Thursday, November 29, 2012

Muslim Astronomers

Need for Astronomical Science
- Travel for Trade Find direction of Makkah
- Building Mosques
- Star Maps
- Astrolabes Building of Observatories
- Celestial Motions
- Geodetic Measurements
- Verification of Solar Year
- Astronomical Instruments
Arab developed interest  in study of stars and sky because as the dwellers of the desert who usually traveled at night in connection with trade, war and migration from one place to another, they found the direction of their journey with the help of the stars. The clear sky of the desert gave them a chance of making precise observations. Thus there was some locally acquired knowledge of the fixed stars, the movements of the planets and the changes of the weather. After the advent of Islam, the Muslims had to determine the time of the prayers and the direction of the Ka'abah. For this Muslims who once flourished in trade all over the world of launched Jihad, had to travel on the land and the sea. As an aid to travel, navigation and meteorology, a by-product of navigation, they needed star maps. The necessity of such maps also resulted in their interest in astronomy.
The regular study of astronomy and mathematic s was begun at Baghdad in the second half of the 8th century CE during the time of the second 'Abbasi Khaleefah al-Mansur, The investigations on astronomy continued. Nearly all of the original and creative work was done by Muslims. Astronomy reached its highest in the 13th and 14th centuries CEo In the 12th century CE, the Christians and Jews started the work of translation from Arabic into Latin and Hebrew, and began to conduct research in this field. But until the end of the 13th century CE, no mathematical and astronomical work comparable to that of the Muslims could be produced by the Christians or Jews.

The Muslim astronomers also prepared the star maps to preserve the old astronomical knowledge and to use them as aid to travel navigation and meteorology. Astronomer
Ibrahim ibn Habib al-Fazari was the first Muslim who constructed astrolabes . He composed a poem on astrology, and compiled a (calendar) according to the Arab method. He also wrote on the use of astrolabes and on the armillary spheres.
During the time of Khaleefah al-Ma'mun the important work of translation of Ptolemy's Almagest from Greek into Arabic was completed: Khaleefah al-Ma 'rnun (786 - 833 CE) built an observatory In Baghdad in his Bayt al-Hikmah and another in the plains of Tadmor".
More original and improved work was done in the second half of the 10th century CEo The elaboration of trigonometry, arch was considered to be a branch of astronomy at that time , was  also continued. Great attention was paid to the construction of good astronomical instruments, especially to the spherical astrolabe which was newly introduced at that time. Hamid ibn 'Ali and 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sinan al-Battani were famous makers of astrolabes

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Muslims Contribution to Architecture

- Minarets
- Domes
- Madrassa
- Gardens
- Calligraphy
- Bookbinding
- Gilding
The Muslims made advances in the area of architecture, calligraphy and visual arts related to decorations and patterns..
The main areas of development in architecture were the construction of dome based mosques with minarets, madrassas, gardens and redesign of the interior of houses to reflect an Islamic way of life.
The mosque, with its minarets, is perhaps that most famous symbol of Islamic architecture. The minaret was not used in the pre-Islamic Arab societies, nor used during the time of the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) or the first four Khulafa'.  
However, as the population of Madinah grew it became difficult for the muezzin to reach all the people from a rooftop of a house. So the need to extend the sound of the adhan led to the development of the minarets. Thus, in 709 CE/91 AH Khaleefah 'Umar ibn 'Abdul 'Aziz commissioned the construction of four minarets on the four comers of the Prophet's Mosque. Each minaret was about thirty feet high and with a base of4x4 meters.

The minaret is definitely an original architectural concept introduced to the world by the Muslims. Since its early development, Muslim architects and engineers developed various materials and techniques to construct minarets across the Muslim world, allowing for local designs to blend gracefully with the environments.
The dome is also an area where Muslims made original contributions.
Although the concept of the dome existed before Islam, it is in the architectural design and construction of the dome that Muslims contributed towards. An example of one such contribution is the construction of Star Ribbed domes where a set of parallel arches to used to support the dome. These arches are rotated, and are offset from the center so that the apex does not become the main join. The rotated parallel arches provide visual elegance and serve to load balance the weight of the dome. The Star Ribbed dome was first introduced in Spain with the building of the dome on the Great Mosque of Cordoba in 784 CE, where four parallel arches were used that resulted in eight-pointed star designs. This design became very popular with Muslim architects as it provided balanced proportions and stunning appearances.
Later on, twelve-sided and sixteen-sided stars were also used. The number of rotations increased over time and produced domes with twenty four, thirty two, forty eight, and sixty four rotations.
The Muslims also developed the madrassa concept that perhaps became a blueprint for many educational institutes like the modern day college and the university. The madrassas were designed to be self-contained; meaning that they were architected to house classrooms, rest areas, prayer area and sometime a courtyard. Later on, living quarters were added for students who came from far lands.
Muslims were pioneers in the field of education, and they started to establish education institutes in the very early period of Islam. The Guinness Book of World Records considers the University of Al Karaouine, established in 859 CE in Fez, Morocco, as the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world .
The Muslims took exceptional interest in the architecture and landscaping of the public gardens. Darted across many parts of the Muslims world from Spain to India, there are fabulous gardens that were once a joy to visit, rest and play.

The innovations in architecture were also extended to the home. Islamic way of life stipulated that privacy of the individual is of paramount importance, thus, the home became the focus for design innovations. A typical Muslim house was built on a rectangular shape with a central courtyard, and with external high walls. Normally there were no windows on external walls; if there existed, they were situated high so that passersby cannot see inside of the house. This reflected the importance of the interior space was important, not the outside. The interior were also designed to keep male and female quests separate as free social mixing between non-related people is not allowed. Thus, there were separate quarters for men and women.
Another interesting fact to note is that the Islamic governments constructed rest areas along the main travel routes. This was in line with the duty of the Islamic government to look after its citizens. The architecture of these rest areas reflected the needs of the travelers; they consisted of rooms for sleeping and shelter, water supply, a mosque and other essential requirements for travelers. Remains of these rest areas are found even today all over the Muslims world.
Calligraphy has always been very special for the Muslims. This is due to the fact that the Quran has been revealed as a book, thus it was written for its preservation, and for the subsequent transmission of the Quran and the hadith to the world beyond the Arabian peninsula. The Muslims displayed great deal of ingenuity in the science of calligraphy, often extending the work from paper to stone, wood and metal.












Mughal Garden

Mughal Garden

Mughal Garden

Mughal Garden

Mughal Garden

Taj Mahal
Muslims also played a significant role in the development of bookbinding, and they excelled in the art of gilding (the art of applying a thin layer of gold, simulated gold or other metal to a surface). This influence was extended later to development of bookbinding in Europe, where the first gilded bindings appeared mid-15th CEN

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Muslim Contribution to Engineering

- Windmills
- Crankshaft
- Waterwheel
- Hydraulic Apparatus
- Magnetic Needle
- Guns and Cannons
- Wind, Tidal and Steam Power

Many centuries before the Industrial Revolution in Europe, Muslims had already started on the path of innovation in the field of engineering and industrialization. There is ample evidence that suggests that Muslims were the first to make industrial uses of tidal power, wind power and steam power.
As for wind power, the Muslims were using windmills in the 7''' century CE to grind com and to draw water for irrigation. It is reported that windmills were widely used during the rule of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab", the second Khaleefah.
Building on the knowledge of the water flows, the Muslims invented water turbine, which had water wheels with curved blades onto which water flow was directed axially. This was first described in a 9th century CE Arabic text for use in a watermill.
The Muslims are noted as the first to invent various types of industrial mills. These include, hullers ", paper mills , saw mills, ship mills, stamp mills, steel mills, sugar mills and tide mills. By 11th century CE, mills of all types were established across regions from Spain and North African to the Middle East and Asia.
In additional to the mills, many other industries were established for astronomical instruments, ceramics, chemicals, distillation technologies, clocks, glass, matting, mosaics, pulp and paper, perfumery, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, rope-making, shipping, shipbuilding, silk, textiles, weapons, and the mining of minerals such as sulfur, ammonia, lead and iron. The first large factory complexes were built for many of these industries. Knowledge of these industries was later transmitted to medieval Europe.

Another area of ingenuity of the Muslims can be seen in harnessing steam for power. Engineer Taqi al-Din described the first practical steam turbine as a prime mover for rotating a spit. In his book, AI- Turuq alSaniyya fi al-Alat al-Ruhaniyya (The Sublime Methods of Spiritual Machines), completed in 1551 CE, he wrote:
The Muslims' contributed greatly towards mechanical engineering as well. They worked on the mechanics of wheel, usage of axle, waterwheel, lever pulley, gears, toothed wheel, and other mechanical devices such as crank shaft.
Amongst the famous mechanical engineers of the 13th century CE was Abu al-'Isa Ismail ibn Razzaz Badi al-Zaman al-Jazari. He wrote amply on various mechanical engineering topics and invented a number of machines. His best work was published in 1206CE title AI-Jami bain al amwal-Amal al-Nafi fi Sinat 'at al-Hiyal (The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices), in which he described in great detail 50 mechanical devices. Amongst his work include water clocks, hand washing device (for making ablution), machines for raising water, double acting pumps with suction pipes, use of a crank shaft in a machine, calibration of orifices, lamination of timber to reduce warping, static balancing of wheels, use of paper models to establish a design and casting of metals in closed mould boxes with green sand.
Qaisar ibn Abu al-Qasim, a mathematician and astronomer (d. 1251 CE) made improvements on the waterwheels. Such improved types of water-wheels are still seen on Orontes10 and are among the landmarks of Hama. Muslims led the world at that time in making clocks. Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Rustam al-Khurasani was a famous constructor of clocks, and as a result, he was called al-Sa 'ati (the clock maker).
The Muslims were also the first to use explosive material in guns and cannons. The purpose of this invention was to throw bullets at the enemy from a long distance. The Chinese used sodium nitrate only. But the penetrating power of explosives was discovered and used only by the Muslims. The earliest known military applications of these explosive gunpowder compositions were the explosive cannons first used by the Muslims to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 CEo The statement given by Ibn Khaldun in his History of Berbers also proves the use of the guns at the time of war.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friend in Need, Friend Indeed

Always Help Your Brother
 Allah said, "Be good to others, for Allah loves those who are good."
The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said, "For me to walk with my brother to fulfill his need Until it is fulfilled is more beloved to me than making it’ikaf ( staying ) in this mosque of mine for a month!"
He also said, "The one who helps his brother in need, Allah helps him when he is in need."
The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him would be walking in the street and a slave-girl would stop him, saying, “I need your help." He would remain with her until he would hear her needs. He would then go with her to her master to fulfill her needs. In fact, the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him used to mix with people and have patience over their harms. He used to treat them all with a merciful soul, tearful eyes, a preaching tongue and a loving heart. He would feel that he and others were one body. He would feel the poor man's poverty, the sad person's grief, the ill man's disease and the needy one's needs.
Just look at how, as he sat in his mosque speaking to his Companions, he would see a group of people coming to him from afar. He wouldnotice that they were a group of poor people coming from Mudhar in the direction of Najd. Due to their extreme poverty, they were wearing garments made of wool having white and black stripes. Some of them would find a piece of cloth, but wouldn't have the money to buy a needle and thread in order to stitch it together. Therefore, they would tear it from the middle, poke their heads through the hole, and allow the garment to fall and cover their bodies. They had come wearing such garments, with their swords hanging around their necks.
They did not have any lower garments, turbans, or cloaks.
When the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him saw how hard they were struggling and that they had nothing to wear or eat, his complexion changed. He stood up and went off to his house but couldn't find anything to give in charity. He left and entered another one of his houses, looking for something to give, but couldn't find anything there either.
He then went to the mosque, prayed the Dhuhr prayer and climbed up to the pulpit. He thanked and praised Allah and said,
"To proceed, Allah has said in His Book:
'0 mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them two has spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom you claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bear you).
Indeed! Allah has been a watcher over you:
He then recited: '0 you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sends on before for the tomorrow. And observe your duty to Allah. Indeed! Allah is Aware of what you do: He recited more verses, admonished the believers and said in a loud voice, "Give in charity before you are unable to give it anymore! Give in charity before you are prevented from doing so!" A man gave charity from his Dinar, another gave from his Dirham, another gave from his wheat and another gave from his barley. He further said, "Let no one of you belittle whatever you give in charity:' He began to mention the various items people may give in charity until he mentioned," ... even if it were a piece of date." A man from the Ansaar rose with a package in his hand, and, the Messenger of Allah Peace Be Upon Him took hold of it while he was on the pulpit. When the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him took it, a sense of joy was apparent on his face.
He said, "Whoever initiates a good practice and acts accordingly he will have its reward along with the reward of anyone who acts according to that practice, without there being any decrease in their reward. And whoever initiates a bad practice and acts accordingly, he will bear its burden along with the burden of all those who act according to it, without there being any decrease in their burdens."
The people got up, left for their homes and returned with charity. One came with a Dinar, another came with a Dirham, another came with dates whilst another came with clothes, until two piles accumulated in front of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him a pile of food and a pile of clothes. When the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him saw this, his face brightened like the moon. He then divided it up amongst the poor people. (Muslim) Yes! The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him used to enter people's hearts by fulfilling their needs. He would spend his strength, time and his wealth for their sake.
When ‘A’ishah RadiAllah Unha was asked about the Prophet's behavior at home, she said, "He would either be fulfilling the needs of his family members, or serving them."
Wouldn't you like to make your way into people's hearts by fulfilling their needs?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Change … Change is Awaited

Change … Change is Awaited
If we look at the world we can see people worried, they are worried for different reasons. Some of them lost their life time savings, some do not have healthcare, and some cannot afford food once a day.
We are worried; everyone else is worried for different reason. Some lost jobs, some of them lost home and some of them everything. There is no justice, waiting for justice years and it never arrives.
There are leaders who elections on Them of Change. Have they able to change anything in this world. It has gone from bad to worst. Are we better off than 4 years ago?
Everyone is looking for peace and satisfaction.
Change is Awaited
Can these leaders bring a change in this world? The corporate world is corrupt and corruption is at top. Can such leaders bring a change in the society, than they make this society a better place? These are few examples of corruption in the society. Corruption is at highest level.
What kind of society we are looking for ourselves and our offspring.
Everyone is thirsty, looking for change, let us make change happen.
Don’t support them in the society.
We have seen two scandals recently. CIA Chief has resigned, the same man who was head of US Military before, the second man to go Lockheed Martin head. These are few scandals across western world, which has destroyed social values and ethics.
They are representative of society there.
CIA director David Petraeus resigns over 'unacceptable' extramarital affair
Petraeus says he had shown 'extremely poor judgment' over affair, which came to light during an FBI investigation The head of the CIA David Petraeus resigned on Friday, saying that he had shown "extremely poor judgment" by having an extramarital affair. The affair was discovered during an FBI investigation into a potential breach of security, it emerged. No criminal proceedings were being considered.
It is an embarrassing downfall for one of America's most senior and respected generals, and one of the most high-profile members of the Obama administration.
Troublesome Liaisons of the Business World
Petraeus is hardly the first high-profile person to engage in such behavior. He’s in dubious company among a number of corporate leaders who have recently been caught in compromising circumstances.
The world of business has been the source of numerous powerful and highly placed individuals who put their marriages, careers and good standing at risk – all for an extramarital dalliance.
The same day Petraeus resigned — Lockheed Martin president and chief operating officer Chris Kubasik offered his resignation at the request of the company’s board of directors. This happened just two months before he was to assume a new role as CEO.

According to the company’s website, the married executive had been involved in “a close personal relationship with a subordinate employee,” actions which “violated the company’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.”
Mark Hurd
Mark Hurd is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. The New York Times characterized his tenure there as "one of the great rescue missions in American corporate history, refocusing the strife-ridden company and leading it to five years of revenue gains and a stock that soared 130 percent."
Still, Hurd was forced to resign in 2010. A sexual harassment probe found that he had violated company standards by filing inaccurate expense reports, as part of an effort to conceal a personal relationship with HP marketing consultant Jodie Fisher. The investigators found that the married CEO had not harassed her, but had paid her up to $10,000 per event to accompany him to business functions.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Strauss-Kahn was removed from an Air France flight at Kennedy Airport and arrested that same day, moments before the plane would have taken off and flown him back to France. Two days later, he was charged with multiple felony counts, and if he’s convicted of all of them, he could be sentenced to almost 75 years in prison. He resigned his post at the IMF on May 18, 2011, and he has since pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.
 “Dominique Strauss-Kahn is well-known as a seducer,” his official biographer, Michel Taubmann, said. “I can’t believe he would force himself on an unwilling woman. That doesn’t make sense.”
François Mitterrand famously ran three parallel families while president. He appointed a former girlfriend of his, Edith Cresson (a married woman) as prime minister in 1991. His predecessor, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, used to borrow a Ferrari from his friend Roger Vadim, the film director and Brigitte Bardot’s first husband, when he went on the pull. (He once crashed it into a milk float early one morning on his way back to the Elysée.) Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy were known for eyeing up comely reporters and female junior ministers.
DSK's extraordinary excuse: 'I didn't know I was sleeping with prostitutes at orgies because they were all naked at the time'
Shamed former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn never knew he was having sex with prostitutes at orgies - because 'all of the women were naked at the time', his lawyer claimed today.
The extraordinary excuse came as new mobile phone records showed the disgraced economist slept with 10 different hookers all charging more than £1,200 a time.
Tristane Banon, 31, claims that she was attacked by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is currently being held in New York over other allegations
In 2008, the married head of the IMF (he is on his third wife) was revealed to have had an affair with the Hungarian economist Piroska Nagy, who worked with him in the same organisation. He was cleared in an internal investigation of abuse of power, though required to apologise publicly for ‘a serious error of judgment’.
Woman minister ‘enjoyed 8 lovers’

FRANCE’S first woman justice minister had up to EIGHT lovers on the go, it was claimed yesterday.

Rachida Dati is in a legal battle to try to force tycoon Dominique Desseigne to say he fathered her daughter Zohra, three. Desseigne, 68, who is refusing to take a DNA test, insists he is one of many who had an “adventure” with Ms Dati, 47 — which will further the philandering reputation of French politicians. And his lawyers have claimed she was involved in up to eight relationships at the time.
It is claimed her boyfriends included a TV host, a Spanish PM, a Qatari politician and a brother of ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Those previously suspected of being Zohra’s father include Mr Sarkozy himself. Ms Dati, who has a reputation as a self-publicist, is said to have encouraged the speculation during interviews.

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni 'both having affairs'

Rumours that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy are both having affairs are gaining momentum in France.  

The first 'tweet' claimed that Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy had become romantically involved with Benjamin Biolay, a musician and a winner at France's recent Victoires de la Musique awards.  It then claimed that the jilted Mr Sarkozy had swiftly found solace in the arms of his 40-year-old ecology minister Chantal Jouanno, also a French karate champion.

Celebrity President: Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla, Cécilia and Marie-Dominique

Nicolas Sarkozy was elected the sixth president of the Fifth Republic of France in May 2007. Their first celebrity leader, he is a departure from previous French Presidents in that he courts the press and is happy for them to gossip about his personal life - and his personal life got very public when Nicolas Sarkozy got together with the model Carla Bruni. He has now become a bone fide tabloid celebrity with the typical celebrity gossip circulating about him.

Love-triangle books a headache for France's Hollande

Stuck with dismal approval ratings for his presidential debut, France's Francois Hollande is now having his private life raked over in a series of books that dissect the alleged jealousy between his current and former companions.
Despite Hollande's insistence he wants his home life kept private, public interest has been rife since first lady Valerie Trierweiler sent a "killer tweet" in June that exposed the animosity between her and Segolene Royal, the president's partner up to mid-2007.
A book out this week describes how Hollande's flirtation with Trierweiler goes all the way back to the early 1990s and that in 2003 Royal warned the journalist, 11 years her junior, to stay away from her man, then head of the Socialist Party.

Bill Clinton Scandal: Affair with Monica Lewinsky
In the early days of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, the most damning evidence was presented by Linda Tripp. A close friend and confidante of Monica Lewinsky, Tripp recorded her conversations with the White House intern — conversations that revealed intimate details of what Lewinsky said was a sexual affair with the President. It was these tapes that, when handed over to special prosecutor Kenneth Starr in 1998, led to the expansion of the investigation into Clinton and Lewinsky's supposed relationship, paving the way for an eventual impeachment vote by the House of Representatives.

Mr Berlusconi - Scandals over his private life
Mr Berlusconi - caught in a series of scandals over his private life, including his alleged dealings with younger women and prostitutes - has frequently turned to a pithy phrase in an attempt to shrug off the allegations. At the end of the previous year, as allegations swirled about escorts and "Bunga, bunga" parties, the PM deadpanned the line: "I unfortunately have never in my life been to a wild party."
However, the talk of scandal has got under his collar at times.
He told Il Giornale newspaper in an interview on 12 August 2009 that he had nothing to apologise for and no skeletons in his cupboard: "I deserve to be left in peace: enough violations of privacy."
Questioned on the sex allegations in late July, Mr Berlusconi admitted: "I am not a saint, you've all understood that." In an earlier interview with gossip magazine Chi, Mr Berlusconi denied he pays for sex, adding: "I never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest."
More bluntly, in November 2010 Mr Berlusconi hit out with the following: "It's better to like beautiful girls than to be gay."

Silvio Berlusconi's scandals

A party animal

CETTO LA QUALUNQUE is an irredeemably corrupt, vulgar businessman from Calabria, Italy's mobster-ridden toe. He has just returned from a stretch on the run from the law to stand for mayor of his native, bullet-ridden Marina di Sopra (ominously twinned with Weimar). Unlike Martin Luther King, he says, “I have no dream…but I do like pilu [a dialect term for a bit of tail].” Mr La Qualunque, the central character in a new film, “Qualunquemente”, is an invention. But this week he suddenly looked awfully real.
On January 17th Milan prosecutors submitted to parliament a dossier of statements, reports and wiretap transcripts that depicted scenes as extravagantly sordid as anything in the much-trailed comedy. They included orgiastic parties staged at the home of Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, involving more than 20 half-naked women, and a room for what are known to participants as “Bunga Bunga” sessions, equipped for pole-dancing, with wardrobes full of skimpy nurses' and policewomen's uniforms.
John Edwards
North Carolina senator John Edwards had served only a portion of his one term in the US senate before running for president in 2004. He lost the nomination, but was selected as Democratic nominee John Kerry’s running mate.
After Edwards’ unsuccessful 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, a story broke in The National Enquirer that he was having an extramarital affair. It turned out to be spot-on. Not only had Edwards had an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter, but he had fathered a child with her as well. Edwards has since reduced his profile considerably, and it is not known if he plans to return to the national stage.
Arnold Schwarzenegger
“The Governator” served for over seven years, and left office in January 2011. Then, on May 9, 2011, he and wife Maria Shriver announced that they were separating after 25 years of marriage. The Los Angeles Times revealed that the actor and politician had fathered a child out of wedlock ten years earlier with one of their family’s household staff, and while it’s too early to tell what kind of an effect this revelation will have on Schwarzenegger’s future, he asked that his family be respected and left alone. "While I deserve your attention and criticism,” he said in a statement, “my family does not. " 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fasting in The Month of Muharram

The Excellence of Observing Saum (Fasting) in the months of Muharram and Sha'ban and the Sacred Months
1246.Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The best month for observing Saum (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best Salat (prayer) next after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night (Tahajjud prayers).''
The Hadith points out that fasting in the month of Muharram are better than any other month of the year after Ramadan.

The Excellence of Observing Saum on the Day of 'Arafah, 'Ashura' and Tasu'a (i.e., 9th of Muharram)

1250.Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was asked about the observance of Saum (fasting) on the day of `Arafah. He said, "It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year.''
Commentary:The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is called Yaum-`Arafah . On this day, pilgrims stop and stand in prayers at `Arafat which is the most important ritual of Hajj, so much so that Hajj is deemed incomplete without it. On that day, the pilgrims are engaged in the remembrance of Allah and prayers as that is their most important worship on that day. For this reason, Saum is not desirable for them, but for other people, Saum has a special merit. The importance and merit of this Saum can be judged from the fact that it expiates sins for two consecutive years: the previous year and the current year. But these sins relate only to the minor sins, not the major ones, or become a means of elevation of one's status.
1251.Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) observed Saum (fasting) on the day of `Ashura' and commanded us to fast on this day.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary:`Ashura' 10th of Muharram. In another Hadith, it is stated that when the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) emigrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah, he saw that the Jews were fasting on this day. He asked them why they did this on that day and they told him that they did it for the reason that Allah granted Prophet Musa emancipation from Pharaoh on this day, and so they observed Saum in token of their joy. On this, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said that in this happiness of Prophet Musa, Muslims have a greater right to observe Saum than the Jews. Consequently, he also observed Saum on 10th of Muharram. Then, he said that if he lived the following year, he would observe Saum on 9th of Muharram also so that they would make themselves different from the Jews. According to another Hadith, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) ordained the Muslims to observe Saum on `Ashura' and in addition one more Saum on 9th or 11th of Muharram in opposition to the Jews. (Musnad Ahmad, Vol.4, P-21, edited by Ahmad Shakir; and Mujamma` Az-Zawaid, Vol.3, P-188). Thus observance of two Saum on this occasion is a Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).
1252.Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was asked about observing As-Saum (the fast) on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, "It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.''
1253.Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "If I remain alive till the next year, I shall also observe fast on the ninth of Muharram.''

Commentary:Some people think these words stand to mean that `he will observe Saum on the 9th of Muharram only. But this interpretation does not agree with other Ahadith. In order to oppose the Jews, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) resolved to observe one more Saum with that of 10th of Muharram and ordained it for the Muslims. In this connection, we have quoted above the authority from Musnad Ahmad. Hence, the meanings we have given in the translation of the text are correct. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do Not Flaunt Others Fault

Don’t Flaunt Faults of Others
Once when Al-Kisai and Al-Yazidi were gathered before the ruler, Ar-Rashid, the time for Maghrib prayer set in, and they had to choose someone among them to lead the prayer. It wasn't a difficult choice, for Al Kisai was a well-known reciter of the Qur'an: until this very day, he is known as one of the Seven Famous Reciters. After the prayer commenced and after he finished reading the "Opening Chapter" of the Qur'an, Al-Kisai then proceeded to recite "The Disbelievers Chapter":
"Say:  (0 Muhammad to these disbelievers):  "0 Al- - - - .”- Kafirun '(disbelievers in Allah, in His Oneness, and in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day Of Resurrection, and in Al-Qadar, etc.)!" (Qur'an 109: 1)

Although this is one of the shortest chapters of the Qur'an and one that is memorized by most young children, Al Kisai made a mistake in his recitation of it. When the prayer was over, Al-Yazidi exclaimed, exhibiting a great deal of surprise, "The Reciter and Imam of Kufa being confused about, making a mistake in, and forgetting the

'Chapter of the Disbelievers!":
When it came time to perform the 'lsha prayer later in the night, Al-Yazidi did not wait but instead put himself forward to lead the people in prayer. As soon as the prayer commenced, his voice ' began to tremble, and he forgot that Chapter of the Qur'an which is easiest to remember of all, "The Opening Chapter":
"All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord (If all that exists" (Qur'an 1: 1).
When the prayer was over, Al-Kisai turned to Al-Yazidi and said, "Hold back your tongue and do not speak, or else you will be put to trial. Indeed, it is guaranteed for one to be put to trial when he opens his mouth [to flaunt the faults of others]."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Contribution of Muslims to Chemistry

- Definition of Organic & Inorganic Chemistry
- Sulfur Mercury Theory of Metals
- Calcination
- Reduction
- Discoveries of various Acids Sulfuric & Nitric acids
- Preparation of Drugs
- Applied Chemistry
- Paper
Chemistry deals with the composition and properties of substances and the changes of composition they undergo. It has been divided into Inorganic and Organic. The conception of this division in modem Chemistry came from al-Razi 's classification of chemical substances into mineral, vegetable and animal. Inorganic chemistry, which deals with the preparation and properties of the elements and their compounds, originally arose from the study of minerals and metals. Organic chemistry, which deals with carbon compounds, developed through the investigation of animal and plant products.
Jabir ibn Hayyan, a great Muslim chemist of the 8th century CE, modified the Aristotelian doctrine of the four elements, and presented the so called sulfur mercury theory of metals. According to this theory, metals duller essentially because of different proportions of sulfur and mercury in them. He recognized and stated the importance of experimentation in chemistry; He combined the theoretical knowledge of the Greeks and the practical knowledge of craftsmen, and made noteworthy advances both in the theory and practice of chemistry. Jabir's contribution to chemistry is very great. He gave a scientific description of two principle operations of chemistry. One of them is calcination which is employed in the extraction of metals from their ores. The other is reduction which is employed in numerous chemical treatments. He improved upon the methods of evaporation, melting, distillation, sublimation and crystallization. These are the fundamental methods employed in the purification of chemical substances, enabling the chemist to study their properties and uses, and to prepare them. The process of distillation is particularly used for taking extracts of plant material. The most important discovery made by Jabir was the preparation of sulfuric acid. The importance of this discovery can be realized by the fact that in this modem age the extent of the industrial progress of a country is mostly judged by the amount of sulfuric acid used in that country.
Another important acid prepared by him was nitric acid which he obtained by distilling a mixture of alum and copper sulfate. Then by dissolving ammonium chloride into this acid, he prepared aqua-regia which unlike acids could dissolve gold in it.

Jabir classified chemical substances, on the basis of some distinctive features, into bodies (gold, silver, etc.) and souls (mercury, sulfur, etc.) to make the study of their properties easier. In the same century Jabir's work was further advanced by al-Razi who wrote many chemical treatises, and described a number of chemical instruments. He applied his chemical knowledge for medical purposes, thus laying the foundation of applied chemistry.
Abu Mansur distinguished between sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate. He had some knowledge of arsenious oxide, cupric oxide, antimony and other substances. He knew the toxicological effects of copper and lead compounds, the depilatory virtue of quicklime, the composition of plaster of Paris and its surgical use.
The great Muslim surgeon, Khalaf ibn' Abbas al-Zahrawi wrote a great medical encyclopedia, Al-Tasrif, which contains interesting methods of preparing drugs by sublimation and distillation, but it's most important part is the surgical one. Ibn Sina wrote a treatise on minerals that provided one of the main sources of geological knowledge, and chemistry in Western Europe until the Renaissance. The Muslim chemists applied their chemical knowledge to a large number of industrial arts.
Paper is also featured in the pioneering works of the Muslims. Paper was invented by the Chinese who prepared it from the cocoon of the silk worm. Some specimens of Chinese paper dates back to the second century C.E. The first manufacture of the paper outside China occurred in Samarkand  in 757 C.E., when Samarkand was captured by the Muslims, the manufacture of paper spread all over the Muslims World. By the end of the 12th century CE, there were four hundred paper mills in Fas alone. In Spain the main center of manufacturing of paper was Shatiba which remained a Muslim city until 1239 C.E., Cordoba was the center of the paper business in Spain.
The Muslims developed this art. They prepared paper not only from silk, but also from cotton, rags and wood. In the middle of the 10th century CE the paper industry was introduced into Spain. In Khurasan" paper was made from linen. Joseph Karabacek, in one of his works, explains the process of making paper in minute detail, describing how the pulp is prepared to make sheets, washed and cleaned them, colored, polished and pasted. No text comparable to this in any other language exists from that time. The preparation of pulp involves a large number of complicated chemical processes, which indicates the level of achievement in chemistry reached by Muslims.
The manufacture of writing paper in Spain is one of the most beneficial contributions of Muslim to Europe. Without paper the scale on which popular education in Europe developed would not have been possible. The Muslims method of producing paper from cotton could only be useful for the Europeans. After Spain the art of paper making was established in Italy in1268 CE France owed its first paper mills to Muslim Spain. From these countries the industry spread throughout Europe.