< Poetry < Interesting Articles < Inspiring Stories < Stories from Reverts | Prayer Timetables > What is Islam > Salat > Ramadan > Hajj >  Qur'an >

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Rare Quran inscribed by Aurangzeb to be auctioned

Taken from Gulf News, By Samihah Zaman, Published: September 3, 2010

Abu Dhabi: A 300-year-old manuscript of the Quran, parts of which were inscribed by the son of the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal, will soon be auctioned by its Emirati owner in Germany.

The 14.5x24cm manuscript has lavish golden insets and consists of sheets of paper, handcrafted from rice and natural materials, and inlaid with ruby, lapis lazuli and garnet.

The 14.5x24cm manuscript was part of the collection of the Mughal emperors of India, and was made during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707), son of Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal.

It will be auctioned at the Auktionshaus Sebök (Seboek aution house) in the German city of Bamberg by its current Emirati owner, who wished to remain anonymous.

The manuscript has lavish golden insets and consists of sheets of paper, handcrafted from rice and natural materials. The script is written in ink made from valuable minerals, and it is inlaid with ruby, lapis lazuli and garnet.

Emperor Aurungzeb is known to have inscribed several passages of the manuscript himself, and he had reserved a special section of his palace for the artists who completed it.

Starting price

Stefan Sebök, an auctioneer at the auction house, told Gulf News that the starting price for the item has been set at 900 euros (Dh 4,221).

"The manuscript is extremely rare and was passed down to the last of the Mughal emperors by Emperor Aurangzeb. So we expect it to receive one of the highest bids at our art and antique auction in October," Sebök said.

Sebök also said that a comparable manuscript was sold to the Sultan of Brunei in 2006 for $10 million (Dh36.7 million), and a similar item went to an anonymous bidder for $4.3 million (Dh 15.781 million).

According to Sebök, the current owner of the manuscript acquired the ancient copy of the Quran from his great-grandfather. The owner's great-grandfather had been governor to Oudh, a northern region in India, and had served the Mughal dynasty.

Before the British Raj had dismissed the last Mughal emperor, the emperor had asked his loyal confidants to select gifts from his collection for themselves.

The great-grandfather of the current owner has personally selected the manuscript, and it has since been passed down through generations of the family.

Other interesting articles:

(1) Record price for 13th-century Quran

(2) 800-year-old key to the Kaaba

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Money recovered from Hajj fraudster - Mohammed Faruk Ahmed of Qibla Hajj Kafela

Taken from The Metropolitan police - Tower Hamlets , 02.09.2010

In November 2008 Tower Hamlets Police investigated claims that a Mohammed Faruk Ahmed had defrauded over 300 intended Hajj pilgrims by falsely offering travel packages to the 2008 Hajj in Mecca.

The value of the fraud was determined by the court as £503,340. Ahmed pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years imprisonment in July 2009. [More info: Click Here! and Click Here! also YouTube Video]

Officers have been in negotiation with Bangladeshi authorities for almost two years in an attempt to recover significant sums of money sent to Dhaka by Ahmed.

As a result, in July 2010 the Bangladeshi authorities ordered the return of funds controlled by Ahmed in several accounts. £274,891.63 has now been received in the UK and will be transferred to Her Majesty's Court Service to satisfy a compensation order made in respect of victims.

The process of returning the money to victims will be undertaken by the court service who will contact victims by letter. This concludes Tower Hamlets Police involvement in the case.

DI Des McHugh from Tower Hamlets Police said: “This has required significant effort and tenacity. As well as the conviction of Ahmed I am pleased that the victims will now receive some financial recompense for this serious crime”

Further reading:

Sunday, 29 August 2010

My journey to Islam

The following is an article taken from Saudi Gazzette, 23.08.2010
By Nazeeha Renard

You can ask me what I had for dinner yesterday, and I will stop and think. But ask me at any time, on any day, when I reverted to Islam… and the answer comes quickly to the surface of my mind.

Before I tell you “when,” I will answer the question of “why?” I was waiting to die. No, there was no illness of the body. My heart and soul were dead. My body felt like it existed without purpose.
It was not a morbid feeling; I just didn’t connect spiritually, in my mind, to any faith. My family (who will remain private) and I were raised under the religion of Catholicism. Believing in God and knowing God, I believe, are very separate concepts. I attended church on the obligatory holidays. I would drop my coins in the faded gold box that was firmly welded to the candle offerings table. Kneeling down, I closed my eyes and prayed to any and all saints to help me.

College life, married life and divorce – all were basically lived without a firm grasp on faith. I was always spiritual (or so I thought), but did not claim any one religion as my own. It was only after having my son that I contemplated something more, a desire to be better and to find something greater in this world.

I was a stay-at-home mom doing my best to raise a “good person.” To give my son unconditional love, and provide him the opportunity to give back to this world. The strange thing for me was I could teach my son how to pray, however, I was unable to teach him about faith.

One day while I was doing my routine housework, I started watching a documentary about the fastest growing religions in the world. Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism were the featured religions. When the history of Islam was featured, I thought, “This is it!” My heart literally changed its rhythm. I can’t explain it… it can only be experienced. My eyes cried over the sound of the Adhan (the call for prayer) until I could barely see the screen. I remember going to the PC and searching frantically for this “music” I had heard. It was not music, but a call to worship Allah.

The year was 2007 and I said my Shahada and became a Muslim. I have a faith that is more important to me than anyone and anything in my life! Life for me revolves around Islam, not the other way around. I have lost some friendships, but I will not compromise my beliefs for anyone.

My family is very small, and is not what I would call practicing Catholics. My announcement that I was a Muslim came over dinner and was greeted with complete silence. I mean, crickets chirping… But as time passed and my mother and son (who is 21) saw that I was very serious, they still said nothing. My son is accepting and my mother feels I am “sad and unhappy” or going through a phase. You have got to love her. Well, at least I have to love her.

That is all I will say about them for now. I love them deeply and will always make supplication for my mom and son to accept Islam, Insha Allah. Each day, I love more, and learn more. Does Islam assure me happiness? No, but it does give me the freedom to be a stronger woman.

I started wearing the Hijab in stages. Six months after taking my Shahada, I felt the desire to cover yet, I was still nervous of public reaction. The wearing of a bandanna became my introduction to my new life as a Muslim. The first time I went outside a sense of calm overwhelmed me… even though my neck was still visible a transformation of spirit was occurring.

Within two months I was wearing the Hijab full-time! I still tear up thinking about seeing myself for the first time in the mirror. No longer was I seeing myself. Subhan Allah, the reflection looking back at me was of a woman who was grateful. For the very first time I saw an outward appearance, that matched my feelings inside. I saw a Muslimah at peace with herself.

I wear my Hijab only to please Allah. There are no Muslims in my family, and I am not married. So the answer to if I am being forced to cover is a happy and sincere “No.”

My beauty and femininity are not displayed for the public, or defined by what the fashion magazines say is beautiful. In fact, my makeup routine consists of a clean moisturized face and vanilla scented lip balm.

My Hijab is not worn as a political symbol. The way I tie it, or the pins which may adorn it are not the issue. More recently increasing government pressure is mounting to ban the wearing of the Hijab and veil. It is beyond comprehension how a group of non-Muslim elected government officials can speak for the choices made by Muslim women!

They say “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Maybe someone should tell these government leaders and their supporters… “Don’t judge the Muslimah for her cover!” – SG

New Metro System for Makkah & New Airport for Madinah

Saudi Arabia Prepares $27bn revamp for Makkah

Makkah governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has emphasized the need for preparing a well thought out and comprehensive development plan for Makkah to make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Saudi Arabia is planning to spend $27bn on transforming the city of Makkah via a model that will be the development for other urban centres in the country.

Arab News reported that the Holy Makkah Comprehensive Plan is being drafted by the Commission for the Development of Makkah and the Holy Sites and should be ready “by the beginning of next year”.

Four consulting and planning groups are currently working on the draft. The groups include local entities, such as government bodies that have a direct link to Makkah services, international planning experts and consultative companies.

Although the draft plan is not yet complete, some work is already being carried out.

“One of the important ones is the Fourth Ring Road project that will link the city’s main areas with a surrounding road. On that road, two projects are being executed to connect Makkah’s southern and western areas to the Jeddah highway,” Osama Al Bar, Makkah’s mayor, told the paper.

Other current work includes the construction of new municipal buildings and pedestrian bridges.
Makkah will also be the first Saudi city to have a metro system. Construction work on this project is already in progress, and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2011.
Prince Khaled Al Faisal told top executives that a new transport system and would allow even more pilgrims to visit the Grand Mosque in the coming years.

“We have completed two years of the plan that begins from the Holy Kaaba, which receives millions of faithful every year,” the governor pointed out, stressing the need to implement all transportation projects in the city in an integrated manner linking them with road networks of Jeddah and Taif.


New terminal of Madinah airport to be ready by October
Taken from Arab News by P. K Adbul Ghafour, Aug 10, 2010

JEDDAH: The new passenger terminal at Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah will be completed by the first week of October, according to Madinah Gov. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Majed.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting expansion projects at the airport on Tuesday, he said: “Prince Muhammad Airport will witness qualitative development in the coming days. We have instructed the officials to carry out the project in the best way.”

He said the new terminal would be able to accommodate more domestic flights.

The first phase of the ongoing expansion project would be completed by 2014 to increase the airport’s annual capacity to 25 million passengers. The General Authority of Civil Aviation designed the project, taking into consideration the growing number of Haj and Umrah pilgrims visiting the city.

Prince Abdul Aziz also inspected the expansion of the eastern courtyard of the Prophet’s Mosque. The new expansion covering 37,000 square meters provides additional place for 70,000 worshippers.

The mosque expansion ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah was carried out at a cost of SR4.7 million. The project included installation of 250 sunshades in courtyards around the mosque for the benefit of 200,000 worshippers. A single sunshade covers an area of 576 square meters.

The governor, who was accompanied by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Faleh, deputy chairman of the Presidency for Prophet’s Mosque Affairs, also inspected the new transport system near the mosque including parking facilities.

With the completion of the project, all residential areas of old Madinah became part the mosque complex. According to researcher Tandheeb Al-Fayedi, the expansion has covered the whole old Madinah.

“Some buildings that sprouted 100 years ago outside the old city have been added to the new complex,” he added. Souk Al-Manakha, an important market since olden times and which begins from Ghamama Mosque to Sabaq Mosque, has been included in the expansion.

Some of the old residential districts that are included in the new expansion are: Harrat Aghwat in the east of Haram, Bab Al-Majeedi in the north, Bab Al-Salam in the west, and Hammam Taiba in the south.

Meanwhile, Abdul Wahid Al-Hattab, spokesman of the Prophet’s Mosque, said Tuesday that Sheikh Ali Al-Hudaifi, Sheikh Salah Al-Bedair, Sheikh Hussein Al-Asheikh and Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Qasim would lead taraweeh prayers at the mosque during Ramadan.