Monday, June 27, 2011

Excerpts: Kitab Fakr As-Sudan ala Al-Bidan by Al-Jahiz

Al-Jahiz: Islamic Black History according to Black Arab Scholar 1200 years ago

The Blacks say: "This is our nobility- The Prophet (S) never prayed for someone's soul except at a funeral or over a grave- except in the case of the Negus, for whom he prayed at Medina, while the grave of Negus was in Ethiopia."

They say:  "It was Negus who arranged the marriage between Umm Habiba, daughter of Abu Sufyan, and the Prophet (S) called Khalid ibn Sa'id, and made him her guardian, and gave the Prophet (S) four hundred dinars as a bride-price." (1) 

1. Umm Habiba was the daughter of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb.  Her (real) name was Ramala.  Married to Ubayd Allah ibn Jansh, she bore him Habiba, then migrated with him to Ethiopia.  Her husband, Ubayd Allah, became Christian and renounced Islam.  The Messenger of Allah (S) sent Amr ibn Umayya Ad-Damari to the Negus to seek her, and the Negus engaged her to him.  Al-Isaba, 423, from the section of women, Sira, 144, 883.

They say:  "Three things came to you from us.  One is the treasure, and its finding pleasure in what is good, being proud of it, and honoring it.  Another is the bier (?), and it is the seclusion of women and the chasity of wives.  The last is the Book (Quran) and its maintaining what is in it, strenghtening it, and making it more splended and beautiful." (2)

2. Hazrat Fizza (SA) mastered the Quran to such a degree, that she could answer any question by reciting its verses.  She is reported to have spoken the Quranic language for a full twenty years.  She was raised in the House of Muhammad (S) and recieved her knowledge of Quran directly from Ahlul Bayt (AS).  Surah Al-Insan (76) was revealed in honor of Ahlul bayt (SA) and Hazrat Fizza (SA).  In addition, Zayd ibn Harrith, adpoted son of Prophet Muhammad (S), is the only Sahaba mentioned by name in the Holy Quran ref Surah Ahzab 33:37

They say:  "We are more striking to the heart and full to the eye, like the Black girl is more striking to the eye and full in the breast than a white girl, and as the night is more striking than the day."

They say:  "Black is always more striking.  Indeed, when the Arabs describe their camels they say, 'Red-brown is fast, but red is plentiful and Black is beautiful.'  And that is (only) for camels."

They says:  "Blackness in horses is more beautiful and stronger, and the Black cow is better and more beautiful, its skin more valuable, useful and long lasting.  Black donkeys are more valuable, better and stronger.  Black sheep give richer milk and more butter, and dark breast are more fertile than red breast are.

And every Black hill and stone is harder and dryer in texture, and nothing can overcome the Black lion.  There is no date sweeter than the Black date, and none more widely used or lasting over time.  And the date palm is stronger than the others if its trunk is Black.  And it is reported, 'On you is the greater Blackness.'" (3)

3.  Al-Lisan, sawada, p. 211. In the hadith, "When you see the difference (between the colors of men), then on you is the greater Blackness."

Al-Ansari said:  "I profess that no debt have I, out of liablity, but on every tall palm are date stalks, on every full fruited tree, as if they were trunks covered with tar or the blood of sacrifice."

They say:  "The best Green is that which resembles Black."  Allah the Almighty said:  'And besides these two, are two other gardens.' (4)  Then He said, after He had described them and made them desirable, 'Dark green in color.' (5)

4. Surah Ar-Rahman 55:62 وَمِن دُونِہِمَا جَنَّتَانِ
"And beside them are two other gardens,"

5.  Surah Ar-Rahman 55:64  فَبِأَىِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
"Dark green with foliage"

Ibn Abbas (RA) said, 'Green becomes black from irrigation.'

There is no wood on earth of better quality or greater value, heavier in weight or freer from wood rust, and more blemishless than ebony.  It is known for its sturdiness, compactness, smoothness and hardness, and that it sinks in water unlike all other woods.  It has even exceeded some stones in this property, for when it begins to sink, these stones do not.

A person is best regarded when his hair is Black- a feeling that is shared in heaven.  Most noble for a person is having Black pupils in his eyes, and the most noble (of makeup) is cinnabar, which is Black.  Because of this it is related that Allah lets all believers into heaven beardless and pure, with eyes Blackened by cinnabar.

The most useful thing that is in a person is his liver, which restores his stomach, breaks up his food, and maintains his body- and the liver is Black.  The most precious and dear thing inside of a person are the little Black spots in his heart.  This is a clot of blood inside the heart, which maintains in the heart, a position analogous to the brain in the head.

The most enjoyable and coveted thing a woman has for kissing are her two lips- and they are best when their color is dark.  Dhu Ar-Rumma said, 'Lamiya with her puckered, soft red lips, has a mustache on her gums and eye-teeth.'

The most pleasant and coolest shade is that which is dark.  Rajiz said, 'The Black crows are like the shade of a rock.'

Humayd ibn Thur said, 'We took shade in a cave and our mounts were shaded in resting places for them.  The sunset in the trees gathered up the shadows, as if they were Monks forbidding themselves drink out of atonement.'

Allah made the night as an abode and a relaxation, and day as an acquisition and a labor.  And that which shows that Blackness has another sense is linked with severity and suffering, agitation and activity, the appearance of snakes and scorpions (their poison is stronger at night), and the agitation and ferocity of wild beast- all of which occure at night.  The excitation of pain and the appearance of ghouls also occurs at night.
He said, 'We resemble the night in this sense.'"

They said, "The exaggeration of stories relaxes the spirit- they come quickly if you want them, and go away slowly if you hate them- or what there is in them in the way of unfairness at the closing of curtains or the locking of doors."

They said:  "No color is more firmly established in value or more deeply rooted in goodness than Black.  A parable has been given concerning the whitening of a thing- 'You will not see that, until tar becomes white, and until the cow gets white feathers.'

This is the best proof among the wise.  The most noble of spices are musk and ambergris- and they are Black.  The hardest rocks are Black.  Abu Dhahbi Al-Jamhay said, in praise of Al-Azraq Al-Makhzumi, who was Abd Allah ibn Abd Shams ibn Al-Mughira, 'Truely my thanks to you will never end, as long as onyx is a stone from Lebanon.  You are the praised, made dear in price, one cannot discuss the purity of the Black stone.'

The Arabs take pride in Blackness of color.  If a man says (to a girl), 'That is a star!' she says, 'A base person, pink, white and deceptive!'  We say, she does not mean white skin by this, but instead means nobility and cleanliness of substance.  She extolled the 'greatness' of a warrior because she was Black- for Black to the Arab is the same as green.  Shamakh ibn Darar said, 'She left, leaving Zaruda, they fought over refuse, covered by the green night.'

Rajiz said,'Until the morning disrobes me from a green night; like disrobing the usefulness of a man's sword."
They also call iron 'Green', because it is hard, and Green is the same as Black.  Harith ibn Hilliza said, 'Since we raised the camels up from the palm fronds of Bahrain, continuing until the senses negated them, and we defeated the gathering of ibn Umm Qatam, who had a Green Persian woman.'

Al-Muharibi said, proud of the fact that he was green, 'In the Greeness of Qays is my surfeit of all pride.  Hard is the lead of Abu Daym Sha'sha'.

The Banu Al-Mughira were 'Green' Banu Mukhzum.  Umar ibn Abd Allah ibn Abu Rabi'a ibn Al-Mughira Al-makhzumi said (supposedly to Fadl ibn Al-Abbas Al-Lahbi),  'And I am green to him who knows me, Green the skin in the House of the Arabs.  Whoever records my lineage, records a glory.  He fills a bucket up to the knot of wrong.'

The Ghassanid kings, the sons of Jafana, were also 'Green'.  Al-Ghassani said, 'Truely the generous ones, the Greens, who paid blood money to the people of Baris, increasing, thereby, their justice.' 

And Hasan, or someone else, mentioned the 'Greens' of Banu 'Ukaym's when he said, 'You are not from the house of Makrama of Banu Hashim, or Banu Jumakh, the Green Jala'id.' (6)

6.  This verse is from the Diwan of Hasan, 123-38.  With it he reviles Musafi ibn Ayad At-Taymi.  It begins: "If you were from Hashim or from banu Asad, or Abd Shams, or the Companion of Lus the Hunter."  And in the middle is:  "Or in the features from Taym I was pleased with them."

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