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 Scholars of Renown

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PostSubject: Scholars of Renown   Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:41 am

Scholars of Renown
Mahmood Al-Tanahi

Al-Tanahi devoted most of his scholarly efforts to Arabic,
as he considered language to be the main medium of civilization, national identity and culture.

Mahmood ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Al-Tanahi was born in a village called Kafr Tabluha in Al-Munoofiyah County, Egypt, in 1935, corresponding to 1353 AH. He was from a poor family, and he had to rely on his own efforts for much of his learning and achievements. Hence, we find him completing his formal education much later than other students. For example, he completed his secondary school education at Al-Azhar in 1958, when he was 23, but this does not mean that he neglected his education earlier. Indeed, he completed memorising the Quran when he was 13, and he learned the different methods of its recitation, which include different linguistic variations and nuances.

This was instrumental in focusing his interest on Arabic linguistics. His university education was in Dar Al-Uloom College, which is specialised in Arabic studies, and affiliated to the University of Cairo. He graduated with a B.A. in Arabic and Islamic Fiqh in 1962, and was determined to pursue his studies further in this area. He obtained a Master’s degree from the same college in 1972, and a Ph.D. degree in 1978. By that time, he was a well-established scholar, whose knowledge and achievements had taken him beyond anything a formal degree could gain for him. Together with his friend Dr. Abd Al-Atheem Al-Deeb, he was the first to enter Dar Al-Kutub, the main library in Cairo, and the last to leave every evening. After graduation, Al-Tanahi worked as a member of staff in the Arab-American Studies Institute in Cairo (1963-65). He was then chosen to work as a specialist in the Arab Manuscripts Institute of the Arab League, and continued in this work until 1978 when he joined the teaching staff of the Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, where he was given a special status of distinction. In 1989, he resigned to take up a teaching post at the University of Cairo until 1997, when he became professor and head of the Arabic Department at the University of Helwan in Egypt. Al-Tanahi devoted most of his scholarly efforts to Arabic, as he considered language to be the main medium of civilization, national identity and culture.

Mahmood Al-Tanahi was much interested in old manuscripts and he worked on many such manuscripts, editing them and preparing them for publication. Indeed, both his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees were in this area. Al-Tanahi edited a number of highly useful manuscripts, the most important of which were “Al-Nihayah fi Gharib Al-Hadith Al-Athar”, by Ibn Al-Atheer, in five large volumes; and “Tabaqat Al-Shafiyyah Al-Kubra”, by Ibn Al-Subki. This is a book giving the biographies of the main Shafie scholars over several centuries, in 10 large volumes. His original works were in several areas, such as his book “Mustaqbal Al-Thaqafah Al-Arabiyah”, or the “Future of Arab Culture, and Introduction to the History of Publication of Arabic Heritage”. He also compiled and published indexes to a number of highly important books. Mahmood Al-Tanahi died in 1999, at the age of 64.

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The First Prophet
Prophet Adam

Adam was the first man created by Allah. He was created to live on earth. However, Iblis did not like this. Although Iblis was made of fire, he lived with the angels. He thought he was better than Adam, so he became Adam’s enemy and decided to make Adam disobey Allah.

Adam and his wife used to live in paradise, where they were destined to be by Allah. Paradise was the most beautiful place you can imagine. It was neither hot nor cold. Adam and his wife were never hungry or thirsty. This was another thing which Iblis did not like. So Iblis came to Adam and his wife and told them to eat from a certain tree. Now, Adam and his wife knew very well that Allah had told them they must not even go near that tree. So they did not listen to Iblis, but Iblis kept on and on at them. He tempted them by saying that they could live for ever if they ate from that tree and would become like angels.

At last, worn down by the nagging of Iblis, Adam and his wife gave in. They came to believe what Iblis was telling them and they ate from the tree, against Allah’s command. But they soon came to regret very much their disobedience and their weakness in listening to Iblis. Adam and his wife were very sad and asked Allah for His forgiveness. Allah forgave them, for He is very forgiving. Allah then told Adam and his wife that they must now go down to earth and live there for some time. But He promised that they would be allowed to return to paradise as long as they and their children were obedient to Him in future.

Allah also told Adam that he would be Allah’s first prophet. Many prophets would be sent to mankind, and if man listens to the prophets’ words, he will come into paradise when he dies. But if he does not listen, then he will go to hell and remain there with the evil Iblis. So, Adam and his wife came down to earth. On earth, they raised their children, and their children in their turn raised their children. In this way succeeding generations of mankind lived on earth and Allah sent His prophets to all of them. These prophets said: Worship only Allah. Allah has created you. Allah has made for you the plants and the animals so that you can eat them. Be grateful to Allah and always do good. This is what Adam the first prophet of Allah, told his children. After him there came many other prophets, and Muhammad (Pbuh) is the last of the prophets.

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Who are Allah's Angels?

Angel Gabriel brought Allah’s words to the Prophet Muhammad and therefore we call Gabriel the Messenger Angel. There are many other angels and we can read about them in the Quran.

Each of us has two angels who accompany him. These angels take note of everything we do. They write down our good deeds and our bad deeds. We call these angels the Writing Angels. There are other angels, too. For example, there is an angel who helps people when they die. This angel brings death, so we call him the Angel of Death.

We cannot see the angels because they are made of things which our eyes cannot see. But all the same, we know that they are there, because Allah has told us so. Sometimes, we can even feel the presence of these angels.

Angels are created by Allah, just as man and everything else has been created by Him. Angels obey Allah and are His servants. They perform many tasks and keep the world in being by obeying Allah’s commands.

We know that when the sun rises and sets, when the clouds move in the sky, when the raindrops fall, when the plants grow and many other things happen in nature, it is Allah Who has created them and Allah Who sustains them. Nothing can happen without Allah’s will. In the same way, Allah created the angels who obey Him. They carry out His will, and take great care that everything goes according to Allah’s will. They are the obedient servants of Allah.

Allah wanted man to obey Him, to pray to Him and to do good. He wanted man to know about Allah. That is why the Angel Gabriel was sent by Allah. The Angel Gabriel told Muhammad what Allah wanted man to do. This was Gabriel’s task. Through the Angel Gabriel, Allah had spoken to many prophets before Muhammad, so that man would remember and not forget what Allah wants him to do.

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The Bee

Hai, I am Bee

And thy Lord taught the Bee
To build its cells in hills
On trees and in men’s habitations
Then to eat of all the
Produce of the earth
And find with skill, the spacious
Paths of its Lord, there issues
From within their bodies
A drink of varying colours
Wherein is healing for men
Verily in this is a Sign
For those who give thought

The above verse from Surah Nahl of the holy Qur'an gives valuable insight into the world of Bees. Here the bee's instinct like humility, obedience and collective effort is referred to Allah's teaching, which it undoubtedly is.

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Why are you not able to wake up for Fajr?
Here are some tips to induce you to wake up for Fajr.

To make sure to go to bed early as the Prophet (Pbuh)used to discourage sleep before performing Isha prayer and especially engaging in conversation after it. The reason why conversation was discouraged is the fear that it leads to staying awake for long, which might induce drowsiness.

To be regular in observing the good manners prescribed in Islam before sleeping such as making Dua (supplication), bringing one’s palms together and reciting the last three Surahs of the Quran into them and them wiping them all over the body.

To bear in mind the great reward for attending Fajr prayer in congregation on time. Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan related: I heard Allah’s Messenger say: “He who prays Isha in congregation is as if he has prayed for half the night. As to him who also prays Fajr in congregation, it is as if he has prayed all night.” The case of a man who slept all the night up to sunrise (without waking up for Fajr) was related to the Prophet whereupon he said: “That was a man in whose ear Shaitaan has urinated in both his ears”.

To realise the bad effects resulting from one’s failure to pray Fajr, such as the melancholic and depressive state of mind and the loss of many religious and worldly benefits, and the good effects resulting from managing to perform it. In this respect the Prophet (Pbuh) said: “Shaitaan ties three knots on the crown of any one of you in your sleep. He says upon each knot that he ties: “You have a long night before you, therefore sleep”. But if you wake up and mention Allah in remembrance, one knot will be untied. If you then make ablution another knot will be undone. If you then proceed to pray the last knot will be disentangled.

Clear yourself from the stigma of hypocrisy. The Prophet said: “Indeed, the most difficult of prayers to bear, for the hypocrites, are Isha and Fajr prayers. If only they knew what they are missing , they would sooner come, even if crawling on their knees”.

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Reflections
The World is Mine

The World is Mine

Today, upon a bus,
I saw a girl with golden hair.
and wished I was as fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she gave me a smile.
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 legs, the world is mine.
I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
“I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you.
“You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 eyes, the world is mine.
Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play.
He did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join the others, dear?”
He looked ahead without a word.
And then I knew, he couldn’t hear.
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I’d go.
With eyes to see the sunset’s glow.
With ears to hear what I’d know.
Ya Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

Ahmed Khan

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Tit For Tat

The Mughals enjoyed a very good relationship with the Persians since the time of Babur. Persia was ruled by the Safavid dynasty. The relations between them were based on a feeling of amity and goodwill towards each other. They exchanged envoys and valuable presents with each other. The Mughals and the Persians tried to impress each other with the majesty and grandeur of their courts with these gestures. In the past, the Persians had helped Babur and his son Humayun in restoring them to power in Delhi and as such, they had adopted a patronising attitude towards the Mughal emperors of those times. On the other hand, the Mughals regarded themselves as superior to the Persians, because they were in command of a larger empire. The city of Qandahar was the cause of disagreement between the two powers of the time. It occupied a position of great importance both militarily and commercially as it formed the trade-link to the Indian subcontinent.

Babur had occupied the city in the year 1522. Humayun recovered the city from his brother Kamaran in the year 1545. Shah Tahmasp captured it again in 1558 from Akbar, who recovered it back from him at the close of his reign in the year 1595. During the time of Jehangir, Shah Abbas was the King of Persia. He made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Qandahar. Having failed in his attempt by military means, he resorted to diplomatic means to achieve his objective. He sent word to Jehangir through his emissaries expressing disapproval of his army officers in attacking Qandahar. The emissaries presented themselves in Jehangir’s court, armed with rich presents and the letter of regrets. Jehangir reciprocated this gesture by calling the Shah of Persia his brother. In the process, he neglected the defenses of Qandahar. Shah Abbas seized this opportunity to lay siege to the Fort of Qandahar. Jehangir ordered his son Shahjahan to rush to Qandahar to defend the city from the attack of the Persians. However, his son refused to obey the orders of his father for he considered it as a court intrigue to deprive him of a chance to succeed to the throne after him. As a result, Qandahar fell into the hands of the Persians in the year 1622.

In a letter to Jehangir, the Shah of Persia offered his apologies for occupying Qandahar justifying his action with lame excuses. The Mughal emperor in turn, rebuked the Shah of Persia for his insincerity and accused him of treachery. After his ascension to the throne, Emperor Shahjahan adopted the same diplomatic game with the Persians, which Shah Abbas had used with his father. Persia was then ruled by Shah Safi. He sent emissaries with rich presents and expressed his desire for closer ties with the mighty Persian emperor.

The Shah was made to feel the Qandahar episode was totally forgotten and the Mughal emperor had no desire to recover it from the Persians. Behind the scenes, Shahjahan had opened channels of communication with Ali Mardan Khan, the Governor of Qandahar, who was dissatisfied with the Persian rule. He won over the governor and when the Shah of Persia was busy fighting elsewhere, he marched his army to Qandahar and occupied it in the year 1638.

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A Lesson from History

When Samarkand was destroyed by the Mongols, the people of the city who were not killed in the fighting fled everywhere to escape the slaughter. Many of them died trying to cross the desert. Others became victims of famine and disease. The cruel Mongols had slaughtered many more. An estimated thirty million people, men, women, and children met their death at the hands of the Mongols, who had sworn to wipe out all human beings on the earth, who did not belong to their race. It is said that many of the refugees fled as far as Afghanistan and sought refuge in a settlement there. The man running the settlement was a kind Muslim, a pious and devout man. He managed to accommodate as many refugees as possible in his settlement. Seeing their despair, he spoke to them: “You blame the Mongols for your losses. Yet, it was your own habits and disunity among yourselves that has at least in part been responsible for reducing you into such a sorry state. You have called this scourge upon yourselves by your own mistakes that had accumulated over the centuries.”

“You have lost a battle, and you think that you have lost a war. Today the Mongols are happy and triumphant at having conquered your cities, displaced you from your homes, and have taken from you, your flocks and land. Today people of the world rank you among the cowards.” “In spite of your shortcomings and the belief of your detractors, you will prevail. I announce to you a law of people, which has never been negated.” “You and the generations after you will witness the humbling of these alien oppressors. Their humbling will be such that they will completely disappear. The world of Islam will rise again, and the Mongols in Turkistan, in Khurasan, in Iran, and in all other countries, which they have taken will remain only a memory.” “Even among those, who delight in their victories today, none will weep at their dissolving. That which seems impossible today at the moment is precisely what will come to pass.”

A. I. Makki

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Homoeopathy A boon for Children

For kids troubled by frequent respiratory tract infections, colds, allergies, asthma, cough, sinusitis and tonsillitis, Dr B. D. Patel has come up with his soothing Homoeopathic remedies. Dr Patel has to his credit a number of cases of little patients-that's kids coming to him for treatment for these cases. He offers these tips to keep these complaints at bay.

Avoid cold drinks, ice creams, chocolates, citrus fruits, jams, sauces, guava, curds and banana.

Give your child light, vitamin rich food and vegetables.

Avoid oily and fried food and food rich in animal fat.

Avoid perfumes, dust.

Drink lots of warm water

Drink tea made from fresh or dry ginger sweetened with a little honey.

Regular exercise improves the general fitness, increases the ability to relax the muscles and lung functions.

A pinch of turmeric in a glass of milk helps as a body toner and natural anti-biotic.

The above precautions can reduce 50 per cent of the problem and the remaining 50 per cent can be taken care effectively by Homoeopathy. It is a system which treats the patient in a holistic way. The medicines are prepared from natural products and are used in highly diluted form, and hence have no side effects. So you will notice that the child would be rapidly improving under Homoeopathic treatment. He may not even get other common diseases unless he over-indulges in wrong habits and lifestyle. All these positive effects of Homoeopathy are obtainable only through Classical Homoeopathy.

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Who is your Hero?

In my quest to find out who today’s heroes are, among the youngsters, I attempted a casual conversation with many people of various age groups. The results are in the first four lines here- Who is your hero?

Four year old : I want to be like Superman, (or is it Spiderman).

Ten year old : I want to be a pilot (or an engineer or a doctor)

Sixteen year old : I want to be like Shahrukh Khan
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