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Uthman the ‘brother’ of Ali?


Islamic Salvation

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ذهبت ولم تلبس منها بشيء

The prophet when the body of Uthman passed by: “You have gone without involving yourself in any of it (the Dunya)”  
 

A Monastic Life?

Uthman loved to worship Allah, this reached such an extent that he decided to lead a monastic lifestyle and disengage himself from all the fleeting things of this world including conjugal relations. The prophet intervened to explain to him why that would be against the Sunna.

- Abi Abdillah عليه السلام said: The wife of Uthman b. Madh`un came to the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله and said: O messenger of Allah, Uthman b. Madh`un fasts in the day time and spends the whole night standing in worship, so the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله came out whilst angry and carrying his slippers [in his hands] until he reached Uthman and found him praying. When Uthman saw that it was the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله he cut-off his prayer. He [the prophet] said to him: O Uthman, Allah the Exalted did not send me with monasticism rather he sent me with a simple and lenient Hanifiyya. I fast and pray but also interact with my wives, so whoever loves my character should follow my Sunna, and marriage is part of my Sunna.

- Sa`ib b. Abi al-Waqqas said: When the affair of Uthman b. Madh`un - who was one of those who abandoned women - occurred, the messenger of Allahصلى الله عليه وآله  sent for him and said: O Uthman, I have not been ordered to lead a monastic life, do you seek something else apart from my Sunna? He said: No, O messenger of Allah. He [the prophet] said: part of my Sunna is to pray and then sleep, I sometimes fast and at other times eat, I marry and divorce, so whoever seeks something apart from my Sunna then he is not from me. O Uthman, your wife has a right over you, and your own body has a right over you. Sa`d said: by Allah, there was a group of Muslim men who were ready and willing to castrate themselves and become celibate if the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله had allowed Uthman to continue in what he had done.

- Uthman b. Madh`un said: O messenger of Allah - I desire to to become celibate, the prophet said: wait Uthman, the celibacy of my Umma is fasting and prayers. Uthman said: I desire to lead a wandering life [like some monks], the prophet said: wait Uthman, the wandering life of my Umma is to remain in the Masjid and wait for the next Salat after the last one finishes. Uthman said: I desire not to eat meat [to become a vegetarian], the prophet said: wait Uthman, for I myself do eat meat and enjoy it, if I could have it every day I would, and if I were to ask Allah for that He would give it to me. Uthman said: O prophet of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you - I desire not to use perfume ever, the prophet said: wait Uthman, for I do use perfume and I like fragrance, and it is my Sunna and the Sunna of the prophets before me.

 

The Prophet’s Grief

Uthman participated in the battle of Badr in the year 2 AH and went on to die soon after, becoming the first Muhajir to die in Madina and the first to be buried in Baqi. The prophet grieved at his death.

- Aisha said: I saw the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم kissing the dead of body of Uthman b. Madh`un until I saw his tears flowing.

- Abi Abdillah عليه السلام said: the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه kissed Uthman b. Madh`un after his death.

 

How do you Know?

There is an interesting exchange which happened between the prophet and a woman after Uthman's death.

- Abi Abdillah عليه السلام said: the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله heard a woman saying after the death of Uthman b. Madh`un: glad tidings of paradise to you O Abu al-Sa`ib [i.e. Uthman]! so the prophet said to her: and how do you know [that he is in paradise]? it is enough for you to say: he used to love Allah Mighty and Majestic and His prophet … 

The prophet rebuked the woman to teach us to avoid complacency and a false sense of security.

 

A Gravestone

The prophet did not leave the grave of Uthman without marking it so that he can recognize its location and come visit him.

- Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام said: when Uthman b. Madh`un died, the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله kissed him, and when he had buried him he sprinkled water on top of the soil of the grave and stretched out a piece of cloth over the grave. He [Uthman] was the first person over whose grave the prophet stretched out a cloth. The prophet went on to level the soil of the grave, then he called for a stone, it was said: O messenger of Allah - what will you do with it? he said: I will mark his grave by it so that I can bury my relations near him, then he placed the stone near the head of the grave.

- al-Muttalib said: when Uthman b. Madh`un died, his body was taken out in a procession and was buried. Then the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله ordered a man to bring him a stone, but the man was not able to carry it, so the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله stood himself, went towards it and rolled up his sleeves - [al-Mutallib said: the one who reported this to me about the messenger of Allah said: it is as though I can still see the whitness of his forearms when he rolled up his sleeves] - then he carried it and placed it at the head and said: I mark with it the grave of my brother so that I can bury next to it those who die of my family.

What a great status Uthman must have had for the prophet to want to bury his family members next to him. Note also that the prophet called him ‘his brother’, some have explained this by noting that Uthman was the foster-brother of the prophet because they both suckled from the same woman. It is also possible that he used this as a term of endearment with an eye to his elevated kinship in Islam.

 

Righteous Predecessor

The prophet did indeed go ahead with his wish to bury his relations near the grave of Uthman. First when his daughter Ruqayya died and then when Ibrahim his son passed away. He also uses the enigmatic term سلف الصالح which has been rendered here as righteous predecessor but which can also mean righteous ancestor. Perhaps it the latter which is meant keeping in mind that if Uthman was the foster-brother of the prophet then his children would be related to him in some manner.

- One of the two [al-Baqir or al-Sadiq] عليه السلام said: when Ruqayya the daughter of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه  وآلهdied, the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: meet up with our righteous predecessors Uthman b. Madh`un and his fellows

- Ibn Abbas said: when Uthman b. Madh`un died a woman said: congratulations to you O Ibn Madh`un for you have entered paradise! So the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله looked at her angrily and said: what made you know? for by Allah I am the messenger of Allah but do no know what is going to be done with me, she said: O messenger of Allah he was your warrior and companion. This conversation weighed heavy on the minds of the companions of the messenger of Allah because of what he had said about Uthman while he [Uthman] was the best of them. It went on like this until when Ruqayya the daughter of the messenger of Allah died and he [the prophet] said: meet up with our goodly predecessor Uthman b. Madh`un [i.e. this is when they knew that Uthman must have had a good destination].

The women cried [when Ruqayya died] so Umar began hitting them with a whip, the prophet said to Umar: let them cry! but beware of the screeching of the Shaytan. Then the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: whatever issues from the heart [grief] and the eyes [tears] then it is from Allah and it is a form of mercy, whetever issues from the hand [like beating oneself] and the tongue [like words of despair] then it is from Shaytan.

The messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله stood at the edge of the grave while Fatima was at his side crying, so the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله began to wipe away the tears of her eyes with the side of his clothes in sympathy for her.

- Aba Abdillah عليه السلام said: … when Ibrahim the son of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله died the eyes of the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله overflowed with tears and he said: the eyes tear-up and the heart grieves but we do not say that which may anger our Lord, we sure are saddened because of you O Ibrahim. Then the prophet صلى الله عليه وآله saw a disparity in his grave so he levelled it out with his hand and said: when one of you does any work then he should do it well, then he said: meet up with you righteous ancestor Uthman b. Madh`un …

 

Ali Remembers a Brother

Recall that the prophet is said to have said “I will mark with it the grave of my brother …” referring to Uthman as his brother. He also buried both his blood relations Ruqayya and Ibrahim near this brother of his and said at the time “meet up with our righteous Salaf …” where Salaf can mean ancestor.

A pattern emerges when we note that Ali, who is himself well-known as being the brother of the prophet, also referred to Uthman as a brother.

- Abu al-Faraj said: Uthman b. Ali about whom it is narrated from Ali that he said: I name him with the name of my brother Uthman b. Madh`un.

This Uthman b. Ali went on to sacrifice his life to defend Aba Abdillah al-Husayn عليه السلام in Karbala.

It comes as no surprise then that one of the candidates for the anonymous ‘brother’ Ali speaks of in his famous words has been taken refer to Uthman b. Madh`un.

- Ali عليه السلام said: In the past I had one I considered a brother in the way of Allah, he became prestigious in my eyes because of how lowly he considered the world to be in his eyes, the needs of the stomach did not have sway over him, he did not long for what he did not get; if he got a thing he would not ask for more; most of his time was spent in silence, but if he spoke he silenced the other speakers and quenched the thirst of questioners, he was weak and considered weak, but at the time of seriousness he was like the lion of the forest or the serpent of the valley, he would not put forth an argument unless it was decisive.

He would not reproach anyone in an excusable matter unless he had heard the excuse, he would not speak of any ailment except after its disappearance, he would do what he says, and would not say what he would not do, even if he could be excelled in speaking, he could not be excelled in silence; he was more eager to listen than to speak, if two things confronted him he would see which was more akin to the longing of the heart and would then oppose it [do the other].

Betake yourself to these and implement them and try to compete with each other in them. even if you cannot do it fully then know that acquiring a part is better than giving up the whole.

 

What Could Have Been

It is not a stretch to say that had Uthman been alive at the time of the Fitna (sedition) after the death of the messenger of Allah - when the Umma betrayed his testament for the Ahl al-Bayt - he would have sided with Ali in the events to come.

One circumstantial evidence for this is that when the prophet paired together one Muhajir with an Ansar in the so-called Ukhuwwa, he paired Uthman b. Madh`un with Abu al-Haytham Malik b. Tahiyyan. We know that this pairing was not random, but a bond which the prophet made using his special insight. He would gather two men who were closest to each other and had an affinity even in their spiritual states.

Abu al-Haytham went on die fighting on the side of Ali at Siffin.

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The Arabic for the narrations incorporated above [arranged in order of appearance]

 

1. al-Kafi

عدة من أصحابنا، عن سهل بن زياد، عن جعفر بن محمد الاشعري، عن ابن القداح، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: جاءت امرأة عثمان بن مظعون إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وآله فقالت: يارسول الله إن عثمان يصوم النهار ويقوم الليل فخرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله مغضبا يحمل نعليه حتى جاء إلى عثمان فوجده يصلي، فانصرف عثمان حين رأى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله فقال له: ياعثمان لم يرسلني الله تعالى بالرهبانية ولكن بعثني بالحنيفة السهلة السمحة، أصوم واصلي وألمس أهلي، فمن أحب فطرتي فليستن بسنتي ومن سنتي النكاح

2. Sunan al-Darimi

حدثنا محمد بن يزيد الحزامي حدثنا يونس بن بكير حدثني ابن إسحق حدثني الزهري عن سعيد بن المسيب عن سعد بن أبي وقاص قال: لما كان من أمر عثمان بن مظعون الذي كان ممّن ترك النساء، بعث إليه رسول اللّه صلى الله عليه وآله فقال: يا عثمان: إنّي لم أوَمر بالرهبانية، أرغبتَ عن سنتي؟ قال: لا، يا رسول اللّه، قال: إنّ من سنتي ان أُصلِّي وأنام، وأصوم وأطعم، وأنكح وأطلق، فمن رغب عن سنتي فليس مني، يا عثمان إنّ لاَهلك عليك حقاً، ولنفسك عليك حقاً قال سعد: فواللّه لقد كان أجمع رجال من المسلمين على أنّ رسول اللّه صلى الله عليه وآله إن هو أقرّ عثمان على ما هو عليه ان نختصي فنتبتل

3. Miskhat al-Anwar

قال عثمان بن مظعون للنبي صلى الله عليه وآله: اني قد هممت يا رسول الله بأن اختصى فقال: مهلا يا عثمان فان الاختصاء في امتي الصيام والصلاة، قال: فانى قد هممت بالسياحة فقال: مهلا يا عثمان فان السياحة في امتي لزوم المساجد وانتظار الصلاة بعد الصلاة قال: فانى قد هممت ان لا آكل لحما فقال: مهلا يا عثمان فانى آكل اللحم واحبه ولو وجدته كل يوم لاكلته، ولو سألت الله لاطعمنيه، قال: فانى يانبي الله بأبى أنت وامي قد هممت ان لا اتطيب ابدا قال: مهلا يا عثمان فانى اتطيب واحب الطيب الطيب من سنتي وسنة الانبياء قبلي

4. Sunan Abi Dawud

حدثنا محمد بن كثير أخبرنا سفيان عن عاصم بن عبيد الله عن القاسم عن عائشة قالت رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقبل عثمان بن مظعون وهو ميت حتى رأيت الدموع تسيل

5. al-Kafi

محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسين بن سعيد، عن فضالة بن أيوب عن إسماعيل بن أبي زياد، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله قبل عثمان ابن مظعون بعد موته

6. al-Kafi

عدة من أصحابنا، عن سهل بن زياد، عن جعفر بن محمد، عن ابن القداح عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: سمع النبي صلى الله عليه وآله امرأة حين مات عثمان بن مظعون وهي تقول: هنيئا لك ياأبا السائب الجنة، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وآله: وما علمك حسبك أن تقولي: كان يحب الله عزوجل ورسوله ...

7. al-Ja`fariyat

أخبرنا عبد الله بن محمد قال أخبرنا محمد بن محمد قال حدثني موسى بن إسماعيل قال حدثنا أبي عن أبيه عن جده جعفر بن محمد عن أبيه عن جده علي بن الحسين عن أبيه عن علي بن أبي طالب عليهم السلام قال لما مات عثمان بن مظعون قبله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله فلما دفنه رش على تراب القبر الماء رشا و بسط على قبره ثوبا و كان أول من بسط عليه ثوبا يومئذ و سوى عليه تراب القبر ثم قال ص علي بحجر فقيل يا رسول الله و ما تصنع به قال أعلم به قبره حتى أدفن إليه قرابتي فوضع الحجر عند رأس القبر

 

8. Sunan Abi Dawud

حدثنا عبد الوهاب بن نجدة حدثنا سعيد بن سالم ح و حدثنا يحيى بن الفضل السجستاني حدثنا حاتم يعني ابن إسمعيل بمعناه عن كثير بن زيد المدني عن المطلب قال لما مات عثمان بن مظعون أخرج بجنازته فدفن فأمر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلا أن يأتيه بحجر فلم يستطع حمله فقام إليها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وحسر عن ذراعيه قال كثير قال المطلب قال الذي يخبرني ذلك عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال كأني أنظر إلى بياض ذراعي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حين حسر عنهما ثم حملها فوضعها عند رأسه وقال أتعلم بها قبر أخي وأدفن إليه من مات من أهلي

9. al-Kafi

حميد بن زياد، عن الحسن بن محمد بن سماعة، عن غير واحد، عن أبان، عن أبي بصير، عن أحدهما عليه السلام قال: لما ماتت رقية ابنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: الحقي بسلفنا الصالح عثمان بن مظعون وأصحابه قال: وفاطمة على شفير القبر تنحدر دموعها في القبر ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله يتلقاه بثوبه قائما يدعو قال: إني القبر تنحدر دموعها في القبر ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله يتلقاه بثوبه قائما يدعو قال: إني لاعرف ضعفها وسألت الله عزوجل أن يجيرها من ضمة القبر

10. Ziyadat Abdallah ala Musnad Ahmad

حدثنا عبد الله، حدثني أبي، ثنا عبد الصمد وحسن بن موسى، قالا: ثنا حماد، عن علي بن زيد. قال أبي: حدثناه عفان، ثنا ابن سلمة، أنا علي بن زيد، عن يوسف بن مهران، عن ابن عباس قال: لما مات عثمان بن مظعون قالت امرأته: هنيئا لك يا ابن مظعون بالجنة، قال: فنظر إليها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم نظرة غضب، فقال لها: ما يدريك؟ فوالله إني لرسول الله وما أدري ما يفعل بي - قال عفان: ولا به - قالت: يا رسول الله فارسك وصاحبك، فاشتد ذلك على أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حين قال ذلك لعثمان وكان من خيارهم، حتى ماتت رقية ابنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: الحقي بسلفنا الخير عثمان بن مظعون، قال: وبكت النساء فجعل عمر يضربهن بسوطه، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر: دعهن يبكين، وإياكن ونعيق الشيطان، ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: مهما يكون من القلب والعين فمن الله والرحمة، ومهما كان من اليد واللسان فمن الشيطان. وقعد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على شفير القبر وفاطمة إلى جنبه تبكي، فجعل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يمسح عين فاطمة بثوبه رحمة لها

11. al-Kafi

عدة من أصحابنا، عن سهل بن زياد، عن جعفر بن محمد، عن ابن القداح عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: ... فلما مات إبراهيم ابن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله هملت عين رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله بالدموع ثم قال النبي صلى الله عليه وآله: تدمع العين ويحزن القلب ولا نقول ما يسخط الرب وإنا بك ياإبراهيم لمحزونون ثم رأى النبي صلى الله عليه وآله في قبره خللا فسواه بيده ثم قال: إذا عمل أحدكم عملا فليتقن، ثم قال: الحق بسلفك الصالح عثمان بن مظعون

12. Maqatil al-Talibiyyin

وعثمان بن علي الذي روى عن علي أنه قال أنما سميته باسم أخي عثمان ابن مظعون

13. Nahj al-Balagha

قال أمير المؤمنين عليّ بن أبي طالب عليه السّلام: كان لي فيما مضى أخ في الله، وكان يُعظمه في عيني صِغرُ الدنيا في عينه، وكان خارجاً من سلطان بطنه، فلا يشتهي ما لا يجد، ولا يكثر إذا وجد، وكان أكثر دهره صامتاً، فإن قال بدّ القائلين ونقع غليل السائلين، وكان ضعيفاً مستضعفاً، فإن جاءَ الجِدّ فهو ليثُ غابٍ وصِلُّ وادٍ، لا يدلي بحجّة حتّى يأتي قاضياً، وكان لا يلومُ أحداً على ما يجد العذر في مثله حتّى يسمع اعتذارَه، وكان لا يشكو وجعاً إلاّ عند برئه، وكان يفعل ما يقول ولا يقول ما لا يفعل، وكان اذا غلب على الكلام لم يغلب على السكوت، وكان على ما يسمع أحرص منه على أن يتكلّم، وكان إذا بدهه أمران نظر أيّهما أقرب إلى الهوى فخالفه. فعليكم بهذه الاَخلاق فالزموها وتنافسُوا فيها، فإن لم تستطيعوها فاعلموا أنّ أخذ القليل خيرٌ من ترك الكثير

Edited by Islamic Salvation
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  • Veteran Member

This is some deep insight bro

Abul Haitham Malik b tayyihan is mentioned in nahjul balagah too with khuzaima and ammar as martyrs of siffin( inferred not directly ofcourse) .Where do you see his loyalty to Imam Starting?  in yaqubi he is mentioned as lecturing companions on loyalty towards Ali As early as time of saqifa.

How do you see his role prior to siffin ?

Edited by Panzerwaffe
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he women cried [when Ruqayya died] so Umar began hitting them with a whip, the prophet said to Umar: let them cry! but beware of the screeching of the Shaytan. Then the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: whatever issues from the heart [grief] and the eyes [tears] then it is from Allah and it is a form of mercy, whetever issues from the hand [like beating oneself] and the tongue [like words of despair] then it is from Shaytan.

Beating oneself in grieve is from shaitan?

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      [amended 19 August 2023 to include references to the Irish potato famine and two Bengal famines]
      Surah Yusuf
      Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) advised Pharoah to hoard grains during the years of plenty. I think this episode is a noteworthy one because it shows how a State can intervene in the marketplace in order to improve the welfare of the wider population.
      But as we shall see below, the government intervention that Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) instigated favoured some sections of the population over others - it was not neutral in terms of how it spread gains and losses across the population.
      https://www.al-islam.org/sites/default/files/singles/633-yusuf.pdf
      While there is other material in the Qur'an that deals with transactions within the marketplace between individual participants - this story stands out in terms of its focus on state intervention. 
      I'll be coming back to this issue later - but I think it informs the discussions we have about Islam and contemporary socio-economic theories. In particular, I think it illustrates that Islam does see the State as an active market participant and that in an Islamic state, the role of government is not one that is hands-off or laissez-faire.
       
      What policy options did Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) have?
      We should not take the story as presented 'for granted'. In reality, the Prophet (عليه السلام). had a range of choices open to him, and thinking those through helps us better understand the reasons for the policy he undertook and the reason why. 
      No government interference
      Let's start with the simplest and easiest option that Pharoah's government could have pursued once they knew that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (as predicted by the Pharoah's dream which was interpreted by Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام).) .
      Pharoah could have left the entire issue to the 'market'. During the years of plenty, the price of food would have fallen and people would have enjoyed a higher standard of living. For example, the lower grain prices could have led to people rearing more cattle and their diets would have improved with more meat.
      However, during the years of famine, grain prices would have risen and those people who had accumulated assets in the years of plenty would be able to pay the higher prices in the famine years. Those who had not had such assets would have starved.
      This assumes a fairly high level of self-discipline on the part of the population, but as Milton Friedman would say, the people would have been 'free to choose'. This is not a hypothetical option. The British lack of action to the Irish potato famine has been attributed to the British government's ideological adherence to a laissez-faire approach to macro-economics:
      https://kenanfellows.org/kfp-cp-sites/cp01/cp01/sites/kfp-cp-sites.localhost.com.cp01/files/LP3_BBC Irish Famine Article for Lab.pdf
       
      The Bengal famine is another one where government policy was different to the one Prophet Yusuf ((عليه السلام).) prescribed to Pharoah. In this instance, it was lack of government restriction over the action of privateers:
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/29/winston-churchill-policies-contributed-to-1943-bengal-famine-study
       
      Going back still further, the Great Bengal Famine of 1770 has been directly attributed to British government laissez-faire economic policy.
      https://worldfinancialreview.com/the-political-economy-of-famines-during-the-british-rule-in-india-a-critical-analysis/
       
      Light interference - provision of information
      A common policy option nowadays, where people do not want direct government intervention is to recommend improving the provision of information to the population who will then be better able to make the correct decisions for themselves. The government could have mounted an information campaign during the years of plenty and told people to hoard food themselves, hoarding when there is no shortage is allowed in Islam.
      However such attempts to influence awareness about the famine to come and changing peoples' attitudes so that they saved more than they were used to, would likely have run against increased social pressures on people to do the opposite. For example typically in societies as wealth increases there is social pressure to spend more, in this case, for example, have more lavish weddings.
      Also providing information would have been a practical benefit for the better off e.g. those with storage capacity, but not so good for the poor (who would not have room to store grain, for example).
      The government (using a bit more intervention) could have given tax breaks to people who owned granaries, to help the poor who needed such facilities. Again this solution would be to focus on market-based interventions and simply alter the working of the market using incentives. Current economic theory holds that people discount future risks very heavily i.e. they don't perceive them as much of a threat as they should. So, for example, just telling people they should save for a pension does not work. 
      So we can likely predict that the solutions described above would not have worked had they tried them.
      Heavy interference
      This is what they actually did.
      In times of plenty, Pharoah's government did not let prices fall as would have happened under free market conditions. They kept prices higher than they otherwise would have been because the government intervened and took excess stocks of grain out of circulation.
      All people (rich and poor alike) had no option but to pay the usual higher prices - effectively, the government was taxing everyone, but this was not seen as a loss by anyone because the prices were no higher than usual.
      The government stored the grain centrally and then they decided to release the grain according to their own policies.
      Assumptions made by Prophet Yusuf's government
      If you leave people to their own devices they may not make the best decisions (whether they are rich or poor), this could be due to: People do not have the resources to cater for future shocks (mainly the poor) People do not have the discipline to address future shocks (applies to both the rich and the poor) The government can make better decisions than individuals acting in their own self-interest because: The government can have access to more and better information than individuals do The government may not be as susceptible to a lack of self-discipline  
      Conclusion
      Of all the policy options open to Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) he advised Pharoah to pursue the most interventionist one. Some people may be tempted to call this socialist or communist, but I think those terms carry a lot of excess baggage, so I won't bring them into the discussion.
      What I think can be safely inferred from his choice of policy is a fundamental principle that could inform economic policy in any Islamic state.
      Facing an external shock to the Egyptian economy, he went for the option that would cause the least pain to the worst off in society. Other policy options would have caused more pain for the poorest but somewhat less for the better off.
       
       
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      By the fig*
      And by the olive
      And by Mount Sinai
      You have certainly created me in the best of stature.
       
                                 *********

      Angels told you: "Don't create Human.It will cause corruption in the world".
      But I had not still been born so how could they prejudge me?!
      Despite the complaints, you were determined and therefore, I was born.
      "Peace be upon me on the day I was born, on the day I die, and on the day I shall be raised alive!"
       
       
      You put me in a very great cradle. It was extremely white and bright and Holy Spirit rocked it with his fingertip. I was filled with delight and embraced by light.
      Angels all came to see me. They were amazed that I was born without parents!
      But you kept silent and then I talked in the cradle. Suddenly, they uttered a loud exclamation of surprise.
      And you, pleased with you work, said:
      "So blessed is Allah, the best of creators".
      How beautiful lovely those days were! Alas, how quickly they went by!
      I had told you about my sad memories in exile; about the day when you banished me from your heavens and I was separated from you.
      I had told you about my battles against my ownself. Everytime I fought myself, the pillars of Satan's palace started shaking. And I could hear its sound and Satan's wrathful shout.
      Ah, what a time it was! I have many things to tell you. For narrating my memories, I need a long time, as long as the history of mankind!
      Footnotes:
      * Fig tree is very strong and resistant. It can grow in nutritionally poor soils and needs little water.
      It has a high tolerance of bad situations. It can tolerate droughts, and grow in dry sunny areas and still remain productive.
      When it recieves enough water, it cools the environment in hot places, creating a fresh and pleasant habitat for many animals that take shelter in its shade in the times of intense heat.

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      در عالم حشر, تابنده رخش
      هر که نکرد گوش, بر اهریمن زشت
      کاخی است بهر او, فاخر, باشکوه
      پرده اش از حریر, وز طلایش خشت
      باغ آن پر گل, فصلش همیشه بهار
      در کنارش هیچ است, ماه اردیبهشت
      ...
      Part 2:
      This was Satan's last trick which didnt work.
      He said disappointedly: do you remember that once I gave you some helpful advice?
      I replied: yes.
      He said: so you owe me a lot! Now, ask God to forgive me!
      Gabriel appeared and told Satan: If you wish God to forgive you, prostrate before Human.
      Satan said: I will never do it. When Human was not my enemy, I didnt agree to prostrate before it. How can I do it now while it is my enemy?!
      Gabriel said: Once, when you lived in heaven, you heard that, in the near future, one of the worshippers would be punished and cast out of heaven.
      At that point, you prayed for everyone but yourself. You were so proud that you didnt think that you yourself could be the worshipper who would be cast out of heaven.
      Satan began crying.
      And I remembered him laughing while I was crying in the court.
      Satan became weaker and weaker until he died among the ruins of his palace.
      Then his corpse, as those of his followers, caught fire and burnt to ashes. And the earth swallowed the ruins of his palace.
      Satan died; on that day when I decided to never sin; on that moment when he became completely disappointed in me.

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      "Indeed Allah taught me and He taught me well"*
      *"ان الله ادبنی فاحسن تادیبی"

      During these thousands of years, God tested me frequently until I got permission to return to Him.
      Now, I am going to fly; but how can I do it without my wings?
      Everytime I committed a sin, I lost one of my feathers. I must find the feathers and restore my wings.
      I found a feather at the foot of the Rocky Mount and another feather in a rivulet, floating in the water. One feather was close to the Mirror of Truth and many feathers were around the Square House.
      I am going to fly towards paradise... Towards paradise?!... No!...Somewhere higher...much higher than paradise!
      Somewhere that even Gabriel cannot go...I need to create two wings stronger than Gabriel's.
      I am going to fly to Qab-e Qawsain...To Qab-e Qawsain and maybe closer**
       
      The final part of my book, "From Earth to Heaven" (Az Khāk ta Aflāk)
      Footnotes:
      * a narration from the prophet (s)
      ** surah Najm: 8. Then he came near, and hovered around. 9. He was within two bows’ length, or closer.
       
      -----------------------------
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      In Bait-al Ma'mur, Azazil-later called Iblis-sitting on a white minbar and holding a tasbih in his hands, was preaching for a crowd of angels and other residents of empyrean. He was deeply happy and proud to see that he had such a special superior status and that the angels listened to him with great interest.
      After he finished his sermon, angels started asking him theological questions and he answered with full confidence. One of the angels asked:
      O God's beloved, we have worshipping God the Almighty for hundreds of years but we have not achieved a status as high as yours. Tell us, please, the secret behind your success in rising to this enormous  dignity and supereminence.
      Azazil, pleased to hear such a joyful acknowledgement but unaware of that what he thought and what he uttered would put him in a difficult imminent test, smiled and replied: "My friends! Listen to me carefully: I don't deserve the status I have been granted but let me reveal the secret behind my sucess to you.
      Of course, I am not going to boast but to offer help to those who desire to approach our Lord and make him pleased.
      Pure intentions! Friends! Pure intentions! Your problem is that you dont worship God purely for himself but you do it for the purpose of achieving a higher status. Such insincere worship is worthless and is never of any benefit to you.
      Another important point is to avoid being arrogant for it is a major obstacle to...".
      Azazil was preaching when suddenly he found some of the angels talking and not listening to him.
      He shouted :"What is up?! Why are you making so much noise?!"
      One of the angels said :"Sorry, sir! Our minds have been occupied with the recent news!"
      Azazil asked: "the recent news?!"
      The angel replied: "Yes. The news about a new unique creature which God the Almighty is going to create. It is said that no other creature will be equl to it and that God has special plans for this beloved creature-to-be".

      Azazil, surprised at what he had just heared, was lost in thought for a few moments and then said:
      "What a good wonderful news! Indeed, every decision our Lord takes, is wise and praiseworthy. Now, it is better to go and prepare yourselves for celebrating the birth of this welcome creature".
      As the angels were leaving, the purple beads of tasbih, one by one, slipped from his lap and the stairs and scattered on the ground; the tasbih that had been pressed and torn among the fingers of its angry owner who tried to show himself happy and satisfied.
       
       
      Footnotes:
      1. Bait-al Ma'mur( بیت المعمور) is a place in 4th or 7th heaven. It is a Ka'ba for angels.
      2. Tasbih( تسبیح) is a prayer beads.
      3. Minbar(منبر) is a pulpit.
      4. Azazil: عزازیل

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      Left alone in the dark desert of ignorance,
      With wings, one broken by greed the other by arrogance,
      Do you wish for deliverance?
      The gates of the heavens are always open to you,
      You just need two restored wings, strong enough and new.
      O you lost in the complete dark,
      You could be Noah, the owner of the salvation Ark,
      The mountains and the birds will sing praises with you*,
      Just get up and create two wings for yourself, strong enough and new.
       
      *surah34/v.10

      ای رها شده در بیابان ظلمت و تنهایی
      بالی شکسته ز شدت کبر
      بالی شکسته ز فرط آزمندی
      دروازه های آسمان همواره به رویت باز
      برخیز و بالهایت را ز نو بساز
      ای ماه بی پناه افتاده در اعماق چاه
      ای کودک سپرده به امواج رود نیل
      لحظه ای گمگشته در برهوت
      لحظه ای گرفتار در دل حوت
      خسته و بیتاب, نالان و پریشان در پی آب

      کوه ها و پرندگان با تو هم آواز
      برخیز و بالهایت را ز نو بساز



         1 comment
      Summary
      Just because something is not created via the scientific method, does not mean it can't be useful - implications about how we think about religious precepts.
      Serendipity (pot luck)
      I have previously remarked upon how, in some fields of human endeavour where the scientific approach is held to be the ideal, in reality human scientific and technological discoveries has often been the results of luck and even mistakes.
      Social science 'theories'
      There is a corollary in the field of the social sciences which also emphasise the value of the scientific approach to generate knowledge. In this domain the anomalies are various frameworks and models that are widely taught and even used, but which have no basis in rigorous scientific research.
      The famous work by Abraham Maslow on motivation and his resulting 'hierarchy of needs' is very widely studied and used. He posits that human motivation at the fundamental level is driven by physiological needs, and once these are satisfied (he did qualify this in later works) people try and address safety needs and then, social needs and self-esteem and finally self-actualisation. 
      But Maslow did not come up with this through any research that would hold up to scientific scrutiny.
      Does the lack of a scientific approach invalidate a model or framework?
      Yet the Maslow hierarchy is productively used by professionals in a variety of industries, managers, MBA students and others in universities. For example, people use it to understand why consumers buy certain products.
      The same issue applies to Bloom's taxonomy in the field of learning and also Elmo's buying funnel in the area of marketing. The three laws of robotics have their basis in science fiction and in the area of web searching there is no scientific basis for the information-navigational-transactional categories that are used.
      Face validity
      The implication from this is that while ideas and knowledge may ideally be the result of the scientific approach I.e. hypothesising and then testing, there are many instances where this is not the case. In the area of the social sciences and management the value of some types of knowledge seems to rest on their 'face validity', do they make sense to the individuals who are presented with them and can those individuals make better sense of their external environment as a result of using these tools and if they can, that is good enough.
      Implications for religion
      The same principle could surely apply to various aspects of religion. There may be no scientific proof underpinning various religious ideas, but if they have face validity, if they help the individual make sense of their external environment and manage it, surely that is good enough?
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