Bringing youths closer to the mosque and Almighty Allah

jom solat

IT WAS really heartening to see a Bruneian youth performing a prayer humbly and serenely at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque recently. What was even more special about this young man was that he was promoting Solat and calling on others to perform prayers as his shirt had the words “Jom Solat!” printed on the back.

It’s not every day that we can find someone, especially a youth, who is proud to be an obedient and practising slave of Allah — proud of Islam and proud to be Muslim. More importantly, it reminds others not to forget and to immediately establish prayers.

It was also encouraging to read a story a few days ago about youths being enthusiastic about taking part in an extra-curricular activity held by a mosque youth association. To the organiser’s surprise, there were 300 youths applying for the three-day programme, while they were only able to accommodate 81 participants.

“It was a bit of a surprise to us, especially being the school holidays; I actually expected people to travel overseas, but the participation was beyond our expectations. All we did was stick posters at the mosque and use social media to advertise the camp,” said one of the coordinators.

Indeed, it’s not easy to get people, especially youths, to have their hearts and minds attached to the House of Allah. We are pleased to see our youths always try their best to stay close to the mosque, which Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made not only as a place for prayers but also a place for socialization, a place for da’wah, a place for celebration, a place for meetings and deliberation, a place for medical care, and a place for education.

InsyaAllah, by the grace of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala, by having their hearts and minds attached to the mosque, our youth will also love performing prayers in congregation, doing i’tikaf, reading and learning the Quran, etc.

The youths, aged between 16 and 21, took part in hands-on activities designed and conducted to ensure that all participants truly understood aspects of the Quran and Islam such as their iman (faith) along with mass prayers, qiyamullail (tahajjud or night prayers), Quran recitals and motivational talks by invited guest speakers.

True to its name “Ash-Shaliheen Camp”, the activity was aimed at helping the youths become “righteous people”. The association said it wants to conduct the camp on an annual basis in the hope of helping achieve the objective of shaping the future generation to become righteous leaders and active in promoting and working to achieve the vision of a “Negara Zikir”.

Themed “Ini Pilihanku” (“This is my choice”), the objective of the camp was to instill an ardent love and pleasure in doing religious activities and fulfilling religious responsibilities and a higher sense of obedience towards Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

All of this hopefully will help transform them into a better Muslim generation who will never abandon their solat. Solat is the most important pillar of Islam. It was in fact the first religious duty prescribed on every single prophet from Adam to Muhammad, second only to testifying to the Oneness of Allah. Allah says: “Solat, indeed, is a duty enjoined upon the faithful at the appointed times.” (An-Nisa’: 103). The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sllam) further narrates in a hadith Qudsi: “Allah said: ‘The covenant between Us and them is Solat; so whoever establishes it, establishes religion; whoever undermines it, undermines religion’.”

Prayer is an act of worship. As with all acts of worship, it is an act of obedience, an act of reverence, an act of surrender and an act of submission. In fact, the dignity of a believer is in their absolute submission to their Creator and no one else.

God does not need our worship; it is we who need Him. Prayer is – or should be – of benefit to us.

Prayer helps people avoid profanity and sins and helps uproot evil from their souls. Prayers must be performed with complete khushu’ (concentration) and recited with sincerity to Almighty Allah. However, if someone does not have khushu’ during their prayers, their prayers will not be invalidated, although their reward will be reduced. Hence, Muslims should try their best to avoid any distractions as much as they can during their prayers and focus their concentration.

Performing the prayer is a command of Allah. Prayer is not an option; it is obligatory. It is not once or a few times a week but must be performed five times a day. All the Prophets of Almighty Allah merely told their people to pray; Islam, however, made it a very essential part of religion.

In prayer, Muslims stand together without any distinction between race, colour, financial status or political position. Those who perform prayers in congregation regularly do learn the concepts of equality, solidarity and brotherhood. Prayer in congregation is performed behind an imam whom everyone has to follow. This teaches them discipline, order and organisation. Moreover, if the imam makes any mistake, any person can correct him. Indeed, this is a clear sign of democracy.

Let us pray regularly and in the best way so that the benefits and beauty of prayer may reflect in our lives. May Allah shower us all with His mercy and help us to remain steadfast in His religion. Aamiin

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Friday, December 12, 2014

Bruneian youths attending a masjid camp programme. Photo: BT

Bruneian youths attending a masjid camp programme. Photo: BT

Indonesian “Hijabers” oppose Westernization

COMBATING the Western influence in the Indonesian community, several Islamic business networks are promoting Islamic products in a campaign to preserve the Islamic values in the Muslim-majority nation.

“I think Indonesia has become too Western,” Risti Rahmadi, a member of Hijabers Community, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, November 9.

“Younger Indonesians spend most of their time hanging out at malls, and they forget to pray.”

The 37-year-old Muslim woman, Rahmadi, believes that the only way to lure the new segments to the thriving Muslim market is through fighting western consumerism.

Being a member of the Hijaber, an Islamic all-women business network, Rahmadi has noticed an increase in the demand for Islamic products including events that are hosted by Islamic groups.

A once stylish girl who used in her 20s to save up for the latest Guess cloths and Revlon make-up, Rahmadi now dresses modestly as a proud Indonesian Muslim who dons the hijab and uses a mobile app to remind her of prayer times.

Wearing headscarves was often associated with an unfashionable life.

This has all changed nowadays.

In modern Indonesia, hijab turned to be a fashion item, as YouTube viewers can find thousands of Indonesian women offering tutorials on how to fashionably wear hijabs.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations. Islamic fashion is part of a growing appetite for Shari`ah-related industries and assets, ranging from finance to halal food.

Modesty and religion are the cornerstones behind the fast-growing Islamic fashion industry, which is making a mark on runways from Indonesia and Dubai to Monte Carlo.

The booming Islamic market has apparently succeeded in Indonesia by offering several services like hosting live shows for celebrity preachers and Qur’an text-message services.

Too Islamic

Besides the surging demand for Islamic services, a demand for cloths and jewelry with an Islamic twist has been high during the past few years in Indonesia.

Reny Feby, a jeweler from Jakarta, has joined Hijabers 3,000-member team to combat the Western influence through her designs which prices ranges from $500 (385-euro) for brooches to $50,000 for diamond rings.

“Fifteen years ago, no one wanted to buy my jewelry because it was seen as too Muslim, and I used ‘proudly made in Indonesia’ as my tagline,” said Feby, 42, wearing orange beads and an electric-blue headscarf.

“But now Indonesians are proud to buy local and Islamic fashions, and the elite who buy my pieces use them as status symbols.”

Like many business owners, Feby believes that the reason behind the increasing demand for Islamic products is the “fast expansion of the middle class” during the recent years in the Southeast Asian country, with an economic growth of more than 6% annually.

According to the World Bank, the annual per capita income (GDP) has steadily increased from $890 in 2003 to about $3,000 in 2011.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.

Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, make up nearly 12 percent of the country’s population.

The booming global halal industry is expected to grow from about $1 trillion in 2012 into a $1.6 trillion industry by 2018, according to DinarStandard, a research firm specializing in Muslim markets.

Locally, Indonesian Muslims are literally “consuming their Muslim faith in a very tangible way”, according to experts.

“A lot of the pious Muslims in the middle class want to show to the people around them they’re living pious lifestyles — through their clothes, schools, the shopping they do and the books they read,” Greg Fealy, an Indonesia expert at Australian National University in Canberra, said.

OnIslam & News Agencies
Sun, 9 November 2014

Muslim women urged to revive role in science, tech

EDU_MuslimSally Piri

A VISITING professor from England yesterday underscored the need to understand the original role and position of women in early Muslim civilisation as they had made great contributions in building the society, including in science, medicine and management.

According to Emeritus Professor Salim Al-Hassani at the University of Manchester, the women in early Muslim civilisation were better off and had more dynamic roles in the religion and in building of the society.

“So, for women (today) to pursue science, it is naturally in the tradition because it was done before. For women to become doctors, nurses, astronomers, mathematicians, they did it before. It is all done before,” said Professor Salim, who is also president of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation in the United Kingdom.

During his lecture at Dewan Jubilee of Universiti Sultan Shariff Ali (UNISSA), Professor Salim talked about the involvement and role of Muslim women in the development and progress of science and technology, during which he gave examples of prominent women in Muslim heritage who played major roles in the field of science and medicine such as Zubayda bin Abu Ja’far al-mansur.

Emeritus Professor Salim, University of Manchester President of Foundation for Science and Technology and Civilisation (UK), delivering his lecture.  Photo: BT/Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Emeritus Professor Salim, University of Manchester President of Foundation for Science and Technology and Civilisation (UK), delivering his lecture. Photo: BT/Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“What we should do is to encourage women to revive their tradition, not necessarily identical, but to derive lessons from the past to build a better future,” he said.

He said that young people should be inspired by scientists from the western world but also need to recognise great Muslim scientists as well as Chinese and Indian scientists. This will create respect and harmony between nations and cultures.

“This will inspire young people to seek for science, technology, and discovery then become curious about the universe and they become useful to the society,” he added.

The talk titled “Involvement of Muslim Women in Science” was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Present as the guest of honour was Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman.

On the sidelines of the event, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina said women in Brunei are treated equally as they have been participating in various fields including in science and technology.

She called on the women and youth in Brunei to learn as much as they can, be inspired and make use of all the facilities provided.

“It is up to us to grab those opportunities, advance ourselves and study hard, and contribute to the nation.”

The Brunei Times
Friday, November 7, 2014




Dr. H. Ali Akbar

Dr. H. Ali Akbar

Dr. H. ALI Akbar, founder of the University of the Yayasan Rumah Sakit Islam (Yarsi – Islamic Hospital Foundation), died after a ten months’ illness in Jakarta on 24 June 1994. Ali Akbar was born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, on 12 August 1912.

He studied at the Nederlandsch-Indische Artsen School (NIAS – Netherlands Indies Medicine School) in Surabaya, East Java, and continued his study under the Japanese occupation, in 1943, at the Ika Dai Gakku (Medicine College), Jakarta.

He dedicated most of his life to the public interest. As a physician, he was assigned to Painan (1945-1947), and Mecca, Saudi Arabia (1950-1954). He was also nominated rector of the Muhammadiyah University of Jakarta (1957) and the Ibnu Chaldun University of Jakarta (1960) as well as being a lecturer in the School of Medicine of Universitas Indonesia (UI).

In 1967, with Prof. Dr. Asri Rasad and Dr. Jurnalis Uddin, he realized his dream to create an institute for the training of Muslim paramedics and physicians: they established the Islamic Medical College, which was later transformed into the Yarsi University. In order to form paramedical and medical professionals imbued with Islamic values, he included a larger portion of Islamic studies in the study programme than was the case at other medicine schools and obliged all prospective physicians to write a thesis on a particular medical problem studied from the point of view of Islamic law.

Ali Akbar was also the chairman of the Executive Body of the Yarsi, and chairman of the Expert and Fatwa Commission of the Council for Health Development of the Muhammadiyah Central Board.

He wrote several books about hygiene and Islam. One of his books, entitled Merawat Cinta Kasih (Caring Love), has been reprinted 19 times since 1974. Among his other functions were the chairmanship of the Kongres Buruh Islam Merdeka (Free Muslim Labourers Congress), and the Majelis Pertimbangan Kesehatan dan Syara (Consultative Council of Hygiene and Islamic Law). The latter body produced a number of fatwas relating to medical problems such as artificial insemination, transplantation of body organs, mother’s milk banks, etc.

Ali Akbar was active in politics, too. In 1955, he was elected a member of the DPR for the Masyumi party. In 1980, he was dismissed from the Ministry of Health for his action in signing the “Petisi 50”, a public petition of fifty prominent citizens criticizing government policy.

He also wrote several books about hygiene and Islam. One of his books, entitled Merawat Cinta Kasih (Caring Love), has been reprinted 19 times since 1974. (RE, 8 July 1994)

Source: INIS Newsletter Vol. XII 1996, p. 148

Why Japan and US Select ASEAN As Halal Production Centre?

halal expo

Dwi Murdaningsih

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID- THE Japanese and United States food manufacturers as Ajinomoto and Kellogg’s will move to Southeast Asia as a center for halal food production sites. Both started building facilities in the region to meet the needs of Muslim halal food.

The Japanese and American giant food companies look Southeast Asia and America look as attractive locations for producing halal food. In addition to the amount of Muslim population is huge, raw materials are also readily available in this region.

“We will make Southeast Asia as a basis to enter the halal market,” said Etsuhiro Takato, General Manager of Ajinomoto, as quoted by the Nikkei, Monday (24/2/14).

Mon, 24 Feb 2014


IBN JAZLA (1074 -1100): ‘The Philanthropist Doctor from Baghdad’

A frontispiece and page opposite of an Ibn Jazla's work.

A frontispiece and page opposite of an Ibn Jazla’s work.

Name: Abu Ali Yahya ibn Isa Ibn Jazla Al Baghdadi.
Title: Buhahylyha Bingezla (Latin), Byngazlawas, Bengesla, physician, pharmacist, philanthropist
Birth: 1074 in Baghdad
Death: 1100
Ethnicity: Iraqi Arab
Education: Tutelage in medicines from Mu’tazili Abu-Ali Ibn al-Walid and Said ibn Hibat Allah, the doctor of the Abbasid caliph al-Mouqtadi bi Amr Allah.
Main interest: Medicines, pharmacy
Notable ideas: 1. Composing a 44-table of 325 diseases which were arranged like the stars in astronomical tables. It provided a detailed explanation on the causes and symptoms of the diseases completed with the tables of plants and medicines which were used to cure the diseases and the steps to cure them, enabling ordinary people to classify one disease with another and to provide health treatment. 2. Promoting the value of music in cure, equating its effect with that of drugs. He was generous to his friends and acquaintances, giving them medical treatment free of charge and providing them with free medicine.
Works: Taqwim al-Abdan fi Tadbir al-Insan (translated to Latin by Sicilian Jewish physician Faraj ben Salim in 1280: Dispositio Corporum de Constittutione Hominis, Tacuin Agritudinum), the Latin version was published in 1532. A German translation was published at Strasbourg in 1533 by Hans Schotte; and Al Minhaj fi Al Adwiah Al Murakkabah (Methodology of Compound Drugs, contains an alphabetical listing of medicines and plants;) (translated to Latin by Jambolinus: Cibis et Medicines Simplicibus), Al Ishara fi Talkhis al-i’bara, Risalat fi Madh Tib wa Muafakatahu li Sharâ, (Treatise Lauding Medicine and its Compliance with the Islamic Precepts); and Risalat fi Ar-Rad ‘ala Al-Nasraniyah (Treatise Responding to Christianity).

AL-MAS’UDI (871 – 957): “A Great Muslim Traveller and Geographer”



Name : Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Husain Ibn Ali Al-Masu’di
Title : Al-Mas’udi, geographer, historian, physicist, xplorer, the Herodotus and Pliny of the Arabs
Birth : 871 in Baghdad, Iraq
Death : 957 in Cairo, Egypt
Ethnicity : Arab
Region : Iberia (Al-Andalus)
Main Interest : Geography, History, Physics and Music
Notable Ideas : His researches and views extensively influenced the sciences of historiography, geography and
earth sciences. Made a systematic study of history with a perspective of geography, sociology, anthropology and ecology. Added a deep insight into the causes of rise and fall of nations. Found out the causes of the earthquakes of 955, as well as the secrets of the water of the Red Sea and other problems in earth sciences. The first author to mention windmills, which were invented by the Muslims of Sijistan. Provided important information on early Arab music as well as music of other countries. Created a change in the art of historical writings, introducing analysis, reflection and criticism of historical events. This was further improved by Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406).
Works : Muruj al-Dzahab wa al-Ma’adin al-Jawahir (Meadows of Gold and Mines of Precious Stones), Muruj al-Zaman (Meadows of Times/thirty volumes), Kitab al-Ausat (Book of the Midpoint) and Kitab al-Tanbih wa al-Ishraf (Book of Reminder and Overseer) — &