Saturday, December 12, 2015

Maqasid Shari'ah

Maqasid shari'ah

Literally, maqasid shari'ah refers to the objective of shari'ah is to protect the well being of every human being lives in the Earth. Maqasid shari'ah itself developed through stages, like usul fiqh and fiqh. It did not established directly to be a single subject of study, but further developed from time to time until the time of Imam al-Shatibi,he recorded the maqasid shari'ah with complete explanations. Later on, more ulama' developed the conceptions of maqasid shari'ah until it is systematically arranged.

Maqasid shari'ah is an objective applied by the syara' to come out with a hukm, considering the public interests and also harmonizing the society as a whole. According to Ibnu Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the purpose of shari'ah is to safeguard people's interest and well-being both in the worldly life and the Hereafter.

The maqasid shari'ah is divided into three branches:

  1. Al-Dharuriyyat- This basic theory comprises five main things; al-din, al-nafs, al-'aql, al-nasl and al-mal. Evry religious matter that has been decided based on these maslahah will work out smoothly. Without maslahah considering these matters, there will be the instability of the society and it will also bring punishment in the Hereafter.
  2. Al-Hajiyyat- It is important for the need of reducing or preventing harm and make a situation more convenience for the people. But, without it, it will not bring such instability of the society like the one in al-Daruriyyat. It will just bring a kind of hardship for an individual's life. 
  3. Al-Tahsiyyat- To do good deeds and to practice good traditions. Without practicing it, it will not bring any harm or hardships to the society and individual, but it will not portray an individual's good way of life.
Maqasid shari'ah and education

Basically, maqasid shari'ah is significance of preserving human development and well being. It is considered  as a blessing for all mankind because this system did not restricted to only Muslims or certain group of people, but it was introduced as an integral concept. It comprises improving one's life condition, preserving dignity and respect, brotherhood, social justice, uplift the people's spirit and moral, provide proper education for the people and others.

Maqasid shari'ah also explained the theory of faith enrichment. The society should be given proper motivation and proper education to strengthen their faith towards al-din. The education system must be based on the worldview subjects like tawheed, khilafah, risalah and also the knowledge about akhirah. This will be resulted with a good system of governance with the people became more educated, mainly enabling the environment of righteousness, integrity, solidarity and stability.

The preservation of education according to maqasid shari'ah is the enrichment of al-'aql. The government should provide a proper education system to the people and give financial support and provide enough facilities. Besides, the students should also be exposed into the idea of freedom of thoughts and expression. This will generate the establishment of new ideas towards the betterment of the country and ummah itself. What is more important is that the education should be a balance system between the religious education and the other sciences. 

The ideal education system

  • The idea of education by Muhammas Natsir (Indonesia's Fifth Prime Minister)
If I am to be the Minister of Education of a state, I will refer to Muhammad Natsir's idea of education system. According to Muhammad Natsir, the Quran and Sunnah should be the main sources of knowledge, always encouraging people to learn and to observe knowledge. Knowledge and Islam can help to improve someone's faith and would trigger the spirit of seeking knowledge more. An Islamic education system would promote the idea of 'abid and khalifah al-ard, which would drive mankind towards being a good servant of Allah and to act as a proper leader in the world. 

Besides, an Islamic education system would be a balance system, weighing between the religious understanding and the other sciences. But the sciences should be the sciences directed people towards morality and good deeds; be the intermediary between the triangle relationship of (Allah- Human beings- Environment). This kind of education system will help to strengthen the paradigm and intellectual premises that centered to the well-being and improvement of the society.
Moreover, Islamic education never recognized the restrictions of education, which means that kind of act will made Islam to be seen as a religion of restrictions. So, Islam encourages the development of new ideas in various fields, as long as it is not opposing the Quran and Sunnah.

Muhammad Natsir's is really impressing when he revised the education system of Indonesia and made all schools to adopt Islamic subjects in the learning sessions, to prevent students from not knowing religion. This act seems had manage to balance the education system of Indonesia at that time. He also encouraged the establishment of Islamic schools that teach religious subjects besides highlighting the other modern subjects like mathematics, geography, history, literature and others. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sindh: The Gateway of Islam to India (Critical account)

Sindh was one of the important provinces located in today's Pakistan and India border. Sindh is famous for its fertile land and also is covered with green fields. Besides, it is also known with the name 'Mehran' or 'Bab al-Islam'. With the name of the 'Door of Islam', it means that Sindh area had been the first land to be introduced to Islam. Although Islam is not the religion of majority in India, Islam is known to be the second largest one in India besides Hindu. It existed in India since thousand years aback and had contributed a lot in Indian history. This fact was justified with the claim that Sindh became the first province to experience Islamic rule before the other places. 

In the time of Khulafa' al-Rashidun, particularly in the time of Umar r.a., from the suggestion of his governor, he sent a naval fleet to attack a port near Bombay, known as Thana. Not long after the first attack, Caliph Umar sent another naval fleet to Debal in Sindh. From this attack, which was led by Commander Al-Mughira, Raja of Sindh was victorious. Al-Mughira was killed at the battlefield and the Muslims fleet lose. Actually, there was another expedition from Iraq to Makran led by Commander Rabi ibn Ziad al-Harith.

In the time of Uthman r.a., there were numerous ship expeditions of the Arabs went to the west coast of India, insluding Sindh area. Mainly the ship expeditions were to engage in trade businesses and while doing the trade, the Arabs would preach Islam to the local people. Caliph Uthman was once sent a delegation of a Companions group to India, and this group managed to reach Sindh. After made some observation and research of the area, the delegation went back to the caliph and described the condition of Sindh. From their description, Sindh was a land of desert. and it was impossible for them to send any military expedition towards the area unless they would be just killing the soldiers in the desert. Upon hearing the information, Caliph Uthman refrained himself to send military expeditions there. But, however, the coming of Arab Muslims into the area at that time, more or less sparked the recognition of Islam among the local people.

Mainly, Islam was first widely known to come into India through the expansion of territory made by the Arabs during the Umayyad dynasty under the supervision of Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik. Caliph al-Walid under suggestion of his governor, Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Saqafi, sent a group of army led by a commander named Muhammad ibn Qasim al-Saqafi in the 706CE. In this expedition, Muhammad ibn Qasim was assisted by Abu al-Aswad Jahm.

Muhammad ibn Qasim

Sindh was actually a wide area consisting a number of smaller provinces including Debal, Armail, Makran and others, led by a Hindu raja, Raja Dahir who was residing in Debal. So, Muhammad ibn Qasim went to Debal and fight against Raja Dahir  as they refused to accept Islam. The Muslims sieged the city with a great resistance from the Hindus. Raja Dahir then realized for his defeat, tried to fled to Makran. Later, Raja Dahir who fled to Makran had to face another difficulties against the Muslims army. The Muslims army who knew about this escape plan, went to the force and captured the Raja. Consequently, Raja Dahir forces were defeated and thus, Muslims moved further into Sindh. More, and more cities came to be under Muslims' hands. The captured of Debal, Qanzbur and Armail helped Muslims to go deeper into Sindh. From there, the army of Muhammad ibn Qasim marched towards the other cities like Sehwan and Multan, until they managed to capture the entire province in Sindh. After the captures, Muhammad ibn Qasim was appointed as the governor of Sindh by Caliph al-Walid.

At Sehwan and Nerun, the Muslims also faced a great resistance from the local people. However, with a strong determination and spirit, they managed to defeat the Hindus. In the cities, Muslims built mosques to replace the Hindu temples. A huge amount of booties were gathered including gold, jewelries, women and children were sent to the central administration to serve the caliphate. This group managed to successfully captured Sindh which situated along the bank of Indus River. This group of Arab people however besides capturing the cities, they also taught Islam to the locals. Muhammad ibn Qasim and his people helped to establish Islamic political ideologies in the province. If they found the Hindus refused to follow Islamic teachings, but still did not fight against them, they would not force them, but would be treated with respect. This idea was all according to the Quran, which says: "There is no compulsion in (acceptance of) Religion." (Surah al-Baqarah; 256). This verse mainly telling a Muslims to not force a non-believer to accept Islam. Islam is a clear religion and clear evidences has been provided to justify Islam, and it is Allah alone that will direct or open a man's heart to embrace Islam.

The people of Sindh at that time became the first persons who lived under the banner of Islam from any other provinces as the Arab Muslims came through this province to enter India. After conquering this place, Muhammad ibn Qasim applied Islamic policy in this region, without forcing the people to change their everyday customs. The Brahmans were allowed to collect taxes and the Buddhists were given opportunity to keep their temples. This policy helped Muslims to be accepted by the locals and they became interested to learn about the religion which led to the conversion of the locals into Islam.

However, there are some critiques saying that Islam came into Sindh before expanded into India through violence and force. But, there is no strong evidence to prove such statements. If the Muslims really brought Islam through force, the local Hindus and Buddhists would not tolerate with them, but what had happened was that, the people voluntarily converted to Islam. And this matter did not occurred only in that region, but also throughout India. 

From history, we know that there were Muslims came into India, especially in the southern and western shores of India to do trading business. And, those Muslims might contributed in some extent to preach Islam while doing their businesses. How long they have travelled across India while living there to reach Sindh and introduce Islam to the people? Or did they really have a deep knowledge of Islam to be able to preach it? And besides, as merchants, maybe their scope of mingling might be around those people who got involved with their trade business only. So, when Islam arrived Sindh through the Arabs conquest, it marked the starting point when the local people of Hindu and Buddhism to live within the Muslims presence. 

The Arab Muslims that came into Sindh who were appointed as administrators, governors or supervisor in administration would reside among the locals as their neighbours to be an easy access for the people if they have any problem to consult these officials. Besides, they were also shops owned by Muslim traders. Muslim traders were considered as more trustworthy in business. From there, the local people started to learn about the beauty of Islam and some of them even converted to Islam. Moreover, the interactions of locals and the Muslim traders led to the cultural mixing and Islam started to established in Sindh.

Alongside with the administrators, the Muslims came into this area were also included with a numerous number of ulama' and dai'e. There were numerous missionaries visited Sindh during the Arab period. The ulama' and dai'e in the missionaries were responsible in the process of converting the people of Sindh. A number of Sindh lords, rajas and the prominent Hindus were attracted and converted to Islam under their supervision. And, it is believed that the most successful missionary was the one that had been joined by Muhammad Alfi, the earliest Sufi reached the Indian land together with Muhammad ibn Qasim.

Under the Islamic rule, the non-Muslim government had to pay for annual tribute as a sign of loyalty to the Islamic Caliphate. Apart from that, any non-Muslim who refused to convert into Islam would have to pay jizyah. Jizyah is a kind of tax imposed over the non-Muslims for their protection while living under the Islamic administration. The people who need to pay for it were the non-Muslims men or the head of the family, who actually suitable and physically fit to serve in the army, but did not serving in it. Another tax imposed was kharaj or the land tax. This is also a tax for the non-Muslims but did not really burden the people with its low percentage from a person's income.

Besides that, when Islam arrived Sindh, it abolished the caste system that had been practiced by the local Hindus. Islam promotes equality and justice so all the people would be on the same level and only faith would differentiate people. Before Islam came, the Hindus who would like to run away from the caste system would take refuge under Buddhism, but when Islam came into Sindh, the chose Islam.The coming of Islam into Sindh was actually benefited the local people in abolishing the caste system that humiliated people from under privileged class. The group of higher class people or the Brahmans controlled the administration and did not let the people from  lower class to particpate in any political activity. So, that was why there were also local people who were willingly supported the Muslims to come into their region. 

Besides, the caste system did not also affect the political field. The lower class people were prohibited in learning how to write and read. In much simple words, they were left illiterate. From the fact of their illiteracy, they could not even read their own Holy Scriptures. In fact, the reading of Holy Scriptures itself was prohibited to be done by the lower class citizens. From the history, we can see that during the early period of Muslims conquest of Sindh, the Buddhists themselves received the Muslims with a big hand because they did not favour the Hindu ruler, Raja Dahir who chose to fight against them. 

In the records, Muhammad ibn Qasim's administration was described as the most liberal in the Indian history. He treated the non-Muslims with justice and equality. Of course in some provinces, he appointed Hindus to be the senior officials to help the Muslim governors in managing the state's affairs. But, there were also some provinces that he did not change the administration system. The current Hindu or Buddhist ruler would stay to be the ruler and they would have to pay their allegience towards the Islamic Caliphate. Besides, there were also Brahmanas that became so loyal to Muhamamd ibn Qasim. They even voluntarily went from village to villages to promote their supports for the Muslims. What is to be said, when the news of Muhammad ibn Qasim's death reached them,these people even built his statue and embraced it for a long period of time to show their respect and sincerity. 

Muhammad ibn Qasim expedition map
After Muhammad ibn Qasim died, the Muslims expedition to continue from Sindh into the greater India had been slowed down. There was no qualified ruler or commander to perform this duty. It was then until three centuries later that another Muslims expedition came into India. It was led by Sultan Mahmud al-Ghaznavi from Afghanistan. These expeditions by Sultan Mahmud again raise Islam to its expansion and put the whole India under Muslims' hands. There were also larger number of ulama' and dai'e came into Sindh and India to preach Islam during Sultan Mahmud's time. 

As a conclusion, we may say that Sindh could be the gateway for Islamic expansion in India. Although the Arab Muslims influence was just temporary, but their effort by making Sindh as a fort for a launching pad before entering the larger India had been a success. From there, they managed to enter Indian lands and that was why Sindh is called 'The Gateway of Islam' and maybe it was suitable to be known as the gateway for India too. However, there is also another view stated that Kerala was actually the earliest part of India that had received Islam. It refers to the story of one group from the Prophet s.a.w's Companions came into India in the 7th CE, and they built a mosque there. Today, that mosque is known as the first mosque in India, named Masjid Cheraman Juma. Another view available stated that Islam might be arrived earliest in Kalakari, Tamil Naidu with the building of another mosque that is believed to be oldest mosque in India; The Old Jumma Masjid. This mosque was built by the Yemeni traders settled in the area in 7th CE by the request of a Yemeni governor resided there at that time.

Keith Syakil, Dec 10, 2015.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Baghdad as The Best Islamic City During The Time of Caliph Harun al-Rashid (Architecture & Social Contacts)




Baghdad as The Best Islamic City During The Time of Caliph Harun al-Rashid (Architectural & Social contacts)

Caliph Harun al-Rashid was one of the prominent caliphs in the early period of Abbasid Caliphate. He was widely known by his successful administration and it marked the peak of the caliphate's glorious era during his time. There were so many changes made by Caliph Harun al-Rashid to make the government became more systematic and organized, until Baghdad which was the caliphate's capital became the best model of Islamic city.

One of the reasons why Baghdad became the best model of Islamic city was because its architectural design. The city was built in an organized way, surrounded by strong, thick walls. The caliph's palace was built in the middle of the city along side with the centre mosque. Then, the residency of the soldiers would be inside the outer wall; this would be easier for them to protect the city wall. Besides, the organized residency of the countrymen would be outside the outer wall. The city was built in a round-shape because it will be easier for the soldiers to detect the incoming dangers from the outside of the wall.

Besides, the city was also provided with a canal system. The canals were connected to every house in the city providing enough water supply for the people. there were also roads built connecting places in the city, and there were even roads covered with tar, mainly the main roads to the palace of the caliph. Another interesting system was the lighting of lamps at the main roads during the night time. So, from here, we can see that Baghdad was a great model of a city that have been taken as an example mostly by the Europeans during that time.

During the time of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, he emerged the system of Dawawin. Dawawin was a system which the administration was divided into several important departments to control their assigned affairs. During his time, he added new dawawin besides of what have already been established in the time of khulafa' al-rashidin. The new dawawin were like Diwan al-Shurtah, Diwan al-Zimam and Diwan al-Nazar fi al-Mazalim. The establishment of these new dawawin further helped to maintain the well-being of the city and the caliphate. And of course, the security of the people was also levelled up.

Furthermore, Baghdad was also famous with intellectual and learning activities. The Caliph was so encouraging in the field of learning. As from this fact, many scholars were born during his time and there were also many teachers were given opportunities to share their knowledge. Many madrasah, schools and educational institutions were founded and sponsored by the government. The most famous educational institution was Bayt al-Hikmah. Bayt al-Hikmah was known to be a library, school and the translation centre for various books.

Another important reason to justify Baghdad was the best model city is because the social system practiced by Caliph Harun al-Rashid. The Caliph did not practice any class or caste system but rather treated the people with justice and equality. All people were living peacefully despite their differences in faith and race. Religious tolerance was so much encouraged to maintain peace and harmony.

Besides that, the poor residents were not left behind, and they were given help by the government. As during Caliph Harun's time, many hospitals were built. From there, if a person was admitted into the hospital for his illness and he did not have money to pay for the treatment, the government would sponsor his treatment until he recovered. There were also orphanages built for orphans. A special institution for prisoners was also built to provide the prisoners with proper trainings for their self-improvements. Aside from that, asylums for the insanes were also built and proper treatments were provided for them.

The city of Baghdad

SHORT NOTES

Diwan al-Barid

Diwan al-Barid was established since the time of Caliph Umar al-Khattab. It was founded to be the office of postal system. But, in the Abbasid period, its official tasks were later been improved. Diwan al-Barid was led by an officer entitled Sahib al-Barid. This diwan managed all the matters involving the moving of letters, correspondence or any imperial orders across the world. In the Abbasid period, it was also used as the medium of spying and giving information for the caliphate.

Using horses to pass the mails

SHORT NOTES

The Importance of Health in Islam (Islamic Civilization)

Islam always encourages Muslims to take care of health and the well-being of the body. A human body is actually was given from Allah to the human as a sign of liability. So, a Muslim should know that as a borrower (of the body), he should take care of the body and provide a better healthcare for it. In the Islamic civilization, we can see that the previous rulers and scholars were encouraging the people to take care of health. The rulers often supported and encouraged scholars to produce medicines. Many scholars were also involved in learning on medical field and served as physicians to help curing people's illnesses. Besides, there were also many hospitals were built in the previous time to show the importance of health and to provide necessary healthcare for the people. Some of the hospitals were known as Ibnu Tulun Hospital, Al-Nuri Hospital, Al-Salahani Hospital and others.

Al-Razi treating a patient

Hospital in the mosque

The Importance of Tolerance, Universality and Rationalism as main Foundations of Islamic Foundation



Islamic civilization was founded on some important foundations involving many branches like economics, social and also politics. The Islamic foundations particularly in the political branch, it focused on the establishment of an Islamic government. By having an Islamic government that implemented the Islamic foundation, it would then led to the establishment of Islamic civilization. The Islamic foundations or principles that are important in the establishment of an Islamic government involve tolerance, universality and also rationalism

In Islam, it is important for Muslims to do justice. Justice here refers to the act of tolerance for all human beings who are living in the world. An Islamic ruler who was chosen to the throne, should implement the act of tolerance unto his people. This means to do justice for the people regardless of their backgrounds; whether they were Muslims or not, their skin colours or their different races. In the previous Islamic civilization, usually the Sultan or the ruler would try to implement the act of religious tolerance towards his people, where all the people including the Christians and the Jewish community could practice freely their religion. Besides, their places of worship also were given respect by the Muslims by not destroying them.

For example, during the time of Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh, after he captured Constantinople he did not kill the Christians who were seeking refuge in Hagia Sophia. He told them their lives would be spared and they could practice their religion freely in the city. After all, the people were joyful hearing the declaration of the Sultan. So, from there, even the Christians respected and paid their loyalty to the Islamic government. This event somehow showed the importance of tolerance in an Islamic government, that it could strengthen it by gaining support from the people.

Another important foundation in Islamic government is universality. As Islamic government further expanded into a wider area, it even included the non-Arab countries. From history, we would know that there were attempts made by some Arab rulers to spread the idea of Arabism. These Arab rulers did not agree with the Turkish people who were getting stronger in the Islamic government at that time. They started to preach the idea of Arabs superiority and this made the non-Arabs dissatisfied. It led to series of revolts against the Arab rulers. To highlight the importance of universality, the Arab rulers should not implement that idea in the first place as it obviously represented the feeling of Arabs superiority which means the opposite of universality. So, from history itself we can take that a government without the principle of universality would be in total disputes and stagnation.

Besides that, an Islamic administration in the Islamic civilization also implemented the principle of rationalism. Rationalism is an act of which the ruler governs his government based on reality and reasons. But, rationalism as an Islamic foundation does not only constitute of thinking and reasoning activities of the ruler. But, the ruler has to maintain and balance between reasoning and also the revelation of the Quran and Sunnah. By having these two subjects as the basis principle, the ideal Islamic government could be established.

Rationalism also means that the ruler should conduct all his affairs with all rationality and sound thinking without referring to any assumptions without proofs. All matters that are opposite to the Quran and Sunnah must be rejected. That is because all the issues that have been mentioned in the sources is the absolute truth and carry their own benefits. Thus, if the ruler follows what have been mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, it is most likely he will successfully maintain the harmony and peace of his government. And, all the people would support him as a ruler. This is exactly like in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) era, where all the people in Madinah were living peacefully under his supervision.

As a conclusion, the Islamic foundations are important to be implemented by every Islamic government. Any action that opposing the foundations will spark the disputes and downgradation of the Islamic rule. But, however, these principles were only meant to set up an ideal government according to the Quran and Sunnah while the Islamic governments that we are having today is the reality that we have to face.


December 4, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Is Africa a condemned and irredeemable land? -From Eurocentric and Afrocentric points of view.

The history of Africa is composed of different views since its early existence in the written sources, mainly from the European and African points of view. These different views particularly discussed on the beginning of the African history, whether it is true that the African history started in the nineteenth century or is it actually began earlier than that? And, is Africa really a condemned and irredeemable land?

The African Continent

Mostly the European scholars believed that Africa is a condemned land. They believed that Africa consisted of nothing important as requirements to be considered as a civilized land. But, however, in Afrocentric point of view, Africa was actually a rich land, nothing less than the other civilizations. They have a huge amount of natural resources; mainly from the woods and seas, they were also rich in cultural aspects as they constituted of various kind of tribes. And each tribe carried different norms and customs. Besides, they were also the main supplier of human labourers to the European continent and yet, the Europeans still considered Africa as a poor and condemned land.

African slaves in a ship to Europe


Besides, the European also believed that they were superior than the Africans. They always expressed their paternal attitudes towards the Africans even until today. They mentioned that their colonization of Africa mainly was to civilized the Africans. What is meant that without them the Africans would be forever left behind and uncivilized. Meanwhile, from Afrocentric view, this was taken to be only their reason to justify their act of colonization to Africa, and even to the other parts of the world. The main factor of European power to colonize Africa was actually to control its resources and to extend their power. 

 Moreover, the Europeans considered Africa as the land with no history before their meaningful contact with the Europeans in the nineteenth century. This was due to the fact that there was no available sources that mentioned on Africa before the nineteenth century; based on their perception. However, before the European came into the African continent, the Arab muslims have already made contacts to the land, as early as in the seventh century. It could be referred to the available Arabic sources that have been written since the seventh century, like Al-Tabari's book, 'Kitab al-Rusul wa al-Muluk', that mentioned about Africa although it might be only a small part of the book. However, due to the factor that the Europeans did not know Arabic, they just managed to consider like there was no available sources and those who were aware of the sources' existence, they hid their knowledge because of their own hidden agenda. So, basically Africa is not a ahistoric land as it was actually described in the Europeans' books. 

Example of today's African history book
With the fact that there was no any available written source found on Africa, the Europeans considered that was because the mass illiteracy among the Africans. This shows another sign of African backwardness. In contrast, Africa could be considered as a part of history before the nineteenth century, based on oral evidences. The Africans were speaking with the most ancient languages of the world like the Geeze and Scribes. The African history could be taken and analyzed from those available spoken sources as long as they were first checked and confirmed to be authentic. 

So, in the nineteenth century, particularly after the Second World War, a number of African countries revolted. This period was widely known as the African Renaissance. This occurred due to the Africans response towards the European paternal attitudes over the Africans. They basically wanted a more equal atmosphere to be given to them. When the Europeans came into Africa, they brought together with them religion (Christianity) and they forced the Africans to accept their religion. Beside that, with the feeling of African inferiority, they took the Africans' lands, with justification to develop them. Unlike the Arab muslims before, the Africans were not forced to accept Islam but mainly came to Africa to do trade expeditions and show some good examples of life to them. So, from there, the Africans were attracted and ready to accept Islam. The African Renaissance was actually a period of when the Africans wanted to confront the European harshness towards Africa.

In conclusion, the African land was not actually a condemned land. It is rich with various kind of resources, and it is a civilized land by its own way. Despite the believe of European superiority over Africa, it is noted that the Arab muslims who were the earliest ones arrived in Africa and witnessed the live of the people there. From there, the Africans managed to lift their life standards by making contacts with the muslims and later develop their own civilization to prove that Africa is actually a rich and blessed land in contrast to what the Europeans believed what they were. 





African muslim women in congregational prayer

African children in a dance performance


Africa, the land of Safari!

-By Keith Syakil, November 12, 2015.

Friday, July 10, 2015

::Sweet Honey Cornflakes:: with almond

Sweet Honey Cornflakes ~



(100+ cups)

Ingredients:

6 cups of cornflakes
200 g almond flakes
1 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoon sugar
Paper cups
Chocolate rice

How to?

1. Add the cornflakes and the almond flakes in a bowl and mix them evenly. 


Set aside.

2. Put the butter in a cooking pan, together with honey and sugar. Cook and stir well until the mixture melt. 

3. Pour the butter mixture into the cornflakes bowl. Mix the butter mixture and the cornflakes altogether using a spatula.

4. Then, spoon the cornflakes into the paper cups. Sprinkle the chocolate rice over the cornflakes in the paper cups. It will give some colour to the cornflakes !

5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes in the oven preheated with 140C. 

6. Make sure to leave the cornflakes to cool slightly before keeping them in a jar !
Now, it's time to eat !


SELAMAT MENCUBA ! (:



Thursday, July 9, 2015

::Yummy Banana Cake:: with caramel sauce

yummy Banana Cake ~


Yummy Banana Cake !!!

Bahan-Bahan:

2 biji telur
2 cawan tepung gandum
1 sudu teh baking soda
1 sudu teh baking powder
3 1/2 sudu besar butter + 100g extra butter
1/2 cawan brown sugar+ 3/4 cawan extra brown sugar
pisang -dipotong slices (cukup untuk cover permukaan adunan dalam dulang)
            -mashed *dilenyek (sebanyak mana yang dikehendaki)
1/2 cawan susu cair @ sehingga mencukupi
walnut@almond cincang *optional-kalau xdak pon xpa

Bahan Caramel Sauce: 

300ml cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
80g butter

Cara-caranya:

1. Masukkan 1/2 cawan brown sugar ke dalam dulang pembakar dan ratakan. Masukkan 3 1/2 butter ke atas brown sugar tadi dan ratakan ke seluruh dulang. 



Letakkan di dalam oven yang telah siap dipanaskan pada suhu 200C dalam masa 5-10 minit sehingga butter cair. 

2. Apabila butter sudah pun cair, keluarkan dulang dan kacau rata adunan kedua-dua bahan tadi. Kemudian, susun pisang yang dipotong slices ke atas adunan.


Ketepikan.

3. Dalam mangkuk yang lain, masukkan extra butter, telur, pisang lenyek, extra brown sugar, tepung gandum, baking soda dan baking powder. Kacau rata dan jangan kacau terlalu lama. ( Beat lightly and DON'T OVERBEAT!) 
Tuang susu cair dan kacau perlahan-lahan. 
Jika anda menggunakan walnut@badam, masukkan ke dalam adunan ini.

4. Tuang ke dalam dulang, ke atas susunan pisang tadi. 

5. Bakar dalam oven yang telah dipanaskan pada suhu 200C dalam masa 30-40 minit.

> Untuk pastikan kek sudah masak, cucukkan lidi di tengah-tengah adunan dan keluarkan. Jika teksturnya lembab dan tidak melekat pada lidi, that means kek sudah pun  masak !

Caramel Sauce:

Masukkan bahan-bahan caramel sauce ke dalam periuk. Masak dan kacau dalam masa 5-10 minit sehingga gula cair. Apabila sauce sudah menjadi sedikit pekat, matikan api dan sejukkan. 
Tuang ke atas kek untuk rasa yang lebih umph!  ketika serving....
Sedia dijamah !!



NOTE: Saya tak buat pon caramel sauce tu. But still, cake tu dah cukup manis dan sedap dah. Tapi, kalau nak lebih rasa, bolehlah try buat caramel sauce tu ~ hehehe

SELAMAT MENCUBA !


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Mechanisms of the Osmanli (Ottoman) Diplomatic Relations with European Empires and the Muslim Worlds

In previous times, the diplomatic relations among states usually comprises negotiation, arbitration, mediation and treaties. So, Osmanli did having some treaties and negotiations with other states, including the European states.

Gift exchanges often being practiced during that time. For example during the time of Sultan Suleyman, he received an expensive portrait of Mehemmed al-Fatih made by a famous Italian artist. Usually, this gifts exchange symbolized recognition of superiority of the state. Although the Osmanli and Mamluks sometimes were not having a good relation, they indeed have a good time together. Just like when Sultan Murad 1’s time, while the Osmanlis were preparing to march to another state, then the Borquq envoy arrived, bringing together with them gold and precious gifts to be given to the Sultan. And later, Sultan Murad replied by giving a huge number of gold back to the ruler of Egypt.
 Another practice is based on marriages. Some sultans, kings or noblemen married their sons or daughters to another ruler’s child to strengthen the states’ relationship. For example, Gazi Sultan Murad marrried his son, Yildrim Beyazid to the daughter of Suleyman Shah (the ruler of Germiyan Emirate). From that marriage, he received few states as dowry.

Osmanli was also having a good relationship with European states, especially in trading system. The merchants came to Osmanli territories brought benefits to the devlet. To attract more European merchants coming into Osmanli areas, the sultan established the Ahdname system.
Ahdname system is literally known as the letter of promise. This letter of promise was not a peace treaty, but basically it was a business treaty. As for that time, ambassadors usually represented the merchants and not the political leaders. This ahdname system is the high-ranking system containing oath made by the Osmanli sultan declaring the diplomatic and commercial relation between the states, the privileges, rights and personal immunities of the ambassador while being in the Osmanli areas. This means, the ambassadors were freed to Osmanli’s prosecution, judicial power and conscriptions. This led to more and more European people came into Osmanli territory.

Besides, the action of giving honorary titles to the leaders also became known as the style of diplomatic relations at that time. For example, Sultanu Guzat al-Mujahidin of Mamluks was called as Sultan of Champions and Warriors of the Faith. Another example is the title Al- Janab Al-Ali Al-Amiri, given to Mehmet 1 by the Mamluk officials. And even Sultan Mehemmed al-Fatih was given several good titles symbolizing his victory defeating Byzantine and opening Constantinople to Islam.
After the Byzantine Empire ended, the European power started to move into the Asian continent. The Portuguese at that time reached India. So, Mughal sultan at that time, Akbar asked help from Osmanli devlet to defeat the Portuguese influence in India. So, Osmanli sent such a big number of forces to India and helped Humayun against the Portuguese. This helped India free from Portuguese attacks for about two and a half centuries.

The relation between Osmanli and Safavid was also sometimes good, despite their endless wars. They did have several treaties made before waging wars again and again. Even after the victory of Sultan Mehemmed al-Fatih opening Constantinople, he even sent the letter of announcing the success to the Safavid sultan to share the great news.

2015, IIUM

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Origin and Development of Writing in Ancient Civilisations -summary

The Origin and Development of Writing in Ancient Civilisations

Introduction  
The earliest periods of human being living in cultural-like society were recorded to have started since before the Mesopotamian age. The pre-historic era was divided into several phase started with Palaeolithic Age, Mesolithic Age, Neolithic Age and Bronze Age. The next following ancient civilization era comprises Mesopotamian Civilization, Egyptian Civilization, Indian Civilization and Chinese Civilization. During these civilizations, human started to do innovations in various fields, and one of them is the writing system or literature.
Mesopotamia civilization      
The Mesopotamian age which was started from 6000 BC had brought together with its development in the writing system- the cuneiform. The cuneiform script includes ideograms, syllograms, phonetic complements and determinatives. The cuneiform script was widely spread even to northern Syria. The earliest writing system found in Mesopotamia was not less than three different languages and may be came in through immigrations. They were Sumerian and Semitic language Akkadian and others. During the Akkadian empire, Akkadian became the dominant language while Sumerian was still being used in administrative matters. The famous literature work made during this empire, the Epic of Gilgamesh was written in Akkadian. When the Sumerian renaissance evolved, the Sumerian was back in used in administration, and Akkadian remained in popularity. Later, the Aramaic became in used replacing Akkadian. The Hittites adopted the Akkadian cuneiform to write their language.
Egyptian civilization
The starting point of Egyptian early dynastic period is 3150 BC, divided into first and second dynasties of Egypt. The Egyptians developed hieroglyphic script which combined pictograms, ideograms and phonograms.  It was generally used in arts, carved on large stones and painted on walls. Later, it developed into hieratic, a cursive form of hieroglyph. It was used in paintings, manuscripts, administrative and archival notations, restricted to be used only by members of priest-hood. Hieroglyph and hieratic are both virtually identical. In seventh century BC, the later hieratic script evolved into demotic script. Demotic script is highly cursive script. The hieratic only remained for religious writing and demotic was adapted to be everyday use. In 12th century BC, the Luwian Hittites develop hieroglyph script.       
Indus civilization
On 3300-1300 Indus civilization flourished in the northwestern region of India. The language used by the Indus people was not yet known. Some scholars tried to conclude the language was Aryan or Dravidian. This little progress of result due to the very short and brief texts and the lack of bilingual text were found. The average numbers of symbols found on the seals are four to five and the longest are 26. The symbols also vary from seal to seal which make the interpretations remained ambiguous until now.
Chinese civilization
The Chinese writing system in sinitic form appeared during Shang and Zhou dynasties around 1000-1500 BC. The earliest form of writing is called oracle bone script, recognized by interpreting the patterns of the bones’ cracks. The first writing was not symbolically written down, but rather the pictograms were carved on jades or pottery to represent the ownership. The type of Chinese writing is logographic comprises signs and characters that represent words and morphemes. The related writing systems are the Japanese and Korean, which sharing many of the same characters and the phonetic scripts. The Chinese writing is still being used until now in its modern simplified form.
Greeks civilization
The modern European alphabets are actually the development of earlier alphabets invented and modified by Greeks. Between 2000-1001 BC, the Mycenaean Greeks adopted Linear B script but this script did not suit well to write Greek. During the late ninth century BC, the Greeks adopted vowels for alphabet in Phoenician script to make it suit with the Greek. There were many kinds of Greek alphabets to suit its local dialect. The Euboean kind was first arrived Italic peninsula and been adopted by Etruscan and Latin. Later, the Ionian kind was adapted to all Greek-speaking states. The writing system is also known as C & V alphabetic and it came from proto-sinaitic family.
Mesoamerican civilization
The Mesoamerican civilization started around 900 BC until 1697 CE. The writing system of this civilization developed from ‘picture-writing’ like to a more complex logophonetic type throughout the civilizations. They used hieroglyphic writing system same as the Egyptian’s hieroglyph as the symbols were seen so ‘picture-like’. The human body parts, especially legs and hands were drawn to denote actions or verbs. The writing system components of Mesoamerican civilization have started with the number system and the calendar long before the complex writing developed. The writing system of Mesoamerica ended during the invasion of Spanish. They forbade the use of any indigenous writing system and destroyed most books and manuscripts written in the Mesoamerican writing system. So, the natives used Latin to write their languages. But in 1990’s the natives can use and write again their own language and they fully contribute to analyze it.


Conclusion
In conclusion, the ancient societies held writing system as an important role in their everyday lives. The writings were used for administrations, transactions, manuscripts or even for religious logs. And there were also modifications of writings were made due to adjust the writings with their language. For the question of which civilization invented writing, writing was first invented independently in at least Mesopotamia, Ancient China and Mesoamerica. The cuneiform script could be considered as the first invented scripts as it was widely used in the other same-aged and later languages such as Sumerian, Hittites and Old Persian. But in recent discoveries, the writing system was assumed to be invented in Egypt and Indus, taken from Mesopotamia.
           

Bibliography
1.      Bai Shouyi. (2008). An outline history of China. (Rev. ed.). Beijing: Foreign
Languages Press.
2.      Bakshi, S. R. (Eds.). (1995). Advanced history of ancient India. New Delhi:
Anmol Publications.
3.      Burjor Avari. (2007). India: The ancient past. Oxon: Routledge.
4.      Coulmas, F. (1989). The writing systems of the world. (1st ed.). Oxford: Blackwell
Publishers.
5.      Coulmas, F. (Eds.). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems. Blackwell
Publishing, 1999. Blackwell Reference Online. 28 March 2014
6.      Grimal, N. C. (1994). A history of ancient Egypt. (I. Shaw, Trans.). Oxford:
Blackwell Publishers. (Original work published 1988).
7.      Lo, L. (n.d.). Greek. Retrieved March 25, 2014from
8.      Lo, L. (n.d.). Mesoamerican writing systems. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from
9.      Powell, B. B. (2012). Writing: Theory and history of the technology of civilization.
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
10.  Saggs, H. W. F. (1988). The greatness that was Babylon. (2nd ed.). Great Britain:
Sidgwick & Jackson Limited.


Ibrahim's Prayer to Allah SWT

Introduction

Allah clearly knows exactly the best place for Him to raise His Messenger. There are concrete reasons behind the selection of Arabian Peninsula as the place where the last Prophet has been raised. This selection was made in accordance to His knowledge. One of the reasons is the Ibrahim's (a.s.) prayer to Allah.

Ibrahim's Prayer to Allah

The selection of Arabian Peninsula was made due to Prophet Ibrahim's prayer to Allah. His prayer is quoted in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 129:

رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولاً مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَة وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ العَزِيزُ الحَكِيمُ
"Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise."
[Al-Baqarah: 129] 

In this verse, Ibrahim prayed to Allah for raising up a Prophet from the Arabs. So, Allah granted his prayer. Every prayer comprises two components: (1) time and (2) nature. Prophet Ibrahim did not mention a specific time in his prayer but normally people will pray for an outcome in the near future. But, Allah modified it for two thousand years later when He finally raised Prophet Muhammad SAW in Arabian Peninsula.

Conclusion

The place for raising up the last Prophet was not just randomly chosen. There are concrete reasons behind its selection. Allah The- All- Knowing has made the best selection to raise His Last Messenger as the Mercy to humankind.

Reflections on the Prophetic History, 2014. (IIUM)

Religious Bankruptcy in the Modern World

Religious Bankruptcy in the Modern World 


Introduction

Jahiliyyah connotes a condition in which conceptual stupidity and behavioral backwardness prevail. Jahiliyyah does not refer to the Arabia before Islam only. It can take place anytime and anywhere. There are some signs of jahiliyyah that we should be aware of such as moral degeneration, social disintegration, religious bankruptcy and others. 

Religious Bankruptcy in the Modern World

Religious bankruptcy refers to whatever beliefs or acts that displease Allah. As we know, the objective of religion is to please Allah alone. But other beliefs such as Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity and others are not pleasing Allah. These are the signs of religious bankruptcy:

a) Shirk

Shirk means associating partners with Allah and worshipping those partners beside Allah. Other belief system like Hinduism believes in so many gods and goddesses or deities. This is an example of Shirk.
Our religion, Islam teaches us to worship Allah alone and that is what we consider as a religion. What is shirk is not considered as a religion.

b) Kufr

Kufr refers to the denial of the truth. The other people of the other belief system knows that Allah is One, Allah gives ni'mah but they refused to accept Islam as their way of life. Kufr is a sign of religious bankruptcy. For example, when somebody becomes rich, he enjoys his life and forget his religion. He does not pray, and claims his achievement was made by himself, not given by Allah.

c) Superstitions

Superstitions are the blind following of traditions. Superstitions is also one of the signs of religious bankruptcy. Why? 
Because it is a kind of blind following to what forefathers said to be true. In contrast, Islam encourages its followers to use their intellectual power to judge what is right and what is wrong.
The example of superstitions people nowadays following is the 'feng-shui' to create a harmonious house.  

Conclusion

In conclusion, the religious bankruptcy in the modern world comprises three elements: (1) shirk, (2) kufr, and (3) superstitions. Whatever belief systems that contains these elements cannot be considered as religion. This also means that jahiliyyah is still occur in this modern world and not only in Arabia before Islam.

Reflections on the Prophetic History, 2014. (IIUM)