Quran Focus Academy Blog

Pakistan – Hafiza Qaria Rubina for Quranic education in schools from primary classes

Hafiza Qaria Rubina, Pakistan’s only woman recipient of Pride of Performance in Qirat, has urged the government to introduce Quran as a subject from the primary level to strengthen the younger generation’s attachment with the holy book and the divine religion.

Talking to The Nation on Saturday, she said at present people preferred English as the medium of instructions for their children, because of which Quranic education was not getting as much importance as it should.


According to her, even highly educated people, including doctors in various subjects, could not read Quran with correct pronunciation.Reading the divine scripture with right pronunciation is called Tajweed-i-Quran. Qaria Rubina said while education in all spheres of life was important, Quran should get the highest priority in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. She was awarded Pride of Performance in Qirat in 1996 and was the first woman to receive the honour. Before or after that no woman has been given this award. An assistant professor, Qaria Rubina taught Arabic at the Kinnaird College for more than two decades and has been teaching the subject at the Cooper Road College for about eight years. She took part in many international Qirat contests, some of them held in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.World known Qari Abdul Basit of Egypt was also all praise for the Qaria for her recitation of holy Quran.

According to her, while many parents wanted to teach their children Quran, competent teachers, especially female, who could teach the right pronunciation were not available in adequate numbers. Qaria Rubina said although Qirat competitions were held at various educational institutions, not all participants could recite Quran correctly. Many participants, she said, could recite only certain verses of the holy Quran. But, she made it clear, a competent Qari or Qaria was the one who could recite any verse of the divine book.In response to a question, she said world’s best male Qaris were available in Pakistan but the same could not be said of the females. Qaria Rubina has taught Arabic and Qirat to thousands of students. She runs a seminary in Garhi Shahu where females of all age groups come to learn this art.

Even a woman in her 50s has recently come to join a class, she said.At the seminary, students also memorise the holy Quran. Normally, she said, a student memorises the divine book in a couple of years. However, she said, slow learners take a bit longer.

Qaria Rubina is the spouse of Mr Khalid Mehmud Hashmi, an assistant professor at MAO College who recites all 30 chapters of holy Quran every day in addition to performing his professional duties. This has been his practice for the past several years.

The Nation

Muslim Home Schooling – Quran & Mathematics


BOB FAW, correspondent: In the heart of mainstream America, a Cub Scout derby where each of the home-designed cars is carefully weighed and measured before roaring off at breakneck speed. Here enterprise, ingenuity, and patience are justly rewarded.

ISRAFEEL JAKA: My favorite part was when I got in first.

FAW: It’s a mainstream event passionately embraced not only by the Jaka brothers, but also by nine- year-old Bilal Khan, whose education and upbringing is anything but mainstream. In his Loudoun County, Virginia home, Bilal is being taught math by his mother Zakia.




ZAKIA KHAN (speaking to Bilal): So 5 is closer to 7, or 10 is closer to 7?

FAW: In another home nearby, Priscilla Martinez is teaching her six children, ages two to 12, about condensation.

PRISCILLA MARTINEZ (speaking to children): We’re going to learn about clouds, evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

FAW: They are part of a growing movement—no one knows the exact number—of Muslims who home-school their children because they want them to get a more holistic education than a public school can provide.

MARTINEZ: What we are trying to do is give our children a foundation within the family first, and their identities, with values. That’s kind of the springboard for what it is that we would like for them to take with them throughout life.

FAW: And home schooling lets these Muslim families focus on their faith. Using the computer, Bilal studies the Quran/ Koran with a teacher from Pakistan, home of his father, Maqsood, and his mother.



ZAKIA KHAN: Over there we know that everything is Islamic-based, but over here we don’t see Islamic way of life outside the house.

MAQSOOD KHAN: We’re still tied to that country and want them to understand the culture and to learn about the religion.

FAW: Priscilla’s twelve- year-old daughter, Hidayah Jaka, a seventh grader, helps her eight-year-old brother, Mikaeel, to read the Koran.

HIDAYAH JAKA: It is better like this because we have the flexibility to do it whenever we want.

FAW: Muslim parents say home schooling can provide a better learning experience because the work can be tailored to each child’s needs. Bilal, for example, who learned to read before he entered public school, got bored when he had to wait for the other kids in his grade to catch up.

MAQSOOD KHAN: It was just not challenging enough for him, and so we felt that we could probably do a lot more to challenge them and to help them learn. They can learn more of what they like, what they feel comfortable with.

FAW: In each home the older children assist the younger siblings. When fifteen-year-old Meena Khan is not studying geometry, history, and literature, she helps her fourteen-year-old sister, Heba, with her math. No matter what‘s going on, both families stop what they are doing to pray five times every day. All this, proponents argue, is part of instilling values which their children would not get in public schools.

RIZWAN JAKA: We’ve chosen home schooling for our children and our family to provide that, again, the strong values and strong foundation as well as strong academics and strong respect and understanding of our faith as well as respect for other faiths.



FAW: Are they getting a good education? Meena excelled in public school before starting home schooling four years ago. She studies totally on her own with the help of a curriculum for home-schoolers. It takes discipline, she says, but she feels she’s doing even better here than she did in public school.

MEENA KHAN: I think I’m getting a very good education. I can go at my own pace, so if I understand something I can go ahead, but if I don’t understand something I can slow down on it and review it and go over it again and get help if I need to.

FAW: It is a glowing picture. But some educators feel that children are better served in a school setting. At the University of Maryland, where she helps train teachers, Melanie Killen worries that home schoolers can be sheltered and miss the benefits of rubbing shoulders with different kinds of students.

MELANIE KILLEN (University of Maryland): Peer relationships are very different from sibling relationships. This is where you learn how to share, negotiate, how you learn how to resolve conflicts. There’s a whole host of very important, fundamental building bricks and blocks for how we become members of a culture that come out of the peer interaction.

FAW: Muslim parents who home school understand the criticism and go to great lengths, they say, to expose their children to outside interests. To help integrate their kids into the culture, the Khans and Jakas go to scouting events, to classes at museums and interfaith meetings. Exposed to different faiths, they also bring their faith to others. Here they’re not only part of the mainstream culture, they are totally caught up in it.



MIKAEEL JAKA: Today I got my car checked in, and I also got a patch, and I watched a lot of cars go down. It was really cool.

FAW: Activities like this, say Muslim home-schooling parents, show that their kids are not cloistered.

RIZWAN JAKA: It’s important to us, again, to make sure that, you know, the children get to know people, and that they’re not sheltered, that they intermingle with people, and they get to know the larger society.

PRISCILLA MARTINEZ: We aren’t looking to run away from the world and draw the blinds and shut everything and everyone out living in our own little utopia. What we’re looking to do, especially with our children, is to be out there, to get to know our neighbors.

FAW: While each of these families says they have experienced prejudice, they insist prejudice was not a factor in deciding to home school. But prejudice, say educators, can be subtle.

MELANIE KILLEN: These are Muslim families living in a predominantly non-Muslim area. You have different conventions, dress, dietary practices, and all that. But there’s also implicit forms of prejudice that people experience and oftentimes don’t even call it that, but they’re uncomfortable. They might feel excluded. There’s this level of uncomfortableness about being in a school that’s not part of their own culture and religion.

FAW: Another pitfall: While Priscilla and Zakia are both dedicated and smart, neither was trained as a teacher.

MELANIE KILLEN: You need training in terms of how to be a teacher. You’re managing a classroom of children, you’re figuring out how to do this, but you’re also aware of social development and children’s social, cognitive development, their biological development. These are all things that they need to know about.

FAW: To make sure home schoolers are making progress, Virginia requires they meet certain requirements by taking a test, by interviewing with a certified teacher or handing in a portfolio of their work. Muslim home schooling is still a small movement, but those who spend hours on the front lines are not crippled by any doubt.

MARTINEZ: Our goal is basically to bring up our children who are contributing citizens, who feel that they can and should give back to the world and ultimately to grow up in peace and be able to live a fulfilling life.

FAW: As a sign in her living room reads, “Home is where your story begins,” here where the alphabet, arithmetic, and Allah meet.

Bob Faw - Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

When is the Eid Al-Fitr 2016 holiday?


Eid-Al-Fitr is celebrated for three days and is an official holiday in all Muslim-majority countries Adel Hana/AP


Eid Al-Fitr is expected to be on Wednesday July 6, but as per Muslim tradition, it can only be confirmed based onSIGHTINGS OF THE MOON on Monday July 4.

If the Moon is seen on Monday then the lunar month of Ramadan will have ended after 29 days and Eid Al-Fitr will be on the next day on July 5. But if the Moon is not seen as NASA predicts, Ramadan will be assumed to have lasted 30 days and the start of Eid will be celebrated on Wednesday 6.

UK and North America

In the USA, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) announced that Eid Al-Fitr will be observed in the United States on Wednesday 6 July, based on astronomical predictions.

The Charity groups Islamic Relief Canada and Islamic Relief UK also predict the Eid to be on July 6.

In the UK, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will host an Eid food festival in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, July 9. The charity group Islamic Relief UK predicts this year’s Eid will fall on Wednesday, July 6, 2016.

Days of holiday

Traditionally, Eid-Al-Fitr is celebrated for three days and is an official holiday in all Muslim majority countries.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced on Thursday that Turkey will observe a nine-day public holiday for Eid Al-Fitr, from Saturday, July 2 until Sunday, July 10. The official holiday, however, will be for three days, from Tuesday July 5 until Thursday July 7, 2016.

Together with the weekeed, this allows public sector employees to enjoy a six-day holiday from Tuesday until Sunday. Eid-Al-Fitr is also known in Turkish as “Seker Bayrami” or “Ramazan Bayrami”.

Bangladesh also announced a nine-days public holiday, starting from July 1.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are also likely to observe a three-day public holiday over the same period. In 2015 Eid Al-Fitr was on Friday July 15, and the UAE’s public sector declared a five-day Eid holiday, from Thursday July 16 until Monday July 21.

Laylatul Qadr: 10 points towards successfully seeking it

By: Farrukh Paasha

We should remember that even though is not possible to definitively know whether we have attained Laylatul Qadr or not the real success is in the seeking itself. We ask Allah for that success in this Ramadan and in many others to come!

Allah, Most High, says in the Qur’an: The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. [Qur’an: 97:3-5]

The blessed Laylatul Qadr can be found in any of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, which are the most blessed nights of the year. As such, we should increase our worship and devotion during this period.

Aisha, Most High, reported: With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work harder) and used to pray the whole night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. [Bukhari]

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever spends the night of Lailat Al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

Subhan Allah! Such immense rewards are to be gained during these blessed 10 nights. How can we afford to miss out on them? Who is to say that we will live to see the next Ramadan? We MUST make the best of these 10 nights. If we cannot manage all of the 10 nights, then as many as we can manage, particularly on the odd-numbered nights: 21st, 25th, 27th and 29th.

There is a saying that a person who fails to plan, plans to fail. So I have created a Worship Plan that we can use to maximise these blessed 10 nights of Ramadan. But first, there are a few points to consider:

10 Points to Consider in the Worship Plan

  1. Remain in I’tikaf: The best way of catching the blessed night is to remain in I’tikaf, which both men and women can do. If it is not possible for one to remain in I’tikaf for the whole of the 10 days and nights, then one should try to remain in I’tikaf for as many days and nights possible. It is also possible to make intention of Nawafil I’tikaf each and every time one enters the masjid to gain rewards for the time spent in the masjid.
  2. Worship all the 10 nights: Try to worship the whole of the 10 nights or as many days you can manage as that is the best way to catch the unimaginable and incomprehensible rewards of  Laylatul Qadr. Each and every good deed from Maghrib until Fajr on Laylatul Qadr is rewarded a minimum of at least 83 years’ of worship. Subhan Allah, that is longer than most of us will live!
  3. Best dua of the last 10 nights: اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
    Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (peace be upon him) replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).” [At-Tirmidhi].
  4. Give charity: Any good act such as charity during Laylatul Qadr is rewarded like you have done it for over 83 years.
  5. Eat light: As you will be staying up until Fajr, the more you eat, the harder it will be for you to stay up and the less productive you will be!
  6. Hydrate well: Keep some water with you at all times. This will help you stay up, feel energised and refreshed and have a clearer mind.
  7. Complete all tasks beforehand: Make arrangements to clear as many of your pending tasks as possible or make a plan for tackling them later. This way, we are free to worship during the 10 nights without being distracted by worldly tasks.
  8. Show exemplary character: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the Scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [At- Tirmidhi]. So we must aim to be the best in character during these blessed nights and continue to do so for the rest of the year. We must not argue, swear, backbite, slander or gossip.
  9. No time wasting: We must make a firm intention that during these blessed 10 nights, we will not take part in idle talk, watch TV, play computer games or spend time on the social media. There are 355 days in the year for all that – if you really cannot resist. This is just 10 nights! There will be indeed an utter loss and regret for those of us who waste these blessed 10 nights.
  10. Making life changes: We should make the necessary changes to improve ourselves as Muslims and what better time to make such changes than during these blessed 10 nights where we can change our lives forever. We must internalise these changes and make a firm commitment to Allah, Most High , and maybe that he will wipe off our sins until we become newborn babies, In sha Allah.

Source: ProductiveMuslim

Virtues, Blessings, Rewards and Benefits of reciting the Holy Quran

To reflect upon the verses of Allah is a form of worship; it is something that will draw one close to Allah, Most High. This reflection is not a reckless and wandering one, rather, it includes a study of the classical Tafseer (exegesis) of the verses being pondered over. Allah, Most High, Says in the Quran (what means): “Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.” [Quran: 4:82]

The Book of Allah is unlike any other; it is the timeless Speech of Allah, and not a created thing. It is the study guide for life, death, and what follows. Therefore, it deserves a far more careful study than anyone else’s speech. It necessitates that its reader return to the early narrations of those who witnessed its revelation and heard its explanation by the one deputed by Allah to rehearse and explain His Words to humanity, Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) . For if one would try to ponder over the meanings of the verses without having done this study, then surely the filth of the time that he lives in and his ignorance of the correct application and understanding that the early Muslims had would cause him to understand some things not intended by Allah, Most High, and therefore he would go astray, thinking to be worshipping Allah. So, let every sincere Muslim who hopes to earn Allah’s Love by reciting and reflecting over Allah’s Book hold tight to the meanings explained by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and those taught by the Companions and their immediate followers, and the early scholars of Islam.

Dear Muslim brother and sister! Know that reciting and pondering over the Book of Allah and devoting regular time to its study and implementation has tremendous benefits in this life and the next. Let us now look at just a few of them to attach ourselves more firmly to the majestic Words of Allah. Each benefit stands as enough of an encouragement to shun any laziness we have and dedicate ourselves wholly to the Quran.

Reading and Reflecting Over the Quran Fulfils an Islamic Duty

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) summarised this religion with his statement: “The religion (of Islam) is naseehah (offering sincere advice)!” Tameem bin Aws  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: “We asked, ‘To whom?’” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the people, and to their subjects.” [Muslim] The sincerity that is due to the Book of Allah includes its regular recitation, learning the rules of Tajweed (the recitation of the Quran, according to specified rules) and reciting it beautifully, learning about its Tafseer and the reasons for its revelation, affirming that it is the truth, the perfect Speech of Allah and not part of the creation, honouring it and defending it, abiding by the orders and prohibitions found in it, and teaching it and calling to it.

The Quran will be a Proof for or against Us on the Day of Judgement

This is due to the statement of the Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “And the Quran is a proof for you or against you.” [Muslim] So, one of two things will occur with this proof, the Book of Allah. It will either be in one’s favour, a proof for us on the Day when we will desperately need every single good deed, or it will be something standing against us. The very Speech of our Creator as a proof against us! Who could be saved from the terrors of that Day if Allah’s own Speech is against Him?

Think carefully, dear Muslim brothers and sisters, about your position with the Quran. Are you neglecting it, contradicting it, and being heedless of its orders and prohibitions? Are you thinking deeply over it? Will it be on your side on the Day of Judgement?

The Quran will Intercede for Us on the Day of Judgement

Abu Umaamah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him related that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Read the Quran, for indeed it will come on the Day of Standing (Judgement) as an intercessor for its companions.” [Muslim]

The Quran Raises One’s Status in this Life

In Saheeh Muslim, which is one of the two most authentic books of prophetic narrations, we find a wonderful story about how a man from the people of Paradise, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him understood this principle. The story is that once, some men came to question him during his reign as caliph regarding the leadership of Makkah. The men asked: “Who do you use to govern Makkah?” He  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: “Ibn Abzaa.” They asked: “And who is Ibn Abzaa?” ‘Umar  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him replied: “A freed slave from those we freed.” They remarked: “You left a freed slave in command of the People of the Valley (the noble tribes of the Quraysh)?” He  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him replied: “Indeed he is a reciter of the Book of Allah and is knowledgeable about the obligations of the Muslims. Haven’t you heard the statement of your Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “Verily Allah raises some people by this Book and lowers others by it””?

The People of the Quran are from Best of People

‘Uthmaan  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it to others.” [Al-Bukhari]

There are Ten Rewards for Every Letter Recited from the Quran

As a Hadeeth (prophetic statement) in At-Tirmithi proves: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that ‘Alif, Laam, Meem’ (a combination of letters frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran) is a letter, rather I am saying that ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Laam’ is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter.” [At-Tirmithi] So increase your recitation of the Quran to gain these merits, as well as the following ones.

The Reciters of the Quran Will Be in the Company of the Noble and Obedient Angels

‘Aa’ishah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her related that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

So dear brother or sister Muslim, do not let the Shaytaan (Satan) give you false excuses, such as ‘I am not an Arab.’ or ‘It is not in my language.’ This Hadeeth is a firm proof against these whisperings.

Dedicate yourself to the Book of Allah, whether you are an Arab or not! The excuses have been eliminated and the pathway has been cleared for you to embrace the Book of Allah without holding back or offering excuses! Surely you will not hesitate to seek a teacher or a study circle for the Quran once you hear the last and perhaps greatest benefits of reading and contemplating over the Quran.

One’s Position and Rank in Paradise is Determined by the Amount of Quran He Memorised in this Life

‘Abdullaah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) saying: “It will be said to the companion of the Quran: ‘Read and elevate (through the levels of Paradise) and beautify your voice as you did when you were in the worldly life! For verily, your position in Paradise will be at the last verse you recite!’” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]

The Quran Leads to Paradise

The Quran states (what means): “Indeed the Quran guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.” [Quran: 17:9]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The Quran is an intercessor – something given permission to intercede, and it is rightfully believed in. Whoever puts it in front of him, it will lead him to Paradise; whoever puts it behind him, it will steer him to the Hellfire.” [At-Tabaraani]

Know, dear brothers and sisters, that these nine benefits from the numerous benefits available can only be attained by a sincere commitment to the Book of Allah, and not simply by an empty claim of love for it. Rather, the heart must be sincerely attached to the Book of Allah and the limbs and tongue will follow suit in this attachment. One must know that we only mentioned a few of the numerous benefits of reading and reflecting over the Quran. There are many other benefits that await your reading of the Quran and books of Hadeeth, such as the chapter of the Quran that will plead on your behalf in the grave, and that it is a physical healing, a source of rest and relaxation for your heart, among many other things.

Students from Lowfield Primary School visit Sheffield Islamic Centre Madina Masjid Trust

Students from Lowfield Primary School visited a local Mosque, to learn more about Muslims living in the city.

The youngsters visited Sheffield Islamic Centre Madina Masjid Trust, where they were given a tour of the Mosque’s wash rooms, prayer areas and library and learned more about the contents of the Quran and how children start to study the religious text of Islam from a young age.

Mosque visit - Quran Focus Academy

The children and staff were joined by students from their partner school, Hartington C of E Primary School, as part of studies into city and countryside cultures and differences.

Lowfield Teaching Assistant, Judith Flower, said: “The Mosque tour was such a great experience, for both the children and the staff. We removed our shoes and our guide explained the importance and relevance of why Muslim people cleanse before they go to pray.

“We learnt so much about the religious views of Muslim people, as well as how and where they pray.

“It was fantastic to see all the children asking questions to develop their learning. As Hartington is a Church School with a strong Christian ethos, it is fantastic that pupils are able to learn about other great world faiths.”

This event came after Sheffield youngsters visited the Derbyshire Dales school in July last year, where they investigated life within a rural community.

Hartington pupil Jacob Blackwell, 9, said: “It was interesting to see the Mosque and stunning to learn more about what Muslim people do when they pray and how they worship Allah.”

Lowfield School Council Co-ordinator and Year 3 Teacher, Richard Green said: “The trip to the Mosque gave the Hartington children an understanding of the social and cultural activities that our children undertake and really bonded the two communities.”

Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital opens another free cancer hospital in Pakistan

Peshawar gets Pakistan’s largest free cancer hospital

 PESHAWAR: Pakistan’s largest and the second Shaukat Khan Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre was formally inaugurated here Tuesday.It was announced on the occasion that 75 percent cancer patients would get free treatment.

Free Cancer Hospital Peshawar Pakistan


A six and a half years old cancer patient, Faakhir Afridi, along with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan inaugurated the hospital.

Donors, members of the hospital’s board of governors, and senior staff members of the Lahore-based cancer hospital attended the event. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton was also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Imran Khan said establishing a cancer hospital in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was one of his biggest dreams.

“The construction of the free cancer hospital is beyond logic, wisdom and rationality and I congratulate all Pakistanis for their generosity which made it possible to build two hospitals,” he said.

“Cancer treatment is one of the most expensive in the world. Despite having all the resources and my start status, my mother died due to cancer. The poor people have no place to go for treatment of cancer,” he reminded.

“It is a miracle because these are the only hospitals in the world that offer free cancer treatment to 75 percent patients,” he said.He praised Prof Dr Nausherwan Khan Burki, who happens to be his cousin, Dr Faisal Sultan, chief executive SKMCH and Dr Asim Yousaf, medical director, for their contribution in realising his dream of establishing the two free cancer hospitals.

“There had been many occasions of happiness in my life but I was so excited over completion of the cancer hospital in Peshawar that I couldn’t even properly sleep last night,” Imran Khan remarked.

Though Imran thought he had arrived an hour before the start of the scheduled time, he kept the participants waiting for his arrival to formally begin the proceeding.Imran recalled his old struggle launched by him in the 1990s for collecting donations to build the cancer hospital in Lahore.

“In the 1990s, I was at the peak of my popularity as a cricket star but when I decided to establish a cancer hospital through donations, I collected Rs100 million only in one and half years. But now when we made an appeal for Rs800 million donations in November last, people gave us Rs900 million because of their trust in the excellent services provided by the Shaukat Khanum Hospital Lahore,” Imran said.  He said he needed Rs800 million to purchase important diagnostic equipment for the hospital and this had prompted him to make the appeal for donations in November.

Imran recalled he had visited 29 cities of the country in six weeks to collect donations for the cancer hospital in Lahore. “During my life, I had not even asked my father to give me money, but when I decided to establish the cancer hospital, I used to go to every person to collect donations. The educational institutions and the students played a vital role in establishing the first cancer hospital. They proved my real tigers and helped my fundraising campaign for the hospital,” he said.

Imran said he used to go to educational institutions in the morning and bazaars in the evening to seek donations. “I can’t describe the scenes how daily-wagers, poor labourers and shopkeepers generously donated for the cancer hospital,” the PTI leader said.

Imran said after deciding to set up the first cancer hospital, he called top 20 doctors in Lahore to seek their opinion.“Out of 20, 19 said establishing cancer hospital was not possible in Pakistan. One of them said it was feasible but providing free cancer treatment is not possible. But I was determined and we built Lahore hospital 21 years ago and opened the second one in Peshawar today,” he stressed.

In the 1997 general election campaign, he said the PML-N launched campaign against the hospital in Lahore and it caused a drop in donations and the hospital was about to stop operations.

“But once people went to the hospital then nobody could stop them from giving donations. We spend Rs7 billion in Lahore per year and faced a deficit of Rs3.5 billion but we were able to not only cover the deficit but also raise Rs4 billion for the Peshawar hospital,” Imran expolained.

The hospital would provide 20 beds for chemotherapy, six emergency room beds, 12 admission beds, two intensive care unit beds, radiology services, including mammography, plain radiology and ultrasonography and pathology laboratory.

In the first phase, the hospital will provide X-ray, CT scan, MRI, chemotherapy and pathological services to the patients. Next, the radiation services will be made available in the second phase and surgery after one year.

Imran said the Peshawar hospital was 30 percent larger in size than the one in Lahore.The construction of this comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment hospital began on March 9, 2011.

Imran Khan said the hospital was built as per international standards to provide modern cancer treatment services to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa irrespective of their ability to pay.

He said patients are equally treated in Shaukat Khanum Hospital. “In the Lahore hospital, son of our great poet Allama Mohammad Iqbal, Javed Iqbal was lying on one bed and a poor patient was on the bed next to him,” he pointed out.

With the establishment of the Peshawar hospital, patients would no longer need to go to Lahore, he said, adding, 23 percent cancer patients visiting SKMCH Lahore belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata and some even came from Afghanistan.

It may be added that former chief minister Ameer Haider Hoti, who belonged to the ANP, had provided 50 kanal of government land in Hayatabad to the cancer hospital free of cost and had also donated Rs50 million.

Dr Faisal Sultan, the chief executive officer of SKMCH Lahore, told The News the patients would be offered the best quality treatment in the Peshawar cancer hospital.He said being an expensive treatment, cancer destroyed families financially. Dr Asim Yousaf, medical director of SKMCH Lahore, said in the first phase they started walk-in-clinic, outpatient clinics, chemotherapy facilities, radiology services, ICU, an inpatient unit and emergency assessment room in Peshawar from December 29.


Muslims donate 30,000 bottles of water to Flint, Michigan, during water crisis

A Muslim organization called “Who is Hussain?” donated 30,000 bottles of water to the Red Cross in Flint, Michigan, on Sunday to help alleviate the water contamination crisis that has gripped the city for months. The donation drive came on the heels of President Obama’s declaration of the situation as a federal state of emergency.

Flint MI water drive - Quran FocusFlint MI water drive – Quran Focus

Who is Hussain? collected the water after a local campaign collected donations of cases of water bottles and online donations netted funds to purchase additional water.

The city of Flint is located approximately one hour away by car from Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the highest population of Muslims by percentage in the United States. According to the 2000 US Census, the population of Dearborn was more than 29 percent Arab.

Dr. Aziza Askari, representative for the Michigan chapter of the Who is Hussain?, said, “We saw what needed to be done and we decided to do it. We reached out to schools, neighbors, friends, mosques, anyone and everyone to help us by donating a case of water, or money towards a case.”

Who is Hussain? was inspired by the story of an early Islamic leader, Imam Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Hussain ibn Ali complained early on about growing violence and extremism in the Muslim community, but was brutally killed after being denied water for several days. Adherents of Hussain’s teachings believe that the denial of water under any circumstances is an unconscionable crime, and actively promote water distribution campaigns on a regular basis. On the anniversary of Hussain’s death, they themselves forsake food and water for most of the day as a type of remembrance.

“Prophet Mohammed taught us ‘Your neighbor comes before your own household.’ As a resident of Detroit this is not only a Flint problem this is a Michigan problem and I feel obligated to help to the best of my ability.” said Mohammed Almawla, a local filmmaker and volunteer for the organization.

Flint has been the site of growing issues with water contamination, after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) allegedly ignored months of reports of water quality issues and fought with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over water quality treatments. The EPA was also criticized for failing to prevent the problem.

Another Michigan native and filmmaker, Michael Moore, called for the arrest of Gov. Rick Snyder. Mr. Moore also called for President Obama to visit Flint to survey the problem, criticizing the president if he failed to do so.

“We’re taking every action within reason, and going beyond reason to address this,” said Gov. Snyder in response to scrutiny, according to the Detroit Free Press. “This is something you wish that never happened, and let’s see that it never happens again in the state of Michigan.”

Howard County, Maryland adds Muslim holidays to school calendar

Ater considering how best to create an inclusive academic calendar — either by removing all but state-mandated public school holidays or by recognizing additional holidays — the Howard County Board of Education has voted to close schools for students on a Muslim and a Hindu holiday, for the first time in the school system’s history.

Howard County school calendar

“I am extremely pleased by the Board’s ability to discuss and unanimously agree to seek ways to recognize the diverse backgrounds of Howard County’s students and families,” said Board of Education Chairwoman Christine O’Connor. “We want to do our best to find flexibility within the calendar to provide opportunities for all students to experience all cultures within our community.”

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American writer spends year debating Holy Quran with Muslim scholar

What happens when an American writer and a madrassah-trained scholar debate the Holy Quran in a bid to find interfaith understanding? A powerful journey to help bridge one of the greatest divides shaping our world today.

If the Oceans Were Ink is American writer Carla Power’s story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi decided to tackle the “ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions” that were dividing their communities.

“People are going back to the basic texts, and they’re stripping away centuries of culture and tradition and looking for what they see at the heart of the religion,” she says.

Power provides readers with details of her year with sheikh Akram and how the Quran provided her with many moments of grace. “I found comfort in how small I felt reading the text, as when I considered the images of the ‘lord if the heavens and the earth and everything in between, and Lord of all points of the sunrise.’  Even as a nonbeliever, I still found myself taking refuge in the Quran classes as a clam inlet from daily life.”

Carla Power

Power notes the greatness of the Quran by highlighting the triviality of worldly matters like the “close on Wall Street, the exam score or dress size, even happiness itself” that seemed nothing next to the fact that from God we come and to God we return. She describes this as “constant reminders of one’s own puniness and powerlessness.”

She also shares a personal experience that made her realise the essence of the word InshAllah. “When my mother died, I remember thinking how sensible it was, the Muslim practice of saying InshAllah after every plan, every promise, no matter how minor, since only God can be sure whether next Wednesday’s lunch date will indeed be kept. It was a comfort, in a season of grief, to hang out with a community that honored this world’s certainties.”

On her understanding of namaz, she writes about it as a symbol of devotion to God. She mentions studies on the postures of Muslim prayers by scientists who have concluded that they encourage calm and flexibility. While standing straight strengthens the arrangement of muscles in the body, bowing helps stretch out the lower back and hamstrings, and sitting after prostration keeps joints mobile. In relation to this, Power notes how “Akram’s prayers have rendered him culturally supple, too, stretching his humanity in surprising ways. The act of return, to his prayer mat, to his Quran and his classical text–has often afforded an expansion of his worldview, not a restriction of it.”

She beautifully describes the sheikh offering his prayers and the meaning attached to his every move. She writes, “In standing, kneeling, bring his forehead to the earth, then standing again, his attention returns to his origins and destination, which are one and the same.” She also shares the words of the sheikh, who connects the experience to a “feeling of returning to the arms of your mother, when you are a child.”

The author explains the meaning of existence for the sheikh revolves around God, in the shape of a circle. The circle has God at its end, beginning, and every point in between. This sheds lights on his belief that “from Allah he has come, and to Allah he will return,” with everyday circling back to God.

On starting her Quran lessons, as she was able to understand its message, she realised that it is more than just a book. Instead, she reflects on its reach to Muslims around the world as a “metaphor of return. It is a place to which the faithful return, again and again.”

She explains, “I’d come a long way from earliest encounter with the Quran, but I still hadn’t understood that it was far more than a much-revered book. Over the course of the year, I began to see that the Quran was not merely a set of pages between two covers. Calling it a book, something one can read from beginning to end, embalms it in expectations. It was just another way of limiting it into something small: an amulet, a manifesto, an instruction guide, a political tool. In the life of a Muslim like Sheikh Akram, its meaning is much more diffuse.”

On questioning the sheikh about how to better understand the Quran, she shares his response, “Read. Keeping reading the Quran. Read it, and read it again. Return,” echoing the command that Prophet Muhammad had heard upon revelation.