For the first time in 23 years the sounds of The Muazin (the caller of prayers) reverberated through Tirana, Albania on January 19, when the Muslims of this only majority Muslim state of Europe, offered Jumha prayers in the centrally located Etem Bay mosque. Besides the Muslims attending the Jumha prayers, there were more than 15,000 onlookers gathered to witness this historic event which was led by Imam Ibrahim Bala.
Albania had been, until this time, maintaining an iron-fisted stance. God-willing, this is the start of many more Islamic events that will be taking place in Albania.
Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a 1000 year old mosque on the Kenyan coast, the oldest known trace of Islamic culture in East Africa. Richard Wilding, Head of Coastal Archeology at the National Museum of Kenya, said: 'The mosque, believed to date from around 950 A.D. was found among the ruins of a small trading community on Pate Island near the Somali border. It was a small rectangular building with stone foundations, discovered beneath a mosque of later construction.' The mosque was discovered by a team from Oxford University in Britain, led by Dr. Mark Horton.
The Islamic Social and Development Foundation of Thailand has developed a new computer system which could display the complete text of the Holy Quran coupled with its interpretation in English and 13 other languages. This system called "Dara" was displayed at the Gulf Computer Exhibition in Dubai (UAE). The computer also has a printer and voice capability. At the press of a button, the entire Holy Quran could he seen and heard on the computer.
The Muslim world's largest library is in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. The library, which was built at a cost of 40 million riyals (10.9 million dollars), has more than 40,000 books, 2,000 manuscripts, microfilms, and periodicals. Some of the material dates back to the fifth Islamic century.
On Thursday, March 7, 1991, the prayer service opening the Tennessee State Senate Session was Sura Al-Fatiha. It was recited by Imam Ilyas Muhammed of Nashville, Tennessee. History was made in all of the United States as Tennessee was the first state to have a member of the Islamic faith to open a State Senate Session. However, this was not an easy task to accomplish. Seven years ago Imam Muhammed wrote a letter to the Tennessee State Senate stating that since Tennessee represents a cross-section of faiths, the Islamic faith had been omitted and not represented in the Senate or House of Representatives. His letter further stated: "As a representative of the Islamic faith, an Imam (minister), I nominate myself to be included and invited as 'Minister of the Day', to open the session in prayer. The Muslim prayer that is used is universal to open all meetings, services, etc. It is called 'Al-Fatiha' (Arabic meaning 'The Opening'). It is the first Sura (chapter) in the Holy Book of the Muslim, the Qur'an.
"The substance or contents of the prayer offends no group or single person, nor does it defy or single out any of God's righteous Prophets. It is a most beautiful and comprehensive prayer--short and concise. It is usually recited first in Arabic and followed by the English translation."
After receiving Imam Muhammed's letter, approval was given. In his opening statement, Imam Muhammed related: "On behalf of the Muslim American Community of Nashville of Tennessee, the Muslim Community of America and the international community of over one billion Muslims, who bear witness to the existence and unity of One God, I express our profound and humble appreciation... for this occasion that could pass by in insignificance as just another procedural prayer opening the session of the Senate. However, this occasion is highly significant beyond what is immediately realized and moreover historical and destined to be a part of the history of Tennessee. This marks a first for Tennessee Government and to my knowledge a first for America, that a representative of the Islamic faith has been granted the opportunity to lead the Senate or House in prayer."
Indeed this was an historic event for Muslims everywhere. To have Islam recognized and included in our government, is the giant step for much more progress to come. See also the S.F. Chronicle, Mar.8, 1991 Page A7.
The Islamic Bulletin
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