'O people, your blood and your property [and your honour] are sacrosanct, until you meet your Lord, even as this day and this month are sacrosanct. You shall meet your Lord and He shall ask you of your deeds. I have conveyed [the message]. He who has a trust with him, let him return it to the one who has entrusted him with it.
Hajj reflects the state of the Ummah at any particular time in history. If Hajj is performed in a mechanical way by the vast majority of Muslims, it is because its true meaning and import have been deliberately obfuscated from them. Hajj, like all other aspects of Islam, has been largely shorn of its true meaning.
The control and administration of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah by the Saudi family has long been the subject of debate and criticism. Much is made of the Saudis' mismanagement, and the tragedies which result from them, such as the fire at Mina last year. Their personal immorality is also often noted.
Malaysian pilgrims to the Hajj are often noted by other hujjaj to be among the best organized and most disciplined of the Holy Lands' many annual visitors. It is also often noted that, in contrast to hujjaj from some other countries, they are often young. These simple observations hide a major Muslim achievement which goes far further than simply the successful organization of an annual trip to the Haramain.
In western mythology, Lebanon is generally identified with mayhem, warfare, hostage-takers and hijackers. Similarly, the name Hizbullah conjures up images of gun-toting Muslim zealots out to get ‘peaceful’ westerners.
When Alex Haley asserted in his 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, that its main character Kunte Kinte was a Muslim, he was dismissed by many American historians.
The scholars of Islam are that assembly of ulama who have internalized the knowledge of Islam and communicate their understanding to the public. It is not enough to know facts, nor even to verbalize them.
Shaikh Asad Bayyoud Tamimi, Leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement and former Imam of Masjid al-Aqsa, died in Amman, Jordan on the night of March 21.
Twenty years after Israel first invaded Lebanon, and sixteen years after their troops smashed their way to the gates of Beirut before being pushed back to a ‘buffer zone’ in the south of the country, they appear to have had enough and want out.
Barely two decades ago, oil prices were closely tied to international political events. Every major crisis sent the price of a barrel of crude shooting upward, much to western consternation.
Shaheed Samer Karameh was buried with full military honours on March 17, the day after he died in a Palestinian hospital.
Since its creation more than 50 years ago, Pakistan has been trapped in a crisis of identity. For the ruling elite, it has meant the continuation of raj by other means with all the attendant pomp, ceremony and priveleges.
One feature of the recent Iraq crisis was the role played by Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations. A couple of weeks after returning in triumph from Baghdad, Annan was honoured with a meeting with Bill Clinton at the White House and presidential praise for his efforts, which he reciprocated by appreciating Washington’s role.
Like newly-hatched chicks, rulers of the Central Asian republics have been reluctant to stray too far from the cozy warmth of mother Russia even if the bipolar world was dead.
Kosova went to the polls on March 22, to re-elect Dr Ibrahim Rugova as president and to elect 130 members to the country’s second Parliament, even though the first Parliament, elected in 1992, was never able to meet.