Saturday, September 15, 2007

MAB Iftar 2007, Manchester

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Assalaamualaikum. I hope you are all well. If you are to attend something this Ramadhan, make sure you free yourselves on Sunday 23rd September and attend the annual Iftar event held at the Eastern Pearl Restaurant hosted by the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB). Everyone is invited and this years theme is 'The Night Journey'.

Tickets are priced at £10. Further information can be obtained from:-

- 07807 548 712

The programme starts at 6:30pm and includes:

- A 3-course meal
- A talk on 'The Night Journey' by Dr Azzam Tamimi
- Light entertainment
- Tarawih prayers

Remember...everyone is welcome, so please forward this message to all your friends and family. I hope to see you all there! Wassalaamualaikum.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Marriage – Malcolm X’s Version

I had always been very careful to stay completely clear of any personal closeness with any of the Muslim sisters. My total commitment to Islam demanded having no other interests, especially, I felt, no women. In almost every temple at least one single sister had let out some broad hint that she thought I needed a wife. So I always made it clear that marriage had no interest for me whatsoever; I was too busy.

Every month, when I went to Chicago, I would find that some sister had written complaining to Mr Muhammad that I talked so hard against women when I taught our special classes about the different natures of the two sexes. Now, Islam has very strict laws and teachings about women, the core of them being that the true nature of a man is to be strong, and a woman’s true nature is to be weak, and while a man must at all times respect his woman, at the same time he needs to understand that he must control her if he expects to get her respect.

But in those days I had my own personal reasons. I wouldn’t have considered it possible for me to love any woman. I’d had too much experience that women were only tricky, deceitful, untrustworthy flesh. I had seen too many men ruined, or at least tied down, or in some way messed up by women. Women talked too much. To tell a woman not to talk too much was like telling Jesse James not to carry a gun, or telling a hen not to cackle. Can you imagine Jesse James without a gun, or a hen that didn’t cackle? And for anyone in any kind of a leadership position, such as I was, the worst thing in the world that he could have was the wrong woman. Even Samson, the world’s strongest man, was destroyed by the woman who slept in his arms. She was the one whose words hurt him.

I mean, I’d had so much experience. I had talked to too many prostitutes and mistresses. They knew more about a whole lot of husbands than the wives of those husbands did. The wives always filled their husband’s ears so full of wife complaints that it wasn’t the wives, it was the prostitutes and mistresses who heard the husbands’ innermost problems and secrets. They thought of him, and comforted him, and that included listening to him, and so he would tell them everything.

Anyway, it had been ten years since I thought anything about any mistress, I guess, and as a minister now, I was thinking even less about getting any wife. And Mr Muhammad himself encouraged me to stay single.

Temple Seven sisters used to tell brothers, ‘You’re just staying single because Brother Minister Malcolm never looks at anybody.’ No, I didn’t make it any secret to any of those sisters, how I felt. And, yes, I did tell the brothers to be very, very careful.

This sister – well in 1956, she joined Temple Seven. I just noticed her, not with the slightest interest, you understand. For about the next year, I just noticed her. You know, she never would have dreamed I was even thinking about her. In fact, probably you couldn’t have convinced her I even knew her name. It was Sister Betty X. She was tall, brown skinned – darker that I was. And she had brown eyes.

I knew she was from Detroit, and that she had been a student at Tuskegee Institute down in Alabama – an education major. She was in New York at one of the big hospitals’ school of nursing. She lectured to the Muslim girls’ and women’s classes on hygiene and medical facts.

I ought to explain that each week night a different Muslim class, or event, is scheduled. Monday night, every temple’s Fruit of Islam trains. People think this is just military drill, judo, karate, things like that – which is part of the F.O.I. training, but only one part. The F.O.I. spends a lot more time in lectures and discussions on men learning to be men. They deal with the responsibilities of a husband and father; what to expect of women; the rights of women which are not to be abrogated by the husband; the importance of the father-male image in the strong household; current events; why honesty, and chastity, are vital in a person, a home, a community, a nation, and a civilisation; why one should bathe at least once each twenty-four hours; business principles; and things of that nature.

Then, Tuesday night in every Muslim temple is Unity Night, where the brothers and sisters enjoy each other’s conversational company and refreshments, such as cookies and sweet and sour fruit punches. Wednesday nights, at eight p.m., is what is called Student Enrollment, where Islam’s basic issues are discussed; it is about the equivalent of catechism class in the Catholic religion.

Thursday nights there are the M.G.T. (Muslim Girls’ Training) and the G.C.C. (General Civilisation Class), where the women and girls of Islam are taught how to keep homes, how to rear children, how to care for husbands, how to cook, sew, how to act at home and abroad, and other such things that are important to being a good Muslim sister and mother and wife.

Fridays are devoted to Civilisation Night, when classes are held for brothers and sisters in the area of the domestic relations, emphasising how both husbands and wives must understand and respect each other’s true natures. Then Saturday night is for all Muslims a free night, when, usually, they visit each other’s homes. And, of course, on Sundays, every Muslim Temple holds its services.

On the Thursday M.G.T. and G.C.C. nights, sometimes I would drop in on the classes, and maybe at Sister Betty X’s classes – just as on other nights I might drop in on the different brothers’ classes. At first I would just ask her things like how were the sisters learning – things like that, and she would say ‘Fine, Brother Minister.’ I’d say, ‘Thank you, Sister.’ Like that. And that would be all there was to it. And after a while, I would have very short conversations with her, just to be friendly.

One day I thought it would help the women’s classes if I took her – just because she happened to be an instructor, to the Museum of Natural History. I wanted to show her some Museum displays having to do with the tree of evolution, that would help her in her lectures. I could show her proofs of Mr Muhammad’s teachings of such things as that the filthy pig is only a large rodent. The pig is a graft between a rat, a cat and a dog, Mr Muhammad taught us. When I mentioned my idea to Sister Betty X, I made it very clear that it was just to help her lectures to the sisters. I had even convinced myself that this was the only reason.

Then by the time of the afternoon I said we would go, well, I telephoned her; I told her I had to cancel the trip, that something important had come up. She said, ‘Well, you sure waited long enough to tell me, Brother Minister, I was just ready to walk out of the door.’ So I told her, well, all right, come on then, I’d make it somehow. But I wasn’t going to have much time.

While we were down there, offhandedly I asked her all kinds of things. I just wanted some idea of her thinking; you understand, I mean how she thought. I was halfway impressed by her intelligence and also her education. In those days she was one of the few whom we had attracted who had attended college.

Then, right after that, one of the older sisters confided to me a personal problem that Sister Betty X was having. I was really surprised that when she had had the chance, Sister Betty X had not mentioned anything to me about it. Every Muslim minister is always hearing the problems of young people whose parents have ostracised them for becoming Muslims. Well, when Sister Betty X told her foster parents, who were financing her education, that she was a Muslim, they gave her a choice: leave the Muslims, or they’d cut off her nursing school.

It was right near the end of her term – but she was hanging on to Islam. She began taking baby-sitting jobs for some of the doctors who lived on the grounds of the hospital where she was training.

In my position, I would never have made any move without thinking how it would affect the Nation of Islam organisation as a whole.

I got to turning it over in my mind. What would happen if I just should happen, sometime, to think about getting married to somebody? For instance Sister Betty X – although it could be any sister in any temple, but Sister Betty X, for instance, would just happen to be the right height for somebody my height, and also the right age.

Mr Elijah Muhammad taught us that a tall man married to a too short woman, or vice versa, they looked odd, not matched. And he taught that a wife’s ideal age was half the man’s age plus seven. He taught that women are psychologically ahead of men. Mr Muhammad taught that no marriage could succeed where the woman did not look up with respect to the man. And that the man had to have something above and beyond the wife in order for her to be able to look to him for psychological security.

I was so shocked at myself, when I realised what I was thinking, I quit going anywhere near Sister Betty X, or anywhere I knew she would be. If she came into our restaurant and I was there, I went out somewhere. I was glad I knew that she had no idea what I had been thinking about. My not talking to her wouldn’t give her any reason to think anything, since there had never been one personal word spoken between us – even if she had thought anything.

I studied about if I just should happen to say something to her – what would her position be? Because she wasn’t going to get any chance to embarrass me. I had heard too many women bragging, ‘I told that chump “Get lost!”’ I’d had too much experience of the kind to make a man very cautious.

I knew one good thing; she had few relatives. My feeling about in-laws was that they were outlaws. Right among the Temple Seven Muslims, I had seen more marriages destroyed by in-laws, usually anti-Muslim, than any other single thing I knew of.

I wasn’t about to say any of that romance stuff that Hollywood and television had filled women’s heads with. If I was going to do something, I was going to do it directly. And anything I was going to do, I was going to do my way. And because I wanted to do it. Not because I saw somebody do it. Or read about it in a book. Or saw it in a moving picture somewhere.

I told Mr Muhammad, when I visited him in Chicago that month, that I was thinking about a very serious step. He smiled when he heard what it was.

I told him I was just thinking about it, that was all. Mr Muhammad said that he’d like to meet this sister.

The Nation by this time was financially able to bear the expenses so that instructor sisters from different temples could be sent to Chicago to attend the Headquarters Temple Two women’s classes, and, while there, to meet The Honourable Elijah Muhammad in person. Sister Betty X, of course, knew all about this, so there was no reason for her to think anything of it when it was arranged for her to go to Chicago. And like all visiting instructor sisters, she was the house guest of the Messenger and Sister Clara Muhammad.

Mr Muhammad told me that he thought that Sister Betty X was a fine sister.

If you are thinking about doing a thing, you ought to make up your mind if you are going to do it, or not do it. One Sunday night, after the Temple Seven meeting, I drove my car out on the Garden State Parkway. I was on my way to visit my brother Wilfred, in Detroit. Wilfred, the year before, in 1957, had been made the minister of Detroit’s Temple One. I hadn’t seen him, or any of my family, in a good while.

It was about ten in the morning when I got inside Detroit. Getting gas at a filling station, I just went to their pay phone on a wall; I telephoned Sister Betty X. I had to get information to get the number of the nurses’ residence at this hospital. Most numbers I memorised, but I had always made it some point never to memorise her number. Somebody got her to the phone finally. She said, ‘Oh, hello, Brother Minister –’ I just said it to her direct: ‘Look, do you want to get married?’

Naturally, she acted all surprised and shocked.

The more I have thought about it, to this day I believe she was only putting on an act. Because women know. They know.

She said, just like I knew she would, ‘Yes.’ Then I said, well, I didn’t have a whole lot of time, she’d better catch a plane to Detroit.

So she grabbed a plane. I met her foster parents who lived in Detroit. They had made up by this time. They were very friendly, and happily surprised. At least, they acted this way.

Then I introduced Sister Betty X at my oldest brother Wilfred’s house. I had already asked him where people could get married without a whole lot of mess and waiting. He told me in Indiana.

Early the next morning, I picked up Betty at her parents’ home. We drove to the first town in Indiana. We found out that only a few days before, the state law had been changed, and now Indiana had a long waiting period.

This was the fourteenth of January, 1958; a Tuesday. We weren’t far from Lansing, where my brother Philbert lived. I drove there. Philbert was at work when we stopped at his house and I introduced Betty X. She and Philbert’s wife were talking when I found out on the phone that we could get married in one day, if we rushed.

We got the necessary blood tests, then the license. Where the certificate said ‘Religion’, I wrote ‘Muslim’. Then we went to the Justice of the Peace.

An old hunchbacked white man performed the wedding. And all of the witnesses were white. Where you are supposed to say all those ‘I do’s’, we did. They were all standing there, smiling and watching every move. The old devil said, ‘I pronounce you man and wife,’ and then ‘kiss the bride.’

I got her out of there. All of that Hollywood stuff! Like these women wanting men to pick them up and carry them across thresholds and some of them weigh more than you do. I don’t know how many marriage break-ups are caused by these movie – and television – addicted women expecting some bouquets and kissing and hugging and being swept out like Cinderella for dinner and dancing – then getting mad when a poor, scraggly husband comes in tired and sweaty from working like a dog all day, looking for some food.

We had dinner there at Philbert’s home in Lansing. ‘I’ve got a surprise for you,’ I told him when we came in. ‘You haven’t got any surprise for me,’ he said. When he got home from work and heard I’d been there introducing a Muslim sister, he knew I was either married, or on the way to get married.

Betty’s nursing school schedule called for her to fly right back to New York, and she could return in four days. She claims she didn’t tell anybody in Temple Seven that we had married.

That Sunday, Mr Muhammad was going to teach at Detroit’s Temple One. I had an Assistant Minister in New York now; I telephoned him to take over for me. Saturday, Betty came back. The Messenger, after his teaching on Sunday, made the announcement. Even in Michigan, my steering clear of all sisters was so well known, they just couldn’t believe it.

We drove right back to New York together. The news really shook everybody in Temple Seven. Some young brothers looked at me as though I had betrayed them. But everybody else was grinning like Cheshire cats. The sisters just about ate up Betty. I never will forget hearing one exclaim, ‘You got him!’ That’s like I was telling you, the nature of women. She’d got me. That’s part of why I never have been able to shake it out of my mind that she knew something – all the time. Maybe she did get me!

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, with the assistance of Alex Haley

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Unkind Cut

The return of the Mobile Guard loaded with spoils was greeted with joy by the Muslims at Damascus. The Sword of Allah had done it again! The force had been absent for about 10 days, and the Muslims had been seriously perturbed; but now all was well. Khalid (RA) at once sent off a letter to Madinah, addressed to Abu Bakr (RA), informing him of the conquest of Damascus and how Abu Ubaidah had been ‘deceived by the Romans’; of his pursuit of the Roman convoy, the killing of Thomas and Harbees, the capture of the spoils and captives; of the daughter of Heraclius and her release. This letter was written on October 1, 634 (the 2nd of Shaban, 13 Hijri).

The messenger carrying this letter had not gone many hours when Abu Ubaidah (RA) called Khalid aside and told him that Abu Bakr was dead and Umar (RA) was now Caliph. He held out a letter which the new Caliph had written him (i.e. Abu Ubaidah). Hesitantly Khalid took the letter and began to read. The most important line seemed to stand out mockingly: “I appoint you commander of the army of Khalid bin Al-Waleed…”

Khalid looked up from the letter…

“Praise be to Allah who decreed death upon Abu Bakr, who was more beloved to me than Umar. Praise be to Allah who gave authority to Umar, who was less beloved to me than Abu Bakr, and compelled me to love him.”
(Khalid Bin Al-Waleed, upon breaking the news of Abu Bakr’s death to his army.)

“You have deeds which no one has done, but people do nothing, for Allah is the Doer.”
(Arabian poet, quoted by Umar to Khalid.)

In Madinah, as the old Caliph lay dying, he sent for writing materials and wrote an order; after him Umar would be the Caliph and the Believers would swear allegiance to him. This was the last order of Abu Bakr.

On August 22, 634 (22nd Jamadi-ul-Akhir, 13 Hijri), Abu Bakr died and Umar became Caliph. On the same day the new Caliph issued his first order; Khalid was dismissed from the command of the Muslim army in Syria! He wrote to Abu Ubaidah as follows:

In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful.

I urge upon you the fear of Allah who lives eternally while everything else perishes; who has guided us away from wrongdoing and taken us out of darkness into light.

I appoint you commander of the army of Khalid bin Al Waleed. So take charge as is your duty.

Send not the Muslims to their destruction for the sake of plunder; and place not the Muslims in a camp without reconnoitring it and knowing what is there.

Send not expeditions except in properly organised units. And beware of taking any steps which may lead to the annihilation of the Muslims.

Allah has tried me with you and tried you with me. Guard against the temptations of this world lest they destroy you as they have destroyed others before you; and you have seen how they felt.

The letter was given to a messenger with instructions to proceed to Syria and hand it personally to Abu Ubaidah.

The next day Umar led the congregational prayer in the mosque of the Prophet (SAW). When the prayer was over, he addressed the congregation - the first public address of his caliphate. He started by praising Allah and invoking His blessings on the Prophet; then he continued: "Lo! The Arab is like a camel which follows its master and waits for him wherever it is made to sit. And by the Lord of the Kabah, I shall carry you on the right path."

In the rest of his sermon he emphasised various virtues and duties enjoined upon Muslims, and pledged to do his best to further the interests of Islam. Coming to the end of his sermon, he informed the congregation that he had removed Khalid from the command of the army in Syria and appointed Abu Ubaidah in his place.

This announcement was received by the Muslims in hushed silence. Everyone knew that in the heart of Umar there was little love for Khalid, but none had expected Umar to act so harshly against the Sword of Allah, and in such haste, especially after the great victories which Khalid had won for Islam during the last three years. However, Umar was a much feared, albeit respected man, and few would dare to cross him. Moreover, as Caliph he had the authority to appoint and dismiss commanders as he chose, and his decision had to be accepted and obeyed. All remained silent, with a silence more eloquent than words.

But one youth who was present could not contain himself and leapt to his feet. "Do you dismiss a man", he shouted at Umar, "in whose hand Allah has placed a victorious sword and with whom Allah has strengthened His religion! Allah will never forgive you, nor will the Muslims, for sheathing the Sword and dismissing a commander whom Allah has appointed to command."

Umar knew this youngster, he was from the Bani Makhzum - the clan of Khalid. He could also sense the mood of the congregation and knew that its reaction to his announcement was anything but favourable. He decided not to say any more on the subject for the moment. He merely retorted: "The young man is angry on account of the son of his uncle." and walked away from the mosque.

Over the day Umar reflected a great deal on the matter of Khalid's dismissal. He came to the conclusion that he would have to explain his action to the Muslims in order to convince them of its justice. Such a dazzling light as Khalid could not be extinguished without offering adequate justification. The following day he again addressed the Muslims:

"I am not averse to Khalid being in command. But he is wasteful and squanders his wealth on poets and warriors, giving them more than they deserve, which wealth could be better spent in helping the poor and the needy among the Muslims. Let none say that I have dismissed a strong man, and appointed a mild man to command, for Allah is with him (i.e. Abu Ubaidah) and will help him."

This time no one said anything.

The messenger carrying the fateful letter arrived at Damascus while the siege was in progress and the action against the Roman relief column was still a few days away. He knew the contents of the letter, and being an intelligent man guessed that its effect on the embattled Muslims would be far from healthy. So he told everyone whom he met that all was well and that reinforcements were on their way. Arriving at the tent of Abu Ubaidah, where no one else was present, he handed over the letter.

Abu Ubaidah read the letter and was astounded. He would not have wished this to happen to Khalid. He knew that Khalid was the idol of the army and his presence as commander-in-chief was a factor of the highest importance in making the Muslims so confident of victory against all odds. The impact of the change of command would be most adverse, especially whilst the Muslims were engaged in a stubborn siege which showed no sign of turning in their favour. It would be difficult to convince them of the justice of Khalid's dismissal or the wisdom of its timing. Moreover, Abu Ubaidah did not feel inclined to take over command in the middle of the operation when Khalid had everything so well organised. He therefore decided to say nothing about the death of Abu Bakr or the change of command until after the siege had been successfully concluded. The messenger, on being questioned, assured him that he had not divulged the contents of the Caliph's letter to anyone; and Abu Ubaidah cautioned him to keep the matter to himself.

The Muslims at Damascus remained ignorant of the change of command during the rest of the siege. Even on the day of conquest Abu Ubaidah made no reference to it in his altercation with Khalid, for doing so would have amounted to hitting below the belt and would have belittled Khalid in the presence of friend and foe. Thus it was Khalid who signed the pact with the Damascenes and not Abu Ubaidah. In fact it was not until a few hours after Khalid's return from the raid at the Meadow of Brocade that Abu Ubaidah drew him aside, told him of the death of Abu Bakr and the appointment of the new Caliph, and gave him Umar's letter to read.

Slowly Khalid read the letter. It was quite clear: he had been sacked! Abu Ubaidah was the new Commander-in-Chief. Perhaps he should have expected that this would happen if Umar became Caliph; but he had not expected it because he had never considered the possibility of Abu Bakr's death or of Umar's becoming Caliph.

From the date on the letter Khalid saw that it was more than a month old and must have reached Abu Ubaidah at least three weeks before now. He looked up at Abu Ubaidah and asked, "Why did you conceal this from me? May Allah have mercy upon you!" Abu Ubaidah replied, "I did not wish to weaken your authority while you were engaged with the enemy."

For a few moments Khalid remained lost in his thoughts - thoughts of Abu Bakr, his friend, guide and benefactor. Abu Ubaidah looked at him, partly in sympathy, partly in embarrassment. Then Khalid remarked: "May Allah have mercy upon Abu Bakr! Had he lived, I would not have been removed from command." Slowly, with bowed head, the Sword of Allah walked away to his tent.

That night Khalid wept for Abu Bakr.

The following morning, October 2, 634 (3rd Shaban, 13 Hijri), the army was assembled and informed of the two changes - in the Caliphate and in the command in Syria. On this day the Muslims in Damascus took the oath of allegiance to the new Caliph.

If any resentment or bitterness existed in Khalid's heart - and some must undoubtedly have existed - he showed no sign of it. He remarked casually to his friends, "If Abu Bakr is dead and Umar is Caliph, then we hear and obey." There was nothing that Khalid could do to air his grievance without causing serious harm to the Muslim army and the Muslim cause in Syria, for any anti-Umar action would probably have split the army, and this was the last thing that the true soldier and true Muslim would wish.

Once a commander-in-chief is dismissed from his command, he normally does not serve, if he serves at all, in the same theatre where he has been in command. He retires. Or he asks to be transferred or is transferred anyway in consideration for his feelings. Sometimes he is "kicked upstairs." But it was Khalid's destiny to fight and to conquer, and nature had gifted him with all the military virtues needed to fulfil that destiny. Thus we see here the remarkable phenomenon of the greatest general of the time (indeed the greatest general of the first millennium of the Christian Era) being prepared to serve in a lower capacity, even as a common soldier, with the same drive and zeal which he had shown as an army commander. This willingness to serve also reflects the Muslim spirit of the time. And all this became evident a fortnight later in the crisis of Abul Quds.

A week after Abu Ubaidah assumed command of the army, a Christian Arab, seeking the favour of the Muslims, came to the new Commander-in-Chief and informed him that in a few days a great fair would be held at Abul Quds. At this fair visitors and merchants from all the lands in the Asian zone of the Byzantine Empire would come with costly wares to buy and sell. Should the Muslims wish to acquire more spoils, they only had to send a raiding column to pick up all the wealth they wanted. The informer could not say if there would be any Roman soldiers guarding the fair, but there was a strong garrison at Tripolis, on the Mediterranean coast.

Abu Ubaidah spoke to the warriors who sat around him, and asked if anyone would volunteer to take command of a column and raid Abul Quds. He was hoping that Khalid would offer his services for the task, but Khalid remained silent. Then a youth, on whose face the beard had only just begun to grow, volunteered himself with bubbling enthusiasm. This boy was Abdullah, son of Jafar, the Prophet's cousin who had been martyred at Mutah. This young nephew of the Prophet had only just arrived from Madinah and was anxious to win glory in the field. Abu Ubaidah accepted the youth's offer and appointed him commander over a body of 500 horsemen.

On October 14, 634 (the 15th of Shaban, 13 Hijri), the column marched by the light of a bright full moon. With young Abdullah rode a dedicated and saintly soldier by the name of Abu Dharr Al Ghifari. The following morning the impetuous boy launched his small group against a Roman force of 5,000 men which was guarding the fair. Since Abdullah sought glory and Abu Dharr sought martyrdom, there was no one to restrain the Muslims; and the result was disastrous. After some heroic fighting, the Muslims were surrounded by the Romans, and it became evident that none would escape. But when the Muslim turned at bay he was a deadly fighter. The veteran soldiers knew how to defend themselves and quickly formed a tight ring to keep the Romans out; and thus surrounded, they continued to fight, their desperate courage imposing caution on the Romans. But their annihilation was only a matter of time.

One Muslim, however, had escaped the Roman encirclement, and realising the gravity of the situation, he galloped off to Damascus for help. Abu Ubaidah was sitting with his generals when this man arrived to report the disaster and ask for immediate help, without which not a single Muslim would return from Abul Quds. Abu Ubaidah was aghast. His thoughts flew to the words of Umar: "Send not the Muslims to their destruction for the sake of plunder." Moreover, this was his first military decision as Commander-in-Chief and if Abdullah and his men were not saved, the effect on the army would be devastating. And who could do the job but the Sword of Allah!

Abu Ubaidah turned to Khalid: "O Father of Sulaiman, I ask you in the name of Allah to go and rescue Abdullah bin Jafar. You are the only one who can do so."

"I shall certainly do so, Allah willing", replied Khalid. "I waited only for your command."

"I felt hesitant to ask you", remarked Abu Ubaidah, alluding to the embarrassment which he felt over the recent change of command.

Khalid continued: "By Allah, if you were to appoint a small child over me, I would obey him. How could I not obey you when you are far above me in Islam and have been named the Trusted One by the Prophet? I could never attain your status. I declare here and now that I have dedicated my life to the way of Allah, Most High."

In a voice choking with emotion, Abu Ubaidah said, "May Allah have mercy upon you, O Father of Sulaiman. Go and save your brothers."

Within half an hour the Mobile Guard was galloping in the direction of Abul Quds with Khalid and Dhiraar in the lead. Of course Khalid saved the trapped Muslims, though many of them had been killed by the Romans. And not only that; he also raided the market of Abul Quds and brought back an enviable amount of booty! He also brought back many wounds on his person, but getting wounded was now such an everyday affair in Khalid's life that he took little notice of them.

The result of the action at Abul Quds left no doubt (if there ever was any) about Khalid's reaction to his dismissal. Abu Ubaidah wrote an account of this action to Umar, giving generous praise to Khalid for the part that he had played in it. But the windows through which the light of such praise could shine at Madinah were closed. They would never open again.

This dual change of personalities - the Caliph at Madinah and the Commander-in-Chief in Syria - was to have its effect on the conduct and pace of military operations. Umar's methods were very different from his predecessor's. While Abu Bakr would give his commanders their mission and area of operations and leave to them the conduct of the campaign, Umar would order specific objectives for each battle. Later in his caliphate he would even lay down such details as who should command the left wing, who should command the right wing, and so on. He also started a system of spies to watch his own generals. These spies were placed in all armies and corps, and everything that any officer said or did was promptly reported to the Caliph.

Umar confirmed the various corps commanders in the roles allotted to them by Abu Bakr. Amr bin Al Aas would command in Palestine, Yazeed in Damascus, Shurahbil in Jordan and Abu Ubaidah in Emessa - after it was taken. These roles included not only the military command of the various corps, but also political control over the provinces. Thus, for instance, Shurahbil was not only the corps commander for operations in Jordan but also the governor of the District of Jordan. And yet Abu Ubaidah remained the Commander-in-Chief of the army as a whole, although he would command the army only when the corps fought together against the Romans. For Khalid there was no role. By the order of Umar he would operate under Abu Ubaidah, and the latter confirmed him as the commander of the corps of Iraq which included the Mobile Guard. In military status Khalid was equal to the other corps commanders; but politically he was now a nobody.

There was inevitably a slowdown in the pace of operations. Abu Ubaidah was a great man and personally a fearless and skilful fighter. Over the next few years he would also become a good general as a result of Khalid's coaching. He would rely heavily on the advice of Khalid, whom he kept beside him as much as possible, but he never possessed the strategic vision or the tactical perception of Khalid. More often than not, he would hold councils of war or write to Madinah to seek the Caliph's decision regarding his next objective. Whereas Khalid would rush like a tornado from battle to battle, using surprise, audacity and violence to win his battles, Abu Ubaidah would move slowly and steadily. Yet, he too would win his battles.

With this new arrangement, with the mutual respect and affection between Abu Ubaidah and Khalid unimpaired, and with Khalid throwing the great weight of his genius behind the new Commander-in-Chief, the conquest of Syria continued.

“Khalid Bin Al-Waleed, Sword of Allah – A biographical study of the greatest military general in history”, by Lieutenant-General A.I. Akram

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Boy

“The best of you in Jahiliyyah are the best of you in Islam, as long as they have understanding.”

Khalid and the tall boy glared at each other. Slowly they began to move in a circle, the gaze of each fixed intently upon the other, each looking for an opening for his attack and each wary of the tricks that the other might use. There was no hostility in their eyes – just a keen rivalry and an unshakeable determination to win. And Khalid found it necessary to be cautious, for the tall boy was left-handed and thus enjoyed the advantage that all left-handers have over their opponents in a fight.

Wrestling was a popular pastime among the boys of Arabia, and they frequently fought each other. There was no malice in these fights. It was a sport, and boys were trained in wrestling as one of the requirements of Arab manhood. But these two boys were the strongest of all and the leaders of boys of their age. This match was, so to speak, a fight for the heavy-weight title. The boys were well matched. Of about the same age, they were in their early teens. Both were tall and lean, and newly formed muscles rippled on their shoulders and arms as their sweating bodies glistened in the sun. The tall boy was perhaps an inch taller than Khalid. And their faces were so alike that one was often mistaken for the other.

Khalid threw the tall boy; but this was no ordinary fall. As the tall boy fell there was a distinct crack, and a moment later the grotesquely twisted shape of the leg showed that the bone had broken. The stricken boy lay motionless on the ground, and Khalid stared in horror at the broken leg of his friend and nephew. (The tall boy’s mother, Hantamah bint Hisham bin Al Mugheerah, was Khalid’s first cousin.)

In course of time the injury healed and the leg of the tall boy became whole and strong again. He would wrestle again and be among the best of wrestlers. And the two boys would remain friends. But while they were both intelligent, strong and forceful by nature, neither had patience or tact. They were to continue to compete with each other in almost everything that they did.

The reader should make a mental note of this tall boy, for he was to play an important role in the life of Khalid. He was the son of Al Khattab, and his name was Umar.

“Khalid Bin Al-Waleed, Sword of Allah – A biographical study of the greatest military general in history”, by Lieutenant-General A.I. Akram

Monday, June 04, 2007

PALESTINE - A Historical, Religious, Political & Humanitarian Analysis.

MAB Youth Manchester Presents...


A Historical, Religious, Political & Humanitarian Analysis.

2-Day Intensive Course

DATE: Sat 16th & Sun 17th June 2007

VENUE: Cordingley Lecture Theatre, Humanities Bridgeford Street, University of Manchester

TIME: 9.30am - 7.00pm each day


Dr Daud Abdullah (PRC & MCB)

Dr Azzam Tamimi (Director of IIPT)

Mick Napier (Chair of Scottish PSC)

Baroness Jenny Tonge (House of Lords)

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (Political Analyst, Spinwatch)

Ibrahim Hewitt (Chair of INTERPAL)



Ancient History of Palestine

Salahaddin & The Crusades

Zionism & Christian Zionism

Israeli State Terrorism

The Humanitarian Crisis

US Foreign Policy

Our Role as British Muslims

Lunch, Stalls, Exhibition & Course Material Provided

COST: £25/Ticket (book online, paypal facility)

CONTACT: 07807 548 712

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


You said you would come to me in my dreams.
You promised you would visit me.
Why, oh why, have I been deprived of my sleep?
Oh loneliness!

Do I know love and what it is like to sing songs in the rain?
I have seen love come and I have seen it shot down.
Now I am watching it die in vain.
Oh hopelessness!

Life is but a plain paper.
That which was written was washed away with my tears.
Like a fragrance you frequented the openings of my heart.
It is a shame it was all blown away with the wind.

Do I?...Like the deserts miss the rain.
I would give my every breath to relive that night forever and ever.

Friday, May 25, 2007

You Don’t Know Jack S**t?!?!

All too often we have heard the term. In fact, many of us would confess to using the term; or at least some corrupted form of the term. I admit to regularly using the term ever since I first heard it back in the early 90’s. I think it’s time we delve into a little philology and studied the etymology of this term.

The lineage is finally revealed. Many people are at a loss for a response when someone says, "You don't know Jack S**t." Now you can intellectually handle the situation.

Jack is the only son of Awe S**t.

Awe S**t, the fertilizer magnate, married O. S**t, the owner of Needeep N. S**t.

They had one son, Jack.

In turn, Jack S**t married Noe S**t.

The deeply religious couple produced six children: -

Holie S**t
Fulla S**t
Giva S**t
Bull S**t
and the twins Deap S**t & Dip S**t.

Against her parents objection, Deap S**t married Dumb S**t, a high school dropout.

After being married for 15 years, Jack and Noe S**t divorced.

Noe S**t later remarried Ted Sherlock and, because her kids were still living with them, she wanted to keep her previous name. She was then known as Noe S**t Sherlock.

Meanwhile, Dip S**t married Loda S**t and they produced a son of nervous disposition, Chicken S**t.

Two of the other six children, Fulla S**t and Giva S**t, were inseparable throughout childhood and subsequently married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony. The wedding announcement in the newspaper announced the S**t-Happens Wedding.

The S**t-Happens children were Daawg, Byrd, Hoarse and Bull.

Bull S**t, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world. He recently returned from Italy with his new Italian bride, Pisa S**t.

So now when someone says "You don't know Jack S**t", you can correct them!