By the time of the arrival of Islam in the early seventeenth century CE, what we now call the Middle East was divided between the Persian and Byzantine empires. But with the spread of this new religion from Arabia, a powerful empire emerged, and with it a flourishing civilization and a glorious golden age.Given how far back it stretches in time, the history of the region -- and even of Iraq itself -- is too big a canvas for me to paint. Instead, what I hope to do in this book is take on the nonetheless ambitious task of sharing with you a remarkable story; one of an age in which great geniuses pushed the frontiers of knowledge to such an extent that their work shaped civilizations to this day.
Many historians regard him [Offa] as the most powerful Anglo-Saxon king before Alfred the Great. In the 780s he extended his power over most of Southern England. One of the most remarkable extantfrom King Offa's reign is a gold coin that is kept in the British Museum. On one side, it carries the inscription Offa Rex (Offa the King). But, turn it over and you are in for a surprise, for in badly copied Arabic are the words La Illaha Illa Allah ('There is no god but Allah alone'). This coin is a copy of an Abbasid dinarfrom the reign of Al-Mansur, dating to 773, and was most probably used by Anglo-Saxon traders. It would have been known even in Anglo-Saxon England that Islamic gold dinars were the most important coinage in the world at that time and Offa's coin looked enough like the original that it would have been readily accepted abroad.
There should be no difficulty in understanding this love. Each one of you knows what love is. You know how restless one is to get close to whomsoever one loves; what pleasure one feels even in taking the name of the beloved and in taking that name again and again; the earnest zest with which one strives to win over one's beloved, and the extent to which one dreads the displeasure of the beloved. Just keep examining to what extent you have attained this love. Peep into your heart and see what is the place of Allah therein. The same shall be your place to Him.
Half the published articles on Gaza contain a standard reference to its resemblance to a vast open-air prison (and when I last saw it under Israeli occupation it certainly did deserve this metaphor). The problem is that, given its ideology and its allies, Hamas qualifies rather too well in the capacity of guard and warder.
The lack of insight to reality, life and history as well as into God's ways, or sunan in His creation, some people will continue to seek or demand the impossible. They will imagine what does not or cannot happen, misunderstand occurrences and events, and interpret them on the basis of cherished illusions which in no way reflect God's sunan or the essence of Islamic law.