Age of Universe

The stronger the gravity the slower the time.

Time is relative. We know from Einstein that my clock and your clock will not run at the same rate. Time (or rate of our clocks) depends on acceleration and/or gravity. If my clock accelerates and/or is in a strong gravitational field then it will run slower than your clock. Quran 22.47 compares time on Earth with time at Paradise/Hell (1 day vs. 1000 years). While Quran 70.4 compares time on Earth with time in wormholes (1 day vs. 50,000 years).

Moslems believe that Paradise and Hell are both much bigger and much more massive than Earth (but still much smaller than God’s Throne). The theory of general relativity says that time passes slower near an object more massive than Earth (clocks run slower in stronger gravitational fields). So according to general relativity, time should pass in Paradise/Hell much slower than on Earth. Moslems say that this is what Allah says. It is stated in the Quran that 1 day in Paradise/Hell measures a 1000 years on Earth.

[Quran 22.47] They challenge you to bring forth that torture [in Hell] and Allah will not break His promise; a day of your Lord [Paradise/Hell promise] is like a thousand years of what you count.

Here God promises those who do not believe in Hell and punishment that each day of their torture in Hell will measure a thousand years on Earth. So according to the Quran, time passes faster on Earth than in Paradise/Hell. But this agrees with the theory of general relativity which says that time passes slower near bigger mass. Paradise and Hell are much more massive than Earth and time should pass there much slower than on Earth.

Christians believe that God created the universe in 6 earthly days and rested on the 7th. Moslems believe that 6 days passed at God’s Throne but we experienced 13.7 billion years on Earth. Moslems believe that God is not bound to His Throne; rather He created it and set it as a reference. The Quran says that God’s Throne is even wider than the whole universe, so how about the mass of God’s Throne? God’s Throne is much more massive than Earth. Time should pass there much slower than on Earth.

Our solar system is 4.57 billion years old. Earth started accreting concurrently with the sun and our neighbouring planets 4.57 bln years ago. However the universe is 13.7 ± 0.2 bln years old. This places the age of Earth at one third the age of the universe (4.57 bln/13.7 bln = 1/3). Moslems say that this is what Allah says. The Quran says that in God’s Throne time Earth is 2 days old while the Heavens, Earth and everything in between are 6 days old (2/6 = 1/3):

[Quran 7.54] And your Lord, Allah, who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and then settled on the Throne

Those six days are on the Throne; so the frame of reference for creation is the Throne, not Earth.

[Quran 41.9] Say: “Is it that you deny Him [Allah] who created the Earth in two days? And you claim others to be equal to Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.”

[Quran 50.38] And we have created the Heavens and Earth and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN in six days and We were not touched by fatigue.

All those days are on the Throne; the frame of reference for creation is the Throne. When God says that He created the Heavens, Earth and EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN (including you and me) in six days this means that He is referring to the period of existence. Earth has been in existence for 2 days (out of 6).

Moslems believe that God sustains all living things. And all His commands to the angels to sustain man and animals were inscribed on the Preserved Tablet. The Quran says that not even a leaf would drop on Earth without it being previously recorded on this Preserved Tablet. God says that He inscribed this Preserved Tablet before the creation of Earth started; He answered our prayers today (as commands for the angels on the Preserved Tablet) during the first four days when Earth was still smoke. After this He ordered Earth to form.

[Quran 41.9-12] Say: “Is it that you deny Him [Allah] who created the Earth in two days? And you claim others to be equal to Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.” He set on it (Earth) mountains, and bestowed it with blessings. And [Allah] estimated all its sustenance in four days, equally  for those who ask (prayers) AFTER THIS (Thumma in Arabic) [Allah] commanded the heaven and it was still smoke. He said to it and to Earth: “Come together, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come together, in willing obedience”. So [Allah] judged them as seven heavens (one above the other) in two days and revealed to each heaven its orders. And We [Allah] adorned the lowest heaven with lights, and protection. Such is the decree of the Exalted; the Knowledgeable.

God answered our prayers today when Earth was still smoke (the first four days). After this (Thumma in Arabic) God ordered Earth to form. The formation of Earth took two days. So our prayers today are already answered on the Preserved Tablet since before the formation of Earth started. Also in the first two days God judged the seven superimposed heavens and revealed His orders to the angels (as instructions on the Preserved Tablet).

In God’s Throne time, Earth is 2 days old while the Heavens, Earth and everything in between are 6 days old. This makes the age of Earth to be one third the age of the universe (2/6 = 1/3). Similarly in Earth time, the age of Earth is 4.57 billion years while the age of the universe is 13.7 billion years; this is also one third (4.57 bln/13.7 bln = 1/3). So it is the same ratio in Earth time or in God’s Throne time. The theory of general relativity explains why time at God’s Throne passes slower than on Earth. General relativity explains why 6 days passed at God’s Throne but we measured it as 13.7 billion years (that is each day at God’s Throne measures around 2.28 billion years on Earth). So according to the Quran:

God’s Throne > Paradise/Hell > Earth

The smaller the mass, the faster the time.

We are sure that time is relative, that is, the age of the universe is different for observers with clocks running at different rates. For example, there exists an observer who measures the age of the universe to be 3 billion years, however he also measures the age of Earth to be 1 billion years. But the Quran presented it as a ratio (1/3) and this ratio turned out to be correct for any observer (whatever the clock rate). If the Quran presented it in any form other than a ratio it would have been wrong for different observers.

Quran 32.5 is time vs. distance; this gives us speed of angels which turned out to be the speed of light. However Quran 22.47 and Quran 70.4 are time vs. time (no distance); this is time dilation. Quran 22.47 compares time of Earth with time at Paradise/Hell (1 day vs. 1000 years). While Quran 70.4 compares time on Earth withtime in wormholes (1 day vs. 50,000 years).

Is 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh is a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah)???

EVIDENCE FOR 20 RAK’AHS OF TARAWEEH FROM AUTHENTIC AHADITH

In the following synopsis we will provide the most authentic evidence to support the claims of the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Zahiri [1] schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and most importantly that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and in the unanimous view and practice of the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them all) the rak’ahs of taraweeh are twenty.

The narration’s that will be presented have the stamp of authentication by at least ten distinguished scholars. Al-Imam al-Hafiz Jamaluddin al-Zayla’i[2] has recorded in his book Nasb ur-Rayah[3] that:

“Al-Bayhaqi has related in al-Marifa [4]

(via the following chain of transmission):

Abu Tahir al-Faqih -> Abu Uthman al-Basri -> Abu Ahmad Muhammad ibn Abdal Wahhab -> Khalid ibn Mukhallad -> Muhammad ibn Ja’far -> Yazid ibn Khaseefah -> Sa’eeb ibn Yazid,

who said:

In the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu) the people used to observe 20 rak’ahs and the witr.

Al-Nawawi said in al-Khulasa:

‘Its Isnad is Sahih.’”

Hafiz al-Zayla’i has also mentioned after reporting the authenticity of this Hadith, that Imam al-Bayhaqi has also reported another version of the above narration through a different channel of transmission, in his Sunan al-Kubra. The narration referred to has been mentioned in the footnotes by the council of Islamic scholars (Majlis al-Ulama) who edited Nasb ur-Rayah[5], in the following words:

(Bayhaqi) has related in al-Sunan [6] (via the following isnad):Abu Abdullah al-Hussain ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hussain finjuwayh al-Dinawari – Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Sunni – Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Aziz al-Baghawi – Ali ibn al-J’ad – Ibn Abi Dhib – Yazid ibn Khaseefah – Sa’eeb ibn Yazid,

who said:

“In the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab, radiallahu anhu, they would perform 20 rak’ats in the month of Ramadan. He said (also): And they would recite the Mi’in [7] , and they would lean on their sticks in the time of Uthman ibn Affan, radiallahu anhu, from the discomfort of standing.”

All the men in the (above) isnad are trustworthy, as mentioned by the Indian research scholar, Shaykh al-Nimawi[8], in Athar al-Sunan[9].”

The evidence which proves that Umar (radiallahu anhu) ordered the practise of 20 rak’ahs has been recorded by Shaykh Ali al-Muttaqi al-Hindi[10] in the largest collection of Hadith available today: Kanz al-Ummal fi Sunan al-aqwal wal Af’al[11], as follows from Ubayy ibn Ka’b (radiallahu anhu):

Umar (radiallahu anhu) ordered him (Ubayy) to lead the people in prayer at night in Ramadan, because the people fast during the day and can not recite (the Qur’an) well, therefore it is better that you should recite (the Qur’an) during the night. I (Ubayy) asked: “O commander of the believers, this thing was not done before.” He said: “I know, but it is a good practise”, and so (Ubayy) led (the Companion’s) for 20 rak’ahs.

There are many other narration’s which prove the case for twenty rak’ahs, but some of these narrations are less authentic than others, nevertheless they are weighty enough to back each other up and raise the level of authentication to at least Hasan (good); as Shaykh Nimawi and others have verified.

For the readers benefit one may refer to the following books of Hadith for at least 25 further proofs:

  1. Muwatta Imam Malik from Yazid ibn Ruman [12]
  2. Sunan al-Kubra of Imam al-Bayhaqi [13] from: Ibn Abbas, Yazid ibn Ruman (same as Imam Malik’s narration), Suwayd ibn Ghaflah, Ali ibn Abi Talib etc. Also refer to Marifatus Sunan of al-Bayhaqi.
  3. Musannaf of Imam Abdur Razzaq [14] from: Sa’eeb ibn Yazid and al-Hasan.
  4. Musannaf of Imam Ibn Abi Shaibah [15] from some 13 different isnads.
  5. Qiyam ul-lail[16] of Imam Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazi from: Sa’eeb ibn Yazid, Yazid ibn Ruman, Ibn Mas’ud, A’mash al-Kufi, Ibn Sirin, Malik, al-Shafi’i and others.

A SELECTION OF THE SCHOLARS OF HADITH WHO AUTHENTICATED AND USED AL-BAYHAQI’S NARRATIONS AS A PROOF FOR 20 RAK’AHS OF TARAWEEH

  1. Imam Yahya al-Nawawi (d. 676 AH)He has authenticated the narration recorded and mentioned above from al-Bayhaqi’s Marifatus-Sunan, in his book al-Khulasa – this was mentioned by Hafiz al-Zayla’i in Nasb ur-Rayah (see above). Besides this narration, he has also recorded the alternative narration recorded by Imam al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan al-Kubra.He has declared this variant narration to be a decisive argument and proof for the Shafi’i Madhhab, as well as saying: “Its Isnad is Sahih”, in his voluminous work: al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhhab [17].
  2. Imam Jamaluddin Yusuf al-Zayla’i (d. 762 AH)We have mentioned above that Hafiz al-Zayla’i in his analysis of the narration’s found in the Hanafi fiqh book: al-Hidaya, has recalled the narration from al-Bayhaqi’s Marifatus-Sunan, and quoted Imam al-Nawawi as his authority to declare this narration to be Sahih.
  3. Imam Badruddin al-Ayni (d. 855 AH)He said in his famous commentary to Sahih al-Bukhari: Umdat ul-Qari[18] :

    “The argument of our companions (the Hanafi scholars) as well as the Shafi’is and Hanbalis is what al-Bayhaqi has related with an authentic chain of transmission (Sahih Isnad)…”

  4. Imam Ali al-Qari (d. 1014 AH)He has noted in Sharhul-Nuqayah[19] :

    “Imam al-Bayhaqi has reported on genuine authority (Sahih) the performing of 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh during the periods of Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them), and hence there has been consensus on it.”

  5. Imam Kamaluddin ibn al-Humam (d. 861 AH)Imam Ibn al-Humam asserts that it has been established from genuine authority (sahih) that the Companions and their Successors used to say 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh during the auspicious time of Umar (radiallahu anhu); this authority of Yazid ibn Ruman (as in Imam Malik’s narration) has been reported from Sa’eeb ibn Yazid that, “During Umar’s auspicious time we used to say 20rak’ahs.” The genuineness of this authority has been verified by Imam Nawawi in the synopsis [20].
  6. Imam Taqi al-Din as-Subki (d. 756 AH)
  7. Zayn al-Din al-Iraqi (d. 806 AH) and
  8. Jalaluddin as-Suyuti (d. 911 AH)According to Imam Abdal Hayy Lucknawi[21] in his work Tuhfatul Akhyar[22], Imam Nawawi, Iraqi and Suyuti[23] have all considered Bayhaqi’s narration as reported in his Sunan al-Kubra to be Sahih.Shaykh Habibur Rahman al-A’zami has also affirmed that Nawawi, Iraqi and Suyuti have declared Imam al-Bayhaqi’s narration to be Sahih. He has also reported that Imam al-Subki [24] and Mullah Ali al-Qari have both declared the alternative narration recorded by Bayhaqi in his Marifatus Sunan to be Sahih[25].
  9. Imam Muhammad Shauq Nimawi (d. 1322 AH)We have mentioned previously that Shaykh Nimawi has declared Imam al-Bayhaqi’s narration to be Sahih in Athar al-Sunan [26].
  10. Imam Ibrahim al-Halabi (d. 956 AH)He has noted in al-Kabiri[27] :

    “The argument of the majority of people is the report which Imam al-Bayhaqi has reported with sound authority (Sahih), that during Umar as well as Uthman and Ali’s (may Allah be pleased with them), 20 rak’ahs was performed.”


OTHER CONTEMPORARY

Other prominent scholars who have used Imam al-Bayhaqi’s narrations, besides other proofs include: Shaykh Habibur Rahman al-A’zami (see above), Shaykh Isma’il Ansari (see later), Shaykh al-Muqri in Tahqeeq al-Taraweeh, Shaykh Zafar Ahmad Uthmani in his monumental I’la as-Sunan[28], Shaykh Abdur Rahim Lajpuri in Fatawa al-Rahimiyya[29], Shaykh Ahmad Khan in Ja’al Haqq[30], Shaykh Taqi al-Uthmani in Dars-e-Tirmidhi[31] and many others.

A writer once claimed that Imam al-Bukhari held the view that the rak’ahs of Taraweeh were eight, excluding the witr. What is surprising to note is that despite his bold ascription of this view to Imam al-Bukhari, he did not furnish one shed of proof or reference to the works of Imam al-Bukhari to verify his claim.

On the contrary, the commentators of Sahih al-Bukhari, like Hafiz Ibn Hajar and Hafiz al-Ayni have not ascribed any view for 8 rak’ahs to Imam al-Bukhari to our knowledge. What is unsurprising to note is that the two aforementioned scholars of Hadith have mentioned the proofs in favour of 20 rak’ahs. One may raise the catechism – if Imam al-Bukhari had held the view ascribed to him, would there be no doubt that his great student, Imam Abu Isa al-Tirmidhi[32], would not have failed to mention this?

For we know that Imam al-Tirmidhi only knew of either 20 or 41 rak’ahs [33] in his time.

He has recorded in al-Jami us-Sahih, that Umar[34], Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) and other Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to perform 20rak’ahs of Taraweeh, as well as saying that Sufyan al-Thauri (d. 161 AH), Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181 AH) and al-Shafi’i (d. 204 AH) held the same view. He has also quoted Imam al-Shafi’i as saying that he saw the people of Makkah performing 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh.

The only proof to suggest that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) performed 20 rak’ahs has been reported on the authority of Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu):

Verily, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in the month of Ramadan, used to perform 20 rak’ahs and the witr (afterwards) without congregation.”[35]

This narration has been shown to have a weak (da’eefisnad by the verifying scholars like al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [36], Hafiz al-Zayla’i and others, due to the presence of the narrator: Abu Shaiba[37] Ibrahim ibn Uthman. He was the grandfather of the Imam of Hadith: Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaiba, as well as being a Qadi; but as for his status as a reporter of Hadith, he has been declared to be discarded (matrook) by Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Taqreeb ul-Tahdhhib[38] and al-Bayhaqi has declared him to be weak in al-Sunan al-Kubra[39].

One may wish to note that al-Albani has gone to the added length of declaring Ibn Abbas’ narration to be Maudu (fabricated) [40], whereas no previous scholars of Hadith have gone beyond declaring its isnad to be da’eef (weak). This is nothing strange, for al-Albani usually goes to the added lengths and extremities of declaring narrations which do not suit his whims and desires to be either da’eef or maudu.

An interesting study prepared and published on this issue by a Shaykh who is said to have memorized the six most authentic collections of Hadith, is available to verify this assertion.

Let us now see what a number of Imams of sacred law have said about the aforementioned narration from Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu).

  1. Imam Ahmad al-Tahtawi[41] has said in Sharh Durr al-Mukhtar[42]

    On the authority of Ibn Abbas’ statement, 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh has been estblished from the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) practice.

  2. Shaykh Abdal Haqq al-Dehlawi[43] has been quoted by the author of Fatawa Rahimiyya [44] as follows: “Shaykh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith of Delhi writes in his book, Fath-e-Sirr-ul-Mannan:

    The obvious thing is that, according to the holy Companions, the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying 20 rak’ahs had been established, as is mentioned in Ibn Abbas’ tradition, and for this reason Umar (radiallahu anhu) adopted 20 rak’ahs . . .

    He also quoted Shaykh Abdal Haqq as saying from his book: Ma sabata minas Sunnah[45],

    According to our belief, the taraweeh consists of 20 rak’ahs, for Bayhaqi has reported with sound authority that the holy Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to perform 20 rak’ahs during Umar’s time; moreover, this practice continued during Uthman and Ali’s (may Allah be pleased with them) periods also.‘”

  3. Shaykh Abdur Rahim continued to say in his Fatawa:

    The fact is that Hadrat Ibn Abbas and Hadrat Umar are both Companions; there is no ‘weak’ narrator between them, wherefore Ibn Abbas’ tradition may be called weak and the Companion’s action may be considered to be based on a weak tradition. Their action was based on a sound basis; how can those who follow them be called ‘the deluded’? In short, according to the Companion’s reckoning, the afore said hadith is not at all weak, though, due to the inclusion later of a weak narrator. Ibrahim ibn Uthman may be according to the latter-day authorities called weak ‘by way of narration’, but ‘intelligibly’ it must be authentic because the well-guided Caliphs and other Companion’s conformity to and continuance of 20 rak’ahs is the proof of its being reliable.

    Allamah Bahrul-Ulum[46] says:

    The Companions continued conformity to 20 rak’ahs is the context and sign of the soundness of this tradition.’

In support of what we have mentioned, let us quote to you what a leader of Salafiyyism has mentioned in his book: Criticism of Hadith among Muslims with reference to Sunan Ibn Maja[47] :

Shafi’i also recognizes a weak Hadith as authentic (sahih) if it is found to be accepted by the whole ummah (see al-Sakhawi: Fath al-Mugith). But he does not accept Malik’s view of restricting the practise to the people of Madinah. According to the later scholars of the Hanafi school like Ibn al-Humam, a Hadith will be declared Sahih, if it is supported by the practise of the Ummah (see Abdal Rashid Nu’mani: Ma tamusu ilaihe al-Haja, p. 18). Among traditionalists, Tirmidhi often remarks, after quoting a less authentic Hadith:

‘It is being practised by the people of learning (Ahl-ul-Ilm).’ Suyuti deduces: ‘It indicates that the Hadith is supported by the sayings of the people of learning. More than one scholar has said that a Hadith is declared Sahih if supported by the sayings of the people of learning, even if it lacks a proper Isnad (see Suyuti: al-Ta’aqubat, folio 20).’”

In closing this section, consider what Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) said to his student Imam Abu Yusuf (rahiamhullah). Shaykh Anwar Shah Kashmiri stated in Fayd ul-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari:

Imam Abu Yusuf (rahimahullah) asked Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), ‘Did Hadrat Umar (radiallahu anhu) have any compact from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh?’ The Imam replied, ‘Hadrat Umar (radiallahu anhu) was not one to invent on his own; certainly he had some proof for this!’” [48]


IJMA US-SAHABAH

A number of Imams of sacred law have inferred from the evidences available, that there is a definite consensus of the Companions (Ijma us-Sahabah)[49] on this issue. For the readers benefit we will provide some quotes below (including one from a “Salafi” writer).

  1. Imam Ali ul-Qari al-Hanafi (d. 1014 AH)He said in Sharh ul-Nuqayah[50]:

    Imam Bayhaqi has reported on genuine authority (sahih) about the performance of 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh during the periods of Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them), and hence there has been consensus (Ijma) on it.

  2. Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974 AH)Allamah Abdal Hayy Lucknawi has reported in Tuhfat ul-Akhyar[51] and in his Majmu’ Fatawa[52], the fact that Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami has declared Ijma us-Sahabah on the rak’ahs of Taraweeh being twenty.
  3. Imam Muwaffaq al-Din Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi (d. 620)The leading Imam of the Hanbalis in his time has declared in his famous book of fiqh: al-Mughni[53] :

    There has been the Companion’s consensus (Ijma us-Sahabah) on 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh.

  4. Shaykh Bahrul-Ulum Abdul Ali ibn Nizamuddin (d. 1235)He said in Rasa’il ul-Arkan[54]:

    Then there was unanimity regarding the 20 rak’ahs.

  5. Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi[55] (d. 1824 CE)He has declared in his Majmu’ Fatawa Azizi [56] :

    Thereafter, they (the Companions) adopted twenty (rak’ahs of Taraweeh) and three rak’ahs (of witr), on which number consensus had been formed.

  6. Shaykh Qutubuddin Khan (d. 1289 AH):
    He has stated in his commentary to the Hadith collection known as Mishkat ul-Masabih: Madhahir ul-Haqq [57] :

    But the Companions consensus was formed on this that the Taraweeh consists of 20 Rak’ahs.

  7. Imam Kamaluddin ibn al-Humam (d. 861 AH)He has said in Fathul-Qadir[58] :

    At last unanimity was formed on 20 rak’ahs of prayer and this alone is in succession.

  8. Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 179 AH)It was written in the most authentic record of Imam Malik’s most accurate sayings[59], known as al-Mudawwanah al-Kubrah:

    Ibn al-Qasim said, ‘The rak’ahs (of taraweeh) with witr are thirty nine.’ Imam Malik said, ‘This is what the people have agreed upon from amongst the predecessors, and the people have not stopped doing it.’” [60]

  9. Shaykh Shabir Ahmad al-Uthmani (d. 1369 AH)Shaykh Abdur Rahim said in his Fatawa[61] :

    Allamah Shabir Ahmad Uthmani says that none of the Companions ever took exception to 20 rak’ahs, and hence all of them were unanimous on twenty rak’ahs.[62]

  10. Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan Bhopali (d. 1307 AH)

    He was one of the leading personalities of the “Salafi” movement in India. It has been recorded by him in his Awnu’l Bari[63] :

    The practice of 20 rak’ahs established during Hadrat Umar’s time has been considered by the Ulama as consensus.

    All praise be to Allah, the synopsis of the proofs, their authenticity and the resulting of Ijma us-Sahabah, has been demonstrated by way of recoursing to some of the most reputable scholars of the various Madhhabs of this blessed Ummah.

    I (Ahmed ibn Muhammad) asked my teacher, the faqih, Shaykh Muhammad Asaddar Ali (b. 1911), may Allah preserve him: “What do you say about those people who claim to be the followers of the pious predecessors (Salaf us-Salihin), but insist on praying 8 rak’ahs of Taraweeh year in year out?” He replied:

    I take it you are referring to those people who go around with the title ‘Salafi’ over their heads. I will say a few things about these pseudo-Salafites. They are violators of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) consensus on this and other issues – just as their master Ibn Taymiyya was; and the scholars of the past have declared the violators of the Ijma us-Sahabah to be either corrupt innovators or even unbelievers – depending on the nature of the question. The Muhaddith, Shaykh Abdal Hayy Lucknawi (rahimahullah) has declared in his Taliqatul-Hidaya[64] : One who performs 8 rak’ahs of Taraweeh will be an abandoner of the insisted sunnah.’ So, if you come across a man who has been shown the proofs and what the vast majority of scholars, including the Imams like Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal have said; but still persists on avoiding the Companions unanimity on 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh, and prefers 8 rak’ahs – then know that he is not a Salafi, rather a follower of his desires and avoider of the Companion’s (may Allah be pleased with them) unanimous practice. And Allah knows best.

    O believers, have we not heard that Allah has said:

    O you who believe, Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, And those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination” [65]

    O believers, have we not heard that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said on two occasions:

    Hold fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs[66], clamp your molars upon it, avoid new novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance.” [67]

    Allah will never let my Ummah agree upon misguidance, and the hand of Allah is over the group (Jama’ah), so follow the great mass of believers (Sawad ul-‘Azam), and whoever dissents from them departs to hell.” [68]

    We will finish this section by mentioning the titles of two books written on this issue. The first is a book written by a Qadi at the Shariah court in Medinah al-Munawwara, as well as being a lecturer in the Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) mosque – Shaykh Atiyya Muhammad Salim, and the second is by – Shaykh Isma’il ibn Muhammad al-Ansari. As the title below suggests, al-Ansari’s book is a refutation of al-Albani’s research and views on this issue.

    1. Al-Taraweeh – Akthar min alf Aam fi Masjid al-Nabi alaihis-salatu wa sallam[69].
    2. Tashih Hadith Salatul– Taraweeh Ishrin Rak’ah wa’l Radd ala al-Albani fi Tadaeefah[70].

    Finally, the reader may be interested to know that even today, just as in the time of the Salaf us-Salihin (may Allah be well pleased with them), 20 rak’ahs of taraweeh is still being adhered to in Makkah and Madinah.

May Allah keep us on the practice of the Companions and guide those who deliberately avoid so and claim to be on the path of the righteous Salaf. Amin.


 Notes/References

  1. The view that Imam’s Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’i, Ibn Hanbal and Dawud al-Zahiri all preferred 20 rak’ahs of taraweeh excluding the witr has been mentioned by Qadi Ibn Rushd in Bidayat al-Mujtahid (1/239).
  2. He was a famous Hanafi Hafiz of Hadith, as well as being one of the teachers of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. He died in the year 762 AH, rahimahullah.
  3. 2/154, Majlis al-Ulama, India, 4 vols. 1357 AH.
  4. The full title is al-Marifatus-Sunan wa’l athar.
  5. 2/154, footnote 2.
  6. 2/496.
  7. A group of medium sized chapters from the Qur’an.
  8. His full name was Muhammad Shauq al-Nimawi; (d. 1322 AH – rahimahullah).
  9. 2/54.
  10. He died in the year 975 AH, rahimahullah.
  11. 4/284, no. 5787 (8 vols. 1st edn; Hyderabad, India, 1312-14 AH), reported by him on the authority of the Muhaddith, Ibn Man’i.
  12. This report is very similar to Bayhaqi’s narration (see Muwatta, 6.2, no. 5, p. 48, English edn.).
  13. 2/496-7.
  14. 4/260-3, no’s. 7730-1 & 7733.
  15. 2/392-4. Printed in Hyderabad, India, 1387/1967.
  16. PP. 91-2, India, 1320 AH.
  17. 4/32-3, printed with Imam al-Rafi’i’s (d. 623 AH) Fath al-Aziz and Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani’s Talkhis ul-habir in the footnotes; Idara al-Tibat al-Muniriyyah, Egypt.
  18. 7/178, Idara al-Tibat al-Muniriyyah, Egypt.
  19. 1/104.
  20. Quoted in Fatawa Rahimiyya (1/241) of Mufti Abdur Rahim; on the authority of Ibn al-Humam’s Fath al-Qadir (1/407).
  21. He was a celebrated Indian Muhaddith who has also been recognised by the “Salafiyya” for his services to Islam. He passed away in 1304 AH. Rahimahullah.
  22. P. 192, quoted in Is Taraweeh 20 raka’ats? p. 22, Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azadville, South Africa.
  23. According to the aforementioned booklet (Is Taraweeh 20 raka’ats?), p. 5; Imam Nawawi has authenticated Bayhaqi’s narration (from his Sunan) in al-Khulasah, al-Iraqi has authenticated it in Sharh Taqreeb, and Suyuti has authenticated it in his book on Taraweeh: Masabeeh.
  24. See his Sharh Minhaj.
  25. See Shaykh al-A’zami’s Raka’at Taraweeh, p. 63, Ma’arif press, Azamgarh, India.
  26. 2/54.
  27. P. 388.
  28. 7/47, chapter on Taraweeh.
  29. 1/235-300.
  30. PP. 105-114 .
  31. 1/651-664.
  32. He passed away in the year 279 AH. Rahimahullah.
  33. The practice of 41 rak’ahs was that of the people of Madinah in the time of the Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz and Imam Malik ibn Anas (may Allah be pleased with them). It is in reality 20 rak’ahs, for the people of Madinah used to perform an extra 4 rak’ahs without congregation,(after the performance of the standard 4 rak’ahs); hence this amounts to an extra 16 rak’ahs on top of the standard 20rak’ahs. After this they would perform 3 rak’ahs of witr, and sometimes another 2 rak’ahs of nafl on top, making a total of 41rak’ahs (20 rak’ahtaraweeh + 16 nafl + 3 witr + 2 nafl = 41). The reason why the people of Medinah introduced an additional 16rak’ahs was due to the fact that the people of Makkah would make tawaf around the Ka’bah after every 4 rak’ahs of taraweeh, hence the Madinans wanted to compensate for this. Allah knows best. See Shaykh Anwar Shah Kashmiri’s: Tirmidhi al-ma’ruf ba arfash shazzi (1/329) for details.
  34. 3/170, Ahmad Shakir edition, edited by Fu’ad Abdal Baqi, Maktaba Faisalia, Makkah.
  35. This narration has been collected by Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (2/496), Ibn Abi Shaiba in al-Musannaf (2/394), Ibn Adi in al-Kamil (1/2), Tabarani in al-Kabeer (3/148), Ibn Manda in al-Muntakhab min al-fawaid (2/268), Baghawi in Majmu as-Sahaba, Musnad Abd ibn Humaid and others.
  36. See Ibn Hajar’s Talkhis ul-habir fi takhreej ahadith al-Rafi’i al-kabir (1/119) and Al-Matalib al-‘Aliyya (1/146, no. 534) or Zaylai’sNasb ur-Rayah (2/153).
  37. He passed away in the year 235 AH. His Musannaf has been printed in some 15 volumes.
  38. 1/39, no. 241.
  39. 2/496.
  40. See his “al-Da’eefah“, (2/35, no. 560), 3rd edn; Maktaba al-Islamia, Amman, 1406 AH.
  41. He was a leading Egyptian Hanafi scholar who has written a number of well known and regularly used commentaries to classical Hanafi fiqh texts. He passed away in the year 1231/1816 CE. Rahimahullah.
  42. 1/466.
  43. d. 1052 AH in India.
  44. Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri, 1/280, Maktaba Rahimiyyah, Rander, India.
  45. P. 223.
  46. He died in 1235/1820 CE, rahimahullah. Shaykh Abdur Rahim has quoted this statement from his book Rasa’il ul-Arkan, p. 138.
  47. P. 131, Hasan, Suhaib, Al-Qur’an society, 2nd edn; 1407/1986.
  48. This report is also found in Imam al-Shurunbulali’s Maraqi ul-Falah, p. 81, and Imam Ibn Nujaim al-Misri’s Bahr ur-Ra’iq, 2/66.
  49. Ijma us-Sahabah is the third A NAME=”49″>Ijma us-Sahabah is the third source of Islamic law after the Qur’an and Sunnah.
  50. 1/104.
  51. P. 197.
  52. 1/182.
  53. 1/803.
  54. P. 138.
  55. He was the son of the famous Indian scholar: Shah Waliullah.
  56. 1/126.
  57. 1/433.
  58. 1/470; quoted in Fatawa Rahimiyya (1/245).
  59. This book contains the direct questions asked by Imam Malik’s two famous disciples: Ibn al-Qasim and Ibn Wahb to their teacher. It was compiled by Ibn al-Qasim’s student: Qadi Sahnoon (see 1/193-4).
  60. The reason for praying 39 rak’ahs has been explained previously. The fact that Imam Malik preferred this number has been verified by the Maliki Qadi: Ibn Rushd (d. 595 AH) in Bidayat al-Mujtahid (1/239). He has also quoted a narration from Ibn Abi Shaibah proving 39 rak’ahs was in vogue during the caliphate of Umar ibn Abdul Aziz.
  61. 1/249.
  62. Quoted from his Fathul-Mulhim Sharh Sahih al-Muslim, (2/320).
  63. 4/307, quoted in Fatawa Rahimiyya, (1/245).
  64. 1/131.
  65. Qur’an 4:59.
  66. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them).
  67. A Sahih Hadith recorded in (no. 4590), Sunan al-Tirmidhi (5/43, no. 2676), Sunan Ibn Majah (1/15-6, no. 42), Sunan al-Darimi (no. 96), Ibn Abi Aasim in al-Sunnah (no. 54), Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad (4/126), al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (1/95-6) and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (1/166, no. 5).
  68. A narration authenticated and reported by al-Hakim (1/116), and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. A very similar report has been recorded by al-Tirmidhi (4/2167). Imam al-Munawi said in commentary to Tirmidhi’s Hadith: (Allah’s hand is over the Jama’ah) meaning his protection and preservation of them, signifying that the collectivity of the people of Islam are in Allah’s fold, so be also in Allah’s shelter, in the midst of them, and do not separate yourselves from them. (And whoever descents from them departs to hell) meaning that whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawful or unlawful and on which the Community does not differ has slipped off the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell. (see Imam al-Azizi’s: al-Siraj al-Munir Sharh al-Jami us-Saghir, 3/449, cf. Reliance of the Traveller, p. 25).
  69. Printed by Maktaba Dar al-Turath, Madinah al-Munawwarah, 1st edn. 1407/1987.
  70. Printed by Maktaba Rashidia, Pakistan

EDUCATION IN ISLAMIC HISTORY

The Registan complex in Samarkand, Uzbekistan contains three madrasas in the same square

 

From the very earliest days of Islam, the issue of education has been at the forefront at the minds of the Muslims. The very first word of the Quran that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺwas, in fact, “Read”. Prophet Muhammad ﷺonce stated that “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for all Muslims.” With such a direct command to go out and seek knowledge, Muslims have placed huge emphasis on the educational system in order to fulfill this obligation placed on them by the Prophet ﷺ.

Throughout Islamic history, education was a point of pride and a field Muslims have always excelled in. Muslims built great libraries and learning centers in places such as Baghdad, Cordoba, and Cairo. They established the first primary schools for children and universities for continuing education. They advanced sciences by incredible leaps and bounds through such institutions, leading up to today’s modern world.

Attitudes Towards Education

Today, education of children is not limited to the information and facts they are expected to learn. Rather, educators take into account the emotional, social, and physical well-being of the student in addition to the information they must master. Medieval Islamic education was no different. The 12th century Syrian physician al-Shayzari wrote extensively about the treatment of students. He noted that they should not be treated harshly, nor made to do busy work that doesn’t benefit them at all. The great Islamic scholar al-Ghazali also noted that “prevention of the child from playing games and constant insistence on learning deadens his heart, blunts his sharpness of wit and burdens his life. Thus, he looks for a ruse to escape his studies altogether.” Instead, he believed that educating students should be mixed with fun activities such as puppet theater, sports, and playing with toy animals.

The First Schools

Ibn Khaldun states in his Muqaddimah, “It should be known that instructing children in the Qur’an is a symbol of Islam. Muslims have, and practice, such instruction in all their cities, because it imbues hearts with a firm belief (in Islam) and its articles of faith, which are (derived) from the verses of the Qur’an and certain Prophetic traditions.”

The very first educational institutions of the Islamic world were quite informal. Mosques were used as a meeting place where people can gather around a learned scholar, attend his lectures, read books with him/her, and gain knowledge. Some of the greatest scholars of Islam learned in such a way, and taught their students this way as well. All four founders of the Muslim schools of law – Imams Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, and Ibn Hanbal – gained their immense knowledge by sitting in gatherings with other scholars (usually in the mosques) to discuss and learn Islamic law.

Some schools throughout the Muslim world continue this tradition of informal education. At the three holiest sites of Islam – the Haram in Makkah, Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah, and Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem – scholars regularly sit and give lectures in the mosque that are open to anyone who would like to join and benefit from their knowledge. However, as time went on, Muslims began to build formal institutions dedicated to education.

From Primary to Higher Education

Dating back to at least the 900s, young students were educated in a primary school called a maktab. Commonly, maktabs were attached to a mosque, where the resident scholars and imams would hold classes for children. These classes would cover topics such as basic Arabic reading and writing, arithmetic, and Islamic laws. Most of the local population was educated by such primary schools throughout their childhood. After completing the curriculum of the maktab, students could go on to their adult life and find an occupation, or move on to higher education in a madrasa, the Arabic world for “school”.

Madrasas were usually attached to a large mosque. Examples include al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt (founded in 970) and al-Karaouine in Fes, Morocco (founded in 859). Later, numerous madrasas were established across the Muslim world by the great Seljuk vizier, Nizam al-Mulk. At a madrasa, students would be educated further in religious sciences, Arabic, and secular studies such as  medicine, mathematics, astronomy, history, and geography, among many other topics. In the 1100s, there were 75 madrasas in Cairo, 51 in Damascus, and 44 in Aleppo. There were hundreds more in Muslim Spain at this time as well.

These madrasas can be considered the first modern universities. They had separate faculties for different subjects, with resident scholars that had expertise in their fields. Students would pick a concentration of study and spend a number of years studying under numerous professors. Ibn Khaldun notes that in Morocco at his time, the madrasas had a curriculum which spanned sixteen years. He argues that this is the “shortest [amount of time] in which a student can obtain the scientific habit he desires, or can realize that he will never be able to obtain it.”

When a student completed their course of study, they would be granted an ijaza, or a license certifying that they have completed that program and are qualified to teach it as well. Ijazas could be given by an individual teacher who can personally attest to his/her student’s knowledge, or by an institution such as a madrasa, in recognition of a student finishing their course of study. Ijazas today  can be most closely compared to diplomas granted from higher educational institutions.

Education and Women

Throughout Islamic history, educating women has been a high priority. Women were not seen as incapable of attaining knowledge nor of being able to teach others themselves. The precedent for this was set with Prophet Muhammad’s own wife, Aisha, who was one of the leading scholars of her time and was known as a teacher of many people in Madinah after the Prophet’s ﷺdeath.

Later Islamic history also shows the influence of women.  Women throughout the Muslim world were able to attend lectures in mosques, attend madrasas, and in many cases were teachers themselves. For example, the 12th century scholar Ibn ‘Asakir (most famous for his book on the history of Damascus, Tarikh Dimashq) traveled extensively in the search for knowledge and studied under 80 different female teachers.

Women also played a major role as supporters of education:

The first formal madrasa of the Muslim world, the University of al-Karaouine in Fes was established in 859 by a wealthy merchant by the name of Fatima al-Fihri.

The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid’s wife, Zubayda, personally funded many construction projects for mosques, roads, and wells in the Hijaz, which greatly benefit the many students that traveled through these areas.

The wife of Ottoman Sultan Suleyman, Hurrem Sultan, endowned numerous madrasas, in addition to other charitable works such as hospitals, public baths, and soup kitchens.

During the Ayyubid period of Damascus (1174 to 1260) 26 religious endownments (including madrasas, mosques, and religious monuments) were built by women.

Unlike Europe during the Middle Ages (and even up until the 1800s and 1900s), women played a major role in Islamic education in the past 1400 years. Rather than being seen as second-class citizens, women played an active role in public life, particularly in the field of education.

Modern History

The tradition of madrasas and other classical forms of Islamic education continues until today, although in a much more diminshed form. The defining factor for this was the encroachment of European powers on Muslim lands throughout the 1800s. In the Ottoman Empire, for example, French secularist advisors to the sultans advocated a complete reform of the educational system to remove religion from the curriculum and only teach secular sciences. Public schools thus began to teach a European curriculum based on European books in place of the traditional fields of knowledge that had been taught for hundreds of years. Although Islamic madrasas continued to exist, without government support they lost much of their relevance in the modern Muslim world.

Today, much of the former Ottoman Empire still runs education along European lines. For example, what you are allowed to major in at the university level depends on how you do on a certain standardized test at the end of your high school career. If you obtain the highest possible grades on the test, you can study sciences such as medicine or engineering. If one scores on the lower end of the spectrum, they are only allowed to study topics such as Islamic sciences and education.

Despite the new systems in place in much of the Muslim world, traditional education still survives. Universities such as al-Azhar, al-Karaouine, and Darul Uloom in Deoband, India continue to offer traditional curricula that bring together Islamic and secular sciences. Such an intellectual tradition rooted in the great institutions of the past that produced some of the greatest scholars of Islamic history and continues to spread the message and knowledge of Islam to the masses.

THE BAHIA MUSLIM SLAVE REVOLT

From the 1500s through the 1800s, European nations were engaged in a tragic and ruthless practice known as the slave trade. During this period, over 12 million Africans were boarded onto ships and taken to North and South America to work as slaves. The legacy of this inhumane treatment lives on today, in the form of racism and economic disadvantage for blacks in the Americas, and disunity and war in Africa. One aspect of slavery that has been overlooked in historical studies is the impact of slave revolts. Needless to say, the African slaves did not go willingly to their new lives. In many cases, they fought back against their masters, refusing to accept the life they’d been thrown into.

One of the most notable (and successful) of these rebellions was the Bahia Revolt, which took place in 1835 in Brazil. This revolt, unlike some others, was planned and led entirely by Muslims. The story of how they were able to plan a revolt in such horrid conditions and have such a large impact is remarkable. The most interesting and defining factor of the revolt was its Islamic character.

Background

Brazil was originally a Portuguese colony, up until 1822 when it gained its independence. Regardless of the government, however, the slave trade went on from the earliest Portuguese settlements through the late 1800s. In the eastern state of Bahia, slaves made up about one third of the labor force. Understanding the origin of these slaves is very important to understanding how the revolt was so successful. Most of the slaves came either from Senegambia (on the western coast of Africa), or from the Bight of Benin (modern-day Benin, Togo, and Nigeria). The slaves from these areas were almost entirely Muslim. The Wolof and Mandinke people of Senegambia were entirely Muslim by the 1400s and were very learned in Islamic matters, with many scholars among them. The Yoruba, Nupe, and Hausa people from Benin were also entirely Muslim since at least the 1500s.

Organizing Revolt

In 1814 and 1816, the Muslims of Bahia attempted to organize a revolt against the Portuguese. They wanted to overthrow the local law enforcement, free all the slaves, and commandeer ships back to Africa. Unfortunately, some slaves were serving as informants to the local police, and the revolt was crushed before it even started, with its leaders being killed. Over the next 20 years, intermittent minor revolts by Muslims and non-Muslims alike were met with no success in bringing freedom to Bahia’s slaves.

Before discussing the revolt in 1835, we must understand the unifying factor Islam played in the organization of the slaves. The Wolof, Mandinke, Hausa, Nupe, and Yoruba all spoke different languages. While some people have ignorant ideas about Africa being one monolithic entity, it is a diverse continent of different people, cultures, and nations. These Muslim slaves in Bahia were as diverse as a group of French, German, Russian, and Greek speakers. Despite their ethnic differences, the unifying factor between all of them was Islam. Islam provided them with a common language to speak (Arabic), common customs, dietary habits, and behaviors. The Muslims of Bahia would be much more connected to fellow Muslims of a different ethnicity than non-Muslims who spoke the same language as them. Throughout Islamic history, unity such as this has led to greater strength and solidarity.

The failed revolts of 1814 and 1816 forced Bahia’s Muslims to go into hiding. Outward expressions of Islam were repressed by the authorities. Despite this, throughout the 1820s and 1830s, the Muslim leaders and scholars focused greatly on converting other Africans (be they Catholic or animist) to Islam. Even the Brazilian authorities noticed an increase in the number of people practicing Islam, but did not pay it much attention.

The people who organized the revolt were exclusively Muslim scholars. Due to the strength of the Muslim community, they were well respected by the people and held in a position of honor and esteem. Among these leaders were men such as:

Shaykh Dandara – a wealthy freedman who was an imam

Shaykh Sanim – an elderly slave who established a school to teach people about Islam

Malam Bubakar Ahuna – the leading scholar throughout Bahia, who organized Muslim community events

These Muslim scholars, as well as many others, used the mosques as a base of operations. There they discussed plans for revolt, stored weapons, and educated the local Africans. It was through these mosques that Malam Bubakar distributed his call to jihaad (holy struggle, or military resistance). He wrote out a document in Arabic that called on Muslims to unify in preparation for the coming revolt against their Brazilian masters.

The Revolt

The authorities had received some information that a rebellion was brewing, so they took proactive steps and exiled Malam Bubakar 6 months before the revolt was scheduled. Despite this, the plans for the revolt were already finalized and distributed to Muslims throughout Bahia.

The revolt was to take place after the fajr (dawn) prayer on January 25th, 1835, which was the 27th of Ramadan, 1250 in the Muslim calendar. Some Muslims consider the 27th to be the most probable date for Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The Muslims of Bahia chose this date in the hopes that the heightened spiritual state of the community would lead to greater chances for success.

Because of the massive size of the planned revolt, word was bound to reach the Bahia police about the revolt. The night before the revolt was scheduled to take place, they raided one of the local mosques and found Muslims armed with swords and other weapons. The fight that ensued led to the death of one officer. Thus, the revolt had to start early.

Albeit a few hours early, the Muslim revolutionaries from this mosque marched out of the mosque, ready to begin the revolt in the dead of night. They were dressed in long white thobes (tunics) and kufis (skullcaps) that clearly identified them as Muslims. Because the revolt was scheduled to begin at dawn, not all the mosques came out in revolt at the same time. Regardless, those that did start the revolt around midnight marched throughout the streets of Salvador, gathering other slaves (both Muslim and non-Muslim) to join them in their revolt. Before the rest of the mosques even joined, there were about 300 slaves and freedmen marching through the city.

Eventually, the governor of Bahia managed to mobilize the local armed forces to confront the rebels. The few hundred Africans now met over 1,000 professional soldiers with advanced weaponry in the streets of Salvador. The battle lasted for about an hour, and led to the death of over 100 Africans and 14 Brazilian soldiers. The Brazilian authorities clearly won the battle. The revolt never managed to overthrow the local government, nor to board ships headed back to Africa. It appeared to be a failure.

Aftermath

The leaders of the revolt, the Muslim scholars, were put on trial and killed. The numerous slaves who took part in the revolt were given punishments ranging from imprisonment to lashings. Although on the surface the revolt appears to be a failure, there is more to it than that.

After the revolt, a general fear of Africans, particularly Muslims, gripped the people of Brazil. The Brazilian government passed laws that led to a mass deportation of Africans back to Africa. One of the original goals of the Bahia Revolt was to be returned to Africa, so this can be seen as a partial victory for the rebellion.

More importantly, however, the Bahia Revolt spurred the anti-slavery movement throughout Brazil. Although slavery continued to exist in Brazil until 1888, the revolt began the public discussion about the role of slaves and the benefit or detriment they provided to Brazilian society. It is seen as one of the most important events in leading towards freedom for Brazilian slaves.

It is important to note that the single defining factor for the Bahia Revolt was its Islamic character. It was organized and led by Muslim scholars, planned in Muslim mosques, and supported by a largely Muslim African population. Without Islam as a unifying factor, such a revolt never would have been possible, nor would the effect it had have been so great.

Furthermore, Islam continued as a strong force in Brazil for decades. The violent Brazilian reaction to oppress Islam in the aftermath of the revolt did nothing to stamp out Islam. It is estimated that in 1910, there were still over 100,000 Muslims throughout Brazil. This is a testament to the strength of the Muslim community of Brazil and their dedication to Islam.

Any discussion on the history of Islam in the Western Hemisphere must include the heroic actions of these Muslims. Islam is not a new religion in North and South America, brought by recent immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia, as many tend to believe. Rather, it is a religion that has greatly influenced the course of North and South American history in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

Story of Moaning Pillar (Ustun-e-Hannana) and Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)– Rumi’s Masnavi

The “Yearning Pillar” or “Moaning Pillar (ustun-e ḥannāna) was a wooden pillar in the time of the Prophet Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). Prophet used to lean against it while preaching. When Companions built a proper pillar, Prophet heard him lamenting. Prophet bless him to be the tree of eternal paradise. The story is beautifully rendered by Mevalna Rumi. 

 

The Yearning Pillar was complaining of its separation from the Prophet.

The Prophet said, “O pillar, what do you want?”

It said, “My soul has turned into blood because of being separated from you.

I was your support: now you have run away from me: you have made a place to lean against on the pulpit.”

 “Do you desire,” he said, “to be made a date palm, so that the people of the East and the West shall gather fruit from you?

 Or that God should make you a cypress in the other world, so that you will remain everlastingly fresh and flourishing?”

 It replied, “I desire that of which the life endures forever.”

Listen, o heedless one! Do not be less than a piece of wood!

So that you may know that everyone whom God has called to Himself remains detached from all the work of this world.

Whoever obtains his work and business from God, gains admission there and abandons worldly work

Worldly dominion is lawful only to those who indulge the body: we (lovers) are devoted to the everlasting kingdom of Love.

 He (the prince) is in Love’s employ: do not deprive him of his employment, do not let him be employed in anything but loving you.

The high position (business) that veils me from seeing your face is the very essence of being disgracefully dismissed, even though it is called ‘high position.

mevlana rumi shrine