Flashes from the Muslim World

BANGLADESH

MWL Opens Relief Center

Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General, Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, inaugurated the Integrated Services Center for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. He said that the Center will provide a small community for Rohingya refugees with social facilities providing basic education, vocational training and primary health care. He praised the efforts of the International Islamic Relief Organization in preparing and planning for the establishment of the Bangladesh Center. Al Issa said that the MWL is focusing on the economic empowerment of refugees to help them be productive and self-sufficient in their own environments, and thus achieve sustainable development.

126,000 to Perform Hajj

A total of 126,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims have performed Hajj this year. The Bangladeshi government had made extensive efforts to cooperate with the Kingdom in arranging travel plans for pilgrims, said officials in Dhaka.  About 250 Bangladeshi officials, including the staff of the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia, had been deployed in places that the pilgrims will visit while performing Hajj. Three medical camps had been established in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah with 30 doctors and nurses to cater to the pilgrims’ medical needs.

INDONESIA

Pilgrimage Made Easier

Tech-conscious Indonesian pilgrims this year have counted on their smart phones to make the pilgrimage easier by using the updated Smart Haj applications launched by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Available only to Android smart phone users since 2016, the App is available on Google Play Store and has been updated from its earlier version with more features on its menu. Some of the features include weather prediction, flight schedule, prayer times, currency exchange rates, a Hajj pedia which provides a glossary of Hajj terms, an Indonesian to Arabic translation service for simple, every day, phrases pilgrims will need to get around the holy sites and tutorial videos on how they can use the service provided during the pilgrimage. Up to 221,000 Indonesian pilgrims have performed this year’s Hajj.

200 Indonesians in Islamic University

A delegation from the Union of Teachers of Arabic Language in Indonesia visited the Islamic University in Madinah to learn about the University’s experience and knowledge of education for Muslim children from all over the world.  More than 200 Indonesian students enrolled this year to study at the varsity, which is an unprecedented number from one country throughout the history of the Madinah-based teaching institution. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority state and the fourth most populous country in the world. Indonesia is the largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Saudi Arabia has been Indonesia’s largest global supplier of crude oil and its biggest trading partner in the Arab world, Middle East and North Africa.

MWL Launches Rapid Response

The Muslim World League (MWL) dispatched a team to the Indonesian Island of Lombok, which was struck by a powerful earthquake, resulting in heavy losses and destroying thousands of buildings. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the ‘Ring of Fire,’ an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. The death toll from the earthquake that rocked the Indonesian Island of Lombok has passed 430. Economic losses exceed USD342 million. More than 350,000 people fled their homes.

TAIWAN

37 Performed Hajj this Year

The first time Asiya Yu saw the Holy Ka’aba, the black cube-like structure at the center of Makkah’s majestic Grand Mosque, she could barely hold back the tears. The 68-year-old, whose face radiates spiritualism, was one of the 37 pilgrims from Taiwan who performed Hajj this year. “This is not my first time; I came here and performed Hajj ten years ago,” she said. “I never thought I would come back to this holy land again; I consider myself lucky.” The pilgrims were led by delegation chief, Dawood Ma, who is no stranger to Saudi Arabia, He has studied at Madinah Islamic University and speaks fluent Arabic, and has performed Hajj several times and was familiar with the rituals and the challenges.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Investment Ties with Egypt

Dubai has moved to further strengthen the Emirate’s business and investment ties with Egypt, following meetings with a high-level Egyptian delegation. Trade, logistics, financial services, hospitality and tourism, real estate, construction and manufacturing now make up more than 90% of business activity in the Emirate. Dubai’s global reputation as a wealth-generator and investment-stronghold continues to drive the city’s growth.

SINGAPORE

Dreaming of Hajj

Singapore is a multicultural nation nestled between Malaysia and Indonesia in the Malay Archipelago. About 14% of its 5.89 million populationis Muslim, the majority being Malay-Muslims. The number of Muslims performing this year’s Hajj has jumped from last year’s 850 pilgrims, with 90% of them first-time pilgrims. A typical Hajj package costs between USD8430 and USD5128. 10-20% of the pilgrims are younger than 40, who have performed Hajj this year. Singaporeans have higher spending power to perform Hajj. Most of these people save their money for these trips. It is not cheap compared to the neighboring countries.

SAUDI ARABIA

Hajj and Umrah Complex

The Hajj and Umrah complex at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah is expected to serve more than ten million pilgrims a year, reducing the time taken for immigration procedures from three hours to just 45 minutes. It is designed to cope with thousands of visitors at a time, arriving on 312 flights a day, at a rate of thirteen arrivals an hour. The halls were designed to ensure ease of movement for everyone, including people with special needs.

Rumah Mountain and the Battle of Uhud

Madinah has many Islamic and historical monuments that embody the era in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions lived on this land. Rumah Mountain is one such site that is popular with visitors to Madinah. It is located near Mount Uhud, whose name is connected to the historic Battle of Uhud in the third Hijri year. Historical sources say the army of the Quraysh tribe and its allies went to Madinah to kill Muslims and avenge those who died in the Battle of Badr, which took place in the second Hijri year. More than 70 of the Prophet’s companions were killed, including his uncle Hamzah bin Abdul Mutallib. They were buried at the battle at the base of Rumat Mountain. Muslims visit the graves to this day, as did the Prophet, and ascend the mountain to observe the battle field.

Global Role for Makkah Halal Center

The Muslim World League (MWL) is finalizing the establishment of the largest legal center for halal in the world as part of its headquarters in Makkah. The Center will supervise slaughter and productionof halal goods, and issue certificates, directly or through its offices abroad, according to international standards. Certificate will also be issued to sell halal goods. The Center will also offer technical and Islamic consultancy services, media and marketing advice. The Muslim World League – the only body in Saudi Arabia authorized to issue halal certificates – said that it had earned the trust of exporters and importers of halal meat worldwide, thanks to its 30 years’ experience in the field. The MWL was recently awarded the globally recognized ISO 9001 Quality Management System certificate, the only organization in the world to achieve this certification in the halal field. The Muslim World League (MWL) is an international Islamic NGO concerned with Muslim affairs and the religion of Islam.

Muslim World League –Its Background

Muslim World League (MWL) is an international non-governmental Islamic organization based in Makkah. It is engaged in propagating the religion of Islam, elucidating its principles and tenets, refuting suspicious and false allegations made against the religion. The League is ready to help Muslims solve problems facing them anywhere in the world, and carry out their projects in the sphere of Da’wah, education and culture. The League is well-known for rejecting all acts of violence and promoting dialogue with the people of other cultures.

Rare Qur’an Manuscripts

An exhibition of the Qur’an in Madinah, held next to the western squares of the Prophet’s Mosque, highlights the greatness of the Book of Allah and the importance of its glorification and history. It aims to introduce visitors to the Holy Book in a museum-like presentation. A number of manuscripts can be seen for the first time, written over different eras in various forms and images, including manuscripts in their original form, as well as a Ka’aba cover dating back 140 years. The exhibition is divided into a number of halls, including one displaying a short film about the content of the exhibition and how to be guided through it. The exhibition describes how the Qur’an has been collected and arranged since the time of the Prophet and the Rashidun Caliphs, and how it came to be printed the way it is now.

Quba Mosque

Quba Mosque was the first mosque in the history of Islam, and the first mosque built in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. The Grand Mosque in Makkah has priority as it is the first mosque built for the people, but the Quba Mosque was the first mosque built by Prophet Muhammad (saws) and his Companions. It is located southwest of Madinah, five kilometers from Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet Mosque) and was built in the year 1 AH (622AD). Large gatherings can be observed in the mosque precincts, especially in the early hours of the morning. It is of great importance because in a Hadith narrated by Ibn Umar, it is said that Prophet Muhammad (saws) visited the Quba Mosque every Saturday by foot or by riding his camel. The mosque has four minarets and 56 domes and next to it is the residence of Imams and Muezzins, a library, lodging for the guards in an area of 112 square meters, and a commercial center with twelve shops covering an area of 450 square meters. The mosque has seven main entrances and twelve subsidiary ones.

The Prophet’s Mosque

The Prophet’s Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and the second holiest site in Islam after the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Located in Madinah, it was built by Prophet Muhammad (saws) in the year 1AH (622 AD) near his home after building Quba Mosque (the first mosque in Islam). The mosque was expanded many times over the years in the reign of the Caliphs and the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman states,and then finally in the span of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1994 when the largest expansion operation took place. The Prophet’s Mosque is considered to be the first place in the Arabian peninsula to be lit electrically using lightbulbs in 1327 AH (1909). The mosque is also home to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (saws) and the mosque is a significant Islamic site to pilgrims for its strong affiliation and connection to the life of the Prophet. The land on which the mosque was built belonged to the two orphans, Sahl and Suhail, and was used as a place for drying dates.

Al Khayf Mosque

Al Khayf Mosque is one of great significance in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, especially during Hajj days. The word ‘Al Khayf’ in Arabic means what has risen above the stream of water and inclined the width of mountain. Al Khayf Mosque is located in the heart of Mina, at the foot of Al-Dhiba’s mountain in the south of Mina, close to the smallest Jamarat. It is also known as the Mosque of Prophets because numerous prophets are said to have prayed in this mosque, including Prophet Musa. In 1987, Al Khayf Mosque was expanded and reconstructed at a cost estimated at SR 90 million (USD24 million). Four towers were built, 410 air-conditioned units were installed, as well as 1,100 fans. A toilet complex was constructed behind the mosque with more than 1,000 toilets and 3,000 faucets.

Hajj App Launched

Arab News has launched the 2018 version of its smartphone Hajj App for use during the annual Muslim pilgrimage season. The free app – available for iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play – has new and enhanced features, including life news updates. The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) is again sponsoring the Hajj App. The partnership with MWL, which began last year, is part of the international Muslim body’s global outreach efforts to serve all Muslims. The Muslim World League commended the newspaper’s initiative of deploying technology in such an innovative and useful way for the public good.

Eidal-Adha

Eidal-Adha is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated by Muslims around the world. During Eidal-Adha, Muslims sacrifice animals, re-enacting the story of Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismael (peace be upon them). Eidal-Adha falls on the tenth day of the month of DulHijjah. This is also the month of Hajj. Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Makkah that Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lifetime,if they have the means to undertake this journey. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. The rites of Hajj are performed from the 8th to the 12th of DulHijjah.

Arafat Sermon

Dr. Hussein bin Abdul Aziz al Asheikh has delivered the official sermon on the Day of Arafat. The currentImam, sermon preacher at the Prophet’s Mosque and judge in Madinah received his bachelor’s degree from Shariah College in Riyadh. He then joined the Higher Institute of Law, receiving a Master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate.

Saleh al-Shaibi

Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi is the senior caretaker of the Ka’aba, coming from the family that has been in charge of caring for the holy structure for centuries. Al-Shaibi received the new Kiswa for the Ka’aba from Makkah Governor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, which was placed on the Ka’aba on the Day of Arafat. The Kiswa preparation takes several months, and it took 170 craftsmen to put it together. Al-Shaibi was born in Makkah and his family has been assigned the role of the caretaker of the Ka’aba since the conquest of Makkah and Al-Shaibi is the 77th caretaker from the same family. The family has been in charge of the affairs of the Ka’aba, inside out, cleaning, washing, and ironing and repairing its Kiswa if it is torn apart, receiving its visitors and everything related to it.

Library of Makkah

The Library of Makkah Grand Mosque, which is affiliated with the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque,is one of the oldest libraries in the Islamic world. It was established during the second century AH at the beginning of the Abbasid period in 160 AH.The library began under one of the domes of the Grand Mosque dedicated to the preservation of copies of the Qur’an. The library, in its present location, has fifteen sections serving readers and researchers to help them access library information, books, manuscripts, periodicals, lessons and audio speeches. Rare books have been digitized to offer fast service in line with expansion technologies and digital information.

Hajj through History

Comparing a pilgrim’s Hajj journey in the past with today, the hardships have been greatly reduced as the advancements of the Saudi government in technology, logistics, hospitality and security have considerably eased the burdens on pilgrims and their families. The annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj is an Islamic practice more than 1,400 years old that holds an incomparable spiritual value for Muslims when performed during their lifetime. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and a journey that every Muslim must embark on at least once in their lifetime so long as they are financially and physically able. It is a physically taxing five-day voyage that begins in Makkah, and has pilgrims trekking more than 50 kilometers by foot.

Zamzam that Transformed Makkah’s Arid Landscape

Muslimshave their own very special holy water called Zamzam. This is found in a 30-meter deep well in the basement of the Holy Mosque about 20 meters reach of Ka’aba. The water is believed to possess healing qualities and is treated with respect by all Muslims. The well originated when Hagar, the mother of Ismail, son of Prophet Abraham, desperately searched for water in the lonely dunes of Makkah. She ran between the two hillocks of Safa and Marwa before the infant Ismail scraped the earth, and from his feet burst out a flow of water. The name originates from ‘Zomezome’ which means ‘stop flowing.’Zamzam is stationed throughout the holy mosques. Today the Zamzam well pumps 11-19 liters of water every second.

Famous Faces in Makkah

Many well-known Muslims from the world of sport and entertainment have visited Makkah to perform either Hajj or Umrah. Some of them are:

  1. Mike Tyson: Like fellow boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, in 1972, Mike Tyson made the pilgrimage to Makkah to perform Umrah in 2010.
  2. Aamir Khan: In 2012, Aamir Khan became the first Bollywood actor to perform the pilgrimage. He travelled to Makkah with his mother.
  3. Jemima Khan: The British ex-wife of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jemima converted to Islam in 1995 and performed Hajj in 2007.
  4. Paul Pogba: The French footballer, Paul Pogba, now a newly crowned World Cup winner, has visited Makkah several times.
  5. Mesut Ozil: Arsenal midfield maestro and German footballer, Mesut Ozil, performed Hajj in 2016.
  6. Amir Khan: The British-born welterweight champion, Amir Khan, visited Makkah in 2011 to perform Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan.
  7. Ibtihaj Muhammad: The female athlete first became a sensation as the first Muslim American to represent the US in the Olympics while wearing the hijab. She is Olympic medalist and fencing champion. Performed this year’s Hajj.

2.4 Million Hajis Performed Hajj

The General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) announced that the total number of pilgrims from inside and outside Saudi Arabia in Makkah was 2,368,873 in all.Moreover, 84,381 foreign pilgrims arrived for Hajj by land.

Holy Ka’aba Wears New Kiswa

The Kiswa was replaced with a new cover under the supervision of Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sudais, the Chief of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques. The new Kiswa is 658 square meters long and is made of 670 kilograms of pure silk. For embroidery, 120 kilograms of gold thread and 100 kilograms of silver thread were used.  The Kiswaconsists of five pieces of cloth,each covering the Ka’aba on four sides and the fifth is the burqa. All these pieces are connected to each other.

Thought of Makkah: Paulo Coelho’s Novel

One of the famous books that refers to the Islamic pillar of Hajj is The Alchemist, a novel by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho that has been translated into more than 80 languages and sold more than 30 million copies. The novel highlights the Hajj dream when a young shepherd, Santiago, working for a crystal shop owner tells his employer about his desire to visit the pyramids, which leaves the latter asking why the young boy was so determined about going to see the pyramids. However, the merchant explains to the boy that he lives by the book of Qur’an, and that Islam has five pillars which are mandatory for Muslims to fulfill.The fifth obligation of every Muslim is a pilgrimage. Coelho’s novel has a GuinnessWorld Record for the most translated book by any living author.

EGYPT

Dr. Ahmad al-Tayeb

Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb is the current Imam of Al-Azhar, appointed by the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, in 2010. Recently, he met the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen. They reviewed current Islamic issues and discussed ways to strengthen Islamic cooperation in countering terrorism and promoting world peace. Al-Tayeb was born in 1946 in Al Kurna village in the governorate of Luxor. He speaks English and French languages fluently and he has translated several books from French to Arabic. Since January 1988, he had been a professor of philosophy at Al-Azhar University. He became President of Al-Azhar University in September 2003 until he was appointed in 2010 as Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

SUDAN

Aid for Orphans Institute

The Muslim World League (MWL) delivered fiscal appropriations earmarked for Sudanese orphans, through the World Relief, Welfare and Development Authority. It is reported that the Sudanese President sent thanks to the MWL and the relief authority for their gracious role in giving a hand to the needy orphans. The Saudi Ambassador to Sudan hailed the MWL and related agencies endeavors to provide more than 17,000 orphans and 8,000 orphans families with continuous aid throughout different regions of Sudan.

DENMARK

Fines Woman for Violating Veil Ban

A 28-year-old woman wearing a Niqab became the first person in Denmark to be fined for violating a new controversial law banning full-face religious veils in public places, media reported. Police were called to a shopping center in Horsholm, in the north-eastern region of Nordsjaelland. The woman was informed that she would receive a fine of 1,000 Kroner (USD156) in the post, and was told to either remove her veil or leave the public space. She chose the latter, police said.

UNITED KINGDOM

Halal Market

A 2010 study by industry’s body Eblex said that England’s Muslim community, which makes up just 5% of the population, accounts for 20% of lamb consumption and halal farmers, supermarkets and restaurants retailers are keen to tap into the growing market. Some of the facts are: 1.2billion Muslims worldwide follow strict halal dietary guidelines, USD1.25tn amount Muslims spent on food and drink in 2015, USD1.8tn Muslim consumer spending across halal food and lifestyle in 2014. USD2.6tn forecast level of spending by 2020 and 75% of the Muslim population in the United States consume halal meat daily.

Britain’s Oldest Hajj Tour Operator

Britain’s oldest Hajj tour operator recounts his experience of this trip-of-a-lifetime bringing out the best in people. With the approach of Hajj, it is all systems go at the El Sway travel agency in London. The Egyptian-born travel agency owner is Hamdy El-Sawy. He organized his first Hajj in 1981 for 37 people.They each paid British pounds325 and stayed in university accommodation. Lots of changed since then. This year, he has accompanied 150 pilgrims who have each paid British pounds 6,450/- and are based at the five star Al-Safwah Royal Orchid Hotel. It is the nearest to the Haram (mosque) right next to it. Sometimes his work involves performing quite extraordinary feats. He has frequently witnessed how the spirit of Hajj brings out the best in people. Even after 37 years, El Sawy’s services are as much in demand as ever. He insists on meeting every client face-to-face and holds a get-together a week before departure so people can get to know each other and not feel like they are travelling with strangers.

25,000 Performed Hajj this Year

25,000 is the number of British pilgrims who have performed this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage. The British deputy consul praised the efforts made by the Kingdom to serve the pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Many pilgrims prepare for decades for this journey. Today’s Hajj pilgrim will experience unprecedented comfort compared to those of even just 20 years ago. In the past decade, the Saudi government has pumped billions of dollars into providing modernized services and amenities to accommodate the millions of Muslims who make the annual pilgrimage. But the spirit of Hajj itself remains unchanged, said Rashid Mogradia, CEO of the Council of British Hajjis (CBH).Mogradia, who has completed the Hajj journey five times himself, has joined around 25,000 fellow British this year as he once again traveled to Makkah.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Amid the throngs of pilgrims performing Hajj in 2018 was Olympic medalist and fencing champion,Ibtihaj Muhammad. The female athlete first became a sensation as the first Muslim American to represent the United States in the Olympics while wearing a Hijab. The 32-year-old was trending on Twitter after posting a photo in front of Ka’aba saying, “Words can’t express the happiness I have in my heart right now, having the opportunity to spend this holiday in Makkah. May the efforts of Hujjaj be accepted and I hope Allah invites you to Hajj soon. Eid Mubarak.”

[Compiledby: SyedNehalZaheer]