Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Muslim Private Schools Targeted by Ofsted Inspectors - Lord Ahmed

Muslim Private Schools targeted
by Ofsted Inspectors, says Lord Ahmed
Dr. Mozammel Haque

Six Muslim schools in London’s Tower Hamlets region have recently been accused of exposing their pupils to ‘serious risk of extremist influences and radicalisation’, Sir Michael Milshaw says.

Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham wrote in his article, “Six Muslim schools in London’s Tower Hamlets region have recently been accused of exposing their pupils to ‘serious risk of ‘extremist influences and radicalisation’, Sir. Michael Wilshaw says.”

Lord Ahmed also mentioned about the future of these schools. These primary and secondary schools will be closed very soon. Lord Ahmed said, “The head of Ofsted and Chief Inspector of Schools claims these independent institutions focus far too heavily on Islamic teaching, ignoring the core modules of the National Curriculum and under preparing their students for a life in modern Britain. Although many staff within these schools called Ofsted’s accusations ‘unprofessional’, the Education Secretary has threatened that unless they alter their academic focus, these primary and secondary schools – many of whom have since lost their ‘outstanding’ academic status previously awarded by Ofsted –will be closed.”

Tracing the background of the fate of independent Muslim institutions, Lord Ahmed went back to the Birmingham schools ‘Trojan Horse’ incident in the first quarter of this year. Lord Ahmed mentioned, “This investigation into independent Muslim institutions comes in the wake of the Birmingham schools ‘Trojan Horse’ incident of earlier this year, where five Muslim schools were accused of encouraging a ‘hard-line Islamist takeover’ and subjected to unannounced inspection by Ofsted.”

“In a similar case, Wilshaw claims that the schools in Tower Hamlets focus solely on Islamist teachings, ignoring subjects such as art, music and drama and as such, exposing their vulnerable pupils to ‘extremist influences and radicalization”, said Lord Ahmed.

According to Lord Ahmed, to suggest that Muslim institutions specializing in Islamic teachings are radical and extremist is sweeping misjudgment. Lord Ahmed said, “This is simply not the case, however, and to suggest that Muslim institutions specializing in Islamic teachings are radical and extremist is moreover, a sweeping misjudgment; one that is unfortunately no doubt shaped by the influx of information concerning certain terrorist organizations ISIS and Boko Haram within our media.”

Referring about the performances and achievements of the Muslim institutions, Lord Ahmed mentioned, “In many instances Muslim schools have raised the standard for pupils within the community, creating a safe and approachable environment for families who care not only about their children’s education, but their religious beliefs and continuation of cultural practices and morals.”

“Since 2004 the national average of Muslims achieving a GCSE A*- C grade has increased drastically with the development of these schools, with pass rate figures rising from 25-30% for both boys and girls in parts of England, to 100% in particular Islamic institutions. The Brondesbury College for Boys in Brent is one such example, whose GCSE pass rates are 46% higher than England’s national average,” mentioned Lord Ahmed.

Speaking about how these Muslim institutions provide Britain with young educated Muslim who will in turn contribute towards Britain in primary fields of work, Lord Ahmed mentioned, “Muslim Schools are therefore setting the standards of all-round excellence and nurturing a new generation of high achievers throughout the country; allowing their pupils to excel in subjects beyond the schools’ Islamic focus. The number of Muslim schools, along with their successful pass rates, thus provide Britain with young educated Muslims, who will in turn, be in a better position to contribute towards Britain in primary fields of work.”

Lord Ahmed mentioned about those six Muslim schools that were inspected and what they were accused of: He said, “The Mazahirul Uloom (Secondary School), was accused of focusing solely on Islamic themes. Jamiatul Ummah (Secondary School) was accused of not providing pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum. Ebrahim Academy (Secondary School) was accused of not preparing students for modern British life and their curriculum was said to be too narrow.”

“London East Academy (Secondary School), was accused of not having a broad and balanced curriculum and their students were accused of not having a sufficient understanding of how other people live in Britain and abroad. This school was also accused of not keeping their children safe and most of the library books are in Arabic. Al Mizan (Primary School) was accused of only teaching Islam in religious studies and not keeping children safe due to the public having open access to the school. East London Islamic (Primary School) was accused of focusing a majority of their lessons on Islamic or Arabic Studies,” said Lord Ahmed.

Lord Ahmed thinks these primary and secondary schools were “unfairly rated by Ofsted. He said, “These primary and secondary schools have thus all been unfairly rated by Ofsted.”

Lord Ahmed raised question why these private schools would not have the same privilege and freedom to develop their own curriculum and ethos as government encourages community run schools to do that. Lord Ahmed said, “As the government encourages community-run schools to have more freedom to develop their own curriculum and ethos, why shouldn’t private schools such as these have the same privilege? The academic focus of these Muslim institutions is in no way different from the existing Christian, Jewish and other faith schools that exist around the country who focus heavily upon their culture, religion and ethical values, but do not neglect the National Curriculum.”

Lord Ahmed also maintained that the pupils of these schools are not “at risks of extremism and radicalization” and he thought that “Ofsted’s chief inspector has overreacted” on the recent reporting of the six Muslim private schools. Lord Ahmed mentioned, “By creating an environment in which parents feel their children are safe, a child can develop strong links between what is taught at home and what is taught at school, thus enhancing their learning, in accordance with their parents’ wishes. Though a faith focus exists in many other institutions, here it has been misconstrued as extreme and radical, when simply it is just put in place to teach the fundamentals of the specific religion. Pupils are not “at risk of extremism and radicalisation”, and it seems as though Ofsted’s chief inspector has overreacted on the recent reporting of the six Muslim private schools.”

Lord Ahmed also said, “Many say that for too long the United Kingdom has allowed religious communities to “enforce their own values and traditions” on children. Is this so wrong? These religious communities include parents, do they not have a say in how to bring up their own children anymore? Why is it so necessary to get involved with the personal lives of people so much, what happened to freedom of choice?”

Lord Ahmed pointed out about the worst discrimination faced by Muslims found in a recent research by Dr Nabil Khattab and Professor Ron Johnston, from the University of Bristol. Lord Ahmed said, “This report has emerged at the same time as the recent research by Dr Nabil Khattab and Professor Ron Johnston, from the University of Bristol, which finds that Muslims experience the worst discrimination of any other minority group in job prospects in the UK, with Muslim men up to 76%, and Muslim women up to 65% less likely to gain employment than their white counterparts of the same age with the same qualifications.”

Lord Ahmed also maintained, “Combined with the recent downgrading of several Muslim schools, this evidence suggests an ongoing and growing nervousness about Islam in the UK, raising further worrying questions about Islamophobia amongst the public.”

Lord Ahmed concluded by saying, “Furthermore, if we look at the subjects offered by each of the six accused Muslim private schools, we notice that they do offer a variety of subjects which are not all solely based on Islamic teachings. Therefore the argument about not providing a broad and balanced curriculum is inaccurate.”

At the end, a Links for Curriculum’s of each school mentioned:

Some examples are given below:

Mazahirul Uloom – courses (
Alhamdullilah, we are now able to offer a greater selection of GCSE Courses than ever before:
The following subjects are taught leading to a Full GCSE:
Arabic Language

English Literature
Science (triple award for our top students)
Information Communication Technology

In addition we teach the following National CURRICULUM Subjects:

Physical Education (Football, Cricket, Table Tennis, Athletics)

We also have a full Traditional CURRICULUM including:

Tahfeez;  Tajweed; Aqaaid; Fiqh; Hadeeth; Seerah and Taareekh and Nasheeds

Jamiatul Ummah – curriculum
This page gives an overview of the school CURRICULUM, and connects it to GCSE subjects.
Subjects Offered
Brief Description
GCSE Entry
Hifzul Qur'an
Memorising the whole Qrr'an for Hifz students
Memorising the last para/Juz and other selective suras, with Tajweed Recitation and meaning
Selective hadith in Arabic text, with meaning, explanation and APPLICATIONS to our practical life, and principles of Hadith
All these subjects come under Edexel syllabus as a full COURSE- Islamic Studies
Seerah/Islamic History
Short biographies of earlier prophets, extensive biography of the last prophet, short biographies of the companions, heroes and contemporary scholars of Islam

Aqeeda of Ahl-Sunnah wal Jamah, based on al-Fiqh al-Akbar by Imam Abu Hanifa and Sharh Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah by Imam Tahawi

Comparative Religion
Discussion and comparison of the major living religions of the world

Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh
Major issues of Fiqh, including those that are faced by modern Muslims in the West

Arabic Language
A combined course in Qur'anic and modern (Standard) Arabic
Includes ethics, Akhlaq-Adab, developing positive social behavious and peaceful living in a multi-cultural society
To be confirmed
Writing ESSAYS, reading comprehension, poetry
English Literature
Novels, short stories, poems, etc
SCIENCE (Double Award)
Biology, CHEMISTRY and Physis
Number, Algebra, Handling data, Space and Shape, etc
Information Communication Technology (ICT)
DATABASE Software, Spreadsheet, Graphics software, Web Design, etc.,
Physical Education (PE)
FITNESS, Football, Cricket, Kayaking, Climbing, etc.,
Reading, writing and speaking
This subject in under consideration in the near future
To be confirmed
This subject in under consideration in the near future
To be confirmed
A pupil can choose the Hifz section where a considerable amount of time is given to memorizing the Qur'an in addition to studying the  National Curriculum subjects. Since the task of memorizing the whole Qur'an normally requires extra  time and effort, pupils from the Hifz section do not attend some of the optional subjects.

Ebrahim College – Courses

Al-Mizan School Secondary – Curriculum

Islamic Sciences 

Qur’an and Tajweed
Second list item
Hadith; Arabic Language;  Aqeedah; Fiqh; Islamic history; Seerah;
IGCSE Islamiyat and Tafseer

National Curriculum 
English (Language and Literature)
Science (Chemistry, Biology and Physics)
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Humanities (Geography, History & Social studies)
Citizenship, PSHE, Physical Education
Art and Cultural Studies,
Religious Studies

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Most Successful Hajj Ever in 1435AH (2014)

Most Successful Hajj Ever in 1435AH

Dr. Mozammel Haque

More than two million pilgrims, including 1.4 million foreign Hajis, performed the annual pilgrimage on Friday, the 4th of October, 2014 on the plains of Arafat. A number of foreign heads of state, including Sudanese President Omar Bashir, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and Maldives President Abdulla Yameen arrived to perform Hajj.

Most successful Hajj ever
Saudi authorities have described this year’s Hajj as the most successful ever as more than two million pilgrims performed their religious rites with peace. “The Hajj 1435 was a big success,” said Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah. “I thank the Almighty for helping the pilgrims perform their Hajj rituals easily and comfortably,” he said.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts 1.4 million Hajjis this year
More than 1.4 million foreign pilgrims are expected to perform Hajj this year, said Hajj Minister Bandar Hajjar. “About 1.36 million pilgrims already arrived from different countries by Sunday night and we expect their number to cross the 1.4-million mark,” he said.

15,000 pilgrims arrives from Jeddah seaport
A total of 15,000 pilgrims arrived through Jeddah Islamic Port for this year’s Hajj, a senior official said. Capt. Saher Tahlawi, director general of the port, said most of the pilgrims came from Egypt and Sudanese territory. They started arriving on Sep. 9. Twenty vessels carried passengers, mainly from Sudan, he said.

The Ministry of Health has deployed 100 staff members to examine pilgrims coming through the port. The port was once the major entry point for pilgrims from all over the world. It is now the third-largest after Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Prince Moh ammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah.

168,800 Indonesians performed Hajj this year
A total of 168,800 Indonesians performed Hajj this year. Indonesia normally sends about 200,000 pilgrims. The number has fallen this year because of the reduction in Hajj quotas stemming from the Grand Mosque expansion project. Indonesia sends the highest number of Hajj pilgrims to the Kingdom.

No Hajj without permit
Security forces have barred 98,000 people from entering Makkah because they did not have Hajj permits, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The Saudi authorities did not allow 25,216 vehicles to enter the Holy sites because they were not licensed to carry pilgrims.

More than 345 sick pilgrims given assistance
to perform Hajj
A total of 345 sick pilgrims of different nationalities were given assistance in performing Hajj rituals on Friday. The sick included Saudi, Egyptian, Lebanese, Indian, Bangladeshi, German and other nationals. Among the sick pilgrims, there were 218 from Makkah, 32 from Madinah and 95 from hospitals in Arafat and Mina. They were taken to Arafat by a fleet of buses and ambulances organized by the Ministry of Health to fulfil the most important ritual of Hajj: The standing on Mount Arafat (waqaf). Standing on Arafat on this day is the most essential part of the pilgrimage, without which the Hajj is considered void.

Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) spokesman Dr. Khalid Mirghalani said that assisting sick pilgrims in their Hajj has become a sort of tradition and is being implemented by the Ministry of Health. “In the past years, the MoH has assisted between 300 and 500 sick pilgrims,” he said.

New Pilgrim grouping centre set up on
Jeddah-Makkah highway
A new pilgrim grouping control centre along the Makkah-Jeddah highway was inaugurated by Hajj Minister Bandar Hajjar to group pilgrims more efficiently and ensure that at least one pilgrim is served every three minutes. The grouping centre has a mosque with a capacity to accommodate approximately 500 worshipers, a prayer area for women and toilets.

The centre accommodates an office for Saudi Airlines, a medical clinic, which includes physicians from the Ministry of Health, and another association that presents gifts to the guests of Allah. Hajar asserted that Hajj plans and projects at Makkah and Madinah should be implemented swiftly. “Quality and services at the Hajj Ministry must know no limit. Improvement and development should be the policy within the framework and a strategy on which we rely.”

“We have constantly introduced new services every year in order to ensure that the guests of God perform their rituals with ease,” he said. “The expansion of the Grand Mosque area and its surroundings and the introduction of the metro project are milestones within these achievements.” “Electronic grouping, the Umrah e-track and other electronic services are just a few of the new additions.”

Hajj seminar
The Saudi Minister of Hajj Hajjar launched a major Hajj seminar entitled “Respecting the Signs of Allah” in Makkah and said it was a historic tradition to hold such seminars during the Hajj season, with the participation of prominent scholars from around the world to exchange ideas for the benefit of the Ummah. The three-day seminar is being attended by thinkers, authors and media personalities from different countries. “We hope that you take the information you received from this seminar and its research papers to your societies to enlighten your Hajjis.” Hajjar stressed the need for educating pilgrims before they arrive in the Kingdom. “It will help reduce the many problems we are facing today. It will also help pilgrims avoid many mistakes,” the Minister said.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh said respecting Hajj rituals means respecting Allah and his teachings. It will help pilgrims perform Hajj in the right way, he added. He commended the government’s efforts to expand the Grand Mosque and the mataf, or circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba, saying it would help pilgrims perform their rituals easily and comfortably.

6.6 million meals distributed
The Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry has distributed 6.6 million hot and cold meals so far during the Hajj season this year. The project reportedly took place based on assessments by specialists and institutions that serve food to pilgrims at the Holy sites. The Ministry plans to increase the number of vehicles distributing meals, from the more than 2,000 currently operating. It also intends to increase the provision of coolers and refrigerators at the holy sites by 45 percent to 183.

More Electric Wheelchairs for the disabled
The Saudi Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has provided 234 electric wheelchairs for use at the Jamarat (stoning area) and its vicinity to facilitate the Hajj rituals through safe and easy mobility. Wajdi bin Hassan Toulah, director of maintenance and operations in the Holy sites, said these electric wheelchairs “will serve more than 70,000 disabled pilgrims in addition to their companions which takes the number to 200,000.” The number of chairs were increased following the allocation of three more paths in addition to the existing five leading to the bottom of Mount Arafat. Toulah said that two more paths had been added to the pedestrian area in Aziziyah while an additional 50 carriers had been provided to further facilitate the disabled pilgrims.

Wajdi said the operational plan in Jamarat for serving the disabled, the elderly and the sick called for the allocation of a large number of drivers, supervisors and maintenance teams. There are around 232 drivers who work on 12-hour shifts in addition to 134 field supervisors and maintenance technicians who work around the clock to assist users and deal with technical issues.

Metro transport nearly 1 million pilgrims
The Saudi government has, for years, carried out development and construction projects to expand and improve services for Hajis. One of the best examples is the introduction of the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro Line at the end of 2011. Makkah’s state-of-the-art Metro have transported nearly one million pilgrims by the end of this Hajj season, said a top official. Just a couple of years ago, moving between Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat took hours on end, but now, a trip between any of the three Holy sites does not take more than 15 minutes thanks to the introduction of the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro Line at the end of 2011.

More than 360,000 pilgrims have been issued electronic tickets to use the line between Mina and Arafat, passing through Muzdalifah, according to Saud Al-Zikri, head of projects at the Saudi Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. “The tickets can be used multiple times to travel back and forth between the holy sites,” Al-Zikri said.

The SR6.7 billion service, launched in 2009, can accommodate 72,000 pilgrims between its different platforms per hour. A total of 20 trains were operational this season, with each train comprising 12 carriages and accommodating 4,000 passengers, according to sources. Pilgrims must buy tickets, worn as bar-coded bracelets that are read electronically as they enter the platforms. Since it has been put into service, the train project eradicated the need for more than 12,000 buses, greatly reducing traffic congestion.

Yet one more challenge remains, which is facilitating movement back to Mina after pilgrims have completed their stoning rituals at the Jamarat area. To address the challenge the government announced in 2012 plans to complete building tracks to be linked with the Makkah Metro project. The government announced plans to build this metro, officially known as the Makkah Mass Rail Transit, in 2012. According to the plans, work is expected to commence in 2016. The announcement said that the entire expansion project would take up to 10 years.

Jamarat Bridge can hold 500,000 pilgrims
The newly expanded Jamarat bridge in Mina can accommodate 500,000 pilgrims per hour during the Hajj season, said Prince Mansour bin Miteb, Saudi Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs. “The streets leading to Jamarat, however, cannot hold these many pilgrims. As a result, only 300,000 pilgrims can use the bridge per hour now,” he said. Prince Mansour said the Jamarat expansion would help pilgrims perform the “Satan-stoning” ritual easily without risking being stampeded.

The government implemented the SR4.2 billion multilevel hi-tech Jamarat bridge project a few years ago to facilitate the stoning ritual in Mina, which used to witness stampedes, causing several deaths in the past. “The expansion of Mina streets will enable Tawafa organizations to send large numbers of pilgrims to the Jamarat in coming years,” the Minister said. He said the Jamarat Bridge has been handed over to specialized companies for its operation and maintenance after the completion of works.

Barcode to help locate Mina tents
Saudi authorities are planning to introduce a barcode system for Mina tents to help stranded pilgrims identify their tents with the assistance of Google maps. Mohammed Al-Ruwaished, head of the information technology committee at the Youth Welfare Presidency’s scout camp. He said Tawafa organizations for pilgrims from different countries would be asked to use the technology for issuing barcodes. “Every pilgrim will be given wrist straps containing his personal barcode and if any pilgrim loses his way, scouts will be able to guide them using this barcode easily,” he said.

Al-Ruwaished said new roads and gateways in the Holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa are being added to Google maps to help pilgrims make printouts of these maps from anywhere in the world.

Eissa Rawwas, Saudi Deputy Hajj Minister for Umrah Affairs, said the Ministry has deployed 1,500 employees to ensure the smooth movement of pilgrims from their tents to Jamarat for the stoning ritual. Rawwas said the Ministry would ask all Tawafa organizations to keep 50 percent of their pilgrims in Mina on 13 Dhul Hijjah in the coming years to avoid overcrowding at the “mataf,” or circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba in Makkah. “Last year, we noticed that only 300,000 pilgrims remained in Mina for the third day of stoning at the Jamarat,” he said.

1.5m cubic metres water distributed to Mina
The Saudi National Water Company (NWC) distributed over 1.5 million cubic metres of water to the Holy sites on Sunday and Monday, an official of the company revealed. The company’s spokesman, Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Museibih, the executive director of branding and corporate communications, said that extensive planning had gone into managing the water systems for this year’s pilgrimage. The NWC set up a system of services operating at the highest level of professional standards and efficiency. He said there was also quality control of the toilets. The system is designed to control water flow along 763,000 metres of pipes, and sewage networks in Mina along 84,000 metres of pipelines.

Women of Makkah provide pilgrims with Zamzam water
The women of Makkah broke into the male bastion of Zamazemah this Hajj season to provide pilgrims with Zamzam water and other facilities right at their doorstep through an elegant and sophisticated work system bringing to an end men’s decades-old monopoly of the profession. The women performed a significant role through the formation of women’s committees that were established at the offices of the Zamazemah United Office. Besides offering Zamzam water, they also arranged hospital visits for women pilgrims undergoing treatment in the Holy city.

The Zamazemah United Office is one of many sectors set up to serve pilgrims. Its mission involves serving the guests of God from the moment they set foot in the Kingdom until they leave according to modern technological plans and mechanisms. The office receives pilgrims at the awareness centres where they are offered a 320mm plastic bottle of cool fresh water. The office also sends one litre of water to the pilgrims’ lodging, and offers them the same volume of bottled water as a gift when they leave. Zamazemah is a traditional profession handed down the generations and inherited by 120 families of Makkah keen on offering Zamzam water to pilgrims free of charge.

400 million phone calls made during pilgrimage
This year’s Hajj season heralded a new era of increased IT usage giving pilgrims a choice of many different kinds of telecommunication. According to experts, Hajj 2014 registered a bumper increase in phone calls with nearly 400 million mobile calls made from the Holy sites to pilgrims’ families at home during the period Dul Hijjah 8 to 12 .With a 98.82 percent connection success, the performance was remarkable considering the high density of users inside the limited geographical area. Governor of Communications and Information Technology Commission of Saudi Arabia, Abudllah Darrab, said that preparations for the pilgrimage season regarding the telecommunications and information technology sector were smoothly carried out.

French envoy lauds Hajj facilities
French Consul General Louis Blaine visited the headquarters of the Non-Arab Pilgrims’ Foundation of African Countries. He praised the efforts and facilities provided to them by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Hajj pilgrimage. Blaine lauded the efforts of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for providing excellent facilities to the pilgrims’ foundation for the maximum comfort and safety of the pilgrims.

He said that he had visited the French pilgrims’ camps during the Hajj and was very pleased with the facilities and level of comfort that were provided to them to complete their rituals in peace and safety. Nearly 17,800 French pilgrims did Hajj this year with 727 of them performing it with the Tawafa Organization for Pilgrims of non-Arab African countries while the rest performed the Hajj under other foundations. He noted that the Saudi government had made excellent arrangements for the Hajj on a large scale as many big projects were going on simultaneously at the Holy sites to facilitate pilgrims.

Pakistan leader hails Hajj arrangement

Pakistan Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammed Yousaf expressed his gratitude to the Saudi government for making excellent arrangements for the Hajj 2014. The Minister met with Bandar bin Mohammed Hajjar, Saudi Minister of Hajj at his office. King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman and Hajj Minister Bandar Hajjar for taking special care of the pilgrims in general and Pakistani pilgrims in particular. The Pakistani Minister said that most of the suggestions discussed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs regarding the welfare of Pakistani pilgrims were accepted by the Hajj Ministry.

Nearly 143,368 Pakistani pilgrims performed Hajj this year with the Pakistan Hajj mission providing all the facilities and services to the pilgrims.

900,000 meat parcels sent to 23 countries
Meat of 900,000 sacrificial animals was distributed among beneficiaries within the Kingdom and 23 other countries, according to a high-ranking official at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Ahmad Mohammad Ali, President of IDB, said that the Kingdom’s Adahi project has completed rituals on behalf of pilgrims who signed up for the programme this year. “This is in addition to 1,500 heads of cows and camels, which were distributed after being examined by veterinarians and ensuring that rituals were Shariah-compliant,” he said.

The distribution of sacrificial meat to the less fortunate began on the first day of Eid Al-Adha in Mina and the Holy sites and continued around the Grand Mosque on the second day, according to Ali. “The rest will be distributed to charities inside the Kingdom and frozen meat will be shipped by land and sea to 23 countries in accordance with this year’s Hajj plan,” he said. He said Muslims all over the world were able to apply through the website to offer sacrifice during Eid.

Pilgrims begin to fly home
More than 4,000 flights are scheduled to transport one million pilgrims back to their home countries within the next few weeks, said Khalid Al-Harbi, director of Saudi Hajj services at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah. “There are 20 percent more departing flights than arriving flights,” he said. “This is due to the fact that thousands made an early arrival at the Madinah airport and will leave through Jeddah’s airport.” Authorities operated about 80 regular and chartered flights to different parts of the world on Tuesday to transport pilgrims out of the country, according to officials.
(Based on  information  from the  Saudi newspapers.)

Removal of Prophet's (peace be upon him) body - A Rumour

Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef
On Removal of Prophet’s (pbuh) Body

Dr. Mozammel Haque

“Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb” written by Andrew Johnson published in The Independent on 01 September 2014. In that article, it was mentioned, “One of Islam’s most revered holy sites – the tomb of the Prophet Mohamed – could be destroyed and his body removed to an anonymous grave under plans which threaten to spark discord across the Muslim world.

“The controversial proposals are part of a consultation document by a leading Saudi academic which has been circulated among the supervisors of al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, where the remains of the Prophet are housed under the Green Dome, visited by millions of pilgrims and venerated as Islam’s second-holiest site. The formal custodian of the mosque is Saudi Arabia’s ageing monarch King Abdullah. The plans, brought to light by another Saudi academic who has exposed and criticised the destruction of holy places and artefacts in Mecca – the holiest site in the Muslim world – call for the destruction of chambers around the Prophet’s grave which are particularly venerated by Shia Muslims.” (The Independent, 1 September 2014)

This news spreads like wildfire and actually created a confusion and mistrust among the general public. This news was published in The Independent about the removal of the Prophet’s body from Masjid-e-Nabawi and taken it to other places. This news created a big problem worldwide. I was interviewed by Channel S, London, on this subject and whatever I understand I gave them the information which was correct to me to defuse the rumours. I also placed on my website www.islamicmonitor.blogspot immediately on 4th of September; the official statement came out from the Al-Haramain Official departments refuting the rumours. Still I was trying to understand the real situation. Because it is a very sensitive issue for the Muslims specially at a time when Muslims throughout the world are going to Makkah to perform Hajj. People believed that a proper time was chosen to highlight a topic which will create chaos and confusion among the Muslim community.

However, I found a most respectable person who is not only an academic, educationalist, scientist but also a former Secretary General of the Makkah-based Muslim World League and former President of the Jeddah-based King Abdulaziz University. He is none other than Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef who is well-known and respected throughout the world. He was passing through the United Kingdom. I met him and enquired from him: “What do you think about this whole episode about the removal of the Prophet’s body? This is very important because this rumour was denied by the Saudi authorities.

Dr. Nasseef said, “Everybody knows that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is respected by everybody and this is part of Islam that we respect the Prophet peace be upon him); to follow him properly and listen to him exactly as it was mentioned by him in our lives; so our lives are dependent on adhering to Sunnah, adhering to his sayings and instructions.”

“But this matter of the removal of the Prophet’s body has been exaggerated by the press because somebody wrote a thesis that at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) after his death, the tomb and the chambers of his wife were outside the Mosque; When Abdul Malik ibn Marwan said to enlarge the mosque; he added the southern border of the Masjid with three or four lines of Salah so it became that the tomb instead of being outside came inside and became part of the mosque; people prayed surrounding the mosque; he was mentioning that  I don’t think he has suggested anything; but he was favouring that we should bring the sufuf of the salah wherever it was originally at the time of Sahabah, the companions, peace and mercy be upon them,” Dr. Nasseef explained. .

Dr. Nasseef emphasized, “So the people exaggerated. Nobody talk about the body; taking the body but only removing the prayers of chambers. But whatever the suggestion was there, that was a personal argument; somebody mentioned that and the king was so angry he said this person deserved to be executed because he is creating fitnah.”

“When such person spoke last time, King Khaled bin Abdulaziz said this fellow deserved to be executed because he is creating fitnah,” Dr. Nasseef mentioned and added, “I think this time  the matter is also exaggerated by the press We should tell the people that nothing is taking place.”

While replying to my question: “do you think there was or is any Ulema or government officials thinking about this,” Dr. Nasseef said, “Never happened like this. Never such thing was brought in by any group or ulema or jurisprudence council. It has never been mentioned.

Dr. Nasseef had been Secretary General of the Muslim World League for two terms, i.e. for more than 10 years and then deputy chairman of the Shoura Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I put this question to him, “have you heard any discussion about this during that period?” Dr. Nasseef said, “This matter has never been brought up.”

After Ramadan Dr. Nasseef went to Slovenia for the International Scouts Conference. There were two functions in Slovenia: for the International Union of Islamic Scouts. Generally, it meets every three year. Dr. Nasseef was the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scouts and he is still the chairman. There is international Scouts conference every three years. “We finished in one day and then the second day the 40th International Scouts Conference was held. The business and other activities were as usual,” Dr. Nasseef mentioned and added, “The function I went; it was very good; there were two/three sessions during that conference.”

Dr. Nasseef also mentioned about the Messenger of Peace. He said, “Three years ago King Abdullah said these scouts are the Messengers of Peace. This matter was taken by the Scouts Foundation to have programmes creating the awareness among the youth that Council of Messenger of Peace so that they can work harder and produce well community development programme. So this was emphasized in this International Scouts Conference.”

Dr. Nasseef then went to UAE. It was in Ramadan. “The organiser wanted to create a Council of Muslim Scholars but still the matter was in the beginning. Nothing has been done. Scholars of wisdom and understanding. But nothing has been done yet. It was a discussion only for one day,” Dr. Nasseef mentioned about his visit to UAE.

This September Dr. Nasseef came to the United Kingdom to attend two Board of Trustees meeting, the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge-based Islamic Academy and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. He is the chairman of both these educational organisations.

Islamic Academy
On 15th of September, 2014, Dr. Nasseef met the Board of Trustees meeting of The Islamic Academy in London and discussed about the activities and future programme of the Academy.

Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OXCIS)
In Oxford, before the Board of Trustees meeting there was academic committee and the building and planning and strategic committees. They discussed the normal issues, how the future of the centre, when we can finish the building and the opening of the new sites and the other things were under the discussion. The official opening date is 26th 2016 but before that scholars and students will occupy the premises.

The Centre promotes multi-disciplinary teaching, research and publication at Oxford related to Muslim culture and civilization. Its Fellows teach in a range of faculties across the University of Oxford. Through its international outreach, and links with academic institutions worldwide, the Centre provides a meeting place for scholars studying all aspects of contemporary Muslim societies.

The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) is a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford, founded in 1985. HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, the Centre’s patron, has been enthusiastic supporter since its foundation in 1985. He has twice delivered lectures at the Centre and visited the 3.25 acre site where building work on its new home began work in 2002. Prince Charles took a prominent part in the design of the Islamic garden.

Background of the foundation of the Centre
The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was set up in 1985 when Dr. Naseef was the Secretary General of the Makkah-based Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami (Muslim World League). Late Maulana Hassan Nadwi was the first chairman of the Centre’s Board of Trustees and Dr. Naseef was a member of the Board along with others.

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Naseef who has been associated with the Oxford Centre from the very beginning and a great supporter of the Centre. In the beginning Dr. Naseef was a member of the Board of Trustees; then he became the vice-chairman and now chairman. Recollecting those days, Dr. Naseef said, “When I was Secretary General of the Rabita, Dr. Farhan Nizami came with a big ambitious project. Alhamdo lillah, it came through and it was a big dream for him and for us. It’s a blessing of Allah the Almighty. He had made it to come through.”

“Maulana Hasan Nadwi came to visit Rabita, the first chairman and then met the Late King Fahd and told him about the centre that this is the centre in the heart of colleges in Oxford. Historically, it is very important and the Late King Fahd gave the support, Alhamdo Lillah,” Dr. Naseef said.

East-West University in Chicago

Dr. Nasseef was supposed to meet the President and other members of Chicago-based East West University who was supposed to come to talk about the new Tower building of the University.