Al Salamu 'Alaykum. Just after spending one month in the Kingdom, where he was treated with kindness in a spiritual atmosphere, American businessman and pilot Richard Patterson, converted to Islam. Richard, who is now called Abdulaziz, owns a company providing services in critical care. It has a capital of $50 million, and a fleet of two aircraft and two helicopters, specializing in medical flights. Abdulaziz arrived in the Kingdom on a contract with the Saudi Red Crescent to train students for air emergency. During his stay, three members of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance invited him out for dinner. The members who worked with the “Guide Me to Islam” project, talked to Abdulaziz about Islam and it’s real essence. “I came to the Kingdom for a commercial deal. I was so thrilled to make the best deal of my life with God Almighty by converting to Islam,” said Abdulaziz, during the conversion ceremony, commending the Saudi attire and describing it as comfortable and beautiful. When Abdulaziz was in his country, he used to hear negative things about Islam through media channels, which were aimed at distorting its image. “Just reading about Islam is not enough to understand Islam. It’s meeting people who best represent it and reflect its true spirit,” said Abdulaziz. He considers himself lucky to discover through Muslim friends he met and dealt with in the Kingdom that Islam is a religion of righteousness and tolerance. “Muslims and Saudis are kind, humble and open to others,” said Abdulaziz, adding that he felt they were like family to him, and never experienced alienation or ill treatment from their side. What attracted Abdulaziz the most to the Saudi society is that it is religious. That helps people relate to religion as a part of their daily life. “I wish I could bring all my colleagues to the Kingdom to experience what I have and change their viewpoints on Islam,” he said. Abdulaziz called upon fellow Muslim businessmen to work on attracting foreign businessmen to Islam, accusing them of not taking serious initiatives to call their peers to this glorious religion. “We can provide books on Islam to delegates during business meetings which help present true image of Islam to others,” said Abdulaziz. Teacher and scholar Esam Abdul Razzaq, who translated for Abdulaziz, said that celebrities and key figures play a greater role in their societies in projecting a certain image. “Successful people have a credibility among members of their society, as they are considered important. Therefore, when they choose to convert to Islam, they trigger curiosity in others, who in turn, want to know more about this religion,” said Abdul Razzaq. Arab News.
TASHKENT – Increasing its surveillance on Muslims, Uzbek authorities have prohibited the sale of religious clothing, specifically hijabs and face veil, at several Tashkent markets following a secretive ban on sales, Eurasia Net reported on Friday, March 16. “Islamic clothing is being sold under the counter,” Tashkent businesswoman Mutabar, who imports goods from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, said. “I am selling it from home, but only to trusted customers.” The ban came to effect earlier this month after the vendors said they received an oral order from the Uzbek government. Vendors at several markets, including the massive Chorsu Bazaar, have pulled headscarves and other coverings from their racks. Local authorities reportedly confiscated some clothing, but they did not confirm reports about banning hijab. “There’s a ban on the sale of Islamic clothing, but I can’t discuss hijab,” an official at the Chorsu market, who asked for anonymity, told the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. Another local tax officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the authorities wanted to keep the ban quiet. “No one will discuss it openly now,” he said. “It’s the same with halal cafes, which have been closed.” There is no legal provision banning sales of hijab, but legislation passed in 1998 sets out fines and short jail terms for wearing religious clothing in public. Punishment ranges from a fine of five to 10 times the monthly minimum wage to 15 days in jail. In the first known prosecution under the law, a court in Syrdarya region fined a woman the equivalent of 155 US dollars for wearing hijab. Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations. Mosque Surveillance Along with banning hijab, Uzbek authorities installed cameras in and around 181 mosques in Namangan Region. “The authorities are trying to control what happens during prayer, to track what imams say to believers and to see whether young people are attending prayers,” an Uzbek imam living across the border in neighboring Kyrgyzstan told Radio Free Europe’s Uzbek Service. Authorities claimed the installation of security cameras follows thefts at some mosques. Uzbekistan, Central Asia's most populous nation, is at the heart of a geopolitical power struggle between the West and Russia. The country, where Muslims make up 88 percent of the 28 million population, is one of the world's biggest producers of cotton and has huge natural gas and mineral reserves. Yet, economy is sluggish and unemployment is towering. Rights groups have long accused Uzbekistan of suppressing religious freedoms as part of a campaign against Islamic extremism. In a 2012 country report, the New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the Uzbek authorities of continuing “their unrelenting, multi-year campaign of arbitrary detention, arrest and torture of Muslims who practice their faith outside state controls”. http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/456256-uzbekistan-bans-religious-clothing.html Inna Lillahi.......... 'Alaykum Salam.
Al Salamu 'Alaykum. Kabul : The Afghan Taliban has suspended preliminary peace talks with the US, according to a statement released Thursday by the outfit. "Islamic Emirate (the name of the ousted Taliban regime) has decided to suspend all talks with Americans taking place in Qatar from today onwards until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time," Xinhua quoted the statement as saying. The Taliban, fighting Afghan and NATO-led forces in a decade-long insurgency, for the first time in January announced that it was involved in preliminary talks with the US, and a political office has been opened in Qatar in this regard. The statement denied that the Afghan government was involved in the peace talks. It said the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" has also demanded the release of its prisoners from the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay. The Taliban in the statement said a memorandum of understanding which was agreed to earlier was not fulfilled because a US representative presented a list of conditions in his latest meeting with Taliban envoys that "were not only unacceptable but also in contradiction with the earlier agreed upon points". "The inauguration of political office in Qatar was not but for the sake of reaching an understanding with the outside world and particularly for the exchange of prisoners with the Americans in the initial stages," the statement said. "But it seems that the Americans and their stooge regime took advantage of these measures of Islamic Emirate and sought to achieve other malicious objectives and therefore are postponing the core issues and are wasting time," it said. IANS.
Al Salamu 'Alaykum. This was a historic day in Deoband. The Imam of the Ka'ba, Shaikh Abu Ibrahim Sa'ud ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ash-Shuraim visited Darul `Uloom Deoband on 4 March 2012, Sunday. He arrived in Darul `Uloom Deoband via helicopter and landed here around 1 O'clock. Mufti Abul Qasim N`omani presented him with "Words of Thanks" in the grand Jama' Rashid and welcomed him in Deoband. The Imam also addressed the gathering and admired Deoband for its important role in the cause of Islam. He conveyed a message of peace and unity and invited the Muslims to pay attention to Dawah and Tabligh. Maulana Arshad Madani summarized the essence of his speech in Urdu for the common audience. Later, Imam Shuraim led the Zuhr Salah and lakhs of Muslims offered the prayer behind him. All the streets leading to Darul `Uloom and around were packed with crowds of people gathered to welcome the Imam and to perform Zuhr Salah behind him. Imam Ka'ba Shaikh al-Shuraim had lunch with the `Ulama in Darul `Uloom Guest House and flew back from Deoband at around 3:30 pm. Abu Ibrahim Sa'ud ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ash-Shuraim An-Najdi Ph.d is one of the Imams and khateebs of the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) in Makkah. He holds a doctorate (Ph.D) and is a Professor of Sharia and Islamic studies at the Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, and was recently appointed as a Dean and "Specialist Professor in Fiqh" at the University. He is also known as a researcher in fiqh, a judge, and a writer who has composed many books on aqeedah, fiqh, and Arabic poetry. Due to his position, rank, and love among Muslims, his voice has been widely recorded and is internationally distributed by various mediums. Last year in March, Shaikh `Abdur Rahman all-Sudais also visited Darul `Uloom and another Saudi scholar, Shaikh `Aidh al-Qarni also visited Deoband and expressed their endorsement to Darul Uloom and its activities. http://www.deoband.net/news.html Wa salamu 'alaykum.
Al Salamu 'Alaykum. Imam Nawawi came into conflict with Dhahir Baybars, the ruler of Sham and Egypt. Dhahir requested a fatwa from the scholars that money should be collected in order to prepare an army to fight the Tatars in 658 H. When the Tatars occupied Baghdad and advanced upon Palestine and turned towards Sham, he requested a fatwa while the Tatars were in Palestine that money should be collected to purchase weapons. Every single scholar issued the fatwa except for an-Nawawi. He said: “I will not provide you with such a fatwa.” Dhahir asked: “Why not? I want to purchase arms for this struggle, and you refuse to issue a fatwa for it? The entire Ummah and Religion will be exposed to loss.” He replied: “Because you came to us as a slave who owned nothing, and I see that you now own gardens, servants, slave girls, silver, and gold. So, if you sell all of these things and still need money after that, I will issue the fatwa you seek.” He said: “Leave Sham.” And he left and went to a small village in Nawa (his hometown). The scholars came to Dhahir Baybras and said to him: “The scholars of Sham are nothing without Muhi ad-Din an-Nawawi.” He replied: “Bring him back.” They then went to an-Nawawi and said: “Come back, O Muhi ad-Din.” Nawawi said: “By Allah, I will not go back while Dhahir is in it,” and Allah fulfilled his oath: Dhahir died a month later, and an-Nawawi returned to Sham. ['Fi Dhilal Surat at-Tawbah'; p. 67-68] Taken from Iskandrani.
Ibn al Qayyim said in his aforementioned book ('Ilam al Muwaqqi'in):
Al Sha'bi said: "Whoever it pleases to have confidence in issuing decrees (qada'), let him take the opinion of 'Umar."
Mujahid said: "When people differ in anything, look at what 'Umar did and adopt it."
These are clear texts from al-Sha'bi and Mujahid on taqlid.
Ibn al Qayyim said in his aforementioned book:
Tawus said: "I met seventy of the Companions of Allah's Messenger (saws) and when they disagreed on something, they would stop at the opinion of Ibn 'Abbas."
Muhammad ibn Jarir said: "There was none (among the Sahaba) who had known companions who codified his fatwa and his positions in fiqh (jurisprudence) besides Ibn Mas'ud and he would leave his position and his opinion in favor of the opinion of 'Umar and he would (at times) come close to differing with him in some of his positions and would then go back on his own opinion in favor of his opinion."
Al-Sha'bi said: "`Abdullah would not perform qunut" (supplication) [in the Fajr prayer], and he said: "Had 'Umar performed Qunut, `Abdullah would have performed Qunut."
He also said:
Al-A'mash said regarding Ibrahim [al-Nakha'i]: "He would not divert from the opinion of 'Umar and `Abdullah (ibn Mas'ud) when they agreed and when they disagreed, the opinion of 'Abdullah was more appealing to him because it was more subtle."
He said on page 5:
Those of the Companions of Allah's Messenger (saws) from whom fatwa was preserved are some one hundred and thirty souls that range between men and women and the mukhthirun (those who issued fatwa in large numbers) from them are seven: 'Umar ibn al Khattab, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, A'isha, mother of the believers, Zayd ibn Thabit, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas and 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar.
These texts show you the way of taqlid was prevalent amongst the Sahaba and Tabi'in to such a degree that some mujtahids imitated some others from them, let alone those unqualified for ijtihad. Rather, the Prophet (saws) instructed them to do taqlid when he commanded them to follow the Sunnah of the righteous Caliphs. Rather, Allah commanded them to do taqlid when He said: "Ask the People of Remembrance if you do know know." (16:43)
Thus, the statement that taqlid is an innovation (bid'ah) that appeared in the fourth century or an innovation that appeared in the sixth century is concealment of the truth (kitman) and the truth is that taqlid is an inherited practice from the time of Allah's Messenger (saws) to this time of ours, and is established from the texts some of which we cited and some of which we left out, fearing prolixity.
Taken from Al Din al Qayyim of 'Allama Habib Ahmad Kairanwi.
The number of American mosques has nearly doubled over the past decade, jumping from 1,209 in 2000 to more than 2,100 in 2010, according to a new study out Wednesday.
The building boom came during a time when the building of several new Islamic centers sparked protests and controversy, particularly plans to build one in downtown New York City that opponents have dubbed the Ground Zero Mosque. But the numbers suggest that many of the new mosques went up with little attention being paid by many local residents.
The study (available in .pdfhere) found the most mosques in New York, 257, followed by California with 246 and Texas with 166. The report is generating interest in part because relatively little study on Muslims in the U.S. has been conducted. The Census, for example, is forbidden from asking mandatory questions about religious affiliation.
Researchers, working as part of a study on American congregations called Faith Communities Today, counted mosques in the U.S. and then interviewed a sample of Imams or other designated congregation leaders to reach their tallies.
Some other nuggets from the study:
—While most mosques are still located in cities, the numbers of Islamic centers are increasing in the suburbs, from 16 percent in 2000 to 28 in 2011.
—Just 3 percent of mosques are ethnically homogeneous.
—Ninety-eight percent of mosque leaders said that Muslims should be involved in American institutions. Ninety-one percent believe Muslims should be involved in politics.
—The percentage of mosque leaders who believe America is hostile to Muslims has dropped since 9/11: Twenty-five percent of leaders believed Americans were hostile to Islam in 2011, while 54 percent believed the same thing in 2000.
The study promotes one controversial finding: Its estimate of the Muslim population in the U.S. appears inflated, at least compared to other comprehensive studies of Muslim affiliation. Although there is no precise count of Americans by religion, a recentPew survey on Muslimsin the U.S. estimated the population to be about 2.6 million in 2010. In general, studies show that the Muslim population is under 3 million, somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of the U.S. population. By contrast, the new study's lead author Ishan Bagby says the findings indicate that the Muslim American population is as high as 7 million, based on the figures tracking attendance at Friday prayers.
The study was sponsored by Hartford Seminary, Council on American-Islamic Relation, and a handful of other prominent American Muslim organizations.