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  • A Local's Guide: Top Things to do in Casablanca, Morocco

    Casablanca, the beating heart of the Kingdom of Morocco, a city too majestic to go unnoticed by any traveler seeking a profound Moroccan experience. Once called Casa Branca by the Portuguese, Casablanca is as charming as its name may suggest. Casablanca is the largest city-port in Morocco, located on the Atlantic ocean coast, representing Morocco’s industrial power. Here are the best things to do in Casablanca!   Visit the King Hassan II Mosque! Image Credit: Hans-Jürgen Weinhardt on Unsplash Beyond any doubt, Hassan II mosque, one of the largest mosques on earth, is Casablanca’s most spectacular landmark; it is the pride and joy of the Moroccan people as Muslims. Built on the ocean itself with a minaret that extends out above the clouds, this sacred structure stirs spirituality and admiration of flawless architecture and craftsmanship. There is certainly a religious symbolic reference to God’s throne being over the water as mentioned in the Quran. The interior of the mosque is a splendid manifestation of the remarkable Moroccan artisanship known worldwide: Moroccan zellij tilework paving the walls and pillars, hand-made wood carvings, mosaics, and meticulously sculptured marble. Such dedication in work is the witness of a strong attachment to the Islamic religion. Visiting King Hassan II mosque is certainly one of the best things to do in Casablanca!     Experience a unique culture in Casablanca! Image Credit: Wei Pan on Unsplash One of the best things to do in the city of Casablanca is to experience its lively and unique culture rooted in the Islamic tradition. Although characterized by the modern urban lifestyle, Casablanca has a traditional feeling to it. The architecture is a blend of the French Art Deco style and the medina’s Riyads and ancient mosques. There are plenty of restaurants and the food is simply very delicious! Tajine and Couscous are probably names you have heard of, now is your chance to savor these exotic delicacies.   Image Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash In Morocco, all food is halal! Visiting markets like the Marché Central and Morocco Mall is a satisfactory adventure. Of course, you can buy anything in Casablanca! Take time to check the traditional Moroccan clothing styles: djellaba and caftan are unique garments! If you seek adventure, do not hesitate to get lost in the streets of the medina and perhaps meet some of the locals and treat yourself to a nice cup of Moroccan mint tea in one of many budget-friendly cafés and restaurants, why not visit the famous Rick’s café, a reminiscent of the classic 1942 movie ‘Casablanca’. Hotels in Casablanca offer a wide range of accommodations and vacation ideas for couples and honeymooners. In organized excursions, you can take a short journey to one of Morocco’s imperial cities: El Jadida, home of the famous Portuguese cistern and the Fortress of Mazagan.   Visit the Moroccan Hammam: One of the best things to do in Casablanca! Image Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash The Moroccan Hammam or spa is a unique destination for those who seek healthy relaxation. Hammams are places for cleaning, massage, and healing. They are mostly low-priced but depending on your budget, you may be tempted to try out a high-quality hammam.   Ain Diab beach: A romantic destination in Casablanca! Image Credit: Youssef Bouhsini on Unsplash Visiting Ain Diab beach is one of the best things to do in Casablanca. The beach has many cafés where families come to enjoy food and the air of the ocean in the summertime. Not so far from this beach is the beautiful beach of Mohammedia. Young travelers come to enjoy some of the most beautiful sunset sceneries. That’s not all! There are so many more things to do in Casablanca. Whether you are a young enthusiastic adventurous traveler or seeking a diverse cultural experience, Casablanca is your destination! It is no surprise that the name Casablanca has become synonymous with Morocco, for this city is the gateway to Morocco and the perfect destination for YOU!...

  • Travel News Wrap: 19 October Week

    Singapore Airlines relaunches the World’s Longest Flight Image Credit: Isaac Struna on Unsplash From 9 November 2020, Singapore Airlines (SIA) will operate from Changi Airport to JFK International Airport in New York. SQ23 and SQ24 will fly thrice a week on this route, both ways. Due to the demand for flights to New York, this resumption of flights to JFK International Airport will help with a mix of passenger and cargo traffic. Flying the A350-900, this route will replace the Singapore-Newark route that was suspended due to the climate of the global pandemic. Currently, SIA is operating non-stop services to Los Angeles, USA.    Traveling to Thailand is now possible for Singaporeans Image Credit: Dan Freeman on Unsplash Traveling to Thailand for Singaporeans have been made possible again with the recent developments in Thailand. However, this border-reopening comes with certain conditions that must be met in order to enter Thailand. Since October 7, Thailand requires a Special Tourist Visa (STV) for anyone to enter their country.  Similar to earlier reports, Singaporean residents will have to meet strict conditions in order to be eligible for entry to Thailand. You can view these conditions here. Some of the conditions that have to be met are that visitors must stay in Thailand for a minimum of 90 days and must not have any criminal record either in Thailand or Singapore. Additionally, visitors must also only fly with Singapore Airlines in order to gain access to the country. Please refer to the Thai Embassy’s website for more details.   Germany-Singapore Green Lane Arrangement Image Credit: Håkon Sataøen on Unsplash As announced in a joint press statement, Germany and Singapore have recently agreed to set up a Reciprocal Green Lane for essential business and official travel. Similar to the other existing reciprocal green lanes, visitors traveling under this arrangement will have to abide by the COVID-19 safety measures which have been agreed on by both countries. The decision of this announcement came as both countries have shared that they are planning to use the green lane as a model for similar arrangements between Singapore and the European Union in the future. The details of the arrangement have not been released yet, at the time of writing. Please check with the respective authorities for more details.   Australia is currently in talks with Singapore, Japan, and Korea Image Credit: Paul Carmona on Unsplash In other news, Australia has also been busy with the establishment of their own travel arrangements. Recently, Australia is in talks with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and the South Pacific nations on the reopening of travel. This development came after a steady decline in infections since early August. The countries selected for this have been limited to countries that have been performing well on the health front, according to the authorities in Australia. It has been reported that the arrangement to resume travel between Australia and the countries in question will help businesses on both sides of the arrangement. Currently, no dates have been set for the launch of the travel agreement. Please refer to the respective authorities for more details. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) partners with Airbnb Experiences Image Credit: Zhu Hongzhi on Unsplash Virtual Tourism has been the talk of the town in recent times. Now, the Singapore Tourism Board is partnering with Airbnb Experiences to promote Singapore with the help of Virtual Tourism. The partnership will offer a range of online experiences that are said to be “one-fo-a-kind activities designed and hosted by locals” to the global audience. These Virtual Trips experiences will include cooking sessions with locals, guided museum tours, and dance classes, a virtual visit to The Intan (Peranakan home museum), and a sustainability-themed tour of the Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay amongst others.   United Kingdom Quarantine List Update Image Credit: Eva Dang on Unsplash Some recent changes have been made to the United Kingdom’s travel corridor list.  Escaping the cold winter has is now a reality with the addition of Spain’s Canary Islands, The Maldives, Denmark, and Mykonos being added to the ‘safe’ destinations list. Travelers will not be required to be quarantined upon their return to the UK from these locations from the morning of Sunday, 25 October. However, there are still some safety requirements that have to be met in order for travelers from the UK to enter these destinations, except for Mykonos. Please refer to the respective authorities for more information on the safety requirements of traveling...

  • A Local's Guide: Top 7 Things to do in Lahore, Pakistan

    Every country has a heart. For Pakistan, it's Lahore – a beautiful cultural city in the center of Punjab. With red sandstone walls that speak history, museums that take you back to colonial times, and plenty of sights to discover, this city has a lot to offer, especially to those looking to connect to different cultures in the Muslim world. Hence, there are ample top attractions of Lahore to discover. Part of a Muslim-majority country that is strongly connected to its religious roots, Lahore is the ideal destination for those looking to plan out the perfect halal vacation. These are the best things to do in Lahore.   1. Start your Journey by rejuvenating your soul at the Al-Hafiz Masjid Image Credit: Abuzar Xheikh on Unsplash What can be better than offering Salath at one of the many beautiful mosques of Lahore? Built near the Lahore International Airport, the Al-Hafiz Masjid is a great place for Muslim tourists flying in the city to offer their first Salath at. Similarly, the Wazir Khan Mosque, built in the 17th century and embellished with rich, intricate designs, welcomes all Muslim travelers in congregational prayers at a fair distance of 20km from the airport. Being one of the best places to visit in Lahore, offering your Salath here will be a memorable experience. It will be effortless to find mosques and prayer places near you in Lahore, as the city is full of them.   2. Find yourself traveling time back to the great Mughal Era Image Credit: Nahmar Cheetah on Unsplash The Mughal era was known for many great ordeals, the most prominent ones being their architecture, embedded in all Mosques, historical, and cultural sights of Lahore. The golden age of the Mughal's dominion saw Lahore become the capital of the empire, and today, the ruins of Mughal construction testify to their enduring, timeless grandeur. If you're a fancier of art in historical sights, Lahore's grand history will have you traveling time. No visit to Lahore is complete without a trip to the famed Shalimar Gardens. The scenery of the best park in Lahore is guaranteed to wow you in no time. In the near vicinity, the stunning tiled tomb of Emperor Jahangir awaits your awe. Here, you can witness the most delicate Mughal frescoes and intricately carved marble architecture.   3. Finding solitude at the grand Badshahi Mosque Image Credit: Ayesha Asif on Unsplash Embedded in the center of Lahore's walled city, The Badshahi Mosque is one of the most breathtaking mosques in the country. Today, the Mosque is on every Muslim tourist's must-see list and is definitely one of the best places to visit in Lahore! It has a vast courtyard with the sun gleaming on the marble domes. The best time to visit this Mosque is early in the morning, as less crowd helps you explore the Mosque in solitude. Try offering at least one of your Salaths here, as it is an experience on its own. If you work up an appetite, the Haveli restaurant and Kuku's Den in the Mosque's near vicinity have great halal food and family-friendly entertainment.   4. Exploring Lahore fort and admiring the beauty of Sheesh Mehal Image Credit: Sharjeel Khalid on Unsplash The Lahore Fort is the prime location to visit when finding the best things to do in Lahore. The fort has various gates opening in the city, but the most convenient gate is at the Badshahi Mosque. A security line is present to lead you seamlessly into the fort. The massive fortress has several palaces, museums, and gardens, ready to be explored; hence, it's best to spend a few hours here to observe the diverse styles of architecture found. The fort's most notable palace is Sheesh Mehal, which is made entirely of reflective glass tiles, making it the dreamiest, must-visit place for every tourist.   5. Wandering through the cultural hub – the Anarkali bazaar Image Credit: kanwar Taimoor on Unsplash Beloved by tourists — and rightly so — this is one of the best places to visit in Lahore, particularly if you're looking to stock up on souvenirs! At the Anarkali bazaar, shopkeepers peddle everything from hand-worked Khussas (traditional footwear of India and Pakistan) to ethnic jewelry and everything in between. There are several different mosques and halal food restaurants nearby, each of them not more than a short rickshaw ride away.   6. Enjoying the architect of Lahore's modern drama tradition at the Rafi Peer theatre and AlHamra Arts Council Image Credit: Khalid Mahmood, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons The best way to experience Lahore's culture is through seeing the locals perform theatrical art. Visit Rafi Peer Theater, Pakistan's first puppet show theater. Moreover, grab tickets to the various shows at The Colony and AlHamra Arts Council to enjoy art displays and theatre-plays. This is a great family-friendly activity for those traveling with young children.   7. Indulge in the best thing to do in Lahore – enjoying All-Halal scrumptious food Image Credit: Khurram Sajjad on Unsplash Lahore is renowned for having the best food in Pakistan. Luckily, being a Muslim country, you will find everything halal! Hence, innumerable lip-smacking flavors are waiting to be a part of your journey. Visit the Fort Road Food Street for must-have traditional dishes, such as Lahori Chargha, Halwa Poori, and Lassi. In Lahore, you will find the must-try Pakistani dishes you must not miss out on. If you are looking to find continental food to tease your tastebuds, visit M.M. Alam Road for unlimited great halal food and excellent shopping sprees.  Several things are going to grab your attention in Lahore. The lush green gardens, the canal running through the city, breathtakingly beautiful architecture, an intricate mosque in every corner, mind-blowing halal food, and of course the friendly and very hospitable Lahori people – it doesn’t get better than this, so make sure to add Lahore to your list of travels! For more destination ideas, check out our travel blog to find locations of halal restaurants and mosques near you....

  • Muslim Athlete: Khabib Nurmagomedov Retires

    One of the most revered athletes to ever graced the octagon, Khabib Nurmagomedov retires with an impressive and dominant 29 wins unbeaten in the prestigious mixed martial arts tournament UFC. Even with the dominant performance in the sport, Khabib has always been known to show humbleness in his acts, remaining true to his Islamic faith and heritage. Often reciting "Alhamdulillah" and "Insha Allah" in his public speeches, he is an inspirational figure for Muslims everywhere.   Who is Khabib Nurmagomedov? Image Credit: USA Today Sports Khabib Nurmagomedov was born on the 20th of September 1988 in Sil'di, in the Dagestan, Russia. He then later moved to Kirovaul, which was where his interest in martial arts was ignited as he watched students training at the gym. It is not unusual that the children from Dagestan begin training for MMA at an early age and so did Khabib when he was 8 years old. His father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was an army veteran, he looked after the young prodigy’s training. At 9, Khabib was known to be a good grappler, he even fought a bear. His family moved to Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan in 2001. From the age of 12, Khabib trained in wrestling, judo, and later took up combat sambo. Khabib’s professional journey began in 2008 when he made his MMA debut securing 4 consecutive wins in 1 month. At present, Khabib is signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) where he reigns the UFC Lightweight Champion. With an impressive statistic of 29 wins and 0 losses, he holds the longest undefeated active streak in MMA history. Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov believes going 30-0 would be the 'Floyd Mayweather record of MMA', a record he aims to achieve before he retires. As of 12th October 2020, Khabib is ranked #2 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings. Adding more to his achievements, he is also the most followed Russian celebrity on Instagram having more than 21 million followers. Khabib is the first Muslim to win a UFC title.   What is the meaning of the name Khabib Nurmagomedov? Khabib: is the Arabic word Habib حبيب meaning "beloved" or "most loved". Nur: is the Arabic word Nur نور‎ meaning "The divine light". Magomed: the Russian form of the Arabic name Mohamed or Muhammed محمد‎. It means "praised" ov: a Russian suffix added to male names, meaning "belonging to". The female equivalent of this is "-yeva" or "-ova"   Khabib Nurmagomedov's Retires The Russian star Khabib Nurmagomedov faced one of his toughest challenges to date in the form of Justin Gaethje from America for the UFC Lightweight crown on ‘Fight Island’. Nobody has dominated the MMA universe quite like Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov. With a phenomenal record of 28 wins before the bout, Nurmagomedov has not lost a single fight. If there was anyone who could've broken the streak, it was Gaethje. Gaethje previously gave his career-best performance by defeating Tony Ferguson with a fifth-round TKO at UFC 249 capturing the interim championship. “I'm here to ruin Khabib Nurmagomedov's day," Gaethje said at one of the interviews before the fight. The event though showed otherwise. Following his 29th unbeaten victory at UFC 254, Khabib announced that the win over Gaethje was his final night in the octagon and he announced his retirement in his post-fight interview.   The statistics as of his last fight: Image Credit: UFC   Khabib Nurmagomedov 29 wins (8 KOs, 11 subs, and 10 decisions), unbeaten.   Justin Gaethje 22 wins (19 KOs, 1 sub, and 2 decisions) against 3 losses (2 KOs). When was UFC 254? Date: Sunday, 25th October 2020 (SG)  Where was UFC 254? Location: Flash Forum - Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE What time was UFC 254? Start time: Main Card - 2:00 AM, Sunday, 25th October 2020, Singapore Time (SGT)| Prelims - 00:00 AM, Sunday, 25th October 2020, Singapore Time (SGT) Main Event: 2:00 AM, Sunday, 25th October 2020 How and where to watch UFC 254? How to watch: ESPN+ PPV (main card) | ESPN 2 (prelims) Live stream: fuboTV (try for free) (prelims only)   Who else was on the UFC 254 fight card? Image Credit: MMA ARAB on Facebook UFC lightweight title - Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Justin Gaethje (ic) Middleweight - Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier Heavyweight - Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris Middleweight - Jacob Malkoun vs. Phil Hawes Women's flyweight - Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova Light-heavyweight - Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba Heavyweight - Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa Welterweight - Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov Light-heavyweight - Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey Catchweight (140lbs) - Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney Women's flyweight - Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick Lightweight - Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev...

  • A Local's Guide to Pakistan: Top 6 Unique Destinations to Visit in Islamabad

    If wanderlust is taking you over and you are wondering which Muslim city to add next to your bucket list, Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, surely deserves a place up there. Pakistan is easily amongst the Muslim world's most unique travel destinations, with brilliant food, culture, and friendly people. Among the cities to visit in Pakistan, Islamabad is both an adventure destination and a comfortable getaway from life's monotony. Islamabad is a lively city, and we have compiled an ultimate Muslim visitor’s guide to Islamabad, from which it can be seen that the city is Muslim friendly. Traveling in Islamabad is also easy, as the city is inexpensive and filled with fun activities. It is also family-friendly, with places like Pakistan's natural history museum and Shah Faisal Mosque, which is suitable for both adults and children. Whether you are traveling alone, in a group, or with your significant other – Islamabad is among the best travel destinations for couples and friends. Below are some of the activities you can occupy yourself during your stay in Islamabad.   Witness rich history at the Lok Virsa Museum Image Credit: Ibnazhar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Lok Virsa Museum, also known as a heritage museum, is a cultural and historic museum that showcases Pakistani culture's beautiful evolution. It is a famous tourist spot and several buildings and areas. The diversity of the locals of Pakistan is beautifully captured in the Lok Virsa Museum. It has artworks depicting everything from ancient architecture to minimalist art and a vast multicultural display of all cultures of Pakistan's provinces. The potpourri of colors, art, literature, and architecture at Lok Virsa induces a feeling of connection between the tourists and Pakistan's people.   Unwind at Daman-e-Koh Image Credit: Zarak Khan on Unsplash The natural beauty of Islamabad is unparalleled and can be viewed at its finest from Daman-e-Koh. It is a beautiful spot and is located in the middle of the Margala Hills. The tourists visiting Daman-e-Koh enjoy the scenery and the relaxing fresh air, and the friendly sights of the mountain monkeys interacting with the tourists. Watching the sunset at Daman-e-Koh is a beautiful and soul-enriching experience.    Hear the Azan at the beautiful Faisal Mosque Image Credit: Syed Bilal Javaid on Unsplash The Faisal Mosque is easily the most famous spot in Islamabad. It is a beautiful feat of architecture and finesse. The white-tiled Mosque and the calm aura surrounding it makes you feel at ease and more connected to the divine. Tourists and locals alike visit the Faisal Mosque and hear the call of prayer (Azan) there.   Enjoy scenic cafes and restaurants Image Credit: Kashif Afridi on Unsplash Islamabad is located near the North side of Pakistan, surrounded by Hills, Valleys, and Glaciers. The city has a collection of small cafes and restaurants that present amazing views and great food too. Pakistan is already known for its fantastic food, and Islamabad presents the famous Pakistani taste to you in the best way.   Trek the Margalla Hills National Park Image Credit: Zarak Khan on Unsplash The Margalla Hills National Park is a famous tourist attraction in Islamabad with Margalla hills, Shakarparian Park, and the famous Rawal Lake. You can choose to hike the many trails present in the park or enjoy some quality time with a book lying next to Rawal Lake. The fresh air and brilliant natural colors of the park incite within you a love for nature and traveling. The brilliant flora and fauna, along with the calming aura of the National Park, make you feel relaxed and completely detached from the world's worries.      Have a relaxing picnic at the Neela Sandh Point Image Credit: Abdul Haseeb on Unsplash Neela Sandh Point is located between Rawalpindi and Islamabad and is a clear short-heightened waterfall. Lush trees and greenery surround it with a variety of birdlife chirping in them. The water is clear and blue and attracts tourists from all over the world.   You can either swim in the refreshing water of the spring or choose to sit in a secluded spot and have a picnic – letting go of all the worries of the world as you surround yourself with the fresh smell of the spring, soil, and trees. To find more travel destination suggestions to make your vacation memorable, visit our blog. Download our Halal Trip Travel Mobile App to find out prayer times and the Qibla direction mid-flight....

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    30 seconds walk from Shin Okubo Train station. So many Halal food shops around here. 4th floor is prayer room.