Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MWL to organize interfaith forums around the world

GENEVA: Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), announced on Monday the MWL’s plan to hold an international interfaith conference in Southeast Asia within a year. He also disclosed plans to hold similar conferences in North America, Latin America and Africa.

“We have not yet decided on the country where the interfaith conference in Southeast Asia would be held,” Al-Turki told reporters at Geneva Inter.Continental Hotel, where a two-day international conference on the Impact of the Interfaith Initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah opens on Wednesday.

He said King Abdullah’s initiative, which began from the holy city of Makkah, is having a great impact on world peace and stability.

Al-Turki said the Geneva conference aims to take the initiative to the general public and remove misunderstandings surrounding the initiative. President of Switzerland Hans-Rudolf Merz is expected to open the conference on Wednesday in the presence of religious leaders, academics and intellectuals from different countries.

Al-Turki spoke about plans to establish an international center to promote King Abdullah’s interfaith dialogue initiative. There is also a plan to set up an international committee on interfaith dialogue including prominent personalities from across the world.

“We want to give a message to the world that Islam and Muslims stand for peace, and Saudi Arabia, its leadership and people want to make their contributions to world peace by promoting dialogue among the followers of different faiths,” he said, hoping that these efforts would help stop the smear campaigns against Islam and Muslims. For more read here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The drama and the farce

No point denying it: In the first round of the match between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama was beaten.

Obama had demanded a freeze of all settlement activity, including East Jerusalem, as a condition for convening a tripartite summit meeting, in the wake of which accelerated peace negotiations were to start, leading to peace between two states — Israel and Palestine.

In the words of the ancient proverb, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Netanyahu has tripped Obama on his first step. The president of the United States has stumbled.

The threefold summit did indeed take place. But instead of a shining achievement for the new American administration, we witnessed a humbling demonstration of weakness. After Obama was compelled to give up his demand for a settlement freeze, the meeting no longer had any content.

True, Mahmoud Abbas did come, after all. He was dragged there against his will. The poor man was unable to refuse the invitation from Obama, his only support. But he will pay a heavy price for this flight: The Palestinians, and the entire Arab world, have seen his weakness. And Obama, who had started his term with a ringing speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, now looks like a broken reed.

The Israeli peace movement has been dealt another painful blow. Obama’s victory and the settlement freeze were to show the Israeli public that the refusal policy of Netanyahu was leading to disaster.

But Netanyahu has won, and in a big way. Not only did he survive, he has proven to his people — and to the public at large — that Obama is nothing but a paper tiger. For Netanyahu, the threat of peace has passed. At least for the time being. It is difficult to understand how Obama allowed himself to get into this embarrassing situation.

Before entering into such a campaign, a statesman must weigh up the array of forces: What power is at my disposal? What forces are confronting me? How determined is the other side? Obama has a host of able advisers, headed by Rahm Emanuel, whose Israeli origins (and name) were supposed to give him special insights. George Mitchell, a hard-nosed and experienced diplomat, was supposed to provide sober assessments. How did they all fail? For more read here.

I wonder how long this puppet show will go on?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Belated Eid To Ya'll


id a blessing from Allah .......
It's a day of Happiness ........
Day for family and friends to gather and share the joy .......

May Allah(SWT) accept from us and you. Ameen.

Whishing You All A Very Happy Eid.

Please enjoy this Eid song by Zain Bhikha too :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Embracing Islam

For 39-year-old Edward, now Imran, May 27 of this year was the most significant day, as on this day he embraced Islam.

“I was passing by a da’wah center and decided to go inside. The same day I read the Shahadah and became a Muslim,” said the Filipino electrical engineer residing in Jeddah.

Many non-Muslim expatriates in Saudi Arabia have been entering the Islamic fold of life. Around 1,392 expats of different nationalities embraced Islam at the Cooperative Da’wah and Guidance Office in Riyadh’s Suwaidi District recently.

“As converts, if we are explained the various tenets of Islam, it will be easier to understand. The da’wah center provided reasoning and this is important as you just don’t embrace Islam but you also need to learn it,” said Imran, adding that his Muslim colleagues, Saudis specially, are “very happy” with his conversion.

“Earlier also, I was never left in isolation and felt I was one among them,” said Imran.

In the past five to seven years, there has been a 20 to 30 percent rise in the number of expats embracing Islam, said Mohammed Aqil of the Jeddah Da’wah Center (JDC).“More people are coming to the Kingdom, including non-Muslims, to observe Islam closely.

Also, with the help of new media, such as e-books, social networking sites, online videos, Muslim organizations are better able to spread much more Islamic awareness,” he said.

The JDC has seen 450 conversions in nine months since the last Muharram, with 55 people on an average embracing Islam every month. Last month, 64 conversions took place with most of the new Muslims being Filipinos and Indians.

“However, this is nothing as compared to the number of people coming to the Kingdom,” Aqil said. He estimated that there are seven da’wah centers operating in Jeddah under the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da’wah and Guidance.

Of the eight million expatriates residing in Saudi Arabia, over one-quarter of them are non-Muslims.

The close interaction between the foreigners and Muslims often provides increased level of Islamic awareness among the former.

“As a non-Muslim, I respect the Qur’an and wish that every Muslim reads it and follows it,” said S. Narendra Babu, 39, an Indian accounts executive in a travel company in Riyadh. He has never observed fast but, follows the general routine during the month of Ramadan which helps him to adapt a healthy diet.

“I have Muslim friends who invite me and my family for Iftar parties,” Babu added. Ye Ruan, a Chinese national, 39, hopes to become a Muslim and has started reading the Qur’an. He doesn’t fully understand it and communicates his doubts to his Muslim friends. He finds the atmosphere in the Kingdom more conducive to learning Islam than in his homeland, where the recent riots involving the Muslim minority ethnic group have raised concerns about China’s level of religious tolerance.

“Muslim people have a strong desire to help. I wish to learn more Arabic and, have also subscribed to an Arabic newspaper here to do so,” he said.

However, it should be noted that Islamic da’wah does not aim to convert people. It seeks to spread Islamic awareness and leave it to individual discretion whether to choose Islam or not. –

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Islam and the West: A partnership for the future

Dr. Francis Lamand, president of the Paris-based "Islam and the West" nongovernmental organization, is a man on a mission - to promote understanding between Islam and the Western world. Since the organization's inception in 1980, the former French diplomat and international law expert has sought to develop cultural, social and economic relations between the Islamic and Western worlds, both in France and overseas.

"For the last 30 years my organization has been working vigorously in favor of rapprochement between Islam and the West in religious value as well as cultural, social and economic values," Lamand told Arab News in Jeddah. "I may add that when we established our association in February 1980 with the objective and mission of acting to better the understanding between the two worlds, the public opinion in Europe followed us with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism. We felt the need to establish bridges between the two parties rather than seeing Islam and the West confronting each other and viewing one another as a threat."

Lamand is busy preparing for the international conference and debate that his organization has planned for Nov. 10-12, 2009 in Brussels. The theme of the conference is "Islam and the West: a Partnership for the Future," which is being supported by the European Commission, the Pontifical Council for the Inter-religious Dialogue, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Muslim World League (MWL), the World Muslim Congress (Karachi), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Islamic Institute of the Paris Mosque, the Al-Azhar University (Cairo), the Oxford Center of Islamic Studies and the Jeddah-based International Islamic Forum for Dialogue.

"This is not just another conventional forum but rather a valuable encounter that seeks to build a genuine partnership founded on common international, social, cultural and economic values that are shared or could be shared, with a view to generating real cooperation between Islam and the West," Lamand said of the upcoming conference. "In a world which is in the grip of the globalization- related hazards and turmoil, this encounter may be a gateway to a new era of mutual understanding, fellowship and solidarity."

Invitations for the conference have been extended to all those seeking a mutually beneficial rapprochement between the two worlds. "Come, let us join this debate on the future and participate in the construction of a great arch of reconciliation and exchange between Islam and the West, which aims to bring together in the same spirit of concord Jews, Christians and Muslims," he said.

It is an ambitious goal, but Lamand and his organization have accomplished much in the last three decades. During that time "Islam and the West" has played important roles in representing the interest of European mosques and creating an atmosphere in which the European Muslim community could have its own religious television programming. The organization also helped to organize the first tête-à-tête at the Vatican between Pope John Paul II and Dr Abdullah Omar Nasseef, secretary-general of the Muslim World League.

For more read here.

Fight terrorism jointly: Al-Sudais

MAKKAH/MADINAH: More than three million Muslim faithful attended juma, taraweeh and Qiyamullail prayers at the Two Holy Mosques on Friday as the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah called for joint efforts to combat terrorism.

The Haram in Makkah overflowed with worshippers as tens of thousands of faithful had come to perform Umrah and attend special prayers seeking Lailat Al-Qadr, the night of power.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, accompanied by senior princes, ministers and officials, is in Makkah to spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in the vicinity of Haram.

The king has instructed government departments to mobilize their resources in the service of the guests of God who have come from different parts of the world to perform Umrah and spend the blessed days of Ramadan at the Two Holy Mosques.

Security and traffic departments have deployed more officers around the Two Holy Mosques to maintain law and order and ensure smooth flow of pilgrims. The Health Ministry has made precautionary measures to protect the health of pilgrims from contagious diseases such as swine flu. For more read here.

Should pregnant women fast in Ramadan?

The holy month of Ramadan may bring new challenges for pregnant women as they encounter a period of acute difficulty. According to the Islamic perspective, there is no obligation on pregnant women to fast in Ramadan. They can opt not to and make up the days missed later. However, if a woman is able and willing to fast - providing there is no harm to her unborn child - then she can do so.

From a purely medical perspective, doctors and health specialists believe that fasting offers physical benefits as it keeps body in a perfect state while helping to burn out unnecessary fats and additional calories.

Therefore, if a woman is healthy and there are no such complications, she can adhere to her daily routine of fasting.

In an interview with Saudi Gazette, Dr. Sumaiya Banu, a consultant gynecologist at Badr-As-Samah Clinic in Jeddah mirrored this opinion. “Fasting does not cause any problems to a child who is in the development stage of its growth and is not affected by the fast,” she said. “It all depends on how much the pregnant woman can endure; some can even fast the whole month.”

She added that those women who do plan on fasting, however, should consult their doctor before embarking as the doctor will review her general and obstetric health before approving.

“It is imperative that you consult your doctor as the doctor will monitor the growth of the baby, your weight, and only then give the green signal for fasting, considering there aren’t any complications,” she explained.

Another issue she highlighted was women in their first trimester (first three month of pregnancy) might find fasting much harder, as they will be dealing with morning sickness: nausea and excessive vomiting.

“Such women can fast on alternate days - if they are not suffering from any complications - or whenever they feel up to it. In this way, they will feel healthier and more refreshed,” she remarked.

The issue of fasting also needs to consider the pregnant woman’s built. Dr. Banu advised those women who have a slender built to not fast, as well as those who have high blood pressures, low levels of hemoglobin and suffer from epilepsy. The list also includes those who require regular medication, like insulin and vitamin injections. Pregnant women must also be aware of the risks of dehydration, which can lead to urinary tract infections, so they need to drink enough water. Dr. Banu advises the consumption of at least 2.5 liters of water to detoxify the digestive system and organs. Oily and spicy food must be avoided, like in normal days, as well as gram flour delicacies that are a regular feature at Iftars in Asian homes.

In those cases where there is a risk or possibility of premature labor, twin babies and severe morning sickness, fasting should be avoided altogether. However, any fasting woman who experiences symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, palpitations, burning in the urinary tract or sever vomiting, should break her fast immediately and consult her doctor, advised Dr. Banu. - SG

Thursday, September 10, 2009

660 Chinese Haramain train workers embrace Islam

MAKKAH – Six hundred and sixty Chinese nationals working on the Haramain train construction project have embraced Islam in a ceremony in Makkah.

Abdul Aziz Al-Khudhairi, Makkah Governorate Undersecretary, who witnessed the declaration of the shahada described the event as a “direct response to critics of the government for contracting Chinese company.”

“We received hundreds of letters opposing the signing of a contract with the Chinese company and demanding that Muslims be contracted,” Al-Khudhairi said. “Six hundred and sixty of them have now embraced Islam.

Now those who were calling for them to be dismissed are happy at their embracing Islam. The numbers will also go up, as this is only the beginning, and represents around ten percent of the 5,000 working on the Haramain train.”

Al-Khudhairi demanded that “our conduct reflect the teachings of our religion and our words should match our deeds to have an effect on people”. “We must also respect human rights,” he added.

Meanwhile, as many as 2,722 people have embraced Islam at the Cooperative Office for Call, Guidance and Awareness of Communities in Al-Taif Governorate.

The Office’s Director General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sawat pointed out that the office has also distributed during that period 1,247,694 copies of the Holy Qur’an, religious books and pamphlets as well as 225, 901 religious cassettes. –

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ramadan 2009: America and Islam

I HAD the distinct honor of being invited to address this year’s Iftar dinner at the Pentagon, together with Ms. Farah Pandith, the State Department’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities, and Ms. Dalia Mogahed, of the Gallup Corporation. In attendance were over 125 American Muslims, members of every branch of the US military, and their guests from the White House, Congress and other government agencies.

The evening provided an opportunity for reflection on the changes that are occurring among American Muslims and in the US’ relationship with Islam.

When I first came to this city, over 30 years ago, there were no Iftars, nor was there any formal recognition of Ramadan or the Eids by anyone, anywhere. I can recall going to the Reagan White House to propose a presidential Eid message and being asked to write it. And then reminding them each year after that.

The practice was broadened and institutionalized during the Clinton years, with President Bush adding an Iftar dinner, which he hosted each year of his presidency.

At this point, there are Iftars all over this city — the White House, State Department, Congress, National Security Agency, and more.

A primary factor accounting for this change and the growing recognition being given to Ramadan, is the presence and vitality of a growing Muslim community. There are thousands of Muslims serving in the US military and hundreds serving in every branch and agency of the US government.

It is not just that the US is heavily engaged in the Muslim World, it is that America’s Muslim community is no longer invisible. Their presence, hard work and contributions to our country are being recognized. And with that, their faith is being appreciated. A tribute to American Muslims, yes — but also a tribute to the capacity of America to grow and change.

In many ways, this is a unique country. One of our most enduring qualities is our openness and the absorptive character of our national identity. Despite the persistent rantings of some bigots, no one religion, ethnicity or culture defines us or limits who can be one of us. For more read here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What nourishment does the body need in Ramadan?

Make your Ramadan this year special, fruitful, and life changing.. It is a time to eat less not more food, helping the needy, organizing a food or gift drive for poor families, and strengthening family ties.

Fasting promotes healing and rejuvenation of the body, mind, and spirit. In fact, it frees up energy that your body normally spends on digesting food. The liver can break down toxic chemicals circulating in the bloodstream now with a lighter work load.

As long as you do not end your fast in a large feast, you can gain many health benefits: clearer skin, overcoming addictions, improved immunity, mental creativity, better attitude and motivation, weight loss, and lower blood pressure. Follow these steps to get through Ramadan with better health, some weight loss, and an elevated spirit:

Breaking the fast
At the call for maghreb prayer, start with a glass of water to replenish fluids, several dates, and a short prayer. A glass of water before mealtime diminishes your appetite. The sugar in dates will give you a quick boost of energy, which are much needed after a long fast. Dates are easy to digest and rich in B vitamins, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

It is difficult to get enough vitamins, anti-oxidants and fluids during Ramadan. Drink one cup of freshly squeezed orange or grape juice to stimulate digestion. Try a glass of water with the fresh juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey to cleanse the liver and help break down fat. Pineapple juice can promote weight loss and improve digestion. An excellent refreshing cold beverage common in Ramadan is licorice drink. Licorice is a mild laxative, a remedy for fever, coughs, lung problems, and ulcers, and is low in sugar. Use with caution if you have hypertension.

For more read here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Need for balance and moderation in religion

It is well-known occurence when people gather together on some matter, and that the group which becomes strong and has many followers. You will find among them the pure and the impure, the justly-balanced and the imbalanced, the extreme and the moderate.

And a well-established fact is that the extremists are more vocal and have greater acceptance, since the ones who are justly-balanced follow a middle course.

And those who seek this balanced approach are few in number, in every age and group. As for extremism, that is what most people thrive upon, and what the overwhelming majority incline towards - and this has been the path of the various sects and religions as well.

So the extremists try to monopolize their hold among people and seek to be single out in their Da’wah. Such people did not find any way to gain dominence over people except through extremism, which they achieve by degrading people and belittling them at every possible opportunity, either by their tongues, or in other ways.

And the first to open this door - the door of unleashing their tongues against those who oppose them - were the Khawarij.

This is the route through which they came to the masses, through the door of takfeer (declaring a Muslim to be an unbeliever), in order that the masses would flee from people other than them, so that they could then secure a following with the people for themselves.

Then this disease was transmitted to others, such that the extreme elements of each group started unjustly declaring Muslims to be either unbelievers, sinners, innovators or deviants ...”

1.Dealing with those who are in err or deviate

Ibn Taymiyah (d.728H) said: “The Imams of the Sunnah and the Jama’ah, and the people of knowledge and Iman (faith) have in them qualities of ‘adl (justice), ‘ilm (knowledge) and rahmah (mercy), and they know the truth which conforms to the Sunnah and which is free from innovations.

They do justice to those who deviate from the Sunnah and the Jama’ah, even if they have been wronged, just as Allah said:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well­Acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an, 5:8)

Likewise, they are merciful to Allah’s slaves, wishing for them good, Allah’s guidance and knowledge. They never intend for them any harm or evil. Rather, when they criticize them and explain to them their error, ignorance or wrong-doing, their purpose in doing so is only to clarify the truth, and to be merciful to Allah’s slaves, to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and to make the word of Allah uppermost so that the way of life becomes purely for Allah.”

For more read here.

The inner secrets of fasting

Know, that in the fast (Sawm) is a special quality that is not found in anything else. And that is its close connection to Allah, such that He says: ‘‘The Fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward for it.’’

This connection is enough to show the high status of fasting. Similarly, the Ka’bah is highly dignified due to its close connection to Him, as occurs in His statement: ‘‘And sanctify My House.’’

Indeed, the fast is an excellent act of worshipd due to two significant reasons:

1. It is a secret and hidden action, thus, no one from the creation is able to see it; therefore riya‘ (showing off) cannot enter it.

2. It is a means of subjugating the enemies of Allah. This is because the road that the enemies (of Allah) embark upon (in order to misguide the son of Adam) is that of desires. And eating and drinking strengthens the desires. There are many Prophetic traditions that indicate the merits of fasting, and they are well-known

Recommended acts of fasting

The pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and delaying in taking it are preferable, as well as hastening to break the fast and doing so with dates. Generosity in giving in charity is also recommended during Ramadan, as well as doing good deeds and giving more and more in charity. This is in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

It is also recommended to study the Qur‘an and perform I‘tikaf (seclusion for worship) during Ramadan, especially in its last 10 days, as well as exerting in doing good deeds in it. In the two Saheehs, ’Aa‘isha said: ‘‘When the last 10 days (of Ramadan) would come, the Prophet would grid up his loins’’

The scholars have mentioned two views concerning the meaning of ‘girding up his lions.’ The first is that it means the turning away from women.

The second is that it is an expression denoting his eagerness and diligence in doing good deed. They also say that the reason for his making an extra effort the last 10 days of Ramadan was due to his seeking of the Night of al-Qadr (Laylatul-Qadr). For more read here.