Dear brothers and sisters in Islam,
Assalamo Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatohu
The Holy month of Ramadan is about to commence. It is a great favour of Allah SWT that Insha Allah we will observe yet another month of fasting.As Allah says in the Holy Quran, 2:183 "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious". This is another chance for us to purify ourselves, develop tolerance, come closer to each other and gain an improvement in our Taqwa. Insha Allah, if we succeed in these, we will get not only Allah’s favour but also make this world a better place to live in. While many of us are fortunate to keep the fast for the pleasure of Allah SWT in this holy month in a comfortable and peaceful environment, there are a large number of Muslims around the world who for one reason or another may not be able to keep fast. We should remember them in our fasting and duas.
I wish to take this opportunity to inform you that the restructuring of FIANZ operations conducted in April this year has been successful. As an organisation, FIANZ has become proactive in many areas that were previously unattended. With the blessings of Allah SWT, the FIANZ halal operation will also be expanding from 1st January. AlHamdo Lillah, with a view to bring the Muslims of the Pacific region together, we have had a very successful cooperation meeting last month in Auckland, where three national Muslim organisations from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand (AFIC, FML & FIANZ) discussed a range of Dawah, strategic alliance and business issues. Over the last few months, FIANZ has been making serious attempt to reach out to grass root levels. Insha Allah, I along with other members of the Council intent to visit all Masjids, Centres, Madaris and schools in the country. FIANZ is your organisation: you have to nurture it, support it, and provide direction through your membership in the Council. I invite you to pass on your valuable comments and suggestions directly to FIANZ office. We want to model ourselves and our community on the Tariqa (ways) of our beloved prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
May Allah SWT accept our Siyam, Ibadaat and make us among the Muttaqueens and grant us unity, respect and prosperity in this world and in the hereafter. Ameen
(Dr Hj Anwarul Ghani, President)
The Holy Month of Ramadhan and the Sawm
The sawm (fasting) is one of the duties to be performed according to Islamic Shariah of the Holy Religion of Islam. It is obligatory upon every ablebodied adult Muslim to fast in the month of Ramadhan. In order to truly obey the command of Allah, from the time of dawn to the time of sunset one must refrain from certain acts that break or invalidate the sawm. Islam maintains a great deal of value for this holy act.
In the hadith many praiseworthy and interesting names such as "the auspicious month" and "the best period for the recital of Quran" have been used to describe the month of Ramadhan. However the designation "the month of Allah" is the most outstanding and the most beautiful title that has been used for the month of Ramadhan. In spite of the fact that every month is "Allah’s month", this month is specifically called the "the month of Allah" due to its great spiritual importance. In this month, the greatest Divine Book (the Holy Quran) has been revealed.
With the advent of the Holy month of Ramadhan, Allah bestows His servants with His blessings. A special enlightenment and serenity generate in the spirit of man. For the veneration of Allah, the purification of the soul, and moral reformation, a special preparedness becomes manifest in those who have fasted.
Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quran:
"O you who believe! The sawm is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become AlMuttaqun (the pious).’’ (2:183)
"Ramadhan is the month in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadhan), he must fast that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days which he did not fast must be made up) from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants you) to complete the same number of days and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.’’ (2:185)
On the last Friday of the month of Shaban, the Holy Prophet (SA) stated the following concerning the magnificence and value of "the month of Allah":
"O people, the month of Allah, along with its blessings and salvation, has revealed itself to you. It is a month that is regarded as the best of all months by Allah. Its days, nights, and hours are the best of all. It is a month in which you are invited to be the guest of Allah and are entitled to His favor and generosity."
"In this month, your breathing will have the thawab of tasbih saying Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah) and dhikr, and your sleeping will have the thawab of the worship of Allah."
"If you resort to Allah in this month and worship Him, Allah will grant your prayers. Therefore, with all your truthfulness and sincerity and with a pure heart pray to Allah to grant you His Divine dispensations for having sawm and reciting Holy Quran, for one who remains deprived of the forgiveness and blessings of Allah in this bountiful and blessed month is indeed unfortunate."
Islam enjoins its followers to fast the hours of daylight for an entire month (during the month of Ramadhan). By fasting for one whole month, Muslims prepare themselves for the state of selfrestraint or ``taqwa’’ in its entirety, because when a man refrains from satisfying his natural physical desires, he can very well abstain from satisfying his carnal desires. In order to attain such a degree of perfection, Islam surely does not consider only abstaining from eating and drinking to be sufficient for the sawm. Rather it orders a person who fasts to abstain from whatever causes indulgence in evils and the commitment of sins or leads him to satanic temptations and indulgence in his unruly carnal desires.
FIANZ would like to remind readers that the dates for Ramadhan and Eid ulFitr in New Zealand will be determined by a moon sighting once the Hilal Committee has confirmed it. Any brothers or sisters who wish to be included on the FIANZ Hilal Committee contact list and thus be notified immediately of the moon sighting, are asked to contact the FIANZ office.
SHEIKH KHALID HAFIZ
It is with deep sorrow that we must report Sheikh Khalid Hafiz has passed away. Inna lillahi wa inna illahay raje’oon. He was one of the principle guiding figures of the Islamic way of life in New Zealand over the last 18 years. It was his commitment to Islam and the Muslim community here in his adopted country that made him so respected and so loved amongst us all. He was widely respected throughout the Pacific region and his departure has left a big void in the New Zealand umma.
The Sheikh was born in India and received his Islamic qualifications in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. He served as Imam of the Newtown Islamic Centre, Wellington, for IMAN since December 1981 and as senior Religious Advisor to FIANZ since 1984. Marhum Hafiz was buried at the Makara Cemetery in Karori, Wellington, at 4 p.m. on 27 Shabaan 1420/6 December 1999. Approximately 400 brothers from across New Zealand attended his Janaza.
The whole Muslim community is united in grief and extends to the Sheikh’s family their duas and condolences.
SOUTH WEST PACIFIC REGIONAL ISLAMIC CONFERENCE
The second South West Pacific Islamic Regional Conference (SWPIRC) was hosted by the NZMA at the Ponsonby Mosque in Central Auckland on 3031st October 1999. The purpose of the conference was to encourage Muslims of the region to join together to share resources in order to better coordinate da'wah work in the Pacific and to explore joint business ventures.
FIANZ was represented by Dr Hj Anwarul Ghani, Hj Gul Zaman, Brs Shafiq Khan, Mohanned Hassanin, Emad Ibrahim, Mustaq Sharif and Fazeem Hussein. The Secretariat will be run by FIANZ for the following year, after which the Fiji Muslim League is expected to take over. The Conference was also attended by AFIC Vice President Dr Hj Sikander Naseeb Khan of Sydney, and Brs Matin Yavuz of Adelaide (the Assistant Secretary) and Liyaqat Mohammed (the Assistant Treasurer). The Fiji Muslim League delegates included their President, Hj Fazal Khan, the Assistant GeneralSecretary Br Subhan Ali and the Youth Advisor Br Mohammed Azam Khan.
On Saturday evening a dinner was held, to which several members of the New Zealand umma were invited. Hj Abdul Rahim Rasheed, former Director of the South Pacific branch of WAMY and exPresident of both FIANZ and the NZMA, was the Guest of Honour. His speech urged the delegates to pursue the path of Islamic unity and stressed the importance of Dawah.
Copies of Qur’ans
Sheikh Saeed Shah, Director of Rabitat AlAlam AlIslami office in Melbourne and Sheikh Ibrahim AlTuwaijiri, Director of Dawah Office, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, have kindly organised 30 cartons of Holy Qur’an. These copies of the Holy Qur’an have arrived and Insha Allah will be distributed around all the affiliated Associations for the benefit of the umma during Ramadhan. We would like to acknowledge the thoughtful generosity of the Director of the Australian branch of the MWL and ask our brothers and sisters to pray for the esteemed brothers continued beneficence.
Kosovar Refugees and Albanian Qur’ans
The 650 refugees from Kosova that the government promised to allow in earlier in the year are continuing to trickle into the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre in Auckland. Alhamdolillah the kind and compassionate Dr Saeed Shah, Director of the Muslim World League office in Australia, paid for two boxes of Albanian language Qur’ans to be distributed amongst the refugees in midNovember. FIANZ has only had to pay for the freight and transport. Hajji Mazhar S. Krasniqi however has stressed that the exiles still need help from their Muslim brothers and has alerted us to the charitable account of the Albanian Civic League of New Zealand – the ``Albanian Relief Fund’’. Deposits to this charity, which aims to aid both refugee Kosovars and those still in the old country, can be made at any ANZ branch to account number: 457503 2 – 010182 – 0060900 00.
FIANZ Children’s Qur’an Competition
The WaikatoBay of Plenty Muslim Association hosted this year’s FIANZ Children’s Qur’an Competition at the Hamilton Jamii Masjid. Entrants, boys and girls aged between 7 and 12, had to demonstrate their remembrance of the last 28 Surah from the Holy Qur’an. They also had to answer a 25question quiz and each participant Association presented a representative who gave a fiveminute talk on a subject of their choice.
Drs Hj Ali Jaballa and Mustapha M. Farouk were the event coordinators and the judges for the competition were Sheikh Mohammed Airot of the Ponsonby Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed Khalil of the Mt Roskill Mosque, and Sheikh Ahmad Noor of Hamilton.
Five teams attended representing AlMadinah School, NZMA, SAMA, IMAN and the WBPMA. The AlMadinah School team took first prize with 80 points out of 100. WBPMA and SAMA came second and third with 79 and 70 points respectively.
Br Hosam Salama (NZMA) won the Hifdh and Tajweed prize. Sr Maryam Ali Jaballa (WBPMA) won the speech contest. Sr Aisha Abdur Rahman (AlMadinah), and Brs Mustafa Ali (AlMadinah), Mohammed Abdi Jelle (WBPMA) and Hosam Salama (NZMA) successfully completed the Islamic Quiz.
AlMadinah School won the FIANZ Trophy for overall excellence. FIANZ President presented the trophies to the winners and thanked the organising committee and WBPMA for hosting this highly successful event. InshaAllah next year’s Qur’an Competition will be held at the Ponsonby Mosque in Auckland.
We would like to remind intending pilgrims that the Saudi Health Authorities have changed the requirements for vaccination for next year’s Hajj. Last year a number of international pilgrims faced difficulties in completing all the necessary health paperwork in time to obtain their visas from Canberra.
The TravelHealth Clinic in Wellington is offering the latest Saudi requirements and vaccinations. Their clinic is open six days a week and holds all the medicines the Saudi authorities require. They advise us that often only one appointment is necessary and that their doctors are all experienced travel health professionals who are also experienced in dealing with children.
Ramadhan and Salat Timetables
Through the efforts of the Hilal Committee and various religious leaders FIANZ has prepared and distributed Ramadhan timetables for each major centre in New Zealand. Various Associations have reprinted the timetable for their members. It is heartening to note that even others who have prepared Ramadhan timetables have sought and used the information provided in the FIANZ timetable. It is a great step towards bringing unity among New Zealand Muslims and an excellent achievement by FIANZ. A big vote of thanks is due to all those involved in this noble cause. The yearround salat timetable for each major centre will be available in the near future. (Dr Anisur Rahman, Hilal Committee)
Shariya based Investment opportunity in Malaysia
The Malaysian Government intends to launch an international Mutual Trust Fund in the first quarter of the year 2000. This Trust Fund will invest in Shariah approved companies listed on recognized Stock Exchanges in the AsiaPacific region. While the units are aimed at Muslims, nonMuslims are also welcome to participate in the Fund.
Initial investments will be US$2000 and additional investments, at this stage, are planned to be in multiples of US$500. Units will be redeemable at any time.
This Mutual Trust Fund will be based in the Labuan Offshore Financial Centre and governed by Malaysian laws relating to offshore finances.
Next year’s Muslim youth convention is expected to take place in February and not January as planned earlier. Approximately 1000 students are expected to participate from MSGANZ branches across the country. Further details can be obtained from MSGANZ officers.
FIANZ Council /Executive Meetings
A FIANZ Executive Committee Meeting was held on 29 October at Mangere. The next meeting will be in February, InshaAllah.
We had a successful Council meeting in Auckland on 1314 November.
Halal Slaughtermen Recruited
According to the Evening Post of Wellington, thirty Muslim slaughtermen have been recruited for employment in New Zealand freezing works this season from Fiji and Malaysia. They join 150 existing Muslims performing halal slaughter already. Halal meat earns New Zealand up to $300 million every year from the Middle East alone. This country is the world’s largest exporter of halalcertified lamb and the third largest halal beef exporter.
New Zealand appoints a new Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
On 6th October the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Upton, announced that Laurie Markes will be appointed the next New Zealand Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrein, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE. He will take up the job in Riyadh in midJanuary. Markes has previously served as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran and is currently Director of the Ministry’s Middle East and Africa Division.
Expansion of Ulema Board
The FIANZ Council has agreed to expand the current Ulema Board and InshaAllah a meeting of New Zealand Imams is planned to bring them all together in one forum. The Board advises FIANZ on a range of religious and Dawah issues.
Muslim Counselling Services
The FIANZ Council has now decided that training for the Muslim family counseling services will be coordinated at a local level rather than national level as agreed previously. If you are interested in participating, please contact your local Association.
10th General Assembly of RISEAP
The Regional Islamic Da'wah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific (RISEAP) held their 10th General Assembly at Kuching in Malaysia over 710th October. FIANZ President Dr Hj Anwarul Ghani and SecretaryGeneral Br Shafiq Khan attended as representatives of the New Zealand umma. Srs Nasreen Hanif of Auckland and Leila Adam of Wellington accompanied them. Dr Hj Anwarul Ghani has been elected to the RISEAP Executive Committee.
ISLAMIC WOMEN’S COUNCIL OF NEW ZEALAND
The next national Islamic Women’s Conference of New Zealand Conference is to be held during the first term school holidays next year in Palmerston North, InshaAllah.
The Association would like to set up a Muslim women’s counseling service across the country, InshaAllah, called the ``Multicultural Muslim Counseling and Advocacy Service’’. The service would aim to provide advisory and moral support for Muslim families in need.
Two sisters have had articles published in the recent issues of the AlNahdah magazine. Sr Qamar Rahman’s article entitled ``Khalifah v.s. Kingdom’’ and Sr Leila Adam’s article ``Muslim Community in New Zealand’’ were both printed in the latest edition (Vol.19, No.1) of AlNahdah, the official journal of the Regional Islamic Da'wah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
A Netball Tournament was held at the Otahuhu/Mangere netball complex on 17th October. The event was very popular and there has been an increase in the number of teams participating. Our sisters are very enthused about this as it allows Muslim girls and women to get together and have fun as Muslims. It also provides opportunities to our young girls who are not able to participate in club games due to the constraints of our religious values and teachings.
LOCAL ASSOCIATION NEWS
At a Special General Meeting held on 10 October it was agreed to sell the property on 25 Daniel Street with a view to buying an existing building within the city. It was a sad occasion for all concerned but was necessitated by a lack of funds.
The children’s Qur’an classes at the Newtown Islamic Centre ended for the year on 5th December but the regular Sunday morning ladies classes will continue throughout Ramadhan. The children’s classes at the Porirua Islamic Centre have reported that the number of youth attended has increased markedly over the past year Alhamdolillah.
The Muslim community living in the suburb of Grenada has been very active and has arranged to hold Taraweeh Salat at the Grenada Village Community Hall. A fundraising dinner held on 30 October raised $1,730 and a successful family sports day was held on 5 December.
Alhamdolillah the Egyptian government has generously proffered the services of Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Khalifa to act as Qari to the Christchurch Mosque during the month of Ramadan.
Alhamdolillah the Egyptian government has generously proffered the services of Sheikh Youssry Abdel Fatah Ahmed El Dieb to act as Qari for the Manawatu Muslim Association. Sheikh El Sayed Bayomi Mohammed will be accompanying him as a Waiz.
A regular Qur’an Study group is being held every Friday after Maghrib (in summer) or after Isha (in winter). There is also a study group for women after Asr on Friday. In addition to regular Sunday school classes for all the youth there is a boys’ Qur’an Study group meeting after Maghrib every Saturday. The Association has been organizing a monthly talk for all brothers and sisters of all ages on the last Saturday of each month, which is followed by refreshments and a potluck dinner. Alhamdolillah a local Qur’an Competition is planned for the month of Ramadhan
With sadness we report the closing of the Auckland Muslim School. The property (land and buildings) is for sale. A couple of buyers have expressed interest and the NZMA’s legal advisor Brs Umarji Mohammed and President Mohammed Sahil are handling the matter.
The Association was involved in the APEC Conference last August (?). Salat information and facilities were made available to the various Muslim Heads of governments in attendance.
Alhamdolillah $1,884.05 was raised for the FIANZ Turkish Earthquake Appeal in August. Another $1,007.95 was also raised for the FIANZ Chechen Refugee Appeal in October.
The fundraising efforts are still continuing for the Mosque Project and Alhamdolillah we were very successful in raising money has this year. There have also been several revisions of the original plans after consultation with an adjoining neighbour. Alhamdolillah a variation consent was granted by the City Council in July.
After two months of preparation a very successful ``Islam Awareness Week’’ was held on the last week of September including ``The Islamic Information Poster exhibition’’ sponsored and paid for by FIANZ, a public Forum, Information Stalls and ``The Message’’ movie. There was very good coverage in the local media – newspapers and radio.
The second issue of the local Newsletter AnNur was published this year, featuring a special on Palestine.
OMA is making preparations for Ramadhan by organizing several Iftari gatherings, a local Quran Competition, regular Islamic Studies lectures and various sports activities.
The preliminary work on the site for the proposed new mosque has already commenced. The house on the site has been relocated to a new position and a temporary structure is being constructed beside this to provide facilities for prayers when the present Islamic Centre is demolished in the near future, InshaAllah. The total project is estimated to cost $1.5 million and SAMA humbly requests all Muslims to financially support the project.
The Madrasah classes for children are still being held every day except Fridays. The end of year prizegiving ceremony was held on 3 December after Asr Salat. The classes will be suspended during Ramadan and will reconvene after Eid ulFitr, InshaAllah.
A Calendar for the year 2000 has been printed giving Salat Timetables and important Islamic dates.
The Association plans to hold Khatamul Qur’an and Tarawih Salat during the month of Ramadhan. The new Mosque is being equipped with Janaza facilities. Evening Quran and Islamiat classes are growing. Currently 7090 student are being taught at least four nights weekly by volunteer teachers. Association is planning to host a pictorial Dawah exhibition after the month of Ramadan.
Alhamdolillah the Waikato Association of Muslims Students and Youth has set up a WebSite and have invited all members of the umma to visit it. The Site features, amongst other things, the beautiful Hamilton Jamii Masjid built last year and a variety of interesting Links to other educational and informative Islamic WebSites.
Compiled by Br Abdullah Drury, FIANZ Communications Officer
FIANZ’s new offices are at Unit 34, 16 Belfast St., Newtown, Wellington. The office is on the upper floor. Phone 384 7526. Fax 384 7596. P O Box is still 1415.
Ramadhan is the month of forgiveness and piety, and blessed are those who practice these two virtues. This year, like so many others before it, you will no doubt break your fast with your family and enjoy the festivities of Eid ulFitr. As you sit around the table to eat of the ample food that Allah has provided you with this year, please spare a thought for the not so fortunate such as our many, many brothers and sisters struggling to survive in the third world or in the many warzones that Satan has made of all too many Muslim lands. Forced by circumstances, many members of the umma are unable to observe the fast this year and we pray to Allah SWT that the New Zealand Muslim community shows its customary generosity in apportioning Qurbani during the upcoming Eid ulAdha. This Ramadhan we must ALL look deep into our hearts and think about the Will, Might and Majesty of Allah, that He allows us to live in peace and prosperity (for the time being) whilst others suffer painfully.
Russia terrorizes Chechenya
Russia, which surrounds most of the independent sovereign Muslim republic of Chechenya, closed off its borders on 23rd October and started bombing raids on 5th September. The refugee exodus, currently well over 250,000 people (mostly women, children and the elderly), have been regularly attacked by the invading Russian armed forces and specifically used as human shields in many parts of this tiny Caucasian mountain country. A large mass of displaced persons fleeing to Ingushetia have been forced to camp in dangerous and unsanitary conditions along the ChechenIngush border where Russian officials only allow a few to pass.
The Russian government asserts it is pursuing rebels who, last October, entered neighboring Dagestan and tried unsuccessfully to create an Islamic republic. Moscow also claims to have established a State Commission to care for the displaced Chechens but so far have proved singularly inept in providing for their own army of invasion let alone the civilian population.
The Russians have declined to negotiate peace with Chechen republican leaders despite their leaders valiant and repeated calls for such a forum. Rather, they have placed a bounty for the head of the Chechen General Shamil Basayev and created their own quisling puppet administration for the conquered areas of the land under their firm grip.
FIANZ has been in contact with the Prime Minister, the Immigration Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Russian Ambassador, with regards to the plight of the displaced Chechens. We pray Allah SWT will allow these brothers and sisters to escape Russian persecution and that He will punish those who seek to harm the umma.
Halal Meat Warning from Fiji
It has become apparent that some companies are marketing nonhalal meat as halal. At the recent South West Pacific Regional Islamic Conference at the Ponsonby Mosque, delegates from the Fiji Muslim League expressed surprise at the quantity of canned meat from Fiji available in New Zealand purporting to be halal. ALL genuinely halal processed meat from Fiji bears a registered Fiji Muslim League logo. They stated categorically that ALL meat and processed food from Fiji without the Fiji Muslim League stamp should be considered nonhalal, even if it had the Arabic word halal stamped on it.
FIANZ calls upon all Muslims to show vigilance in purchasing halal meat and to ensure that a recognized Muslim Association supplies it. Readers are also reminded that all halal meat in New Zealand should also bear the FIANZ logo in some form in order to guarantee that it is genuinely halal.
Arab League and Disney
Muslims purchasing Disney products may wish to bear in mind the following: The US company Walt Disney Co. was embroiled in controversy this September following their Millenium Exhibition in Florida depicting Occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Arab League nations threatened to ban the sale of Disney merchandise but the mostly Jewishowned corporation went ahead with the display.
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