Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Top scholar calls for Islamic unity

Internationally renowned scholar on Islam and comparative religion, Dr Zakir Naik, urged the Ummah at large to unite as the schism with differences of opinions will only damage the very spirit and pristine purity of the great religion of Islam. He said that we have to practice our pious religion in letter and spirit to maintain its pristine purity. “We should work as rightly-guided people to fight evil practices prevalent in the society.” He pointed out that “differences among Muslims were the biggest challenge which has divided the Ummah on many issues and thus hurting the very sentiment and spirit of the great religion.”

CG discuss Haram expansion

The Indian Consul General briefed the head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, about the preparations being made in India for Haj pilgrims. The Indian envoy briefed him about the preparations and orientations programs for Haj pilgrims before they leave India to reduce congestion in Haram. The head of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs extended his cooperation to work with Indian Consulate for pilgrim service. He also noted that Indian pilgrims would be one of the largest groups to reap the benefits of the expansion of Haram along with other countries. He hailed the bilateral relations between the Kingdom and India including political, economic, and religious, the statement said.

Majority must protect the rights of minority

Kerala Home Minister has called for joint efforts to confront the challenges facing secularism in the country. It is the majority’s duty to protect the rights of minorities, he told the Mujahid state conference in Kottakal, attended by thousands. The conference witnessed a special session for Muslim unity with leaders of different organizations emphasizing the need to work together for the welfare of the community and confront the challenges facing them.

India takes key step

India is planning to set up a body to fine tune and promote Islamic finance before issuing license to start full fledged banking operations, according to one of country’s senior minister. The formation of the entity is an important step forward. “We need to set a framework for rules for different financial products to be offered by these banks for through the Islamic banking windows,” said India’s minister for minority affairs. “We will introduce a financial product like Tabung Haji which would a great relief to those who want to undertake the pilgrimage,” said the minister.

Al-Asheikh acknowledges Deoband’s contribution

Islamic Affairs minister of Saudi Arabia has pledged to work closely with Darul Uloom Deoband, India’s oldest and most prestigious Islamic university. The minister was on a short visit to India. He described Darul Uloom as a “citadel” of Islam. Darul Uloom Deoband, which has over 4,000 students on its rolls has always distanced itself from religious extremism, he said. There are around 200 million Muslims in India, and they are the largest minority in a country with a population of 1.2 billion. Deoband is a major Islamic institution, which has its affiliated schools in different parts of the world. It has produced a large number of renowned Islamic scholars.

BRUNEI

Studying implementation of Shariah

Brunei has sought Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the implementation of Shariah criminal law in the island country, stating that the Kingdom which had the expertise was unparalleled in implementing the Shariah criminal law. Brunei has already made religious education compulsory for Muslim children and ordered business to close during Friday prayers. But until now, Brunei’s Shariah courts were limited to family matters like marriage and inheritance.  Brunei’s citizens have one of the highest standards of living in Asia, thanks to revenues from oil and gas, and enjoy free medical care and education.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Holy Qur’an Park to open in 2015

Dubai’s Holy Qur’an Park, with only trees and plants mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, is expected to be completed by September next year, municipal officials said recently. The AED 26 million park I Al-Khawaneej will have thirteen gardens and cover 64 hectares The park has been especially designed in the Islamic perspective to introduce the miracles of the Holy Qur’an through a variety of surprises for the visitors. The area allocated for this will feature an air conditioned tunnel to explain miracles and related stories. The plants mentioned in the Qur’an are 54. A lake in the middle of the park will give a real feeling of an oasis surrounded by fascinating trees and sands for the visitors.

SAUDI ARABIA

Distributes winter aid

The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIROSA) distributed winter aid through its relief campaign to the less fortunate in Najran. IIROSA volunteers distributed food basket containing rice, sugar, oil, milk, tea and many other products worth SR 200,000.  IIROSA is committed to positively impacting poor and marginalized communities locally and internationally. The organization had earlier distributed food stuff and clothes benefitting 3,000 families that were affected by the floods in region.

SR 1 as dowry

A Saudi in Remah married his daughter off to a young Saudi for a single riyal after the groom lost the money he had saved up for paying the Mahr (dowry) in a traffic accident, sabq.org reported recently. The groom met with the accident while returning from the bank after withdrawing the cash. He escaped from the accident unharmed, but a thief ran away with his money. The man then asked the bride’s family to postpone the marriage for a year, but the bride’s father took a symbolic dowry, which won him praise among fellow residents.

Pilgrims lose way in Grand Mosque

The vast expansion of the Grand Mosque at Makkah has made it difficult for pilgrims to find their way around the area or even reach the Ka’aba. Arab News toured the city and found that first-time pilgrims get lost easily owing to a lack of information points and sign posts. Many can be seen praying and performing Umrah rituals in the wrong direction because they are unable to see the Ka’aba from afar. According to official estimates, 750,000 pilgrims performed the Umrah in a single month, a record compared to last year. The figure is expected to reach six million by the end of the season.

OIC seeks right debates

One of the major challenges of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is finding ways to enrich global human rights debates with Islamic values and principles, said the newly appointed OIC secretary-general. He said the OIC was looking particularly at limitations on freedom of expression, gender equality, applying human rights in accordance with the OIC member states and stopping the spread of extremism.

Two Saudis among top 20 Muslim women scientists

Muslim Science, a UK-based online magazine, has named two Saudis in its top 20 list of most influential Muslim women in the scientific field. A panel of judges drew up the top 20 from an international list. It focuses on Muslim women who have achieved scientific and technological advances and helped achieve social justice in their countries. The magazine said women play an important role in developing a knowledge economy in the Muslim world.

Umrah pilgrims pouring in

Umrah pilgrims from abroad are pouring into the Kingdom with the Ministry of Haj declaring that there has been a significant 14% increase in foreign pilgrims visiting Madinah already this season as compared to last year, with Pakistan accounting for the biggest chunk of pilgrims. Revealing this, a Haj Ministry official said that about two million pilgrims had already visited Madinah during the current season. After Pakistan, Indonesians, Iranians and Indians accounted for the most number of pilgrims in that order.

Russian Federation

16,400 Russians to perform Haj this year

Russian pilgrims praised the Saudi authorities for their constant efforts to develop and upgrade facilities for Haj pilgrims. According to the reports, 16,400 Haj pilgrims from the Russian Federation are expected to perform Haj this year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterated the reasons that necessitated cutting quota for foreign pilgrims by 20% and 50% cut in inland pilgrimage due to on-going expansion work at the Grand Mosque.

 

[Compiled By: Syed Nehal Zaheer]