Fajr Azaan

I sat on my bed after sehri, reading Quraan and waiting for the time of Fajr to set in. As usual, I opened my window, just enough for the fresh morning air to permeate through my curtains and in an attempt to hear the Fajr azaan.

Almost eleven years ago when we moved to the suburb that I currently reside in, it was dominated mostly by whites and the Muslims were a minority. We were one of only three Muslim families living in my street. Over the years, more Muslims relocated to this suburb and I am proud to say that we are now predominantly a Muslim community. However that hasn’t changed much with regard to the Fajr azaan being called out.

About nine or ten years ago, a court case ensued following fights with the Muslims for calling out the Fajr azaan, citing that it disturbed their “early morning peace”. Unfortunately, the Muslims lost the case and were not allowed to call out the Fajr azaan over the mike system. There was a very short period in which I recall Fajr azaan being called out during Ramadhan, but even that has ceased to exist.

I often wonder if anything can be changed, given that we are such a large Muslim community at present, Perhaps the court stipulated a certain amount of years in which we would not be allowed to render the Fajr azaan for public hearing. I often wonder where we stand in this matter and think I should make some enquiries. It does bother me considerably that we are restricted in this regard.

For those people who are fortunate enough to hear the azaan daily, be grateful and don’t take it for granted. There are people like myself who crave to hear the rendition in the early mornings, but unfortunately it is not a privilege which we have been granted.

As for the azaan that I try to listen to every morning, I have to strain my ears to hear the words being called out. And if I’m lucky there will be a blessed wind which carries the azaan towards my window and increases it’s volume…

(Image taken from http://www.itsislam.net/basics/images/prayer_azan.gif)


Zam Zam

I got this email today. Very interesting!

We came here again to perform the Omrah, and I am reminded of the wonders of zamzam. The well of zamzam is the well that Allah caused to flow at Mekkah for
Prophet Ibrahim’s wife Hajar and for his oldest son Ismael, (peace be upon them all).

Let me go back to how it all started. In 1971, an Egyptian doctor wrote to the European Press, a letter saying that zamzam water was not fit for drinking purposes. I immediately thought that this was just a form of prejudice against the Muslims and that since his Statement was based on the assumption that since the Ka’aba was a shallow place (below sea level) and located in the centre of the city of Makkah, the waste water of the city collecting through the drains fell into well holding the water.

Fortunately, the news came to King Faisal’s ears who got extremely angry and decided to disprove the Egyptian doctor’s provocative statement! He immediately ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources to investigate and send samples of zamzam water to European laboratories for testing the potability of the water.
The ministry then instructed the Jeddah Power and Desalination Plants to carry out this task.
It was here that I was employed as a desalting engineer (chemical engineer to produce
drinking water from sea water) I was chosen to carry out this assignment. At this stage, I remember that I had no idea what the well holding the water looked like. I went to Makkah and reported to the authorities at the Ka’aba explaining my purpose of visit.
They deputed a man to give me whatever help was required. When we reached the well, it was hard for me to believe that a pool of water more like a small pond, about 18 by 14 feet, was the well that supplied millions of gallons of water every year to hajis ever since it came into existence at the time of Hazrat Ibrahim A.S., many, many centuries ago.

I started my investigations and took the dimensions of the well. I asked the man to show me the depth of the well. First he took a shower and descended into the water. Then he straightened his body. I saw that the water level came up to just above his shoulders.
His height was around five feet, eight inches. He then started moving from one corner to the other in the well (standing all the while since he was not allowed to dip his head into the water) in search of any inlet or pipeline inside the well to see from where the water came in.

However, the man reported that he could not find any inlet or pipeline inside the well. I thought of another idea. The water could be withdrawn rapidly with the help of a big transfer pump which was installed at the well for the zamzam water storage tanks. In this way, the water level would drop enabling us to locate the point of entry of the water.
Surprisingly, nothing was observed during the pumping period, but I knew that this was the only method by which you could find the entrance of the water to the well.

So I decided to repeat the process. But this time I instructed the man to stand still at
one place and carefully observe any unusual thing happening inside the well.
After a while, he suddenly raised his hands and shouted, “Alhamdulillah, I have found it!” The sand is dancing beneath my feet as the water oozes out of the bed of
the well. Then he moved around the well during the pumping period and noticed the
same phenomenon everywhere in the well.

Actually the flow of water into the well through the bed was equal at every point, thus keeping the level of the water steady. After I finished my observations I took the samples of the water for European laboratories to test. Before I left the Ka’aba, I asked the authorities about the other wells around Makkah. I was told that these wells were mostly dry.

When I reached my office in Jeddah I reported my findings to my boss who listened with great interest but made a very irrational comment that the zamzam well could be internally connected to the Red Sea. How was it possible when Makkah is about 75 kilometres away from the sea and the wells located before the city usually remains dry?
The results of the water samples tested by the European laboratories and the one we analysed in our own laboratory were found to be almost identical. The difference between zamzam water and other water (city water) was in the quantity of calcium and magnesium salts. The content of these was slightly higher in zamzam water. This may be why this water refreshes tired hajis, but moresignificantly, the water contains fluorides that have an effective germicidal action. Moreover, the remarks of the European laboratories showed that the water was fit for drinking.
Hence the statement made by the Egyptian doctor was proved false. When this was reported to King Faisal he was extremely pleased and ordered the contradiction of the report in the European Press. In a way, it was a blessing that this study was undertaken to show the chemical composition of the water.
In fact, the more you explore, the more wonders surface and you find yourself believing implicitly in the miracles of this water that Allah bestowed as a gift on the faithful coming from far and wide to the desert land for pilgrimage.
Let me sum up some of the features of zamzam water. This well has never dried up. On
the contrary it has always fulfilled the demand for water. It has always maintained the same salt composition and taste ever since it came into existence. Its potability (drinkability) has always been universally recognised as pilgrims from all over the world visit Ka’aba every year for Hajj and umrah, but have never complained about it.
Instead, they have always enjoyed the water that refreshes them. Water tastes different at different places. Zamzam water’s appeal has always been universal. This water has never
been chemically treated or chlorinated as is the case with water pumped into the cities.
Biological growth and vegetation usually takes place in most wells. This makes the
water unpalatable owing to the growth of algae causing taste and odour problems.
But in the case of the zamzam water well, there wasn’t any sign of biological growth.

Centuries ago, Bibi Hajra A.S. searched desperately for water in the hills of Sufwa and Murwa to give to her newly born son Hazrat Ismail A.S. As she ran from one place to another in search of water, her child rubbed his feet against the sand. A pool of water surfaced, and by the grace of Allah, shaped itself into a well which came to be called zamzam water.

Water Research by Tariq Hussain, Desalting Engineer.



There is nothing more powerful, fulfilling and satisfying than prayer. It is the light that keeps us going during our times of darkness and a source of happiness in our lives. Without prayer there would exist a vacuum in our lives. A void which cannot be substituted by anything else.

The elation of a prayer that has been accepted cannot be paralleled. Indeed, our Creator is merciful on us. There are times when we lose hope in life and in people. However, we should never lose our faith and more importantly not lose faith in the power of prayer.

We should strive to be in continuous remembrance of Allah, irrespective of where we are or what actions we are carrying out. We should not only go before our Creator in our times of need, but be consistent and pray during our good times as well. This pleases Allah greatly.

We should take heed of Allah’s blessings on us. Praise him continuously for all that he has bestowed on us. Look at the artistry of His creation in nature and ponder on His power. The next time it rains or you see a beautiful sunrise, take a moment and glorify Allah’s handiwork.

When we are feeling despondent, hurt or rejected or the times when we feel as if we have lost direction in life, the only solution is to pray to our Creator. Pray to Him for guidance, pray to Him for happiness…ask Him for whatever your heart may desire! He is there for us and our only Saviour.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) has said: “There is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant praying to Him.” (Tirmidhi).
According to the Quran, prayer is the simplest way to reach Allah. When this task has been simplified, why do we still find in difficult to go before Him? There is truly beauty and satisfaction in His remembrance. We need to establish prayer and then only will we be able to experience the intensity of its presence in our lives.

Islamic Thought

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I have just started reading a book which I purchased at the end of last year, called ‘Islamic Thought (In the rise and supremacy of Islamic technological culture: Water resources and energy). The preface of the book discusses some very unconventional aspects with regards to the Islamic education system. As South African Muslims, our Islamic education has been restricted to Islamic family laws, the laws of marriage, salaah etc. and has excluded the teachings of Islamic Science, technology and Economics. These sciences should have also been given high regard, but unfortunately there is a group of people who believe that such knowledge is ‘inferior’ and is of no benefit to us.There are books on Hadith/Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) like ‘Kitab-al Kharaj’ (Book of Taxation) and ‘Kitaab-al-Amwaal’ (Book of Economics) which deal with the major subject areas dealt with in the Quran. There have been 21 such books which were written, and there are only 3 in existence today.

There are other branches of law, such as Islamic constitutional law, Islamic water and agricultural laws, Islamic environmental laws etc which form an important part of our lives. We should endeavor to include such subjects in our education systems. How can we keep up with the development of the world if we are not willing to educate ourselves about these matters?A few years back I came across an Islamic book in which the author condemns females from getting secular education. His justification is that for example, if a woman is taught Geography, the knowledge will aid her in running away from home. If such knowledge is kept from her, she won’t know about direction and therefore cannot attempt such a task. Personally, I feel that such this is ignorant thinking and both Muslim males and females should be awarded the opportunity to study secular education. Here is another example of the ignorance that still exists in the present day. I was having a discussion with a madressah teacher and she happened to mention to me that one of her female students would like to study and get a degree when she completes school. The teacher’s response was that when we die, Allah will not ask us what degree we have in order for us to attain Jannah, He will base it on our good deeds. I don’t see any objection for women in particular, studying for degrees or making an attempt to further their education. This does not mean that we give up our beliefs or that we cannot be good Muslims. There are many women who while studying, make an attempt to do good deeds and strive to become better Muslims.

For us to progress, we need to change our thinking and be more open-minded about various aspects in our life. We need to break out of our moulds and realise that a positive change is required in order for us to succeed.