Islam is a religion which according to the prophet Muhammad (SAW) started with the creation of Prophet Adam, the first man (Human being) to be created by God (Allah) but the same religion found itself around 570 AD with the coming or prophet hood of Muhammad in Arabia, to be precise in Makkah and letter Madinah which served as the first Islamic City. and the followers of Islam are referred to as Muslims, Islam is practiced by more than one billion people in the world and it recognises God the creator, prophet Muhammed as his messenger and the Quran as God’s final words or massage to mankind. The Muslims usually greet themselves with the phrase, Assamu’ Alaikum (peace be upon you) .
However, despite how popular Islam is in the world and the huge number of their worshippers, There is a country in Europe were Islam is not recognized as a religion, has no single mosque and has the toughest laws against Islam in the entire Europe. Below is what you need to know about this country and their hatred for Islam, not withstanding their claim for freedom of thought, conscience or religion among others.
Slovakia is a country in central Europe, it has a population of over 5.4 million people, with 75.9% Christians, 13.4% irreligion and 0.5% others. One thing that terrified me about Slovakia is that Islam is not recognize as a religion and it has no single mosque in the country.
On 30th November, 2016, The Slovakia nation passed a law to totally block Islam from gaining official status as a religion in the country, making it the only country within the European Union (EU) without any mosque despite having the population of over 5,000 Muslims in the country.
Since Islam is not officially recognized as a religion in Slovakia and have no mosque, the Muslims do not receive any financial aid from the government as done other faiths. Hence during Friday or Eid prayers (Sallah) the few Muslims in the country meet in small apartments which serve them as prayer hall and place for religious studies.
Moreover, failing to recognize Islam as a religion means, islamic leaders and Islamic marriages are not recognized, no school is allowed to teach thier student about Islamic faith, thereby denying the students knowledge concerning the historical presence of Muslim in Slovakia.
Why was the law passed
Slovakia politicians sees islam as a “serious threat” due to how mistakenly islam usually get associated with terrorism. With series of terrorist attack in Europe hands keeps pointing at the Muslims as the perpetrators of such act.
However, this made the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico to officially block Islam saying “I am sorry Islam has no place in Slovakia. Its a duty to every politician to talk about these things very clearly and openly, I do not wish there we’re ten thousands of Muslims”.
Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:“If anyone relieves a Muslim believer from one of the hardships of this worldly life, Allah will relieve him of one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection. If anyone makes it easy for the one who is indebted to him (while finding it difficult to repay), Allah will make it easy for him in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, and if anyone conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps His slave as long as he helps his brother.” Related by Muslim.
The kingdom will hold Hajj for a limited number of people from all nationalities living in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has announced it will hold a “very limited” Hajj this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with people already living in the kingdom allowed to take part in the pilgrimage that begins in late July.
“It was decided to hold the pilgrimage this year with very limited numbers … with different nationalities in the kingdom,” the official Saudi Press Agency said on Monday, citing the Hajj ministry.
The decision comes in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases around the world, the lack of a vaccine and difficulty maintaining a safe physical distance among large numbers of pilgrims coming from overseas, the statement said.
More than two million people perform the annual pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca every year, including many travelling from abroad.
The Hajj, a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, represents a major potential source of contagion as it packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites.
A watered-down Hajj would represent a major loss of revenue for the kingdom, which is already reeling from the twin shocks of the virus-induced slowdown and a plunge in oil prices.
It could also trigger renewed scrutiny of the Saudi custodianship of Islam’s holiest sites – the kingdom’s most powerful source of political legitimacy.
A series of deadly disasters over the years, including a 2015 stampede that killed up to 2,300 worshippers, has prompted criticism of the kingdom’s management of the Hajj.
A full-scale Hajj, which last year drew about 2.5 million pilgrims, was unlikely after authorities advised Muslims in late March to defer preparations due to the fast-spreading disease.
Earlier this month, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, emerged as one of the first countries to withdraw from the pilgrimage after pressing Riyadh for clarity, with a minister calling it a “very bitter and difficult decision”.
Malaysia, Senegal and Singapore followed suit with similar announcements.
Since late February, the kingdom has suspended the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca due to the outbreak.
The kingdom has one of the highest rates of coronavirus infections in the Middle East, with more than 161,000 total confirmed cases and 1,307 deaths.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.”
Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He said, “One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Sahl bin Sa’d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah.”
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.”
Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Bilal bin Al-Harith Al-Muzani (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “A man speaks a good word without knowing its worth, Allah records for him His Good Pleasure till the day he will meet Him; and a man utters an evil word without realizing its importance, Allah records for him His displeasure till the day he will meet Him.”
[Imam Malik and At-Tirmidhi]
Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Tell me, of something to which I may remain steadfast.” He (ﷺ) said, “Say: My Rubb is Allah and then remain steadfast.” Then I said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you fear most about me?” He took hold of his own tongue and said: “This.”
Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Do not indulge in excessive talk except when remembering Allah. Excessive talking without the Remembrance of Allah hardens the heart; and those who are the farthest from Allah are those whose hearts are hard.”
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He whom Allah saves from the evil of that which is between his jaws and the evil of that which is between his legs will enter Jannah.”
‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said:I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), “How can salvation be achieved?” He replied, “Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins.”
Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) said:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: ‘Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.”‘
A more comprehensive example of haya can be found in the following hadith:
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud relates that one day the Prophet said, “Be shy of Allah (God) Most High as much as is His due. The companions present said, ‘All praise to Allah, we are shy of Him.’ The Prophet said, ‘That is not the point. Whoever is shy of Allah as much as is His due, he should protect his head and that which it comprises (i.e. mind, mouth, ears), his stomach and that which is adjoining it (i.e. preserve it from unlawful wealth and protect the private parts from the unlawful), and he should remember death and that which is to come after it; and whoever desires the Hereafter should abandon the adornments of this world. Whoever fulfills these duties has been shy of Allah as much as is His due’.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Abdullah ibn Hisham, a companion of the Prophet, reports: “We were with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he held Umar ibn Al-Khattab’s hand. Umar said to him: ‘Messenger of God! I love you more than anyone and anything else, apart from myself.’ The Prophet said to him: ‘By Him who holds my soul in His hand, this will not do, unless you love me more than you love yourself.’ Umar said: ‘Well, now you are indeed dearer to me than my own self.’ The Prophet said: ‘Now, Umar, you have got it right.’” (Related by Al-Bukahri).
When someone does us a good turn, we feel grateful. If the good turn is bound to spare us exposure to some detriment, we feel heartily touched. If it brings us some happy feeling, we are ever so excited. Muhammad (peace be upon him) did us the best turn anyone can ever have, presenting to us divine guidance at its purest and most complete. He has spared us the worst calamity that can ever befall anyone, which is incurring God’s anger and punishment. He has given us the faith that is bound to fill us with the happiest feelings mankind can experience in this life. If we realize all this, how can we fail to love him more than we love ourselves?
Religious pilgrims were expected to generate $12bn for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia before the pandemic struck
Saudi Arabia is considering cancelling the hajj pilgrimage season for the first time since the kingdom was founded in 1932, after cases of coronavirus in the country topped 100,000.
“The issue has been carefully studied and different scenarios are being considered. An official decision will be made within one week,” a senior official from Saudi Arabia’s hajj and umrah ministry told the Financial Times.
The annual ritual held in late July is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, attracting about 2m people to the kingdom every year. But after the organisers of global events including the Olympic Games in Tokyo were forced to delay or cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi officials have faced growing pressure to outside.
One proposal is to allow a small number of local pilgrims to perform hajj, while observing strict health precautions. Another possibility is to cancel the pilgrimage season altogether. “All options are on the table but the priority is for the health and safety of pilgrims,” the official said.
While Saudi Arabia has managed to organise hajj during previous viral outbreaks such as Ebola and MERS, the global scale of the coronavirus pandemic presents a far more difficult challenge.
The government was early to enforce measures that helped control the virus after the first case was confirmed on March 2, including restrictions on travel and a two-month nationwide curfew. But after the kingdom began to ease the lockdown in late May, the number of daily cases and deaths have spiked. More than 3,000 cases were reported daily over the past six days and deaths totalled 857 by Thursday.
Visiting the holy Saudi city of Mecca to perform hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. During the week-long trip, pilgrims pray in the Grand Mosque, circumambulate the Kaaba — a cube structure draped in black in the mosque’s main courtyard — and visit Mount Arafat. The rituals conclude with Eid al-Adha, a celebration that marks the end of hajj when pilgrims replace their white ihram robes with regular clothes and sacrifice sheep, goats and camels.
The fact that hajj rituals must take place in the second week of the Muslim month of Dhu al-Hijja — which falls this year from July 29 to August 4 — means the pilgrimage cannot be postponed and that there are tight schedules to finalise travel and accommodation plans.
The Saudi government, which takes great pride in organising hajj and hosting religious visitors, imposes national quotas on the number of pilgrims from each country each year. Leaders of Muslim nations often petition the Saudi king, whose official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to increase their national quota as demand outstrips supply and the waiting list can be as long as 30 years.
The biggest allocation goes to Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, which usually sends around 200,000 pilgrims. But this year, Indonesian officials have said their citizens will not travel.
“In May, we prepared two options: a 50 per cent quota reduction or cancellation. [But] Saudi Arabia has not opened access to hajj pilgrims from any country to date,” Fachrul Razi, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, told local media earlier this month. “As a result, the government doesn’t have enough time to make primary preparations for services and protection of pilgrims.”
Malaysia said on Thursday it would also not send pilgrims this year.
Saudi Arabia in late February suspended umrah, which is known as the lesser pilgrimage and can be performed year-round, as a result of the virus. A month later, the government advised Muslims seeking to perform the hajj pilgrimage this year to delay making travel arrangements until there was more clarity on the extent of the outbreak.
The government had ambitious targets for the expansion of the religious tourism sector before the pandemic hit. Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic reform programme, the kingdom aimed to double the number of foreign umrah pilgrims to 15m by the end of 2020.
Umrah and hajj pilgrims combined were expected to spend more than $12bn this year. The probable loss of most of that revenue will put more pressure on an economy that has already been hit by the twin shocks of the oil price collapse and the pandemic. Hotels and religious tourism operators in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina will be particularly affected.
Saudi Arabia suspended international travel on May 20, a ban that would need to be lifted if the hajj is to go ahead.
The current pattern of hajj has been held regularly since the year 630. It has been disrupted for political, economic or health reasons on about 40 occasions, all before the founding of modern Saudi Arabia in 1932, according to a report by the Riyadh-based King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives.
Whatever action Saudi Arabia takes, the decision will be fraught with political and economic consequences at home and abroad, according to Yasmine Farouk, a visiting scholar at the Middle East Program of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“If they go ahead with hajj while the current Covid-19 situation doesn’t improve, they might incur unprecedented pressure on their health system, international criticism and maybe even demands for compensation,” Ms Farouk said. “If they decide against hajj, the economy — especially local economies of Mecca and Medina — will suffer.”