International Union of Muslim scholars ‘rejects normalisation with Israel and calls for release of prisoners of conscience’

International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) Secretary General Ali Al-Qaradaghi

International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) Secretary General Ali Al-Qaradaghi

The International Union of Muslim Scholars called on Thursday to reject the normalisation categorically with the Israeli entity.

This came in the concluding statement of the fifth session of the General Assembly in Istanbul that more than 1,500 scholars from more than 80 countries attended throughout six days. The meeting is the largest in the history of the Union regarding the number of participants.

The Union also called for the release of prisoners of conscience and advice, especially scholars in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and for a comprehensive reconciliation within the Islamic Ummah which suffers from a severe division among all its components.

The statement, read by the Secretary-General of the Union, Ali al-Qaradaghi, stressed that “the sanctity of blood must be preserved against murder and fighting among Muslims, and assaults on the lives, money and honour should be criminalised.”

Read: US, Israel ‘concerned’ Bin Salman may be unable to advance normalisation

It stressed the need to uphold unity, peaceful coexistence and civilised communication, and warned of the danger of separation and division.

According to the statement, the present scholars emphasised the belief in cultural and religious pluralism, away from all disputes of hegemony and the use of force in resolving international disputes, and called for civilisational dialogue instead of conflict.

They also emphasised the right to difference, responsible freedom and justice in rights and duties. The statement stressed the call for disciplined freedom, justice, eliminating injustice and tyranny by legitimate peaceful means, and the right of peoples to their freedom, dignity, and self-determination. They also stressed the importance of resistance to all forms of tyranny and exploitation, and the means of injustice and arrogance, and claimed that resistance should abide by the legitimate peaceful methods and find support from all liberation forces, according to the statement.

In its statement, the International Union of Muslim Scholars urged states which have prisoners of conscience and advice to release them, especially “Union scholars in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”  The Union believed that the Ummah should move towards comprehensive transformation by reforming its political system to be rational, based on justice and freedom, and improving its educational system in a manner that keeps up with the time and eliminates underdevelopment, addition to the need to reform its jurisprudential system to achieve renewal, its economic system to achieve comprehensive development, eliminate poverty and unemployment, and its social system.

The statement referred to the Palestinian cause saying that it is and will remain the first issue of Muslims all over the world, and it is going today through a critical historical phase and a dangerous crossroads.

It added that Al-Quds Al-Sharif is exposed to Judaization, and Zionists are constantly storming and threatening Al-Aqsa Mosque, and trying to divide it temporally and spatially. We stress that Jerusalem and its cause have a religious, historical and civilisational status. It is the heart of the Islamic Ummah and its dignity. All the projects of the Jewish occupation will not change the fact that Jerusalem is for the Islamic and Arab Ummah.

Read: Normalisation with Arabs then peace says Netanyahu

The Union called on “Arab and Islamic governments, and scientific and civil institutions to bear the entrusted responsibility towards the sanctities of the nation and its major issues, and to categorically reject normalisation.” It considered that “resisting the occupier is a legitimate right in all heavenly laws and international covenants.”Al-Qaradaghi considered that “the legendary steadfastness is the beginning of the liberation of the Palestinian land and holy sites.” He appealed to “the Islamic Ummah in all its components to support this great struggling person.” He called for “the importance of making efforts and the need to confront injustice against our brothers in Myanmar, China and other areas.”As for minorities, the Union praised “states that protect their rights in Europe and elsewhere.” It condemned violence, segregation and terrorism wherever it was, and denounced “inciting nationalistic feelings, racism, racial discrimination and Islamophobia.”

The Union called on “the Muslim minority to abide by the requirements of citizenship, the performance of duties, the respect of laws, and the orientation towards useful sciences and influential actions.”

On Thursday, the Union’s Board of Trustees re-elected Ali Mohieddin Al-Qaradaghi, Secretary-General of the Union, according to Anadolu sources. On Wednesday, the Union elected the Moroccan Ahmad Al-Raysuni as a President of the Union, successor to Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, according to sources in the Union.

More than 1,500 scholars from more than 80 countries participated in the General Assembly, the largest meeting of participants since the founding of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in 2004. The International Union of Muslim Scholars is a famous Islamic institution, founded in 2004 in Dublin, Ireland, and includes members from countries of the Muslim world, minorities and Islamic groups abroad.

It is a non-governmental institution with a legal personality and a private budget. In 2011, the headquarters of the Union was moved to the Qatari capital of Doha, by a decision of the Executive Council of the Union. The Union manages the General Assembly, the Board of Trustees, the Executive Office, the Presidency of the Union and the Secretariat. It aims to be a fundamental reference to the theory and rationalisation of the civilised project of the Muslim Ummah in the context of its peaceful coexistence with the rest of humanity.

(Source / 09.11.2018)

European Court ruling on insulting Prophet Muhammad ‘reinforces right of religious belief’

European Court of Human Rights

The Integrity Foundation for Humanitarian and Human Rights (Hayat Haq) has expressed its support for the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which considered that insulting the Prophet Muhammad does not fall under the framework of freedom of expression.

The Integrity Foundation said in a statement that “the European Court’s decision reinforces the freedom and rights of religious belief, one of the pillars of freedom in democratic societies governed by law”.

On Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that “insulting the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – does not fall within the freedom of expression, and considered that the conviction of an Austrian court for a woman accused of insulting the Holy Prophet does not violate the right to freedom of expression, nor Chapter X of the European Charter of Human Rights”.

READ: Germany suspends training for Saudi forces

The Integrity Foundation explained that the decision of the European Court comes in the context of encouraging the protection of and respect for the religious feelings of Muslims and functions mainly to promote community peace.

The Foundation noted that the European Court “has cleared up the distinction between the right to freedom of expression and what is considered an infringement of this right and the abuse of religious feelings of individuals and communities”.

The decision of the European Court of Human Rights came in support of a judicial ruling issued in Austria in 2009 against an Austrian woman who the regional courts fined €480 ($548), in addition to litigation charges, for the abuse of Prophet Muhammad.

(Source / 27.10.2018)

Tunisia’s Ennahda slams calls to boycott Hajj

Supporters of the boycott argue that the Hajj ritual has become too expensive

Muslim Hajj pilgrims try to touch Kaaba stone as they circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 22 August, 2017 [Fırat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency]

Muslim Hajj pilgrims try to touch Kaaba stone as they circumambulate around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site, located in the center of the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 22 August, 2017

Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement has decried calls aimed to urge Muslims to boycott the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Calls have recently grown in Tunisia demanding the issuance of a fatwa to prevent Tunisians from going to the holy lands in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj ritual.

Supporters argue that the ritual has become too expensive and that revenues are being used by Saudi authorities to stage wars in Muslim countries.

“These are isolated and ideological calls that only serve personal purposes,” Ennahda said in a statement.

It warned that such calls would lead to strain relations between Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Last year, nearly 11,000 Tunisian pilgrims performed the annual ritual, which costs around 12,000 Tunisian dinars ($4,583 USD).

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab coalition that launched a massive air campaign in 2015 against Shia Houthi rebels, which overran much of Yemen, including capital Sanaa a year earlier.

(Source / 01.07.2018)

Turkey: 90 years on foundation of Muslim Brotherhood

Ibrahim Mounir – 90 years on foundation of Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood group yesterday commemorated its 90th anniversary in the Turkish capital of Istanbul under the slogan “90 Years of Giving.”

The commemoration ceremony was attended by dozens of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders from around the world, including Ibrahim Mounir, the group’s deputy leader, the former head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mashal, in addition to thousands of the group members from various Arabic countries.

Since its inception on 22 March 1928, many of the Brotherhood members and leaders have been arrested and held in prisons of the Arab rulers, under the pretext that the group is involved in several terrorist attacks that are being carried out around the world.

Arab regimes, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have named the Islamist group as “terrorist group.” Many of the group’s members and leaders under a travel ban.

The Brotherhood has a presence in 52 Arabic, European, Asian and African countries. It also has presence in North and South America and Australia, according to historical and organisational sources.

(Source / 02.04.2018)

#3rdMarch1924 – 93 years without the Caliphate

[For a detailed historical insight into the fall of the Caliphate watch the video above, 1914; The shaping of the Modern Muslim World by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi]

“We must put an end to anything which brings about any Islamic unity between the sons of the Muslims. The situation now is that Turkey is dead and will never rise again, because we have destroyed its moral strength, the Caliphate and Islām.”

“This bold statement, or rather stark warning, was allegedly made by the former British Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, at the House of Commons after the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, when the Ottomans were defeated in World War One. The reason why Lord Curzon’s statement should be taken with so much weight (if it is true) is because it correlates with the following ḥadīth of Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

“The knots of Islām will be undone one by one, each time a knot is undone the next one will be grasped, the first to be undone will be the ruling and the last will be the prayer.”[2]

Today marks 93 years since the destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate, heralding arguably the darkest chapter in Islamic history after the death of Rasūl’Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). The Ummah continues to suffer from the after-effects of this calamitous event, for the very reason, which Lord Curzon mentioned – the Muslims currently have no collective “moral strength”, which is embodied in the form of an inclusive Islamic polity. The Middle East and North Africa were subsequently carved up between Britain and France, as Mark Sykes and Francois Georges Picot planned the future of the former Ottoman territories with a pen and ruler. What followed since was an uninterrupted chain of secular dictatorships and petrol rich sheikhdoms. Many of these regimes came to power via military coups, dressed up as pseudo-liberators, whilst the Gulf monarchies unashamedly enjoyed the fruits of their forefathers’ betrayal during WW1.

The history lesson aside, the concept of the Caliphate, and the general Muslim populous’ desire for it, continues to be maligned by academics, journalists, Western policy makers and governments. Secular liberals and modernists, both Muslim and non-Muslim, from across the political spectrum, appear to have adopted the attitude of Lord Curzon, but with rehashed rhetoric that a Caliphate is simply incompatible with the modern world, rendering it barbaric and despotic. The irony is that they all seem to conveniently forget that for over a thousand years Islamic civilisation under successive Caliphates, from the Umayyads to the Ottomans, led humanity in science, philosophy, arts and technology. Furthermore, agenda-driven critics and muscular ideologues also overlook that not only did every Caliphate have the trappings of a modern state, but they were the beacon and example of modernity for their relevant period in history. Again, I cannot do justice in explaining Islām’s contribution to the world as we know it today, when libraries are filled with books and historical testimonies of non-Muslims who substantiate this undeniable fact.

Also read: The Caliphate Chicken & Egg

However, it must be stated from the onset that the Caliphate is not regarded as a utopian state, conceptually or in practice. This was never the case when Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) ruled over Madīna, or when the Khulafāh Rāshidūn (Rightly Guided Caliphs) expanded the Caliphate, or those that came after. In fact, when the Caliphate entered hereditary rule and kingship, there were cases of internal corruption, theological deviation and infighting. Rather, this polity is what followed the end of Prophethood, and the practical manifestation of Allāh’s (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) divine law on Earth. This is evident in the following ḥadīth of Rasūl’Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

“The Prophets used to manage the political affairs of Banī Isrāīl. Whenever a Prophet died another Prophet succeeded him, but there will be no Prophets after me; instead there will be Caliphs, and they will number many”. The Companions asked: what then do you order us? He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “fulfil allegiance to them one after the other. Give them their dues. Verily Allāh will ask them about what He entrusted them with”.[3]

The virtues and societal conditions sought from the Caliphate, deduced from the classical scholars after scrutinising the Sharīʿah, is to establish social justice, to protect the honour and property of its citizens, and the preservation of the Islamic way of life. Now this may be a sour grape for the intolerant ‘tolerant’ who stubbornly comprehend the Islamic system through the lenses of a secular paradigm, assuming that liberal democracy is the default benchmark against which every governing system should be compared to. But there is also a political context to this ideological objection of the Caliphate, and that is the conflation of Europe’s systematic separation of the ‘Church and state’. This period of secularisation, which is symbolised in the era known as the ‘Enlightenment’, has never occurred in the Muslim world during the existence of a Caliphate, nor would it be befitting.

Those that attempt and conflate Islām and western Christianity under the arbitrary term “religion” invariably superimpose the pre-reformation Christian historical baggage onto Islām. The fact of the matter is that Islamic history is not plagued with the same repressive church-like institutions that stifled human advancement, and the classical Islamic governance already secured the rights that the Enlightenment sought to secure, and more. The notion of a Caliph is an employee that represents and is accountable to the people, and Islamic history shows a level of accountability that we still have not yet seen in Western politics. Despite this, there were attempts during the 19thcentury to minimise the legislative powers of the Caliph, and to modernise certain aspects of the declining Ottoman Caliphate, to make it more ‘palatable’ with its thriving European contemporaries; but the idea of a systematic separation of “religion and state” was unthinkable.

Additionally, Islām’s worldview that was represented by the Caliphate had always clashed with other empires it encountered; from the Persians, Byzantines, Mongols, Crusaders, right up to the imperial powers of Europe. Hence, after the destruction of the Caliphate on 3rd March 1924, Christian Europe had successfully eradicated the only superpower that it had been in a constant state of conflict with for nearly a millenium. Of course, Europe had suffered centuries of bloody internal wars, but the fight against the ‘Mohammedans’ was a unique one due to the cultural and religious dissimilarity.

After the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1989, Francis Fukuyama had arrogantly stated that humanity had reached the “end of history” – implying that liberal democracy was the only natural form of government to have survived the testing waves of global change.[4] Fukuyama was clearly naive in his assessment of the world, because he assumed that in the absence of the Caliphate, the Islamic mind would also be non-existent – he was grossly mistaken. The 9/11 attacks, and the subsequent US-led ‘war on terror’ that followed is a testimony to this. After the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rise of armed groups in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, it became unavoidably clear that the desire for the return of the Caliphate was very much existent. The Arab Spring, or what remains of it, is another example of the Islamic sentiment of the general Muslim masses in wanting Islām to play a greater role in society. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and more evidently in Syria, are prime examples of this. The revolutions which spread like wildfire in 2011 initially began as a grassroots movement, in order to attain self-determination in a region, which had been ruled by Western-backed dictators for decades. Unfortunately, with the interference of Western powers and their regional proxies, the sincere efforts of those who lost their lives during the uprisings, had been sidelined and forgotten by political opportunists in search for power. Naturally, cosmetic changes were made to the ‘new’ post-Arab Spring countries, but in nearly every case, the oppressive regimes and state apparatus remained.

The emergence of the group known as ISIS, which claimed to have restored the Caliphate on 29 June 2014, was a dream come true for the West. The former chief of the British Armed forces, Sir General Richard Dannatt, justified the occupation of Afghanistan, and Britain’s involvement in the war on terror by stating that it was to prevent:

“…the historic Islamic caliphate, running through south Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and up through south and south-east Europe.”[5]

Lo and behold, the West had at last found its medieval Caliphate in the form of ISIS, which in reality was a doctor’s sick note to continue its destructive foreign policy in the Middle East. The criminality of ISIS has been used as a stick by Western politicians to beat the Muslims with, and a tool to demonise the noble concept of the Caliphate. The media continues to refer to ISIS as an “Islamic State”, knowing that the majority of Muslims, including likeminded groups who share the same goal, have unequivocally rejected their claim to the Caliphate.

The abhorrent actions of ISIS cannot be used to pressure Muslims into rejecting the concept of the Caliphate for two very simple reasons. Firstly, there is a unanimous consensus amongst classical and contemporary scholars within Sunni Islām, that the Caliphate is the ideal form of governance for Muslims, and to work for its re-establishment is an obligation. However, Muslims will inevitably differ in the methodology of how the Caliphate should be restored due to theological and political differences, but the scriptural evidences and scholarly works emphasising its importance is too overpowering. Secondly, the fact that Rasūl’Allāh’s (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) burial was delayed until a Caliph was appointed could not have been a more significant indication of how serious the Companions (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) took the matter of the Caliphate. “The aforementioned reasons, coupled with the dire situation the Muslim world is currently in, as a result of seeking liberation by adopting failed secular ideologies, the only real option remaining for the Ummah is to return to a system which, for all its previous mistakes, protected Islām and safeguarded its citizens from harm.

Those who are adamant that the Caliphate is incompatible with the modern world, and to anticipate its return is a romanticised idea, need to appreciate from an Islamic perspective, that the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) has prophesised its permanent return,[6] and Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has promised the Muslims authority on Earth.[7]

Notes:

[1] Musnad Aḥmed, ḥadīth no.31

[2] Saḥīḥ Muslim

[3] https://ps321.community.uaf.edu/files/2012/10/Fukuyama-End-of-history-article.pdf

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/dec/20/faces-2009-richard-dannatt-tory

[5] Musnad Aḥmed, ḥadīth no 273[6] Al-Qur’ān, 24:55

This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2016

(Source / 03.03.2018)

Thousands celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday in Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinians celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birth anniversary of the beloved Prophet Mohammad in Jerusalem on 30 November 2017

Thousands of Muslims in occupied Jerusalem have celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad, Quds Press has reported. The celebrations took place on Thursday in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinians and Muslims from around the world arrived at the mosque in the early morning to participate in the programme announced by the Department of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Jerusalem. The celebrations included the singing of religious songs. Sweets were distributed amongst those taking part.

The markets in the Old City of Jerusalem also witnessed an increase in business activity as thousands of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied West Bank also visited the city to mark the occasion.

Meanwhile, teams of Scouts toured the streets before they marched towards the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa through the Old City gates.

(Source / 01.12.2017)

Saudi Crown Prince: Biggest Danger of Terrorism is Distorting the Name of Islam

Saudi Crown Prince and Ministers of Defense during the inauguration of meeting of IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense opened on Sunday the inaugural meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) Ministers of Defense Council under the slogan “Allied Against Terrorism” with participation of the ministers of Defense of the Islamic State’s Coalition and international delegations.

The meeting marks the official launch of the IMCTC which will discuss the fight against the financing of terrorism and the identification of future mechanisms and frameworks that will guide the efforts of Islamic countries to eliminate terrorism, and unifying efforts to maintain international peace and security.

The Crown Prince said in his inauguration speech that the biggest threat of terrorism is the distortion it has imposed on Islam.

The prince also highlighted that today more than 40 Islamic countries strongly reaffirm their commitment to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

“IMCTC members have gathered in Riyadh to pledge to do all that we can until terrorism is uprooted and is erased from the face of the Earth” the Crown Prince said.

He also sent his condolences to the brothers in Egypt for the attack in Sinai.

IMCTC has established the Counter Terrorism Center as its operational arm. The Center’s mission is to build up the member country’s Counter Terrorism capacity, exchange global best practice on specific IMCTC initiatives and create coordinated efforts across the four IMCTC domains; ideology, communications, counter terrorist financing, and military.

Two years ago in December 2015, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the formation of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) to form a unified Pan-Islamic front against terrorism and to reinforce solidarity and collaboration among coalition member countries to present a unified front against terrorist organizations trying to tarnish the name of Islam.

(Source / 26.11.2017)

6 African Muslims Who Brought Islam to America

(An older article)

6 African Muslims Who Brought Islam to America

As a Muslim of West African origin living in the United States, my Muslim-ness is always contested by Europeans, Americans, and even clueless Africans. They ask me questions like:

“Are you Muslim?” and “Were you born Muslim?”

I get asked these questions a lot by Americans because Islam is something that was made to sound foreign to them.

“I’ve never seen a Muslim from that country wear Hijab.”

Believe it or not, many Africans ask this question as if they are well-travelled.

Is your country predominantly Muslim?”

I get this question from European Muslims as if they had just discovered ‘water on Mars’. In their minds, Black Muslims are an oddity. Because I have been around many of them, I now know the reasoning behind asking such questions. They have the idea that All of Africa is uncivilized and only non-Muslims live there.

The strange thing is many of them have heard of Mansa Musa, the Malian Muslim King. Why they won’t add two and two together to infer that Islam has always been an old religion in Africa and in the USA, I don’t know. In addition, the US census has a record of approximately 300 slaves that had a Muslim surname who fought during the Civil War for freedom.

Throughout all these irritating questions, I try to keep my cool. I keep the frustrated comments, I want to utter, in my head, smile, and move on. However, what I want to tell them is Islam came to West Africa not too long after the 10th century. My ancestors were traders and this was how Islam came to us Mandinga. Islam has always been a religion of business. Furthermore, this also means that many West Africans were exposed to Islam before it was spread to Europe during the Ottoman empire and America via the Moriscos and the Transatlantic slaves.

According to Lost Islamic History, one example of an African Muslim who brought Islam to America is Bilali Muhammad. There are also others like Ayub Job Djallo, Yarrow Mamood, Ibrahim Abdulrahman ibn Sori,  Ummar ibn Sayyid (Omar ibn Said) and Salih Bilali.

1. Bilali Muhammad

bilali-232x300

Born around 1770 in the area of Africa which are known as Guinea and Sierra Leone today, Bilali Muhammad was an elite of the Fulani tribe. He knew Arabic and was knowledgeable in hadith, tafsir, and shariah matters. Because he was educated, he was allowed to rise in status in the slave community. Bilali Muhammad even wrote a 13 page manuscript on Islamic law from the Maliki Madhab called the Bilali Document that he gifted to his friend before his death. The manuscript was thought to be a diary until it was deciphered at al-Azhar university in Cairo. His manuscript is also known as Ben Ali Diary or Ben Ali Journal. Read more here.

2. Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

1-Ayuba

Ayub Job Djallo was born in Senegal from a respected Fulbe Muslim family. He was also known as Job Ben Solomon. He wrote some memoirs and was a slave in Maryland for a couple years. Sold into slavery as a result of a confusion, he eventually returned home in Senegal to his aristocratic roots still a Muslim. You can read more on him here.

3. Yarrow Mamout

2-Yarrow

Born in Guinea, Yarrow Mamood was born in 1736 and died in 1823 a free man. He arrived at the age of 14 years old in Maryland with his sister. Knowledgeable in Arabic, he practiced Islam openly until his death. Read more on him here.

4. Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori

3-Ibrahim

Ibrahim Abdulrahman ibn Sori was born in Guinea. He was also known as The Prince Amonsgt Slaves. Son of King Sori from the village of Timbo, Abdulrahman was a military leader. He became a slave as a result of an ambush and sold to a slave owner by the name of Thomas Foster in Mississipi. Ibn Sori got married and had children. Abdulrahman worked for 40 years before his release. He died during his trip back. He had even wrote a letter to his family in West Africa in Arabic which was read by the Sultan of Morocco Abderrahmane who found it deeply touching and petitioned U.S. President John Quincy Adams to release him.

5. Omar ibn Said

4-Umar

Ummar ibn Sayyid was born in Fuuta Toro, Senegal in 1770. Captured in 1807, he became known as Omar Moreau and Prince Omeroh according to Muslimofusa.Though there are reports that say he converted to Christianity later in his life, many sources say that there was more than met the eye in his situation. Nevertheless, he was known to be an Islamic scholar, knowledgeable in many fields from arithmetic to theology who wrote several Arabic texts.

6. Salih Bilali

5-Salih

Salih Bilali was born in Mali and captured in 1782. It was reported that his last words on his death bead were the shahada according to the Abolition Institute. Robert Abbot, founder of the Chicago Defender, is his descendant.

In conclusion, all the continents contributed to the spread of Islam, Africa included. So how can they deny such a legacy?

(Source / 22.10.2017)

New initiative brings Quran to Gaza’s hearing-impaired

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — In an attempt to teach the Holy Quran to the deaf in the Gaza Strip, the Future Society for Deaf Adults (FSDA) offers religious and awareness courses aimed at interpreting the Quran using sign language. The initiative was first launched on Feb. 2, 2013. Courses are offered for deaf youth ages 12-18, targeting 500 deaf people in Gaza.

The courses are funded by the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Foundation and are given at the Dar al Quran al Karim Wa Sunnah, which has 14 branches in the Gaza Strip. Each class consists of 20 students.

Mervat Hamdan, 14, is one of the students who enrolled in the courses. She was able to memorize a few verses of the Quran.

Hamdan talked to Al-Monitor using sign language; her teacher Mervat Sayam interpreted the conversation. “I am very happy to have memorized a few Quranic verses. “The FSDA offered us a booklet with image interpretations of the Holy Quran in sign language and text in Braille, as I also suffer from impaired vision,” she said.

“At first, I had some difficulties in learning the Quranic verses and the hadiths. I did not find much encouragement from the people around me, as they do not know sign language to try to give me advice. My mother was the one to encourage me to keep trying and to concentrate on memorization,” she added.

“Every word in the Quran has a special sign that helps explain it. As for the process of memorizing, the Quranic verses are written on the blackboard in front of the students and then they are explained,” Sayam told Al-Monitor.

Sayam explained, “The courses start off with giving general information about the number of Quranic verses and their parts. The memorizing process is done through tutorial videos on LCD screens, explaining the verse using sign language.”

FSDA President Adham Eid told Al-Monitor, “Ten years ago, most of the deaf Palestinians did not know who the Prophet was. However, today things have changed with the religious awareness courses in sign language, which were diligently prepared by Jordan’s Conservation of the Holy Quran Society with the cooperation of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and a professional team of sign language interpreters over the past five years.”

Eid added that one of the most prominent advantages of this initiative is the unification of sign language in interpreting the Holy Quran; in other words, the Quranic verses are being interpreted using the same signs and body postures.

According to Eid, on the social level the courses help integrate the deaf better in society, as they are now receiving religious education, which is a source of pride for some parents who used to hide their hearing-impaired children at home.

Eid added that students are provided with CDs with images that show sign language and Braille books.

According to statistics by the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2015, there are 2,409 people above 18 and 1,243 under 18 who suffer from hearing impairment in the Gaza Strip.

The only school in Gaza for the deaf is the Mustafa Sadeq Rifai Secondary School, which counts 160 students since its opening in February 2011. Female and male students are separated in the school. In 2015, the school graduated 130 students, who passed the official baccalaureate exams.

Although there should be more efforts employed to promote and start initiatives for deaf people in Gaza, teaching the Quran is seen as a major step, especially for many who were introduced for the first time to Quranic verses through this initiative.

(Source / 30.08.2017)

Awqaf Ministry announces arrangements for Haj season

Hassan al-Saifi about Haj

Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs in Gaza announced the arrangements and procedures to be pursued for the Haj season this year.

The Ministry’s Undersecretary Hassan al-Saifi said in a press conference, held in the Ministry of Information headquarters on Tuesday morning, that Gaza’s pilgrims will leave to Egypt on Monday morning, August 14, in order to travel to Saudi Arabia the next morning via Cairo Airport. The pilgrims are slated to return to Gaza on Sunday, September 10, he added.

Saifi pointed to other details on the visas and passports as well as the flight tickets and accommodation of pilgrims during their stay in Saudi Arabia. The cost of Haj this year was estimated at over $3,000, he pointed out.

(Source / 02.08.2017)