Flashes from the Muslim World


Keen on strengthening ties with Kingdom

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, V. Muraleedharan said India’s economic ties with Saudi Arabia have progressed from being an energy partnership to a diversified commercial collaboration. The minister said that our bilateral trade has witnessed  significant growth in the last few years and exceeded USD50 billion in the last fiscal year.  Minister  said that I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Saudi leadership and Saudi authorities for their fullest cooperation in Operation Kaveri. Regarding  Operation Kaveri, which was the evacuation of Indian nationals from Sudan, he praised Saudi Arabia.

Surge in tourist booking

India’s travel industry has observed a jump in the number of tourists going to Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom’s recent promotional campaigns to attract 2 million Indian visitors by the year end. In the past two years, India has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s key tourism source market. Travelers came mostly from Indian’s metropolitan areas such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and  other large cities, and their top three destinations in the Kingdom  were Jeddah,  Riyadh and Dammam.


No hurry to agree USD10bn lithium deal

The Taliban government said they were  not  in  a hurry to give China access to Afghanistan’s lithium reserves, despite an offer to pay for access to the rich deposits of  the metal. Afghanistan, has abundant mineral riches, which also include copper, gold, oil, natural gas, uranium, bauxite, and iron. The US Department of Defense estimated in 2010 that it could be holding USD1 trillion of untapped mineral  deposits. The country’s reserves of lithium are key to the global supply of a metal that is crucial to the production of batteries for electric vehicles.


Middle Eastern scents

At the largest attar market near the  Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the center of Dhaka, shoppers swarm perfume stalls, looking for the  best scent to wear. Most of them will think about one particular fragrance that originated in the Middle East , a region that has been associated with perfumery since time immemorial.  In Bangladesh, the alcohol free oils are referred to by their original Arabic name ,- attar – a word whose social importance grows especially during religious celebrations and holidays in the Muslim majority country, as Islamic tradition encourages people to smell nice when they meet  others.


An Asian feast for Eid Al-Fitr

Asia is home to  about 65 percent of the world’s Muslims, and  the three largest  Muslim majority countries based on population can be found there. In Indonesia, more than 230 million people profess to follow Islam, a figure that represents 86 percent of  the country’s population and about 13 percent of all Muslims in the world.  The archipelago nation, which stretches more than 5,000 kilometers from east to west and 1,700 kilometers north to south is home to more than 1,000 distinctive ethnic groups, all of which have their own traditions. During Eid Al Fitr, however, many customs and traditions span the normal divides between groups in such a diverse nation. These include giving generously to charity, visiting  relatives, buying new outfits in which to pray and sitting down for feats that include popular local and national  dishes. In Sri Lanka, where 2 million Muslims make up almost  10 percent of the country’s predominantly Buddhist population, sweet dishes are also the most keenly anticipated Eid treats, the most popular of which is watalappan.  To the east, in the Philippines, where Muslims are a minority that constitutes about 5 percent of the country’s population of almost 110 million, the favorite  Eid dessert is panyam,  a type of fried pancake.

Seeks to boost food exports

Indonesia I seeking easier access to Saudi Arabia for its food products, as the country  hopes to tap into export opportunities. Indonesian food products have  a huge export potential to Saudi Arabia , especially considering the large share of the market of Indonesian Umrah and Hajj pilgrims. Hundreds and thousands of Indonesian pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia annually. This year, the world’s largest Muslim majority country was allotted a  221,000 Hajj pilgrim quota with around 675,000 others  estimated to perform the Umrah pilgrimage. This group alone offers a captive market for Indonesian food products as it hopes to further tap into the larger consumer market in the Kingdom.

Arab mosque stands witness to cosmopolitan past

When merchants from the Arabian Peninsula began to settle in Batavia in the late 18th  century, most of them would stay in  Pekojan,  a neighborhood which some members of the community still see as its beating heart.  Living evidence of this is the eclectic  style of Langgar Tinggi, one of the oldest mosques in Jakarta and the Arab  neighborhood’s landmark building. Unlime most historical structures in Jakarta, the mosque built  nearly 200 years ago has retained its original form. Look at this building, from 1828 until now, it is still strong and intact. This mosque is still original and has not been changed since it was built. The two story mosque was built by Abubakar Shihab, a Muslim trader from Yemen, on land donated by a prominent merchant family form South Arabia.


Islamic treasury sukuk

The UAE has announced launching an Islamic treasury sukuk, also known as T-sukuk, with  a bench mark auction size of 1.1 billion dirhams ( USD299.5 million) as it eyes developing a  local currency bond market. The T-sukuk will be issued initially in two, three  and five year tenures, followed by a 10 year sukuk later. The T-sukuk are Shariah compliant financial certificates.

Islamic banks gross assets rise

The gross assets of Islamic banks in the UAE rose 5.6 percent to 620.9 billion dirhams (USD169 billion) by the end of January 2023, compared to the same period  last year, the latest data from the Central Bank of UAE showed. According to the  CBUAE report, Islamic banks also witnessed a yearly increase of 3.5 percent tin credit  by the end of January to 396.9 billion dirhams. The report further noted that deposits in Islamic banks increased to 434.1 billion dirhams in January 2023, an annual increase of 3.1 percent. The total investments in Islamic banks also witnessed a 201Percent  year on year rise to 106 billion dirhams.


Boasts lowest unemployment rate

The unemployment rate of Qatar  has been the lowest in the world, according to popular statistics aggregator Spectator Index. Following Qatar were Thailand at 1.1 percent, Singapore at 1.8 percent and Switzerland at 2 percent. On the other hand, the countries with the highest unemployment rate were Nigeria at 33.3 percent, South Africa at 32.7 percent and Iraq at 14.2 percent. Qatar also attained 11th place in its economic performance, sixth place in government efficiency and 15th in its business sector efficiency, according to IIMD report.

Rebuilding 326 homes for Rohingya

Humanitarian and development non governmental organization Qatar Charity is to rebuild 326 homes for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. They were damaged in March by  a fire at the Balukhali camp. The design and construction of the houses, which will have two rooms for each family to live in, has begun, the Qatar News Agency reported.  Qatar Charity previously repaired 537 homes for Rohingya refugees in the nearby Kutupalong camp, which was similarly damaged by fire in 2021.


Historic Madinah mosque to be renovated

Kheif Al-HuzamiMosque  atWadi Al-Safra in the Badr governorate of Madinah region  will be one of the oldest historic mosques in the Kingdom to be developed  and renovated  in the second phase  of the  Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project  for the  Development of Historical Mosques.  The mosque was built  almost a 1,000 years ago on a site that was a well known gathering point for pilgrims  and merchants caravans. The mosque area will increase from 528 square meters to 603 square meters, while its capacity will increase from 150 worshippers to 180. Natural materials  of clay, stone and wood from local trees will be used  in the project.  The second phase of the project will cover 30 historic mosques across the Kingdom.

Madinah - city undergone renovation

Mosques and historical monuments in Madinah have proved a big hit during the current holidays, attracting  huge numbers of visitors.  Visiting  mosques and monuments is part of the tour program for the millions of visitors Madinah receives a year due to its high religious status as the site of the  Prophet’s Mosque, one of the Two Holy Mosques. The city has undergone renovation and expansion, including at the Uhud Martyrs Square, which commemorates the Battle of Uhud in the third year of migration by Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, and his companions from Makkah to Madinah.  The Quba Mosque, which is considered the first built by the Prophet after his migration to Madinah, also receives large numbers of  visitors. Expansion work will double the Quba’s  capacity, as will work at  the Qiblatain Mosque of the Two Qiblas, where the  revelation came down to the Prophet in the second year of migration during noon prayers.

Sleeping patterns after Eid

During Ramadan, most Muslims sleeping patterns change as they break fast at night and sleep after sahoor. Ramadan activities and  family gatherings occurring at night also  contribute to altered sleeping patterns. The metabolic system, circulatory system and immune system are all linked with sleeping patterns and biological clocks, reported Dr. Ahmed Saleem Bahammam, a consultant specializing in sleep medicine. It is a fact that irregular sleeping patterns and or late nights can affect our health.  A poor sleeping pattern results in increased blood pressure, poor heart functions, increased appetite, and weight gain. Luckily , there are ways to help regulate one’s sleeping patterns  during Eid ahead of the return  to work, including readjusting the sleeping schedule , and avoiding heavy meals.

Heritage sites

Saudi Arabia is home to six sites on the UNESCO world heritage sites.

  1. Rock art in Hima
  2. Al – Ahsa Oasis
  3. At Turaif District in Diriyah
  4. Hegra Archaeological Site
  5. Historic Jeddah
  6. Rock art in Hail.

Papaya production exceeds 4,000 tons

Saudi Arabia is on course to becoming self sufficient in papaya, with the production of the tropical fruit increasing to 4,717 tons annually as the Kingdom  pushes to raise the rate of cultivation as part of achieving food security under Vision 2030.  Papaya fruit production season begins in May and continues until August in Saudi Arabia, with the cultivation mainly concentrated in the  Eastern Province and Jazan region, according to the report.

Saudia allocates 1.2 million seats

Since the 2023 Hajj season is approaching, the Saudia Group, represented by Saudia, flydeal, and Saudi Private Aviation, has announced its Hajj operation plan allocating more than 1.2 million seats for pilgrims from all over the world.  176 aircraft will be  used from the Saudia and flydeal fleet. Transportation operations will also take place from 100 airports around the world, in addition to 14 new airports designated for this season. The pilgrims will be transported through six airports inside the Kingdom, which is happening for the first time.

Signs 77 deals worth USD1.4 bn

In a bid to address the ongoing global crisis, the Islamic Development Bank Group signed 77 financing agreements worth SR5.4 billion (USD1.44 billion) with 24 member countries as it concluded its annual meeting in Jeddah, the Saudi  Press Agency reported. Mohammed Al-Jasser, chairman of the group said the agreements seek to promote various sectors including health, agriculture,  food security, transportation, energy, small and medium sizes businesses, education and humanitarian relief.  We must leverage the technological disruptions along with  the ethical principles of Islamic finance to foster inclusive development, Al-Jasser said.

History of Islamic currency

An international conference with a  focus on the history of Islamic currency is being staged in Riyadh. Experts from around the world are meeting in the King Abdullah Financial District to discuss numismatics, the study and collection of coins, banknotes and medals. The event, organized by the Saudi Museums Commission, aims  to preserve , define and promote the Kingdom’s cultural heritage by highlighting the historic importance of Islamic coins. Ways to expand the museum sector through research and tourism were also looked at.  Conference  speaker, Dr. Alain Baron, discussed the influential role of female rulers in ancient and medieval times in his session. The Great Queens of Islam.  He noted their courage and  intelligence which had enabled them to shape the course of history.


Desecration of Al-Aqsa chapel

Palestinians have condemned repeated Israeli attacks on the Bab Al – Rahma Chapel in al-Aqsa Mosque, saying the site has been vandalized, while worshippers face daily threats and abuse. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said Bab al-Rahma was an integral part of Al-Aqsa and only Muslims had the right to control its affairs. Removal of items from the chapel and its vandalization by Israel were un acceptable, he added. The Umayyads  built Bab Al-Rahma Chapel about 1,300 years ago as a standard  door between the Jerusalem Wall and the eastern Al-Aqsa Mosque.


Makes history at Arab League talks

Syria ended over  a decade of exile from the Arab League when its official took part in a preparatory session for summit talk in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was the first time Syrian officials had taken part in an Arab League meeting since the body suspended Damascus in November 2011 over its violent crackdown on protests., which  spiraled into a conflict that has killed more than 500,000 people an displaced millions. The Arab League’s secretary general,  Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that Syria’s return could revive the principle  of Arab solidarity.


Elect a president

Lebanon must elect a president as soon as possible, the Saudi ambassador told the country’s political leaders.  We do not accept the ongoing presidential vacuum that threatens the stability and unity of the Lebanese people, Walid Al Bukhari  said after talks in Beirut with parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri. The ambassador also held talks with Lebanon’s grand mufti Sheikh Abdellatif Deryan, at Dar Al-Fatwa. Grand Mufti said that Saudi Arabia’s role in Lebanon is essential ,as it is in the Arab and  international arena.


A deepening humanitarian crisis

Millions of Sudanese civilians were in desperate need of assistance even before the latest eruption of deadly violence. Already reeling from decades of conflict and political turmoil, the recent sudden outbreak of fighting in Sudan between rival military factions threatens to plunge swathes of the population into an even greater humanitarian  disaster. Total population of Sudan is 45.6 million of  2021 census. 15.8 million facing acute food insecurity and 3.6 million people are internally displaced people. The sudden eruption  has  disrupted life in the capital city, Khartoum.  Between 70 to 80 percent of people in the capital  city are daily wage earners, and if they lose their daily wages, as we heard there’s much looting. The  people are experiencing one suffering after another. Aid officials now fear the situation will grow even worse.


Tunis book fair

The Saudi  pavilion at the 37th Tunis International Book Fair received 60,000 visitors capturing  their attention with its scientific, literary and cultural agencies and participating ministries. Visitors learned about the Kingdom’s civilization, history and scientific heritage which have all contributed to its current position on the world stage. Tunisian  President Kais Saled visited the  pavilion and reviewed  the rare Qur’an  manuscripts, hadith texts and scientific publications.


Islamic Affairs Minister visits Rabat

Saudi  Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh met Maldivan counterpart  Dr. Ahmed Zahir Ali in the Moroccan capital  Rabat. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Saudi Moroccan joint  symposium on “ Contemporary scientific efforts in  combating extremism and achieving moderation. The two officials held talks about a number of topics related to Islamic affairs. The  Saudi Minister also visited the Tariq bin Ziyad Mosque in Tangier and took part in a scientific meeting  organized for the mosque imams and preachers. He also  toured the mosque and was briefed  on the  history  of the site, which is considered one of the most important Islamic landmarks in the city.


Launches Qur’an exhibition

The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs launched the  “ Exhibition of the Noble Qur’an in Sao Paulo, Brazil, using virtual reality technology.  The eight day exhibition, will take guests and visitors through a tour of the Prophet’s Mosque using cutting edge virtual reality technology.  It will showcase a  large number of publications of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of  the Qur’an in Madinah with 77 translations of Qur’an verses.





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