Scottish Muslim groups fail to attend Ahmadi anti-extremism event

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 April, 2016 - 17:05

Sikh, Jewish and Christian representatives attend campaign launch following death of Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah

Ahmadi Muslims in Scotland have launched an anti-extremism campaign following the death of the Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, despite the failure of other prominent Muslims to attend the event.

Representatives of the Glasgow Central Mosque and the Muslim Council of Scotland were invited to attend the launch alongside other faith groups, but the Guardian understands that both sent their apologies at the last minute.

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Judging People As Good Is Also Prejudice

Muslim Matters - 18 April, 2016 - 05:00

“Too much admiration breeds contempt. It is better, I think, to just be understood.”

—the character Salima in His Other Wife by Umm Zakiyyah


“It's not good when Pakistani girls marry Black men,” she said to me.

I sat behind the desk in my office trying to maintain a pleasant expression. It was moments like this that I both treasured and dreaded. I'd always taught my students that they could talk to me about anything, that they didn't have to feel ashamed about their feelings and emotions, and that if they ever needed a listening ear, I was there.

Naturally, it had taken some time for the students to trust me enough to open up and be honest. They were teenagers after all. They viewed most adults with distrust. They even viewed most teenagers with distrust. Sometimes they didn't even trust themselves. So they sat through most classes looking disgruntled and irritable, glancing every now and then at the clock or their wristwatch.

Time will pass. Will you?

My students laughed when I told them about the sign that one of my teachers had taped over the clock when I was in high school.

But as time went on, my students began to look less disgruntled and irritable, and more curious and attentive. Then finally, they relaxed. And when that happened, they became little bursts of energy with so much on their hearts and minds that there wasn't enough time to get through all of it. But I tried my best to incorporate into each lesson and assignment what was most important to them. Every essay, discussion, and debate had their personal touch, and sometimes it was designed entirely by them.

“There's no use teaching in a context that nobody cares about or understands,” I'd tell them whenever they asked why I even bothered adjusting the lesson themes for them. “Learning begins when you see yourself in what is being taught,” I'd explain. “Besides,” I'd joke, “even I'm allergic to boredom.”

“Why do you think it's a bad idea for Pakistani girls to marry Black men?” I asked my student in as neutral a voice as I could muster. I knew my recent lesson theme regarding overcoming cultural and racial prejudice had inspired this office visit, so I told myself she had every right to express her feelings to me after class.

However, on a personal level, it was difficult to withhold expressing my disagreement with the blanket generalization. It wasn't that I thought it was a good idea for Pakistanis to marry African-Americans. It was just that I disliked using the terms good or bad regarding anyone's halaal options, especially for something as intimate as marriage.

“When we let them,” she said, speaking candidly as a representative of Pakistani culture, “things always turn out bad.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, genuinely curious about what she was referring to.

“They usually seem like good men,” she explained, “but then they don't treat the girl right, and she ends up miserable. Then the marriage falls apart, and it hurts the whole family.”

I waited, expecting a more comprehensive explanation. But the extended silence told me that she didn't have anything else to add.

An apologetic look crept on her face as she realized that her words could possibly be offensive. But I nodded to acknowledge that I'd heard her, though I had a different perspective.

“When things turn out like that,” I said finally, “it's usually because other cultures are unfamiliar with Black American culture. So you have no way to distinguish between a good or bad person for marriage. A person whose external appearance suggests he is a good Muslim is automatically counted as a good man to marry. But another person from that same culture would see signs that you wouldn't because they are more familiar with the subtle red flags that someone on the outside wouldn't pick up on.”

I then explained to her the dangers of feeling comfortable making assumptions about a group of people simply because you felt you'd already assumed the best but they let you down.

“Starting off with the assumption of good is usually just the flip side of starting off with the assumption of bad,” I told her. “They're really not too different from each other.”

And often, the former leads to more long-term prejudice than the latter, I explained. Because it's much more difficult to change your prejudicial attitude once you imagine you've already “given them a chance.”

Unhealthy Prejudice

Unhealthy prejudice isn't only in judging certain people as generally bad. It is also in judging certain people as generally good. Too often, in our efforts to fight our inclinations toward superficial prejudice, we engage in overcompensation and voluntary blindness, as many cultural groups do in their enthusiasm to embrace “the other,” whether in friendships or marriages.

Here, if our cultural or privileged background consistently judges another culture or group negatively, we go to the opposite extreme by consistently judging them positively. But in both cases you are using superficial cues to come to a conclusion about someone, and this is the very essence of prejudice.



Of the harms of the presumption of good in a people is that when we face clear evil amongst them (as we inevitably will with any group of human beings), we either rationalize the evil and thus become a force against good. Or we give up entirely and become even more prejudiced than before, thinking, “I thought they were good, but they really are corrupt!”

Yet the very meaning of bigotry is the inability (or refusal) to look at others as individuals who are fully human just like you.

Thus, lack of prejudice requires the assumption of neither good nor evil. In fact, it requires no assumptions at all. Except the assumption of humanity.

Therefore, the only way to overcome unhealthy prejudice is to allow a person's character, as displayed in their patterns of speech and behavior, to tell us of their good or evil. Just as your own patterns tell others of yours.



Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel His Other Wife is now available. Read HIS OTHER WIFE novel now: CLICK HERE.

To learn more about the author, visit or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

The Guardian view on Pope Francis in Lesbos: he must change hearts | Editorial

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 April, 2016 - 19:47
By taking three Muslim families into the Vatican, the pope has launched the opposite of a crusade. Will Europe follow him?

Pope Francis’s visit to Lesbos was an extraordinary piece of political theatre. Not since John Paul II kissed the soil of his native Poland when he disembarked from a plane on his first visit as pope has there been a gesture so eloquent as Pope Francis taking three Muslim families back to the Vatican for refuge. When he was asked why there were no Christians, he replied that the Christian families that had been considered did not have their paperwork in order. Apart from the paperwork, the only criterion, he said, was that the refugees should be children of God. This is a direct and radical challenge to almost all the European countries’ reponses to the migration crisis. For Francis, the problem is suffering, and the immediate duty of a Christian, or of any human being, is to relieve it. This is something that most of the countries of Europe no longer appear to believe.

Since the great uprush of sympathy last year, prompted by the photographs of a dead two-year-old refugee, Alan Kurdi, sentiment has turned decisively against the migrants. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been forced into a humiliating deal with Turkey to try to ensure that only refugees, not economic migrants, can reach Greece. This has not pacified her critics on the right, while those on the left have been outraged by her decision to allow President Erdoğan to sue a German television satirist under an obsolete law against defaming foreign heads of state. Sweden has almost entirely closed its door to refugees, and is making absurd and incredible threats to deport hundreds of thousands of them. Denmark and Norway have hardened their tone to the point where there has been talk about imprisoning all new arrivals, or confiscating valuables to pay for their stay. Britain never planned to take any significant numbers, and is entering a slow convulsion of an EU referendum where the danger is that the real subject becomes immigration rather then the niceties of trade arrangements or the bureaucracies of European integration. The largely Catholic countries of eastern Europe are resolutely opposed to the pope’s message. They want no immigrants and especially no Muslim ones. He still sees the sea where Alan Kurdi drowned, as “a cemetery”: that’s what he called it on the plane to Greece. But for the north of Europe, the Mediterranean is now a moat, and the mood is to pull up the drawbridge and hope the walls will hold.

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Trevor Phillips: race-baiting again

Indigo Jo Blogs - 17 April, 2016 - 15:57

Note: I started writing this last Tuesday and finished today (Sunday) as work made it impossible to complete during the week.

A front page from the Daily Mail, with the headlines "Warning on 'UK Muslim Ghettoes'".I’d rather not be writing this entry. Last week there were two important documentaries: a Channel 4 Dispatches on disabled people being humiliated by benefits assessors, and a BBC Panorama about young mentally-ill people being held hundreds of miles from home and in some cases dying for lack of decent mental health care anywhere near home (the Humber region comes up yet again). But Trevor Phillips has been out race-baiting again, saying “things you can’t say” about race and race relations in a mass-circulation daily newspaper and on a prime-time TV documentary, as he was in March last year. This time, on the basis of a dubious interpretation of a tiny study (PDF) of British Muslims, he’s telling everyone else “what we really think” and scaremongering about the “dangers” of allowing Muslim “ghettoes”, or “a nation within a nation”, to exist.

Trevor Phillips (and his publishers) repeatedly stress his authority as the head of a racial equality watchdog and more recently the head of the pan-equality watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, set up under the last Labour government. He also repeatedly stresses that he was the chair of the Runnymede Trust when it commissioned its groundbreaking report into Islamophobia (summary here; PDF) in 1997. Khalida Khan of the An-Nisa Society published a blog article which noted that Phillips’s role in that was minor, that he was not chair when it was published, that it was Robin Richardson and Khaushika Amin who initiated the report and took it forward and that he is believed to have lobbied against the report with the Labour government behind the scenes. This incident is presented so as to give Phillips’s new stance greater authority — that “one of the Muslims’ biggest supporters” has done a big U-turn — but in fact he was never a great advocate for Muslims.

His article for the Daily Mail contains a number of plainly inaccurate, scaremongering claims. He alleges that “we have recently seen the murder of a leading Scottish Muslim, the killer citing ‘disrespect’ of the faith”. Asad Shah was not “a leading Scottish Muslim”; he was a shopkeeper who had broken away from a sect that was already rejected by Muslims by claiming to be a new prophet and Messiah. He was a crank and may have been mentally ill. This does not justify his murder by any means, but being famous and having a Muslim name does not make you a “leading Muslim”. He claims that a fifth of Muslims have not entered a non-Muslim house in the past year; how many white people have never entered a Muslim’s house in their lifetime? In some places I would wager it was much greater than a fifth. Allegedly 4%, “the equivalent of more than 100,000 British Muslims”, reported sympathy for suicide bombers; except that the equivalence is false, because that 4% is only 40 people (you may recall similar tricks in the ThinkProgress study of converts in the USA in February). And there is the broad claim that “all the while, girls are shipped off to have their genitals mutilated, young women and men are being pressured into marriages they do not want, and teenagers are being seduced into donning suicide vests or becoming jihadi brides”, without a shred of evidence to back it up. FGM is principally an African problem that does not only affect Muslims.

Others (such as Miqdad Versi and Abdul-Azim Ahmed) have picked apart the findings of the survey and what Phillips has done with the results. Only 1,081 people were asked, 405 whom were in London. That’s an astonishing bias. Only 144 people were in the north-west (this includes Manchester and all the towns of Lancashire), 120 in the Yorkshire/Humber region — that includes Leeds, Bradford, Dewsbury, Keighley, Sheffield — and only 56 in the East Midlands, where the populations are indeed smaller but it includes strong Muslim minorities. If one takes a survey of Muslim attitudes in Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Loughborough (an important university town) and asks only 56 people, this would be dismissed as entirely worthless and unscientific, yet these tiny numbers are being judged as representative of Muslim attitudes in that and every other region. The sub-groups of sub-groups dwarf the total size of the survey and no amount of ‘weighting’ will change that.

A major flaw in the study was that the control group consisted of generic “non-Muslims”, rather than specific groups of them, in particular practising followers of other religions, and people with familial or cultural links to conflict zones: Jews, Tamils and north Indian Hindus for example. This is because questions were asked about Muslim views on homosexuality and about whether they agreed with the use of suicide bombings or other acts of violence to pursue political goals, and during the documentary Phillips remarked that Hindus and Sikhs were better integrated than Muslims. The survey found that a large proportion of the Muslims asked said homosexuality should be illegal, but hostility to homosexuality can be found among other strongly religious people, including whites, and significantly all the court cases related to discrimination against gays have involved white and African Christians, not Muslims, and as I have mentioned here in the past, the websites which support the Christians involved in those cases (and even one who wanted to get out of caring for disabled children on a Sunday) also promote Islamophobia by complaining of and overstating concessions to Muslims. (Phillips’s survey found that 35% of the Muslims asked believed Jews had too much power; he did not ask his control group whether they believed that Muslims got special treatment as regards hijab, removals of offensive material etc., which is commonly alleged in the mass media.)

Similarly, the questions about support for terrorism or suicide bombings were fallaciously compared with a generic “non-Muslim” control group which would have consisted mostly of white people with no particular reason to sympathise with Hamas or Tamil Tiger suicide bombers. In other conflict zones where there are links to the diaspora here, the government or paramilitary groups with popular support have committed atrocities against civilians or used typical terrorist methods such as bombings or suicide bombings against civilians. It’s well-known that there is widespread (though not universal) support among the three minorities mentioned for the perpetrators of abuses in Palestine, Sri Lanka and Gujarat (and elsewhere in northern India); there has also been fundraising for the Hindu far right and the Tamil Tigers here. Phillips presents it as particularly worrying that Muslims who favour living separate lives from non-Muslims are more likely to support terrorism or political violence than those who favour integration, but the other three minorities mentioned do not live scattered among the general population either. They live in areas with heavy concentrations which are easily identified from the shops.

This is not a matter of “what about” or “tu quoque”. Phillips is presenting the Muslims as particularly unintegrated, particularly prone to reactionary attitudes and particularly given to support for violence, yet he chooses to shine no light on similar attitudes among other minorities or, indeed, equivalent views among the white population. If you ask whether it is acceptable to bomb civilian areas of countries during a war situation where there is an indirect benefit to the war effort, a good percentage will answer yes. It’s been part of the western way of winning wars for the past century. The majority of people are not pacifists, for the simple reason that lying down in front of tanks does not win wars or end oppression (they tried it in Tiananmen Square, you may remember). Pacifism had a brief flowering in Britain in the inter-war years and was discredited by the rise of Hitler. Non-violent ‘resistance’ is the method favoured for groups one would like to see defeated; this is why Zionist sympathisers from Michael Moore to Charles Moore have recommended it to the Palestinians.

Phillips also brings out his familiar complaint about Muslims forming “ghettoes”. He uses this term (along with “segregation”) a lot. Never mind that ghettoes are districts either legally designated or socially engineered to consist entirely of a given minority, and that segregation was a legal régime that dictated where Black people could live, shop and eat, who they could marry and so on. Diasporas have always lived together; they do so for protection in numbers against racism and so as to be close to their food shops and places of worship, neither of which would be sustainable if they scattered themselves among the general population. Such assimilation occurs where a minority is similar in both appearance and culture to the majority, such as the various north European migrants to the USA; it rarely occurs when there are even minor differences that could encourage prejudice (e.g. Italians in the USA). His solutions are imperialist, casting over-powerful minorities as a problem. He suggests “ensuring that schools … are not taken over by any single minority group”; a white-controlled school is no problem. He demands “strict monitoring of the ethnic composition of housing estates to prevent them becoming ‘ghetto villages’, little islands separate from the rest of their districts”. That boat has already sailed; no new council estates are being built, at least not in the south-east; all we are seeing built is exclusive flats and expensive “starter homes”. Newcomers now simply have to live where there are homes to live in.

Why is Phillips so hostile to Muslims? After all, there are enough problems in his own community for him to have made at least two hour-long documentaries about: gangs, territorialism, street stabbings, violence against women. Is he trying to deflect public attention away from those problems? Perhaps, but he’s also part of an “old guard” of secular race relations politicians who were challenged in the 1990s by Muslims who were seeking to revive a Muslim way of life and to challenge specific prejudices and discrimination against them on grounds of religion, which the old race industry would not concern itself with unless there were clear racial overtones to it. Much as is the case with white feminists in Europe, the likes of Trevor Phillips are single-minority, ‘respectable’ figures who believe they have a right to leadership over all minority ethnic people, and resent anyone who challenges or rejects their presumed authority. This sense of entitlement, and his political connections (Tony Blair, for example, favoured him to be mayor of London in 2000), has never won him elective office; he has had to settle for being a quangocrat. “What British Muslims Really Think” is an unnecessary, inflammatory and dishonest programme based on a survey so tiny as to be worthless from a man who has spent the past ten years since his mayoral ambitions were thwarted using his media connections and the right-wing tabloids to foment hatred against a minority that challenged his authority.

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An Issue with Slavery | Dr Hatem Al Haj

Muslim Matters - 17 April, 2016 - 09:36

By Dr Hatem Al Haj


The issue of slavery may be of the hardest issues to discuss. Our collective conscience as a global community is extremely averse to the discussion because of a variety of factors, not least of which is the cruel treatment slaves suffered for centuries. Many preachers find it difficult to talk about the issue, particularly when they are asked why Islam did not take an immediate and absolute abolitionist stance from it. Furthermore, reference books of Islamic law have extensive discussions of the rulings pertaining to the slaves, which cause many educators discomfort when they have to address them. In the following article, I will attempt to highlight some of the facts about Islam's stance from slavery.

A Historical Matter

To begin with, any discussion of slavery in Islam that does not put the issue in its proper historical context will be flawed. No heavenly religion sought to deplete the institution of slavery more than Islam did. Islam would, therefore, welcome the current state of abolishment of slavery worldwide, and it would certainly be keen on all the nations of the world maintaining that. A central credo of Muslim conduct is that when they engage in any agreement, they must make good on their agreement. To this point Allah said:

“يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَوۡفُواْ بِٱلۡعُقُودِ‌”

{O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts…} (al-Mâ'idah 5: 1)

This article's defense of the Islamic stance on slavery and its mention of the excellent treatment of the slaves in Islam is only a matter of a historical and theological importance. After all, a Muslim must never posit that any Divine legislation revealed to any messenger of God was sub-ethical. An abolitionist stance at the time of revelation would have not been wiser or more ethical, and would have not served the cause of emancipation of the slaves of the time.

Never Racist

The second most important point to highlight is that slavery in Islam has never been a racist practice. There were slaves of all nations in the early history of the Muslim state. Even before Islam, the Arabs had slaves of all races. The most famous slaves in the history of Islam are Salmân the Persian, Bilâl the Abyssinian, and Suhayb the Roman. Indeed, as British historian S.H. Leeder writes, the issue of color was irrelevant to the early Muslims.

“TAKE away that black man!” exclaimed the Christian Archbishop Cyrus. “I can have no discussion with him!” when the Arab conquerors had sent a deputation of their ablest men to discuss terms of surrender of the capital of Egypt, headed by the negro Ubâdah, as the ablest of them all.

To the scared archbishop's astonishment, he was told that this man was commissioned by the General Amr; that the Moslems held negroes and white men in equal respect— judging a man by his character and not by his colour. [S.H. Leeder, Veiled Mysteries of Egypt and the Religion of Islam (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1913), 332.]

Slavery before Islam and in Other Religions

Slavery existed before Islam, and it spanned nearly every culture, nationality, and religion. While it may have not been known among hunter-gatherer populations, it was a part of every ancient civilization. In both a socio-geographic and religious context, slavery was both normalized and tolerated worldwide, including in pre-Columbian America. Slavery was also common in Africa. In fact, in non-Muslim Africa, there were wide-spread pagan practices associated with slavery, such as burying one or two young slaves alive next to their deceased master. The spread of Islam is credited with ending this practice. [Gordon, M. (1989). Slavery in the Arab world. New York: New Amsterdam. p. 7.]

Upon further research, it becomes apparent that no religion encouraged the ending of the practice as much as Islam did. Moreover, no religion encouraged the beneficent treatment of the slaves as much as Islam did.

Here are some mentions of slavery in the Bible. (Note that the new translations changed the word “slave” to “servant,” to be politically correct!):

Numbers 31: 17-18

“Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

This is a clear communication attributed to Moses 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) allowing the enslavement of concubines and having sex with them.

Leviticus 25: 44-46

“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.  You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly…”

Exodus 21: 2-11

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.  “If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.  “If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.  “But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.”

Will Durant (an American historian and philosopher) describes the position of the Church as follows:

The Church did not condemn slavery. Orthodox and heretic, Roman and barbarian alike assumed the institution to be natural and indestructible; a few philosophers protested, but they too had slaves… Pagan laws condemned to slavery any free woman who married a slave; the laws of Constantine ordered the woman to be executed, and the slave to be burned alive. The Emperor Gratian decreed that a slave who accused his master of any offense except high treason to the state should be burned alive at once, without inquiring into the justice of the charge. [Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Vol. 4, The Age of Faith (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950.]

Islam's Answer to the Dilemma of Slavery

It may be said that Islam did not take an absolute abolitionist stance on the institution of slavery, and this is true. One must remember, though, that during the time of the ministry of the Prophet (SA), not only was the immediate abolitionist approach not proposed by any religious or secular order, but it would have been infeasible. Furthermore, it might have resulted in a great deal of social and economic turmoil, not only for the communities at large, but firstly for the many slaves who would have not been able to fend for themselves.

In addition to this, the dilemma of the war captives and what to do with them made slavery the surest path to the preservation of their lives. In the past, due to the scarcity of resources, armies could not keep the captives in prisons and feed them, etc. It was also not always possible to free them because then they would regroup and go back to fighting.

Finally, since the enslavement of captives was a common practice of all armies, it would have been unexpected for the Muslims to be taken as captives if they lost and yet be mandated to free all the captives if they won.

Hence, Islam's answer to the dilemma of slavery can be summarized in two major points:

  1. Gradual depletion of the institution by cutting off its tributaries and widening its runoffs
  2. The enjoinment of the excellent treatment of the slaves as long as the institution survived

In the following paragraphs, I will address these two points.

The Gradual Depletion of the Institution of Slavery

When one wishes to deplete a river of its water, there are two possibilities: either cut off its tributaries or increase its runoffs. Relating this analogy to slavery, in terms of the cutting off of tributaries, before Islam a person could be condemned into slavery through various means, including a man selling his own wife or child, child abandonment, debt-slavery, captivity in war, kidnapping, or as a punishment for certain crimes. Islam cut off all of those tributaries feeding into the river of slavery except for one: captivity in war, for, as mentioned previously, it was a logistical necessity at times, and more importantly, enslavement helped protect the captives' lives. Despite that, Islam recommended freeing those captives. The Prophet said:

“فُكُّوا الْعَانِيَ يَعْنِي الْأَسِيرَ وَأَطْعِمُوا الْجَائِعَ وَعُودُوا الْمَرِيضَ”

Free the captives, feed the hungry and visit the sick.” (Bukhari)

Islam's Encouragement of the Emancipation of Slaves

In Islam, the emancipation of slaves is considered one of the greatest virtues and ways of earning the Lord's pleasure. Listed here are some pieces of evidence to this effect from the Qur'an and the Sunnah:

Allah said:

“وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ*فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ *وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَة* فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ”

{And have shown him (humankind) the two ways [of good and evil]? But he has not broken through the difficult pass [to righteousness]. And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass? It is the freeing of a slave.} (Al-Balad 90: 11-13)

“لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ …”

{Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves;…} (Al-Baqarah 2: 177(

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“من أَعْتَقَ رَقَبَةً مُسْلِمَةً أَعْتَقَ الله بِكُلِّ عُضْوٍ منه عُضْوًا من النَّارِ…”

Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (hell) fire as he has freed the body parts of the slave.

Sa`eed ibn Marjânah said that he narrated that hadith to `Ali ibn al-H@usayn, and he freed his slave, for whom `Abdullâh ibn Ja`far had offered him ten thousand dirhams, or one thousand dinars. (Bukhari)

Abu Hurayrah also narrated that he Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“من أَعْتَقَ شِقْصًا له في عَبْدٍ أُعْتِقَ كُلُّهُ إن كان له مَالٌ وَإِلَّا يستسعى غير مَشْقُوقٍ عليه”

“Whoever frees his portion of a common slave should free the slave completely by paying the rest of his price from his money if he has enough money; otherwise the price of the slave is to be estimated, and the slave is to be helped to work without hardship until he pays the rest of his price.” (Bukhari)

Islam also offered the expiation of many sins by the freeing of slaves (a much more conducive way of redemption than giving money to a religious institution).

Yet the most ingenious system Islam legislated was to give the slaves control over their passage into the world of the free by allowing them to purchase their freedom with the help of the community that was ordered by Allah to support their cause. Allah says:

“وَٱلَّذِينَ يَبۡتَغُونَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُكُمۡ فَكَاتِبُوهُمۡ إِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمۡ فِيہِمۡ خَيۡرً۬ا‌ۖ وَءَاتُوهُم مِّن مَّالِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ”

{…And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess – then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you…} (An-Noor 24: 33)

This was beneficial for the slaves who had to be weaned from independence on their masters for provisions, for they would face problems if they suddenly found themselves required to provide themselves with food, clothes and shelter. (One must not underestimate what this could have meant to the stability and security of the society if the slaves were all freed at once by a mandate). It was also beneficial for the masters who were, to a great extent, dependent on the slaves for their businesses.

This was also favorable for the community, for they would see responsible people, who knew the value of work and labor, moving from the ranks of the slaves to those of the free.

Finally, in attestation to what I mentioned above about the Islamic plan for the depletion of slavery, C. Snouck Hurgronje said:

Setting slaves free is one of the most meritorious pious works, and, at the same time, the regular atonement for certain transgressions of the sacred law. So, according to Mohammedan principles, slavery is an institution destined to disappear. [C. Snouk Hurgronje, Mohammedanism (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1916), 129.]

Islam's Enjoinment of the Excellent Treatment of the Slaves

The excellent treatment of slaves in Islam is a fact that I will try to highlight by proofs from the textual and historical accounts, including testimonies by non-Muslim historians and thinkers.

In the Qur'an there are several verses commanding the good treatment of slaves, including:

“وَاعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالجَنبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالاً فَخُورًا”

{Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.} (an-Nisâ' 4: 36)

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded us repeatedly to treat the slaves with mercy and compassion. One of his last recommendations to the Muslims, prior to his death, was to fear Allah regarding their slaves. A quick review of the following hadiths will further testify to his instructions regarding the excellent treatment of slaves:

“ولا يَقُلْ أحدكم عَبْدِي أَمَتِي وَلْيَقُلْ فَتَايَ فَتَاتِي غُلَامِي”

None of you should say: My slave (abdi) and My slave-woman – for you are all (Allah's) slaves, and the Lord is Allah, Most High. (a sound hadith recorded by Abu Dawood)

Al-Ma`roor ibn Suwayd narrated: I saw Abu Dharr al-Ghifâri wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a cloak. We asked him about that (how both were wearing similar cloaks).

He replied: Once I abused a man, and he complained of me to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) asked me,

“يا أَبَا ذَرٍّ أَعَيَّرْتَهُ بِأُمِّهِ إِنَّكَ امْرُؤٌ فِيكَ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ إِخْوَانُكُمْ خَوَلُكُمْ جَعَلَهُمْ الله تَحْتَ أَيْدِيكُمْ فَمَنْ كان أَخُوهُ تَحْتَ يَدِهِ فَلْيُطْعِمْهُ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ وَلْيُلْبِسْهُ مِمَّا يَلْبَسُ ولا تُكَلِّفُوهُمْ ما يَغْلِبُهُمْ فَإِنْ كَلَّفْتُمُوهُمْ فَأَعِينُوهُمْ”

Did you abuse him by slighting his mother? You are a man who has jahiliyah (pre-Islamic ignorance and disbelief). He added: Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So if one has one's brethren under one's control, he should feed them with the like of what he eats and clothe them with the like of what he wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job).>> (Bukhari 3:46:721)

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) unequivocally prohibited the separation between a mother and her slave child. Abu Musa reported that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“لَعَنَ رسُولُ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – من فَرَّقَ بين الْوَالِدَةِ وَوَلَدِهَا وَبَيْنَ الْأَخِ وَبَيْنَ أَخِيهِ”

May he be cursed, he who separates a mother from her child or a brother from his sibling. (A weak hadith recorded by at-Tirmidhi)

And for one who humiliates his slave by beating him or slapping him, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“من لَطَمَ مَمْلُوكَهُ أو ضَرَبَهُ فَكَفَّارَتُهُ أَنْ يُعْتِقَهُ”

He who slaps his slave or beats him, there is no expiation for this but to free him. (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was always concerned about the wellbeing of the salves that he would always mention them at the times where he expected the greatest attention from his audience, such as the time of his death and during the Farewell Pilgrimage, where he had the largest audience in his lifetime. “As for your slaves, male and female,” he exhorted them at the Farewell Pilgrimage, “feed them with what you eat yourself and clothe them with what you wear. If you cannot keep them or they commit any fault, discharge them. They are God's people like unto you and be kind unto them.” [Gordon, M. (1989). Slavery in the Arab world. New York: New Amsterdam. p. 19.]

Because of the aforementioned examples of the divine and prophetic instructions regarding slavery, no other nation or religious group in the world treated slaves better than the Muslims did, and here are the testimonies of the non-Muslim historians and leaders regarding this very fact:

On the attitude of the Muslim master towards his slaves, American historian and philosopher Will Durant writes:

…he handled them with a genial humanity that made their lot no worse – perhaps better, as more secure – than that of a factory worker in nineteenth-century Europe… It is astonishing how many sons of slaves rose to high place in the intellectual and political world of Islam, how many, like Mahmud and the early Mameluks, became kings. [Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Vol. 4, The Age of Faith (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950), 209.]

At the end of the 18th century, Mouradgea d'Ohsson (an Armenian historian and diplomat who wrote extensively about the Ottoman Empire) declared:

There is perhaps no nation where the captives, the slaves, the very toilers in the galleys are better provided for or treated with more kindness than among the Muhammedans. [H. A. R. Gibb and J. H. Kramers, ed., The Encyclopaedia of Islam: New Edition, vol. 1 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986), 35.]

Napoleon Bonaparte, a military leader who was Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814, is recorded as saying about the condition of slaves in Muslim countries:

In the East, slavery never had the same characteristics as in the West. The slavery of the East is that which is seen in the Holy Scripture: the slave inherits from his master and marries his daughter. Most of the Pashas had been slaves; a great number of grand viziers, all the Mamluks, Ali Bey al-Kabir, and Murad Bey had all been slaves. They started by performing the most menial services in the house of their master and subsequently rose in status because of their merit or through favours. In the West, on the other hand, the slave was always below the domestic servant; he occupied the lowest rank… (Christian Cherfils, Bonaparte et l'Islam d'après les Documents Français & Arabes (Paris: Libraire de la Cour d'Appel et de l'Ordre des Avocats, 1914), 124.)


I would conclude by emphasizing that Islam was keen on the emancipation of the slaves, and it enjoined this throughout its teachings. The original and natural state in which God created his servants is the state of freedom, and He desires a return to that freedom. Let us all pray for the deliverance of all people from all forms of disguised slavery that exist in our world today and for the end of all manifestations of subjugation of people by others.

Dr Hatem Al Haj is a member of the the Permanent Fatwa Committee, Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA). He has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University, Tripoli, Lebanon. He is Mishkah University's dean in the College of Islamic Studies, English

Southwest Airlines draws outrage over man removed for speaking Arabic

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 April, 2016 - 22:41

‘This is what Islamophobia looks like,’ the Iraq-born researcher told local press, in the latest instance of what critics call a trend of racial profiling on US flights

The account of a UC Berkeley researcher who was removed from a flight after a fellow passenger heard him speak Arabic on his phone has drawn condemnation and outrage for the airliner, Southwest, about a perceived pattern of barring travel.

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the university, was removed from the Oakland-bound flight from Los Angeles International Airport on 6 April. Makhzoomi, 26, was born in Iraq, and his family fled the country in 2002 after his diplomat father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Related: Southwest Airlines criticized after incidents involving Middle Eastern passengers

(Would I be reported if I started speaking Arabic in an airport? Could actually do that experiment...)

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Goldsmith denies anti-Muslim strategy as London mayor contest turn sour

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 April, 2016 - 15:06

A vicious cycle of suspicion, allegation and angry denial is disfiguring the fight for City Hall

We’re at that seductive stage in many election races when a consensus starts to form that one side cannot win and the other is within sight of victory. The London mayor contest now has some of that beguiling quality. It began with opinion polls earlier this month showing Labour’s Sadiq Khan maintaining a healthy lead over the Conservative Zac Goldsmith. It continued with reports of London Tories in despair. And has strengthened in recent days due to mishaps befalling Goldsmith’s intensified attempts to depict Khan as a useful idiot for Islamist extremists.

Is a Tory defeat inevitable? The very fact that Goldsmith has revved up this element of his campaign is being characterised by Khan as a sign of weakness and a lack of anything else with which to catch the London electorate’s eye. The Labour man’s favourite words for it are “desperate” and “divisive.” Goldsmith is accused of seeking to mobilise anxiety about Muslims by implying that Khan, who is one, cannot be trusted with Londoners’ security in the face of the terror threat. Former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has piled in on Khan’s side, writing that “what started as a subtle dog whistle is becoming a full blown racist scream.”

I will be the mayor who is on the side of the heroes who protect and who keep our city safe. My rival will be the mayor whose career involves coaching people in how to sue our police; a man who’s given platforms and oxygen, even cover, to people, over and over and over again, to people who seek to do our police and our city harm; a man who has tried to silence questions about those events by shamelessly accusing anyone who raises those questions of Islamophobia. There can be no ambiguity at all, no looking both ways when it comes to keeping Londoners safe.

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Gurinder Chadha on Viceroy’s House: why I had to make a film about partition

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 April, 2016 - 09:00

I burst into tears when I found the house my grandfather was forced to abandon in Pakistan in 1947, and I knew then I finally had to tell our family’s story

It was rumoured in Agra that, during the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, Pakistani bombers would be guided to their target by the gleaming marble of the Taj Mahal. Yet it stands as a towering example of how Islamic culture is so organically part of India’s heritage, despite the sometimes uneasy relationship between the two countries.

Related: Prince William and Kate visit India – in pictures

Related: The partition delusion

Related: Gurinder Chadha: ‘It’s been the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done’

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Pornography and Breaking Patterns of Destructive Behavior – #Connection with Belal Khan

Muslim Matters - 16 April, 2016 - 05:29

Back in the 1950s when Hitchcock released Psycho, the motion picture association sent the picture back. They couldn't approve film because the of scene where, Norman the killer, was going after the woman in the shower was way too exposed.

It's said that Hitchcock sat on the rejected film and then later resubmitted without changes. The film was then approved. It's unclear whether the resubmission was watched again, or if they assumed that edits were made.

Movies today, especially the “R” rated movies, 20 or 30 years ago probably would not have made the “R” rated listing, perhaps they would have been rated “X” or NC-17.

Kids today who aren't even teenagers yet are more familiar with the human anatomy than the same age group couple decades ago.

We have so much unfiltered ready information in the palm of their hand. Couple that with the reality of living in a voyeuristic society and you have a recipe for disaster.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Consider the Spiritual Consequences of Pornography

I'm assuming you believe in a divine benefactor and the blessings that we have around us are a mercy and gift from that Benefactor.

Let's look at our eyesight, our hearing, and all our faculties. They're all a blessing to us.

The question is, if these are blessings that we have and we're using it in a way that is in disobedience to the one who blessed us with it, aren't we being unappreciative of that blessing?

Similarly, if we are using our senses in a way that is not pure and appropriate, isn't that a demonstration of ingratitude, and being ungrateful for that very blessing?

The other spiritual consequence is that this could be a further disconnection to the Creator, in terms of our worship and our focus in our worship because our mind is going in all different places especially in the things that we shouldn't be doing.

There are Physiological Consequences to Pornography Too

This industry warps our expectation when it comes to real relationships and human connection.

If you do find someone that you're going to commit your life to and marry, your expectation will be warped as a direct result of what you have been exposed to.

Aside from the fact that a lot of bodily parts are augmented and fake and the actions that they are committing, you might expect the same thing to a similar or greater degree.

This may result in disappointment because these are the expectations that you grew up with. This can have major relationship challenges.

Pornography Has an Addictive Nature to it

Researchers have compared the addiction of pornography to that of heroin addiction because of the amount of dopamine that gets injected to our brain and body through an action like this is similar.

Some people have the classic excuse that they can quit anytime.

But, that's common for addicts to say.

If you really believe that, then I challenge you to go three days without engaging in any of this. If you feel that's too easy, then do seven days.

If you can't succeed without feeling the anxiety of being engaged in these elicit, lude activities, perhaps there is a level of addiction that is attached to you.

Your Brain Has Been Hardwired Neurologically to Seek out Pornography

As a marketer I know that people are creatures of habit.

There is behavioral patterns and systems in place that make it easy, and people are generally cognitive misers. Meaning they want the path that is least resistant which require as little thought as possible.

Understand that the industry that is powering this is focused on pattern behavior. Identify what those patterns are and develop habits and systems to protect you from that.

Once you hard-wire your brain neurologically to a particular way it becomes that much harder to break that pattern.

But, the brain has neuroplasticity to it, meaning you can rewire your brain to be able to perform new habits.

That's what breaking a habit all is about. It's not being perfect all the time, the key thing is to be able to move forward.

London mayoral race: Zac Goldsmith accused of playing with fire

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 April, 2016 - 18:41

Critics detect influence of Lynton Crosby in Tory candidate’s ‘divisive’ approach to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in capital

On a London council estate last week, Zac Goldsmith – the Conservatives’ mayoral candidate – launched his manifesto with pledges on transport, housing and jobs. When he sits down to talk to reporters, no one asks about any of that.

Instead there’s just one subject he’s quizzed on: the racial politics of London. “Are you a racist?” is one of first questions. “Absurd,” replies the candidate. Things go downhill from there.

Related: London mayor race: Boris Johnson and 'coiled leopard' Sadiq Khan

Related: Zac Goldsmith accuses Sadiq Khan of 'giving cover to extremists'

Related: London mayor race: Zac and Sadiq fight for suburban doughnut

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Iran bars female MP for 'shaking hands with unrelated man'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 April, 2016 - 17:51

Reformist politician Minoo Khaleghi denies the handshake, which would be illegal under country’s Islamic law

A newly elected female MP in Iran is to be barred from entering the next parliament apparently because she is alleged to have shaken hands with an unrelated man during a trip abroad.

Minoo Khaleghi, a reformist politician and environmental activist, has denied claims about the handshake, which would be illegal under Iran’s Islamic law.

Related: The Guardian view on Iran’s elections: the people make their views very clear | Editorial

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Not all British Muslims think the same – whatever Channel 4 might claim | Aatif Nawaz

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 April, 2016 - 14:32
I took part in What British Muslims Really Think to refute the survey it was based on. What I saw was a programme that made leaps and presented uniformity

“Muslims do it five times a day”, the title of my Edinburgh fringe comedy show, got me a lot of attention last year. Everyone wanted a piece of the British-Muslim comedian trying to “take down Islamophobia one joke at a time”. Among those who reached out were a little-known production company making a documentary about British Muslims for Channel 4.

“We’re looking for Muslim voices interested in discussing the alarming results of a survey detailing the views of British Muslims.” I didn’t put much thought into it other than: “Sounds great.”

Related: What British Muslims really think about Channel 4's show

We’re all very different and yet we’re being painted with the same brush. We’re being ‘othered'. We are the bogeyman

Related: What do Muslims really think? This skewed poll certainly won’t tell us | Miqdaad Versi

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Five Courageous Ways To Respond To Anti-Muslim Hatred

Muslim Matters - 15 April, 2016 - 01:08

By Fatima Barkatulla

It was the day after the second Paris attack. Our local Muslim school sent parents a text-message telling them that security guards would flank the school gates the next day. Messages were flying around, complete with fuzzy CCTV footage of Muslim women who had been verbally or physically attacked in public places, in the climate of hatred and fear that seemed to hang like a cloud over us.

My sons, proudly wear traditional garments (thobe and white skullcap) when going to certain classes at the Mosque. It is the uniform for their Qur'an class. It's of course not obligatory for them to wear it but they normally do. They were about to set out and catch a bus when a sense of dread came over me as I realised how vulnerable they looked and how so visibly 'Muslim'. People had been fed a drip diet of negativity surrounding Islam and Muslims. The heinous crimes of some of our co-religionists, playing on 24-hour news channels had contributed to that climate. It would only take one angry person…


Muslim boys


In that moment I considered telling my sons to pop their jeans on instead, reserving their traditional garb for when they were safely inside the mosque. In that moment I was terrified at the power I wielded as a parent to influence their mindset with a word I might utter. And in that moment, I bit my tongue and decided to choose Tawakkul and empowerment and banish victimhood and fear.

There was no real danger. Most of our fellow citizens are not full of hatred. Most of them do know a Muslim well enough to know better. I believe much of the fear-mongering that goes on in Muslim circles, is manufactured and perpetuated by people continuously forwarding unconfirmed scare stories to one another (or perhaps people infiltrating our lists and groups, maliciously intending to spread panic).

In the aftermath of these attacks it's important to continue living as you normally live day to day as much as possible and since my sons usually do wear these clothes to the mosque without issue, I didn't want to introduce the idea of hiding being a Muslim to them.

It's not about fanatically holding onto garments. Indeed if there is real and present danger we should take the precautions necessary and should not put our children at high risk. However, this was about the attitude we seek to instil in the next generation of Believers.

Over the Channel in France, with its aggressive secularism, it has become commonplace for many Muslims to hide their Islam. Britain's Muslims, including my sons, are confident and very comfortable expressing our faith and culture, alhamdulillah. This is home and we aren't guests here. The vast majority of our compatriots are respectful towards us and, especially in the vibrant melting-pot that is London, we have grown up together, laughed, cried, learned and played together. We grew up being told to express our culture and be ourselves.

British Muslims

In the 80s racists used to abuse us for having a different skin colour – which we couldn't hide. They would hurl insults at my mother for observing hijab. That overt racism is largely gone. But the point is this: Our parents didn't persevere through the tough times that they faced, only for our generation to lie down as soon as we face some pressure!

By all means let us teach our children to take the normal precautions any child should. Teaching them the very powerful duas and supplications for going outside as well as the du'a when facing fear, and the du'a for resolve, were my first port of call.[1] But I refuse to instil cowardice in their hearts and will continue to teach them to hold their heads up high as Muslims in a world where their faith is misrepresented.

I see parenting as a calling. Children are the ultimate carriers of our values beyond our own short lives. Most of us still hear our mothers' voices in our heads, giving us the occasion telling-off or reminding us to do the right thing. Most of us subconsciously ask ourselves what dad would have done. We may of course reassess some of those values, rejecting some and adapting others. However, a parent's attitude and philosophy of life is no doubt a most powerful factor in setting a child's direction in the world.

So how will I be teaching my children to respond to anti-Muslim hatred? What do I hope their attitude will be, growing up in 21st Century Britain?

The key messages I will be giving my children are:

First: Have faith in Allah's subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) plan. Our tradition teaches us that everything, however difficult it may be for us to understand, happens for a reason and happens by the will of God. It teaches us that through Sabr – patiently persevering upon the straight path, through hard work and prayer, we will see the fruits of our efforts.

Second: Never be afraid to be different. Some of the greatest people in history went against the grain. They were immensely unpopular and often persecuted. In the end, their unwavering, patient, perseverance for justice shone through. We have an example of that in the great messengers of God such as Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them. And in recent times we have the likes of Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X – who fought injustice, were persecuted or killed for their cause, but morally triumphant as eventually the world caught up with them.

Third: Be politically engaged. Outrage at injustices around the world is natural. But how you allow that to manifest itself is pivotal. The Qur'an tells us that we must live up to being “the best people extracted for the sake of humanity.” The conditions for being amongst the best of people are that we must enjoin the good, beginning with ourselves and forbid what is wrong and have faith in God. Loving ones country means sometimes holding a mirror up to it and with wisdom, speaking truth to power.

Fourth: Be socially engaged. Contribute and give to society positively with all your heart and with all of your talents. Serve your neighbours, serve your fellow citizens. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would go the extra mile to reach out to people and fulfil their needs, to feed, to clothe, to share a burden. He never encouraged us to live in ghettos, happy with our own piety. Mixing with people, sharing, caring, giving, getting involved with the issues of society is his example and your duty.

Fifth: Seek deeper knowledge of scripture from traditional scholars who are also forward-thinking. The Qur'an has a context to it. Reading ones own interpretations into it willy nilly gives a warped understanding. We see the catastrophic effects of that in lands where injustice is being justified by ignorant Twitter and Facebook muftis interpreting revelation. Our tradition is rich, it gave birth to one of the greatest civilisations in history. Don't be rash. Don't be a hothead. The energy of youth needs to be tempered by the wisdom of scholars and elders. Our faith needs a generation of leaders who have depth of understanding and a wealth of wisdom in order to traverse the murky waters that may lay ahead. Be that generation.

[1] Some of the supplications can be found in du'a books and on the website: . A couple of examples are:

بِسْمِ اللهِ ، تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللهِ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ

“In the name of Allah, I place my trust in Allah and there is no might nor power except with Allah.”

The Prophet ﷺ told us, when we say this, an angel will say: “you shall be defended, protected and guided”. (Abu Dawud)

And this wonderful du'a which every one of us should memorise! It is protection from facing ignorance or harm when going out! Make sure your kids have memorised it!


اللَّهُمَّ إني أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَضِلَّ أَوْ أُضَلَّ ، أَوْ أَزِلَّ أَوْ أُزَلَّ ، أَوْ أَظْلِمَ أَوْ أُظْلَمَ ، أَوْ أَجْهَلَ أَوْ يُجْهَلَ عَلَيَّ

“O Allah, I seek refuge with You lest I should stray or be led astray, or slip (i.e. to commit a sin unintentionally) or be tripped, or oppress or be oppressed, or behave foolishly or be treated foolishly.” (Abu Dawud)

Fatima Barkatulla is a seminarian and award-winning Islamic lecturer. Follow her on FacebookA version of this article was published in The Times and Times Online on Saturday 9th April 2016

[1] 'thaub' is sometimes called a dishdasha (it is a long, dress-like garment worn by men in the Middle-East). 'Thaub' is the more commonly used name for it in the Muslim community.


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