Manal Universe

Origin of Islamic architecture in India

Origin of Islamic architecture in India has its root associated with the invasion of Muslim invaders of the 12th century. During this period, the Ghori King, Muhammad-bin-Sam conquered Delhi and assigned his slave Qutub-ud-Din Aibak as the monarch. It was the beginning of the Slave Dynasty in India. Gradually they were succeeded by khiljis, tughlaqs, Sayyids, Lodhis and Mughals. All were Muslim rulers who brought their own architectural traditions. These styles were based on arches, vaults and domes under the forms of floral patterns along with the unique styles of writing and painting with mosaics in stones.

The origin of Islamic architecture is the tale of Muslim invasion in India which to a great extent reshaped the whole architectural element of India. The earliest attack in India took place in the 8th century, when much of the lower Indus territories came under the power of the Caliphs of Baghdad, the Arab invaders. This invasion marked the very beginning of the Islamic architecture. The introduction of the glazed tile decoration by the Arabs contoured the initial architectural development of the Islamic architecture. The second attack occurred in the first half of the 12th century, much later the first attack. The Ghazna from Afghanistan attacked Punjab from the way to Lahore, the undivided city of India, where a Viceroy occupied an important group of palaces and government buildings for this purpose; however, these were completely destroyed by the princes of Ghor in the same century. There are few definite records present in the old Punjab region. The ruins of ancient brick and timbered structures provide the clue of the style of buildings that then succeeded. Wooden doors and doorways along with the ornamental elements persisted and were incorporated not infrequently in the Indo-Islamic art which developed shortly afterwards.

However, the origin of Islamic architecture in India was gradually established during the period of Muslim dynasty at Delhi in the final years of the 13th century. The first Sultan of India of slave dynasty, Qutb-ud-din Aibak built the oldest mosque named Quwwat-ul-Islam in 1195. It was erected on the spacious substructure of a Hindu temple. Materials were taken from the destroyed temple itself. The columns from the temples were used for the walls of the mosque. Its geometric patterns and eight pointed the Hindu influence on arches. It is regarded as a great work of Islamic architecture on Indian soil. The origin of Islamic architecture therefore whispers the saga of an amalgamation of varied styles, shapes and structures. The style of Quwwat-ul-Islam which was initiated by Qutb-ud-din Aibak was carried further by the Delhi Sultanate.

The construction of a mosque, named Arhai-Din-Ka Jhompra at Ajmer in 1205 just after the Qutb Minar again tells the story of the historical development and origin of the Islamic architecture. It was built over the ruins of a Jain monastery that used to be a centre of Sanskrit learning during the Chauhan dynasty. With its distinctive features Qutb Minar, Arhai Din ka jhompra represented a decade of Islamic architectural effort while laying the foundations of Islamic building art in India. The origin of Islamic architecture and later its development made Indian architecture to imbibe Islamic as a culture from a different background of substantial implication.

History reveals the fact that the origin of Islamic architecture during the 12th century was related to an architectural movement which was extending over a great portion of Western Asia. This was the building art of the Saljuqs, an empire with the centre of its activities in Asia Minor. The saljugs absorbed the high culture of this leading Muslim style and built their palaces, mosques, colleges in a well-constructed order. These uncivilized desert people in the course of a short period developed a building art of such excellence in an unusual nature is incredible and outstanding.

Earlier their architectural compositions were largely self-originated, expressive of a community unregulated by previous conventions. The Saljuqs inherited the architecture during the acceptance of Islam religion and infused a freshness and inventiveness into the older procedure, combining it with a new vigour and life. Their constructional usage, choice of material and their masonry shows the expertise in their technical field. This experience was derived from the presence in the country of their choice, of the remains of a considerable number of imposing monuments. The character of building art of Saljuqs in the 13th century was the fusion of two different conditions; one was the imaginative vision of the Asiatic and the other was the scientific ingenuity of the Latin. They had the fusion of Latin character in their architecture due to the presence of Roman artificers who worked under that regime while giving birth to a whole new architectural concept- The Islamic Architecture.

The fusion of the Arabs, the saljugs and later the Mongols silhouetted the origin of Islamic architecture. Quite ideally therefore later the architectural element of Islamic architecture became so much diverse. The combination of white marble and red sandstone carved in patterns of subtle curves, intricate, geometrical designs, and stalactiform devices, which stood as a logo of Islamic architecture murmurs the secrets of its oriental origin. In the Latin character of architecture, they used the Herodian system of stone bonding. Through this process, their masons were able to erect the solid walls, pointed arches of towers and superb vaulting, utilized with such grandeur in the interior halls of the Saljuqs palace-sarais. It is significant that these rows of pillars of massive piers and imposing pointed arches are quite similar with the vaulted aisles of the Gothic cathedrals.

The entire story of the origin of the Islamic architecture from western Asia and its introduction to India is written and preserved in the stones of the monuments of Old Delhi. It may be read in the design and decoration of the Qutb Mosque facade, in the surface treatment of the Qutb Minar, and in the character and construction of the buildings of the mosque gateway known as the Alai Darwaza

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Manal Universe

Venus Fly Trap

 

Sometimes we get caught up in this world. We run towards finish lines that keep moving further away. Entranced by the false glamor of the world, we lose sight of our true direction, our eternal destination.

We’re anxious about our futures, but we limit those concerns to this worldly life, to the dinner, meeting, or vacation that’s coming up. We procrastinate our spiritual development until “tomorrow,” forgetting that one day there will be no tomorrow.

Allah SWT addresses this misdirected mindset in the 45th verse of Surah Kahf using a powerful metaphor:

وَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ مَثَلَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ الرِّيَاحُ

“And strike to them the example of the life of this world as some water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and then it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds…”

In this Ayah, Allah SWT reduces the importance of the world that we’re furiously scurrying about to pursue, by breaking it into two belittling stages.
At first, water comes down from the sky creating a muddy slush, from which scattered vegetation begins to sprout. Then, all of a sudden, it becomes dry, lifeless stubble so that even a gentle breeze could scatter its remnants far and wide.

Looking at this metaphor, an obvious question comes to mind. What about the stage of fruitfulness and growth that should be in the middle? The stage where the flowers bloom beautifully, and the trees tower majestically over lush gardens? Why would something so essential to the chronology of this metaphor be left out?

The answer is simple. Allah SWT intentionally omits this middle stage to imply how quickly the Dunya passes. As quickly as it came into being, it dried up, and withered away. The “gardens” and “flowers” of this world, metaphors for worldly distractions, are so temporary that Allah SWT doesn’t even bother to mention them.

In Surah Taha, Allah SWT continues along these lines, notably using floral imagery as well, as he reminds us not to strain our eyes towards this temporary life, this test:

وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ

And strain not your eyes toward that which We cause so many others of them to enjoy, it is but the flower of the life of the world, that We may test them with, and The provision of your Lord is better and more lasting.

The appearances we’re stressing over, the paychecks we’re unhappy with, and the new cars we’re clamoring for, engulf our thoughts, and by doing so, threaten our inner tranquility.

These “flowers” are, in fact, Venus Fly Traps. They’re fine to admire, but once we throw ourselves into them, they consume us. If we were wise, we’d dedicate our lives towards provisions and hopes that last eternally instead of mere stubble, as the verse which immediately follows 18:45 beautifully declares:

وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

“Good, lasting things are greater with your lord, and a far better source of hope.”

If we direct our hopes and our struggles towards what lasts, instead of deceptively withering “flowers, ” we will enjoy fulfilling lives in the Dunya, and meet Allah SWT without regrets on the Day of Judgment.

Standard
Manal Universe

WORDS OF WISDOM

 

The year has officially begun here at Bayyinah and things are already in full swing, Alhamdulillah. On Day 2, Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda came to visit us at Bayyinah and gave us incredible words of advice from scholars of the past and from his own experiences.

“In regards to knowledge, Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: “Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees.” [58:11] Being a student of knowledge is an incredible opportunity because knowledge, especially knowledge of the Qur’an is irreplaceable. It’s incredibly valuable because the Qur’an is the fixture. The opportunity to study the book of Allah is a blessed opportunity, it’s a gift. Do right by this gift by valuing it and giving it your all.

The scholars of the past would quote a set of advice frequently to students seeking sacred knowledge:

You will not acquire knowledge until you implement six things:

1. Be focused. Bring yourself totally and completely to the table. Make this your primary objective; seeking knowledge requires undivided attention. Bring focus.

2. Desire this more than anything else. This has to be #1.

3. Be committed and apply yourself.

4. See things through till the end. Finish what you started. Often times, in the course of seeking knowledge, different tests and trials will come, negative influences will arise, or half way, you may just want to give up. But Commit yourself, finish what you started.

5. Take the instruction of a teacher. No one has ever learned beneficial knowledge without the instruction of a teacher. Our scholars of the past always had a teacher, a mentor. It is absolutely critical in the pursuit of sacred knowledge.

6. Time is essential. Commit Time in the accordance to the benefit that you want and want to give to others. Sometimes we are always seeking a fast, quicker, better solution but when it comes to knowledge, there is no quick solution. In order to achieve something, you have to work hard. Because has anything worthwhile ever been achieved without putting some work in?

You are here for an objective. You are here to learn the book of Allah. Be focused. Based on your sincerity, Allah will bless you with even more opportunities. Based on your focus and ihsan, Allah will grant you more. Value the knowledge. Value your teachers. You are blessed to be here. You have been chosen.”

Standard
Manal Universe

The Exodus in the Qur’an, the Bible, and History (Part 2):

Alleged Evidence Against a Historical Exodus

There are several arguments regularly cited, even in reputable textbooks and scholarly works, for regarding the Exodus as largely unhistorical (though not necessarily lacking a historical core). A popular presentation of these arguments is laid out in Israel Finkelstein’s and Neil Asher Silberman’s popular book, The Bible Unearthed. Because the assertion that the Exodus tradition conflicts with archaeological evidence is so common, it is appropriate to first address these arguments and show why they are misplaced. I have summarized these responses from Kitchen.

1. No records of the Israelites in Egypt

The most common argument against the historicity of the Exodus is that ancient Egyptian records do not attest to a large group of Israelites in Egypt. The Egyptians were meticulous record-keepers, yet there are no records of the Israelites in ancient Egyptian papyrus documents, temple walls, or tomb inscriptions. Similarly, there are no records of the plagues or of the drowning of the Pharaoh’s army. Additionally, the border between Egypt and Canaan (the biblical term for ancient Palestine) was closely controlled during the New Kingdom period, when the Exodus is usually assumed to have happened. If a great mass of fleeting Israelites passed through these border fortifications, a record should exist, just as we do have a record of the escape of a small group of Edomite slaves. The only mention of Israel is the Merneptah Stele (c. 1208), which mentions the Israelites as a group existing in or around Canaan.
Answer: The Bible places the location of the Israelites in the East Nile Delta. We should not expect to find records of the Israelites there because records in the Delta are lacking in general, since papyrus records do not tend to survive its humid climate. Monuments and other ancient Egyptian remains are similarly lacking in the East Delta because they were repeatedly recycled as building material, moved, leveled, and or/built over. Moreover, the Egyptians did not usually memorialize humiliating defeats on their temple walls, only victories. Finally, the Egyptians generally referred to Semites as “Asiatics” rather than mentioning specific groups.As we will see, the story of the presence of the Israelites in the East Nile Delta fits in extremely well with what we know about the setting during the New Kingdom period, and there are many positive reasons to acknowledge it.

2. The Unlikelihood of Escaping Egypt

Argument: The escape of a large group of slaves would have been highly unlikely, because during the New Kingdom period, Egypt was at the peak of its might and its borders were heavily guarded. There was a sophisticated system of Egyptian forts, granaries, and wells established along entire length of the road to Canaan (known as the Way of Horus), with Egyptian officials in charge of administration. There were also Egyptian strongholds in various places in Canaan.

Answer: The Book of Exodus specifically states that God led the Israelites on the southern roundabout way through Sinai in order to avoid conflict:

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea. (Exod. 13:17-18)

In fact, the archaeological data shows that the southern route was virtually free of Egyptian presence. Hence this turns out to be evidence for the historical authenticity of the Exodus account.

3. No Archaeological Remains of the Wilderness Wanderings

Argument: The Sinai desert could not have supported a group of more than a few thousand people. If the Israelites camped around in the Sinai for forty years, they should have left behind archaeological traces. Despite extensive archaeological surveys of the Sinai Peninsula—especially the traditional locations of Mount Sinai, Kadesh-barnea (where the Israelites allegedly camped for 38 years), and Ezion-Geber—no remains have been uncovered from the 13th century BCE except of some Egyptian forts on the northern coast. In contrast, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of even simple hunter-gathers and pastoral nomads from the 3rd millennium BCE.

Answer: “The state of the preservation of archaeological remains is very uneven.” We know from written texts that there was indeed considerable migration by nomadic tribes and Egyptian travelers back and forth through the Sinai Peninsula throughout the second and early first millennium BCE. Yet the archaeological remains for those are scant. Moreover, “from Sinai the Hebrews expected initially to be in Canaan in a year, not in forty years. They had no need to lug tons of heavy pottery around with them…if leatherwork or skins would do.”

4. Anachronisms in the Exodus Account

Another objection is that the books of Exodus and Numbers contain anachronisms which render their accounts historically dubious, such as the mention of Edom as a kingdom. It is not essential to address this claim here, since we are concerned with the Qur’anic account, which does not contain these specific details. However, the interested reader can consult Kitchen and Hess for crisp refutations of these claims.

Standard
Manal Universe

The Exodus in the Qur’an, the Bible, and History (Part 1):

The Exodus and Wilderness in Tradition and History

I am starting a new series of articles, in which I will be presenting gems in the Qur’anic account of the Exodus and Wilderness traditions that come to light when it is studied against the background of history and archaeology, particularly in biblical studies and Egyptology.

By the “Exodus,” I am referring to the story of the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites (or Hebrews) from slavery in ancient Egypt under the leadership of Moses. This story forms the basis for the Israelites’ obligation to adhere to the Torah in Judaism (Exod. 20:2-3), and as we will see, serves as a model for the nascent Muslim community in the Qur’an.

By the “Wilderness” (a.k.a. “Wandering” or “Sinai”) tradition, I am referring to the story of the Israelites’ sojourn in the deserts of the Sinai peninsula (and to a lesser extent, northwestern Arabia and Jordan) for forty years following the Exodus. It is in this setting that the Torah was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, and many famous incidents occurred such as the Israelites’ worship of the Golden Calf, the divine provision of the quail and manna, the springs of water from the rocks, and so on. In the title of this series, I am using the term “Exodus” more broadly to allude to the Wilderness tradition as well.
Before I present these gems in specific terms, I will first talk about whether the Exodus tradition has any historical basis. It is often claimed that the Exodus has been discredited by archaeology, and that it is nothing more than a myth or legend invented during the period of the Israelite monarchy, lacking any historical basis. In fact, I have seen very few scholars make such a sweeping claim; most are more reserved than this and feel that the tradition does have a historical core but has been significantly embellished with sacred legends. However, studies by Egyptologists Kenneth Kitchen[1] (one of the world’s most renowned experts of ancient Egypt) and James Hoffmeier[2] have shown there to be a great deal in the Exodus tradition that can be verified against the background of ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology. As far as I am aware, the evidence they have collected has not been met with any successful refutation.

While a few of the gems I will be presenting in this series are my own thoughts or findings, I have learned most of them from other writers. In particular, I am indebted to the exhaustive scholarship of Kitchen and Hoffmeier and, on the Qur’anic account in particular, the insightful study of Louay Fatoohi and Shetha Al-Dargazelli.[3] Any other sources will be cited in the footnotes.

The majority of these gems apply equally to the texts of the Hebrew Bible (in particular, the Books of Exodus and Numbers) and the Qur’an. A good number of them, however, apply only to the Qur’an, and therefore challenge the assumption that the Qur’an is merely derivative of biblical tradition.

These gems are also of various degrees of historical strength. Some of them are conjectures—suggestive possibilities that arise from studying the Qur’anic stories against the background of history. Many others are particularly strong, however, and quite striking. All of them will in shā’a ’llāh give the interested reader food for thought.

[1] Kitchen, Kenneth A. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003. All references to “Kitchen” will be to this book, unless otherwise noted.

[2] Hoffmeier, James K. Israel in Egypt: Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. Oxford University Press, 1997. All references to “Hoffmeier” will be to this book, unless otherwise noted.

Standard
Manal Universe

I saw vs. I see

The Quran is incredibly precise in its choice of words. Contrary to average composition, it doesn’t randomly toss words around to convey only a general sense of the intended meaning. Rather, each word meaningfully conveys specific detail and suits its context perfectly.

The Quran’s references to the dreams of Ibrahim AS and Yusuf AS serve as prime examples of this specificity. Allah narrates Yusuf speaking to his father:

يَاأَبَتِإِنِّيرَأَيْتُأَحَدَعَشَرَكَوْكَبًاوَالشَّمْسَوَالْقَمَرَرَأَيْتُهُمْلِيسَاجِدِينَ

O my dear father! I saw in a dream eleven stars, as well as the sun and the moon prostrating to me

12:4

The choice of the past tense “saw” or “رَأَيْتُ” is appropriate here because Yusuf AS only had the dream once, and was simply telling his father about that one time.

Ibrahim AS speaks about his dream in a slightly different way when sharing it with his son, Ismael:

قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ

O my dear son! I see in a dream that I should sacrifice you: consider, then, what you think of this

37:102

He says “أَرَىٰ” meaning that he “sees” in his dream, using the present tense. This subtle utilization of the present tense conveys the meaning of repetition, and persistence. When Ibrahim AS says he “sees” in his dream, it suggests that he’s had the dream multiple times, and that it has continuously haunted him to the point where it has actually become his current state of reality.

This usage lines up with what we know of Ibrahim AS’s story. He saw the dream to kill his son, and at first, the horror caused him to delay its realization. Because of this, Allah continued to show him the dream over and over.

This continuous witnessing of the dream led him to eventually fulfill Allah’s command, and thus raised him to the status of a leader amongst all people.

We ask Allah to allow us to appreciate the beauty of his book and raise us by his obedience as he raised Ibrahim AS. Ameen.

Standard
Manal Universe

Islam as the Religion of Abraham

Host: Welcome back. Millions of pilgrims are now returning home after journeying to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj commemorates events in the life of Prophet Abraham. Why do Muslims consider Abraham to be such an important figure? Recently Ilyas Ally sat down with Nouman Ali Khan at the Islamic center of Canada to talk about Abraham’s legacy. Take a look.

Ilyas Ally: Prophet Abraham(peace be upon him), is a pivotal figure in three major world religions –Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What makes Abraham so unique? and why is he considered so important to Muslims in particular. To discuss these Questions, we have with us Nouman Ali Khan. He is the founder and CEO of Bayyinah Institute in Texas and a frequently sort after lecturer all around the world.
Brother Nouman, we are very pleased to have you. Thank you for joining us.

Nouman Ali Khan: Very happy to be here. Thank You.

IA: We know that Prophet Abraham is…is… is widely revered in Christianity and Judaism but many people might not know that he is also a central figure in Islam

NAK: Yeah, very central.

IA: And …and for Muslims, uh…they really…uh…we really… you know, umm. Have a particular affection for him. Can you tell us yourself personally how you relate to the Prophet Abraham?

NAK: Yeah, sure…umm. I mean, growing up we learned the story of Abraham and it’s very…something very close to our hearts our daily prayers include Abraham in them as we send peace and blessings upon our own messenger. We associate those peace and blessings to Abraham and say send them upon our messenger as you sent them upon Abraham. Ah But I really felt a personal connection to…to Abraham in a way like never before when I got to make the pilgrimage, the Hajj pilgrimage which is obligatory upon Muslims that are capable once in their lifetime this year. So I went with my wife and it was probably the most exhilarating experience of my life to go to this incredible gathering of millions of people at least 2, some estimate, say even up to 4 million of people in one place dressed entirely the same way you know performing this ultimate ritual of Islam in the city of Makkah and as you go you realize how pretty much every ritual you perform is directly tied to the legacy of Abraham that the entire pilgrimage itself is actually a celebration of the Abrahamic legacy and as I started doing that , I realized how closely we are supposed to be affiliated emotionally, spiritually, intellectually to the legacy of Abraham and so it’s such a central part of our faith and hopefully we can have some discussion about that in this conversation.

IL: yea so it seems that you know whenever a Muslim goes there to fulfill this…this obligation that they require to do they…they trace the steps of Abraham (NAK: yeah) and his family and so they really get that sense of a connection (NAK: yeah, so you know), so what are the rituals that they actually perform there?

NAK: From the very get go, the idea of leaving your family and going out there, right, for no other sake and…sake, but no other purpose but for the sake of god is itself is a commemoration of the Abrahamic legacy as he left his family for the sake of god. He was expelled from his home for the sake of god. So we expel ourselves in a sense and go on this pilgrimage for the sake of god. The other is that you know, Abraham build this house in our creed for the worship of one god alone in Makkah, you know, millennia ago and made prayer as he was building this house with his son. He prayed, not only that the house be populated, at that time it was nothing but a dessert, there was nobody there it wasn’t in the city or anything, and he’s building, he’s making this prayer that it be turn into a thriving city and people should come here, to get rewarded for coming here and get closer to god. Umm… and we actually see ourselves as fulfilling that prayer. That entire ritual is a fulfillment of that prayer. He…as he is building the house he also asks for a messenger that would purify the people. Now there are two things, you’re… you’ve got a house that’s supposed to purify people because it’s the house for the worship of god and he asked for a messenger that would purify the people, right. The two are connected. You can’t purify people until you purify the house. Historically, the house got corrupted, idols were placed there. It became the place for you know, hedonism and idol worship and so we see the legacy of our own prophet as cleaning up that house that was originally built by Abraham. We see the mission of our prophet as reviving the legacy of Abraham. You know, on that note, if…one Muslim feel a close connection to their own prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), then he’s the one that’s told being the leader of all messengers, being the final messenger, he’s told interestingly enough that he is to follow the legacy of Abraham. We follow our prophet and he’s told he should follow the legacy of Abraham,

(16:123)
حَنِيفًا إِبْرَاهِيمَ مِلَّةَ اتَّبِعْ

…Quran says “ follow the legacy of Abraham sincerely and holy”.

So now, we go there, we perform this ritual, we’re looking at the same house that he built, right, which is awesome and then we are told in our tradition, that there’s a special marking, there’s a place where you’re supposed to go and that prayer counts extra, right, it’s one mark, one spot and that’s the spot where it’s called the station of Abraham, it’s literally, that’s what it’s called. And the purpose of it is actually to commemorate the stone in which he… on which he stood to build the house. And so you can’t help but remember god through remembering the sacrifice and the building of this house and the prayer that he made for you and me to be able to do this one day, so it ties you directly to his legacy as our father in one sense, you know.
IA: So we know that…that Abraham is…is both, you know, the father…or…the…the forefather of Prophet Muhammad in terms of lineage itself (NAK: that’s right) but also in terms of we’re learning in terms of the religious lineage you can say, in terms of that…that…ah you know…that prophet Muhammad fulfilled or continued the mission that Abraham started.

NAK: Exactly. And this is so awesome, and so powerful to the Muslim that…obviously the name of our religion is Islam, one of its nicknames in the Qur’an is the legacy of Abraham. The…the religion of Abraham, إِبْرَاهِيم مِلَّةَ,
مِلَّةَ is used in Arabic word for religion, when you have a… an emotional attachment to it. So it’s the…it’s the legacy of Abraham that should be loved and one should…one should have loyalty to it and one should affiliate themselves to it. Then what’s beautiful is as we go to that pilgrimage, you know, the famous story of Abraham, of course, is the sacrifice, right. And so he is willing to sacrifice his son. His son is incredible enough that he is willing to be put to sacrifice, if it’s from god, that you know, that the dreams must be revelation. And as they are going…they are…you know the mother, daughter…uh uh…mother and father and son are going , they are each tempted by the devil to stop and to not go forward with this sacrifice, this is insane. And so three times, they shoo the devil away. And symbolically he literally threw pebbles, the family threw pebbles to shoo them away. At the Hajj, there’s a…a ceremony in which millions of people go throw that same walk and as they are going, they throw pebbles at these 3 marked spots that actually reminds them that as we make sacrifices we are going to be tempted by the devil to walk away from sacrifice as Abraham himself was and he was able to successfully shoo the temptations of the devil away. Then even before…uh…uh…you know, you’ll…you’ll…if you see any footage of the…the pilgrimage from Makkah, you’ll see the people are running from one end to other, right, 7 times, and this is actually ah…the mother of Ishmael, Hager, when… when she…when they were left in the desert by themselves and he’s in the middle almost ah…umm…you know, dying of dehydration, the baby, she just…she’s dried up, she hasn’t had anything to drink herself, she can’t feed her milk…feed him milk. She’s desperately looking for water and so she’s going back and forth. Her sacrifice is celebrated. It’s not just Abraham’s; his wife’s sacrifice is celebrated. And then the baby kicks the sand and miraculously Water comes out which is actually the reason for which in the middle of a desert, you have a thriving city. It’s because there’s a water supply now and we’re supposed to ritualistically even drink that water for blessings, the water of Zamzam. So, pretty much everything we do at that occasion, that life…that life event is reviving the legacy and celebrating the legacy. At the end of it all, what do we do, ultimate celebration, sacrifice an animal. So when we make our sacrifice, to go to the pilgrimage, the celebration of it is sacrificing an animal. When Abraham made his ultimate sacrifice, he was willing to slaughter his son, god told him he has proven himself and how was he supposed to celebrate passing the test? Sacrificing an animal. So that…Sacrifices is actually a… again a celebration of the Abrahamic legacy and finally I wanna add here that it’s not just limited to just that one ritual. You know, a fifth of the world’s population almost, Muslims all over the world pray in the direction of the House that Abraham built. You know, how much more can you say that we are, a people tied to the legacy of Abraham.

IA: Yea and…and I think a lot of Muslims oft…often see Islam and see the Prophet Muhammad’s legacy as an answer to Abraham’s prayers. (NAK: that’s right). Ah…Can you tell us what Abraham prayed for because the Qur’an details many of his prayers and they are very beautiful, what…Why was…What was Abraham praying for?

NAK: So Abraham has many prayers in the Qur’an. And …uh… Particularly what’s highlighted in his prayers are common theme, among many of his prayers, is concern for the future. Okay. So he’s concerned about his children, their children’s children and their children’s children. And he sees that, the teachings of the true faith, of belief and sacrifice for one god may weaken over generations. So he says:
(2:129)
مِنْهُمْ رَسُولًا فِيهِمْ وَابْعَثْ رَبَّنَا
Master, appoint among them a messenger whose from… among themselves.
Raise among them a messenger from among themselves.
(2:129)
آيَاتِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ يَتْلُو
That will reach your rese…revelations to him. It’ll… he’ll read upon them your miracles, your messages.
(2:129)
وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ
And he will cleanse them…or uh…He actually says
(2:129)
وَالْحِكْمَةَ الْكِتَابَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ
He’ll teach them the law, he’ll teach them wisdom and he will cleanse them. And so we see that fulfilled because it literally, the prophet came to cleanse the legacy of Abraham at that place, at that same house and he himself…uh…uh… when we actually uh…commemorate and praise our own messenger, we actually make mention of the fact that Abraham prayed for him.

السلام عليه إبراهيم بعثتهي ودعالی

That you know,
May Allah send peace upon the messenger for whom Abraham prayed, for his coming, you know. And he would often refer to him as his father Abraham… as his father Ibrahim. This is very beautiful as we see that connection between Abraham and our own faith. The other…uh… interesting new ones is that Allah highlights… the Qur’an highlights… umm… special places. So… There are messengers that are associated with certain locations, like Mount Sinai for Moses, right. And then when He talks about Makkah, He says this entrusted house

(95:3)
الْأَمِين الْبَلَدِ وَهَٰذَا

This entrusted house and that oath when god swears by this entrusted house, meaning this beautiful city, He’s actually referring to 2 messengers in one location. He’s referring to the one who began and inaugurated this city, Abraham and the one who finally came and made it a legacy for the true faith until the end of times and that is Muhammad. So He associated both of them with that city. So when we think of Makkah we don’t think of Muhammad , we think of Abraham and Muhammad

IA: How can those of us who revere Abraham… uh…you know, learn from him and emulate him more in our daily lives in addition to the Hajj, just more on a practical level.

NAK: Sure. I think probably the most powerful legacy of Abraham is inquiry. Genuinely searching for the truth. And believing that… that God will not leave you without guidance. And, you know… this require… it’s a 2 part thing. When you have to have faith in god himself and the other you have to have faith in the fact that god will guide you if you are sincere. That is the legacy that he truly left behind. That we should not think of ourselves as abandoned. We should think of ourselves as in the care of god, right. So I personally believe that the legacy of Ibrahim or Abraham is for one to turn to god in all of their sincerity and ask Him for guidance and then be willing emotionally and physically, be ready, to take that guidance when it comes and to be willing to do what it takes to accept it. Because you don’t ask for a gift and then throw it away once it’s given, right. So that is the …that is the… the legacy of Abraham to all human beings. And that’s the beautiful thing was he built this house, he didn’t say make this a place for just those who believe in me, he said للناس, for all people. Make this place special for all people. Make it a…He sends the invitation to all of humanity and that’s why even if we are not genetically tied to Abraham, we are still calling him our father, because of that legacy. He became the father figure in Islam.

IA: Okay. Thank you very much.

Standard