Muslims Gather At Mount Arafat

Mount Arafat, HajjThe annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has reached its climax with 1.5 million Muslims gathering at Mount Arafat to offer day-long prayers and recitations from the Koran.

The pilgrims congregated from sunrise at the site and the vast plain which surrounds it, about 15 kilometres from Mecca.

Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon at this location.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims are called upon to perform at least once.

Reports suggest Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, would not deliver the traditional hajj sermon for the first time in 35 years because of health complications.

Iran has boycotted this year’s pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia and Iran do not have diplomatic relations and are at loggerheads over a series of regional issues including the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

Afghan Court Quashes Farkhunda Mob Killing Death Sentences

farkhundaJustice for Farkhunda, a young woman killed by a mob in Kabul, may not be in sight soon as an appeal court in Afghanistan quashed the death sentences imposed on four men who took part in the act.

Eight people, including policemen, were given jail terms and four sentenced to death, but after an appeal, the keeper of the shrine who incited the mob was acquitted.

Women activists were outraged about the decision, which was taken in a secret hearing.

One of the activists, Wasjima Frogh, condemned the judgment in strong terms, insisting that the trial was a scam.

”Farkhunda was killed because she was a woman,” she said, claiming the judges have treated her case lightly.

In Afghanistan, “not only the Taliban, but the whole system is oppressing women”, she added.

Farkhunda was stoned, run over by a car and then burnt to death for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran.

Political Will Needed To Restructure Almajiri System

An estimated 8 million Northern children are engaged in the Almajiri system, an Islamic school system common in northern Nigeria, Chad, and Niger republic.

The idea behind the Almajiri system is to inculcate in the young children the culture of memorizing and reciting the Koran at an early stage.

Children as young as four are sent by their parents in search of knowledge and some of the children in this system usually sleep in their guardian’ houses, often in very unpleasant conditions without parental visitation.

Many Almajiris end up on the streets begging for alms, hawking and other forms of child labour.

The situation is closely linked with high rate of poverty and poor literacy level in the region.

The Secretary General of an umbrella body of Muslims in Nigeria, Jamaltru Nasril Islam (JNI) said he is concerned about the future of the children in the Almajiri system.

He said it is un-Islamic to treat children in a manner that will jeopardize their collective wellbeing.

In a move to integrate the Almajiri school system into basic education system, the federal government embarked on construction of Almajiri model schools in some states in the north.

This is in addition to integrating the curriculum of the Almajiri system with that of the conventional one in other to add value and empower the children.

speaking to channels television at a one day education summit in Kaduna, the state commissioner of education Mohammed Usman, said the model Almajiri schools will bridge the gaps that currently exist between the Koranic schools and the mainstream education structure.

But in spite of the challenges, these young children face, they still have dreams of a brighter future.

As government intensifies efforts towards transforming the Almajiri system in line with contemporary realities, observers are of the view that the authorities concerned must have the political will and genuine desire to address the underlying challenges associated with the Almajiri system.

Meaning and lessons of Eid-el-Kabir

The Head of Ahmadiya Muslim in Nigeria, Moshood Fashola; the Chief visioner, Islamic Youth league of Nigeria, Jibrin Lawal; and a Conscious Muslim, Dare Dairo all spoke on the meaning and lessons of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

Discussing the celebration on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise, the discussants explained the origin of the Sallah, the types of animal allowed for the celebration and the Koran’s teachings on ram fighting.

Watch the video below for the full discussion.