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New Zealand cabinet agrees on tougher gun laws in principle: PM

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New Zealand cabinet agrees on tougher gun laws in principle: PM

Jacinda Ardern also announces an inquiry into Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 people dead.

7 hours ago
New Zealand cabinet agrees on tougher gun laws in principle: PM
Ardern said the details are still to be worked out but the changes to the country's firearms laws will be announced in full within 10 days [The Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand via Getty Images]

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that her cabinet has made an in-principle decision to tighten gun ownership in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosques massacre.

"We have made a decision as a cabinet, we are unified," said Ardern.

The New Zealand prime minister also announced an inquiry into the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday that left 50 people dead.

Ardern said the details are still to be worked out but the changes to the country's firearms laws will be announced in full within 10 days.

She also said that while the man charged with carrying out the shootings was not a New Zealand citizen, it could not ignore the problem of white supremacy supporters within the country.

A Christchurch gun shop on Monday acknowledged selling guns online to the 28-year-old white supremacist accused of killing 50 people in mosque shootings.

Anti-immigrant manifesto

At a news conference, "Gun City" owner David Tipple said the store sold four guns and ammunition to suspect Brenton Harrison Tarrant through a "police-verified online mail-order process".

Ardern has said the attacker used five guns, two of them semi-automatic, which were purchased with an ordinary gun licence and modified.

READ MORE

New Zealand gunman sent manifesto to PM minutes before attack

It was not clear if any of the firearms Tarrant purchased from Gun City were used in Friday's shootings.

"We detected nothing extraordinary about this licence holder," Tipple said, referring to the shooter.

Gun City has been criticised for leaving out a roadside advertising billboard that shows a parent helping children with rifle target practice in the wake of the shootings.

On Monday, Tarrant's lawyer said his client was not mentally unstable and planned to represent himself in the court.

At his first court appearance, Tarrant didn't speak but appeared unrepentant, smirking at journalists and flashing an upside down "okay" sign - a symbol associated with white power groups around the world.

The suspect had posted a muddled, 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto online before the attacks and apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter.

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the shootings during the first 24 hours after the massacre.

The revelation in a tweet provided a chilling snapshot of how quickly provocative and often disturbing images circulate on the internet.

Delay in burials

The New Zealand prime minister, who has earned praise for the handling of the mass shootings, said her view is that more can "and should" be done to prevent such content from being shared on social media.

Ardern was the first signatory of a national condolence book for the country's worst mass killing that she opened in the capital Wellington on Monday.

READ MORE

Australian police search homes linked to NZ mosque gunman

"On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us," she wrote in the book.

Frustration was building among the families of victims as under Islam it is custom to conduct burials within 24 hours, but bodies will not be released until post-mortems are carried out.

Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said the first body was approved for release on Sunday night, but the family was yet to take the body because another relative was also killed and they wanted to collect them together. He said there would be no burials on Monday.

"We've been working fairly hard through the night to ensure the process of returning the deceased to their loved ones is taking place expediently," he said.

The burial process, which usually involves washing with three kinds of water, salving wounds and scrubbing skin, would be complicated, volunteers in Christchurch said.

New Zealand mosque attack: Can online hate speech be stopped?

INSIDE STORY

New Zealand mosque attack: Can online hate speech be stopped?

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Grief and frustration as families wait to bury NZ attack victims

Racked by anguish, the relatives of those murdered in two mosque attacks are desperate to lay loved ones to rest.

by
18 Mar 2019 01:29 GMT

Christchurch, New Zealand - In a quiet corner of Memorial Park Cemetery, the graves dug out for the dozens of Muslim worshippers murdered in the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's modern history stretch out, row upon row, in every direction.

Around them sit mounds of excavated soil, waiting to fill in the gaping holes carefully carved out of the earth.

Elsewhere, grieving mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons are waiting, too.

More than 48 hours after a suspected far-right gunman killed at least 50 people during what has been labelled a "terrorist" attack on two Christchurch mosques, the relatives of those missing and presumed dead are racked by anguish, desperate to lay their loved ones to rest.

"I haven't slept for two days," 31-year-old Farhana Akhter says outside a makeshift victim support centre in Christchurch, a city that is home to a few thousand Muslims.

"I can't eat or drink; I need to see my aunt's body as soon as possible … so we can have relief."

Farhana Akhter and Nusrat Alam say they have been informed by authorities that their aunt, Husna Ahmed, was killed in Friday's attack [David Child/Al Jazeera]

White-supremacist attack

Akhter's relative, Husna Ahmed, was among the more than 40 people shot dead on Friday at the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch - one of the two places of worship that came under attack, the other being Linwood mosque, some seven kilometres away.

READ MORE

40 years after escaping war, Afghan killed in Christchurch mosque

A 28-year-old Australian man, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has been charged with one count of murder, with many more expected.

In his own words, published in a rambling, racist and overtly white-supremacist online manifesto minutes before the attack, the suspect said he had decided "to commit to violence" against non-whites and immigrants, arguing they were destroying societal cohesion.

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“She saved everyone’s life but unfortunately she sacrificed her life.”

Farhana Akhter tells Al Jazeera about her aunt’s courage during the mass shootings on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

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Husna, 45, was attending Friday prayers, as usual, when the gunman armed with semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines stormed Al Noor mosque and opened fire indiscriminately on everyone inside.

"My auntie, she was ushering all the ladies out to make sure they all got out," says 19-year-old Nusrat Alam, another niece of Husna's.

"She came back in, to look for my uncle, who is disabled, and that's when she was shot by the gunman," she adds.

"It's a very big step to see the body. A lot of other people are frustrated like us too."

Authorities pledge speed, sensitivity

Authorities in New Zealand have not made official public statements naming the victims, but have pledged to move as swiftly as possible in returning bodies to the victims' families, while stressing the need for accurate identification and evidence gathering first.

READ MORE

New Zealand mosque attack: Who were the victims?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said some bodies would be returned to victims' families on Sunday evening and expressed hope that all of those killed would be with their relatives again by Wednesday at the latest.

Ardern's comments came after Mike Bush, New Zealand's police chief, said officials were "aware of the cultural and religious needs" of Muslim victims, identifying and releasing bodies as "quickly and sensitively as possible".

Muslims are customarily buried within 24 hours of death. Before their burial, the bodies are washed and wrapped in a white shroud so that funeral prayers can be conducted.

The delay enforced in the aftermath of Friday's tragedy is deeply traumatising, but understandable given the scale of the attack, says 44-year-old Waleed Washsh on the outskirts of a public vigil at the Al Noor mosque.

"It is still difficult for a lot of people not to be able to see their loved ones and the dead bodies, even just to get reassurance that they have passed away," adds Washsh, who lost three friends in the attack.

"But we have a lot of confidence that the government and their agencies are doing their absolute best and they are working around the clock to get those names identified."

'A beautiful soul'

Help is coming from other corners, too.

Family members, members of the Muslim community and others have travelled to Christchurch from various places across New Zealand in a bid to help out as volunteers in the aftermath of the mosque attacks.

READ MORE

'Hello, brother': Muslim worshipper's 'last words' to gunman

Javed Dadabhai, who says his cousin Junaid was murdered on Friday, is one of them. He flew down from Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city and home to most of the country's 50,000 Muslims.

"My cousin was a beautiful soul; he was very softly spoken and a very kind-hearted person. He was just gentle," Dadabhai, 30, says.

"He expressed that in every part of his life," he adds.

Now Dadabhai is part of a team helping organise the release of Junaid's and others' bodies and, in time, their burials. He says that could take the volunteers, which are coordinating with authorities, up to a week.

"The families have been so patient with regards to how long this process has taken," Dadabhai says.

"From an Islamic point of view, there was a want to receive the dead immediately and start the grieving process ... but they realise that this is not like any other incident, especially in New Zealand ... so it's a stop-start to the families' grieving process - they want to begin it but they are being paused too," he adds.

"Hopefully it's going to get better though, as the names [of those killed] are starting to get released to the families, you can see they feel they are finally allowed to cry, to release some of their grief."

Why is Islamophobia increasing in Western countries?

INSIDE STORY

Why is Islamophobia increasing in Western countries?

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/zealand-cabinet-agrees-tougher-gun-laws-principle-pm-190318054656685.html

 

NW Masjid Attack

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Media captionJacinda Ardern: "This can only be described as a terrorist attack"

 

Forty people have been killed and more than 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison described the gunman, who had Australian citizenship, as an "extremist, right-wing" terrorist.

Four people - three men and one woman - were in custody in connection with the shooting, New Zealand police said.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of New Zealand's darkest days".

What do we know at this point?

New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush confirmed that "multiple fatalities" were recorded at two locations.

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch. Witnesses told local media they ran for their lives, and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the building.

A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was evacuated, but there were few details from that site.

Police also defused "a number of IEDs (explosive devices) attached to vehicles", Mr Bush said.

Authorities advised all mosques in the city to shut down until further notice. Armed police were also seen at Papanui High School in Christchurch, which was cordoned off.

It was not immediately clear how many gunmen there were. The Australian suspect is believed to have published a manifesto outlining his intentions, in which he espoused far right and anti-immigrant ideology.

He also appeared to have livestreamed on Facebook from a head-mounted camera as he shot victims in a mosque. Police called on the public not to share the "extremely distressing" footage online.

Facebook said it had removed the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.

What happened at the mosques?

The sequence of events remains unclear and has mostly come via eyewitness reports to local media.

A file picture of the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch, New ZealandImage copyrightREUTERSImage captionThe Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand - location of one of the shootings

One unnamed survivor told TV New Zealand he was at the Al Noor mosque, and saw a gunman shoot a man directly in the chest. The attacker reportedly targeted the men's prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women's room.

"What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets," the witness said. "He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies' section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died."

A Palestinian man who asked not to be named told the AFP news agency he heard rapid gunfire and saw a man shot in the head.

"I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds it started again - it must have been an automatic, no one could pull a trigger that quick," he said. "Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood."

Map of the location of the shootings

A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was also evacuated. The police commissioner said "multiple fatalities" were recorded at two locations.

How have authorities responded?

Multiple casualties were brought to Christchurch Hospital where there was a heavy police presence. A spokeswoman said Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) had activated its mass casualty plan, the New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz reported.

Police earlier cleared Cathedral Square, where thousands of children had been holding a rally for action on climate change.

Police Commissioner Bush said: "Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high. Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice."

A lockdown on all schools in Christchurch was lifted, and parents told could collect their children.

 

Media captionPeople injured in the shooting have been arriving in ambulances at a hospital in Christchurch

 

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted: "I'm horrified by the reports I'm following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins."

Cricket team escape attack

The Bangladesh national cricket team appeared to have narrowly escaped the shooting. A reporter following the team, which was due to play New Zealand in a now-cancelled test match on Saturday, tweeted that the team had "escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters".

Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that the "entire team got saved from active shooters".

Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team had gone to mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place.

"They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel," he told the AFP news agency.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47578798

 

 

New Zealand: Dozens killed in 'terrorist' attack on two mosques

Gunmen kill at least 49 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch in the country's worst ever attack.

3 minutes ago
Ambulance staff take a wounded man from outside the mosque in central Christchurch on Friday [Mark Baker/AP]
Ambulance staff take a wounded man from outside the mosque in central Christchurch on Friday [Mark Baker/AP]

Forty nine people have been killed and at least 20 others injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand city of Christchurch in the worst attack in the Pacific country's history.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that the mosque shootings appear to have been a well-planned "terrorist attack".

"This is, and will be, one of New Zealand's darkest days," an ashen-faced Ardern said.

The prime minister also said two explosive devices attached to suspect vehicles were found and have been disarmed.

The two known targets were the Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch, and a second mosque in suburban Linwood.

Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began. He told Al Jazeera a man entered with an automatic weapon and began firing.

"A gunman - dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun - came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there," said Clarke. It was later confirmed that 30 worshippers were killed at the mosque, including women and children.

Police also confirmed that 10 people have been killed at the Linwood mosque during Friday prayers.

Two mosques attacked in New Zealand by gunmen with 'a number of fatalities' as police arrest four suspects - 3 men and a woman.

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Two mosques have been attacked in New Zealand by gunmen resulting in a 'number of fatalities'. Police have arrested four suspects - 3 men and a woman.

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Authorities have urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques "anywhere in New Zealand". A lockdown imposed throughout Christchurch was called off at about 05:00 GMT.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects, including a woman, were in custody in connection with the attacks.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the attack and said one of the suspects was an Australian national, calling him an "extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".

He said Australian security authorities were investigating any links between the country and the attack, but declined to provide further details about the Australian gunman.

"It is such a sad and devastating reminder of the evil that can be ever present about us," a visibily emotional Morrison said.

Police patrol outside the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch [Mark Baker/AP]

Dressed in black

Eye witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

He said he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.

Peneha - who lives next to the mosque - said he went into the building to try and help. "I saw dead people everywhere."

One man in the mosque, with blood stains all over his clothes, said he hid under a bench as the shooting took place. He said about 50 people were inside the building.

Sam Clarke said some worshippers managed to escape through windows and doors but "many people had been hit, some as young as 16".

About 10 to 15 people were seen outside the mosque, "some alive, some dead", he said.

Farid Ahmed, a wheelchair-bound witness in Christchurch told Al Jazeera he was at the back of the mosque and heard the shooting for about seven minutes.

"I pushed myself at the back where my car was parked and I was behind the car. And from there I was hearing shooting after shooting," he said.

"After about 10 minutes I thought the shooter has left. I pushed myself to get inside the mosque and it was unbelievable. I saw in the main room on the right-hand side more than 20 people, some of them dead, some screaming.

"I saw on the floor hundreds of bullet shells. I saw one guy trying to run out and he was shot dead."

Ramzan Ali, a second witness in Christchurch, said he heard one of the women died.

"The mosque has segments you know, he shot inside, went to another room, shot there. There is the ladies section, he went and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies died, I am hoping that it is not true," he said.

Tahir Nawaz of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand said they have decided to restrict activities at the mosques.

"The whole community is shocked. They would never have expected anything like this [to happen] in this peaceful country. As a result of that [the attack], we are restricting our activities in the mosque and we are trying to keep safety in our area."

Police escort people away from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand [Mark Baker/The Associated Press]

One of the gunmen shared a livestream of the attack on Facebook and posted content on Instagram. Facebook said it has taken down the video and was removing praise for the gunman.

"Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online," a police statement said. "We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed."

There were reports racist literature was left behind at the scene denouncing "invaders".

Commissioner Bush said local police officers apprehended the four suspects. "There's been some absolute acts of bravery," he said without elaborating.

"I won't assume there aren't others but I don't have any information to that effect," Bush told a press conference.

He said a number of bombs were detected and neutralised on the attackers' automobiles.

"There were a few reports of IEDs strapped to vehicles which we were able to secure," he said, referring to improved explosive devices.

Asked by reporters whether police considered Friday's carnage a "terrorist attack", Bush said an investigation was under way.

Bangladesh team

ESPN Cricinfo reporter Mohammed Isam said members of the Bangladesh cricket team, who are set to play a test match in Christchurch on Saturday, escaped from the mosque.

Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket team, was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying the team was close to where the shooting occurred, but was safe.

"The players are shaken up but fine," Villavarayen was quoted as saying.

Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers

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Eye witness Peneha described the scene at Masjid Al Noor as " unbelievable".

"I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous. I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly. I just don't understand it," he said.

Muslims account for just one percent of New Zealand's population, a 2013 census showed.

"Many of those who would have been affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand," Ardern said.

"They may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home ... they are us. The persons who perpetuated this violence against us ... have no place in New Zealand."

Mass shootings in New Zealand are exceedingly rare. The deadliest in modern history occurred in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Gray shot and killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbour.

A man reacts as he speaks on a mobile phone near a mosque in central Christchurch [Mark Baker/ The Associated Press]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/shooter-situation-zealand-mosque-attack-190315015927391.html

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

   

The Miracle of the Quran

As Salaamu Alaikum Warahmatulaahi Wabarakatuhu.

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Jazakallahu Khairan. Was Salaamu Alaikum


By Khalid Baig

‘... For only then we truly live. Otherwise we only pretend to live….’

It happened at an international inter-faith conference. The organizers decided to end the conference with readings from the scriptures of major religions, done by followers of other religions. As it happened, an Arab Christian read a passage from the Qur’aan. He was a good reciter. Every one seemed to be moved by his heart-rending reading, including the reciter himself. Immediately afterward, prominent Muslim thinker and writer, Maulana Waheeduddin Khan, who narrated this story, asked him: “Do you think Qur’aan is the Word of God?” In a moment of truth he said: “Yes.” But, then, he had second thoughts so he added: “But only for the Arabs.”

Actually not only the Qur’aanic message keeps attracting people all over the world, its words also move people who may not know a word of Arabic language. Famous Egyptian reciter Qari Abdul Basit reportedly once accompanied then President Gamal Abdul Nasir to a meeting with the Soviet leaders. During a break in the meeting, Nasir asked him to recite the Qur’aan before the top Soviet leaders. When he finished the recitation, Qari Abdul Basit saw four of them shedding tears. “We don’t know what it was,” they later explained. But there was some thing touching in those Words!

Ironically at that time Qur’aan was the forbidden tree for the Muslims in the Soviet Union. Reading, teaching, or even possessing a copy of the Qur’aan resulted in the most severe punishments. The KGB was always on the lookout. Its agents could enter any house, any time, if they suspected anyone inside of reading Qur’aan or offering prayers. Religious leaders were drafted for compulsory labor. Mosques and Islamic schools were closed down and turned into cinema houses, factories and offices. One could not find a copy of the Qur’an anywhere. The ruthless state machinery did everything within its power to extinguish the flame of Qur’aan from the empire. Yet during those seventy dark years Muslims kept the flame burning. They developed elaborate camouflage mechanisms, at tremendous risks, to teach Qur’aan to their children. Little children had to stay away from their parents for months at a time as they retired to secret hujras (rooms) where they memorized Qur’aan and received religious instructions without ever having looked at a printed page. Their stories remain a neglected but extremely bright part of our recent history.

What kind of Book can command such devotion and sacrifices? Only the Book that begins by asserting:

“This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah.” (Al-Baqarah 2:2).

And then each and every line of it attests to that assertion. It declares:

“The Most Gracious! It is He Who has taught the Qur’aan.” (Al- Rahman 55:1-2).

It challenges:

“Say If the whole of mankind and Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’aan, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.” (Bani Israel 17:88).

It claims:

“Verily it is We Who revealed the Remembrance and verily We are its guardians.” (Al-Hijr, 15:9).

Qur’aan is the first document in the Arabic language. There is no other language of the world that has withstood the passage of fourteen centuries. Over the centuries, rivers change courses, civilizations rise and fall, and languages become extinct and new ones develop. Consider the expression “faeder ure on heofonum” from Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 from a Bible of 900 C.E. We are told it means: “Our father in heaven.” It also means that any writing from that time cannot be read by an English speaker today. But any Arabic speaker can open the Qur’aan today and understand its message. As did all the people in the intervening centuries!

Prominent scholar Dr. Hamidullah tells of an effort in Germany by the Christian scholars to gather all the Greek manuscripts of Bible as the original Bible in Aramaic is extinct. They gathered all manuscripts in the world and after examining them reported: “Some two hundred thousand contradictory narrations have been found… of these one-eighth are of an important nature.” When the report was published, some people established an Institute for Qur’aanic Research in Munich with the goal of examining Qur’aan the same way. A gigantic research project was started that continued for three generations. By 1933, 43000 photocopies of Qur’aanic manuscripts had been collected. A report published shortly before World War II showed the results of the examination of these manuscripts. While some minor mistakes of calligraphy were found, not a single discrepancy in the text had been discovered!

Of course the love, devotion and care that Muslim showed toward the Qur’aan, and that became the immediate cause of its miraculous preservation, was inspired by the Prophet Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. On one occasion he asked the companions in Suffa: Which of you would like to go out every morning to Buthan or Al- Aqiq (two markets near Medina) and bring two large she-camels without being guilty of sin or without severing the ties of kinship? Camels were the valuable commodity of the time, she-camels even more so. Its equivalent today may be a brand new automobile. As they showed their interest, Prophet Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, explained: To teach or recite two verses of the Qur’aan is better than getting two she-camels. And three verses are better than three she-camels.(Muslim).

And so, for centuries this ummah displayed an unprecedented love and devotion for the Book of Allah Ta’ala. It began the education of its children by teaching them how to read Qur’aan. It began its day by reciting from the Qur’aan. Qur’aan was divided into seven parts, each called a manzil, so it could be read completely every week. It was divided into thirty parts, each called a juz, so it could be read completely every month. Qur’aan is the most read and memorized book in the world!

Today, though, we see a change. Thanks to the twin scourges of a colonial education system and the television, today we find millions of Muslim children for whom learning to read the Qur’aan is not part of their education. We find millions of Muslim homes where Qur’aan is read only on special occasions. When someone dies, for example. This despite the fact that in most parts of the world today, unlike the Soviet Union of yesterday, reading the Qur’aan is no longer a high risk proposition. How unfortunate is the person who should die of thirst while holding the refreshing glass of water in his hands! How unfortunate the person who should die of disease while holding the perfect medicine in his hands!

Of course we must read it, understand it, and put it into practice. But we must also remember that reading with full deference and proper etiquettes is a pre-requisite for understanding the Qur’aan, just as understanding its message is a pre-requisite for practicing it. Our goal must be to live by the Qur’aan. For only then we truly live. Otherwise we only pretend to live.


FURTHER READING

A MAKTAB APA’S (TEACHER) PASSION TO TEACH DEEN

UNINFLUENCED BY OTHERS

THE MOTHER’S LAP – THE BEST CRECHE

WHERE IS THE “POT OF GOLD?”: QUEENIE’S CHANGE OF HEART

I CHOSE TO BE MUSLIMAH INSTEAD OF A NUN

DEVIL UNDER A SCARF: TRUE STORY OF A TABOO TOPIC – HUSBAND ABUSE

THEIR PROVISIONS WILL DECREASE AND THEIR RULER WILL BE UNJUST.


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THE DESIGN OF THE WOODPECKER

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As we all know, woodpeckers build their nests by boring holes in tree trunks with their beaks. This may sound familiar to most people. But the point many people fail to examine is why woodpeckers suffer no brain haemorrhage when they beat a tattoo so vigorously with their heads. What the woodpecker does is in a way similar to a human being driving a nail into the wall with his head. If a man ventured to do something like that, he would probably undergo a brain shock followed by a brain haemorrhage. However, a woodpecker can peck a hard tree trunk 38-43 times in just two or three seconds and nothing happens to it.(1)

 

Nothing happens because the head structure of woodpeckers is ideally created for such a task. The skull of the woodpecker has a remarkable suspension system that absorbs the force of the blows. Its forehead and some skull muscles adjoined to its beak and the jaw joint are so robust that they help lessen the effect of the forceful strokes during pecking.(2)

 

Design and planning do not end here. Preferring primarily pine trees, woodpeckers check the age of the trees before boring a hole in them and pick those older than 100 years, because pine trees older than 100 years suffer an illness that causes the hard and thick bark to soften.

 

This was only recently discovered by science and perhaps you may be reading of it here for the first time in your life; woodpeckers have known it for centuries.

 

This is not the only reason why woodpeckers prefer pine trees. Woodpeckers dig cavities around their nests, the function of which was not originally understood. These cavities were later understood to protect them from a great danger. Over time, the sticky resin that leaks from the pine trees fills up the cavities and the outpost of the woodpecker’s nest is thus filled with a pool whereby woodpeckers can be protected from snakes, their greatest enemies.

 

Another interesting feature of woodpeckers is that their tongues are thin enough to penetrate even ants’ nests in the trees. Their tongues are also sticky, which allows them to collect the ants that live there. The perfection in their creation is further revealed by the fact that their tongues have a structure which prevents them from being harmed by the acid in the bodies of the ants.(3)

 

Woodpeckers, each of whose characteristics is discussed in a different paragraph above, prove with all their detailed features that they are ‘created’. If woodpeckers had evolved coincidentally as the theory of evolution claims, they would have died before they acquired such extraordinarily consistent traits and they would be extinct. However, as they were created by Allah Ta’ala with a special ‘design‘ adapted to their life, they started their lives by bearing all the vital characteristics.

 

____________________________________________

(1) Grzimeks Tierleben Vögel 3, Deutscher Taschen Buch Verlag, Oktober 1993, p. 92

(2) Ibid, p. 89

(3) Ibid, pp. 87-88

 


FURTHER READING

 

SIGNS OF ALLAH IN SNOWFLAKES

SIGNS OF ALLAH TA’ALA IN THE CREATION OF THE MOUNTAINS

SIGNS OF ALLAH IN THE CAMEL

SIGNS OF ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY IN BIRDS

TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT WIFE

10 UGLY HABITS OF WIVES

WHAT TO DO ON YOUR FIRST NIGHT OF MARRIAGE


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