Monthly Archives: April 2016

FOLLOWING THE QURAN AND SUNNAH BUT NOT THE SAHABAH

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allāh have mercy upon him, said:

“Whoever thinks that he can simply take from the Book (the Qur’ān) and the Sunnah without following the Sahābah (the companions of the Prophet ﷺ, may Allāh be pleased with them), and pursues a path other than theirs, is from the people of innovations.”

Source: Mukhtasar Al-Fatāwā Al-Misriyyah p556

MANAGING THE WORK-LIFE-DEATH BALANCE

WORK LIFE DEATH BALANCE

 

The purpose of this article is not to offer any clear-cut instruction; rather, the aim is merely to provoke the reader into contemplating the various issues being discussed.

In the western world we often lament our lack of time. We often observe people who exist within our stratosphere that appear incredibly busy and we look at ourselves in self-depreciating disgust.

I have a few questions related to this image;

  • Does effort and toil necessarily equate to productivity?
  • Is an overwhelmingly demanding schedule the right approach for you?

I will start by offering an example from my own experience of the corporate world. There are colleagues who will put me to shame in their work ethic. Some take on an incredible amount of responsibility and are thus pulled from every sector of the working environment to offer their insights and guidance. Others are limited, or limit themselves to a small working area that they invest a heavy amount of time in.

Often we gravitate towards the former. The celebrity employee – always included in every email message, always in demand to attend any significant meeting and affecting everything and nothing at the same time. The demands on this person’s time, from every angle, can very easily lead to someone who can influence many factions infinitesimally but generally will struggle to achieve anything of significance.

Compare this to the worker who mines a solid hole through a stack of projects. His influence is limited to that particular area but that person’s achievement has the potential to echo throughout the business. An argument can be made that the former is required to tie the work of the latter and this is true. But only one can exist without the other and it is not the celebrity.

Similarly I look towards those brothers and sisters who appear fantastically productive in Islamic activity. They involve themselves in anything that seems productive for their ākhira and sacrifice attaining any form of a professional life in so-called ‘secular sciences’. Dedicating themselves to acquiring knowledge and supporting the dawah. These pantheons of society are examples to the rest of us as we aim to emulate them. For me, when I interact with such a person I find myself hating my pathetic limitations and weak drive. I vaguely ponder over the circumstances that will lead me to be as active.

I am reminded in this scenario of the “Professional Muslim.” This is a person who has the opportunity to be employed in a role that is directly related to the Hereafter. Is it indeed better to work to worship? For example, the employment in an Islamic organisation and the consequent ability to worship Allāh through your work creates the “perfect” scenario. I can see that for those with a thought to their Hereafter, this presents a potentially ideal situation and for those in that situation they are potentially at an advantage.

But, before we lament our loss at the lack of job opportunities in the Islamic Sector (does this even exist?) perhaps we should take a moment to think about that first question again. Does effort and toil lead directly to productivity? Productivity, in this case, being results in the Hereafter. I invite you to think about whether our īmān is capable of maintaining the correct sincerity or Ikhlās balance that we need for such employment. Are you able to demand the comfort of that higher pay rise for example? This is not to say that Islamic organisations should not pay you enough but do you, for example, already earn enough? Are you now carrying out your work because it is your job or because you want to please Allāh? These and other similar complications are perhaps more straight-forward in a job that is not directly associated with an Islamic Organisation. When you volunteer your time it is maybe easier to resolve your sincerity within your own mind when financial compensation is not involved. This is not to say that one is easier than the other. Rather, different people will thrive or struggle in different situations.

This vague example that involves “maybes” and “potentials” directly links to our pursuit of the correct work, life and death balance. There have been many articles written warning readers to strike the correct existential balance where we do not put work above our personal life and unintentionally sacrifice both in pursuit of one. As Muslims we should perhaps temper these studies with our knowledge of what is required of us to hit our over-arching target in this life: the pleasure of Allāh in pursuit of admittance to Jannah.

Is effectiveness perhaps what we should strive for? By effectiveness, I refer to continuity as opposed to achievement. I give you the example of ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu). It is reported that he spent 14 years memorising Sūrah al-Baqarah. With that in mind, and with our knowledge that the person to lead the Salah is the person who has the most knowledge of the Qur’ān, if we were to hypothetically exist during his memorisation period, would our ḥufāth of today be comfortable leading the Salah ahead of Ibn ʿUmar? I would hazard a guess that they would not. So, is it the appearance of achievement that is our aim? Or is it the continuity of pursuit that we aim for? Allāh will not judge us on results. If so, then we, as a Muslim Ummah, will perish miserably on the last day. Allāh is Al-Ḥakīm. Thus, we will be judged on our efforts and sincerity not on our achievements. Perhaps to judge ourselves, private continuity of effort is the most telling sign. How consistently do we pray those two prostrations of night prayer without a soul being aware? How do we set up our learning and knowledge-seeking processes so that they will continue well into the future.

I give you the example of the Muslim youth scene. We are blessed with a variety of options for the knowledge seeker in the UK. Structured weekend learning programmes are available every week, online courses are also widely available, many of which are free. Alḥamdulillāh many of our youth whole-heartedly engage in these activities. But, what happens when our youth grow older? Time constraints are an inevitable aspect of growing older and, as such, we find we suddenly cannot fulfil our desire to engage in these activities. No longer can we travel around the country; no longer can we perhaps neglect our university studies for a short period of time to commit to organising an event. What then? Do we simply reduce our activities to accommodate our increased time constraints? Some may say that this is where the benefits and fruits of working in the Islamic sector can be seen. But my counter-argument is that the Islamic sector is nit weak. Knowledge and access to knowledge is a thriving “industry,” and I mean industry in a pure form. There are now countless institutes for learning and countless aid organisations. Our Ummah is most definitely in its ascendency, albeit it seems slowly. However, can a successful Ummah be built upon a population of scholars? The Prophet’s (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) Saḥāba were nothing less than scholars and they were the most successful of nations. The Saḥāba are more than 100,000, the ones recorded are numbered at around 5000, of those we only have detailed life stories of a handful. Guess which ones we have detailed life stories of? The best ones: the scholars. No doubt that these are the catalysts. But also no doubt that Allāh facilitated that the likes of ʿAbdul Raḥmān b. Awf would donate 2000 awqiyah of gold towards the war effort in Tabūk. As such, we have catalysts and we have facilitators, each as important as the other and neither of them mutually exclusive.

What is wrong in being successful in your professional ‘secular’ field? What is wrong with being able to open doors and give advice to your Muslim brothers? How amazing it is, when you see someone of responsibility and power in the corporate world, someone who is in demand all over the industry and professionally impeccable, practicing his religion to the best of his ability. What doors can this person open for the Ummah? Is it not significant for someone to open a business that turns into a conglomerate that provides a livelihood for Muslim brothers and sisters and pays a multi-billion pound zakāh every year? Imagine the ramifications, politically and economically, if there were several of these conglomerates that we could be proud of as Muslims? Imagine the impact on Dawah when many industries are questioned about ethics but this company has employees who will refuse to work for the company if they are not ethically compliant? Imagine the reward for the owner of such a business to create prayer facilities for all his employees where Salāh becomes the means by which profitability is sought.

This article opens a discussion more than any conclusive argument but, as was mentioned at the beginning of this article, the aim is to provoke thought. Where we expend our efforts and how we seek our wealth are questions that we all ponder from time to time on an individual basis but, perhaps, we should adopt a society-focused mentality wherein we look for what the Ummah needs and try to match our skill-set within that.

Just imagine….

Source: www.islam21c.com

DISCLAIMER: All material found on Islam21c.com is for free and is for information purposes only. All material may be freely copied & shared on condition that it is clearly attributed to Islam21c.com [hyperlinked] as the original source. The views expressed on this site or on any linked sites do not necessarily represent those of Islam21c.com

PRIME MINISTER SLANDERS POPULAR LONDON IMAM

cameron ghani

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron sunk to a new low even for the British Parliament of openly lying and slandering Sheikh Suliman Ghani, saying he was an IS supporter.

The defamatory statement was made during Prime Minister’s Question Time after an MP raised the question of some politicians “sharing a platform with extremists” in regards to the London Mayoral elections where the Labour Candidate Sadiq Khan looks likely to win.

Sheikh Suliman Ghani has always made very clear his opposition to IS / ISIS / ISIL / Daesh and to use Parliamentary privilege in this way, as a member of Parliament cannot be taken to court for what is said there, is a scandalous abuse of political powers even by the low moral standards of British democracy.

The London imam and popular speaker has now challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to repeat his defamatory comments outside the chamber and so open himself up to be legally challenged.

In response to the Prime Minister’s slanderous accusations, Sheikh Suliman Ghani told the Muslim online news site 5Pillars: “I challenge him to repeat those absurd and flagrantly flawed assertions about myself outside the chamber. As those allegations are baseless and an utter lie and if he does so I will sue.”

“In actual fact I have never and will never support IS/Daesh, in fact I have consistently like all mainstream Islamic scholars not only spoken out but condemned IS/Daesh for the monstrosity that they are.”

Suliman Ghani has often been slandered as some form of extremist by the right wing media and online community for his open and brave support for the campaigns against the discriminatory and much discredited anti-extremism policies of the UK government known as Prevent.

This however runs a new low and will allow these rabid voices in the media to instead quote the Prime Minister’s statement, so protecting themselves from the laws against libel in the UK.

It should be noted that in no way could it be said the Sheikh shares all the same views with Sadiq Khan, a secularist, left of centre politician who supports Israel, questions the hijab and has other kufr views, but that they both spoke out and sometimes shared platforms against the governments Prevent Agenda of profiling and discriminating against Muslims in the UK.

HOMESCHOOLING – YES, SOCIALIZATION CAN BE A PROBLEM

Article taken from Sisters-Magazine – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/04/12/bookshelf-fitra-journal/

In this excerpt from the new Muslim Homeschool Quarterly, Fitra Journal, Jamila Alqarnain admits that socialization can be a problem though it shouldn’t be a deterrent.

fitna journal

Yes, Socialization Can Be A Problem
By Jamila Alqarnain

The subject of socialization frequently pops up in the homeschool community. It seems we are always on the defense, trying to convince someone that homeschooled children have just as many opportunities to socialize with other kids as they would if they went to public school. We come up against the “What about socialization?” question not just from the anti-homeschool club, but also from worried parents who are considering the homeschool route. It’s natural that we have become defensive about it. Having the same question asked over and over again can do that to a person. However, I feel like as homeschoolers, we are so sensitive about this subject that we spend most of our time defending ourselves and not addressing the fact that this can be an issue for some families.

Of course homeschooling does not mean a child has to be doomed to a life of solitude. We know that there are plenty of social butterflies having all sorts of awesome adventures in homeschooling. The issue is that not everyone is having a wonderful time of it. Not everyone’s experience is the same. I think that the point should be made to parents considering homeschooling that it is really important to make sure kids have ample opportunity to get out of the house and be around their peers. Most of us simply do not realize that some families are having this problem. This is why I chose to address this unpopular and preferably ignored issue: to build awareness.

When I was working on my book The Muslim Family Guide to Successful Homeschooling, I interviewed adults who had been homeschooled when they were young children. Some complained about not getting out enough to be with other children. They felt that because of this they did not have valuable social skills. They were lonely, and unhappy with their homeschooling experience. I don’t believe that their parents were lazy or unwilling to find outlets for the children. Parents may not know what to do with their children and there may not be a lot of other homeschoolers in the area.

One sister said she lived in a small town and there simply wasn’t that much to do there. We all know that there are some Muslim women who, for whatever reason, just don’t get out a lot. So when they start homeschooling they stay in their usual routine of being homebodies. These sisters need to hear about the importance of taking their kids on playdates, enrolling them in classes, joining co-ops, finding sport outlets, etc. There are questions that they should ask themselves before starting their journey: Are there any other families homeschooling in my area? What classes are offered in my area? If there just aren’t a lot of opportunities for socialization locally, is relocating an option? Can we drive a little further out to meet up with other homeschooling families? What about our masjid? Is there a youth group or other opportunities for my child to socialize with other Muslim kids?

If parents come together and really give these things some thought, they will likely make a way to find plenty of opportunities for their kids to meet up with other kids. This may be more difficult for some than it is for others but it is still possible. We just have to make sure that we leave no stone unturned and take advantage of all the resources available to us.

The ultimate goal is make sure that our children have the best homeschool experience that we can provide. It is on us to ensure that their needs are being met and they are growing, not just academically, but spiritually and characteristically. In order to do that sometimes it takes strategic planning, especially when it’s not clear where the tools we need to meet our children’s needs are going to come from. Do some sleuthing around in your community. More than likely the answers are there. If we make lots of dua while looking for solutions Allah will make a way. He always does.

Jamila Alqarnain, a native of Buffalo, New York, and a 2nd generation Muslim, was an active child whose hobbies included sewing, arts, and crafts, reading, drawing and writing stories. She teamed up with her sister and co-founded Noon Publications. In 2005, she published her first book, The Muslim Family Guide to Successful Homeschooling.

Fitra Journal is published by and for Muslim homeschoolers across the globe and is available through Amazon in print and digital format. Email editor@fitrajournal.com for info on submissions, advertising, and wholesale orders.

THE PROPAGANDA GENIUS OF “WHAT BRITISH MUSLIMS REALLY THINK”

http://www.islam21c.com/politics/the-propaganda-genius-of-what-british-muslims-really-think/

WHAT BRITISH MUSLIMS REALLY THINK

Written by Ayshah Syed, article originally published by Islam21C

On Wednesday night Channel 4 documentaries aired “What British Muslims Really Think”. According to the host, Trevor Phillips, it is a unique new survey [which] reveals how British Muslims really think. And I can honestly say it was a treat. There is so much that can be said about this thinly veiled call to arms against British Muslims and so much to comment on the political implications, criticisms on methodology of collecting findings, problems with sourcing etc. But that can be found in numerous other articles written by a great many political voices across a great many organisations.[1][2]

For me though, as I sat there aghast, watching this appalling and gross abuse of media power, my mind was reeling from the craftsmanship at work here. Maybe because the literary realm and the power of words is my field, or maybe because of my affinity for Tafsīr (the careful analysis of words, meaning and context), or maybe because it was blatantly obvious, I saw before me an artistic piece rich with persuasive conventions, suggestive language, rhetorical techniques, sensory devices and strategic cinematography all efficiently – oh so efficiently, no second to waste; no words allowed that didn’t pull their weight – pushing an agenda of moral panic, fear mongering, and purposeful damage to social and community cohesion, reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices about Muslim communities.[3]

As such, when the editorial team asked if I wanted to write a response to the documentary, I pitched my angle – I asked to go right back to my university days as this should have been shown then, this was exactly what we should have studied. This was a lesson on using language, structure and tone to create a world of pure imagination, persuading the audience it was true, and rallying troops for a daunting end.

Language

On Wednesday night we shared an article from the Guardian newspaper. Its opening lines were:

“What do British Muslims really think? That’s what Trevor Phillips asks in a Channel 4 documentary later this week. It reminds me of the question that I and many other Brits of colour are often asked: “But where are you really from?”

The question here implies that, whatever your Muslim neighbours may tell you, don’t believe them.”

The documentary was littered with such phrases. Under a guise of curiosity or innocent speculation, the constant suggestive statements slowly but persistently nudged the audience into adopting suspicion, fear and even anger over the growing “Mozlem Epidemic”.[4]

It begins.

“Just over 10 years ago … terror struck Britain. None of the bombers survived, but the menace they posed did not perish with them. […] It’s the extremist adherents of one particular faith, Islam, who have created a major fault-line in this country. […] Until now experts, community leaders and politicians of all stripes have tried to reassure the public that extremist views are held only by a tiny minority of British Muslims.”

As the introductory message, riddled with negative, fear-inducing lexis, is set forth, Phillips leaves the viewers with a hankering suspicion that they may be wrong; that the truth of the matter is that this is not in fact the case. Just as we would say ‘You may think it’s easy, but…’ or ‘She seemed really nice on the phone, but…’ or ‘I know the food looks nice, but…’ to begin an alleged expository documentary with a statement such as this sets a standard of expectation to the contrary; that initial beliefs have been flawed; that everyone has ‘tried’ to reassure the public that only a ‘tiny minority’ of British Muslims have extreme views but the fact of the matter is that the ‘terror [that has] struck Britain’ stems from ‘adherents from one particular faith, Islām’. We are now 1 minute into the documentary. Just another 46 minutes of this masterpiece to go.

We then have David Cameron, our Prime Minister, the leader of this nation, in his famous speech offering support to those ‘reforming, moderate voices’ that want to ‘reclaim their religion’. And then Phillips asks:

‘But is David Cameron right to say that most British Muslims share the same values as non-Muslims? And do they reject extremism and violent action in the same way as the whole of British society?’

I would never have thought that to question something David Cameron had said would be to paint Muslims in an even worse light. Apparently I was wrong. Phillips’ leading question here, typical of persuasive and suggestive speech, a question that would be entirely inadmissible as an interrogative question for its implied answer, tells the viewer the answer to expect. “No. Cameron is not right. No. British Muslims do not share the same values. No. They do not reject extremism and violent action. No. They are not the same as the whole of British society.” Already, in 1 minute 30 seconds, Phillips has succinctly and effectively drawn a dividing line between British Muslims and ‘the whole of British society’; he has perpetuated an ‘us and them’ belief.

As if to demonstrate his credentials and the subsequent credibility of the documentary he gives us a touching story of how his work has contributed to the invention of the word ‘Islamophobia’ and how he therefore must be an objective, honest, unbiased, observer, here to deliver facts on ‘the results of a unique new survey [which] reveal how British Muslims themselves answer these questions’.

‘Our findings will shock many’, he says. In other words, in case you couldn’t guess from my leading question: David Cameron is wrong. He suggests that this survey illustrates the ‘looming threat to our very way of life’. A survey on the opinion of British Muslims bears the signs of a looming threat to our very way of life. Looming. Threat. Were a viewer to turn away at any point in this documentary they would have been fed negativity after negativity, fear upon fear, and suspicion against their fellow British Muslims. From the outset, this documentary has a single purpose, and it is committed to fulfilling it. Bear in mind, we do not yet know the findings and we are exactly 2 minutes in.

As much as I would like to, I will not give a second by second account of this documentary. Suffice to say: through use of language and linguistic techniques, through emphasis, through effective pauses, through the very choice of words, Phillips portrays an image of a villainous, threatening band of terrorists living among us.

The best horror film begins on a presumption of normalcy: an ordinary home, a nice street, friendly neighbours. It is when this is inverted and subverted that we feel the most fear. You would expect to find horror at a haunted house, so what you get was coming to you. But the poor unsuspecting citizen going about their daily business who is suddenly ambushed by their butchers, bakers and candlestick makers they had known all their life is all the more pitiable. This is what Phillips ultimately warns the viewers of.

We are quite literally introduced to local butchers in South London while Phillips narrates that this survey gave a true depiction of what Muslims think because most non-Muslims only meet Muslims at work or out shopping. The poor butchers explained how they had been working there for years and always laughed and joked with their multi-racial customers, only to have Phillips swiftly add:

“But this isn’t exactly the encounter where people share their innermost thoughts.”

Read: this survey is true because what your Muslim colleagues or servicemen tell you are lies, the enemy lives among you. These friendly butchers aren’t sharing their innermost thoughts.

‘One place ICM researchers visited is Luton. The 2011 census records some 50,000 Muslims living here.’

The correct, and almost natural, manner in constructing this sentence is as follows:

“One place ICM researchers visited is Luton. The 2011 census records some 50,000 Muslims livingthere.”

His reference to Luton was distanced. It therefore follows that his use of indicative noun should also be the distanced ‘there’. However he opts for ‘here’. Why? As an isolated occasion, this means nothing. But following the ‘looming’ ‘threat’ of deceiving Muslims, the word ‘here’ serves to create a sense of imminence and proximity. They. are. here. Fifty thousand of them. Here. Give no chance to non-residents of Luton feeling safe thinking “at least those terrible people are over there”. No. Wherever you are, if you are watching this, they are ‘here’ in your vicinity.

He assures the viewers he knows ‘good’ British Muslims exist and gives a cursory nod at Nadia Hussain before immediately cutting to a forbidding and terrifying memory of a great tragedy in Britain, the culprits of which came from ‘just fifteen minutes away’. Again, imminence and proximity.

And again, Phillips, almost as if to say ‘Do you see, as I said:’

“The Channel 4 survey explored what Britain’s 3 million Muslims really think on a range of issues.”

Not what they say, not what they claim to be like, but what they really think, what they are really like. Continually drawing parallels with the good exterior and the contrasting evil reality.

Nadia vs. Terrorists.

What British Muslims say vs. What British Muslims think.

Good vs. Evil.

Solely the depiction of statistics on beliefs held by British Muslims regarding homosexuality, suicide bombing, violence, attitudes towards women, perpetuated this notion. Figures such as the 4% of British Muslims who demonstrated some form of sympathy to ‘sensitive matters’ were put on centre stage. The same clip was replayed of Martin Boon, Director of ICM saying

“That implies that just over 100,000 Muslims in the United Kingdom have some form of sympathy with violent acts.”

I wonder what the question was for 100,000 Muslims to have allowed themselves to be depicted as such barbarians.

I would like to focus on what the statistics were. 4% of British Muslims vs. 1% of the rest. That is 99% of the whole population have no sympathy for violent acts and 96% of British Muslims have no sympathy for violent acts. Stop the presses. We have a looming threat. Whereas the 1% of thewhole population is described as ‘just a handful’ the 4% are given a substantive figure of 100,000. If we are talking figures, I would like figures. If we are talking handfuls, then that’s 4 handfuls of British Muslims with dodgy views.

“Britain’s political elite, both left and right, have preferred to believe that only a very small number of Britain’s Muslims sympathise with Islamist terrorism”, Phillips says in an almost mocking tone. Oh these children, believing things again, are we? “The survey suggests otherwise.”

– “Preferred to believe” i.e. blind faith, head in the sand, not facing facts.

– “only a very small number” i.e. “The survey says!” wrong.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

“The survey also suggests that everyone who has pinned their hopes on the rise of liberal and reforming British Muslim voices is in for a disappointment. Those voices are nowhere near as influential or as numerous as they need to be to make an impact.”

Disheartening words. Not just for the non-Muslim viewership but for the Muslims who spend every day working hard to dispel the myth of a brutal Islām, who work hard every day to demonstrate the beauty of Islām, who step outside identifiably Muslim living to be an example of the truth of Islām.

As mentioned earlier. I am not here to contest the accuracy of results or methodology. I write as a viewer and of the destruction this programme caused to a fractured community, of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, which is trying to build a society of cohesion and unity. To trust one another and believe the best in one another. What has happened with the ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude?[5]What has happened to ‘united we stand, divided we fall’? This programme is a shame to those quintessential values made famous by legends. Every word of this documentary fuelled a fire that people toil every day to put out. Every word created fear of the other. Every word created a ‘chasm’ amongst the British.

If you watched this and came away with a negative perception of your British Muslim neighbours, watch it again. This time look out for the narrative being pushed. I have only covered 10 minutes of the documentary. There is so much more to be said.

“Words are powerful forces of nature/ they are destruction/ they are nourishment.”

It is evident which Trevor Phillips chose.

Cinematography

The directors of this documentary must have had fun. They tried their hand at an eerie reconstruction straight out of Watchdog. I can honestly say I feared for the lady’s life and well-being as she walked in a suspect part of the neighbourhood. She is filmed from a shaky-cam perspective as if she were the target of some perversion or murderous intent. She knocks on a door. A man opens it and lets her in. Don’t go in! I want to scream. She walks into a Dickensian setting. It is a dim, unsettling, uninhabited shack of a home. Paint peels off the walls and banisters. He ushers her into the back of the house. She timidly asks if she can ask him some questions. He never speaks. He only ever stares.

This is the only Muslim interviewee the viewers see. Thank you directors, for that choice selection of cast and setting to represent every British Muslim interviewed. Every piece of data you mention will be associated with this gentleman who lives in a bleak house. Even were every word said about Muslims in this documentary positive and comforting or indeed encouraging, it would be shattered by the image of this suspicious man plastered in every person’s mind.

Other spells of genius include a voice over of:

– “underneath these surface attitudes the trends are far less encouraging for those who believe in integration” accompanying an image of said Muslim man.

– “Muslims incorrectly or erroneously conflating what’s happening in Israel-Palestine with Jewish people who have nothing to do with Israel-Palestine or Zionism” accompanying an image of a bearded elder gentleman walking in Britain.

–  “What if that framework (Qur’ānic guidance) collides with the values of wider society?” accompanying an image of a mosque in Britain.

– “the kinds of [terrible, abhorrent, violent, asocial] attitudes revealed by our survey” accompanying an image of men praying in congregation in a mosque.

– “I […] just got the aspirations of British Muslims wrong” accompanying an image of a mosque.

– “There is a problem with this live and let live, laissez faire, approach. Our survey revealed the more people hankered after a separate life the more sympathetic they were to violence and extremism.” following a scene of a Muslim father, mother and children walking on the streets of Britain.

– “Attitudes to violence” accompanying an image of Mr Muslim Man

– “The survey is showing us the emergences of […] a nation within the nation, where many hold different values of behaviour from the majority” accompanying a shot of a marketplace frequented by Muslim shoppers.

Quite unashamedly, the Editors attribute these negative stereotypes to images of the average, every day Muslim. They conflate extreme, violent and intolerant views with what is identifiably Muslim and in so doing push to indoctrinate the minds of the viewers to believe as such too.

Structure

The documentary “What British Muslims Really Think” has proven itself an example of expert movie making. When I was 12 years old learning about Nazi propaganda and its power over the German people, I could not understand how people could be so foolish to be sucked in by what leaflets said, what emissions said, what people said about their fellow citizens and how people could possibly act upon such propaganda to commit heinous acts of ethnic cleansing against the Jewish people. This documentary is exactly that, and the people who are taken in by Trevor Phillips’ words are not as foolish as the 12 year old me thought. They are trusting of what they believe is unbiased reporting for the benefit of their community. Documentaries such as this propagate an ideology of hate and intolerance towards ordinary citizens and they encourage a militia-mentality in British citizens against their fellow Muslim Britons.

After almost an hour of subliminal messages, not-so-subtle discrimination and incessant fear-mongering, Phillips reviews the threat to Britain. “There are now more than 3 million Muslims in Britain […] Britain faces a huge challenge.” He asks: “What are we going to do about it?”

He goes on to say,

“This is not just the responsibility of the government. To stand a chance of success the whole of Britain have to set aside the live and let live philosophy […] and reassert liberal values […We could close our eyes and hope that our problems will vanish] or we could seize the initiative.”

The following words brought a chill to my bones:

‘If anything the Prime Minister’s plans just don’t go far enough. The evidence tells me that we need a much more muscular approach.”

Thank you for encouraging EDL Jack and Racist Jill to take matters into their own hands and do away with the live and let live philosophy. Thank you for pushing out an hour long documentary on the evils of what you believe Muslims think ‘beneath the surface’ and for concluding that our already fearful neighbours need to take a much more muscular approach. For a moment I feared for all my family members and all the innocent and vulnerable Muslims whom your words will have an impact on.

Then I remembered the words of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā),

“Fear not. I am with you; I hear and I see.”[6]

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/12/what-do-muslims-think-skewed-poll-wont-tell-us

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trevor-phillips-research-on-british-muslims-is-dangerous-and-wrong-no-wonder-islamophobia-is-on-the-a6980331.html

[3]http://www.asianimage.co.uk/feeds/14423403._If_I_d_known_Trevor_Philips_would_be_fronting_the_programme_I_would_have_never_have_taken_part_/?ref=twt

[4] Arun Kundnani’s book entitled The Muslims are coming! explores this fear and the rise in the Islamophobia industry. Cf. http://www.islam21c.com/politics/the-muslims-have-come/

[5] http://www.islam21c.com/politics/manufacturing-islamophobia/

[6] Al-Qur’ān, 20:46

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HOPING TO BE HAPPY? BECOME HEALTHY

Written by Tanya Abbasi and originally posted to Islam21C

burger close up

One thing which seriously needs addressing in our communities, aside from our seemingly inherent inability to arrive in time for anything, is the attention we fail to pay to the second greatest gift bestowed upon us by our Creator, namely, our health. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.”1 Yet statistics show that ethnic minorities, in particular South-east Asian men and women, have shockingly higher rates of angina, heart attacks and strokes than the overall general population. Diabetes is also a big issue, particularly amongst Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and Black Caribbean people 2.

Our health is an amānah (trust) from our Lord, one which will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. Yet we fail to appreciate the beauty of this blessing and constantly abuse the rights our bodies have over us. It is vital to remember that good health is not limited to our physical well-being, rather it should be viewed holistically, extending beyond the exoteric to encompass our emotional and spiritual health also.

Truly Islam, being a complete way of life, emphatically stresses the importance of this oft neglected blessing. Diet, nutrition and exercise combined with the remembrance of God and a sincere intention to fulfil our religious obligations is what makes a healthy lifestyle. Using the prophetic guidance to ensure we are fulfilling the rights of our bodies is sure to bring about both worldly and otherworldly success.

We are told by the Almighty: “O Believers! Eat of the good and pure things that We have provided you with and be grateful to Allah, if you truly worship Him3.” The importance of ensuring that we eat only what is lawful and pure cannot be stressed enough. Purity with regards to sustenance encompasses not only the halal stamp on our lamb chops but goes right back to the very source of our income, whether our earnings themselves are halal as well as how our food was prepared, whether we remembered Allah in its preparation or were busy committing sins, either with our limbs or our tongues. As with all aspects of life, Islam teaches us that moderation is key to a healthy diet: “And eat and drink, but waste not in extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste in extravagance.” 4

There is no doubt that exercise does wonders for the health – physical, mental and spiritual. Aerobic exercise fights heart disease and high blood pressure, and reduces the risk of diabetes, whilst weight training increases muscle strength and reduces fat, increases bone density, fights back pain and arthritis, and improves overall mental health. By natural extension, improving our physical and mental health can lead to spiritual well-being. A decrease in activity levels can make a person lazy and apathetic, which in turn makes us feel less inclined to perform our ritual acts of worship such as Salāh. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) would encourage physical activity and himself used to frequently walk, at a quick pace, race, wrestle, practise archery and horse-riding amongst other activities. During the Battle of the Trench, he himself partook in digging the huge trench which surrounded the city of Medīnah to keep out the enemies.

Thus we shouldn’t cheat our bodies, but must aim to take care of them as best we can. A healthy diet should include a balance of nutrients against calorie intake. Avoiding processed foods and instead opting for what is tayyib (pure) would be far more beneficial both for our health and our souls. Exercise should not be put off, even something as simple as walking to the shops instead of driving can make a difference if made a regular substitute. Walking strengthens the heart, increases bone density, builds endurance and most important of all is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Thus we ought to all practise these things in line with the Islamic ethos of moderation and insha’Allah, happiness in our physical, emotional and spiritual will follow.

 

Notes: Tanya Abbasi writes on behalf of 1st Ethical Charitable Trust who empower Muslims to enrich communities through faith based campaigns. For more information, please visit http://www.1stethical.com

Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.[1] Tirmidhi, sahih
[2]  Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2006
[3] Q. 2:172
[4] Q. 7:31

DISCLAIMER: All material found on Islam21c.com is for free and is for information purposes only. All material may be freely copied & shared on condition that it is clearly attributed to Islam21c.com [hyperlinked] as the original source. The views expressed on this site or on any linked sites do not necessarily represent those of Islam21c.com

THE PASSING OF SHEIKH MUHAMMAD AYYOUB

Sheikh Muhammad Ayyoub

Post written by Brother Ejaz Taj,

It was at Fajr time this morning I received the sad news about the passing of our beloved Sheikh Muhammad Ayyoub, rahimahullahu ta’aala from his son in Madinah. He was a man whose life was in service to the Book of Allah and its teaching from his earliest days right through to his final moments before returning to his Lord. Born in Makkah in 1952, the son of a poor Burmese migrant, his family had fled oppression against Muslims in their native Burma. His childhood was difficult. The eldest of his siblings, he had to work to provide for his family (as his father was imprisoned at the time in Burma) while at the same time attending his daily hifdh classes in Makkah. At the time, there were very few developed roads and none of the tunnels through mountains we see today and so the Sheikh mentions in a rare interview that his daily journey on foot to the masjid where he studied involved the ascending and descending of two steep hills between which were wild dogs and other desert creatures. A testament to his dedication from a young age in this era of Skype classes from the comfort of our bedrooms.

As he grew older, he showed a great aptitude for the recitation of the Qur’an, impressing his teacher Sheikh Khaleelur Rahman, who held him to a rigorous high standard and who he accompanied wherever he went, practising and perfecting his recitation.

In the year 1410h (1990) the Sheikh had just been given the position of Imam in Masjid Quba. The head imam of Masjid Nabawi at the time, Sheikh Abdul Aziz As-Salih was informed of a new imam by the name of Muhammad Ayyoub in Masjid Quba who was known for his beautiful voice and excellent skill in recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz towards the end of Sha’ban (just before the start of Ramadan that year) summoned Muhammad Ayyoub to a gathering. Towards the end he called him to sit next to him in front of everyone and asked him to recite. The Sheikh, unsure of what exactly was happening proceeded to recite, something that was as natural to him as breathing, wowing everyone in the gathering. Sheikh Abdul Aziz who was taken aback immediately said to him (with only a few days notice before the start of Ramadan) “You will be leading taraweeh in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah, salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam”. Dazed and unable to believe what had just happened, he prepared himself for the great moment.

He says about his first night in the mihrab of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s) masjid, “My heart was racing and my ears were buzzing. My hands were shaking uncontrollably from the greatness of where I stood and in remembrance of those who stood here before me. I sought refuge with Allah and proceeded.” He also said, “Every single time I stood at the mihrab of the Messenger of Allah, salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam, I was filled with intense awe and a deep fear. A fear that I would not be able to do justice to this great position nor fulfil this heavy responsibility on my shoulders.”

In his first year as Imam, he led all 20 rak’ahs of taraweeh alone for the entirety of Ramadan apart from three days. A feat matched only by one other imam of the Haram, Sheikh ‘Ali Jabir in Masjid Haram (who was a close friend of his and over whom he led the janaza). His teacher Sheikh Khaleelur Rahman was away when Sheikh Muhammad Ayyoub was appointed and only found out when he heard his student on the live radio broadcast from Masjid Nabawi. He would then call him everyday, pray for him and remind him of the importance of sincerity.

The Sheikh would continue to lead taraweeh and tahajjud in the Haram till 1417 after which he was removed. He spent a few years leading at Masjid Quba and various other masaajid. He would continue on to teach tafseer at the Islamic University right up until his retirement in 2014. The Sheikh travelled extensively delivering lectures and study programs on Arabic Language, Qur’an, ‘aqeedah and fiqh in places such as Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Senegal and Turkey. Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham hosted him in the 90s.

After his retirement the Sheikh took on a handful of dedicated huffadh who he would listen to in order to give them ijaaza, daily in Masjid Nabawi right up until he passed away. Despite his ill health, he did this daily and would never fail to show up, often listening to 4 students simultaneously while stopping and correcting each one, something I witnessed personally. He would then head back to his Masjid where he lead ‘Isha and Fajr everyday.

He holds a very unique position in the world of Qur’an reciters, respected widely by Qurraa from all backgrounds and nationalities. He had a massive impact on reciters in Saudi Arabia in general, being a master of the hijazi style which by his aptitude and position at Masjid Nabawi, became very popular. Mishary Rashid in a recent show he did on biographies of modern day Qurra, said about the Sheikh, “He was the Mustafa Ismail of the Arabian Peninsula, in that he was far more influential in shaping the recitation of many reciters and imams of masaajid in that region than anyone else.” Today he is widely imitated even in the Haramain with imams such as Abdullah Johani, Bandar Baleela, Ahmad Talib Hameed and Khalid AlGhamidi in both Makkah and Madinah demonstrating being deeply influenced by him as they studied the Qur’an themselves.

He maintained a sadness that remained with him after no longer being appointed to lead at Masjid Nabawi in 1417h. The Sheikh mentioned in am interview, when asked about his wishes for the future, that he hoped he be given the opportunity to lead in the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam’s masjid one last time before he returns to Allah. His duas were answered as he was appointed one last time to lead taraweeh in the final Ramadan of his life in 1436h (2015) before returning to His Lord at Fajr 9th Rajab 1437h (16th April 2016).

I was blessed to meet the Sheikh a number of times including praying behind him in Ramadan 2015 and again just two weeks ago before his passing, in Masjid Nabawi as he sat and listened to his students. His final words to me were,

“The Arabic language is not difficult. Had it been as such, we would not have been able to memorise and learn the Book of Allah as it has been today from east to west.”

The Janazah will be today 16th April 2016 after Dhuhr in Masjid Nabawi. The Sheikh I believe has 13 children, 5 of them men and 8 of the women. The men are all huffadh and accomplished within their fields and a handful of the women are huffadh, some still memorising and also well studied in their respective fields.

May Allah raise him in rank in the Hereafter and allow the Book to which he dedicated his life to intercede for him in the grave and on Qiyamah. May Allah join him with the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam, Abu Bakr (ra), ‘Umar (ra), ‘Uthman (ra), ‘Ali (ra) and all those of the righteous whom he shared the imamate of that blessed masjid with throughout history, in the Aakhirah. Ameen.

I will post a link the comments below from where many of the Sheikh’s taraweeh recitations can be downloaded. Please pass this link on so that we can share in some sadaqah jariyah for him.