RANDOM THOUGHTS: Our Golden Traditions - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Our Golden Traditions
Dr. A.Q. Khan


This is a period of the internet. You can find each and everything on it. However, it is like a double-edged knife – useful for cutting but can also be used for hurting somebody. I get many informative, humorous, etc. messages, one such being about our golden traditions and the exemplary character of our forefathers. It is about our famous commander, Qutaiba ibn Muslim, who conquered Central Asia and South West China. This particular episode is about the conquest of Samarkand, the most beautiful and richest city of its time.

“Samarkand is a great country located in North Asia and Samarkand city is filled with gold, silver, silk, porcelain and natural resources. People of Samarkand used to worship idols they made of jewelry. They placed these gods in a temple in the mountains. The temple was specifically made for senior monks, and there were a lot of small temples in the center of Samarkand.
In that era, Muslims were ruled by a Caliph who was an example because of his good manners, piety and fear of God. His name was ‘Umar ibn Abdul Aziz and he was the grandson of the second caliph Al-Farooq ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab. His kingdom extended from China to the Atlantic Ocean. His wife, Fatima, the daughter of Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik and also the sister of Caliph Sulaiman, was the most honorable woman of her time as seven males of her relatives had been rulers.
The Islamic army was under a seasoned and merciful commander, Qutaybah ibn Muslim. When the Islamic army led by him reached the outskirts of Samarkand, he ordered it to go to the mountain behind the city because he didn’t want the people of Samarkand to see them. The Muslim army attacked the city and reached the centre of Samarkand without resistance. The monks had fled to the great temple in the mountains and the people of Samarkand stayed in their homes.
Slowly the people of Samarkand began sending out their young children to fetch food and water and the Muslims helped them. This situation began to spread feelings of trust and tranquility in the hearts if the people of Samarkand. Normal life returned between Muslims and the people of Samarkand. They found that Muslims were fair in their business and dealings; they did not lie or cheat. This impression rose when two persons quarreled – one from Samarkand and the other a Muslim. They went to the judge who favoured the man from Samarkand. The news reached the runaway monks in the mountain temple. They ordered their men to go to the ruler of the Muslims and tell him what happened in the war.
A young man was sent to Damascus. He saw what he thought was a large palace, but it was the “Umayyad Mosque”. It was studded with precious gems, ornaments and majestic minarets. He saw Muslims praying together lined up in rows.
After prayer he asked a Muslim: ‘Where is your leader?’ ‘He was the man who led the prayer’, he was told. The Muslim asked him: ‘Did you pray with us?’ The man asked: ‘What is prayer?’ The Muslim said: ‘It is worshipping the Almighty Allah alone and becoming obedient to Him without any partner.’ The Muslim asked him: ‘What is your religion?’ He said: “The religion of the priests of Samarkand. They worship idols.’
The Muslim then described the caliph’s home to the man. He went there and found an old clay house and an old man who was mending the wall. His clothes were full of mud. The man went back to the mosque and said to the Muslim: ‘I asked you about your leader’s palace and you sent me to a poor man mending his wall.’
The Muslim went to the house with the man and told him: ‘This is the Emir who is mending his wall.” The man remembered the priests and how they were too proud to talk freely to their people. He went to ‘Umar ibn Abdul Aziz and said: ‘Are you the Emir of the Muslims?’ When the Caliph replied in the affirmative, he said: ‘I have a complaint about Qutaybah ibn Muslim. When you conquer any country, you make them choose one of three things: invite them to Islam, ask them to pay tribute or fight. Is it also your custom to start the assault by surprise?’ The Caliph replied: ‘It is not our custom to do so and Allah Almighty has ordered us not to do so and our Prophet forbade us from being unjust.’ The man said: ‘Qutaybah ibn Muslim attacked us by surprise.’ Upon hearing this the Caliph decided to write to the Governor of Samarkand and ordered the man to take the letter. The Governor was surprised to note the seal on the letter and found that he was told to appoint a judge between the priests of Samarkand and Qutaybah ibn Muslim. A judge was quickly appointed and he ordered the priests and the people to come in the presence of Qutaybah ibn Muslim, who was told to sit next to his opponenent. The priest said: ‘Qutaybah ibn Muslim entered our country without warning us.’ When asked what he had to say to this, Qutaybah replied: ‘war is a trick….. had we fought, they would have killed more of us than we would have killed from them. By the help of Allah and surprise, we defended Muslims from great harm.’ The judge said: ‘Qutaybah, you have confessed.’ Then the judge issued his ruling: ‘I rule that all armies of Muslims in this country should get out of this country and give it back to its people and give them the opportunity to prepare for war, and then make them choose between Islam, tribute or war.’ The young priest then said: ‘What they did proves that their religion is right. I witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.’ All the inhabitants of Samarkand then embraced Islam and it became the capital of a Muslim empire for hundreds of years.” (Condensed courtesy Fatima Dawood in Milli Gazette, India, July 13, 2011).

Posted on Feb 21, 17 | 1:28 am