"O Allah! We seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) We seek strength, and We ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and We do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (We are about to take) is better for my religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for us and make it easy for us and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for us. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for us, bad for our religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from us and turn us away from it and whatever is better for us, ordain [destine] that for us and then make us satisfied with it."
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Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu
Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.
Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].
When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].
Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.
The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
"O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (It was related by al-Bukhari)
“Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.”
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
MUSLIM ANCIENT SCIENTIST PART 2
Based on the book Introduction to the History of Science by George Sarton (provided with photos and portraits)Edited and prepared by Prof. Hamed A. Ead
George Sarton's Tribute to Muslim Scientists in the "Introduction to the History of Science,"
"It will suffice here to evoke a few glorious names without contemporary equivalents in the West: Jabir ibn Haiyan, al-Kindi, al-Khwarizmi, al-Fargani, al-Razi, Thabit ibn Qurra, al-Battani, Hunain ibn Ishaq, al-Farabi, Ibrahim ibn Sinan, al-Masudi, al-Tabari, Abul Wafa, 'Ali ibn Abbas, Abul Qasim, Ibn al-Jazzar, al-Biruni, Ibn Sina, Ibn Yunus, al-Kashi, Ibn al-Haitham, 'Ali Ibn 'Isa al-Ghazali, al-zarqab, Omar Khayyam. A magnificent array of names which it would not be difficult to extend. If anyone tells you that the Middle Ages were scientifically sterile, just quote these men to him, all of whom flourished within a short period, 750 to 1100 A.D."
On 8 June, A.D. 632, the Prophet Mohammed (Peace and Prayers be upon Him) died, having accomplished the marvelous task of uniting the tribes of Arabia into a homogeneous and powerful nation.
In the interval, Persia, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, the whole North Africa, Gibraltar and Spain had been submitted to the Islamic State, and a new civilization had been established.
The Arabs quickly assimilated the culture and knowledge of the peoples they ruled, while the latter in turn - Persians, Syrians, Copts, Berbers, and others - adopted the Arabic language. The nationality of the Muslim thus became submerged, and the term Arab acquired a linguistic sense rather than a strictly ethnological one.
As soon as Islamic state had been established, the Arabs began to encourage learning of all kinds. Schools, colleges, libraries, observatories and hospitals were built throughout the whole Islamic state, and were adequately staffed and endowed.
In the same time, scholars were invited to Damascus and Baghdad without distinction of nationality or creed. Greek manuscripts were acquired in large numbers and were studied, translated and provided with scholarly and illuminating commentaries.
The old learning was thus infused with a new vigor, and the intellectual freedom of men of the desert stimulated the search for knowledge and science.
In early days at least, the Muslims were eager seekers for knowledge, and Baghdad was the intellectual center of the world.
Historians have justly remarked that the school of Baghdad was characterized by a new scientific spirit.
Proceeding from the known to the unknown; taking precise account of phenomena; accepting nothing as true which was not confirmed by experience, or established by experiment, such were fundamental principles taught and acclaimed by the the masters of the sciences.
The Islamic Empire At Its Greatest Extent 750 c
The Time of Jabir Ibn Haiyan
Second half of Eighth Century
The intellectual relaxation which characterized the second half of the seventh century and the first half of the eighth was followed by a period of renewed activity which was entirely due to Muslim initiatives, that is why this period gave an Arabic name marking the beginning of Muslim science. The name Jabir Ibn Haiyan came from the highly important contributions by him in this period. Jabir's texts, whether in Arabic or Latin, are one of the most urgent and promising tasks of scholarship. He will remain a very impressive personality.
Imaginative portrait of Jabir Ibn Haiyan
(Photograph, A. Chelazzi, Florence,...Makers of Chemistry, E. L. Holmyard)
Cultural Background of this Period in the East
Two rulers of the Abbasid caliphs used their authority to promote the intellectual welfare and progress of the peoples, and distinguished themselves greatly in this respect; the second, al-Mansur (founded Baghdad) and the fifth, Harun-al-Rashid (whose fame has been immortalized by many legends). Both caliphs encourage the work of translators who were busily unlocking the treasures of Greek knowledge.
Abu Ja'far 'Abdallah al-Mansur, i.e. the victorious. Died in 775 at Bir Maimun, near Mecca, at the age of 63 - 68 Muslim years (Hegra), i.e. 61-66 Christian years. He was the second 'Abbasid caliph and ruled from 754 to his death.
He was a great statesman and the founder of Baghdad. Memorable because of the many translations from the Syriac, Persian, Greek, and Hindu languages into the Arabic which were accomplished in his reign.
Harun al-Rashid, born in 763 or 766 at al-Ray; died at Tus in 809. Caliph from 786 to his death; the fifth and one of the greatest 'Abbasid monarchs. Magnificent patron of science, art, and literature. Many more Greek works were translated by his order. In 807 he presented a very remarkable water-clock to Charlemange (King of the Franks since 768; crowned Emperor of the West on Christmas 800 by Leo III in Rome)
Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy
All of the mathematical and astronomical work of this period was done by Muslims. It is interesting to recall that the mathematical work of the previous period had been done almost exclusively by Chinese. Some amount of stimulation had come from India. In addition to transmission of some Hindu mathematics.
Ibrahim al-Fazari is said to have been the first Muslim to construct astrolabes.
Ya'qub ibn Tariq and Muhammad, son of Ibrahim al-Fazari, are the first to be mentioned in connection with Hindu mathematics: Ya'qab met at the court of al-Mansur, a Hindu astronomer called Kankah (?), who acquainted him with the Siddhanta, and Muhammad was ordered to translate it. The physician al-Batriq translated Ptolemy's Quadripartitum. Two astrologers, one of them a Jew named Mashallah, the other a Persian called al-Naubakht, worked together to make the measurements necessary for the building of Bagdad. Al-Naubakht's son, al-Fadl, wrote astrological treatises and translations from the Persian into Arabic.
Abu Ishaq Ibrahlm ibn Habib ibn Sulaiman ibn Samura ibn Jundab. Died c. 777.
Muslim astronomer. The first to construct astrolabes, he wa the author of a poem (qasida) on astrology and of various astronomical writings (on the astrolabe, on the armillary spheres, on the calendar).
H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomer der Araber (3, 208, 1900)
Ya'qub Ibn Tariq
Probably of Persian origin, flourished in Baghdad, c.767-778 died c. 796. One of the greatest astronomers of his time. He probably met, c. 767, at the court of al-Mansur, the Hindu Kankah (or Mankah?), who had brought there the Siddhanta. He wrote memoirs on the sphere (c. 777), on the division of the kardaja; on the tables derived from the Siddhanta.
H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomer der Araber (p. 4, 1900)
Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Al-Fazari
Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Fazari. Son of the astronomer Ibrahim dealt with above, for whom he is sometimes mistaken (he may be the author of the astrological poem ascribed to his father). Died c. 796 to 806. Muslim scientist and astronomer. He was ordered by the Caliph al-Mansur in 772/3 to translate the Sanskrit astronomical work Siddhanta. This translation was possibly the vehicle by means of which the Hindu numerals were transmitted from India to Islam.
H. Suter: Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber (p. 4,1900).
Cantor: Geschichte der Mathematik (I, 3rd ed., 698, 1907).
D. E. Smith and L. C. Karpinski: The Hindu-Arabic Numerals (p.92, Boston, 1911)
His real name was probably Manasseh (in Arabic, Misha). Latin translators named him Messahala (with many variants, as Macellama, Macelarma). Mashallah is a contraction of ma'aha Allah meaning "What wonders Allah has willed." (What hath God wrought.) Flourished under al-Mansur, died c. 815 or 820. One of the earliest astronomers and astrologers in Islam, himself an Egyptian (?) Jew. Only one of his writings is extant in Arabic, but there are many mediaeval Latin and Hebrew translations. The Arabic text extant deals with the prices of wares and is the earliest book of its kind in that language. He took part with the Persian astrologer al-Naubakht in the surveying preliminary to the foundation of Baghdad in 762-63. His most popular book in the Middle Ages was the 'De scientia motus orbis', translated by Gherardo Cremonese.
Text and Translation. The De scientia motus orbis is probably the treatise called in Arabic "the twenty-seventh;" printed in Nuremberg 1501, 1549. The second edition is entitled: 'De elementis et orbibus coelestibus', and contains 27 chapters. The De compositione et utilitate astrolabii was included in Gregor Reisch: Margarita phylosophica (ed. pr., Freiburg, 1503; Suter says the text is included in the Basel edition of 1583). Other astronomical and astrological writings are quoted by Suter and Steinsehneider.
An Irish astronomical tract based in part on a mediaeval Latin version of a world by Messahalah. Edited with preface, translation, and glossary, by Afaula Power (Irish Texts Society, vol. 14, 194 p., 1914. A relatively modern translation of the De scientia motus orbis, the preface is uncritical).
Astronomers Using Astrolabe
It is noteworthy that the earliest alchemical texts in Arabic and Latin are contemporaneous, that is, if our dating of them is correct. The most famous alchemist of Islam, Jabir Ibn Haiyan, seems to have had a good experimental knowledge of a number chemical facts; he was also an able theoretician.
Jabir ibn Haiyan
Abu Musa Jabir ibn Haiyan al-Azdi (al-Tusi, al-Tartusi; al-Harrani meaning that he was a Sabian?; al-Sufi). Flourished mostly in Kufa, c. 776, he was the most famous Arabic alchemist; the alchemist Geber of the Middle Ages. He may be the author of a book on the astrolabe, but his fame rests on his alchemical writings preserved in Arabic: the "Book of the Kingdom," the "Little Book of the Balances," the "Book of Mercy," the "Book of Concentration," the "Book of Eastern Mercury," and others. According to the treatises already translated (by Berthelot), his alchemical doctrines were very anthropomorphic and animistic. But other treatises (not yet available in translation) show him in a better light. We find in them remarkably sound views on methods of chemical research; a theory on the geological formation of metals; the so-called sulphur-mercury theory of metals (the six metals differ essentially because of different proportions of sulphur and mercury in them); preparation of various substances (e.g. basic lead carbonate; arsenic and antimony from their sulphides). Jabir deals also with various applications, e.g. refinement of metals, preparation of steel, dyeing of cloth and leather, varnishes to water-proof cloth and protect iron, use of manganese dioxide in glass making, use of iron pyrites for writing in gold, distillation of vinegar to concentrate acetic acid. He observed the imponderability of magnetic force.
It is possible that some of the facts mentioned in the Latin works, ascribed to Geber and dating from the twelfth century and later, must also be placed to Jabir's credit. It is impossible to reach definite conclusions until all the Arabic writings ascribed to Jabir have been properly edited and discussed. It is only then that we shall be able to measure the full extent of his contributions, but even on the slender basis of our present knowledge, Jabir appears already as a very great personality, one of the greatest in mediaeval science.
Text and Translations:- M. Berthelot: La chimie au moyen age (vol. 3, L'alchimie arabe, Paris,1893. The Arabic text of a few of Jabir's writings is edited by Octave Houdas. French translation, p. 126-224. See E. J. Holmyard's criticism in Isis, XI, 479-499, 1924). Ernst Darmstaedter: Die Alchemie des Geber (212 p., 10 pl.; Berlin, 1922. German translation of the Latin treatises ascribed to Geber; reviewed by J. Ruska in Isis, V, 451-455, concluding that these Latin treatises are apocryphal); Liber misericordiae Geber. Eine lateinisehe ubersetzung des grosseren Kitab al-rahma (Archive fur Geschichte der Medizin, vol. 17, 181-197, 1925; Isis, VIII, 737).
Page of one of Jabir's Chemical Works in Arabic
Figures of some Alchemical Processes in Arabic Manuscript
An illustration from an Arabic Manuscript in the British Museum
Portrait of Gaber Ibn Haiyan by an Egyptian artist