A Tour Of Latin America | Mufti Taqi Usmani


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 نحمده ونصلي على رسوله الكريم وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين


Brazil | Panama | Trinidad | Barbados

October 2008 CE /Shawwal 1429 AH

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Translated by Shoaib A. Rasheed

(June 1, 2019/Ramadan 27, 1440) with edits by Umer Ansari

Editor’s word: The following is a translation of a tour of Latin America by Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani from his travelogue entitled  “Safar Dar Safar,” p. 231-268, revealed by Maktabah Maʿārif al-Qur’an Karachi, December 2011. It was my honor to evaluate and provides recommendations to Mr. Rasheed concerning his fastidiously translated work. Moreover, it’s actually our honor that the esteemed Shaykh reviewed this work and regarded it worthy to be revealed. May Allah protect him and permit us to profit from his information, knowledge, and life experiences.

When we are saying the phrase “America,” we typically confer with the United States, as we speak’s well-known superpower, which is situated on the continent of North America. In actuality, nonetheless, there are two continents each often called “America.” The bigger of the 2 is North America, which consists of Canada, the biggest nation on the continent, in addition to the United States, and Mexico. The second continent is South America, which stretches from Colombia all the way in which to Argentina and Chile. In the southern-most a part of North America, there may be additionally a protracted stretch of land containing quite a few small nations stretching from Mexico to Panama. This area is called Central America, although it’s technically a part of North America.

Within all three Americas, the nations that talk non-English Romance languages akin to Spanish, Portuguese, or French, comprise what is called “Latin America.” Most individuals mistakenly think about Latin America and South America to be synonymous. Latin America certainly consists of the whole continent of South America, nevertheless it additionally consists of different nations exterior South America. For occasion, it consists of Mexico, which is in North America. Latin America additionally consists of all of the nations in Central America, nearly all of which communicate Spanish. Furthermore, between North and South America there’s a physique of water often called the Caribbean Sea, which is linked to the Atlantic Ocean. This sea accommodates many massive islands which are collectively often called the West Indies. Each island is an impartial nation. According to Britannica, these islands are additionally thought of an extension of Latin America.

In the next pages, I want to recount the memoirs of my journey to the South American nation of Brazil, the Central American nation of Panama, and two nations within the West Indies: Trinidad and Barbados. Since all these nations are a part of Latin America within the widest sense, I’ve titled this memoir “A Tour of Latin America.”

For virtually two and a half years now, I had been receiving invites from a few of the Muslims of Panama and Trinidad to return and tour their nations. But these journeys saved having to be postponed due to how distant these nations are and since visiting them would require a protracted time period. Finally this 12 months 1429 AH, I used to be in a position to free myself for about three weeks after Eid al-Fitr to go on this journey. The plan was to go to Panama first, adopted by Trinidad. For a number of causes that I’ll focus on, I made a decision to broaden the journey by spending a number of days in Brazil on the way in which to Panama. Later, when a number of associates from Barbados discovered about this journey of mine, they insisted that I go to them as nicely, and so I made a decision to spend two days in Barbados.

We departed from Dubai at 10:30 AM on Thursday Shawwal 9, 1429 AH/October 19, 2008 CE on an Emirates Airlines flight. We have been headed to São Paulo, the biggest metropolis in Brazil. The earlier two days had been spent busy with conferences in Dubai. São Paulo is about 13,000 kilometers from Dubai. Emirates Airlines had just lately begun offering this direct flight that will take us from Dubai to São Paulo in fifteen-and-a-half hours. I had flown on Emirates Airlines many occasions up to now and had collected numerous factors. Based on these, the airline mechanically upgraded me to a first-class seat for this journey. The airline had just lately acquired a brand new Boeing 707-002 plane by which every first-class passenger is assigned their very own lovely little room. Each room has a door that could be closed for privateness and a seat that converts into an entire mattress. Each room additionally has a writing desk, a small closet, and lots of different such facilities that would up to now by no means have been imagined to be present in a airplane. Because of those facilities, this lengthy flight handed in consolation by His Bounty Most High.

For the previous ten or twelve years, I at all times occurred to have some type of analysis to work on throughout my flights that was associated to the Holy Quran. First, there was the venture of translating my father Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani’s tafsīr of the Holy Quran often called “Maʿārif al-Qur’ān” into English. Then I used to be working alone translation of the Quran into English, which went on to be revealed beneath the title, “The Meanings of the Noble Qur’an“. Most just lately, I used to be engaged on a brand new Urdu translation of the Holy Quran with explanatory notes.1 For all three of those tasks, a considerable portion of the work was truly completed whereas touring and in-flight. Praise be to Allah that this final Urdu translation venture had simply reached completion this previous Ramadan and is now being printed. Hence, after a few years, this was the primary lengthy airplane journey by which I used to be not engaged on a analysis venture instantly associated to the Holy Quran, and so this journey felt considerably flavorless. 

Nevertheless, I had one other venture to work on throughout this journey which analyzes numerous political theories and Islamic teachings concerning them. Many years in the past, I had taught a course at Dar al-Uloom Karachi attended by honorable students from throughout the nation. My buddy Maulana Muzammil Kapadia had transcribed the lectures from this course utilizing a pc and a tape recorder. Maulana Muzammil has to bear dialysis thrice every week. Allah Most High has endowed him with a rare sense of resolve. While present process dialysis, he would hear to those tape recordings little by little and transcribe them till he had accomplished a manuscript spanning about 100 pages, after which he despatched it to me for evaluate. During this flight to Brazil, I started reviewing his manuscript.

We flew over Yemen, crossed the Arabian Peninsula, after which throughout the Red Sea. Then, by means of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), we entered the continent of Africa. We flew over the Congo and Angola, and after crossing Africa, we entered the Atlantic Ocean. We flew over this ocean for nearly six hours till we lastly reached the South American continent. When the airplane landed at São Paulo’s airport, the native time was 7:00 PM (São Paulo’s time zone is eight hours behind Dubai and 9 hours behind Pakistan).

Receiving us on the airport was our host Ali Ahmad Saifi. He is of Lebanese descent. His father has lived in Brazil for a very long time. He was aware of me by my books, and he had been launched to me by my associates Ishaq Noor Sahib and Amanullah Sahib in Dubai. He confirmed us a substantial amount of affection and hosted us all through our keep in Brazil. Ali Ahmad Saifi had organized for us to remain at a resort close to his personal home in a district referred to as São Bernardo. Due to the overwhelming site visitors, it took us one-and-a-half hours to succeed in there. The climate was pleasantly cool, and we spent the evening in our resort.

Brazil is the biggest nation in South America. It spans 32,036,480 sq. miles and includes virtually half the continent by way of space. It can be essentially the most closely populated nation in South America. São Paulo is Brazil’s largest industrial metropolis, with a inhabitants of about fifteen million. Until the fifteenth century, the whole Eastern hemisphere had no concept that this place existed. In 1500, Portuguese navy commander Pedro Alvares Cabral set sail from Europe in hopes of discovering a sea path to India, identical to Columbus and Vasco Da Gama earlier than him. Mistakenly, he headed in direction of South America and found the way in which to Brazil. Little is understood in regards to the native inhabitants dwelling there on the time. Gradually, the Portuguese realized of its plentiful pure sources, so that they conquered it and made it a colony of Portugal. This is why the Portuguese language is spoken right here as we speak. After Portuguese domination, the unique inhabitants receded to the far-off rural areas. Colonists from Portugal continued to reach till they comprised a big section of the inhabitants. The Portuguese additionally introduced over many Black Africans as slaves to offer farming labor. Many white individuals from different components of Europe additionally got here right here to settle. As all these ethnicities intermarried, a brand new combined race was born. 

From the sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century, Brazil remained beneath Portuguese rule. Eventually, a freedom motion started, and on September 7, 1922, Brazil gained its independence from Portugal. After independence, individuals from all over the world left their homelands to settle in Brazil as a consequence of its pure sources, commerce, and business. These immigrants got here from Africa, Europe, and the Arab nations. Many of those Arab immigrants have been Muslims. The variety of Muslims in Brazil has continued to develop till it has reached virtually a million as we speak. Most Muslims in Brazil are ethnically Arab, most of whom are initially from Lebanon. About seven % are literally new Muslim converts that have been born and raised in Brazil. Pakistanis even have a small presence nowadays.

Ali Saifi’s father, Ahmad Saifi, moved to Brazil from Lebanon years in the past. He performed an lively position in constructing masjids and Islamic facilities within the nation. On the second evening of our keep, he hosted a dinner at his home in my honor, to which a number of native individuals have been additionally invited. At this dinner, the locals instructed me that – by the grace of Allah – there are greater than 100 masjids in Brazil. In the state of São Paulo alone, there are virtually fifty masjids. They stated that the development of accepting Islam is rising very quickly amongst Brazilians, and if extra sources for calling to Islam have been accessible within the Portuguese language, their numbers would possible be even bigger. (After interacting with some new Brazilian Muslims in a while on this transient go to to the nation, I too sensed the energy of this actuality, which I’ll focus on extra later).

As every of the native visitors instructed me about themselves, I may see that a lot of them have been very pious, enthusiastic, and devoted. There was, as an illustration, a younger Pakistani man named Farhan Desai who, after listening to the information of my arrival, traveled three hours with a few of his associates to return right here. These gents are offering a helpful service to Islam on this nation by their work within the Tablighi Jamaat. They instructed me that, Alhamdulillah, the Jamaat is working actively right here.

Brazil is a vital a part of the worldwide poultry market. There are quite a few farms in Brazil that increase chickens, and the nation exports poultry meat all the world over. Much of the hen even in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations are imported from Brazil. Even although this meat is labeled as having been slaughtered in response to Islamic strategies, its precise halal standing has at all times been in query: in these South American nations, chickens are typically slaughtered by machine, and this methodology of slaughter doesn’t adjust to the conditions of the Shariah. For this purpose, we don’t advise consuming it. I’ve mentioned this matter intimately in my ebook, Aḥkām al-Dhabā’iḥ.2 One of the the reason why I had determined to cease in Brazil on my strategy to Panama was to collect extra info on this concern, for Ali Saifi and his father are among the many few individuals right here that present halal monitoring and certification for hen slaughter. 

A number of days earlier than my arrival, I requested him if he may organize for me to examine some slaughtering services throughout my go to, however he knowledgeable me that in response to the coverage of most slaughterhouses, anybody coming from exterior the nation can solely be permitted to enter the manufacturing facility after a number of days of quarantine throughout the nation. Hence, it could not be doable for me to examine throughout this brief go to. He did inform me, nonetheless, that there’s a fastened time interval allotted within the factories for slaughtering chickens for Muslim consumption, and that in this time, the chickens are usually not slaughtered by machine blade. Instead, 4 employees stand on the meeting line with knives, and because the chickens go by them, they recite “Bismillah” and slaughter them by hand. This is strictly the method that this humble author had proposed in my ebook, Islamic Laws of Animal Slaughter

While these observations by Ali Saifi and Ahmad Saifi did a minimum of dispel the misunderstanding that these chickens are slaughtered utilizing a mechanical blade, or that the “Bismillah” is recited by switching on a tape-recorder, additionally they knowledgeable me of another problematic points. First, although it has been stipulated to the slaughterers that they have to recite “Bismillah” over each hen and that they aren’t to be engaged in some other job whereas on responsibility, they’re nonetheless solely human, and typically they might be momentarily distracted once they cough, sneeze, and many others. and given how quickly the chickens are passing by them on the meeting line, there at all times stays the chance that a number of chickens might go by with out having had the “Bismillah” recited over them. Second, it’s tough for each slaughterhouse to make use of solely Muslims to carry out the slaughtering.  This is as a result of these factories are situated removed from the cities in areas the place most Muslims don’t desire to stay. For this purpose, in some locations, Christians have been employed as nicely, and they’re required to slaughter within the identify of Allah Most High. Now, virtually talking, simply how meticulous are they in doing so? It is tough to say with certainty. Furthermore, they inform me that there are roughly fifty poultry processing factories in Brazil, and every single day roughly one thousand chickens are slaughtered inside every one. Moreover, the organizations that monitor and certify Muslim slaughter extensively differ, and it isn’t doable to say which particular protocols and situations they observe. When this poultry arrives available in the market, it is rather tough to find out which slaughterhouse every hen got here from and who licensed it.

In abstract, after studying the above-mentioned info, the doubts and reservations concerning poultry meat imported from Brazil have nonetheless not been lifted. There is a dire want for a reliable system alongside worldwide traces for offering halal meat. It is lamentable that the governments of Muslim nations are usually not putting any emphasis on this route. But there are some personal organizations I’ve approached concerning arranging such an initiative beneath the supervision of dependable students, and a few preliminary steps ahead have even been taken. May God cause them to the station of success.

During our keep in São Paulo, we noticed a few of the metropolis’s magnificent masjids. Praise be to Allah – not solely may their minarets be seen from afar, however the variety of individuals attending prayers was additionally fairly sizable. We provided Friday prayer at Masjid Abu Bakr al-Ṣiddīq, which was situated in the identical neighborhood as our resort. The masjid had an Egyptian shaykh who delivered a superb sermon in Arabic. The masjid additionally has an Islamic middle, applications for kids’s schooling, a Muslim restaurant, and a store that sells Muslim requirements. We additionally had the chance to hope on the King Abd al-Aziz Masjid which was constructed with assist from the Saudis. It is grand and exquisite with an expansive prayer house. For the previous twelve years, it has additionally had a college by which virtually 100 college students research. It teaches trendy topics facet by facet with non secular schooling. Even although the Markaz (native headquarters) of the Tablighi Jamaat is housed inside Masjid Umar bin al-Khattab which is a far distance from right here, nonetheless, it’s the King Abd al-Aziz Masjid that the majority Jamaat teams frequent. Even throughout our go to, a Jamaat group was there from Marrakesh. 

At this time, Ali Saifi launched us to his cousin Suhaib, the son of his maternal uncle. Suhaib is a first-rate instance of how the Tablighi Jamaat has sparked revolutions in individuals’s lives. This younger man may be very lively within the Jamaat’s work. Ali instructed us that Suhaib’s father, Mustafa Ahmad al-Urrah, was among the many rich Lebanese immigrants that turned fully estranged from religion and faith after transferring to Brazil. His life was stuffed with each unfavorable facet of Western tradition conceivable. Other Muslims didn’t assume nicely of him. His father tried each methodology doable to rectify him, utilizing each firmness and gentleness, however his habits refused to vary. Finally, in round 1971, one Jamaat group got here from Britain. Its ameer (group chief) was giving a chat, and Mustafa al-Urrah occurred to be within the neighborhood. He noticed the looks and demeanor of the ameer and assumed with disdain that he have to be elevating funds for some masjid or madrasah. But then the ameer began talking and stated with who is aware of how a lot sheer compassion: “We do not want a single coin from you. On the contrary, we have spent our own money to come here. We have come solely to call you to pursue the religion brought by the beloved Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace).” Mustafa al-Urrah regretted his preliminary assumption. Allah Most High had willed for him to vary his life. He listened to the whole speech, and later, upon the ameer’s suggestion, Mustafa al-Urrah went to Pakistan in 1972. When he returned, he was a unique individual. The individuals who had recognized him from his prior life couldn’t even acknowledge him. After getting back from Pakistan, he devoted his entire life to the work of the Tablighi Jamaat in Brazil, and he remained engaged on this service until his dying breath. His efforts have been pivotal in spreading Tabligh exercise all through the nation. His son Suhaib invited us to relaxation at his home within the afternoon on the third day of our journey. There, we have been launched to his complete household, and we noticed that they’re all engaged in Tabligh.

Ali Saifi additionally took us on a tour of São Paulo (which the locals pronounce with nasalization of the letter “ã”). Aside from being the biggest industrial metropolis in Brazil, it’s also the biggest manufacturing middle in South America. Its inhabitants is round 500,000. It is claimed to have been based by Christian missionaries on January 25, 1554. This date coincided with the feast day of Saint Paul, the founding father of the distorted model that’s trendy Christianity, whose identify in Portuguese is “São Paulo.” Hence town was named after him. The metropolis’s largest fundamental road is Paulista Avenue. With its grand skyscrapers, it jogged my memory of Park Avenue in New York. This space additionally accommodates a particularly costly procuring district, which is simply as well-known because the procuring district of Los Angeles.

The metropolis is located on the western coast of the Atlantic Ocean. A protracted stretch of mountains coated with lush greenery runs alongside the coast, spanning a far distance. On one facet of the mountains is the ocean. On the opposite facet, on the foot of the mountains, is an expansion of pure lakes, small scattered waterfalls, and a dense jungle of untamed bushes. Many bushes are bearing native fruits, together with banana and mango. Around right here, mango bushes spring up naturally. Trees loaded with mangos will be seen in every single place, even within the streets, freely accessible to one and all. This complete area is replete with pure magnificence by which the onlookers receive pleasure. We then handed by Santos, the seaport of São Paulo, which is taken into account the biggest seaport in South America. There is a small metropolis right here, which additionally has a masjid. Farther alongside, we stumbled on one other metropolis referred to as Cubatao, which accommodates gasoline wells and oil refineries. The scent of oil and gasoline fills the air. Indeed, it’s stated that this metropolis produces the best quantity of air air pollution on the earth. Then Ali Saifi took us to a stupendous coastal metropolis referred to as Guaruja, whose mayor occurs to be Muslim. This metropolis is located on an enthralling nook of the Atlantic Ocean the place the ocean will be seen frolicking with the luxurious inexperienced mountains. Here, at the moment, the climate was heralding the arrival of a flourishing spring, with greenery scattered throughout. Surrounded by these tranquil views of nature, the weariness of journey vanished for a short while.

After spending two days in São Paulo, the time for our departure was close to, however Ali Saifi stated that if we left with out consuming Brazilian-style fish in addition to a few of the native halal meals, it could be as if we by no means skilled Brazil in any respect. Therefore, he took us for lunch at one among São Paulo’s lovely eating places, which certainly had scrumptious greens, sauces, and a group of fish varieties the likes of which I had by no means seen earlier than. He had additionally invited Mustafa al-Urrah’s son Suhaib to the meal. After consuming, he invited us to his home to relaxation, and from there we left for the airport.

Before heading for Panama, we subsequent spent two days in Brazil’s second-largest metropolis, Rio De Janeiro (recognized merely as “Rio” for brief). There we met a younger Brazilian man that works with Ali Saifi. He is a brand new Muslim whose Islamic identify is Abu Bakr. Ali had already despatched Abu Bakr to Rio forward of us in order that he may organize a spot for us to remain, and to obtain us once we arrived. Abu Bakr is definitely from Rio initially however had been dwelling in São Paulo for work. Even although his mom tongue is Portuguese, he additionally speaks fluent English which was lucky, for there are only a few English audio system in Rio. And so, after providing Maghrib prayer within the airport, we took a one-hour flight to Rio by TAM Airlines.  Abu Bakr was on the airport to welcome us, and he had introduced a taxi. While driving to the resort, I requested him about how he had accepted Islam, and he instructed us this faith-kindling story.

Abu Bakr stated that he had develop into considering studying about Islam by the web. He had already realized English earlier than, and he used to look at tv channels about Islam, in addition to some video cassettes he had acquired. Hence, his curiosity in Islam continued to develop. He particularly loved studying the blessed seerah of the Noble Prophet (might Allah bless him and grant him peace). During this time, he turned acquainted with a Sudanese scholar at one of many previous masjids in Rio. When the scholar noticed his curiosity, he promised to provide him personal classes. At the identical time, he occurred to be sharing messages with a Brazilian woman in São Paulo by web chat. This woman was a staunch Protestant Christian, and after the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York, she had developed a bitter enmity in direction of Islam and Muslims. She began to review Islam with the purpose in thoughts to actively oppose Islam. She learn the Noble Quran in translation, and skim the seerah of the Noble Prophet (might Allah bless him and grant him peace). As she studied, her coronary heart started to vary, and shortly she turned satisfied that Islam is the one true faith. Here was Abu Bakr finding out the seerah with the Sudanese scholar, and that woman was doing her personal impartial research. They by no means noticed one another; they might merely chat with one another by the web. It so occurred that Abu Bakr needed to go to São Paulo for work, so he scheduled a gathering along with her, and there they determined to develop into engaged. Soon after, he accepted Islam in 2004 by his Sudanese trainer. When he instructed the woman, she, in flip, instructed him her personal story, in addition to the truth that she had already accepted Islam nicely earlier than. Hence their wedding ceremony came about whereas that they had each already develop into Muslim. 

Our taxi driver, Saeed, was additionally a brand new Brazilian Muslim, however he solely spoke Portuguese. With Abu Bakr translating for us, I requested Saeed about how he had accepted Islam. He instructed me that his son used to know a Muslim trainer in his youth. Through his relationship with the trainer, curiosity grew in his coronary heart to study Islam, and someday later, he truly accepted Islam. He prompt to his father Saeed that he ought to develop into Muslim as nicely, so Saeed additionally realized some introductory information of Islam after which turned Muslim. Saeed’s son is in Sudan nowadays pursuing non secular information. 

These tales from these two new Muslims – I heard them first hand. Abu Bakr stated that many individuals right here come to the Islamic middle each week to develop into Muslim. Even although most Brazilians are Catholic Christians, they’re turning into weary of their faith, and whoever learns of the reality of Islam accepts Islam readily. Abu Bakr additionally instructed us that the individuals right here are usually not prejudiced. Rather, they’re open-hearted individuals, and – in distinction to different Western nations – they sympathize with Muslims. If Islam is clearly defined to 10 individuals, he estimated that three or 4 would absolutely settle for Islam. The drawback, nonetheless, is that the one language they perceive is Portuguese, and only a few individuals are able to calling in direction of Islam within the Portuguese language. When our Tablighi Jamaat teams from Portugal come right here, they’re tremendously helpful, however Jamaats that come from different areas are of restricted profit since they have no idea the native language. I prompt that these Jamaats give attention to native Arab Muslims to arrange these native bilingual Arabs to develop into callers in direction of Islam and proceed the hassle within the Portuguese language. Otherwise, I remarked, it, sadly, appears tough to count on overseas Portuguese-speaking students and preachers to return right here in massive numbers. But if a number of native youths will be groomed to return to us within the Muslim world, purchase non secular schooling, after which return to their nation to take up the hassle of spreading Islam, it may be very helpful, Inshallah.

Hearing these tales and Abu Bakr’s evaluation of the state of affairs, my coronary heart got here to the painful realization that in relation to preaching to non-Muslims and calling them to Islam, we’ve got not been in a position to create an organized system that permits individuals dwelling in all components of the world to witness the sunshine of Islam successfully. Jamaats, establishments, organizations – we’ve got lots. But there exists no noteworthy worldwide establishment particularly devoted for this function. On a associated word, it’s all very nicely for me to recommend that it could be helpful if some younger Brazilians got here to our nations to review, however sadly, our governments have positioned so many restrictions on overseas college students coming to review in non secular colleges that getting a scholar visa is about as straightforward as conjuring a river of milk. When it involves the priorities of Muslim governments, the crucial to name in direction of Islam is just not even on the bottommost backside of the record. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. It is just because of the particular favor of Allah Most High and Islam’s magnetic pull that individuals like these proceed to cling to Islam regardless of being disadvantaged of sources.

The Muslims in Rio De Janeiro are a lot fewer in quantity than in São Paulo. Almost fifty Muslim households stay right here. For this purpose, other than one or two prayer areas (musallas) for the Jamaat, there was till just lately no formal masjid. Recently, a pleasant masjid has been constructed by Kuwaiti funding, together with a plan to construct an Islamic middle and a college for kids’s schooling. A society referred to as al-Jam’iyyah al-Khairiyyah al-Islamiyyah was based with this purpose in thoughts. Its president, Zayn al-Abideen, who’s initially from Lebanon, invited us to go to this masjid. The masjid constructing was principally full, however its connected buildings meant to accommodate the Islamic middle and the varsity have been nonetheless beneath development, and sadly, their development had halted as a consequence of lack of funds. Br. Zayn al-Abideen in addition to the Jam’iyyah’s secretary Sami stated that for now, a collection of Quran and Hadith lessons have been established, in addition to weekly tarbiyyah applications for the children. But seeing the entire state of affairs, I noticed that this initiative is at its elementary phases, and way more work nonetheless must be finished. I led Zuhr prayer at this masjid. Only one row could possibly be shaped, and that too with problem.

Rio De Janeiro is a really progressive metropolis. Abu Bakr stated that “Rio” means “river” in Portuguese, and “Janeiro” means “January.” The level the place the ocean meets up with the land takes on the looks of a river, and the Portuguese found it in January, and that’s why it was named “Rio De Janeiro.” For virtually two centuries, it remained the capital of Brazil. Later, the capital shifted to the newly-built metropolis of Brasilia. Rio accommodates way more pure magnificence than São Paulo. We stayed in a stupendous coastal space within the Windsor Hotel, the place, from our room on the twenty-second ground, the winding coastal street could possibly be seen. On its proper facet have been immensely tall buildings, and on its left facet, the waves from the Atlantic Ocean could possibly be seen crashing onto the shore. There are different coastal areas in Rio, every one containing its personal distinctive beauties. From every of those locations, the luxurious inexperienced mountains will be seen unfold out from distant. Abu Bakr took us to a spot referred to as Pedra da Gávea. Here on the fringe of the ocean, the form of every mountain is exclusive and superior. In some locations, the height of the mountain seems to be customary within the form of a dome, and in different places, it seems to be like a crown. From the peaks of those mountains, the ocean seems crescent-shaped, and its surrounding valleys and mountains laden with lushness and flowers are a wondrous sight of pure creation. Fa tabarakallahu ahsanu l-khaliqeen [Q 23:14].

Abu Bakr drove us across the metropolis. He confirmed us town’s notable buildings, one among which unusually designed when seen from distant. We have been instructed it’s the world’s largest soccer stadium. It was a blessing to go to Brazil for the primary time, the biggest nation within the sixth largest continent on the earth, and studying in regards to the affairs of the Muslims there. Our subsequent cease on the journey was Panama. 

On the 30th of Dhi ‘l-Qa’dah (which by coincidence additionally occurred to be the 30th of October), after providing zuhr prayer on the Rio De Janeiro airport, I boarded a Copa Airlines flight at 12:30 PM and headed to Panama. This flight took us within the northwest route for six-and-a-half hours, most of which have been spent flying over Brazil’s airspace. Copa Airlines is the flag-carrying airline of Panama, and it companies a large community amongst Central and South American nations. Unfortunately, the plane was small and wanted upkeep. Finally, after passing over Columbia, the airplane landed barely sooner than scheduled in Panama City’s airport. The native time once we landed was 5:30 PM (Panama’s time zone is one hour behind Brazil and 5 hours behind Pakistan).

My hosts had organized for us to have entry to the VIP lounge on the airport. We didn’t expertise the slightest little bit of inconvenience, and we have been in a position to supply asr prayer with ease. A big crowd of well-wishers was ready each inside and outdoors the airport. We realized that much more individuals have been truly nonetheless on the way in which because the airplane had arrived sooner than scheduled. Most of those individuals had by no means seen me earlier than, nor had I ever seen them, however simply by studying my books and listening to my lectures on the web, Allah Most High had positioned love of their hearts for somebody that was virtually eleven thousand kilometers away from them. It is obvious that this love was for the sake of Allah, and a supply of plentiful happiness for each me and them. I do, nonetheless, really feel ashamed, and I additionally make dua from the underside of my coronary heart that Allah Most High make me worthy of this love and good opinion.

In Panama, I met the revered Saleemuddin Sahib and Iqbal Sahib, who have been my hosts and those that had invited me right here within the first place. They are initially Pakistani and have been doing enterprise in Panama for a very long time. They play an vital position in native non secular actions. Saleemuddin Sahib has been linked with me for a few years. We stayed at his residence, and a big group of well-wishers remained with us till late into the evening. I stayed in Panama for one week, throughout which era I used to be intently engaged with these well-wishers.

Panama is the final nation in Central America, after which South America begins. The nation spans an space of just about 30,000 sq. miles. When it’s mapped out, it resembles the letter “S.” It is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Panama City, its capital, lies on the sting of the Pacific Ocean. This is a particularly lush area surrounded by mountains, oceans, and rivers. The lovely skyscrapers lining the sting of the Pacific Ocean have added to its magnificence. Since Panama may be very near the equator, rain showers happen right here fairly often, and the climate is persistently heat (round 30-35 levels) for all twelve months of the 12 months. There can be little or no variation within the timings of dawn and sundown; the day and evening are at all times twelve hours lengthy. The prayer occasions change little or no. 

Historically, Panama had been residence to varied tribal nations of American Indians. Spain conquered it within the sixteenth century identical to different areas in Central America. In 1821, it gained its independence from Spain and have become a part of the South American nation of Colombia. There have been actions to advocate for its independence from Colombia as nicely. Finally, in November 1903, it separated from Colombia and have become its personal sovereign nation. During this era, the Spanish introduced Africans right here as slaves and compelled them to work in farming and different labor. For this purpose, numerous the native inhabitants as we speak are African by lineage. People from Spain, Europe, and numerous Asian nations have additionally settled right here. In the latter portion of the nineteenth century in the course of the development of the Panama Canal (which will probably be mentioned within the upcoming sections, Inshallah), individuals from Bengal and the Arab world additionally got here right here and settled in massive numbers. Many of them have been Muslims.

In 1924, a number of members of the Aswat household of Gujarat, India got here right here for enterprise and settled. Two years later a Gujarati businessman by the identify of Sulayman Biku settled in Panama and constructed the primary formal masjid within the nation, which is understood as we speak as Jāmiʿ Masjid. Many households from Gujarat and the Arab world continued to return right here and settle. Sulayman Biku Sahib performed a serious position in buildings masjids and Quran studying circles (maktabs) in Panama. He handed away in 1987 (might Allah Most High have mercy on him). Today, out of Panama’s inhabitants of three million, about four-and-a-half thousand are Muslim, out of whom the Gujarati Muslim inhabitants is bigger in Panama City, and the Arab inhabitants is bigger within the metropolis of Colón. The inhabitants of Pakistani Muslims can be rising nowadays. There are a complete of 9 masjids in the whole nation, amongst which two of the massive ones are in Panama City: one is the Jāmiʿ Masjid, and the opposite is Madina Masjid. Both the masjids are magnificent, and their minarets will be noticed from afar. I occurred to be staying in a spot that was nearer to Madina Masjid, and so that’s the place I provided most of my prayers. Every evening after isha, I’d give talks at one of many two masjids. It was clear to see that – Praise be to Allah – the Muslims right here have made a laudable effort to take care of their non secular identification. There was a superb attendance on the masjids, and in every lecture, individuals participated with a lot enthusiasm and listened attentively after touring from far distances. 

Praise be to Allah that a number of students are right here offering non secular steerage. Among them, the best and most esteemed scholar is Mufti Abd al-Qadir Sahib, who was educated in Dabhel, Gujarat, India. He performs an vital position in guiding the Muslims right here, and reward be to Allah that everybody heeds his counsel with all their hearts and souls. His position in nurturing and preserving the non secular ambiance of the Muslims right here is worthy of reward. Many younger students have graduated from the Dar al-Ulooms of Britain at both Bury or Hadrat Maulana Saleem Dhorat Sahib’s madrasah in Leicester. The Muslims right here have additionally, with the assistance of their students, established a Dar al-Uloom in a spot removed from town that I additionally had the possibility to see. Currently, this madrasah is offering instruction in non secular research, Urdu and Arabic language, Islamic historical past, primary fiqh, and tajweed, and it’s being superior regularly degree by degree. At this time, forty-two college students of data are in boarding right here, amongst whom one is from Chile, and one other is from Venezuela. Among the lecturers, I sense a zeal to do their work fruitfully – Praise be to Allah. Maulana Afzal Patel Sahib is a younger scholar who has a ardour for research and analysis. He accompanied me for more often than not, and virtually all his dialogue was a scholarly inquiry on some matter or one other. From this, I perceived that he possesses inside him an attachment to information that can develop into a key to progress. I used to be additionally more than happy once I noticed this identical kind of ardour in a few of the different lecturers. These eminent individuals additionally appear involved with native points going through their very own society. May Allah Most High grant them blessing of their efforts. Ameen.

In the middle of town, there may be additionally a madrasah for feminine college students of data. I visited it, and reviewed its curriculum, and was happy with it. The lecturers there are feminine students which have studied in India’s feminine madrasahs. A number of male students additionally educate there whereas attentively observing the principles of modesty (pardah).

For Muslims dwelling in nations the place they’re within the minority, crucial concern for them is the elevating and education of their kids. If these kids are educated by the general public college techniques, these techniques and the environments they promote will act as a lethal poison for his or her non secular development. Whenever I am going to these nations, I make it some extent to advise these Muslims that for the safety of the subsequent technology, they need to set up their very own colleges and academic establishments in such a manner that normal topics are taught side-by-side with core non secular information. Furthermore, there needs to be an Islamic ethos that permeates each the varsity atmosphere and the ambiance of the final group. This ethos will shield the youngsters from the actual features of the West that can’t be tolerated. Throughout my journey to Panama throughout my numerous lectures, I directed the eye of my brothers and sisters in direction of this crucial. Upon inquiring additional, I realized that a number of native Muslims had felt this actual concern, and had constructed a Muslim college. They invited me to go to it, however after seeing its curriculum and atmosphere and speaking with the workers, I sensed that whereas these revered individuals positively appreciated the significance of this concern, much more stays to be finished to convey the varsity to the extent obligatory to accumulate the specified outcomes. It was agreed {that a} committee be shaped that will work with the varsity directors in an try to enhance the present system of the varsity. 

Panama has two main cities: Panama City, which lies on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and Colón, which lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Colón is a seaport and a industrial metropolis. Many of the Muslims there are concerned in enterprise. Most of them are Arabs, and so they have constructed a powerful masjid there whose imam and khatib was an Egyptian scholar. My host Saleemuddin Sahib and some others desired that I ship a lecture at that masjid as nicely. Since a lot of the listeners there can be Arab, I deliberate to ship this lecture in Arabic. When the imam realized of my arrival, he telephoned me to ask me to provide the Friday khutbah. We left Panama City and headed for Colón in a automobile caravan stuffed with well-wishers. After driving for nearly two hours, we arrived in Colón close to the time of Friday prayer. Seeing a stupendous masjid like this one with its tall minarets introduced pleasure to my coronary heart. The imam was already ready for me. Before the prayer, I gave my Arabic lecture. In Arab masjids, this Arabic lecture is similar because the Friday sermon.

Since Colón is a business-oriented metropolis, I selected to discuss the obligations of a Muslim businessperson. It is just not the way in which of Muslims to chase after enterprise pursuits whereas forgetting why they got here into this world. The Holy Quran repeatedly warns Muslims that their wealth and prosperity shouldn’t trigger them to develop into heedless of the remembrance of Allah Most High. Furthermore, it isn’t sufficient for a Muslim to meet merely his personal non secular obligations; he’s additionally answerable for arranging for the non secular nurturing of his family. He should make each effort to guard them from heading in direction of the Hellfire. I proposed that each Muslim ought to put aside a while from his common duties day by day in order that the whole family ought to study information of the faith and develop concern for the Hereafter of their hearts. This was the primary time anybody from the Subcontinent had given a khutbah at this masjid. Alhamdulillah, these congregants listened attentively. Afterward, the imam requested me to steer the prayer. After the prayer, I heard in regards to the Islamic middle connected to the masjid, and we additionally mentioned some native fiqh points. These beneficiant individuals handled us with nice affection and hospitality. May Allah Most High reward them in abundance.

The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is likely one of the nation’s most vital landmarks. It is internationally famend as one of many wonders of the world. To go away this nation with out seeing it could have been most unsuitable. Hence, my hosts organized a go to to the canal as a part of our itinerary. Aslam Patel Sahib was the one to take us. He had been with me for a lot of the journey up to now and had handled me with nice affection.

If one examines a map of the world, one instantly notices that the world’s two nice oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, are separated by the continents of North and South America. At most factors, many lots of or 1000’s of miles of land lie between these two oceans. But on the junction of those two continents, there lies a skinny, tortuous strip of land that may be seen regularly narrowing because it runs from north to south. It begins in Mexico and ends in Panama earlier than becoming a member of up with South America. At this strip of land, the space between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans may be very small. Indeed, at one level right here, this distance dwindles to a mere fifty miles. Before the 20th century, if anybody wished to sail from America’s jap shore to its western shore, that they had no alternative however to journey 1000’s of miles circumnavigating the whole continent of South America – all due to this tiny stretch of land. The nations that have been steadily making commerce voyages to America’s West realized that if this fifty-mile strip of land may someway be transformed into water able to permitting ships to go by, then it could function a shortcut to go instantly from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. 

At the time, the territory that will develop into modern-day Panama was beneath Colombia’s rule. In 1869, a French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps constructed the Suez Canal (which as we speak is owned by Egypt), thereby connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. In gentle of this success, in 1878, Colombia’s authorities gave a French firm this slender land between the 2 oceans on a ninety-nine-year lease and contracted them to construct the same canal. In 1884, with Ferdinand de Lesseps’s help, the corporate started work on this land. Seventeen thousand laborers have been ordered to begin digging. These laborers have been principally from the West Indies. But this initiative – for which so many human beings had carried out backbreaking work, and for which France’s rich had wildly and rashly invested their capital by shopping for shares within the firm on the heels of its success with the Suez – failed. This was as a result of the land on this area was not dry just like the land on which the Suez Canal was constructed. Here, rain would fall in downpours, and some hours of rain would damage months of labor. Another purpose was frequent outbreaks of Yellow Fever that will take the lives of laborers in droves, to such an extent that greater than six thousand individuals have been buried there. In the tip, the French firm gave up and dropped the venture. But France’s failure didn’t put an finish to the hassle to attach the 2 oceans.

In 1903, Panama gained independence from Colombia and have become a sovereign nation. In 1906, the United States leased that very same land from Panama with their very own purpose of constructing a canal. The French firm had deliberate to dig a trench in order that the water of the 2 oceans would combine. But America realized from France’s failure and got here up with a completely completely different plan. Rather than forcing the 2 oceans to combine, they determined to assemble a fresh-water canal. There was an already-existing pure river referred to as the Chagres that ran by that land. The Americans dammed up this river to create a man-made canal. But the issue was that this canal occurred to be twenty-six meters above sea degree. Hence, how may a ship floating within the Atlantic Ocean be lifted twenty-six meters to enter the canal? And after it had crossed the canal and reached the Pacific Ocean, how may it’s lowered again to sea degree? And the ships crossing from the Pacific to the Atlantic confronted the identical drawback in reverse. The answer to this drawback is what got here to be thought of the surprise of the Panama Canal. The ship from the Atlantic Ocean enters into a protracted pool that has massive sturdy gates on both facet. Once the ship coming from the ocean is totally contained in the pool, the gates shut on each ends, and water is pumped into the pool in such a big amount that the ship rises till it’s on the degree of the canal. At that time, the gate adjoining to the canal opens, and the ship can now enter the canal and cross by it. Then when the ship approaches the Pacific Ocean, it enters one other related lengthy pool whose water degree is at that second on the degree of the canal, greater than sea degree. Then each the gates shut, and the water inside this pool is pumped out, by which the ship lowers till it reaches sea degree. Then the gate adjoining to the ocean opens, and the ship enters the Pacific Ocean. Every ship that needs to go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean or vice versa should go by these steps. In this way, this fifty-mile stretch of land will be crossed in about twenty-four to thirty hours. If this canal didn’t exist, it could take virtually one complete month of circumnavigating the whole thing of South America earlier than the ship reached the opposite facet.

This canal opened in 1914. Because the Americans had constructed it beneath the auspices of a particular treaty, they retained management of it till 1999. They would accumulate a hefty payment from all of the ships that handed by the canal and provides a petty royalty to Panama. For a very long time, a dispute remained between Panama and America over management of this canal to the extent that at one level, the 2 nations broke diplomatic relations with one another. Finally, on December 13, 1999, America let go of its dominion to fix relations, and from then on, Panama has retained management of this canal. It is claimed {that a} payment of two thousand {dollars} is collected for every ship that crosses the canal, and therefore, this ingenious passageway is a serious income for Panama.

A platform has been constructed overlooking the canal so vacationers can watch the ships being lifted and lowered. From this platform, the canal will be seen distant, and the swimming pools (that are referred to as locks) are instantly in view. A ship got here proper in entrance of us and entered into the pool, whose water degree was decrease than the extent within the subsequent a part of the canal. After the ship was well-situated within the pool, the doorways on each side closed, and quite a few pipes started filling the pool with water. In about half an hour, proper in entrance of our eyes, the water degree contained in the pool had climbed, and the ship had risen together with it till it turned equal with the water degree of the subsequent part. At this level, the gate on the facet adjoining to the subsequent part was opened, and the ship exited. There can be a museum right here that displays the canal’s complete historical past. It has a scaled-down mannequin that simulates a ship crossing the channel. 

Panama is a particularly lush nation stuffed with dense jungles. Just as in Brazil, right here wild bushes bearing mangoes and different fruits are scattered about. There are many small mountains, and one specific area additionally has mountains which are tall and chilly. Jutting from the Atlantic Ocean on one facet and the Pacific Ocean on the opposite are tiny bays that may be seen peeking out from between the luxurious mountains. One of those locations known as Santa Clara. Our hosts had organized for us to spend one evening in a stupendous cottage thereupon the sort and beneficiant invitation of the proprietor of the cottage: the spouse of the late Sulaiman Biku Sahib, who had constructed the primary masjid in Panama, as we had talked about above. We arrived there with a big caravan of well-wishers. This spacious and exquisite cottage was situated excessive above the seashore and offered a heart-touching view of the deep blue waves of the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest and deepest ocean. I do know not what number of nations it spreads throughout between the East and West. I first witnessed the sight of it once I was in Indonesia and Malaysia. I noticed it once more in San Francisco and Los Angeles, then in Japan, after which once more in Australia and New Zealand. Now, in Panama, that very same ocean is earlier than my eyes. When reflecting on the 1000’s of miles throughout which this ocean spreads, I’m reminded of a verse from the Holy Quran:

وَهُوَ الَّذِى سَخَّرَ الْبَحْرَ لِتَأْكُلُوا۟ مِنْهُ لَحْمًۭا طَرِيًّۭا وَتَسْتَخْرِجُوا۟ مِنْهُ حِلْيَةًۭ تَلْبَسُونَهَا وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا۟ مِن فَضْلِهِۦ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ 

He is the One who has subjugated the ocean, so that you could be eat recent meat from it, and should take out from it ornaments you put on, and also you see the boats cleaving by it, and so that you could be search His bounty, and that you could be be grateful. [Q16:14]

We spent a peaceable evening on the seashore, and the subsequent day we returned to Panama City whereas stopping alongside the way in which for numerous applications. The subsequent day, on the morning of Monday, Shawwal 20, 1429 AH (i.e. October 20, 2008), we needed to depart for Trinidad. This one week had handed within the blink of an eye fixed, however due to the sincerity and love of the compassionate individuals I had been surrounded with, I felt like that they had been my associates for years upon years. Even on the airport up till the second of my departure, a gaggle of those honorable individuals remained at our facet, and so they bade us an emotional farewell. May Allah Most High bestow upon all these honorable individuals righteousness and success in each their faith and their worldly life. And might He decree this love as being solely for the sake of Allah (khalis li wajhillah), and thereby endow each events with its blessing. Ameen adopted by Ameen.

We flew to Trinidad with Copa Airlines as earlier than. This airplane was even smaller than the one which had taken us from Brazil to Panama, albeit this time the flight was solely 4 hours lengthy. We landed at round asr time in Trinidad’s capital metropolis, Port of Spain. Our hosts had organized for us to have the ability to go by immigration and customs shortly (Trinidad is likely one of the few and much between nations the place Pakistanis can merely be issued a visa upon arrival on the airport). Outside the airport, many native students have been there to obtain us, in addition to Shiraz Sahib, who had initially invited me. We prayed each asr and maghrib at two completely different masjids on our strategy to our place of lodging. That evening, nothing was on the schedule besides to relaxation. Hence, we handed the time by studying in regards to the state of affairs right here from Shiraz Sahib.

Trinidad is the second-largest nation within the West Indies. It is comprised of two islands, one referred to as Trinidad, the opposite referred to as Tobago. Hence, the nation’s full identify is “Trinidad and Tobago.” In 1498, when Columbus (who, it’s stated, found the continent of America) arrived right here on his third sea voyage, it was the house of the Arawak individuals. Columbus claimed this land on behalf of the Spanish authorities and decimated these complete individuals, and for 300 years, nobody paid any particular consideration to this genocide. In 1797, Britain conquered this territory from the Spanish. Since this space’s authentic inhabitants had been annihilated, they introduced over slaves from Africa and elsewhere to domesticate tobacco. Britain wished to equally have management of Tobago, however in 1781, France conquered Tobago and made it a colony. In 1802, nonetheless, the British fought with the French and compelled them to relinquish it, and in 1899, they made it part of Trinidad. When formal slavery was abolished in 1820, the British authorities would convey over many individuals from India to carry out exhausting labor. In this manner, a inhabitants of Indian Hindus and Muslims began to develop right here. Today, 41% % of the inhabitants is ethnically Indian. From 1923, actions started in Trinidad and Tobago demanding independence from Britain. In 1962, the nation gained its independence and have become a sovereign nation. During this time, individuals got here from different components of the world as nicely to settle. Currently, the entire inhabitants of the nation is 1,100,000, amongst which Muslims comprise 135,000. Mashallah, even in as small a rustic like this, there are 132 masjids, and they’re fairly well-attended.

Accepting Islam in Trinidad

People are accepting Islam in Trinidad. My personal host Shiraz Sahib is a brand new Muslim. His father was a Hindu, however Allah Most High bestowed Islam upon his mom. Through her affect, Shiraz Sahib turned a Muslim, and he performs an lively position in non secular actions within the nation. One of the nation’s federal ministers, Madame Fatima, can be a brand new Muslim. She recounted the superb story of her coming to Islam in an interview that was revealed in an article in Cairo’s “Minbar al-Islam.” Her authentic identify was Mik Davidson, however after accepting Islam, she adopted the identify “Fatima.” She says that she was raised in a Christian household, and on March 9, 1950, her household had determined to enroll her in a Christian monastery to develop into a nun. That day when she awoke from sleep, she heard a voice echoing in her ear calling, “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.” This voice prompted her to tremble. She didn’t know the that means of the voice on the time, however after that, she refused to enroll within the monastery. She spent a few years after that searching for steerage from Allah Most High till she discovered a duplicate of a translation of the Holy Quran, and her coronary heart testified that it was the reality. She additionally met a Pakistani scholar Maulana Siddiq Sahib, and an Indian scholar Shaykh Ansari. When she instructed them of the beliefs she held on the time, they instructed her that, by the grace of the Most High, she was already a Muslim for all intents and functions. She says that although she formally introduced her Islam in 1975, in actuality, she had already develop into Muslim in her coronary heart the second “Allahu Akbar” had echoed in her ears, and that her coronary heart had crammed to the brim with religion as soon as she learn the interpretation of the Holy Quran, and that love and reverence for the Noble Prophet (might Allah bless him and grant him peace) had been engraved into her coronary heart. She says that earlier than, individuals in Trinidad used to assume that Islam is just a faith of the Indians, however after she accepted Islam, individuals of different ethnicities, particularly these of African descent, additionally began to develop into Muslim. This development has continued to the purpose that Muslims make up about 13% of the inhabitants, whereas Catholics are about 13%, Protestants are 72%, Hindus are 6%, and the remaining 32% consists of numerous different religions. Shiraz Sahib stated that once in a while, a number of individuals at each Islamic middle will probably be graced with Islam. Many individuals additionally settle for Islam after watching a TV channel run by an area scholar, Mufti Waseem Sahib.

Dar al-Uloom Trinidad

Praise be to Allah for numerous non secular students in Trinidad. Even from our personal Dar al-Uloom Karachi, many graduates have come right here over the previous few years. Among the students in Trinidad, essentially the most well-known is Mufti Waseem Sahib. His ancestors have been from India, and he himself graduated from Jami’at al-Uloom al-Islamiyyah Binori Town in Pakistan. His encouragement was a serious affect in my choice to simply accept the invitation to return to Trinidad. He runs a big Dar al-Uloom right here, and the very subsequent day after our arrival, visiting this Dar al-Uloom was the very first thing on our agenda. It is situated in a rural space on the outskirts of town of Port of Spain. The Dar al-Uloom was based in 1984 by Mufti Sabeel Ali Sahib (might Allah have mercy on him), and since his demise in 1996, Mufti Waseem Sahib has been its dean (mohtamim). Besides educating non secular topics as much as the extent of daurah-i hadith, it additionally has an exemplary system for educating normal topics as much as metric and intermediate ranges.  Its complete syllabus has been ready in session with Dar al-Uloom Sabeel al-Rashad in Bangalore, India. The Dar al-Uloom additionally has a Fatwa Department (dar al-ifta), in addition to a program providing coaching in issuing fatwa. The cleanliness and great thing about buildings replicate the fantastic thing about its administration. This is the biggest establishment of Islamic studying not simply within the West Indies, however in all of Latin America. Currently, virtually 500 male college students and virtually 150 feminine college students are finding out right here. They come from throughout the West Indies, in addition to from numerous components of Central and South America. Apart from Mufti Waseem Sahib, Maulana Shiraz Ali Sahib and Maulana Abd al-Salam Sahib are additionally amongst its passionate lecturers and directors. The Dar al-Uloom additionally has committees for tending to the wants of the Muslims together with officiating weddings, monitoring halal meat, moonsighting, and extra. Mufti Waseem Sahib additionally runs his personal TV channel that’s devoted to spreading non secular information. People have knowledgeable me that this channel has broad viewership not solely amongst Muslims however even amongst non-Muslims. As I had talked about beforehand, non-Muslims have realized about Islam and develop into Muslim by this channel, by His grace Most High.

The Dar al-Uloom’s masjid is magnificent, and it was full of individuals once we arrived. Even although most Muslims listed below are of Indian descent, they don’t perceive Urdu and have by and huge forgotten their language through the years. Even the scholars and lecturers on the Dar al-Uloom can communicate little or no of it, although they’re extra aware of it than most as a consequence of their non secular schooling. Hence, my hosts suggested that I ought to ship my talks in English, particularly because the viewers consisted of lay Muslims, a few of whom had come from distant. After the lecture, Mufti Waseem Sahib took me on a tour of the Dar al-Uloom. I used to be more than happy to see how nicely it’s administered, and I noticed that this establishment is a supply of large blessing for this area.

A Meeting with the President of Trinidad

When my host Shiraz Sahib was making VIP preparations on the airport earlier than my arrival, he had additionally submitted a discover to a authorities workplace introducing me. Somehow, this letter discovered its strategy to the president of Trinidad Professor Maxwell Richards. When the president learn the letter, he instructed Shiraz Sahib to introduce me to him and the prime minister. I used to be bewildered as to why the nation’s president would wish to meet a scholar of data akin to myself. On the opposite hand, I noticed no purpose to refuse. Hence, on Wednesday the 22nd of Shawwal, we arrived on the President’s House at 10:00 AM. The President’s House is an easy two-story constructing that had no indicators of pomp or grandeur, although the gardens throughout the boundary partitions have been fairly charming.

The president wasted no time inviting us inside and confirmed us nice hospitality and courtesy. He welcomed me to Trinidad, and after we had exchanged some pleasantries, he stated he had realized that I had finished vital analysis on the Islamic monetary system and that I had additionally authored books that had contributed to the sphere. Hence, he was considering studying extra from me in regards to the financial teachings of Islam. He particularly felt the necessity to study this due to the financial disaster afflicting the entire world nowadays; some economists are writing that Islamic monetary establishments have been the least affected and that the answer to this disaster lies in Islamic teachings. The president wished to know the reality of this concept. 

I offered him with an in depth reply, the abstract of which is as follows: The truth is that our present disaster is the plain consequence of an interest-based monetary system that’s strangling the whole world in its clutches. This system accommodates three basic features that prompted this disaster, and so long as these features stay, the world will proceed to fall into crises like this one time after time. 

The first of those three features is that interest-based transactions are primarily based on a financial and monetary system by which financing is just not backed by any actual belongings. Furthermore, the worth of actual cash (even when it occurs to be within the type of banknotes or payments) has been disregarded, and as an alternative solely hypothetical and calculated cash is being generated, which isn’t even backed by banknotes or payments. They are nothing however numbers, that are imagined to be cash and go on to advertise interest-based transactions. The sale of derivatives has additional exacerbated the issue. Therefore, the quantity of actual cash is however a small fraction of the collective cash provide, the staggering majority of it being hypothetical and calculated cash. [The details of this discussion are not possible to discuss in a travelogue, but further explanation is mentioned in my book, The Historic Judgment on Interest from paragraph seventy onwards.]

The second problematic facet of an interest-based monetary system is the shopping for and promoting of debt, which has fanned the flames of the present disaster. The third facet is the system of brief sale and clean sale transactions within the inventory market that’s characterised by shopping for and promoting with out possession and possession of the objects being purchased and offered. This system has nurtured playing, which has repeatedly prompted financial shocks.

After briefly explaining these three problematic practices, I defined to him that they’re prohibited in Islam. The Holy Quran has decreed that involving oneself in curiosity is tantamount to needing to wage conflict towards Allah Most High and the Messenger of Allah (might Allah bless him and grant him peace). I additional defined that it’s prohibited in Islam to have financing that’s not backed by an asset that’s actual. Furthermore, in Islam, debt is just not a enterprise enterprise to earn a revenue. Profit can solely be earned from the shopping for and promoting of actual items or companies. Profit can’t be earned on issues which are hypothetical, speculative, or unsure (ghayr yaqīni) issues.  For this exact same purpose, it’s also impermissible in Islam to purchase and promote loans, derivatives, and any belongings that haven’t but come beneath the possession and possession of the vendor, akin to clean gross sales and brief sale transactions. The underlying purpose for the present disaster is none apart from these unethical practices. 

Now, normally, when the millstone begins to rotate, the weevils are likely to get floor up together with the wheat. In this case, nonetheless, certainly, the Islamic establishments that had remained free of those unethical practices haven’t been as affected by this disaster in comparison with common establishments.

I went on to debate that the trendy world has up to now skilled two financial techniques: socialism and capitalism. Allah Most High has guided humanity towards a 3rd center manner: the Islamic financial system. It is a disgrace, nonetheless, that every time this third system is mentioned, clamor begins to be heard from Western circles who accuse the individuals talking about Islam of needing to wind the clock backward. Furthermore, the newest propaganda nowadays is that Islam is merely a faith of terrorism. The upshot of all of it is that nobody even has the chance to noticeably think about Islamic teachings.

President Maxwell Richards, himself very well-versed in regulation and economics, listened to this rationalization with nice consideration and curiosity. He even requested questions all through the dialogue, and ultimately, he acknowledged these unfavorable features of the present financial system. He stated that to remove them is just not inside one individual’s energy, however he desired that I meet the prime minister as nicely, and he pledged to contribute as a lot as he may. The prime minister was in another country on the time, so the president’s want was unable to be fulfilled throughout my go to. 

This assembly lasted virtually one hour, and it made me really feel sure that the present financial disaster has pressured thinkers even within the Western world to replicate on the weaknesses of their financial system. I recalled this couplet from a poem written by my revered late brother Zaki Kaifi (might Allah have mercy on him):

تنگ آجائے گی خود اپنے چلن سے دنیا

تجھ سے سیکھے گا زمانہ ترے انداز کبھی

One day the world shall develop weary of its course,

Then the age will study from you your methods.

My host Shiraz Sahib desires to introduce interest-free initiatives for Trinidad’s Muslims. He has finished some preliminary work on this endeavor beneath the steerage of Mufti Waseem Sahib. But earlier than the formal inauguration of this endeavor, he has first began a collection of lessons for coaching professionals, a number of periods for which have already taken place. Secondly, he and Mufti Waseem Sahib hoped that I’d evaluate their system and supply some recommendation. For this, they took me to their institute and offered me with a abstract of their work till now. In such a short while, it was tough for me to remark responsibly on the work as a complete, however to the extent of what I had understood, I offered some primary recommendation, which they stated they meant to behave upon. Originally, that they had hoped I’d settle for a proper place on their institute’s shariah board. Because of the space, in addition to my very own preoccupations, I had already excused myself from this, however Mufti Waseem Sahib continues to information him.

My keep in Trinidad was very busy total. Every morning was spent touring some establishment or one other, and after maghrib, there can be lectures to provide at numerous masjids. I gained a familiarity with the varied organizations and establishments right here and likewise had the chance to advise them. I used to be pleased with their total situation. I used to be additionally blissful to see that – Praise be to Allah – the Muslims listed below are nicely: they’re involved with the preservation of their faith, and the work of Tabligh is lively.

Trinidad is taken into account to be among the many most lovely islands within the West Indies: a world of oceans, mountains, and waterfalls. It is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot. Just like the opposite islands within the West Indies, its equatorial local weather characterised by gentle heat and frequent rain-showers is a particular attraction for Western vacationers. Given how busy I used to be, I truly didn’t get a chance to go to the island’s vacationer locations, however upon the insistence of 1 native buddy, I stayed on the 22nd ground of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is located in a really picturesque location. From one facet of it, I had a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea, and on the opposite facet was a view of town unfold out on the foot of a mountain coated with greenery. From Monday by the morning of Saturday, I stayed right here for the 5 days of my go to. I spent Friday in one of many island’s northern cities, the place I delivered the Friday khutbah in a powerful masjid that was filled with individuals. Later that night after Maghrib, I additionally gave a lecture in a corridor connected to that very same masjid. The metropolis’s most highly-educated Muslims got a particular invitation to attend this lecture. This was the ultimate day of my go to, and from there, I departed for Barbados the subsequent morning.

Barbados is one other small island within the West Indies. Fourteen years in the past in 1998, I had spent 5 days there, a quick account of which is on pages 107-111 of my travelogue, Dunya Merey Agey. Even although I had acquired many invites to return to Barbados since then from well-wishers, I had not initially been planning to cease there this time, for acquiring visas for Brazil and Panama had been so time-consuming that I had been unable to acquire a visa to Barbados earlier than leaving. But the well-wishers there, particularly Mufti Mahmud Dana Sahib, had heard the information that I had come so far as Trinidad. They insisted that I shouldn’t go away earlier than stopping in Barbados, even when it was just for someday. Hence, after nice effort, they obtained a particular visa for me and despatched a duplicate to Trinidad. For this purpose, we minimize our keep in Trinidad brief by two days, and on Saturday morning we departed for Barbados. The plan was for me to depart Barbados the very subsequent night for Pakistan.

This journey was forty-five minutes lengthy, and once we landed on the airport, a big crowd was ready to welcome us. Due to the shortness of my keep, my hosts from the Islamic Academy of Barbados had solely scheduled two applications for me. The first program was that Saturday night. They had organized a seminar entitled, “The Economic and Financial Teachings of Islam.” It was held on the largest convention corridor in Barbados after isha, and I used to be already scheduled to provide its keynote speech. Apart from native students, town’s Muslim and non-Muslim professors, attorneys, and folks from different sectors attended as nicely. The Academy had scheduled my second program on Sunday morning. It was a session session for the students of Barbados, by which we mentioned native fiqh matters for nearly one and a half hours. When I had come to Barbados the primary time, there have been two massive masjids. Now, reward be to Allah that one other massive masjid has been added. The Muslim inhabitants has additionally elevated to virtually 3,000. I’ve beforehand written about how the Muslims over right here had established a really sturdy system for kids’s schooling. This time, I used to be even in a position to go to a correct college referred to as the Al-Falah Primary School, which is run beneath the steerage of the students.

We spent most of Sunday in Barbados, and after Maghrib, we departed for London on a British Airways flight. On Monday the 27th of Shawwal, we landed in London’s Gatwick Airport at fajr time. We needed to keep right here till 1:00 PM. The revered Maulana Saleem Dhorat Sahib of Leicester had already telephoned me whereas I used to be in Barbados to say that he was truly in London nowadays, and he invited me to spend these few hours with him. He was on the airport once we arrived, and one among his associates, who’s a physician, had a home close to Gatwick. There we rested for a number of hours, and after a joyful assembly with the Maulana, we took off at 1:30 PM on an Emirates Airlines flight to Dubai. We landed in Dubai at 12:30 AM. We spent that evening in Dubai, and we departed for Karachi within the morning. After a thirty-two-hour journey, we returned to our homeland at about midday by Karachi time. After thirty entire days, this prolonged journey reached its finish in security and safety by the bounty and charm of Allah Most High.

And Praise Be To Allah At The Beginning And The End

Usmani, Muhammad Taqi. Safar Dar Safar.  Maktabah Maʿārif al-Quran Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan, December 2011, p. 231-268

Translator: Shoaib Rasheed earned his BA in Islamic Studies from University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. He went on to review Arabic and Islamic research for one 12 months at Darul Qasim in Illinois, in addition to profit from personal classes with native students. He is considering Islamic historical past, tradition, and scholarship. Some of his earlier works will be discovered on his weblog: https://silentadmirerblog.wordpress.com/. He at the moment resides in Michigan the place he works as a doctor in Geriatric Medicine.


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