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Islam thrives in communist Cuba
- Published 07/5/2016
HAVANA — As Cuban salsa beats pulsate along Obispo Street in the oldest section of this Caribbean capital, bearded men raise their hands to their ears and face east toward Mecca.
They whisper in union "Allahu akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic). They recite verses of the Koran. They bend down and place their head, knees and hands on Oriental rugs.
Together, they represent a thriving group of Islamic followers in the most unlikely of places: communist Cuba.
As Muslims across the globe celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, which kicked off in early June, they are joined by a small but vibrant community of Muslims — about 10,000, based on their own estimate — who are blending Islamic values and Latin American customs in Cuba. They are now holding their daily prayers inside Cuba's first mosque on an island more associated with Catholicism and Santeria.
"Islam has been important in Cuban culture since the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the island," said Marta Linares Gonzalez, 60, who converted to Islam and picked the Islamic name Fatima. "He came with Moorish slaves, who are part of the Spanish culture."» Read More
TT NEWSDAY EDITORIAL:RAMADAN BEGINS
- Published 06/7/2016
MUSLIMS last evening started commemorations marking the month of Ramadan. At sunset, the month of Sha’ban ended and the period of special observances commenced.During this period, Muslims will fast from dawn to sunset, refraining from a range of activities including the consumption of food, the drinking of liquids, smoking and other sensual pleasures. Particular emphasis is placed on abstaining from bad deeds. It is a period of sacrifice, prayer and renewal. The month will end with the sighting of the crescent moon or, if that does not occur, once 30 days have elapsed. The end of the period will be marked with the Eidal- Fitr holiday » Read More
The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen.
On the 18th of February 2012, Assembly of Intellectual Muslim (HAKIM) have sent six of their members to a lecture organized by Dar al-Andalus, Suffah Study Circle of Singapore at Orchard Parade Hotel. The lecture entitled “The Meaning and Experience of Happiness in Islām” was delivered none other than Malaysian-based scholar, the honourable Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas.
Right from the start, Prof. Al-Attas had confined his lecture upon two questions raised with regard to the topic of meaning of happiness in Islām as he brilliantly wrote in a monograph and included as the second chapter of his magnum opus – Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islam. He mentioned before this topic cannot be elaborated succinctly in 2 hours as it took him one whole semester at ISTAC before to lecture on this in detail and at length. He intended on that day to touch basic matters pertaining to the topic.
The first question touched upon whether is it necessary for the Muslim to understand the Western conception of tragedy before we could understand the meaning of happiness in Islām.
Prof. Al-Attas stressed that though it is not necessary to understand the Western conception of tragedy that flourished in their great works since the Iliad of Homer, Poetics of Aristotle, it is pertinent for the Muslims of today to understand the exact opposite of saʿādah as alluded in Qurʾān – which is shaqawāh rendered into English approximately equivalent of ‘great misfortune’, ‘misery’, ‘straitness of circumstance’, ‘distress’, ‘disquietude’, ‘despair’, ‘adversity’, ‘suffering’.
Coffee A Shared Legacy of Muslim Culture
Western historians and commentators generally trace the beginnings of globalization to the second half of the 20th century. However, globalization is neither a very recent nor an absolutely unique phenomenon. The distinguished economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues that globalization’s history spans several centuries and that the active agents of globalization have sometimes been located quite far from the West. He points out that around 1000 AD, some of the most important technological inventions and innovations such as the clock, magnetic compass, paper, printing, gunpowder and the wheelbarrow were invented by the Chinese and subsequently spread across the world, including Europe.
Three points about the genesis and antecedents of globalization are note-worthy. First, one needs to look at globalization not as an isolated phenomenon that emerged in the West in recent times, but as the outcome of historical, social and cultural processes that took place in many non-Western contexts and that preceded contemporary globalization by many centuries. In other words, we should look at globalization from the perspective of social and cultural history and as the product of a process of cumulative progress and development. Second, a distinction needs to be drawn between contemporary globalization and proto-globalization or incipient globalization. Third, the current discourse on globalization, which is manifestly Eurocentric or West-centric, needs to be deconstructed and decentred.
Some historians, like A. G. Hopkins and Christopher Bayly, have used the term proto-globalization to describe the phase of increasing trade links and cultural exchanges that characterized the period from 1600 to 1800, which preceded modern globalization. It may be pointed out that the span of proto-globalization or incipient globalization needs to be extended beyond the 17th century. Proto-globalization or incipient globalization should not be looked upon as merely an earlier phase of globalization, but as an important precursor or forerunner of globalization which significantly impacted processes and linkages that have become a hallmark of contemporary globalization.
There are just 4,000 people in Cuba's small, but growing Muslim community.
But how easy is it to follow the Islamic way of life in a country with no halal butchers, where alcohol and pork are popular and - crucially - with no Mosque?
The Islamic Council of Jamaica
Propagating the true message of Islam
ISLAM IS one of the world's largest religions, with much of its converts living in the Eastern Hemisphere. Islam is also strong in some Western hemispheric countries.
And right here in Jamaica, regarded a Christian country, Islam has taken root. There are 12 places of worship, including the masjid (mosque) at the Islamic Council of Jamaica (ICOJ) headquarters, located at 24 Camp Road, Kingston 4.
This lecture, A Young Soldier of lslam: Haji Ruknudeen Sahib, examines the contributions made by this indentured immigrant who came to these shores some 120 years ago and spent 75 years in service to the Muslim community. A humble man, dedicated to the cause of lslam he joins the legions of other men such as Syed Abdul Aziz, Yacoob Ali Meer Hassan, Beekham Syne, Zahoor Khan, lshmile Khan, Hafiz Naziruddeen, Baboo Meah, Abdul Ghany (Gany), Yacoob Khan, Subrate Meah, Mohammed Ibrahim, John Mohammed, etc. who made sterling contributions to the consolidation and propagation of lslam in Trinidad and whose stories also need to be written and understood by my generation and younger generations. Like many of my generation, had it not been for the legacy I grew-up surrounded by, the trials, the tribulations and the triumphs of the Muslim community would have been largely ignored, for I benefited from the struggles of our fore parents and did not need to interrogate what existed. It is also a struggle that takes on new twists and turns in my generation and those after me. How to be Muslim in a globalized world with its distinct myriad images of individuality and modernization, with attendant norms and values that runs counter to the very principles of Islam; submission to the will of Allah, humility, goodwill, community, cooperation and service? This challenge is made even more acute as we also live in an lslamophobic (as defined by Runnymede Trust, 1997) world. The struggle to constantly adapt, to live a life in service of lslam in a new world by Ruknudeen provides lessons for all of us even fifty years after his death.