All praise belongs to Allāh, may His blessings and salutations be upon His final Messenger, Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).
Last week an article in the Telegraph entitled “Worried about Muslims in Britain? Here’s the answer…” caused quite an uproar. The headline has since been changed as well as the poll being removed, presumably due to too many negative votes. However, it was not just the reckless headline that was the problem, but the article was full of hidden and overt ignorant presumptions and fallacies, representing a blind arrogance and condescension towards Islām and Muslims.
In keeping with the caricature right wing readership’s tastes, the article attempted to paint the rising Muslim numbers in Britain as some kind of problem—if those Muslims refuse to abandon their principles and values. It skilfully played with figures from a recent MCB report, cherry-picking and interpreting them to prove the writer’s preconceptions. It is well known that facts and figures can be spun from any angle depending on one’s outlook, as the optimist’s proverbial glass half full becomes the pessimist’s glass half empty.
Although it is tempting to be drawn into refuting individual fallacies and false presumptions, I am writing in particular to discuss what we, as British citizens, should be worried about more: Islamic values or the opposite? I would not be so arrogant and bigoted to suggest why we should be “worried about non-Muslims” per se, but would rather be more civilised and objective and suggest why we should be worried about those practises and values which go against Islamic ones. In other words, I would rather focus on concepts rather than those who hold them.
Britain is ours, too
Despite the slogans coming out of Whitehall currently, the notion of “British values” is little more than a distraction. To suggest that there are universal, unchanging inherently British values that transcend geography, class and time is clearly problematic. Many forget that the landscape of Britain has been changing due to foreign and domestic influences for hundreds of years. Of course, those who would have objected to the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta 800 years ago would have done so claiming they were against the (then) British values. If those strange, alien concepts throughout history were not incorporated into the melting pot of British values we would still be hunting witches and drowning or setting fire to those accused of crimes.
Those who presume they have a right to suggest what British values actually are, therefore, must realise that British Muslims have just as much a right as well. Those that refuse to do so are in fact the ones who are guilty of a divisive “us and them” worldview.
One of the biggest problems of non-Islamic values is the rejection of the authority of the Creator of the universe and denial of His rights.
“And Allāh presents an example: a city which was safe and secure, its provision coming to it in abundance from every location, but it denied the favours of Allāh . So Allāh made it taste the envelopment of hunger and fear for what they had been doing.” [Al-Qur’ān 16:112]
This arrogance leads to countless problems in people’s lives, families, societies, countries and even the environment. Of course, from the perspective of those who have studied the claim to divine origins of the authentic Sharīʿah of Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with a sound, unbiased mind, the great dangers both in this life and the next are clearly proven. However, even if we look at things purely from a material, worldly angle we can see the harm that non-Islamic values and practises lead to, and simultaneously the eminence of Islamic values.
Let us take for example the high birth rates of Muslim families that the Telegraph article picked up on. This is something that many have brought up in the past to whip up a frenzy against Muslims taking over Britain, such as suggestions that by 2050 Britain will be a majority Muslim country. Although this is spun as a “problem” regarding Muslims, it is in fact a depiction of the widespread non-Muslim problem of declining birth rates and natural family structures.
To put it bluntly, this is due to selfishness. Muslims get married, have faithful relationships and have children because it is from their values to do so. Those non-Islamic worldviews that view the aim of this life as solely the pursuit of ephemeral pleasures and amusement are antithetical to procreation and sustaining populations; children and families hinder men and women from having what they perceive to be ‘fun’—at least until they regret it is too late.
This leads to many problems, such as the rising average age of the population, putting a strain on resources such as the NHS, especially since people are living longer with more medical conditions requiring treatment. If people are delaying or abandoning having children then who will pay their pensions and look after the elderly? Who will run the country tomorrow?
Economic prosperity ≠ success as a nation
One of the many false underlying presumptions of the Telegraph article was that economic prosperity means success. Not only did the writer conflate these issues, he made up a story that those Muslims who have been to university, are in higher paying jobs and live in more affluent areas are somehow less “socially conservative” (read: Islamic) than your average Muslim. In fact his entire point seems to be reassuring those who dislike Islām:
“Really, turn more Muslims into fully paid-up members of the Waitrose-shopping, Audi-driving, Boden-wearing middle-classes and their values will take care of themselves.”
Although it is true that there are concerted efforts to secularise and de-Islamicise many young Muslims by many of the elite whose pyramid power structures are threatened by the flourishing of Islām in Britain, anyone who knows Muslims knows that the more educated are often some of the most observant Muslims.
The nature of universities and students is that they are able to question and challenge ideas and, as a result, thousands of young, well-educated Muslims experience an Islamic awakening during university life. To cite an example of perhaps the biggest protest to the assimilationists, I have seen hundreds of sisters in universities who reject widespread non-Islamic notions of femininity and expectations of women and begin to wear niqāb, despite none of their families doing so. It is no wonder that these power structures are working their hardest in universities to police Islamic societies and prevent them from challenging their cultural and intellectual hegemony—under the farcical pretexts of “extremism” and “radicalisation”.
The assumption that material wealth is a sign of success is a deeply rooted one in the public psyche, and has been throughout history. Often when even evil people are blessed with wealth they presume it is a sign that they are superior or that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is pleased with them—when it could in fact be the opposite. If economic prosperity necessitated wellbeing and happiness then arguably we would not see more economically developed countries as a whole suffering from staggering rates of suicides and crime—both in numbers and in barbarity.
“Have they not travelled through the land and observed how was the end of those who were before them? They were greater than them in strength and in impression on the land, but Allāh seized them for their sins. And they had not from Allāh any protector.” [Al-Qur’ān 40:21]
No doubt, economic stability is one factor which leads to the stability of the overall nation. In his first public address as leader of Madīna the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) commanded his citizens:
“O People! Spread Salām (peace, salutations), feed each other food, join the ties of kinship, pray whilst others are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise with Salām (free from any disturbance).”
Likewise, his ancestor Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām) beseeched Allāh:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish the prayer, so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allāh) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.”
As is clear, a base level of economic prosperity is necessary for any people to avoid poverty and hunger, but it is only ever one of many more important factors. The problem is with using material wealth as a benchmark for a successful people, and it seems that in Britain’s case this is a myth that is actively propagated to distract the masses from the unsustainable establishments that serve the ruling elite, whilst putting more and more burden on everyone else, plunging the country deeper and deeper into debt. If we think of other benchmarks for the success of a people or society then we seem to find that things are getting measurably worse.
If we suggest ‘happiness’ as a benchmark then we will be forced to look at the soaring rates of drug abuse and clinical depression. If we suggest how the vulnerable and weak are treated as a benchmark then we will be faced with epidemics from institutional child abuse to the heart-breaking treatment of our elderly. Even if we suggest a more accurate economic benchmark such as the distribution of wealth, we are faced with the “ticking timebomb” of growing wealth inequality in the UK, with the difference between the richest and poorest being greater than ever before.
Islām is a mercy
Even if we ignore all of the above, and presume economic prosperity—which it is argued we do not have anyway in the UK—as a benchmark for success, we cannot ignore the fact that Islamic values, if practised, would be an undeniable benefit to the economy as well as people’s lives in general. The following are only a few practical examples of how Islamic values would contribute to society.
The cost of alcohol-related harm in England alone is estimated between £20 billion and £50 billion per year. To put this in perspective, the entire annual health budget for the NHS is around £100 billion. The total number of alcohol-related violent crimes in the UK is annually around 1 million, representing 50% of total violent crimes!
The destructive effects of un-Islamic financial practices such as riba (interest), money creation and speculation that has led to crisis after crisis is well known. 90% of British citizens are net interest payers and 10% are net interest earners. In other words, the entire economic system is set up to transfer wealth from the majority in order to circulate it among a minority. The financial crises caused by these unsustainable manmade systems are also accompanied by numerous problems such as rises in unemployment and the shrinking of the economy.
An oft-attacked symbol of Islām is its family values and high regulation of the relationship between men and women, prohibiting sexual relations outside of marriage and those things which lead to it. According to a consortium called the Relationships Alliance, the estimated cost of marriage and family breakdown to the UK economy is almost £50 billion per year, and it is increasing year upon year. They also cite that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, and “27% of couples that were cohabiting when their child was born will have separated by the time their child is aged 5.”
“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” [Al-Qur’ān 30:41]
Are these the “British values” that the Telegraph would have us adopt?
Of course, I am not implying that there is something specifically British about marriage breakdown or alcoholism. Any sensible person with remnants of the sound disposition he or she was created upon would recognise that these are vices, and they can plague any society—even if everyone were Muslims who did not put Islam into practice. The point I am making however is that obviously, if Islamic values were encouraged then these costs to the economy would be far lower, if exist at all.
I have not even mentioned the array of social and political harms that Islām protects us from, from the soaring rates of sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases, to political and economic elitism, to mundane issues of personal health and hygiene. It is safe to say that anyone looking into the matter with an open mind would agree that if Islamic values were promoted in Britain, it would be better for Britain. Quite often when you present these matters to non-Muslims they agree to their supremacy, it is only when they realise that it is from Islām that many people become automatically resentful—as they have been programmed to do so by the media and the political establishment.
Remember, we are not talking about races or ethnicities here, but concepts and values.
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may identify one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allāh is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allāh is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Al-Qur’ān 49:13]
Of course, there are Muslims who partake in all manner of un-Islamic practices, and likewise non-Muslims who partake in some Islamic practices—even without realising. We are not talking about an “us versus them” dichotomy but one of “Islamic versus non-Islamic” ideas, principles and values. Failure to identify this is what gives us charged articles such as that cited earlier, providing a rudimentary and immature discussion on the notion of “integration” without thinking of values first. We do not want Muslims to “integrate” to the extent that they abandon their values and instead adopt the sins and crimes of those around them—a profound case being of grooming gangs consisting of Muslims in the West Midlands, who began partaking in this hitherto majority “English” crime.
Muslims and Islām are part of the British and European landscape, and it seems like they are here to stay. True Islamic values have proven throughout history to be a far better way than other known attempts at structuring a civilised society; this is clear for any open-minded person with the ability to see through the propagandistic media smokescreen. With the Muslim population growing, the pyramid power structures that serve the elite are in danger. They therefore wish to make the Muslims ‘secularise’ and abandon their values in favour of those values and systems that are conducive to the status quo.
Muslims need to recognise and learn deeply the eminence of Islamic values and let their friends, neighbours and colleagues know likewise. Islām was sent as a mercy and they have just as much right to enjoy this mercy as we do.
“And we have not sent you [O Muḥammad] except as a mercy to the worlds…” [Al-Qur’ān 21:107]
A final word: Truth will always prevail despite all plots against it.
“He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam. And from that [ore] which they heat in the fire, desiring adornments and utensils, is a foam like it. Thus Allāh presents [the example of] truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, [being] cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allāh present examples.” [Al-Qur’ān 13:17]
 Narrated by ‘Abd Allāh b. Salām (rA), recorded in al-Tirmidhi
 Al-Qur’ān 14:37
I am a British Christian who wishes to understand more and challenge some misconceptions.
I hope you would consider me an “open-minded person with the ability to see through the propagandistic media smokescreen” as you put it so elegantly.
I haven’t posted on here before, so background information I will tell you that I teach English to refugees, stay away from the immoral tabloids on principle and refuse to read articles with offensive Islamophobic titles like that one in the Telegraph.
I do not drink alcohol or use any illegal drugs, I prioritise family life, I am faithful to my husband and have never indulged in promiscuous behaviour. I teach my daughter to study hard, dress modestly and have self control. I teach my children to be tolerant and seek to understand others’ cultures and explore differences without becoming defensive or hostile.
I too find it worrying the amount of health problems stemming from alcohol related problems and am distressed by the breakdown in family life I see around me in the UK.
This is my first time on this website and I found the article stimulating and interesting, glad to read something aiming to be more nuanced and civilised than an “us versus them” dichotomy. But surely I am misunderstanding you Dr Haitham Al-Haddad when you say near the end in the section beginning “We do not want Muslims to “integrate” to the extent that they abandon their values and instead adopt the sins and crimes of those around them—a profound case being of grooming gangs consisting of Muslims in the West Midlands”, who began partaking in this hitherto majority “English” crime.”
I understand your aim to respond to that offensive article in the Telegraph but am sure you agree that it would be not only deeply divisive and offensive in return but also inaccurate to imply that anyone is suggesting that
a) child abuse is a specifically English crime
b) that anyone is seriously advocating ‘integration’ meaning taking on the crimes and sins that sadly happen to exist in any part of the world.
In my opinion, helpful integration would be along the lines of everyone being empowered by having the opportunity to learn to speak and read and write in English if they don’t already and for children to study in mixed schools where they make friends with people from different backgrounds and faiths, learning that we are all just individual human beings.
Best wishes, Rose
Rose…check the percentage of rapes per community….look at rotherham..oxford..telford..bristol..rochdale..bradford..wolverhampton..birmingham…as the jay report says grooming and raping on an INDUSTRIAL scale…..what have all these rape capitals have in common….the muslim/labour alliance….muslims do it because it says so in their so called holy book..but is in fact a war manual…and labour let them do it so as not to upset their voter base.
The Telegraph has started to collapse in its journalistic standards due to internal corruption according to former employers, loads of whom have left. It is now simply looking for ‘hits’ like a tabloid paper. See here for recent article (17th Feb) exposing their corruption: https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/peter-oborne/why-i-have-resigned-from-telegraph
I don’t think it should come as a surprise that people in the UK are concerned by the growth of the Muslim population.
Firstly, it is hard for non-Muslims not to assume that the more Muslims there are in the UK then the more Islamic extremists and Islamic terrorists there will be?
Secondly, when one looks at Muslim countries around the world it’s hard to find anywhere where any British citizen, Muslim or otherwise would actually want to live.
Most seem hopelessly corrupt, highly oppressive and economically backward. People are obviously going to fear Britain going the same way.
There is also a perceived reluctance by the Muslim community in Britain to accept that the world’s Muslims bear any responsibility for the atrocities being carried out across the world in the name of Islam by groups such as Isis.
The general response from the mainsteam Muslim population to groups like Isis appears to be thus:
– Isis are not muslims.
– It’s got nothing to do with us
– Why should we apologise ?
– Mainstream media is encouraging Islamaphobia
– Look at what the Jews are doing
I’m not suggesting that ordinary Muslims should apologise for atrocities being carried out by Isis, but is it really so unreasonable that non-Muslims want to feel there is some firm commitment by the Muslim community to tackle the problem.
While it must be the responsibility of society as a whole to provide disillusioned young men who might otherwise be attracted to extremism with a feeling of belonging and a feeling that they have a future in Britain – surely the Muslim community must bear some special responsibility in stamping out Islamic extremism.
Imagine the response in Pakistan if figures were released showing that the Christian population there was growing at the same rate as the muslim population is in the UK. There would no doubt be total uproar resulting in Christians being slaughtered by their hundreds if not thousands.
Even this supposedly moderate Islamic website is littered with references to the superiority of Islam over other religions and cultures – that in itself is against against British values in which all religions and cultures are respected equally.
Surely the main reason Islamaphobia is on the rise is not due to an anti-muslim right-wing media, but due to the actions of Muslim extremists around the world.
Apologies if I have caused any offence – it is not my intention
Regarding your comment that there are no countries that British citizens would want to live, have you been to Qatar, Dubai, Saudia, UAE and Kuwait? I can assure you, that, ALL of the oil rich countries have many British citizens living there. And they are extremely well paid!! And they walk around in their shorts and Western attire, no-one harms them or demands that they abandon their ways. Yes, everyone should abide by the laws of the State but they are no singled out. Nor are they subjected to a paralel justice system like Muslims are here in the UK. Laws are not brought out especially targeted at them, denying them rights and being imprisoned by the State without trial.
I am a former catholic who grew up in London in the 70’s and 80’s when the IRA were at their peak, I worked at Harrods as a student and was working there when the bomb went off. But I didn’t feel the need to defend Catholism, because the IRA are Catholics. And none expected Catholics to come out and apologise. The IRA were motivated by what they saw as the oppression of the British, so it was political, and ISIS was born out of the prisons of the US and they are a political movement too. It’s double standards that Muslims should feel the need to apologise and although you say that you agree that is unreasonable. You suggest that as a community we are not doing enough. What exactly would be enough? Please give me some examples. I mean, really, seriously what would be enough? Cause we as a community are hearing this all the time. Did not Shaykh Haitham and other ulema come out and publicly ask our youth not to travel to Syria and keep away from what is happening? Yes they did. Does that fall on deaf ears?
And Daniel, do you go through your life apologizing for the British complicity and involement of kidnapping and torturing people, with no due cause? Except that they say my Rabb is Allah. Do you feel responsible for British involement and complicity in these events. Can we have an apology for the illegal war in Iraq? Can the British people please do more to reassure us? A sister from Saudia came here to study (which wasn’t free so no taxpaper nonsense here) and she was stabbed to death, 16 times. Uncle Salim from Birmingham was stabbed on his way home from the prayers and yes the criminal was caught and is in prison. But should we feel safe in this country? Pig heads are thrown in the masjids, sisters niqabs are pulled off and yet we need to give assurances. Very odd. Prehaps we should have some too. What are your thoughts on that Daniel?
Why is it that, we need to abandon our religous values to be British, you did suggsest that we should. So please give me reasons why? Do the Jews abandon their values? Do the Hindus?
Just like the IRA did not represent Catholism or Catholics, Isis do not represent Islam or Muslims. The Qur’an and the Sunnah represent Islam and Muslims.
And no offence taken.
Wow excellent response sister, couldn’t have put it better myself. May Allah reward you. AMEEN
they only go to these muslim countries for the money…not because of any love of islam or muslims…and these so called shining lights of islam…were designed and built by foreigners..will they allow me a bacon sandwich..to have a drink….no…so why should we allow halal..much better for all concerned it muslims were sent back to where ever their ancestors came from..regardless of how long they’ve lived on benefits in the west…and all white non muslims return to there western countries of their forefathers..sorry you aren’t compatible with western society..and as for the arrogance of the left saying we be careful of targeting muslims for their silent support and financial aid…they can do one as well…i’ll even help you pack.
Please don’t worry too much about causing offence if you are sincerely trying to understand or solve a problem that effects us all.
In response to you asking the Muslim community to do more to combat extremism and correct problem Muslims the reality is that we would love to, we really would. Each one who ends up as a hysterical headline hurts us much more than anyone else.
We do have a solution and it is quite simple: we have to be able to properly and fully teach Islam to Muslims, unhindered by paranoid bureaucracy and scaremongering. We need sufficient mosques, madrassas and scholars, all of which are currently being attacked.
All of the “problem Muslims” you might notice have barely any education in Islam, instead they have to buy “Islam for Dummies” from Amazon – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/two-british-men-admit-linking-extremist-group-syria – or they are rappers and gangsters with no background that would have taught them the truly beautiful teachings of Islam. They do not know what to do so they are wide open to radicalisation by manipulators with a political agenda.
The problem is not too much Islam, it’s not enough. I can’t know if the policy makers are knowingly doing this or are actually unaware that they are making things very much worse for everyone but while our only solution is wrongly considered to be the problem our hands are tied. Please turn to the secularists in government for an answer.
Peace be upon you
Jazakhallahu qulu khair fidunuya wal khaera for this most appropriate response. I also read the Telegraph article and found it very disturbing to put it mildly. The truth is whether they (people like this writer)like it or not muslims are here to stay with Islam as our number one priority in this world. They might as well get used to it.
The misguided politicians, extremist right wing types & immoral tabloid editors have been telling porkies again. They have been trying to make out that rejecting the invite from God towards his mercy and forgiveness is without consequence…. History is replete with examples for us to learn from. What is the significance of the story of Noah, of Moses/ Pharaoh, of Petra/ Thamud. Are these tales of the ancients without any implications for the here and now? The next time you go to visit the likes of Petra, and after marvelling at the prowess of its people when it came to their grasp of the mterial sciences/ building their homes out of mountain sides, with artistic style to boot, then you might want to consider what happened to the people. Their demise is documented in the Quran. The lesson is that when the invite from God comes then there are only two possible outcomes – One either accept Gods invite to his mercy and forgiveness, or ones sins/ mistakes/ indiscretions/ crimes remain outstanding, and eventually overtake those who have committed them. There is no third outcome. The status quo was not an option when God decided to call in his favours. Those who do not learn the lesson of history are doomed to repeat it…. I am sure that section of the British people who have embraced the faith & universal values of islam will continue to work to take the country to a safe, secure and prosperous place, even though the misguided politicians, right wing extremists and the immoral tabloid editors work for the countrys destruction. It never ceases to amaze me that given the choice between God’s mercy and his wrath, that some would chose the latter over the former. ‘Not even God can sink this ship.’ – Chief Engineer/ Titanic
There’s lies, damned lies, then theres’s immoral tabloid editors looking to draw their wages by trespassing on the personal space of others. Sad bunch they are.
Thanks to Sheikh Haitham for setting the record straight. When tabloid newspapers have a problem with British families having a fun day out with the kids then we know they have lost the plot long before.
Assalam aleikum wa rahamatuallahi wa barakatu
As usual an excellent repsonse from Shaykh Haitham. It is not by accident that these kind of articles in the Telegraph and their likes, are only concerned with promoting more anti Muslim hype. It is actually government policy and the media have always played a very integral role in Islamaphobic propoganda. The important lesson here is, the need to stick firm on OUR principles and not be intimidated by those trying to impose un-Islamic values on us. Islam will always be superior to any other way of life, hence, why it is the fastest growing religion.
JazakAllahKhair to Shaykh Haitham and may Allah keep our ulema steadfast upon His deen. Ameen
I checked myself, official stats do show alcohol related problems to cost the UK over £20 billion per year!
Maybe we as Muslims should be more vocal in calling for an end to this vice?
muslims coming to Britain should adopt the British way of life and not tell us what we should be doing or how to do it