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issue 49 vol. 5 July 2017


Eid ul Fitr

Ed u ca ti o n :



issue 49 vol. 5 July 2017

islam today magazine is a monthly magazine

published by the London based Islamic Centre of England. It focuses on the activities of the communities affiliated to the Centre, reflecting a culture of openness and respect towards other religious communities both Islamic and non. The magazine is available in paper and digital format.

Editorial team Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour Amir De Martino Anousheh Mireskandari

Layout and Design

Innovative Graphics


A retreat with a difference


Raising Tomorrow's Community


Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini man ofGod and hearts


High-Tech Mummy, No-Tech Baby



Contact us Information Letters to the Editor Article Submissions Follow us: islamtodaymag @islamtodaymaguk

Publisher The Islamic Centre of England 140 Maida Vale London W9 1QB Tel: +44 20 7604 5500 ISSN 22051-250 Disclaimer: All information in this magazine is verified to the best of the authors’ and the publisher’s ability. However, islam today shall not be liable or responsible for loss or damage arising from any users’ reliance on information obtained from the magazine.


June 2017


A visit to the Focolare Centre Report by Veronique Khasa

Workshops for Islamic educators in the West

The 28th commemoration ofthe demise ofAyatollah Khomeini Report by Ladan Razeghi by Batool Haydar

Heavenly and earthly struggle Remembering Srebrenica Palestine Favourite things Heritage by Moriam Grillo

the world; the inward and outward aspects 14 Renouncing By Abbas Di Palma


The importance ofloving children


Jerusalem/Al-Quds: Bond between faiths or bone of contention?

by Kubra Rizvi

by Revd Frank Julian Gelli

myth or truth? 20 Humourism: by Dr Laleh Lohrasbi Guide to Muslim Europe 22 Travel A stunning ode to the pain ofdevsirme by Tharik Hussain

Corner 24 Children Al Quds Day

By Ghazaleh Kamrani

26 What & Where Listing ofEvents


When stepping into the environment of the Focolare brothers and sisters, I felt as if I was walking into the family.

A retreat with a difference

Sister Veronique Khasa describes her positive feelings during her visit to the Focolare Centre in Welwyn Garden City


s Muslims when meeting a person with a different set of beliefs, our minds often get overloaded with thoughts, such as; Am I going to be welcomed? Will, I have a place to complete my daily prayers? How would our conversation take shape? What attire shall I put on? The list is endless. However, the most joyous part of meeting people of other faiths is that soon you realise that God becomes the hot topic of the conversation. God takes the centre of conversation because amongst believers it is the norm. It is uncommon for believers to talk about their careers, hobbies and family life, yet not mention God as the source of their livelihood. My visit to the Focolare Centre for Unity in Welwyn Garden felt like this because I was with brothers and sisters whose lifestyle was based on faith. The Focolare Centre Unity is a beautiful modern building yet it had a strong spiritual feel to it. I was told that it was originally a primary school which had become available when the Focolare brothers and sisters were looking for a place to establish themselves after their long search. On hearing this I understood the spirituality of the place, it is dedicated to the service of God and the community at large. Sheikh Shomali and his family, who have enjoyed a

relationship with them for many years, had extended the relationship to me and other students of Hawza Ilmiyyah. The retreat felt like a safe haven. To begin with we had a few speeches where the Focolare brothers and sisters begun by welcoming us, introducing the purpose of Focolare Centre for Unity. We had a large group discussion as well as question and answer sessions, presentations and our own learning session for students of Hawza Ilmiyyah. Over a warm meal, I discovered that the Focolare brothers and sisters were people of various life experiences, talents, and professions. Italian is their common language. As a student who lives in the Hawza accommodation for full-time studies it was thrilling for me to meet sisters who live in the Focolare houses. Although both systems have a different purpose, still I could relate to them as living away from home, devoting themselves to God’s call and the community, but most of all strengthening themselves to become better individuals. There are many lessons that I’ve learned whilst spending my time with the Focolare brothers and sisters. A family unit like theirs has great value in uniting different minorities in our society. For a friendship to grow it must be nurtured well, it has to be based on a variety of aspirations. Apart from the fact that we are all religious we all care about things such as peace in the world, education, and poverty. Our retreat ended with a visit to Stanborough Park where we had a picnic. Sisters from the Hawza and the Focolare could not resist a boat ride pedalling across the river. For me, this meant that we took our meeting one step further, by practising the love that we talked about behind closed doors. I guess that after talking the talk we walked the walk and I will certainly do it again. ď Ź

July 2017



n o i t a c u d E Islamic

Raising Tomo I

n May 2017, the Islamic Centre of England invited teachers from the Islamic School of Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre in Ontario, Canada to partake in an enlightening series of workshops for Islamic educators in the West, under the direction of Sheikh Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali. The program was coordinated and instructed by Dr Shomali, Dr Heydarpoor, Sr. Israa, and Sr. Shahnaze. The programme was offered over a 4-week period with 3 days/week of classes. The programme coordinators also simultaneously hosted a condensed version of the same programme with approximately 5.5d/week of classes for the visiting group from Canada, comprised of 9 talented teachers (current and prospective) and administrators of Al-Mahdi Islamic School from May 15 to May 27, 2017. The group was headed by Dr Salam Al-Attar, president of the board of directors of Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre. The goals of this unique programme included:

· exploring, in depth the Islamic theory of education · becoming familiar with a variety of teaching tips and strategies to help develop greater competence and proficiency in character education · reviewing methods to effectively manage a classroom · reflecting on the many ways to address critical challenges within the context of Islamic education · enhancing understanding of Aqaaid (theology) and Akhlaq (Islamic ethics) · networking and sharing knowledge with other educators. The following is an abstract of the daily experiences and primary points learned each day by the Al-Mahdi teacher team from Canada.


July 2017

orrow's Community Day 1 – The Islamic Theory of Education 1 st Class - Acquisition of knowledge by the servants of God With Dr Shomali

In this class, the innate human thirst for knowledge was discussed. While innate drive can be useful, it requires the setting of limitations within which it is to operate. If we do not regulate or control our thirst, it can prove to be useless or harmful. 2nd Class - Aqaid (Lessons on Islamic Belief) with Dr Heydarpoor

The main goal as educators and how to make our children love God was the topic of the 2nd class. Students spent the last part of the day with Sister Shahnaze, with an introduction to akhlaq (Islamic morality). She began by highlighting the importance of firstly ensuring one’s personal development in order to be an effective teacher for others...

Day 2 – Sharing Divine Knowledge through Divine Representation and representation of The Divine In this class, Dr Shomali focussed on the realisation that in Islam, the primary aim of teaching is not the mere quantitative sharing of information. Rather, Islam offers a holistic approach to teaching that ensures the learner grows from every possible aspect, so that their development is complete. In sister Shahnaze’s class on the Islamic Moral System, participants furthered the discussion into introductory lessons on akhlaq and its importance in Islam. In her class on General Methodology, we reviewed the importance and structure of dua. We also read an article written by a Hawza student, in which she outlined her personal struggles with conforming to societal standards of beauty.

Day 3 – Love and Fear of God, catalysts for selfpurification & development In this class with Sheikh Shomali, students discussed the importance of having fear for God. “Our students (as well as us) should have a deep respect for God as well as a fear but not in a negative sense.” he said. Students also discussed the significance of ensuring their students have a deep love for others for the sake of pleasing God. In Sis. Shahnaze class, on the Islamic Moral System, students explored the various approaches to selfpurification, including combat with the self, medicine for the spirit and the journey of purification. In General Methodology, she demonstrated a very practical and effective way of delivering a lesson plan to our students. In summary, it involves the sequential presenting of material, activating prior knowledge, reading an article, and then answering discussed questions.

Day 4 – On the path to Sincerity & enhancing the Shi‘a identity In his ‘Islamic Theory of Education’ class, Sheikh Shomali focused heavily on the significance of respecting one’s honour and dignity; two concepts that are closely related. And in sister Shahnaze’s class on the Islamic Moral System, participants began by reviewing their knowledge on akhlaq through the creative use of the game of bingo. Furthermore, they explored the idea of reliance and trust in God and the importance of acknowledging that He has absolute authority and control and will carry out whatever He wants whenever He wants according to what is best for the individual.

July2017 2017 July


Day 5 – Exploring Divine Will, Divine Justice, types of evil & realms of existence In Dr Heydarpoor’s class, we continued our conversation about unity with respect to the Divine acts. Everything that occurs in this world must be permitted and created by God in its essence. This lesson led to an enlightening discourse regarding the idea of free will, which we have been given by God so that He may distinguish us in ranks of piety. In Sis. Shahnaze’s class on General Methodology, we were introduced to a variety of creative, yet educational, classroom strategies and activities, including writing, storytelling, discussion, role plays, games, repetition/movement, using humour or technology, debating, and poetry.

Day 6 – Relationship with the Divine & creation: insight onto Divine Punishment, Divine Guidance and spiritual growth through Suffering In this class with Dr Heydarpoor, students reviewed the concept of evil and suffering in Islam. They delved further into the idea that not all suffering is directly from God or in His plans. In sister Shahnaze’s class on the Islamic Moral System, we explored the topic of our relationship with others, specifically focusing on pardoning those who have wronged us and safeguarding our family. In her class on General Methodology, we played a variety of educational and Islamic games and activities, such as charades, word search and crosswords.


July 2017

Day 7 – Infallible Prophets & Imams: guides to salvation in the Hereafter In Dr Heydarpoor’s class, we continued our discussion on Prophethood and Imamat by exploring the nature of infallibility according to the Shi‘a school of thought. In sister Shahnaze’s class, we continued the discussion on our relationship with others exploring how to fulfil and respect the rights of students and teachers.

Day 8 – Prayer & Charity: vehicles for goodness & humility In Shaikh Shomali’s class on the Islamic Theory of Education, we discussed the very important concept of goodness or ‘ihsaan’ in Islam and the top priorities in Islamic education. In sister Shahnaze’s class, students delved into the topic of humbleness. They learned that the root of the word means “he laid it”- referring to a lowly and modest mindset of ourselves. To be humble, we must think of our position in this world and think of our smallness in relation to the rest of creation and the Creator Himself.

Day 9 – Prosperity in life through haya’ In the Islamic Moral System, students delved deeper into the topic of humbleness and learned that being humble is not equivalent to thinking less of yourself, rather, it involves thinking of yourself as less. We also spoke about the concept of modesty (haya’).

Day 1 0 – Centrality of Truthfulness in Islam & Generosity of Islamic communities In the final class with Sheikh Shomali, he spoke about the importance of truthfulness as a moral quality. Students learned that truthfulness is the most central value, and involves not only accepting the truth when presented but actively seeking it too. He also discussed the importance of having a sense of community, and how individualism is not always a good thing, as it can lead to selfishness and egocentricity. Lastly, participants entered in group discussions based on a critical question as to how we, as Islamic educators can establish salat (prayer) and zakat (charity) in our children’s/students’ lives?

Dr Shomali, Dr Heydarpoor, and Sister Shahnaze enlightened us all through their knowledge. It was an absolute honour to be in their presence and experience their teaching first hand. We gained valuable knowledge and teaching strategies that we hope to implement within our own classrooms back in Canada, God willing. Continuation of such programmes for years to come creates future crossroads with the esteemed teachers, organisers and participants.

July 2017


Ayatollah man of God and hearts

Report by L Razeghi

The 28th commemoration of the demise of Ayatollah Khomeini took place on 6th June 201 7 at the Islamic Centre of England.


n this well attended programme the first speaker Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour started his speech by mentioning, “It is with great sorrow and pleasure that we are commemorating the 28th year since the demise of Imam Khomeini. Sorrow for losing a great scholar and a great man, the likes of which the human race doesn’t produce very often. We don’t see people like him in every generation. It is also with pleasure that we commemorate his

passing because he has left for us a legacy which we are following and he changed the meaning of many things for us.” Mr Bahmanpour introduced Imam Khomeini as “truly a man of God”, “a man who truly believed”. He explained different levels of faith and said that the Imam’s characteristics can be seen in those verses of the Qur’an which describe the qualities of true worshippers and believers. He referred to verses 63 and 64 of chapter 25, Al Furqan, and mentioned that “the very charisma of Imam attracted the hearts of the young and the old, and this charisma was given to him by God and everyone was following him.” Sheikh Bahmanpour continued by referring Imam’s characteristics to verse 37 of chapter 24 (An-Nur) explaining that the men of God are those who are not distracted from His remembrance by trade. He mentioned that “in the case of Imam Khomeini, I can firmly and honestly witness that politics did not distract him from remembrance of God. Politics for him was a means towards good. Imam Khomeini defined for us a politics


July 2017

which was based on honesty, integrity and benefit for the people. Imam Khomeini managed to enter politics (but) instead of being corrupted by politics (he could) rectify politics.” He explained how the Imam showed us that politics and religion cannot be separate and “we shouldn’t leave politics which is the most important and crucial aspect of

society in dirty hands.” “We have to be in charge and take control but in a pure sense.” Sheikn Bahmanpour described Imam Khomeini as “’a man of multi dimensions’. The Imam was a man of fiqh, hadith, usul and faith. A man of meticulous investigation in the sources of Islamic law and at the same time he was an aaref/mystic, philosopher, commentator of the Qur’an, a politician, and above all he was a great leader and because of these he could be a reformer and a reviver of the Islamic faith. He revived the Islamic faith in a context in which secularism and communism were the two main trends in the world.” He then continued by mentioning Imam’s legacies as ‘revivalism in Islamic thought and faith’. Imam Khomeini changed the regime of Iran and the understanding of Muslim political thought about the legitimacy of political standing. He said: “... he defined a new political concept of ‘religious democracy’ and was the architect of modern Islamic political thought. He changed the trend of thought

over the globe about faith, religion and the relation between faith and politics, and he exposed the belief of western powers”. The second speaker, Sister Sayeda Umme Ferwa, a political activist and founder of Labaik Ya Zahra, called Imam Khomeini the “multidimensional, extraordinary, most influential, (and) greatest Islamic scholar/Ayatollah of the 20th century in the world of Islam.” She described the Imam as the greatest reformer and leader who realised that, “how from the 16th century, so called political powers and enemies of Islam, have been working to change the impression, vision and true face of Islam towards extremism and hate, through media and so-called preachers of Islam”. Sister Ferwa continued by mentioning that Imam Khomeini understood and stood against these while his most difficult task was to defeat one of the great oppressors of his time, the Shah of Iran. She explained that the Imam wasn’t only a great reformer and founder

explained that Haq cannot be hidden as the untruth is like a foam which will vanish and truth will remain on the earth and benefit people. He continued: “if one’s character is shaped and made based on truth, his/her impacts will be beneficial for people and society. If we study Imam Khomeini’s personal character, we will find him incredible and if we study him based on his effect on others, then our finding will be the same. Imam’s manner, ethics, philosophy, books and the students such as Ayatulllah Motahari and Beheshti are fruits and products of Imam’s truthfulness.” Sheikh Shomali explained that while Imam Khomeini’s students were engaged in political activities, they were also focusing on their learning, teaching and social engagements in society. He further explained that even the Imam’s children, who were also his students, were affected by the influence that Imam had on them.

of the Islamic revolution in Iran but he made a “revolution in knowledge in each field of human life”. The Imam was a great reformer of the ideas of ‘how should a woman be’ and ‘what Islam is’. The conference continued by screening a short documentary on key moments of the life of Imam Khomeini, from birth to death, and highlighting the key moments of his movement leading to the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979. As the last speaker, Sheikh Shomali said that to know a person we can either focus on the person himself and understand his thoughts, manners and actions or we can look from outside and check his gains, products, effects and impacts on others. Sheikh Shomali mentioned Haq (truth) one of the main bases of Islam which has infinite results and impacts but unfortunately is rarely spoken about in Islamic lectures. By giving the example of verse 17 of chapter 13 (ar-Ra’ad) he

Dr Shomali reminded us of Ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa Khomeini as a great scholar as well as a great philosopher, mystic, commentator of the Qur’an, and a well-mannered person. Sheikh Shomali also examined Hujjat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen Sayyid Ahmad Khomeini as a moon next to the sun who doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves but who was always next to Imam helping him attain his goals. Dr Shomali concluded that perhaps the most significant achievements of Imam Khomeini were his students, the revival of religious life and identity and the establishment of a government based on the idea of Wilayat al-Faqih (the Governance of the Jurist).

July 2017


Life & Community

High-Tech Mummy, No-Tech Baby Batool Haydar explains her choice to raise her

child in a technology-free environment

Disclaimer: This piece is my personal opinion and in no way aimed at imposing a right or wrong judgement on the choice ofindividual parents.


hen my daughter was just over a year old, she came across my phone for the first time. I paused before taking it away and waited to see what she would do with it. After turning it over a couple of times, she began to try and open it like a book and when she couldn't, she handed it back to me with the words 'no open'. Later that day I posted the event on Facebook and almost immediately received a response from a friend who said: "Lol, my baby tries to swipe his books!" This may seem like a cute baby-story, but the implication on the kind of children we are raising and the amount of dependency the next generation will have on technology is scary. When I made up my mind to raise a no-tech child, it was a decision-based in part on rebellion. I grew up during the years when new-age technology was just emerging and embraced every new platform that appeared. My personal battle with social media and all


July 2017

things ‘online' had convinced me that I did not want my children to go through the same struggle. This, coupled with my fond memories of a no-tech childhood, made the decision seem like it was based on personal bias. However, with every passing day and the revelation of some new effect that technology has on children, I am more and more convinced that this has been the best decision - if the most challenging - of my life. It hasn't been easy and looks like it's only going to get more difficult as she gets older, but others who have been doing it for longer and have children that have already reached adulthood strongly support the cause. Parenting these days is complicated enough, especially for Muslims. We live in a world where we have to be aware, on guard and constantly assessing our words and actions. The need to keep up and be on a par with the rest of the world is a valid concern. It may be for this reason that so many of us introduce our children to screens almost from birth: because we don't want them to be left behind or lose out in life. It is worthwhile though to consider the case against a tech-filled childhood and assess whether it is doing our kids more harm than good.

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For example, we might find it amusing when our toddlers know how to turn on our phones (‘look! She can get past the password!') Or take pride when they know what apps to open or how to play their favourite YouTube video (‘He knows it better than I do!'). Most of us take this as a sign of higher intelligence. It's actually quite the opposite. By nature, children need to discover things on their own in order to learn. This is how they gather the life skills they require as adults. They have to move, to touch, to interact, to explore, to make mistakes and to be completely absorbed in their play. Screen time, on the other hand, has been linked to shorter attention spans. Gadgets are intuitive and designed to be easy to use (think about how long it took you to learn how to use your iPhone or Google). Screen (TV, tablets, phones) viewing feeds the desire to be ‘entertained' rather than encouraging discovery and exploration in a child. A child who is used to being fed information on a constant basis becomes a teen who needs this as a fix. Enter social media and online activity. A recent survey showed that the average person spends almost twice as much time on social media in a lifetime as he or she does eating and drinking! We live in a world where we think that unless our daily lives are documented in some way online they have no validity and therefore we haven't lived. The effects of social media on the so-called Millennials / Generation Y have been the subject of many studies. The concerns for their ability to have normal social interactions, their lack of empathy and the illusion of life that they live from behind a screen are cited in numerous reports. What this will mean for the world is something we have to wait to see. One thing is for sure, it all begins with what we habituate our children to from infancy. One may argue that we can't change the way things are going and it is better to let our children join the movement, make their own mistakes and learn their own life lessons. This is true to a certain extent, but does that mean we can't make the choice to prepare them with the right skills? I don't think so. When I considered the pros and cons of technology for my daughter, it wasn't just because I believed that allowing her

to play with simple toys and encouraging her towards selfdirected play would strengthen her social and emotional health and cultivate her creativity. It was also because I was afraid of the doors that would inevitably open for her if she was comfortable with technology. Thoughts of endless selfies, of watching inappropriate YouTube channels, of cyber bullying and having a perspective skewed by social media gave me sleepless nights. Islam is about being hands-on. It's about seeing God in His Creation, about finding Divine Joy in the simple things in life, about thinking of others and not yourself and most of all, about being free. Free of anything that would keep you attached to the material world. If you doubt that the greatest addiction we have is to technology, then try turning off your phone for a day or two. Even the thought of it would make most of us shudder. Yet, a couple of decades ago owning a mobile phone was a luxury of the elite. Not only did we live without Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, we didn't even know we required such conveniences in life! I chose this path for my children because I want them to know their Creator on more intimate terms. Because our Imams have encouraged working with ‘our hands' - which I interpret as being in touch with the real world - in order to nurture humility, something that will be elusive to us as long as we are busy uploading our most recent photos and achievements online. I want them to play with mud and building blocks and create worlds from their imagination rather than have noisy batterypowered toys that tell them what to imagine. Infant expert Magda Gerber has said, “Active toys make passive children; passive toys make active children”. I want to have active children who have enough absence of material and enough presence of mind to be able to do what is required of them as Muslims and human beings, rather than fulfilling their moral responsibility through likes and shares. As I said earlier, it's not easy. When your baby is crying, you have a dozen chores waiting and it's tempting to pop a phone into their hands to keep them quiet, it will be frustrating. When all the other children around are staring blankly at screens or talking about the latest TV shows, it will be lonely. When your child is lost at school because they haven't learnt how to use the latest software or websites, it will be scary. If you are a technophile, you may be ready to come at this idea with guns blazing about how good technology is for children but give technology a break - for a day, a weekend or a whole week - and see if there's a difference in your children. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.

July 2017


Srebrenica Genocide Memorial

Art Heavenly and earthly struggle This month we look forward to the month of Hajj by looking at art that has recorded creative expressions of this momentous experience. We also remember the pain of Srebrenica through poetry and photographs while exploring the urban folk art of Palestine.

Remembering Srebrenica July 11th marks Srebrenica Memorial Day which pays tribute to the genocide of 1995. Spoken word artist Shahina Khatoun visited the town in March recording her journey through photographs and interviews with survivors. We spoke about her experiences there and most of it was too graphic to share on these pages. Although more than twenty years have passed, the aftermath of the troubles still affects younger generations. Khatoun's words educate and evoke, expressing succinctly so we may never forget.

My Heart Cries With You

I see the darkness in your eyes, Left by years ofsilent tears, I see years ofpain etched into your face Yet you strive to make a difference, Encouraged by a little hope that someone may listen, Even though the world has turned its back, Even though you were left to drown in Waiting hopelessness, The sun doesn't look the same With no justice in sight... You still strive oh courageous heart, anymore, The moon doesn't glow the same way You still strive with the hope of a purpose in your shattered life. anymore, 'Courage' and 'strength' have been The stars cease to glitter. Spoken Word redefined, Darkness is more appealing, To the soul that lives in the shadow of For passing hearts, that carry your Betrayal ofThe Valleys ofSrebrenica memories, stories, For my heart, which cries with you. Ofa life stolen, ofa heart broken. The striking green valleys... I see no end to this prolonged pain, Are striking red. Blood red. So, The trees are red. I sit in the darkness waiting for the light Words and photos Š Shahina, Lyrically Their leaves are red. Speaking 2016 ofanother realm, The grass is red. For the glow ofAngels' to embrace me, Nourished and watered by the blood of To take my soul from a life I am forced Srebrenica Memorial Day will take place my sons. during Memorial Week, 9-16 July. Many to live. “Striking beauty", you say, events will be taking place across the My eyes see no beauty in them country from film screenings to Peace anymore... walks. To find out more visit The trees failed to hide my sons. The valleys failed to protect my sons. And though my sons lived amongst this "beautiful" green, In their time ofneed, They ran into its embrace Only to face rejection, Only to be swallowed by its soil, Without dignity, Without mercy.


Mothers of Srebrenica (Hadijah Mehmedovic)

July 2017

Palestine With Ramadan, we are offered the opportunity to remember Palestine. Al-Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem and AlQuds day is an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated to express support for the plight of the Palestinian people. I mention this, not just because it's good to know and take part in, but because Jerusalem’s old city is the site of an array of folk art which testifies to the faith of the people. Hypoallergenic is an online forum created by editor in chief, Hrag Vartanian, in 2014, Vartanian wrote an interesting photo essay entitled ‘In Jerusalem's old city, a different kind of cubism' in which he explores the creative expression of faith as an opportunity to leave an enduring mark in defiance of occupation. Here are a few photographs from his article. All are by the author.

Favourite things “When my grandfather spoke to me as a childabout their experience of Hajj, they told me of the physical attraction they felt towards the Ka‘ba, that they felt drawn to it by an almost magnetic pull." Ahmed Mater Hajj is a time of pilgrimage. An arduous task that we are instructed to undertake at least once in our lifetime. And this piece by Arabian artist Ahmed Mater is a perfect metaphor for this journey. Anyone who has performed the Hajj understands the momentum of tawaf and the feeling of being drawn by a Divine calling. It speaks to me for those reasons and resonates with a sacred attraction that resides deep within us all.

Heritage Hafiz-i Abru (d. 1430). Detail from ‘Journey of the Prophet Muhammad(s) Folio from the Majma al-Tavarikh (Compendium of Histories), ca. 1425. Present-day Afghanistan, Herat. Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper..

For more on this topic, visit /in-jerusalems-old-city-adifferent-kind-of-cubism/

Moriam Grillo is an international

award winning artist.She holds Batchelor degrees in photography & film and Ceramics and is currently studying for a masters in Art Therapy. Moriam is also founder of the Butterfly Project.

July 2017



Renouncing the world; the inward and outward aspects Abbas Di Palma throws the spotlight on the concept of Zuhd

fi dunya (renunciation of the world)


he concept of ‘renouncing the world’ is present in most, if not all, religious traditions although it is often understood in different ways. In Islamic terminology it has been referred to as ‘zuhd’ or ‘zuhd fi dunya’. Sometimes it is translated as ‘asceticism’, and such expressions have been highly praised in the scriptural traditions. On the other hand, several people may show a reproachful attitude when hearing this word as its meaning at times has been interpreted as involving the abstention from general comforts of life, living in small houses, eating a little food, etc., for the sake of God and with the intention of attaining a blissful Afterlife. In reality renouncing the world as a religious concept does not mean to detest the world in itself and remaining disengaged from worldly activities: the life and conduct of the prophets, in fact, point to quite the contrary. Prophets and pious people have been always engaged in worldly activities at the due time. Even in religious classical texts, the world is considered as a place of sowing good deeds to reap their fruits in the Afterlife, a field in which to harvest for tomorrow. It follows that the world is not a problem; it is rather the attachment to it and the desire for it that holds negative connotations and brings no fruits. There is a reference in the Qur’an to this when it is said: “For he who wants the harvest of the Afterlife We shall add to his harvest. But he who wants the harvest of this world We shall give him a portion of it and he shall have no share whatsoever in the Afterlife” (42:20). Here it is the attitude of ‘wanting the world’ that has been blamed and not the world in itself. The world is, in fact, a place where it is


July 2017

possible to elevate man and bring him closer to God. Eating, drinking, sleeping, etc. are not evil but if they become our final end in life it could be very damaging as they are not everlasting pleasures and we will not be able to see beyond them to what is eternal and enduring. Even wealth, social positions, prestigious careers fall in the same category and although they may be correctly used in some circumstances, they are not an aim worthy of being followed. ‘Wanting the world’ has been seen by some ethical teachers as an illness the cure of which is to be found in zuhd or renunciation which implies detaching the heart from the world. The renouncer of the world, therefore, doesn’t become sad because of it, nor does he get engaged in working for it, as he is busy in nothing else other than pleasing his Lord. A legitimate question at this point may be: considering that renunciation does not directly and

physically involve cutting off the world, how can it be achieved? In order to answer this question, we may divide renunciation into stages and degrees according to the intention, capacity of the renouncer, and the intensity of the renunciation itself. The first stage implies that the different temptations of the world would not prevent resistance to them and no blessing would obstruct a sincere thanksgiving. In other words, the renouncer won’t give up his patience for committing a forbidden act and won’t stop to give thanks at the time of ease. In a more advanced stage, the renouncer will rejoice when the world is not with him and will be saddened when he has to deal with it. This is due to his fear of being involved in the world so his inward feelings always incline towards what is safer. However, the last stage and the best expression of renunciation is found, as the great Imam Ali (a) has pointed out, in the following Quranic verse: “so that you may not grieve for what escapes you, nor exult for what comes your way,” (57:23). Here the renouncer, while being physically in this world and taking advantage of it, is not affected at all by it and he is totally focused on the Afterlife. In this stage, the world

has no control over him and actually, it is he who has control over it with God’s leave. It is not surprising then to read in religious scriptures that the Prophet Suleiman (a) had the ability to control winds and Jinni on the earth. In the light of what we have said, the popular concept of renunciation, implying a necessary physical abstention from the world, has little to do with real ‘zuhd’. In fact, not everybody showing frugality is a ‘renouncer’ and not everybody who doesn’t show frugality is not a ‘renouncer’. Yet, living with kifaf (sufficiency and modest means of survival) was the way of the Prophet Muhammad(s) and the great Imam Ali (a) but it is not something that can be imposed on every single renouncer. Also, that ‘external sufficiency’ which do not stem from internal renunciation has no value in God’s eyes because it comes from a heart that is not looking at Him. Of course, it is not our task to judge who is and who is not a real renouncer and we should always try to keep a ‘good feeling’ between us and who is around us. Those who have familiarity with spiritual affairs may easily recognise pure souls from impostors. Also there are clear hints that warn us as to who is who: for example violating Islamic laws or not having good ethical behaviour or high moral standards are clear signs of a lack of spiritual understanding but again, praise for the wellbeing of others and wishing the best for them seems to be a healthier approach than studying other individuals lives when this is not our concern.

Hujjatul-Islam Abbas Di Palma is an Italian convert, graduated from the Hawza Ilmiyya of London. He holds a MA in Islamic Studies and is currently lecturing at The Islamic College London.

July 2017


The Holy Prophet(s) said, “Love your children and have mercy on them.”


he glorious sun of Islam dawned at a dismal time of ignorance when newborn daughters were buried alive. The Prophet Muhammad(s) came with a religion which not only liberated females from the depths of the earth but in fact raised them to such a status that Heaven could lie beneath their feet. The Prophet declared, “Your best children are your daughters.” No other culture or religion in human history has supported women as much as Islam. Alas, it is our own misfortune if we ignore these pristine teachings and stagnate in society’s customs. In an atmosphere where cruelty and hard-heartedness were prevalent, the Holy Prophet(s) shone as an excellent exemplar for how to behave with people, especially family and children. The Prophet Muhammad(s) would be seen walking the streets with his grandsons riding his shoulders. He would always show them affection and praise them publicly, even if it meant lengthening his prostration while praying in congregation when Imam Husayn (a) sat on his back. Although one may say that this is the status of the Ahlul Bayt (as), indeed the Holy Prophet(s) is a role model for us. The importance of loving children has been greatly emphasised in Islam, as this expression of affection and love is vital in forming the child’s personality and is the foundation for instructing them in later years. The Holy Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt(as) taught us things fourteen centuries ago which psychologists and scientists are promoting today. An important aspect which is perhaps overlooked is that children learn from our actions, not our intentions. Therefore, it is vital to show them that we love them. According to Dr Gary Chapman, there are five ways one can express love. He calls them the five love languages: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service. Although all of them are necessary, he argues that only one is the language


July 2017

that the individual responds to the most. The child will not feel loved unless he is shown love in his primary language. Moreover, it is only after a child is full of the parents’ love that he will be responsive to their instructions and discipline. To discover an individual’s primary language, one should observe how he expresses love and pay attention to his requests and complaints. Physical touch refers to actions like hugging, kissing, wrestling for fun, covering eyes with hands, having the child sit in the lap, etc. A tradition of a Holy Imam states, “Kiss your children a lot. For each kiss, you will get a divine heavenly rank which would otherwise take 500 years to achieve.” Imam Sadiq said, “A man who has much affection for his child will receive special mercy and attention from God.” Words of affirmation praise and encourage the child. The Holy Prophet (s) would publicly declare that Hasan and Husayn (a) are the leaders of paradise. He also states, “If you like someone, express your feelings to him. This expression of love brings you closer to each other.” Quality time refers to any activity with focused and undivided attention, like playing with children. Imam ‘Ali said, “One who has a child has to behave in a childlike manner in training his child.” Gifts are freely given and express love for the recipient. However, they can be ordinary and hand-made. The important thing is that they represent the parent’s presence for the child. Acts of service mean the little and big things done willingly, like staying up and helping children with a project, mending their clothes or cooking their favourite meals. The Prophet said, “The rights of the child over the father consist of teaching him writing, swimming and he should only feed him clean and lawfully earned food. Even an act such as breastfeeding has the immense reward of freeing a slave. Likewise, pleasing one’s daughter earns one the reward of having freed one of the slaves from the line of Isma’il.

Th impor of lo child

he rtance oving dren

It is narrated that the Prophet Musa(a) asked God, “O God! Which act is the best one according to you?” God replied, “Loving children is the best act.” Another version adds, “As children are God-fearing in essence and love Me. When a child dies, I will mercifully make him enter Paradise.” This beautiful tradition demonstrates the importance of loving children in the view of God. Although it is a natural instinct to love them, parents will be motivated to love children even more and will not feel they are wasting their time and efforts in caring for them. Rather, they will consider it an act of worship. Indeed, love is an individual’s innate need. God has created us so that we desire to receive love as well as give it. Love is not exclusive to a specific time or place, or an age of a person. At all times, all humans everywhere desire love. If one’s need for love is not fulfilled at home with family then one will search for it elsewhere; the need will not disappear. Love is a child’s soul food, and plenty of it is needed. Hence, the parents’ behaviour should convey this love to the child. Children who are loved will have confident personalities that are not easily swayed when life presents challenges because they have strong foundations. On the contrary, a child who does not receive love will be inclined to temptation. He may even find it difficult to love others. Consequently, no quality can create happiness and calmness than a child-like love and no quality can trouble a child like the lack of affection from her parents. Therefore, children who feel loved will try to please their parents and stay away from actions that will displease them, both in childhood and when older. Perhaps this is why the first stage of childhood (until age 7) is primarily for showing love to our children. Then, when they are confident in that love, the parents can instruct them. The child will then obey the parents for he will wish to please them. Love and affection thus not only satisfy the needs of the child but assist them in practising obedience.

When a man came to the Prophet(s) and said, “I have never kissed my child,” the Prophet replied that this man was a resident of the fire of Hell. No doubt, just as too little love is destructive for the child, too much love is also harmful. The Imams instruct us not to exceed limits and incline to excesses. Rather, we should endeavour to raise our children by practising the middle way. However, what is perhaps most important is that it is through the parents and their love that the child reaches the True Love, which is God, al-Wadud (the Loving One). When children receive love they learn how to love back, yet, that is only the foundation for showing them the path to love God, His Messenger and the Ahlul Bayt(as). According to the traditions of the Infallibles, young children think their parents are their lords because they give them sustenance. Parents should thus introduce God to children as the one who helps them and grants them all blessings. The Holy Prophet said: “Love God because He has done good to you and He has bestowed favours upon you.” All individuals have an innate need for love, so they would undoubtedly desire to love what is perfect and most beautiful. Ibn Arabi says: “Nothing other than God has ever been loved. It is God who has manifested Himself in whatever is beloved for the eyes of those who love. There is no being except that it loves. Thus, the whole universe loves and is loved and all these go back to Him.” Indeed, the concept of love plays an important role in our religion, especially the Shi‘i faith. Hopefully, parents are successful in instilling the love of God, the Prophet and his Household in their children. . Kubra Rizvi is an Honours

Psychology graduate from Loyola University Chicago. She writes and lectures on various religious topics.

July 2017




Bond b conten

Frank Gelli talks about

Hope or Despair surrounding ‘The Holy City of Jerusalem' Jerusalem the Golden, with milk and honey blessed, beneath your contemplation sink heart and voice oppressed…Oh sweet and blessed country, the home of God’s elect’ run the verses of a famous Christian hymn. They allude to the glorious hope expressed in the Book of Revelation, the Bible’s last, a vision of the New Jerusalem, a world purified of evil and reconciled with God. The reference to ‘a voice oppressed’, however, suggests how far we still are from that hope being realised. Jerusalem is sacred to the three chief monotheistic religions but, historically speaking, the city first appears in Egyptian inscriptions as Urushalim – the city of the god Shalim. It rose to greater fame after King David conquered it from its inhabitants, the Jebusites. The Babylonians subsequently sacked it and exiled David’s people, until Cyrus, the great Persian ruler, allowed them to return. For four centuries after that Jerusalem was the site of God’s Temple, the capital city and focus of Hebrew fervour and nationalism. For some, it still is.

Messiah’s activity in Northern areas of ancient Palestine, like Galilee. Yet, the Evangelists devote half their narratives to the final journey Christ made to the city of David. Alas, the Jewish authorities refused to hear his message, arrested, tried him and condemned him to death. Jesus was crucified, died and, after three days, was resurrected in Jerusalem. From there the faith he embodied spread to the ends of the earth. Ever since, Christians have gone joyfully on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jerusalem – known as al-Quds - is important and sacred to Muslims because it is associated with previous prophets and especially with the Prophet Muhammad. In Sura Bani Israil, the Qur’an refers elliptically to two key episodes in the life of the Messenger, the famous isra’ and mi’raj – the Night Journey and the Ascension. One night the Prophet was carried miraculously from Mecca to Jerusalem and then from there to Heaven. For Muslims, this miracle crystallises their spiritual link with Jerusalem. It is significant that Jerusalem was the first qiblah, the initial direction for Muslims to face while saying their prayers until God’s command came to pray towards Mecca. That does not mean however that the change affects the key importance of Jerusalem for Islam. Muslims regard Jerusalem as their third most sacred city, after Mecca and Medina.

between the three main universal faiths. Ideally, that should be not as a warring bone of contention and strife but as a shared symbol of peace, tolerance and friendship. It is in that spirit that the Vatican after WWII backed the United Nations plan to make the city a ‘Corpus separatum’, a separate body or unit. Owing to the extraordinary importance of its holy places, Jerusalem was to be ruled by no particular country but placed under an international, neutral regime. The plan was actually adopted by a two-thirds majority of the UN General Assembly. The Arabs, after some reluctance, supported the ‘Corpus Separatum’ but the Zionists rejected it. After the 1948 proclamation of the State of Israel, the plan lost any hope of implementation. In 1980 the Israelis provocatively passed a law unilaterally declaring Jerusalem as the ‘complete and united capital of Israel’.

A journalist friend of mine once wrote from Jerusalem that: ‘Here the religious folks appear to get along all right. I have just heard a siren’s blast telling the start of the Jewish Sabbath. At the same In the New Testament, Jesus does not time, I heard the adhan, the Islamic limit his public ministry to Jerusalem. calls to prayers resounding from the It is clear from the foregoing that Three Gospel writers concentrate the Jerusalem constitutes a connection many mosques. And there are


July 2017

between faiths or bone of ntion?

churches… It seems all very peaceful and unthreatening.’ Weeks later the same journalist told me that the Arab intifada had started. The occupied territories rose up in revolt. He saw Israeli soldiers firing rubber bullets and beating up young and old Palestinian demonstrators alike. ‘Farewell to peace, or what I took to be peace’, he lamented. Things have not improved since then. In 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini established al-Quds Day in solidarity with the Palestinians. He called upon Muslims all over the world to dedicate the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan and demonstrate in support of the legitimate rights of Palestinian people. Al-Quds Day was partly in answer to

Israel’s proclamation in 1968 of Jerusalem Day, now kept as a national holiday, to assert its supremacy over the Arab people. Many Muslims do mark alQuds Day with fervour. St Matthew’s Gospel reports Jesus’ bitter and sobering words over the Holy City: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the Prophets and stoning those who are sent to you!’ And he went to exclaim: ‘Behold your house is forsaken and desolate.’ That was an awesome prophecy, foretelling the sinful city’s destruction by the Romans many years afterwards, in AD 70. Christians like the poet Dante saw it as divine punishment for its leaders having rejected and killed the Anointed of God. What lies ahead? It is difficult to be optimistic about a fair deal over

Jerusalem and Palestine, given the arrogant intransigence of the Netanyahu government and Israeli public opinion. The international community does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but that is not enough. Palestinians continue to suffer. A blissful redeemed New Jerusalem seems an impossible ideal. Why does God allow it? That is the question righteous persons often ask. The only answer is faith. Revd Frank Julian Gelli is an

Anglican priest and cultural critic, working on religious dialogue. His last book ‘The Prophet and the Priest', is available on Amazon Kindle.

July 2017



m s i r u o m Hu



umourism is an ancient theory that categorises all human being into four groups: sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. According to this theory, there are four different kinds of fluids (humours) in the body that domination of each will put an individual in one of the groups: -Sanguine, domination of Blood, -Phlegmatic, domination of Phlegm, -Choleric, domination of Yellow bile, -Melancholic, domination of Black bile. Galen, better known as Galen of Pergamon, first introduced the theory of humours. Each humour has its own characteristics, Blood was the humour of spring, passion, air and childhood, Yellow bile belonged to summer, anger, fire and youth, Black bile was linked to a sluggish personality, autumn, earth and adulthood, Phlegm was associated with winter, melancholy, water and old age. Humourism later spread across Roman and Islamic Empires and soon became the key to diagnosing diseases and body balance. Avicenna developed Galen’s idea in the canon of medicine by adding secondary humours. Avicenna introduced Mizaj (body temperament) as a replacement for Humour and renamed them as below: -Sanguine: Damawiyy; -Phlegmatic: Balghamiyy; -Choleric: Safrawiyy; -Melancholic: Saudaiyy.

condition which potentially could threaten human fitness. The imbalance of humours, or dyscrasia, was thought to be the direct cause of all diseases. Health was associated with a balance of humours, or eucrasia. The qualities of the humours, in turn, influenced the nature of the diseases they caused. Yellow bile caused warm diseases and phlegm caused cold diseases. Peter Lutz, describes Avicenna’s four humours in the following table:





Morbid states

Inflammations become febrile

Fevers re serious h rheum

Functional power

Deficient energy

Deficient pow

Subjective sensations

Bitter taste, excessive thirst, burning at cardia

Lack of d flui

Physical signs

High pulse rate, lassitude


Foods and medicines

Calefacients harmful, infrigidants beneficial

Infrigidant calefac bene

Relation to weather

Worse in Summer

Worse in

The dominant fluid for Damawiyy was blood, which has hot and wet characteristics. Balghamiyy humour with dominant phlegm is wet and cold, while in Safrawiyy humour, yellow bile is the dominant fluid, which has hot and dry characteristics. Saudaiyy humour was also characterised by black bile that is dry and cold. Avicenna explained points of power and weakness for each humour and the relationship between the humour and diet, age or season. For example, a person with warm and dry humour usually prefers cold and wet food and drink rather than ones with warm and dry nature. Also, a man of 70 compared to a teenage man needs more warm and wet food and drink based on his age-related humour. If the humour related considerations like diet, lifestyle or environmental factors were not observed, the basic Mizaj would be changed to be out of balance, a


July 2017

Avicenna’s pattern uses this to explain human body imbalances (diseases) while suggesting different actions like bloodletting, using emetics and purges, massage and Hijama to bring back the balance. Other methods used herbs and foods associated with a particular humour. For instance people who had a fever and were sweating were considered


elated to humour, matism


Loss of vigour

digestive wer

Difficult digestion


desire for ids

Mucoid salivation, sleepiness

Insomnia, wakefulness

d joints

Diarrhoea, swollen eyelids, rough skin, acquired habit

Rough skin, acquired habit

Moist articles harmful

Dry regimen harmful, humectants beneficial


Bad in autumn

ts harmful, cients ficial

n winter

original research. Although Jung’s (or Myer Brigg’s personality types) were based on a completely different typing system, description of their 16 types is very similar to the four pure temperaments.

Phlegm Water





Black Bile Earth

Blood Air



Yellow Bile Fire


hot and wet and therefore given substances associated with cold and dry. Although later, advances in cellular pathology and chemistry discredited humoralism by the nineteenth century, the theory had dominated Western medical thinking for more than 2,000 years. Even today, balanced food and activity is still prevalent and many new personality theories were developed from this ancient concept, often disguised under different names. Dr. Helen Fisher’s personality types — Explorer, Negotiator, Director, and Builder — bear a striking resemblance to Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic respectively. Having said that, this does not minimise the value of her


? h t u r t r o h m yt

However, modern psychology dismisses most personality theories all together. In fact, lack of molecular biology evidence has limited the success of humour patterns. Groups of Iranian scientists have performed comprehensive investigations to find the missing link between humourism and the modern medicine. A large-scale protein study on hot-wet and cold-dry temperaments (Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 30133 (2016)), has revealed the molecular differences in two hot-wet and cold-dry humours as well as the difference between molecular interactions. Another study investigated the relation between body humours and hypercholesterolemia (Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2012 Mar; 14(3): 133–138.) which has shown that only some of the patients had hepatic dystemperament (Sui' a Mizaj) and surprisingly all of the patients had gastric dystemperament. The significant difference between the results of gastric and hepatic dystemperament in the patients suggests that the organ involved in hypercholesterolemia is the stomach. Hypertension From the Perspective of Iranian Traditional Medicine was also studied by another group of Iranian scientists which also led to the discovery of a meaningful relation between dry dystemperament of vessel walls (atherosclerosis), hot dystemperament of the heart or damage to other organs like liver, kidney and nervous system and the accumulation of normal or abnormal fluid in the body and hypertension. (Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Mar; 16(3): e16449.)  Dr Laleh Lohrasbi is a

pharmacologist. She has worked as an editor for the medical section of “Hamshahri”, a daily newspaper in Tehran.

July 2017



Travel Guide to

Muslim Europe With travel writer and European Muslim heritage specialist Tharik Hussain

A stunning ode to the pain of devsirme

The first idea of the bridge, which was destined to be realised, flashed, at first naturally confused and foggy, across the imagination of a ten year old boy from the nearby village Sokolovici, one morning in 1516 when he was being taken along the road from his village to far-off, shining and terrible Stambul (Istanbul) … A little way behind the last horses in that strange convoy, straggled, dishevelled and exhausted, many parents and relatives of those children who were being carried away for ever to a foreign world, where they would be circumcised, become Turkish and, forgetting their faith, their country and their origin, would pass their lives in the ranks of the janissaries or in some other, higher, service of the Empire. They were for the most part women, mothers, grandmothers and sisters of the stolen children.” “Here, at the Visegrad ferry, even the most enduring had to halt for they were not allowed on the ferry and were


July 2017

unable to cross the water. Now they could sit in peace on the bank and weep… until on the farther bank of the river they could see once more the long drawn out convoy of horses and riders as it moved onwards towards Dubrina, and tried once more to catch a last glimpse of the children who were disappearing from their sight.” Thus imagined the Yugoslavian novelist Ivo Andric in his Nobel Prize-winning book about the Mehmed Pasa Sokolovici bridge in Visegrad called The Bridge on the Drina. The little boy in Andric’s book is a young Bosnian-Serb called Bajica then still known by his Christian name. At the tender age of ten, he was being taken to the Ottoman imperial capital as part of a child ‘harvest’ in the villages of eastern Bosnia - the Turkish empire’s cruel blood tribute known as ‘devsirme’. The practice involved stealing the ablest sons of Christian families across the empire and enlisting them in the janissary - an elite infantry unit in the Ottoman army.

Bajica would grow up with the name Mehmet Sokollu - to signify his village of origin - and become Mehmet Pasa Sokollu, the most powerful Grand Vizier in the history of the Ottoman empire - from 1566 until his controversial murder in 1579, it was Sokollu and not the lazy Sultans above him who was the de facto ruler of the world’s most powerful empire. In other words, for 13 years, little Bajica from Sokolovici was the most powerful man in the world. For Andric, the Mehmed Pasa Sokolovici bridge on the river Drina - a masterpiece of Ottoman bridge building - is more than just another of the many stunning monuments this powerful Grand Vizier commissioned. Andric imagined it as Sokollu’s attempt to heal the pain and anguish he would’ve no doubt carried around his whole life as devsirme. Its building, as Andric puts it, was an attempt to “bridge the steep banks and the evil water between them (mother and son), join the two ends of the road which was broken by the

Where in the world: The Mehmet Pasha Sokolovic Bridge spans the River Drina leading into the town of Visegrad in east Bosnia and Herzegovina, close to the country’s border with Serbia.

In and out: The easiest and quickest way to get to Visegrad is to fly into Sarajevo and self-drive the two-hour journey through the Bosnian countryside. There is also the option to board a bus from the eastern edge of Sarajevo to Visegrad which takes 3.5 hours.

Top tips: Why not jump on one of the Drina boat tours that pass under the

stunning bridge and admire it from a different perspective? If you are interested in Andric beyond his connection to the bridge, be sure to visit nearby Andricgrad, a purpose-built tourist town dedicated to the works of the late Yugoslav novelist. Drina and thus link safely and forever Bosnia and the East, indeed it will last forever. the place of his origin and the places of his life.” The waters that pass beneath Sokollu’s Built in 1577, Sokollu’s bridge was bridge as it leads into the eastern bombed and partially destroyed Bosnian town of Visegrad are of during World War I. However a course not evil. Viewed on a faithful rebuild led to UNESCO sunny day from the road that recognising the bridge in winds its way down through 2007 as “a remarkable the nearby mountains, the architectural testimony to elegant work of masonry the apogee of the art seems to float on an classical age of the unbroken canvas of blue, Ottoman Empire … where the Drina and the erected by one of the sky become most celebrated indistinguishable. The builders of the fact that Sokollu’s Ottoman Empire”. imagined dream was The inclusion of this realised by a fellow stunning ode to the devsirme, someone even pains of devsirme on more famous than the UNESCO’s World Grand Vizier himself, only Heritage list means it is adds to the bridge’s now protected for all poignant significance. It was future generations, so they built by Yusuf Sinanuddin or too may reflect on the Mimar Sinan Agha, the Chief of unimaginable horror endured Royal Architects. Sinan was the by those Christian mothers devsirme to actually first imagine the halted on the banks of the Drina eleven elegant arches stretching 179.5 and countless other rivers across the metres across the Drina. It is the unmistakable empire - unable to follow their stolen artistry and engineering of this most famous of all children as they were taken away from them forever. Muslim architects that make this beautiful bridge look as if Built by two of their most famous sons, there is no greater tribute to the memory of those longforgotten hapless women.  Tharik Hussain spends much of his time travelling across Europe in search of the continent's fourteen centuries of Muslim history. You can follow his work at"

July 2017


Dear Children, Assalam Alaikum


Children Corner

he last Friday of the Holy month of Ramadan is anniversary of a very important day and is known as Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day). In 1979 late Ayatollah Khomeini named this day Al-Quds as a reminder of the suffering of the Palestinians, forced to live under occupation since 1968. Our duty as Muslims and justice seekers is to support those who are treated unjustly. That is why year after year, on this day, Muslims all over the world give their time and organise marches in the streets to remind the public about Palestinian’s struggle.

Al-Quds Day

This month, Ghazaleh Kamrani our illustrator, has drawn one of such demonstration. She has drawn two images and left some differences in them for you to find. Later on you can look at the image 3 to check if you have spotted all the differences.ď Ź Illustrator Ghazaleh Kamrani

image 3


June 2017

image 1

image 2

June 2017


What & Where Through June Tafseer of the Holy Qur'an Conducted by: Shaykh M S Bahmanpour Venue: Islamic Centre of England, 140

Maida Vale, London W9 1QBMore Time: Every Friday starting at 7.30 PM Tel: 0207 604 5500 Introduction To Islam

The Islamic College’s new short courses aim to introduce Islam, Islamic beliefs, traditions, cultures and some of the contemporary issues the Muslim world has been facing, This course is open to all and previous knowledge is not required. Topic: Islamic Beliefs Tutor: Dr. Rebecca Masterton Date : 30 June to 4 August 2017 Time: Fridays 18:30-20:00

Registration is mandatory but no fee is required. To register please email: Venue: The Islamic College, 133 High Road, Willesden, London, NW10 2SW

gallery. Use smartphones to explore beautiful and complex patterns, and then create your own using design software. Sessions last up to 120 minutes. To secure a place sign up on the day of the session at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. Samsung Centre, the British Museum Time: 11.00 AM – 1.00 PM & 2.00 PM – 4.00 PM Fee: Free, limited places Age : 7+ years

Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, London. Time: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM Tickets: £30 (Adults both days) / £10 (Children both days) / other packages available For Sponsorship and stall bookings contact :

7-9 July

1 1 -1 6 July

Finding strength within the storm

Islamic Studies with Spiritual Retreat

Islamic Society of Britain will be looking at the topic of wellbeing: spiritual, physical and emotional. Discussions will take place on the Prophetic diet, exercise, self-care, positive thinking, the importance of gratitude and Dhikr as well as looking at mental wellbeing issues such as the effects of Racism and Islamophobia on our youth, low self-esteem, anxiety, exam stress, grief, negative body image, depression and eating disorders.

The course ‘Islamic Studies with Spiritual Retreat’, introduces students to the academic study of Islam via an exploration of major topics in Islamic Studies such as: Islamic Thought, Reading Qur’an and Hadith, Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Lifestyle in the West, Islamic Moral Values and Islamic History. The course is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the academic and Hawzah programs of the Islamic College. There will be 24 hours of teaching and the rest of the time will be spent on visits to Islamic centres and London attractions.


The Islamic Foundation, Ratby Lane, Markfield, Leicestershire, LE67 9 SY Time: 7 July 6.30 PM - 9 July 5.00 PM Fee: £62 Venue:

2 July Shubbak Festival of Arab Culture: Survival of the artist

From Palmyra to the old city of Aleppo, the destruction of ancient sites has been widely reported in the media. This one-day symposium, presented by the Mosaic Rooms and as part of the Shubbak Festival of Arab Culture at the British Museum, addresses the challenges artists, individuals, institutions and commentators face in times of unprecedented challenge. It is divided into three sessions, and looks at the themes of censorship, artists at risk and heritage destruction. Sessions will include presentations from each of the participants, panel discussions and audience Q&As. BP Lecture Theatre, The British Museum Time: 10.00 AM – 5.30 PM Tickets: £20 Booking: Venue:

More info: hibitions

More info: 8 July Nigeria Muslim Forum UK Youth: Young Professionals Eid Dinner

Celebrate Eid in style with our biggest ever Youth event. An evening of fun, entertainment and plenty of laughter as we gather together to celebrate Eid with an African twist. With our headline act, Comedian Nabil Abdul Rashid! An event not to be missed. Venue: Eastern

Pearl, 250 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, M13 0BG Time: 5.00 PM - 11.00 PM Tickets: £25 More info: 8 & 9 July

Digital workshop: Explore Islamic patterns

Palestine Expo 201 7

Craft a repeating geometric pattern inspired by the objects in the Islamic world

The biggest social, cultural and entertainment Pro-Palestinian event in Europe, in a year of immense significance


July 2017

for Palestine. Will include: Exhibitions – International Speakers – Interactive Zone – Gallery – Conferences – Knowledge Village – Food Quarter – Student Hub Venue:

The Islamic College, 133 High Road, Willesden, NW10 2SW Fee: Free. Food and Accommodation will be provided. Registration: online: email: Venue:

1 4-1 6 July Be The Change - UK Tour

This Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) convention is an attempt by the youth to help overcome new challenges of communication and integration. The convention aims to promote stronger ties through reviving the Islamic tradition of education, tolerance and introspection, and across cultural lines through points of commonality and respect. Venue:

14 July - The Principal Manchester, The Ballroom, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA 15 July - Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EP 16 July - indigo at The O2, Millennium Way Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0AX Fee: £20 More info:

1 5 July Scafell Pike Challenge (Human Relief Foundation)

Join us for a climb up the highest mountain in England in aid of Syrian refugees! Trek Scafell Pike and see the magnificent views and beautiful scenery. Transport will be available from Bradford. Time: 6.00 PM - 9.00 PM Registration fee: £20 Target: £100 Contact : Mustafa on 07943542392

Moor Street, West Bromwich, B70 7AZ, Brimingham. Time: 11.00 AM - 6.00 PM Entry: Free More info: call 07712 229704 or follow @M_Instashop on Instagram

incurred as well as some of the current efforts to safeguard buildings and to sustain conservation programmes. He will also address factors – in addition to military conflict – that represent perhaps more enduring challenges to the survival of Yemen’s architecture and traditional building practices.

2 August


Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge

or email

1 8 July Faith, affiliation, identity - MuslimJewish-Christian relations in theory and practice

A Woolf Institute program me

Speaker: Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner Venue: Edith-Stein-Kreis, Herz Jesu

Weimar, Germany Time: 7:30 PM


Now in its 8th year, join the Muslim Hands team in Tanzania and climb the highest mountain in Africa to help feed orphans & needy children! Rising almost 20,000 feet Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and has been nicknamed “the roof of Africa”. Set across the stunning Serengeti plains, participants can expect to encounter anything from rainforests, moorland, alpine deserts and glaciers. *Only 15 places available Venue: Kilimanjaro National Park, Registration fee: £300 Fundraising target: Min £3500 More info:

Tanzania mount-kilimanjaro-challenge

27-30 July 1 st UK Muslim Scout International Jamboree

4-6 August

2017 will see the first ever Muslim Scout International Jamboree to be held in the UK! A jamboree is a huge gathering of Scouts from across the world for the purposes of fun, learning, adventure and friendship. This year, MSF would like to invite you to join us in discovering “Planet Earth” at the 2017 Muslim Scout International Jamboree. For the first time, over 1,000 Muslim scouts from across the globe will come together for four unforgettable days of cultural exchange, learning, peace, and friendship.

Seminar for Arabian Studies 201 7

Kibblestone Campsite, Kibblestone Road, Oulton, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8UJ Fee: £50

full-time students £50



More info:

More info / Registration:

30 July

5 August

Muslim Instashop Expo

Yemen's architectural heritage in peril The MBI Al Jaber Foundation Public Lecture

Join us at the First Muslim Instashop Expo held in Birmingham! Bringing together Great Muslim Enterprises from across the U.K! Supporting and Celebrating the Journey of Small to Medium Enterprises within the Muslim Market! Venue:

West Bromwich Leisure Centre,

5-6 August The Making of A Leader: Empowering Leadership with Prophetic Values

In this unique, practical and actionoriented course, you will learn how to become a dynamic leader through empowerment in key elements of your personality. Venue: London, UK (tbc) Time: 8:30 AM - 7:00 PM Tutor: Edris Khamissa Fee: £60 More info: 75

The Seminar for Arabian Studies is the only international forum that meets annually for the presentation of the latest academic research in the humanities on the Arabian Peninsula from the earliest times to the present day or, in the case of political and social history, to the end of the Ottoman Empire (1922). Venue: The British Museum Time: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM Fee: All three days £100, concessions

BP Lecture Theatre, The British Museum Time: 6.00 PM – 7.30 PM Fee: Free, booking essential More info:

Yemen possesses one of the world’s finest treasure-troves of architecture, displaying a wondrous array of vernacular styles. Three of its ancient cities – Shibam, Sana and Zab& d – are UNESCO World Heritage sites. In this lecture, Trevor Marchand, SOAS, will take stock of the damage

31 Oct - 2 Nov World Halal Expo 201 7

Showcasing a convergence of an Ethical Lifestyle with 'Halalonomics', the World Halal Expo is a two-day International Halal Trade & Tourism exhibition for the Global Halal industry to meet the key players of UK Halal market, providing a comprehensive business platform to connect the trade & industry with the trillion dollars Global Halal market. A high impact business platform to look at the lucrative business opportunities that the global halal market presence offers and to cater to the needs of the halal producers, traders and business leaders looking to expand their business globally. Olympia, Hammersmith Rd, London W14 8UX Venue:

More info: Disclaimer: islam today does not necessarly endorse or recommend any of these events. Their contents and individuals or groups involved in them. We are not responsible for changes to times, fees or venues. Further information should be sought direclty from the organisers.

July 2017


Islam today issue 49 July 2017  
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