Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

October 2011
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OBSERVATIONS

Counterfeit Deeds
by Shamsul Huda
Some three hundred years ago, there lived a man known as Usman Khairabadi in the small town of Khairabad in what is today called Uttar Pradesh. A simple and pious individual, Usman used to sell vegetable curry for his livelihood.  Once a customer handed him a counterfeit coin in exchange for a bowl of curry and left the shop. In the evening haze, Usman could not check the coin and threw it in the tin full with coins. The customer turned in again after a few days and repeated the act and found Usman equally careless in matters of checking the nature of the coin. Now that he found Usman totally gullible, he began disposing off all his counterfeit coins at Usman’s shop. The word also went around among the people of the locality that Usman’s shop could be the ideal dumping ground for all the counterfeit coins as he never refused or rejected such coins or customers.
Years went by and Usman grew old. When time came for departure from the mortal world, Usman prayed: O my Lord, my Caretaker! You are aware that I accepted the counterfeit coins all these years and would never refuse the people what they would like in lieu for them, lest they feel humiliated. Now it is Your turn, o my Lord. Do not reject those counterfeit deeds in my account, lest I am humiliated on the Day of Judgment.
Head of Yahya
Damishq or Damascus is considered to be the oldest city that has been continuously inhabited through the millenia. It was brought under the Islamic caliphate by forces led by Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah during the reign of Hazrat Umar. Great many companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, settled down in the city after it became an important centre of learning and culture.  During Umayyad caliphate, Waleed bin Abdul Malik constructed the most important monument of the city, the mosque known as Jamia Umwi. The central hall of the huge mosque has a grave which is said to have the head of Prophet Hazrat Yahya, peace be upon him. He is known as John in the Bible and Christian theology.  As historical records bear it, while digging for foundation of the mosque was going on, the labourers found a cave inside the earth.  The information was conveyed to Caliph Waleed. He immediately reached the spot and found a sealed box inside the cave with inscription which when decoded by language experts revealed that it was head of Hazrat Yahya.  Islamic scholar Hafiz Ibne Asakar who accompanied the caliph reported that the head looked fresh showing no signs of decay or deformity with even the hair intact. The caliph ordered that the head be buried at the same spot and a grave be raised over it.  The mausoleum within the mosque precincts continues to this day.


An Austere Nizam
Mir Oosman Ali Khan was the seventh and the last Nizam of Hyderabad state. He carried the title Tajdar e Deccan (Crown of Deccan). Though Nizam’s Hyderabad was the richest among the principalities that constituted British India, Oosman Ali Khan himself led a very simple life. He used a simple bed-sheet to wrap himself while he slept during nights.  It so happened that the covering developed a lot of holes due to years of use inasmuch as it could not be used any further. He sent out his personal attendant to look for a new blanket with strict instructions that it should not cost more than Rs. 14. But to his chagrin, the servant discovered that no blanket was available for less than Rs. 16.  As he got tired of exploring the market any more, he thought of a deal with a shopkeeper. He told him that he would offer him Rs. 16 for the blanket but would expect a receipt of only Rs. 14, paying Rs. 2 from his own pocket. To his surprise, he found the shopkeeper unwilling as sales tax officials would not accept the same.  Disappointed, the attendant told the Nizam about his failure to find a blanket within the price range fixed by him.  The Nizam asked him to give up the search telling him that he would make do with the torn bed-sheet for another year.
Around the same time, a delegation from Aligarh Muslim University called upon the Nizam seeking monetary help as the University was in dire financial straits forcing it to close down several departments.  Enquiry revealed that the University needed Rs. eight lakhs for saving the departments from closing down. Nizam ordered Rs. 16 lakh to be released immediately to the University.


I, Me and Myself Culture
Sheikh Mohammad Ubeidah was a leading scholar of Egypt. He was passing by a garden with thousands of roses in full bloom. A friend accompanying him plucked a rose and threw it after some time. The Sheik began to cry loudly. When his friend tried to ask the reason, he said, when a child accompanying a European woman did the same, his mother shouted at him, telling him: ‘The garden and the roses are there for all to enjoy their sight and what you did was totally unacceptable. You should have left the flower in the plant. You have no right to deprive the people their right to enjoy a pleasing sight.’
The Sheikh told his friend, I am crying to protest against the selfishness of Muslims who feel no  prick of conscience on others’ rights being violated and can ride roughshod against everybody. 
The author is a social activist based in Bangalore.