By Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi
The fast of 'Ashura was prescribed before the fasts of Ramadan. The Jews observed it and so did the people of Arabia before the dawn of Islam.
It is related by Imam Bukhari on the authority of Ibn-i-Abbas that when the Prophet came to Madinah he found that the Jews observed the fast of 'Ashura. He enquired about it from them and was told that it was the day on which God had delivered the Children of Israel from the enemy and Moses used to keep a fast on it as an expression of gratitude to the Almighty. The Prophet thereupon, remarked that 'Moses has a greater claim upon me than upon you,' and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same.
It is also mentioned in Muslim that it is a most important day. On this day God had delivered Moses and his followers and drowned Pharaoh and his men. Moses fasted on it in thanksgiving. Imam Bukhari adds that it is related by Abu Bishr: "We also keep fast as a token of respect to Moses."
But the celebrated mathematician Abu Rehan Beruni challenged the veracity of these reports on the basis of a comparative study of the Jewish and Arabian Calendars. He writes: "It is said that 'Ashur is a Hebrew word which has become 'Ashura in Arabic. It stands for the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri. The fast observed on this day is called Yom Kippur. It came to be incorporated in the Arab Calendar and the name was given to the tenth day of the first month of their year in the same way in which it denoted the tenth day of the first month of the Jewish Calendar. It was instituted as a day of fasting among the Muslims in the first year of Migration. Later, when fasting was enjoined in the month of Ramadan it was dropped. A Tradition has it that when the Prophet came to Madinah and saw that the Jews observed the fast of 'Ashura he enquired about it and was told that it was the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his people and delivered Moses and his followers from them, and Moses used to fast on it in thanksgiving. The Prophet, then, remarked that Moses had a greater claim upon him than upon them and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same. When the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, the Prophet neither enjoined the fast of 'Ashura nor forbade it.
Ashura as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration. We fast on this day as a token of respect to Prophet Musa, alayhis-sallam (Moses).
But this report is fallacious and does not stand the test of enquiry. The first day of the month of Muharram in the first year of Hijrah (Migration) was Friday, which corresponds to the 16th of Tamuz, 933 (A.E.). As against it, the first day of that year among the Jews was Sunday, the 12th of Awwal which corresponds to the 29th of Safar. Hence, the fast of Ashura should have fallen on Tuesday, the 9th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, while the Migration had taken place during the first half of that month. The two dates, at any rate, do not correspond to each other."
He adds: "The contention that on this day God had drowned the Pharaoh, too, is not supported by what is given in the Torah. The event of the drowning of the Pharaoh had taken place, according to Torah, on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of the festival of Passover. The first Jewish fast of Passover, after the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah, occurred on Tuesday, the 22nd of Azhar 933 which corresponds to the 17th of Ramadan. This report also is, therefore, without a foundation."
With due respect to the scholarship of Beruni, it is clear that he has built his thesis wholly on conjecture. He has, for instance, surmised that the talk reported by Ibn-i-Abbas and other Companions had taken place on the very first day of the Prophet's arrival in Madinah as is evident from his observation, "when the sacred Prophet came to Madinah or entered it."
This misconception is due to the ignorance of the science of Traditions and of the holy Companion's mode of narration, innumerable instances of which are available in the Traditions. For example, it is related by Anas bin Malik: "When the Prophet came to Madinah and (saw that) there were two days which the people of that place celebrated as festivals he enquired about their significance. (The people of Madinah) told, 'These were our days of fun and entertainment during the days of Paganism.' The Prophet, thereupon, observed, 'God has given you two better days in their place, 'Id-ul-Fitr and 'Id-ul-Adha'."
Now, will it be proper for anyone to infer from the above Tradition that the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah took place on the same day that was the day of celebration in that town, and to proceed to question the veracity of the Tradition on the ground that it was not chronometrically possible? Similar errors of interpretation have been made in respect of other traditions as well, like the one relating to pollination in date palms.
Commenting on the argument advanced by Beruni, Allama Ibn-i-Hajr Asqallani says,
"He found it difficult to accept the tradition due to the misunderstanding that when the Prophet arrived in Madinah he saw the Jews in the state of keeping the fast of 'Ashura while, in fact, it was in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal that the Prophet had come to Madinah. The answer to it is that he has erred in the interpretation of the tradition. What the tradition actually means is that the Prophet came to know of the fast of 'Ashura only when he had migrated to Madinah and made his enquiry, for the first time, after he had reached there. In other words, the Prophet, when he came to Madinah and stayed there till 'Ashura, found that the Jews fasted on that day."
There is left no chronological contradiction after Allama Asqallani's explanation, in the Tradition regarding the fast of 'Ashura.
The second misconception under which Beruni labors is that the fast of 'Ashura mentioned in the Tradition signifies the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri which is also known as Yom Kippur or the Fast of Atonement and is observed by them with greater ceremony than any other fast. But there is nothing in the tradition to warrant such a conclusion, and it is also not supported by the Torah because the Fast of Atonement was instituted in expiation of a mortal sin and observed as a day of penance and mourning.
The Day of Atonement, which is the tenth day of the seventh month of Tisri, is referred to in these words in the Third Book of Moses called, Leviticus:
"And this will be a statute for ever unto you; that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger who sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever" (Lev. 16:29-31)
At another place, in the same Book, it is said: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God." (Lev. 23:26-28)
Similarly, in the Book of Numbers, it is set forth: "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month a holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls; ye shall not do any work therein."
On the other hand, it explicitly occurs in the traditions that the day of 'Ashura (on which the Muslims are enjoined to fast) was a day of rejoicing among the Jews. As Imam Bukhari has related it on the authority of Abu Musa Ashari, the Jews regarded it to be a day of Eid and it was on seeing it that the holy Prophet advised his Companions also to keep fast on it.
In Saheeh Muslim, also, it is related from Qais bin Muslim that men of good-doing observed the fast of Ashura and celebrated it as the day of Eid, with their women wearing the best of clothes and ornaments. The Prophet, on seeing it, said to us, "You should also fast on this day."
It is, further, related by Koraib bin S'ad from Omar bin el-Khattab that, "On the Day of Judgment God will ask you only about two fasts, the fasts of Ramadan and the fast of the day of adornment (i.e., 'Ashura)."
In the light of the facts given above, it will be incorrect to say that 'Ashura is the Day of Atonement. Were it so, it would have been a day of lamentation and mortification while 'Ashura, as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration.
The same fallacy is shared by a number of Western scholars as well. As for instance, Abraham Katish observes about the Day of Attonement in his book entitled, 'Judaism in Islam,' that "Mohammad, in the beginning, instituted it as a day of fasting for Muslims."
The assertion of the Jews themselves about 'Ashura that it was the day on which God had delivered the Israelites from their enemies is enough to set at rest all doubts in this connection. In the Torah it has been repeatedly mentioned as Abib which later came to be known as Nisan. About Abib, we read in Dairatul M'aarif, "it is a Hebraic word which means 'green'. It is the name of the first month of the Hebraic year. This name was given to it by Moses and it corresponds nearly to the month of April. When the Jews were exiled in Babylon they changed its name to Nisan, meaning 'the month of flowers.' Their 'Id-ul-Fateer (Passover) is also held in the middle of it."
Beruni, also, has admitted that it is wrong to suppose that the Day of Atonement signified the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his men. He says, "Their contention that on this day God had drowned Pharaoh is opposed to what is stated in the Torah because the event of drowning took place on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of Ayam-ul-Fateer (Passover). It is set forth in Torah (Ex. 12: 18): 'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even'."
We, therefore, conclude that 'Ashura, which is mentioned in the traditions related by Ibn-i-Abbas and others and on which day the Muslims have been exhorted to fast and was included among the near-obligatory duties in Islam before the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, corresponds, in the largest measure, to the day which falls in the middle of the Hebraic month of Abib, whose name was changed to Nisan by the Jews during the period of their exile in Babylon and was celebrated by them as an 'Id and an event of fasting and entertainment. It was on this day that the Israelites had come out of Egypt and the Pharaoh was drowned. In the second Book of Moses it is related: "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month of Abib." (Ex. 13: 3-4)
In sum, the general consensus among Muslim theologians and religious scholars is that 'Ashura fell on the tenth day of the Arab month of Muharram in the second year of Migration and that it was later annulled by Ramadan.
Besides, any attempt to make the Lunar Arabian Calendar correspond to the Solar Jewish Calendar can, at the best, be only hypothetical. The ancient custom of Nasi has also taken a hand in adding to the confusion. This practice was quite common in Arabia, both before and after the advent of Islam, till it was prohibited by the Qur'anic injunction which reads: Postponement of a month is only an excess of disbelief, whereby those who disbelieve are misled. (ix: 37)
On the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, the holy Prophet had declared, "Time has returned to the original state that obtained when the heavens and the earth were created". These words were of Divine Inspiration for the Arab arrangement of time into days, weeks, months and years had been changed so frequently that it could not be relied upon nor restored to its original form through mathematical calculation. It is, therefore, incorrect to question the authenticity of successive Traditions merely on the basis of an erratic and inconstant Calendar.
It is also possible that the Jews of Madinah were different from the other Jewish communities where the fast of 'Ashura was concerned and observed it with greater enthusiasm and regularity, and, in this respect, they were similar to the Arabs who, seeing that so many important events had taken place on that day, fasted on it out of reverence.
It is related by Hazrat-at Ayesha , "the Quraish fasted on the day of 'Ashura during the period of Ignorance and the sacred Prophet also kept it." (Muslim). Further, the fast days among the Jews living in different countries differed from one another. We have seen how in the Jewish Encyclopedia it is indicated that apart from the fixed fast-days many fasts of a local or national character had become established among the Jews from the early days, which varied from place to place. Private fasts were also common among the Jews and one could take it upon oneself to fast on certain days in memory of certain events or at the time of adversity to arouse God's mercy. In these circumstances, it is quite possible that the fast of 'Ashura, on the tenth day of the first month of the Arab Calendar, was peculiar to the Jews living in Arabia alone. Perhaps, it is for this reason that the Talmud and the Jewish Calendar are silent on this score. Some historians have treated it as identical! to the Fast of Atonement which all the Jews, wherever they be, consider obligatory. Thus, those who subscribe to this view are inclined to doubt the veracity of the afore-mentioned traditions. But their judgment is influenced by the ignorance of the habits and practices of the Jews living in various parts of the world, specially in Arabia where they had been settled for generations as a distinct community, possessing their own beliefs and customs and receiving local impressions in the historical course of things.
By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says, "The number of the months according to Allah is twelve (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified."
These four months, according to the authentic traditions, are Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj, declared: "One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab."
The specific mention of these four months does not mean that any other month has no sanctity, because the month of Ramadan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year. But these four months were specifically termed as sanctified months for the simple reason that their sanctity was accepted even by the pagans of Makkah.
In fact, every month, out of the twelve, is originally equal to the other, and there is no inherent sanctity that may be attributed to one of them in comparison to the other months. When Allah Almighty chooses a particular time for His special blessings, the same acquires sanctity out of His grace.
Thus, the sanctity of these four months was recognized right from the days of Sayyidina Ibrahim, alayhi salam. Since the Pagans of Makkah attributed themselves to Sayyidina Ibrahim, alayhi salam, they observed the sanctity of these four months and despite their frequent tribal battles, they held it unlawful to fight in these months.
In the Shariah of our Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the sanctity of these months was upheld and the Holy Quran referred to them as the "sanctified months".
Muharram has certain other characteristics special to it, which are specified below.
Fasting During the Month
The Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: 'The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram."
Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. The Hadith cited above signifies that the fasts of the month of Muharram are most rewardable ones among the Nafl or voluntary fasts.
The Hadith does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muharram can be achieved only by fasting for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he can.
The Day of 'Ashurah'
Although Muharram is a sanctified month as a whole, yet, the 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is named 'Ashurah'. According to the Holy Companion Ibn 'Abbas, Radi-Allahu anhu. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, when migrated to Madinah, found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (Moses), alayhis salam, and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its waters. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, "We are more closely rotated to Musa, alayhi salam, than you," and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of 'Ashura'. (Abu Dawood)
It is also reported in a number of authentic traditions that in the beginning, fasting on the day of 'Ashura' was obligatory for the Muslims. It was later that the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory and the fast on the day of 'Ashura' was made optional. Sayyidina 'Aisha, Radi-Allahu anha, has said:
"When the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, came to Madinah, he fasted on the day of 'Ashura' and directed the people to fast. But when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory, the obligation of fasting was confined to Ramadan and the obligatory nature of the fast of 'Ashura' was abandoned. Whoever so desires should fast on it and any other who so likes can avoid fasting on it." (Sunan Abu Dawud)
However, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast on the day of 'Ashura' even after the fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory. Abdullah ibn Musa, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, preferred the fast of 'Ashura' on the fasts of other days and preferred the fasts of Ramadhaan on the fast of 'Ashura'. (Bukhari and Muslim)
In short, it is established through a number of authentic ahadith that fasting on the day of 'Ashura' is Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and makes one entitled to a great reward.
According to another Hadith, it is more advisable that the fast of 'Ashura' should either be preceded or followed by another fast. It means that one should fast two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram or the 10th and 11th. The reason of this additional fast as mentioned by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is that the Jews used to fast on the day of'Ashura alone, and the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, wanted to distinguish the Muslim way of fasting from that of Jews. Therefore, he advised the Muslims to add another fast to that of 'Ashura'.
Some traditions signify another feature of the day of 'Ashura. According to these traditions, one should be more generous to his family by providing more food to them on this day as compared to other days. These traditions are not very authentic according to the science of Hadith. Yet, some Scholars like Baihaqi and Ibn Hibban have accepted them as reliable.
What is mentioned above is all that is supported through authentic sources about Ashura.
Misconceptions and Baseless Traditions
However, there are some legends and misconceptions with regard to 'Ashura' that have managed to find their way into the minds of the ignorant, but have no support of authentic Islamic sources, some very common of them are these: This is the day on which Adam, alayhi salam, was created. This is the day when Ibrahim, alayhi salam, was born. This is the day when Allah accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Adam, alayhi salam. This is the day when Qiyaamah (doomsday) will take place. Whoever takes bath on the day of 'Ashura' will never get ill.
All these and other similar whims and fancies are totally baseless and the traditions referred to in this respect are not worthy of any credit.
Some people take it as Sunnah to prepare a particular type of meal on the day of 'Ashura'. This practice, too, has no basis in the authentic Islamic sources.
Some other people attribute the sanctity of 'Ashura' to the martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, during his battle with the Syrian army. No doubt, the martyrdom of Sayyidina Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, is one of the most tragic episodes of our history. Yet, the sanctity of 'Ashura' cannot be ascribed to this event for the simple reason that the sanctity of 'Ashura' was established during the days of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, much earlier than the birth of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.
On the contrary, it is one of the merits of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that his martyrdom took place on the day of 'Ashura'.
Another misconception about the month of Muharram is that it is an evil or unlucky month, for Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, was killed in it. It is for this misconception that people avoid holding marriage ceremonies in the month of Muharram. This is again a baseless concept, which is contrary to the express teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. If the death of an eminent person on a particular day renders that day unlucky for all times to come, one can hardly find a day of the year free from this bad luck because every day is associated with the demise of some eminent person. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, have liberated us from such superstitious beliefs.
Lamentations and Mourning
Another wrong practice related to this month is to hold the lamentation and mouming ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu. As mentioned earlier, the event of Karbala is one of the most tragic events of our history, but the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has forbidden us from holding the mourning ceremonies on the death of any person. The people of jahiliyyah (ignorance) used to mourn over their deceased through loud lamentations, by tearing their clothes and by beating their cheeks and chests. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, stopped the Muslims from doing all this and directed them to observe patience by saying "Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'oon". A number of authentic Ahaadith are available on the subject. To quote only one of them:
"He is not from our group who slaps his checks, tears his clothes and cries in the manner of the people of jahiliyyah." (Sahih Bukhari)
All the authentic jurists are unanimous on the point that the mourning of this type is impermissible. Even Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, shortly before his demise, had advised his beloved sister Sayyidah Zainab, Radi-Allahu anha, at not to mourn over his death in this manner. He said, "My dear sister! I swear upon you that in case I die you shall not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor curse anyone for me or pray for your death." (Al-Kamil, ibn al-Athir vol. 4 pg. 24)
It is evident from this advice of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that this type of mourning is condemned even by the blessed person for the memory of whom these mourning ceremonies are held. Every Muslim should avoid this practice and abide by the teachings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and his beloved grand child Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.
Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Cleanliness and purification is one of the great privileges of Islam. It has evolved a wonderful system that encompasses Muslim life on individual and social levels. Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness, in both physical and spiritual terms. The attention to hygiene is the aspect which is an unknown concern in any other religion or philosophy before Islam. While people generally consider cleanliness a desirable attribute, Islam insists on it, making it an indispensable fundamental of faith. Cleanliness is an essential part of Islamic life and in fact the meaning and spirit behind the concept of cleanliness is much beyond the superficial concept of the conventional cleanliness.
In the Holy Quran, there are a number of verses which shed light at the importance of cleanliness: "Truly, Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Al Baqarah 2:222) At another place Allah says: “In it (mosque) are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.” (9:108) Cleanliness and purity has been emphasized by various means in hundreds of Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a Hadith he said: Cleanliness is half of faith. (Sahih Muslim Book 2, Number 0432)
The importance of cleanliness can be estimated from the fact that the books of Hadith as well as the Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) start with a chapter on cleanliness. There are two terms used in Islamic literature: taharah and nazafah. Taharah (Cleanliness from physical impurities) is required by Islam to be observed by each and every Muslim in his and her daily life while nazafah (neatness) is a desirable attribute.
There are two kinds of cleanliness; physical and spiritual. As far as physical cleanliness is concerned, it is of two types. One which is related to human body and the other is related to environment, water, house, road and public places. Muslims are required to observe cleanliness from the excretions of the penis, vagina or anus. Semen, sperm, urine, menstruation, vaginal fluid, stool and blood are impure and require compulsory modes of cleanliness. Muslims wash their genitals after passing urine and secretion and take bath every time they have intercourse with their mates. Muslims also enjoined to use water, not paper or anything else after eliminating body wastes. They are categorically prohibited to have sex with their wives during their menses.
A Muslim is obliged to make ablution if exposed to minor impurities. This means he must wash off those parts of the body (like hand, feet, face, nostrils etc) which are commonly exposed to dust, dirt and environmental pollution. Before every prayer (at least five times a day) and before recital of the Quran, Muslims are asked to perform this ablution. Likewise, Muslims are enjoined to have a Ghusl (bathe) after ejaculation, sexual intercourse, menstruation and puerperium. While at many other occasions, bathing is recommended as for Friday prayer, festival days, in Hajj etc.
Muslims are duty bound to keep the nails clipped, to remove hair from the armpit and from the pubic area as a matter of routine practice. Muslim males are required to get circumcised to avoid even faint traces of urine entrapped in the foreskin of the genitals. They are also instructed to trim their moustaches in order to avert oral intakes. Islam has directed attention in taking care of mouth by using any purifying agent like miswak. Brushing the teeth (once or twice a day) is very recent development of near past, but Muslims are accustomed this herbal brush for the past 1400 years, five times a day prior to each ablution. There are a number of Hadith that lay special stress on cleaning the teeth, hands and hair.
Apart from body, Islam requires a Muslim to keep his clothes, houses and streets clean. In fact a Muslim cannot offer his prayers with unclean body, clothes or using dirty premises. They are asked to use clean water and keep it safe from impurities and pollution. The particular chapter of taharah starts with the classification of water and goes on to describe how water gets impure or polluted.
Moreover, Islam instructed Muslims to maintain the cleanliness of the roads and streets. This is considered a charity to ridding the streets of impurities and filth. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) strictly warned against it and considered it one of the reasons to provoke Allah's curse and the people's curse, saying: "Beware of the three acts that cause others to curse you: relieving yourselves in a watering place, on foot paths or shaded places." (Abu Dawud, No 26)
Apart from physical cleanliness, Islam emphasizes on spiritual cleanliness. This means that one is free from polytheism, hypocrisy and ill manners, love of wealth, love of fame and other carnal desires. The emphasis in Islam is more on the cleanliness of the inner-self that is heart, mind and soul. The external cleaning process and rituals in reality are the preparatory ground work to obtain the more important task and that is cleanliness of the inner-self, which is the ultimate goal of the religion. Islam requires the sincere believer to sanitize and purify his entire way of life. The directives of Zakah (alms) and fasting are nothing but to purify ones wealth and soul.
Cleanliness is the pathway to health and strength. Islam wants a healthy and strong Muslim society which is immune against infectious diseases and is capable of understanding and applying God's message and carrying it away to the whole world. The Holy Quran says: You are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing In Allah. (Surah Aal-Imran, 3/110)
In view of the significance of cleanliness in Islam, Muslims should have the highest standard of cleanliness and personal hygiene of all the people in the world. But, it is highly regrettable that the heap of garbage has become an identity of Muslim homes and localities. The Muslim majority areas are marked with unhygienic and unhealthy conditions.
Patience always triumphs!
By Ibn Abdullah
The sweetness of Sabr (Patience) outlives grief. Patience is a cup every person has to drink from. There are some types of grief that weigh on the heart, that if they were to be felt by a mountain, that mountain would crumble to the ground…
When The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him) lost his beloved son Ibrahim, he held his small body in his arms and said "The eyes send their tears and the heart is saddened, but we do not say anything except that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, O Ibrahim, we are bereaved by your departure from us." Then he turned his face towards the mountain before him and said, "O mountain! If you were as sorrowful as I am, you would certainly crumble into pieces! But we say what Allah has ordered us: (we are the servants of Allah and we will return to Him; we thank Allah, the Creator of the Universe)." (Ibn-i Sa'd, Tabaqat v.1, p.131-144)
The human heart is just a small, fragile piece of flesh - but with Sabr (patience), it is able to carry the kind of pain that would cause a mountain to disintegrate. Allah Ta’ala says;
"Oh you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy. Vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and be pious, that you may prosper." (Qur’an 3:200)
Patience only comes with great struggle and difficulty. It is like trying to grasp and hold onto a strong and fast-swimming fish with your bare hands. You may succeed for a moment or two, but if you are not vigilant, it will escape from grip just as quickly as it came. Really how desperate is our need for patience?!
Patience doesn't mean to just ‘wait out’ the pain. It doesn't mean burying your head in the sand until the storm has ended and you can be sure safely re-emerge into life. And patience isn't peaceful…at least not at first.
True patience is like stepping onto shards of glass and muffling your screams. As you sit and remove the pieces from your skin, tears stinging at your eyes from the pain, you smile and do not say a word.
Patience is like being lit on fire from within, a fire that feels as though it will consume you. And yet you keep walking forward calmly, extending your hand to take cool water from those who offer them in order to quell the flame.
Patience is like treading water in violent seas after your boat has capsized – you are exhausted, but if you stop trying for a moment, you will drown.
Patience is indeed a pillar of great virtue. Allah Ta’ala says; "No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (Qur’an 41:35)
"Verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual enjoining of truth, and of patience and constancy." ( Qur’an 103:2-3)
Patience and success are like twin brothers, for victory comes with patience, relief comes with distress and ease comes with hardship. Its relationship to victory is like that of the head to the body.
In the Qur’aan, Allah Ta’ala has guaranteed those who are patient that He will give them reward without measure. He tells them that He is with them by guiding and supporting them and granting them a clear victory. Allah Ta’ala says;
“Surely, Allaah is with those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient)” (Qur’an al-Anfaal 6:46)
During times of deep trial, despair and sadness, patience is a fort. Relief and comfort can be found in adhering to Deen. We will most definitely be tried and tested in life, and these trials should be borne with "patience, perseverance and prayer." Indeed, people before us have suffered and had their faith tested; so too will we be tried and tested in this life but we should not lose hope or feel despondent. Allah Ta’ala says;
“Verily, with every difficulty there is relief” (Qur'an 94:5-6)
When our focus ceases to be solely on ourselves, our pride and our ego, then patience is easier to manifest. No matter what types of adverse conditions prevail, a person who exercises patience will not be at loss. The Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (peace be upon him) said;
"How wonderful is the affairs of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him." (Hadith-Muslim)
So next time you are struck with arrow of grief or caught-up in a storm of difficulties, remember to exercise patience, turn to Allah Ta’ala in repentance and pray to Him for relief…for at the end of every dark tunnel there are rays of light!
اردو میں مزید فتاوی اور مضامین کے لیے درج ذیل لنک دیکھیں
_ by Mufti Taqi Usmani
Rabi'ul-Awwal is the most significant month in the Islamic history, because humanity has been blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Before the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, not only the Arabian peninsula, but also the so-called civilized nations of Rome and Persia were drowned in the darkness of ignorance, superstitions, oppression and unrest. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, came with the eternal truth of Tawhid (Oneness of Allah), the only faith which provides a firm basis for the real concepts of knowledge, equity and peace. It was this faith which delivered humanity from ignorance and superstitions and spread the light of true knowledge all over the world.
Thus the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was the most significant and the most remarkable event in human history. Had there been room in Islamic teachings for the celebration of birthdays or anniversaries, the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would have undoubtedly deserved it more than the birthday of any other person. But that is against the nature of Islamic teachings. That is why, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism, there are very few festivals in Islam, which provides for only two Eids (Eidul-fitr and Eidul-Adha)during the whole year. The dates of these two Eids do not correspond to the birthday of any of the outstanding persons of Islamic history, nor can their origin be attributed to any particular event of history that had happened in these dates.
Both of these two Eids have been prescribed for paying gratitude to Allah on some happy events that take place every year. The first event is the completion of the fasts of Ramadan and the second event is the completion of Hajj, another form of worship regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.
The manner prescribed for the celebration of these two Eids (festivals) is also different from non-Islamic festivals. There are no formal processions, illumination or other activities showing formal happiness. On the contrary, there are congregational prayers and informal mutual visits to each other, which can give real happiness instead of its symbols only.
On the other hand, Islam has not prescribed any festival for the birthday of any person, however great or significant he may be. The prophets of Allah are the persons of the highest status amongst all human beings. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, or his noble companions never observed the birthday or anniversary of any of them. Even the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, which was the most happy day for the whole mankind was never celebrated by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself, nor by his blessed Companions.
The Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, remained alive after him for about a century, but despite their unparalleled and profound love towards the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, they never celebrated the birthday or the death anniversary of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Instead, they devoted their lives for promoting the cause of Islam, for bringing his teachings into practice, for conveying his message to the four corners of the world and for establishing the Islamic order in every walk of life.
The Origins of Christmas
In fact, commemorating the birth of a distinguished person has never been prescribed by any religion attributing itself to divine revelation. It was originally a custom prevalent in pagan communities only. Even Christmas, the famous Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ finds no mention in the Bible or in the early Christian writings. It was only in the 4th century after the ascension of Jesus Christ that Christmas was recognized as a regular Christian feast. To quote the Collier's Encyclopedia: "It is impossible to determine the exact date of the birth of Christ, either from the evidence of the gospels, or from any sound tradition. During the first three centuries of the Christian era there was considerable opposition in the Church to the pagan custom of celebrating birthdays, although there is some indication that a purely religious commemoration of the birth of Christ was included in the feast of Epiphany. Clement of Alexandria mentions the existence of the feast in Egypt about the year A.D. 200 and we have some evidence that it was observed on various dates in scattered areas. After the triumph of Constantine, the Church at Rome assigned December 25 as the date for the celebration of the feast, possibly about A.D. 320 or 353. By the end of the fourth century the whole Christian world was celebrating Christmas on that day, with the exception of the Eastern Churches, where it was celebrated on January 6. The choice of December 25 was probably influenced by the fact that on this day the Romans celebrated the Mithraic feast of the Sun-god, and that the Saturnalia also came at this time." (Collier's Encyclopedia 1984 ed, v. 6, p. 403).
A similar description of the origin of Christmas is found in-the Encyclopedia Britannica with some more details. Its following passage will throw more light on the point: "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church, and before the 5th century there was no general consensus of opinion as to when it should come in the calendar, whether on Jan. 6, March 25 or Dec. 25. The earliest identification of Dec. 25 with the birthday of Christ is in a passage, otherwise unknown and probably spurious, of the philos of Antioch (c.180), preserved in Latin by the Magdeburyg centuriators (i, 3, 118), to the effect that the Gauls contended that since they celebrated the birth of Lord on Dec. 25, so they ought to celebrate the resurrection on March 25. A passage, almost certainly interpolated, in 'Hippelates' (c. 202) commentary on Daniel iv, 23, says that Jesus was born at Bethlehem on Wednesday, Dec. 25, in the 42nd year of Augustus, but he mentions no feast, and such a feast, indeed, would conflict with the then orthodox ideas. As late as 245, Origin (hem. viii on Leviticus) repudiated the idea of keeping the birthday of Christ "as if he were a king Pharaoh". (Britannica, 1953 ed. v. 5, p.642)
These two quotes are more than sufficient to prove the following points:
1. The commemoration of birthdays was originally a pagan custom, never recognized by a divine scripture or prophetic teaching.
2. The exact date of the Birth of Sayyidna 'Isa is unknown and impossible to be ascertained.
3. The commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ was not a recognized practice in the early centuries of the Christian history.
4. It was in the 4th or 5th century that it was recognized as a religious feast, and that, too, under the influence of the pagans who worshipped Sun-god.
5. There was a strong opposition against the commemorating of the birthday by the early Christian scholars like Origin, on the ground that it is originally a custom of pagans and idolaters.
Original Islamic Resources
In original Islamic resources, also we cannot find any instruction about the celebration of birthdays or death anniversaries. Many Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, passed away during his life-time. His beloved wife Sayyidah Khadijah, Radi-Allahu anha, passed away in Makkah. His beloved uncle Sayyidna Hamzah, Radi-Allahu anhu was brutally slaughtered during the battle of Uhud. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, never observed their birthday or their death anniversaries, nor did he ever advise his followers to celebrate his own birthday in Rabi'ul-Awwal.
What is Wrong with These Celebrations
The reason for abstinence from such celebrations is that they divert the attention of people from the real teachings of Islam towards the observance of some formal activities only. Initially, these celebrations may begin with utmost piety and with a bona fide intention to pay homage to a pious person. Yet, the experience shows that the celebration is ultimately mixed up with an element of merrymaking and rejoicing and is generally confused with secular festivals and the secular, and often sinful, activities creep into it gradually.
The Transformation of Christmas
The example of Christmas will again be relevant. This Christian feast was originally innovated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ and, of course, to remember his teachings. But once the occasion had been recognized as a feast, all the secular elements of public festivals crept in. The following quotation from the Encyclopedia Britannia is worth attention: "For several centuries Christmas was solely a church anniversary observed by religious services. But as Christianity spread among the people of pagan lands, many of the practices of the winter solstice were blended with those of Christianity because of the liberal ruling of Gregory I, the great, and the cooperation of the missionaries. Thus, Christmas became both religious and secular in its celebration, at times reverent, at others gay."
Then, what kind of activities have been adopted to celebrate Christmas is mentioned in the next paragraphs of which the following quote is more pertinent here: "Merrymaking came to have a share in Christmas observance through popular enthusiasm even while emphasis was on the religious phase. ... In the wholly decked great halls of the feudal lords, whose hospitality extended to all their friends, tenants and household, was sailing, feasting, singing and games, dancing, masquerading and mummers presenting pantomimes and masques were all part of the festivities." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1953 v. 5, p. 643)
This is enough to show as to how an apparently innocent feast of reverence was converted into a secular festival where the merrymaking and seeking enjoyment by whatever means took preference over all the religious and spiritual activities.
Being fully aware of this human psychology, Islam has never prescribed, nor encouraged the observance of birthdays and anniversaries, and when such celebrations are observed as a part of the religion, they are totally forbidden.
The Religion is Complete
The Holy Qur'an has clearly pronounced on the occasion of the last Hajj of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam: "Today, I have completed the teachings of your religion." [Al-Maida 5:3]
It means that all the teachings of Islam were communicated to the Muslims through the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. No one is allowed after it to add any thing to them as a part of religion. What was not a part of religion during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, can never become part of it. Such additions are termed by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as Bid'ah or innovation.
Thus, the observance of the 12th of Rabi'ul-Awwal as a religious feast is not warranted by any verse of the Holy Qur'an or by any teaching of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Had it been a part of the religion it would have been clearly ordered or practiced by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and his blessed companions or, at least, by their immediate pupils. But no example of the celebration of the occasion can be traced out in the early centuries of the Islamic history. It was after many centuries [Albalagh Note: According to Maulana Yusuf Ludhinavi it was in the year 604 A.H.] that some monarchs started observing the 12th of Rabi'ul-Awwal as the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, without a sound religious basis, and the congregations in the name of Maulood or Milad were held where the history of the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to be narrated.
Disagreement About the Date
The observance of the 12th of this month as the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is not only an innovation having no basis in the Islamic teachings, but the accuracy of this date as the real birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is also very much doubted. There are different dates suggested in different traditions, and the majority of the authentic scholars is inclined to hold that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was born on the 9th of Rabi'ul-Awwal. This difference of opinion is another evidence to prove that the observance of the birthday is not a part of the religion, otherwise its exact date would have been preserved with accuracy.
The life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is, no doubt, the most important source of guidance for all the Muslims, and every Muslim is under an obligation to learn and study the events of his life, and to follow the practical example set by him in every sphere of life. The narration of his pious biography (the Seerah) in itself is a pious act, which invites the divine blessings, but the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah have not prescribed a particular time or method for it. This pious act should be performed in all the months and at all the times. The month of Rabi'ul-Awwal has not been designated by the Shariah as a special season for holding such congregations to commemorate the birth or life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is thus an innovation (Bid'ah) to restrict the Seerah meetings to the month of Rabi'ul Awwal only, or to believe that the meetings held in this month are worthy of more reward than the meetings held on any other date during the year. In fact, the Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to commemorate the life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, throughout the year, not only by studying and conveying his message to others, but also by following his way of life and acting upon his teachings in each and every branch of their activities, and this is exactly what a Muslim is required and supposed to do.
By this we do not mean that the Seerah meetings should not be held in the month of Rabi'ul-Awwal. The point is only that they should not be restricted to it, nor should it be believed that the Shariah has laid any kind of emphasis on holding such meetings in this particular month.
Another point that should always be kept in mind while holding such meetings is that they must be in complete conformity with the rules of Shariah. A Muslim is supposed to abide by the rules of Shariah in all his activities. But at least the meetings held in the memory of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, should be free from all the acts forbidden by the Shariah.
Contemporary Seerah Meetings and Shariah
It is often observed, especially in the Western countries, that the people hold the Seerah meetings where men and women sit together without observing the rules of hijab prescribed by the Shariah. The teachings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, are obviously against such mixed gatherings. How can a Seerah meeting bring fruits where such fundamental teachings of the Shariah are openly violated?
In some meetings the Na'ts (poems) in the memory of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, are recited by the women before the male audience, sometimes with music, which is totally against the instructions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is clearly prohibited by the Shariah to hold such meetings or to participate in them, because it is not only a violation of the Shariah rules, but it is an affront to the sanctity of the Seerah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
All other activities, often practiced on the twelfth of Rabi'ul-Awwal, like holding processions, constructing the mock tombs of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and illumination of the buildings and the roads are not warranted by any rule of the Shariah. Rather they are based on conscious or unconscious imitation of certain other religions. No example of such activities can be traced out from the earlier Islamic history.
Real Message of Seerah
What is really important with regard to the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is, first, to follow his teachings, and second to make his pious Seerah available to every Muslim, to preserve it in the hearts of the Muslims from the very childhood, to educate the family members to run their lives according to it and to hold it as the most glorious example of the human conduct the universe has ever witnessed -- and all this with utmost love and reverence, not manifested by some formal activities only, but also through actual behavior of following the Sunnah. This cannot be done by merely holding processions and illuminating the walls. This requires constant and consistent efforts and a meaningful program of education and training.
Links for some fatwas from Darul Uloom Deoband:
An article in Urdu (رزق میں برکت کیسے ہو) and English (Tips for Barakah) by Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
MUFTI MOHAMMAD SHUAIBULLAH KHAN
TRANSLATED BY MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
Muharram Al-Haram is the first month of the Islamic Calendar as January is the first month of the English Calendar. Most of us are aware about the dates of the English (Gregorian) calendar- when it starts and ends. On the contrary, we do not know anything about the dates of the Islamic calendar, which begins from the year when the Holy Prophet Muhammad migrated to Madinah. We only refer to the dates of the Hijri Calendar at the beginning of the Month of Ramadan or the Month of Dhul-Hijjah. As far as the other days of the year are concerned, we usually take the dates of the Islamic calendar lightly, and they almost pass by unnoticed.
At the start of every New Year of the Muslim calendar, the month of Muharram al-Haram dawns on us, and then the days glide past us without being noticed. On the other hand, when the month of January starts, many of the Muslims in our society join other people in celebrating it enthusiastically, greeting each other, wishing a “Happy New Year” with all warmth and sincerity. Some of them hold parties, cut cakes, eat pastries, and mark that day for an outing for a picnic. They look forward to its arrival every year eagerly to become one among the people celebrating this joyous occasion, with the bursting of firecrackers at the midnight of December 31st, and cheering loudly with others to usher in the New Year. The next day, many of our Muslim brothers in their ignorance, go through the newspapers looking at the astrological section for what the stars predict for them for the whole year. Some of them unfortunately believe in what is printed in them with their heart and soul modifying their lifestyles accordingly! If the astrological charts in the newspaper predict a bad news about their health and financial affairs in any given month, the superstitious ones in their ignorance take extra precautions to ward off the evil omens of those months. As a result, they do businesses and other transactions on those months, which have been predicted by the astrologers for them as lucky. If they strike a windfall in their fortunes on those months, then they place all their trust in those astrological predictions completely forgetting the fact that it is the Qadr that has been destined to them by Allah (swt), and not the planetary stars, or the effects of the constellations for all their fortunes and misfortunes!
Everyone knows that the celebration of the commencement of the first day of January spreads among the nations of the world like wildfire. All the communities, irrespective of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews have taken to the Gregorian calendar and have adopted its ways in their lives with all enthusiasm. They write letters to their loved ones among their relatives and friends wishing them all health, wealth, and prosperity, whereas, the awareness of Islamic dates, and its significance, which is compulsory for all Muslims, are completely brushed aside with contempt even if some person who is knowledgeable about the event informs others about it. The Muslim theologians declare that following the Hijri Calendar is made binding on all Muslims as (Farz-e-Kifayah) i.e. a general obligation whose observance by a majority of Muslim in an adequate number absolves all the other Muslims who are ignorant of it.
The Significance of the Islamic Calendar
The Holy Qur’an says, “They ask you concerning the new moons. Say, they are but the signs to mark fixed periods of time, in the affairs of men and for pilgrimage.” (2:189)
It is narrated that the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (saws) asked him about the moon of the first days of the month, whereupon, this Qur’anic verse was revealed to the Prophet (saws) in order to make it clear for them that the appearance of the moon can be used for measuring of the time in the affairs of men and for performing other acts of religious worships. Consequently, when the month begins, it indicates the beginning of the month by the crescent shaped figure of the moon, then it keeps growing bigger with each passing day. In this way, Muslims feel it convenient in fixing the time for all their worldly purposes as well as performing the religious acts of worship like the Pilgrimage, Zakah, fasting, and for celebrating the two Eids and marking the period of iddat etc. In the Holy Qur’an, it is only the Pilgrimage (Hajj) that has been mentioned in this verse to mark its beginning, which states that the moon is a measure of time for it. However, all the other forms of worship are also included under it, which are to be performed in a particular month or time in an Islamic Hijri year like fasting, which is performed in the month of Ramadan. Therefore, it is necessary to know the time of Ramadan, to fulfill this obligation and it depends completely on the beginning of the sighting of moon and ends with the sighting of the new moon in the month of Shawwal. In the same manner, the annual Pilgrimage, the Hajj, the Eid-ul-Adha, and the timing of paying out the Zakah to the poor etc. are also performed with the help of the Hijri calendar, which measures out the time according to the lunar months.
In brief, the Qur’anic verse that has been mentioned above gives a clear indication about the fact that the moon is to be used in regulating the affairs of the daily life of men and should be taken to calculate all the religious months as a measure of time in and for fixing periods.
The Importance of Lunar Month in Shariah
The Muslim theologians, therefore, have stated that it is compulsory in performing religious obligations and acts of worship to follow the Lunar Calendar. Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi writes under the commentary of this verse, “The Islamic Shariah has made it compulsory to act according to lunar calendar and the same is preferable in other matters as well. This is a kind of worship and an Islamic character of the Muslim Ummah throughout the world.
However, the Solar Calendar is not prohibited at all provided the Muslims do not forget the Hijri Calendar, because of its popularity and its hold on the minds of masses, for, such an act causes a disorder in religious affairs, like fasting in the month of Ramadan and for performing the Pilgrimage etc. Nowadays, it is common to see that all people date their businesses according to the Solar System, which exists in our offices and business institutions and in the personal letters written by people and for other matters relating to official correspondence. A great number of Muslims who work in these offices do not remember the Islamic dates. This proves to be a sign of our intellectual and religious bankruptcy concerning all matters relating to Islam. If we use the English dates in official matters, which are related to Non-Muslims, and use Islamic dates in personal and private affairs and the other necessities of our daily lives, we will obtain the reward of fulfilling Farz-e-Kifayah and, in this way maintain our Islamic character and Muslim identity.” (Maariful Qur’an, 1:468)
We should learn a lesson from the Christians in this regard. They have imposed their values and their way of life all over the world and we Muslims, not speak of spreading our culture, even do not practice it for our personal and communal laws and traditions!
The system of the calendar in the past nations
However, it is important to use and remember the dates of the Islamic calendar as an Islamic act, which identifies us as a Muslim community with our own set of values, and in turn, it will help us keep in close touch with our Islamic identity. Here, we should know when the Hijri year, which has been determined for the Islamic Calendar, began and what the reasons were behind it. But, at first we must understand that different things were adopted to fix a time and decide a period in the ancient nations.
Imam Sha‘abi says: “When the number of the descendents of Adam (as) increased and spread to different parts of the earth, people fixed their dates in history from the time of Adam’s arrival on earth, which continued until the Flood occurred during the time of Nuh (as). Thereafter, a date was determined from the time of the Great Deluge or Flood, which continued until the time of Ibrahim (as) being thrown in the fire acting on the orders of Nimrod. Then, from the time of Ibrahim’s incident until the period of Prophet Yusuf (as), different periods in the history of man were counted based on this event.
From thereafter, to the time of Musa’s (as) migration from Egypt and then from there, to the period of Prophet Dawood, and then, to the time of Prophet Sulaiman (as) and from there, to the arrival of the period of Isa (as) as a Prophet and Messenger of God on earth, dates were fixed respectively. (Umdah Al-Qari 17: 66)
Ibn Al-Kalabi says: “The people of Himyar tribe used to date their events in history from the time of Yemen’s kings and the people of Ghassan from the time of the breaking of the Ma‘arib Dam in Yemen, and the people of Sana‘a counted their dates in history from the time of domination of Ethiopians, and then followed from the time of the domination by the Persians. And the Arabs dated their days in history by the famous days like Boos, Dahis, Ghabra etc.” (Umdah Al-Qari 17:66)
Ibn Hisham narrates, “The dates of history fixed by the Roman Empire continued from the murder of Dara Ibn Dara until the Persians conquered them. As far as the Qift (the Copts) are concerned, they determined their dates in history from the time of Bukht-e-Nassar (Nebuchadnezzar) to Falabetrah who was the Queen of Egypt. And, the Jews fixed their dates in history from the time the temple of Solomon at Baitul-Maqdis was destroyed on the order of Emperor Titus of Rome. And, the Christians decided their dates in history from the time of the birth of Prophet Isa (as) who was raised among them as a Prophet and a Messenger of God.” (Umdah Al-Qari, 17:66)
Allama Ibn Katheer has narrated, “The Persians (Iranians) dated their events in history from the birth of a king and his death. When he was replaced by another king, they would fix their dates from the time of the new king. They continued to do that from one king to another and left the old events of the past, consigned to the dustbins of history. (Al-Bidayah Wa An-Nihayah 3:206)
Now, it has become quite clear from the details, which we have mentioned above that usually people used to fix their dates from well-known and famous events and incidents. Though some of them did it from the point of the decline, and fall of their empires and kingdoms. The Jews decided their dates from time of the destruction of their temple at Baitul-Maqdis at the hands of the Roan General Titus. On the other hand, the Christians started their calendar after Isa (saws) was raised to Allah. The Arabs started their date from the time when Abraha of Yemen attacked the house of Allah (the Ka‘bah in Makkah) with giant elephants and a large number of soldiers, which is remembered in Islamic history as the Incident of Elephant.
The Starting Point of Hijri Year
The Islamic Calendar, which is called Hijri, is based on the glorious event of Hijrah (migration) of the Holy Prophet to Madinah. Hijrah means migration and that is the reason it is called as the Hijri Calendar. It is narrated that for the first time the Hijri year was declared as the Islamic Calendar during the glorious and successful Caliphate of Umar, the Great. This was decided with the advice of the Companions of the Prophet (saws). Let us have a brief glance through the traditions, which are mentioned about the events that led to the start of the Hijri Calendar.
Abu Musa Ash ‘ari (ra) wrote a letter to Umar (ra) wherein he explained: “We receive many letters from you without a date put on them i.e. it becomes very difficult to know when the letter was written, whereupon Umar (ra) collected the Companions and consulted them about their views on this matter. For the affairs of his administration over the Islamic Empire needed a marking of events. Some of them advised him to fix the time from the time When Allah (swt) commissioned Prophet Muhammad (saws) to be the last Apostle of Allah, to deliver the Last Testament of God to human beings. Whereas others disagreed about this matter and opined that some of them were of the opinion that the date must be fixed from the time of Hijrah (Migration of the Holy Prophet from Makkah to Madinah), and a few of them were inclined to mark the events of Islamic history after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws).
But, the majority of the Companions were of the opinion that the Islamic Calendar should commence from the year of Hijrah. Umar (ra) – after hearing all their views - declared his final judgment in the favor of this opinion. (Fath Al-Bari 7:268, Thiqat-e-Ibn Hibban 2:206)
From the above narration it becomes clear that Umar (ra) consulted the Companions owing to the initiation of this point on the part of Abu Musa Ash‘ari to proclaim that the Islamic date should be started from the event of Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah, which was an important event that led to the establishment of the Islamic Empire.
However, another narration states: ‘A person came from Yemen to Umar and told him that he had seen in Yemen a thing which they call as “date “ to mark the daily events in their life. They write about everything using it as a measure of time, and declare that such an event happened in such and such a year and the month or a day. On hearing this, Umar (ra) declared: “This is a good practice to fix a date to mark events in history and to regulate the daily lives of people and religious events according to it. When he collected the people, they advised him to fix it from Prophet Muhammad’s (saws) birth, and some of them were of the mind to start the Islamic calendar from the date when he first received a revelation from Archangel Jibrail (as) in the Cave of Hira. Some others were of the opinion to mark this event from his Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah and a few others from his death. Umar said, “Let us fix the date from the time of Hijrah.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:269, Al-Bidayah Wa An-Nihayah, 3:206)
From this narration, we come to the conclusion that the movement of fixing the date started from Yemen. Here is another narration that Umar (ra) determine this as he felt a necessity to do this to mark the dates in Islamic history and for the records of his correspondence and administration. Ibn Hajar, Aini and Ibn Katheer have mentioned the narration on the authority of Maimoon Ibn Mehran, ‘Once a document was handed over to Umar, which was dated with the month of Sha‘aban. Upon this he said, ‘Which Sha‘aban is meant, the past or the future? Later, he collected the Companions and consulted them and fixed the calendar.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:268, Umdah Al-Qari 17:66, Al-Bidayah Wa An-Nihayah 3:206).
From these recorded events, we can draw a conclusion that Umar (ra), acting by himself felt the necessity to decide the date, later other Companions were also united on the same idea. Therefore, Umar consulted the Companions in a special meeting and declared that the date of the Islamic calendar would start from the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (saws) from Makkah to Madinah.
The Hijrah Calendar and its Founder Umar
We now come to the conclusion that Umar founded the Islamic calendar for which he will be remembered for good in the History of Islam. Allama Suyuti has included this in the list of Umar’s outstanding achievements and virtues, which he performed first time in the Islamic history and added, “He is the person who, for the first time, fixed the dates in Islamic History from the time of Hijrah.” (Tareekh-ul -Khulafa: 108)
In another narration of Musnad-e-Ahmed it is mentioned that Yala Ibn Umayya is the first person, who wrote the date, but this narration is weak. (Fath Al-Bari).
So, the right thing in this regard is to recognize the role of Umar (ra) who was the person who fixed the date and the Companions, who were his main advisors, Ali and Usman (ra) who supported him in this decision.
Why do we start the Islamic Calendar from Hijrah?
Here is an important thing, which holds our attention and our thoughts. The matter is that the event, on which the Companions have based the starting point of Islamic dates, is the event of the Hijrah, while there are many other different events of great importance in the Islamic history, which could have been made as a landmark and a starting point of the Islamic calendar. The event of his (i.e. Prophet’s) birth was one of the greatest events. Due to this a few Companions had advised Umar (ra) about their opinion, which they held in this matter.
In the same way, the event of being told for the first time in the Mount of Hira by Archangel Jibrail that he was the Last prophet of Allah (swt) who was being sent to all human beings with His Last Testament was also an important event in the Islamic History. The start of the Islamic Calendar could also have been made from this point of time in Islamic History. The event of Meraj could also not be neglected in this regard. But the Companions, especially, Ali and Umar made the event of Hijrah as the starting point for it.
Let them explain it by themselves as the scribes in their own words have recorded it. They justified, “The Hijrah (migration) separated the right from the wrong.” (Fath Al-Bari, 7:268, Umdah Al-Qari, 17:66)
The meaning is that Hijrah was thought to be an important highlight in Islamic history because the event of Hijrah has differentiated completely between the right and the wrong.
Anybody can read the Islamic history books and know how the act of Hijrah separates the right from the wrong.
The disbelievers had hatched a conspiracy to assassinate Prophet Muhammad (saws) as he slept in his house that night. They besieged his house throughout the night. They thought with the passage of this night he will be murdered, and with his murder, Islam will also be finished and completely uprooted.
But in the same night, the divine commandment for Hijrah (migration) came from Allah, and he escaped from the devilish plot of the pagans safe and intact. He reached to Madinah in a miraculous way. Thus the pagans were left surprised, disappointed and frustrated. They kept regretting that all the careful plans they had hatched for his assassination had failed them. The Disbelievers felt humiliated and defeated. On the other hand, when Prophet Muhammad (saws) reached Madinah, Islam began to rise and gather strength, and the Muslims kept marching on the path of success and glory from that day onwards. There the Muslims formed their own assembly and an Islamic state of sorts. They established an Islamic government.
The Companions have taught a great lesson to all of us by selecting this event as the starting point of the Islamic calendar, and the generations to come by considering the year of Hijrah as the starting point of the Islamic date. The great lesson is that the uplift and advancement of Islam and its grandeur and splendor depended on the fact that the other Muslims had made valuable sacrifices like the Prophet Muhammad (saws) had done, forsaking the land of their birth, their wealth, and positions, by joining him in Madinah, and became his Companions in the way of Allah.
The Second Reason
One reason has been mentioned why the Islamic Calendar started from the year of Hijrah. The second reason is that there was a difference of opinion about the date of his birth as well as the exact day when Allah (swt) commissioned the Holy Prophet as His Apostle in the Mount of Hira through the agency of Archangel Jibril (Gabriel). The Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws), who were alive after him viewed that starting the calendar from the year of his death would have been a regrettable act, which they did not like. And in fixing the year of Hijrah, no objections were raised from the general body of Muslims who had gathered under the leadership of Umar (ra) to debate this issue.
Muharram Al-Haram -the First Month of the Islamic Calendar
And, by consensus, when it was decided by the Companions of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) that the Islamic date should be fixed from the event of Hijrah, another problem arose as which month should be regarded as the first month of the year. After consulting the Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws), some of them remarked, “Rajab should be declared as the first month of Ramadan.” Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf (ra) was inclined to this opinion. And some of them said, “Ramadan should be the first month.” This was chosen by Talha (ra). Usman (ra) remarked, “We must begin the year by Muharram, because this is a respected month and the beginning of the year and time of returning of the Hajj Pilgrims.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:269, Umdah Al-Qari 17:66)
Ibn Hajar says, “The narrations and traditions as a whole indicate that the Companions who were in the favor of Muharram are Umar, Usman and Ali.” (Fath Al-Bari, 7:269)
In brief, it was agreed upon by all the Companions that Muharram Al-Haram must be declared as the first month of the Hijri year.
A Complication and its Solution
A complication may occur in one’s mind, as the Companions must have regarded the month in which the event of Hijrah took place as the first month of the Islamic year because they attached a lot of importance to the Hijrah. And the month in which Hijrah took place was Rabi Al-Awwal. Then why did they not agree to make Rabi Al-Awwal as the first month of the Hijri year?
The solution for this question is that no doubt, the event of Hijrah took place in the month of Ramadan. But the prophet Muhammad (saws) had determined to leave for Madinah in Muharram Al-Haram. The Muslims, while returning from Madinah after performing their Pilgrimage, invited Prophet Muhammad (saws) to Madinah. He accepted their invitation. When the month of Muharram came, he determined to migrate. From this viewpoint, Muharram is the month of Hijrah although it was practically done in the month of Rabi Al-Awwal.
Ibn Hajar says commenting about this, “This is the strongest reason for starting the Islamic year from the Month of Muharram.” (Fath Al-Bari, 7:269)
A Critical Analysis
After making known to our readers in complete details all the facts that led to the start of the Islamic calendar, we should examine ourselves in a critical way. The actions and practices of the Companions indicate to some important things, which, in fact, are a message and guidance for us. We should examine ourselves in the mirror of their achievements:
The first message is that when the Companions felt a necessity to fix a date, they invented the Islamic year and it gained currency among the Islamic Empire from then onwards. At that time, there were many other different dates, which were followed in different nations of the world. But the Companions did not follow the other nations or communities of the world blindly by imitating their dates in Islamic history. On the contrary, they founded a new Islamic year by consulting one another. This incident indicates that Islam is a complete and an independent religion, which has its own set of codes, beliefs, and practices that set it apart from the other non-Muslim nations of the world. It has its own values, traits, and special characteristics. Islam always wants its followers to maintain these values and traits. Hence, the question arises, “Is it permissible to act upon other dates?” The fact is that it is permissible to use and write other dates but the Islamic date must be given the first priority and care in all our writings and correspondence with one another. The practices of Companions give us an excellent lesson of Islamic Morals, which they followed to this effect. Their Islamic actions appeal to uphold and maintain Islamic values and characteristics. The Companions wanted to display the success and glory of the Muslims and the defeat and ruin of the pagans by fixing the date from the time of Hijrah with the Month of Muharram. Muharram Al-Haram is the month in which the disbelievers were defeated and ruined. On the other hand, the Muslims achieved great success and glory for Islam.
The Companions wanted that we must remember this month as it comes and lead our life successfully. But it is a pity that a large number of Muslims regard this month as an unhappy and unlucky month. Hence, many Muslims avoid this month and they do not hold marriage ceremonies and other functions during this month. This month was highly sacred and respected to them. On the other hand, some misguided Muslims nowadays regard it as an unlucky month. While the fact remains that the best fasting days after the month of Ramadan are the days of Muharram as Imam Muslim narrates in a hadith.
In this Hadith, this month has been declared as to be the month of Allah, which indicates its sacredness and glory. It has been considered as the best month after the month of Ramadan. But because of Shiite’s distorted interpretation of the events, which took place in this month, many Muslims think this month as unlucky, influenced by the Shiite School of Thought, which has no basis in the Islamic Shariah of the mainstream Sunni Islamic Ummah. This is a wrong belief, which must be corrected.
The Companions attracted our attention to the fact that we must sacrifice in the way of Allah by fixing the Islamic date in order to improve and develop Islam as the Prophet Muhammad and his other Companions showed us by their examples and sacrifices by strengthening Islam. If the Companions had not sacrificed all that they had and had not abandoned their comforts and amenities, which they enjoyed in the comforts of their homes in Makkah, it was possible that Islam would have been obliterated from this world.
So, when the Islamic date comes to us, we must have the same feelings of sacrifice as they did, and think of ways and means by which we can strengthen Islam both at an individual and collective level. Now let us think for ourselves, what sacrifices have we presented for the sake of strengthening Islam from its present position to take it to more glorious heights. What services have we rendered to it for the sake of Allah for its improvement? Think, have we not become a source to strengthen disbelief and paganism consciously or unconsciously weakening Islam and its values by following the un-Islamic practices of the non-Muslims blindly in this month, or have we not invested our whole time into improving the assets of our worldly life and developed in us a love and hankering for its material wealth?
After imprinting the above knowledge in our minds, and imbibing its spirit into our souls, everyone must lead his life in the way of developing and raising Islam to reach the zenith of its glory from the present state in which we find ourselves. By working for it selflessly for the sake of the religion and the Muslim community, we can make the Ummah the most distinguished, and respected people on the face of this earth.
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The social structure of the families throughout the world is crumbling down to pieces. In the present times, it would not be totally wide of the mark to say that an overall social anarchy is prevailing in the family order of human beings everywhere in the world. The beautiful concept of family life in the world has been completely ruined. The sanctity of relations bound by blood, and based on sound moral values, is seen as disappearing fast from this planet.
Islam has provided us with the most precise and comprehensive guidance on how we are to fulfill all our social responsibilities, and conduct, in all our dealings and relationships, with all our relatives with whom we come into contact on this earth, and other people in different walks of life. One of the most primary relationships in this world exists between a person and his/her parents. In Islam, the rights of parents have been described as those that are next to the rights of Allah (swt).
The Holy Qur'an says:“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and do good to parents. If either of them or both reach old age, do not say to them “Uff” (a word of anger or contempt) and do not scold them. And address them with respectful words, and submit yourself before them in humility out of compassion and say, “My Lord, be merciful to them as they had brought me up in my childhood.” (17:23-24)
Further, the Holy Qur'an states: “We commanded man to be good about his parents. His mother carried him facing weakness after weakness, and his weaning in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return'. And if they force you to ascribe to Him partners about whom you have no knowledge, do not obey them. And be with them in this world, with due fairness, and follow the way of the one who has turned himself towards Me. Then, towards Me is your return, so I shall tell you about what you had been doing.” (31:14-15)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) has also laid a very great stress on giving full devotion to the needs of parents, and obedience to one's parents. It is a highly grievous sin to disobey one's parents, ignore their feelings, or to disregard their comfort and happiness in any way. Allah and His Prophet have declared it as the greatest sin, and have characterized a disobedient attitude towards parents after polytheism.
The Holy Prophet (saws) has said: “In the pleasure of parents lies the pleasure of Allah, and in their displeasure, the displeasure of Allah.” The Prophet (saws) once said, “Every time a dutiful son or daughter looks with affection and respect towards his or her father or mother, Allah writes against his or her name the reward of an approved Hajj.” (Baihaqi)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) once said to his Companions that the most mortal sins in the world are three: “Associating anyone with Allah, disobeying parents, and giving a false evidence.” (Mishkat)
Once a person enquired from the Prophet (saws), “What are the rights of the parents?” The Holy Prophet replied, “Parents are the Heaven or Hell of their children, i.e. Salvation and Paradise could be gained by serving one's parents well while disobedience to them could lead one to Hell.” (Ibn Majah)
So, every Muslim should be highly respectful towards his parents though he suffers some kind of problem or difficulty, while treading on this path on account of his parents rebuking him or using harsh words against him because of their old age.
Parents, after all, are human beings susceptible to weaknesses and desires. It is possible that they might say or do something wrong and offending to their children. In such circumstances, the children should not mind the acts or utterances of their parents. They should not become enraged at such things and start cursing them. Whatever the parents may do to their children, they should control their temper keeping in view of the hardships and difficulties suffered by them in raising him up as a child into an adult. A Muslim should always consider this fact, and stand by the side of his parents in the way of their appreciating all that they have done to him in bringing him up, and be respectful and obedient to them every time especially in their old age.
No doubt, some of the parents, by their unjust behavior, can create certain situations in which the children may become rebellious and disobedient to them. Especially, when the father remarries and the children have to live with their stepmother who is usually callous and uncompromising with them. It is often seen that the stepmother tries to get her husband angry towards his children from his first wife, over their trivial faults.
In most of the cases, the father-out of love and consideration for their new brides, and in an effort to please all their whims and temperaments- does change his attitude towards his children, and mistreat them. He too, becomes like a stepfather to his own children. Similarly, if the mother, a widow or a divorcee, marries again after divorce or death of her husband, the second husband does not like that his wife treat her and his children alike. And, the poor wife in order to please her husband is compelled to adopt a different attitude towards her children from her first husband.
Either way the Islamic Shariah has admonished the children to obey their parents even at the cost of endangering their own lives. We hope that people will learn from the verses of the Holy Qur'an and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) that we have quoted above to behave in the best possible terms with their parents, especially in their old age, so that they might gain the pleasure of Allah in this world, and the Hereafter.
(Mufti Anwar Anwar Khan can be accessed at: email@example.com)
MUFTI MOHAMMAD ANWAR KHAN
The champions of the modern culture vociferously babble that only the modern things may be accepted in the scheme of life. They reject all that is old, traditional which they call as a symbol of radicalism and conservativeness. This bunch of modern individuals has devised a set of beautiful words to describe their ideas, feelings, sentiments, and expressions. But this is a fact that nothing relating to modernity is good or wholesome for humanity.
The modern culture wants that women should be made devoid of dresses so that they revel in seeking after their unbridled lusts. Dance, music, film, coeducation, dating, friendship, exhibitionism are all but means for them to satisfy their uncontrolled emotions. These modern champions are unable to understand that they, while advocating modernity, are inviting the whole human race towards utter misery and irreparable damage.
Those who oppose modernity and all that the new globalizing culture offers to humanity are called as radical, extremist, fundamentalist, and conservative. On the other hand, those who support their viewpoints are dubbed as modern, up-to-date, contemporary, enlightened, broad-minded, cosmopolitan, charismatic, and, in brief, complete human beings.
All this is taking place for no reason but to satisfy their base desires, to copy the modern civilization. You may cross no road, street, park, public place or office and institution without noticing a half-naked woman trying to allure the unlucky onlookers, which often make them a regular sufferer of hypertension and other psychological problems.
We may put the simple question before the ardent supporters of modernity and free living societies: Why have murder, incest, rape, kidnapping, eve-teasing, sexual harassment, date-raping, drug abuse, trafficking and a number of other serious issues started to take deep roots in the lives of the human brings? Wickedness, injustice, grief, pessimism, trouble, loneliness, fear, stress, frustration, distrust, unscrupulousness, anxiety, rage, jealousy, resentment, drug addiction, immorality, gambling, prostitution, hunger, poverty, social corruption, theft, war, struggle, violence, oppression, fear of death… News about these issues appear in the newspapers and on TV every day. Who is, at last, responsible for these curses? Why is the modern generation so fascinated with committing bestial crimes, a latest series of felonies that make the sensitive among the humanity shudder to even think about them? All these phenomena clearly indicate that something is terribly wrong with the lifestyle of the modern man.
The story of 74 year old Austrian building engineer is before us to think. This incestuous man locked his daughter in a rat-infested dungeon for 24 years and even he fathered seven children by her. There is found intense global criticism over cases like that. Our country India is also likely to be riveted by the newly revealed case of an outwardly respectable Guajarati businessman in Mumbai who allegedly has been raping his daughter for nine long years. In 2008, Maria Monica Susairaj and her boyfriend killed Neeraj Grover, hacked him into pieces, stuffed them into plastic bags, and later set fire to them. Why do sordid tales of rape, incest, and unimaginable cruelties to children attract so much attraction? Is it prurient interest or revulsion that drives public fascination? We can only guess.
In fact, the main problem lies in the modern mindset that has generated a strange kind of social fabric to live in. The traditional values have been trample over. Parents are not obeyed. Incestuous relations are very often reported. Drug abuse and alcoholism have become the order of the day. Cheating and swindling have become a norm in the human society. Brutalism has exceeded all the limits in a way that it resembles the bestialities of the animals let loose in a jungle. Murder and kidnapping are reported on a daily basis. Fraud and embezzlement have been included as part of the modern politics. Social integrity, national cohesion, and communal harmony find their place in the back stage. Affection with the juniors and the respect of the elders is the talk of the bygone era. Morality has been marginalized. Dirty politics has been made as the part of the modern national and international agenda.
Until the world does not revert to its original course of living, we can never dream a world full of peace and satisfaction. Only making agendas cannot work unless we make an effective step towards changing the modern course that is in fact leading the world towards its final decay. Raising hollow slogans has diminished the hope of people in true democracy.
Time and again, the world has witnessed a number of policies, agendas and memorandums to be imposed for the betterment of humanity. Conferences, seminars, programs, and projects are organized but with no utility or effectiveness. The people must think about the future of humanity and chart out a plan that ensures full security and total safety for them. In order to crystallize these outlines, they will need a program that might revolutionize this planet. The solution lies nowhere but in Islam, which if objectively analyzed, has the potential and power to guarantee what the humanity is waiting for a long time: that is life, liberty, and the pursuit of real happiness.
(Mufti Anwar Anwar Khan can be accessed at: firstname.lastname@example.org