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Scholars of Islam: Imam Abu Hanifa (RA)

By: Iqra Aslam

During the reign of the great Caliph Hz Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA), a merchant entered the fold of Islam. The son of this merchant, Thabit bin Zuta, was a very pious man. Once, he was very hungry when he saw an apple floating in a river, and he ate it. However, as soon as his hunger subsided, the feeling of guilt set in, and he followed the course of the river to discover the orchard from which the apple had originated. He inquired about the orchard’s owner and confessed about the apple. The orchard’s owner was so impressed by the humility and honesty of Thabit bin Zuta that he requested Thabit to marry his daughter!

In the year 80 AH (699 CE), Thabit and his wife were blessed with a son. This son of theirs would, eventually, grow up to be the Imam of Imams, the Leader of Jurists and Scholars — Imam Abu Hanifa (RA).

The real name of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was al-Numan bin Thabit bin Zuta bin al-Marzban. He was born during the reign of Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan in the city of Kufa, present-day Iraq. Even though Imam Hanifa (RA) was born 67 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), many of the Sahabah were still alive during his childhood.

His ancestors were traders and dealt mostly in silk. As a kid, once Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was headed towards the silk store of his father due to some errand, when he met a great Sheikh who recognized the young child’s ability and guided him towards a Madrassah. Thus began Imam Abu Hanifa (RA)’s life-long journey of knowledge, wisdom and intellect. As such, it is no wonder that it was he who reported the following Hadith upon the authority of Hz Anas ibn Malik: [1]

Seeking of knowledge is obligatory for each and every Muslim.

Love For Knowledge

Imam Abu Hanifa (RA)’s love for knowledge kept him on the path of learning. Soon enough, he began utilizing his wisdom and intellect to devise unique solutions for emerging problems, not just about jurisprudence but also related to other fields.

When Caliph al-Mansur decided to shift his capital from Damascus to somewhere in modern-day Iraq, the services of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) were sought, which he delivered magnificently. He outlined the area which was to be demarcated as the new city, Baghdad, and spread cotton seeds there. On a moonless night, he set those seeds at fire (cotton seeds have a unique tendency to burn with a bright glow), and showed the glow to the Caliph from a high tower.

Founder of Great Philosophical Thought

George Wilhelm Frederich Hegel (1770-1831 CE), a German philosopher, is famous for his philosophical ideas, that are collectively known as Hegelian Dialect. According to Hegel, a bigger truth can emerge from the debate of lesser-competing truths. Many Marxists and other thinkers have adopted this philosophy as the key ideology behind their struggles.

However, little do they know that this concept was first preached and practised by Imam Abu Hanifa (RA), at least a thousand years before the time of Hegel. He used debate as a medium to reach a final consensus on any given issue in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah.

Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was also the first scholar to come up with the rules of jurisprudence that allowed the application of Shariah to new and unknown issues. Later on, the scholars that undertook the task of redefining the Usul-e-Fiqh had the help and support of the immense knowledge and enormous works of Imam Hanifa (RA).

Being a resident of Kufa, Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was aware of the concept of socio-cultural diversity because the cosmopolitan city of Kufa was home to not just Muslims but also migrant Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Zoroastrians. If any issue ever arose, probably on account of socio-cultural differences, Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was quick to respond. For instance, addressing the issue of ethnic or racial tension between native Arab Muslims and non-Arab Muslims in the diverse society of his days, he stated:

The Iman (faith) of a believing Turk is equal to the Iman of a believing resident of Medina.

A Cup of Milk
If you are wondering how someone named Numan bin Thabit came to be known as Abu Hanifa, here is your answer.

The name of this great scholar came to be stated as Abu Hanifa in reference to one of his daughters, Hanifa. She was a lady of great intellect, having taken after her father. In fact, much like her father, Hanifa too had her own set of students. It is narrated that once some women asked Hanifa a question: how can people toil for or worry about the common good of Islam and the world at large, if they have their own family issues and tensions to deal with?

In response, Hanifa told all of them to bring a cup of milk. The next day, when they all brought their individual cups of milk, she poured the milk from all of them in a jar. Next, she asked them to separate their respective portions of milk. Obviously, this practical example made the women realize that the Muslim community was, in fact, like the milk in the jar — although it belonged to different cups, there was no question of segregation or sense of separation.

It was only befitting that Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) came to known such, with his title literally translating as the Father of Hanifa, the lady of commendable intellectual ability.

A Free Soul

Throughout history, attempts have been made by those in power to control men and women of scholarly prowess. Yet, the free soul that resides in such scholars defies all forms of captivity, be it spiritual or emotional.

The case of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was no exception to this norm. Once, Caliph al-Mansur offered the post of Chief Qadhi (Chief Justice) to him; but Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) declined the offer, stating that he did not consider himself qualified for such a high post. The Caliph, apparently, viewed this denial as an insult to his authority, and called the Imam a liar! Thereafter, Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) further responded that if he indeed were a liar, it’d only imply that he was highly unfit for the post of a judge. Infuriated and taken aback, the Caliph decided to put Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) behind bars.

Thus, Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) refused to surrender to the demands of the Caliph. He left this world in the year 767 CE, while still in prison.


Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa (RA) was a renowned scholar of his times, and he continues to be so even to this day. The school of law founded in sync with his jurisprudence, the Hanafi Madhab, would later go on to become the world’s most popular school of thought, and it ultimately became the official madhab of great Muslim empires such as the Mughal Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

The teachings and scholarly output of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) remain alive even today, and his method of codified fiqh contributed a lot to Islamic jurisprudence and thought.

Major Works

1. Kitab al-Athar (compiled from a total of 70,000 Ahadith)
2. Alim wa al-Mut’alim
3. Musnad Imam al-Azam
4. Kitab ar-Rad al-Qadiriyah

Jami’at-Tirmidhi Volume 05, Book 39, Hadith 2647
Scholars of Islam: Imam Malik ibn Anas (RA)

By: Iqra Aslam

The real name of Imam Malik (RA), second of the four great Imams, was Abu Abdullah Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Abi-Amir al-Asbahi. His lineage can be traced back to Yemen, though his great grandfather migrated to Medina after reverting to Islam.

Imam Malik (RA) was born in the city of knowledge, Medina, in the year 93 AH (711 CE).

Back then, Medina offered great opportunities for seekers of knowledge. Imam Malik (RA) benefitted from this and learnt a lot from huge sources of wisdom around him; this reflected in his personality, manners and especially in the monumental book penned down by him: al-Muwatta (The Approved).

al-Muwatta (“The Approved”)

This book, primarily a compilation of Ahadith, is the magnum opus of Imam Malik (RA). Since the primary subject of the book was Islamic law and jurisprudence, Imam Malik (RA) showed the manuscript to as many as 70 jurists of Medina, and all of them approved it. Hence, the book came to be known as “The Approved”.

al-Muwatta would eventually go on to become the foundation for many other books on Ahadith, such as al-Tirmidhi, Muslim and even al-Bukhari.

Love For Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Imam Malik (RA)’s love, respect and regard for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was paramount. He used to say:

The Prophet’s sacredness in death is as his sacredness was in life.

On account of his love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Malik (RA) took a firm stand when it came to narrations of Ahadith. Once, Caliph al-Mansur forbade scholars from narrating the Hadith that stated: “The divorce of the coerced does not take effect”. But this did not deter Imam Malik (RA) from speaking the truth and narrating the correct Hadith.

As a result, Imam Malik (RA) was punished harshly and publicly humiliated. Yet, he said:

Whoever knows me, knows me; whoever does not know me, my name is Malik ibn Anas, and I say: The divorce of the coerced is null and void!

It was Jafar ibn Suleyman, the then-governor of Medina and cousin of the Caliph, who eventually freed Imam Malik (RA). After this incident too, the Imam forgave the Caliph.

A Teacher and Mentor

Due to the knowledge, scholarly ability and high intellect of Imam Malik (RA), many scholars and learners sought to be his students. His method of teaching was different — he was not fond of long lectures or sermons. Instead, he focused more on interactive classes; he even gave up Sama (the practice of lecture by the teacher) and adopted Ard (the practice of classroom-reading by students).

Imam Malik (RA) stayed aloof from useless talks and needless glorification of people and their titles. He once rebuked the Caliph for speaking too loudly whilst a Hadith was being narrated.


Imam Malik (RA) was 85 year-old when he died in 795 CE in Medina. He was buried in al-Baqi Cemetery.

Ismail ibn Abi Owais inquired many people about the last words of Imam Malik (RA). He was told that the great Imam recited Shahadah and finally said:

Their affair is for Allah, before and after.

Imam Malik (RA)’s ideology and fiqh developed into the Maliki Madhab or school of thought. Today, Maliki Madhab is quite popular in North and West Africa.

Major Works

1. al-Muwatta
2. al-Mudawwana al-Kubra
Scholars of Islam: Imam al-Shafi’i (RA)

By: Iqra Aslam

Whoever takes a path to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.

The above Hadith [1] is a testament of the value of knowledge in Islam. Knowledge, the heritage of the Prophets, has almost always been a chain reaction, with both the source and the destination benefiting from it. Such is the case of the great personality, Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi’i, notably remembered as Imam al-Shafi’i, the third of the four great Imams.

As a scholar, Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) was responsible for bringing the teachings of the previous two Imams together, and also building upon those teachings, which eventually led to the formation of his own school of thought.

Born in Gaza, in 150 AH (767 CE), Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) had a difficult childhood when his father died and he was left with his mother in a condition of extreme poverty. Yet, the dedication and planning of his mother did not allow the lack of financial means to be a hurdle to his education. In fact, she sent him to Mecca at a very young age to live with his paternal kin and also to learn from the better and more learned atmosphere of Mecca. Imam al-Shafi’i (RA)’s intellect, piety and thirst for learning made it easier for him to excel in his lessons.

At a very young age, he had memorized the Quran. Owing to his financial condition, he couldn’t even purchase any writing material; thus, in his quest for knowledge, Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) employed an inexpensive way of learning by sitting in the company of Bedouins to polish his Arabic. This allowed him to learn the literary perspective of the language from native speakers without having to spend a lot of money on language lessons.

When the Moon Meets the Sun

Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) had great regard for Imam Malik (RA) and his ambition was to become his student. He had memorized his book, al-Muwatta and went from Mecca to Medina for the sole purpose of seeking the great mentor. He had with him a recommendation from the Governor of Mecca, and he was escorted to the door of Imam Malik (RA) by the Governor of Medina. himself. Initially, Imam Malik was upset with this, as he was opposed to the notion of using references from people in higher positions, but once he listened to the expectant young man, he realized Imam al-Shafi’i (RA)’s natural endowment and accepted him as a disciple. Imam Malik (RA) then offered his first piece of advice to his new disciple, which was an opening to the nine-year bond between the two towering personalities. He said:

Be always Allah-fearing, and avoid sin, for you will acquire distinction. Allah has given you light in your heart; so do not let it be put out by indulging in sin.

Difficulties Followed by Ease

After the demise of his mentor, Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) returned to Mecca to find some means of sustenance. It so happened that the Governor of Yemen was visiting Mecca and upon learning about the firm scholarly command of Imam al-Shafi’i (RA), he requested him to accompany him to Yemen.

Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) became the Chief Justice of Najran, and served at that position for five years. Financial stability had arrived, but things did not remain stable for a long time, as the Imam soon fell out of favor with the Governor owing to propaganda and rumors. He was then taken as a captive to Caliph al-Rashid; but those who are saved by Providence are never blemished and an acquaintance from the past acted as a source of relief coupled with his own extremely eloquent yet equally honest narration of the situation — al-Shaibani (RA), the disciple of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA), was an advisor to the Caliph and he had previously been in the company of Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) at the classes of Imam Malik (RA). The Caliph dismissed the matter without any penalty.

This adversity won Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) another learned companion in the form of al-Shaibani (RA).

Among the many qualities of Imam al-Shafi’i, the one that stood out the most was his pursuit of truth. Having been instructed by the different school of thoughts, he wisely opted to seek the truth through deep analysis. He did not just see the differences between the Maliki and Hanafi schools of thought, but also studied the similarities between the two, and even differed in opinion on certain matters with both the schools. Eventually, this gave rise to a new school of thought, following after Imam al-Shafi’i (RA).

His manner of deduction was the basis of al-Usul al-Fiqh, the guiding principle used to deduce a right decision and avoid a wrong interpretation. He was responsible for spreading this method of learning throughout the Muslim world which included not just Mecca and Medina but also Baghdad and Egypt.

Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) was also an eloquent orator. His language and speech were beautiful and one of his students once said:

Every scholar gives more in his books than when you meet him personally, except for al-Shafi’i (RA) whose verbal discussion gives you more than his books.

Imam al-Shafi’i (RA)’s knowledge and rational methodology attracted students from all around the world and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (RA), the fourth great Imam, was also one of them.

Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) died in 204 AH (820 CE) at the age of 54 years in al-Fustat, Egypt.

Major Works

1. Al-Risalah
2. Kitab al-Umm
3. Musnad ash-Shafi’i

Sahih Muslim Book 35 Hadith 6518
Scholars of Islam: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA)

By: Iqra Aslam

Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu Abdullah al-Shaybani, otherwise known as Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA), was born in Baghdad in the year 164 AH (781 CE). His father died while he was still an infant, and he was raised by his mother. As he himself would go on to state later in his life:

Neither have I seen my father nor grandfather. My mother has brought me up.

The Life of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA)

Even as a kid, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) was very pious and sincere. Once, his uncle sent him to deliver a package which contained information about some men to the Caliph. After several days, when his uncle inquired about the package, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) said that he had thrown it in the water as it was impossible for him to act as an informant or spy.

After completing his basic education, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) was further tutored in Hadith by Qazi Abu Yusuf (RA), who was a student of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA). Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was a versatile learner, and he even travelled to other parts of the world to acquire knowledge, such as Kufa, Basrah, Mecca, Medina, etc.


Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) was tutored by Imam al-Shafi’i (RA) himself. In fact, on account of his learning capacity, inherent intelligence and sincerity, Imam Ahmad (RA) eventually went on to unite not only the Hanafi and Maliki Fiqh, but also those of Imam al-Shafi’i (RA).

Just like his mentor Imam Al-Shafi’i (RA), Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) too was proficient in the use of the Arabic language. Plus, he was also an expert at the Exegesis (Tafsir) of Quran.

Another notable quality of Imam Ahmad (RA) was his lack of love for worldly affairs. Abu Dawud has been reported to have said:

Sessions with Ahmad ibn Hanbal were sessions devoted to the Hereafter, for he would never mention anything of this world.

Defending The Truth

The history of mankind is full of strange cases wherein people have twisted the truth, in order to acquire worldly favors, such as land, power, prestige or money. Yet, the Creator has always revealed the truth, and falsehood or fake propaganda has eventually perished.

During the life of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA), a controversial propaganda was started concerning The Quran. A group of people, commonly known as the Mu’tazilites, with the backing of the then Caliph al-Mamun, started the dogma that Quran, despite being the Word of Allah, is not speech but “creation”. They were so misguided in their endeavour that they would ask eminent scholars to testify and approve of their propaganda, and scholars who refused to do so were punished.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) and another scholar named Muhammad ibn Nuh (RA) were the only two scholars from Baghdad who rejected this falsification. Both of them were imprisoned, exiled and punished, and situations did not change even after the death of Caliph al-Mamun. In fact, it was only when Caliph al-Mutawakkil took charge that the Mu’tazilites fell out of favor. Thereafter, Imam Ahmad (RA) and Muhammad ibn Nuh (RA) were released from prison.


Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) died in the year 241 AH (855 CE). His funeral was a proof of his piety as well as his reputation among the people. He often used to say:

Tell the heretics: the decisive factor between us and you is the day of our funerals.

And this deciding factor was indeed a testimony of the height of his personality. Nearly 1,300,000 people attended the funeral of this great Imam, and the sentiments of love and respect were witnessed in the streets.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA)’s methods of comparative studies and detailed Fiqh continue to serve as strong pillars of Islamic jurisprudence even today. Also, he remains an authority figure in Islamic studies on account of his work in the field of prophetic tradition and other related domains.

Major Works
1. Usul as-Sunnah: “Foundations of the Prophetic Tradition (in Belief)”
2. as-Sunnah: “The Prophet Tradition (in Belief)”
3. Kitab al-‘Ilal wa Ma’rifat ar-Rijal: “The Book of Narrations Containing Hidden Flaws and of Knowledge of the Men (of Hadith)”
4. Kitab al-Manasik: “The Book of the Rites of Hajj”
5. Kitab al-Zuhd: “The Book of Abstinence”
6. Kitab al-Iman: “The Book of Faith”
7. Kitab al-Masa’il: “Issues in Fiqh”
8. Kitab al-Ashribah: “The Book of Drinks”
9. Kitab al-Fada’il Sahabah: “Virtues of the Companions”
10. Kitab Tha’ah al-Rasul: “The Book of Obedience to the Messenger”
11. Kitab Mansukh: “The Book of Abrogation”
12. Kitab al-Fara’id: “The Book of Obligatory Duties”
13. Kitab al-Radd ‘ala al-Zanadiqah wa’l-Jahmiyyah: “Refutations of the Heretics and the Jahmites”
14. Tafsir: “Exegesis”
Translation and Tafsir of Surah al-Masad

By: Waseelah Smedley

Surah al-Masad, meaning “The Palm Fibre”, is the 111th Surah of the Quran. This Surah was revealed as a retort to the arrogance of Abu Lahab, a staunch adversary of righteousness. Blinded by their pride and animosity towards others, Abu Lahab and his wife had gone out-of-the-way to injure innocent people and denounce the Message of Allah.
Abu Lahab, as well as his wife, used to take pride in torturing people, denying others their rights, and indulging in treacherous deeds. They would often throw thorns in the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and use ill-speech for him and his companions. In fact, so arrogant was Abu Lahab that he claimed that he would buy a place in heaven using his wealth!

This article provides full translation and tafsir of Surah al-Masad.

1. The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish.
2. His wealth and gains will not help him.
3. He will be plunged in flaming Fire,
4. And his wife, the wood-carrier,
5. Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre.
And now, the Tafsir of Surah al-Masad.


1. The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish.

Once, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered a speech calling people to Islam. Therein, Abu Lahab stood and said, “Perish you for the rest of this day! Have you gathered us for this?” Therefore, in the Ayah, Allah refers to his speech and curses his hands and his self — his body and his soul in this life and in the Hereafter.

2. His wealth and gains will not help him.

Ibn Masud narrated that when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) called people towards Islam, Abu Lahab said, “Even if what Muhammad says is true, I will ransom myself from all problems on the Day of Judgement with my wealth and my children.” Allah therefore revealed this Ayah stating that wealth and worldly gains will not help Abu Lahab.

3. He will be plunged in flaming Fire,

In continuation with the previous one, this Ayah too states that Abu Lahab’s wealth and worldly stature will not save him.

4. And his wife, the wood-carrier,

Abu Lahab’s wife, Umm Jamil bint Harb, supported her husband in his unfair deeds and, much like her husband, spread lies and treachery. Therefore, Allah states that she too will accompany her husband in hell.

5. Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre.

Umm Jamil used to throw “masad” (palm-fibres) in the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), so as to hurt him physically and to ridicule him. Our Prophet (PBUH) did not respond to any of her abuses or actions in any manner. As such, for her hatred and unfair treatment towards others, Umm Jamil’s punishment in the Hereafter will be that she’ll wear a collar of palm-fibres.

For the uninitiated, this Surah might appear to be as one filled with anger and disgust. However, one must view it in the light of the actions and behavior of Abu Lahab and his wife. They used to *enjoy* torturing and hurting innocent people — men, women and children — simply because those particular people had chosen to follow Islam. As such, Abu Lahab and his wife used to take pride in their sadistic and sick behavior. Ever came across a news related to any sociopath who would kill or hurt others simply for sadistic delight? Yes, Abu Lahab and his wife were just that.

As such, in response to their sadism and sociopathic manners, Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil were accorded such punishment.
6 Noteworthy Facts About Hijri Calendar

by Aruzhan Nuraly

The 1st Muharram of 622 is the beginning of the Muslim calendar. On September 24, 622, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed the Hijrah (from Arabic means the movement, migration) from Mecca to the oasis of Yathrib (Medina).

1. The Muslim Lunar Calendar

The Hijri is based on the lunar calendar. The lunar year consists of twelve lunar months, including 354 (355) days. Odd months contain 30 days, and even months contain 29. The lunar cycle is 30 years: 19 regular years with 354 days and 11 leap years with 355 days. To keep the new moon near the 1st day of the month, the day of the leap year is included in the last month of the year – Zu al-Hijjah.

The lunar year is shorter than the solar year (miladi) by 10-12 days, depending on the leap year, so it is not tied to the seasons. The lunar month of 29.5 days is a period of the natural cycle. However, the Moon phase is associated with the power of the sea tide, the parameters of the atmosphere and magnetosphere, the strength of the reflection of sunlight from the Moon’s surface. All these cyclical changes affect plants, animals, and humans.

2. The Hijrah is the Starting Point

The Muslim Hijri calendar begins with the Hijrah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from Mecca to Yasrib, later called Medina, and is based on the Lunar calendar.

3. Who Created the Islamic Calendar?

There are many opinions about how the Islamic calendar was established. And the most authoritative of them is that the decision to do so belongs to the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA). This is confirmed by Imam Abu Nuaym, who testifies that Abu Musa al-Ashari, the Caliph’s governor in Basra, wrote to Umar (RA), and that Umar (RA) sends them messages that have no number. Therefore Umar (RA) gathered people, and they proposed to set the calendar from the moment of the message of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Ali ibn Abu Talib (RA) suggested that the calendar should start from the moment of the migration of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) listened to Ali’s advice.

After listening to all the suggestions, Umar (RA) said that the migration was what divided “the truth and the falsehood”, so the time in the calendar should start with the migration.

4. Days in Hijri Calendar

In contrast to the 365 days of the Gregorian calendar, the Hijri calendar has 354 days per year. This means that every 33 Gregorian years, according to the Hijri calendar, you become a year older than the traditional calendar. The time on the Hijri calendar goes faster.

5. Five Forbidden Months

In the Islamic calendar, a number of months are forbidden. These are Rajab, Muharram, Ramadan, Zu al-Hijjah, and Zu al-Qadah. In Islam, these are the holy months. During these months, military operations were prohibited due to the fact that it was necessary to protect the pilgrims who arrived at the Kaaba, near which trade brought great profits during this period. If war was inevitable, then the pagan Arabs moved the forbidden month and conducted military operations.

6. Tabular Islamic Calendar

A new version of the Hijri calendar has recently appeared. It is called the tabular Islamic calendar, and it is based on mathematical data. The calendar works on arithmetic rules, rather than on observations of the Moon and astronomical calculations. It has a 30-year cycle with 11 leap years of 355 days and 19 years of 354 days. In the long run, it accumulates one extra day every 2,500 years. That is, its accuracy is 1 day in 2500 years.


We can all contribute to the development of the Hijri calendar and it starts with the fact that we formulate the right intentions. Thus, we become a living example of the fact that using the Islamic calendar is not difficult.

Significance of the Islamic Hijri Calendar –
The Beginning Of Hijra Calendar – Sound Vision
Lunar Craters Named After Muslim Astronomers

By: Aruzhan Nuraly

If you look at the surface of the Moon with the naked eye, it looks unevenly bright, with dark and light spots. These objects are called “lunar craters”. In 1651, Giovanni Battista Riccioli, a Jesuit professor of astronomy and philosophy from Bologna, prepared a comprehensive work on astronomy called Almagestum Novum (“New Almagest”) with a complete map of the Moon. He named the lunar formations after the outstanding astronomers of the Middle Ages. At the same time, 10 of them are the names of astronomers and mathematicians of the Muslim civilization.

Lunar Craters

These names were finally approved at a conference of the International Astronomical Union in 1935. Of the 672 lunar objects, 13 were named after major Muslim astronomers. Now, we will consider eight of them.

1. Messala
Messala is a crater in the thirteenth sector of the Moon, named after Mashaallah ibn Asari, who lived between the 8th and 9th centuries. He was a Persian-Jewish astronomer from Egypt who converted to Islam during the time of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansur. His work was translated into Latin in the Middle Ages and was widely used by the medieval English poet, the “father of English poetry” Geoffrey Chaucer. Moreover, two of his books on astronomy have Latin translations.

2. Alhazen
Alhazen is a circular crater in the 12th sector of the Moon, named after the Arab universal scientist Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham. In medieval Europe, it was referred to by the Latinized name Alhazen.

3. Alfraganus
Alfraganus is a crater in the second sector of the Moon, named after the Turkish astronomer al-Ferghanli. He was a member of the Al-Ma’mun group of astronomers. Al-Fergani wrote the book “Outline of astronomy”, and this has had a key influence on the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Besides, in Western Europe, he was known by the Latinized name Alfraganus.

4. Almanon
Almanon is a crater of the ninth sector, named after Caliph Al-Ma’mun, son of Harun al-Rashid. He was also a founder of Bayt al-Hikma, the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad.

5. Albategnius
Albategnius is a crater in the first sector, named after the Arab astronomer Al-Battani, who was born in 858. He made many astronomical measurements with high accuracy. In medieval Europe, he was known by the Latinized name Albatenius. Meanwhile, Albategnius is believed to have been featured prominently in an early sketch drawing by Galileo in his book Sidereus Nuncius published in 1610.

6. Thebit
Thebit is a famous circular crater in the eighth sector of the Moon, named after the Abbasid astronomer, mathematician, mechanic, and physician Thabit ibn Qurra, who passed away in Baghdad in 901. He translated a large number of Greek and Syriac scientific works into Arabic. Ibn Qurra also made a great contribution to fundamental mathematics.

7. Azophi
Azophi – mountain ring in the ninth section of the Moon, named after the Persian mathematician and astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi, who lived in the 10th century. In addition, he has a book named “The Book of Fixed Stars”, dedicated to stellar astronomy.

8. Arzachel
Arzachel is a crater in the eighth sector of the Moon, named after a Western Arab astronomer and mathematician of Jewish origin. In Western Europe he was known as Arzachel or Azarael Al-Zarqali. Additionally, he was involved in the creation of the Toledan Tables – astronomical tables for predicting the movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets in relation to the fixed stars. Al-Zarkali’s activities may have influenced the work of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus as well.

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Inspiring Muslim Women: Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad (RA)

by Anjum Ara

Hz Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad (RA) was the third daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Hz Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA). She was born in the year 603 CE, and was a year younger than Hz Ruqayyah (RA).

Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) was initially married to Utaybah, one of the sons of Abu Lahab. Due to his enmity towards Islam, Abu Lahab forced Utaybah to leave Hz Umm Kulthum (RA).

After her divorce, Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) went back to live with her father, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For many years, she stayed home, shouldering the burdens of life with her mother, Hz Khadijah (RA).

Meanwhile, the people of Quraysh decided to boycott Muslims on both the economic and social frontier. Muslims suffered a lot of afflictions, and owing to socio-economic boycott, some were even forced to consume leaves of trees.

Hz Khadijah (RA) passed away shortly after the end of the boycott. Her mother’s death filled her heart with sorrow and grief, but Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) conducted herself in a mature manner, because in the absence of her mother, she had to take care of the entire household as well as her younger sister, Hz Fatima (RA).

In the year 622 CE, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) left Mecca and migrated to Medina, and thereafter, he sent Hz Zayd ibn Harith (RA) to bring his daughters Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) and Hz Fatima (RA) to Medina.

Life was comparatively better for Muslims in Medina. It was in Medina that Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) witnessed the Muslims’ victory in the Battle of Badr. Unfortunately, it was during the battle itself that she got the sad news about the demise of her elder sister, Hz Ruqayyah (RA).

After the death of Hz Ruqayyah (RA), Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) was married to Hz Uthman ibn Affan in the year 03 AH (624 CE). As a result, Hz Uthman (RA) earned the title of Dhu al-Nurayn (“The Possessor of Two Lights”), because he married two daughters of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Hz Umm Kulthum (RA) lived with her husband Hz Uthman (RA) for six years, but the marriage remained childless. She witnessed several stages during the rise of Islam – the socio-economic boycott and the hardships faced in Mecca, the migration to Medina, as well as the glorious conquest of Mecca in the year 08 AH (629 CE).

She passed away in the year 09 AH in the month of Sha’ban (November/December 630 CE), at the age of 29 years. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tearfully conducted her funeral prayers, and she was laid to rest next to the grave of her sister, Hz Ruqayyah bint Muhammad (RA).
Wang Zi-Ping: A Muslim Master of Martial Arts

By: Aruzhan Nuraly

Connection Between Islam and Martial Arts

The majority of Hui Chinese are Muslims. It is known that already in the XIII century, Muslims held high positions in the army of the Middle Kingdom. This was the impetus for the formation of a unique connection between Islam and the martial arts.

Chinese culture is one of the oldest in the world and includes a variety of traditions. Martial arts are an integral part of this culture. Chinese martial arts, known as Wushu and Kung Fu, include hundreds of martial styles. Each of them was inspired by various Chinese religions, philosophies, and legends. One of the religions that influenced their formation was Islam.

If traditional Chinese philosophy based on the idea of harmonizing internal and external energy and achieving physical and spiritual perfection, then the worldview of the Hui, a Muslim ethnic group living in China, was influenced by the principle expressed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 78, Hadith 141)

The Hui people have committed themselves to creating a fusion between the Islamic faith and the Chinese tradition expressed in the martial art. Among them was born a large number of masters of the martial arts at the highest level. In this article, we will talk about two of them.

Wang Zi-Ping and His Life

Wang Zi-Ping (1881-1973) was a Chinese-Muslim performer of Chinese Martial Arts and traditional medicine from Changzhou, Mengcun, Hebei Province. He served as the leader of the Shaolin Martial Arts Institute’s Kung Fu division in.

One of the main achievements of his life is that he managed to restore the title of “Lion of Chinese Kung Fu”. His father and grandfather were also famous martial artists. However, they refused to teach Zi-Ping. They didn’t want him to experience the suffering they had to go through. But Wang Zi-Ping loved Wushu that he started training on his own when he was seven years old.

His Path in Martial Arts

As an adult, he decided to travel around the country. During the journey, the famous Wushu master Yang Hong Xiu notices him and began to teach him. Many dared to challenge Wang Zi-Ping, but he remained invincible. Neither the German workers, nor a group of judoists, nor an American named Sullivan could not defeat him. After the 1949 revolution, he gained fame as a hero of China. He was elected to the Shanghai Multi-Party People’s Congress, vice-president of the National Wushu Association, and a member of the All-China Sports Federation.

Master Wang Zi-Ping was not only skilled in Wushu, but was also considered an expert in religion. There is a legend that he lifted heavy stones while reading the Quran.

Also, Chinese Muslims remember that there is a story about how Wang Zi-Ping prevented German soldiers from removing the doors of a masjid in Qinzhou. Master Wang did not want the soldiers disturb Muslim shrine, so he challenged the soldiers to a weight-lifting duel and defeated them.

Proficient in various types of martial arts, Wang Zi-Ping inspired a lot of people. During his life, he defeated many fighters, left a memory in the hearts of devoted students, and served the cause of spreading Islam among the Chinese.

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The Islamic Roots of Trigonometry

By: Aruzhan Nuraly

Trigonometry is the branch of mathematics that studies trigonometric functions and their applications to geometry. It is this task – “measuring triangles” or “solving triangles”.

Why Did Muslims Start the Study of Trigonometry?

The reason for the emergence of trigonometry was astronomy, which Muslims diligently studied, especially because of its significance for determining the exact time of Prayers and to determine the position of Qibla.

Muslim scientists have made a great contribution to the development of trigonometry, in particular spherical. Their interest in this field was determined by the problems of astronomy and geodesy, the main of which were:
accurate determination of the time of day; calculation of the future location of the heavenly bodies, the moments of Sunrise and Sunset, eclipses of the Sun and Moon; finding the geographical coordinates of the current location; calculating the distance between cities with known geographical coordinates; determining the direction to Mecca (Qibla) from a given location.
The treatise of Ptolemy came to the scientists of Europe thanks to the Muslims. They briefly translated the original Greek full name “The Great Mathematical Construction on Astronomy in 13 books” as “Al-Majisti”, which means “The Greatest”. This title reflected the deep respect that was widespread in Muslim academic circles for this book.

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and His Contribution to Trigonometry

The Muslim astronomer Nasir al-Din al-Tusi explains in his work “Intersecting Figures” how people can use this chord table was to solve problems about right-angled triangles. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi made an important observation, which established the connection between triangles and the arcs of circles. Accordingly, the sides of a triangle can be considered as chords, contracting arcs opposite to the angles of the triangle.

However, this table had two disadvantages. First, it required considerable work with the table and intermediate steps to calculate all the variations that might appear when searching for unknown lengths or angles of a right triangle. In contrast, trigonometry uses six familiar functions: sine, cosine, tangent, and their derivatives secant, cosecant, and cotangent. They are properties of modern techniques first developed and systematized by Muslim mathematicians. The second disadvantage of the table is the frequent need to double the angles in order to count the arc length.

Al-Battani and His Contribution to Trigonometry

In fact, a number of Muslim scholars laid the foundation for trigonometry before the 10th century. Therefore, it allowed Nasir al-Din al-Tusi to collect, organize, and supplement their developments. One of the most influential figures in trigonometry was al-Battani, born in Harran (Turkey). He is one of the greatest Muslim astronomers, who passed away in 929 AD in Samarra. The driving force behind his groundbreaking development was observing the movement of the planets.

Al-Battani explained his mathematical operations and encouraged others to “continue observations and research” in order to refine and expand his work. Like al-Battani, Ibn Yunus, and Ibn al-Haytham developed spherical trigonometry and used its laws to solve problems in astronomy. Al-Battani was the first to use the terms “sine” and “cosine”. He defined them as length rather than proportion, as we do today. The scientist referred to the “tangent” as the “elongated shadow”. It means the shadow of an imaginary horizontal rod mounted on a wall. Al-Biruni defined the trigonometric functions of tangent and cotangent, which were theoretically improvised on the knowledge of Ancient Civilizations.

However, it is worth noting that the Arabic word geb angle is translated as “pocket”. In Arabic it means sinus (in the context of anatomy), the meaning of which has passed into the Latin sinus.

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The Most Effective Ways to Memorize the Quran

By: Aruzhan Nuraly

The intention to start learning the Quran sooner or later comes to every Muslim who wants to know the Holy Book of Allah (SWT). The importance of the Quran itself and the need to study it in the life of every believer is realized when a person understands that his whole life, all the rules and regulations originate and are built around the Quran, which, as a guiding star, will show every believer the way to the realization of the truth. And right after that, a person wonders where to start learning the Quran and how to do it correctly.

The study of the Quran is a primary task for every believer, and its comprehension, reflection on it, and memorization of its verses is something that a Muslim should devote himself to in order to earn the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Learning the Quran for beginners is not an easy task, requiring effort of the student, but for a person with good intentions and diligent, who makes memorizing – a regular thing of his life, Allah makes it easier and provides support!

Requirements of Learning the Quran

There are a number of necessary conditions for beginners who start learning and memorizing.

The first of these conditions is the presence of a sincere intention. The purpose of a believer who decides to start learning the Quran should be nothing more than the desire to earn the contentment of the Most High Allah, the desire to get close Him with His heart and thoughts. If Allah sees in a person such a desire and sincere intention to start learning the Quran, then He will help him in studying it, make it easier for him to study, and make the knowledge that he acquires good.

Another necessary prerequisite: the Holy Quran should be treated with great care and respect. A Muslim must observe the obligatory etiquette in dealing with the Quran. An ethic that assumes that a believer who reads the Holy Quran must necessarily be in a state of cleanliness. This is how the person shows respect for the Quran. The scriptures are forbidden to be placed on the ground, and the place to learn should be chosen carefully.

The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Quran and teach it.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 66, Hadith 49)

Tips For Memorizing the Quran

1. Learning by Listening
2. Following the Adab
3. Finding a Companion
4. Making a Plan
5. Developing a Habit
6. Visual Memory

Learning three or four short Ayahs at a time is enough for the first stages of learning the Quran. After the texts are memorized, you can put them together and repeat them by heart as whole Surahs. You should not start memorizing a new Surah if the previous one is not thoroughly learned and not fixed. The volume of the learned text will increase over time, and gradually the student will understand how much text or the number of lines he is able to learn at a time.

Gradually accumulating, the learned texts should be repeated regularly. And not only the daily repetition of is an effective tool – it is also important for the student to write them, read the learned Ayahs in Prayers during the performance of Prayers.

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