Splitting of the moon — I

Updated 07 June 2013

Splitting of the moon — I

ONE of the times when God performed miracles at the hand of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was when the Makkans demanded to see a miracle from Muhammad (peace be upon him) to show his truthfulness. God split the moon in two separate halves and then re-joined them. The Qur’an recorded the event: “The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder!” (Qur’an, 54:1)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) would recite these verses of the Qur’an in large congregations of the weekly Friday prayer and the bi-annual Eid prayers.[1] The believers grew stronger in their faith and the only explanation the Makkans could come up with was, ‘passing magic!’
“The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder! And if they see a sign (miracle), they turn away and say, ‘Passing magic!’— for they are bent on giving it the lie, being always wont to follow their own desires.” (Qur’an, 54:1-3)
The splitting of the moon is confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through an unbroken chain of reliable scholars so many that is it impossible that it could be false (hadith mutawatir).[2]
A skeptic might ask, do we have any independent historical evidence to suggest the moon was ever split? After all, people around the world should have seen this marvelous event and recorded it.
The answer to this question is twofold.
First, people around the world could not have seen it as it would have been daytime, late night, or early morning in different parts of the world. The following table will give the readers some idea of corresponding world times to 9:00 p.m. Makkah time:

Country Time

Makkah 9:00 p.m.
India 11:30 p.m.
Perth 2:00 a.m.
Reykjavik 6:00 p.m.
Washington D.C. 2:00 p.m.
Rio de Janeiro 3:00 p.m.
Tokyo 3:00 a.m.
Beijing 2:00 a.m.

Also, it is not likely that a large number of people in lands close by would be observing the moon at exact the same time. They had no reason to. Even if some one did, it does not necessarily mean people believed him and kept a written record of it, especially when many civilizations at that time did not preserve their own history in writing.
Second, we actually have an independent, and quite amazing, historical corroboration of the event from an Indian king of that time.
Kerala is a state of India. The state stretches for 360 miles (580 km) along the Malabar Coast on the southwestern side of the Indian peninsula.[3] King Chakrawati Farmas of Malabar was a Chera king, Cheraman perumal of Kodungallure. He is recorded to have seen the moon split. The incident is documented in a manuscript kept at the India Office Library, London, reference number: Arabic, 2807, 152-173.[4] A group of Muslim merchant’s passing by Malabar on their way to China spoke to the king about how God had supported the Arabian prophet with the miracle of splitting of the moon. The shocked king said he had seen it with his own eyes as well, deputized his son, and left for Arabia to meet the Prophet in person. The Malabari king met the Prophet, bore the two testimonies of faith, learned the basics of faith, but passed away on his way back and was buried in the port city of Zafar, Yemen.[5]
It is said that the contingent was led by a Muslim, Malik bin Dinar, and continued to Kodungallure, the Chera capital, and built the first, and India’s oldest, mosque in the area in 629 CE which exists today.
The news of his accepting Islam reached Kerala where people accepted Islam. The people of Lakshadweep and the Moplas (Mapillais) from the Calicut province of Kerala are converts from those days.
The Indian sighting and the meeting of the Indian king with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is also reported by Muslim sources. The famous Muslim historian, Ibn Kahtir, mentions the splitting of the moon was reported in parts of India.[6] Also, the books of Hadith have documented the arrival of the Indian king and his meeting with the Prophet. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, a companion of the Prophet, states: “The Indian king gifted the Prophet with a jar of ginger. The companions ate it piece by piece. I took a bite as well.”[7]

Footnotes:
[1] Saheeh Muslim.
[2] See ‘Nadhm Al-Mutanathira min Al-Hadith Al-Mutawatir,’ by Al-Kattani p. 215.
[3] “Kerala.” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9111226)
[4] It is quoted in the book “Muhammad Rasulullah,” by Muhammad Hamidullah: “There is a very old tradition in Malabar, South-West Coast of India, that Chakrawati Farmas, one of their kings, had observed the splitting of the moon, the celebrated miracle of the Holy Prophet at Makkah, and learning on inquiry that there was a prediction of the coming of a Messenger of God from Arabia, he appointed his son as regent and set out to meet him. He embraced Islam at the hand of the Prophet, and when returning home, at the direction of the Prophet, died at the port of Zafar, Yemen, where the tomb of the “Indian king” was piously visited for many centuries.”
[5] ‘Zafar: biblical Sephar, classical Sapphar, or Saphar ancient Arabian site located southwest of Yarim in southern Yemen. It was the capital of the Himyarites, a tribe that ruled much of southern Arabia from about 115 BC to about CE 525. Up until the Persian conquest (c. CE 575), Zafar was one of the most important and celebrated towns in southern Arabia—a fact attested to not only by Arab geographers and historians but also by Greek and Roman authors. After the extinction of the Himyar kingdom and the rise of Islam, Zafar gradually fell into decay.’ “Zafar.” Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9078191)
[6] ‘Al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya,’ by Ibn Kathir, vol 3, p. 130.
[7] Reported by Hakim in ‘Mustadrik’ vol 4, p. 150. Hakim comments, ‘I have not memorized any other report stating the Prophet ate ginger.’
To be continued next week

n Courtesy of www.islamreligion.com

The king was thus considered a ‘companion’ — a term used for a person who met the Prophet and died as a Muslim — his name registered in the mega-compendiums chronicling the Prophet’s companions.[8]
A few months before the migration from Makkah to Madina, God took Muhammad (peace be upon him) in one night from the Grand Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a month’s journey of 1230 Km for a caravan. From Jerusalem, he ascended to the heavens, passing the boundaries of the physical universe to be in divine presence, meet God, and witness the Great Signs (Al-Ayat ul-Kubra). His truth became apparent in two ways. First, ‘the Prophet described the caravans he had overtaken on the way home and said where they were and about when they might be expected to arrive in Mecca; and each arrived as predicted, and the details were as he had described.’[9] Second, he was never known to have been to Jerusalem, yet he described Al-Aqsa Mosque to skeptics like an eye-witness.
The mystical journey is mentioned in the Qur’an: “Exalted is He who took His Servant [Prophet Muhammad] by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Qur’an, 17:1)
“So will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw him in another descent at the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary — near it is the Garden of Refuge (Paradise) — when there covered the Lote Tree that which covered (it). The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit). He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.” (Qur’an, 53:12-18)
The event is also confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through the ages with an unbroken chain of reliable scholars (Hadith mutawatir).[10]

[8] ‘Al-Isaba’ by Ibn Hajr, vol 3. p. 279 and ‘Lisan ul-Mizan’ by Imam Al-Dhahabi, vol. 3 p. 10 under the name ‘Sarbanak,’ the name with which the Arabs knew him.
[9] ‘Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources’ by Martin Lings, p. 103.
[10] Forty five companions of the Prophet transmitted the reports on his Night Journey and the Heavenly Ascent. See the works of hadith masters: ‘Azhar Al-Mutanathira fi Al-Ahadith Al-Mutawatira’ by Al-Suyuti p. 263 and ‘Nadhm Al-Mutanathira min al-Hadith al-Mutawatir,’ by Al-Kattani p. 207.v


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.