1. An overview on belief in afterlife
It is quite impossible for an individual who doesn’t believe that he/she will be taken into account for his/her deeds, to have a regular and honest life. On the other hand, the life of an individual who keeps always in mind that one day he/she will face Allah and will give account for everything he/she has done, accompanied by the awareness of accountability and therefore right. Of course, the human will be such even in his/her relation regarding the awareness on the account he/she will face beyond. The belief that one day he/she will be rewarded motivates a good individual to do good deeds; the idea of punishment for his/her sins deters him/her from being violent and thoughtless; fear of accountability deters him/her from doing evil even where no one can see him/her; the belief that they will meet again in another world comforts a child who has lost a relative or an elderly person who is, as they say, with one foot in the other world, etc.
2. Abu Hanifa’s attitude during political developments of his time
Great people that history marks, emerge at a time when disorders in society reach their peak. To put some order in the external world, one must first establish order and balance within himself. In this respect, Abu Hanifah was a man of the middle way and foremost a man of a highly balanced personality and great determination. If we consider the time in which he lived, we will observe severe political and social problems and furthermore, a lot of clashes and conflicts between groups of different religions and religious sects. He could simply choose the shortest way, i.e., becoming partial from the beginning, but he never changed his attitude, sacrificing much for the right path, and trying to make possible even to the others experiencing the justice. Given this, it is not wrong to say that Abu Hanifa lived as he thought and believed and believed as he lived and thought.
3. Muhammad a.s. – an example to follow
His traditions in speech and in action complement one another. It seems as every requirement regarding spiritual aspect is predetermined and precalculated. Everything, the humans face in their life, appears in the examples of his life a.s.
Meanwhile, the Lord of Universe through His goodness to us, blasted Hz. Muhammad a.s. as the Seal of His good messengers, the guide and the complement of His blessings, for whom today’s world is really in need.
4. The stain in the biography
Nga Fatos A. Kopliku MS/MA, Washington, DC
The dictatorship of the proletariat had plenty of absurdities, and the “blot in biography” was for sure one of them. As it is well known, the “blot” was a 20th century branding that followed the “blotted” for all their life, including relatives and children, and deprived them of the basic rights as a citizen. The blot in biography could be in different forms: having graduated abroad, knowledge of foreign languages, expression of “retrograde” or “backwards” thoughts in a book or article… and of course, the family lineage.
Yet, why is it this important to talk about this practice of the past? The reason is because the biography “blot” hunt is still on and their story has not come to an end; something that bears witness to the fact that Albanians are still confronted with the consequences of the mentality carved during decades of systematic massive indoctrination. As a result, there is more than a quarter of a century that we are being asked to distance ourselves from another blot, that of Islam. The narrative has been passed on with few changes in form but none in essence, telling us that Islam is the reason of the backwardness, mentality, lack of civilization, even the perturber of the purity of the Albanian blood… Such rhetoric leads one to believe that the “new man, the greatest work of the party” is still alive and well among Albanians, and the vigilance against blots has not ceased; it has simply changed form. Of course, this cannot not be a cause for concern.
5. Poem “Erveheja” – a fourth world that sublimated the lack of Albanian life
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rahim Ombashi, Bedër University
The masterpiece “Erveheja” of poet Muhammad Kyçyku (1784-1844) continued for a long time to be the most popular work in the Albanian Renaissance’s literature, after its first publication in 1888 at Bucharest by Jani Vreto. Although the number of those who read the Arabic alphabet was very low, this narrative poem of only 214 Octosyllable quatrains was tasted, understood and appreciated by a large number of fans. The cause of its massive spread must firstly be seen in the simplicity of this poetry work, especially after its two reviews: “Completed from Haydar Argirokastriti and the cleanse of foreign words by J. Vreto”, but also in the social utopian mission of this kind of literature. Being an intentional literature, its socio-cultural context impacted more the listener – which became determinant – rather than its text. After the discovery and publication of the original text of “Erveheja,” a kind of criticism woke up because the yeast of how semantically an artistic work must be read, is hidden within the creation itself, which is to be interpreted through the semiotic method. The stress was put to the source, bypassing the universal thematics as a field in which its literary content is found, approaching closer its cultural thematics that is related to the Islamic faith and Muslim culture. Its prevailing idea appears of individual nature, and the topic is related to the pain of life and several subthemes and motifs derived from it. After collecting the information, one will shift into a reflective analysis, which helps in accessing the dream, whim and fantasy to the social reality.
6. Freedom of religion and interfaith dialogue in Albania
Vlash Plepi, Orthodox Theological Academy, Durrës
Conversation and communication with the followers of other religions becomes easier when we accept the others as our brothers and sisters while respecting their freedom, particularly the freedom of conscience. We accept them as they are, with sincere love, sharing together their religious experiences that have been most important in our researches on the meaning of life and death and in our desire for the eternal God.
The development of dialogue and religious tolerance doesn’t impose any common agreement, but only respect for religious freedom and the right of every person to choose the vision and the way he agrees to follow in his approach to the Divine.
7. The image of Islam in the Albanian media, Charlie Hebdo case
MSc. Qani Sulku
How easy or difficult it is to maintain or improve the image after a rightly or wrongly slur? What role did Albanian Muslim Community (MCA) – the only representative institution of the Muslims in the Republic of Albania – had in the preserve of Islam and Muslims’ image, through the participation of its representatives in TV programs during the discussions on various topics, which focused on Charlie Hebdo issue? How professional the program managers appeared in dealing with such topics, in not being one-sided, or in not creating wrong perceptions and attitudes? Did in these analytical programs, appear any of those who came with the intention to desecrate Islam and Muslims? Were the titles and core topics of these TV shows relevant and carefully selected, or they had topics labels that violate the religious affiliation of Muslim believers? These are some of the questions on which I will try to shed light in this paper, by observing, studying and comparing the Albanian media programs dated January 7, 2015 onwards, which had as their focus the Charlie Hebdo issue and topics that were related to the causes that led to this tragic act.
8. Modernity and ideology in the Ottoman Empire textbooks
(Albania and Albanians in Ottoman school textbooks)
Dr. Hasan Bello, Albanological Studies Center, Institute of History -Tirana
It cannot be said that in Ottoman textbooks were openly mentioned races and nations, but there were times when while handling certain aspects within any particular geographic nature, details of interest to our nation were also described. Thus, in the text “the Ottoman geography” (“Coğrafya-yı Osmani”) in which some provinces and characteristics of the Empire’s peoples were described, Albanian people was taken as an example of hospitality and generosity. Author explained the lack of hostels (guesthouses) in Albanian cities through the fact that the tradition of this people occupied an important place. According to him, anyone traveling around the country who hadn’t a place to reside – whether Muslim or Christian – if he knocked on the door of any Albanian family, became immediately a guest in their house. The host was obliged to provide food and hospitality to the guest for the entire period of his stay.
9. Role of Muslim clerics in the formation of the first Albanian state.
Dr. Mois Kamberi, “Aleksandër Moisiu” University, Durrës
All the historical events, political movements and the diplomatic development leading to the declaration of the independence and the creation of the first Albanian government cannot be properly appreciated without a note on the major contribution of the Albanian clerics who were considered the most important intellectuals in Albania. Many crucial historical moments in the Albanian National Movement involving the Albanian League of Prizren, League of Peja, the Congress of Manastir, the Congress of Dibra and the Congress of Elbasan, and the major uprisings of Albanians during 1910-1912, were led by the Albanian members of the clergy. Their patriotic contribution and their nationalistic ideals and thoughts exerted a great influence in the Albanian National Movement for they were chosen and elected as important representatives in the assemblies and congresses which were influential for the destiny of Albania as a country. Their contribution paved the way for their participation in the governing structures; e.g. Haxhi Ymer Prizreni was Chairman of the Provisional Government of the League and Haxhi Zeka was Chairman of the League of Peja, Vehbi Dibra was Chairman of the Congress of Dibra, etc. The contribution of the Albanian members of the clergy pervaded as the uprisings of Albanians proved successful in their endeavors against the policies of the Balkans’ monarchies or Great Powers. These uprisings led to the summoning of the National Assembly to lay the ground for the declaration of Albania’s Independence and the creation of the first Albanian government headed by Ismail Qemali. The good patriotic contribution of the clerics led to their election as chairmen of the highest position in the first Albanian government such as: Vehbi Dibra (Agolli), who was chairman of the Albanian Assembly of the Seniors and Dom Nikoll Kaçorri, who was vice-chairman of the Provisional Government of Vlora. They laid heads together and set forth the idea of creating a pan-Albanian government.
10. The Quran, the soul of the Muslim Ummah
Prof. Dr. Shahid Bushihi, Morocco
As this transformation occurs in individuals, it occurs to communities too. Even when it comes to a community, the Qur’an causes the same change and transformation that does the soul to the body. It brings together the separate parts of society and provides a unique and collaborative model of it. The body of the dead, already abandoned by his soul and decomposed begins to return to its first elements of which it was created, where each element is then returned to the land of its origin. But what happened to the body in case of death? Someone dies and we see that nothing has changed in him, he is the same as was before he has died. On the other hand, everything has changed to him. And what was left of him since aparencial aspect has not changed at all, but on the other hand everything has changed? That thing we know as spirit has gone away. It was the spirit that had unified existence and its physical structure. Was the spirit the one that deterred the decay and disintegration of his body, but also helped his recovery from sickness. It was the spirit the one which had given senses and abilities to him.
11. Hafiz Bajram ef. Agani, initiator and designer of the Kosovo Islamic Community reorganization after World War II (1947-1951)
Ramadan Shkodra, Kosovo Muslim Community
After the end of World War II, Kosovo once again was unfairly separated from its motherland, Albania, and was violently inserted under the administration of the artificial and fictional stucture called Yugoslavia. Due to this act, the Association of Islamic Religion in Kosovo necessarily changed its center fromTirana to Sarajevo, and from 1945 to 1990, it would act as the Association of Islamic Religion of Serbia, namely for Kosovo, Serbia and Vojvodina, with ts headquarters in Prishtina, but operating within the juridiction of Islamic community of the Yugoslav federation, based in Sarajevo.
In these circumstances created after the Second World War in Kosovo and other Albanian territories in former Yugoslavia, a determinant contribution in the organization, functioning, structurization and the direction of the Islamic Community was given by the time generation of Albanian ulama-s, among whom the remarkable visionary Hafiz Bajram ef. Agani, on whose shoulders the main burden would fall, because he was appointed to guide this institution and its structures.
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