Posted in Art & Culture, Islam, Life

Happy Eid Fitr Mubarak 1432 H

Wishing to all my family, friends and readers,

When my arms can’t reach people close to my heart.
I always hug them with my prayers.
May Allahs peace be with you.
A very happy Eid Mubarak to you.

May Allah bless you…
and may you have a joyous Eid celebrations
Happy Eid Fitr al Mubarak 1432 Hijriyah


Posted in Art & Culture, Islam, OMAN, Tourism, Travel

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman.

Among the most distinctive sights in Oman are the mosques lending it a well-defined character of an Islamic ambience.

The first mosque in Oman was built by Mazin bin Ghadoubah, the first Omani to embrace Islam, giving the shahadah to the Prophet Muhammad himself in Madinah.  Mazin, who was inspired by the prophet’s masjid in Madinah, built a mosque in his hometown Samayil which took the name Masjid Al Mudhmar, the first mosque in Oman.  From the first mosque till now, the rulers of Oman have always demonstrated magnanimity towards constructing mosque after mosque to serve the devout inhabitants of the country.

While on one hand Oman’s rich Islamic heritage is manifest in its old mosques, on the other hand the modern elegant mosques reflect the rulers’ vision of keeping the country abreast with the time.

In 1992, Sultan Qaboos of Oman issued an instruction to build a new mosque, the Grand Mosque.  The Diwan of Royal Court then held an international competition in 1993 to find the best design for the Grand Mosque.  A designed by architects Mohammed Saleh Makiya and Quad Design, won the competition.  Then the construction commenced in 1995, headed by the master architect Mohamed Saleh Makiya and Quad Design of London and Muscat. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, located in Ghubra in Bausher district, was built at His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s personal expense. The long years that went into the construction of the Mosque complex are testimony to the effort and dedication that has gone into making it a true piece of marvel in marble, sand, stone and wood.  The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a fine specimen of Islamic architecture. It was completed six years later and inaugurated by His Majesty the Sultan in May 2001.

The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidated areas and landscaping, covers 416,000 square metres. The Mosque complex covering 40,000 square metres is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level. This sacred platform is defined by the four corner Minarets each standing 45 metre high. The five minarets, including the main minaret, are symbolic of the five pillars of Islam. It can accommodate up to 20,000 people.

The whole interior of the Grand Mosque is panelled with off-white and dark grey marble panelling clothed in cut-tile work. Ceramic floral patterns adorn arch framed mural panels set in the marble, forming blind niches in a variety of classical Persian, pre-dominantly Safavid, designs. The ceilings are inspired by those of Omani forts. The mihrab in the main prayer hall is framed by a border of Quranic verses in Thulus kaht and a gilded ceramic surround. The dome comprises a series of ornate, engraved stained glass triangles within a framework of marble columns and a Swarovski crystal chandelier with gold-plated metalwork hangs down for a length of 14 meters. A major feature of the main prayer hall is the hand-made Persian carpet consisting of 1,700 million knots, weighing 21 tonnes and made in a single piece measuring 70 x 60 meters. From the design stage, it took 4 years to complete it and 600 women weavers from the province of Khurasan in Iran were employed. The magnificent main chandelier dropping from the central dome is made of Swarovski crystal and gold-plated metal work, like all other 34 chandeliers which hang along the wood panelled ceiling outer bays surrounding the dome. The main eight ton chandelier has 1,122 lamps.

The ladies prayer hall has a capacity to accommodate 750 worshippers. The walls are clad in pink stone specifically polished and embellished in the polychrome marble inlay panels.  The inner satin gives a subtle feeling with a Spartan cream interior that reflects a continuity of the exterior of the prayer enclave.

A retractable canopy, a lightweight shading structure, is designed to be attached to the roof to cover the sky when the shade is required in the courtyard.

A library and an Islamic Information Centre are housed in the mosque complex. The library has geometric carvings while the floral designs is used in the meeting hall. The library is well-equipped with a collection of 20,000 books and facilities like computers, Internet and photocopy machines.

There is a lecture hall with a capacity for about 300 people, which regularly holds lectures on different Islamic topics.

The Grand Mosque inspired the founding of a contemporary institute dedicated to advanced Islamic studies with appropriate educational facilities and accommodation. The Institute is situated to the south of the Mosque complex site

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque symbolizes the spectacular array of traditional Islamic art and architectural styles that are set in a contemporary mode. The confluence of Ottoman, Mamluk, Islamic Indian Mughal, Iranian Safavid, traditional Omani and other styles of architecture, various parts of the structure confer on it a uniqueness that is hard to surpass by any modern piece of architecture. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque symbolizes traditional Islamic architectural styles in contemporary mode and is considered as one of the finest mosques in the world.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a tribute to the rich Islamic heritage which Oman deservedly preserves for its posterity.

The spectacular Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque at Ghubra, Muscat, Oman.


Posted in Islam, Kota Damansara, Life, MALAYSIA, Selangor

Al Ulum KD9’s Family Day 2009

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 banner

Last Saturday 9th May 2009 residents of KD9 attended Family Day 2009 organised by a committee set up by Surau Al-Ulum and cooperation with Resident Association of Section 9, Kota Damansara

AL ULUM KD9 Family day 2009 Medical Check upFree medical check up and consultation

Many activities were organised for this events among others were aerobic session in the early morning, morning breakfast,  health talk, free medical check up and consultation, treasure hunt,  jumble sales, herbs products sales, financial booths by financial institutions, clouring contest, sport  and games, lucky draw and finally treated with heavy lunch.

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Adults1Anxious residents ready to participate in a games

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Adults2One of the games organised for adult residents

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Children 1Curious children of KD9

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Children GameGames for children

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Children Children listening attentively to the instructions before the games start

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Youth Game1Youth enjoy their games

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Colouring Contest1 The girls busy with their colouring contest

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Colouring Contest2A boy applies his colouring skills and techniques

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Dakwah Free phamplets on Islam

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Hampers PrizesPart of the prizes to be given to the winners and lucky residents

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Loving CoupleLoving couple, resident of KD9

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Sales Sales booth and its products

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 Supporter1The residents, supporters and VIP, YB Dr. Nasir

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 SweetsChildren enjoy their moment collecting sweets

Al ULUM KD9 Family Day 2009 tug of War adultsThe final and most sensational game; tug of war

AL ULUM KD9 Family Day Tug of War Women …….and women’s tug of war


Posted in Art & Culture, Islam, Life, MALAYSIA, Selangor

Divine words in the eyes of Calligraphers

Calligraphy is the art of writing. A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner”

Muttaqqin by Mahmud Buchari
Muttaqqin by Mahmud Buchari

Recently an International Calligraphy Exhibition was held between 22nd November 2008 to 31st March 2009, at Selangor Islamic Art Complex in Shah Alam, Malaysia.  The theme of exhibition was ‘Divine words in the eyes of Calligraphers’.


Various calligraphy displayed in the exhibition were calligraphed by the artists from all over the world as well as from resident artists of the host, Restu Foundation.

Tawhid - At Taubah ayat 31 and An Anbiya ayat 37
Tawhid - At Taubah ayat 31 and An Anbiya ayat 37
Tawhid - Allah
Allah - Homage to Al Qandusi
Alif Lam Mim by Mahmud Buchari
Alif Lam Mim by Mahmud Buchari

Islamic calligraphy, equally known as Arabic calligraphy, is the art of artistic handwriting, and by extension, of bookmaking. This art has most often employed the Arabic script, throughout many languages. Calligraphy is especially revered among Islamic arts since it was the primary means for the preservation of the Qur’an. The work of calligraphers was collected and appreciated. Consideration of figurative art as idolatrous led to calligraphy and abstract figures becoming the main forms of artistic expression in Islamic cultures.

Surah Al Jumaat ayat 1-11
Surah Al Jumaat ayat 1-11

Calligraphy has arguably become the most venerated form of Islamic art because it provides a link between the languages of the Muslims with the religion of Islam. The Qur’an, has played an important role in the development and evolution of the Arabic language, and by extension, calligraphy in the Arabic alphabet.

Surah Al Ibrahim ayat 23-26
Surah Al Ibrahim ayat 23-26
Al Fatihah
Al Fatihah
Al Assya'hu
Al Assya'hu
Al An am 162; Iqrar
Al An am 162; Iqrar
3 Qul
3 Qul
Asma Al Husna       Asma Al Husna


Posted in Art & Culture, Islam, MALI, Timbuktu, Travel

Timbuktu, Islam and Knowledge

West Africa received the presence of Islam through North African traders who traveled with their camel caravans south of the Sahara. By the 14th century there were already Muslim sultanates in such areas as Mali, and Timbuktu in West Africa become centre of Islamic knowledge.  The process of the Islamisation of Africa continues even during the colonial period and continues until today.  Most Africans Muslims are caring on a tradition which has had practically as long a history in certain areas of sub-Saharan Africa as Islam itself.

The University of Timbuktu was established in Mali, comprised of three schools; namely the Masjid Sankoré, the Masjid Djingare Ber and the Masjid Sidi Yahya. During its height, the university at Timbuktu had an average attendance of around 25,000 students and 180 quran madrassah within a city of around 100,000 people. There were four levels within the University curriculum that included the “Circle of Knowledge”, the “Superior Degree”, the “Secondary Degree”, and the “Primary Degree”. Teachings mostly consisted of Quranic principles; however, literature covering topics of science, mathematics, and medicine are also observed, among other disciplines.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Masjid Sankoré


Sankoré Madrasah, Masjid Sankoré or The University of Sankoré, is one of three ancient centers of learning located in Timbuktu, Mali.  When the Mali Empire during the rein of Kanka Moussa gained direct control over the city of Timbuktu in 1324, Kanka Moussa brought the Granada architect Abu Ishaq es Saheli from Egypt to help build mosques and palaces throughout the empire. Abu Ishaq es Saheli designed and saw the construction of one of Sankore’s first great mosques. The foundations of the previous structure were laid around 989 A.D. on the orders of the city’s chief judge Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar.  A local Mandinka lady, esteemed for her wealth, financed her plans to turn Sankoré into a world class learning institution with professors on par with any outside of Africa.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Masjid Sankoré, the minaret and view from the street


The Sankoré Masjid had been a fully staffed Madrassah or university with the largest collections of books in Africa. The level of learning at Timbuktu’s Sankoré Masjid was on a par with other Islamic centers in the world. The Sankoré Masjid was capable of housing 25,000 students and had one of the largest library in the world with between 400,000 to 700,000 manuscripts.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Masjid Djingarey Ber

The Masjid Djingarey Ber was a famous learning centre of Mali built in 1327 and designed by Abu Ishaq es Saheli who was paid 200 kg (40,000 mithqals) of gold by Kankan Moussa, emperor of the Mali Empire.  Except for a small part of the northern facade which is limestone, the Djingareyber Mosque is made entirely of earth plus organic materials such as fibre, straw and wood. It has three inner courts, two minarets and twenty five rows of pillars aligned in an east-west direction and prayer space for 2,000 people.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu islam and knowledge

The minaret, another view of Masjid Djingarey Ber.  House of the architect Abu Ishaq from Andalusia


Masjid Djingarey Ber was on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1988 and currently under massive restoration and rehabilitation which funded by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Masjid Sidi Yahya

The Masjid Sidi Yahya was built in 1400 by Sheikh El-Mokhtar Hamalla in expectation of a great holy person.  After 40 year without Imam, in 1441 Mohamed Naddah, the city-governor of Timbuktu, appointed his close friend Sidi Yahya from Andalusia (Sidi Yahya Tadelsi or Sidi Yahya Al Andulusi) as its first imam and head professor.  This marked the beginning of the mosque as a madrassah and a great centre of learning for the region.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

The main entrance of Masjid Sidi Yahya and the madrassah 

Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Imam Sidi Yahya’s room and later his tomb.  Mohamad Kanta, the caretaker of Masjid Sidi Yahya explaining the history of Masjid.  House of Imam Cheick Kunte HAIBALLA


Imam Sidi Yahya was said live in simple life only within the mosque.  When he died his body was buried in his room. The external main courtyard located in front of the mosque is used as reading space and gathering or ceremony. The back courtyard is a cemetery where the imams of the school are buried in an underground area located to the north of the mosque and now that is no longer in use


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Main front courtyard of Masjid Sidi Yahya, is used for Quran reciting and other activities and ceremonies.  Back courtyard (south), a cemetery of imams and others

Timbuktu Islam and knowledge     Timbuktu Islam and knowledge     Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Mehrab of Masjid Sidi Yahya and its interior

Masjid Sidi Yahya closely resembles the other famous mosques Sankore and Djingarey Ber. Main differences are it is not as tall and the doors are ornately made reflecting Moroccan architecture influence. The mosque has three rows of pillars facing north-south.


Timbuktu islam and knowledge

Bibliotheque of Ahmad Baba

Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

The Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research of Ahmad Baba (IHERIAB) 


The Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research of Ahmad Baba (IHERIAB) is founded by the government of Mali, with collaboration of Unesco. Ahmad Baba al-Massufi, Ahmed Baba Es Sudane, or Ahmed Baba, the black (1556–1627), was a medieval West African writer, political provocateur and scholar of Masjid Sankore. Through out his life, he wrote more than 40 books and is often noted as having been Timbuktu’s greatest scholar and mujaddid.


Timbuktu islam and knowledge    Timbuktu islam and knowledge

Commentary of Al-Quran 1241 and Mushaf Al-Quran written with gold

Timbuktu Islam and knowledge    Timbuktu islam and knowledge

Another manuscripts of pharmacology written by Sidi Ahmae b Umar ar-Raqadi al-Kunti in 1066 Hijriyah on display and text of Medicine by Ibn Sina (Avicenna)


IHERIAB’s library holds some of these manuscripts in order to restore and digitize them. More than 18,000 manuscripts have been collected by IHERIAB, but an estimate said there are about 400,000-700,000 manuscripts in the region.  There are many other private bibliotheques in Timbuktu where thousands of manuscripts are kept. Some manuscripts were taken and kept to Paris, London, Spain and other parts of Europe. Some manuscripts were buried underground, while others were hidden in the desert or in caves. Many are still hidden today.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Boubacar SADECK is an art writer who copying and transfering of the 16th century manuscripts on to new medium, operates his works at Gordon Laing’s house.  Shown are the manuscripts and his art works.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

Ecole pour Talibes.  One of many Madrassah for Quran in Timbuktu and this madrassah also house of orphanage.  The Quran’s scripted board and the boy reading the Quran.


Timbuktu Islam and knowledge   Timbuktu Islam and knowledge

 Another one of many masjid in Timbuktu.  Masjid Alpha Sekou SARAIKEINA and its prayer hall 


During my research, I have found this 35 minutes documentary video with title of Journey to the Empire of Knowledge narrated by Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick (posted by zaman27).  Let you enjoy viewing the great history of Timbuktu.



Journey to the Empire of Knowledge 



Recently I have found another interesting documentary by journeyman pictures with title of Treasures of Timbuktu.  Let we discover the treasures.