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Friday, 6 March 2009

Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday

It was calculated on Moonsighting that the 12th day of month of Rabi-al-Awwal, should fall in the UK on Monday, 9th of March (beginning from Maghrib, 8th of March). Please double check with your local mosque for moon sighting.

So what’s so special? – Well, it the date of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday. Some Muslims do not approve of celebrating the birthday, and regard doing so as a religious innovation. BUT There is nothing wrong for the Muslims to commemorated this day, if it is done to remind Muslims of the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the celebration is held within the framework of Islamic doctrines

Throughout the world stories are told about different aspects of the life of the Prophet, his birth, childhood, youth and adult life. The most important part is focusing upon the character of the Prophet (PBUH); on his teachings, sufferings, and how he forgave even his most bitter enemies.

As far as Islamic Shari`ah is concerned, a Muslim is encouraged to praise the Prophet (PBUH) without exaggeration and to refer to his good ethics and morals to encourage himself or herself and others to follow in his footsteps and guidance.

When praising the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), we should make sure that we do not exaggerate [in Arabic: ghuluww] in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus son of Mary. Say [when refering to me], 'Servant of Allah and His Messenger.'"

Here are some previous posts on the blog (including some links from various media):

(1) Famous quotes from Non-Muslims about the Prophet (PBUH)

(2) Short presentation Video: The Most Influential Human Being To Have Ever Lived

(3) The Life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.)

Description of the Prophet (pbuh)

The Miracles of the Prophet (pbuh)

Could the Prophet remove the sins of Muslims?

(4) 40 Traditional Practices of the Prophet

(5) Photos: Prophet Muhammad's Beard, Clothes, Swords, etc.

(6) Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon

(7) Videos: "The Message" & "Muhammad: The Last Prophet”

(8) Some Poems:

If The Prophet (pbuh) visited you?

The Simple Message of Islam

Other articles worth reading:

Muhammad's Sword - 23/09/06
This is a very good article written by Gush-Shalom a Jewish Peace group.

Pilgrims conned by rogue travel agent - Qibla Hajj Kafela (Rogue Agent has been caught!)

Updated 06.03.09 at 23:43 pm

On Thursday 13th November 2008, police raided the offices of Qibla Hajj Kafela Ltd (a rogue travel agent, based off Brick Lane in London) that conned over 400 pilgrims of fulfilling one of the five pillars of Islam - going to Hajj.

The travel agent owned by Al-Haj Md. Faruk Ahmed was offering one of the cheapest Hajj Packages available this year (£2,300 and £2,500 for Hajj). He falsely claimed to be an authorised agent approved by the Ministry of Hajj of Saudi Arabia and his words to reassure people regarding the package made pilgrims trust him and his fellow workers.

Picture of Md. Faruk Ahmed

Faruk Ahmed's business card

Poster that he distributed - Click on image to make it bigger.

Qibla Hajj Kafela Ltd was registered as a trading company by Md. Faruk Ahmed on 06.08.2008. He previously worked in a group called Al Qibla Travels Limited (a Ministry of Hajj authorised agent) in previous years and due to some dispute went his separate ways. It must be noted that although there is no business association between the two companies there is alledged family association.

Suspicions arose when pilgrims who paid their monies went to collect their passports and tickets from his office at an agreed pickup date and found out that the office was closed with a notice sign on the door. Md. Faruk Ahmed and his staff were nowhere to be seen. Police raided the office and confiscated hundreds of passports and other documents from locked cupboards. It is estimated that this con artist could have made away with up to £700,000. He is nowhere to be seen. If you spot him and his crew please contact the police immediately.

Arrests will be made as people like this cannot hide forever, the world is small place. I just hope for his own safety the police catch him before any of the pilgrims he conned do.

Here's a report in Bengali taken from WeeklyBangladesh. Click on image to make it bigger.

Here is a video report from BBC News - CLICK HERE!

Here is a press release by Al-Qibla Travels - CLICK HERE!

Here is a report in Asian News - CLICK HERE!

The Metropolitan Police have set up a helpline for all those who have been a victim of this crime. To report an incident or to gain updates call 0208 217 4947/8 or contact The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK on 0121 440 1700 for further help and advice.

If there is a victims groups set up or if you want to set one up please let me know and I will post it here.

Additionally if there are any additional photographs of this person and his group members as well as any other details such as his address in UK, Bangladesh or any other possible destinations where he could be hiding would be useful. You can email me in confidence info@al-islam.co.uk or post a comment anonymously in the comments section below. Remember any useful info should also be reported to the police - lets not let these crooks get away!

If you have intentions to go to Hajj then please see List of approved pilgrim agents

For those who have intentions of doing Hajj this year – may Allah (SWT) make your intentions come true and protect you throughout your journey and back – Ameen


On 25 November 2008: UK Channel S held a telephone interview with Md. Faruk Ahmed (who was somewhere in Bangladesh). He stated that he was unable to obtain the visas for the pilgrims (apparently was let down by a Gujarati person who was going to arrange the visas) and because he feared backlash from the pilgrims (i.e. unable to take them to the hajj trip) he panicked (couldn't think straight) and fled to Bangladesh.

He said that he has realised his mistake and hopes to come back to the UK and start returning the monies that people had deposited with him (that is if and when all the pilgrims collectively ask for their money back). He will pay back by looking at the receipts he issued to the pilgrims.

In total he stated that he had taken approximately 308 passports. He had collected about £350,000 (not the £700,000 widely suggested) as not everyone paid the monies in full. Out of that he still has approx. £263,000. The difference had been spent on expenses running the travel agency and deposit paid for the hotels in Saudi Arabia.

He has asked the pilgrims for their forgiveness as that is the only way he can be redeemed.


On 05 March 2009: Mohammed Faruk Ahmed aged 41 ys of Brick Lane, E1 appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court today (Thursday 5 March) following an investigation into hundreds of complaints from members of the public. He is charged with Fraud by false representation and Money laundering under the Proceeds of Crimes Act 2002. He was remanded in custody to reappear at Thames Magistrates on April 2 2009 - Taken from MetPolice update page.
Below is an article in the London Bangla newspaper - dated 06 March 2009.

Click on the image to make it bigger.