Tag Archives: Islam

Despite COVID-19 threat, Muslims celebrate Eid Worldwide.


Muslims around the world began marking a sombre Eidul Fitr Sunday, many under coronavirus lockdown, but lax restrictions offer respite to worshippers in some countries despite fears of skyrocketing infections.

The festival, one of the most important in the Muslim calendar marking the end of the holy month of Ramazan, is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family feasts and shopping for new clothes, gifts and sweet treats.

But this year, the celebration is overshadowed by the fast-spreading respiratory disease, with many countries tightening lockdown restrictions after a partial easing during Ramadan led to a sharp spike in infections.

Further dampening the festive spirit, multiple countries — from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Turkey and Syria — have banned mass prayer gatherings, a festival highlight, to limit the spread of the disease.

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Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, began a five-day, round-the-clock curfew from Saturday after infections more than quadrupled since the start of Ramadan to around 68,000 –- the highest in the Gulf.

Eid prayers will be held at the two holy mosques in the cities of Makkah and Madinah “without worshippers”, authorities said on Saturday, citing a royal decree.

Makkah’s Grand Mosque has been almost devoid of worshippers since March, with a stunning emptiness enveloping the sacred Kaaba.

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Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, will reopen to worshippers only after Eid, its governing body said.

In Lebanon, the highest Sunni religious authority has announced the reopening of mosques only for Friday prayers. Worshippers, however, will be subject to temperature checks and sanitary controls before they enter.

– Fears of ‘new peak’ –

Meanwhile, Muslims across Asia — from Indonesia to Pakistan, Malaysia and Afghanistan — thronged markets for pre-festival shopping, flouting coronavirus guidelines and sometimes even police attempts to disperse large crowds.

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“For over two months my children were homebound,” said Ishrat Jahan, a mother of four, at a bustling market in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

“This feast is for the kids, and if they can’t celebrate it with new garments, there is no point in us working so hard throughout the year.”

In Indonesia –- the world’s most populous Muslim nation — people are turning to smugglers and fake travel documents to get around bans on the annual end-of-Ramadan travel that could send infections soaring. 

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More than 3,500 Tunisians who travelled home just ahead of the holiday will have to spend it away from their families, forced to quarantine for two weeks in hotels after arriving from abroad.

Atef Maherzi, a doctor repatriated Tuesday from Saudi Arabia, said she would be catching up with family over Skype, foregoing her usual role of host.

“Usually, I’m the mistress of the house, but this time, my husband will receive the guests alone.”

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The COVID-19 death tolls across the Middle East and Asia have been lower than in Europe and the United States, but numbers are rising steadily, sparking fears the virus may overwhelm often underfunded healthcare systems.

Iran, which has experienced the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak, has called on its citizens to avoid travel during Eid as it battles to control infection rates.

Iran shut schools and places of worship and banned inter-city travel for the Persian New Year holidays in March, but the restrictions were recently eased.

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Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that the country was focusing hard on avoiding “new peaks of the disease” caused by people “not respecting health regulations”.

The exact date of Eid has yet to be set in the Shiite-majority country, but will likely be Monday, in line with the Shiite community’s celebrations in Iraq, as announced by top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Sunnis in Iraq will mark the start of the festival on Sunday.

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– ‘Comedy night’ –

The neighbouring United Arab Emirates has tightened its lockdown, with the night-time curfew starting at 8:00 pm (1600 GMT) instead of 10:00 pm during Ramadan. 

But that has not stopped some families from planning getaways to luxury beachfront hotels in Ajman or Ras Al-Khaimah emirates.

However, Muslims in many countries are set for frugal celebrations amid growing financial distress.

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The twin shocks of coronavirus restrictions and falling oil prices have plunged the region into the worst economic crisis in decades.

The coronavirus restrictions have hit businesses hard, including retailers who would normally be preparing for the festive rush, as Muslims save their money for masks, gloves and other COVID-19 protective gear.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, Eid shoppers rummaged through flea markets for clothes at bargain prices as the war-ravaged and sanctions-hit country grapples with a much more entrenched economic crisis.

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“The flea market is the only place I can buy something new to wear for the Eid holidays,” 28-year-old Sham Alloush told AFP.

“Had it not been for this place, I wouldn’t have been able to buy new clothes at all.”

But promising some laughs in these dire times, 40 Muslim comedians from across the world will host a virtual show on Sunday called “The Socially Distant Eid Comedy Night”.

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“This Ramadan has been particularly difficult for communities around the world,” said Muddassar Ahmed, head of the Concordia Forum, the organiser of the event.

“We’re proud to be pulling together some of the brightest Muslim comedic talent to entertain those celebrating the Eid festival at home, people looking to learn a little bit about Muslim culture, or really anyone in need of a good laugh.”


#Newsworthy..

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Ramadan in Nigeria starts on Friday, April 24th – Sultan, NSC


Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has announced that Ramadan will start on Friday, April 24.

The NSCIA President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, announced this on Thursday.

He confirmed that the new moon was sighted on Thursday, meaning that Ramadan will start on Friday in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan also starts on Friday in Saudi Arabia and most Arab countries.

Other Arab countries who have also announced that Ramadan will start on Friday include Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority.

The Gulf sultanate of Oman announced the crescent was not spotted, thus Ramadan will begin on Saturday.

During Ramadan, Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to sunset.

Though Muslims also mark the month by performing special evening prayers, known as the taraweeh, the lockdown imposed in many countries amid the novel coronavirus pandemic would not make that possible.

Many countries, including the Sultan of Sokoto, had asked the faithful to pray in their homes.


#Newsworthy…

Did Nollywood Actress, Regina Daniels dump Christianity for Islam?


Nollywood actress Regina Daniels has been accused on social media of dumping Christianity and embracing Islam because of money.

This was after the actress shared a picture showing her dressed in an attire that made her look like a Muslim lady.

“If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterfly”, she captioned the picture.

Some fans of hers who reacted to the picture expressed their displeasure as they alleged that she has dumped Christianity for Islam.

They also stated that their love for the actress which didn’t diminish when she got married to billionaire Ned Nwoko, has now ended because of her alleged new-found religion.

Doncyon1010 wrote: “I will unfollow you because of this. Imagine ntakiri Rgeina Daniels is now a Muslim”

Zeecyril: “I use to like you before but not anymore. Not because of who you married but because you denounced your religion for the love of money”.


#Newsworthy…

Nigeria: Sultan of Sokoto trash Islamic leaders over misconduct.


The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, expressed anger over the attitude of some Muslim clerics for misleading their followers over the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the country.

The sultan, who is also the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, was particularly sad that some Muslim clerics were going against measures put in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 across the land.


He condemned the attitudes of the clerics, warning that the coronavirus was real and that adequate precautionary measures must be adhered to.

The leader of Izalatu Islamic sect in Plateau State, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, had in a preaching told his followers that there was nothing like the deadly coronavirus ravaging the world.


Jingir had said it was a western conspiracy to stop Muslims from performing their religious rites, noting that the virus was a lie.

The sect leader had stated this during a sermon on an Izala TV, monitored in Kaduna penultimate Tuesday.


Apart from that, two Islamic clerics were caught while conducting the Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in the Kaduna North Local Government of the state.

This was despite the curfew imposed on the state by the Kaduna State Government to tackle the spread of COVID-19.


The Sultan chastised the Muslim clerics, urging them to desist from misleading the Muslim community on the deadly virus.

The Sultan described the attitude of some of the Islamic clerics as unfortunate and myopic.


He noted that it was sheer ignorance for any Islamic cleric to claim there was nothing like coronavirus currently ravaging the entire world.

The Sultan, who spoke through the JNI Secretary General, Dr Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, in a statement, also warned that the Muslim ummah (community) must never allow a repeat of what happened in Italy in Nigeria.


The statement read in part, “Jama’atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, JNI, is once again saddened with the recent unfortunate developments of misleading the Muslim Ummah (Community) by some sections of ‘Ulama (preachers) over the coronavirus prevalence.

“We must as an Ummah avoid a repeat of the current trend in Italy, which was partly due to non-adherence to expert advice over the pandemic. Allah, the most wise says “…So ask those who know if you know not” Q16:43. Therefore, we should all bear in mind that knowledge is an amanah (trust) and must be safeguarded and delivered as such, thus the need for this statement.


“One may not be wrong to conclude that the action of some of the ‘Ulama clearly depicts sheer whims and caprices of their myopic worldview, stark ignorance of reality based on genuine knowledge and medical scholarship.

“It is, however, regrettable that as the negative actions of such preachers incite innocent Muslims, who are unaware of the serious health implications of adhering to such empty dispositions that invariably endanger humanity. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the issue of plague and/or pandemic is not new throughout human history, either at various times or places, the Muslim world inclusive.

“It is thus sheer monumental ignorance to falsely claim that the pandemic of the coronavirus does not exist and that it is a lie and a shadow of a ghost. Such lamentable utterances leave much to be desired by any scholar that is worth being called a scholar. Moreover, the matter is a documented fact whose medical precedents have been set in curbing its tide in human history.

“Therefore, the current position of government is not a new standpoint to curtail the spread of the infection. Rather, new methods of mitigating it and nipping it in the bud emerged in this contemporary world we live in, as a result of scholarly findings.”


#Newsworthy…

What Brought Islam? [History]


Islam is the Arabic word for ’submission’, in the sense of surrendering to God’s will. It is the religion of about 1.6 billion people around the globe as of 2010, according to the Pew Research Center, which also ranks the Abrahamic, monotheistic faith as the fastest growing religion in the world.


How Islam Began

It was in the small desert town of Mecca, located in what is now Saudi Arabia and surrounded by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires, that Islam emerged in the early 7th century through revelations that Muslims believe were made to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, by the archangel Gabriel – Jibril in Arabic.

Muhammad began receiving revelations in 610 while he was meditating in a cave on the summit of Mount Hira, outside Mecca. Muslims believe that those revelations are the words of God, conveyed by Gabriel, and that they constitute the Koran, Islam’s holy book.

Muhammad only confided in his wife and close family and friends that he had received the revelations, and it was more than two years later that he started preaching publicly.

A Religio-Social Reform Movement
According to certain historians and religious scholars, such as Vernon O. Egger, Islam emerged essentially as a ‘religio-social reform movement’, as its leader grew up an impoverished orphan who lived with his grandfather, then with an uncle after his grandfather’s death.

At the time, Mecca was home to the pagan Kaaba shrine and the few hundred pagan idols surrounding it, as well as a regional trade centre with unequal distribution of wealth between a rich elite and poor, underprivileged families and clans. Muhammad called on the people of Arabia “to share wealth and create a society where the weak and vulnerable were treated with respect”, according to Karen Armstrong, who emphasized Muhammad’s social message in her book on Islam’s history. It is little wonder that the early believers – with the exception of a few prominent Meccans such as Uthman ibn Affan – came mainly from among the poor, such as freed slaves and those who belonged to lesser clans and families.

The staunchest opposition to Muhammad’s message came from his own tribe, the Quraysh, which was the dominant tribe in Mecca at the time. Muhammad belonged to the Quraysh’s Banu Hashim clan, a prominent but not the most important clan in the tribe. Scholars and observers have put forward various possible explanations for such opposition. Egger and Armstrong, for example, attribute it to the nature of Muhammad’s teachings.

Egger wrote, ‘Muhammad’s teachings were particularly galling to the aristocrats of Mecca. On the one hand, he used the traditional value of generosity against them and exposed the fact that they had betrayed those [tribal] values by becoming greedy and stingy; on the other hand, he turned upside down the traditional criterion for status, which was a prominent position in a powerful tribe. According to him, individuals with undistinguished backgrounds who submitted to God and His Prophet would fare better in eternity than the most revered tribal leader who rejected the new teaching.’

The renowned Montgomery Walt highlighted the threat Muhammad posed to the political power and influence of rich merchants: they feared that if he succeeded in attracting a mass following, he would acquire political power and possibly run Mecca’s affairs.

Their fears were eventually realized because Muhammad would indeed later control Mecca and all of Arabia. What’s more, Muslims after his death would form an empire that would stretch over thousands of miles.

Hijra: The Muslim Era Begins

Muhammad’s main protector in Mecca, his uncle Ali ibn Abi Talib, passed away in 619. Following his death, the Quraysh’s persecution (e.g. economic boycott and physical beatings) of Muhammad’s followers intensified. It was in 622 that the early Muslim community took a step that would become a turning point in Islam’s history: the hijra (migration), moving to Yathrib, which is today the Saudi Arabian city of Medina. Medina is located around 220 miles to Mecca’s north.

Islam had already started to make its way to the city by 620, after a group of its people came to Mecca and heard Muhammad preaching. Later, a full delegation representing Medina’s Arabs visited the prophet, expressed their conversion to Islam and invited him to move to their city. Vowing to obey him, they asked him to arbitrate in the city’s tribal conflicts.

The hijra marked the beginning of the ‘Muslim era’. In fact, the year of the hijra (622 in the Gregorian Christian calendar) marks the first year in the Islamic calendar, also known as the hijri calendar.

In Medina, Muhammad’s followers increased and he became recognized as the city’s political leader. He set about organizing the affairs of a new community, which comprised the immigrant Muslims (known in Islamic tradition as muhajiroon), Medina’s converts to Islam (ansar) and the Jewish tribes that were already well established in the city.

The Koranic verses that Muhammad said were revealed to him while he was in Medina focus on rulings and legislations that were relevant to his new role in running the affairs of a growing community.

Yet the city’s Jewish tribes were not always comfortable with this role. Perhaps, according to some sources, the Jewish tribes were unhappy about the new balance of power he created after mediating between the city’s tribes and clansii, who had been engaged in a long conflict prior to his arrival.

Some historians also attribute the Jews’ hostility toward Muhammad to the religious differences between them. The Jews did not accept that the new prophet was not Jewish. Muhammad, for his part, developed a more negative position toward the ‘people of the book’ (Christians and Jews who had scriptures) after the hijra.

According to many sources, members of Medina’s Jewish clans planned to kill Muhammad more than once. Muhammad expelled two Jewish clans from the city. Amid the Battle of Trench between the Muslims and the Quraysh/Mecca, and after the Jewish Banu Qurayzah clan betrayed an agreement with the Muslims and sided with the Quraysh, Muslims in Medina killed the male members of the clan and enslaved the women and children. This went down in history as a particularly controversial incident.

While in Medina, Muhammad engaged in continuous conflict with the Quraysh/Mecca, marked by a series of three battles, until his home town eventually fell to the Muslims in 630, following Meccans’ violation of the bilateral treaty of Hudaybiyah. By the time Muhammad died in 632, the Muslims controlled all of the Hijaz, the region that makes up most of the western part of modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Following his death, four of Muhammad’s early companions succeeded him in ruling the Muslim community, which would continue to expand to include Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan and more. These successors were given the title of caliph. During the reigns of the third and fourth caliphs, disagreements broke out among the Muslim leaders, resulting in civil war and the emergence of the Shiite Muslim sect as distinct from the Sunni sect. To this day, Shiites continue to play major religious and political roles in the Muslim world, despite being in the minority.

The Islamic Doctrine
Scholars agree on a number of key fundamentals that characterize Islam. They include, but are not limited to, the following.

Abrahamic Tradition

Muslims believe that Muhammad is God’s messenger, the last in a series of prophets God sent to complete or ‘seal’ God’s message. They believe in the prophets that preceded him, such as Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. Most scholars agree that Islam belongs to, or is at least in general harmony with, the Judeo-Christian, Abrahamic tradition.

Muslims, however, claim that any rejection of Muhammad’s prophethood and teachings on the part of Jews and Christians is due to ‘distortions’ that accumulated in the Christian and Jewish traditions over time. The three religions have numerous key concepts in common, such as monotheism, the importance of giving charity to the poor, bodily resurrection after death, the last judgement, heaven, hell and Satan.

Tawhid: God’s Oneness

Many scholars have pinpointed tawhid as the most important concept for Muslims. Muslims are required to acknowledge God’s oneness as the only God (al-ilah in Arabic), which is why there are Arabic-speaking Christians who call God Allah as well). Allah Is the greatest, to whom all the virtuous traits are attributed in their utmost, absolute form: he is the most merciful, most generous and the most just.

Allah has no wife or offspring. He and only he may be worshipped. Islam strictly rejects all forms of polytheism and paganism. This particularly distinguished Muhammad’s message when he started preaching in Mecca because the Quraysh already believed in God, but they worshipped him through idols. Subsequently, Muslims believe that there is no religious authority (e.g. a clergy) between individuals and God.

The Koran (Quran)

In a poetic language and literary style, the Koran tells stories of the past and makes vows about the future, addressing Muhammad and Muslims at times and humankind at other times. It also lays out a number of rulings on how Muslims should live their lives and organize their community, and it describes God’s traits, such as mercy, justice and power.

There is a near-consensus among Muslims that the Koran is the word of God, delivered through revelations that Muhammad received via Gabriel. Many observers have noted that almost all Muslims around the world agree on the authenticity of the Koran, despite their differences and disagreements on scores of issues, both minor and major, and despite their divisions across sects and groups.

Many historians have also agreed on the Koran’s authenticity as a historical source on Muhammad’s life, even if they find it unsatisfactory on its own and in need of supplementary sources. Montgomery Watt describes the Koran as ‘contemporary and authentic’ as a ‘primary source for the life of Muhammad’, even if it is ‘fragmentary’ and ‘difficult to interpret’.

This on the Koran’s fragmentation can be understood in the context of the book’s division into 114 surahs (chapters) that were collected and organized according to Muhammad’s instructions, which is not the same order as the chapters were reportedly revealed to him.

Another historian, F.E. Peters, wrote, ‘There is almost universal consensus that the Koran is authentic, that the text that stands before us is the product of one man.’

Obviously, secularist and non-Muslim historians who consider the Koran authentic do not see it as the word of God, as Muslims do; rather, they consider it as a credible source for what Muhammad said during his life.


#Newsworthy…

Emir Sanusi: We Don’t Beg In Islam

…beg government not individuals and relatives


The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that begging of alms was not allowed in Islam.

The traditional ruler and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria said this at the National Conference on Alarammomi (Qur’anic teachers) on Saturday.

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He also stated that beggars should direct their entreaties to the government and not the people around them.

He said, “Begging is disallowed in Islam and if you must beg for alms beg the government, not individuals or relatives.


“It is better for you to cut firewood and sell to earn a living than to beg.

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“Those who beg or seek assistance from individuals will be resurrected on the day of judgment without meat/flesh on their faces.


“And if you must beg, then beg the government not individuals or relatives. This is because they should be responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of citizens.

“Individuals, relatives or neighbours can assist you as gestures of kindness and generosity, but that’s not necessary.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

“So, those who are saying that begging is not prohibited in Islam are just misleading you,

“Programmes like cash transfer and many more can assist in tackling these problem. So, we urge the government to sustain the cash transfer programme and come up with many more.”


#Newsworthy…