Flashes from the Muslim World

SAUDI ARABIA

Ka’aba to be Washed Only Once a Year

The ceremonial washing of the Holy Ka’aba will be conducted only once a year and will be performed during the first Hijri month of Muharram, said Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, Head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques. He said the Presidency has received a royal directive to this effect. Saleh al-Shaibi, keeper of the Ka’aba, said the move was aimed at ensuring the safety and security of worshippers. He added that some onlookers sustained injuries after falling from structures last year.

Saves Mosque from Going on the Block

A Saudi philanthropist, known only as Abu Hashim, has donated 5.5 million Krona for a mosque in the Swedish city of Eskilstuna. The generous donation has helped the mosque from being auctioned. The mosque was to be auctioned because it was running into a debt of 750,000 Krona. The new management of the mosque expressed sincere appreciation to the Saudi philanthropist for his efforts as well as the role of the Saudi community in Sweden in supporting Islam and the Muslim community in Sweden. The mosque is part of the Swedish Islamic Center which consists of Al Manara College for Qur’an Memorization, Family Association of Muslims and Eskilstuna Council of Imams.

Mataf to be Fully Operational in Ramadan

The expansion of the Mataf, or circumambulation area around the Ka’aba, will be ready this Ramadan, with a capacity for 100,000 worshippers per hour. The completed work would also includes the third phase of the project, such as the floors of the basement, ground and first floor. Some areas on the north side of the Grand Mosque would also be completed including squares, praying areas and toilets. The expansion includes the most advanced electrical and mechanical systems, and is consistent with the current architectural style of the Grand Mosque. Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, Head of the Presidency, recently called on pilgrims to respect the sanctity of the two holy mosques and not cause distractions by taking pictures with cell phones and cameras. He also said that they should not block the Mataf when performing prayers.

IIROSA Role in African Countries

The International Islamic Relief Organization – Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) honored Consuls-General of African countries at a reception in Jeddah. IIROSA is working in the humanitarian field which requires support from everyone. The consuls play a key role in helping us carry out this noble message, the Secretary General, Ehsaan Saleh Taieb, said. Humanitarian works must continue as long as there are widows, orphans, poor, needy, sick people, persons with special needs and victims of disasters and calamities, he said. The IIROSA Secretary General highlighted some of IIROSA projects in African countries. He said that 28 African countries have received special assistance for the benefit of around 50 million persons. IIROSA sponsors orphans in fourteen African countries. The educational welfare program has achieved much in Africa.

Imam, Be Wary of Fabricated Divisive Reports

The war in Yemen was aimed at protecting citizens of that country and defending the Kingdom from external threats, said Sheikh Saleh al-Talib, Imam and Khateeb at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Al-Talib said that the Saudi government did not want a war. The Kingdom has never called for a war. It has never been hostile throughout the history. The Kingdom led the campaign to defend the holy places, protect Muslims, and help Yemenis. Hope has now returned to Yemen, he said. Al Talib said citizens should be wary of reports in the media that have been fabricated by the enemy to undermine the unity of Muslims.

OIC Appeals for Yemen Aid

The Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has appealed to member countries to raise USD32 million as humanitarian aid for Yemenis who have been affected by the war. Ambassador, Fuad Al-Madnee, adviser to the OIC Secretary General on humanitarian affairs, said the donations will be used to provide food, water, and medicine to Yemeni people affected by efforts to restore the legitimate Yemeni government. He expressed the hope that a ceasefire would soon prevail so that the OIC could mobilize its resources to extend this humanitarian aid.

Makkah Hotel to Dwarf Rivals

The holy city of Makkah will host the largest hotel in the world with 10,000 rooms, 70 restaurants, shopping centers and a helipad, informed sources said. The project valued at USD3.5 billion will be ready in two years. Covering an area of 686,000 square feet, Abraj Kudai, will also have royal suites, prayer halls and convention center – all in twelve separate towers. The focal point, however, will be the central dome, expected to be one of the largest and tallest in the world. As the site of the hotel is only about a mile from the Grand Mosque, it is expected to host many of the millions of pilgrims.

Hostile Media Distorting Image of Islam

Boycotting the enemy’s economic products is one of the most successful ways to support a Muslim brother, said Abdul Bari al-Thubaiti, Imam and preacher of the Prophet’s Mosque. The hostile media has distorted the image of Islam and turned it into a symbol of terrorism and killing, a dark image of anarchy, he added. Sheikh Saud al-Shuraim, Imam and preacher at the Grand Mosque said that “we now see the world, the image, the news and satellite broadcasting, as the means to achieve preset goals. Such means are already disrupting the nation without the use of weapons.”

Hajis Number to Touch 5M in Five Years

The number of Haj pilgrims is expected to reach five million and Umrah pilgrims, 30 million, in the next five years, said Haj Minister, Bandar Hajjar. Speaking to businessmen in Madinah, he said the Ministry has completed preparations to receive a record number of Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan, which is likely to begin on 18th June. The expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will help accommodate huge numbers of pilgrims, he said.

SUDAN

Economist Wins IDB Annual Prize

Islamic Development Bank has declared Professor Seif el-Din Ibrahim Tag el-Din from Sudan as the winner of the IDB Prize in Islamic Economics for the year 2015, in recognition of the important role he played in advancing the cause of Islamic economics. The prize will be awarded during the 40th IDB Board of Governors annual meeting to be held from June 7 to 11 in Maputo, Mozambique. Tag el-Din is also known for his efforts to address the long standing challenge of how to bridge the gap between Maqasid al-Shariah, and the dominant debt-oriented culture within the Islamic financial industry and his proposed recipe – the Istisnaa-hedged Musharakah.

JORDAN

Becomes Youngest to Chair UNSC Meet

Jordan’s 20-year old crown prince has become the youngest person ever to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council, to applause and some, “He’s cute,” sighs. Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdallah led an open debate on how youth can combat violent extremism and what he calls its ‘poisonous ideology.’ In his remarks, the prince noted that over half the world’s population is under 30, with most living in developing countries. Jordan currently holds the council Presidency. For his part, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, said the prince is not yet 21 years old, but he is already a leader in the 21st century.

[Compiled By: Syed Nehal Zaheer]