BISMILLĀHIR RAHMĀNIR RAHĪM
Glory to Allāh and Salutations on Rasulullāh Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.
“And (when) he (Nabi Sulaimān) inspected the birds, he exclaimed: ‘Why do I not see Hud-Hud, or is he among the absentees? Either he brings to me a valid proof (explanation) or I shall most certainly give him a severe punishment or slaughter him. The Hud-Hud stayed away for just a short time. (Upon his return) he said: ‘I have discovered what you have not discovered, and I come to you from (the land of) Saba’ with reliable information. Verily, I found a woman ruling over people. She has been given everything (of worldly wealth) and she has a wonderful throne. I have found her and her people prostrating to the sun besides Allāh. Shaitān has adorned for them their deeds and has prevented them from the Path of Allāh, hence they do not derive guidance.” (Surah Namal, Āyat 20 – 24)
These are the Qur’ānic aayaat commencing the story of Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) and Queen Bilqees, the ruler of Yemen at that time. The story begins with an inspection of the birds by Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām). Allāh Ta’ala had bestowed to Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) the ability to understand and speak the variety of languages of even the birds. Mentioning this, the Qur’ān Majeed records the statement of Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) who said: “O people, we have been taught the speech of the birds and have been granted from everything. Verily, this is a clear bounty (of Allāh).” – Āyat 16, Surah Namal
On his expedition from Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem) to Yemen, at one stage his army requested for water. There was no water in sight and the soldiers were extremely thirsty. Nabi Sulaimān (‘alayhis Salām) ordered the variety of birds to form their rows for an inspection. The purpose of the inspection was to issue a command to the bird Hud-Hud. What bird is the Hud-Hud?
Following the shocking murders in Paris, condemned by Muslims all over the world, and subsequent moves to depict the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once again,Imams from around the world have come together to issue the following advice to those concerned about the depiction.
1. For Muslims, love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a NECESSARY part of our FAITH. He is dearer to us than our parents and children. We prefer him to our own self.
2. Accordingly we regret and are naturally hurt by the depiction of our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), a great personality held in high esteem by 1.8 billion Muslims and millions more, in such a manner.
3. Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, freedom of speech should not be translated in to a duty to offend. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that absolute freedom of speech does not exist. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge governments, civil society and our media to foster a culture of mutual respect and unity, not one of division and disdain.
4. Most Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset by the republication of the cartoons. But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond. With dignified nobility we must be restrained, as the Qur’an says “And when the ignorant speak to them, they say words of Peace.”
Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions. Repel harm with goodness is the Qur’anic imperative and by which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived. If we feel strongly, the only course of action to us is with reasoned debate, civil activism and other legal avenues, God willing.
When historians look back at Muslim rule in India, their perspective greatly shapes the way they present historical characters. Some people are seen as great and enlightened leaders, while others are ruthless tyrants. No one is more controversial than the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, who ruled from 1658 to 1707.
By Hindus and Sikhs, he is seen as a cruel and ruthless emperor that restricted freedoms and imposed a religiously intolerant regime on the people. By Muslims he is seen as a devoted and religious-minded just sultan. This article will look past the rhetoric about Aurangzeb to understand him as a Muslim ruler in a Hindu-dominated country.
When we compare our lifespans, wherein our lives unfold, to the age of the earth or to the visible universe of nearly fourteen billion years, it seems less significant than a drop of water in an endless ocean. To today’s materialists, life holds little significance beyond that of selfish genes and chance mutations (or of exploitation and unfettered consumption). To believers in Allah and His Oneness (tawhid), however, life is seen as a rich tapestry of signs and an arena of tests that grant us the opportunity of knowing Allah and of worshiping Him. I only created jinn and men, stresses Allah in the Qur’an,that they may worship Me. [51:56]