The Story of Yunus a.s.

This is the story of Yunus a.s. He was sent as a prophet to some hundred thousand people. His people didn’t believe in him. There are two versions to why he left his people.

In the first version. He left to a mountain and stayed there invoking the curse of Allah upon the disbelievers. And after the appointed time for the punishment had passed, he went back to check his people but when he came back he found out that the people are all OK. He didn’t know that they had repented while he was taking shelter on the mountain.

In the second version, he left his people as he thought them to be incorrigible and therefore doomed.

So, as per the story he left in a ship and that ship was caught in a storm. The captain of the ship told them to throw away their belongings. They did but still the ship was swaying in the sea like before. At this time the thought that one of the passenger is responsible for this curse so they decided to cast the lots and throw that one passenger into the sea. All the three times, the name of Hazrat Yunus a.s. came up in the lot. So they threw him into the sea. Immediately he was swollen by a large fish.

The Quran mentions about him being in three layers of darkness that he was wrapped up in. Some say it was three fishes that swallowed each other one after the other. Others say that it was the darkness of the fish, darkness of the sea, and the darkness of the night. The Quran also doesn’t specify the time for which he was in the the belly of the fish, some say three days others say forty days.

It was probably forty days because when he was thrown back to the shore, he was too weak and the sun was burning his skin. So, Allah made a gourd vine grow where he was lay and he lay in the shade of those leaves. One day a gust of wind blew away the plant and Hazrat Yunus a.s. became angry, disappointed, and then sad. At that time Allah told him that you became sad when I removed a mere plant whom you neither grew nor created, how can I Allah remove all those people whom I created just because you gave up on them? HE learnt his lesson and immediately went back to his people.

 

This is the story that Quran mentions but there is one interesting fact

The Quran mentions that if Allah had wanted Hazrat Yunus a.s. would have been there in the belly of the fish till the day of resurrection. Probably hinting that there are some creatures within the sea that can outlive us until the day of resurrection.

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Refugees

With nearly 2 billion Muslims and growing, we haven’t been as helpless as before. The numbers mean nothing. The current refugee crises remind me of the early era of Islam.

During the early era of Islam, most of the people who accepted Islam belonged to the slave class. They were bonded and didn’t have a life of their own but one person came to their rescue. One was enough! In all of Mecca, just one person was there who helped Muslims be free. As slaves, the Muslims were being tortured and prosecuted and this man who was one of the richest in Arab turned pauper in pursuit of buying the slaves and freeing them. This man, about whom Prophet himself said that I cannot return back his favors, lost every penny he had ever earned while freeing Muslim Slaves.

Now despite 2 billion odd Muslims around the world, muslim refugees are dying in pursuit of asylum?!

Did we really learn anything from Abu Bakr ra? He was used to hear about a slave accepting Islam and rush to their master to free them! We run away seeing a poor Muslim!

Sulah Hudaibiyah

There’s this interesting incident in the history of Islam when Muslims went for their first ever pilgrimage from Medina to Mecca and were prevented to do so at the borders of the Mecca by Quraish. The Quraish tried to make Prophet pbuh feel weak and disrespected so they tried one tactic after another in their arbitration.

One of the tactics they tried was that they invited Ibn Ubayy, a well-known hypocrite of Medina who was accompanying the Prophet pbuh, to perform the pilgrimage. To understand it better let me tell you the history of Ibn Ubayy.

Ibn Ubayy was the most respected leader in Medina, he was their uncrowned king. The only reason Medina people didn’t crown him as a king is because they were averse to the monarchy. That’s the only reason he didn’t have a crown over is head otherwise his status and power was no less than a king there. But when Prophet pbuh made hijrah to Medina Ubayy lost the place of his leadership. So, in pursuit of his ambitions he embraced Islam and used to deliver sermons before Friday prayers but everyone could see through his hypocrisy.

But at Sulah Hudaibiyah it was different. When Quraish invited him to perform Hajj he refused as if he was a devout Muslim and Prophet’s honor meant everything for him. He simply didn’t go, to everyone’s surprise. Everyone expected him to accept the invitation as it would have made the Prophet pbuh look disrespected and weak but he didn’t do it and probably that is why our Prophet pbuh made all the efforts for his salvation even after he was dead.

Blast From Past

Nothing Lasts Forever

Khan’an hindyan timan roabe khaanan

Jaan’an aes dapan yapaer ma pakh

Sundrah aasakh hoerr wognavaan

Tsomrav saet aes duvaan lasch

Pate taeth jaayi wechmai kappas vavaan

Nasar Babb, mye wuch tse wechne gas

~ Nund Resh

Those people with palaces high

Where commoners weren’t allowed in

While Nightingales were hired to sing

Expensive robes were used for dusting

Now that very place is a cotton plantation

Nasar Babb, I witnessed, now you go and see

This couplet from Nund Resh basically explains the ups and downs in life. It sheds light about the ebbs and tides in one certain family looking at which we should introspect.

This couplet is about certain rich people in some village where Nund Resh happened to visit at some point in his life/had heard about their opulence, once when they were at the epitome of their lives and then when they held nothing but dust in their hands.

These guys owned a vast amount of land that expanded over the entire horizon. The situation was such, that their land used to be between two adjoining villages. The shortest trip between the two villages was through their land but they prevented the people from taking that route in a bid to avoid their land become a thoroughfare.

While explaining their opulence, Nund Resh describes them being so wealthy that they used to hire singers whose sole purpose was to keep the ambiance melodious throughout the day and used expensive robes as dusters! Here, I think, Nund Resh hints at the fact that even if they let some part of their land become a thoroughfare it wasn’t a big deal for them but probably because of their ego they didn’t want to help out anyone.

After some time, when Nund Resh again visited that place he found it so desolate that it was turned into a cotton field. Then he tells his friend, Nasar Bab to always remember ebbs and flow in one’s life. To live a life that is grounded, if you have money and power it shouldn’t go to your head because after every rise there is a fall and after every fall you rise again.

The plant that receives sunlight in the morning should never think that it has seized the day and it will outgrow all the other plants that are in the shade because all those plants that were in shade in the morning will surely receive sunlight during some part of the day and will have their shot at life!

Same is the case with humans, those with blessings should never confuse their blessings to be a result of a special relationship with God which will never wane because both poverty and wealth are tests from God to see who performs the best of the deeds.

Witness

Once a traveler was passing through the city of Madina, he was intending to sell off his horse so as to have some money for further travels. It was quite early, the market was empty but he saw a buyer approaching him in the market. The buyer turned out to be our Prophet (saww). Deal was done and Prophet (saww) went to his home to fetch the money. Meanwhile, someone approached that traveler asking him for the price of his horse. The traveler said that he had already sold it to the Prophet (saww), the new buyer promised to pay more than what he has already sold it for. Since there weren’t many people around to witness the deal of the Prophet (saww), the traveler refused to acknowledge any deal with the Prophet (saww) upon Prophet’s arrival with the money.

Time was passing by and the market was getting started with more and more people joining in, many of whom started to take interest in what was happening with the horse deal. As it was decided, Prophet (saww) was asked to bring forth a witness or leave the deal. Since there was no one present at the time of the deal, Prophet (saww) had decided to leave the deal as such.

Suddenly, someone claimed that he had witness the deal taking place and favored the Prophet’s version of the events. Upon the completion of the deal, Prophet asked that witness, how was it that you claimed to be the witness despite you not being present at the scene and seeing it all? The witness replied, Ya Rasoolallah (saww), this was just a matter of a horse deal, you said that there is a God called Allah, when I trusted you over that I can trust you over this as well!

Good Terrorism Bad Terrorism

Few days back some cow vigilantes in Rajasthan, India attacked some muslim men who were transporting cattle. The transporters were carrying all the legal documents with them that might be sought by ‘authorities’ and obviously not by terrorists. Despite that they were ruthlessly beaten and one of them was murdered on a busy road in full public view. And just last year Akhlaq too was murdered by RW terrorists on the suspicion of having beef cooked at his home which later on proved to be false.

 

Media and the ruling party calls these individuals as fringe elements – same word that they until few months back used for the present CM of the most populous state. The fringe is the main stream now and the terrorists are the activists now. Media is shying away from calling these terror attacks as terror attacks in first place and the nomenclature that they use for these terror activities mainly perpetrated by the hindu right-wing is just to give them a soft public image. ‘This guy did kill this many people in a bomb blast but look he’s not a terrorist but was an activist’.

This image stabilization by the media is a dangerous trend. These days, every single channel is trying to toe the line of RW. Their terrorists are not even called terrorists, their terror attacks are called isolated incidents! During the time of emergency, media played a pivotal role in informing the masses as well as calling spade as a spade but in present times when called to bend they start to crawl.

This RW terrorism is far more dangerous than ISIS as in the case of former a democratically elected government is giving tacit approval leading to legitimization of the same! Laws are subverted to let the guilty go free, issues are being concocted to appear in favor of the guilty.

PM may come on TV and shed tears like he does every now and then; but in no way does that send any message of assurance to the minority in India. Let alone the vengeance against the minority living in here; they did not even leave the foreigners – Africans, that too in the capital! The delusion of grandeur this Brahmanical Indian society has is astonishing to say the least. These are the very people who take pride in being the original citizens of India and call Mughals as outsiders. Yes, Babur did invade India but his progeny was born and brought up in here just like these deluded people who came in with Aryan invasion and thought themselves to be superior to the original inhabitants. The original inhabitants were taken as slaves and made to work in the fields as slaves hence the caste Shudras. They themselves being the occupiers and invaders thought themselves to be the learned/intellectual class and warriors hence brahmin and Kshatriyas, with the advent the business caste of the Vaisyas also came into being.

My point here is that the top caste that calls everyone who’s a non hindu as outsiders or traitors who adopted to foreign religion are ironically hallucinating on the false moral high ground because of the same invasion. So, drunk on false grandeur they are creating havoc on streets killing minorities and on social media issuing rape threats and death threats to women. And thus, it is becoming difficult to live in India for minority in general and Muslims in particular.

One can draw many parallels between what is happening now in India and what happened in Nazi Germany. Sadly, a similar rise of fascism is seen today in India. Under the misdirection of development fascist propaganda is let loose. The government is as incompetent as it can be, goal posts are shifted every hour, bills are passed in parliament by subverting the democratic process, judiciary has started to look away or give a tacit approval in many cases with patriotic songs and movie scripts finding way into the judgement, media was already wagging tail waiting for biscuits to be thrown at, anyone critical of the government is thought to be critical of the country and shouted down. Ironically, India has always been chiding Pakistan over good terrorism – bad terrorism but prefers to have blind eye to the terrorism at home by calling it a fringe and giving it a tacit approval to unleash itself on minorities.

With each passing day PM is not following the footsteps of any former leader but he’s only exonerating the stance of the founder of Pakistan.

Power Of Astagfirullah

Once Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra) was travelling to some place. On his way, he arrived at some town, at midnight. He was travelling all alone so he decided to have some rest at that place and continue forward in the morning. To spend the night, he decided to take shelter in a masjid. So, he went inside the masjid and began to rest; soon, some guard came and asked him to vacate the ‘House of God’. The guard didn’t know whom he was addressing though Imam was a greatly revered scholar at that time but since there was no technological outburst as of today, so mostly people knew great men only by their name and not by their face.

Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra), politely replied to him that he was only seeking refuge for the night and that this was a masjid. The guard didn’t budge, so, Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra) went out of the masjid and decided to sleep at the doorway. This irked the guard and he dragged the imam onto the road. Across the street, there was a baker who was getting the dough ready for the next morning, while doing so he was watching all that was happening on the other side. He saw this person being dragged, and because of Imam’s humbleness and his character while dealing with the disrespect and also because Imam appeared to be a man of knowledge, the baker invited this old person into his shop and allowed him to take some rest there.

 

While preparing the dough, this baker was continuously reciting Astagfirullah. Imam noticed this, and asked this baker if he has experienced some barakah out of this continuous Istagfaar. The baker replied that all of his duas have been granted to him because of the barakah of Istagfaar except one! Imam curiously asked which one? Baker replied that he had made a dua to meet the scholar of the time Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra) and so far that dua hasn’t been granted to him.

Hearing this, Imam understood the Allah’s plan of making him leave for an impromptu visit without anyone to accompany him, arriving in the town past midnight, being dragged out of the ‘House of God’ and being invited into the ‘House of baker’ just to answer that Baker’s dua of meeting the Imam!

Silence

One of the best stories and the most inspiring one, in various aspects, has to be the story of Hazrat Musa’s (as) meeting with Hazrat Khazir (as), I’ve written the prelude to the meeting mentioned in quran Here. Today  I wish to talk about the meeting and what transpired in it. To be exact I want to highlight the events after the 2nd incident of their meeting. This story finds mention in Surah Kahf. Firstly, Hazrat Khazir (as) damaged a boat then he killed a child and lastly he repaired a wall without any remuneration.

At the very beginning of the story, Hazrat Khazir (as) warns Hazrat Musa (as) that he (Musa) cannot be patient with him but Hazrat Musa (as) assured him that he (Musa) will not disappoint him as far as patience was considered. Hazrat Khazir (as) very well knew about the nature of Hazrat Musa (as), which was of the impulsive, inquisitor type hence he put the warning upfront. The very reason this meeting was taking place was because of that nature. So after Hazrat Musa (as) saw the boat being damaged, he questioned the act of Hazrat Khazir (as) who reminded him of his promise of being patient in the entire journey; to this Hazrat Musa (as) replied that he’ll be careful the next time. Please note that Hazrat Khazir (as) did not want any assurance from Hazrat Musa (as) but the latter provided it anyhow.

Now after Hazrat Musa (as) saw a child being killed he was greatly surprised and questioned the veracity of this act whereupon Hazrat Khazir (as) again reminded him of his promise to which Hazrat Musa (as) again replied, without being asked or expected to reply, that if he says anything after this point the meeting should be considered over. This reply of Hazrat Musa (as) is considered by many scholars to be uncalled for, even our beloved Prophet (saww) wished that Musa (as) had remained quite so that the meeting could have been extended further but as we know, the meeting ended immediately after the third incident and excuse on the behalf of Hazrat Khazir (as) to part ways was Hazrat Musa’s (as) reply after the second incident. Though it is never mentioned explicitly, scholars suggest it to be the implicit reason and the fact that Hazrat Musa(as) complied to partition after going through all the struggle for this meeting alone is a clear indication of it being the implicit reason.

 

Silence at that time could have benefited a Prophet who had the Lord’s machinery, by the grace of the Lord himself, at his command; imagine what fruits that silence will bear for us! As Rumi said; Silence is the language of God, rest is just poor translation. Silence is golden, we have history full of wise men and women emphasizing on the importance of silence. Hazrat Umar (ra) used to say; my silence has never hurt me, it’s always my speech. God created us with just one tongue but two ears, that must be His way of saying talk less and listen more.

 

In today’s modern world where information is being bombarded at us from all sorts of nooks and corners of the digital alley, we are surrounded by cacophony instead of meaningful dialogue. Our work, our relationships, our life would have been much better if we had not spoken at ‘that’ moment. Silence was all that was needed of us but we failed to control our tongue. Hazrat Luqmaan (as) when asked to prepare the delicacy out of the best part of lamb brought forward the dish prepared from the tongue of the lamb and next time when asked to prepare a delicacy out of the worst part of the lamb, he again prepared dish from the tongue; when he was asked about it he said that the tongue if used properly is sweeter than honey and if used unwisely it is bitter than  poison! If only we can understand the importance of silence the world will become a better place. Nature is best experienced when we stop talking.

I’m dissuading speech except when it is better than silence. It’s an irony of our times that when we need to speak up we remain silent and when we need to remain silent, there’s not a word in the dictionary that didn’t find mention in our speech. Speak in favor of oppressed, downtrodden, weak, marginalized; speak up your ideas; speak up against tyrants, fascists but remain quite when your spouse is throwing a tantrum at you, wait for temperatures to cool down and then put forward your point; be silent when your parents yell at you, they never wanted to yell at their beloved in the first place; be silent when a fool wants to argue with you; be silent when your speech will only hurt someone.

Be silent if you want to listen to yourself!

Taubah

During the period of Hazrat Basri r.a a rich person died leaving behind a large fortune to his only son. His son, who inherited the fortune, used the money for all sorts of illicit activities. All his life his mother implored him to attend the lectures of Hazrat Hassan Basri r.a so that he may return to the right path but he never heeded to her calls. After spending all of his life going against the will of Allah, he health deteriorated due to his habits. Bedridden during the fag end of his life, his mother still wanted him to visit Hazrat Hassan Basri r.a so that he may have a change of heart though at the end. The son constantly kept refusing to acknowledge his mother’s wish.

When he felt the death looming over him, he asked his mother to take him to Hazrat Hassan Basri r.a so that he may repent for his sins- he had never prayed in his life, didn’t know any Aayah, Dua that he may recite while asking for forgiveness but at this point he was too weak to get out of the bed. His mother ran to Hazrat Hassan Basri r.a and asked Hazrat to visit her son and help him to perform Taubah. At that point of time, Hazrat was teaching his students and felt it implausible to leave the class for a personal visit, so he turned the mother away. She returned back without Hassan Basri r.a and narrated her ordeal and helplessness to her son.

This had a deep impact on his heart, he now turned towards Allah and said, “Ya Allah, you are aware that I want to repent but I don’t know how to. I even asked Hassan Basri r.a to come and teach me how to but he refused to come. You can forgive me whether I know how to repent or not, whether Hassan Basri r.a is present or not. I am coming to you without any good deed, without any Salah in my name, you can forgive me. Please forgive me.”

He felt the time to be near and made a will. He asked his mother to bury him at any other place except the muslim graveyard as he feared that with the amount of the sins he has committed, the graves that would be beside him would also get punished! Further he asked his mother to tie a rope around his neck, after his death, and drag him through the town like a dog so that all of his companions who used to participate in those illicit activities with him might know what they were staring at and hopefully have a change of heart. Finally, his mother again went to Hassan Basri r.a, who had just finished the class. She asked Hazrat to lead the Jinazah of her son. Hassan Basri, against his nature, became very angry and asked the mother to return for he was not going to lead the Jinazah of a person who has never prayed a single prayer in his life.

The mother returned back, hopeless and asked the neighbours to perform the final rites as per the will and as per the norm. Soon they heard a knock at the door and when enquired who it was, the reply was, “I am Hassan (Basri)”.  The mother was surprised to see the same person at door who moments before turned her request to lead the Jinazah of her son away. When she asked about the change of thought, Hassan Basri replied, “After finishing the class I slept for a while. I had a dream where somebody told me, “Hassan, did you just refuse to lead the Jinazah of a Wali? Are you willing to lose all of your Ilm because of your ego?”  Just then I woke up and headed here.”