Travelling with the Quran

Jul 10 - Travelling with Quran

Many of us often deny the presence of the Quran in our daily lives, because of our concern over the rulings surrounding the question of travelling with the Quran. All scholars agree that the word of Allah (swt) is above all other words in the world and has to be treated with respect by every Muslim. While it is important that we are careful of how we treat the word of Allah (swt), especially in Arabic, it should not imply that we do not travel with Quran. Nowadays, when we spend so much time travelling by car, bus, train and plane, it would be a great loss, if we decided not to take our favourite copy of the Quran with us.

There are several ways we can keep the Quran close to us while travelling. We can creatively use technology for not missing out on the holy book:

  1. The Quran can be nicely covered and kept in a safe place in our bags. Most of us are careful and have an outer covering for our phones and electronic gadgets. We can use the same strategy here. states that it is best to carry the Mushaf that has a plastic cover/jacket, which is not sewn or glued to it – that way, it can be touched even when one is not in Wudhu.
  2. Women, who have their periods, can wear gloves or avoid touching the Arabic script of the Quran.
  3. If we want to be extremely careful, we can carry our favourite Quran in a translated language, which does not have the Arabic text.
  4. The Quran can be carried in the form of digital books or software. says that it permissible to have the Quran on one’s mobile phone or in any other digital form.
  5. Many of us have ipods, iphones and cell phones with enough memory to save the complete Quran text on it. There are styluses (or pens), which can be used to scroll up and down within these gadgets. When the electronic gadget is off, the Arabic text will not be in direct contact with anything else and, therefore, cannot be disrespected.

Scholars have addressed some of the frequently asked questions regarding carrying the Quran:

  1. Mufti Ibrahim Desai, Darul Iftah, South Africa, has specified that it is permissible to carry the Quran while travelling. However, one must be careful about Wudhu (ablution). If it is difficult to perform Wudhu repeatedly while travelling, then care must be taken only to recite the Quran (from the Mushaf, computer or a digital form) and not directly touch the Quran.
  2. He has also advised to try to sit in the front seat, so that no one has his/her back to the Quran.
  3. Also, according to, the Mushaf can be put in one’s pocket, pants or other clothes while travelling, as long as it is protected against tearing or mishandling. Mufti Ibrahim, along with Faraz Rabbani (, has emphasized that it is best to carry the Quran in one’s shirt or jacket pocket rather than in the pockets of pants, as it is more respectful and keeps the Quran elevated. For similar reasons, it is best to carry the Quran in hand-carry, rather than send it off in the baggage.

Whether it is a working professional commuting to and back from work, a mother dropping her children off and picking them up from school, or someone flying to another city or even country, we all spend a considerable time of our lives travelling. May Allah (swt) give us the opportunity to make the best use of our time and remain close to Him and His word, Ameen.

Passive Reception or Active Participation?

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Passive receptionBy Zainub Razvi

Almost without any real effort on their part, ordinary individuals of the information age are exposed daily to a sheer wealth of information. It is a huge task to separate valid facts from speculative or downright false information. The Internet, around-the-clock cable television, newspapers and mobile communications combined offer so many avenues for disseminating of information that often news is spread wide and across, before it has even been properly verified.

Although journalists are expected to ensure a higher standard of authenticity than an over-avid SMS user, who forwards any rumours he/she comes across as potential health and security warnings, even the news media often sidesteps important journalistic protocols to cash in on sensational angles or breaking news value. Not only do such practices compromise important journalistic ethics but, more crucially, in a country like Pakistan, where the majority of the viewers and readers comprise less educated, gullible audiences, they mislead people and start a vicious cycle of utterly baseless rumours and gossip mongering, which ultimately becomes so pervasive that it is nearly impossible to separate the facts from the fiction.

A brilliant recent example was the mobile virus hoax propagated in 2007. The mystery virus could allegedly do anything from simply messing up your phone device to downright killing you! What started off as a relatively harmless chain email and SMS message, which originated out of a practical joke, eventually ended up as breaking news health warning on certain news channels. It was only days later, after a full blown education campaign by the telecom regulators, that all needless hysteria finally subsided. Thus, ordinary news watchers cannot trust the news providers to give them the correct information.

A fair deal of the responsibility lies on us to confirm any news we hear or read. It is not only a common sense practice but also a religious obligation, as described in Surah Hujurat: “O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.” (49:6) Although this verse refers specifically to news brought by a rebellious and evil person, scholars suggest that believers should verify any news brought to them by any source, before believing it and passing it on to others. Here are the top three questions to ask ourselves, whenever we read or hear a news story:

Source: Where is this news coming from? It is vital to determine the authenticity of the source of any news. We shouldn’t just assume that because a certain report is appearing on TV or in a newspaper it will necessarily be correct. We should further check to see, if it’s an original report or news syndicated from another source. If it is an original report, do a background check on the reporter or correspondent breaking the story. In case of a syndicated story, check if it comes from well known news agency. Some newspapers and channels do have a reputation of being more sensationalist than others, and almost every news source has certain inherent predispositions (a liberal or conservative slant, for instance), which should also be kept in mind, when ascertaining the credibility of any source.

Balance: Is the news too one-sided? Every news story has two sides, and any news story that gives you just one side is not balanced. So if you’re tuning in to watch election coverage, and the state television is showing you one government official after another testifying to the fairness and transparency of the balloting process, but does not include any opposition members, let alone their views, you know something’s fishy. Balance is particularly important in news stories about crime and politics. View with suspicion a report, which logs only one aggrieved party’s grievances. Watch out for the bias that editors and producers sometimes deliberately create via selecting and emphasizing some facts and figures over others, strategically placing certain news in headline or front pages and by using specific tones or names to refer to certain incidents or people (for instance, a new report that describes a staunch scholar as a ‘radical cleric’).

Accuracy: Are the facts in this report logically consistent? Make use of your common sense to read and watch between and beyond the lines and tapes. If a news channels is broadcasting something it claims was shot in the Northern Areas, but appears like it could easily have been taped elsewhere in the country, view it with skepticism. A good way to determine the credibility of a report is the amount of citations it has – the more experts or other credible sources it quotes, the higher is the likelihood of accuracy.

By following this simple guide, we can ensure that we are not misled ourselves and prevent the propagation of false or speculative news to others.

Is Boycotting Fruitful?

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Is Boycotting FruitfulIn surfing the web and reading boycotting blogs, I have encountered a common response regarding the issue of whether boycotting Israeli products is fruitful or not. Responses that can no better describe as either selfish or self-centered. On asked for responses of whether Muslims or Middle Easterners would boycott Israeli products the responses ranged from” “It is not helping?” “It is worthless. Don’t see any results!” to “No one is keeping up with it, so why should I?” Our boycotting attempts are much like acquiring a new membership to a health club on New Year’s Eve. We start off resolute to keep in shape but as the year progresses we tend to slack–only to realize that we are unfit simply because we did not follow through. Boycotting is a simple test and yet we fail miserably–so why expect to pass in bigger tests that I assure you will come in the future.

We seem to have lost our patience as Muslims not to mention our persevering for delayed but long term results. It has become all about self-gratification. I urge you not to buy into this instant culture. 

I can only call those responses that undermine the effects of boycotting as selfish and self-centered. We have dissolved into a culture that I call ‘Instant culture” quite like instant milk, rice, and cereal. We want instant results or else! It doesn’t stop there; we want to see the results with our very own eyes. We want to know if our sacrifices (I am being cynical yes!) of giving up our morning cup of Joe from Starbucks, grabbing a fast meal for our kids from McDonalds, or kicking off the caffeine habit of a Mountain Dew-are bearing fruit, provided we eat the fruit too. It is all about self-gratification. How selfish! I do not know if Starbucks, McDonalds, and products such as Mountain Dew have made themselves home in Yemen, it has been a while since I was home myself. But I am sure there are Israeli products in Yemen, so this article applies to us all—whether in Yemen or abroad.

We are 1.5 billion Muslims and we have millions of rapidly growing supporters all over the world right now–look up all the task forces in many European countries that have positioned themselves in front of grocery stores informing the public of what products to boycott. Are they more passionate about our Muslims brothers and sisters than we are? 

We seem to have lost our patience as Muslims not to mention our persevering for delayed but long term results. It has become all about self-gratification. I urge you not to buy into this instant culture. As Muslims have a promise from Allah the Almighty that He is with those who are patient, but who persevere. A Muslim is never selfish–Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him advised us to plant a seed in our final days-although we may not harvest the fruit ourselves. Seeing results in our lifetime has never been the higher aim of Muslims. Although sometimes Allah the Almighty to keep us steadfast out of His infinite Generosity and limitless Mercy allowed us to see the results of the Danish products boycott, which by the way was a success. Consider for instance Arla’s sales report:

By the end of January 2006, Arla’s sales had come to a standstill in the firm’s key Middle East region as Muslim consumers in several countries boycotted Danish products, and the company was forced to shut down its factory in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “Our sales in the Middle East have come to a complete stop – in all countries in the region, company spokeswoman Astrid Gade Niels told the BBC. She added: “We have taken 40 years to build up a very big business in the Middle East, and we’ve seen it come to a complete stop in five days. (BBC News, January 31, 2006).

And by the way, some of us are still boycotting Danish products because they still stoically and unwaveringly stand behind their infamous cartoons in the name of freedom of speech. So, if you are not following through with the Danish products boycott, ask yourself if you have good reason not to and inform us thereof. Fact is, that the result of the Danish products boycott was irrelevant, for we Muslims got the ultimate satisfaction of aligning ourselves with Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, against those who were slandering his reputation–the results were left for Allah Almighty to determine.

Now back to the Israeli products boycott. Some may rationalize that it was easy boycotting Danish products, but boycotting Israeli products is a much bigger challenge? Some may even say, the Danish product boycott was for the best of the best that is Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. My question is, aren’t our Palestinian brothers and sisters worthy of a similar sacrifice. This is not an invitation to contemplate on my question. Definitely they are! No doubt! I strongly hold on to Allah’s Almighty advice:

And slacken not in following the enemy: If ye are suffering hardships they are suffering similar hardships; but you hope from Allah, what they do not. And Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (4:104)

The media only shows Palestinian suffering, but we know that if we truly believe in Allah’s Almighty words, the other side is suffering as well. They will never give us the satisfaction of knowing the fact, but I know for certainty they are. I am sure the rockets that they sarcastically calling “primitive” devices made of simple “home-made ingredients” are frightening them out of their wits–and they see in them a great potential. Why the hullabaloo then? Likewise, you might never know the results of your boycott of Israeli products, but trust me if we follow through and make sure others are as well, it will have a tremendous impact, despite the denial and arrogance on the part of Israel and its supporters which will prevent them from confessing to it.

We are 1.5 billion Muslims and we have millions of rapidly growing supporters all over the world right now–look up all the task forces in many European countries that have positioned themselves in front of grocery stores informing the public of what products to boycott. Are they more passionate about our Muslims brothers and sisters than we are? Know this Muslim numbers are insignificant if they do not choose to climb onto the Boycott Bandwagon. But then why do even need to look at the numbers, they are irrelevant right. Just know for sure that if we follow Allah’s orders of pursuing our enemy and not slacken therein –strangling them economically is one of them–according to Allah Lord of the Universe they will suffer and Allah’s promise suffices me. The question is does it suffice you?

Here is a link to all the brands to be boycotted, clicking on the brand tells you more on why they should be boycotted. Please visit the page and make up your own mind.

Mercy for the World

By Hafsa Ahsan

The caricatures published in Danish newspapers, portraying Prophet Muhammad (sa) in a demeaning light, have evoked a strong reaction from Muslims all over the world. A very natural reaction of most of the Muslims is that of anger at this blatant display of Islamophobia. However, there are certain organizations who have taken this incident as an opportunity to propagate the true character of Prophet Muhammad (sa) to the world, and accordingly expand Dawah activities, especially among non-Muslim circles.

One such organization is Al-Huda International which, in collaboration with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, Government of Dubai launched a campaign called “Mercy for the World” in Dubai, UAE. Managed by Iman Ismail Abdullah, this campaign was inaugurated in May 2008 and concluded in December 2008.

The activities under the banner of “Mercy for the World” were aimed at serving a dual purpose. On the one hand, they attempted to channel the energy of those Muslims who wanted to do something in response to the caricatures – engaging in positive activities is always way more productive and result-oriented rather than going on a destructive spree and destroying one’s own and public property.

On the other hand, propagating the message and the personality of Prophet Muhammad (sa) is also one effective means of Dawah – it is no surprise then, that the seminars and presentations held under the umbrella of Mercy for the World Campaign managed to attract a non-Muslim audience. These presentations and seminars gave them a very good opportunity to get more information on the Prophet (sa). At the end of these seminars, an informal quiz competition was also held, with winners receiving prizes.

Other activities included a research competition, which was held in the later part of the year. Participants were required to write a fifteen-page article on any aspect of the life of Prophet Muhammad (sa). The winners of the competition would be awarded cash prizes. Moreover, posters designed by Al-Huda International were published by the Government of Dubai and distributed in shopping malls and sports clubs.

Apart from the activities, a booklet was also published as part of this campaign. Titled “Mercy for the World – Prophet Muhammad (sa)” and penned down by Umme Abdullah, this book was distributed for free among the participants of the seminars and presentations, as well as those who were connected with the campaign in any way.

The author of this booklet has compiled a comprehensive collection of quotations from non-Muslim scholars and intellects which bear testimony to the excellent character of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Thomas Carlyle, K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, Sarojini Naidiu and Mahatama Gandhi are only some of the well-known personalities who have, at some time or other, uttered glowing words of praise for the Prophet of Islam (SAW)

Probably, one of the best quotations in this book is from George Bernard Shaw when he says the following:

“I believe that if a man like him (sa) were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness. I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad (sa) that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”

At the end of the day then, campaigns like Mercy for the World indeed help propagate the message of Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa). Such campaigns can also be considered as an effective and timely effort to counter the Danish caricatures. Schools and other Dawah organizations can also start similar campaigns to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about the personality and teachings of the Prophet (sa).

Islam in Albania

By Inga Strautiņa

Small whitewashed mosques dotting mountainous scenery; chalk white Muslim graveyards scattered along the road, elderly Muslim women and men on the way to their prayers in peaceful villages – this is the image so typical of Muslim territories in the Western Balkans and the image I pictured, when crossing the Albanian border. However, despite my extensive travelling in this region, I was not sure what to expect, as Albania had so far been an ‘unknown territory’ for me.

As I was driving closer and closer to Tirana, I had a persistent nagging feeling, a certain discomfort. When I entered Tirana centre, I realized the cause, and it grew to an outright shock—there were hardly any mosques here and hardly any women in Hijab. Aren’t Albanians supposed to be Muslims? Was the famous Albanian poet Pashko Vasa right, when he wrote: “Churches and mosques you shall not heed, the religion of Albanians is Albanism”?

Islam in Albania has been shaped mostly by two historically significant events. The Ottoman Empire introduced the religion of Allah (swt) to this remote part of Europe. Then, during the 500 years of the Turkish rule, the majority of the population converted. A 1930 consensus declared 70% of the Albanian population to be Muslim, though Islam was experiencing turbulent times. In 1923, Albania’s Muslim congress decided to break off from the Caliphate and establish independent practices of prayer as well as banned polygamy and the obligation of Hijab.

The 20th century totalitarian regime of Albania had the most devastating impact on Islam and any religion in general. Mosques were closed and turned into secular culture centres, all religious practices were forbidden, Imams were imprisoned and forced to renounce their faith. Yet, it was not until 1967 that this communist country officially became the first atheist state in the world. Children were not taught religion due to safety reasons. A possession of a copy of the Quran or any other Holy Book could land one in prison.

Now Albania is a democratic state, but the legacy of its communist past still looms over the minds and lives of the Albanian people. There is religious freedom, but people seemed confused as to what religion can offer. 70% call themselves non-religious, and many others are seduced by foreign missionaries of various sects, who have grasped the opportunity to entangle unsuspecting minds. However, Islam is recovering. And as it often happens, the positive change comes from younger minds.

On the second day of my very short stay in the capital of this otherwise amazing and inspiring country, I decided to find some other mosques apart from the pretty Et’hem Bey in the central square. Until the Zuhr Adhan, I was wandering through busy alleys, contemplating the invisibility of Islamic culture in this city. It led me straight to a small mosque in a narrow side street. And suddenly I saw young Muslim brothers gathering for the prayer. I saw young Muslim sisters in Hijabs. “Alhamdulillah!” I thought.

That day I was graced with an experience of true Muslim sisterhood. These young women showered me, a complete stranger, with unbelievable warmth and attention. They told me about their way of returning to Islam and obstacles they occasionally encountered as Muslims. Throughout these stories I felt the enormous strength of their Iman. These young Albanian Muslims are knowledgeable, energetic and devoted. They are unwavering. They know the light and peace of Islam. May Allah Almighty (swt) bless the sisters and brothers of this beautiful country and strengthen them in spreading the message of the truth, Ameen!

Lal Masjid in Focus

Vol 4-Issue 3 Lal Masjid in focusDr. Israr Ahmed gave two lectures on the incidence of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa. Here are the excerpts from his speech.

Historical background of Jihadi movements

When the Colonial rule was coming to an end, Muslims around the world started waking up like a sleeping giant from a deep slumber. They remembered that they once had a Deen, their own socio-political system, a glorious past an independent identity. This self awareness gave rise to a number of movements that wanted to re-establish Islamic values and systems. These movements were all contemporaries and had the same driving force. Their motive was to re-establish Islam.

There were movements in Indonesia, Turkey, Iran. The Indo-Pak sub-continent also had its share of such Tehreeks, namely: Hizbullah of Maulana Abu Kalam Azad (1913-1920), Tablegi Jamat of Maulana Ilyas, Jamat ul Muslimeen of the Khairi Brothers, Tahreek-e-Mujahideen in Aligarh, etc. All these movements had good intentions, Khuloos and Ikhlaas, zeal and passion. They even had very clear objectives and target. However, they had no workable methodology for establishing Deen and that was the reason, why none of these Jamaats was successful. These groups tried the prevailing systems of democracy, electoral system but they failed.

However, the USA could see their force, zeal and passion. It realized that if harnessed, these people can move mountains and are not afraid to die. Dying for the cause of Deen is a big honour. At that time, communist Soviet Union was a threat to the American capitalist ideology. The USA decided to use the Muslim world, and the result was the Afghan war. Muslims from all over the world came with sincerity and for the establishment of Deen. Their intensions are not at all questionable but the hands behind them were.

The USA distributed millions of copies of the Glorious Quran and fueled the spirit of Jihad for its own cause. It also supplied arms and ammunition. At the same time, Pakistan also decided to use these Jihadis to serve their own purpose to liberate occupied Kashmir. Thus started a culture of Jihadis – people with good intentions, great motivation and clear target, but no effective methodology.

Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa

Lal Masjid was one of the first mosques built in Islamabad. The clergy of Lal Masjid became an off-shoot of the Jihadi culture promoted by America and Pakistani government. The students at the Jamia Hafsa, under Lal Masjid, were taught the Quran and the spirit of Jihad, all with good intentions and right objectives.

However, the attitude of the USA and Pakistan towards the Jihadis changed after the Afghan war, as they foresaw a threat that might harm them. Hence, they withdrew their support of these Jihadis.

Now, the same Jihadis couldn’t alter their ideologies based on a mission. When they saw Pakistan marching on the road to secularism, they decided to take the law into their own hands, committing a mistake.

At that time, general Pervaiz Musharraf was treading on disturbed waters. His standing and support inside the country was falling. The mayhem involving Supreme court Chief Justice Chaudry was gaining momentum. Then, there was the APC in London.

Now, the taking over of children’s library by the Lal Masjid brigade provided the right kind of distraction. Here was a group of religious extremist militants, and he was the knight in shining armour. He let the small pimple grow into a big infected tumor and then did a major operation. An operation that took many lives of women and children. This military operation could have been easily avoided by using antibiotics of timely negotiations.

Hamid Mir wrote in this article for “Jang” (July 12) that Abdur Rasheed Ghazi said that if their gas, electricity and water supplies were cut off immediately, they could not have stayed locked up for too long in the children’s library. The government kept delaying taking action on the grounds that there were women and children involved. Actually, they could have easily sent women police officers from all over the country for the raid, but no such efforts were made.

However, the leader of Pakistan received a lot of praise and applause from Britain, China and the USA for his stand on fight against terrorism and extremism. Now, his position is better – he has gained support of foreign countries at the cost of his own people’s lives.


This unfortunate showdown of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa will have very serious consequences. On one hand, the militant Jihadi groups will become more aggressive because of the martyrdom of Sheikh Abdur Rasheed Ghazi, and on the other – the secular movements will also strengthen their efforts. More and more Masajids and Madrassahs will be brought down. The polarization has become very clear.

May Allah (swt) help, guide and protect us all. Ameen.