Ali (rta) vs. a Jew

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Ali rta vs a jew

Once, during his Caliphate, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (rta) lost his armour. One day, he saw a Jew in possession of an armour he recognized as his own. Ali (rta) approached the Jew and asked him to return his armour. The Jew refused to do so and, instead, demanded that the matter be settled by the reigning Muslim Qadi (judge).

Hence, Ali (rta) and the Jew appeared before the Qadi to settle this dispute. Qadi Shurayh was a very competent judge from Yemen, who was famous for settling Fiqh related matters. He had performed the duties of a Qadi in Kufa during the caliphate of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta), and Usman Ibn Affan (rta) as well. He was well known for his integrity and insight.

When the judge saw Caliph Ali (rta) approach his court, he stood up for him out of respect. Ali (rta) requested him to stay seated. Qadi Shurayh took his seat. Ali (rta) initiated the conversation: “I have lost my armour and found the same in this man’s possession.”

Qadi Shurayh asked the Jew: “Do you have anything to say?”

The Jew replied: “This is my armour and I own it.”

Qadi Shurayh inspected the armour in dispute and addressed the Caliph: “By Allah! Your claim is correct. This, indeed, is your armour. However, the court of law demands that you produce two witnesses to substantiate your claim.”

Ali (rta) produced his slave Qanbar as his first witness, who testified in favour of Ali (rta). Then, the Caliph produced his sons Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta) as his second witnesses to testify for him.

Qadi Shurayh stated: “I accept the testimony of your slave; however, I still need another witness, as the testimony of your sons is not acceptable.”

The Caliph said: “By Allah! I heard Umar Ibn Khattab (rta) narrate the Prophet’s (sa) Hadeeth stating that Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta) are the leaders of the youth in Paradise.”

The judge replied: “By Allah! This is the truth.”

Ali (rta) demanded: “Then why are you unable to accept the testimony of the leaders of the youth in Paradise?”

Qadi Shurayh explained: “Because they are your sons, and a son cannot testify in favour of his father.”

Hence, the judge settled the dispute in favour of the Jew and handed over the armour to him.

The Jew remarked in absolute astonishment: “The Amir-ul-Momineen of the Muslims brought me in the court of his own appointed judge, and the same judge gave a verdict against the Caliph. And the Caliph accepted the verdict gracefully without any resistance.”

Then, the Jew glanced towards Ali (rta) and continued: “Amir-ul-Momineen! Your claim is true. This armour definitely belongs to you. You had lost it the other day and I found it. Therefore, it is your property. Please, accept it.”

The Jew then recited his Shahadah: “I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.”

Ali (rta), the wise and honourable Caliph, replied: “I give you not only my armour but also my horse.” 

Adapted from “Sunehray Faislay” published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.

Quran Journal for Young Ones

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Quran journalBy Erum Asif

“I love the Quran. Nothing inspires, enlightens and soothes me like the Quran. I have to read it everyday!”

That’s the way I want to feel about the Quran. I want the same for my children. But we have a long way to go.

I know of a Muslimah who would keep the Quran open at her home constantly and would read from it every time she passed by it. A brother had a copy of the Quran at his desk, and read a page or two before beginning work and attending to visitors. Such an attachment to the Quran and such consistency is truly desirable.

To foster a bond with the Quran, we started a “Quran and Hadeeth Journal” for my daughter, when she was five. This suited her because she enjoyed writing. We went through short Surahs and Ahadeeth, doing word-for-word translation for most Surahs. We tried to understand the Quran’s message by way of conversations, drawings and stories.

Talk, draw and write

We began with Surah Al-Fatihah. A word-for-word translation sheet (created in MS Word) was pasted in the journal (see below). If a word had more than one part, it was shown in a different colour.

ﺍﻠﻌﺎﻠﻤﻴﻥ ﺭﺏ
ﺍﻠﺭﺤﻴﻡ ﺍﻠﺭﺤﻤﻥ


I used easy words for a 5-year old, such as: ar-Rahman – very kind, Sirat – way, ad-Daalleen – who are lost. If I used a tough word, I would explain it to her.

I wrote the Ayahs in Arabic and we coloured it. We then drew pictures with a brief caption to capture the meaning of Surah Al-Fatihah. We didn’t draw humans and animals, but instead showed people by drawing a blank circle for the head and a triangular sort of body below; then, we enjoyed drawing colourful clothes on them.

Here is a selective look at the Ayahs of Al-Fatihah:

Alhumdulillah: We drew pictures of what we are thankful to Allah (swt) for: “I am a Muslim.” (drew a Masjid and Quran) “I have Baba.” “I have dolls.” “I will get a new bed, Insha’Allah.” “Allah has prepared Jannah for us.”

Rabbil-Alameen: Being the Rabb, Allah (swt) cherishes and nurtures creation from its initial stage to its maturity. As an example, we drew a seed and next to it – a tall plant.

Maliki Yawmid-Deen: We drew figures with a smile, receiving their ‘record’ in their right hands, and figures with black faces receiving their ‘record’ in left hand. We wrote that Allah (swt) is pronouncing the judgement.

Ihdinas-Sirat-Al-Mustaqeem: We drew a straight, vertical line, and wrote ‘ﺍﷲ’ at the top. To its left and right, we drew slanting lines, writing ‘Shaitan’ on them. The idea comes from a similar diagram that the Prophet (sa) drew on sand with a stick.

Siratal-Lazeena Anamta Alayhim: We drew flowers, with the names of prophets and Companions written on them. They are among the people Allah (swt) has favoured.

Ghayril-Maghdoobi Alayhim Wa Lad-Daalleen: The Prophet (sa) mentioned the Jews and Christians as ‘Al-maghdoob’ and ‘ad-daalleen’ respectively. Their paths are the paths we need to avoid. We wrote ‘Al-maghdoob’, then drew the Jewish star below it. We showed a ‘person’ concealing Allah’s (swt) commands in the sacred book with his hand. (This incident took place in the Prophet’s (sa) life). Another figure was throwing the sacred book behind the back (implying utter disregard for divine guidance), while a third figure declared interest as Halal. For ‘ad-daalleen’ we drew the Christian cross, and depicted a figure saying ‘Jesus, son of God.’

A blog titled “Educating the Muslim Child” had a charming story about Surah Al-Fatihah called “Two Rabbits and a Beautiful Sound”. We pasted its printout in the journal.

This journal-making wasn’t a tense, ‘no-talking’, ‘gotta-finish-it’ exercise. We wanted it to be a warm experience – one that touches the heart and leaves a mark, instead of a page-filling academic exercise. It was accompanied by conversation about what we were doing (sometimes drifting into another topic), attending to the younger kids, incorporating my daughter’s ideas, letting her write and draw as she wanted to, and not expecting 15-year-old’s work from a 5-year-old.

We are currently doing Surah An-Naba. We write the Ayah in Arabic, their transliteration and translation. We then illustrate them through pictures, which we colour. For example, Ayah 7: Waljibala awtada (And the mountains as pegs?): We draw mountains with their underlying roots, which give them a peg-like shape. The book “A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam” shows this.


Surah Humazah describes the woeful end of slanderers, backbiters and those, who amass wealth selfishly. After the word-for-word translation, we created pictorial stories. One showed a girl slandering and backbiting: “Hah! You don’t even know how to pray!” “Ha, ha! Look at her silly dress.” “You come from an inferior family.” “Aunt Z. is a miser.”

We also wrote: “J. loves to buy dresses. She counts them every day. She hates to share her things with others. When her mother asks her to give clothes for the needy, she gives bad ones.” My daughter drew a cupboard with lots of clothes inside.

Drawing on other sources

Many interesting resources to support learning the Quran await us. We drew on them too.

For Surah Quraish, we inserted a map showing the winter and summer journeys of Quraish. It was taken from the well-researched ‘Atlas of the Quran’ (Darussalam Publishers).

Surah Al-Maoon depicts the person oblivious of the final Judgement. He repulses the orphans and cares least about the poor man’s hunger. An article in the newspaper poignantly covered a Sharjah organization that assists orphans. It contained heart-rending interviews of the orphans, how they feel and what they want from us. That article became a part of our journal. We included two printouts from the charity Muslim Hands website: their Orphan Sponsorship programme and the Food Aid and Iftar Programme.

The Quran and Ahadeeth journal should inspire us to act. And Surah Al-Maoon did that. It made my daughter want to feed the needy. So we gave food packs to our building’s hard-working cleaners.

Help at hand

These works (besides numerous Urdu resources) help us in understanding the Quran:

  • “Word-for-word translation of the Quran” (Al-Huda International)
  • “The Quran in Plain English for children and young people” by Iman Torres-Al Haneef (The Islamic Foundation)
  • “The Noble Quran” (Darussalam)
  • “A Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran,” by John Penrice (Darul-Ishat, Karachi)

Online help for teaching Quran to your children

A commendable work by a Muslim mother, with help on Quran and many subjects:

Here is a yahoo group you can join: muslimhsers – Education for Muslim Children. Check out the Files and Links section for help on Quran.

The Perfect Recipe

Vol 6 - Issue 4 The perfect recipe

A marriage is usually said to be a blend of many different ingredients. These ingredients, on the face of it, seem quite common from one marriage to another. Every couple will name these ingredients to be love, understanding, loyalty and friendship; however, the way in which these are put together to form the perfect blend varies for every couple. And that is what actually makes every marriage unique.

Hiba spoke to a few newly-married wives to get their views on what they feel are the two most essential ingredients of a successful marriage.

“There are many actually – respect, forgiveness and understanding,” said Sarah Anwar, who’s been married for a year and a half. “Keeping faith in your spouse and in his/her decisions is very important, since it gives you the feeling of being secure and also makes your spouse feel more confident. Then comes respect. Once you’ve lost it, it’s gone forever. You might not believe in giving personal space to your spouse, but respecting the other person for being him/herself is very important. After all, we all have our own shortcomings. By understanding I don’t mean taking everything your relationship has to offer, but it’s better to try to see the other person’s perspective at times.”

Hania Tahir, who’s also been married for a year and a half, interestingly felt that honeymoon was an essential ingredient of any marriage. “It’s the magic ingredient that strengthens your bond and allows you to become comfortable with each other in a way that early married life with a million dinners a week can never allow. Strolling around in a foreign country, staying out late and talking, talking, talking for hours and hours brings you closer better than anything else. I credit it for laying the foundation for my marriage,” she said.

“The second ingredient is to pick your battles. I cannot stress how important this is. There may be a thousand million things that bother you, but many of these are tiny and not worth fighting over. Before I got married, I’d have scoffed at the concept of apologizing even if you don’t mean it, but I’ve since learnt that that’s far better than both of you glaring daggers at each other,” she added.

“Willingness to cooperate with each other and trusting one’s spouse are the essential ingredients of a successful marriage,” said Faria Saleem, a wife, with a year of family life behind. “There are many issues which have to be handled diplomatically, if you want to avoid unnecessary conflicts. You have to know when to speak and when to remain silent.”

“Trust and compromise are very essential in a marriage,” said Javeria Idrees, who’s been married for a couple of years and has a baby daughter. “Trust will keep your life going and compromise within the boundaries of right and wrong will create more room for both of you.”

With new couples being aware of their issues and the ways to make a marriage work, why then does conflict arise? And what is the best way of dealing with that conflict?

“Talking the problems out,” said Sarah Anwar promptly. “You don’t have to be disrespectful while doing so, but if you keep the lava simmering inside, it’s going to take all the good things away, when it bursts. Compromise and tolerance are major factors of conflict resolution. Always believe in your spouse – whatever he is doing is for your own happiness. Plus, every individual is unique; we have conflicts even with our siblings, who are brought up by the same parents under the same condition in the same house. So how can we expect a person, who has lived his/her life in different conditions and is brought up differently, to be exactly like us?”

Hania Tahir was all for diplomacy. “Don’t raise your voice!” she advised. “Say all the horrible things you want, but disguise your tone. It makes a world of a difference. Pretend you’re being nice. At the end, profess (exaggerated, if need be) declarations of love. If you’ve exhausted your persuasion supplies, and the spouse irritatingly continues to disagree with you, swallow your pride and give up your own stance. At the end of the day, your choice is between sticking to your guns and maintaining a smooth relationship. I pick the latter, and if it means giving up a few things along the way, none of them are more important than a snarl-free marriage. Oh, and the best way to drive your spouse up the wall is to bring up something from a previous fight or something annoying you noticed two months ago. If anything comes up, resolve it as soon as possible. If more than two days pass and you’ve not mentioned it, give it up and move on. It’s not fair to your poor unsuspecting partner.”

Talking to these young wives and mothers gives the impression that they are indeed aware of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a marriage. It is also very encouraging to note that, based on their personal experiences, they are more inclined towards diplomatic handling of issues, rather than an emotional, spontaneous response. With so many marriages on the rocks these days, one can only hope that these young women will set an example for those around them. After all, as one mother put it: “It is not easy to give up your personal space in this age of individualism, but, eventually, you have to trust the other person in doing as minor things for you as ironing.”