Flashes from the Muslim World
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia has ordered a financial assistance of five million US dollars to Hamdard University in India to fund the university’s educational projects, including a medical college, which will be named after the king, the Saudi Press Agency reported recently. The vice-chancellor of the university thanked King Abdullah for his generous donation to the university and said it would help the university expand its medical research and services.
Communal harmony vital for progress
Various speakers at a national Islamic conference organized by the Kerala-based Markaz Saquafathi Sunniyya (MSS) stressed the need to shun violence and improve relations between different communities, particularly between Hindus and Muslims. Addressing the audience in an open ground in Shah Alam area in Ahmedabad, the MSS chancellor said that Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other communities living in India should work together to promote national unity and development.
Committed to Islamic unity
Bangladesh is committed to the principles of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which calls for Islamic unity and actions to resolve issues facing Muslims, according to the OIC Secretary-General who recently visited the country. He paid tributes to Bangladesh for helping with various OIC development and peace projects in the Muslim world including the Palestinian people and hosting the Islamic University of Technology (IUT).
To build ten mosques
The Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia has pledged to build ten world class mosques in Maldives, an island nation in Asia that is closely working with Saudi Arabia in the field of Islamic affairs. He also donated US$ 1 million to the Maldivian Ministry of Islamic Affairs for various projects. The crown prince also donated US$ 1.5 million for financing health projects in this Asian Islamic nation. The Maldives, which is spread over 1200 islands, officially declared itself an Islamic state in 1997. The country requires mosques to be built on every inhabited island. The capital, Male, currently has over 30 mosques. The most recognizable is the Islamic center in Male, whose golden dome dominates the low-slung skyline. Equally stunning is the ornate Hukuru Miskiiy, or Friday Mosque, which was built in 1675.
United Arab Emirates
Special zone for Halal products
Dubai will develop two world class Halal Zones to cater the regional and International halal product markets. The move aims to position Dubai as a global hub for halal products that is valued at US$ 2.3 trillion. The value of halal food industries in the world is estimated at US$ 2.3 trillion, which accounts for 20% of the total food sector in the world. Trade in total halal products will continue to grow at more than 4.8% annually to reach about US$ 6.4 trillion in 2020.
Draw out plan to combat Polio
Leading Islamic scholars from all over the world led by the Imam of the Grand Mosque adopted a ‘Jeddah Declaration,’ and formed a six-month plan of action to address challenges facing Polio eradication efforts in the few remaining Polio endemic parts of the Islamic world. The declaration came at the end of the two-day meeting of the Islamic Advisory Group (IAG) for Polio eradication at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah.
Grand Mosque Expansion Work on Schedule
Work on the suspended Mataf (area for circumambulation around the Ka’aba) is continuing vigorously after the top floor of the area was completed last year in order to accommodate pilgrims with physical disabilities. The General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has accelerated efforts to put the final touches on the lower part of the temporary Mataf. The lower level has been installed and its entrances have been linked to the ground floor and other squares.
Saudi Arabia is not only one of the largest Arab countries but is also home to several large-hearted people, gender and age no bar. From an eighteen-year-old girl to an 80-year-old woman, not to speak of other citizens, they have displayed their compassion for less-fortunate fellow human beings by donating generously from their wealth. An 80-year-old woman donated all her wealth estimated at over SR500 million to various charity associations. An eighteen-year-old girl donated SR50 million, while another person parted with SR120 million for similar purposes.
Students Memorize the Qur’an
Memorizing the Qur’an is part of Islamic religion and to fulfill this duty, the Hassan Abbas Sharbatly charitable organization has launched an innovative program of Qur’an memorization for children with special needs at their Qur’an memorization institute. The program targeted 400 students in the first phase including 250 boys and 150 girls with special modules specifically allocated for children with special needs. The new experiment of using electronic screens in classes was found to be very helpful.
IOU Stresses Islamic learning
The Islamic Online University (IOU) in Riyadh recently organized an awareness day to discuss the need for Muslim experts in various fields, including finance, education, psychology and missionary works (da’wah). IOU student committees across the world organized an ‘IOU Awareness Day’ to share the recent launch of the online authentic Islamic knowledge courses. The event was commemorated in many locations including Dubai, Pakistan, India, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Kenya, and the United Kingdom amongst other countries. IOU aims to provide high quality and authentic Islamic education to Muslims across the world.
MWL, Islamic University Agree on Joint Project
The Muslim World League (MWL) and the Madinah-based Islamic University have agreed to work on joint activities aimed at serving Islam and exchanging publications. The two parties have also agreed to address the extremist phenomena counteracting moderate Islam, translate studies on current developments in Islamic communities, publish books serving Islam and Muslims and exchange in-house periodicals and reports.
Malay, French Translations of Friday Sermons
The project for translating Friday sermons at the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah is rapidly expanding to include languages other than Urdu and English. Live translation into the Malay and French languages has been launched at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Malay is spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, while French is widely spoken across the African continent. The Malay and French translations have followed suit after Urdu and English translations were introduced.
53% Listeners do not Remember Friday Sermon Topic
Over half of Friday sermon listeners do not remember the subject of the sermon, according to a recent survey conducted by the King Abdul Aziz National Dialogue Center. However, more than two-thirds of the 685 respondents picked randomly from the Kingdom’s thirteen regions said sermons had impacted their lives. About 52.4% of respondents wanted sermons to focus on social issues, while more than 74% said they do not seek guidance from prayer leaders, indicating a lack of personal communication between preachers and their audience.
Europe has largely accepted Islam and Muslims. Muslims are fast growing community there. A 2006 study says Denmark has some 115 mosques, with some of them among the most beautiful ones in the world. Several Muslim schools there teach Arabic and Islamic studies. Ritual slaughtering is banned, but import of halal or kosher meat continues. It is not against Islam, the government has clarified. The rise of right-wing politics is, however, a matter of concern to Muslims as much as to the European culture. Slaughter-ban comes as a boon too – spurring Muslim nations to start their own industries.
[Compilation: Syed Nehal Zaheer]