A Hub for Islamic Relic Collectors
By the grace of God, Rumi's Garden has been granted the beautiful opportunity of forming a hub for reputable collectors from around the Islamic world. We are interested in facilitating exchanges between collectors, and we are also keen in bartering between ourselves and collectors, in order to make items accessible to the public.
Our process of verifying relics and relic replicas is quite rigorous. If you are a collector and wish to trade, please contact us for further information.
Introduction to Islamic Relics
Historically, throughout the Islamic world from Andalusia, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa to Historic Syria, Iraq, Persia, and India the common veneration of the ‘traces’ (i.e. footprints and handprints) of the prophets and other holy persons became widespread.
Moreover, talismanic objects were an essential feature of medieval Islamic villages, towns, and cities. Many sites containing portable objects and talismanic designs associated with the Holy Ka'aba, prophets and holy men existed at places of worship, city gates, near sacred trees and springs. Teaching colleges for the religious sciences (madrasas) and mosques became repositories for sacred objects. Furthermore, the appearance of relics and relic replicas in mosques had caused a revival in these places of worship because crowds wanted to view the relic.
Of course, in Islam, the exemplar par excellence of sanctity is the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ whom Muslims seek to emulate in their daily lives. Objects associated with him were imbued with and came to embody the sacrality of his person. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ became the object of veneration precisely because his teachings, sayings and silent affirmations were meticulously preserved by his Companions, and transmitted to subsequent generations, who in turn preserved and employed his relics, seeking to derive blessings (baraka) from them even after his death.
Source with minor changes: Meri, Joseph W. “Relics of Piety and Power in Medieval Islam.” Past and Present 205:S5 (2010): 97-120
Relics in Islamic Literature
Ibn Sirin said: ‘I said to Ubida [as-Salmani], ‘‘I have some of the hair of the Prophet, may peace be upon him, which I got from Anas or Anas’s family’’.’ He replied, ‘If I had a single one of those hairs, it would be dearer to me than this world and everything in it.'
* * *
Thumama related that Anas said, ‘Umm Sulaym used to spread a leather mat for the Prophet, peace be upon him, and he would have a midday nap on that mat at her home’. He said, ‘When he slept, [Umm Sulaym] would collect some of his sweat and hair and put it in a bottle and added it to perfume (sukk).’ [Thumama] said, ‘When Anas ibn Malik was dying, he told me to put some of that perfume in his embalming scent (hanut), and that was done.’
* * *
Abu Jafar Ahmad b. Abd al-Majid said: “I cut the pattern [of the Prophets sandal] for one of my students. [He came to me one day] and said: ‘Yesterday I saw a wonder from the baraka of this sandal. My wife was suffering from a pain which almost took her life. I placed the [image of the] sandal on the spot of her pain and said: O God, show me the blessing (baraka) of the owner of this sandal. God cured her instantly.’"
* * *
During the 9th/15th century the pious itinerant scholar Muhammad b. al-Zaman (d. 897/1492) met up during his peregrinations with a holy man who gave him a strand of hair purportedly belonging to the Prophet, an impression of the Prophet’s footprint in rock, and a letter in the handwriting of Shurahbil b. Hasana, one of the scribes of inspiration who wrote down the Qur’an after its revelation to the Prophet. These relics were stored in a teaching college which Ibn al-Zaman founded in Cairo.
* * *
The right and left sandals were housed in two teaching colleges in Damascus until Tamerlane’s siege of the city in 803/1401.61 Al-Nu6aym; mentions a second sandal in the Damaghiya teaching college which was endowed for the Shafie; and Hanafi; schools of Islamic jurisprudence in the year 638/1240 by the wife of a friend of the Ayyubid ruler of Damascus al- Malik al-Adil (r. 592/1196–615/1218). The teaching colleges did not compete with each other to acquire relics. Nevertheless possessing the relic conferred baraka and prestige to the teaching college or mosque that housed it, thus attracting pupils and scholars from faraway lands. The chronicles are vague about the sandals’ fate except that it is commonly believed that when the Mongol ruler Timur (Tamerlane) besieged Damascus in 803/1401 he carried away the right and left sandals.
* * *
A contemporary of Ibn Rushayd, the Maliki jurisprudent, Abu Hafs al- Fakihani (d. 734/1334) visited the sandal seeking its baraka. The ahadath scholar Jamal al-Din Ibn Hadida al-Ansari narrates from a sufi disciple of al-Fakihani’s: 'I was with him. When he saw the most honoured sandal, he bared his head (hashasra an ra'sihi) and began to kiss it (yuqabbiluhu) and rub (yamragh) his face in it. His tears flowed. Then he recited:
‘If it were said to Layla’s Madman: Is it Layla and her relation
you wish, or the world and all that it contains?
is dearer to my soul and more healing of its ills!’
He would reply: Dust from the dirt of her sandals
Donations of Relics and Relic Replicas to Mosques, Exhibitions, Zawiyas, Scholars and Orphanages
Since there is much historical evidence to show that relics and relic replicas can revive a congregation in a mosque, Rumi's Garden decided to carefully select important historical sites, with Imams that have spiritual and moderate leanings.
Rumi’s Garden donated certain relics and relic replicas to them, and this project has quickly become a major success! Our contributions were made to the United Kingdom, USA, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Turkey just to name a few. Imams have reported that their congregations have grown thanks to these relics and relic replicas and peoples interests have peaked. We were told by one Imam that this project is important since it has attracted large crowds that may have otherwise been in mosques that have extremist leanings.
With God’s Grace, another result of this project has been the dissemination of information to allow people to understand relics, their importance and our shared history as Muslims. In the age we live in, learning about our rich heritage and reclaiming it as part of who we are as Muslims, is an invaluable gift to be able share with the men, women and children of our Ummah.
As an example, someone who lives in the impoverished neighbourhood of Awzai in Beirut, and who has no chance of going to Medina, seeing the donated Blessed Footprint of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ at his local mosque is a godsend. Not only is he able to connect with the Prophet ﷺ and receive the baraka, but he is also able to learn a little more about the history of the Blessed Footprint and to realize that Turkey and Lebanon share a history - a history that shows us all that we are one Ummah under the banner of our Beloved ﷺ.
More recently, we further extended our donations - through your purchases - to functioning zawiyas, mashaykh and orphanages around the world. We recently had the opportunity to partially donate to exhibitions like The Virtues Tour in the UK, led by Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, and a major Islamic exhibition in Singapore.