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Volume 5, Issue 5

Safar/Rabi-ul-Awwal 1421

May/June 2000

[And united their hearts; had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united

their hearts, but Allah united them, surely He is Mighty, Wise] (8:63)

A report

Origins and Compilation






A s s al a mu A l a yku m sisters and brothers in Islam, and welcome to this issue of Voice of Unity. Having originally decided upon writing an editorial linked to the theme of Muharram and Imam Hussein (AS) I‟ve had a last minute change of heart. The intended repeal of section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 (LGA) has provoked a furore of parliamentary debate and consequently a media backlash. Some of you may question my substitution of the noble theme of Muharram and the slaughter of Ahlul Bait (AS) at Kerbala, for a controversial seemingly unworthy one of that of the section 28 debate. Yet my contention is that the legacy of Imam Hussein (AS) is not an empty one. His sacrifice was not intended for Muslims today merely to cry at majalis and instead ignore the wider more important message of fighting falsehood and upholding the truth of Islam; thus there is an inextricable link between these two subject matters. The LGA was enacted under the Thatcher

administration, and imposes two prohibitions on a local authority. Firstly a local authority shall not ‘intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.' Secondly a local authority shall not „promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship‟. The repeal by New Labour is an attempt at ending what is seen as the discriminating function of this section. Yes, it may be true that perhaps section 28 is not strictly adhered to currently in schools, and its repeal will not mean that schools will „teach‟ students to be gay, but nevertheless the intended repeal of this section is something that the Muslim community should be concerned with. This attempt at neutralising all types of relationships regardless of their nature is one that is symbolic of a morally degenerate 21st century. The exposure of children in schools to the image of marriage, cohabitation and homosexual

Qualities of Followers of Ahlul-Bait (AS) Imam As-Sadiq (AS) @Our followers are not recognised unless by humility; submission; honesty; devotion; attending to the poor, needy and orphans who live near them; saying the truth; reciting the Quran; withholding the tongue from people except for benediction, and being trustworthy for the

relationships all being on a morally equal footing is profoundly wrong. Some may argue that the repeal of section 28 is inevitable, in particular with the coming into force of the Human Rights Act 1999 that incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights; and as such guarantees the freedom of expression. Yet inevitable or not, it is not something we should be silent about. Imam Hussain (AS) laid down his life fighting injustice. The least we should do in following that example is make known our absolute disagreement to the repeal of this section. Muslim values are being undermined everyday, everywhere. Is it not time we made our voices heard? This is an easy opportunity to make Islamic values known. I urge all of us to unite by writing to our MP‟s expressing our opinions. If we cannot do small tasks such as these, should we really fool ourselves into believing that we would have been amongst Imam Hussain (AS)‟s companions, prepared to put our lives on the line for Islam?

relatives in any affairs.” He also said: “Behave to be ornaments for us and not to be against us as shame. tell people of good, protect your tongues and hold it from excessive and offensive speech.” “He who obeys Allah is a lover of us, and he who disobeys Him then he is an enemy,y of us (Ahlul-


Sr. Zaineb Latif

Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Design / Visual Communications Duration: 3 years Perquisite: One year full time Foundation or BTEC GAD in Art and Design or BTEC ND in Graphic Design or equivalent. Today we live in a society where we are bombarded everyday and everywhere by information. Graphic Design is involved in everything that we experience in the modern world. From a crisp packet to the television in our own homes we obtain thousands of complex messages that communicate ideas that Graphic Designers create to inspire, instruct, educate, persuade and amuse us. Graphic Designers convey concepts in such a way that they are easy to understand, memorable, visually friendly, and make the desired impact. As we enter the information age, with the advent of digital technology and the Internet, there has been an explosion in the use of information. As a result of this the field of Graphic Design, has grown from the leaflet and poster work of the 50â€&#x;s to encompass every form of information media, with web design, TV graphics and animation. Graphic Design includes: communication media, moving image, animation, digital technology, design for print, drawing, illustration, lettering, typography, packaging, photography, printmaking, and interactive design. Graphic Design works with all types of media, and in both 2D and 3D. Creativity, an open mind, intellectual curiosity, talent, ambition and commitment are what are needed for this career. You also must be innovative and have a unique way of thinking. The wide expanse of field creates an exciting atmosphere of work, where one project is entirely different from the next. Graphic Design reflects the culture of the time and is subsequently a high-speed occupation, it evolves with the ever-changing

society, and in turn the designer is required to keep up with what is happening in the culture and world around him or her. It is a concept-based profession. Ideas are the key to the work and innovative ways of portraying them will be the centre of the occupation. As a Graphics Designer, you are required to function well under pressure from all sides. Graphic Design can access a huge audience. This is the power of it. Personally I entered this profession not only because I enjoyed it but also for the reason that it is a media that can be utilised to create positive awareness for Islam and break the stereotypes

Appeal for Iraq Since the imposed sanctions on Iraq 10 years ago, more than a million Iraqi men, women and children have died of malnutrition, lack of medicine and essential life necessities. They desperately require help from us all. we are asking you to donate, as much as possible, to help ease the suffering of your brother and sisters. if you would like to donate, please contact phone number 07956 839 456 or e-mail:


Sr. Shetha Hadi Al-Attar “And if God willeth He would surely make you all single nation, but He leaveth to err whomesoever He willeth and guideth whomsoever He willeth; And certainly will ye be questioned of what ye were doing.” [16:93] (1) As part of my growing interest in comparative religious studies I was immediately drawn towards Carol L. Anway‟s Daughters of Another Path; a real life story based on her reconciliation with, and acceptance of, her daughter‟s conversion to Islam; along with the accounts of several other American-born women choosing to embrace Islam. Although a lot of the book is presented in the shape of extracts taken from questionnaires and letters submitted by the converts, what is added by the author herself as a running commentary struck me as well-researched, giving a balanced and non biased picture of Islam. For instance, Anway writes of her daughter‟s conversion as learning process for the family as a whole: Our whole family has been enriched and enlarged by our venture With her to see life with new perspective and insights. (2) Her intention in writing such a book was because she “felt that a more positive image was needed” (3) of Islam. Both of these points suggest a stimulating and favourable impression made its mark on the mind of the author for her to purposely collate and put together such a forwardlooking manuscript of personal experiences, on a subject most possibly in conflict with her own beliefs as a devout and committed Christian. Because of this I salute Carol L. Anway for her broad-mindedness and truthful depiction of the lives of Muslim women, and refusal to give in to

the common stereotypes associated with them. Having said that, one cannot escape noticing how despite admiring these women for the searching they undertook “to fill the spiritual void” (4) felt in their lives, and openly admitting that this „void‟ was the product of years of frustrated and dissatisfied questioning of the Church, ministers, and clergymen, the author herself can still blindly accept what she is reporting to be the causes of these women‟s discontented belief in Christianity: Some of the women tried to prove Christianity to their husbands. They sought help from Christian leaders but were frustrated in their attempts… Several religious questions seemed unsettling to them. Whereas Islam tends to “have the answers”, there is often confusion in Christian theology. (5) Not only does Anway point out the main areas causing the general “confusion” found in Christianity (i.e. “Trinity, original sin, or Jesus as the Son of God or Jesus as God” (6), she then unwittingly goes on to narrate how useless some Christian ministers are in providing answers: I started asking a lot of questions from ministers, Theologians, and seniors in the field to help me prove Christianity to my husband. I wanted it so badly, I cried to several of them to help me and most of them said, “I‟m sorry – I don‟t know” or “I‟ll write to you,” but I never heard from them. (7) (a convert) Regardless of the testimony of fifty-three converts, and the consistency in their assertion that “Islam supplies the answers” (8), that it “gave answers to questions [they‟d] had and questions [they] didn‟t have” (9), and above all, that it clears the reigning confusion of the Church and its explanations of the Trinity, and instead provided logical answers, “I found a teaching that put everything in its proper perspective, and appealed to my heart and intellect. It seemed natural. It wasn‟t confusing. I had been searching. I found a place to rest my faith.” (10), Anway carries on as a semi-neutral commentator: demonstrating neither


a personal recognition of the faults and gaps in her religion, nor indicating a self- admittance of the superiority in doctrinal preciseness and clarity of the other. The spiritual peace and, more importantly, the satisfaction of getting answers to previously baffling religions issues does not appear to influence the author one way or another. On a literary level, Daughters of Another Path is an excellent source of first hand experiences of an American family coping with the independent choice of their daughter to embrace Islam. Showing the journey they take from beginning to end in accepting and eventually even welcoming the decision, and in process treating it open-mindedly as a new walk in life for them to explore and discover. But looking from the angle of recommendation on the grounds of constructive results from such a comparative religious study, it sadly fails the author. Undoubtedly many Muslim readers, as I did, will not be able to wonder how and why Anway herself did not become a convert having presented by her own free will illustratively positive storied on people finding repose and spiritual sanctuary and contentment in Islam. Verses 6-7 of Surat-ulBaqarah remind me of the likes of Carol L. Anway, wherein the Truth is staring them in the face and yet they remain blind: “Verily (as for) those who disbelieve, alike is it for them, thou warneth them or warneth them not; (for) they will not believe. God hath sealed up their hearts and their hearing; And upon their sight is a covering; and for them is A great chastisement.”[1:6-7] (11) Even though the author acknowledges the presence of ignorance of faith among those standing high within the hierarchy of the Church, and even though she perhaps involuntarily credits the ideologies of Islam with more sense and coherence than its Christian counterparts; she nevertheless seems to remain totally unstirred with respect to her private religious inclinations once she completes the book. The blessing of being guided, of being inspired by Allah (SWT) and shown the path to

salvation and happiness in the Hereafter is one that must be gratefully recognised by all, whether born into the faith of Islam or steered towards it by some celestial force. The enormity of this blessing is manifested explicitly in the above verse, where the human race is basically divided into two groups: those who believe and “those who disbelieve”, no in-between ground, and based on this those who disbelieve are the illstarred and unfavoured lot, who may never see the Light of Guidance and will remain oblivious to its Radiance even though it may cross their lives (as in the case of Anway). Nevertheless, as Islam is not a religion directed at a specific race or culture or civilisation and is open to all mankind, the possibility that people who appear unseeing of its bounties and redemptive values at first encounter, may well choose to embrace it at a later stage. Perhaps I would have been more impressed with Carol L.Anway‟s story has she, at the end of her journey of discovery, been converted to Islam due to her research and studying of the faith and what its new followers had to say. Giving her the benefit of the doubt is perhaps the safest option here, for who knows, maybe she has become a Muslim after all, as revealed in verse 40 of Surat-ul-Nahl, “Verily only Our word for a thing when We will it is that We say unto it, ‘Be’ and it exists” [16:40] (12). References: 1. Surat-ul-Nahl, 16:93. 2. Carol L. Anway, Daughters of Another Path, Yawna Publications 1996 p.v (Acknowledgements). 3. Ibid. p6 4. Ibid. p32 5. Ibid. p36 6. Ibid. p36 7. Ibid. p37 8. Ibid. p37 9. Ibid. p31 10. Ibid. p30 11. Surat-ul-Baqarah, 1:6-7 12. Surat-ul-Nahl, 16:40


Sr. Sakina Ahmed & Sr. Fadak Ali

The position of Sisters' Representative has unfortunately remained vacant in the IUS committee for some time, however, this year sister Fadak Ali and sister Sakina Ahmed have jointly filled the positions with the aim of promoting sisters activities in an Islamic environment. Our first priority was to bring sisters together in a forum where we would have the opportunity to discuss Islam in a relaxed environment. A series of lectures set the ball rolling. In order to attract female members our first circle by Dr Basher Al Naher was entitled, ‘Islam the Feel Good factor‟. Sisters were involved in a discussion about why Islam should make us unite and feel good about ourselves. We discussed the fact that Allah (SWT) is Adl (just) and therefore we will always have justice on our side. All that happens to us is for our own good. As Muslims we have the Quran, Hadith and the Ahlul Bait (AS) to guide us and therefore our purpose and role in life will always be certain. It is this certainty of being on the right path (Sirat Al Mustakeem) that should make us feel good. By striving every day to follow the right path, we can look forward to the possibility of going to heaven, Inshallah. Dr Basher urged us all to realise that that the material things in life will be of no use to us in the hereafter, much of what we see is an illusion. He drew a parallel with the film 'The Matrix' and told us that as Muslims we should all have learnt that only what we believe is truth, all else is false. Those who attain knowledge and live for the hereafter can see this world for what it really is. Dr Basher concluded by stating that it is us, the youth of today who have the power to make our Islamic communities fruitful and alive. We should realise what a blessing Islam is and treasure it, for surely we hold the future in our hands. Our second circle focused primarily on ‘Muslim Women Living in a Secular Society‟.

Sister Ummulbanin Merali started off by defining secularism as the separation of religion from all other affairs. Secularism was the result of oppression of scholars by the church. The scholars challenged the church, which resulted i n scholars choosing logic and science over religion and myth. This developed western values which today conflict directly with Islam. Islam aims to develop the greater good for society while secularism promotes a materialistic outlook for each individual. Islam encourages discipline whilst promoting education, science and knowledge. Secularism promotes women to be independent to the extent of removing oneself from the family unit. Islam however recognises that women are emotionally intelligent and are the nurturers of society. In Islam women are given the role of moulding society by developing the minds of children. If this is neglected, the result would be chaos. Historically Islam has always promoted the power of women, a direct contrast to secularism which involves the constant battle between men and women, men often being far more powerful. Sister Ummulbanin gave evidence from Quran to show that Islam does not accept racism, classism or sexism. The very fact that every Muslim retraces the steps of Hajar, the black slave wife of the Prophet Abraham in hajj demonstrates this point. As women we need to educate ourselves so we can nurture our family and society as men can‟t carry out this function. When we bring a child into this world it is our job to guide it and nurture it and Inshallah deliver it to the doors of jannah. The IUS third sisters' circle was by Dr Zuhair Al Naher, entitled „A Life Changing Experience‟. This was an inspirational talk focused on motivation and commitment to change. Dr Zuhair listed the different levels of change as environment, behaviour, capability,


belief, identity and lastly spirituality. It is Allah (SWT) who controls our environment, we should be grateful for this by pleasing Allah (SWT) and making Islam our way of life. To do this we should change our behaviour by following that which Allah (SWT) has commanded us to do. It will surely be for our own benefit. We have all been given free will to change our behaviour. Allah (SWT) is Adl (just) and would ask us to do no more then what we are able to do. Shaytan (the devil) tells us that we are not capable to follow Allah‟s (SWT) commands and that there is no point in starting something that we are destined to fail. We should overcome this by following a three step process. Firstly, we should actively make a positive decision to change. Secondly, we should observe ourselves during this time. Finally, we should assess ourselves and recognise our weaknesses with a view to overcoming them. If we realise our capabilities there is no doubt that our belief will increase. Only when our behaviour changes can we honestly identify a change of character and Inshallah become a Mu‟min (believer) by an increase in our Iman (belief). Dr Zuhair went on to discuss Hajj as an example in which we can see all the elements of change mentioned above, come together. There is recognition that our life revolves around Allah (SWT), demonstrated by going round the Kaaba. The result is an identity change, by performing hajj man acquires the title of Hajji. The circle was concluded with a short workshop exercise requiring those present to think about something in their lives that they wished to change. Sisters were made to think of the consequences if they did not change that one thing and died, and how good they would feel if they did change. The last sisters' circle for this term was by Sister Ummulbanin Merali and concerned ‘Tawheed‟ (oneness of Allah (SWT)). Sister Ummulbanin outlined the various aspects of Tawheed. Initially there must be belief in the

existence of Allah (SWT). It should be remembered that there are certain parts of Islam which we will find amazing and difficult to understand, this too requires belief. Then there is certitude, we should recognise the difference between reality and our perception of reality. Accountability is a further element of tawheed, we should remember that each person is accountable for his/her own actions, thoughts and ignorance. Psychology today has given society too many excuses for not being accountable, in the hereafter such excuses will not suffice. We should consider the reasons for our sinning, we only sin to gain some sort of benefit, surely no benefit on earth is worth throwing away the prospect of going to heaven. Allah (SWT) is merciful, it should be recognised that there is power in forgiveness, an essential ingredient of tawheed. Islam has given our existence a function and oal, sister Ummulbanin said that we should, „know it to claim it‟. Islam has told us our purpose on earth, we should aim to reach our optimum. Sister Ummalbanin finished by listing qualities of the prophet Mohammed (SAW) which we should strive for in our lives. We must always have Allah (SWT) in our vision, and focus on this in everything we do. Once we have ascertained our role in this life and established a goal, there must be a strategy and an ongoing passion to reach our aims. We should tackle everything with truth and be willing to take risks. We must prioritise all that we do and realise what will actually benefit us. With all the above in mind we must be self managing and accountable. Alhamdulillah all the circles have been a success. Both sisters' representatives look forward to a programme of speakers and other events soon, Inshallah. We would like to thank all the speakers and sisters who participated and remind the sisters that all sisters' events need your full commitment. We would welcome any suggestions, ideas and feedback.


Sr. Fayeza Suleiman

The last days and the signs heralding the reappearance of Imam Mohammad Al-Mahdi (ATF) God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that he will surely make you successors in the land, even as he made those who were before them successors, and that he will surely establish their religion for them that he has approved for them, and will give them in exchange after they fear security they shall serve me, not associating with me anything. (SuratulNur 24:54) Akheruz-Zaman, refers to the last days before the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (ATF). This is the era in which we live, quite daunting to say the least for some, but for believers Alhamdulillah it couldn't be any sooner. We have been told by our Imams (AS) that Imam Mahdi (ATF) will reappear in the last days. So questions asked are how long is AkheruzZaman? When will Imam Mahdi (ATF) appear? Will it be tomorrow? We have no idea how long the period of Akheruz-Zaman will last, but we know that we are certainly in it, and if we are vigilant and conscious we will be able to notice the advance we are making in it. For example those who have been fortunate enough to visit Najaf and Kufa, will have noticed the gradual assimilation between the two. One of the predictions is that when these towns amalgamate, then the last days will have come. In that respect we are living in a very interesting period. It is a period of transition, from a period of suffering during his concealment to a period of victory under him; and as always, the period of transition is a difficult one. There are traditions of the Prophet (SAW) himself, who has told us how Imam Mahdi (ATF) will come. One point on which traditions are unanimous is that the period before his reappearance will be one of injustices and instability, of evil and oppression, of dissension, war, violence and atheism. It is indeed a period of contradiction, as man believes he is progressing towards civilisation, education and science. Yet the traditions suggest that he will degenerate into the abyss of moral degradation. This has been predicted by the Holy Prophet (SAW). Another tradition reported from a famous close companion of the Prophet (SAW),

Jabir bin Abdillah Ansari. Allama Majlisi reports this tradition in Biharul Anwar. He reports that after Hajjatul Widaa, the last pilgrimage the Prophet made, the Holy Prophet (SAW) stood near the Kaa'ba, and called his people to listen to him telling them that they must transmit his words to those who were not present at that time. How important must that message have been especially when the Prophet began to weep, have we really understood the significance of this message and taken heed of it? Obviously the Prophet (SAW) wanted those words to reach us today, the same as that of Imam Hussein (AS) during the tragedy of Kerbala when he called out to the four corners of the earth for help from those who were not present at the time. As the Holy Prophet began to weep the entire congregation wept and the Prophet began, 'My people, a time will come when kings and rulers will become tyrannical'. This is the first sign of AkheruzZaman and there is no one who can deny that this has not already happened and is still happening all over the world. Tyranny shows its face in many countries that in one sense or another it abounds in the East and the West. Today so many Muslims all over the world are oppressed, in Iraq, Kashmir, Palestine and many more countries. „The second is that wealthy persons will become miserly’. This can be seen with many from amongst us. Are wealthy people truly happy or do they desire to become richer and never be content with what they have? ‘Ulama will be greedy of worldly possessions'. Ulama who lead their lives in hunger and thirst to propagate Islam today are few and far between. The Holy Prophet continued, 'Beggars will be imposters and children will lack modesty'. We can judge for ourselves if we are not already in that era from the way children conduct themselves immodestly, even before their parents. 'Old people will be wicked' and the Prophet (SAW) wept again. Salman Farsi then rose and asked, 'Oh Master when will these things take place?' The Prophet replied, 'Oh Salman it will happen when there will be a shortage of Ulama'. Payment of Zakat will be stopped, and there is already controversy amongst us on whether we should have to pay Zakat and Khums. 'Things forbidden will be openly practised'. One other sign is that there will be no 'AmrbilMaruf' and 'Nahyanilmunkar'. He added, 'there will be prayer calls from the mosques but people will be engrossed in worldly matters. Love for worldly possessions will increase; religious knowledge will have no value


and will be undermined'. If anyone has visited socalled Muslim countries e.g. Tunisia etc‌ it can be seen in some parts that at prayer time people are still roaming the street, bustling market stalls pay no attention to the adhaan and the mosques are literally empty. Some countries are now former Islamic states e.g. Turkey, Dubai etc.. Renouncing Islam and being taken over by the West. Is this not a sign of Akheruz -Zaman? 'People will lie to each other and backbiting will become a source of pleasure. The elders will not have any affection for the young and the young will also not have any regard for old people. So bear in mind that when such a time comes, the curse of God will be upon them. A stone red, in colour, will rise, and big hailstones will drop from the sky. Faces will become ugly and there will be frequent earthquakes and landslides'. Reflect back on the recent past‌remember the earthquakes of Turkey, Greece, and Taiwan? 'People will not offer prayers on time, but will follow their passions, there will be excessive indulgence and drinking, parents will be rebuked by their children, neighbours will oppress their neighbours; elders will lose compassion and youngsters will become shameless. One will be jealous of ones own brother, partners will betray one another, mutual sincerity and affection will diminish, adultery will become the order of the day, and men will regard female attire as desirable for themselves. Modesty among women will cease to exist. Hearts will be full of pride and arrogance. Acts of obliging others will become rare and crimes will increase'. Such complaints already abound. No international law conference takes place without every country complaining of increase in the rate of crime and the delays of dealing with them by courts. 'Men will wish for praise and yearn for wealth. Singing will be considered a form of culture and considerable amounts of money will be spent on it'. What country is there in the world today where singing and dancing is not accepted as part of culture and every country is known for their particular music and traditions? We all seem to forget that the injunctions

against singing and music from the Imams (AS) are very strict. When the Dajaal makes appearance the weapon he will be carrying will be that of a musical instrument to conquer the hearts of those people whose ears are attuned to music and the like. Dajaal will be able to exploit this vulnerability and people will be drawn to him like a magnet. The Prophet (SAW) continued, ' People will indulge in merrymaking, pastime and become oblivious of the hereafter'. This expression is alarming because this can be seen everywhere amongst all ages and if we really begin to contemplate we can see that time is running out. We do not have time for such indulgences we have to concentrate on strengthening our Eimaan and resisting Shaitan because in the blink of an eye it may be too late. 'Piety and selfcontrol will wane and avarice and greed will increase; there will be numerous strifes and turmoils'. We can already see how one country seeks to conquer another and this power plague will continue until it engulfs the earth and unfortunately the people who really suffer are its inhabitants. If we become reminiscent we know that this can be clearly seen in places such as those of Bosnia and Kosovo, how long will this last? It's just becoming one country after another with nothing really being solved, just an increase in tension and hate. 'Mosques will echo with the calls for prayers, but hearts will be devoid of faith. A true mu'min will be considered a lowly person and an apostate will be considered respectable. Faces of people will remain human but their hearts will be devilish'. Islam is a vastly growing religion, but are there many Muslims by name and practice or just by name? Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, 'What, do you think we created you in vain, and that you will not be returned to us? (23:115). The Holy Prophet (SAW) continued, 'Had there not been any good and pious people among you Allah (SWT) would not have sent rain upon you nor have brought forth vegetation. I wonder at those people whose wealth is their God. Their desires are long but their lives short'. The Holy Prophet (SAW) added, 'There will be a time when the stomach will be treated as God.

10 10

Syed Muhammad Raza Shabbar

Nahjul Balagha consists of the sermons, letters and sayings of Imam Ali (AS) They were collected in a book form by Allama Syed Razi. He was born in the year 359 AH and died in the year 410 AH. It took him approximately twenty years of his life to complete this collection. He gave it the name Nahjul Balagha, literally meaning the Peak of Eloquence. For 250 years this collection was copied and distributed amongst the scholars and students of Arabic literature all over the Islamic world of that time. Many commentaries were written about it but no one questioned the authenticity of the book as not belonging to Imam Ali (AS). Many commentators of the book were from Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama‟a, like Abul Hasan Ali Ibne Abil Qasim Behaqi, d.565 AH and Imam Fakhruddin Razi, d.606 AH, and Ibne Abil Hadid Mutazeli d.655 AH. It was because of these commentaries that the book became popular among the scholars. It is because of this popularity that some Ulema of the Jama‟a became unhappy about it. The first writer who showed his scepticism was Ibne Khalakan, d.681 AH. He wrote: Among the people there is doubt about the book Nahjul Balagha which is a collection of sermons of Imam Ali that it was the writing of Syed Murtaza who was the brother of Syed Razi. Some say that it is not the word of Imam Ali (AS), but it is the work of the collector who is supposed to have invented the whole thing. And God knows best. This man was the first to put doubt in the minds of the readers. Ibne Khalakan was from Morocco, and later lived in Spain under the Muslim rulers there. One hundred years after this comment Dhahabi made a more open comment saying that those who say that this book belongs to Imam Ali (AS) are liars because there is open disgust in the book about some companions of the Prophet (SAW) and we cannot expect this from the person of Ali (AS). Dhahabi‟s contemporary, Ibn Taimiyyah, with all his undisputed religious authority, also challenged the authenticity of some of its contents. However it should be noted that while Ibn Khallikan‟s remarks imply total fabrication, Al Dhahabi uses the

sentence: ‘Aktharul batil’ i.e. most of the contents of the book are batil (false). It appears Ibn Taimiyyah did believe that some of the contents of the book were genuine. Modern criticism of Nahj, either follows Ibn Khalikan, like Stuart and Gibb and most of the Orientalist writers. Some question part of the contents, like Ahmed Amin, Safa Khulusi and various others. They take the same position as that of Al Dhahabi and lbn Taimiyyah. On the other hand, there is the weight of the total Shia population, which since the year 400 AH has held the book to be totally authentic. Then there are the commentators, over a hundred or so, who wrote their commentaries on Nahjul Balagha believing that every word that the book contained was actually enunciated by Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS). Ibn Abil Hadid Mutazehi who was not a Shia, takes up the issue of the authenticity of Nahjul Balagha and concludes that it cannot be assumed that the book was totally or partially forged. Before I take up the comments of Ibn Abil Hadid let us find the truth and locate the contents of Nahjul Balagha in the accepted historical works which were composed prior to the existence of Nahjul Balagha. The sources I am placing before you are as follows: 1. Sulaim lbne Qais (d.90 AH 708) 2. Lut ibn Yahya, better known as Abu Mikhnaf (d. I70-786) 3. Nasr Ibne Muzahim (d.212-827), 4. Al-Baladhuri (d.279-892) 5. Al-Yaqubi (d.284-897) 6. Al Tabari (d.310-922) 7. Ibne H‟atham aI Kufi (d.314-926) 8. Al-Kulaini (d.329-939) 10. Al Masudi (d.345-956) 11. Shaikh al Mufid (d.413-1022) Apart from the above mentioned writers, the speeches which also existed separately or collectively prior to the book form of Nahjul Balagha, are as follows. This list above which I have taken from Al-Khatib‟s book Masadir-eNahjul Balagha and which appears to incorporate all


that has been written on the subject of pre-Nahjul Balagha collections of lmam Ali‟s speeches by others which is impressive. Speeches which are said to have existed prior to Nahjul Balagha are found in the following writings. 1. Khutub-e-Aimirul Mu‟mineen, by Zaid ibn Wahb al-Juhni. This collection according to Al Khatib appeared to be the earliest as the author lived in the pre and post Islamic periods. He died 96 AH i.e.714 AD. 2. Khutub-e-Amirul Mu‟mineen collected by Abu Rawh Faraj ibn Farwah through Masada ibn Sadaqah, from the time of Imam Ja‟far Al Sadiq (AS) 3. Khutub-e-Amirul Mu‟mineen collected by Mas‟adah ibn Sadaqah al-Abdi “This book was extant,” writes Al Khatib, “at the time of Hashim alBahraini who died in 1107 or 1109 AH/1695 or 1697 AD and who has quoted from it in his commentary alBurhan.” 4. Kitab Khutbah al-Zahra by Abu Mikhnaf who died 157 AH/773 AD, - the time of the fifth Imam, Imam Baqir (AS) who dictated to him all the events of Karbala. 5. Khutub-e-Amirul Mu‟mineen by Ismael ibn Mehran Al Sukuni. Al-Khatib cites both al Najashi and Al Kashani as the people who have mentioned Al Sukuni and his collection in their Fihirist. 6. Khutub Amirul Mu‟mineen by al-Sayyid Abd al-Azim. 7. Khutub Ali by Ibrahim Ibn al Hakam al Farazi. 8. Khutub Amirul Mu‟mineen by Al-Waqidi, who died 207 AH/820 AD. 9. Khutub Ali by Nasr ibn Muzaim al-Minqari who died 212 AH/827 AD. 10. Khutub Ali by Hisham ibn Muammad alKalbi (d. 204 or206 AH/819 or 821 A. 11. Khutub Ali by Ali ibn Mohammed al Madaini. D225/839. 12. Khutub Amirul Mu‟mineen by Salih ibn Hammad al-Razi, one of the companions of Imam Hasan al Askari (AS) 13. Mi‟at Kalimah li-Amirul Mu‟mineen by Amr ibn Bahr al-Jahiz. 14. Ras‟il Amirul Mu‟mineen by Ibrahim ibn al Hilal al Thaqafi al Kufi, who died in 283/8996 AD. Al-Khatib quotes in Ta‟asis al Shia to say that he was first a Zaidite then converted to the Imammia school of thought. 15. A1 Khutub al Mu‟arabat by the same author.

16. Khutub Amirul Mu‟mineen by Ibrahim ibn Sulaiman al Nahmi. 17. Al-Malahim, by Abdul Aziz Ibn Yahya al Jalaudi.d.33

Dawn With the passing of time, Comes the realisation That our generation Is becoming blind; Yet no one seems to mind. Blinded by materialism, Absorbed in self love, Ou r at titu de s hav e changed. Our insides have become tough. Wars are being waged For Islam’s sake; Yet we remain calm Our hearts you cannot break. Whilst some are struggling to live Sympathy and pity we refuse to give; Preferring instead to ignore The worlds ill and poor. Our little worlds are dominated by Football and film stars, Glamour, wealth, social status and cars. Living so aloof from reality It becomes possible to forget our own mortality. It is as if we’re in a deep sleep. One where our belief is hard to keep. Is it not time we got out of this drowsy haze And persevered to conquer this maze? For life is but a test With a chance we’ve been blessed. So let’s face up to our Islamic responsibilities Whilst forgetting the haram possibilities. Sr. Duha Al-Wakeel

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Br. Mohammed Al-Hilli

Tuesday, 21st March 2000, was a sad day for the Muslim world, especially for the followers of Ahlul-Bait (AS) around the globe. On that day, the Shia world lost a great personality, a highly knowledgeable scholar, and a very respected individual who devoted his life for the service of Islam and Muslims. He was the late marhum Hajj Mulla Asghharali (May Allah‟s blessings be on his soul). Words cannot describe the close affiliation the late Mulla had with us all, how he served the community, and how his elegant qualities attracted so many to him. While witnessing the large 2500 mourners at the Hussaini Shia Centre in Stanmore on the burial day of the late Mulla, I had begun to contemplate the great loss this was to the Muslim Ummah. On that day, and amid the echoing cries of „la illaha illa Allah‟, a tearful assembley of young and old accompanied the coffin, after Namaaz-e-janazeh, towards the Carpenders Park Cemetery where the Mulla was finally laid to rest. While watching on in disbelief, others and myself reflected on the loss of our „father‟, the sun that had shone for many years. No one could believe that this strong and warm light was no longer with us. Mulla Asgharali was born in Mombassa, Kenya, in 1937. He was essentially a self-taught man who had a great desire for knowledge. Through his studies, he mastered many Islamic sciences. He also quickly became fluent in many languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Gujarati, and English. He was instrumental in the publication of the newspaper „Rahbar‟ for 17 years. In 1965, he became the president of the Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Community of Africa. In 1975, Mulla Asghar formed a united forum to bring about the scattered Khoja community around the world,

under the banner of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities, which has now been in existence for over 24 years. He later founded the Hussaini Shia Centre in Stanmore in 1984, where he occupied the presidential role of the community in a very efficient and productive manner. In 1982, and after visiting Iraq for the Ziarat of the Holy Imams, the late Mulla was imprisoned and tortured by Saddam‟s regime, only to be freed after a few months. Mulla Asgharali was a highly respected ‘Alim and a representative of many leading Maraje. He was the author of several books, includi ng ‘Marriage in Islam‟ and ‘Research into Nahjul-Balagha‟. Marhum Mulla Asghar did not only concentrate his efforts on the Khoja Community, but also on many others such as the Iraqi, Iranian, and Lebanese communities. He was, in addition, a great helper in the establishment of many Islamic Centres here in the UK and abroad. On a personal experience, I found him to be a truly humble and pious person who always listened and helped to the best of his ability. His speeches and lectures were inspiring for all, and contained rich meanings and lessons. He was greatly loved by both young and old due his close affiliation with them. He was to many a great leader, who for over half a century was a glowing light of the school of Ahlul-Bait (AS). On Tuesday 22nd March, after attending his office, Mulla Asghar suffered an unfortunate heart attack, where he was thereupon rushed to hospital. He then passed away to meet his Lord. His loss cannot be compensated, and there shall subsequently be a large gap, which will always remain empty amongst us. May Allah (SWT) bless his soul with mercy and grant him a chosen place in Paradise with the Masoomeen (AS) that he so dearly


Sr. Oola Ajina

Homeopathy is becoming increasingly more popular as people are looking for alternatives to traditionally used drugs. The homeopathic remedies themselves are natural products derived from animal, vegetable or mineral sources that are believed to have therapeutic properties at very small dosages. The general opinion from those who have tried homeopathic treatment can be likened to that of marmite, i.e. they either love it or loathe it! Homeopathic remedies are chosen which at normal doses cause symptoms similar to those being treated. At first instance this may seem like rather a bizarre and illogical way of curing a condition. However, homeopathic remedies rely on the principle that „like cures like‟, and is thus somewhat similar to the theory behind vaccines: a little bit of the “disease” is given in order to prompt the body to heal itself. A remedy may be diluted and rediluted several hundred times, and according to homeopathic practitioners the greater the number of dilutions, the more effective the remedy. The question then arises is that with a preparation so dilute, sometimes with all the molecules of the active substance being lost, how do homeopathic remedies produce their effect? The answer is still unclear since the mechanism of their actions is not precisely known. Although different theories have been postulated, some would feel that their exact details have not been sufficiently elucidated by today‟s standards. Therefore, whether you are a believer or a sceptic, it is necessary to consult your doctor, or at least a qualified homeopathic practitioner, before using any homeopathic

1- Man’s will Once when Imam Musa Al-Kadhum (AS) was 5 years old, Abu Hanifa came to visit him. He asked the Imam: “O son of the Prophet! what is your opinion about the deeds of man? Does he do them on his own free will or does Allah make him do them?”. The 7th Imam replied: “The doings of man can have three possibilities:  Allah Compels a man to do them whilst he is helpless.  Both Allah and man share the commitment  Man does them alone. If the first is true than Allah cannot punish man for sins he did not commit. if the second I true than too Allah cannot punish man for he is an equal partner. Then, we are naturally left with the third, that man is absolutely responsible for his own doings.”

2- The fear of Allah When Imam Ali Zain-ul-Abideen (AS) used to perform ritual ablution, his skin would turn yellow. “What is it that has afflicted you?”his companions once asked him. “Don‟t you know Whom you are preparing to stand before?” he answered.

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1- What occurs once in every two minutes, twice in every moment, yet never in a thousand years?

4- Move one digit to make this false statement true: 101 - 102 =1

2- If 2 hours ago it was as long after one o‟clock in the afternoon as it was before one o'clock in the morning, what time would it be now?

5. If your Aunt’s brother is related to you, but is not your uncle, what is the relation?

3- If a hen and a half lays an egg and a half in a day and a half how many eggs can a hen lay in three days.

Women will occupy their thoughts and money will be (Continued on Page 14) their religion. Wealth and possessions will take precedence over religion, and people will ignore it for the sake of money. The Quran will be taught as fashion only. Many mosques will be constructed but the hearts of those visiting them will lack faith. Muezzin will be from amongst the worst people. They will present themselves as religious-minded but in fact will be out and out materialistic'. The Holy Prophet (SAW) then warned the people, 'Remember, when such a time comes, Allah (SWT) will afflict four afflictions: oppressions by rulers, famine and high inflation, persecution by administrative officials and idol-worship'. The people of the time were surprised when they heard 'idolworshipping'. The Holy Prophet then said, 'Yes money will be their idol'. Now summarising the above signs of the last days we must now ask ourselves if we are in this period. Does the world suffer from the oppression of the ruling authority today? Is the world already suffering from famine and rocketing prices of daily needs? Do we suffer from persecution by administrative officials everyday? Is man already a worshipper of wealth? We have clear proof, understanding and logic to help us realise that we are already in this era and the obligation to fulfil our duties to Allah (SWT) and our current Imam (ATF) are so much more greater and so much more compelling as time may be running out. There have been other traditions narrated to us by our

Answers for Last issue: 1-A Camel’s division: The old man temporarily added his camel to the 17, making a total of 18 camels. 1/2 = 9, 1/3 = 6, 1/9 = 2 for a total of 17. He then takes his camel back and rides away...... 3- The letter ‘e‟ Imams (AS) e.g. Imam Zain-ul-Abideen As-Sajjad (AS) predicted that in the last days people will move around with instruments of songs in their pockets. The companions wondered how this could ever happen. Even the Ulama have reported this tradition to be authentic and well reported, but were not able to visualise how people would carry such implements in their pockets. Today it is a familiar sight. These signs are thought provoking, making us think about whether there can be any doubt in anyone's hearts about whether we are in that era or not. At that time the Mahdi (ATF) will call upon the entire world to join his movement. Those who have suffered and lost all hope that the situation could improve will rally around him and will pay allegiance to him. In a short time a vast army made up of courageous, sacrificing, and reformed seeking peoples of the world will be prepared to be led by him. 'Verily they (the hypocrites) regard it to be far distant and we see it very near' (70:6,7) If there is room for improvement we must strive hard to better ourselves because as every second passes we move closer to the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (ATF) and ultimately our death. We must continue to pray to Allah (SWT) to save us from the calamities of the times and Inshallah, have the strength and courage to always be prepared and ready for our Imam (ATF) when he makes his appearance.

15 Islamic Personalities of The 20th Century (5)

Br. Mohammed Al-Hilli

Date and Place of birth: 1937, Kadhimiya, Baghdad, Iraq A glance at her life: Martyr Bint-ul-Huda (Amina) was one of the most prominent and influential Islamic female personalities of the 20th century. She was born an orphan, but was carefully educated and taught by her brothers, mainly martyr Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir As-Sadr (RA). She quickly developed an interest in Islamic education, and showed signs of intelligence and willingness to pursue Islamic knowledge early in her life. By the age of twenty, she had mastered many Islamic sciences and started to write articles for the Al-Adwa journal. Martyr Bint-ul-Huda educated herself to become a highly pious and knowledgeable person. In 1967, she established private religious schools in the name of „Al-Zahra‟ in many Iraqi cities, like Najaf and Baghdad. At the same time, she organised and presented Islamic circles for women whereby Fiqh, Akhlaq and issues concerning Muslim women and other concepts were taught. Martyr Bint-ul-Huda was also an exceptional writer and poet, who wrote several books in an easy-to-understand style. She devoted her entire life to Islam. She spent the last 6 years of her life campaigning against the dictatorship regime of Saddam in Iraq. In 1977, she rallied many people, in particular women for the Safar uprising. When Ayatollah As-Sadr was arrested for the first time in 1977 and taken to Baghdad, she gave a strong speech at the zarih of Imam Ali (AS) to rally the masses and encourage them to revolt. This consequently resulted in the release of the Imam due to fear of a public uprising. During the 9-month house arrest, where she and Ayatollah As-Sadr were forced to live in severe conditions, often lacking food and water, Martyr Bint-ul-Huda played an important role in helping in educating her brother‟s children and looking after them. On April 8, 1980, and after being arrested along with her brother, martyr Bint-ul-Huda was granted her wish of martyrdom, when after severe torture she was shot by Barazan Tikriti, on orders from his step-brother Saddam, in one of Saddam‟s palaces. Aspects of her life: Those close to Martyr Bint-ulHuda described her as a pure, simple and a very

humble person. She devoted her life to helping others and looking after their affairs. She told one of her friends that she divided her day into teaching at AlZahra schools, leading the Islamic circles i n t h e afternoon, doing the house work on the evenings and finally spending the night writing and reading Islamic books of various nature. She chose not to marry in her life so she could devote more time to Islamic work. She was greatly loved by the people due to her close devotion to all and her ability to solve their problems and queries. Books and Publications: Martyr Bint-ul-Huda chose a very unique way of expressing Islamic beliefs to people, especially Muslim women. She chose stories and tales, where she vividly described the every day problems of society, especially those facing Muslim women, and how Islam gives solutions to all of them. Her books include „The lost aunt‟, „I wish I knew‟, „Searching for the truth‟ and ‘Heroine of Muslim women‟. She was also the editor of the Al-Adwa journal for a period of time. Martyrdom and burial: 8 April 1980 along with her brother Ayatollah As-Sadr. Place of burial unknown. Final thought: Martyr Bint-ul-Huda reminded many of hadhrat Zainab (AS) through her courage and wisdom in confronting the enemy. She was the true inspiration and example of piety and courage to all Muslim women around the world. Her work and influence has continued to be a motivation to many, who have yet to fully explore her true value and contribution in this world.

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 

The IUS organised a special Eid celebration programme on Friday 24th March at the School of pharmacy, London. the programme was very well attended and included a tribute to the Late Mulla Asgharali, a speech by brother Mehdi Hassan on Eid-ul-Ghadeer and a speech by brother Abbas Jaffer on Hajj, Eid and Sacrifice. Booth speeches were excellent and very informative. Copies of the audio tape are now available. With the help of Allah (SWT), the IUS conducted a Muharram campaign across Islamic centres in London with the aim of introducing and publicising the IUS to students and young professionals. We would like to thank all the volunteers who took part in the campaign. The fourth and last sister‟s circle took PL;eace on Tuesday 4th April 2000, please see the article on page 6-7 for a report. sister‟s circles will resume again in October Inshallah. A new membership pack, including a folder, wall-planner, a compilation of articles from the Voice of Unity and a Muhharam guide, is now available for new members and members ho renew their membership through standing order. please note that as a s special offer, members who renew their membership through standing order obtain free membership until October this year.  The IUS would like to thank those who contributed to the Iraq campaign. pleas continue sending in your donations and help as they are much needed for your brothers and sisters In Iraq.

Peace be Upon Hussain And Ali ibn-al- Hussain And the sons of Hussain And the companions of Hussain

Shahadat Arbaeen Wafat Shahadat Wafat Shahadat Wiladat Wiladat

Imam Hasan (AS) Imam Hussain (AS) Prophet Mohammed (SAW) Imam Redha (AS) Masooma Qum (AS) Imam Askari (AS) Prophet Mohammad (SAW) Imam As-Sadiq (AS)

7 Safar 20 Safar 28 Safar 29 Safar 4 Rabi-ul-Awwal 8 Rabi-ul-Awwal 17 Rabi-ul-Awwal 17 Rabi-ul-Awwal

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