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Albanian Muslim community to cooperate with the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in spreading Islamic literature

Report of visit to Albania by Sister Samina

See photographs of the visit to Albania.

Dr. Anwary of the Al-Nur Foundation in Greece had invited me to go to Albania to meet the Muslim religious leaders there and to assess their needs for Islamic literature.

I flew from Columbus on the 26th of October 1999 and after changing planes in Chicago and Frankfurt reached Athens, Greece on the 28th.

The next day, Mr. Anwary, his secretary Catherina and I departed Athens for Tirana, the capital of Albania. On our arrival at Tirana airport, we were met by Mr. Bujar Ahmet Mullahi of the Islamic Community of Albania. He had been sent by H. Hafiz Sabri Kochi, the chairman of the organization, to receive us which was very gracious of him.

We discussed our itinerary with him, and he offered to take us to visit H. Hafiz Sabri Kochi who at that time was in the hospital after suffering a heart attack only two days ago. When we reached the hospital we were told that he had been discharged and had been sent home. So we went to his home. We found him to be a very sincere and deeply spiritual person.

After the communists came in power, they imprisoned him, and he remained in prison for 29 years and was released only after the fall of communism in 1989. During his imprisonment he was forced to work in the mines with the result that his hands were permanently damaged. His wife and daughter in the meantime had to struggle very hard, and had to work as laborers lifting heavy stones to make ends meet. He said that once he was very depressed at his imprisonment and the fact that he had to work in the mines under inhumane conditions, when he heard a voice say "Are you better than Hazrat Yusuf (alaihi salaam)?" After that his heart was at ease, and he never felt depressed again.

He had heard of Maulana Muhammad Ali and was very impressed by his work, and wanted to cooperate with us in distributing his books.

The next morning Mr. Sabaudin Kodra from a second organization, The Foundation of Life and Science, came to visit us in the hotel. The Chairman of the Foundation was a Palestinian, Mr. Abdal Lateef Saleh. He was out of the country and we were unable to meet him, but Mr. Kodra invited us to visit the center in the afternoon at 3'o clock.

It was Friday, and so, accompanied by Mr. Bujar Mullahi, we went to offer our Jumu`a prayers at the Mosque of the Islamic Community of Albania. We could see the Mosque from the hotel. It was a small Mosque and was the only Mosque left in Tirana with a minaret. There used to be hundred of Mosques in Tirana, but after the communists came to power, they pulled their minarets down, and converted them into social centers where drinking and dancing used to take place.

There were about 200 to 300 men in the Mosque. The women's section, which was upstairs, was reached by a very narrow and steep stairway. About 50 women were present in the narrow space. In the afternoon we went to the Foundation of Life and Science. Mr. Sabaudin Kodra, who is an Engineer and Director of the Foundation, gave us a tour of the facility. Both secular courses such as computer classes and religious courses are taught in the school.

We gifted a set of our books to their library, and discussed ways to translate and distribute our literature. Mr. Kodra was very enthusiastic about the printing and distribution of our literature in Albania and said that his organization would be very happy to help us.

The next morning we went to the Islamic Community of Albania Center. There we met with the President Mr. Ali Musa Basha, the vice President Mr. Salim Stafa who was also the head Mufti and the General Secretary Salih T. Tivari. They introduced themselves and related the history of Muslims in Albania. I told them about our Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Sahib and the Ahmadiyya Movement and stressed the fact that Hazrat Mirza Sahib never claimed prophethood and that we believed in the finality of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). I told them that our objective was to spread our litreature especially that of Maulana Muhammad Ali. They said that they knew about Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation of the Holy Quran and the excellent literature produced by him. They informed me that in the 1930's The Prophet of Islam [booklet by Maulana Muhammad Ali] had been translated into Albanian, and that as soon as communism was lifted the President Mr. Ali Musa Basha reprinted ninety thousand copies in 1991.

I informed them that we were translating Islam the Religion of Humanity into Albanian and that these two booklets would form a very good set.

They expressed their desire that we open our Movement in Albania and that they would cooperate with us. We were very impressed by their sincerity, devotion to Islam, and tolerant views.

We are very fortunate that the works of Maulana Muhammad Ali are so well known throughout the world, and it is only when we go out that we realize how much people value his work. We thank Almighty Allah for this and pray that He causes these books to spread to all corners of the world.

We also met with members of a youth Movement. They said that they had two hundred members and were very interested in getting literature in English. They were not affiliated with any other Movement.

The next day we returned to Athens. I would like to thank Dr. Anwary for his dedication to the cause of Islam in the Balkans and for the help he has provided me. May Almighty Allah bless him and reward his efforts.

See photographs of the visit to Albania.

Messages of thanks received from Albania after visit

Date: 2 November 1999
Nr. 503/ysh4199
Kind Attention to: Sister Samina, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam USA

From: Salih Tivari
General Secretary of Islamic Community of Albania

Dear Sister
Asalamo Alaikum!

We hope the fax reaches you in the best of health and strong Iman. On behalf of Islamic Community of Albania we would like to thank you for your very fruitful visit in Islamic Community of Albania. Please come again, bring a delegation and open a Movement here. When you come next time we will be waiting for you all. We are very glad and happy to meet you and also to translate and print books in Albanian by Maulana Muhammad Ali. We have printed 90,000 copies of a book called Prophet of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali in 1991 by our chairman. May Allah help you to work in the cause of Islam and help your Movement to work together with us.

Yours in Islam
H. Salih Tivari.

Nov 8, 1999
To: Sister Samina
Vice President, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc. (USA)

From: Mr. Bujar Mullahi
Dept. of Foreign Relations of Islamic Community of Albania

Dear Sister in Islam

I hope with the blessing of Almighty Allah this fax will find you, your family and all brothers and sisters of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Foundation in the best of health and strong Iman. I acknowledge with thanks your kind fax to Salih Tivari General Secretary dated Nov 7, 1999.

On behalf of my brothers I would like to thank you very much also for your very precious gifts Holy Quran which I distributed personally to them: H. Hafiz Sabri Koci, H. Selim Stafa, H. Ali Basha, H. Salih Tivari.

I now look forward to working closely with you so that we may be able to provide as much assistance to the Albanian Muslims as possible.

May Allah give us the strength and means to help each other.

Yours in Islam
Bujar Mullahi

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