Stay with Wise & Seek Knowledge

Rasul Allah Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

“O Muslims! Sit with your elders, question the scholars, and meet wise people.” [Tibrani, Mishkat]

Seek Knowledge from Elders & Scholars

In other words, one should benefit from knowledge at every opportunity. Elders have life experience from which one may benefit. We should sit with them to benefit from their experiences and also to provide them with company. Scholars have religious knowledge from which one may learn. Asking questions is a way in which we can learn from them.

Sit with Wise:

Besides elders and scholars, Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) advised us to keep the company of the wise. The wise are those whose destination is Paradise. Whoever ends up in the Fire will consider himself/herself to be the most stupid of people. They may have been Nobel laureates in the world but when they get to their final destination they will realize how they had wasted their brains and will say:

“Had we but listened or used (any of) our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!” [Quran 67:10]

The scholars and the wise are those who have the awareness, love and fear of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Imam Malik once referred to someone as a scholar. When it was said that he is not a particularly learned person, Imam Malik replied, “He has the fear of Allah, which is the fruit of knowledge.”

Who is Wise?

How should we recognize these wise people whose destination is Jannah?  Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says that the wise are:

1) Those who forbid others from doing wrong: “Why were there not, among the generations before you, persons possessed of balanced good sense, prohibiting (men) from mischief in the earth.” [Quran 11:116]

2) Those who practice what they preach: “Do you enjoin righteousness upon mankind while you yourselves forget (to practise it)? And you are readers of the Scripture! Have you then no sense?” [Quran 2:44]

3) Those who give every preference to the life of the Hereafter and spend their life working for it: “Naught is the life of the world save a pastime and a sport. Better far is the abode of the Hereafter for those who keep their duty (to Allah). Have you then no sense? [Quran 6:32]

4) Those who believe in the message brought by Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam):The likeness of those who disbelieve (in relation to the messenger) is as the likeness of one who calls to that which hears nothing except a shout and cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.” [Quran 2:171]

Although everybody has something to teach and something to learn, the harm of the foolish, ignorant or frivolous person is more than their good.

Time is Not Money – Time is Life:

Time is the MOST Precious commodity one possesses that should not be wasted in useless chatter. For a capitalist, time is money. For a Muslim, time is much more precious than that. This life is nothing but a fixed amount of time. So Time is Life; Money can be recovered Life Can Not. It is our Jannah or Jahannum. Our never ending next life depends on how we use it.  

Wiser Learns from Others:

A wise person is one who learns from his experiences, while the wiser person is one who learns from the experiences of others. This hadith is telling us to be the wiser person and learn from the experiences of our elders, the scholars who fear Allah and the wise.

Cairo – Sept 2011 Visit

Only a year passed since I last visited Cairo and I am missing this city of lights. I was going through my memoirs and found these notes from my last visit. It was quite memorable visit as few interesting incidents happened. Let me share these with you for your delight.

Read my previous Egypt Visits Here:

Cairo’s old Historical Streets

I guess I am getting better and better in managing Cairo. Brave enough, I came out of the terminal building and fully ignoring the touts, occasionally saying “Shukran” to taxi offers pretending to be an Egyptian (lucky me, I can easily guise in most of the middle east). I headed straight to the car park across the building as I knew there must be few metered taxies around. Most drivers hanging around in the terminal building are way too expensive. Dressed in long taup (Arabic long shirt) like villagers, bearded, middle aged Egyptian offered me taxi. I ignored and continued. Don’t know why, I went few steps then stopped and turned to look at him. Let’s try him, he appeared like a gentleman.

Mustafa – The Cruising Driver:

‘Fu Tura’, I asked? Meaning receipt, many taxi drivers don’t provide one. They don’t want to turn the meter on, or they don’t have a paper receipt; not an acceptable option for me since I have to claim the expenses back from my office. He nodded yes. Within minutes we were on our way to Cairo downtown. Mostafa was an aggressive & fast driver; he was really flying. At times, well most of the times I held the door handle firmly. Almost all taxi drivers have small Quran on the dashboard and many listen to Quran while driving; I can understand why Mustafa had one; he had strong trust in God. A ‘bad’ driver suddenly came in his way; he hurled a long speech in fusah (decent) Arabic. Masha Allah, his accent was great!

Al Gazirah island Cairo

I was staying in Sofitel hotel on river Nile’s bank. After crossing the Tahrir Square and passing over the famous “Kobri Qasr al Nile” Bridge, we entered the ‘Al Gazirah’ (island). River Nile splits into two in the middle of Cairo creating a 4 Km long & half a Km wide rectangle shaped island called ‘Al Gazirah’ (see photo below). This island hosts many famous public places (see above photo) such as Obera House (Opera House – dome building above), stadium, park, sports facilities & Cairo Tower (I guess this is the same tower once used to view Cairo from its observation deck but then it was blocked because people allegedly used powerful binoculars to peep into surrounding houses!) . There is an underground metro station here called ‘Obera’; I did not know this so walked more than a mile to next one across the Tahrir Square to catch metro.

Pistol Fight:

Anyway, we turned into Giza road which leads to the hotel. There were cars parked on one side and only one car could pass at a time. There was a young driver (in 30s) in front of us trying to park his car in a narrow parking space. Mostafa couldn’t wait and tried to pass from one side. The other driver had started to reverse into the space. Side mirrors hugged each other briefly. Hot argument erupted, why can’t you wait for a second, one asked the other? Why are you so rushed, he responded? (NOTE: the argument was in Arabic, this is my best guess translation). Suddenly argument flared up, young man ran to his car, picked something from underneath his seat. Guess what; it was a pistol. I heard a clicking noise; he rushed to Mostafa, aimed at him through driver side window. Oh oh, I was directly “in the line of fire”; literally, sitting beside Mustafa on front passenger seat. Run, run, run boy, I promptly & swiftly opened the door and ran outside. Other people rushed to the scene and cooled the young person down. Mostafa cooled down also (I guess he realised his mistake plus pistol played its role). Ceasefire reached with no shot fired, thanks God. Mostafa hugged the guy and said sorry and we moved on. This is such a good habit of Egyptians that they argue at full pace for a while, then say sorry and move on, no one keeping any grudge.

Sofitel Hotel Building

High Security & Sweets:

Sofitel Al Jazira Hotel is quite an elegant 30-ish storey round building; one of the most beautiful hotels in Cairo, much like famous Habib Bank Building in Karachi, Pakistan. The security was on high alert this time for some reason. My colleague was staying on a different floor; he reported seeing couple of guards there. It was unusual. Next day he was asked to move to another floor, reason some foreign delegates was arriving. Unwillingly he moved. As a gesture of thanks management sent him Baqlawa the Arabian sweets, which he invited me to enjoy. And I did so indeed; all & alone since he is not so sweet ‘teeth’ as I am!

Dinner on the banks of Nile in Sofitel

It was not possible to go to Tahrir Square because there was a big demonstration going on (2011 – demonstration was against military not holding elections after departure of Mr Mubarak). I wanted to visit my favourite foods Shawarma (doner kebab) and Kushaari, both near the square. To avoid the any issue I walked to the opposite side, away from the square towards ‘Ad Doki’. To my surprise a branch of “Kushaari al-Tahrir” restaurant was right there in front of me. Next door was the delicious shawarma house “Taza Restaurant”. It tried both – not disappointed at all!

Next day, my plan was to visit Old Islamic Cairo, Read it in next blog…

Shia Sunni Issue in Syria

A brother has commented on my writing on “Prophet’s predictions about Syria”. Below are his comments and my response is at the end.

 “Kashif, very interesting but confusing translation of the prediction. If Wahhabis and extremist take over Syria and if prediction is correct, then Imam Mahdi will appear in Syria while Wahhabis are governing the country! Logically speaking, I can only see another war in that scenario. Because if Wahhabis take the same position as they do now (Killing a Shia or any Muslim who is confronting their believe is the key to Jannah) then Imam Mahdi should be on their hit list too. I am not implying here that Imam Mahdi will be shia or Sunni but I know for sure he would love his ancestors and he will not be kind or merciful to those who ran bulldozer to his grand fathers and mothers grave in Jannat-ul-Baqi’e. And those indeed noon but Saudi wahhabis.

Now why I say if Wahabi and extremists take over Syria, because this opposition is mainly funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are the biggest proponent of Wahabism and extremism.

Going one step back, why Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting this movement? Perhaps couple of reasons:

 1)      Syrian govt refused to sign an agreement with Israel and it is typical way US punishes any disobedient govt.

2)      Weakening the influence of Iran and Hezbollah in the region to ensure Israel’s security. Because it is not Saudia or Qatar which are threat to Israel, its mainly Hezbollah. This helps both US and Saudi.

Not to mention the 3rd reason which is a wise enemy is better than your ignorant friend. Saudis fall under ignorant friend category.

Watch out this video and read comments from American and British: George Galloway talking about Syria

I believe we have moral duty to stay diligent, fair and unemotional if we volunteer ourselves to educate and inform other people.”

Kashif Says: The points raised above are interesting indeed, some of these I agree with, but have differing opinion on others. I will write briefly to keep the discussion brief.

Firstly, we must not discriminate between Sunni, Shia, Wahabi, Deobandi, Ahle-Hadeeth, etc etc. All are Muslims as long as they conform to Islam; legitimate difference of opinion is acceptable in Islam. Qadiani (& any other group that falls out of basic Islamic belief) are different subject. Anyone who believes in basic aqeedah of Islam is Muslim regardless. If they are doing something wrong, they could be sinful but still Muslims.

Secondly, we need to separate ordinary people from the regimes namely, Iranian, Saudi, Pakistani, UAE and others governments. All of these (& I say all) are there to protect their own interest & then of their masters. Westerns governments support a particular group or a government for their own interests.

The word ‘extremists’ needs to be used carefully. Taliban were created & funded by US, now they are their enemy No 1. So media which is the biggest tool used by governments to make us believe a group to be a fundamentalists or heroes. And this is the very media which forms our opinions about each other and makes us view each other as different (i.e. shia, sunny, Pakistani, Saudi). It brainwashes us to fight against each other.

I have travelled across majority of Muslim world and found that people have a natural love for each other; be it Iran, Egypt, Saudia, Malaysia or Nigeria. I prayed in all flavours of Mosques; I was always welcomed warmly. No one has ever asked me if I was shia or sunni. We need to realise that we are ONE, we will remain ONE. Divisions are artificial so they will fizzle (except the legitimate differences), insha Allah.

So the day Mahdi arrives insha Allah, we will all greet HIM (AS) jointly with love & joy. On that day, the current regimes and boundaries will start falling like dry leaves, insha Allah. May Allah Ta’ala bring this sooner than later! Aamin

NOTE: As an ordinary human being, I am prone to make mistakes, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.