RANDOM THOUGHTS: Interesting Anecdotes - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

imageRANDOM THOUGHTS
Interesting Anecdotes
Dr. A.Q. Khan

dr.a.quadeer.khan@gmail.com

The papers nowadays are full of politics, cricket and reports about the pathetic condition of the average person in Pakistan. We hardly ever see or hear anything useful for the good of the country or for the betterment of the lives of the common man. The Supreme Court and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have become very active, and rightly so. Crooks and criminals were having a heyday and seemed to be under the impression that they had a free hand and that they were not accountable to anybody. Many of those involved in wrongdoings of various nature have started a campaign against both these important institutions. It is always the same story – those with vested interests are most vocal in their opposition. Unfortunately, the whole public system in our country is a mess – schools, hospitals, roads, sewerage, garbage collection, etc. Let us rather turn to more congenial things.

This is about Hajra Aswad or the Black Stone set in a silver frame in Khana-e-Kabah. We, Muslims from all over the world, kiss it when we go for Umra or Hajj and perform the ritual tawaf (7 circumambulations of the Kabah). Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had also kissed it when he performed Hajj. When Hazrat Umar (RA) was performing tawaf, he stopped in front of Hajra Aswad and said: “I know that you are just a stone and no more, but since our Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) kissed it, I am doing the same out of respect to him”.

In 317 AH, the ruler of Bahrain, Abu Tahir Sulaiman Qaranti, raided and occupied Makkah. The people became so afraid that they did not perform Hajj that year. Nobody could go to Arafat, an essential part of the rituals for Hajj. This was the first (and last) time that people could not perform Hajj. The King of Bahrain removed the Hajra Aswad from the Khana-e-Kabah and took it with him to Bahrain. Later, the Caliph, Muqtadir Billah Abbasi, made a deal with Abu Tahir Sulaiman and gave him 30,000 Dinar to return the Black Stone to Makkah. This happened in 339 AH. The Caliph sent a learned person, Mohaddis Abdulla, to Bahrain to fetch it. According to Shaikh Sayuti, when Abdulla and his delegation reached Bahrain, the King organized a reception for them and an official handing over of the Stone. At this reception he asked one of his courtiers to bring in the stone. It was an aromatic, black stone wrapped in a beautiful soft silk cloth. This he gave to Abdullah. A wary Abdullah said he wanted to test it first – it should pass two tests; it should not sink in water and it should not get hot when put into fire. He placed the stone in water and it immediately sank. When he put it into fire, it became very hot and shattered. Abdullah then proclaimed that this was not Hajra Aswad. Then the courtier brought another stone, which also failed to pass the two required tests. Abdullah said he would only accept the real Stone. When another stone was brought, it neither sank nor got hot and Abdullah proclaimed it to be the real stone from Jannah. The king was very surprised and asked him how he knew these things. Abdullah said they had heard that this had been said by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself, to which the king said: “Your religion is very strongly based on traditions.” Abdullah placed the Stone on a weak camel, which then galloped all the way back to Khana-e-Kabah (this energy probably being due to the fact that the Stone was being taken back to its rightful place). This in contrast to reports saying that, when the king was taking the stone to Bahrain, many camels (about 40) had died on the way (Tarikh Makkatal Tibri). (Courtesy Maulana Ysair Habib Sahib.)

This inspiring story is related to the famous tennis legend, Arthur Ashe. He was the first - and so far the only – African American to have won the US Open and Wimbledon (1975) and who became the world’s number one tennis player. He died of AIDS contracted from infected blood received during heart surgery in 1983. During his illness, he received many letters from fans, one of them asking: “Why did God have to select you for such a bad disease?” His reply was as follows: “50 million children started playing tennis; 5 million learnt to play; 500,000 learnt professional tennis; 50 thousand came to circuit; 5 thousand reached Grand Slam; 50 reached Wimbledon; 4 reached the semifinals; 2 reached the finals and when I was holding the cup in my hands, I never asked God ‘Why me?’ So now that I’m in pain, how can I ask God ‘Why me?’ Happiness keeps you sweet; trials keep you strong; sorrows keep you human, failure keeps you humble; success keeps you glowing; but only faith keeps you going. Sometimes you are not satisfied with your life, while many people in this world are dreaming of living your life. A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of flying; the pilot on the plane sees the farmhouse and dreams of returning home. That’s life! Enjoy yours; if wealth is the secret to happiness, then the rich should be dancing on the streets, but only poor kids do that. If power ensures security, then VIPs should walk unguarded, but those who live simply, sleep soundly. If beauty and fame bring ideal relationships, then celebrities should have the best marriages.”

Although Arthur Ashe physically died on 6th February 1993, he is still alive spiritually in the hearts of millions of people.

Corrigendum
In last week’s column, our moving from Berlin (Germany) to Delft (Holland) was mentioned as being in August 1964. This should have been August 1963.

Posted on Apr 04, 18 | 6:17 am