Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

IDB Scholarships a Great Help for Muslims

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) scholarship program, which aims to improve the education standards among the Muslim Ummah, has come to the forefront in providing financial assistance to poor students in countries where Muslims are in the minority despite the fact that these countries are full-fledged members of the IDB. Such humanitarian support to improve the educational standards of the Muslim community has come as a great help to Indian Muslims with huge success rates in checking the dropout rate of meritorious students having the ambition to pursue higher studies in professional courses, said Amanullah Khan, Chairman of the New Delhi based Muslim Education Trust (MET). The MET is the counterpart of the IDB scholarship program in India which has so far awarded scholarship grants to more than 5,000 students since its inception in 1983.

Al-Jamia: Blending Modern Education with Da’wah

The Islamic University (Al-Jamia al-Islamiya) in Shantapuram, Kerala, has been playing a significant role in spreading the message of Islam across India and abroad. Its graduates are capable of addressing contemporary issues on the basis of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah and counter smear-campaigns against Islam. Established in1955 as a college for teaching the Qur’an, Hadith, Arabic language, Islamic history and Islamic jurisprudence, it was developed in to a university in 2003 to expand its reach and horizon. The medium of instruction in the colleges is Arabic. This makes Al-Jamia different from other colleges and universities in India. The college also offers a diploma course in Islamic Economics and Finance, which is first of its kind in India. Students from different parts of India are given admission at Al-Jamia while many of its teachers come from outside Kerala.

Jamia Markaz Celebrated its 37th Anniversary

Jamia Markaz, South Asia’s largest Islamic seminary celebrated its 37th anniversary. M. A. Abdul Qadir Musliyar, President Muslim Educational Board of India, inaugurated the four day long celebrations at Markaz Campus, Kozhikode. The conference was attended by Muslim scholars from Europe, Africa and America apart from Asian countries. It is reported that one million believers from India and abroad attended the concluding session. Ministers, Parliament and Legislative assembly members from different states of India addressed the audience in various sessions.

CHINA

Urumqi Bans Veiled Robes

The regional capital of China’s restive western region of Xinjiang has introduced a law banning veiled robes in public places. The measures in the predominantly Muslim region comes as Beijing intensifies a campaign against religious extremism that it blames for the violence that has left hundreds dead in the last 20 months. The announcement did not clarify what is considered a veiled robe. Apart from Uighurs, ethnic Han Chinese make up 41% of the population.

SAUDI ARABIA

Inaccurate Copies of the Qur’an to be Removed

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance has instructed officials to remove all copies of  the Qur’an with mistakes from the two holy mosques, said the Minister Sheikh Saleh bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh. Al-Sheikh said the ministry recently discovered that traders and philanthropists had unwittingly brought copies of these Qur’ans into the country. He said they were under the mistaken impression that all Qur’an printed around the world have no mistakes. He said officials were instructed to remove these copies from the two holy mosques.

Prophet’s Mosque Expansion Work Goes Apace

In a race against time, over 6,000 individuals, from engineers to construction workers, are pooling their efforts to complete the expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque. The team is preparing the infrastructure in the eastern and western sides of the mosque and have already removed more than 100 properties in the central area, including the Ansar market, Awqaf building and the old children’s hospital, while work is under way to remove the King Abdul Aziz Library and a number of major hotels. The total space of expropriated property is estimated at 12.5 hectares, with compensation reaching a total value of SR25 billion.

Global Qur’an Forum

Madinah Governor Prince Faisal bin Salman inaugurated an international seminar, entitled ‘The Printing and Publications of the Holy Qur’an: Realities and Objectives,’ in Madinah. The Governor was presented with a new exclusive copy of the Holy Qur’an and the first edition of the holy book in Braille. The King Fahd Qur’an Printing Complex was established and the copies printed within the establishment were scrutinized using advanced technology methods. More than 230 million copies of the holy book have been printed at the complex.

Leading Scholars Reject Extremism

Several leading Saudi scholars attending a forum in Madinah have warned that extremist ideas propagated by some groups are a misinterpretation of Islam’s sacred texts and threaten Muslim unity. They were speaking at a forum organized by Madinah Islamic University in collaboration with King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue. The forum was being held to fight extremism. One of the speakers in the forum said that the acquisition of correct knowledge was the most potent weapon to counter the preachers of evil. Universities in the Kingdom, including Madinah Islamic University where 20,000 students from 92 countries are studying are the pillars of resistance in this struggle, he said.

Mosques to be Monitored with CCTV Cameras

Mosques in the Kingdom will soon have close circuit cameras and a smart control system to monitor Imams and Muezzins (prayer callers) as they perform prayers, religious rituals and deliver sermons. The move will help record any irregularities or violations in the mosque. The study of the project has been completed but its implementation will be done in stages. The project will address the problem of theft of appliances in mosques and will allow the ministry to fully monitor the prayer houses electronically.

Be Wary of Misguiding Channels

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh has urged people to be wary of misleading ideas and  information broadcast by top satellite channels in the name of Islam that are aimed at fostering terrorism and extremist agendas.  He slammed extremist groups operating around the world for falsely claiming that they are abiding by Islamic law.

Huge Umbrellas to be Installed at Makkah Grand Mosque

Custodian of the Two Mosques King Abdullah has approved a project to install about 300 sun shades in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, similar to the ones at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. The umbrellas would cover about 275,000 square meters of open space surrounding the mosque. The umbrellas are programmed to fold and unfold in minutely delayed sequence to avoid collision between their moving parts. They open each morning, creating a translucent ceiling and retract each evening in less than three minutes.

EGYPT

The Cradle of Civilization

Egypt is a trans-continental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia, making it an Afro-Asiatic country via a land-bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Most of Egypt’s territory of 1,010,000 sq. kms lies within the Nile valley of North Africa, but it is also considered a Mediterranean country as it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. With over 87 million inhabitants, Egypt is the largest Arab country in terms of the number of Arab speaking people, the third largest African country and the fifteenth most populous nation in the world. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the tenth millennium BCE as one of the world’s first nation states. Considered a cradle of civilization, ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments in writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion and central government in history.

TURKEY

Halal Food Market Stands at USD2 Trillion

Halal food  products stand at  USD2 trillion globally with Muslim countries accounting for USD700 billion, according to a communique issued by the Islamic  Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) during its meeting held in Istanbul (Turkey). The ICCI’s council session, discussed among other issues, halal food and its significance for Muslims as recognized by ICCI. This includes the issuance of certificate for the products with a certain fee due to the volume of trade in halal products around the world.

IDB Adviser Wins COMCEC Award

M. Umer Chapra, a prominent economist and adviser at the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, has received the COMCEC Award in recognition of his outstanding academic studies focusing on Islamic economics and finance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is also chairman of COMCEC, presented the award to Chapra during the 30th annual conference of COMCEC in Istanbul recently. Chapra, who is author of several books, has previously received a number of other awards, including the King Faisal International Award in 1990 for economic studies.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]