Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

OIC urged to pressure Dhaka

An Indian Muslim leader has called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to pressure Bangladesh to release Jamat-e-Islami leaders in the country and revoke the “arbitrary verdicts” issued by a tribunal based on false accusations leveled against them. Jamaat-e-Islami is an important national party in Bangladesh and has been doing a great job raising the level of Islamic consciousness among its people. It has made great contribution to the progress and prosperity of the country, said the editor-in-chief of the Delhi-based Radiance weekly. He urged Muslim leaders and organizations to promote Islamic values in their societies. They should also focus on solving major problems facing common man such as poverty and unemployment. Muslims failed to propagate Islam properly with its diverse dimensions and worldviews. It is a system that connects humans with God, he added.

MALAYSIA

Islamic Art Museum

The Islamic Arts Museum in Malaysia is a must visit for the culturally indulgent, as it is the largest Southeast Asian Museum of Islamic Arts. It boasts a spectacular collection of over 7,000 artifacts and relics celebrating the marvels that emerged from the Islamic world. The museum has surpassed expectations in curating a collection that is representative of the entire Islamic world. Its gallery section house works that represent their geographical origins from India, China and Malay, illustrating the multi-cultural diversity of Malaysia. Rare Qur’an copies and manuscripts dating back as far as the 14th century and books, scripts and treatises in medicine, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy that added to the academic development of the Islamic world from Kashmir, Persia, Syria, Turkey and Morocco can be found on display. Until November 20, the exhibition, “Al Haj: The Malaysian Experience,” gives an overview of the key rites and necessary knowledge of the holy pilgrimage in an educational manner to equip aspiring pilgrims to undertake this one in a life-time experience. This is also to encourage the younger generation to undertake the pilgrimage.

SAUDI ARABIA

Friday Mosque beckons visitors

A popular site for pilgrims visiting Madinah is the Friday Mosque, known as the place where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed the first Friday prayers after his migration from Makkah. The mosque, situated between gardens and parks is about 500 meters from the Quba mosque. The Friday mosque was earlier called the Atekah Mosque and before that, Valley Mosque because it is located at the bottom of the Ranawna Valley. It has been reported that the Prophet prayed the first Friday in Bani Salem Mosque. It was the first Friday prayer in Islam, and the first Friday in Madinah after the migration of the Prophet to that city. The roof of the mosque was repaired at the end of 9 Hijri (630 CE) by Shams al-Din Qawoon. During the reign of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in 1412 Hijri (1991CE), the mosque was rebuilt and expanded to several times its original size.

Islamic banking value of KSA share

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest markets for Islamic banking and finance in the world, accounting for a substantial share of the sector’s total assets valued at nearly USD 1.6 trillion, said the Director-General of Islamic Research and Training Center (IRTI), an affiliate of the Jeddah based Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The popularity of Islamic banking, which is value based and production oriented, is growing rapidly especially after the global financial crisis He further said that many people, including central bank officials still don’t know what is Islamic banking and its benefits and how it operates.

Qur’an offers panacea for modern problems

There is an urgent need to spread the divine message of Qur’an in the modern world, which is beset with conflicts and problems, in order to promote global peace and stability, said a physician at the Jeddah National Hospital. Having embraced Islam recently, she highlighted the scientific facts in the Holy Qur’an saying it emphasizes the divinity of the Qur’an being the word of God. “Who will be a better guide for us than our Creator,” she asked, and called upon Muslims as well as non-Muslims to learn the Qur’an. The Qur’an is not a book of science, but a book of signs and miracles. She referred to various scientific facts mentioned in the Qur’an including the Bing Bang theory, the role of male’s sperm in determining the sex of fetus, the role of mountains in stabilizing the earth, the barrier between sweet and salt waters, the communication between ants and the well-organized life of bees.

70 tons of dates distributed daily at the Grand Mosque

A whopping 70 tons of dates are distributed daily to fasting pilgrims in Makkah’s Grand Mosque. The dates are spread on floor trails stretching 65 km inside the Haram. There are 167 tons of waste generated every day inside the Grand Mosque. On 27th and 29th nights of Ramadan, the quantity of dates distributed reaches 300 tons. The establishments, charities and individuals have deployed supervisors and workers to ensure the quality of dates and make sure that the table-spread on the floors are uniform beige color with a consistence thickness of 50 microns.

Jeddah’s 229-year-old mosque

Mosques have a special place in the hearts of Muslims, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. Ukash Mosque is well known not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Muslim world. It was built in 1784. It is the second oldest mosque in Jeddah’s modern history. The oldest is the Uthman bin Affan Mosque. It is located downtown surrounded by two market places. The mosque was built during Ottoman rule, with the official deed issued two years after construction. In the old days, it used to be the sea-gate of Jeddah because it is near the entry to the port. It can accommodate more than 1, 200 worshippers. It also has an extensive library of Muslim books.

The Miswak; First toothbrush in history

Miswak is a twig used for cleaning one’s mouth and teeth. The miswak twig can be extracted from many trees except for those that are poisonous or harmful, such as pomegranate tree and the myrtle tree. Many dentist say that Miswak is a perfect natural toothbrush that provides many health and beauty benefits. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recommended the Arak miswak, and he used this kind specifically which made it famous among Muslims. Arak is an evergreen small tree that has several therapeutic functions and the best way to benefit from it. One should clean the leaves, boil them and use the water when cooled as mouthwash. A good miswak has a pleasant bitter smell and whitish vanes on its skin. Nowadays, and after much research on miswak and its benefits, a lot of institutions are investing in miswak. Making ready packed miswak, some have different flavours like mint, lime and cinnamon.

708 expats embrace Islam

A total of 708 expatriates workers embraced Islam this year as a result of the efforts of the Cooperative Da’wah Centers at Maader and Umm al-Hammam in Riyadh. A Saudi engineer associated with Da’wah activities in Jeddah voiced his happiness over the increasing number of people who embrace Islam as their way of life despite media reports against the religion. This again proves that Islam is a divine and truthful religion. It is the fastest growing religion in the world. Filipino workers topped the list of new converts to Islam, he said and attributed it to their country’s long Islamic history before Western colonialists occupied it. Now with the Chinese workers are competing with the Filipinos in embracing Islam, he pointed out.

KSA ranked second in expat remittances

Saudi Arabia ranks as the world’s second largest source of remittances behind the United States from 2002 to 2011, according to a local economist. The United States ranked first in expatriate money transfers with an average of USD48 billion a year. Saudi Arabia came second with an average of USD19.5 billion. Money transfers for expatriate workers and contractors in the Kingdom registered their highest levels in 2012 to reach USD35.9 billion, an increase of 11.5% over the previous year.

TURKEY

Praying without knee strain

A Turkish man living in Germany has invented a prayer mat that takes the strain off the knees which, he said he hoped to sell worldwide. At first sight, the rug looks like other prayer mats, but it is designed with special cushioning for the areas under the knees, feet and forehead. Sales of the orthopeadic rug, which folds up into a cushion or small bag, are mostly made on line, but it has sales points in Germany, Turkey, Kuwait and Dubai.  But he said that he had already sold his rugs, which come in standard (39.50 Euros, US$52), luxury and child categories, as far a field as Singapore and the US.

UNITED KINGDOM

London conference looks into radicalization

The four-day international conference for a better understanding of Islam and the problems facing Muslim youth concluded at the Islamic Cultural Center in London, Manchester and Birmingham. The theme of the program, organized by the Forum for Social Studies, a non-profit organization based in the U.K., is to promote an understanding of the reasons and solutions behind the radicalization of Muslim youth. It was inaugurated by Jamal Badawi, the key-note speaker, who dealt with the subject and shed light on its reasons. He defined radicalism/ extremism, and offered an Islamic perspective on radicalism and how to de-radicalize society. He stressed the need for balance, as extremism is rejected in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Balance is achieved through managing individual collective social needs, individual freedoms and divinely rooted social ethics.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Eid part of US tapestry of traditions: President

Muslims across the US celebrated Eid on the same day to everyone’s joy and relief. Mosques overflowed with happy worshippers who stood as one Ummah in prayer and thanksgiving, enjoying the mild weather, treats and spirituality motivating sermons of the day. Delivering the second Khutbah on the topic of “Future Muslims,” at Masjid Noor, which was being telecast live on the internet and Guide Us TV, Sheikh Yusuf Estes shared some interesting facts. He said that of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world only 12% were Arabs. He emphasized, therefore, the importance of learning Arabic so the future Muslims would understand the Qur’an and follow it. Islam, he said, was the fastest growing religion in the West, but the future Muslims needed to learn it so they could practice it and be good ambassadors for it.


[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]