Friday, August 14, 2009

لقمة الصينية‮.. ‬والقاع العربي‮!‬


مولعون نحن في العالم العربي بقمة النظام العالمي ومن يتربع عليها ومن يتسابقون لبلوغها‮. ‬يتمني كثير منا أن تهبط الولايات المتحدة من هذه القمة وتصعد إليها دولة أو دول أخري نظن أنها ستكون أكثر إنصافاً‮ ‬لنا وعدالة تجاه حقوقنا‮.‬ ونحن نعبر عن هذا الولع بأشكال مختلفة،‮ ‬ولكن دون أن نفكر فيما يصح أن نفعله لنكون بين المتسابقين إلي القمة العالمية ولو بعد ردح من الزمن‮. ‬وهذه من شيم أهل القاع الذين تقتصر علاقتهم بالقمة علي التطلع إليها من أسفل وتمني أن يبلغها من يعاملنا بشيء من الرأفة بحالنا‮.‬ ولذلك يبدو العرب والصينيون في هذا المجال علي طرفي نقيض‮. ‬فالمسافة التي تفصلنا عنهم ربما تقاس بالسنوات الشمسية‮. ‬وربما يكون للحظ دور في ذلك بشكل ما‮. ‬وقد يعجب البعض حين يعرفون أن للأمم حظوظها الحسنة والسيئة مثلها مثل الأفراد‮. ‬فقد أدت مصادفات تاريخية،‮ ‬من بينها مثلاً‮ ‬نجاة دينج سياو بينج من مذابح‮ »‬الثورة الثقافية‮« ‬وما تلاها،‮ ‬إلي تغيير مسار الصين كلياً‮ ‬بعد رحيل ماوتسي تونج‮. ‬فقد تولت السلطة فيها قيادة عاقلة كان هو علي رأسها،‮ ‬أو بالأحري لأنه كان هو الرجل الأول فيها‮. ‬وقد أدركت هذه القيادة أن الدول المدججة بالسلاح لا تكون قوية بالضرورة،‮ ‬وأن امتلاك السلاح النووي منذ مطلع ستينيات القرن العشرين لا يغني عن بناء نظام اقتصادي ناجح والانفتاح علي العالم بدون خوف وتغيير ذهنية الانغلاق ورفض الآخر واعتباره مصدر شر وتهديد‮.‬ ولذلك لا يتحدث أحد الآن في الصين أو خارجها عن قدراتها النووية الكبيرة‮. ‬فالحديث كله منصب علي قدراتها الاقتصادية وإنتاجها الذي‮ ‬غزا العالم وحقق لها المكانة الرفيعة التي تنعم بها الآن،‮ ‬وفتح الأفق أمامها رحباً‮ ‬لأن تأخذ مكانها تدريجياً‮ ‬بين القوي الأكبر في العالم اليوم‮. ‬وحين يشعر الصينيون الآن بالفخر القومي فلأنهم يقرأون عبارة‮ »‬صنع في الصين‮« ‬في كل مكان يذهبون إليه،‮ ‬وليس لامتلاكهم سلاحاً‮ ‬نووياً‮ ‬وقدرة عسكرية هائلة‮.‬ واستغلت القيادة التي نهجت هذا المنهج خصوصية الثقافة الصينية وطابعها الجماعي وضعف النزعة الفردية فيها من أجل تأجيل الانفتاح السياسي الداخلي‮.‬ تعاملت‮ »‬الصين الجديدة‮« ‬مع العالم كما لو أن لا سلاح لديها ولا قدرة نووية تمتلكها،‮ ‬مدركة أن القوة العسكرية لم تعصمها من الوصول إلي حافة الكارثة حتي صارت مهددة بانهيار شامل عشية رحيل ماوتسي تونج‮. ‬فقد تولي خلفاؤه حكم دولة متمكنة عسكرياً‮ ‬ولكنها شديدة الهشاشة‮.. ‬دولة متخلفة تمتلك سلاحاً‮ ‬متقدماً‮ ‬كان يمكن أن تدمر به نفسها لو كان الفقر والفساد تواصلاً‮ ‬وازداد نخراً‮ ‬في عظام مجتمع دخل حينئذ في طريق مسدود‮.‬ وبدلاً‮ ‬من أن تخيف الصين جيرانها بقوتها العسكرية وقدرتها النووية،‮ ‬أصبحت تغزو العالم كله صباح مساء بمنتجاتها اللانهائية التي تعبر عن قصة نجاح اقتصادي هي أكبر وأهم مقومات قوتها الشاملة الآن‮. ‬وأصبح في إمكان الصينيين أن يصنعوا مجد أمتهم العظيمة بالعمل المنتج والاقتصاد المتقدم والإنتاج الغزير وليس بالقوة العسكرية والقنبلة النووية‮. ‬لم يعد الصيني في حاجة إلي القدرة النووية التي تمتلكها بلاده،‮ ‬ولا إلي تهديد جيرانه،‮ ‬لكي يشعر بالقوة والفخر والعزة لأنه يحقق النصر في كل يوم‮ »‬تغزو‮« ‬سلع دولته وخدماتها وأبناؤها أرضاً‮ ‬جديدة،‮ ‬ويظهر فيه ضعف الآخر أمام قدرته علي العمل والإنجاز والنجاح والتفوق والحضور القوي الفاعل المؤثر في قلب العالم‮.‬ وهذه هي القوة الحقيقية التي لا نعرفها نحن العرب المفتون معظمنا بقوة من نوع آخر لم تعصم دولة عظمي من الانهيار ولم تعتمد علي مثلها الدول الكبري الصاعدة بثبات واقتدار إلي قمة النظام العالمي‮.‬ مفتونون نحن بالقوة العسكرية والسلاح‮. ‬وليس هذا نقصاً‮ ‬في عقولنا أو ضعفاً‮ ‬في إدراكنا فقط،‮ ‬وإنما هو نتيجة أيضاً‮ ‬لنقص الشعور بالكرامة والعزة والفخر والكبرياء،‮ ‬في الوقت الذي يحول جمود نظم الحكم العربية دون توفير المقومات اللازمة لتحقيق تطور ديمقراطي وازدهار اقتصادي ونجاح علمي وتكنولوجي وتقدم معرفي وثقافي‮. ‬ولو أن شيئاً‮ ‬من هذا يتحقق في بعض بلادنا العربية،‮ ‬لنشأت أجيال تفخر بما لديها من حرية وبقدرتها علي المشاركة في تحقيق التقدم والازدهار لنجاح بلادها في تقديم نموذج يشار إليه بالبنان‮.‬ أما حين لا يجد الإنسان العربي ما يعتز به علي صعيد البناء الاقتصادي والبحث العلمي والتراكم المعرفي والمشاركة السياسية والإبداع الحر،‮ ‬فليس لنا أن نلومه حين يفكر بطريقة أهل القاع‮. ‬فمن حكمت عليه الأيام بأن يبقي في‮ »‬السبنسة‮«‬،‮ ‬لا لوم عليه إذا صار ملتصقاً‮ ‬بالقاع قانعاً‮ ‬به‮.‬
http://www.alwafd.org

Risk Of Suicidal Behavior With Antidepressants Strongly Linked To Age

Adults taking antidepressants are not at greater risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviour, but young adults aged less than 25 years of age are at an increased risk, similar to that seen in children and adolescents, finds research published on bmj.com today.

The paper expands on analyses first made available by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) two years ago. It includes different methods, additional explorations of the data, and an expanded discussion of the implications of the findings.

Previous studies have shown that antidepressant drugs are linked with an increased risk of suicidal behaviour and thoughts in children and adolescents, particularly in the early stages of treatment. This led the FDA to add a black box warning to antidepressants in 2005 and to examine trials of antidepressants in adults to look for similar effects.

Dr Marc Stone and colleagues from the FDA asked eight manufacturers of antidepressant products to provide data on suicidal thinking and behaviour from published and unpublished randomised trials on antidepressants in adults. They reviewed data from 372 placebo controlled trials involving nearly 100,000 patients.

Findings showed eight completed suicides, 134 suicide attempts, 10 patients who had made preparations without attempting suicide, and 378 patients who had thoughts about suicide but had not acted on them.

Overall, drug type and diagnostic category made little difference to risk of suicidal behaviour, with the exception of some differences among selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

However, an increased risk was noted among adults under 25 years of age, similar to that reported in children and adults - this increased risk was greatest in those with psychiatric disorders other than depression.

These results suggest that, compared with placebo, the risks of suicidality associated with antidepressants are strongly age dependent - the risk is raised in people under 25, not affected in those aged 25-64, and reduced in those aged 65 and older, say the authors.

The findings also support the idea that antidepressant drugs can have two separate effects: an undesirable effect in some patients that promotes suicidal thoughts or behaviour, with a risk that appears to diminish with age, and a protective effect in others that alleviates depression and reduces any suicidal risk, they add. This should be the subject of further research, particularly in terms of possible mechanisms for age related differences.

In the meantime, the FDA has expanded the suicide warning on antidepressant drugs with this new information, including the strong age relatedness of the findings.

But in an accompanying editorial Professor John Geddes from the University of Oxford and colleagues warn that "fundamental uncertainty" remains. They point to important limitations in the analysis, such as the very low numbers of completed suicides in the primary trials and a lack of transparency in some of the methods used. They also discuss some important differences in risk between individual drugs.

It is becoming apparent that antidepressants vary in both their efficacy and adverse effects, they say. The increased risk of suicidal behaviour in adults taking antidepressants is probably restricted to younger people and varies greatly between individual drugs, they conclude.
Source
British Medical Journal

Dell Latitude 2100


Kid-Friendly Netbook Has Grown-Up Chops

The Dell Latitude 2100 is a lot like a box of Froot Loops: It's clearly meant for kids but also easily enjoyed (sometimes secretly) by adults.

The 2100's most striking feature is the matte, rubber-like coating that envelops the netbook. Its grainy texture lets tiny, slippery fingers get a firm grip. It also repels dirt, grime and the occasional candy collision. When one Wired editor put it to the test by grinding a peanut M&M into the façade, we were able to brush the chocolate off with a quick swipe of a damp cloth.

This colorful, fun exterior sets the tone for the rest of the device. With most netbooks, the keyboard and trackpad usually amount to a crummy, cramped joke. Not in the Latitude 2100. Ironically, a netbook designed for kids has a generously proportioned keyboard for even plus-sized adult fingers. The buttons are well-spaced and there's enough of the "clickety-clack" tactile feedback to make touch-typists happy.

The 10.1-inch display is bright and does well in both bright sunlight and under the harsh fluorescent lighting typically found in public school classrooms. And with the 80-GB hard drive there's just enough storage space to toss in pictures, homework and maybe a Hannah Montana video or two.

Speaking of downloading Miss Montana, the Latitude 2100 also has a network-activity light built into the top of the lid. This small rectangle illuminates when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network or an ethernet connection. It also flickers (albeit weakly) when we browsed the net. The idea? Making sure kids are not surfing the internet when they should be working on a math problem.

But when the 2100 hits the interwebs, it does so with gusto. The Atom N270 processor and 1-GB memory lets the rig zip through YouTube clips and other video with fairly fleet-footed ease. Multitasking performance was about average compared to other netbooks. Though just 2.91 pounds, the Latitude 2100 feels stocky because of its design and the little bulge near the battery cave. But it's light enough to be stuffed into backpacks and certainly weighs a lot less than a stack of textbooks.

The Latitude 2100 does well with its battery life — we got about six hours out of it with ease — and is quick to wake up from hibernation mode and resume wireless connectivity.

The 2100 also sports a limited (optional) touchscreen. With Microsoft XP's staid user interface and (surfing, e-mail, chat, word processor) there's not much use for it. Dell also has extras available for the netbook, such as a shoulder strap and an anti-microbial keyboard (perfect for germy little paws). Want to swap the colors on chassis? Yep, that also costs more.

But those are minor gripes. The 2100 is a fantastic netbook that would be a great addition to any classroom — or briefcase. Shhh, we won't tell about the Froot Loop thing either.

WIRED Cool, tough rubber exterior coating. Adult-sized keyboard also accommodates the smallest hands. Responsive trackpad. Snappy performance. Clear window on front of chassis meant for student's name tag.

TIRED Tattletale web browsing light a little too Big Brother for our tastes. Optional extras drive up the price tag quickly. Chunky monkey power adapter.

8/10
  • Style: Netbook
  • Operating System: MS XP
  • RAM size: 1GB and under
  • Clock Rate: 1.5 GHz and under
  • Processor Manufacturer: Intel
  • Hard Drive Size: 199GB and Under
  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Price: $560 (as tested)

النمل أذكى من البشر أحياناً!


باحثون أميركيون يكتشفون أن للنمل قدرة على اتخاذ قرارات عقلانية عند مواجهة التحديات.

ميدل ايست اونلاين
واشنطن - قال باحثون أميركيون إن النمل يمتلك القدرة على اتخاذ قرارات عقلانية عند مواجهة التحديات، حتى أنه قد يتفوق أحياناً على البشر في هذا الجانب، بحسب تقديرهم.

وطبقاً لفريق البحث الذي ضم مختصين من جامعتي "ولاية أريزونا" و"برينستون"، في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، فإن الأمر بالطبع لا يُشير إلى أن البشر أكثر غباء من النمل، فالعديد من الكائنات قد تلجأ إلى خيارات لا عقلانية، عندما تواجه تحديات تتطلب اتخاذ قرارات صعبة، وهو ما ينطبق كذلك على البشر.

وتقول الدراسة التي نُشرت نتائجها في دورية العلوم الحياتية، الصادرة في الثاني والعشرين من الشهر الجاري (7/2009)، وهي من منشورات الجمعية الملكية في بريطانيا؛ بأن النمل من النوع "تيمنوثوراكس كيرفيسبينوساس" يبرع في اختيار مسكنه، فهو قادر على اتخاذ قرار بهذا الشأن حتى عندما تكون الخيارات المتاحة أمامه متشابهة، وذلك فيما يختص بالجوانب الإيجابية المرتبطة بها.

وبحسب ما أشار الفريق؛ فإن الفرد من هذا النوع من النمل يمتلك خياراً واحداً، إلا ان المجموعة تتخذ قراراً جماعياً، ينجم عن تفاعل أفراد النمل معاً، حيث ينتج قرار واحد يعكس نتائج أكثر دقة، من خلال تقليل الفرص لارتكاب الأخطاء الفردية، والتي قد تحدث عند تبني قرارات فردية، وهو ما أسماه الباحثون بحكمة الحشود.

ويرى الباحثون بأننا عادة ما نعتقد بأن وجود العديد من الخيارات والاستراتيجيات هو أمر مفيد، إلا أن "الأخطاء غير المنطقية" تميل إلى أن تحدث عندما يقوم الأفراد بإجراء مقارنات مباشرة بين الخيارات المتاحة.

ومن وجهة نظرهم؛ قد تساعد الدراسات التي تتناول أسباب نشوء اللاعقلانية وكيفية حدوثها عند الافراد، في تسليط الضوء على آليات الإدراك ومعوقاته، وتلك التي تفسر كيفية التوصل إلى قرار جماعي، وهو ما يمكن الإفادة منه بترجمته إلى نهج جديد في مجال ترجمة الذكاء الاصطناعي.(قدس برس)

أزهري'



رمضان يشهد انطلاق قناة إسلامية 'وسطية' جديدة


قناة 'أزهري' تبدأ بثها التجريبي بإشراف الشيخ خالد الجندي وبمحتوى عربي وانكليزي وفرنسي.

ميدل ايست اونلاين
القاهرة - قررت قناة "أزهري" المصرية، التي يشرف عليه الشيخ خالد الجندي، وتهتم بإظهار وجهة نظر الأزهر الشريف، أن تبدأ بثها التجريبي في الأول من رمضان القادم أواخر شهر آب/أغسطس الجاري.

وأكد المسؤولون عن قناة "أزهري" أن تدشين بدء البث التجريبي سيجري في حفل إعلامي متميز، وأن القناة ستبث 75 في المائة من إرسالها باللغة العربية بينما يتم بث الباقي بالانجليزية والفرنسية، وسوف تضاف لغات أخرى خلال عام 2010.

وأكدا أن قناه "أزهري" الفضائية، التي تحمل أجندة الأزهر العلمية الوسطية التي عرف بها، تنوي توسيع نطاق انتشارها بإصدار صحيفة وإطلاق قناة إذاعية وإنشاء مدونات فضلاً عن تدشين خدمات عن طريق الهواتف المحمولة عام 2010.

وقال مسؤولو القناة، في تصريحات نشرت على الموقع الإلكتروني للفضائية الجديدة، إن القناة ستقتصر على مشايخ الأزهر لأنها مخصصة للعلماء "الذين تشرفوا بتلقي تعليمهم بصرح الأزهر العريق، بغض النظر عن جنسياتهم".

وتزامن قرب تدشين قناة "أزهري" مع مفاجأة أخرى هي استقبال أطباق الاستقبال للمصريين بث قناة "الحياة" التبشيرية التى تقدم برامج القمص المشلوح زكريا بطرس المسيئة للإسلام على تردد القمر الصناعي المصري "النايل سات" منذ أيام، مما أثار غضب المسلمين، خاصة أن البث يأتي قبل أيام قليلة من قدوم شهر رمضان المبارك.

وكانت القناة المذكورة، انطلقت على القمر الأوروبى "هوت بيرد" من قبرص فى عام 2003، وتعتمد فى برامجها على استضافة بعض القساوسة المصريين في الخارج والمطرودين من الكنيسة، وبث أفكار مغلوطة عن الدين الإسلامي من استوديوهاتها فى قبرص وبريطانيا والولايات المتحدة.

ومن أشهر هؤلاء القمص المشلوح زكريا بطرس الذى دأب على مهاجمة النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم، والطعن والتشكيك فى العقيدة الإسلامية، والتدليس فى تفسيره للقرآن.(قدس برس)

طير أنت: كوميديا الاستخفاف بالمشاهد


يلم مهلهل، لا رؤية ولا سياق ولا تمثيل، فيلم يورطك في أن تكون سخيفا بلا شكل ولا معنى.

ميدل ايست اونلاين
القاهرة - من محمد الحمامصي

أذكر يوم هاجموا محمد سعد بضراوة لم يشهدها تاريخ السينما المصرية من قبل ومن بعد على مدار أكثر من عام أو أكثر عندما قدمه فيلمه "اللمبي"، ولم يكن ما قدمه إلا شخصية كوميدية سينمائية جديدة في أدائها ولغتها أحبها الجمهور بل عشقها وعشق مؤديها ولا تزال منذ قدمت تسجل حضورا جديدة لها كلما عرض الفيلم على شاشة التليفزيون،لأنها شخصية لها وجودها في الواقع.

أما الآن فهناك من يقدم سخافات تحت دعاوي الكوميديا ويهللون له ويصفقون، أقصد بذلك فيلم "طير أنت" لأحمد مكي ودنيا سمير غانم وماجد الكدواني ولطفي لبيب.

الفيلم المقتبس عن الفيلم الأجنبي "بي دازلد"، فيلم مهلهل، لا رؤية ولا سياق ولا تمثيل، فيلم يورطك في أن تكون سخيفا بلا شكل ولا معنى، ويقتل معنى أن تكون ذا معنى، شخص طوال الفيلم يضحك على مشاهده ولا يدعو مشاهد للضحك، إنني عندما شاهدته كدت أصعق من حجم الاستهزاء الذي وصلت إليه كمشاهد، وتأكد لي أن أمرا مقصودا أن أسفه وأن أطعن في قدرتي على التفكير والذوق والاستمتاع والضحك، إنهم يعاملونني وكأني لست بني آدم ميزه الله عن باقي مخلوقاته بالعقل، طوال الفيلم أمام أراجوز "يتنطط" دون أن يقول شيئا غير التهكم على شخصيات وأفلام ومواقف قديمة.

خذ مثلا تقليد حسن شحاته بطريقة فجة في مشهد الأزمة التي وقعت بينه وبين لاعب المنتخب أحمد حسام "ميدو" في مباراة الدور قبل النهائي ببطولة إفريقيا 2006 التي أقيمت بين مصر والسنغال، لقد ذكرني بالمونولوجسيت عزب شو وتقليده للمذيعين والمطربين والفنانين، لكن عزب شو لا يقول أنه يمثل وفي النهاية يحمل في تقليده ونكاته رسالة واضحة وإن كانت سمجة أحيانا.

عندما سئل المخرج قال الفيلم تم تمصيره عن فيلم "بي دازلد" وفي النهاية هو ورشة عمل بين البطل والكاتب الممصر والمخرج.

طبيب بيطري لا يملك خبرات بالحياة يحب فتاة ولا يستطيع الإعراب لها عن حبه فيظهر له عفريت جاهل غير قادر على تجاوز مرحلة التعليم الإعدادي! يعرض عليه أن يحوله إلى شخصية سوف تحبها الفتاة، وهكذا يظل الطبيب يتحول من شخصية لأخرى ليحوز الإعجاب فيقدم سبع شخصيات: خليجي ثري وصعيدي ومغني ونجم .. وهكذا، يستهزأ بها.

إن أخطر ما حمله الفيلم هو الدعوة إلى الاستسلام لما هو كائن باعتبار أنه ليس في الإمكان أبدع ولا أفضل مما هو كائن، يقول في أغنية "ارضى يا ابن ادم باللي اتقسم عليك، ولاوني عارفك مش هترضى غير بتراب في عنيك"، ويقول في نفس الأغنية "ارضى بحياتك أنت واقبلها باللي فيها، ده الرضى نعمة كبيرة احمد ربك عليها خدها منى كلمة ما في حاجة بتساويها، حد يترجملي بيقول ايه الواد ده، أنا اقولك بيقول متحاولش تبقى حد تاني غير نفسك، قوم دور بنفسك جوا نفسك هتلاقي حاجة محدش فيها ينافسك".

وأخيرا كنت أفضل عدم الكتابة عن هذا الفيلم، لكن ما قرأته في الصحف الرسمية خاصة من مديح، وما أصر عليه بطل الفيلم في كل أحاديثه من أن لغة الفيلم ـ وهي لغة سوقية ـ هي لغة الشباب المصري في المدرسة والجامعة والنادي، جعلني أصر على الكتابة، لماذا يهللون للتردي ويمجدون الانحطاط والسفه. لماذا يتبنون هذه الرؤية وهذه الأعمال التي من شأنها ضرب صناعة الكوميديا في السينما المصرية؟ لماذا الإصرار على ترسيخ التدهور الذي وصلت إليه الشخصية المصرية في سلوكها ولغتها؟ لا إجابة سوى أنه يتم تأهيلنا لدخول عالم جديد تحكمه الفوضى

http://www.middle-east-online.com

ISLAM IS FOR ALL

video

Epicenter The Business of Tech Google Helped Twitter Fend Off Attack

As Twitter went down for two days last week under a denial of service attack, the popular micro-publishing system got help from tech giant Google, co-founder “Biz” Stone told PBS. Twitter itself was not the target, but instead turned out to be collateral damage in an online attack against various social networking sites in an apparent attempt by pro-Russian hackers to silence a critic of Russia’s war with Georgia.

It’s not surprising that Twitter asked for help from Google, considering that both Stone and fellow co-founder Evan Williams worked at Google. The company’s talks with Google in the last year that have led to speculation Google will acquire the hot, messaging start-up that now is the pulse of the net.

Stone sat down this week with PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley in an interview to run Thursday, but revealed very little new information about the attack.

Stone described denial-of-service attacks as “pretty common on the internet,” but said that Twitter had spent its energy in 2008 dealing with its spectacular growth and keeping the system running. That was important since Twitter was getting a notorious reputation for constantly being broken.

The takeaway?

“So what we have learned from this,” Stone said, “is that you have to tune your systems to handle this level of assault, this scale of assault…. We worked behind the scenes with folks from Google and other companies to figure out how to stop the attacks and how to better deal with them in the future.”

Smiiley followed up those revelations with the pressing question, “Where does the nickname ‘Biz’ come from?”

As for Twitter’s reliablity, the attack demonstrated how Twitter’s centralized structure is a weakness in the micropublishing ecosystem. For instance, if Yahoo’s e-mail servers go down, e-mail doesn’t stop working — just messaging for the people who use that provider.

Matt Katz is an active supporter for identi.ca, one of the companies working to transfer Twitter-like messaging into an open protocol, and described the difference. ”Distributed denial of service can only be solved with distributed delivery of service,” Katz told Epicenter.

You can catch a snippet of Stone’s interview today, and hear the whole thing on Thursday. There’s nothing else about the attacks, but you will learn the origin of Biz’s name, how Twitter will make money and how Twitter users are like a flock of birds.

www.wired.com

The Life of Prophet Mohammed

Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the son of 'Abdullah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib bin Hashim bin 'Abd Manaf. His genealogy goes to 'Adnan in the 21st stage of his generation and 'Adnan is the descendent of Isma'il ( in the 40th stage. Isma'il (pbuh) was the eldest son of Ibrahim, the friend of Allah.



The Prophet (pbuh) was born at Makkah on the 9th Rabi-ul-Awwal. His father had died before he was born. His mother passed away, when he was six years old. Her name was Aminah. Her lineage merges with the Prophet's paternal side three generations earlier. When the Prophet (pbuh) was eight years two months and ten days old, his grandfather breathed his last. Abu Talib, who was his father's own brother, became his guardian.

In the thirteenth year of his life, he proceeded on a journey to Syria with his uncle but he came back from the onward journey. When he became an adult, he got engaged in trade for sometime.

When he was 25 years old, he married Khadijah. Then he devoted his time either in prayers to Allah or to the welfare of the people. In the same year a dispute arose over the construction of the Ka'bah. All men made him an arbitrator as he was considered truthful and trustworthy among the people of the place.

First Nine years of the Prophethood

When he was forty years and one day old, revelation dawned upon him that he was the Messenger of Allah. Khadijah (wife), Ali Murtuda, (cousin aged 10 years), Abu Bakr Siddiq (friend), and Zaid bin Harithah (his slave) soon accepted his Faith.

On the instructions of Abu Bakr Siddiq, Uthman Ghani, Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Talhah and Zubair accepted Islam. Abu Ubaidah, Abu Salamah, Arqam, 'Uthman bin Maz'un, 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Ubaidah bin Al-Harith, Sa'id bin Zaid, Yasir, 'Ammar and Bilal embraced Islam after them. Among the women, Khadijah and Umm-ul-Fadl (the wife of Abbas) accepted Islam after the Prophet's daughters. Thereafter Asma' (Abu Bakr Siddiq's) daughter) and then Fatimah, (Umar Farooq's sister) entered into the fold of Islam.

For three years, the Prophet (pbuh) silently preached Islam. Then he openly began to propagate the teachings of his religion. He conveyed his messages to people wherever he saw them sitting or standing in groups. The inhabitants of Makkah then began to persecute the Muslims. They had a grievance that Muslims did not worship idols at all. The Muslims suffered the great ordeal for two years. Then being sick of them, they decided to migrate from Makkah.

Migration of the Muslims

In the fifth year of the declaration of prophethood, 'Uthman Ghani was the first person to leave his hearth and home for Habash (Ethiopia) with his wife Ruqaiyyah, the second daughter of the Prophet. The Prophet (pbuh) announced that 'Uthman was the first person to migrate for the cause of Allah after Prophet Lut (pbuh). Five women and twelve men also accompanied him till he reached the seacoast. Thereafter many Muslims followed him in the migration to Habash. Among them was also Ja'far Taiyyar who was the own brother of Ali Murtuda.

In the sixth year of prophethood, Hamzah (the Prophet's uncle) and three days later 'Umar Farooq embraced Islam.

Muslims used to say their prayers in hiding till then, but afterwards, they were openly praying in the Ka'bah.

In the seventh year of prophethood, the Quraish solemnly decided not to entertain any relationship or establish contacts with the Muslims. They also severed relations and contacts with the Hashimites as they could not keep themselves aloof from the Prophet (pbuh).

Sha'b Abi Talib

In view of the persecution and ill-treatment, the Prophet (pbuh) and the Hashimi tribe kept themselves into a valley, called 'Sha'b Abi Talib'. Enemies did not allow eatables to be taken into the place; children, being starved, wept piteously and their cries were heard in the town nearby. Some persons who were kind and compassionate would bring something secretly during night for them to eat. In spite of these difficult situations, the Prophet (pbuh) kept on preaching the principles of the true religion regularly.

10th year of Prophethood

The Prophet (pbuh) went to Ta'if to lecture on Islam. Whenever he stood to address, the people used to throw stones and injure him so badly that he would not be able to take out his shoes as blood would have clotted in them.

Once, he received so many assaults that he fell unconscious. Zaid bin Harithah who accompanied him, picked him away from the village. When he sprinkled water over his face, he came into sense. The Prophet (pbuh) left the place and declared that if these people did not accept Islam, their descendants would certainly embrace the religion. After eight years, all the people living in Ta'if reverted to Islam.

11th year of Prophethood

The Prophet (pbuh) preached the message of Islam to those who passed along the ways. One day, he heard the voices of people, while they were talking, he moved towards them. Six men from Al-Madinah were staying there. The Prophet (pbuh) delivered a lecture and taught them the principles of Islam and they accepted Islam.

12th year of Prophethood

When he was 51 years and 5 months old, he achieved Mi'raj (the Ascension) on the 27th day of Rajab. It was made compulsory for Muslims to observe their prayers five times a day. Earlier, the prayers of the morning and evening were observed.

During the Hajj season, 18 persons from Al-Madinah came to Makkah and they embraced Islam on the Prophet's instructions. He also sent Mus'ab bin 'Umair to Al-Madinah to preach the religion of Islam. In this holy area Islam spread rapidly. By the lectures of Mus'ab, the people belonging to Banu Najjar and Banu Ashhal tribes and other clans accepted Islam within a period of one year.

13th year of Prophethood

Two women and 71 men came from Al-Madinah and reverted to Islam and requested the Prophet (pbuh) to visit Al-Madinah. He agreed to go and stay at Al-Madinah. They also declared to remain firm on the path of Islam and to obey and support the Prophet (pbuh).

When the polytheists of Makkah came to know that Islam was spreading outside Makkah as well, they decided to assassinate the Prophet (pbuh). One night they surrounded the Prophet's house but he came out safely from the besieged house.

The Hijrah (Emigration) to Al-Madinah

Coming out of his house, the Prophet (pbuh) stayed three days and nights in the cave of Thaur. Abu Bakr Siddiq ( was also with him. They came out of the cave on the 1st Rabi-ul-Awwal of 1st AH on Monday. Two camels were ready for transport. On the first camel the Prophet (pbuh) and Siddiq rode, and on the second were 'Amir bin Fahirah - the slave of Abu Bakr Siddiq ( and a man conversant with the routes. And they moved towards Al-Madinah.

When the enemies came to know of the departure of the Prophet (pbuh), they announced big rewards for the one who could intercept him or cut off his head and bring it to them. Many people pursued him for the sake of reward but only two persons reached them. One was Malik bin Suraqah, who returned after begging pardon of him for his guilt, and the other was Buraidah Aslami with 70 riders who reverted to Islam soon after seeing his noble face and listening to the verses of the Qur'an, and the Prophet (pbuh) proceeded onward with them.

1st year of Hijrah

1. As soon as the Prophet (pbuh) reached Al-Madinah, he got a mosque constructed for prayers. The walls were made of mud and the roofs were laid with date leafy stalks.

2. Till then there were only two compulsory Rak'at (units of prayer) for the noon, afternoon and night prayers; but here onwards, four Rak'at were made compulsory for these three times prayers.

3. Agreements were reached with the Jews and the adjoining tribes for peace and friendliness.

4. Bonds of brotherhood developed between Muhajireen (the emigrant Muslims) of Makkah and those of Al-Madinah, called Ansar (helpers). The followers of the same religion loved the Makkans more than their brothers and permitted them to share in their properties on equal terms.

2nd year of Hijrah

1. Regular calls for the prayer began to be observed.

2. Under Allah's instructions, they now faced the Ka'bah during prayers. Till then, they used to face Bait-ul- Maqdis (Jerusalem) in prayers.

3. Fasting in the month of Ramadan was made compulsory.

4. Battle of Badr.

3rd year of Hijrah

1. Zakat was made compulsory, i.e., every rich Muslim was enjoined to separate 1/40th of his wealth every year for distribution among the poors.

2. Battle of Uhud.

4th year of Hijrah

Wine was strictly forbidden.

5th year of Hijrah

1. Woman were enjoined upon to observe Hijab (veil).

2. Battle of Khandaq.

3. Battle of Khaibar.

6th year of Hijrah

The Prophet (pbuh) proceeded towards Makkah for 'Umrah, but he was stopped to move forward by the Quraish, 14 miles away from Makkah. The Prophet (pbuh) halted there, and during his stay there, an agreement with the Quraish was reached on the following points:-

1. Peace be maintained for ten years, travel and transactions should be freely operated. Every tribe be allowed to join hands with the Muslims or the Quraish.

2. The Muslims were allowed to offer their prayers in the Ka'bah the following year.

3. If a person from the Quraish reverts to Islam and reaches the Prophet (pbuh), he or she be sent back to Quraish, but if a Muslim gives up Islam and goes to Quraish, he would not be sent back. On this point the Muslims were perturbed but the Prophet (pbuh) gladly accepted this condition as well.

The Quraish thought that no person would revert to Islam in view of this condition. But when the agreement was being drafted, Abu Jandal, son of Suhail (who came to negotiate for the agreement from the Makkans) reached there. He was already a Muslim but he was kept in confinement by the tribe. Getting an opportunity he had fled there. Iron chains were still in his feet.

Suhail demanded to hand over his son Abu Jandal according to the terms of the agreement.

The Muslims refused to act upon the terms of the agreement as it was not signed by them up till then. Suhail then got agitated and said that they would not enter into an agreement.

The Prophet (pbuh) handed over Abu Jandal to them. They then put him again into confinement. He then began to teach the basic principles of Islam in the jail and by this means 300 people embraced Islam within a year at Makkah itself. Everyone who has some sense can understand from this fact how the sincerity of the Prophet (pbuh) and the charms of his religion were captivating hearts that (difficulties like) separation from near and dear ones, distances from native land, fear of sufferings and rigorous imprisonment could not deter people from accepting Islam.

Delegations to the Emperors

In the year 6 AH, the Prophet (pbuh) sent delegates to important emperors of his time and appealed them to accept Islam. Their names are mentioned here:

1. The king of Habash (Ethiopia), Ashamah Najashi (Negus) accepted Islam under the impact of the letter written by the Prophet (pbuh).

2. The king of Bahrain named Mundhir reverted to Islam. His subjects in large numbers also followed suit.

3. Jaifer, the king of Oman, and his brother embraced Islam.

4. Khosro (Chosroes) was the king of Iran. He tore the letter of the Prophet (pbuh) and asked the ruler of Yemen to send him the Prophet (pbuh) as a captive. The ruler's name was Bazan. He gathered correct information about the Prophet (pbuh), and embraced Islam. His subjects also followed him.

5. The king of Alexandria was Muqawqas who did not accept Islam, but he sent costly gifts for the Prophet (pbuh).

6. The ruler of Syria was Harith who did not accept the religion of Islam.

7. Haudha was the ruler of Yamamah. He did not embrace Islam.

8. The king of Rome was Hirqil (Heraclius) who first of all gathered information about the Prophet (pbuh). Then he advised his courtiers to accept the faith of Islam but they did not agree to his proposal and were ready to revolt. So the ruler did not accept the Faith lest he should lose his throne. The king collected information about the Prophet (pbuh) by issuing orders to present before him anyone coming from Makkah to Syria. Abu Sufyan was found and was presented to the ruler along with some other men. Abu Sufyan had several skirmishes with the Prophet (pbuh) and he was his strong critic.

Abu Sufyan says that he was brought to the town of Elia. The court was full of important royal officers and Hirqil was sitting wearing his crown. He asked his interpreter to ask who was close in kinship to the man who was pronouncing as Prophet (pbuh).

Abu Sufyan: I am his kin.
Hirqil: What is the nature of kinship ?
Abu Sufyan: He is my cousin. And I say so because none in the caravan except me is the descendant of Abd Manaf.
Hirqil: Call him to come in front and get his colleagues stand beside him. I shall ask him some questions. Direct colleagues to point out when Abu Sufyan told a lie.
Abu Sufyan said that he would have said many things but he did not as he was afraid of being contradicted by his colleagues.
Hirqil: What is his lineage?
Abu Sufyan: He comes of a good family.
Hirqil: Did any one make a claim like this before?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Hirqil: Did any one allege him to be a liar?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Hirqil: Was any one of his forefathers a king?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Hirqil: Who is accepting his religion, the rich or the poor?
Abu Sufyan: The poor.
Hirqil: Are his followers increasing or decreasing?
Abu Sufyan: They are increasing.
Hirqil: Do his followers retract in disgust?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Hirqil: Does he break pledges?
Abu Sufyan: No, but an agreement has been recently reached between us, and I hope he would deviate from the agreed terms.
Abu Sufyan said that he could not say anything beyond this against the Prophet (pbuh) lest his companions might contradict.
Hirqil: Did you have skirmishes with him?
Abu Sufyan: Yes.
Hirqil: What was the result?
Abu Sufyan: Sometimes he won and sometimes we did.
Hirqil: What is his message?
Abu Sufyan: He asks us to worship only one God and attribute no partners to Him in this respect. He also says not to worship idols or deities of ancestors. He directs us to offer prayers and give alms. He also exhorts us to be pious and God-fearing, observant of promises and trustworthy.

The letter of the Messenger (pbuh) to the chief of Bahrain Mundhir bin Sawi inviting him to embrace Islam. The king then asked his interpreter to explain to him (Abu Sufyan):

"You say that he is of a good lineage. Prophets are always of good lineage.

You also admit that none had made such claims earlier. Had this been the case, I would have concluded that he was also following them.

You admit that none had made any allegation against him of telling a lie before his declaration of being a Prophet. So it is not possible that he is telling a lie about God when he has not behaved as such in human dealings. You also admit that none among his ancestors was a ruler. Had it been so, there could have been a case for pretension to acquire a kingdom.

You again admit that the poor and destitute are entering upon his religious kingdom. And history speaks that only such people are first attracted to Prophets.

You also agree that the Muslims are increasing in number. This indicates the impact of Faith which goes on progressing till it is perfected.

You also admit that none retract from his Faith. This is the proof of the efficacy of Faith which once grounded in the heart, does not recoil. You agree that he never breaks his promises. Undoubtedly Prophets are made of such stuff.

You say that there had been battles between you and him, and sometimes you won and sometimes he had won. Prophets, too, are put to such tests but ultimately victory is theirs.

You told that he asks people to worship none but only one God. He also forbids idol worship or paying respect to other deities. He asks to offer prayers and be truthful, pious and trustworthy. These are doubtless the ways of the Prophets."

The king further added that he knew that a Prophet was about to appear but he never thought he would emerge from Arabia. He (Hirqil) further said:

"See, if your statements are true, he would sweep this country as well where I am reigning today. I long to be with him and wash his feet."

After 6th H, many other important chiefs embraced Islam. They first heard about Islam. They inquired about it and accepted the religion of Islam when they were satisfied and convinced about its truthfulness. The following is the list of the important persons:

7th year of Hijrah

1. Thamamah, the ruler of Najd embraced Islam in 7 H.

2. Jablah, the king of Ghassan also embraced Islam in 7 H.

3. Farwah bin 'Amr Khuza'i. He was sent as governor of Syria by Hirqil. When the king heard that Farwah had reverted to Islam (in 7 AH), he called him and asked him to give up his new faith but he did not yield to his order. The king then sent him to jail. Despite this he remained firm in his belief. He was then sent to the gallows. In spite of this confinement and his suffering he thanked Allah that he was dying for the cause of Islam.

4. Khalid bin Walid.

5. 'Uthman bin Abu Talhah.

6. Amr bin 'Aas was the famous chief of Makkah. He came to Al-Madinah and embraced Islam in 8 AH.

7. 'Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl, who was the great enemy of Islam, embraced Islam in 8 AH.

8. 'Adi was an important man of his area. He was the son of the great Hatim Ta'i. He was brave. He accepted Islam in 9 AH.

9. Ukaidir, the ruler of Daumat-al-Jandal, embraced Islam in 9 AH.

10. Dhial-Kala' was the ruler of Ta'if, and a portion of the Yemen and Himyar Tribes. He was worshipped as god. When he became a Muslim, he left the kingdom and lived unknown. He accepted this religion in 9th AH.

The Tribes embrace Islam

Besides kings and rulers, the great tribes of Arabia too accepted Islam out of love and admiration and came to Al-Madinah from afar to pay respects to the Prophet (pbuh). The details are worth study in the book titled 'Rahmatul-lil-'Alameen.'

8th year of Hijrah

1. Makkah was conquered this year wherefrom the Prophet (pbuh) was forced by the polytheists to emigrate and where it was difficult for the poor Muslims to stay without fear and where it was fraught with danger to discuss Islam. That year the Ka'bah was cleared of 260 idols. Now this place began to be used for the worship of one God for which this was constructed four thousand years ago.

2. Battle of Hunain was also fought this year.

9th year of Hijrah

1. This year Hajj was made obligatory for the Muslims. Abu Bakr was made the leader of the pilgrims, and several hundred Muslims performed Hajj.

2. At the stance of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), 'Ali Murtuda ( made this declaration that in future no polytheist would enter the Ka'bah, no male or female would go undressed round its precincts, and the promises with those who had broken pledges would not be respected.

3. Battle of Tabuk was also held this year.

10th year of Hijrah

The Prophet (pbuh) performed the Hajj. In this holy pilgrimage, one lakh and 44 thousand Muslims participated. On this occasion, the Prophet (pbuh) explained all the principles of Islam. He did away with the rituals and polytheism of the early Ignorance Period. He bade farewell to the community of his followers.

11th year of Hijrah

The Prophet (pbuh) conveyed the Message of Allah to all for 23 years and 5 days and showed the right path of Allah, and passed away from this mundane world at the age of 63 years and 5 days, on 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal, on Monday.

"We are for Allah and undoubtedly we all return to Him."

Address to the People

One month before his death, the Prophet (pbuh) called all the Muslims to assemble and addressed them:

"May Allah protect you and keep you in peace and tranquillity, help you and raise your status, keep you under His Protection and save you from upheavals and secure your religion for you!

Exhort you to be pious and honest and fearful of Allah. I hand over you to Allah. I now make you my representative on the earth. I make you fear Allah's perdition.

Hope you would see that people realize this. You should try that disobedience, pride and haughtiness do not spread among people and areas. The Hereafter is for those who are not proud and vain. Hereafter is good for those who are pious. I do foresee that you will be masters of great kingdoms. I do not think that you will turn infidels but I fear lest you might perish like other nations of the world if you fall into worldliness and wickedness."

Some days before his departure from this world, he again called the Muslims and gave certain instructions about the Ansar (helpers) and Muhajireen (emigrants).

He then asked people to demand if he owed to anyone. One person stood up and said that he paid three dirhams to a poor man at his direction but these were not returned to him. The Prophet (pbuh) paid him instantly.

Then he fervently prayed to Allah for the good of many people.

During his ailment, he also asked people to behave sincerely and humanely with male and female slaves and give them proper and adequate food and clothes and treat them gently.

During the agonies of death, he uttered: "Prayer, prayer (Salat), slave women rights."

The last word that he spelt out looking towards the sky was this "Allah is the Greatest Colleague."

His Family

Uncles: The Prophet (pbuh) had nine uncles; out of them only Hamzah and 'Abbas embraced Islam. Abu Talib was devoted to the Prophet (pbuh) and was his supporter.

Aunts: Six were his (paternal) aunts among whom Safiyah reverted to Islam.

Wives: Every wife of the Prophet (pbuh) bears the surname of Umm-ul-Mu'mineen (the Mother of the believers). They are listed here:

1. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Khadijatul-Kubra

She is the first wife of the Prophet. Perceiving honesty, integrity and blissfulness in him, she herself proposed to him.

Except Ibrahim, all children were born to her. The Prophet (pbuh) always recalled her truthfulness and friendliness even after her death.

2. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Saudah

She embraced Islam along with her husband, Sakran. Her mother also accepted Islam. Then all the three emigrated to Habash (Abyssinia). Her husband died there. The Prophet (pbuh) married her in the 10th year of his Prophethood after the death of Khadijatul-Kubra.

3. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Aishah

She was the daughter of Abu Bakr Siddiq . Abu Bakr helped the Prophet (pbuh) with all his might and means in such a way that the Prophet (pbuh) used to say that he repaid all, but only Allah would repay for the services rendered by Abu Bakr to him. By the Order of Allah, the Prophet (pbuh) married her daughter. The marriage took place at Makkah while the consummation of the marriage took place in Al-Madinah Al-Munnawwarah in 2 H. She was learned enough to solve the intricate problems for the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) who sought her help. Two thousand two hundred and ten Ahadith are related to her.

4. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Hafsah

She was the daughter of Umar Farooq. She had emigrated to Habash with her first husband and then to Al-Madinah. Her husband was wounded in the battle of Uhud and died of it. The Prophet (pbuh) married Hafsah in 3 AH. She was greatly religious minded and devoted lady.

5. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Zainab bint Khuzaimah

She was first married to Tufail bin Harith and then to 'Ubaidah bin Harith. They were both Prophet's own cousins. Then she was married to 'Abdullah bin Jahsh who was Prophet's paternal aunt's son. He was martyred in the battle of Uhud. The Prophet (pbuh) married her in 4 H. She lived only three months after the marriage. She helped the poor and destitute so much that she was generally known as Umm-ul-Masakin (the mother of the poor and deserving).

6. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Umm Salamah

She was first married to Abu Salamah 'Abd bin Al-Asad who was Prophet's cousin and foster brother. She emigrated to Habash with her husband and then to Al-Madinah and in her journey from Makkah to Al-Madinah she travelled alone. Abu Salamah was wounded in the battle of Uhud and that led to his death. He left four orphans. The Prophet (pbuh) pitied upon them and married her in 4 H.

7. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Zainab bint Jahsh

She was the cousin (the daughter of paternal aunt) of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh), through his efforts, got her married to Zaid ( who was set free as a slave. But she could not carry on well with her husband and she was forsaken although the Prophet (pbuh) tried to persuade him not to do so. For her disgrace and trouble, she was favoured by Allah as she came into matrimonial alliance with the Prophet (pbuh) in 5 H.

Critics say that the Prophet (pbuh) saw her one day suddenly. So he got married to her after separating matrimonial relationship with an adopted son. But they do not take the following facts into account:

1. Zainab was Prophet's cousin (daughter of his paternal aunt) and she was brought up in the family and her face was not new and unknown.

2. Her first marriage with Zaid was made possible by the efforts of the Prophet (pbuh) himself.

3. Adoption of a child is not permitted in Islam.

8. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Juwairiyah

She was made a prisoner in a battle and she came under the custody of Thabit bin Qais as his booty. He was twenty years old. A price was fixed for her and she could be free if the price fixed for her was paid. So she came to the Prophet (pbuh) for some donation. She also declared that she had embraced Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) paid the whole amount and she was then liberated. The Prophet expressed his desire to enter into matrimonial alliance with her in order to avoid payments for other prisoners. When the army came to know that the prisoner was now a relative of the Prophet (pbuh), all the prisoners were released. By this gesture the Prophet (pbuh) saved more than a hundred of people becoming slaves and attendants. The marriage took place in 6 AH.

9. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Umm Habibah

She was the daughter of Abu Sufyan (. She reverted to Islam when her father was fighting against the Prophet (pbuh). She faced many troubles for the cause of Islam. Then she emigrated to Habash with her husband where her husband renounced his Faith and the devoted lady who had left her parents, family, tribe and house for the sake of Islam was left alone. In a strange land the support she had enjoyed from her husband was denied to her because of his change of Faith. The Prophet (pbuh) married her in 7 AH in view of her fortitude and deplorable plight. The ceremony was performed in Habash (Abyssinia) so that her ordeal might come to an end soon.

10. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Safiyyah

She was the daughter of Huyai bin Akhtab bin Shu'bah, the grand child of Prophet Harun (. Her mother's name was Barrah bint Samwal. She was twice married earlier. She had a noble descent from the Jews tribes Banu Quraizah and Banu Nadir. She was captivated in the battle of Khaibar. The Prophet (pbuh) manumitted her and married her in Jumada-al-Ukhra, 7th H. She was 17 years of age at the time of the marriage.

One day, the Prophet (pbuh) noticed that she was weeping. On asking she told the Prophet (pbuh) that she heard that Hafsah, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh) considered her inferior than her as she had her lineage with the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet said that she should have told Hafsah that as her father is Prophet Harun (pbuh), her uncle is Prophet Musa (pbuh), and her husband is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), how she can be superior to her.

Safiyyah died in the month of Ramadan, 50 H.

11. Umm-ul-Mu'mineen Maimunah

She was twice married earlier. Her one sister was married to 'Abbas, one to Hamzah, and one to Ja'far Taiyyar and another was the mother of Khalid bin Walid. The Prophet's uncle 'Abbas talked about her and he married her at the instance of his uncle in 7 H.

All these marriages were performed before the revelation of the verse that restricts marriage beyond four, and this has been permitted only on the condition that justice and equality would be accorded to them all.

Slaves: There were twelve slaves but they were all set free. Women slaves were three. Umm Aiman was one of them who had been his nursemaid. The Prophet (pbuh) respected her much.

Sons: Qasim, 'Abdullah and Ibrahim were his sons. All died in their childhood.

Daughters: His daughters were four:

(1) Zainab whos, husband was Abul-'Aas bin Rabi'.

(2) Ruqaiyyah. Her husband was Uthman Ghani

(3) Umm Kulthum, who was also married to Uthman Ghani (Umm Kulthum was married to him after the death of Ruqaiyyah).

(4) Fatimah whose husband was 'Ali Murtuda. Hasan and Husain were her sons.

Attributes and Manners of the Prophet (pbuh)

The Prophet (pbuh) used to say that he was sent as a Prophet to the world to present an ideal of good deeds and lofty character.

Someone asked Aishah about the Prophet's manners. She said that his manners were the manners prescribed by the Qur'an. She later clarified that a tree is recognized by the taste of its fruits. Similarly a man is known by his manners and knowledge. From the Qur'an you can know about the nature and manners of the Prophet (pbuh). The Noble Qur'an has designated him Rahmatul-lil-'Alameen (the blessing for the worlds), and the history of the times reveals that he was truly a symbol of Divine mercy. A Hadith elucidates the character of the Prophet (pbuh) in the following words:

He is the epitome of good manners. He gives good tidings to the believers and warnings to disbelievers. He gives shelter to strangers. He is the slave of Allah and is His Messenger. He leaves everything to Him. He is gentle in manners and talks. His voice is never shrill. Evils done to him are not retaliated. He is busy in modifying and elevating the lives of the people and leveling the path of religion. He has a task to preach and establish the Oneness of Allah. His teachings impart insight and develop understanding, and the ignorant is made aware of the realities of life and the world. He is adorned with all the qualities and good manners. He is a man of good deeds and virtues. His conscience is pure and clean and symbolic of piety. His words are replete with wisdom. Truthfulness and friendliness are his nature. He is forgiving and obliging. Justice is his hallmark. Truthfulness is his religion and guidance is his leader. His religion is Islam and his name is Ahmad.

He guides where darkness is spread; he instructs where ignorance prevails. He uplifts those who are infamous, and encourages those who are depressed and unknown in the society. He endeavors to bring richness and plenty where scarcity and want reign. It was by virtue of his presence that Allah's Grace had brought about unity and love in place of dissension and strives, and created affections and fellowship in hearts that were river apart, and united into a single bond diverse clans and tribes with heterogeneous interests. His Ummah (community) is the best Ummah. The people are led to right directions. It is his prime task which he performs intelligently.

Patience and Fortitude

1. The inhabitants of Ta'if once stoned and wounded the Prophet (pbuh) and he fell unconscious. Angels wanted to destroy the village if they were permitted to, but they were prevented by him from doing so as he hoped that their descendants, if not they, would embrace Islam.

2. A Jew was to be paid his due. The day for the payment was yet to come. He caught hold of the collar of the Prophet (pbuh) and asked for payment of his loan. Upon this 'Umar Farooq ( got infuriated and wanted to kill him. The Prophet (pbuh) intervened and advised him to tell him (the Prophet) to repay splendidly and teach him (the Jew) to demand his due in a good manner. The Prophet (pbuh) then smilingly told the Jew that the appointed day was yet to come.

3. A rustic pulled from behind the cloth sheet of the Prophet (pbuh). His neck became red. When he turned towards him, the poor man asked for help as he was poor and deserving. The Prophet (pbuh) ordered a camel load of barley and dates to be given to him.

Respect and Courtesy

1. He never stretched his legs while sitting among people.

2. He did not allow people to stand paying respects.

3. Whenever a person held his hands, he never tried to remove them.

4. He never interrupted anybody during talks.

5. While riding, he did not allow anyone to follow him on foot. He either gave him a lift or asked him to return. Abu Hurairah says: One day the Prophet (pbuh) was going on a mule without a pad-saddle. I met him. He asked me to ride. Catching hold of the Prophet (pbuh) I tried to sit behind him in vain. I dropped him down in my efforts to mount. The Prophet (pbuh) was again on the animal's back and asked me to ride. I again failed and dropped him the second time. The Prophet (pbuh) asked me third time to attempt. I expressed my inability to do so and said: "I do not want to drop you any more."

Generosity and Munificence

He never rejected the demand of a deserving person. He was always ready to help all. If he had nothing to give, he apologized the needy persons.

One person came and made a demand. The Prophet (pbuh) said that he was not in a position to help him. He directed him to go to the market and borrow on his behalf. 'Umar Farooq ( said that Allah did not give him such trying moments. The Prophet (pbuh) kept silent. A man in the company said that it is blissful to donate in the Name of Allah. The Prophet (pbuh) was greatly pleased with it.

Modesty and Bashfulness

Abu Sa'id Khudri ( says that the Prophet (pbuh) was more modest and bashful than a veil observing girl.

1. He bore hardship while performing his tasks but did not ask for other's help because of his modest behavior.

2. If he noticed a person doing ignoble work he addressed no comments directly to him but prevented people in general terms from doing such works.

Virtuous Deeds

1. Voluntary prayer he used to observe unnoticed and unknown so that his followers might not undergo the difficulty of heavy prayers.

2. He chose the easy path in all matters.

3. He did not permit backbiting. He never wanted to nurture bias and prejudice against any person.

4. He gave sermons sparingly lest people might be disgusted with him.

5. Many a time it so happened that he prayed the whole night for the good of his people (Ummah) and wept bitterly.

Kindness

1. The Prophet (pbuh) used to say that the believers are his friends but all men deserved his grace of attention.

2. A woman was taken prisoner in a battle and was brought to the Prophet (pbuh). She told him that she was the daughter of his nursemaid. The Prophet (pbuh) removed his cloth sheet from his person and spread it out for her.

3. The Makkans put hardships and obstacles to the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers and forced them to leave Makkah. Numerous true Muslims were killed as they worshipped Allah. When Makkah was taken over, the Prophet (pbuh) addressed them and condoned all their guilt¼s.

Justice and Moderation

1. In a dispute between two persons, the Prophet (pbuh) adjudicated and he was kind and merciful in cases where he was a party.

2. A Makkan woman named Fatimah committed a theft. When people brought the recommendation of Usamah bin Zaid who was dear to the Prophet (pbuh). He told them that no recommendation was valid for Divine punishments. He further said that his daughter Fatimah would have the same punishment if she had committed this guilt.

3. The Prophet (pbuh) advocated for moderation. His words are well-known that 'moderation is called virtue.' He instructs us to be moderate.

Truthfulness and Trust

1. Truth and trustworthiness of the Prophet (pbuh) was admitted by his bitter critics as well.

2. He was well-known to his countrymen for his truthfulness and trustworthiness from his boyhood.

3. One day Abu Jahl said to the Prophet (pbuh): "I don't think that you are a liar but I do not get interested in your religion."

4. The night the Prophet (pbuh) left his house for Al-Madinah, the enemies had made all arrangements for his assassination. But he allowed his dear cousin 'Ali to stay that night and come after paying off all the deposits kept with him as a trustee.

Purity and Chastity

1. The Prophet (pbuh) said that storytelling was in vogue at Makkah. He was also fond of listening to stories. He was ten years old. He departed from home for this purpose. On the way he sat down to take rest and soon he fell asleep. He woke up when the sun rose.

2. Another incident relates to the same age of the Prophet (pbuh). There was a marriage function somewhere. Women were singing and playing on drums. He set out to watch the function. On the way he slept till it was morning.

3. He says that he never even thought of any evil activity except the above mentioned acts.

Devotion

1. The Prophet (pbuh) prayed that he should remain hungry one day and fed the other day so that he could pray with all his might in the state of hunger and express his thanks to Allah when satisfied.

2. Aishah says that the members of the Prophet's family lived on dates and water for a month or two and the hearth remained cold during the period.

3. Aishah says that the bed of the Prophet (pbuh) at her house was filled with leafy stalks of palms.

4. Hafsah says that in her house the Prophet's bed was made of sack cloth. It was folded twice and spread out. Once it was made fourfold. Upon this the Prophet (pbuh) forbade her to do so as it became soft.

5. Ibn 'Auf says that during his life the Prophet (pbuh) did not eat to his satisfaction even loaves of bread made of barley flour.

6. In the last night the Prophet (pbuh) passed in this world, oil was procured on credit from a neighbor for the lamp.

7. After the Prophet's death it was found that his armor was lying in a Jew's house. It was mortgaged for food grains.

8. The Prophet (pbuh) directed the members of his family for devotion and prayer as he was used to. His daughter, Fatimah showed her hands bearing boils as a result of grinding flour and burns caused by hot oven and asked for a maid-servant. Upon this the Prophet (pbuh) told her to pray to Allah and ignore the sufferings of the world.

9. The Prophet (pbuh) prayed to Allah to give his people as much as they could keep their body and soul together.

10. These forms of devotion were voluntary. There was no compulsion for them.

Prayers

1. He stood in voluntary prayers so long that his legs swelled. His Companions wondered why the Prophet (pbuh) should suffer such troubles as he was innocent and pure. Upon this he said that why he should not offer his thanks to Allah for His mercy and kindness.

2. He would lay in prostration for such a long time that he was taken to be dead by the people close to him.

3. During supplications his chest surged and swirled like a cauldron.

4. Having read the verses of blessings he sought benediction, and after reading the verses of affliction he trembled.

5. He fasted regularly for several days but forbade others to observe those fasts.

General Behavior

1. The Prophet (pbuh) used to meet all cheerfully.

2. He brought up orphans and helped widows.

3. He loved the poor and deserving persons and used to sit with them.

4. He could sit on the bare ground without making any distinction for his self.

5. He used to care for the slaves and attendants in their ailments.

6. If a Muslim died in debt, his loan was paid from the treasury and then he was buried

7. If a sincere person breathed his last, he participated in the funeral rites.

8. Hypocrites displayed impertinence in his presence and supported his enemies but the Prophet (pbuh) never took revenge on them.

9. Once Christians from Najran came there. He allowed them to offer their prayer according to their beliefs in the mosque.

10. Once in a jungle people were slaughtering a goat. One person was ready to slaughter and clean and the other was prepared to cut the meat into pieces and the third man was willing to cook it. The Prophet (pbuh) then decided to bring logs of wood. But they all requested him not to take the trouble but he said that he did not want to remain idle.

Compassion and Forgiving

1. Hamzah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib (, the dear uncle of the Prophet (pbuh), was treacherously slain by Wahshi, a slave of Abu Sufyan's wife, Hindah. He mutilated his nose and ears. The liver of the martyred Hamzah was carved out and chewed on the battlefield. Despite this Prophet (pbuh) forgave him when he asked for it.

2. Habbar struck Zainab, the eldest daughter of the Prophet (pbuh), with a spear and she fell from the camel-litter and aborted and she died from it. The Prophet pardoned him when he asked for it.

3. Once the Prophet (pbuh) was sleeping under a tree and his sword was hanging on the branch of a tree. His enemy came and took the sword and impertinently awakened the Prophet (pbuh) and asked him who would save him. The Prophet (pbuh) instantly replied that Allah would take care of him. He became unconscious and fell down and his sword dropped from his hand. The Prophet (pbuh) picked up the sword and asked him who could save him. Then he was astounded. He then asked the man to go as revenge he never cherished.

4. The Prophet (pbuh) did away with the issues that were the causes of battles during the early years of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah). He also declared to abandon the claims for compensation for murder done to his family. Loans given by his uncle were also remitted by him.

The Prophet's Teachings

There is a large corpus of the Prophet's ideas and thoughts, instructions and teachings, beliefs and morals, manners and principles. The greatness and glory of Islam rest upon these ideals. Only a portion of it is listed here.

Purity of Self

1. Wise is he who regards himself small, and performs deeds that are useful after death; foolish is he who is dictated by his self and expectant of Allah's grace and mercy.

2. Brave is the man who controls his self, not the one who demolishes his adversary.

3. Contentment is a treasure that is never empty.

4. To give up the inessential is highly religious.

5. Advice is a trust and wrong instruction is a breach of trust.

6. To give up evil or wickedness is also a charity.

7. Virtue lies in modesty.

8. Health and comforts are the blessings not available to all.

9. Moderation in expenditure is equal to half income. (Spending with sense is as good as half of income).

10. Prudence is but wisdom.

11. Religious is the one who keeps promises.

12. Wisdom is the greatest wealth.

13. Eloquence is the charm of man.

14. Ignorance is the greatest limitation.

15. Religious is one who is trustworthy.

16. Love is not as effective as good manners.

17. Humility elevates one's position.

18. Alms-giving does not lead to diminution of wealth.

19. Don't scoff at your brother lest you might meet the like situation.

20. Bad manners spoil good qualities as vinegar spoils honey.

Obedience to Parents

1. Allah is pleased when the father is pleased. Allah is displeased when the father is displeased.

2. Of all the deeds performed, offering of prayers on time is the best, and then the second in importance is obedience to parents.

3. The greatest sin is polytheism, and disobedience to parents, and then giving false evidences and telling lies.

Behavior with Relatives

Rahm (kinship) is derived from Rahman. The man who maintains bonds of kinship is close to Allah and one who severs relation from one's kin is forsaken by Allah.

Bringing up of Daughters

1. One who trains and educates 3 or 2 daughters or sisters out of fear of Allah will go to Paradise (even if the number is one).

2. Bringing up of daughters is a test; one who passes the test will be safe from Hell.

Bringing up of Orphans

One who brings up orphans will remain with me (the Prophet (pbuh)) like the two fingers of a hand.

Obedience to Kings

1. The king should be obeyed on the earth.

2. If a slave happens to be a ruler, his obedience is compulsory for you.

3. Kingdom is lost not through disbelief but through tyranny.

Kindness

One who is not merciful and kind cannot claim mercy upon him.

Evils of Beggary

1. One who begs is rather collecting fire (of Hell) for oneself whether it is small or much.

2. The worst is the man who begs in the Name of Allah and still gets nothing. Don't beg from men for Allah's sake. It is better to demand from Allah Himself.

Cooperation

1. Those who are not kind to the young and do not respect the elders do not belong to us.

2. Be kind to people on the earth and Allah will be Merciful in heaven.

3. A true Muslim is like a mirror for others. Point out weakness in a brother if you find it in him.

4. In friendliness and sympathy take lessons from the wall where bricks strengthen one another.

5. To meet cheerfully, to talk about virtues and prevent people from vices and villainy, to show the right path to those who have lost the way, to lead weak-sighted persons on the way, to remove thorns, stones, and bones from paths and to draw water from wells for others, are all deeds of virtue.

6. To greet and feed the poor and to say prayers alone at night are the good signs of Islam.

7. Only courteous men will be close and dear to me on the Day of Judgement. I shall be disgusted and distant from those who are not well-behaved. I am also sick of those who talk nonsense and discuss things irresponsibly and are proud.

8. To live comfortable is not pride. It is to degrade the people and to reject the truth.

9. Love all; in it is half wisdom.

10. Don't say to behave well only when others behave well and to do mischief if others do mischief rather try to oblige those who behave well with you and do not create mischief if they do likewise.

The Greatness of Learning

1. One who seeks knowledge finds the road to Paradise easier.

2. As long as you are in search of knowledge, you are in the path of Allah.

3. Quest for learning is atonement for past sins.

4. A taste for research is half learning.

5. Learning is greater than devotion and prayer in importance.

6. Knowledge and wisdom are your lost treasures; seek them where you find.

7. He who conceals his knowledge will be reined with fire.

8. Nothing in the world is better than the getting together of knowledge and patience.

Treatment with Slaves, Women Servants and Attendants

1. Slaves and women slaves are like your brothers. Allah has kept them under your supervision. Equal treatment be given to them in food and clothing. They should not be asked to bear more than their strength and capacity. In difficult tasks they should be rendered assistance and support.

2. To liberate slaves or women slaves is to get liberated from Hell.

3. A person asked the Prophet (pbuh) how many times an attendant should be pardoned. He said that this should be allowed seventy times in a day.

The letter of the Messenger (pbuh) to the chief of Bahrain Mundhir bin Sawi inviting him to embrace Islam.

By the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

From Muhammad, Allah' Messenger (pbuh) to Mundhir bin Sawi.

Peace be on you. I praise Allah with you, there is no true god except Him. I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger and slave. After that:

I remind you of Allah the Exalted:

Whoever takes admonition, he takes it for himself, whoever obeys my messengers and follows their command, obeys me. Whoever has sincerity with them is sincere with me.

My messengers have highly praised your behavior. I have accepted your recommendation regarding you people. So whoever becomes a Muslim, leave him on his own. I have pardoned those people who have committed sins, you also pardon them. As for as you will be right, we will not dissolve you from your duty. And whoever remains on Jewism or Magianism, he should pay protection tax.

Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.

Conquering the World When it comes to the game of squash, Egypt has no shortage of talented and successful players By Passant Rabie

For most Egyptians, the term “sports” automatically translates into one word — football. Whether we’re kicking one around on the street or huddled around a televised match in a cafe, our obsession with football is evident on any given day. However, another sport may be gaining on the popularity of football following a series of record-breaking world championships, gold medals and first place cups. Even the most dedicated football fan cannot deny the sweeping impact that Egypt’s athletes have had on one of the most vigorous and tactical of sports: squash.


Ever since the game reached Egyptian courts in the 1930s, local players have proven to be a force to be reckoned with on an international level. Since then, the sport has continued to grow, and the level of local competition has risen.

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“Squash has a long history in Egypt and right now we are experiencing the golden age for squash here,” says Assem Khalifa, president of the Squash Federation in Egypt. “There is an excellent generation of Egyptian squash players.”

During the past year, the nation’s squash players have broken more ground than any other country, with three professional athletes — Karim Darwish, Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour — at one point holding the three top spots in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) world rankings. In July, they held three of the four top spots.

Add to that Ashour’s victory at the Senior World Championship in October 2008, which made him the second player ever to win both the junior and senior world titles after squash legend Jansher Khan from Pakistan won the titles in 1986 and 1987.

Female players are also beginning to shine in the sport and the Egyptian women’s team recently took first place at the 16th World Team Squash Championship last December, making them the first female Egyptian team to win first place in an international competition in any sport.

Jon Super
Ramy Ashour of Egypt, right, plays a shot on his way to his 3-1 win over fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish during the men’s final at the World Squash Championships in Manchester, England, Sunday Oct 19, 2008.
Egypt’s Legacy

Surrounded by four walls in Fleet Prison in London, England in the 1800s with very little resources, prisoners started bouncing small rubber balls against the walls to alleviate the boredom of their seemingly endless nights. The game quickly spread in the prison, where they began incorporating rackets into the newfound sport. Its popularity grew and soon children in public schools were regularly picking up the game during the nineteenth century.

From then on, the sport began spreading across Britain and the colonies as ‘squash’ because of the way the ball was squashed against the walls after being hit.

When the sport reached Egypt in the 1930s, no one could have predicted the momentum it would gain almost immediately. It took the country very little time to produce one of the first prominent squash champions in the world. Abdel Fatah Amr, known as Amr Bey, dominated the British Open Championship, winning six consecutive times from 1933 to 1938.

Although he never became a professional athlete, Amr Bey became known as the ‘professional amateur,’ since he still beat the best of the professional athletes.

Petros Giannakouris
In addition to producing champion athletes, Egypt is a major destination on the international squash tournament circuit.

A few years after Amr Bey’s reign over the British Open Championship ended, another Egyptian player, Mahmoud Karim, took up the torch, beginning his four-year domination of the tournament in 1946.

Karim’s reign was only disrupted by the rise of Pakistani squash legend, Hashim Khan, who defeated Karim two consecutive times at the British Open final match which, according to sports commentators at the time, resulted in Karim’s refusal to participate in the championship again. Afterwards, the Egyptian star moved to Canada to become the squash pro at the Montreal Athletic Association. He died there in 1999 at the age of 83.

After Amr Bey and Karim, Egypt lay low on squash courts for more than 30 years. It was, however, only the calm before the storm. A new champion was soon to be born, ready to take on the world even as a youngster.

In the late 1990s, Egyptian squash player Ahmed Barada began his climb up the PSA World Rankings, hitting number 78 when he was just 16 years old. Three years later he cracked the top 20, taking the fourteenth spot and then hitting number two in 1998 at the age of 21.

With four British Junior Open titles under his name, which he won consecutively from 1991 to 1994, and his movie-star good looks, Barada gained a celebrity-like status among Egyptian crowds that some claim was one of the reasons, along with mounting public pressure to win the world championship, behind his sudden retirement in 2001.

Courtesy Egyptian Squash Federation

According to Mohamed El Sayed A. El Razik, who coached Barada from a 14-year-old beginner until his retirement, Barada’s charisma and series of accomplishments boosted squash’s popularity at the time, bringing it again to the attention of the nation.

Egyptian Champions Today

The list of unbeaten local champions inspired the current generation of squash players who grew up courtside watching their personal idols play and this generation is now dominating squash worldwide.

Gripping his first racket at the young age of five, Ramy Ashour never would have imagined that 16 years later his name would be going down in history as the second person ever to secure both junior and senior world titles.

“It feels great to be the world champion!” proclaimed Ashour on October 20 last year, as he was greeted by his home crowd at the Cairo International Airport upon returning from the championship in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Courtesy Egyptian Squash Federation
Engy Kheirallah playing in front of a home crowd at the 2009 World Team Squash Championship.

No stranger to making history, at the age of 16 he became the youngest squash player in the world to win the Junior Championship title at the 2004 Men’s World Junior Squash Championship in Islamabad, Pakistan. Two years later, Ashour scored another win at the same competition in New Zealand, becoming the only player in the history of the game to win the Junior World Champion title twice.

“Ashour’s talent is extraordinary, it’s different than any other player,” says El Razik, explaining that the 21-year-old constantly invents new tactics in the game that no one is able to emulate.

To win the 2008 World Squash Championship in Manchester, he had to play against his older teammates Shabana, 29, the defending champion who reached the semi-finals of the championship, and Darwish, 27, who played against Ashour in the final match.

“That could be the worst thing ever, to play against your country-mates,” says Ashour. “I’ve played my whole life and I’ve never felt this kind of pressure before, it was just exceptional.”

With their unprecedented success in the championship, Egypt became the only country to fill all three top positions at a tournament. That same trio took up the top three positions in the PSA World Rankings in December 2008 — Darwish, Shabana and Ashour in that order — making Egypt the first country ever to hold the top three spots. The trio repeated the feat in the March 2009 rankings.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment, especially since the three of us are friends and we always train together,” says Darwish.

In July, Darwish still topped the world ranking, with Ashour ranked number three and Shabana ranked number four.

Khalifa believes that their success is due to personal reasons, as squash is an individual game and every player builds his or her own ranking, and that it is also due to the efforts of the federation.

“The history of these boys is that they were champions from when they were still juniors so the federations nurtured them throughout their careers,” says Khalifa. “They didn’t turn into world champions overnight.”

For Darwish, the journey to the number-one spot was certainly not made overnight — it took about 20 years. After watching his older brother, Walid, a former squash player and Darwish’s proclaimed idol on the court, seven-year-old Darwish was inspired to pick up a racket and take his first swing at the game. Despite trying out several sports such as karate, which he found to be too violent, there was something about squash that hooked Darwish.

“What I like most about playing squash is that I constantly have to be thinking of my next move and all the different tactics involved in executing it,” says Darwish.

His love for the game caused him to sacrifice most of his time and energy to squash.

“Growing up, my whole life was squash,” says Darwish, adding that he only had one day a week for going out with his friends and could not go on any trips with them during the summer.

“Still today, I have no time for anything else but squash, even more than before,” says Darwish, who only gets one free weekend a year between championships.

But, like a true athlete, Darwish says it is all worth it in the end.

“If I wasn’t getting anything in return, then all my sacrifice and hard work would have been going to waste,” he says.

Over the years, Darwish has certainly been reaping the rewards of his hard work by winning several championships, including the Dayton Open in January of 2004 and Swedish Open in February of the same year. Some of his greater accomplishments are being crowned the Junior World Champion in 2000 and winning one of the most prestigious events in squash, the Saudi International, in December last year, which led to his first place world ranking.

“I’m really happy, it’s been my dream ever since I was young to be ranked the world’s number one player and it’s finally come true,” says Darwish.

He is the second Egyptian to hold the number one ranking; his predecessor was Shabana, 30, who was number one in the PSA World Rankings after winning the World Open title in 2005 (he also won it in 2003). Shabana is currently ranked second.

Ladies Lighting it Up

While squash has certainly been a male-dominated game in Egypt so far, a recent win by the Egyptian female squash team shook the playing ground in Egypt and proved that when it comes to squash, Egyptian women have a tight handle on the racket as well.

At the sixteenth World Team Squash Championship, held at the Cairo National Stadium on December 6, the Egyptian female team, Engy Kheirallah, Omneya Abdel Kawy, Raneem El-Walili and Heba Alaa El Torky, secured a first place win, making them the first female team in Egypt to ever win an international championship in any sport.

Previously the title had been won by England seven times and Australia eight times consecutively, making Egypt the only other country with the distinction.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know that you actually made history,” Kheirallah says.

“That is a true accomplishment, lots of people worked really hard to see Egypt’s name on that cup,” says Khalifa, referring in particular to Dr. Samiha Aboul Magd, a former member of the federation and a professor of ophthalmology at Al-Azhar University, who was the first person to push for sending a female squash team to a world championship in 1993.

“When I first suggested the idea of female players participating in world championships, the federation, whose members were all men, was against it,” says Aboul Magd, who adds that the federation believed it would be a waste of funding since women rarely played the sport for the long term.

After four months of deliberations, Aboul Magd was able to sway federation members’ minds on the condition that she only send three players, Salma Shabana, Maha Zein and Mai Hegazi, to the 1993 World Junior Team Championship held in Malaysia.

“That entire time, we were only paying attention to the boys’ team until [Aboul Magd] said that there are both men and women teams competing in squash in other parts of the world, so Egypt should also focus on its women’s team,” says Khalifa.

The team scored a third place win, proving to the federation that Egyptian women were as competitive as their male counterparts.

“Their win proved that they do have the potential to achieve higher rankings and if they were to be properly trained then they could accomplish a lot,” says Aboul Magd.

Aboul Magd, herself a six-time national champion in squash and the first Egyptian woman to play in the British Open in 1980, continued to pursue her dream of seeing a women’s squash team from Egypt take the World Championship title even after she resigned from the federation in 2005 and remains an influential mentor for the players.

“If she hadn’t started this journey, then we wouldn’t have had a first place win today,” says Khalifa.

When this year’s women’s team finally came through with the championship title, Aboul Magd was overcome with joy and a sense of accomplishment.

“I’ve been waiting for that day for 15 years and I had a strong feeling that they would win this year,” says Aboul Magd.

The win was surreal for the women’s team, especially when they were honored by President Hosni Mubarak on December 25, with first-class sports medals.

El Torky, who recently turned 18 years old, laughs as she recalls how her friends teased her about being honored by the president and appearing on television. The youngest of the four and the youngest player participating in the championship, she says she personally needed to prove herself worthy of joining the team by first playing in several championships on the senior level such as the Pakistan Open and the China Open — both of which she won.

“I already couldn’t believe myself, that I was on the women’s team, so I had to see if I actually deserved to be before we took part in a world championship,” says El Torky. She came to the sport at the age of nine, when her dad, a recreational player of the sport, took up squash after being a tennis player for years.

In the July 2009 Women’s International Squash Player’s Association (WISPA) Word Tour rankings, Abdel Kawy was number nine, the highest ranking among the Egyptian team. El Walili was number 19, followed by Kheirallah at 22 and El Torky at 42.

Players to Look up to

With their win, the team hopes to encourage more female players to take part in the game. “My team and I are the first female athletes [in Egypt] to win the world open, so you have a lot of girls looking up to you,” says Kheirallah, who recalls that when she first took up squash professionally, there were only 10 female squash players in Egypt. Now, she says, the number is increasing.

The team all agreed that as women, it is much harder to be professional athletes than it is for men due to society’s view of women and their roles as wives or mothers.

“Female athletes just have a lot more to take into account such as their parents’ rules, their studies and marriage,” says El Walili.

Khalifa agrees, saying that when the first female squash team was being assembled, the federation had to overcome cultural obstacles including the social stigma regarding women traveling abroad without their families.

Another obstacle, adds Khalifa, is the traditional idea that a woman must stay at home and take care of family. Kheirallah, who has been married for a year to fellow squash player Darwish, hopes to be a role model to female athletes who strive to balance their personal lives with their chosen sport.

“It’s not in our culture to accept women playing sports, people think it’s hard to be a wife and an athlete at the same time,” says Kheirallah, “but when you have a role model who does both, then hopefully more girls will be encouraged to take [sports] up professionally.”

One of the most essential elements for making life work as an athlete and a wife, according to Kheirallah, is to have an understanding husband.

“He’s a squash player as well so he understands my tight schedule, but it becomes really hard if your husband doesn’t support you,” says Kheirallah. “I try my best to balance everything. It’s not the perfect scenario, but we find a way to make it work.”

The Next Generation

As male and female players under the age of 19 wrap up the Junior World Championship, held in India from July 29 through August 8, the spotlight begins to shine on the next generation of squash players to represent the country.

For the women’s team, the youngest member and one of the youngest in the championship, 13-year-old Nour El Sherbini, has already broken world records as the youngest WISPA World Tour finalist in the 2009 tournament, where she lost to fellow Egyptian champion Kheirallah after a fifth deciding match. In July, El Sherbini was ranked number 90 on the WISPA World Tour, skyrocketing from number 166 in the June rankings.

The women’s team,led by El Torky, also include her younger sister, 16-year-old Nouran El Torky (WISPA number 69.)

On the men’s team, Mohamed El Shorbagy, 18, is the defending champion and top seed for the world squash juniors. El Shorbagy, currently ranked 17 worldwide, could possibly become the second in the history of the sport to win the title twice.

There is little time to rest, however. El Shorbagy is already qualified for the 2009 African Squash Open Champion in Lagos, Nigeria from August 12–15. Joining him are Darwish, Shabana and 36-ranked Mohamed Ali Anwar Reda.

So Where are the Fans?

With all the trophies displayed on their shelves and medals hanging around their necks, why are squash players not getting their well-earned time in the sports limelight?

While many of them say the popularity of the sport has increased over the years, they still believe that squash followers constitute just a tiny percentage of the population.

“Squash is the most successful game in Egypt, according to how much we’ve accomplished in the game. However, the interest in squash remains low in Egypt,” says Aboul Magd.

El Torky agrees, “The game deserves more attention from the people. In football, for example, we weren’t even in the world championship and Egyptians were still losing their heads over it.”

Kheirallah blames the lack of attention on the fact that the Egyptian media generally ignore the sport, in addition to squash being a difficult game to televise due to the small size and square shape of the courts.

Al Razik says the lack of popularity of the game can be attributed to the fact that there aren’t that many national championships in the country to raise the game’s profile. But even if squash players never see crowds of thousands holding up the Egyptian flag at their tournaments or closing down streets until the early hours of dawn as they chant and dance to celebrate their wins, they can still revel in the fact that when it comes to their game, Egyptian squash players are the superstars
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