Heavenly Ornaments (Bahishti Zewar)
By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi
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Allah enabled Hakeem ul-Ummah , Mawlana Muhammad Ashraf Ali Thanawi to undertake revival of religion in the fourteenth century. His efforts and results thereof are no secret. He has left behind about 1000 books, Heavenly Ornaments Bahishti Zewar among them. This book Heavenly Ornaments has received unprecedented universal acceptance and its original Urdu version is being printed ceaselessly from day one for which we have no parallel. There would hardly be a Muslim home without it—or a family that has not had access to it.
Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani ^ x. has said that for a long period of time the syllabus of a Muslim woman’s education evolves round Bahishti Zewar. Let a graduate woman in modern education compete with one who has studied the Bahishti Zewar; the latter woman would outpace her in every important field of religious and worldly learning. In fact, the graduate women would not be able to match the students of one who has studied the Heavenly Ornaments Bahishti Zewar.
We, at Dar ul-lsha’at, have been publishing the English translation of Bahishti Zewar by Saroha for the last fifteen years. We were conscious all along that a revision was necessary. Meanwhile, Mawlana Muhammad Muhammadi translated it into English in South Africa. We drew much from his valuable work. Though we had both translations before us, we relied more upon Mawlana Muhammad Muhammadi’s translation.
A peculiarity of our present work is that it is a fresh, easy translation with detailed references in footnotes. Besides, many passages and subjects which had been omitted in the previous translations have been included in our present work. There is a glossary and an index. This makes the book doubly useful.
Furthermore, we have altered its sequence keeping in mind the need of the modern reader and the students. It complies with arrangements of subjects in Books of Ahadith.
May Allah reward Rafique Abdur Rahman who was helpful in getting these things done. Even before this many of his translations of books by renowned ulama have been published and have gained approval.
We request our readers to pray for me, my family and everyone associated with this book.
Khalil Ashraf Uthmani
The First Story
Allah’s Messenger & said, “A man, in a jungle, heard a voice say to the cloud, “Go to such-and-such a man.” The cloud poured heavily on a stony place and the water flowed along which the man walked till he saw someone watering his garden. He asked him, “What’s your name, O slave of Allah?” He gave the same name that was called out to the could and asked, “Why do you ask that, O slave of Allah?” He narrated to Jiim what he had heard and asked him what deed of his could be so acceptable. The gardener said, “Since you ask, I tell you that of the total produce, 1 give away one-third in charity, keep as much for me and my family and invest the rest again in this garden.”®
The Second Story
Allah’s Messenger & said that there were three men of the Bani lsra’il, a leper, a bald man and a blind man. Allah sent an angel to test them. The angel met the leper and asked him, “What would you like best?” He said that he would like a beautiful complexion and skin and a relief from his sickness which drove people away from him. The angel stroked his body and he had what he had wished for. The angel then asked him what he would like for wealth and gave him a pregnant camel when he asked for camels, saying, “May Allah bless this for you.”
Next, the angel met the bald man, and asked him the same questions. He wished to have a healthy hair and cure from the disease which drove people away from him. On a stroke of the angel’s hand, he got beautiful strong hair and when he wished for cows, the angel gave him a pregnant cow, praying for Allah’s blessings.
The angel then went to the blind man who wished to have his sight restored to him. The angel passed his hand over his eyes and he regained his sight. “What wealth do you wish for?” “Goats”, the man said. The angel gave him a pregnant goat and prayed for Allah’s blessings for that.
All their animals procreated and soon there were camels, cows and goats with them in large numbers. Then Allah sent the angel in the same form as before and he said to the leper, “I am a poor man who has exhausted all his provision and means and cannot reach home. I ask you in the Name of Allah who has blessed you with a nice skin and complexion, give me a camel that it may take me home.” He shouted, “Away with you.” I have other things to do and do not have anything to give you.” The angel exclaimed, “Oh, I think I do recognise you!® You were the poor leper whom people despised but Allah blessed you with wealth.” He shouted, “Nonsense! This wealth I inherited from my ancestors.” The angel prayed, “If you lie, may you become as you were.”
The angel went to the bald man after that and he turned out to be no better than the first and the angel said, “If you lie, may Altah cause you to become as you were.”