The Vikings and Serkland: A Lesson in the Merits of Presentability

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The Vikings referred to the Abbasid Empire as serklandThere are several theories about the origin of this name, but it probably originated from the Scandinavian term. serkrwhich meant a tunic or dress. This term was mentioned in the Ingvar runic streams, in particular in the Gripsholm ore hill (Sö 179). They were raised in memory of those Vikings who died during the struggle with Muslims in the Caspian Sea under the leadership of Ingvarr Virfurli, whose Norwegian name and title meant “Ingvar long journeys”. Interestingly, this is due to the word serkr, the English word "berserk" - it means to go crazy - comes from the Scandinavian word berserkr which was a term for Viking warriors who fought in trans-like rage. They were given this name because they were wearing a bears coat called ber in Old Norse style. In this way, berserkr means "bear coat". So, the Vikings, or Rus, as Muslims called them (of whom the later ethnonym “Russian” came), saw Abbasids wear long tunics, cloaks, capes and coats and carried them to the Serkland kingdom, to the land “Serkir”, those who wear long coats Worthy looks of early Muslims left an impression.

Muslims were known for always dressing flawlessly, no matter what social class they came from. There was dignity and respect in the way they presented themselves, and this was noticeably noted even by their opponents. In the famous French prose, The Song of Roland, which praises the heroic deeds of the "holy barbarian" of King Charlemagne the Great in his battles against the Muslims, the Muslim leader is described as strikingly beautiful and noble, equal to Charlemagne. The song praises him like this:

"Emir Balaguet came to the place

Pride of the body and fairness of the face;

First he jumped on a horse to ride,

To put on his harness was all his pride;

For the feats of great glory, he won;

If he was a Christian, a noble baron no one! "

After all, the only way Charlemagne defeated him was with the help of the Archangel Gabriel.

God says in the Qur'an:


يا بني آدم وا زينتكم عند ل مسجد

“O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful clothes every time and place of prayer. "

Do we care about our appearance, cleanliness and clothing when visiting a mosque? Even if not daily, are we at least in our Friday prayers? Sometimes we do it. I often see Africans in their bright robes and hats, Indonesians and Malays in their perfectly pressed shirts, gilded hats and sarongs, African Americans in the best costumes, ties and / or bows. But what I also see anxiously is sweat pants, T-shirts, tunics, which, as you know, alternate like pajamas, long faces and disheveled hair. Unfortunately, I am afraid that this may be the majority in too many mosques.

There is a prophetic statement:


ا أتاك الله مالا فلير أثر نعمة الله عليك وكرام

"If God has given you income, then signs of His blessings and magnanimity will appear on you."

So, there is an element of gratitude and recognition of God's blessings when you take care of your appearance and use what He has blessed you to look your best. However, an Ottoman scholar al-Munawi is also careful to qualify this statement:

"And His bounty" is what He gave you. For in clothes is a sign of general condition, self-worth, self-esteem and hygiene. And this means that those in need will know to go to him, but he must be careful with his intentions and avoid all forms of excess. "

With this, he also tells an interesting story about the famous scientist and successor to the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ), al-Hassan al-Bari, in a shirt worth 400 dirhams. One day he met Farkad Al-Shinji, a famous Sufist of that time, who caused a vivid dialogue. In the early days of Islam, Sufis wore coarse woolen clothes, and for this, some suggested that the word “Sufi” could come from the Arabic word for wool, Suf, Farcade reproachfully told al-Hassan: “O Abu Sa'id, how soft your clothes are!” Al-Hassan responded with this using lexical reduction the name of Farkad, "O Furayqid! The softness of my clothes does not distract me from God, and the rudeness of your clothes does not bring you closer to Him. ” Al-Hassan then went on to quote the Prophet’s statement: “God is beautiful and He loves beauty. “In another story, al-Hassan rebuked Farcade’s spiritual arrogance:“ They have piety in their clothes, but they have arrogance in their hearts. ” Regardless of whether it was the last or not, Farkad al-Xinyi later began to be considered a brutally perverted storyteller.

Therefore, although we may feel that our theology is sounding and we are people of the true faith, there is something seriously wrong when Christians are in their beautiful clothes when they visit the church on Sunday, but we look as if we are doing missions when we go Friday prayers. This reflects our general attitude, which seems as clear as day, in how we present ourselves and how we allow ourselves to be perceived by others. As al-Hassan al-Bahri said, there are those who can dress simply, but their hearts are full of vanity. Do not be satisfied that you are the people of Truth if you do not even look at this role.

Cornell University psychologist who led the conference When to judge a book by its cover: timing, context, and individual differences in first impressions stated: “Despite the well-known idiom of“ not judging a book by its cover, ”the present study shows that such judgments about the cover are good proxies for judgments about the book — even after reading it. This study is especially focused on impressions that are made within a few seconds after someone sees someone, and the results are that any negative impression received in the first few seconds can outweigh any attempts to eliminate them later. through explanation or amiable behavior. Therefore, we can make every effort to convince our non-Muslim neighbors that we are good people, but if we don’t see, they will not believe. Fair or not, it is a simple science. Would it be easier for you to change the psychology of a person or just pay more attention to how you present yourself?

So while the Vikings raided our shores along the Caspian Sea, and Charlemagne expelled us from Western France and invaded Muslim Spain, they were so impressed with us that they actually wrote poetry about us. We need to ask ourselves a very serious question: the enemies are out of the way, unless we even leave such an impression on our non-Muslim friends? Let's answer this honestly in the silence of our conscience and, if necessary, make changes in our lives.

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