take care not to slip in our actions either. Falling off the side of the mountain would have injured our bodies but falling from the Truth injures our souls which is worse."

I tried imagining falling off the mountain and remembered the fear I had felt when Baqir had slipped. I had never felt like that when I sinned and I was ashamed of myself. I told myself that from that point onwards whenever I was tempted to do wrong, I would bring up that image to remind myself of what Uncle Mustafa had said.

We talked a little more about the various prophets that Allah (S.W.T.) had sent down until the morning had dawned completely. Then we packed our things and taking one final look at the view that would always remain in our hearts, we started making our way down the mountain.

We all agreed that it had been a wonderful trip. Not only had we learnt a lot about climbing but surprisingly we had also managed to learn about Allah (S.W.T.) and Islam. How easy it was to find Allah (S.W.T.)'s message in everything - all it took was the desire to look for it!

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ...

1. As imperfect human beings, we need perfect guides to show us the path to the eternal world. In order to journey on the road to the Aakhera, we need to follow a special programme that has been brought by the chosen ones of Allah (S.W.T.).

2. These chosen individuals can be none other than the infallible Prophets who are aware of the requirements of human beings in reaching perfection.

3. Men who accept the leadership of the prophets and Aimmah (a.s.) will gain eternal bliss and nearness to Allah (S.W.T.).

Think and Answer

1. What is the most sacred journey in this world?
2. How can the Prophets help in this journey? Give a practical example.
3. In what ways can we remain safe on the road to the hereafter?
4. What provisions have you made for this special trip?

We all know that we are alive and that the time spent between our birth and death is our life. But do we know the purpose for this period called life ? Do we have the knowledge of the unseen? Or were we born with the guidelines that are required on this journey?

The answer to these questions is quite obviously, No. If we knew these things naturally then we would not be having all the problems we do and the most asked question in the world would not be "Why are we here?" Having established that we are not born with this knowledge, the next most natural question would be 'Who then, is there to show us the way and teach us the things we need to know?'

To better understand this let us take the example of Jameel. Jameel is at point A and wants to reach point B a certain distance away. He has never been there and has the choice of number of different roads to take. He also knows that one of those many roads is slightly longer but it is the safest and would allow him to reach his destination without any problems.

The question is, how is he to know which road that is? Who can guide him in his choice? Does it not make sense that it would have to be someone who knows the roads and is familiar with them?

In the same way, our prophets are chosen, trained and taught by Allah (S.W.T.) so that they are familiar with the road to the Aakhera. Having this knowledge and being travellers on the same path, they are the only people capable of answering our questions and removing our doubts.

Allah (S.W.T.) has created this universe in the most perfect way. There is no disorder in it and even scientists who do not want to believe in a God are forced to admit that they cannot explain how the universe works in such an orderly fashion! Can you imagine a perfect well-designed world without any perfect guides to show us around? Living without the Mercy and Guidance Allah (S.W.T.) is like living in total darkness!

Allah (S.W.T.) in His absolute Wisdom created human beings for a very noble aim in life. We should understand that, it is we who need Allah (S.W.T.) and not the other way around. Knowing this, He, in His Mercy, sent down the prophets to help us fulfill this need. These prophets convey Allah (S.W.T.)'s divine message and give us guidelines on how to succeed in this world and in the hereafter.

UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF PROPHETS

The prophets who are sent down come as spiritual guides. They can do this because they are already aware of the secret path. They have already proven themselves worthy of this status through their total submission and obedience to Allah (S.W.T.). Because they have maintained purity and protected themselves from sin, they are known as Ma'soom (infallible ones).

The divine revelation - WAHY - comes down to them from Allah (S.W.T.), while they deliver His message to the people. As we have mentioned throughout, prophets are chosen by the Merciful Creator. They are the 'Living Qur'an' for they showed total devotion to the divine system and implement its laws in the most perfect manner. Hence, they become our role models.

DA'WAH OF PROPHETS

Since the beginning of creation, prophets came to safeguard the school of Monotheism (Tawheed). As young children, you must have read numerous stories about the various prophets since the creation of Prophet Adam (a.s.).

Prophets were just like the human beings. They lived amongst the people and in the community. But the important point to mention is that no matter what community they were sent to they lived their lives according to the message of Absolute Oneness of Allah (S.W.T.). This was to show that Islam - as a way of life - suits all times and all communities.

Through their actions, they were able to show mankind the path to worshipping Him alone. Through their total love and commitment to Him, they attracted others to seek a similar path.

The human soul has a natural desire to love Good and Truth. Deep inside every person's mind is the urge to seek the right path. In order to successfully achieve this quest, it was necessary for prophets to act as Beacons of Guidance lighting the way for us.

As we look at their lives we will realise that despite all the struggles and hardships they faced, they always conveyed the message of truth against falsehood. In the past nations and tribes, the greatest forces of Evil were Shirk (Polytheism), Kufr (Disbelief), Dhulm (Injustice) and Fasaad (Corruption). All these united in one form - The Violation of Human Rights. To date, such evil forces prevail and require constant fighting against.

Akhlaq or 'Moral Excellence' was what the prophets basically practised. The people they were sent to were attracted to their message through their manners. In particular, our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w.) was the perfect example of akhlaq. He was also known as USWATUN HASANAH (The Best Example).

NUMBER OF PROPHETS

The first Prophet who came down on the face of this earth was Prophet Adam (a.s.) and the last was the Seal of Prophethood - our Holy Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (s.a.w.w.).

Allah (S.W.T.) in His Mercy and Kindness sent down 124,000 Prophets for the salvation of human beings. They served various tribes, nations, groups of people and communities. Finally, a universal message came to complete this divine mission. This was during the time of our last Prophet who was sent as the 'Mercy to the Universe'.

Each and every prophet from the 124,000 prophets was allocated for a certain period of time to a particular village, or tribe. Sometimes there was more than one prophet on the earth but in different areas.

Among the many, a few were given heavenly books and divine laws to impart and implement. According to our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) there were a total number of 104 heavenly books.

Some prophets brought the Divine Laws (sheriat) to the people, while others revised the previous laws that had come down.

There is a special group of prophets who are called the 'Ulool-Adham' Prophets, well known for the special laws they conveyed. They are the following:

Prophet Nuh (a.s.)
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.)
Prophet Musa (a.s.)
Prophet Issa (a.s.)
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w.)

AKHLAQ OF AMBIYAH

As Muslims who accept the prophets sent by the Almighty, we must respect and appreciate the sacrifices they have made to bring the true Message to us. It is our duty to imitate them and follow their instructions and take lessons from their stories. Lives of prophets such as Musa (a.s.) and Issa (a.s.) teach us how to resist the environment of Kufr in all times. In both their cases, they were challenged with extreme difficulties during the course of conveying the message of Allah (S.W.T.).

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ...

1. Allah (S.W.T.), the Creator of the Universe sent down a divine system and to teach us that divine system, He sent down the prophets. The prophets were the carriers of His heavenly message.

2. Prophets brought a special programme for human beings. Through their teachings, people became familiar with the right path - that of submission and total devotion to Allah (S.W.T.). The core element in their teachings was the training of the Nafs (Soul) in order to know Allah (S.W.T.). They resisted all sorts of mischief and various forms of tyranny, impurity, disbelief, injustice and polytheism to bring this programme to us.

Think and Answer

1. The perfect system in the universe is a sign of what thing?
2. Why can only Allah (S.W.T.) choose perfect guides and a special divine system while we, as human beings, cannot do so?
3. Describe the characteristics of prophets?
4. When did the heavenly call of prophets begin?
5. What were the goals of all prophets?
6. Who are the ULOOL-ADHM prophets?
7. How can one show belief in and respect towards prophets? (Try to analyze this and give an answer based on your own opinions.)

Have you ever heard of YEMEN? We are told in our history that long before the time of our Holy Prophet, a tribe called 'The Children of Saba' occupied this land.

They lived in a beautiful city with excellent houses and an advanced system of roads. Allah (S.W.T.) had blessed them with a pleasant climate, rich soils and plenty of fresh water so that their orchards were always full of fresh fruit and beautiful flowers added colour to their gardens.

The Qawm (Tribe) of SABA were aware of the favours and blessings of Allah (S.W.T.) on them and appreciated His Mercy. The people worked very hard to develop their city and the most common occupation was farming. They were very kind, loyal and lived with peace, dignity and honour. Due to these good habits, equality and justice prevailed.

As time passed however, the people started taking their gifts for granted. Slowly, they began to forget that it was Allah (S.W.T.)'s Kindness that gave them all they had. They got so involved in worldly pleasures that they abandoned all Islamic values and forgot their purpose in life. As their sins grew in quantity, they became immersed kufr and forgot Allah (S.W.T.) completely!

GUIDANCE FROM PROPHETS

This is an excellent instance of why we need Prophets to guide us. Without a guide, the people of Saba had lost their perspective and turned from God-fearing individuals to idol-worshippers! Thus, Allah (S.W.T.) sent down a man to guide the tribe back to Him - this was Prophet Saleh (a.s.).

He struggled very hard for many days and nights to guide Qawm-e-Saba but his efforts were in vain. At one time, he addressed the nation:

"O people! Value the blessings that are available and around you. Adopt piety and belief in One God, seek guidance from me and use it in your daily lives. Be just and work hard!

"O people, if you do not follow the right path and continue in your ways - drowned in sins - in the end, you will face great loss and will be answerable to your Lord. "O people do not busy your selves in mundane activities - eating and drinking and involving yourselves in the worldly desires. Don't you realise that you have a much higher goal in life? Remember that the life in the hereafter is everlasting so do not be negligent. Be conscious and protect yourselves from the worldly attractions and temptations, avoid carelessness and selfishness. Rid yourselves of laziness in worshipping Him.

"Stop living in self-centredness and self-indulgence! Know your Lord, so that you may attain happiness. Be God-Conscious! Do not envy others; appreciate the blessings of the Lord of the Universe. O people, why do you remain so negligent of your deeds, why have you turned away from Tawheed?"

How shameful it was that these people who had known the truth had turned so completely against it! And what a pity that they had willingly chosen to enjoy pleasures in this temporary world rather than eternal happiness in the next! When they refused to listen to the prophet, Allah (S.W.T.) sent down a great Adhaab (Punishment) on them that has served as a lesson to all times since, including us. All their worldly effort, in constructing huge buildings and farms, was destroyed by heavy floods. Most certainly the wrath of Allah (S.W.T.) had befallen them!

Now think about us today? Do we justly appreciate all that we get as blessings from our Merciful Creator? Do we follow His commands or are we negligent like the people of Saba? How many of us perform AMR BIL MAAROOF and NAHY ANIL MUNKAR? Do such practices even exist anymore within our Muslim communities?

The punishment for our ungratefulness may not come to us in this world as it did with the people of Saba but it will surely await us in the hereafter, which is worse in its tortures.

A Holy Verse

The Qur'an says:

" There was indeed a sign for the children of Saba in their dwelling-place: two gardens on the right and the left; (and it was said unto them) 'Eat of the sustenance of your Lord and give thanks unto him', a good land (it was, in this world) and (God is the) Lord oft-forgiving! …" Sura Saba, Verse 15

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ...

1. A Muslim must show obedience to Allah (S.W.T.) and His eternal message. We have to try to adopt Taqwa, which actually means to remain God-conscious at all times. The best way to do this is to seek guidance from prophets.

2. In one of his sermons to the people, Prophet Saleh (a.s.) told them, 'O people!

Do not indulge yourselves in food and drinks; you have a higher goal in life, remind yourselves of the hereafter. O people! Why aren't you combating evil and refraining from sins …?' How can we adopt this important message?

Think and Answer

1. How would you describe the people of SABA?
2. What was their prophet's message to them?
3. Why do you think they choose not to listen to the wise counsel of the prophet of their time?
4. What lessons can we derive from the events that unfolded with the QAWME SABA? Explain your answer in detail.

ANECDOTE

THE FIRE AND THE FIREWOOD

There is a story told of a tyrant king who used to take firewood from the poor by force and sell it to the rich at a great profit.

A Holy man went up to him and said: "You are a snake that bites everyone it sees; or an owl, digging up and ruining the very place you live in. Your injustices may pass unpunished among us, but they cannot escape God, the Knower of the secrets. Be not unjust to the people of this earth so that their complaints are not raised up to Heaven."

The tyrant got angry at these words and threw him out of his court. Days passed by and the king continued in his unfair practices. Then one day, the palace of the king caught fire and was reduced to ashes.

At that time, the Holy man, happened to pass by and heard the tyrant moan, "Why did this tragedy befall me?"

The Holy man replied, "This is the result of the sighs of grief from the hearts of the poor." He then said, "Guard against the smoke of an afflicted heart, for it will undoubtedly start a fire one day. Give nobody's heart pain as long as you can avoid it, for a single sigh may set the whole world into flames!"

You must be quite familiar with the life of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) and the reconstruction of the Holy Ka'abah. Let us look at one aspect of this amazing project.

Prophet Is'maeel (a.s.) was still a youth when both his father and he travelled to the holy city of Mecca to re-build the House of Allah (S.W.T.). He had made a promise that he would help his father to revive the school of Tawheed. With this intention, they both started the work of building the holy place.

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) and Is'maeel (a.s.) worked hard and carried many heavy sacks of sand to and fro to make the bricks. Some people from the tribes living nearby helped them build up the walls. Finally, when the Holy Ka'abah was completed, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) raised his hands in supplication and recited aloud:

"Yaa Rabbi (O my Lord)! The house of Tawheed is now ready for mankind so that they may wo

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