Harry Potter: Facts about Fiction

Harry Potter: Facts about Fiction

By Khalid Baig

As expected there was much frenzy around the latest Harry Potter book. Bookstores and clubs around the world arranged special midnight parties and other events in celebration of the launching of the long-awaited fifth book in the series. A grandiose countdown was held in Times Square for the coming of the fifth book.

The book was set to break many old records. Online bookseller Amazon had already received one million pre-orders of the new book, its largest pre-order ever. Scholastic, the American publisher had ordered 8.5 million copies as the largest first printing ever. Worldwide, 13 million copies of the book had rolled off the presses in a massive print run.

The other books in the Harry Potter series have been translated into more than 55 languages, including Urdu, Persian, and Turkish. Nearly 200 million copies of the first four books have been sold in 200 countries.

What is all this craze about?


Islam and Civilization by Nadwi

Islam and Civilization

By Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

Scope and Significance

Islam and civilisation is a realistic and living issue which relates not only to the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the teachings of Islam, but also to the reality of life itself, the present and future of mankind and the historic role played by Muslims in the development of culture and the building up of a flourishing civilisation. This is a subject important enough to receive the attention of an academic body instead of by just a single individual. In its depth and scope, it can compare with any discipline of thought pertaining to the life of man. It covers an immense area in time and space, from the first century of the Islamic era to this day and from one corner of the world to the other. In its immanence, it encompasses everything from creed to morals and behaviour, individual as well as social, and is linked with diverse phenomena, whether if be law, political, international relations, arts, letters, poetics, architecture, cultural refinement, etc. Each of these aspects of human life are indeed many-sided and, hence, an academic body composed of scholars of different disciplines is required to study them so that each may undertake objective research and present his detailed findings courageously, without fear or favour. Each of these scholars, specialist in his own field, can discuss the issues in greater detail as, for example, one can study the creed and religious thought of Islam, another sociology and culture, a third Islamic law, a fourth the equality and dignity of man, a fifth the position of women, and so on. Detailed discussions on each such subject can indeed cover an encyclopaedia instead of being dealt with by an individual like me who has little time to spare for literary pursuits. But as the saying goes, the thing which cannot be owned completely should not be given up altogether. I have, in working on this subject, kept in mind the Qur’nic verse which says: And if no torrent falls on it, then even a gentle rain (Al Baqarah: 265).


Chapter 260: Condemnation and Prohibition of Falsehood

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Chapter 260
Condemnation and Prohibition of Falsehood

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And follow not (O man, i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge.'' (17:36)

"Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).'' (50:18)


1542. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Truth leads to piety and piety leads to Jannah. A man persists in speaking the truth till he is recorded with Allah as a truthful man. Falsehood leads to transgression and transgression leads to the Hell-fire. A man continues to speak falsehood till he is recorded with Allah as a great liar.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1. Whatever attitude one adopts becomes his special trait and then he becomes known by it. Therefore, one should always adopt virtues and good conduct so that he may attain a high esteem with Allah and be also remembered well by people.

2. Truth is the way to salvation while falsehood is the way to destruction.


1543. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Whosoever possesses these four characteristics, is a sheer hypocrite; and anyone who possesses one of them, possesses a characteristic of hypocrisy till he gives it up. (These are:) When he talks, he tells a lie; when he makes a covenant, he acts treacherously; and when he quarrels, he utters foul language.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  Nowadays we do not find hypocrisy of Belief among Muslims generally, but practical hypocrisy is very common. The reason is that their majority has most of the signs of hypocrisy which this Hadith makes clear. See Hadith No. 690.


1544. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He who narrates a dream which he has not seen will be put to trouble to join into a knot two barley seeds which he will not be able to do; and he who seeks to listen to the talk of a people (secretly) will have molten lead poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection; and he who makes a picture (of people or other creatures with a soul, such as animals and insects) will be (severely punished), and he will be asked to infuse spirit therein, which he will not be able to do.''


1. "Hulm'' means a bad dream but here it has been used in the sense of a dream, irrespective of its being good or bad. This Hadith has a severe warning for inventing a dream. Such persons are in the habit of inventing dreams who have either a lust for fame or want to impress people with their piety.

2. Listening to the talk of others secretly is also condemned.

3. The making of paintings of people or other creatures with a soul entails severe punishment.


1545. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) as saying: "The worst of lies is to pretend to have seen something which he has not seen.''

Commentary: This Hadith strongly condemns falsehood, whether it relates to a dream or to the real world. It is a great sin in both cases.


1546. Sumurah bin Jundub (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) very often used to ask his Companions, "Do any one of you has seen a dream?'' So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allah willed to relate. One day he (PBUH) said, "Last night I had a vision in which two men (angels) came to me and woke me up and said to me, `Proceed!' I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man's head, smashing it. When he struck him, the stone rolled away and he went after it to get it, and no sooner had he returned to this man, his head was healed and restored to its former condition. The thrower (of the rock) then did the same as he had done before. I said to my two companions, `Subhan-Allah! Who are these?' They said: `Proceed, proceed.' So we proceeded and came to a man lying in a prone position and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man's mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck), and similarly tear his nose from front to back, and his eyes from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man's face and did just as he has done with the first side. He had hardly completed that (second) side when the first returned to its normal state. I said to my two companions, `Subhan-Allah! Who are these?' They said, `Proceed, proceed.' So we proceeded and came across something like a Tannur (a kind of baking oven, a pit usually clay-lined for baking bread).'' I (the narrator) think the Prophet (PBUH) said, "In that oven there was much noise and voices.'' The Prophet (PBUH) added, "We looked into it and found naked men and women, and behold, a flame of fire was reaching to them from underneath, and when it reached them they cried loudly. I asked, `Who are these?' They said to me, `Proceed, proceed.' And so we proceeded and came across a river.'' I (the narrator) think he said, "-- red like blood.'' The Prophet (PBUH) added, "And behold, in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. Behold, while the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. Then again he (the former) returned to him (the latter), and every time the former returned, he opened his mouth, and the latter threw a stone into his mouth, (and so on) the performance was repeated. I asked my two companions, `Who are these?' They replied, `Proceed, proceed.' And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance you ever saw a man having! Beside him there was a fire, and he was kindling it and running around it. I asked my two companions, `Who is this (man).' They said to me, `Proceed, proceed!' So we proceeded till we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colours. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man, and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number as I have never seen! I said to my two companions, `Who is this?' They replied, `Proceed, proceed.' So we proceeded till we came to a majestic, huge garden, greater and better than any garden I have ever seen! My two companions said to me, `Ascend up' and I ascended up.'' The Prophet (PBUH) added, "So we ascended till we reached a city built of gold and silver bricks, and we went to its gate and asked (the gatekeeper) to open the gate, and it was opened; and we entered the city and found in it men with one side of their bodies as handsome as the most handsome person you have ever seen, and the other side as ugly as the ugliest person you have ever seen! My two companions ordered those men to throw themselves into the river. Behold, there was a river flowing across (the city), and its water was like milk in whiteness. Those men went and threw themselves in it and then returned to us after the ugliness (of their bodies) had disappeared, and they came in the best shape.'' The Prophet (PBUH) further added, "My two companions said to me: `This place is the `Adn Jannah, and that is your place.' I raised up my sight, and behold, there I saw a palace like a white cloud! My two companions said to me, `That palace is your place,' I said to them, `May Allah bless you both! Let me enter it.' They replied, `As for now, you will not enter it, but you shall enter it (one day).' I said to them, `I have seen many wonders tonight. What does all that mean which I have seen?' They replied, `We will inform you: As for the first man you came upon, whose head was being smashed with the rock, he is the symbol of the one who studies the Qur'an and then neither recites it nor acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the enjoined prayers. As for the man you came upon, whose sides of mouth, nostrils and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the symbol of the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells lies that are spread all over the world. And those naked men and women whom you saw in a construction resembling an oven, they are the adulterers and the adulteresses. And the man who was given a stone to swallow is the eater of Ar-Riba (usury), and the bad-looking man whom you saw near the fire, kindling it and going around it, is Malik, the gatekeeper of Hell, and the tall man you saw in the garden is (Prophet) Abraham, and the children around him are those who died upon Al-Fitrah (the Islamic Faith of Monotheism).''' The narrator added: Some Muslims asked the Prophet (PBUH) , "O Messenger of Allah! What about the children of Al-Mushrikun (i.e., polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH))?'' The Prophet (PBUH) replied, "And also the children of Al-Mushrikun.'' The Prophet (PBUH) added: "My two companions added, `The men you saw half handsome and half ugly were these people who had mixed an act that was good with another that was bad, but Allah forgave them'.''

Another narration of Al-Bukhari is: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "One night two men came to me and took me to a blessed land.'' (The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) told of the same incident as above) and said, "After a while of walking we came upon a pit like an oven, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom with fire raging in it. When the flames rose up (the people in it) also rose up till they were about to come out; and when the fire subsided they, too, would go down with it. In it were naked men and women.'' (The remainder of the Hadith is the same as the above Hadith except that at the end of it, the Messenger of Allah said: "We came upon a river of blood in the middle of which there was a man standing, and at the bank of the river there was a man with plenty of stones before him...'' In this narration we also find: "They made me climb the tree and they made me enter an abode so beautiful the like of which I have never seen before. There (I saw) old men and youth.'' In this narration we also find: "`The first house you entered was the abode of the believers in general, and the other house was the abode of the martyrs. I am Jibril (Gabriel), and this is Mika'il. Raise your head.' I looked up and saw something like clouds. They said to me, `That is your abode.' I said, `Shall I enter it?' They said, `You have not completed your term of life yet. When you do, you will certainly enter it.'''

Commentary:  This Hadith has the following points:

1. Manifestation through dream of punishment of various evils, i.e., forgetting the Qur'an after having memorized it, not practising the teachings of the Qur'an, violating the precepts of the Qur'an after attaining their knowledge, slackness in offering obligatory Salat, lying, immoral acts, usury, etc. Strict warnings have been issued against all these evils, and the punishment to which they are liable have been mentioned in this Hadith. May Allah save us from them.

2. This Hadith also mentions the unique status of Prophet (PBUH) and the distinguished place of martyrs.

3. We also learn from this Hadith that Allah has made Hell for punishment and Jannah for reward. Muhammad (PBUH), the Last Prophet of Allah, was made to witness many scenes which demonstrated the retribution and reward of deeds done by people in their earthly life.

Short Quotes

Fast to Develop Piety

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

(2:183) O Believers, the Fast has been made obligatory on you just as it was prescribed for the followers of the Prophets before you. It is expected that this will produce piety in you.