Sailan Muslim - The Online Resource for Sri Lanka Muslims Diversity and Inclusiveness Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:21:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top countries for Muslim travel By:- Rafat Ali Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:09:20 +0000 500

Muslim or halal travel is becoming a big business, and countries beyond the Muslim world have begun to develop strategies to attract these typically high-spending travelers from around the world. These include catering to their halal food habits, prayers habits and other modesty requirements that come with the religion.

According to Thomson Reuters’ first “State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2013“, which released at the Global Islamic Economy Summit last week in Dubai, the global Muslim spending on tourism (outbound) is estimated to be around $137 billion in 2012 (excluding the religious hajj and ummrah travel), making it about 12.5 percent of global tourism expenditure.

Among the top source markets, expenditure wise for 2012, the country rankings from this report is a bit of a surprise, with Iran topping as the country that spends the most, ahead of even Saudi Arabia and UAE. Russia, Germany and France are the three largest Muslim travel source markets from countries where Muslims are a minority.

Spending from tourists from these countries below, internationally, in dollars, in 2012: 

Country                   Size (US $ Bill)
Iran                          $18.2
Saudi Arabia             $17.1
UAE                         $10.1
Kuwait                      $7.4
Indonesia                  $7.2
Qatar                        $5.7
Malaysia                   $5.4
Turkey                      $4.9
Libya                        $4.7
Nigeria                      $4.5
Russia                      $4.1
Germany                   $3.5
France                      $2.5
Egypt                        $2.4
United Kingdom          $2.2
Singapore                   $2.2
Lebanon                     $2.2
Morocco                     $2
Iraq                            $1.9
United States              $1.85
Pakistan                     $1.7
Oman                         $1.7
Azerbaijan                  $1.7
India                           $1.24
Belgium                      $1.22

Regionwise, the breakdown show Gulf countries definitely outstrip every other region in outbound tourism spend:


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Palestinians Bbrave Israeli Barbarity with bare Hands for Rights and Dignity of Muslims By :- Latheef Farook Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:52:05 +0000 CaptureBarely two months after destroying Gaza and committing genocide on its oppressed and brutalized Palestinians, had Israelis who turned peaceful Middle East into a killing field, have now turned their designs on Masjid Al Aqsa.

Unarmed and helpless Palestinians are bravely facing the barbarity of Israel – an entity of   violent settler Jewish extremists planted by Britain and promoted by United States in violation of all accepted legal and moral principles in the robbed Palestinians lands.

On Thursday 23 October 2014 Israel, as part of conspiracy against Masjid Al Aqsa, allowed a group of Jewish extremist settlers known as ‘Students for the Temple Mount’ to break into Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate, under Israeli police guards’ protection.

On the following day, Friday 24 October 2014, Israeli police deployed 1,000 troops and erected roadblocks in Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of the weekly Friday prayers. Male worshippers under 50 were banned from performing prayers in the mosque while Jewish settlers were allowed free access into the holy site. Scores of Palestinians were injured in subsequent clashes with Israeli forces.

Palestinian worshipers present at Al-Aqsa compound were ready to prevent any settler from entering the compound to perform provocative religious prayers and Talmudic rituals.

The Old City of Jerusalem and the surrounding neighborhoods continue to witness mounting tension following several incidents which left a number of deaths, injuries and damage to residents’ property and land, including the Silwan apartments’ take over by settlers, the car crash and the brutal murder of teenager Abu Khudair.

unnamedPalestinians and Muslims at large fear a recurrence of what has already happened in Hebron, where the Israelis decide who is allowed to enter the Ibrahimi mosque to pray, splitting the time for prayers in the same location between Jews and Muslims.

The Ibrahimi mosque is the location where the faithful Muslims, Christians and Jews, believe that Father Abraham lies.   

Israel’s parliament is to restart a highly contentious discussion on dividing the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and illegal Jewish settlers this month. The discussions follow Jewish demands to pray and perform Talmudic rituals at the Al-Aqsa Mosque which, though under Israeli occupation, is administered by an Islamic Waqf under the Jordanian government.

In February, the Knesset held an inflammatory debate in which Israeli extremist politicians pushed forward the idea that Israel should have sovereignty over the site.

unnamed (1)“These debates reveal Israeli intentions to divide al-Aqsa, despite Israeli claims that the site is not under threat. They are indicative of the stealth policies against Palestinians to eradicate their historic, national and religious heritage from the Occupied Territories,” said Shamiul Joarder, Head of Public Affairs at Friends of Al Aqsa-FOA

According to a FOA report “The danger to Masjid Al-Aqsa is real and present. Right-wing extremist Jewish settlers have continually been storming the compound under the protection of the Israeli army and police during Jewish holidays—especially in the last few weeks. Talks of destroying the mosque are becoming more and more vociferous in Israeli society,” said Joarder. 

unnamed (2)

This is not something new. The Zionist Jews have been desecrating Masjid Al Aqsa starting from the time of the British mandatory rule. Agroup of Jewish extremists, with the help of the British army, broke into the Al-Aqsa complex on 20 August 1929 and took control of the western area, including Al-Buraq Wall (now referred to as the Wailing Wall by the Jews). Within 15 days, 338 Palestinians died in their effort to thwart the Zionists' plan.In June 1967 the Zionists entered Haram As-Sharif in tanks, seized the key of Al-Magharibah Gate and took control of the city's eastern side, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.In 1970, the Israelis commenced intensive excavations directly beneath Masjid Al Aqsa on the southern and western sides. In 1977 digging continued and a large tunnel was opened below the women's prayer area and a new tunnel was dug under the mosque, going east to west in 1979.

Israel’s centuries old dream has been to destroy Masjid Al Aqsa and build in its place Solomon’s Temple.  Israelis continue to dig under Masjid Al Aqsa and other residential districts in the old city to pave the way for the automatic collapse of Masjid Al Aqsa and other buildings of religious importance. Israelis have been changing the Islamic characteristic of the city almost on a daily basis and many of Jerusalem’s Islamic landmarks have been falling down and disappearing one after the other.

These activities continue unabated while the Muslims worldwide remain indifferent.
Now the question is where are the Muslims worldwide? Muslims proudly call themselves that they are around 1.5 billion in the world population. No statements, no condemnation, no demonstration or any such activities demonstrating their anger and opposition at Israeli barbarity.

There are 22 Arab countries created   in the aftermath of the World War 1 by British led European imperial powers after defeating the Turkish Ottoman Empire which ruled Middle East for centuries as one of its provinces. These puppet rulers are obedient servants of the West which is all out to crush any signs of rise of Islam.

These countries have their own armed forces and   spend billions on purchasing weapons from US and Europe. The Six oil rich GCC countries, according to Al Jazeera Television, alone have purchased weapons to the value of 100 billion us dollars.


However they will not lift a finger to liberate Al Aqsa from Zionist occupation or help the Palestinians   who are defending   Masjid Al Aqsa and the rights and dignity of the Muslims worldwide with their bare hands. In fact one cannot expect any response from the Arab dictators who depend on their Israeli controlled US masters for the survival of their oppressive and anti people regimes.  

Their silence in the face of Zionist Jewish barbarism on Palestinians in Jerusalem showed their indifference. This is the lowest depth to which the present generation of Muslims   ruled by oppressive regimes, have descended to.

However there is some solace. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that "There will be a group from my ummah that will always be on the true and righteous path. They will overcome their enemies and will not be transgressed against unless suffering befalls them, until Allah's help comes and they return to their normal state”. The companions asked: Where do they live, oh Rasulullah?   The Prophet replied: “In Jerusalem and the surrounding areas" (reported by Ahmad).

Allah has chosen the Palestinian people to be the ones to protect Al-Aqsa. They have sacrificed everything, including their lives, wealth, family, children and their whole world in order to defend our holy land. They have given everything for Allah and when they meet Him; their responsibility will have been fulfilled.

The question is what contribution the rest of the Muslims worldwide are making to save Al-Aqsa?  
There are many steps Muslims can take to show solidarity with their Palestinian brothers and sisters to protest the Zionist occupation of their land and the sufferings inflicted upon them. The main thing is for us to propagate the cause by denouncing the oppression and use all available resources to help the brutalized Palestinians morally and financially. 


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Khadijah Bint Khuwayled: The Pure Woman By ;- Muhammad `Ali Qutb Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:54:20 +0000 The life of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (may Allah be pleased with her) is a journey of notable wisdom, unlimited giving, and boundless love for Allah and His Messenger.15936 copy 320_compressed

Khadijah had a previous marriage before she married the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). After her first husband died, she was free, conducting the affairs of her life and shouldering her huge responsibilities all by herself.
She was a wealthy woman who had wide commercial holdings. This is in addition to her being beautiful, very famous, and well-mannered. So, these qualities won her the accolade the pure woman.
All these qualities and qualifications made her attractive to many Quraishi men who wished to marry her. But it seemed that her first marriage experience made her refuse to agree to any of the proposals. Her preoccupation with her business and other obligations might also have been another reason for her refusal of these proposals. She remained unmarried until she got older and approached the age of forty.
The popularity of the name trustworthy given to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who was a model of good conduct, reached her. What she heard from her servant, Maisarah, about Muhammad's excellent manners in buying and selling, and how he made big profits when he accompanied them on their last business trip to Syria, created in her great interest. This led Khadijah to send someone to him to indirectly express her interest in marrying him.
The marriage took place, and both were delighted, because of the great manners they shared. Their hearts also shared the same feeling.
A Mother of Noble Offspring

In the course of the years in which they lived together as husband and wife, the marriage was blessed with pleasant children. The first of them was Al-Qasim, from whose name the famous epithet of the Prophet, that is, Abu Al-Qasim, was derived. The two spouses were then blessed with `Abdullah, who was otherwise known as At-Tayyib and At-Tahir. But for some Divine wisdom, all of them died in their infancy. This was before Muhammad was commissioned as a Prophet.
After he was commissioned as a Prophet, he was blessed with the following girls in order: Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom, and Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with them).
Supporter of the Messenger
The greatness of Khadijah vividly showed in its best and perfect form from the time her husband was commissioned as a Prophet until she died.
The Messenger of Allah was made to love seclusion and staying away from people and their materialistic world for the purpose of reflection and meditation. This seclusion led to the elevation of his soul and the purity of his feeling. He became prepared to receive the great news and the huge responsibility.
The Prophet used to visit the cave of Hiraa' on the Mountain of Mercy (Jabal Ar-Rahmah). He would take with him his food and drink that his wife Khadijah had prepared for him. He would spend some days and nights there, particularly during the month of Ramadan, in seclusion.
One day, the Prophet returned home after the revelation was sent down to him for the first time, to convey the first Divine words to Khadijah.
It is here that the first signs of her greatness manifested. Yes! She instantly believed in him and accepted Islam without hesitation. This is the consensus of the historians and writers of the life history of the Prophet. She was the first believer ever of the Messenger of Allah.
There is, however, a question that may pop up here. Was her acceptance of Islam and her faith done just to follow her husband so that their relationship could continue, or was it done for noble and sublime reasons that transcended this materialistic and sentimental meaning?
To know the answer, let's reflect on the situation when the Messenger of Allah returned home to his wife after receiving the first revelation. His heart was trembling, and he was saying, "Cover me; cover me." She covered him until he was no longer terrified. After having informed her of his experience in the cave of Hiraa', he told her, "I was afraid that something bad might happen to me" (Al-Bukhari).
But his wife's response to this expression of fright was, "Nay! But receive the good tidings! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you, for by Allah, you keep good relations with your kith and kin; speak the truth; help the poor and the destitute; entertain your guests generously; and assist those who are stricken with calamities" (Al-Bukhari).
This statement was undoubtedly a sign of awareness, wisdom, maturity, and deep understanding of the situation. It was also an expression of support.
Khadijah then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn `Abdul `Uzzah, who, during the pre-Islamic period became Christian and would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight.
Khadijah said to Waraqah, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqah asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" Allah's Messenger described whatever he had seen.
Waraqah said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets [Angel Gabriel] — whom Allah had sent to Moses" (Al-Bukhari).
The Islamic scholar Al-Haithami mentioned in his Mujamma` Az-Zawa'id thatone day the Messenger of Allah was sitting down with Khadijah and then he saw Angel Gabriel (peace be upon him) and told Khadijah of what he saw. She asked him to move closer to her. When he moved closer, she asked him if he still saw the person and he answered in the affirmative

She then took off her headscarf and asked him if he still saw him. He answered in the negative. She then told him, "By Allah, this is a Noble Angel. By Allah he is not a devil [i.e., if he had been a devil, he would not have been ashamed of looking at them while she was bareheaded]."
Indeed, with decisive words and actions Khadijah calmed the Prophet and strengthened him. The great love she had for him transformed into what is greater: belief in Allah and His Messenger.
First Believer
One day, the Prophet returned home afterAngel Gabrielhad taught him how to pray. He informed Khadijah of this, and she said, "Just teach me how he taught you." So he taught her. She then performed ablution as he did and she prayed along with him, and then said, "I testify that you are really the Messenger of Allah"
The Islamic scholar, Ibn Hajar, said in his book, Al-Isabah, "This is the most correct narration I came about concerning her Islam."
Ibn Is-haq, another Islamic scholar, said, "Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was the first person to believe in Allah and His Messenger and believe in all that he brought. Allah comforted His Messenger by that. The Prophet never heard any unpleasant thing from her whenever she talked to him."
The ship of faith continued to weather the storms and waves of the age of ignorance and its darkness, while its great captain, Muhammad, directed the passengers with wisdom, patience, and reliance on Allah.
Whenever he sensed tiredness in himself, or sensed an aggression in the violent winds, he turned his eyes to the heavens, and then sought support from his companion and life partner. And what he got was a compassionate smile and a truthful, assuring, and reinforcing word. This strengthened him in his mission to carry out the command of Allah and His order.
Various Sacrifices
Here is another aspect of greatness in the life of Khadijah. She had invested all her wealth in the cause of Allah. She generously and unlimitedly spent without making any mention of what she had spent, especially during the three-year blockade led by Quraishi infidels against Muslims in the mountain pass of Abu Talib.
She spared the Messenger of Allah the trouble of labor. All his occupation was calling to the way of Allah. Allah reminded him of this favor when He says,(Did He not find you destitute and enrich (you)?) (Ad-Duha 93:8)
She also showed kindness to weak and poor Muslims. She was very generous to them and was deservedly called the Mother of the Believers. She was the first Mother of the Believers in every sense.

Year of Grief

Khadijah came out of the mountain pass of Abu Talib physically weakened. She became sick, and her beloved husband and daughters cared for her, consoled her, and alleviated her suffering to the best of their ability. But as Allah would have it, no remedy or cure was able to heal her, and she finally surrendered her soul and left for the Highest Company.
She died amid the tears of her daughters and the sorrow of their great father, the noble Messenger, over his companion, life partner, and solid support. Her death was one of the saddest experiences of the Messenger of Allah, to the extent that the year of her death was called the year of grief.
Khadijah's Multiple Rewards
The great aspects of Khadijah were adequately rewarded by the Lord of Majesty. Abu Hurairah narrated that Gabriel came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Messenger! This is Khadijah coming to you with a dish having meat soup [or some food or drink]. When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord [i.e., Allah] and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a qasab [canes stud with jewels] palace in Paradise wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue [trouble]" (Al-Bukhari).

Moreover, the Prophet said, "The best of the world's women is Mary [during her lifetime], and the best of the world’s women is Khadijah [during her lifetime]" (Al-Bukhari). 

This is part of her reward in Paradise. Moreover, she received noble Prophetic rewards, as her devoted husband frequently spoke of her and nostalgically remembered her days with him, expressing how much he missed her.

The following incident is a very delicate and indicative one. `A'ishah reported that Halah bint Khuwaylid (Khadijah's sister) sought permission from Allah's Messenger to see him, so he was reminded of Khadijah's manner of asking leave to enter and was overwhelmed with emotions; he then said, "O Allah, it is Halah, daughter of Khuwaylid"  (Muslim).

How great the Prophet's devotion to his wife was. He still remembered the way his late wife — who died many years ago — used to ask for his leave!

`A'ishah said, "Never did I feel jealous of the wives of Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), except for Khadijah, though I did not [have the privilege to] see her."

She further added that whenever Allah's Messenger slaughtered a sheep, he said, "Send it to the companions of Khadijah." I annoyed him one day and said, "[It is] Khadijah [only who always prevails upon your mind]." Thereupon, Allah's Messenger said, "Her love had been nurtured in my heart by Allah Himself" (Muslim). 

Ibn Kathir in his book Al-Bedayah Wa An-Nehayah mentioned that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that one day the Messenger of Allah praised Khadijah, so `A'ishah grew very jealous and told him, "Was she not an old lady whom Allah has replaced for you with a better woman?"
He got angry and said, "No, by Allah! Allah did not replace her with any better woman. For she believed in me when people disbelieved; she consoled me with her wealth when people denied me their money; and Allah blessed me with children from her while I was denied children by other women."
The sayings of the Prophet — beside being signs of deep love and devotion toward his late wife — were the result of the inevitable gap her death created in the household, in the real sense of the word. This is because seeing his daughters would remind him of their absent mother, and the atmosphere of sorrow and distress would remind him of the big heart that flourished with love, care, and faith.

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On patience and gratitude By :- Thahir Mohamed Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:00:17 +0000 gratitude 550

Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “How amazing is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything, and this characteristic is exclusively for him alone. If he experiences something pleasant, he is thankful, and that is good for him; and if he comes across some adversity, he is patient, and that is good for him.” [Muslim]

Allah (swt), the Most Merciful, has created situations in our lives, such that by having strong faith and positive attitude we can earn immense good. But the Satan on the other hand tries to make us despondent and negative and make us forget the favors of Allah. Satan makes us focus and zoom in on minor difficulties and disregard the billions of Niyamat our Lord has bestowed on us.

What is Patience and how to develop it ?

Sabr (Patience) is the ability to endure pain and difficulty with self-control, forbearance, calmness and equanimity having in mind the reality that the current life is fleeting and the true life is the life of the hereafter.

We learn from Hadith that it is the most virtuous people who go through the most trials. It is the Prophets who endured the greatest hardships. Allah (Exalted and Majestic) gives us trials and difficulties to the extent of our piety and thereby helps elevate us. For even in this worldly life, no one can become a doctor or an engineer or achieve anything without going through hardships and succeeding in several tests and exams. Then what about attaining high stations in the eternal life ?

Prophet (Allah’s peace be upon him) was mocked, ridiculed and harassed by his own community when he started preaching Islam. These were the people who once honored him and named him Amin (Trustworthy). Still our beloved Prophet (Allah’s peace be upon him) endured all this with patience, constantly making dua for their guidance. When Prophet (Allah’s peace be upon him) returned to Mecca victorious he showed his extreme forbearance and forgave all those who had abused him. These people consequently accepted Islam and became his ardent followers. Similarly, when any of us start following the Deen and adopting the Sunnah we may face difficulties and ridicule from our own relatives and friends. But surely Allah’s help is with those who are steadfast in following His commandments. Allah says in the Holy Quran – ” Allâh has decreed: “Verily! It is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allâh is All-Powerful, All-Mighty” (Surah Mujadila, verse 20). Allah says – “Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning”. Further Allah says, “Indeed Allah is with those who are patient.”

We face trials of patience in our daily life. Allah bestows some with more in terms of worldly comforts than others. Allah might bestow some with better family, children, reputation or jobs than others. Verily these are tests of our patience and gratefulness. “Your wealth and your children are only a trial (fitnah). And Allah – With Him is a great reward (Paradise).” [Surah al-Taghabun, 15] When we look at people who have more than us, we need to realize that what Allah has bestowed on them is a trial for them and it may be that if Allah had bestowed the same on me I may not have been able to fulfill the responsibilities of these Niyamats and would be held responsible on the Day of Judgement.

Further we need to look at people who have been less fortunate. Alhamdulilah, Allah has blessed us with sight, hearing, speech, ability to walk etc. What about people who miss any of these ? If any small organ does not work properly in the body, then the person has to undergo so much pain and medical expenses. We need to be constantly thankful to Allah for each and every organ in our body – which are doing their jobs without us making any effort or paying them.

We also face trials wherein people do not fulfill their responsibilities towards us (Say for example the daughter-in-law does not respect and treat well the mother-in-law and vice versa). “The one who reciprocates the good done to him by a relative is not the one who joins the tie of kinship. He is rather the one, when his relatives treat him badly he treats them well.” (Al-Bukhârî)

So when in any such situation where our kith and kin do not give us treatment we might deserve we need to remember the above words of the Prophet (Allah’s peace be upon him) and do good to them. We need to take peace and rest from the fact that on the Day of Judgement, Allah will settle all accounts. And for any of our rights which were not fulfilled, Allah (Exalted and Majestic) will honor us and fulfill them on the Day of Judgement and give us an eternal reward.

Developing gratefulness (shukr)

“If ye give thanks, I will give you more; but if ye are thankless, lo! My punishment is dire” (Ibrahim 14: 7)

All our relationships and dealings with others in life are based on mutual reciprocation. But Allah is fully Self-Sufficient and needs no one, while we are completely in need of Him. Hence the least we can do is to show sincere gratitude and obedience to Him.

Allah is taking care and providing for us right from the time we were conceived to the time of our death.

“We created man from an extract of clay.  Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed.  Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance)”  (23:12-14).

When we are weak and powerless in the mother’s womb He provides us food through the umbilical cord. When we are born, Allah puts so much love and compassion for us in our parents’ hearts that they do not mind any suffering in taking care of us. True shukr or gratefulness to Allah is in realizing each and every blessing Allah has given us, and thanking Him for it.

We ask Allah to make us all of the patient and the grateful.

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French company introduces instant pork detecting “halal test” kit Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:54:43 +0000 halal-t-320

French start-up is hoping to take a slice of the multi-billion Halal food market with a device allowing diners to find out within minutes whether a dish contains pork.

Capital Biotech has received orders from as far afield as Turkey, Chile and Indonesia for its “Halal Test” which tests within 10 minutes whether a food contains pork meat, forbidden for Muslims and Jews.

Launched only a fortnight ago, the company has won nearly 100,000 ($135,000) in orders, a “surprise” according to co-founder Jean-Francois Julien.

The company acknowledges that the test, a one-use device costing 6.90 euros, does not constitute a complete “Halal” test, which also requires information about how the animal was slaughtered.

But it “allows you to dispel a one-off doubt, for example when you are on holiday or when a new “Halal” product hits the market,” said Julien.

To use the device, the cautious diner mixes a small amount with hot water and inserts a small strip into the mixture. The strip tests for pork proteins and takes less than 10 minutes.

France’s five million Muslims (the largest population in Europe) have been hit with food scandals — in 2011, “Halal” sausages were discovered to contain pork — and want to be sure they are not eating forbidden food, said Abbas Bendali from marketing firm Solis.

Capital Biotech believes however that 70 percent of its sales will eventually come from professionals who want a quick way of testing whether food is suitably for non pork eaters.

Bendali said the cost of the device would inevitably deter individuals “at a time of economic crisis.”
“It’s difficult to invest seven euros to test a bowl of pasta that costs three,” he said.

Muslims are more reassured by “a genuine Halal certificate,” he said.

Food allergies

But the firm is not limiting itself just to pork, hoping to make itself the firm of reference for tests on all types of food allergies.

It intends to launch soon a range of tests for soya, egg or almonds — all potential allergens — in ready meals. The firm will then roll out tests for gluten, peanut or milk. In the long-run, the start-up plans to extend its quick-fire testing to pharamceutical products.

However, Faycal Bennatif, marketing director of the world’s top biological analysis group Eurofins, told AFP it was not down to the consumer to perform quality tests on food products.

In the wake of the horsemeat scandal that rocked Europe last year, Eurofins has been inundated for requests to test meat products but has not developed a quick-fire test.

“We work with DNA sequencing in the lab which is not at all the same method,” said Bennatif, adding he was “dubious” as to how efficient the new quick tests were.

Capital Biotech’s “Halal tests” do not require authorization to be launched on the market, estimated at 5.5 billion euros ($6.8 billion) in France alone, although authorities will examine the reliability of the testing method.

Expert in allergens Jocelyne Just said the tests were a “first” but should be treated with caution “in the sense that a patient can be allergic to one food form but not another, for example to raw milk but not pasteurised.”

As for Capital Biotech, the start-up already has its eye on the next market by securing domain names for “kosher tests.”

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The Role of the Mosque in the 21st Century (Part 2) By :- Aisha Stacey Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:59:16 +0000 As we learned in Part 1, from the beginning of Islamic history the mosque was the cornerstone of the Muslim community. It was not established simply as a house of prayer. It is easy to arrive at this conclusion because God gave the nation of Muhammad a unique gift. Capture 2_compressed

The majority of the globe, with very few exceptions, is a place of prayer. Buildings, mosques, are not required to fulfill this need. "The (whole) earth has been made a mosque (or a place of prayer) and a means of purification for me, so wherever a man of my Ummah may be when the time for prayer comes, let him pray.” (Al-Bukhari, 335)

Therefore one would assume that the mosque is more than just a sheltered area to pray in. It is of course, and we must not overlook this, a place where Muslims, irrespective of their race or ethnicity, gather together five times per day. This conveys a subtle message about the importance of staying together, united as one nation of Muslims.

Unity is particularly important in the 21st. century because more than ever before the Muslim nation is disunited and spread throughout the globe. But time and circumstance both have the habit of making small changes and small changes happened to the role of the mosque as history swept forward. As communities in Muslim nations became bigger, more than one well was required, more than one school, more than one marketplace and more than one mosque.

In fact mosques were seemingly built on every corner but many of them became little more than places of prayer. The larger mosques continued to fulfill their various functions so in Muslim countries the mosque will often serve the same purpose for which it was established nearly 1500 years ago.

Things are different in the west however, while Muslims might have their own shopping areas, restaurants and schools these are not the places that traditionally give and maintain a Muslim sense of identity. That place is the local mosque.

It is in the mosque that a Muslim keeps his spirituality alive, strengthens the bond with his Creator, meets and communicates with his fellow Muslims and renews his sense of belonging.

Sadly many mosques currently serve as places of worship, for breaking the fast during Ramadan, and little else. However if mosques throughout the world reverted to their traditional purpose and place in Muslim society they could bring about great social change and influence non-Muslims to rethink the predominating views of Islam prevalent today.

To be the heart of a vibrant Muslim society, mosques need to face the challenges brought about by the globalization and growth of the 21st. century. First and foremost is the challenge of offering a welcoming atmosphere. To perform a useful function in the Muslim society mosques of the 21st. century need to throw the front door open to all sections of society, just as the first mosque did.

Women, mothers with young children, the elderly, the youth, the poor and disenfranchised and non-Muslims interested in Islam should find the mosque a welcoming place.

The mosque and its surrounds typically referred to in the west as the Islamic centre could house such facilities as a cafeteria, a sports facility most particularly for the youth, a library with computers and internet, classrooms, halal food store, and a child minding centre so that men and women can enjoy the educational and sports facilities without worrying about small children.

The mosque could distribute aid to the poor and the needy. Many of these functions do take place but sadly many do not. The modern mosque should be the focal point of a Muslim’s life. It should be a welcoming place for all Muslims, and all those interested in finding out about Muslims and Islam.

Throughout the Muslim world many mosques have become tourist attractions. They are known for their beautiful and often ground breaking architecture but sadly those most frequently visited by tourists are no longer houses of prayer.

The innumerable small mosques located in every neighborhood in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries are uninviting to non-Muslims, tourists and women alike.

In larger cities cultural and Islamic centers have been built specifically targeting the needs of non-Muslims. The needs of Muslims are often met by Zakah foundations, and other charity organizations.

Gone are the days when small mosque communities looked after each other. This is true throughout the western world too. We have all seen the signs that relegate women to back entrances and many non-Muslims have kept walking when confronted by groups of men standing outside mosque entrances.

In their research for the documentary film Unmosqued, the film makers found some unsettling statistics about the mosques in America. Mosques they found are under-financed and understaffed.

While mosque attendance is higher than other American religious congregations, mosque budgets are less than half the budget of other congregations. Only 44% of all Imams are full-time and paid. Half of all mosques have no full-time staff. Program staff such as youth directors or outreach directors account for only 5% of all full-time staff. Only 3% of mosques consider "New Muslim" classes a top priority.

It appears then that the challenges for the mosque in the 21st. century, in both the Muslim and western spheres are to make the mosque a more inclusive space.

In the time of Prophet Muhammad it was not unusual for the homeless to sleep in the mosque whilst matters of state were discussed in an area close by. Sadly now days some mosques are locked up between prayer times. Some mosques in some countries are facing up to the challenges.

A great example of a 21st. century mosque blending tradition with modernity is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre opened in 2008 in the United Arab Emirates. It is managed according to the most modern standards and its collections and features include a state of the art library equipped with modern facilities for the development of research and knowledge.

Cultural and social events are organized and these include seminars, lectures, exhibitions, courses for teaching the Quran, Islamic architecture, Arabic calligraphy and Arabic syntax, as well as competitions on Quran recitation and the call to prayer.

The mosque, in the traditional spirit, reflects an informed understanding of religions based on respect, stemming from the belief that Islam is a religion of tolerance and love.

The Mosque is a welcoming, humanitarian space open to all visitors.

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Reaching Out To Those of Other Faiths – Presented By: Ustad Syed Ali Tue, 18 Nov 2014 06:05:41 +0000 Reaching Out
To Those of Other Faiths
Paradigm Shift
Accepting the brotherhood of humanity
Mosque Tours
A Unique Outreach Program
Presented By: Ustad Syed Ali

Syed Ali Lecture Program_compressed

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Petrodollar Panic? China Signs Currency Swap Deal With Qatar and Canada:- By Tyler Durden Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:23:25 +0000 November 13, 2014 "ICH" – "Zero Hedge"- The march of global de-dollarization continues. In the last few days, China has signed direct currency agreements with Canada becoming North America's first offshore RMB hub, which CBC reports analysts suggest "could double maybe even triple the level of Canadian trade between Canada and China," impacting the need for Dollars. But that is not the week's biggest Petrodollar precariousness news, as The Examiner reports, a new chink in the petrodollar system was forged as China signed an agreement with Qatar to begin direct currency swaps between the two nations using the Yuan, and establishing the foundation for new direct trade with the OPEC nation in the very heart of the petrodollar system. As Simon Black warns, "It’s happening… with increasing speed and frequency."
As CBC reports,

Authorized by China's central bank, the deal will allow direct business between the Canadian dollar and the Chinese yuan, cutting out the middle man — in most cases, the U.S. dollar. 

Canadian exporters forced to use the American currency to do business in China are faced with higher currency exchange costs and longer waits to close deals. 

"It's something the prime minister has been talking about. He wants Canadian companies, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses, doing more and more work in China, selling goods and services there," said CBC's Catherine Cullen, reporting from Beijing.

Sovereign Man's Simon Black has some ominous thoughts on Canada's move…

It’s happening. With increasing speed and frequency. 

The People’s Bank of China and the Canadian Prime Minister’s office issued a statement on Saturday stating that Canada will establish North America’s first offshore renminbi trading center in Toronto. 

China and Canada agreed on a number of measures to increase the use of renminbi in trade, business, and investment. And they further signed a 200-billion renminbi bilateral currency swap agreement. 

Moreover, just today, hot off the presses, the central banks of China and Malaysia announced the establishment of renminbi clearing arrangements in Kuala Lumpur, which will further increase the use of renminbi in South-East Asia. 

This comes just two weeks after Asia’s leading financial center, Singapore, became a major renminbi hub, with direct convertibility established between the Singapore dollar and the renminbi.

And as Black notes, everyone is in on the trend. All across the world, the renminbi is quickly becoming THE currency for trade, investment, and even savings.

Renminbi deposits in South Korea, for example, surged 55-times in one single year. It’s stunning.

The government of UK just issued a renminbi bond, becoming the first foreign government to issue debt in renminbi. 

Even the European Central bank is debating to include renminbi in its official reserves, while politicians the world over are sounding not-so-subtle warnings that a new non-dollar monetary system is needed. 

Nothing goes up or down in a straight line. And given how volatile Europe and the global economy continue to be, the dollar may certainly be in for its surges and bumps in the coming months. 

But over the long-term it’s glaringly obvious where this trend is going: the rest of the world no longer wants to rely on the US dollar, and they’re making it a reality whether the US likes it or not.

*  *  *

And now, no lesser oil-producing state than controversial Qatar has signed an agreement too.. seemingly opening up the door to Petrodollar panic… (as The Examiner reports)

The petro-dollar system is the heart and soul of America's domination over the global reserve currency, and their right to make all nations have to purchase U.S. dollars to be able to buy oil in the open market. Bound through an agreement with Saudi Arabia and OPEC in 1973, this de facto standard has lasted for over 41 years and has been the driving force behind America's economic, political, and military power. 

But on Nov. 3 a new chink in the petro-dollar system was forged as China signed an agreement with Qatar to begin direct currency swaps between the two nations using the Yuan, and establishing the foundation for new direct trade with the OPEC nation in the very heart of the petro-dollar system. 

While this new agreement between China and Qatar is only for the equivalent of $5.7 billion over the next three years, Qatar becomes the 24th nation to open its Forex market to the Chinese currency, and solidifies acceptance of the Yuan as a viable option for the future in the Middle East. 

China's central bank announced Monday that it has signed a currency swap deal worth 35 billion yuan (about 5.7 billion US dollars) with the central bank of Qatar. 

The three-year deal could be extended upon agreement by the two sides,said a statement on the website of the People's Bank of China (PBOC). 

Also on Monday, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on Renminbi clearing settlement in Doha. China agreed to extend the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme to Qatar, with an initial quota of 30 billion yuan. 

The deal marked a new step forward in financial cooperation between the two countries, and will facilitate bilateral trade and investment to help maintain regional financial stability, the statement said. – China Daily 

It is perhaps no coincidence that the term for the new agreement is set for three years, and is within the exact time frame being predicted by the director of the Finance Institute under the Development Research Center of the State Council, Zhang Chenghui for the Renminbi to become fully convertible in the global financial system. 

The need for new markets and a more stable trade currency in Qatar could be tied to a new report issued last week by French bank BNP Paribas which showed that petro-dollar recycling has fallen to its lowest levels in 18 years, signifying that even oil producing nations in the Middle East are finding it difficult to trust the U.S. dollar, and facilitate its use in trade due to its depreciation since the advent of the Federal Reserve's massive QE programs. 

Nearly every week now, China, Russia, or one of the BRICS nations are finalizing agreements that supersede the old system of dollar trade and reliance on the petro-dollar system. And as many countries begin to reject the dollar due to the exported inflation that is growing in nations that are relegated to having to hold them for global oil purchases, alternatives such as the Chinese Yuan will become a more viable option, especially now that the Asian power has taken over the top spot as the world's biggest economy.

The demise of Petrdollar flows…

petrodollar chart f

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Islamic Astronomy Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:45:57 +0000 Precision and Observation: Refining the Works of Ptolemy

After the age of the Ancient Greeks and the end of the Roman Empire, the science of astronomy went into decline in Western Europe. Barbarian incursions and empire building meant that little attention was paid to science and learning, and any such pursuits were limited to monasteries and the homes of nobles.

The rise of Islam saw a shift of scientific knowledge from the philosophers of Greece, and the engineers of Rome, to the East. In 762 CE, the Abbasid Caliphate rose to prominence in the growing Islamic Empire and moved from the Arabian Peninsula to Baghdad, perfectly placed to govern such a vast area. Here, they allowed scholars from all over the world to meet and share ideas in the great Houses of Learning.

The various trade routes, such as the Silk Road, crossing the region, allowed knowledge from India and China to mix with the wisdom of the Persians, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Jews. Great Hindu astronomers, such as Kankah, mingled with Christians, Muslims and Jews. Advances in science, philosophy and culture spread during this time, as the Islamic scholars preserved much knowledge, translating it into Arabic and refining it.

Advances were made in many fields, and the Islamic scholars further refined the scientific method. Amongst the advances were the improvements in the field of astronomy, a very important part of life to Arabs. The scholars translated texts from Persia and India into Arabic, along with Ptolemy’s ’Almagest’ and works from Euclid and Archimedes. These works acted as the nucleus around which Islamic astronomy grew and, as with so much of the Islamic knowledge, it passed into Europe and fueled the Renaissance.

Why Islamic Astronomy Developedal-sufi-starchart

Living in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabs were already fine astronomers, skilled at using the stars for navigation. Much like the Ancient Greek seafarers, a wrong turn or misdirection meant death, so Arabic nomads and merchants could read the stars like a map. They were in tune with the cycles and phenomena of the universe, helped by the crystal clear skies of their homeland in the Arabian Peninsula. As Islam began to spread, this fueled an interest in astronomy, but one other important factor added to the explosion in the breadth and complexity of research into the heavens; the Qur’an.

According to the teachings of Mohammed, Muslims had to pray to Mecca five times every day and, whilst the Arabs knew the direction of Mecca in their own lands, Muslims as far afield as Spain and Persia also had to know the direction of their holy site. They had to know the exact time of day, because praying at the correct time is vitally important to the Muslim religion.

As a result, astronomy took on a completely new importance and became one of the most important sciences to Muslims, encouraging the development of sophisticated mathematical and trigonometric techniques. In addition, the Islamic calendar is based upon the lunar cycle, and measuring and predicting the timing and position of the moon throughout the years is crucial to the Islamic world.

The Islamic scholars took observation to a new level, breaking away from the ideas of the Greeks, who were mired in the belief that they could theorize and deduce underlying principles. By contrast, the Muslims were great believers in empirical observation and measurement. Islamic astronomy had its roots in making prayer easier, but the astronomers went far beyond that and, in the same way as Newton, we can assume that they wanted to show the perfection of God’s universe.

Al-battani and Ibn Al Haytham – The Criticism of Ptolemy Begins

Perhaps the best known of all the Islamic astronomers and mathematicians was Al-Battani (858 – 929 CE), whose findings and books found their way into Europe and would influence Kepler, Galileo, and Tycho. He wrote many books about astronomy and mathematics, with his most famous book, ’KIitabal-Zij’, improving upon the work of Ptolemy’s Almagest.

Pointing out some of the errors that the earlier scholar made with mapping planetary motion, he also included a comprehensive star catalog; solar, lunar, and planetary tables; and trigonometric tables and diagrams. Other advances attributed to him were the discovery that the solar apogee is not fixed, but slowly moves; that the ecliptic is inclined; and that precession occurs at a different rate than the Greeks believed.

This refutation of Ptolemaic theory became a recurring theme over the centuries of Islamic scholarship, as successive Islamic scholars, whilst believing that Ptolemy and the Greeks were right in their belief that underlying mathematical laws and principles underpinned the universe, pointed out that his application of theory was wrong and that he made many errors.

Ibn Al-Haytham noted that Ptolemy’s ideas of planetary motion were wrong and believed that the true principles governing their motion were yet to be discovered. Ultimately, the Islamic scholars instigated a revolt against Ptolemaic and devised new models but, because they did not manage to make the leap to a heliocentric universe, these models were little better than the ones of the Ptolemaic paradigm.

Al-sufi – Discovering Galaxiesal-sufi-book

Abd-al-Rahman Al Sufi (December 7, 903 – May 25, 986 A.D.) was a Persian astronomer and mathematician who further contributed to the body of work emerging from the Islamic world. His landmark text, ‘The Constellations of the Fixed Stars,’ corrected many mistakes made by Ptolemy, especially in documenting the order of magnitude of stars, and many of the Arabic names that he gave to stars have remained in use.

In 964 CE, this astronomer described an object in the sky that he referred to as the Little Cloud, which we now know as the Andromeda galaxy. In the southern Hemisphere, he noted the existence of two further cloud-like objects that he named Al Bakr, the White Ox. These would later be rediscovered by Magellan, in his epic around the world voyage in the 16th Century, and the Magellan Clouds are now known to be companion galaxies of our own Milky Way.

Islamic Astronomy – Astrolabes and Observatories

The work of the Muslims extended to inventing and refining sophisticated instruments for measuring celestial bodies, using mathematical precision allied to fine craftsmanship and advanced metallurgical techniques. The astrolabe, used for measuring latitude, was invented by the Greeks, but the Islamic astronomers refined the equipment, improving the accuracy and building beautiful, elegant instruments. Unlike the Greek predecessors, Islamic astrolabes were independent of latitude and incorporated complex gearing mechanisms to track celestial bodies.

The scholar Al Biruni (973 – 1048 CE) is credited with inventing the first planisphere, used to track the movements of stars and constellations across the sky over the course of the year, and the device is regarded as one of the first analogue computers. Locating the planets still required the use of detailed astronomical tables and almanacs, but the device allowed Islamic astronomers to make extremely accurate observations of the movements of the planets.drawing-of-sextant-in-use

Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (1029 – 1087 CE), known in the West as Arzachel, invented the equitorium, which allowed astronomers to chart the movement of the sun, moon, and planets through the sky, and he devised a lunisolar computer to calculate the time of year and the phases of the moon. Charting time became a dominant theme in the Islamic world, and Al Jazari (1136 – 1206 CE), worthy of mention in the same breath as Archimedes and Heron of Alexandria as a great inventor and engineer, built a mechanical clock that measured time to the hour. Many historians regard this device as the first programmable computer, many years before Babbage, and Taqi Al-Din, in 1559, built a clock that kept time to the second, an immense feat of mathematical and engineering precision.

Al-Zarqali improved upon the devices made by the Greeks, and designed huge mural sextants and quadrants that allowed astronomical positions and celestial to be measured in seconds of an arc. The Muslims continued this trend towards larger and more accurate instruments, and Sultan Ulugh Beg of Samarkand, in modern Uzbekistan, built huge instruments that allowed him to measure the sidereal year as 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 15 seconds, slightly more accurate than the measurements of Copernicus. He also measured the tilt of the Earth’s axis to be 23.52, a figure that is still used today.

One strange anomaly with the Islamic scholars is that they never made the leap of discovering the telescope, despite their knowledge of optometry and the fact that they used observation tubes to scrutinize a section of sky without light interference. The work of Al-Haytham (965 – c1039 CE) included ideas about lenses and parabolic mirrors, but he never made the mental leap into making a telescope. The Europeans ultimately took his work and invented the telescope.

Islamic Astronomy and Mathematics – The Silent Revolution

Mathematically, the Muslims developed many techniques to measure the cosmos, developing advanced trigonometry, including sines and cosines. It is believed that the Muslims introduced the number zero to Europe through their contact with the Indian astronomers, with whom they shared many ideas during the Zij period (750-19th Century CE). Indian astronomers often gave lectures to the Islamic scholars, and this meeting of cultures allowed Indians to encounter the work of the later Greek philosophers.spherical-astrolabe

This particular era saw the Indian astronomers adopt the astrolabe and build great observatories, a period that would only end in the modern age of astronomy at the turn of the 19th century. The observational techniques of the Islamic scholars welded to the mathematical techniques of the Indians resulted in the great Mughal observatories, part of the last flowering of Islamic science.

Islamic Astrology

When it comes to astrology, the majority of Islamic scholars, including Ibn Sina (980 – 1037 CE), did not believe in the Hellenistic idea of using the stars and planets for predicting destinies. He used both empiricism and the Qur’an to attack it, in a sign of the first real split between the disciplines, and the development of astronomy as a separate scientific discipline, completely removed from spirituality and mysticism, instead rooted in empiricism and deduction. In line with the Christian thinkers of the first European Renaissance, the Islamic scholars began to seek for non-supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.

The idea of separating science and religion was not without some disagreement, and many theologians protested that the findings of the astronomers went against the teachings of their prophet. In a great example of how scholars trained in many disciplines, including theology and philosophy, can create fierce rebuttals, Al Ghazali (1058 – 1111 CE) refuted the skeptics, claiming that those who followed the Qur’an blindly and lived in ignorance, denying proof, were working against Allah.

The Islamic scholars, while still incorrect about many things, led to the communication of ideas between Asia and Europe. Their empire encompassed parts of Europe, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India, and allowed contact with the Chinese. In that respect, the Islamic Golden Age became a melting pot for these different ideas and, ultimately, provided much of the knowledge that went on to inspire the great astronomers of the Renaissance.

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21 LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP FROM THE PROPHET PART 3 Mon, 17 Nov 2014 00:54:54 +0000 abb_compressed

The Law of Addition emphasizes the practice of Servant Leadership, or the concept that the leader is there to serve the people and not the opposite. The Prophet was truly a servant of the people who added value to everyone's life that he came across. Whether it was a ruler that he was inviting to Tawheed, a companion the he was teaching and developing, an old lady whose bags he was carrying, a sick member of the community that he was visiting, or one of the many children in the community that he was raising, he added great value to everyone's life around him. The most incredible fact is that some 1400 years later he is still adding value to hundreds of millions of people worldwide on a daily basis.

There is a saying that has been attributed to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (although I have yet to find an authentic source) that summarizes who he was beautifully. “The believer is like a light rain, everywhere he goes he brings benefit.” In other words, if we want to be like the Prophet, then we should strive to be people that make a positive impact and add value everywhere we go.

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • To whom did you add value to today?
  • Who can you intentionally add value to every single day? Think of the people that you have influence over…imagine them in your mind right now and think about how you can add value to them day in and day out.
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