muslim empire

April 24th

Today is a day of mourning and remembrance that you might not be aware of. April 24th marks Yom Hashoah - a Jewish day of remembrance for the Holocaust - and it is also the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. In the 1910’s, almost 1.5 million Armenians (about 98% of them Christian) were rounded up and slaughtered by the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the name of Islam and for absolute control. Then, in the 1930’s-1940’s, the Nazi party (helmed by the infamous Adolf Hitler) in an attempt to exercise complete control over Germany and Europe through “National Socialism,” captured and imprisoned and murdered upwards of six million Jews.

Seven and a half million people, systematically killed at the hands of an oppressive government in the name of power, within the past 100 years.

Let us remember them all and never forget that evil truly does exist in the world, and that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke.

A brief history lesson....

Oh so the only thing Arabs and Muslims bring is terrorism? I guess everyone forgot that….

1. Surgery
Around the year 1,000, the celebrated doctor Al Zahrawi published a 1,500 page illustrated encyclopedia of surgery that was used in Europe as a medical reference for the next 500 years. Among his many inventions, Zahrawi discovered the use of dissolving cat gut to stitch wounds – beforehand a second surgery had to be performed to remove sutures. He also reportedly performed the first caesarean operation and created the first pair of forceps.

2. Coffee
Now the Western world’s drink du jour, coffee was first brewed in Yemen around the 9th century. In its earliest days, coffee helped Sufis stay up during late nights of devotion. Later brought to Cairo by a group of students, the coffee buzz soon caught on around the empire. By the 13th century it reached Turkey, but not until the 16th century did the beans start boiling in Europe, brought to Italy by a Venetian trader.

3. Flying machine
“Abbas ibn Firnas was the first person to make a real attempt to construct a flying machine and fly,” said Hassani. In the 9th century he designed a winged apparatus, roughly resembling a bird costume. In his most famous trial near Cordoba in Spain, Firnas flew upward for a few moments, before falling to the ground and partially breaking his back. His designs would undoubtedly have been an inspiration for famed Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci’s hundreds of years later, said Hassani.

4. University In 859 a young princess named Fatima al-Firhi founded the first degree-granting university in Fez, Morocco. Her sister Miriam founded an adjacent mosque and together the complex became the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University. Still operating almost 1,200 years later, Hassani says he hopes the center will remind people that learning is at the core of the Islamic tradition and that the story of the al-Firhi sisters will inspire young Muslim women around the world today.

5. Algebra
The word algebra comes from the title of a Persian mathematician’s famous 9th century treatise “Kitab al-Jabr Wa l-Mugabala” which translates roughly as “The Book of Reasoning and Balancing.” Built on the roots of Greek and Hindu systems, the new algebraic order was a unifying system for rational numbers, irrational numbers and geometrical magnitudes. The same mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, was also the first to introduce the concept of raising a number to a power.
6. Optics/Magnifying Glass
Not only did the Arab world revolutionize mathematics – it also revolutionized optics. The scholar Alhazen (Abu al-Hasan) from Basra was the first person to describe how the eye works.He carried out experiments with reflective materials and proved that the eye does not sense the environment with “sight rays,” as scientists had believed up until then. He also discovered that curved glass surfaces can be used for magnification.His glass “reading stones” were the first magnifying glasses. It was from these that glasses were later developed. Furthermore, Alhazen wrote important scholarly texts on astronomy and meteorology.“ Many of the most important advances in the study of optics come from the Muslim world,” says Hassani. Around the year 1000 Ibn al-Haitham proved that humans see objects by light reflecting off of them and entering the eye, dismissing Euclid and Ptolemy’s theories that light was emitted from the eye itself. This great Muslim physicist also discovered the camera obscura phenomenon, which explains how the eye sees images upright due to the connection between the optic nerve and the brain.
7. Music
Muslim musicians have had a profound impact on Europe, dating back to Charlemagne tried to compete with the music of Baghdad and Cordoba, according to Hassani. Among many instruments that arrived in Europe through the Middle East are the lute and the rahab, an ancestor of the violin. Modern musical scales are also said to derive from the Arabic alphabet. The guitar, as we know it today, has its origins in the Arabic oud – a lute with a bent neck. During the Middle Ages, it found its way to Muslim Spain, where it was referred to as “qitara” in the Arabic of Andalusia. It is said that a music teacher brought one to the court of the Umayyad ruler Abdel Rahman II in the ninth century. The modern guitar developed as a result of many influences, but the Arabic lute was an important predecessor.
8. Toothbrush
According to Hassani, the Prophet Mohammed popularized the use of the first toothbrush in around 600. Using a twig from the Meswak tree, he cleaned his teeth and freshened his breath. Substances similar to Meswak are used in modern toothpaste.
9. The crank
Many of the basics of modern automatics were first put to use in the Muslim world, including the revolutionary crank-connecting rod system. By converting rotary motion to linear motion, the crank enables the lifting of heavy objects with relative ease. This technology, discovered by Al-Jazari in the 12th century, exploded across the globe, leading to everything from the bicycle to the internal combustion engine.
10. Hospitals
“Hospitals as we know them today, with wards and teaching centers, come from 9th century Egypt,” explained Hassani. The first such medical center was the Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital, founded in 872 in Cairo. Tulun hospital provided free care for anyone who needed it – a policy based on the Muslim tradition of caring for all who are sick. From Cairo, such hospitals spread around the Muslim world.

11. Marching bands Military marching bands date back to the Ottoman Mehterhane. These were bands which played during the entire battle and only ceased their music-making when the army retreated or the battle was over.During the wars with the Ottoman Empire, the bands are thought to have made a considerable impression on European soldiers – after which they adapted the principle for their own use.

12. Parachute
A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn’t. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing.Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him. 

13. Shampoo
Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders’ most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

14. Vaccination
The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

15.  Pay Cheques The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad. 

16. Earth’s Shape?
By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth’s circumference to be 40, 253.4km - less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139. 

17. Gardens
Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip. 

18) Refinement
Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam’s foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today - liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

So…….. 

We literally SHAPED THE MODERN WORLD kiss my entire ass.  

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Sergeants Uniform of the 3rd Regiment of Zouaves of the French Army dated 1915 on display at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris

Before the start of the First World War, the Zouave uniform was famous in many armies in the 19th Century from the United States (both Union and Confederacy) to the Papal Sates and Poland. By 1915 however the bright and flowing uniform of the Zouave was replaced with this khaki uniform. It was part of a gradual modernisation of the French army with the colourful uniforms of the 19th century were being replaced either with khaki or bluish grey.

Colonial troops such as the Zouaves from Algeria and other French colonies in Africa fought on the Western Front with men and women from all over the world. After the war in 1926 the French government erected the Grand Mosque of Paris, in recognition of the bravery of the Muslim soldiers who died defending France and its people. During the Second World War the mosque became a refuge for Jews escaping the Nazis and Vichy Republic.

Suleiman the magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman empire (1494-1566)

You hear a lot about Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Napoleon. Don’t get me wrong these 3 people where awesome. They are all iconic national heroes in their own countries view. But what about Suleiman the magnificent? One of the greatest leaders the middle east ever knew. 

Suleiman of the house Osman was born in 1494. Like any Ottoman prince he was sent to a school to study science, maths and millitary tactics. He befriended a slave called Pargali Ibrahim. Who would later become the sultans most trusted adviser. Suleiman had little ruling experience before he became sultan. He had been appointed governor of Theodosia by his father. However when his father died in 1520. Suleiman was sat on the throne at the age of 26. Suleiman was looked an as more of a domestic king than a foreign powerhouse and an envoy of venice said that “all men would benefit from his rule”. 

Contrary to popular opinion Suleiman embarked on a campaign to conquer hungary and only a year later he captured Belgrade in 1521 and Rhodes in 1522. He was stopped at Vienna in 1529. But soon the Ottoman fleet dominated the red sea and soon the whole Mediterranean, waging war on the coasts of North Africa, Italy and Dalmatia. Suleiman doubled the empires terriotry and launched it into being a serious power player in the game of empires. 

At home Suleiman was a great reformer. He started his modern vision of an empire by appionting the Grand vizier of the Ottoman empire as Pargali Ibrahim (that slave he met in school). Bascially making him head of government and making him the most second most powerful man in the empire. 

Suleiman Ensured new dams, aqueducts and theological schools were built across the empire. Suleiman reformed the judicial system by adding in laws to prevent corruption and limit tax collector which resulted in many tax breaks for the working class. He made sure every prisoner had human rights and this earned him the name law giver. 

Culturally his one of the greatest poets in the islamic world and oversaw the “Golden age of the ottoman empire”. When artists flourished in their new social houses and the sultan kept many artists at court. Suliemans great architectural achievements included restoring the old walls of jerusalem and the dome of the rock which was sacred to all not only muslims but christians and jews aswell. 

As a poet Suleiman was admired. His greatest verse being 

The people think of wealth and power as the greatest fate,

But in this world a spell of health is the best state.
What men call sovereignty is a worldly strife and constant war;
Worship of God is the highest throne, the happiest of all estates

Suleiman died in 1520. It took get 300 years worth of decadent and incapable heirs to destroy what he had created. 

The Woman Who Saved A Religion

The tenth and final Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, founded an egalitarian religious warrior community called the Khalsa in 1699. His father had been beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, and Singh lived his life fighting the Muslim Mughul Empire. Four of his sons died before him, either fighting the Mughuls or executed by them. The Mughals were determined that this small new religion would submit, and convert. The Sikhs were literally fighting for survival.

In 1704, the Mughuls attacked the city of Anandpur. Under Gobind Singh, the Sikhs were initially victorious, so the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb sent a larger army, with two of his top generals. A full-out siege ensued. Water and food supplies were cut off, and multiple minor battles happened while the city slowly succumbed. At one point, about forty Sikh warriors deserted Gobind Singh, and returned home to their families.

According to legend a Sikh woman, Mai Bhago, heard of the desertions. She was not going to stand for it. Mai Bhago shamed the deserters to return, and fight, and she would join them. They all died in the fighting, and only Mai Bhago – and Gobind Singh – survived. In thanks for her heroism, Mai Bhago was made part of Singh’s personal bodyguard.

The Munshi Abdul Karim, 1888 (oil on canvas)

C19th. Rudolf Der G. Swoboda; 76.2x63.8 cms.
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2017

Munshies were native language clerks and accountants used in British India; Abdul Karim was a distinguished Munshi during the final 15 years of the reign of Queen Victoria, for whom this portrait was painted.

Sultanate of Women (Turkish: Kadınlar Saltanatı) was the nearly 130-year period during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire exerted extraordinary political influence over state matters and over the (male) Ottoman sultan. Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, the Valide Sultans (the leaders of the Harem), who effectively ruled the Empire. Most of these women were of slave origin, which was often the case for consorts of Ottoman sultans.

Do you miss the Prophet ﷺ ?

Have you ever felt that longing and yearning for someone you haven’t even met? Do you ever get that feeling of missing the Prophet ﷺ ?

If no, then this story I am about to share with you will definitely put you in tears as well as give you that feeling of longing for the Prophet ﷺ.
_____

This is a story about the muadhdhin of the Prophet ﷺ, Bilad Ib Rabah Radiyallahu Anhu. The story of his torture and unwavering faith is one of the famous stories in regards to the Sahabah, his Ahadun Ahad (Allah is One, Allah is One) somehow became his trademark that when we hear about him, we are refreshened with his strong built of faith.

It was said that when the Prophet ﷺ saw Bilal RA, after Abu Bakr RA took him and freed him from Umayyah Ibn Khalaf (his former master), he rose up and embraced Bilal RA like a parent embraces a child.

After then, Bilal RA became the Prophet’s ﷺ muadhdhin. He had such a melodious voice that whenever he would call the adhan, the hearts of the believers would be so moved that they would come to the masjid to worship one true god, Allah.

It is also said that whenever an event of difficulty or hardship comes to the Prophet ﷺ, he would ask Bilal RA to call the adhan by saying, “Bilal, relieve and soothe us through salah(prayer).”

Bilal RA was not just a muadhdhin of the Prophet ﷺ but also a very close companion. He used to carry water for ablution and walking stick for the Prophet ﷺ. Whenever the Prophet ﷺ would perform the wudhu, he would hold his shoes in his hands and Bilal felt honored for being the only one to do this service for the Prophet ﷺ.

Indeed, the love of Bilal RA for the Prophet ﷺ was boundless.

When the Prophet ﷺ passed away, Bilal RA was in full grief. He couldn’t accept the fact that the Prophet ﷺ whom he loved so dearly was no longer with him.

He asked himself: “Has the Messenger of Allah ﷺ really left us for good? Shall I not see him again until the Day of Resurrection? Since the truth of Islam will remain until the Day of Judgement, I shall continue calling the faithful to prayer.”

The next morning, as he started to say the adhan: “Allahu’akbar, Allahu’akbar”, his eyes started to search out the places where he saw the Prophet ﷺ only to find that he was no longer there. He then realized that he ﷺ had really returned to His Creator.

Bilal RA somehow controlled himself and said the next part but as he started the third part he could not control his emotions and he broke down in tears and collapsed. 

In response, many believers, young and old who were listening to him in their houses burst into tears.

The sahabah rushed to the masjid only to find Bilal RA lying on the ground crying like a baby and was asked, “What is that matter with you, O Bilal?” He replied with tears in his eyes: “I can’t say the adhan.”

Abu Bakr RA, who was the Khalifa that time came and asked him, “Bilal, what is the matter with you?” He replied “I will not say the adhan now that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has gone.” Abu Bakr RA was surprised and asked, “Who will then say the call to prayer for us?” Bilal RA said: “Find another caller to prayer.”

The sahabah accepted his request and he no longer called people to prayer.

Years have passed, Bilal RA still continued to uphold the testimony of tawheed and took part in various expeditions. When Palestine fell to the Muslim forces and the flag of Islam fluttered over the blessed land, ‘Umar RA, who was the Ameer ul Mumineen that time, set out to Palestine. This was the time when large parts of the world were under the sway of the Muslims.

The Muslims (who had defeated empires) had now gathered in Masjid Al Aqsa. The contingent included those persecuted by the Makkan pagans, who fought at Badr, and who took the bai’ah of Ridhwan just before the conquest of Makkah.

Dhuhr (noon) prayer came when ‘Umar RA saw Bilal RA and remembered the role he had played in the past.

‘Umar RA had implored Bilal RA to call the adhan, he refused at first but the sahabah urged him to agree to ‘Umar’s RA request.

He then stood up and called the adhan in deference to the sahabah.

The moment was so emotional that even though he was old, his voice was as moving as it was before and it resounded through the still air and it moved the hearts of all those who were present.

Everyone, including ‘Umar RA, the sahabah and those muslim warriors burst into tears and their sobbing reverberated throughout the masjid.

Indeed, the voice of Bilal RA has taken them all back to the days when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was still among them.
_____

Allahu’akbar. Subhan’Allah, does this story not move you to tears?

How beautiful must it have sounded to hear Bilal RA call the adhan? Indeed, a story like this makes us long for the Prophet ﷺ. It takes us all back to the days when Islam was at its pioneering days.

May Allah fill our hearts with love for the Prophet ﷺ and his sahabah RA, along with love for our brothers and sisters in faith and may He put in our hearts a sturdy and firm love in practising and following the sunnah of His beloved Messenger ﷺ. 

Amin
_____

Series of stories regarding Bilal RA were taken from

• Sahih Al Bukhari
• Sunan Abu Dawud
• Al Misk wal’Anbar fi Khutbu il Minbar, Al Qarni

Story was taken from Nafs Book, Umm Umar Khaled, pp. 152-153

Akbars Royal Bathing Chamber- Delhi, India 

Known as Akbar the Great, Akbar is most famous for creating harmony between the Muslim and Hindu people. Rather than forcing Hindu’s to convert to Islam, he accomodated them by taking part in their festivals, learning the languages and removing taxes placed on non-muslims. 

He was also the grandfather of Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal.

Old Statue of Don Afonso the Conqueror, the first Portuguese King.

His most famous victory was in 1139 at the battle of Ourique, where he defeated the armies of 5 Muslim Kings, during the Reconquista in Iberia.

The legend of the miracle of Ourique

Some years later after the battle, the idea of a miraculous intervention by Saint James in favor of the Portuguese appeared in the chronicles of the battle. 

Saint James (a.k.a. the Moor-Slayer) was widely venerated in Iberia, in such a way, that for centuries Iberian Kingdoms during war confrontations used a famous battle-cry exalting his name: (Por Santiago!)

In the legend, Don Afonso is visited before the battle by an old man who saw in a dream that Afonso would be victorious because God would intervene in his favor. He advised the King to leave the encampment alone when he heard the bell of the local chapel. Riding off he was surprised by a ray of light that showed him the sign of the cross and Christ on a crucifix. Don Afonso knelt in its presence and heard the voice of Christ who told him he would defeat the Moors, which he, through courage and his faith, succeeded the following day.

Afonso fought the Moors (Muslims) for 46 years.

24th April 1915: Armenian genocide begins 

Today, During the early hours of the morning the Ottoman law enforcement rounded up 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders from all over the empire and murdered them. Those who survived where deported. This marked the beginning of the Armenian genocide. 

The armenian people had lived in the Caucasus region of Eurasia for 3000 years. The first nation in the world to make christianity its official religion. Like states in the region. Armenia was swallowed by the mighty Ottoman empire in 1453. 

The Ottoman rulers and most of the Ottoman empire followed Islam and thus they discriminated against. Christians payed higher taxes and had little legal rights. There were fears that the Armenians were loyal to their religion over the Ottoman empire. 

When the young turks established a modern government in 1908. The Armenians were threatened even more. The young turks were nationalistic and saw the armenians as an enemy. When the Ottoman empire entered ww1 with the Austro Hungarians and the German empire. There were fears the Armenians would fight with the Russians, as Russia was a christian state. When Armenians started organising local volunteer battalions to fight the Axis powers, the Ottoman empire thought them traitors. All Armenians fighting for the Ottoman empire where pulled from the eastern front. 

On the 24th of April 1915. Armenian polticians, lawyers, doctors, teachers and other intellectuals were rounded up and killed. This was known as “Red Sunday” The Government sent out “Butcher battalions” made up of murderers and ex convicts. They hanged, shot, crucified, beheaded, mutilated, and burned Armenians wherever they could be found. Children where ripped from their mothers arms and sent to join muslim families. Woman where raped and turned into slaves. All where converted to Islam. Armenian property was seized and handed over to other families. 

At the start of the Genocide there were 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman empire, By 1922, 1.5 million of those Armenians were dead.           The Turkish government denies it was a genocide but insisting it was justified as the armenian community posed a threat to the empire.