Visit to Albania
and Bosnia, May 2000
by Sister Samina
See photographs of the visit to Albania
Dr. Mohammad Ahmad, Dr. Noman Malik and I departed for Albania
and Bosnia on May 10th 2000. The main purpose of our visit was to
strengthen our relations with the Islamic Community of Albania,
which is the main Islamic organization in Albania, and to find translators
in Bosnia to translate our literature into the Bosnian language.
We arrived in Albania on May 11th. At the Airport, we were met
by the Albanian translator's son who took us to the hotel. We had
a meeting with the translator that evening. He gave us a report
on the progress of the Holy Quran translation and informed us that
the booklets Islam the Religion of Humanity and The Prophet
of Islam were ready to be picked up for distribution.
The next morning, May 12th, Mr. Tivari, Mr. Mullahi and a young
staff member of the Islamic Community of Albania came to
welcome us at the Tirana International Hotel. We discussed the distribution
of the forty thousand booklets of Islam the Religion of Humanity
and The Prophet of Islam to the various Regions and Mosques
in Albania and Macedonia. They invited us to meet the Chairman,
Mr. Kochi; the President Mr. Ali Basha; the Mufti Mr. Selim Stafa
and Executive members of the Islamic Society of Albania on
Thursday May 18th . They also invited us to accompany them to the
opening of a new mosque in Northern Albania. The funds for this
mosque had been raised locally in this area.
That afternoon, accompanied by Mr. Mullahi, we went for the Jummah
Prayers to the Main Mosque in Tirana. This mosque was the only one
in Tirana which had survived intact during the communist rule. The
mosque was packed with people, and we were greatly heartened by
the large numbers of young people in the congregation.
The same evening we were invited by the Translator to meet his
family. We were very impressed by the hospitality shown to us by
his gracious and kind mother and wife. The Translator showed us
the forty thousand booklets Islam the Religion of Humanity
and The Prophet of Islam which were stored in one of the
apartment rooms. We were overjoyed to see all this much needed literature
in Albanian. Thirty thousand of the booklets were intended for the
Islamic Community of Albania and ten thousand were to be
given to the translator for free distribution in Kosovo and Macedonia.
On Saturday afternoon, May 13th, we left for Sarajevo (Bosnia)
which we reached on Sunday May 14th after an overnight stay in Vienna.
On the way to the hotel from the airport we were shocked and horrified
to see row upon row of gutted buildings and houses pock marked by
shrapnel. We were told that actually a great deal of the damage
had been repaired and the conditions of the buildings had been much
In the evening we went to see the old historic Muslim area and
said our prayers in the Mosque which had been built during the Ottoman
The next day we went to Sarajevo University to meet Ms. Elma Dizdar
who is completing her Masters Studies in Arabic. She had been recommended
to us as someone who could help us find a translator for the Holy
Quran in Bosnian.
When we entered the university area, we were horrified to see the
destroyed and burned university buildings with large gaping shell
holes in their concrete walls. There was not a single building which
did not bear deeply gouged out shrapnel marks.
Ms. Elma Dizdar was extremely friendly and cooperative and contacted
several Professors at the Islamic Institute and arranged our meeting
On May 15th, in the morning, we met in the hotel with an English
lecturer at Sarajevo University. We gave her Islam the Religion
of Humanity, The Prophet of Islam and Introduction to Islam
for translation into Bosnian.
Later in the morning we went to the Islamic Institute where we
met with three potential candidates for translation of the Holy
Quran and other books into Bosnian. We had a very productive meeting
with them in which we discussed the details of the translation projects.
One of the faculty members said that Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation
was the best translation in the English language, and that we should
choose its translator with great care.
The following day we flew back to Tirana, Albania. In the evening,
accompanied by Mr. Bujar Mullahi, we visited the general secretary
Mr. Salih Tivari and his family. His wife and daughter were very
hospitable and made us feel completely at home. Mr. Tivari's daughter
spoke very good English and also acted as interpreter together with
From there we went to Mr. Bujar Mullahi's house where we met his
wife and talented daughter. Again we were very touched by the hospitality
shown to us.
We also met with the translator of the Holy Quran who gave us a
floppy disc containing the translation of the Surah Fatiha
and the first half of the Surah Baqarah.
The next day, which was our last day in Albania, we met with the
executive of the Islamic Community of Albania which included
Mr Kochi, Chairman; Mr Ali Basha, President; Mr. Salih Tivari, General
Secretary; Mr. Selim Stafa, head Mufti and Mr. Bujar Mullahi of
the Foreign Relations Dept.
After a welcome address by the chairman, Mr. Kochi, I read a letter
addressed to the General Secretary Mr. Salih Tivari from the USA
Jamaat, which was as follows:
The General Secretary
Islamic Community of Albania
Dear Mr. Tivari,
We, the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore USA, would
like to thank the Islamic Community of Albania for inviting
us to this meeting and giving us the honour to meet with
the chairman, Mr. Kochi; the President, Mr. Ali Basha; the
Mufti, Mr Salim Stafa and Mr. Bujar Ahmet Mullahi of the
Foreign Relations Dept.
We would like to cooperate with the Islamic Community of
Albania by translating and printing books and booklets on
Islam by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore USA,
These books and booklets, which are mainly authored by
Maulana Muhammad Ali, are:
1) Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran
2) The Religion of Islam
3) A Manual of Hadith
4) Muhammad the Prophet
5) The Early Caliphate
6) The New World Order
7) Living thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad
8) The Teachings of Islam, by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
As a beginning of this fraternal cooperation we have printed
40,000 booklets of Islam the Religion of Humanity
and The Prophet of Islam and are donating 30,000
of these to the Islamic Community of Albania as free
distribution for Dawah effort.
We would also like to donate $2,000 (two thousand) dollars
for the printing and Dawah effort of the Islamic
Community of Albania.
We earnestly pray to Almighty Allah to accept our efforts
and to Bless the fraternal bond between our two organizations.
Sister Samina will be the contact person for our organization
regarding printing and publication.
May Almighty Allah Bless you all,
Dr. Mohammad Ahmad, President
Sister Samina, Vice President
Dr. Noman Malik, Treasurer
After I had read the letter and explained its contents, Mr. Ali
Basha addressed the group and emphasized the need for Islamic Literature
This was followed by a speech by Dr. Mohammad Ahmad (President
of AAIIL, U.S.A.) in which he stressed the need for unity among
Muslims and strongly criticized takfir among Muslims. Reciting
the verses 3:103,104 of the Holy Quran, he emphasized how important
it was for Muslims to cooperate among themselves for the propagation
of Islam. He explained how in these verses the covenant of Allah
was like a rope which prevented people from being swept away by
the currents of false ideologies, and how it pulled people up spiritually.
He said that no one had the right to call a reciter of the Kalimah
a Kafir. Dr. Ahmad gave a short, excellent account of the
history of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement and its aims and objects.
Everybody greatly appreciated his lecture.
The Mufti, Mr. Selim Stefa and the General Secretary, Mr. Tivari
also expressed the great need for Dawah material in Albanian.
They said it was extremely important that the world wide Muslims
help them in this task.
After that Dr. Malik spoke about jihad with the Quran. He
stressed the fact that this was the mission of the Lahore Ahmadiyya
Movement and that it had very good literature which would appeal
to all people. Dr. Malik also gave an account of how Hazrat Mirza
Sahib saved Islam in India, when Christian Missionaries were converting
Muslims to Christians. He emphasized that the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
strongly believed in the finality of Prophethood of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad and that there would be no Prophet after him, neither old
I presented our major books for their Library, and said that these
books are very much needed for a correct understanding of Islam,
especially The Religion of Islam, which is an encyclopedia
of Islam and should be translated into Albanian as soon as possible.
I related how Maulana Muhammad Ali had revised his English translation
of the Holy Quran on his death bed, and how important it was that
his books be translated into all the languages of the world. I told
them that we had distributed thirty thousand copies of the Russian
translation of the Holy Quran free in Russia, and how grateful and
appreciative the Russian Muslims were for the translation. I also
told them that unless the books by Maulana Muhammad Ali were translated
into Albanian, people would not realize the true value of the books.
They all agreed about the importance of translating Maulana Muhammad
Ali's books into Albanian.
The session ended with a Dua by the Chairman, Mr. Kochi.
After the meeting we proceeded directly to the airport, and after
an overnight stay in Budapest, reached back Columbus, Ohio, on May
I had been greatly impressed by the sincerity and enthusiasm of
the members of the Islamic community of Albania when I had
visited them last year, and again on this visit we were equally
impressed by their sincerity, dedication and commitment to Islam.
We thank Almighty Allah for a safe and successful trip and pray
that Almighty Allah strengthens Islam in the Balkans.
It is my duty to mention that the translation of the Holy Quran
into Albanian is being funded by Mrs. Azra Saleem and Khurram Saleem,
and the Holy Quran translation into Bosnian by Dr. and Mrs. Mohammad
Ahmad of Columbus, Ohio. May Almighty Allah bless them all for their