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Bowl from Tiwal esh-Sharqi

Bowl from Tiwal esh-Sharqi


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THE FALSEDOOR

INTRODUCTION

The history of pottery’s role in the Levant identifies certain celestial bodies such as Sun, stars, and especially moon which influenced the development of certain cognate terms used for ceramic lamps. This has been attested by solid Semitic linguistic evidence. (Smith 1962: 3). The generic Semitic term [ner] Singular and [neroth] plural meaning lamp or lamps hail from the root *nyr meaning to flame -finds correlate linguistic evidence in Ugaritc masculine noun nyr. This refers cosmologically to the moon divinity Yarikh. The term [Nrt] the feminine usage refers to the Ugaritic Shapash [Hebrew – shemesh] or shapash. These relates to the supposed divinity Marduk who is called Nuru when applied to the moon, known in Koranic sources as [Nur] according to Sura 17:16 (cf Smith 3). This term makes it possible to preface the use of ceramic lamps in early ritualism and cultic terms. As a representation of celestial lights and as a true precursor to urbanism lamps usage in shattering an early age historical fact that the world was once shrouded in darkness until its invention. Similar to fire Lamps were one of the world’s greatest invention which changed the proto-Neolithic world and was used to spur not only urbanism but also ritualism in the Levant.

BACKGROUND: BRONZE AGE AFFINITIES TO THE CERAMIC LAMP AND ITS CHANGING FORMS

The Ancient Egyptians used lamps as a matter of function and expediency in their construction of early Urban places such as temples and pyramids (Clarke & Englebeck 1999: 201). For households and other places where people gathered at nights or underground constructions the same could be admitted as a matter of need and functionalism. Though depicted in Tomb relief often in the form of open receptacles with flat bases. As the norm dictated in the fancy structured lamp showcased in the Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen, which can be viewed as a departure from early typology of ceramic lamps. The simple form as standard was shown (fg.1) in the New Kingdom Ramified Tomb of King Ramses VI: "on the right side wall entrance of the Tomb, the King with sundisc above his head offers a burning lamp to Horus of the Horizon" (Piankoff 1954:10).
The lamp offered by the King is by no means single or four spouted, which are possible two of the earliest crude handmade forms of ceramic lamps known in Egypt and the Levant. The lamp’s design looks closer or similar to the small bowl or container used for drinking which characterized the late chalcolithic and early bronze age pottery vestibule used as light (Douglas 2001:3). Such lamps using olive oil demonstrate also early developments in ritual worship.
Wide spread belief that the temple at Denderah advanced the knowledge of light production beyond the earlier oil and wick sources seems speculative. Further speculation that cylinders of some sort drew energy from a certain natural resource inside the tomb at Denderah to produce light cannot be easily proven. The so-called absence of soot produced from flames remains a continuing debate about the early development of lamps in the temples and tombs of Ancient Egypt (Von Daniken 1989:215). The contradictory findings of soot as the after effects of lamps burning at an earlier time within the walls of the Red Pyramid at Dashur inverts the theory of lamps early function in Egypt. Clark and Englebeck believes:

The Egyptian lamp was of a simplest type merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes of the Tombs where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot…smaller example can be grasped in hand. In … pictures, they arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames …lamps in limestone have been found in the Pyramids of El-Lahun and representation of them in stone in the tabrinith at hawara in Egyptian houses small dishes were also used as lamps…they usually have the rim pinched into a spout." (4)

Earliest known examples of simple lamp forms made (fg.2) from dishes with flat bases or pinched spout found in pottery assemblages in the Near East were probably from Early Bronze and Middle Bronze period. An ensuing drought during EBIV to MBI terrible affected the continuing developments of early agriculture. The results were lack of olive oil used in lamps, harsh environments, and various population migrations from Mesopotamia, which uprooted previous settlements. These have been suggested as the varied stimulus for the redesign of the ceramic lamp (Douglas 2001:4) Hence, the possibility that alternative four spouted lamp form in sequence which used different sources of oil like animal fat whether it should be dated earlier remains complicated as an issue. The distinction of quatrefoil or four-spouted lamps discovered in EB IV shaft tombs at Beth Shan casts little light on the chronological diagnostics and origins. The case of the evolution of lamp forms from an Egyptian perspective needs now a serious reexamining. The Syrian examples (from Hama J8) from third and fourth century dynasty Egypt at Bibles could possible clarify the question of origins but still make the matter more obscure (Fugman, Saghieh cited in Helms 1989: 18). The Egyptian stone versions of quatrefoil lamps has been noted in the inscription of Pepi I (ca 200-300 BC) which perhaps complicates the chronological relationship between say Alba 2B1 of the Levant and Egypt around the same period.
Another sample of this type of lamp was noted in the times of Cephren 2,500 BC though other versions has been indicated in EBII period at Tel es-Sa’ideyeh (Helms 1989: 18). The quatrefoil lamps forms can be claimed to have existed in EBII in Trans Jordan and Palestine replaced afterward by evolution of the new type of saucer lamp made by wheel (Douglas 2001:4). Those from Transjordan were being made from stone and pottery in early dynastic period connected to Egypt (Helms 18). Petrie gives example of a three-foil lamp in volcanic stone, also a pottery version, which dates from the fourth dynasty (Brunton & Morant ctd in Hems 18). Other quatrefoil lamp versions have been demonstrated to exist in the tenth dynasty period .The floruit of such Egyptian versions of those lamp forms can be noted between Dynasties II and III made in stone and clay (Helms 18). The absence of these lamps in the archeological records of EB II and III in Trans Jordan and Palestine has been demonstrated (Weinstein cited in Helms 18). It may well be that Egyptian stone types spoken about earlier reached the Southern Levant and became a repetition in most potter’s repertoire. At Um Bighal round base versions and flat-based samples have been found. These were well attested also at Tiwal esh-Sharqi where the flat-based types of lamp dominated (Helms 1983 cited in Helms 1989:17). Round based lamps were the main at Jebel Jofeh. Flat bases known at Qa ‘Aqir, Bab edh- Dra, Sinjil, Ain-Smiyeh, El-Husn, Tell ed-Duweir, Menahemiya, Araq en-Na ‘saneh and at Qedesh identified (Helms 19). Tadmore (1978: 7 ctd in Helms 18) notes the ritualistic or cultic uses of these lamps connected certain caves. Whilst (Epstein 1989: 43 ctd in Helms 18)) claims a single spouted version from the area of Ginonsan. Helms believe that in terms of understanding the panoramic floruit and diagnostic of both form and origin that:
:
…The only suitable conclusion …on lamps that both rounded and flat forms
are contemporary…they may have a regional distribution: flat bases were preferred in the south and round bases in the Amman region and a mixture of both in between…" (18)

Speculation that such earliest uses of lamp forms arose from imitations of shell type examples may be without merit. Though amongst the Mediterranean coast bi-valved shells may have been adapted to being used as lamps, even in Cartage and Mesopotamia in the third Millenium BC conch shells were used as lamps (Smith 1964: 3). Smith further suggest in regards to Early Bronze Age lamp forms:

The saucer lamps actually developed from household bowls…an attempt …to adapt the bowl form to the specific function of a lamp had been made during the centuries of disruption following the Early Bronze Age. When the potters divised a flat bottom bowl with undulating rim formed from an equidilant spout. When the chariot-warriors and city builders of the twenty-first millenium came upon the scene. they fashioned a single lamp by putting a spout by the side of the bowl. The development of saucer lamp through the middle and late Bronze ages consisted mainly of the evolution of the spout into an increasing large feature (4).

Such a development surely would have taken place somewhere between Egypt and the Levant where it must be noted that origins of the type of lamp seen with rounded bases and pinched single spout in central Jordan provide a link to the Egyptian model (Palumbo & Patterman 1993: 30). Dever (1971: 33) has certainly identified such varying examples at the MB I Tomb at Sinjil. There the persistence of four spouted lamps both hand made, and well fired seemed remarkable. One medium pink and the other medium brown in fabric. The same has been suggested for two four spouted lamps found at Bab edh dra but from the EBI period which are indeed unique discoveries but a step backward in typology. These two lamps from Bab edh -Dra even though they have bases are slightly rounded. They are both red slipped and burnished as usual. As crude hand made vessels that are not dissimilar from those found at Aroer Stratum V1a (Schaub 1973: 16). The fact that slightly round bases and flat bases represent the horizon does not harbor a grand new diagnostic analysis of chronological sequences or differences leading up to that period. Besides Ain-es-samiyeh, Jebel, Qa’ir, El-Kum, and other sites Sinjyl provides a model for other quatrefoil lamps which has been showcased from shaft tombs especially from the horizons of MBI, MBIIA, and especially from the CH family forms of lamps. The correction of the weather and climate in this period oppositely increased olive production but brought the deathnell to quatrefoil lamps. Not to forget the influence fast wheel technology (Douglas 2001:4)

CERAMIC LAMPS AS MODELS OF URBANISM AND RITUALISM

It can be inferred vociferously that Egyptian ceramic lamps played a dominant role in its ritualism. The first oil lamps were carved in hollowed-out-stones located in caves circa 12,500 years ago. (Susmann ctd in Douglas 20011700) Caves played an early role in magico-religios demonstrated by the snakehead ritual in Kalahari Hill Botswana (Brill 2006) Zivit (2001:82,209) identifies niches, certain stones, placement of lamps, jugs and cooking pots inside these cave used in performance of such rituals. Pyramids and temples especially played a crucial role in establishing use of lamps as part and parcel of religious practices. Those suitable to ancestral worship of a celestial nature. Practices especially pertaining to sun, moon, and stars. Early urban conceptions, of buildings and early architecture from crude to advance artistic level would have depended on lamps not only to celebrate the hosting of these celestial forces but also to simply light up the darkness. This is a factor taken for granted in today’s modern world drowned by modern electricity dependent on natural gas and oil in even the most outmoded places on earth.
The question of dawning urbanism in the Levant, the ebb and flow of peoples, their dependence on units of agriculture serve as a backdrop for pottery industries. The cultural traits introduced by the constant changing of immigrant communities fashioned both style and forms. Their connections to raw materials for functional pottery were depended upon. These forms moved in and out of the Near Eastern theatre. Local and foreign pottery samples were part of trade and circumstance of immigration. Thus, the ceramic lamps located at Al-Umayri amongst the chalices, carinated bowls, jugs and cooking pots and other items of its assemblage suggest ritual practices. For instance the representation of the Eyes of Horus noted in Chert Nodule points to a function of dual ritualism and urbanism in ceramics perhaps still connected to Egypt (Bramlett 2004: 50). Bronze Age (EB1, EBII, and EBIII) witnessed shifting populations from the old fortifications of Tell sites to smaller settlements, which happened at a rapid pace. (Dever 1980: 35). The actual fortified settlements, and changing settlement patterns provide for what already was witnessed throughout Transjordan. Handmade-wheel finished and handmade spouted lamps of red slip burnished fabric were coming into vogue. Ceramic lamp forms of the single spout and especially four spout lamps appeared as part of the floriut of noted assemblages of Middle Bronze and Late Bronze (Amiran 1970 87,89). Early Iron Bronze favored the one spout lamp in various styles of the period. Whether or not temple ritualism and worship would have been the norm, lamps played an effective role in burial rituals. Most of the grave sites dug up by archeologists in the various horizons of the Levant show lamps as part of burial ceremonies. (Smith 1964: 11). One is tempted to assume night burials as a norm .Its too simplistic an assumption to believe in context. An opposite suggestion is that many people of the Ancient World deposited offerings of food and drink in the Tombs, hoping thereby to revive the dead. Lamps seem to have played an important concomitant of these offerings. Different in no way from household specimens probably brought from the home. They constitute only one-quarter to one-half of the vessels in much Iron I period Tombs. These were far more than necessary to meet the actual lighting needs of the Tomb. It may be also that each person, who brought a dish of two of food for the dead, also brought a lamp and lit it at the tomb. (Smith 12) This may be not so far fetched about the selection of lamps carried by mourners to burial tombs. In India for instance, dias or open flat vessel lamps are sometimes placed in floating vessels in river sides as culmination of cremation rituals. Hence, the symbolic acts in Caananite burial sites where lamps are easily located alongside physical burial entities, with food, drink, and materials of various ilk, speaks volumes. Murray (cited in Schaeffer 1964: 12) observes in Caananite tombs at Ras Shamrah that beside dishes of food at their entrance lamps were also left there. The ritual dedication of urban buildings in most Caanantite cities in the Bronze Age made use of traditional ceremonial lamp rituals. Smith (1964) identifies this as:

A bowl sometimes containing sand, fine dirt, or even ashes placed under an ordinary lamp. A similar bowl so as to form a cone, was placed over the lamp. Sometimes the bowl closely fit together that the lamp was entirely closed. But often, the spout was partially exposed. Lamps in these deposits usually had slight traces of burning or none at all, suggests that the ceremony required new lamp, which was lit for a short while or in some cases not lit at all). Such offerings must have been intended perhaps to ward off evil spirits or to encourage beficient spirits to dwell in the house or both. The ceremony may have been as Petrie suggested with typical inventiveness, a substitution for the more primitive practice of child sacrifice the sealing of the lamp equivalent to the slaying of the child (13).

Some urban dwellings required special designed lamps which were not of the form of the single sprout or the cardinal points quatrefoil type. Some were in fact multi-sprouted according to ritual requirement. These are peculiar to Iron I sites in Palestine. The use of seven sprouts for instance and tubular pedestal bases have been suggested at Ras Shamarah. (Schaeffer cited in Smith 1964: 14). The cultic references of these sorts of lamps are perhaps a primitive version to the Hebrew seven candle lamps. Whether linked to the deity Ball tied to Nimrod worship (Narmer?) which in the old shrines of Palestine have been found not only in the Tombs, but in houses and other urban places remains possible. (Smith 1964: 14). The cup and saucer lamps called sometimes the double bowl have been found in numerous sanctuary tombs and urban domestic scenarios. These so-called saucer lamps identified in Megiddo to Jericho from around the thirteenth to sixth century B.C. may have been intended also for ritualistic purposes. Some had fenestrated bases whilst others were situated in round saucers.

CHANGING CERAMIC LAMPS IN EARLY IRON AGENG FORMS SAME FUNCTIONS

Communities in the urban center required religious rites to appease the powers in the universe when they assumed those did go into disharmony. Such rites when practiced in the household required certain lamps, which functioned in the rituals to assuage the forces. The full spectrum to the extent of such application of logic to cosmological ritual can be found in the Book of Gates and the Book of Nights in Egyptian in context to heavenly light- bodies. The Shaft Tombs of the Levant carried the evidence. Smith (1962) cites the multi-sprouted saucer lamps used in the Iron I and Iron II ages. As one example of the lamps used for this purpose he observes
:
Lamps of this kind are made of ordinary clay, seven spouts and base…rounded bottoms of tubular pedestals two to nine inches in height…they originated in the region of coastal Syria at Ras Shamrah � to 750 BC… lamps seem to have tall pedestal bases. The Palestinian specimens are not yet known earlier than the very end of the late Bronze Age. The variation of the form probably reflects slightly different traditions of various shrines and in some cases…different dates…all lamps from this kind stem from the same cult…(16).

The model at Ras Shamrah of the multi-spouted lamp (fg.3) which existed in context to Sanctuary worship was well known (Shatter ctd in Smith 16). This identifies further with certain deities from which the Hebrew seven spouted flame lamp featured in the Temple of Jerusalem might have come from. Yahweh the divinity at Jerusalem the diety of the Yehudym may not have been Baal, which in Hebrew means literally "husband". Baal refers to Narmer or Nimrod, similar to Osiris as husband to Isis. These cultic practices in the Shrines meant as Baal worship can be inferred as Osiris worship. Smith goes on to cite the cup and saucer or double bowl lamp as discoveries in Palestine from Sanctuaries, Tombs, and domesticated places.
The Potter as a class had used inventive utilitarianism to totally transform what was expected for lamps thus far. By placing in a saucer in an inner container (fg.4) he generated different sizes found as various tomb samples. These vestibules had either a slight hint of a spout or none at all. Some samples had handles or tall pedestal bases. Negev and Gibson (1992) discusses the changing forms of ceramic and terracotta lamps in the practice of ceramic industry of the Iron Age where some basics forms remained unchanged from late Bronze. They suggest:

The shape of lamps underwent more changes…The iron age lamp is characterized by a broad flat rim…a pronounced wick channel with flat base..the base of some samples were raised…clay lampstands support a single lamp…Some lamps with seven channels. Iron Age lamps have been discovered in Beit-Merseim, Bethshan, Hazor, Meggido, and Tel-el-Farah. (295)

They assumed that as Amiran contends late Bronze Age lamps were becoming deeper and larger, and the walls were becoming sharper with folded falanges. Lamps in the early Iron Age went beyond those experiments. This probably was to do with ritualism in an urban context. Hence the basic Iron Age lamps were well made, casted in deep burnt fires made of buff clay which caused the clay to become buffed. The rims were pinched for wicks and economical usage of oil. They were sometimes made of flat, round bases.

CONCLUSION

Ceramic lamps (Neroth) played a very pivotal role in both ritualism and as a harbinger of early urbanization in the period of Late Bronze and early Iron Age. The examples of such ceramic lamps were numerous and specific in historical order to certain religious rituals which today have long been since forgotten. When re-examined allow for particular social, cultural and archeological conclusions to be drawn. These about ancient peoples, ancient migration and other patterns useful to decoding the Near East and its relationship with a dominant culture like Egypt. Irregardless of what now are deemed primitive practices but were very natural responses to nature such kindling a flame or lighting a lamp in celebration of certain celestial entities such as Sun, Moon or Stars. As these indeed were standard ancient practices. From the few examples discussed here one can conclude that indeed ceramic lamps were possibly the most important items of function in Levant and Egypt during Late Bronze and Early Iron period.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adler, Noam, A Comprehensive Catalog of Oil Lamps in the Holy Land from the Adler Collection, (2004), Israel, Old City Press, p.45.

Amiran, Rula, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land from the Beginning in the Neolithic Period to the End of the Iron Age, (1970), New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, p.87.

Bramlett, Kent, A Late Bronze Age Cultic Installation of Tall-Al-Umayri Jordan, (2004), Near Eastern Technology, Vol. 67, p. 50-81.

Brill, Robert Roy, Live Science, www.livescience.com, (2006).

Clarke, Somers, & Englebook, Reginal, Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture, (1990), New York, Courier Dover Publications, p. 52.

Dever, William G., An MBI Tomb from Sinjit, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1971), No. 204, p. 71.

Dever, William G., The Impact of the "New Archeology" on Syro Palestinian Archeology, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, (1981), No. 242,
p. 15-29.

Helms, Svend, An Early Bronze IV Pottery Repertoire at Amman, Jordan, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1989), No. 273, p. 17-36.

Lauer, Jean Phillipe, De Augen der Sphinx, Ullstein, (1989), p. 215.

Negev, Avraham, & Gibson, Shimon, Archaelogical Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, (2001), New York, Continuum International Publishing Group, p. 291

Oren, Eliezer, D., The Early Bronze IV Period in Northern Palestine and Its Cultural and Chronological Settings, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1973), No. 245, p.20-37.

Palumbo, Gaelano & Petera, Glen, Early Bronze Age IV Ceramic Rejolan in Central Jordan, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1995), No. 289, p. 59.

Schuab, Thomas R., Early Bronze IV Tomb from Bats Erth Dhsa, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1973), No. 210, p. 10.

Smith, Thomas Houston, The Household Lamps of Palestine in Old Testament Times, The Biblical Anthropological, (1962), Vol. 27, No. 1, p. 1-31.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CERAMIC VIEW TO ANCIENT EGYPT AND LEVANT

CERAMIC LAMPS: EVIDENT SAMPLES OF RITUALISM AND URBANIZATION IN LATE BRONZE AND EARLY IRON I AGE EGYPT AND THE LEVANT

BY Y. T. MODEIRE

INTRODUCTION

The history of pottery’s role in the Levant identifies certain celestial bodies such as Sun, stars, and especially moon which influenced the development of certain cognate terms used for ceramic lamps. This has been attested by solid Semitic linguistic evidence. (Smith 1962: 3). The generic Semitic term [ner] Singular and [neroth] plural meaning lamp or lamps hail from the root *nyr meaning to flame -finds correlate linguistic evidence in Ugaritc masculine noun nyr. This refers cosmologically to the moon divinity Yarikh. The term [Nrt] the feminine usage refers to the Ugaritic Shapash [Hebrew – shemesh] or shapash. These relates to the supposed divinity Marduk who is called Nuru when applied to the moon, known in Koranic sources as [Nur] according to Sura 17:16 (cf Smith 3). This term makes it possible to preface the use of ceramic lamps in early ritualism and cultic terms. As a representation of celestial lights and as a true precursor to urbanism lamps usage in shattering an early age historical fact that the world was once shrouded in darkness until its invention. Similar to fire Lamps were one of the world’s greatest invention which changed the proto-Neolithic world and was used to spur not only urbanism but also ritualism in the Levant.

BACKGROUND: BRONZE AGE AFFINITIES TO THE CERAMIC LAMP AND ITS CHANGING FORMS

The Ancient Egyptians used lamps as a matter of function and expediency in their construction of early Urban places such as temples and pyramids (Clarke & Englebeck 1999: 201). For households and other places where people gathered at nights or underground constructions the same could be admitted as a matter of need and functionalism. Though depicted in Tomb relief often in the form of open receptacles with flat bases. As the norm dictated in the fancy structured lamp showcased in the Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen, which can be viewed as a departure from early typology of ceramic lamps. The simple form as standard was shown (fg.1) in the New Kingdom Ramified Tomb of King Ramses VI: "on the right side wall entrance of the Tomb, the King with sundisc above his head offers a burning lamp to Horus of the Horizon" (Piankoff 1954:10).
The lamp offered by the King is by no means single or four spouted, which are possible two of the earliest crude handmade forms of ceramic lamps known in Egypt and the Levant. The lamp’s design looks closer or similar to the small bowl or container used for drinking which characterized the late chalcolithic and early bronze age pottery vestibule used as light (Douglas 2001:3). Such lamps using olive oil demonstrate also early developments in ritual worship.
Wide spread belief that the temple at Denderah advanced the knowledge of light production beyond the earlier oil and wick sources seems speculative. Further speculation that cylinders of some sort drew energy from a certain natural resource inside the tomb at Denderah to produce light cannot be easily proven. The so-called absence of soot produced from flames remains a continuing debate about the early development of lamps in the temples and tombs of Ancient Egypt (Von Daniken 1989:215). The contradictory findings of soot as the after effects of lamps burning at an earlier time within the walls of the Red Pyramid at Dashur inverts the theory of lamps early function in Egypt. Clark and Englebeck believes:

The Egyptian lamp was of a simplest type merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes of the Tombs where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot…smaller example can be grasped in hand. In … pictures, they arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames …lamps in limestone have been found in the Pyramids of El-Lahun and representation of them in stone in the tabrinith at hawara in Egyptian houses small dishes were also used as lamps…they usually have the rim pinched into a spout." (4)

Earliest known examples of simple lamp forms made (fg.2) from dishes with flat bases or pinched spout found in pottery assemblages in the Near East were probably from Early Bronze and Middle Bronze period. An ensuing drought during EBIV to MBI terrible affected the continuing developments of early agriculture. The results were lack of olive oil used in lamps, harsh environments, and various population migrations from Mesopotamia, which uprooted previous settlements. These have been suggested as the varied stimulus for the redesign of the ceramic lamp (Douglas 2001:4) Hence, the possibility that alternative four spouted lamp form in sequence which used different sources of oil like animal fat whether it should be dated earlier remains complicated as an issue. The distinction of quatrefoil or four-spouted lamps discovered in EB IV shaft tombs at Beth Shan casts little light on the chronological diagnostics and origins. The case of the evolution of lamp forms from an Egyptian perspective needs now a serious reexamining. The Syrian examples (from Hama J8) from third and fourth century dynasty Egypt at Bibles could possible clarify the question of origins but still make the matter more obscure (Fugman, Saghieh cited in Helms 1989: 18). The Egyptian stone versions of quatrefoil lamps has been noted in the inscription of Pepi I (ca 200-300 BC) which perhaps complicates the chronological relationship between say Alba 2B1 of the Levant and Egypt around the same period.
Another sample of this type of lamp was noted in the times of Cephren 2,500 BC though other versions has been indicated in EBII period at Tel es-Sa’ideyeh (Helms 1989: 18). The quatrefoil lamps forms can be claimed to have existed in EBII in Trans Jordan and Palestine replaced afterward by evolution of the new type of saucer lamp made by wheel (Douglas 2001:4). Those from Transjordan were being made from stone and pottery in early dynastic period connected to Egypt (Helms 18). Petrie gives example of a three-foil lamp in volcanic stone, also a pottery version, which dates from the fourth dynasty (Brunton & Morant ctd in Hems 18). Other quatrefoil lamp versions have been demonstrated to exist in the tenth dynasty period .The floruit of such Egyptian versions of those lamp forms can be noted between Dynasties II and III made in stone and clay (Helms 18). The absence of these lamps in the archeological records of EB II and III in Trans Jordan and Palestine has been demonstrated (Weinstein cited in Helms 18). It may well be that Egyptian stone types spoken about earlier reached the Southern Levant and became a repetition in most potter’s repertoire. At Um Bighal round base versions and flat-based samples have been found. These were well attested also at Tiwal esh-Sharqi where the flat-based types of lamp dominated (Helms 1983 cited in Helms 1989:17). Round based lamps were the main at Jebel Jofeh. Flat bases known at Qa ‘Aqir, Bab edh- Dra, Sinjil, Ain-Smiyeh, El-Husn, Tell ed-Duweir, Menahemiya, Araq en-Na ‘saneh and at Qedesh identified (Helms 19). Tadmore (1978: 7 ctd in Helms 18) notes the ritualistic or cultic uses of these lamps connected certain caves. Whilst (Epstein 1989: 43 ctd in Helms 18)) claims a single spouted version from the area of Ginonsan. Helms believe that in terms of understanding the panoramic floruit and diagnostic of both form and origin that:
:
…The only suitable conclusion …on lamps that both rounded and flat forms
are contemporary…they may have a regional distribution: flat bases were preferred in the south and round bases in the Amman region and a mixture of both in between…" (18)

Speculation that such earliest uses of lamp forms arose from imitations of shell type examples may be without merit. Though amongst the Mediterranean coast bi-valved shells may have been adapted to being used as lamps, even in Cartage and Mesopotamia in the third Millenium BC conch shells were used as lamps (Smith 1964: 3). Smith further suggest in regards to Early Bronze Age lamp forms:

The saucer lamps actually developed from household bowls…an attempt …to adapt the bowl form to the specific function of a lamp had been made during the centuries of disruption following the Early Bronze Age. When the potters divised a flat bottom bowl with undulating rim formed from an equidilant spout. When the chariot-warriors and city builders of the twenty-first millenium came upon the scene. they fashioned a single lamp by putting a spout by the side of the bowl. The development of saucer lamp through the middle and late Bronze ages consisted mainly of the evolution of the spout into an increasing large feature (4).

Such a development surely would have taken place somewhere between Egypt and the Levant where it must be noted that origins of the type of lamp seen with rounded bases and pinched single spout in central Jordan provide a link to the Egyptian model (Palumbo & Patterman 1993: 30). Dever (1971: 33) has certainly identified such varying examples at the MB I Tomb at Sinjil. There the persistence of four spouted lamps both hand made, and well fired seemed remarkable. One medium pink and the other medium brown in fabric. The same has been suggested for two four spouted lamps found at Bab edh dra but from the EBI period which are indeed unique discoveries but a step backward in typology. These two lamps from Bab edh -Dra even though they have bases are slightly rounded. They are both red slipped and burnished as usual. As crude hand made vessels that are not dissimilar from those found at Aroer Stratum V1a (Schaub 1973: 16). The fact that slightly round bases and flat bases represent the horizon does not harbor a grand new diagnostic analysis of chronological sequences or differences leading up to that period. Besides Ain-es-samiyeh, Jebel, Qa’ir, El-Kum, and other sites Sinjyl provides a model for other quatrefoil lamps which has been showcased from shaft tombs especially from the horizons of MBI, MBIIA, and especially from the CH family forms of lamps. The correction of the weather and climate in this period oppositely increased olive production but brought the deathnell to quatrefoil lamps. Not to forget the influence fast wheel technology (Douglas 2001:4)

CERAMIC LAMPS AS MODELS OF URBANISM AND RITUALISM

It can be inferred vociferously that Egyptian ceramic lamps played a dominant role in its ritualism. The first oil lamps were carved in hollowed-out-stones located in caves circa 12,500 years ago. (Susmann ctd in Douglas 20011700) Caves played an early role in magico-religios demonstrated by the snakehead ritual in Kalahari Hill Botswana (Brill 2006) Zivit (2001:82,209) identifies niches, certain stones, placement of lamps, jugs and cooking pots inside these cave used in performance of such rituals. Pyramids and temples especially played a crucial role in establishing use of lamps as part and parcel of religious practices. Those suitable to ancestral worship of a celestial nature. Practices especially pertaining to sun, moon, and stars. Early urban conceptions, of buildings and early architecture from crude to advance artistic level would have depended on lamps not only to celebrate the hosting of these celestial forces but also to simply light up the darkness. This is a factor taken for granted in today’s modern world drowned by modern electricity dependent on natural gas and oil in even the most outmoded places on earth.
The question of dawning urbanism in the Levant, the ebb and flow of peoples, their dependence on units of agriculture serve as a backdrop for pottery industries. The cultural traits introduced by the constant changing of immigrant communities fashioned both style and forms. Their connections to raw materials for functional pottery were depended upon. These forms moved in and out of the Near Eastern theatre. Local and foreign pottery samples were part of trade and circumstance of immigration. Thus, the ceramic lamps located at Al-Umayri amongst the chalices, carinated bowls, jugs and cooking pots and other items of its assemblage suggest ritual practices. For instance the representation of the Eyes of Horus noted in Chert Nodule points to a function of dual ritualism and urbanism in ceramics perhaps still connected to Egypt (Bramlett 2004: 50). Bronze Age (EB1, EBII, and EBIII) witnessed shifting populations from the old fortifications of Tell sites to smaller settlements, which happened at a rapid pace. (Dever 1980: 35). The actual fortified settlements, and changing settlement patterns provide for what already was witnessed throughout Transjordan. Handmade-wheel finished and handmade spouted lamps of red slip burnished fabric were coming into vogue. Ceramic lamp forms of the single spout and especially four spout lamps appeared as part of the floriut of noted assemblages of Middle Bronze and Late Bronze (Amiran 1970 87,89). Early Iron Bronze favored the one spout lamp in various styles of the period. Whether or not temple ritualism and worship would have been the norm, lamps played an effective role in burial rituals. Most of the grave sites dug up by archeologists in the various horizons of the Levant show lamps as part of burial ceremonies. (Smith 1964: 11). One is tempted to assume night burials as a norm .Its too simplistic an assumption to believe in context. An opposite suggestion is that many people of the Ancient World deposited offerings of food and drink in the Tombs, hoping thereby to revive the dead. Lamps seem to have played an important concomitant of these offerings. Different in no way from household specimens probably brought from the home. They constitute only one-quarter to one-half of the vessels in much Iron I period Tombs. These were far more than necessary to meet the actual lighting needs of the Tomb. It may be also that each person, who brought a dish of two of food for the dead, also brought a lamp and lit it at the tomb. (Smith 12) This may be not so far fetched about the selection of lamps carried by mourners to burial tombs. In India for instance, dias or open flat vessel lamps are sometimes placed in floating vessels in river sides as culmination of cremation rituals. Hence, the symbolic acts in Caananite burial sites where lamps are easily located alongside physical burial entities, with food, drink, and materials of various ilk, speaks volumes. Murray (cited in Schaeffer 1964: 12) observes in Caananite tombs at Ras Shamrah that beside dishes of food at their entrance lamps were also left there. The ritual dedication of urban buildings in most Caanantite cities in the Bronze Age made use of traditional ceremonial lamp rituals. Smith (1964) identifies this as:

A bowl sometimes containing sand, fine dirt, or even ashes placed under an ordinary lamp. A similar bowl so as to form a cone, was placed over the lamp. Sometimes the bowl closely fit together that the lamp was entirely closed. But often, the spout was partially exposed. Lamps in these deposits usually had slight traces of burning or none at all, suggests that the ceremony required new lamp, which was lit for a short while or in some cases not lit at all). Such offerings must have been intended perhaps to ward off evil spirits or to encourage beficient spirits to dwell in the house or both. The ceremony may have been as Petrie suggested with typical inventiveness, a substitution for the more primitive practice of child sacrifice the sealing of the lamp equivalent to the slaying of the child (13).

Some urban dwellings required special designed lamps which were not of the form of the single sprout or the cardinal points quatrefoil type. Some were in fact multi-sprouted according to ritual requirement. These are peculiar to Iron I sites in Palestine. The use of seven sprouts for instance and tubular pedestal bases have been suggested at Ras Shamarah. (Schaeffer cited in Smith 1964: 14). The cultic references of these sorts of lamps are perhaps a primitive version to the Hebrew seven candle lamps. Whether linked to the deity Ball tied to Nimrod worship (Narmer?) which in the old shrines of Palestine have been found not only in the Tombs, but in houses and other urban places remains possible. (Smith 1964: 14). The cup and saucer lamps called sometimes the double bowl have been found in numerous sanctuary tombs and urban domestic scenarios. These so-called saucer lamps identified in Megiddo to Jericho from around the thirteenth to sixth century B.C. may have been intended also for ritualistic purposes. Some had fenestrated bases whilst others were situated in round saucers.

CHANGING CERAMIC LAMPS IN EARLY IRON AGENG FORMS SAME FUNCTIONS

Communities in the urban center required religious rites to appease the powers in the universe when they assumed those did go into disharmony. Such rites when practiced in the household required certain lamps, which functioned in the rituals to assuage the forces. The full spectrum to the extent of such application of logic to cosmological ritual can be found in the Book of Gates and the Book of Nights in Egyptian in context to heavenly light- bodies. The Shaft Tombs of the Levant carried the evidence. Smith (1962) cites the multi-sprouted saucer lamps used in the Iron I and Iron II ages. As one example of the lamps used for this purpose he observes
:
Lamps of this kind are made of ordinary clay, seven spouts and base…rounded bottoms of tubular pedestals two to nine inches in height…they originated in the region of coastal Syria at Ras Shamrah � to 750 BC… lamps seem to have tall pedestal bases. The Palestinian specimens are not yet known earlier than the very end of the late Bronze Age. The variation of the form probably reflects slightly different traditions of various shrines and in some cases…different dates…all lamps from this kind stem from the same cult…(16).

The model at Ras Shamrah of the multi-spouted lamp (fg.3) which existed in context to Sanctuary worship was well known (Shatter ctd in Smith 16). This identifies further with certain deities from which the Hebrew seven spouted flame lamp featured in the Temple of Jerusalem might have come from. Yahweh the divinity at Jerusalem the diety of the Yehudym may not have been Baal, which in Hebrew means literally "husband". Baal refers to Narmer or Nimrod, similar to Osiris as husband to Isis. These cultic practices in the Shrines meant as Baal worship can be inferred as Osiris worship. Smith goes on to cite the cup and saucer or double bowl lamp as discoveries in Palestine from Sanctuaries, Tombs, and domesticated places.
The Potter as a class had used inventive utilitarianism to totally transform what was expected for lamps thus far. By placing in a saucer in an inner container (fg.4) he generated different sizes found as various tomb samples. These vestibules had either a slight hint of a spout or none at all. Some samples had handles or tall pedestal bases. Negev and Gibson (1992) discusses the changing forms of ceramic and terracotta lamps in the practice of ceramic industry of the Iron Age where some basics forms remained unchanged from late Bronze. They suggest:

The shape of lamps underwent more changes…The iron age lamp is characterized by a broad flat rim…a pronounced wick channel with flat base..the base of some samples were raised…clay lampstands support a single lamp…Some lamps with seven channels. Iron Age lamps have been discovered in Beit-Merseim, Bethshan, Hazor, Meggido, and Tel-el-Farah. (295)

They assumed that as Amiran contends late Bronze Age lamps were becoming deeper and larger, and the walls were becoming sharper with folded falanges. Lamps in the early Iron Age went beyond those experiments. This probably was to do with ritualism in an urban context. Hence the basic Iron Age lamps were well made, casted in deep burnt fires made of buff clay which caused the clay to become buffed. The rims were pinched for wicks and economical usage of oil. They were sometimes made of flat, round bases.

CONCLUSION

Ceramic lamps (Neroth) played a very pivotal role in both ritualism and as a harbinger of early urbanization in the period of Late Bronze and early Iron Age. The examples of such ceramic lamps were numerous and specific in historical order to certain religious rituals which today have long been since forgotten. When re-examined allow for particular social, cultural and archeological conclusions to be drawn. These about ancient peoples, ancient migration and other patterns useful to decoding the Near East and its relationship with a dominant culture like Egypt. Irregardless of what now are deemed primitive practices but were very natural responses to nature such kindling a flame or lighting a lamp in celebration of certain celestial entities such as Sun, Moon or Stars. As these indeed were standard ancient practices. From the few examples discussed here one can conclude that indeed ceramic lamps were possibly the most important items of function in Levant and Egypt during Late Bronze and Early Iron period.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adler, Noam, A Comprehensive Catalog of Oil Lamps in the Holy Land from the Adler Collection, (2004), Israel, Old City Press, p.45.

Amiran, Rula, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land from the Beginning in the Neolithic Period to the End of the Iron Age, (1970), New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, p.87.

Bramlett, Kent, A Late Bronze Age Cultic Installation of Tall-Al-Umayri Jordan, (2004), Near Eastern Technology, Vol. 67, p. 50-81.

Brill, Robert Roy, Live Science, www.livescience.com, (2006).

Clarke, Somers, & Englebook, Reginal, Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture, (1990), New York, Courier Dover Publications, p. 52.

Dever, William G., An MBI Tomb from Sinjit, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1971), No. 204, p. 71.

Dever, William G., The Impact of the "New Archeology" on Syro Palestinian Archeology, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, (1981), No. 242,
p. 15-29.

Helms, Svend, An Early Bronze IV Pottery Repertoire at Amman, Jordan, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1989), No. 273, p. 17-36.

Lauer, Jean Phillipe, De Augen der Sphinx, Ullstein, (1989), p. 215.

Negev, Avraham, & Gibson, Shimon, Archaelogical Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, (2001), New York, Continuum International Publishing Group, p. 291

Oren, Eliezer, D., The Early Bronze IV Period in Northern Palestine and Its Cultural and Chronological Settings, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1973), No. 245, p.20-37.

Palumbo, Gaelano & Petera, Glen, Early Bronze Age IV Ceramic Rejolan in Central Jordan, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1995), No. 289, p. 59.

Schuab, Thomas R., Early Bronze IV Tomb from Bats Erth Dhsa, Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, (1973), No. 210, p. 10.

Smith, Thomas Houston, The Household Lamps of Palestine in Old Testament Times, The Biblical Anthropological, (1962), Vol. 27, No. 1, p. 1-31.


Neither Cities nor States?

  • 7 Savage et al. 2007.
  • 8 Savage et al. 2007, p. 285. The data set used by the above mentioned researchers was based on the i (. )

6 In an article published by Savage, Falconer and Harrison 7 discussing the origin of cities and states in the southern Levant, they conclude that there was neither cities nor states during the Early Bronze Age. Their argument is based on a reconstruction of pre- or proto-historic settlement patterns, from which they infer the political organization of whole societies. They maintain that there must be centralized political control and a hierarchical settlement system in place if a site was to have belonged to a city-state. In addition, they assume a linear evolutionary progression from pre-state chiefdom to the state 8 .

7 Philip 9 has also discussed the idea of the existence of city-states during the Early Bronze Age. In addition to critiquing existing models and theories, he has also suggested several other alternative interpretations, preferring terms such as chiefdom and middle-range societies instead of city-state.

8 Before going into further discussion about the appearance of both cities and states during the Early Bronze Age in the southern Levant in general and Jordan in particular, the following views should be explained.

  • 10 Esse 1989 Miroschedji 1989.
  • 11 Flannery 1972.
  • 12 Wright 1977.
  • 13 Service 1975.

9 First, scholars have never agreed upon a specific definition for what is a city. Some have sought to situate south Levantine city-states within a wider theoretical study, and have argued that a city should contain public architecture, including defensive structures and administrative buildings, evidence of growth of social, political and settlement hierarchies, and various systems of economic specialization 10 . Flannery 11 , Wright 12 and Service 13 assumed that the presence of regional settlement systems and sociopolitical hierarchies were necessary by-products of state formation.

10 Second, most if not all of the information studied by scholars and related to the subject under discussion are derived either from small scale and a limited number of excavations or/and surveys. The number of excavated Early Bronze Age sites ( table 3 ) located to the north of the az-Zarqa River and including the Badiya, the hill country and the Jordan Valley regions do not exceed 55. It might also be cited here, that some of these sites were explored decades ago, which means that excavation, registration and recording methods were different from those applied in modern times. This is reflected in the interpretation of the excavated material culture. For example, few decades ago scholars used to read the grain wash pottery as EBI, however, Genz 14 considered this type of EBII tradition. Moreover, the surveyors are of different scientific backgrounds and have several scientific interests and this is reflected by the collecting of materials at the surveyed sites and the analyses have been undertaken by them.

11 Third, E. Banning 15 argued that “the conducted archaeological surveys in the Near East have encountered many methodological and theoretical problems but they show promise for addressing previously unexamined questions in the history and prehistory of the Near East”. He added that surveying techniques that are highly productive are different from one natural region to another.

12 As a matter of fact, most if not all of the surveys discussed below were conducted using field walking techniques, while the Wadi Ziqlab Survey followed a different methodology when exploring the settlement patterns in that region. There, the surveyors took advantage of the different environmental conditions to conduct a subsurface survey of one stretch of wadi floor by small soundings 16 .

13 Fourth, the environment in which the first cities were established in southern Mesopotamia was completely different from that in the southern Levant. Thus, when identifying a city this aspect must be taken into consideration. For example, scholars 17 have argued that despite the evidence of large EBIII architectural complexes, there is nothing resemblance the administrative complexes found in Mesopotamia (Middle and Lower Euphrates regions). We agree completely with Philip that the most ancient cities have been excavated in the Euphrates’ basin, such as Habuba Kabira and Uruk, and have produced written documents which are still unattested in the southern Levant. Nevertheless, we think that scholars should not ignore other solid factors that point to the appearance of complex societies during the Early Bronze Age. Sites in Jordan such as Jawa and Khirbet ez-Zeiraqun were enclosed by city-walls, and had public architecture, including temples and administrative buildings, water systems, and have also produced stamp impressions, clearly part of an administrative recording system. The people of Jawa were able to build a sophisticated hydrological system, the earliest such system in the region, which enabled them to survive the extreme aridity and warm conditions of the Badiya. It may be also acceptable to say that people in the southern Levant stored their products in jars built of clay rather than in silos, as was the case in southern Mesopotamia.

14 Fifth, pottery dating is the main criteria for dating excavated and surveyed sites. For example, the so-called “Grain Wash” or “Band slip Ware” pottery is dated to the Early Bronze Age, which has been described as a particular style of red painted decoration and considered for a long time to be a diagnostic for the EBI period in Jordan and northern Palestine 18 . However, recent publication of the excavated pottery assemblage at Khirbet ez-Zeiraqun has indicated that this type also dated to the EBIII 19 . This means that sites produced such a type of pottery, either excavated or surveyed, ought to be ranging in date from the EBI through the EBIII. Thus, and in such a case, and in studying settlement patterns based on the results of the published surveys, one has to go through and restudy all collected Early Bronze Age pottery sherds.

15 To sum up, whenever discussing concepts and terms of either cities or states one should take geographical location and environment into consideration. To explain, the Levant consists of different geographical and environmental zones: Mediterranean Coast, High Land and the Desert and has only small rivers. In the meantime, and to compare with, Mesopotamia has two major rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) and the fertile land in the south. To discuss, in modern times, the millions of cities spread all over the continents are different in types and style, and this may was the case in ancient times.

16 Below, I present a detailed study of the results of excavated or surveyed Early Bronze Age sites in the northern part of Jordan in an attempt to clarify the type and nature of sites belonging to this period.


Raids On Hit

Supplied with six thousand fighters, Sufyan ibn ‘Awf was commissioned by Mu’awiyah to occupy Hit, a region western Iraq. Mu’awiyah ordered Sufyan to raid on Al-Anbar and Al-Mada'in afterwards. In Al-Anbar, Sufyan was encountered by a force of Imam Ali’s troops and a battle took place there during which the commander of the Imam’s troop was killed along with other thirty soldiers. Sufyan thus booted the city and returned to Mu’awiyah.

When Imam Ali (‘a) was informed, he delivered the following speech:

Now then, surely Jihad is one of the doors of Paradise, which Allah has opened for His chief friends. It is the dress of piety and the protective armor of Allah and His trustworthy shield. Whoever abandons it, Allah covers him with the dress of disgrace and the clothes of distress. He is kicked with contempt and scorn, and his heart is veiled with screens of neglect. Truth is taken away from him because of missing Jihad. He has to suffer ignominy and justice is denied to him.

Beware! I called you insistently to fight these people night and day, secretly and openly, and exhorted you to attack them before they attacked you, because by Allah, no people have been attacked in the hearts of their houses but they suffered disgrace but you put it off to others and forsook it until destruction befell you and your cities were occupied. The horsemen of Banu-Ghamid have reached Al-Anbar and killed Hassan ibn Hassan Al- Bakri. They have removed your horsemen from the garrison.

I have come to know that every one of them entered upon Muslim women and other women under protection of Islam and took away their ornaments from legs, arms, necks and ears and no woman could resist it except by saying such statements like: ‘We are for Allah and to Him we shall return’ and by imploring for mercy.

Then, they went back laden with wealth without any wound or loss of life. If any Muslim dies of grief after all this, he is not to be blamed but rather there is justification for him before me.

How strange! How strange! By Allah, my heart sinks to see the unity of these people on their wrong and your dispersion from your right. Woe and grief befall you! You have become the target at which arrows are shot. You are being killed and you do not kill. You are being attacked but you do not attack. Allah is being disobeyed and you remain agreeable to it.

When I ask you to move against them in summer, you say, ‘It is hot weather spare us until heat subsides from us!’ When I order you to march in winter, you say, ‘It is severely cold give us time until cold clears from us!’ These are just excuses for evading heat and cold because if you run away from heat and cold, you would be, by Allah, running away in a greater degree from sword (i.e. war).

O you semblance of men, not men, your intelligence is that of children and your wit is that of the occupants of the curtained canopies (i.e. women kept in seclusion from the outside world). I wish I had not seen you nor known you. By Allah, this acquaintance has brought about shame and resulted in repentance. May Allah fight you! You have filled my heart with pus and loaded my bosom with rage.

You made me drink mouthful of grief one after the other. You shattered my counsel by disobeying and leaving me so much so that the people of Quraysh started saying that the son of Abu Talib is brave but he does not know tactics of war. Allah may bless them! Is any one of them fiercer in war and older in it than I am? I rose for it although yet within twenties, and here I am, have crossed over sixty, but one who is not obeyed can have no opinion.8


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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Header Photo: Stuart Walker: Over the Bar

The previous header photo was of the legendary Stuart Walker, on the plane in his International 14, US 578, a Fairey Mk VI. The photo was taken in 1956. The crew was his college room-mate. If I remember correctly, this photo was included in one of his first books, "The Techniques of Small Boat Racing."

This past November, age 95, Stuart Walker passed on.

I've written about Stuart Walker before on Earwigoagin. Of all the Type-A competitors in sailboat racing, he was the most singular human being I have come across. Stuart, for his entire adult life, was obsessed with winning sailboat races. It wasn't unusual to wander down to Severn Sailing Association, his beloved home club, and see Stuart, age 90 or so, climb up the ladder, clamber in the cockpit of his Soling sitting on the hard on the trailer, to look carefully at a new jib. It wasn't unusual to see Stuart, age 90 or so, and his crew launching the Soling in the winter to go sailing by themselves to tweak something that wasn't quite right the weekend before. (Stuart loved winter sailing and the SSA Soling fleet had a winter series.)

Stuart readily admitted that, if he won on the weekend, it set him up for a happy week if he lost on the weekend, the following week was not happy as he analyzed and came up with a plan to return to the top.

The result of this constant striving to be a winner was a spate of books and magazine columns that covered all aspects of winning sailboat races boat handling, tactics, tuning, weather, psychology and sail trim. For my generation they were the bibles and they were frequently referenced in post-race kibbitzing. Most of Stuart's writing on tactics and wind were of his own races, good or bad, and he could present his failures with unvarnished clarity.

This past August, Stuart had a party down at Severn Sailing Association to introduce his latest book, a history of Severn Sailing Association. I bought the book. I've owned several of his books, which I read cover to cover, but they seem to have gone missing. In my library, Stuart's last book will have to do. He will be missed.


Al-Baraa Ibn Malik Al-Ansari [ edit | edit source ]

His hair looked dishevelled and his whole appearance was unkempt. He was thin and wiry with so little flesh on his bones that it was painful to look at him. Yet in single- handed combat he defeated and killed many opponents and in the thick of battle he was an outstanding fighter against the mushrikeen. He was so courageous and daring that Umar once wrote to his governors throughout the Islamic state that they should not appoint him to lead any army out of fear that he would have them all killed by his daring exploits. This man was al-Baraa ibn Malik al- Ansari, the brother of Anas ibn Malik, the personal aide of the Prophet.

If the tales of Baraa's heroism were to be told in detail, pages and pages could be written. But let one example suffice.

This particular story begins only hours after the death of the noble Prophet when many Arabian tribes took to leaving the religion of God in large numbers, just as they had entered it in large numbers. Within a short space of time only the people of Makkah, Madinah and Taif and scattered communities here and there, whose commitment to Islam was unwavering, remained within the religion.

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, the successor to the Prophet, stood firm against this blind and destructive movement. From the Muhajireen and Ansar, he mobilized eleven armies each under a separate commander and despatched them to various parts of the Arabian peninsula. Their purpose was to make the apostates return to the path of guidance and truth and to confront the leaders of the rebellion.

The strongest group of apostates and the greatest in number were the Banu Hanifah among whom Musaylamah the Imposter arose, claiming that he was a prophet. Musaylamah managed to mobilize forty thousand of the best fighters among his people. Most of these however followed him for the sake of asabEyyah or tribal loyalty and not because they believed in him. One of them in fact said, "I testify that Musaylamah is an imposter and that Muhammad is true but the imposter of Rabi'ah (Musaylamah) is dearer to us than the true man of Mudar (Muhammad). "

Musaylamah routed the first army sent against him under the leadership of Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl. Abu Bakr despatched another army against Musaylamah led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. This army included the cream of the Sahabah from both the Ansar and the Muhajireen. In the front ranks of this army was Baraa ibn Malik and a group of the most valiant Muslims.

The two armies met in the territory of the Banu Hanifah at Yamamah in Najd. Before long, the scale of battle tilted in favour of Musaylamah and his men. The Muslim armies began to retreat from their positions. Musaylamah's forces even stormed the tent of Khalid ibn Walid and drove him from his position. They would have killed his wife if one of them had not granted her protection.

At that point, the Muslims realised in what a perilous situation they were. They were also conscious of the fact that if they were annihilated by Musaylamah, Islam would not be able to stand as a religion and AllahÑthe One God with whom there is no partnerÑwould not be worshipped in the Arabian peninsula after that.

Khalid mustered his forces once more and began reorgamsing them. He separated the Muhajireen and the Ansar and kept men from different tribes apart. Each was put under the leadership of one of its own members so that the losses of each group in the battle might be known.

The battle raged. There was much destruction and death. The Muslims had not experienced anything like this in all the wars they had fought before. Musaylamah's men remained firm amidst the tumult, as firm as immovable mountains although many of them had fallen.

The Muslims displayed tremendous feats of heroism. Thabit ibn Qays, the standard bearer of the Ansar, dug a pit and planted himself in it and fought until he was killed. The pit he dug turned out to be his grave. Zayd ibn alKhattab, brother of Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with them both, called out to the Muslims: "Men, bite with your jaw teeth, strike the enemy and press on. By God, I shall not speak to you after this until either Musaylamah is defeated or I meet God." He then charged against the enemy and continued fighting until he was killed. Salim, the mawla of Abu Hudhaifah, and standard bearer of the Muhajireen displayed unexpected valour. His people feared that he would show weakness or be too terrified to fight. To them he said, "If you manage to overtake me, what a miserable bearer of the Qur'an I shall be." He then valiantly plunged into the enemy ranks and eventually fell as a martyr.

The bravery of all these, however, wanes in front of the heroism of al-Baraa ibn Malik, may God be pleased with him and with them all.

As the battle grew fiercer and fiercer, Khalid turned to al-Baraa and said, "Charge, young man of the Ansar." AlBaraa turned to his men and said, "O Ansar, let not anyone of you think of returning to Madinah. There is no Madinah for you after this day. There is only Allah, then Paradise."

He and the Ansar then launched their attack against the mushrikeen, breaking their ranks and dealing telling blows against them until eventually they began to withdraw. They sought refuge in a garden which later became known in history as The Garden of Death because of the many killed there on that day. The garden was surrounded by high walls. Musaylamah and thousands of his men entered and closed the gates behind them and fortified themselves.

From their new positions they began to rain down arrows on the Muslims.

The valiant Baraa went forward and addressed his company, "Put me on a shield. Raise the shield on spears and hurl me into the garden near the gate. Either I shall die a martyr or I shall open the gate for you."

The thin and wiry al-Baraa was soon sitting on a shield. A number of spears raised the shield and he was thrown into the Garden of Death amongst the multitude of Musaylamah's men. He descended on them like a thunderbolt and continued to fight them in front of the gate. Many fell to his sword and he himself sustained numerous wounds before he could open the gate.

The Muslims charged into the Garden of Death through the gates and over the walls. Fighting was bitter and at close quarters and hundreds were killed. Finally the Muslims came upon Musaylamah and he was killed.

Al Baraa was taken in a litter to Madinah. Khalid ibn alWalid spent a month looking after him and tending his wounds. Eventually his condition improved. Through him the Muslims had gained victory over Musaylamah.

In spite of recovering from his wounds, al-Baraa continued to long for the martyrdom which had eluded him at the Garden of Death. He went on fighting in battle after battle hoping to attain his aim. This came at the battle for Tustar in Persia.

At Tustar the Persians were besieged in one of their defiant fortresses. The siege was long and when its effects became quite unbearable, they adopted a new tactic. From the walls of the fortress, they began to throw down iron chains at the ends of which were fastened iron hooks which were red hot. Muslims were caught by these hooks and were pulled up either dead or in the agony of death.

One of these hooks got hold of Anas ibn Malik, the brother of al-Baraa. As soon as al-Baraa saw this, he leapt up the wall of the fortress and grabbed the chain which bore his brother and began undoing the hook from his body. His hand began to burn but he did not let go before his brother was released.

Baraa himself died during this battle. He had prayed to God to grant him martyrdom.


Monday, December 29, 2008

17. Muadh ibn Jabal (R. A.)

Muadh ibn Jabal was a young man growing up in Yathrib as the light of guidance and truth began to spread over the Arabian peninsula. He was a handsome and imposing character with black eyes and curly hair and immediately impressed whoever he met. He was already distinguished for the sharpness of his intelligence among young men of his own age.

The young Muadh became a Muslim at the hands of Musab ibn Umayr, the daiy (missionary) whom the Prophet had sent to Yathrib before the hijrah. Muadh was among the seventy-two Yathribites who journeyed to Makkah, one year before the hijrah, and met the Prophet at his house and later again in the valley of Mina, outside Makkah, at Aqabah. Here the famous second Aqabah Pledge was made at which the new Muslims of Yathrib, including some women, vowed to support and defend the Prophet at any cost. Muadh was among those who enthusiastically clasped the hands of the blessed Prophet then and pledged allegiance to him.

As soon as Muadh returned to Madinah from Makkah, he and a few others of his age formed a group to remove and destroy idols from the houses of the mushrikeen in Yathrib. One of the effects of this campaign was that a prominent man of the city, Amr ibn al-Jumuh, became a Muslim.

When the noble Prophet reached Madinah, Muadh ibn Jabal stayed in his company as much as possible. He studied the Quran and the laws of Islam until he became one of the most well-versed of all the companions in the religion of Islam.

Wherever Muadh went, people would refer to him for legal judgments on matters over which they differed. This is not strange since he was brought up in the school of the Prophet himself and learnt as much as he could from him. He was the best pupil of the best teacher. His knowledge bore the stamp of authenticity. The best certificate that he could have received came from the Prophet himself when he said: "The most knowledgeable of my ummah in matters of Halal and haram is Muadh ibn Jabal."

One of the greatest of Muadhs contributions to the ummah of Muhammad was that he was one of the group of six who collected the Quran during the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Whenever a group of companions met and Muadh was among them, they would look at him with awe and respect on account of his knowledge. The Prophet and his two Khalitahs after him placed this unique gift and power in the service of Islam .

After the liberation of Makkah, the Quraysh became Muslims en masse. The Prophet immediately saw the need of the new Muslims for teachers to instruct them in the fundamentals of Islam and to make them truly understand the spirit and letter of its laws. He appointed Attab ibn Usay as his deputy in Makkah and he asked Muadh ibn Jabal to stay with him and teach people the Quran and instruct them in the religion.

Sometime after the Prophet had returned to Madinah, messengers of the kings of Yemen came to him announcing that they and the people of Yemen had become Muslims. They requested that some teachers should be with them to teach Islam to the people. For this task the Prophet commissioned a group of competent duat (missionaries) and made Muadh ibn Jabal their amir. He then put the following question to Muadh:

"According to what will you judge?"

"According to the Book of God," replied Muadh.

"And if you find nothing therein?"

"According to the Sunnah of the Prophet of God."

"And if you find nothing therein?"

"Then I will exert myself (exercise ijtihad) to form my own judgment."

The Prophet was pleased with this reply and said: "Praise be to God Who has guided the messenger of the Prophet to that which pleases the Prophet."

The Prophet personally bade farewell to this mission of guidance and light and walked for some distance alongside Muadh as he rode out of the city. Finally he said to him:

"O Muadh, perhaps you shall not meet me again after this year. Perhaps when you return you shall see only my mosque and my grave." Muadh wept. Those with him wept too. A feeling of sadness and desolation overtook him as he parted from his beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him.

The Prophet's premonition was correct. The eyes of Muadh never beheld the Prophet after that moment. The Prophet died before Muadh returned from the Yemen. There is no doubt that Muadh wept when he returned to Madinah and found there was no longer the blessed company of the Prophet.

During the caliphate of Umar, Muadh was sent to the Banu Kilab to apportion their stipends and to distribute the sadaqah of their richer folk among the poor. When he had done his duty, he returned to his wife with his saddle blanket around his neck, empty handed, and she asked him:

"Where are the gifts which commissioners return with for their families?" "I had an alert Supervisor who was checking over me," he replied. "You were a trusted person with the messenger of God and with Abu Bakr. Then Umar came and he sent a supervisor with you to check on you!' she exclaimed. She went on to talk about this to the women of Umar's household and complained to them about it. The complaint eventually reached Umar, so he summoned Muadh and said:

"Did I send a supervisor with you to check on you?"

"No, Amir al-Mumineen," he said, "But that was the only reason I could find to give her." Umar laughed and then gave him a gift, saying, "I hope this pleases you."

Also during the caliphate of Umar, the governor of Syria, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan sent a message saying:

"O Amir al-Mumineen! The people of Syria are many. They fill the towns. They need people to teach them the Quran and instruct them in the religion."

Umar thereupon summoned five persons who had collected the Quran in the lifetime of the Prophet, peace be upon him. They were Muadh ibn Jabal, Ubadah ibn asSamit, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Ubayy ibn Kab and Abu adDardaa. He said to them:

"Your brothers in Syria have asked me to help them by sending those who can teach them the Quran and instruct them in the religion. Please appoint three among you for this task and may God bless you. I can select three of you myself if you do not want to put the matter to the vote."

"Why should we vote?" they asked. "Abu Ayyub is quite old and Ubayy is a sick man. That leaves three of us." "All three of you go to Homs first of all. If you are satisfied with the condition of the people there, one of you should stay there, another should go to Damascus and the other to Palestine."

So it was that Ubadah ibn as-Samit was left at Homs, Abu ad-Dardaa went to Damascus and Muadh went to Palestine. There Muadh fell ill with an infectious disease. As he was near to death, he turned in the direction of the Kabah and repeated this refrain: "Welcome Death, Welcome. A visitor has come after a long absence . . ." And looking up to heaven, he said: "O Lord, You know that I did not desire the world and to prolong my stay in it . . . O Lord, accept my soul with goodness as you would accept a believing soul. "

He then passed away, far from his family and his clan, a daiy in the service of God and a muhajir in His path.

16. Ubayy ibn Kab (R. A.)

"O Abu Mundhir! Which verse of the Book of God is the greatest?" asked the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace. "Allah and His Messenger know best," came the reply. The Prophet repeated the question and Abu Mundhir replied.

"Allah, there is no god but He, the Living the Self-Subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth, . " and most likely he went on to complete the Verse of the Throne (Ayat al-Kursi).

The Prophet smote his chest with his right hand in approval on hearing the reply and with his countenance beaming with happiness, said to Abu Mundhir. "May knowledge delight and benefit you, Abu Mundhir."

This Abu Mundhir whom the Prophet congratulated on the knowledge and understanding which God had bestowed on him was Ubayy ibn Kab, one of his distinguished companions and a person of high esteem in the early Muslim community.

Ubayy was one of the Ansar and belonged to the Khazraj tribe. He was one of the first persons of Yathrib to accept Islam. He pledged allegiance to the Prophet at Aqabah before the Hijrah. He participated in the Battle of Badr and other engagements thereafter. Ubayy was one of the select few who committed the Quranic revelations to writing and had a Mushaf of his own. He acted as a scribe of the Prophet, writing letters for him. At the demise of the Prophet, he was one of the twenty five or so people who knew the Quran completely by heart. His recitation was so beautiful and his understanding so profound that the Prophet encouraged his companions to learn the Quran from him and from three others. Later, Umar too once told the Muslims as he was dealing with some financial matters of state:

"O people! Whoever wants to ask about the Quran, let him go to Ubayy ibn Kab. " (Umar went on to say that anyone wishing to ask about inheritance matters should go to Zayd ibn Thabit, about questions of fiqh to Muadh ibn Jabal and about questions of money and finance, to himself.)

Ubayy enjoyed a special honor with regard to the Quran. One day, the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, said: "O Ubayy ibn Kab! I have been commanded to show or lay open the Quran to you."

Ubayy was elated. He knew of course that the Prophet only received commands from on high. Unable to control his excitement, he asked:

"O Messenger of God. Have I been mentioned to you by name?" "Yes," replied the Prophet, "by your own name and by your genealogy (nasab) in the highest heavens."

Any Muslim whose name had been conveyed to the heart of the Prophet in this manner must certainly have been of great ability and of a tremendously high stature.

Throughout the years of his association with the Prophet, Ubayy derived the maximum benefit from his sweet and noble personality and from his noble teachings. Ubayy related that the Prophet once asked him:

"Shall I not teach you a surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Tawrah, nor in the Injil, nor in the Zabur, nor in the Quran?" "Certainly," replied Ubayy.

"I hope you would not leave through that door until you know what it is," said the Prophet obviously prolonging the suspense for Ubayy. Ubayy continues: "He stood up and I stood up with him. He started to speak, with my hand in his. I tried to delay him fearing that he would leave before letting me know what the surah is. When he reached the door, I asked: "O Messenger of God! The surah which you promised

"What do you recite when you stand for Salat?" So, I recited for him Fatihatu-l Kitab (the Opening Chapter of the Quran) and he said: "(That's) it! (That's) it! They are the seven oft-repeated verses of which God Almighty has said: We have given you the seven oft-repeated verses and the Mighty Quran."

Ubayy's devotion to the Quran was uncompromising. Once he recited part of a verse which the Khalifah Umar apparently could not remember or did not know and he said to Ubayy: "Your have lied," to which Ubayy retorted "Rather, you have lied."

A person who heard the exchange was astounded and said to Ubayy: "Do you call the Amir al-Muminin a liar?" "I have greater honor and respect for the Amir al-Muminin than you," responded Ubayy," but he has erred in verifying the Book of God and I shall not say the Amir al-Muminin is correct when he has made an error concerning the Book of God." "Ubayy is right," concluded Umar.

Ubayy gave an idea of the importance of the Quran when a man came to him and said, "Advise me," and he replied: "Take the Book of God as (your) leader (imam). Be satisfied with it as (your) judge and ruler. It is what the Prophet has bequeathed to you. (It is your) intercessor with God and should be obeyed. "

After the demise of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, Ubayy remained strong in his attachment to Islam and his commitment to the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. He was constant in his ibadah and would often be found in the mosque at night, after the last obligatory Prayer had been performed, engaged in worship or in teaching. Once he was sitting in the mosque after Salat with a group of Muslims, making supplication to God. Umar came in and sat with them and asked each one to recite a dua. They all did until finally Ubayy's turn came. He was sitting next to Umar. He felt somewhat over-awed and became flustered. Umar prompted him and suggested that he say: "Allahumma ighfir lanaa. Allahumma irhamnaa. O Lord, forgive us, O Lord, have mercy on us."

Taqwa remained the guiding force in Ubayy's life. He lived simply and did not allow the world to corrupt or deceive him. He had a good grasp of reality and knew that however a person lived and whatever comforts and luxuries he enjoyed, these would all fade away and he would have only his good deeds to his credit. He was always a sort of warner to Muslims, reminding them of the times of the Prophet, of the Muslims' devotion to Islam then, of their simplicity and spirit of sacrifice. Many people came to him seeking knowledge and advice. To one such person he said.

"The believer has four characteristics. If he is afflicted by any misfortune, he remains patient and steadfast. If he is given anything, he is grateful. If he speaks, he speaks the truth. If he passes a judgment on any issue, he is just."

Ubayy attained a position of great honor and esteem among the early Muslims. Umar called him the "sayyid of the Muslims" and he came to be widely known by this title. He was part of the consultative group (mushawarah) to which Abu Bakr, as Khalifah, referred many problems. This group was composed of men of good sense and judgment (ahl ar-ray) and men who knew the law (ahl al-fiqh) from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. It included Umar, Uthman, Ali, Abdur Rahman ibn Awl, Muadh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Kab and Zayd ibn Harith. Umar later consulted the same group when he was Khalifah. Specifically for fatwas (legal judgments) he referred to Uthman, Ubayy and Zayd ibn Thabit.

Because of Ubayy's high standing, one might have expected him to have been given positions of administrative responsibility, for example as a governor, in the rapidly expanding Muslim state. (During the time of the Prophet in fact he had performed the function of a collector of sadaqah.) Indeed, Ubayy once asked

"What's the matter with you? Why don't you appoint me as a governor?" "I do not want your religion to be corrupted" replied Umar. Ubayy was probably prompted to put the question to Umar when he saw that Muslims were tending to drift from the purity of faith and self-sacrifice of the days of the Prophet. He was known to be especially critical of the excessively polite and sycophantic attitude of many Muslims to their governors which he felt brought ruin both to the governors and those under them. Ubayy for his part was always honest and frank in his dealings with persons in authority and feared no one but God. He acted as a sort of conscience to the Muslims.

One of Ubayy's major fears for the Muslim ummah was that a day would come when there would be severe strife among Muslims. He often became overwhelmed with emotion when he read or heard the verse of the Quran." "Say: He (Allah) has power to send calamities on you, from above and below, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance, each from the other." (Surah al-An'am, 6: 65)

He would then pray fervently to God for guidance and ask for His clemency and forgiveness. Ubayy died in the year 29 AH during the caliphate of Uthman.

15. Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah (R.A.)

In giving advice to his companions, the noble Prophet, peace be on him, once said: "Learn the Quran from four persons: Abdullah ibn Masud, Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah, Ubayy ibn Kab and Muadh ibn Jabal."

We have read about three of these companions before. But who was this fourth companion in whom the Prophet had so much confidence that he considered him a hujjah or competent authority to teach the Quran and be a source of reference for it?

Salim was a slave and when he accepted Islam he was adopted as a son by a Muslim who was formerly a leading nobleman of the Quraysh. When the practice of adoption (in which the adopted person was called the son of his adopted father) was banned, Salim simply became a brother, a companion and a mawla (protected person) of the one who had adopted him, Abu Hudhayfah ibn Utbah. Through the blessings of Islam, Salim rose to a position of high esteem among the Muslims by virtue of his noble conduct and his piety.

Both Salim and Abu Hudhayfah accepted Islam early. Abu Hudhayfah himself did so in the face of bitter opposition from his father, the notorious Utbah ibn Rabi'ah who was particularly virulent in his attacks against the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his companions.

When the verse of the Quran was revealed abolishing adoption, people like Zayd and Salim had to change their names. Zayd who was known as Zayd ibn Muhammad had to be called after his own natural father. Henceforth he was known as Zayd ibn Harithah. Salim however did not know the name of his father. Indeed he did not know who his father was. However he remained under the protection of Abu Hudhayfah and so came to be known as Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah.

In abolishing the practice of adoption, Islam wanted to emphasize the bonds and responsibilities of natural kinship. However, no relationship was greater or stronger than the bond of Islam and the ties of faith which was the basis of brotherhood. The early Muslims understood this very well. There was nobody dearer to anyone of them after Allah and His Messenger than their brethren in faith.

We have seen how the Ansar of Madinah welcomed and accepted the Muhajirin from Makkah and shared with them their homes and their wealth and their hearts. This same spirit of brotherhood we see in the relationship between the Quraysh aristocrat, Abu Hudhayfah, and the despised and lowly slave, Salim. They remained to the very end of their lives something more than brothers they died together, one body beside the other one soul with the other. Such was the unique greatness of Islam. Ethnic background and social standing had no worth in the sight of God. Only faith and taqwa mattered as the verses of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet emphasized over and over again:

"The most honorable of you in the sight of God, is the most God-fearing of you," says the Quran.

"No Arab has an advantage over a non-Arab except in taqwa (piety)," taught the noble Prophet who also said: "The son of a white woman has no advantage over the son of a black woman except in taqwa."

In the new and just society rounded by Islam, Abu Hudhayfah found honor for himself in protecting the one who was a slave.

In this new and rightly-guided society rounded by Islam, which destroyed unjust class divisions and false social distinctions Salim found himself, through his honesty, his faith and his willingness to sacrifice, in the front line of the believers. He was the "imam" of the Muhajirin from Makkah to Madinah, leading them in Salat in the masjid at Quba which was built by the blessed hands of the Prophet himself. He became a competent authority in the Book of God so much so that the Prophet recommended that the Muslims learn the Quran from him. Salim was even further blessed and enjoyed a high estimation in the eyes of the Prophet, peace be on him, who said of him.

"Praise be to God Who has made among my Ummah such as you."

Even his fellow Muslim brothers used to call him "Salim min as-Salihin - Salim one of the righteous". The story of Salim is like the story of Bilal and that of tens of other slaves and poor persons whom Islam raised from slavery and degradation and 'made them, in the society of guidance and justice - imams, leaders and military commanders.

Salim's personality was shaped by Islamic virtues. One of these was his outspokenness when he felt it was his duty to speak out especially when a wrong was committed.

A well-known incident to illustrate this occurred after the liberation of Makkah. The Prophet sent some of his companions to the villages and tribes around the city. He specified that they were being sent as du'at to invite people to Islam and not as fighters. Khalid ibn al-Walid was one of those sent out. During the mission however, to settle an old score from the days of Jahiliyyah, he fought with and killed a man even though the man testified that he was now a Muslim.

Accompanying Khalid on this mission was Salim and others. As soon as Salim saw what Khalid had done he went up to him and reprimanded him listing the mistakes he had committed. Khalid, the great leader and military commander both during the days of Jahiliyyah and now in Islam, was silent for once.

Khalid then tried to defend himself with increasing fervor. But Salim stood his ground and stuck to his view that Khalid had committed a grave error. Salim did not look upon Khalid then as an abject slave would look upon a powerful Makkan nobleman. Not at all. Islam had placed them on an equal footing. It was justice and truth that had to be defended. He did not look upon him as a leader whose mistakes were to be covered up or justified but rather as an equal partner in carrying out a responsibility and an obligation. Neither did he come out in opposition to Khalid out of prejudice or passion but out of sincere advice and mutual self-criticism which Islam has hallowed. Such mutual sincerity was repeatedly emphasized by the Prophet himself when he said:

"Ad-dinu an-Nasihah. Ad-din u an-Nasihah. Ad-din u an-Nasihah." "Religion is sincere advice. Religion is sincere advice. Religion is sincere advice."

When the Prophet heard what Khalid had done, he was deeply grieved and made long and fervent supplication to his Lord. "O Lord," he said, "I am innocent before you of what Khalid has done." And he asked: "Did anyone reprimand him?"

The Prophet's anger subsided somewhat when he was told:

"Yes, Salim reprimanded him and opposed him." Salim lived close to the Prophet and the believers. He was never slow or reluctant in his worship nor did he miss any campaign. In particular, the strong brotherly relationship which existed between him and Abu Hudhayfah grew with the passing days.

The Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, passed away to his Lord. Abu Bakr assumed responsibility for the affairs of Muslims and immediately had to face the conspiracies of the apostates which resulted in the terrible battle of Yamamah. Among the Muslim forces which made their way to the central heartlands of Arabia was Salim and his "brother", Abu Hudhayfah.

At the beginning of the battle, the Muslim forces suffered major reverses. The Muslims fought as individuals and so the strength that comes from solidarity was initially absent. But Khalid ibn al-Walid regrouped the Muslim forces anew and managed to achieve an amazing coordination.

Abu Hudhayfah and Salim embraced each other and made a vow to seek martyrdom in the path of the religion of Truth and thus attain felicity in the hereafter. Yamamah was their tryst with destiny. To spur on the Muslims Abu Hudhayfah shouted: "Yaa ahl al-Quran - O people of the Quran! Adorn the Quran with your deeds," as his sword flashed through the army of Musaylamah the imposter like a whirlwind. Salim in his turn shouted:

"What a wretched bearer of the Quran am I, if the Muslims are attacked from my direction. Far be it from you, O Salim! Instead, be you a worthy bearer of the

With renewed courage he plunged into the battle. When the standard-bearer of the Muhajirin, Zayd ibn al-Khattab, fell. Salim bore aloft the flag and continued fighting. His right hand was then severed and he held the standard aloft with his left hand while reciting aloud the verse of the glorious Quran:

"How many a Prophet fought in God's way and with him (fought) large bands of godly men! But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in God's way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And God loves those who are firm and steadfast." What an inspiring verse for such an occasion! And what a fitting epitaph for someone who had dedicated his life for the sake of Islam!

A wave of apostates then overwhelmed Salim and he fell. Some life remained with him until the battle came to an end with the death of Musaylamah. When the Muslims went about searching for their victims and their martyrs, they found Salim in the last throes of death. As his life-blood ebbed away he asked them: "What has happened to Abu Hudhayfah?" "He has been martyred," came the reply. "Then put me to lie next to him," said Salim.

"He is close to you, Salim. He was martyred in this same place." Salim smiled a last faint smile and spoke no more. Both men had realized what they had hoped for. Together they entered Islam. Together they lived. And together they were martyred.

Salim, that great believer passed away to his Lord. Of him, the great Umar ibn al-Khattab spoke as he lay dying: "If Salim were alive, I would have appointed him my successor."


About Me

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Comments:

  1. Tagor

    Please, in more detail

  2. Mac Ghille-Dhuibh

    I specially registered on the forum to thank you for the advice. How can I thank you?

  3. Camren

    What insolence!



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