Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Statement of Mufti Muhammad Shafi of Pakistan
Qadianis Exposed and Condemned!
[From his preface to Imam Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri's

"al-tasrih bi-ma tawatara fi nuzul al-masih"]
The impetus for compiling [the book] and arranging it was a blind tribulation and great catastrophe which appeared in India, our country, in the form of the Mirzai sect, whose first leader (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) claimed prophethood; nay, excellence over most of the prophets (upon them be peace)! He pronounced that he was the Messiah of whose descent at the end of time the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had spoken. Then, this folly led him to vain claims and idle aspirations to the extent that they led him to deny half of the religion (of Islam), reject proofs - texts of the Clear Guide {i.e. the Noble Qur'an.}- and reject ahadith of the Trustworthy Prophet (upon him be peace).

That is because the discerning texts and mass-narrated reports which have come regarding the life of Jesus (upon him be peace) and his descent at the end of time were a barrier between him and his devilish objectives; so, he defied the bulk of them by denial and distortion. The wretch did not care that denial and distortion of the ahadith is precisely a denial of the Messengership of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), an extrication from Islam, and a forsaking of the religion! We seek refuge with Allah from such a fate.

This man claimed first - following in the footsteps of the Jews - that Jesus, son of Mary (upon him be peace), died and was buried in Kashmir! Then, he proceeded to the rest of the clear proof - texts and explicit ahadith which have appeared regarding the descent of Jesus son of Mary (upon him be peace) - and fumbling about like a blind camel, he began strifling with and distorting them! He claimed that (the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)) intended meaning in (mentioning) the Descent of Jesus (upon him be peace) in all of these ahadith was actually the descent of his likeness, not Jesus son of Mary, the Israelite prophet himself, for he had died. After this preparation, he found the arena of speech wide-open, and so claimed that he was that likeness whose descent had been promised!!

His reprehensible attributes and despicable traits left no need for anyone to undertake refutation of his claims, for the traits in which he had become established from early in his life themselves gave lie to him in all that he claimed, and revealed his true colors. He can scarcely be likened to a venerable, respectable human being, let alone the Messiah or the likeness of him! Thus, none of the scholars heeded him at the start of his affair, nor did they pay attention to his errors and fallacies. (That was) until his ember became a live coal, and his puddle became a flood, so that his tribulation spread through the region and swelled! It awakened tribulations like pieces of the darkest night were agitated.

That was because, when this crafty fellow saw that if people knew the traits and attributes expected from the Messiah - as is documented in the Book and the Sunnah -, they would notice their absence in him and would scrutinize his every affair; then, his jinn would have flown, exposing what it had concealed, and reducing him nothing in hand but humiliation and ruin. Had the people known the truth, his covering would have been ripped away amidst his associates and supporters.

Therefore, his devil inspired him to divert their thoughts from this issue - which would have dismissed the matter in a manner not satisfying to him, such that folly would have led to disgrace - to subjects which have no connection with his fallacious claims, nor avail him naught in his idle aspirations. For example, 'Is Jesus (upon him be peace) alive, or has he died? Was he bodily lifted to the sky, or not? Will he himself descend at the end of time, or his like?'

In short, he made these themes a snare for his prey, and thereby diverted people's attention to them by (means of) this design. You realize that even if we were to concede (for the sake of argument) that Jesus (upon him be peace) has died a death after which he will not be raised up until the Day of Resurrection, and that the one whose descent has been promised is his likeness rather than himself; tell me, then, how would his death necessitate that this wretch is his likeness and the Promised Messiah?! Nay, between him and his aspirations are intraversible, arid, barren, wildernesses, and expansive deserts which cannot be compassed for fear of death! This will always be the case, for he has not produced any proof for them, and he will never produce any, even if he were to enlist the support of his devil, who would bring down for him his 'heavenly bride', and (even if) all the wailers were to wail for him, and he were to cry out for help to his brother, the False Messiah!

The ahadith about the Descent of Jesus (upon him be peace) are Mass-Narrated

Allamah Sayyid Mahmud Alusi said in his exegesis "Ruh al- Ma`ani"{vol. VII, p. 60.}, "And this (i.e. the finality of prophethood) is not detracted from by that upon which the ummah has concurred, and regarding which the reports are famous and perhaps reach the level of mass-narration by meaning, and regarding which the Book has spoken - according to one view; in which it is obligatory to believe, and the deniers of which - such as the philosophers - commit disbelief : (namely) the descent of Jesus (upon him peace) at the end of time, because he was a prophet before our prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was endowed with prophethood in this genesis."


The synopsis of this treatise and the absolute aim of this report are so clear that they should reach everyone with two ears, and that everyone with two eyes should see, that the one who was sent with the moderate affair, (he who is) the most sympathetic of the prophets towards the nations, our most noble prophet, the prophet of the prophets (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), since he was the last of the prophets and the Seal of the Prophets, and since there is not decreed any prophet after him who could stand in his place and afford his utility by informing mankind of all that benefits or harms them and (of) the ins and outs {literally "the hot and the cold".} of their affairs, and (since) it was painful for him that they should be afflicted after him, he therefore desired to clarify for them the path of truth and the way of peace, such that no secret of it should remain hidden, and in order that they might attain their goal with unabating safety. Thus, he clarified for them all that would be needed by a traveler on this path, in (traversing) the lowlands and the highlands, the elevations and the depressions. So, there is not any directing guide whose appearance is decreed in the ummah, except that he informed of him. Nor is there any deviant diverter (from the truth) whose emergence is decreed, until the Day of Arising, except that he has informed us of him, to the extent that he has disclosed to us most of what will occur before the Hour (of Judgement) in the way of tribulations, the apparent thereof as well as the hidden. He presented to us the Signs of the Hour such that he did not leave any place for obscurity, nor any position of confusion.

Since the Descent of Jesus, son of Mary (upon him and upon our Prophet be peace), is one of the greatest signs of the Hour and among the most important, and in its concealment and confusion lie great destruction for the ummah, the One Full of Concern Over the Believers, the Pitying, the Merciful {i.e. the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) Qur'an, 9:128.} - may my father and mother be his ransom - exercised the greatest of care over it. He went to the greatest of lengths to explain it, such that it is not possible for anyone to describe someone better, to the extent that he caused, thereby, deaf ears to hear, blind eyes to see, and hardened hearts to be dilated. Perhaps he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), by means of divine inspiration, was informed of this renegade sect, its deception and deceit of mankind, so that he saw the most likely place for their whisperings and took account of it, and he sought out the cracks in their deceptions and blocked them.

Messages and letters reach from the East to the West with three or four words, for only the name, address and country of the addressee are written on them. It would be the height of exaggeration to write thereupon (the addressee)'s father's name and the name of the most famous adjoining city. Yet, in spite of (this brevity used in writing the address), no-one is confused about the address, nor can a person take another's letter. So, what then of this book, in which (all) these details have been specified, all this clarification has been made regarding them? How can it subject, then go astray, and (how can) his identity be confused?!

Then, we see that the letters of kings amongst themselves, and (indeed, the letters) of all people amongst themselves, bear mention of familiar events and important regulations, and they do not explain even a hundredth of what the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has done. Yet, in spite of this, matters are not ambiguous for them, nor is anything of the (desired) intent confused. To the contrary, matters are discharged, gifts are given, punishment and retaliation are enforced, and (in fact) marriages and all the rest of human dealings are conducted on their basis.

By Allah! I do not know, then, how (the Qadianis) can be blind to this shining dawn, such that they denied all the reports from the Harbinger of Glad Tidings, the Warner (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)? Are their eyes blind, or do they not see? They have not wronged (the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)), but (rather) they have wronged their own selves. So, away with this liar who has come and denied these proof-texts and interprets speech in a manner which is neither approved by its speaker nor allowed by its manner of expression. He distorts words from their context, and takes all of these proof-texts as figurative statements and metaphors, except for the white minaret, the building of which could be facilitated by money, and which he therefore built! On this one (point), he laid claim to and professed the office of Messiahship. In his ignorance, he considered himself safe of the consequences!

Alas, then for the servants! How did they believe in his distortions after this lucid explanation which appears like the crack of dawn and the light of day?! They affirmed him in that the one who descends is not the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, the Israelite prophet, and that what is meant by Jesus, Son of Mary (upon him be peace) is this Mirza Ghulam Ahmad - upon him be whatever (he deserves). Is this anything but explicit denial of the most truthful of mankind in speech, the trustworthy prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)? Is this anything but a mocking of the religion and its texts? Woe, then to them, on account of that which their hands have earned! Woe to them on account of the deception they practice!

If a transgressor were to claim that he is the husband of such-and-such woman, and that Allah, the possessor of Blessings, the Exalted, has named him in the heavens with the name which her husband is called by - in the manner which this wretch has claimed about the messiah (upon him be peace) - would the woman then be given up as a wife to him based on this perjury? Or would the man be reckoned to be mad and thus isolated in confinement?!

But, what would reveal his blindness after leaving the way to acceptance of this 'interpretation'? As if a wife refuses that she is the bride of the man [she is married to] and claims that she is someone else? Or, [as if] a man comes to you arguing with you about your home, saying that he is the owner of this home. Tell me, how could you deny him that if these 'interpretations' were valid in the clear proofs of the descent of Jesus (upon him be peace)?!

The maximum which is stated for (purposes of) specification in marriages, commercial transactions and all other dealings is the name of the individual and his father's name or a little something of his characteristics whereby he is recognized by people. This (detail) does not reach one hundredth of that which he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has explained about the biography of the Messiah, his identification and delineation of his circumstances. If these 'interpretations' in these dealings are reckoned to be foolishness and insanity in the eyes of people, such that none of them heeds it, then by Allah, the 'interpretation' of Mirzais regarding the descent of the Messiah, and (their) considering him to be other than the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, after this lucid explanation, is surely more deserving to be considered insanity. It is more rightful that no Muslim, nor (even) a rational person should listen to it.

Thus, it has been established by the text of the Qur'an and its exegesis from the mass-narrated ahadith. "So, let whoever wishes believe and let whoever wishes disbelieve." {Qur'an, 18:29.} And now, we call, with the assistance of Allah, the Powerful, the Mighty, at the tops our voices : if the wretched adversary claims contrary to this, then let him produce something the like of these ahadith from the Qur'anic verses, along with their exegesis, not from his ridiculous opinions, misrepresentations and distortions! And they will never produce the smallest or slightest part of that, "though they were helpers, one to the other." {Qur'an, 17:88.}

Muhammad Shafi`
May Allah bless him

Note: This text is copyrighted.
Permission is granted to include it on web sites, and to make hard copies for the sole purpose of da`wah (propagation) or educational efforts aimed at warning people against the Qadianis. Due acknowledgment should be given.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hasan al-Banna
1906 - 1949

Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hasan al-Banna was born in October 1906 in al-Buhayra, one of Egypt's northern Nile delta provinces, to a religious father. He was educated first at a traditional Islamic kuttab (religious school) and later, at the age of twelve, joined a primary school. During the early part of his life al-Banna became involved with Sufism and continued that association for most of his life. At the age of fourteen he joined a primary teachers' school and two years later enrolled in Dar al-Ulum College, from which he graduated as a teacher.

In Cairo during his student years, al-Banna joined religious societies involved in Islamic education. However, he soon realized that this type of religious activity was inadequate to bring the Islamic faith back to its status in the public life of Egypt. He felt that more activism was needed, so he organized students from al-Azhar University and Dar al-Ulum and started to preach in mosques and popular meeting places. During this period, al-Banna came to be influenced by the writings of Muhammad Abduh, Rashid Rida, and Ahmad Taymur Pasha.

When he graduated in 1927 he was appointed as a teacher of Arabic in a primary school in alIsmaʿiliyya, a new small town in Egypt with a semi-European character. It hosted the headquarters of the Suez Canal Company and a sizable foreign community. In al-Ismaʿiliyya al-Banna started to preach his ideas to poor Muslim workers, small merchants, and civil servants, warning his audience against the liberal lifestyle of the Europeans in the town and the dangers of emulating it, thus cultivating fear and anxiety in them.

In March 1928 he founded the Muslim Brotherhood, or Muslim Brethren. In the first four years of its existence, al-Banna's primary goal was to recruit membership, establishing branches along the eastern and western edge of the delta. The quick and remarkable spread of the Brotherhood engendered governmental resistance, especially during the cabinet of Ismaʿil Sidqi.

In 1932 to 1933 al-Banna was transferred to Cairo and his group merged with the Society for Islamic Culture, forming the first branch of the Muslim Brothers, and Cairo became the headquarters of the society. During this period, the number of branches reached 1,500 to 2,000; most branches ran schools, clinics, and other welfare institutions. Branches also were established in Sudan, Syria, and Iraq, and the society's publications were distributed throughout Islamic countries.

At the beginning of his political career al-Banna did not have an elaborate program; his message focused on the centrality of Islam. Gradually, he developed the notion of Islam as a religion that embraces all aspects of human life and conduct. He declared that the objective of the Muslim Brotherhood was to create a new generation capable of understanding the essence of Islam and of acting accordingly. He believed that Islam was the solution to the problem of Egypt and the Islamic world. Following World War II, al-Banna assumed a greater political role. He started to call for the replacement of secular institutions by Islamic-oriented ones and asked for major reforms. However, al-Banna did not advocate violent political action as the means toward achieving political goals; in fact, he and several members of his organization ran for parliamentary elections more than once and lost. Al-Banna accepted the legitimacy of the Egyptian regime and tried to work from within the system. His condemnation of Egyptian parties was not based on a rejection of the idea of multiparty systems but on the rejection of corruption and manipulation. This is why the Egyptian Brethren today have been able to embrace as legitmate theories pluralism, human rights, and democracy (respectively, ikhtilaf, al-huquq al-sharʿiyya, and shura).

By the end of World War II al-Banna was an acknowledged political figure, and the Muslim Brethren had emerged as a strong force presenting itself as a political alternative. As was the case with other parties, the society established a military wing, which assassinated a number of its adversaries. The Brethren reached its apogee during the Arab-Israel War of 1948, in which the Muslim Brothers participated through their paramilitary organizations. However, the expansion of the society, its growing influence, and its development of a strong military force brought it into a clash with the government. In February 1949 al-Banna was assassinated by police agents. Today, his ideology still informs most of the moderate Islamic movements across all of the Islamic world, and his movement is still the leading ideological power behind the expansion of Islamism.


Brynjar, Lia. The Society of Muslim Brothers in Egypt. Reading, U.K.: Garnet Publishers, 1998.

Moussalli, Ahmad S. Moderate and Radical Islamic Fundamentalism: The Quest for Modernity, Legitimacy, and the Islamic State. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1999.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1232-1316/1817-1898)

Family and Social Milieu
Born in the twilight of the Mughal Era in the Indian subcontinent to a distinguished family, Sayyid Ahmad Khan is the eldest of the five prominent Muslim modernists whose influence on Islamic thought and polity was to shape and define Muslim responses to modernism in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Like the four--Sayyid Amîr cAlî (1849-1928), Jamâl al-Dîn al-Afghânî (1838-1897), Nâmik Kemâl (1840-1888) and Shaykh Muhammad cAbduh (ca.1850-1905)--Sayyid Ahmad Khan was deeply concerned with the state of Muslims in a world dominated by European colonizing powers.

Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s forefathers claimed direct blood relationship with the Prophet of Islam through his daughter Fâtimah and son-in-law cAlî. They had migrated to Iran, then to Herat in Afghanistan and finally to Shahjahân Abâd, which the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahân had built in 1648 near old Delhi. Ahmad Khan’s father, Sayyid Muhammad Muttaqî, and mother, cAziz al-Nisa, were both endowed with great intellectual and spiritual qualities. cAziz al-Nisa was the oldest daughter of Khwajah Farîd al-Din Ahmad (1747-1828) whose family had originally migrated to Kashmir from Hamadan in Iran. Khwajah cAbd al-Azîz, the grandfather of Khwajah Farid, finally settled in Delhi where the future father-in-law of Ahmad Khan was born in 1747. The Khwajah family was a family of merchants while the Sayyid family belonged to the Mughal aristocracy. The great grandfather of Sayyid Muttaqi was a commanding office in Emperor Aurangzeb’s (1658-1707) army. Emperor cAlamgîr II (1754-1759) had bestowed the title of Jawâd cAli Khan and the rank of yak-hazari (commander of one thousand) on Sayyid Hadî, the father of Sayyid Muttaqî.
Ahmad Khan’s father, Sayyid Muttaqî, was mystically inclined and frequently visited the monastery of Shah Ghulam cAli. His income was derived from the agricultural land and the pension granted by the Mughal Court which, in those uncertain times, was rather irregular and much less than the promised amount. By the time of his marriage, Sayyid Muttaqî’s lofty ancestral house near Jamia Masjid in the prestigious northeast section of Delhi had become unsafe and unfit. He lacked the will and resources to restore it and after his marriage to cAziz al-Nisa, he moved in with his father-in-law who lived in a palatial mansion built by the famous architect Mehdi Qulî Khan.
It was in this palatial haveli (mansion) ¾ known as Haveli Mehdi Quli Khan ¾ that Sayyid Ahmad Khan was born on October 17, 1817. He was the third child of his parents. Two years before the birth of Ahmad Khan, his maternal grandfather, Khwajah Farîd, had been appointed the Prime Minister of Emperor Akbar Shah with the high sounding titles of Dabîr al-Mulk, Amîn al-Daulah, Maslah Jang. This was the crowning achievement in a career which had taken Khwaja Farîd to various parts of the crumbling Mughal Empire which was quickly losing its power to the British India Company. In 1781, he had gone to Lucknow where he studied mathematics for three years with the famous scholar cAllama Taffadal Husain Khan who was also a munshi (tutor-cum-clerk) first to General Palmer and then to W.W. Hunter. He returned to Delhi to spend the next thirteen years but he was back in Lucknow in 1797 where he gained access to General Martin and other high-ranking British officials who recommended him to be the Superintendent of the Company’s newly established Calcutta Madressah (Maddressah cAliyâh).

In Calcutta, Khwajah Farîd impressed Lord Wellesley with his diplomatic skills and was sent by him to Iran in 1803 as an attaché of the British Embassy. Khwajah Farîd had a specific mission: he was to convince Emperor Fateh cAli Shah of Iran to send another ambassador to India in place of Ambassador Haji Muhammad Khalîl Khan who had been “accidentally” killed by the Company’s soldiers on July 20, 1802. Khwajah Farîd was able to accomplish his mission and Muhammad Nabî Khan of Shiraz was appointed as the new ambassador of Iran to India. The Company promoted Khwajah Farîd to the position of Political Officer at the Court of Ava in Burma. After a few month’s stay in Burma, Khwaja Farîd returned to Calcutta and was appointed Tahsildâr (revenue officer) of the newly conquered territories in Bandiylkhand.

Once the British power was consolidated in that area, a permanent revenue officer was appointed and Khwajah Farid returned to Delhi in 1810, which had been conquered by Lord Lake in 1803. After a few months, he went back to Calcutta for about five years (1810-1815) before being appointed as the Prime Minister of the helpless Mughal Emperor Akbar II who drew his pension from the Company and who was under severe financial constraints. The Emperor expected Khwajah Farîd to obtain more money from the Company to pay his debts. Instead, Khwaja Farîd slashed the royal expenditures by reducing the allowances of the Salatîn, who numbered almost 3,000 and by abolishing the two royal kitchens that prepared lavish food for hundreds of court employees. This made him very unpopular in the Red Fort and eventually he resigned and left Delhi for Calcutta. The Emperor attempted to negotiate with the British for increase in his pension but realized that he could not do so without the intersession of the Company’s trusted and loyal friend, Khwajah Farîd. In 1819, the helpless Emperor re-appointed seventy-two-year old Khwajah Farîd as his prime minister. He remained in that position for three years but when his authority was curtailed by the Emperor by associating Nawab Mîr Khan, Raja Kaydar Nath and Raja Sukh Ray with him as co-ministers, Khwajah Farîd resigned from his premiership in 1822. Six years later, he died; at his death, Sayyid Ahmad Khan was eleven and his grandfather had already become the most important influence in his life.
The second most important influence on the life of young Sayyid Ahmad Khan was that of his mother, who is described as an exceptional woman. Her generosity and piety were legendary. When her eldest son died at the age of 38, she “unrolled her prayer carpet and exclaimed: God’s Will was done. She also urged her relative not to postpone the marriage plans of her daughter because of this death in the family. She maintained several helpless and indigent old ladies in specially built quarters adjoining her house and spent a great deal of money in charity.

In the Indian subcontinent Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) and his followers were the first champions of this reform agenda. Born in the twilight of the Indian Tîmûrî era to a distinguished family, Sayyid Ahmad Khan was involved in a wide range of activities—from politics to education. He was to leave a deep mark on the new Islam and science discourse through his writings and by influencing at least two generations of Muslims who studied at the educational institutions he founded.

It was during the decade of 1860s, that Ahmad Khan developed his ideas of a “modern Islam” and a Muslim polity living under the British rule. During this time, he wrote Târîkh Sarkashî-e Dilca Bijnore (A History of Insurrection in Bijnor District) and Asbâb-e Baghâwat-e Hind (The Causes of Indian Mutiny). He sent 500 copies of the latter book to the India Office of the British Government in London and a personal copy to Lord Canning in Calcutta. The book was translated into English by Colonel Graham and Sir Auckland Colvin and published in Benares. In 1860-1861, he published another tract, Risâlah Khair Khawahân Musalmanân: An Account of the Loyal Mahomdans of India, in which he claimed that the Indian Muslims were the most loyal subjects of the British Raj because of their kindred disposition and because of the principles of their religion. He also wrote a commentary on the Old and the New Testament, Tabîyyan al-kalâm fî’l- tafsîr al-tawrâ wa’l-injîl calâ millat al-islam (The Mahomedan Commentary on the Bible). He attached a fatwâ (religious decree) by Jamâl ibn al-cAbd Allâh cUmar al-Hanfî, the Mufti of Makkah, at the end of the book. This fatwâ stated, “as long as some of the peculiar observances of Islam prevailed in [India], it is Dâr al-Islam (Land of Islam).” This was to counter the religious decrees that had been issued by many Indian culamâ’, stating that the Indian subcontinent had become a Dâr al-Harb, the land of war. This political overture was favorably received in the ruling circles.

The first two decades after 1857 witnessed Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s increasing preoccupation with the prevailing conditions of Muslims in India. He perceived Muslims as backward and in need of education. This period also saw an increasing degree of public involvement in educational and social arenas. On January 9, 1864, he convened the first meeting of the Scientific Society at Ghazipur. The meeting was attended, among others, by Ahmad Khan’s future biographer, Colonel Graham, who was convinced that India could benefit from England’s technological wealth. The Society was established with two clear objectives; two more objectives were added in 1867. Thus the goals of the Society were:
(i) to translate into such languages as may be in common use among the people those works on arts and sciences which, being in English or other European languages, are not intelligible to the natives; (ii) to search for and publish rare and valuable oriental works (no religious work will come under the notice of the Society); (iii) to publish, when the Society thinks it desirable, any [periodical] which may be calculated to improve the native mind; (iv) to have delivered in their meetings lectures on scientific or other useful subjects, illustrated when possible by scientific instruments.

Ahmad Khan and the Society moved to Aligarh in 1867 where he was able to procure a piece of land from the government for experimental farming. The Duke of Argyll, who was also the Secretary of State for India, became the Patron of the Society and Lt. Governor of the N.W. Province its Vice-Patron. Ahmad Khan was the secretary of the Society as well as member of the Directing Council and the Executive Council. In a memorandum of the Society to its President, Ahmad Khan wrote, in May 24, 1877, that for several years “the Society has cultivated wheat and barley according to the methods prescribed in Scot Burn’s book on modern farming and showed the results to Talukdars (estate holders) of Aligarh; new instruments were used to cultivate corn by Burn’s methods; several vegetables were grown from newly developed European seeds and their seeds were distributed to farmers; the Society cultivated American cotton seeds, and demonstrated their superior product

Ahmad Khan now devoted all his energies and a portion of his personal income to the Society. He was also able to receive small sums from various Muslim and non-Muslim philanthropists. Ahmad Khan realized that the political realities of India dictated that Muslims should establish their own organizations. On May 10, 1866, he established The Aligarh British Indian Association. The inaugural session was held at the Aligarh office of the Scientific Society in the presence of a sizeable number of local landowners and a few European officers. The Association failed to achieve any degree of impact on the decisions of the government and, one after the other, its plans were aborted. Ahmad Khan wanted to establish a “vernacular university” for the N.W. Provinces but he was discouraged by the champions of Hindi who wanted such a university to teach in Hindi, rather than Urdu. In 1868, the Association announced assistance for persons traveling to Europe for educational and scientific purposes but at that time, most Muslims of northern India considered social contacts with Englishmen undesirable for their moral and religious integrity. Ahmad Khan had been elected an honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of London in 1864 and he decided to go to England himself to see the ways of the British in their homeland.
On April 1, 1869, Ahmad Khan, his two sons, Sayyid Hamid and Sayyid Mahmud, a younger friend, Mirza Khuda Dad Beg, and a servant known only by the affectionate name of Chachu left Benaras and arrived in London on May 4, 1869 after spending five days in Marseilles and Paris

To pay for his trip, Ahmad Khan had to mortgage his ancestral house in Delhi and borrow 10,000 rupees from a moneylender at 14 percent interest rate for the first 5,000 rupees and at 8 percent for the rest. He had also availed the opportunity created by the Government Resolution of the 30th June 1868, which had founded nine scholarships for the Indian Youth for their education in England and applied for a scholarship for his son, Sayyid Mahmud, who was then a student at the Calcutta University

Ahmad Khan lived in rented houses in London. His seventeen-month stay (from May 4, 1869 to October 2, 1870) in England was full of social and literary activity as well as political activity. He was “in the society of lords and dukes at dinners and evening parties”, he saw “artisans and the common working-man in great numbers”, he was awarded the title of the Companion of the Star of India by none other than the Queen herself; this “elevated” him so that henceforth he would call himself Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan Bahadur, C.S.I.; he dined with the Secretary of State for India and though he was beset with economic problems, he fulfilled the protocol by hiring private horse carriages for his visits which drained his purse

His visit to England convinced him of the superiority of the British. “Without flattering the English,” he wrote, “I can truly say that the natives of India, high and low, merchants and petty shopkeepers, educated and illiterate, when contrasted with the English in education, manners, and uprightness, are like a dirty animal is to an able and handsome man

Ahmad counted himself among the “animals” and felt the pain and anguish of being part of a degenerated culture.
While in England, Khan read William Muir’s biography of the Prophet Muhammad, which “burned his heart”, and its “bigotry and injustice cut his heart to pieces”. His outrage was both religious as well as personal; after all, Prophet Muhammad was his ancestor. He resolved to write a full-length biography of the Prophet as a refutation “even if its preparation would turn him into a pauper and a beggar for on the Day of Judgment, it would be said, ‘Bring forth the one who died penniless for the sake of his grandfather Muhammad!

From the moment he started to read Muir’s book in August 1869, until he finished its refutation in February 1870, Ahmad Khan could do nothing but think about the rejoinder he wished to write. He wrote letters to friends in India, soliciting books, references and money for his rejoinder. Because his own English was inadequate, he had to hire an Englishman for polishing his draft which he wrote until his back ached. He also had to pay for the translation of Latin, German, and French material he used in his book. But when he finally published the refutation, it was merely A Series of Essays on the Life of Mohammad,he hoped to write the second volume but he was exhausted and penniless.

After finishing the book, Ahmad Khan was eager to return to India. During his stay in England, he had visited universities of Oxford and Cambridge and certain private schools, including Eaton and Harrow; these would serve as models for his own Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College. Ahmad Khan returned home on October 2,1870.
After his return to India, Ahmad Khan started a periodical Tahdhîb al-Akhlâq to “educate and civilize” Indian Muslims. He remained in the judicial service until his early retirement in July 1876. After that, he settled in Aligarh where he established the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1877. In 1920, the College would become Aligarh Muslim University, an institution that would have a decisive impact on the course of Islamic polity in India as well as on the history of India. In 1886, he instituted “The Muhammadan Educational Conference” which held annual meetings in various Indian cities.

In his drive for modernization, Ahmad Khan wanted to re-interpret Islam. “We need a modern cilm al-Kalâm,” he said in a speech delivered at Lahore in 1884, “by which we should either refute the doctrines of modern sciences or show that they are in conformity with the articles of Islamic faith.” But what became apparent in the subsequent writings was the fact that Ahmad Khan was not really interested (or qualified) to refute any modern scientific doctrine; all he could do was to re-interpret Islam to show that the “work of God (nature and its laws) was in conformity with the Word of God (the Qur’ân)”, an adage that earned him the title of Naturî.

In his attempts to re-interpret Islam to accommodate modern Western science, Ahmad Khan exposed his weaknesses in both domains of knowledge. He was severely criticized by the culamâ’ for the lack of qualifications to interpret the Qur’ân and Hadîth and the shallowness of his knowledge of Western science and its philosophical underpinnings was apparent from his own writings. He had no training in any natural science or in philosophy of science and he had never finished his traditional education. Yet, he tried to demythologize the Qur’ân and its teachings. His interpretation of various fundamental aspects of Islamic teachings which could not be proved by modern scientific methods, such as the nature of supplication (du‘â), which he thought was merely psychological rather than real, met fierce resistance from the traditional scholars but in spite of this, he gained widespread popularity among the ruling elite and in the early 1880s, he became the acknowledged leader of the Muslim community. He was loyal to the British Raj, but he fought various legal and constitutional battles with the British administrators in order to secure fundamental rights for the Muslim community. He was rewarded by the British in many ways. In 1878, he was nominated as a member of the Vice Regal Legislative Council; in 1888, he was knighted as the Knight Commander of the Star of India; in 1889, he received an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh. In spite of his life-long interest in educational matters, Ahmad Khan did not produce any new theory of education; he was merely interested in promoting western education without reservation.

Like many other Muslim thinkers of the nineteenth century, Ahmad Khan was convinced that Muslims need to acquire Western science and he attempted to show that modern science is in perfect harmony with Islam. Not only that, he went as far as proclaiming that the Qur’ânic invitation to ponder and reflect on the perfect system of nature was, in fact, a call to Muslims to excel in science¾an argument that gained currency with time and is still used by many thinkers and rulers who want Muslims to acquire Western science.
Others who advocated similar ideas during the nineteenth century include Khayr al-Dîn al-Tunisî (d. 1889), Rifâcah al-Tahtâwî (d. 1871), Jamâl al-Dîn al-Afghânî (d. 1897) and Muhammad cAbduh (d. 1905). This trend also gave birth to modern scientific exegesis (tafsîr cilmî) of the Qur’ân. In 1880, an Egyptian physician, Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Iskandrânî, published one such tafsîr in Cairo. This was followed by another work of the same kind, though not a tafsîr. It is not clear whether Ahmad Khan knew about these publications or not. But in 1879, he wrote,

Now that Ghadar is over and whatever had to pass for the Muslims has passed, I am worried about improvement of our nation. I pondered hard and after a long reflection came to the conclusion that it is not possible to improve their lot unless they attain modern knowledge and technologies that are a matter of honor for other nations in the language of those who, through the Will of Allâh, rule over us. As an aid to his mission, Ahmad Khan decided to write a tafsîr because in all previous tafsîr literature, he “could only find grammatical and lexicographical niceties, statements concerning the place and time of revelation and descriptions of previous tafâsîr. In the preface to the first partial edition of his work, he wrote,
When I tried to educate Muslims in modern sciences and English, I wondered whether these are, in fact, against Islam as it is often claimed. I studied tafsîr, according to my abilities, and except for the literary matters, found in them nothing but rubbish and worthless (fadûl) discussions, mostly based on baseless and unauthentic traditions and fables (mamlu bar rawâyât dacîf wa modûc aur qasas bey saropa) which were often taken from the Jewish sources. Then I studied books of the principles of tafsîr according to my ability with the hope that they would definitely provide clues to the principles of the Qur’ânic interpretation based on the Qur’ân itself or which would be otherwise so sound that no one could object to them but in them I found nothing but statements that the Qur’ân contains knowledge of such and such nature… Then I pondered over the Qur’ân itself to understand the foundational principles of its composition and as far as I could grasp, I found no contradiction between these principles and the modern knowledge… then I decided to write a tafsîr of the Qur’ân which is now complete up to Suratul Nahl Ahmad Khan’s tafsîr was published as it was being written. The work began in 1879 and was left unfinished at the time of his death in 1898.

This tafsîr faced fierce resistance not only from culamâ but also from Ahmad Khan’s staunch admirers and friends. One of his friends, Nawâb Muhsin al-Mulk wrote to him two long letters expressing his anguish at Ahmad Khan’s radical interpretation of certain verses of the Qur’ân. In response, Ahmad Khan composed a short treatise to explain the principles of his tafsîr. This was published in 1892 as Tahrîr fi’l-asûl al-tafsîr. Ahmad Khan declared that nature is the “Work of God” and the Qur’ân is the “Word of God” and there could be no contradiction between the two. But in his efforts to prove that there is no contradiction between the Qur’ân and the modern scientific knowledge, Ahmad Khan denied all miracles and insisted on bending the Word of God to suit his understanding of His Works. In the Ninth Principle of his tafsîr, he stated there could be nothing in the Qur’ân that is against the principles on which nature works… as far as the supernatural is concerned, I state it clearly that they are impossible, just like it is impossible for the Word of God to be false… I know that some of my brothers would be angry to [read this] and they would present verses of the Qur’ân that mention miracles and supernatural events but we will listen to them without annoyance and ask: could there could not be another meaning of these verses that is consonant with Arabic idiom and the Qur’ânic usage? And if they could prove that it is not possible, then we will accept that our principle is wrong… but until they do so, we will insist that God does not do anything that is against the principles of nature that He has Himself established.
When he died in 1898, he was mourned by thousands. He had made effective contributions to take the despairing Muslims out of their unhappy lot after the demise of the Indian Tîmûrî era in the Indian subcontinent but in doing so, he also embarked them upon a path that made no sense of their history and heritage and that led to the eclipse of the tradition of learning and excellence that had been the hallmark of Islamic civilization for more than a millennium.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mohammad Ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi

Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi, known as Father of Algebra, was born at Khawarizm (Kheva), south of Aral Sea. Very little is known about his early life.

His family had migrated to a place south of Baghdad. The exact dates of his birth and death are also not known, but it is established that he flourished under Al- Ma'amoun at Baghdad through 813-833 and probably died around 840 C.E.

Al Khawarizmi was a great Muslim mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He is one of the most prominent mathematicians who ever lived. Moreover he was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. In the words of Phillip Hitti, Al Khawarizmi's contribution to mathematics influenced mathematical thought to a greater extent. His work on algebra was outstanding, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic form but he also developed it to the extent of giving analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations, which established him as the founder of Algebra. The very name Algebra has been derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah.

His arithmetic synthesized Greek and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution of fundamental importance to mathematics and science. Thus, he explained the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental importance developed by the Arabs. Similarly, he developed the decimal system so that the overall system of numerals, 'algorithm' or 'algorizm' is named after him.

In addition to introducing the Indian system of numerals (now generally known as Arabic numerals), he developed at length several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions. It was through his work that the system of numerals was first introduced to Arabs and later to Europe, through its translations in European languages. He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing the sine functions, which were probably extrapolated to tangent functions by Maslama. He also perfected the geometric representation of conic sections and developed the calculus of two errors, which practically led him to the concept of differentiation. Al Khawarizmi is also well known for his collaboration in the degree measurements ordered by Ma'amoun al-Rashid that was aimed at measuring of volume and circumference of the earth.

His development of astronomical tables was a significant contribution to the field of astronomy, on which he also wrote a book. The contribution of Khawarizmi to geography is also worth mentioning, in that not only did he revise Ptolemy's views on geography, but also corrected them in detail as well as his map of the world. Other contributions include original work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes.

Most of Al Khawarizmi's books were translated into Latin in the early 12th century. In fact, his book on arithmetic, Kitab al-Jam'a wal- Tafreeq bil Hisab al-Hindi, was lost in Arabic but survived in a Latin translation. His book on algebra, Al-Maqala fi Hisab-al Jabr wa-al- Muqabilah, was also translated into Latin in the 12th century. Translating his books into Latin introduced this new science to the West "completely unknown till then". His astronomical tables were also translated into European languages and, later, into Chinese. His geography captioned Kitab Surat-al-Ard, together with its maps, was also translated. Also he wrote a book on the Jewish calendar Istikhraj Tarikh al-Yahud, and two other books on the astrolabe. He also wrote Kitab al-Tarikh and his book on sun-dials was captioned Kitab al-Rukhmat, but both of them have been lost.

The influence of Khawarizmi on the development of science, in general, and mathematics, astronomy and geography in particular, is well established in history. Several of his books were readily translated into a number of other languages, and, in fact, constituted the university textbooks till the 16th century. Al Khawarizmi's approach was systematic and logical, and not only did he bring together the then prevailing knowledge on various branches of science, particularly mathematics, he also enriched it through his original contribution. No doubt AL Khawarizmi has been held in high repute throughout the centuries since then.

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Maulana Maududi’s Two-Nation Theory And The Struggle for Pakistan

The earlier part of the twentieth century has witnessed a turmoil in the Islamic world. The Ottoman Empire was disintegrating. Most of the Muslim countries were under colonial rule. The intellectual and political dominance of the West nearly destroyed the vitality of a Muslim mind and turned it against its own religious, cultural, and historical heritage. Many persons in the different parts of the Muslim world confronted the challenge, and fought to unshackle the Muslim body and mind from Western slavery. In the Indian Subcontinent, a few rose to revive the vitality and confidence of the Muslim people.
Among them Maulana Shibli Numani, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Allama Mohammad Iqbal, and Maulana Abul Ala Maududi were the most prominent. They came forward with constructive thought and vision to renew Muslim’s sense of identification with their religion, culture and historical heritage. These vanguards of Muslim India believed that the revival of Islam is the only way to save Muslims from sliding into abyss of the world of self destruction, and to that end they made contributions that left indelible impressions on the people and politics of the region. The forces, moral and intellectual, organized over a period of time by these men, by gradual process of growth, culminated into a movement—Pakistan Movement. Pakistan Movement was based on the theory that Muslims are entirely separate people from Hindus in every respect. They form an ideological community with divine guidance for every field of human life, and it is a dictate of their faith to establish a state where they can rule according to the law revealed by the Almighty. This theory is popularly known as two-nation theory. Under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the movement, in less than a decade gave birth to Pakistan The man who is most credited as an intellectual force behind the two-nation theory and a front against united Indian nationalism is Maulana Abul Ala Maududi. In the following lines, we intend to examine his contributions, as political thinker, in the face of the opposition launched by the nationalists against the two nation theory, Maulana Maududi was one of the most vigor crusaders for the cause of Islam the Muslim world has seen in the recent history. Few men have worked as relentlessly to give the practical shape to the guidance embodied in the Quran and the Sunnah as Maulana has done. He was scholar, reformer, revolutionary leader, and an Islamic thinker. His belief that preaching, printed literature, and even Islamic education is of little avail unless Islam can be implemented practically in a full blooded Islamic state was behind the fervor with which he argued for the two-nation theory. Maulana Maududi’s greatest contribution of the time was that he made Muslims cognizant of their identity and raised in them a fervor to organize their polity on the principles of Islam. While Quaid-i-Azm Mohammad Ali Jinnah was mustering the forces to fight the Hindus and the British for a Muslim homeland, a group of nationalist Muslims were undermining his efforts by pedling the congress’ theme of one country, one nation. Unfortunately, among the nationalist Muslims, there were many ulema. A few of them had selfish reasons, but many were misled by their inability to look at the Hindu-Muslim problem in a thorough and comprehensive way. These ulema came to be known as Congressite ulema. They preached Indian nationalism in their speeches and writings as a gospel of truth. Muslim League, against the outpouring of the “learned and pious”, found itself in the corner with little argument to defend its two-nation theory. Maulana Maududi came to their rescue. Maulana, through his extremely prolific writings, built a conceptual framework for Muslims to analyze the claim of Indian nationalists, He showed that the independence of India will not be the independence of Muslims people. For Muslims, being in minority, independence would only mean a change in masters, British will be replaced by the Hindus and that would be no independence for Muslims. Maulana’s writings had aroused Muslim’s feelings that they were a nation by themselves and cannot be integrated with Hindus. Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, a noted historian, writes: “Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi’s careful analysis of the policies of the Indian National Congress opened many eyes. It did not win him too many adherents and followers, but it did serve the purpose of turning sincere and intelligent Muslims away from the Congress who mostly swelled the ranks of the Muslim League as followers of Quaid-i-Azam.” (Ulema in Politics, Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, Ma’reef limited, Karachi, 1974, p. 3391.) Here, it would not be inappropriate to briefly outline the background and psychology behind congressite ulema’s wanting in acumen and lack of insight into contemporary affairs which led them to swallow the hook, line and sinker thrown at them by Hindu Congress. They lived in ivory towers, and were oblivious to the changes that were taking place just outside of their Khanqahs secluded life of religious seminaries and an age long observed custom of taqlid (following a certain school of thought) deprived them of dynamism and turned their minds and hearts prisoners of their own doctrines. Religious knowledge and social sciences were separated which led to bifurcation of religious and profane world. As result, the graduates of religious seminaries were impoverished in the knowledge of politics, social sciences, economics, and international relations, which greatly restricted the insight into contemporary affairs. More sadly, mainly due to the shackles of age long traditional thinking, their capacity to apply the Quran and Sunnah to arrive to a solution to a modern problem (ijtihad) became stagnant. However, there were ulema, such as Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, and Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi among others, who were urbane, knowledgeable, and with insight in the national and international affairs, but they were few and far apart. The task of Maulana Maududi and others who were fighting the ideological war against Congress’ one-nation theory became massive and complex when the “leading lights” of religious seminaries swallowed the sugar-coated doctrine of Indian nationalism and wrote books and gave zealous speeches to convince Muslims to throw their lot with the Indian National Congress and give up their struggle for an independent Muslim state. Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni, a great religious scholar of Deoband, was the leader of the Deoband Congressite ulema. He, in support of Indian nationalism wrote a book, “Mutahhedah qoomiyat aur Islam” (united nationalism and Islam). The burden of the preaching of Maulana Madni’s book was that the Muslims living in India were part of the monolithic Indian nation. He juxtaposed Muslims and Hindus into one nation, which brought strong condemnation from Allama Iqbal. He expressed his anger in a couplet in these words: “Deoband produced Husain Ahmad, what monstrosity is this? He chanted from the pulpit that nations are created by countries. What an ignoramus regarding the position of Muhammad.” Maulana Madni indulged in “willful distortion” of Quranic verses, prophets traditions, and history to propound his theory of united nationalism. His book proved a boon for Congress to counter Muslim League’s claim to a separate nationhood. Maulana Maududi, an ardent proponent of two-nation theory, wrote a series of article to expose the fallacy of Maulana Madni’s position on “united nationalism”. He exhorted that Muslims were a distinct community and could not be submerged with Hindus without compromising the foundation of their faith. He pointed out that the united nationalism is a trap of deception which would lead to an utter destruction of the collective identity of Muslims. Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi, impressed by Maulana Maududi’s full dress rebuttal, writes: “In fact Mawlana Mawdudi’s rejoinder was so logical, authoritative, polite, and devastating that it was beyond the capacity of supporter of a united nationhood to counter. Mawlana Mawdudi’s superior scholarship, his telling arguments, his logic and his knowledge of modern concepts in political science and law made it impassible for the Jamiat group to answer his contentions. In fact Mufti Kifayat ul-llah who was a faqih (a jurist) “and, of the demand of logic and academic debate and, therefore more cognizant advised his colleagues against any attempt to continue the discussion, because he opined that Mawlana Mawdudi was in right and there was no point in attempting to defend the indefensible.” (see Ulema in Politics, page 351, 352) Muslim League had an attractive slogan of two-nation theory, but had no literature to convince the nationalist Muslims/Congressite ulema, the Hindus, and the British of the validity of its theory. Between 1937-39 Maulana Maududi wrote two remarkable books, “masla-i-quwmiyat” (The problem of nationalism), and “Musalman awr mawjudah siyasi kashmakash” (Muslims and the present political crisis). These two books provided Muslim League with the much needed intellectual ammunition to fight the nationalist movement. Study of these books were once considered a must for the leaders of Muslim League. It can be said with confidence that Maulana’s articles and books were landmarks in the path of struggle for Pakistan.

Courtesy : (( (November,1997

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Maulana Syed Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi

Maulana Syed Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi, one of the most prolific writers and original thinkers of our time, author of well over fifty books in various languages, and an undisputed and scholar of rare distinction, passed into the mercy of Allah in Ramadan 23rd, 1420/31st December 1999. Perhaps the demise of such an illustrious sun of Islam on the eve of the new western millennium spells a message to the Muslim world that they will have to plough through the coming century without the guidance of such erudite leaders who were regarded as authorities in the past. This is enough to shake us from our slumber. Indeed, as the hour approaches, the men of eminence will dwindle into extinction. As the poet, rejoicing in his past heritage, says: "These were our predecessors, so O Jarir, produce their likes when you gather."

Early life and education
Maulana Nadwi was born on the 5th December 1913 in a family which had a long tradition of selfless service to Islam like Syed Ahmad Shahid. His father, Shaikh Hakim Abdul Hai, was also such a scholar, who amongst other writings, produced an eight volume encyclopedic biographical work entitled Nuzhatul Khawatir, containing biographical notices of some 5000 scholars, theologians, and jurists of India. Maulana Nadwi received his early education at home, and later joined the Nadwatul 'Ulama where he qualified with distinction. He specialized in Hadith under the tutelage of Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani and Tafsir under Maulana Ahmad 'Ali Lahori. The renowned Indian Sufi, Shaikh 'Abdul Qadir Raipur, honored him with the mantle of Khilafat.

Maulana Nadwi started his academic career as a teacher of Arabic literature and Qur'anic exegesis, but later expanded to include history, Hadith, and other disciplines too.

Works and thought
It is said that the worth of a person is sometimes only realized after the vacuum he leaves is perceived after his demise. Whilst this may be not the case with the older generation of Muslim scholars, the upcoming generation will surely realize the worth of Maulana's works and thinking and use it as a bastion and revolving point of their thoughts. In his lifetime, Maulana, who was fondly known as 'Ali Mia, won the acclaim of not only the Indian race, but the Arabs took a special appeal to his writings. This was mainly because he selected Arabic more than Urdu, his vernacular, as his main vehicle of disseminating his thought, writing, and lectures. He ranked from the foremost of scholars in the Islamic world, and rightly deserved the position.

Maulana was invited to deliver various topics in the Hijaz in various Islamic disciplines. His book: "Islamic Concept of Prophethood,” derives from such a lecture tour in 1963. The intellectual elite of the time attended these lectures. Every lecture was introduced by the then Dean of the faculty of Education - 'Atiya Muhammad Salim, and concluded by an applaud and comment by the now late Shaikh 'Abdul 'Aziz bin Baz. In this book, Maulana, avoiding the usual scholastic euphemism and doctrinal subtleties, proved that the material and spiritual prosperity of any order hinged upon their concept of following divine guidance; and amongst other things, through text and rational evidence, the finality of Prophethood. Incidentally, a few years thereafter, the Pakistani government was confronted with the idea of pronouncing the Ahmadi minority population as infidels. At this stage, Maulana provided vital motivation in explaining as to why a sect who claim to believe in Allah and other requisites of Islam, be expelled from it's pale by rejecting the finality of the Prophet of Muhammad (Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam). In another brief but incisive exposition called: 'Religion and Civilisation,' Maulana, after explaining the various basis of civilisation - materialistic, intellectual, philosophical, and mystic - proved how these were inadequate to meet the needs of mankind. A further more charismatic basis is needed, and this is prophethood.

Maulana's appreciation was only limited to his country. The English-speaking and French-speaking world also realized his worth. This prompted Maulana to undertake many journeys in Western countries in order to assess the situation whence he delivered many learned speeches to the lay class and academic class alike. Fortunately, some of his speeches have been preserved in publications like 'Speaking Plainly to the West,' and 'Western Civilization: Islam and Muslims,' the latter which brings the reader to grips with a fresh all-engulfing civilization along with the conflicts of the spiritual East and the materialistic West. As a word of advice on page 13 of this book, Maulana said: "Whenever an Islamic country has tried to seek protection from the onslaught of modern civilization by keeping itself to itself and shunning even the really valuable advantages offered by the West, as for instance, in the field of modern sciences and technological inventions, it has invariably proved to be of no avail." Discussing the various issues in his usual inimitable and thought-provoking style, Maulana would introduce fresh themes and interesting research which made his discussions more informative and dynamic, besides merely presenting a clear-cut view on any issue. His eloquent exposition of intricate concepts made the comprehension of Islam intelligible to western-educated people who, not unoften, find it difficult to follow the metaphysical issues explained in a religious frame of reference.

Of the book, 'Islam and the World,' Sayyid Qutb rightly remarked: "If by reading this book, the Muslim is filled with shame and contrition for his criminal neglect and carelessness, he also becomes acutely aware of the tremendous potentialities that have been given to him, and begins to feel an overpowering desire to regain the world leadership he lost through his own neglect and lack of appreciation of it's quality." Whilst commenting on Maulana's methodology, Qutb further commented that although Maulana spoke of the general depravity of the Muslims (which came about as a lack of leadership), he always attributed it to the prevalence of ignorance and lack of a clear understanding of Islam. In materiality terms, this is unacceptable; but in Islamic terms, the world today endures the ignorance that is found in every phase of history, and unless one adopts the conviction that Islam alone can save humanity from degradation, all is lost. The book had been written with no pre-conditions or influence of ideology and environment, philosophy or religions prejudices - a trait which western historians tend to adhere to, thus shedding their accounts of human value and rendering it prone to many travesties and aberrations.

Although Maulana was well versed in many fields of Islam, his greatest contribution was to the history and cultural studies of Islam. It pained him to note that at a time when the western revolutionaries were adulated in academic circles, claims were being made that Islam never produced, besides it's Prophet, men who revived Islam on a global scale. In order to fill this void, he compiled his 'Saviours of Islamic Spirit' (trans. Mohiuddin Ahmad) in four volumes which seemingly deals with separate individuals, but every one of them was portrayed as a reviver and restorer of Islam on a global scale in a particular aspect. Maryam Jameelah reported that this was his magnum opus, whilst Impact International commented then that this book dispelled the misconceived notion that the attempt for the renovation and rejuvenation of the Islamic faith lacked in coherence and continuity.

Institutional positions and affiliations
Maulana was a founder member of the Muslim World League (Rabita), a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), a member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques, and a member of the Fiqh Council of Rabita. He was also a member of Advisory Council of the Islamic University of Madinah al-Munawwarah, a member of its Supreme Council, and a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters of Damascus, Syria. He was also a founder member of the League of the Islamic Literature in India.

This was in addition to his participation in many other activities through Islamic organizations and institutions such as the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). In India, he was the founder member and first rector of Nadwatul Ulama, and president of the Academy of Islamic Research and Publications. He was highly respected by 'Ulama and political leaders alike, and in 1980, he was awarded the prestigious King Faizel Award for serving Islam. He was also awarded the Sultan Hassan Bolkhaih International Prize and an 'Islamic Scholarship' plaque by Oxford university in 1999.

May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace - Ameen.

quoted from: Khalid Dhorat, 19/01/2007

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Umar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam's full name was Ghiyath al-Din Abu'l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami. Khayyam studied philosophy at Naishapur. He lived in a time that did not make life easy for learned men unless they had the support of a ruler at one of the many courts. However Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician and astronomer and he did write several works including Problems of Arithmetic, a book on music, and one on algebra before he was 25 years old.

In the latter, Khayyam considered the problem of finding a right triangle having the property that the hypotenuse equals the sum of one leg plus the altitude on the hypotenuse. This problem led Khayyam to solve the cubic equation x3 + 200x = 20x2 + 2000 and he found a positive root of this cubic by considering the intersection of a rectangular hyperbola and a circle. An approximate numerical solution was then found by interpolation in trigonometric tables. Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that Khayyam states that the solution of this cubic requires the use of conic sections and that it cannot be solved by ruler and compass methods, a result which would not be proved for another 750 years.

In 1070 he moved to Samarkand in Uzbekistan, one of the oldest cities of Central Asia. There Khayyam was supported by a prominent jurist of Samarkand, and this allowed him to write his most famous algebra work, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra. This contained a complete classification of cubic equations with geometric solutions found by means of intersecting conic sections. In fact, Khayyam gives an interesting historical account in which he claims the contributions by earlier writers such as Al-Mahani and Al-Khazin were to translate geometric problems of the Greeks into algebraic equations, something which was essentially impossible before the work of Al-Khwarizmi. However, Khayyam himself seems to have been the first to conceive a general theory of cubic equations. Another achievement in the algebra text is Khayyam's realisation that a cubic equation can have more than one solution. He demonstrated the existence of equations having two solutions, but unfortunately he does not appear to have found that a cubic can have three solutions.

Also in his algebra book, Khayyam refers to another work of his which is now lost. In the lost work, Khayyam discusses the Pascal triangle but he was not the first to do so since al-Karaji discussed the Pascal triangle before this date. In fact we can be fairly sure that Khayyam used a method of finding nth roots based on the binomial expansion, and therefore on the binomial coefficients.

In another book, Khayyam made a contribution to non-euclidean geometry, although this was not his intention. In trying to prove the parallels postulate he accidentally proved properties of figures in non-euclidean geometries. Khayyam also gave important results on ratios in this book, extending Euclid's work to include the multiplication of ratios.

A powerful sultan then invited Khayyam to go to Esfahan to set up an Observatory there. Other leading astronomers were also brought to the Observatory in Esfahan and for 18 years Khayyam led the scientists and produced work of outstanding quality. It was a period of peace during which the political situation allowed Khayyam the opportunity to devote himself entirely to his scholarly work. During this time, Khayyam led work on compiling astronomical tables and he also contributed to calendar reform in 1079. Khayyam measured the length of the year as 365.24219858156 days. This shows an incredible confidence to attempt to give the result to this degree of accuracy, and it is amazingly accurate. We know now that the length of the year is changing in the sixth decimal place over a person's lifetime. The length of the year in 1900 was 365.242196 days, while in 2000 it was 365.242190 days.

In 1092 political events ended Khayyam's period of peaceful existence. Funding to run the Observatory ceased and Khayyam's calendar reform was put on hold. Khayyam also came under attack from the orthodox Muslims who felt that Khayyam's questioning mind did not conform to the faith. Despite being out of favour on all sides, Khayyam remained at the Court and tried to regain favour. He wrote a work in which he described former rulers in Iran as men of great honour who had supported public works, science and scholarship. Another empire rose in 1118, this time with Merv, Turkmenistan as its capital. The shah created a great center of Islamic learning in Merv where Khayyam wrote further works on mathematics.

Outside the world of mathematics, Khayyam is best known as a result of Edward Fitzgerald's popular translation in 1859 of nearly 600 short four line poems the Rubaiyat. Khayyam's fame as a poet has caused some to forget his scientific achievements which were much more substantial. Of all the verses that can be attributed to him with certainty, the best known is the following:

The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

quoted by: Ikhsan Albanjari from public resources.

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