The last twelve months have been full of monumental events for the Muslim ummah all over the globe. From international events to local action alerts, Islam21c has provided a space for scholars, thinkers, activists and readers to share guidance and take part in crucial conversations for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
What follows are some of the highlights of the discourse you took part in throughout 2015-1436/37. By the grace of Allāh, with your help readership and engagement has continued to increase with the number of unique visitors doubling every year. We are optimistic for the future of grass-roots, community-led alternative narratives and perspectives on the important conversations that will shape tomorrow, with the permission of Allāh.
April 2015 saw the start of UK general election fever. We had a variety of articles ranging from the Islamic ruling on voting in theory to practical online strategies for deciding who to vote for by Muhammad Ibrahim. There were nuanced looks at the spirituality and ethics of Muslim activism from Dr Salman Butt, and even a critical look at whether the Muslim vote has any impact from Fahad Ansari. April also saw a glimmer of hope for Islām in politics with the Nigerian election. Neoconservatives also flexed their Islamophobic muscles in the form of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s latest book propagating racist, colonial stereotypes and myths, which became an automatic USA bestseller. We shared our take on it by pointing out the profound resemblance in interpretative methodologies between those who wish to change Islām and violent deviants like ISIS. April also saw the tragic murder of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Arwani, the outspoken critic of the Syrian regime, who was suspiciously shot in his car in west London.
Sheikh Abu Rumaysah took us on a journey to Allāh’s Throne and back in a short series of what was perhaps the most meticulously researched account of the prophetic al-isrā wal-miʿrāj in the English language. Ahmed Hammuda also offered a thoroughly researched comparison of orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Islām in Does the Bible conform to ‘British Values’?, and a Muslim perspective on the Easter story beseeching Christians to approach God directly for forgiveness without intermediaries. After St George’s Day, Z A Rahman also asked whether the Turkish-Palestinian patron saint of England would have had a hard time in the country today, especially considering he would have been seen as more of a “radical Islamist” than an English nationalist!
More articles from April:
– Apathetic Muslim? Do you care about the General Election?
In May we pitched an alternative Muslim guide to the general elections before the shocking result signalled the start of very troubling times ahead the start of the real work. There were a few significant global events for the Muslim ummah with the 67th anniversary of the Nakba heralding the need for Israel’s retirement by Abdullāh Ladadwi; relief worker Mohbub Rahman highlighting the plight of the stateless Rohingyan Muslims, and the Middle East Editor’s salutation to President Morsi upon news of his sentencing by the military dictatorship.
Sister Hedieh Ansari-Shirazi exhorted us to Live Each Day As If You Are Preparing For Hajj, and our Editor Ayshah Syed distilled some lessons on assimilation from Sūrah al-Kahf. Being our resident historian, Z A Rahman told the story of when the Muslim ummah met the Vikings in battle, whilst Hamza Andreas Tzortzis wrote an extensive essay on the greatness of the most beloved human being in history, Why we love the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. Ustādh Asif Uddin wrote a seminal piece on why chapters of the Qur’ān may seem incoherent to some and the wisdom behind it, and Sheikh Alomgir Ali kicked off a long-term project by introducing Islamic political theory.
More articles from May:
June welcomed the greatest month of the year, Ramaḍān. This year we had a host of new, inspiring content. Abu Haneefah shared valuable advice for parents whose children might have tried fasting the long, summer days from his experience in school senior management, whilst Dr Zahid Siddique gave a dentist’s insight into beating bad breath whilst fasting and Dr Shafiul Amin gave 20 Ramadan health tips. Since Ramaḍān coincided with summer in the northern hemisphere, there were plenty of articles and videos explaining the confusion surrounding persistent twilight and ʿIshā’ and Fajr times during summer.
Ustādh Asim Khan went through a short video series on Sūrah al-Jumuʿah, focusing on the institution of Jumuʿah as a tool for reforming society. Ghulam Esposito Haydar condemned David Cameron’s slanderous accusation that Muslims “Quietly condone terrorism” during Ramaḍān, and we questioned whether we were breaking our fasts with dates stolen from Palestinian farmers. Abdur-Rahman Ali absolved the religion of Judaism from the terrorism and crimes of Israel, whilst Ahmed Hammuda referred to Turkey’s election results as a humbling victory for Islām.
More articles from June:
– “Jumu’ah is an important institution for reforming society” (Video series)
Stay tuned for the next instalment in which we go through the highlights of July, August and September 2015, inshāAllāh.