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Muslims should be the Conscience of Britain

Debates abound as to the position of Muslims in British society. What is their role in society and what should it be? How are they perceived by others? More importantly, how are they perceived by themselves? What should the relationship be between Muslims and wider society?  How are Muslims to be integrated into mainstream British life, if at all?  There are ministers entrusted with addressing these questions. There are think-tanks and focus groups that are allocated funds to deal with ‘the Muslim challenge’.

As we all try to wrestle with these issues, we are faced with the current reality of Muslims. Socially, we are a diverse people and at the worst end of the spectrum there is a sector of Muslims that are dysfunctional, with little to offer to society, and at times contributing to its disruption.  As a community, we lack a unified vision. Like a rudderless boat, we do not know which way we are heading but are allowing unfavourable winds to take us further away from our destination. In being extraneously directed in how to think, we have effectively become, or allowed ourselves to become,  a subservient community that is not respected by its government that allows a lower standard of respect for itself than is granted to others. The decisions and actions that should be taken from within Islam are being forced upon it from without, often in the name of combating terrorism or extremism.

How does this reality compare with what is expected of them from their faith.  Allah has given us an honoured position, but this position brings with it responsibility, and we have to live up to this responsibility. Do the Muslims collectively even approach the description given to them by Allah?

 “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah “. [1]

Muslim leaders – the imams, the scholars, the heads of organisations – seem to have failed to link the Muslims with this responsibility. All too often blemished by sectarian prejudices, personal interests, or lack of initiative, they have provided British Muslims with neither a vision nor direction. This may be in part because they too have become a victim of a subservient mindset. Many ‘leaders’ have lost the ability to lead.

We need to turn to the Qur’an for it to give our community its lifeblood and sense of purpose, for the answers to the questions about our role in society are present for us in the Qur’an. There is a job description of Muslims in society that is outlined in the Words of Allah and in the life and teachings of the Prophets.  All through the Qur’an Allah informs us of the missions of the Prophets, how they sought to correct society, how they were opposed and how they dealt with such opposition. These accounts are not mere stories – they are lessons that carry instructions, some explicit and some derived. How do we apply these stories to our lives in UK?

All prophets called primarily to the worship of Allah in his oneness, to right social ills, and address the wrongs that had taken hold in society – the status quo that defined that society.  Ideologically, the status quo of our time is secularism and atheism, and from a moral standpoint, it is one of materialism and liberalism that at times borders on hedonism. By virtue of living in the midst of this society we have an automatic responsibility towards it, just as the Prophets had a responsibility towards theirs.

So let us take these Prophets as our models. They and their followers were a small minority just as Muslims in the UK today are a minority. Our role model should be Noah (peace be upon him) who called tirelessly to the worship of Allah saying, “O my Lord! I have called to my People night and day” [2]

Let our role model be Abraham, the iconoclast, who stood alone with courage against the worship of false Gods, “(Abraham) said, “Do ye then worship, besides Allah, things that can neither be of any good to you nor do you harm?”Fie upon you, and upon the things that ye worship besides Allah. Have ye no sense?” [3]

In addressing  those who pride themselves in sexual gratification outside what Allah has created for them , let our example be that of Lot (peace be upon him) who tried to appeal to his errant nation’s sense of morality,  “and [thus, too, did We save] Lot, when he said unto his people: “Would you commit this abomination with your eyes open (to its being against all nature)? -Must you really approach men with lust instead of women? Nay, but you are people without any awareness (of right and wrong)!” [4]

In taking to account the banks and big businesses that have amassed billions and have enslaved people through interest into a system of modern day fiefdoms, let our role model be Shoaib, who took his people to account for their greed and avarice that made them economically corrupt, “to the people of Midian We sent Shu’aib, one of their own brethren: he said: “O my people! Worship Allah. Ye have no other god but Him. Now hath come unto you a clear (Sign) from your Lord! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due; and do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order: that will be best for you, if ye have Faith.” [5]

To those in Government who are inclined to waging unjust wars and oppressing other nations let us say what was said by Saalih, “And do ye get for yourselves fine buildings in the hope of living therein (for ever)? And when ye exert your strong hand, do ye do it like men of absolute power?” [6]

 Let us take the lessons from the story of Moses that is repeated over and over again – standing up to tyranny on behalf of the weak, intellectually challenging those who disbelieve, and bearing patiently the rejection of the mighty, and the stubbornness of his mentally enslaved kinsfolk. And above all, let our model be our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and let our call to the people of Britain be that there is no God except Allah, and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah.

Let our example be that of the Noble Prophet when he stood upon Mount Safa and proclaimed: “I am a warner to all of you before a severe punishment”. Let us be the helpers of the oppressed and the poor and the weakest of society – let us remind people to join the ties of kinship, and be kind to the neighbour and the refugee.

Those were the (prophets) who received Allah’s guidance: Copy the guidance they received; Say: “No reward for this do I ask of you: This is no less than a message for the nations.” [7]

In these lessons lie the answers to the question: ‘What is a Muslim’s role in society?’ The Muslims are not an enemy nor a fifth column. We are not just a minority that has to assimilate into society on governmental orders. Rather, we are a group of believers following in the footsteps of the Prophets of Allah. An ideal Muslim seeking the pleasure of Allah is the one who would be more sincere to his nation than a hundred elected MPs that the millions have voted for. Let us be like the Messenger, who said:

“My example and yours is like a man who kindles a fire. Suddenly grasshoppers and moths begin to fall in it and the man tries to push them away. (Similarly) I am (trying) to hold you by your waists from the fire but you are slipping away from my hands.” [8]

Furthermore, we need to know that our safety and security is from Allah and we will not deserve it unless we are Muslihoon – those who rectify the affairs around them. Our continued existence depends on our fulfilling our duty of Islaah.The Muslim community should be the conscience of Britain.

We have many challenges before us. For all the ills of society that we see before us, we also have the onerous task of having to deal with our own disordered house. In our own backyards we have tremendous challenges of crime, under achievement and a Muslim community that is so dogged-down by the rigours of day to day living that it has lost its aim. This compounds the task of the Muslim. So like Moses we are before a sea of inequity and godlessness in need of faith – and our deficient people behind us – divided, ill-informed and weak. But as Moses we must march ahead, saying, “By no means! My Lord is with me and He shall guide me!” [9]

 

Notes:
Sources:www.islam21c.com
Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

[1]  Quran 3:110
[2]  Quran 71:5
[3] Quran 21:66-67
[4] Quran 27:54-55
[5] Quran 7:85
[6] Quran 26:129-130
[7] Quran 6:90
[8] Muslim
[9] Quran 26:62

 

About Idris Patel

11 comments

  1. Ha Ha Ha
    The conscience of the Uk read your comments your intolerant, bigotted racist. If we ever depend on people like you as our moral compass we will truly be in trouble

  2. If majority of the Muslims in UK can simply understand the basic humanity,behavior,manners,speech and appearance in public,respect for other faiths and compassion-this would go a long way to help people to think of Muslims as part of society.

  3. We need to act now
    society is changing for the worse in amny ways…it is hungry for us as Muslims to make an impact

    With regards the issue of immorality and these ‘gay marriages’ what is required is a united front to sy – this is wrong and is going to destroy our society…

  4. They still have a responsibilty they are not meeting…
    Assalam alaikum AbuD

    A scholar doesn’t have to be a visionary but a scholar HAS TO ENJOIN THE GOOD AND FORBID THE EVIL. If scholars do not then who will?

    Take the current ongoing issue about legalising gay marriages. MPs are planning to revolt. Bishops and Christian leaders have written about it.
    WHERE ARE THE STATEMENTS AND DECLARATIONS FROM THE SCHOLARS WHOM ALLAH HAS GIVEN ARESPONSIBITLITY AND HONOUR TO.

    Muslim – and at the head of them the scholars and imams – should be the first – not the last stand up for the truth…

    You and I hesitate to speak up because 10 years ago when Muslims should have been more vocal about this issue, we weren’t. We now make it harder for future generations, we make it harder for our children because they will grow up not seeing it as a wrong thing.

    Who is to blame?

    May Allah give us all strength to speak the truth.

  5. It is better to be positive
    First of all jazaakAllaah khair for your concern for our community and your efforts to convey qualities of the Prophets of Allah (swt). I would like to offer some constructive criticism which I hope will be humbly considered:

    It is important not to let shaitaan deceive you into assuming that Muslims are weak, confused, ‘rudderless’ etc. I am inspired by many muslims who are achieving great things in every sphere of British life, let alone the rest of the world. The mere presence of Muslim Scholars, Academics, Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Entrepreneurs, Politicians, etc. is sufficient proof of direction.
    Another concern that I have is that you blame the Muslim scholars and imams. You cannot and should not make an allegation without proof. A muslim who spends time with a scholar should receive guidance, if not there is a problem. However to assume that every scholar or imam should be a visionary is also unfair. A scholar or imam has the responsibility to sincerely convey the message of Islam to people, to warn them and to give glad tidings. This message in itself, once internalised by people and acted upon will serve as their compass. After the paragraph where the scholars and imams are criticised, readers are directed towards the Qur’an, however, this implies that there is a difference between the 2? This is not correct as the scholars and so too the imams have always been and always will be the source of Qur’anic understanding whether in person, through media resources or literature.

    I apologise if this advice clouds the beautiful message for muslims to be concerned with their community at large. May Allah bless you and grant you more wisdom so that you can guide many more to success.

    Your brother

  6. It is better to be positive
    First of all jazaakAllaah khair for your concern for our community and your efforts to convey qualities of the Prophets of Allah (swt). I would like to offer some constructive criticism which I hope will be humbly considered:

    It is important not to let shaitaan deceive you into assuming that Muslims are weak, confused, ‘rudderless’ etc. I am inspired by many muslims who are achieving great things in every sphere of British life, let alone the rest of the world. The mere presence of Muslim Scholars, Academics, Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Entrepreneurs, Politicians, etc. is sufficient proof of direction.
    Another concern that I have is that you blame the Muslim scholars and imams. You cannot and should not make an allegation without proof. A muslim who spends time with a scholar should receive guidance, if not there is a problem. However to assume that every scholar or imam should be a visionary is also unfair. A scholar or imam has the responsibility to sincerely convey the message of Islam to people, to warn them and to give glad tidings. This message in itself, once internalised by people and acted upon will serve as their compass. After the paragraph where the scholars and imams are criticised, readers are directed towards the Qur’an, however, this implies that there is a difference between the 2? This is not correct as the scholars and so too the imams have always been and always will be the source of Qur’anic understanding whether in person, through media resources or literature.

    I apologise if this advice clouds the beautiful message for muslims to be concerned with their community at large. May Allah bless you and grant you more wisdom so that you can guide many more to success.

    Your brother

  7. mr
    With every step the Muslim community hopes to adopt, only accompanied by a strong reliance in Allah (God) Can bring for a ocean of change. The article nicely points out;

    (Moses) said ” said nay, verily with me is my lord. He will guide me. Quran 26:62

  8. AlhamduLillah! Great peice of writing, much needed for all of us
    JazakAllahkhair for composing such a nice article, indeed a very timely reminder for Muslims across Europe if not world over. May ALLAHswt guide all of us, ameen!

  9. Muslims should be the Conscience of Britain
    Excellent article and absolutely to the point.

  10. The great struggle of our time
    JazakAllah for your piece.

    A common theme in each example you have given of the Ambiya, is that they struggled against a specific part of the society they had come to correct. Namely, the people of power. Those who have the authority and have the most to loose in reforming society along the lines of Tauhid. Whether that be Firaun or Nimrod. The question therefore arises, why direct the energies and efforts there?
    The authority of any society is the guardian and shaper of that society. It indoctrinates the masses with the ideas that it hopes will bring about a favourable setup for it’s own ends.
    Hence you see the leaders of the people of Shuaib telling the masses “The chiefs of those who were arrogant among his people said:
    “We shall certainly drive you out, O Shu’aib! and those who have believed with you from our town, or else you all shall return to our religion.”(7:85)
    And Firaun controlling the magicians and priests. And Ibrahim’s encounter with Nimrod.

    The most radical and comprehensive change a society can have is not in it’s education or morals or even social. It’s political as that is the mechanism to control all other facets of society. The Prophets(as) struggled to implement Tauhid first and foremost within the political order which would then conversely align the whole of society along the same lines.

    That is not to say that the masses should be ignored. No, they must too be engaged for the purposes of applying pressure on the establishment. This is never an easy task as the history of the Prophets has shown.

  11. Excellent reminder
    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    JazakAllahu khayran for a very well written reminder to all muslims. Subhanallah, your article is timely personal support for me in what I and other muslim mothers are experiencing at present. It may be a small example, but we feel pressured with the resentment of some school staff as we withdraw our children from participating in their annual christmas concert & celebrations. I have explained in a letter as the new head demanded that our kids get our letters signed by their mosque (which was never previously asked of us, as well unfortunately some mosques were not willing to sign or get ‘involved’) “..we believe in the same One Almighty Creator God and in all His chosen Prophets without distinction from Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Moses including Jesus (peace be upon them all) whom we consider as one of the greatest prophets of God. They all brought divine guidance to the people and taught the same message of worshipping only the One True God without associates or partners. We believe totally in Jesus’ miraculous virgin birth, in all his miracles by God’s permission, his ascent to Heaven and his second coming as revealed in the Quran and teachings of the last Prophet and Messenger of God, Muhammad (peace be upon him)”. As well that; “there is a chapter in the Quran named ‘Mary’ the mother of Jesus, who is considered one of the most righteous and best women in the world in Islam, which narrates the beautiful story of Jesus (peace be upon him) whom as I mentioned before we greatly respect and hold in high regard. We are certainly not ignorant of other faiths especially Christianity which has a lot of commonalities with Islam..” I wrote too, “In my humble knowledge, none of the religious scriptures nor any of the Prophets have ever endorsed or prescribed celebrating or venerating their own birth to their true followers as it is only the One Sovereign God, Who is The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful, that we should revere and worship.” What makes it difficult is that ” We know there may be some Muslims who chose to participate in the celebrations, that is their prerogative and are responsible for their own decisions, but we prefer to abstain purely due to our belief in following our religious guidelines without the intention to offend anyone.” After that, we were still asked to attend a meeting with an outside ‘ethnic minority’ official/teacher. In previous years, i have been accused of ‘intolerance’, not ‘integrating’, ‘upsetting the school’ etc. Sometimes one may feel easier to ‘give in’ but despite other shortcomings we chose to be steadfast in our decision and I thank Allah for giving me spiritual strength in this timely reminder of yours. Jazak Allahu khayran.

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