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Visit to Albania and Bosnia, May 2000
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Visit to Albania and Bosnia, May 2000

by Sister Samina

See photographs of the visit to Albania and Bosnia

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 worse before.

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 rule.

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 with them.

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 Mr. Mullahi.

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, Inshallah.

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,


Yours truly,
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 in Albania.

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 nor new.

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 20th.

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 sacrifice!

See photographs of the visit to Albania and Bosnia
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