Flashes from the Muslim World
Qur’an Contest Ends on High Note
The Saudi sponsored Prince Sultan competition for the memorization of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah recently ended in Jakarta with senior scholars urging Muslims to follow Islamic principles of moderation, and to reject extremism. Indonesian Vice President praised the Kingdom for continuing to support the competition for the sake of Muslims in Indonesia and globally.
Past Comes to Life as Kobe Mosque Celebrates Ramadan
Japan’s first mosque will look back on more than eight decades of history as it joins the rest of the Muslim world in Ramadan worship this month. The three-storied mosque in Nakayamate Dori in Chuo-ku Kobe, was designed by Czech architect, Jan Josef Svagr and built in 1935. It has a central prayer hall on the ground floor, as well as a white marble mihrab and mimbar.
An Islamic Culture Center in the building also offers study sessions and general information about Islam. The new mosque affords a place of worship for Muslim people not only in Kobe, but for those living in other places of Japan. The mosque gained further recognition by surviving both the Second World War and the devasting 1995 Kobe earthquake unscathed.
Arabic Calligraphy in Jeddah
Over a dozen artists gathered recently at Jeddah’s Al Marwa Lulu Hypermarket to honor the holy month of Ramadan through an Arabic calligraphy art exhibition. According to Moona Mohammed, an Indian art curator and the event’s organizer, the intention behind the exhibition was to highlight the importance of understanding the Holy Qur’an and disseminate its noble message. The exhibition was an opportunity to explain some of the teachings of the Qur’an to those who know little about Islam.
Winners of King Faisal Prize Awards Honored
The winners of this year’s King Faisal Prize received their awards at a glittering ceremony staged in Riyadh. The annual gongs – held under the auspices of King Salman – are the most prestigious in the Muslim world and recognize outstanding achievements in Services to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic language and literature, medicines and Science. The Service to Islam prize was jointly awarded to former Tanzanian President, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, and Egyptian scholar, Prof. Hassan Mahmoud Al-Shafei. Since 1979, the King Faisal Prize has awarded 282 laureates of 44 different nationalities who have made distinguished contributions to serving Islam, and humanity at large.
Al-Musaharati – A Centuries Old Ramadan Tradition
Over centuries, Ramadan has witnessed numerous traditions, some of which are still alive and have been passed down from one generation to the next, while others have faded with time. One such past tradition associated with Ramadan is Al-Musaharati, a person who would walk around a neighborhood beating his drum and chanting poetry to wake people up for Sahoor. “These centuries-old traditions are becoming rarer in Jeddah,” said Ahmed Abdo, who has been living in the old district of Jeddah for over five decades. Al-Musaharati would be chosen by the people of each district and would diligently perform his duty until the last day of Ramadan.
Smart Vacuums Clean and Disinfect Surface of the Ka’aba
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has recently allocated five smart vacuums to clean and disinfect the surface of the Ka’aba, to wash and clean it within twenty minutes. The Under-Secretary General for services, field affairs and environmental protection at the General Presidency announced the modernization of the smart vacuum to disinfect the surface of the Ka’aba. It operates both manually and through an application using the latest cleaning techniques.
New Carpers Welcome Worshippers
As part of its preparations for Ramadan, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques covered the floors of both places of worship with 50,000 new carpets for the comfort and protection of worshippers throughout the year, especially during the month of fasting. The carpets, which were made in Saudi Arabia, meet certain criteria and technical specifications to suit the spaces of the Two Holy Mosques and meet the needs of the pilgrims and visitors.
One Million Pilgrims to Perform Hajj this Year
The ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that Saudi Arabia will increase this year’s Hajj capacity to 1 million pilgrims. The Ministry clarified that pilgrims should be under 65 years of age, and are required to have a full set of approved COVID 19 Vaccines. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah stressed that pilgrims must adhere to preventive measures and follow precautionary instructions while performing their Hajj duties to ensure their health and well-being.
Islam’s First Mosque to Expand Ten fold
Madinah’s Quba Mosque , the first place of worship built by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), will increase ten-fold in size, Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has announced. The structure will undergo the largest development in its history expanding to 50,000 square meters. Quba Mosque is located 5 kilometers south of the Prophet’s Mosque. It was the first place of worship in the history of Islam and constructed in 1 A.H. It is believed that Prophet Mohammed (saws) used to frequently pray in Quba Mosque, especially on Saturdays. He also urged his companions to do so.
Muslims to Fast Ramadan twice in 2030
Muslims will observe Ramadan two times in year 2030, some astronomers have predicted. They say the fasting month will fall twice in that year, first in January and then again in December, a phenomenon that last occurred in 1997. The reason behind this lies in the disparity that exists between the Hijri Calendar, which is based on lunar cycles, and the Georgian calendar that marks the Earth’s passage around the sun. The phenomenon occurs roughly every 30 years because the lunar calendar is eleven days shorter that the solar calendar.
Demand for Tasty Tangy Pickles Increases during Ramadan
At crossroads in the markets, scores of vendors have put up stalls offering bright, colorful pickles popularly known as turshi, in Palestine. Turshi is known to have its origins in the Fatimid era. It is an essential and widely desired side dish in iftar during Ramadan in Palestine. The preparation of pickles is not limited to homes, but its trade flourishes during the month of Ramadan for business-owners in this field. The Gaza Strip is famous for the cultivation of vegetables, which are a main source of pickles. Vendors usually buy and stock up on seasonal vegetables due to the lower prices at that time.
Oldest Muezzin Gaza Strip finds Comfort in Oldest Mosque of Palestine
The name of the Palestinian, Abu Husam Haniyeh, has been associated with the muezzin of the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City, the second oldest mosque in Palestine after Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, for half a century. Haniyeh, 85, began his journey with the call to prayer as a volunteer. Now he is the oldest muezzin in the Gaza Strip, according to data from the Ministry of Waqfs and Religious Affairs. Haniyeh comes from a refugee family who was forced to leave Jaffa during the Nakba in 1948. The great Omari Mosque is the second oldest mosque in historical Palestine after the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Delivers 104K Qur’an copies
The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance delivered 104,000 Qur’ans of various sizes in the Warsh recitational tradition, to Mauritania. Published by the King Fahd complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, the delivery is a gift from King Salman. Recently, 200,000 copies of the Qur’an were sent to Indonesia.
Muslims Celebrate First Post-Pandemic Ramadan
Muslims in Italy, celebrating their first post-pandemic holy month, are enjoying what one described as a Ramadan of rebirth and freedom. Mosques and Islamic Centers around the country are organizing prayers and gatherings along with distribution of food and aid for the needy. The Italian government lifted emergency measures on April 1, allowing Muslims to gather in mosques to pray. But they would try to respect the safety measures because the virus is still circulating. Distribution of food is organized at the city’s mosque, and will be handled by Catholic and Muslim volunteers every night during Ramadan.
Charities Warn Half of British Muslims will Struggle to Eat
A charity has warned that as many as half of Muslims living in the United Kingdom will struggle to feed their families during Ramadan. Islamic Relief said it, and other groups, had seen an uptick in food-bank use since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been exacerbated by the subsequent increase in the cost of living. It estimated, meanwhile, that around 1.6 million Muslims live in poverty in the world’s fifth largest economy, compared to 18% of the general population. One expert has asked British Muslims to give their Zakat payments to the needy within their own communities this Ramadan.
Return of British Pilgrims
The United Kingdom’s Consul General said he was pleased about the return of British pilgrims to Saudi Arabia’s holy sites following a two-year absence because of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced that one million pilgrims, including those from overseas, would be allowed to perform Hajj. The UK’s Consul General, Seif Usher, who spoke to Arab News at an Iftar in Makkah, said that in the United Kingdom, there are more than two and half million Muslims (around 5% of the population). In 2019, over 130,000 British pilgrims performed Hajj and Umrah. Usher, who converted to Islam 25 years ago, has worked in Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. His first Ramadan in Saudi Arabia was in 2019.
[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]