Friday, 30 March 2012

'Abd al Rahman al Sufi & the Andromeda Galaxy.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

While reading about the Andromeda (pic above) Galaxy (the nearest neighbor of our own Milky way), I came across this reference to a Muslim astronomer on the net:

In the venerable Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen noted that: "... the Great Nebula, the Queen of the Nebulae, ..., is said to have been known as far back as A.D. 905; was described by [Abd-al-Rahman] Al Sufi as the Little Cloud before 986; and appeared on a Dutch star-map of 1500."

Some details about him:
Abd-al-Rahman Al Sufi (December 7, 903 - May 25, 986 A.C)Abd-al-Rahman Al Sufi ( according to R.H. Allen (1899) - Abd al Rahman Abu al Husain, sometimes referred to as Azophi) was living at the court of the Emir Adud al-Daula in Isfahan (Persia), and working on astronomical studies based on Greek work, especially the Almagest of Ptolemy. He contributed several corrections to Ptolemy's star list, in particular he did own brightness/magnitude estimates which frequently deviated from those in Ptolemy's work. Also, he was the first to attempt to relate the Greek with the traditional arabic star names and constellations, which was difficult as these constellations were completely unrelated and overlapped in a complicated way.
Al Sufi published his famous "Book of Fixed Stars" in 964 (Al Sufi, 964), describing much of his work, both in textual descriptions and pictures. In his descriptions and pictures of Andromeda, he included "A Little Cloud" which is actually the Andromeda Galaxy M31. He mentions it as lying before the mouth of a Big Fish, an Arabic constellation. This "cloud" was apparently commonly known to the Isfahan astronomers, very probably before 905 AD.
In this book, he probably also cataloged the Omicron Velorum cluster IC 2391 as a "nebulous star", and an additional "nebulous object" in Vulpecula, a cluster or asterism now known as Al Sufi's or Brocchi's Cluster, or Collinder 399. Moreover, he mentions the Large Magellanic Cloud as Al Bakr, the White Ox, of the southern Arabs as it is invisible from Northern Arabia because of its southern latitude.
Al Sufi's observations were not known in Europe at the time of the invention of the telescope, so that the Andromeda Nebula M31 was independently rediscovered by Simon Marius in 1612 with a moderate telescope.
The astronomical community has honored Al Sufi by naming a Moon Crater after him; Moon Crater Azophi is at 22.1S, 12.7E and 47.0 km in diameter.

Nebulous Objects in Al Sufi's Book of the Fixed Stars1. [h and Chi Per (NGC 869/884), Ptolemy No. 191]

"The first star [in Perseus] is the little cloud .. situated on the right hand." 2. [M44 (Praesepe, NGC 2632), Ptolemy No. 444]

"The first of the stars [in Cancer] is the little patch which resembles a small cloud surrounded by four stars which are found - with the patch being in the middle - two in fromt and two behind." 3. [M7 (NGC 6475), Ptolemy No. 567]

"The first of the stars external to the figure [of Scorpius] is the nebulosity following the sting; mag 4-5." 4. [Ptolemy No. 577, asterism of Nu1 and Nu2 Sgr]

"The eighth star of Sagittarius is the cloudy star, which is also double, in the eye." 5. [Ptolemy No. 734, asterism of Lambda, Phi1 and Phi2 Ori]

"The first star of the Giant [Orion] is the cloud which is in the head and which is composed of three stars." 6. [Cr 399, including 4 and 5 Vul]

".. a little cloud situated to the north of two stars in the notch of Sagitta." 7. [M31 (Andromeda Galaxy, NGC 224)]

"The Arabs recognize two series of stars surrounding the figure of a large Fish below the throat of the Camel. These stars belong partly to this constellation [Andromeda] and partly to the northern Fish which Ptolemy describes as the twelfth figure of the Zodiac. These two series begin at a little Cloud situated very close to the 14th star which is found at the right side [of And] and which belongs to the three which are above the girdle." 8. [IC 2391 (Omicron Velorum Cluster)]

".. above the 37th star [Delta Navis], at a distance of one cubit, there is a nebulous star."

Schjellerup (1874) identifies No. 6 as "4 and 5 Vul," No. 7 as the Andromeda "Nebula," and assumes No. 8 is John Herschel's h 3140 (NGC 2669), which however is non-existent; IC 2391 was not recognized at that time (1874).

Wa Salamu 'Alaykum.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Asma` ur Rijaal.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
In his introduction to Hafidh Ibn Hajar's Al Isabah fee Tamyeez_is_ Sahaaba, Dr A.Sprenger has paid a glowing tribute to the scholars of the Traditions (hadith):
"The glory of the literature of the Mohammedans is its literary biography. There is no nation, nor has there been any which like them has during twelve centuries recorded the life of every man of letters. If the biographical records of the Musalmans were collected, we should probably have accounts of the lives of half a million of distinguished persons. and it would be found that there is not a decennium of their history, nor a place of importance which has not its representatives." Sprenger vol.1, pg.1.
Taken from 'Ali Miyan Nadwi's "Saviors of Islamic Spirit", chapter on the Traditionists and Jurists of Islam with minor spelling changes.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Singer Shiraz Quits Music For Islam.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Heart warming news. Pakistani pop-singer, Shiraz Uppal has left music for practicing Islam. 
In an interview he said, "Some media people sarcastically remarked to me “You must have done a couple of trips to Raiwind already.” I told them I have never been to Raiwind. I am not affiliated with any group or sect. All I want to do now is to read the Qurʾān and Ahadith, to follow the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)'s example. I did meet Shaykh Zulfiqar Naqshbandi four years back and took a sort of bait with him but he never asked me to quit music. I recently met him again and asked him why didn't you ask me to quit. He replied that when I met you four years back I knew you had this desire in your heart so I made du‘ā’ for you."
May Allah give him istiqaama and keep him on the straight path.
Wa salam.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

When A Hadith Is Sahih, It Is My Madhhab.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Imam Nawawi said in Sharh al Muhaddhab:
It is narrated from Al Shafi’i that he said:
“When you find in my book (anything) contrary to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (saws), then accept the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (saws) and leave my opinion.”
And it was narrated from him, “When a hadith is sahih contrary to my opinion, act upon the Hadith and leave my opinion,” or he said, “Then it is my madhhab”. The purport of this has been narrated with different wordings. 1:104.

Nawawi said:

Our (Shafi’i) companions have acted on this in the issue of tathwib and the condition of being released from ihram due to the excuse of illness and other (issues) besides this which are known in the books of the madhhab. The meaning of what Shafi’i said is not that everyone who sees a sahih Hadith can say, “This is the madhhab of Al Shafi’i and act on its outward (meaning). This is only for those who have reached the rank of ijtihad in the madhhab, the description of which has proceeded or close to it. It is (also) a condition that it dominates his mind that Al Shafi’i did not come across this Hadith or did not know its authenticity and this is only (possible) after studying all the books of Shafi’i and the likes of them from the books of his companions who took from him and what resembles them. This is a difficult condition and rarely does one acquire this (qualification). We only mentioned this condition because Al Shafi’i avoided acting on the outward of many hadiths which he saw and knew but a proof was erected before him invalidating it or abrogating it or specifying or interpreting it etc,

Shaykh Abu ‘Amr said: Acting on the outward of what Al Shafi’i said is not easy so it is not permissible for every jurist to independently act on what he believes is proof from Hadith. From those who trod this path from the Shafi’is in acting on a Hadith which Shafi’i left deliberately although he knew its authenticity due to an obstacle which he comprehended and was hidden from others, is Abu’l Walid Musa ibn Abi’l Jarud of those who accompanied Shafi’i who said, “The cupper and the cupped have broken the fast” is sahih so I say, “Al Shafi’s opinion is that the cupper and the cupped have broken the fast,” and this was not accepted from Abul Walid because Shafi’i left it though he knew it is authentic because it was abrogated according to him. Al Shafi’i clarified its abrogation and adduced proof against it and you will see this in Kitab al Siyam if Allah wills.

Shaykh Abu ‘Amr said: “Whoever from the Shafi’is finds a Hadith contradicting his madhhab, it will be deliberated; If the tools of ijtihad are perfected in him, absolutely or in this particular subject or issue, he will have complete independence in acting on it; and if it is not perfected and if it is difficult for him to oppose that Hadith after he researched , and he did not find a satisfactory answer contrary to it, he may act upon it if an independent Imam besides al Shafi’ acted upon it and this will be an excuse for him to leave the madhhab of his Imam at this point.” What he said is excellent and stipulated. Allah knows Best. 1:104-6.

I say: This is exactly what we mentioned before in refutation of Ibn al Qayyim.

In Radd al Muhtar, (Ibn ‘Abidin) narrated from ‘Allama al Biri from Sharh al Hidaya from Ibn Shahnah, “’When a Hadith is Sahih, it is my madhhab.’ Ibn ‘Abd al Barr related this from Abu Hanifa and other Imams and Imam al Sha’rani also transmitted this from the four Imams. It is not hidden that this is for one qualified to examine the texts and has knowledge of its non-abrogated from its abrogated, so when the scholars of the madhhab deliberate on an evidence and act upon it, its attribution to the madhhab is sound due to it issuing by permission from the founder of the madhhab, since there is no doubt that if he knew the weakness of his proof, he would go back on it and follow the stronger proof. For this the verifier (ibn al Humam) refuted some scholars when they issued fatwa according to the opinions of the two Imams (Abu Yusuf and Muhammad) because the opinion of the Imam is not rejected except when his evidence is weak.”   

Al Din al Qayyim, pg 92-93.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Switzerland Not To Ban Face Veils.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum

07 March 2012 

Switzerland has just put an end to months of debate and administrative wrangling over the matter of face veils. 

It has been decided that wearing the face veil will not be made illegal in Switzerland for the sake of foreign tourists. 

The Swiss Council of State (Ständerat) rejected a previous attempt to ban all forms of face covering back in March 2011. 

A few months later, Oskar Freisinger put forward another motion to prohibit the concealment of the face in public transport or at events. 

On Monday, the motion filed by Oskar Freisinger was overturned by the the Council of State. 

Social Democratic Party spokesman, Hans Stöckli argued that there is no need to legislate because there are only around 100 and 150 women wearing the niqab in Switzerland, and the majority of them are tourists. 

Therefore, wearing the face veil remains legal in Switzerland in the public places as well as in transport. 

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga further cautioned that a blanket ban could violate the Geneva Convention on Refugees, as it would not distinguish between those with and without refugee status. 

This is seen as a failure for Oskar Freisinger and his UDC party in their ​​the fight against the "Islamization" in Switzerland. 

The UDC has called the rejection of their motion to banface veils "an affront" and vows that it is ready to launch a popular initiative for the banning of the burqa "without delay". 


"Islam en Suisse : le port du niqab ne sera finalement pas interdit" AJIB March 6, 2012 

"Swiss parliament rejects SVP veil ban motion" Swiss news Agency March 6, 2012

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Halal Facebook.

Istanbul: Described as a “Halal Facebook,” the new social networking phenomenon, Salamworld, set to hit the Muslim world during the fasting month of Ramadan, will create an Internet platform for Muslims of all ages. The headquarters of the company are located in Istanbul.

There are currently 800 million Facebook users around the world, 300 million of whom are Muslim. This number is expected to increase by 100 percent in 10 years’ time.

Speaking to Sunday’s Zaman in an inclusive interview, the chairman of Salamworld, Abdulvahit Niyazov, said that the platform has been developed with the aim of providing a more “halal” (Islamically permissible) website for Muslims to interact with each other online.

Niyazov said Istanbul is seen as an ideal location due to its unique position between the Eastern and Western worlds and that Turkey is economically stable, thus attracting many businessmen from all around the world. He added that Turkey is seen as a leading Muslim country among Islamic countries.

Niyazov says this project is solely a business project that intends to serve needs of Muslims in the modern world and it is not supported by any political movements or countries. He added that he has always shown great respect to the works of Turkish scholars around the world, including well-respected figures Fethullah Gülen and former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.

Salamworld states that its users will be provided many applications, including a vast collection of books on Islamic heritage in a number of eBook formats, certified distance learning programs tailored to various levels of education, interactive session with recognized scholars and qualified experts and consultants. A multilingual online Islamic encyclopedia will be available in interlinked pages created by multiple users.

Another important application will be the online city guide, where users will be provided with worldwide city guides to mosques, Islamic centers, Halal restaurants and other Muslim businesses. Users will also be given opportunities to broadcast sermons, lectures and newsworthy events. Salamworld will provide daily updates of breaking news and a space for online discussions.

The company chairman stated that there will be an online store of Islamic goods and services and, additionally, tours will be advertised and organized for annual pilgrimages to the holy city of Mecca. Mentioning that 54 percent of the Muslim world is under the age of 25, Salamworld targets Muslim children and youth to be educated on Islam with interactive online games.

Salamworld states that this project is not only going to be created to serve as an ordinary social networking platform. It describes its mission as being multi-faceted; an alternative to popular social networks, offering Islamic content generated by Muslims for Muslims, a place for Muslims to raise their voices, a platform for communication between Muslim communities, a channel between Muslims and the international community, offering a field of opportunities for Muslim youth and a range of Internet services for modern Muslim society.

Salamworld chairman Niyazov stated that he was inspired to start this social networking project in April 2011 and he says the main reason for starting the projects was to provide a chance for Muslims to have their own space on the Internet and in social networks, taking into account that one-fifth of the Earth is Muslim.

Niyazov told Sunday’s Zaman that they are in the process of actively developing the company. The product and the project is planned to be launched during the fasting month of Ramadan.

“Besides Istanbul, we have offices in Moscow, Russia and Egypt. Between March and April 2012 we plan to open a technical office in India’s Hyderabad and Indonesia’s Jakarta in June or July and another technical office in New York in October or November.
Our plan for this year is also to open an office somewhere in the Persian Gulf (either in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha) and also in Iran. Our plans for the next year also include openings in Almaty or Astana to supervise the Central Asian region, Mekkah and Medina as the Holy cities, Paris and London for Europe and Beijing and Kuala Lumpur for Southeast Asia. Our professional team now consists of experts from 12 countries. The executive board has representatives from 17 countries,” the Salamworld chairman said.

Salamworld says they aim to provide an alternative social network that is safe for young users, without the harmful content that is usually associated with social networks. Several leading Muslim countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan ban thousands of websites to protect their Internet users from harmful content.

“I strongly believe that without a reliable alternative to choose from, and with a lack of Islamic content, young Muslim Internet users are unprotected against the harmful contents of websites and social networks that are devoted to today’s popular culture,” Niyazov added.

Many have previously tried to set up Islamic social networking projects but they failed and later closed.

“Speaking frankly, all of them failed. When a website has 20,000 users from the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, this is also a failure. Having no competitors in this market of course increases the risk of failing; from the other side, it also increases the potential area of dissemination. As people have no alternatives, this gives us an opportunity to grow faster,” said Niyazov.

The company chairman said that well-known scholars and intellectuals in the Muslim world support the project. Some of them joined the company’s executive board and others have become Salamworld’s “true friends.”

According to the Salamworld development plan, the company plans to spend not less than $50 million in the next three years. Niyazov said he is absolutely confident that these figures are correct, and will give good results.

He added that Salamworld’s major goal for the next few years is to become a global company with a $1 billion turnover.

“I can say with certainty that we’re moving much more efficiently that we even planned to,” he added.

Moreover, within next four to six years, Salamworld plans to launch as a public company, with its head office in Hong Kong. However, it’s very difficult to make any kind of forecasts for the next six years, especially regarding the economy and finances.

Taken from

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Profile of Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Allah preserve him)

By Mawlana Faraz ibn Adam.

The great jurist Al-Muhaqqiq `Allamah Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Allah preserve him) is in need of no introduction.  Known to all and close to the hearts, Mufti sahib has been serving the ummah across the globe for almost quarter of a century.  His extreme humbleness and warmth strike all in their first encounter with him.  May Allah elevate his status.

As well as being a Hafiz of the Quran, Mufti Ebrahim Desai (db) has studied sacred Islamic knowledge in Dabhel for nine years: commencing from the Arabic Language and comprising Usool-e-Fiqh, Hanafi Fiqh, Logic, Usool-e-Hadith, Hadith, Usool-e-Tafseer, Tafseer. Having completed the Dars-e-Nizamiyyah he then studied the principles of issuing Fatawa for two years in Dabhel under Mufti Ahmad Khanpuri Saheb, a renowned and leading Scholar in India, and another year under the grand Mufti of India, Mufti Mahmoodul Hasan Saheb (RA) (compiler of Fataawa Mahmudiyyah).

The founder and the initiator of Darul Iftaa Mahmudiyyah, Mufti Ebrahim Sahib has set up a unique institute to confront the challenges of the ever advancing world.  He selects a handful of students from hundreds of applicants and devotes night and day to them to train them in the field of Iftaa.
He also lectures on Sahih al-Bukhari at Darul Uloom Nu’maniyyah in Durban, South Africa.

He has authored two fatwa books, Al Mahmood Vol. I & II, a book for Hadith students: Introduction to Hadith, and numerous articles on a wide spectrum of topics and issues relating to Islam.  Recently, he authored a priceless book named Madkhal al-buyoo’ (The entrance to financial transactions) , a contemporary guide to trade.

Mufti sahib has traveled to the four corners of the world in da`wah trips and conducting seminars on Islamic Finance.  He has visited the US over 20 times, likewise Canada.  Mufti sahib is regularly invited to the UK and frequently spends Ramadan in London in an effort to educate and revive the Islamic spirit among the Muslims here.  He was recently invited to an assembly on Islamic banking and finance in Hong Kong.

Hazrat Mufti Ebrahim Desai (damat barakatuhum) has the honor of being the khalifah of his Shaykh Mufti Mahmood-ul-Hasan Gangohi (rahmatullah alahyi), the late grand mufti of India & the most senior khalifa of Hazrat Shaykh Maulana Zakariya Kandhalwi (rahmatullah alahi). As part of his training in Tasawwuf, Mufti Saab (db) spent time in the Khanqah of Dabhel where he used to lead Qiyaam-ul-Layl during the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Taken from Dar al Fiqh.