Archive for category Islamic News

I was enlightened by the beauty of Islam

On  the beginning of  Ramadan, Rhea Nieves, 25-year-old Filipina, who lives in a women’s shelter in the capital has embraced Islam and registered as a Muslim at the Abu Dhabi Sharia Court.

“I was enlightened by the beauty of Islam,” said Ms Nieves, who arrived in the country in October 2008. “Islam is the right path.”

She was introduced to Islam by an Ethiopian housemaid who worked with her for an Emirati employer.

“I watched her pray and also read the holy Quran, which had an English translation,” she said.

She was hesitant, having been born and raised as a Catholic. She attended a Catholic school in Agno, Pangasinan, about 210km north of Manila, and was also a member of a church choir in high school.

Last November, she and the Ethiopian maid fled their employer’s home. “On that day, while we were cleaning the house, she got really angry and hit us both with a wiper and the cord of an iron,” Ms Nieves said. “One time, she even hurled a knife at me. She would often beat me and the Ethiopian maid.”

At the women’s shelter, the Filipino Workers Resource Centre, in Abu Dhabi, she met many Filipina Muslims. She also visited the home of a female relative in the capital.

“The entire family converted to Islam several years ago,” Ms Nieves said. “I got to know their way of life as Muslims and how they prayed five times a day.”

She read books on Islam and listened to discussions between her aunt’s family and visitors.

“I asked them why they embraced Islam,” she said. “They told me that in Islam, I will find all the answers to my questions.”

Back at the shelter, Chemjoy Bungcag, 23, showed her a guide to performing Muslim prayers.

“I converted to Islam at the Sharia Court last April,” Ms Bungcag said. “Last week, Rhea sought my advice whether she should embrace Islam or not. I told her that it was something that she had to decide for herself.”

Ms Nieves said she was hesitant.

“I was worried that my family back home would not accept me if I changed religion, since my siblings and I were all raised in the Catholic faith,” she said. “When the right time comes, I will explain everything to them and let them understand why I chose to convert.”

Ms Nieves has earned the respect and admiration of others at the shelter born and raised as Muslims in the southern Philippines.



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Saudi to test giant clock in Mecca during Ramadan

giant clock in saudi arabiaRIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Saudi Arabia will test what it is billing as the world’s largest clock in the holy city of Mecca during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the official news agency reported Tuesday.
The four-faced clock tower will top a massive skyscraper that when completed will be around 1,970 feet (600 meters) tall, the second tallest in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

The clock will dwarf London’s Big Ben, once the largest four-faced clock in the world, with dials more than five times greater in area.

The around 130 foot (40 meter) diameter Saudi clock dials are also bigger than the current world champion at the Cevahir Mall clock in Istanbul, which has a 36 meter face set in the transparent roof of the shopping complex.

The complex overlooks Mecca’s famed Grand Mosque, which Muslims worldwide face during their five daily prayers and is part of Saudi efforts to develop the city visited by millions of pilgrims every year.

A three-month test run for the clock will start during the first week of Ramadan – the monthlong period of prayer, reflection and sunrise-to-sunset fasting, the report said. This year, Ramadan will begin Wednesday.

Only one of the clock’s four faces has so far been completed and is covered with 98 million pieces of glass mosaics.

Each face will be inscribed with “God is greatest” in Arabic and fitted with thousands of colored lights. The clock will be visible from more than 16 miles (25 kilometers).

An observatory deck is planned at the base of the clock.

A huge golden crescent moon, 75 feet (23 meters) in diameter, will eventually rise above the clock on a 200 foot (61 meter) spire, from which some 15 beams will shoot up into the sky, the agency added. The entire clock, from the base up to the crescent, itself will be 820 feet (251 meters) high.

German and Swiss engineers designed the clock and according to the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the entire project will cost $800 million.

The seven tower complex is being built by developer Saudi Binladen Group, the press agency reported.


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