Saturday, November 15, 2008

Research and Development In the Era That Islam Arrived

Some say, that Islam put a stop to scientific progress. No better symbol for this than Islamic commander Amr ibn al-‘As burning the renowned library of Alexandria. Egypt was conquered during Umar ibn al Khattabs kaliphate by Muslim troops in 641 AD and Ibn al ‘As made Memphis its new capital, where it had been Alexandria for the last thousand years. Truth is, that the most important sections of this famous library had been burned on several occasions. First, during the siege of the city under Julius Caesar, 47 BC. Then, another part was lost under emperor Aurelian, fighting a revolt by queen Zenobia of Palmyra, around 270 AD. Zealous Christians under Byzantine Emperor Theodosius had sacked the subsidiary library at the Serapeum in 391 AD. Christian emperor Theodosious I had ordered destruction of all pagan temples, among which the Serapeum in Alexandria, which may have housed the famous library's remaining books. Whether Ibn al ‘As destroyed the remaining part of the library, is most probably a popular myth spread by Edward Gibbon and Nicolas Wade (‘Burning the Book of Nature’). Bernard Lewis claims, that opponents of the Shia Fatimid caliphate had spread the story of the Fatimids falsely accusing Umar ibn al Khattab for supporting a library’s destruction, which is a sin in Islam.

In the Prophet’s days, at least at practicable travel distance, the Persian Sassanid empire was the main promotor of science and medicine. The East Roman empire, the Byzantines, was its main enemy and persecutor. Byzantine emperor Zeno had the main Greek scientific centers closed. Its scholars found refuge in the important Persian city of Gondeshapur, Khuzestan. Astronomy, philosophy, medicine, and useful crafts in the Greek tradition, came to flourish. The Persian king ordered Greek and Syriac works to be translated into Pahlavi: The written Iranian language also used at the court. The language lost its common use after about 900 AD and was then preserved by the Zoroastrian clergy. We may state, therefore, that in the Prophet’s days, science was practised in Persia and it relied on Persians and Greeks and their tradition; however, also Indian and Chinese scholars were invited to Gondeshapur. After the Muslim conquest in 638 AD, the academy of Gondashapur survived and persisted its status of institute for higher learning for several centuries. Its hospital was probably the first ever in the Muslim world. Caliph al Ma’mun, however, founded in 832 AD the famous Bayt ul Hikma, the House of Wisdom, Baghdad, which then gradually became the Muslim intellectual center.

Another accusation from non-Muslims is, that Qur’anic verses were copied from known philosophical and scientific works, perhaps in response to people like Harun Yahya and Maurice Bucaille , who stated, that Qur’anic text never contradicts scientific facts. What were the main ideas on science and nature in the early 7th century AD, and did Qur’anic revelations correspond with them? This question has been posed and explored many a time and led to many creative and imaginative answers, that are by no means to be discarded even nowadays. Me, I start the voyage in Greece and travel clockwise to the middle and far east and end in Europe.

Sources & Further Reading:
New York Times
NCBI for comparative studies of Quran, Bible and science Open source full text of Maurice Bucaille's book 'The Bible, Qur'an, and Science'.


Ancient Greek Religion Had Only Little Influence On Islam

Ancient Greece had a polytheistic religion with many antropomorphic and other real life-inspired gods. It rather was a literary tale of human history with real life personalities, than a book of religious law. There were many, many gods, with both good and evil personalities. Even abstract ideas could have a divine personification. But, there were also thirteen main gods: The Olympian gods Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes, Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Artemis, Hades, Hephaistos, and Dionysos. They were believed to reside on Mount Olympos. They were recognized as gods across Greece. Zeus was their leader. The community of gods had its human stories; they had children; but, they could also influence human earthly affairs. Prayer and sacrifice could result in divine help to a personal matter, or to an issue in society, business, or other. Precisely these aspects, antropomorphic polytheism, is the most crucial difference from Islam. It isn't really necessary to dwell on it for long, here. There's a wealth of interesting websites and books about Greek religion.

Any interesting similarities between Islam and ancient Greece can be found in philosophy. The eldest good documentation we have, nowadays, is Socrates' philosophy, more than 400 years BC. Greek Philosophers, from the oldest days of Greek civilization, somewhere 600 BC, asked the questions that clashed with the religion of their society and sometimes got them in serious trouble with their authorities. But, they also asked and answered questions that are interesting to science and philosophy today, also for Muslims. That's where my study begins.

Ancient Greek Religion

All In, Reliable Proof Of Islamic History Exists

A large heritage of early Islam does exist, both in writing and in personal property of key figures and founding fathers. Much has been carefully preserved by the Ottomans and now by the Turkish state, but also in Uzbekistan, England, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other places in Asia and Africa.

Difference of opinion exists on the issue of the Prophet’s succession and on exegesis of his rulings. Therefore, the different schools of thought show differences in practical fatawat on several issues, from performance of prayer to legislation on inheritance and divorce. 

However, unanimity prevails on key issues: the Prophet having existed at all, including the most important dates and actions, and the texts he had written down in the Book for the faithful: the Qur’an al Kerim. It is remarkable, that this unanimity exists between thought schools that severely clash over other issues. This is the result of the extensive and credible way these words have been recorded. Many people have been heard and many have memorized the words identically. I'd say, therre isn't enough reason to mistrust the documentation, also because people like Sahih Bukhari were outsiders to the Arabic community. They had a fresh input.

A question is: Is the outside world willing to accept this heritage and acknowledge its historic value? For a long time, this has been the case and the mainstream still does. But, in recent times, we have seen attempts to falsify and even belittle this heritage, perhaps for political reasons. But, clear proof that Islamic history is false, has not yet been shown. By the way, it matters very little to the teachings of the religion itself, what the outside world says or thinks.

I've heard several people say: The Islam has copied the Bible, or a more ancient version of the Bible. Or: any reference to natural science, is a direct copy of Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, or Roman texts. For me, this is a reason to write this blog. To me, a journey of which the outcome still is a wild card. I hope, and am curious, if my reader is willing to make this journey with me @}}-


Ibadi and Kharijite Ahadith

Ibadi Islam is mainly found in Oman and also in some places of eastern African countries, such as Somalia, and further in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Ibadism’s founding figures are Jabir ibn Zayd and Abu Ya’cub Yusuf bin Ibrahim al Warijlani. Their main hadith collection is Al Jami’i al Sahih, also called Musnad al Rabi ibn Habib. Many of these traditions were reported by Jabir ibn Zayd and Abu Ja’cub, however, the majority are reported Sunni ahadith. The second hadith collection is called Tartib al Musnad by Al Warijlani. Jabir ibn Zayd is seen as a reliable narrator by Sunni scholars too. Ibadism accepts the first two Caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, but critisizes ‘Uthman (introducing innovations and corruption) and ‘Ali (weak leadership).

Jabir ibn Zayd was probably born in 18 of 21 AH (639 of 642 AD) in Oman, however, he grew up in Basra, where he met many of the Prophet’s companions. At young age he learned many Qur’anic verses and ahadith by heart, thanks to the large number of the Prophet’s companions he had come to know. This makes him one of the second generation transmitters of ahadith, the tabi’in. He was a frequent hajj-traveler, he is said to have performed it at least fourty times and frequented the Mesjid an Nebewi, where he gave lessons. He has met at least seventy Companions who had taken part in the Battle of Badr and knew ‘Aishah ra, the Prophet’s wife, well. He discussed with her some her political problems and her daily life with the Prophet at home. Besides ‘Aishah, Jabir ibn Zayd studied under a number of scholars who were among the Prophet’s companions, such as ‘Abdullah ibn Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn Massoud, and Anas ibn Malik. However, his most important teacher was ‘Abdullah ibn Abbas. The two became close friends with great respect for each other. It is reported that Ibn Abbas said: “If the people of Basrah would only listen to Jabir ibn Zayd, he would give them thorough knowledge of God’s book.” A man from Basrah called al-Rabie asked Ibn Abbas his views on a certain question. Ibn Abbas’s reply was: “Why ask me when you have Jabir ibn Zayd in your midst?” Among contemporaries, Jabir ibn Zayd was considered an important scholar of great merit and the leading Mufti in Basrah, issuing rulings on problems put to him. Wheather Jabir ibn Zayd indeed was the founder of a school of fiqh is a question under debate; Ibadi sources recognize him as such. Sunni sources, though recognizing and appreciating his great scholarschip and hadith knowledge, do not. Another important figure in the Ibadi movement is Abu Ubaydah Muslim ibn Abi Kareemah, student under Jabir ibn Zayd.
Ibadi Islam is the only school to survive and reach maturity since the Kharijite or Khawarij movement. The Kharijites were an involved party in the struggle over the issue of the Prophet’s succession, which led to a civil war and the murder of Caliphs ‘Uthman and ‘Ali. Sunni Islam believes that the ummah may choose a leader and should then follow him without rebellion, even if he should lack in piousness and rulership. Shi’a Islam believes in infallible leadership by the descendants of the Prophet. Kharijites believed that an unjust, unpious leader who deviates from the Prophet’s way is to be removed, and that the caliph is not God’s representative on earth. The Kharijites killed ‘Ali ra, but failed in murdering his competitor running for the Caliphate, Mu’awiya and his assistant Amr ibn al As. The movement also saw it as a religious duty to distance oneself from those Muslims who do not meet the demands of the religion and consider those people unbelievers, who even may be killed. For this reason, several modern ulema nickname radical groups practising takfir and killing innocent people, as the new Kharijites. The main era of Kharijite influence was in the years 690-730, around Basra, in southern Iraq (which had always been a center of Sunni theology.) Kharijite ideology was a popular creed for rebels against the official Sunni Caliphate, inspiring breakaway states and rebellions (like Maysara’s) throughout the Maghrib, and sometimes elsewhere.
Kharijite’s surviving school of thought, Ibadism, today, maintains the view that there is no Godgiven infallible leadership that must be obeyed. The Prophet saws, and the first two Caliphs in his succession, set the ideal for perfect rulership without human innovations the faithful have to aspire for, even today. Concerning the Hereafter, Ibadism thinks, it is not possible to escape Hell, where Sunni Islam thinks that believing sinners may leave it, if their faith is sincere. Ibadism also thinks that Muslims will never be able to see Allah swt, not even on Judgement Day, which Sunni Islam still holds possible, and reject any anthropomorphic descriptions and concepts of Him. Sunni Islam acknowledges all these items, however, Ibadi Islam always goes at least one step further. The modern Sultanate of Oman gave Ibadism a more or less secular, practical and modern role in the country’s rule. The present sultan dynasty Qaboos does not hold the title Imam; they first used the title Sayyid, an honorary title for any member of the royal family, and later Sultan, implying purely coercive power. They reject any pretense of spiritual authrity. The Omani sultans yet consider Ibadism as the state religion and protect Ibadi scholars and institutions, but keep them at distance from formal political power.
Sources and further reading:


Shi'a Ahadith

‘Ali ra was, in Sunni tradition, to be the fourth and last of the righteous Caliphs. Shi’ite Islam, however, acknowledges twelve Imams and they are considered perhaps not yet infallible, but their words and traditions are considered part of compulsory religious law:
1. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (600–661), also known as ‘Ali, Amir al-Mu’minin
2. Hasan ibn ‘Ali (625–669), also known as Hasan al-Mujtaba
3. Husayn ibn ‘Ali (626–680), also known as Husayn al-Shahid, also known as Sah Hüseyin
4. ‘Ali ibn Husayn (658–713), also known as ‘Ali Zayn al-Abidin
5. Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (676–743), also known as Muhammad al-Baqir
6. Jafar ibn Muhammad (703–765), also known as Jafar al-Sadiq
7. Musa ibn Jafar (745–799), also known as Musa al-Kazim
8. ‘Ali ibn Musa (765–818), also known as ‘Ali al-Raza
9. Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (810–835), also known as Muhammad al-Jawad (Muhammad at-Taqi), also known as Taki
10. ‘Ali ibn Muhamad (827–868), also known as ‘Ali al-Hadi, also known as Naki
11. Hasan ibn Ali (846–874), also known as Hasan al-Askari
12. Muhammad ibn Hasan (868- ), also known as al-Hujjat ibn al-Hasan, also known as Mahdi; believed to be hidden by Allah (Occultation).
Fatimah ra also Fatimah al-Zahraa daughter of Muhammed (615–632), is seen as infallible in Shiism, and as the leader of all women in Paradise.
‘Ali ra has been respectfully recorded by Sunni sources, but  Shi’ites preserved a lot more words and actions, as another source of ahadith on ‘Ali. Not all of those are accepted by Sunni community. The best known Shi’ite hadith collections are the four books and Nahj al Balagha.
The four books are:
1 Kitab al Kafi by Mohammad Ya’cub Kulayni (death 950 AD), again divided into Usul al Kafi, Furu al Kafi and Rawdat al Kafi.
2 Man la yahduruhu al Faqih by Sheikh Saduq
3 Tahdhib al Ahkam by Abu Ja’far al Tusi
4 Al Istibsar by Abu Ja’far al Tusi
Furu al Kafi is considered the most authoritative Shia hadith collection and concerns details of religious law. Usul al Kafi, by many scholars considered as weak or fabricated, concerns the principles of religion and Rawdat al Kafi concerns various religious aspects including some writings of the Imams. Sheikh Al Kulayni was born in the village of Kulayn near Tehran, but later moved to and worked in Baghdad as chief of the Shia scholars in jurisprudence during the ‘Abbasid Caliph Al Muqtadir. Sheikh Al Kulayni was a contemporary of the four successive special representatives and ambassadors of the legendary hidden twelfth Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan. His year of death is debated to be 940 or 941 AD. Sunni scholar Ibn Hajar has written appreciative words on this prominent Shi’ite scholar and he is considered one of the main and most trusted experts on ahadith in the Shi’ite community.
Man la yahduruhu al Faqih is a hadith collection compiled by the famous Iranian Shia hadith scholar Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Babawaih al Qummi, better known as Ibn Babawaih or Al Sheikh al Saduq. Abu Ja’far, Al Sheikh al Saduq, lived in what was considered the golden age of Shia Islam, 703-765 AD, and worked mainly in his own country Iran, where he was considered one of the main and most trusted scholars, by Sunni as well as Shia Muslims, in the city of Qom, Iran’s main centre for Islamic studies. Abu Ja’far is believed to be the sixth infallible Imam of Shi’ite Islam. His succession led to a schism in Shia Islam: Abu Ja’far is the last Imam to be both recognized by Twelver and Ismaili Shi’tes. Abu Ja’far was more than a theologian; he was a polymath with vast knowledge on astronomy, physics, medical and other natural sciences. Abu Ja’far has been recorded as a teacher of Sunnite Hanafy Maddhab’s founder Abu Hanifa.
Tahdhib al Ahkam (‘The Refinement of the Laws in Terms of the Explanation of the Sufficiency’) is written by the founder of the religious seminary in Najaf, Abu Ja’far al Tusi (d. 1067 AD), the city where caliph ‘Ali was killed, city that had become a pilgrim centre for Shi’ite Islam and grew to be the leading centre, even today, of Shi’ite scholarship since Abu Ja’far al Tusi’s arrival. Abu Ja’far al Tusi had to leave Baghdad for Najaf after religious turmoil and violence, which was also focused against his person and possessions. Many Sunni and Shia ‘ulema’ were killed or had to leave Baghdad in a climate increasingly hostile towards Shi’ites. Al Tusi’s work concerns practical regulations for carrying out the shariah considering the great differences that had arisen in Shia traditions. It deals with topics as ritual cleansing for salat; hunting and ritual slaughter; marriage and divorce; manumission of slaves. Sheikh Al Tusi died in Najaf and his grave is, also today, a much frequented place of visit.
The fourth main book of Shia ahadith is Al-Istibsar, also written by Sheikh Al Tusi, and is a more popular summary of the main issues of jurisprudence for beginners, and a reminder.
Nahj al Balagha
The perhaps most famous collection of Shia traditions is Nahj al Balagha (Peak of Eloquence): The words, sermons and letters by the first Shi’ite Imam, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’s son in law and nephew. The collection was recorded by Al Sharif al Radi in the 10th century. Sheikh Al Radi is a said to be a direct descendant of the main Shi’ite Imams, and thus of the Prophet. The Shia don’t include this work in their Hadith books. Most Sunni scholars do not regard the book as an authentic work; prominent scholars as Ibn Taymiyyah and Yusuf an Nabhani warned Sunnis against this work, because of its hostile tone towards the companions of the Prophet saws.
For a better understanding of Islamic early history, and therefore its legitimacy, it is impossible to ignore the schools of thought that rose in an early stage. Moreover, at the highest academic level, scholars of the different schools of thought did communicate and even followed each other’s classes. A third group I'd like to mention now, is the Ibadi movement, one of the earliest schools, descending from the group of Kharijites or Khawarij, which is seen as notorious among the Islamic mainstream.


The Hadith of Ghadir Khumm

In the year 632, Mekka had been conquered by the Muslims. The Prophet saws then made his last religious pilgrimage to Mekka, a few months only before his death. This pilgrimage came to be known as the Farewell Pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage atop Mount Arafat, the Prophet addressed the Muslim masses, some 100,000 people, in what came to be known as the Farewell Sermon, an important sermon in Islamic tradition. After completion of the Hajj, the Prophet returned to his home in Medina. At 10 March, 632, he made a stop near the pond of Khumm, Ghadir Khumm, a desert oasis just outside the city of Al-Juhfah, halfway Mecca and Medina. This incident led to the main controversy and schism within Islam: The Sunni and Shia schools of thought. When the group had reached the oasis, according to Shia sources, Qor’anic verse 5:67 was revealed:
“O Messenger (Prophet), deliver to the people what has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not do so, then you will not have delivered His message and Allah will protect you from the people. For God does not guide those who reject Faith.”
According to mainly Shia sources, the Prophet addressed his fellow travelers and praised his son in law and nephew Ali ibn Abi Talib (raa); these words have not been generally accepted by Sunni and Shia Muslims:
‘It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. I am leaving for you two precious things and if you adhere to them both,  you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my Progeny, that is my Ahlul Bayt. The two shall never separate from each other until they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise). Then the Messenger of Allah continued:
“Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?”
People cried and answered:
“Yes, O’ Messenger of God.”
Then followed the key sentence denoting the clear designation of ‘Ali as the leader of the Muslim ummah.  The Prophet [s] held up the hand of ‘Ali and said:
Whomsoever’s mawla I am, this Ali is also his mawla. O Allah, befriend whosoever befriends him and be the enemy of whosoever is hostile to him.’
Immediately after the Prophet [s] finished his speech, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed:
“Today I have perfected your religion and completed my favour upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion.” (Qur’an 5:3)
Firstly, the hadith of Ali being mawla after the Prophet saws, cannot be found in the most authoritative Sunni hadith collections: those of imams Al Bukari. One can be found in Sahih Muslim ahadith, but it may be a bit far fetched, still, to proclaim that the Prophet indeed appointed his son in law to be his successor. It rather appears, that the ummah was given a protective role towards the Prophet’s family, than an obedient one. Further, some other Sunni sources regard it possible, that the Prophet spoke these words about ‘Ali ra, but that they have been wrongly interpreted by Shiite Muslims. These are the ahadith in question in Muslim’s collection:
Yazid b. Hayyan reported, I went along with Husain b. Sabra and ‘Umar b. Muslim to Zaid b. Arqam and, as we sat by his side, Husain said to him: Zaid. you have been able to acquire a great virtue that you saw Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) listened to his talk, fought by his side in (different) battles, offered prayer behind me. Zaid, you have in fact earned a great virtue. Zaid, narrate to us what you heard from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him). He said: I have grown old and have almost spent my age and I have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), so accept whatever I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do not compel me to do that. He then said: One day Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and. exhorted (us) and said: Now to our purpose. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah’s call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family. He (Husain) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren’t his wives the members of his family? Thereupon he said: His wives are the members of his family (but here) the members of his family are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. And he said: Who are they? Thereupon he said: ‘Ali and the offspring of ‘Ali, ‘Aqil and the offspring of ‘Aqil and the offspring of Ja’far and the offspring of ‘Abbas. Husain said: These are those for whom the acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. Zaid said: Yes.
Book 031, Number 5923:
Yazid b. Hayyan reported: We went to him (Zaid b. Arqam) and said to him. You have found goodness (for you had the honour) to live in the company of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and offered prayer behind him, and the rest of the hadith is the same but with this variation of wording that lie said: Behold, for I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, one of which is the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, and that is the rope of Allah. He who holds it fast would be on right guidance and he who abandons it would be in error, and in this (hadith) these words are also found: We said: Who are amongst the members of the household? Aren’t the wives (of the Holy Prophet) included amongst the members of his house hold? Thereupon he said: No, by Allah, a woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a certain period; he then divorces her and she goes back to her parents and to her people; the members of his household include his ownself and his kith and kin (who are related to him by blood) and for him the acceptance of Zakat is prohibited.
Sahih Bukhari gives a different account of the events at Ghadir Khumm:
Narrated Buraida:
The Prophet sent ‘Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and I hated Ali, and ‘Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus). I said to Khalid, “Don’t you see this (i.e. Ali)?” When we reached the Prophet I mentioned that to him. He said, “O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumus.”
A conflict had arisen between ‘Ali and his soldiers during an expedition to Yemen concerning the distribution of war booty (among which cloths, gold and female slaves) and the Prophet settled the dispute, apparently at Lake Khumm, after completing the Farewell Pilgrimage.
Secondly, Verse 5:3 was revealed on Mount Arafat at the end of the Farewell Sermon, according Sunni tradition, which is also stated in Al Bhukhari’s ahadith in Volume 5 Book 59 Number 689. These, apparently, misunderstood words, led to the most important and perhaps only schism in Islam: the controversy that led to the rise of the Sunni and Shi’a schools of fiqh. The controversy mainly concerns the explanation of the word mawla. This word has several meanings: master, lord, owner, benefactor, helper, beloved one, ally, cousin, friend, brother in law, but also slave or servant. Shia scholars emphasize the meaning lord, master or helper and claim that the Prophet announced his succession on this occasion; Sunni Islam denies this emphasis. Sunni Islam says, it is a premature and hasty conclusion that the Prophet indeed appointed his son in law to be his successor. Bukhari’s following ahadith deny that the Prophet saws appointed his son in law to be his immediate successor:
Volume 1, Book 11, Number 649:
Narrated Anas:
The Prophet did not come out for three days. The people stood for the prayer and Abu Bakr went ahead to lead the prayer. (In the meantime) the Prophet caught hold of the curtain and lifted it. When the face of the Prophet appeared we had never seen a scene more pleasing than the face of the Prophet as it appeared then. The Prophet beckoned to Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer and then let the curtain fall. We did not see him (again) till he died.
Apparently another person than ‘Ali was allowed to lead the religious community. Nor had the Prophet indeed appointed a successor or caliph, not even according to his son in law’s own words:
Volume 5, Book 59, Number 728:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas:
‘Ali bin Abu Talib came out of the house of Allah’s Apostle during his fatal illness. The people asked, “O Abu Hasan (i.e. Ali)! How is the health of Allah’s Apostle this morning?” ‘Ali replied, “He has recovered with the Grace of Allah.” ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib held him by the hand and said to him, “In three days you, by Allah, will be ruled (by somebody else ), And by Allah, I feel that Allah’s Apostle will die from this ailment of his, for I know how the faces of the offspring of ‘Abdul Muttalib look at the time of their death. So let us go to Allah’s Apostle and ask him who will take over the Caliphate. If it is given to us we will know as to it, and if it is given to somebody else, we will inform him so that he may tell the new ruler to take care of us.” ‘Ali said, “By Allah, if we asked Allah’s Apostle for it (i.e. the Caliphate) and he denied it us, the people will never give it to us after that. And by Allah, I will not ask Allah’s Apostle for it.”
A third objection against the Shia version of this Hadith of Ghadir Khumm may be, it seems very unlikely, even according Shia narration that the Prophet would postpone an announcement as important as his succession, until after Hajj on his way home, when the pilgrims had already left the Haramayn and split up on their seperate ways home and only a small group was left.
Fourthly, the word ‘mawla’ can be found in numerous Qur’anic verses, but never directly stating ‘Ali ra successor of the Prophet saws. It narrates about different people and situations. Never do we find any direct reference to ‘Ali raa being the Prophet’s successor. The Qur’an simply doesn’t say, that ‘Ali is Prophet Muhammad’s successor. Some verses that Shi’ite Muslims like to quote as guidance are for example these:
You will find friends only in God and His Apostle and in the believers (5: 55)
And say those who disbelieve: “why hath not a sign been sent down unto him (Muhammad)”; Verily thou art a warner and for every people there is a guide” Quran (13:7)
Shia sources acknowledge, that verse 5:55 does not clearly state ‘Ali to be the Prophet’s successor and say, that this uncertainty led to the event at Ghadir Khumm. Verse 13:7 is one of the verses that are mentioned in connection with the doctrine that Allah swt had appointed the Prophet’s progeny with a leading position. However, the Verse discusses leader figures asssigned by Allah swt in general and for every people, without giving names. The Shi’ite claim is, therefore, not worthless, but it isn't proved either.
The misunderstanding concerning Ali’s position led to controversy and also conflict between ‘Ali and his supporters on the one hand, and, on the other hand, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al Khattab -- both the Prophet’s fathers in law and first two caliphs after his death. ‘Ali later accepted their caliphate. ‘Ali had not much support from the umma for any rivalry claim to the first caliphate. The conflict didn’t concern only leadership succession, but mostly the Prophet’s inheritance, too. ‘Ali’s position in the ummah, remained somewhat isolated, but this may also be due to his withdrawn lifestyle.
‘Ali ra’s position is the first main issue of controversy within the Islamic community. The second controversy, is about the caliphate in general. Sunni Islam believes in twelve caliphs after the Prophet’s death, who will all be members of the Arabian tribe of Quraish. This is mentioned in Bukhari’s ahadith: Volume 9 Book 89 Number 306 and 329.
Shia Islam has at least three different views: the Shia mainstream believes in twelve Imams, the two other schools believe in respectively seven and three Imams. However, Shi’ites believe unanimously, that the Prophet’s progeny through his daughter and son in law Fatima and ‘Ali bring forth the Imams.
In conclusion, I personally would say, that Shi’ite teachings cannot sufficiently prove the claim that the Prophet’s progeny has a role as leadership successors, added to this that Qur’anic Verse 33:40 clearly states that Prophetic revelation ends with Muhammad saws:
‘Not is Muhammad the father of any of your men but he is Allah’s Messenger and the seal of the Prophets. Allah is All-Knowing on all things’.
Shi’ite Islam had a separate development after the Prophet’s death. It convinced enough people to confirm existence of a new religious school within Islam, with the revelations received by Muhammad. There are more schools of thinking in Islam that recorded his life and works in a way that shows some characteristic differences, yet they largely confirm one and other: A man named Muhammad brought new religious teachings to Arabia and the rest of the world, in the years 620 -632 AD.
Ahl (Main portal:
University of Southern California, Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Renowned Sunni scholars in Islamic legal history

The life, sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, altogether referred to as the Sunna, have been recorded in so-called ahadith. Sunni Islam acknowledges six major collections of ahadith, recorded by six scholars. The among Muslims most trusted scholar on prophetic traditions is Muhammad ibn Ismail al Bukhari (810-870). Imam Bukhari belonged to the Shafi’i School and relied on its methodologies, which is recorded by Ibn Hajar. Bukhari traveled widely throughout the Abbasid empire, collecting traditions. He is believed to have finished his work in 846, after sixteen years of writing and collecting those traditions he trusted. It is recounted that Bukhari collected over 300,000 ahadith and transmitted only 2,602 traditions he believed to be Sahih(trustworthy). Bukhari recorded of every hadith its source: the transmitting narrators and its chain of transmittors since the Prophet. Notable hadith scholars of Imam Bukhari’s time, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal (died in 855), Ibn Maín(died in 847) and Ibn Madini (died in 848) all accepted the authenticity of Bukhari’s work. One of Imam Bukhari’s trusted students, Al Firabri, is quoted by Khatib al Baghdadi, author of ‘History of Baghdad’, saying: ‘There were about seventy thousand people who have heard Sahih Bukhari with me’. This saying refers to the period of Bukhari intensively travelling the last twenty-four years of his life, visiting cities and scholars, teaching the ahadith he had collected. He is said to have recited traditions in the main mosque of every city he visited. Other transmitters of Sahih al Bukhari than Al Firabri are Ibn Hajar Asqalani, author of ‘Fath al Bari’ and ‘Nukat”; Ibrahim ibn Ma’qal (d. 907), Hammad ibn Shaker (d. 923), Mansur Burduzi (d. 931) and Husain Mahamili (d. 941).
The second most respected collector is one of Imam Bukhari’s contemporaries: Muslim ibn al Hajjaj (817-874). Imam Muslim was also an extensive traveller through countries as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt to gather ahadith. Out of 300,000 ahadith, he extracted approximately 4,000. Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur’an, and the veracity of the chain of reporters had to be meticulously established.
However, earlier already, the first main attempts towards a more systematic religious law, Fiqh, had been made. In Sunni Islam, four names are connected to the beginning of Islamic Jurisprudence: the imams Malik, Shafi’i, Hanafi and Hanbali. From the work of each of these men, a ‘school of Fiqh’ has grown: the Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali jurisprudence. ‘School’ meaning here propositions for legal exegesis of Qur’anic and Prophetic sayings in such a way that they can be brought into practice by rulers and courts. These schools of Islamic law have gained important formal status in the law of most Islamic countries and most Muslims have referred to themselves as belonging to one of these schools. Imam Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Amer al-Asbahee (714-796) was the author of a small, but highly appreciated collection of ahadith, known as Al Muwatta (‘The Approved’). Imam Malik’s ruling against coerced divorce got him into a serious and ugly conflict with caliph Abu Ja’far al Mansur, however, the governor of Medina protected Imam Malik against further harassment by the (self appointed!) caliph.
The oldest and also largest school of law, as regards its number of followers, is the Hanafy school, named after its founder, Abu Hanifa an Nu’man ibn Thabit (699-767). The Hanafy school is known for its relative liberalism and its inclination towards independence for the individual’s conscience, but this may be a matter of perception. Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash Shafi’i (767-820) is spiritual father of the Shafi’i school of law and author many books, best known of which ‘Al Risala’, ‘Kitab al Umm’ and ahadith named ‘Musnad Ash Shafi’i, and he was the developer of a school of law in Baghdad. Not much is known of his life; he worked in government service and spent the last five years of his life in Egypt, where he died. Sultan Saladin built a madrassa on the site of his death. Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller translated his works ‘Umdat as Salik’ (Reliance of the Traveler) and Al Maqasid into English. The Shafi’i school of law is the second largest in terms of follower numbers. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 855) was the spiritual father of the Hanbali School of thought, the smallest maddhab in Sunni Islam. The school was started by Bin Hanbal’s students, even though Imam Ahmad detested that his opinions be written and compiled, fearing they might swerve his students from studying Qur’an and Sunnah. Imams Shafi’i and Hanbali both studied under imam Malik and imam Hanafy’s students; imam Malik was one of imam Hanafy’s students.
Roughly speaking, we find the Maliki Maddhab traditionally in NorthWestern Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait; the Hanafy Maddhab in Northern Egypt, the Balkans, Turkey, and the entire Middle East and Far East Asian areas of the Islamic world. The Hanbalis have their territory on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen excepted, and the Shafi’i in Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Southern India and Indonesia.
However, during the last centuries, their importance has waned under the influence of a new current in Islam: the return to Qur’an and ahadith as only infallible source of law. This rejection of jurisprudence by the maddhahib was probably started by the prominent theologian Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al Wahhabin the eighteenth century. ‘Abd al Wahhab strongly opposed the practice of Taqlid under Maddhahib authority: accepting and following interpretations and verdicts of scholars of fiqh without knowing and asking the evidence, considering also that Qur’an al Kerim refers people back to the Book and the Prophet in case of religious conflicts. This independent method of exegesis through reasoning, is called Itjihad. Modern supporters of sheikh ‘Abd al Wahhab, are sheikh Bin Baaz and sheikh Uthaymeen of Saudi Arabia, sheikh Albani of Albania and sheikh Muqbil of Yemen. The result is, that many countries nowadays don’t strictly adhere to only one school of law anymore, though this phenomenon is also caused by other influences, among whom former colonial occupants.


Monday, November 10, 2008

History of the Written and Printed Qur’an


The Islamic community has extensively documented the birth of its Holy Scripture. Many books and webpages exist on the subject. To give an example, we can find a reference to the history of the Islamic Scripture, Ahmad Von Denffer wrote an article named ‘Early and Old Manuscripts of the Qur’an and the Printed Qur’an’, April 2006.
History: Early and Old Manuscripts of the Qur’an and the Printed Qur’an
Published: 23.04.2006
History in and of the Qu’ran
Ahmad Von Denffer
Source: Ulum al-Qur’an (An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an)
1. Early Manuscripts of the Qur’an
Writing Material
Early manuscripts of the Qur’an were typically written on animal skin. We know that in the lifetime of the Prophet, parts of the revelation were written on all kinds of materials, such as bone, animal skin, palm risps, etc. The ink was prepared from soot.
All old Qur’anic script is completely without any diacritical points or vowel signs as explained above. Also there are no headings or separations between the suras nor any other kind of division, nor even any formal indication of the end of a verse. Scholars distinguish between two types of early writing:
# Kufi, which is fairly heavy and not very dense.
# Hijazi, which is lighter, more dense and slightly inclined towards the right.
Some believe that the Hijazi is older than the Kufi, while others say that both were in use at the same time, but that Hijazi was the less formal style. [1]
Some Peculiarities of the Ancient Writing
Numerous copies of the Qur’an were made after the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and the writers of these manuscripts strictly observed the autography of the ‘Uthmanic Qur’an. There are, compared to the usual Arabic spelling, some peculiarities. Here are a few of them, only concerning the letters alif, ya’, and waw, by way of examples: [2]
# The letter alif is often written on top of a letter instead of after it.
# The letter ya’ (or alif) of the word is omitted.
# Some words have the letter waw in place of alif.
2. Old Manuscripts of the Qur’an
Most of the early original Qur’an manuscripts, complete or in sizeable fragments, that are still available to us now, are not earlier than the second century after the Hijra. The earliest copy, which was exhibited in the British Museum during the 1976 World of Islam Festival, dated from the late second century.[3] However, there are also a number of odd fragments of Qur’anic papyri available, which date from the first century. [4]
There is a copy of the Qur’an in the Egyptian National Library on parchment made from gazelle skin, which has been dated 68 Hijra (688 A.D.), i.e. 58 years after the Prophet’s death.
What happened to ‘Uthman’s Copies?
It is not known exactly how many copies of the Qur’an were made at the time of ‘Uthman, but Suyuti[5] says: ‘The well-known ones are five’. This probably excludes the copy that ‘Uthman kept for himself. The cities of Makka, Damascus, Kufa, Basra and Madina each received a copy. [6]
There are a number of references in the older Arabic literature on this topic which together with latest information available may be summarised as follows:
The Damascus Manuscript
Al-Kindi (d. around 236/850) wrote in the early third century that three out of four of the copies prepared for ‘Uthman were destroyed in fire and war, while the copy sent to Damascus was still kept at his time at Malatja. [7]
Ibn Batuta (779/1377) says he has seen copies or sheets from the copies of the Qur’an prepared under ‘Uthman in Granada, Marakesh, Basra and other cities. [8]
Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1372) relates that he has seen a copy of the Qur’an attributed to ‘Uthman, which was brought to Damascus in the year 518 Hijra from Tiberias (Palestine). He said it was ‘very large, in beautiful clear strong writing with strong ink, in parchment, I think, made of camel skin’. [9]
Some believe that the copy later on went to Leningrad and from there to England. After that nothing is known about it. Others hold that this mushaf remained in the mosque of Damascus, where it was last seen before the fire in the year 1310/1892.’ [10]
The Egyptian Manuscript
There is a copy of an old Qur’an kept in the mosque of al-Hussain in Cairo. Its script is of the old style, although Kufi, and it is quite possible that it was copied from the Mushaf of ‘Uthman. [11]
The Madina Manuscript
Ibn Jubair (d. 614/1217) saw the manuscript in the mosque of Medina in the year 580/1184. Some say it remained in Medina until the Turks took it from there in 1334/1915. It has been reported that this copy was removed by the Turkish authorities to Istanbul, from where it came to Berlin during World War I. The Treaty of Versailles, which concluded World War I, contains the following clause:
‘Article 246: Within six months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, Germany will restore to His Majesty, King of Hedjaz, the original Koran of Caliph Othman, which was removed from Medina by the Turkish authorities and is stated to have been presented to the ex-Emperor William II.” [12]
The manuscript then reached Istanbul, but not Madina. [13]
The ‘Imam’ Manuscript
This is the name used for the copy which ‘Uthman kept himself, and it is said he was killed while reading it. [14]
According to some the Umayyads took it to Andalusia, from where it came to Fas (Morocco) and according to Ibn Batuta it was there in the eighth century after the Hijra, and there were traces of blood on it. From Morocco, it might have found its way to Samarkand.
The Samarkand Manuscript’
[15] This is the copy now kept in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). It may be the Imam manuscript or one of the other copies made at the time of ‘Uthman.
It came to Samarkand in 890 Hijra (1485) and remained there till 1868. Then it was taken to St. Petersburg by the Russians in 1869. It remained there till 1917. A Russian orientalist gave a detailed description of it, saying that many pages were damaged and some were missing. A facsimile, some 50 copies, of this mushaf was produced by S. Pisareff in 1905. A copy was sent to the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abdul Hamid, to the Shah of Iran, to the Amir of Bukhara, to Afghanistan, to Fas and some important Muslim personalities. One copy is now in the Columbia University Library (U.S.A.). [16]
The manuscript was afterwards returned to its former place and reached Tashkent in 1924, where it has remained since. Apparently the Soviet authorities have made further copies, which are presented from time to time to visiting Muslim heads of state and other important personalities. In 1980, photocopies of such a facsimile were produced in the United States, with a two-page foreword by M. Hamidullah.
The writer of the History of the Mushaf of ‘Uthman in Tashkent gives a number of reasons for the authenticity of the manuscript. They are, excluding the various historical reports which suggest this, as follows:
# The fact that the mushaf is written in a script used in the first half of the first century Hijra.
# The fact that it is written on parchment from a gazelle, while later Qur’ans are written on paper-like sheets.
# The fact that it does not have any diacritical marks which were introduced around the eighth decade of the first century; hence the manuscript must have been written before that.
# The fact that it does not have the vowelling symbols introduced by Du’ali, who died in 68 Hijra; hence it is earlier than this.
In other words: two of the copies of the Qur’an which were originally prepared in the time of Caliph ‘Uthman, are still available to us today and their text and arrangement can be compared, by anyone who cares to, with any other copy of the Qur’an, be it in print or handwriting, from any place or period of time. They will be found identical.
The ‘Ali Manuscript
Some sources indicate that a copy of the Qur’an written by the fourth Caliph ‘Ali is kept in Najaf, Iraq, in the Dar al-Kutub al-‘Alawiya. It is written in Kufi script, and on it is written: “Ali bin Abi Talib wrote it in the year 40 of the Hijra’. [17]
3. The Qur’an In Print
From the sixteenth century, when the printing press with movable type was first used in Europe and later in all parts of the world, the pattern of writing and of printing the Qur’an was further standardised.
There were already printed copies of the Qur’an before this, in the so-called block-print form, and some specimens from as early as the tenth century, both of the actual wooden blocks and the printed sheets, have come down to us. [18]
The first extant Qur’an for which movable type was used was printed in Hamburg (Germany) in 1694. The text is fully vocalised. [19]Probably the first Qur’an printed by Muslims is the so-called ‘Mulay Usman edition’ of 1787, published in St. Petersburg, Russia, followed by others in Kazan (1828), Persia (1833) and Istanbul (1877). [20]
In 1858, the German orientalist Fluegel produced together with a useful concordance the so-called ‘Fluegel edition’ of the Qur’an, printed in Arabic, which has since been used by generations of orientalists. [21]The Fluegel edition has however a very basic defect: its system of verse numbering is not in accordance with general usage in the Muslim world. [22]
The Egyptian Edition
The Qur’anic text in printed form now used widely in the Muslim world and developing into a ‘standard version’, is the so-called ‘Egyptian’ edition, also known as the King Fu’ad edition, since it was introduced in Egypt under King Fu’ad. This edition is based on the reading of Hafs, as reported by ‘Asim, and was first printed in Cairo in 1925/1344H. Numerous copies have since been printed.
The Sa’id Nursi Copy
Finally, the Qur’an printed by the followers of Sa’id Nursi from Turkey should be mentioned as an example of combining a hand-written beautifully illuminated text with modern offset printing technology. The text was hand written by the Turkish calligrapher Hamid al-‘Amidi. It was first printed in Istanbul in 1947, but since 1976 has been produced in large numbers and various sizes at the printing press run by the followers of Sa’id Nursi in West Berlin (Germany).

Truth and Facts Concerning the Rise of Islam


Today, some Europeans easily claim that the cultural heritage left by the Prophet saws and his companions is not genuine. However, they fail to produce any proof. The many, carefully preserved, items from the Prophet’s and his companion’s estates have been certified as genuine by witnesses from his immediate social circle, but also by writers, historians and authorities. None of these Europeans stand on extremely solid ground to prove otherwise.
The Caliphs of several dynasties have carefully managed this cultural heritage, even though the items had to be moved several times. Objects belonging to the Prophet Muhammad’ personal inheritance are kept in Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. The Ottomans gathered them here for safekeeping since the sixteenth century. In his book 'The Sacred Trust: Pavilion of the Sacred Relics', Hilmi Aydin describes the history of gathering the Prophet’s personal belongings as follows:
Topkapi Palace was the residence of many Sultans and welcomed many visiting kings and ambassadors for centuries. However, what makes the palace so special is not only the former residents, but the Sacred Relics, which include personal belongings of prophets. Excavated from the most private and hidden rooms of the palace, the entire selection is compiled here for the first time, including those that are not on exhibit for daily visits. From the staff of Prophet Moses to the Mantle of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them, the Sacred Relics which Ottomans preserved in Topkapi Palace for centuries paying utmost respect, are presented in this book. When Sultan Selim returned from the Egyptian campaign (1517), he brought to Istanbul the Sacred Relics from the treasuries of the Mamluk state, Abbasid Caliphate, and Hijaz Emirate. Sultan Selim I began to collect the Sacred Relics at Topkapi Palace , and his successors continued the tradition until the beginning of the twentieth century. The sultans gathered the relics of the Prophet and other great Muslims, as well as items from respected religious sites. At the beginning of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, protecting relics from potential damage by the Wahhabis was a major concern. The Wahhabis thought those who showed reverence to objects were guilty of polytheism, so relics were sent to Istanbul for protection and care. During World War I, when the surrender of Madina was being considered, the city’s guardian, Fahreddin Pasha, sent a number of valuable gifts which had been received over the centuries, along with some Sacred Relics, to Istanbul. Most of these are preserved in the Topkapi Palace Treasury Collection. Today, there are 605 items registered in the Topkapi Palace Museum Division of Sacred Relics. Moreover, there are many objects that can be considered Sacred Relics cataloged in the museum’s treasury, arms, clothes, and library divisions. The items that belonged to the Prophet are called Amanat (Trusts), while the items belonging to other great Muslims or sacred places are called Tabarrukat (Sacred Objects). Today, all the items are called “Sacred Relics,” but in the past they were registered as Blessed Relics ( Al-Amanat al-Mubaraka ). The Ottomans did not attribute any holiness to material objects; yet, they were well aware that property belonging to the Messenger of God had a share of divine blessings. Tahsin Özwrote the following in his book Emanat-i Mukaddese [The Sacred Relics] published in 1953: “The Sacred Relics were collected thanks to various historical manifestations of fate throughout centuries. This treasure passed to Turks piece by piece by efforts motivated by faith and sometimes by fortune. It is clear that they are not only sacred objects collected and preserved with a religious bond and love, but are valuable by world standards artistically and historically as well. The care and traditional respect shown for the protection of these sacred objects so far has been infinite. As long as we exist, this sacred duty will be performed with love, respect, and honor.”
Among all sacred relics, the Holy Mantle of Prophet Muhammad holds a special place. Due to their respect for this honorable memory from the Prophet, the sultans preserved it in gold cases in the Throne Room. Therefore, the entire complex which included the Throne Room, Audience Hall, dormitory for pages, and the Treasury hosted became to be called Apartments of the Holy Mantle. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, met opposition and resistance when he began calling people to Islam. One of his opponents was the poet Ka‘b. After the conquest of Makka, the poet began to hide. Having been reprimanded by his brother, Ka‘b felt regret. Taking a risk, he secretly went to Madina in disguise and approached the Prophet to ask whether a person who repented his mistakes and embraced the faith would be forgiven or not. After the Messenger answered in the affirmative, the poet asked, “Even Ka‘b ibn Zuhayr?” When the Prophet affirmed this, too, Ka’b revealed his identity and began to read a poem, “Ode to the Mantle,” which would become famous. As a reward the Messenger of God took off his mantle and put it on Ka‘b ibn Zuhayr’s shoulders.
The collection consists of many objects, like Prophet Muhammad’s mantle, standard, sandal, cup, footprint on a stone, swords, bow, his tooth that broke at Uhud, soil he used for ritual ablution, and his seal. They also include a cooking vessel of the prophet Abraham; the turban of the prophet Joseph; the sword of the prophet David; a strand from Abu Bakr’s beard; the Qur’an that is believed to be the one Caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan was reading when he was assassinated; swords of the Prophet’s companions; Fatima al-Zahra’s blouse, veil, and mantle; her son Husayn’s robe, his turban, and a piece of his mantle; Imam Abu Hanifa’s robe; Uways al-Qarani’s felt cap; the crowns of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and Imam Sharani; the bowls of Jalal al-Din al-Rumi; the gold rain gutters of the Ka‘ba; the gold and silver covers of the Black Stone; a wing of the Door of Repentance; the lock, keys, and covers of the Ka‘ba; objects like hooks, candles, censers a nd rosewater flasks which were used in the Ka‘ba or in Masjid al-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque); pieces of wood, stone, glass, porcelain tile, etc. used in repair of these places; covers and soil from the Prophet’s tomb; and the dust called Jawhar al-Saadat [The Jewel of Bliss] which was collected while cleaning the Prophet’s tomb. There are also items used for preserving the Sacred Relics through time, or for their transport from the Ka‘ba, such as chests, drawers, covers (embroidered or plain), bundle wrappers, scabbards, and rahle s (low reading desks). In addition, there are brooms and dust pans used to clean the Privy Chamber; candles; aloe wood; framed inscriptions written by famous calligraphers or the sultans; writings describing the virtues of the Prophet (hilya); prayer rugs and prayer beads; copper and silver bowls; candles; dervish headgear; zamzam water pitchers; and handkerchiefs and blocks for printing on handkerchiefs.
* Title: The Sacred Trusts: Pavilion of the Sacred Relics
* Author: Hilmi Aydin
* Publishing House: Light Publishing
* ISBN: 1-932099-72-7
About the Author
Having specialized in art history, Hilmi Aydin is currently the deputy manager of the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul. He used to be the divisional manager of Pavilion of the Sacred Relics until recently appointed to the current position.
Source: this text above is written in 'The Sacred Trusts: Pavillion of the Sacred Relics' (2nd Edition).