Millions of Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha 2017

eidMillions of Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Adha holiday as some two million pilgrims carry out the final rites of the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims on Friday made their way towards a massive multi-storey complex in Mina after dawn to cast pebbles at three large columns.

It is here where Muslims believe the devil tried to talk the Prophet Ibrahim out of submitting to God’s will.

Muslims believe Ibrahim’s faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Ismail. Ibrahim was prepared to submit to the command, but then God stayed his hand, sparing his son.

The final days of Hajj coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday, or “Feast of Sacrifice”, to commemorate Ibrahim’s test of faith. For the holiday, Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.

eid 2.jpgFor the final three days of Hajj, pilgrims sleep in a large tent valley called Mina and for three days take part in a symbolic stoning of the devil.

Most pilgrims will remain in Mina until Monday before completing the Hajj.

They will then circle the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s most sacred site, before departing.

The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam. Observant Muslims around the world face towards the Kaaba during the five daily prayers.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA 

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What was Trump’s speech on Islam missing? American Muslims.

1060x600-93172dac1665d855104936ea9bdb1b0ePresident Trump, like his predecessors before him, has discovered the potent language of religious tolerance and interfaith unity when discussing Islam, as he demonstrated in his speech in Saudi Arabia to leaders of some 50 Muslim nations. But unlike previous presidents, he has not linked that rhetoric with recognition of the large, vibrant Muslim community in the United States.

As a historian who has studied efforts in the past to build acceptance of religious pluralism in the United States, I am concerned by Trump’s departure from historical precedent.

Can a message of tolerance to Islam abroad be persuasive without a corresponding affirmation of American Muslims at home?

In his widely anticipated remarks on Islam and terrorism,  Trump avoided many of the missteps his critics feared. He notably abandoned the harsh rhetoric that characterized descriptions of Islam during his 2016 campaign. Trump has set aside his insistence on the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has also rejected the broad generalizations of Islam that marked his demand for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration because their hatred was “beyond comprehension.”

With the exception of one apparent reference to “Islamic terror” — present in his spoken words but not in the written text of the speech — Trump struck a tolerant, inclusive tone. In his declaration that he was “not here to lecture” was the promise that the United States would not tell others “how to worship.”

More notable than the language of tolerance was Trump’s new emphasis on interfaith commonality. He declared the campaign against terrorism not “a battle between different faiths” but rather a fight that encompassed them all. He noted that a terrorist who “falsely invokes the name of God” should be considered “an insult to every person of faith.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Trump’s new tune on Islam unconvincing, experts in Mideast say

usa-trump-saudi(CNN) President Donald Trump’s speech Sunday will likely be met with skepticism and frustration in the Muslim world, according to experts in the Middle East who said his sudden shift in tone on Islam was unconvincing.

Trump gave his speech in Saudi Arabia, where he ditched his hard-line rhetoric from the 2016 election campaign and instead called Islam “one of the world’s great faiths.”
Here’s what experts in three Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East thought of the speech.
 Jordan
Former Jordanian Justice Minister Ibrahim Aljazy said Trump’s shift in tone towards Muslims was notable.
Trump to Muslim world: Drive out terrorists
But Aljazy said that Jordanians and others in the Muslim world had hoped Trump would deliver clearer answers on American policy in the region.
“I would not call it a constructive tone since that people in the region, particularly Jordanians, are looking for a more clear approach to the Israeli policies and an end to settlements, which may pave the way for a true two-state solution and end of occupation,” he said.
“Referencing ‘Islamic’ terrorist organizations only will not be appreciated by the vast majority of people in the region when other forces are carrying out acts of aggression, especially as Arabs and Muslims are the prime victims of these organizations,” he said.
Trump also failed to acknowledge the importance of democracy and the rule of law in putting an end to the root causes of terrorism, Aljazy said.

President Trump Tries to Engage the Muslim World

20sat1-master768No American president in modern times has disparaged Islam as much as Donald Trump. From the attempted visa ban on Muslim-majority countries to his campaign claims that “Islam hates us” to his Islamaphobic advisers, the president’s record of hostility is well documented.

So his first overseas trip as president is something of a paradox, with a first stop in Saudi Arabia — a major force in the Sunni Arab world —- that includes meetings with members of the royal family, a summit meeting with other Arab leaders and a major speech on Sunday.

Does that mean Mr. Trump has changed his stripes? Given his casual approach to the truth and his malleable belief system, it’s impossible to know his true views on Islam. What we do know is that he needs all the help he can get from Muslim countries to fight the Islamic State. If he uses the speech and the trip to set a new tone with the Muslim world, that would be greatly in America’s interest.

The Saudis, who came to loathe President Barack Obama, are falling over themselves to turn the page. Mr. Trump’s decision to visit Saudi Arabia “lays to rest the notion that America is anti-Muslim,” the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters early this month, ignoring the fact that the real issue is not whether America is anti-Muslim but whether Mr. Trump is. It was he, after all, who stoked xenophobic fires to win the election.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Muslim-majority countries where Donald Trump does business left untouched by travel ban

trump-immigrationAs controversy rages about President Donald Trump’s travel ban, critics have pointed out that the seven predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens have been barred have one thing in common – they are not among the places where the tycoon does business.

 The executive order Mr Trump signed blocks entry for the next 90 days to travellers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen but excluded from the list are several wealthier Muslim majority countries where the Trump Organisation has business interest, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, the UAE, Egypt and Indonesia.

It appeared to be business as usual for Mr Trump and the Saudis yesterday, with the President pictured on the phone with the King of Saudi Arabia as hundreds of thousands of people took part in spontaneous protests against the ban.

Mr Trump has said he has handed over management of his vast real estate empire, licensing and merchandising business over to his adult sons to avoid potential conflicts of interest with his role as President.

But critics said his business interests should have been handed over to a blind trust rather to avoid the possibility of Mr Trump being kept abreast of their performance.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT 

Young Muslims will be experiencing Hajj in a very different way this year

hajjWhen Snapchat ran a story on Mecca_live during Ramadan in 2015, it was the first time that the wider world had seen such an intimate portrait of one of the key places for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. Worshippers were busy posting pictures that expressed who they are and what is important to them, weaving the intensely physical rituals of Ramadan and pilgrimage into the virtual spaces of social media

Millions of Muslim pilgrims are once again gathering in Mecca as the Hajj is about to begin. It highlights the Islamic concept of ‘ummah’ the global Muslim nation, where all Muslims regardless of wealth, race, language or culture are connected together as one body. This was historically an emotional and spiritual attachment, expressing love and solidarity over long distances. It was a matter for the heart and the fortunate few who could travel. But for today’s generation of young Muslims, through social media the ‘ummah’ has become real in a way that it never was before.

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What Muslims Do on Hajj, and Why

09glossary-span-superjumboJIDDA, Saudi Arabia — It is incumbent upon every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so to travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest site, at least once in his or her lifetime. The annual pilgrimage is known as the hajj, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam, prescribed in the Quran:

And proclaim to mankind the hajj. They will come to you on foot, on very lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant mountain highway.

This year, 1437 according to the Islamic calendar, I am making my first hajj. I will be joining two million Muslims from around the world — though the writer Abu Muneer Ismail Davids joked that it may feel more like 10 million people. During the hajj, we must not swear, cut our hair or nails, have sex or crush a plant.

I will be chronicling my journey for The New York Times and on social media. To better follow along, here’s a glossary of terms, names and places that help explain the rites and rituals Muslims will participate in during the six days of the hajj, which begins Saturday.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES