Rabi-Ul-Awwal \ Rabi-Ul-Akhir 1424 H
Volume 16-06 No : 198
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We refer to the book Sahih Bukhari many times. But have we ever cared to look into the life and persona of Imam Bukhari, who devoted his entire life to write this precious book?
By Jamil Ahmad
Few persons in the world have even been endowed with a proverbial memory. One of them is Bukhari, the greatest compiler of Hadith (narratives pertaining to the Prophet’s life and his sayings) that Islam has produced. He is said to have retained in his memory one million Ahadith with full details of all the different sources and reporters of each Hadith which came down to him. His Sahih Bukhari (collection of Hadith) is universally recognised as the most authentic collection of Ahadith of the Holy Prophet of Islam (Pbuh).
Abu‘abd Allah Muhammad ibn Isma‘il, later known as Imam Bukhari, was born in Bukhara on 13 Shawwal, 194 A.H. (July 21 810 A.C). The newly-born child had scarcely opened his eyes in the world when he lost his eyesight. His father was immensely grieved at it. His pious mother wept and prayed to God to restore the eyesight of her newly-born child. And by the Grace of God, the eyesight of the newly-born child was fully restored. He lost his father when he was still a child. He was brought up by his illustrious and virtuous mother. He began his study of the Hadith at the early age of eleven. In his 16th year, he made pilgrimage of the Holy places along with his mother and elder brother. There he attended the lectures of the great teachers of Hadith in Makkah and Madinah. He was still 18 years old, when he wrote a book on the decisions made by the Companions of the Prophet (Pbuh) and their followers.
His elder brother, Rashid ibn Isma‘il reports that the young Bukhari used to attend the lectures and discourses of learned men along with him and other pupils. But, unlike other pupils he never took notes of these discourses. They criticised him for not taking notes of the lectures and thus wasted his time. Bukhari did not give any reply. One day, being annoyed by their consistent criticism of his carelessness, Bukhari asked his fellow pupils to bring all they had noted down. By that time, his fellow pupils had taken down more than 15 thousand Ahadith. Young Bukhari, to the amazement of all, narrated all the 15 thousand Ahadith from his memory with minutest details which had not been noted down by the follow pupils.
Later, he started on a study pilgrimage of the world of Islam, which lasted 16 years. Of this period, he spent five years in Basrah, visiting Egypt, Hijaz, Kufa and Baghdad several times and wandered all over Western Asia in quest of knowledge and learning . During his travels he reported Ahadith from 80,000 persons. With the help of his exceptional memory he could retain these Ahadith with all their sources in his mind to be penned down at an opportune time.
The fame of young Bukhari had soon reached the distant parts of the Islamic world and wherever he went he was received with great veneration. People were wonderstruck by his deep learning and extraordinary memory. A large number of learned and pious men throughout the world of Islam became the disciples of young Bukhari. Darami, who was a spiritual teacher of Bukhari admits that his learned pupil had deeper insight into the Hadith.
Bukhari devoted not only his entire intelligence and exceptional memory to the writing of the momentous work, Sahih Bukhari, he attended to the task with utmost dedication and piety. He used to take bath and pray whenever he sat down to write the book. A part of this book was written by him sitting by the side of Prophet’s grave at Madinah.
Bukhari returned to his native place, Bukhara, at last and was given a rousing reception by the entire populace of this great cultural city. But he was not destined to live here for long. He was asked by the Ruler of Bukhara to teach him and his children the Ahadith of the Prophet at his Palace. This he declined and migrated to a town near Samarkand. Here he breathed his last on 30 Ramadan, 256 A.H. (31 August 870 A.C.)
The entire populace of the town and the vicinity came out to pay their last homage to one of the greatest sons of Islam. His grave is still a favourite place of Muslim pilgrimage. His monumental work, Sahih Bukhari established his reputation as one of the greatest compilers of Ahadith in Islam. It is said that Bukhari retained in his memory one million Ahadith of the Holy Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) with all the details of their sources and reporters. Out of the million Ahadith which he had learnt from some 80,000 reporters, he selected 7,275 Ahadith and, according to Ibn Hajar, 9,082 for his monumental work, Sahih Bukhari. He took 16 years to complete it. This monumental work of Bukhari has been acclaimed by thousands of scholars, and erudite theologians as a rare accomplishment. More than 53 commentaries, some of these in around 14 volumes, have been written on Sahih Bukhari.
This book is divided in various chapters, for which he had planned a complete scheme. In his selection of Ahadith, he exercised great prudence on his part. Bukhari is the author of about two dozen other books on religion, Islamic philosophy and history. But his monumental work is Sahih Bukhari, whose hundreds of commentaries and translations have appeared in different languages during the last one thousand years.
Providing children with Islamic education and raising them up as good practising Muslims are essential duties of parenthood. Rightfully, fulfilling these duties will lead to the pleasure of Allah and good for the parents and the child in this life and the Hereafter. However, ignoring these duties would lead to the destruction of the child's Hereafter and the wrath of Allah will befall the parents for not protecting their child from the traps of Shaytan and allowing him to choose the path of destruction.
Allah's Messenger said: "Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock, a man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock; a woman is the shepherd in the house of her husband and is responsible for her flock, the servant is the shepherd of his master's wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock." [Saheeh al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim]
One of the ways of protecting your children from the Fire is to let him memorise the Words of Allah. The Prophet said: "If the Quran is gathered in a body (i.e. a person), Allah will not burn him with the Fire." [al-Baihaqee, Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee]
"Teaching the children the Quran is the basis of the fundamentals from of Islam. This is because the child from the early age will be protected from the temptations of the world and whispers of the Shaytan, he will live and grow up among the gathering of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) where tranquility and the mercy of Allah descends, and as a result Allah will preserve his Fitrah.
So, why not encourage our children to memorise the Quran and make them one of the best individuals of this Ummah. Allah's Messenger said: "The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it." (Saheeh al-Bukhari)
(Compiled by Shawana A. Aziz)
A heavily built tall man was passing through the market of Kufa, his step firm and assured. He had a fine figure and a sun burnt face, encounters of the battlefield had left their marks on him, the corner of one of his eyes was slit.
To amuse his friends, a shopkeeper threw a handful of sweepings onto the man. The man continued his walk in the same assured and firm manner, without raising an eyebrow or looking towards the shopkeeper. When the man went away, a friend of the shopkeeper said to him, “Do you know the man you just insulted?” “No, I do not recognize him. He was a passerby like thousands of people passing this way every day. But tell me please, who was this man.” “Strange! You didn’t recognise him ! he was Malik Ashtar, the renowned Commander-In-Chief of Hazrat Ali.” “ He was Malik Ashtar ? The same Malik whose bravery turns a lion’s heart into water, and mention of whose name makes his enemies tremble with fear!” “ Yes, that was Malik himself.” “ Woe to me! What did I do? Now he will give an order to punish me severely. I must run to him immediately to apologise and pray that he forgives my misbehavior!” The shopkeeper ran after Malik. He saw him turning towards a mosque. He followed him to the mosque and saw that he had started praying. He waited till he finished his prayer. Humbly introducing himself, he told him, “ I am the man who committed that silly prank and behaved disrespectfully to you.”
Malik Ashtar replied, “But by Allah, I did not come in the mosque but for your sake. Because I knew that you were a very ignorant and misguided man and that you give trouble to people without any cause. I felt pity on you and came here to pray for you and ask Allah to lead you onto the right path. No, I did not have any such intentions as you were afraid of.”
Flamingos are one of the marvelous creations of our Almighty Allah. Subhanallah, they are beautiful birds and it is a real treat to our eyes to see a flock of these birds in flight. Dr Salim Ali, the world famous ornithologist from India showed great love and fascination for birds since his childhood. The scientific name for Flamingo is Phoenicopteridae. Flamingos are mainly found in and around salty lakes. Out of the seven species of flamingos, two species are found in India, the larger flamingo and the lesser flamingo. Flamingos have a long neck and a curved bill which is used to suck in water and filter out minute crustaceans (aquatic creatures with hard shell like crab, lobster etc). Their long legs allow them to wade through water, but surprisingly, they walk on toes. Unlike the domestic hen, here, both the male and female flamingos take turns incubating their single egg. One amazing fact is that the yolk of the flamingo egg is red, but its chick is white. We can see some flamingos pink in colour in the wild or in the zoos. They are pink because of what they eat. Their diet of red algae and shellfish is rich in carotene, the pigment that gives the pink colour to shrimps, prawns etc. You must be wondering why flamingos stand on one leg, they do this when they rest by keeping their leg close to their body, they conserve their body heat. Interesting isn’t it? (Illustrations by Sanah Ahmed).
Looking at the moon in a desert of war
Am’r bin Jamooh was one of the chieftains of the clan of Banu Salmah in Madinah. He was an ardent devotee of Manat, a deity popular with the Arabs before they came over to Islam. Am’r had an image of Manat in his prayer room which had been chiselled out of the choicest wood. He would wrap it with the best of perfumes and took good care of it.
Prior to his advent in Yathrib (later Madinah), the Holy Prophet had appointed Masa’b bin Umair to carry out Dawah. Masa’b had proved himself a very effective preacher and caused almost a revolution in Yathrib, bringing to Islam a host of talented, young and bright youth. His recitation of the Quran was almost a rage. Stirrings of change did not leave even the household of Am’r bin Jamooh. All of his three sons Muawwaz, Muaaz and Khallad entered the fold of Islam. On their initiation, even their mother , Hind, professed the shahadah. But they kept their faith secret lest it hurt their father.
One day Am’r warned Hind of the ‘danger’ Masa’b was posing to the traditional faith of the people of Madinah and asked her to safeguard the sons, totally oblivious of the fact that Islam had swept them off their ancestral religion. Using the opportunity, Hind advised him to listen to what their second son Nuaaz had to tell them. Muaaz was called out and asked to recite some verses of the Quran. Muaaz then recited the surah Fatihah. The message went straight to the heart of Am’r. But then he wanted to consult Manat about his intention to join the fold of Islam. Despite pleading from his sons that all such pleading before Manat wuld be stonewalled as the self- created deity was neither able to hear, nor to speak, let alone think, he insisted on the way he had chosen for himself.
Next his family members saw him standing before the idol of Manat. Incidentally, Am’r was one-legged, second having been lost in some mishap. He continued to stand pleading for advice from Manat for days together. But as it prolonged, his sons thought it better to remove the idol from his prayer which they thought would dissuade their father. So, one night, under the cover of darkness, they took away the idol of Manat and threw it in a ditch full of filth.
Amr was highly disappointed to see Manat missing the next morning. Enraged, he set out to find it and ultimately found it and restored it to its place after due cleaning. This went on for sometime. His sons would throw it and father would restore it. Finally, he hung a sword with the neck of Manat and advised him to safeguard himself if he can.
By M. Haseena
Once there lived an old couple in a faraway country. They had no children. As loneliness began to haunt them more and more, they felt very sad. One day a close friend of them heard about their problem. He brought them a kitten to bring up to while away their time.
The old couple started to rear the kitten as their own child. They fed him all kinds of delicious food. As years rolled on, the kitten grew into a large cat. It didn’t look nice as it did in younger days. It looked robust and frightening. So the old couple began to show disinterest in rearing him.
One day the same friend who brought the cat, now brought the old couple a single golden fish in a beautiful fish bowl. The old couple became happy. They now showed their full interest in rearing the fish ignoring the cat. This made the cat jealous.
One day the old couple went to the market leaving the cat and the fish. The cat sat staring at the fish jealously. The fish noticed this and asked “Oh friend! Why are you looking at me like this?”
“Humph! What does it matter to you?” replied the cat. “You have no worries in the world. All you do is to swim all day, which gives delight to the old couple. And they feed you well. But see me, I have to work, that is catch mice and lizards to feed myself. The old couple don’t look after me well anymore.”
“Don’t say like that, friend. Do you think I have no worries in the world just because I am fed regularly and I have no work?”
“Then, aren’t you?”
“No, Not at all” “Why?”
“Can I be happy after being separated from each and everyone closest to me? Even though the old couple feed me regularly, I don’t like it. In the lake I lived, I had to catch my own food. It would be very jolly to go swimming through vast strands of water with my siblings.
But you, you can go wherever you want and you can be with your relatives whenever you please.
The cat realised the truth. He asked the fish sorry for being jealous of him. The fish replied. “you don’t have to ask me sorry. Its Allah’s forgiveness you need to ask.
“Thank you, so much, friend!” said the cat. “Allah has really opened my eyes through you. Now, I will feel no more jealousy. But I want to help you to go back to your friends, and relatives.”
“We can find a way out later!”
“No, wait! I have found out an idea I will pretend, I want to eat you, in front of the old couple. They would get alarmed and put you back in the lake”.
“What, if they send you out?”
“Nope! They won’t. When the old couple returned from the market, the cat greeted them at the door and then went to the fish bowl and pretended to put his hand into it and catch the fish.
As both the friends had hoped, the old couple realized the danger of keeping the cat and the fish under the same roof. They could not send the cat away as they needed it. And they could not sell the fish, as their friend would get angry. So they left the fish at a nearby lake, where the fish had previously lived.
The fish went away to his beloved family, thanking Allah. And the cat went away thanking Allah that he had learnt his mistake and corrected it.