One reason Muslims do not have a well-defined leadership in the UK may be due to the fact that the more credible and popular a scholar becomes, the more he or she seems to be attacked by some servile sections of the government and media. One could be forgiven for assuming this strange coincidence were in fact in order to silence them as much as possible and hope other Muslims become afraid to follow them. It looks very much like some people really do not want Muslims to be very Islamic.
This is all very inconsistent with the letter we received recently from Eric Pickles MP and Lord Ahmed praising Muslims contribution to their country “with your message of peace and unity, making our country a better place”. But then I noticed they were not referring to Islām but repeatedly to “British Islam”. I should have guessed. Diversity is not something some would allow for Muslims; for us it is forced conversion to Britishism. Helpfully they provided details of where to report Anti-Muslim Hatred on the very same letter.
It starts with the media who cut and paste and distort to condemn normal Islamic practices as “extremism”. They can operate without ethics or honest representation but this is the forerunner to the legal lines being drawn once popular opinion has been formed. The tactic is divide and rule, as usual. Fundamentalist secularists say “We like British Islam, you are welcome to practice British Islam here, it is only extreme Islam we are criminalising.” And they will tell us which bits of Islām and which Muslims they have decided are extreme, and then demand we condemn it ourselves. “But you condemn extremism don’t you? Say it then. Louder.”
Let’s face it; the natural preference of many a secularist is for “religion”—a laughably arbitrary term in which they might include Islām—to have no influence on society. We should not be surprised or take it personally that the fantasy of our secular government, the orthodox media and much of the public is that what was so successfully done to Christianity, which once led and formed this country’s history, can be done to Islām until it is a vague shadow of its former self to be practised in private by people who no more than whisper that they have faith (something a lot of Christians literally do, I notice).
The bad news for secularists is there can be no ‘King James Qur’ān’ telling Muslims how to practise ‘British Islam’; it is simply impossible. But still they hope that this can happen and in the style of any other regime-change attempt, they bully and try to discredit genuine scholars of Islām and simultaneously promote puppet sycophantic Muslims as would-be leaders. These sycophants sell their ‘Reforming Islam’ service by claiming they know the magic formula of how to meet half-way and please both sides as peacemakers. Naturally the secularists are delighted at any person claiming to be religious yet willing to give up their religion, but the Muslims have been warned of this type of person:
“And of mankind, there are some [hypocrites] who say: “We believe in Allāh and the Last Day” while in fact they believe not. They [think to] deceive Allāh and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive [it] not! In their hearts is a disease [of doubt and hypocrisy] and Allāh has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies. And when it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “We are only peacemakers.” Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not. And when it is said to them (hypocrites): “Believe as the people (followers of Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)) have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.”
The British Empire had a long history of trying to find Muslims who are willing to be less ‘Islamic’ and trying to encourage more of it. Minority Muslim sects tried to raise their status by cosying up to the Raj and still do. Additionally we now have those paid sycophants, pockets stuffed with cash and pushed to the fore in the vain hope they will be more influential than the revelation from Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). What a sad waste of tax-payers’ cash in these times of austerity.
The reason this cannot work is each compromise (abandonment of the religion) suggested by any minion might sit fine with one section of the Muslims but is going to offend the other sections until fairly quickly every section has dismissed them; evidenced by the complete dismissal of well known ‘counter extremism’ think-tanks. It is not smart to expect a faith community to unite by what is removed from their faith and thankfully the Muslims seem to agree that we would rather have no leaders than leaders who lead us away from our dīn.
The diverse British Muslim community, with Muslims from every Muslim nation on earth, with their divergent cultural habits, added to new Muslims who will naturally have no reason to follow others’ cultural habits, will only usually agree on what it is impossible to disagree on: if something is undeniably there in black and white and credible, from the very sources of Islām. ‘Evidence Based Islam’. Because of this diversity I expect Muslims in the UK are only ever likely to unite on straightforward, classical Islām.
That is not to say that Islām is not flexible enough to have relevance to living in the UK, as Islamic rulings take into account context of place and time. We can do ‘Adaptation to Britain 2015 while maintaining the essential integrity of the complete religion of Islam’, but a modified religion created by man to fit seamlessly with the Tories’ ‘British Values 2015’, and then ‘British Values 2016’, and so on, is no religion at all.
So, where will the secularists get their “evidence” to define the boundaries of the “mainstream Islamic practice” with which they will try to define a minimalist British Islām, and can we influence it? The sad truth is any one of us could be inadvertently giving our religion away when, through insecurity or ignorance, we do not practice it fully. A good case to mention albeit apparently somewhat trivial to some is free mixing between the sexes/gender segregation, a practice also adopted many other faiths. It is understandably difficult to adhere to the practice when it can sometimes seem to cause offence, especially in situations where it is not possible to discuss how wise it is and beneficial it would be for society for us all to draw a line and stick to not freely mix with members of the opposite sex who we are not related to.
It really is a bit patronising to assume that most people in the UK could not handle this amount of unusual behaviour once it is explained to them, especially when it is a practice followed by other faiths in the UK; but the trouble starts when the next Muslim they meet openly mixes with the opposite sex. To add insult to injury, that second person might even claim that actually in their Islām it is perfectly acceptable. Now in the non-Muslim’s mind there are two types of Muslim and two types of Islām.
It is natural that seeming to have a choice between an ‘inflexible Islam with Muslims who take it too seriously’ or ‘flexible Muslims with their flexible Islam’ the non-Muslim will prefer the latter and whereas they would have easily got used to gender segregation for example if all Muslims stuck to it, now it appears the first Muslim is being unnecessarily—here that word comes—extreme. The same can be said of beards, hijābs, touching the opposite sex, praying within the prescribed times, views on evolution, Christmas, and so on. The more we give up of our religion out of a desire to fit in and have an easy life, the more abandonment will be expected of all Muslims and the greater the proportion of our religion will be labelled: “only practised by Extremists”.
Then consider our Imāms and scholars and the effect this will have on their ability to take up position as our leaders. They are the more knowledgeable and, we hope, further from abandoning anything of the religion. They can be heard time and again denouncing violence and reminding Muslims to be moderate in all things including religion but that is clearly not enough. We are not talking about anti-terrorism any more, that was just to get us here, now it is anti-Islām time. Our secular leadership seem to believe monocultural stagnation is desirable, the present is perfect and different ideas must be banned from these shores.
The right to practice religion is still enshrined in law but this is a classic case of if we don’t use it we’ll lose it. While these definitions of what constitutes acceptable Islām vs. extremism are being drawn up there is an urgent need for us to defend our religion and scholars by being closer to them than ever. To visibly practice and verbally defend Islām as fully as we can and of course show there is only positive in that. Any time we leave or deny a piece of the religion by well-intended, middle ground seeking, peace-making, embarrassment avoiding, easy-life preferring answer-fudging; we risk losing the right to go back to it and to some degree we will have ourselves to blame when our scholars are labelled “preachers of non-violent extremism”.
Any new interpretation of Islām based on non-practice of the teachings will of course be laughably weaker than the perfect religion of Islām as revealed, but let us not make it easy for them to make life hard for us. Let us take this opportunity, as we can see this situation so clearly unfolding, to raise our standards and unite on the evidence-based practice of our dīn. In shā Allāh the policy makers will give up on this British Islām fantasy eventually, they may even realise that the benefits of Islām, for us and them, are only in the complete Islām and that there is nothing to fear if they are truthful.
 Al-Qur’ān 2:8-14
Fantastic, I love it!
Fantastically relevant article. MashaAllah
Thank you Br. Muhammad for this article. There can be no denial that ever since Islam started there has been and will always be a difference in opinion amongst Muslim scholars on a multitude of issues of religious nature and this is actually a mercy from Allah SWT considering Allah SWT created people different. Therefore, there is no unanimity amongst Muslim scholars when it comes to the issues mentioned in your article e.g. gender segregation, beard, hijabs, Christmas and so on and indeed many many more issues. on the contrary they are subject to a legitimate difference in opinion. I believe it would be harmful to our religion and counter productive if we are to embrace a more strict inflexible hard line uncompromising interpretation of Islam because that would be unwise, anti-Islamic and against the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet PBUH.
To say there are “legitimate difference in opinion” on those issues points to you being one who chooses to disregard what is agreed by “consensus/majority of scholars”. If you do that and you believe every individual scholars opinion is equally valid and you can pick from them as you desire you could indeed have a very flexible religion. In fact it could be completely unrecognisable to anyone else’s Islam. If that was a correct methodology Islam would not have survived this long, no one could say what Islam was or wasn’t as you can find a “scholar” to say practically anything and everything. Then you are into what Christians call a personal religion, a great big disunited mess where peoples personal desires dictate their personal religion. To then claim that this is the Sunnah of the Prophet you claim to love…doesn’t add up.
There is no need to introduce fake ikthilaaf to legitimize disobeying Allah and His Messenger. If one is brazen enough to come before Allah hr ought to be brazen enough to do it in front of Muslims.
The scholars know that a woman must be covered up including the hair. And that Christmas is despicable.
Their is no need to hide under “valid” ikthilaaf when it doesn’t exist in the scenarios you might like.
You only need two pages of notes to describe what billions of Muslims and future Muslims have to follow:
1. Believe in an all powerful God or Allah. Do not engage in idolatry.
2 Read the Quran in Arabic or a good translation
3 Do your daily prayers, at least the compulsory steps
4 Observe the Ramadan or fasting for a month each year and let it motivate you as to your eating habits
on your health conditions for the rest of each year. Avoid obesity as the Quran says “We have given you the best advice, remember”
5 Support the poor if you have the means
6 Perform the Hadj if you can
NO KILLING OF HUMANS AND ACTS OF TERRORISM ARE ALLOWED IN ISLAM WHICH IS A RELIGION OF PEACE AND FOR THE FUTURE PROGRESSIVE POSITIVE EVOLUTION OF THE HUMAN SPECIES.
The establishment would do well to take their lead from lauren Booth.Having travelled the world, having moved in political circles, having dealt at first hand with the media sector, she concluded that Islam is the true way of life. She is happy to commend it to the country of England as the way forward to secure its economic, military, social, political gains of the past.
The King James bible was adopted when the church was part of the state and therefore corrupt like most modern Islamic states are. Christianity may have been leading and shaping the country’s history back then but on the whole it was a shameful and bloody period. When the church was separated from the state it meant the Church could reform itself and focus on spiritual matters. Religion and state should be separate – power corrupts geddit? Like the distorted Saudi-approved translations of the Koran. Stop bleating on about how Muslims are being unfairly picked on in Britain and wake up to what’s going on in the Muslim world at this moment in history – Sunnis killing Shias, Shias killing Sunnis, minority Muslim sects being persecuted, non Muslims being persecuted, children being kidnapped from their families, criminals using extremism as a means to amass huge personal wealth, slavery. In short violence and human misery on a terrifying scale. That’s the only sort of ‘very Islamic’ that ‘[italics]some[italics] people’ in Britain don’t want Muslims to be.
To the best of my knowledge, the term “British Islam” was coined or introduced by the Late Sheikh Zaki Badawi, who left this world ten years ago (and we are much much poorer for it). He was a scholar of immense learning and academic experience, with a traditional learning path of the highest calibre stretching over 60 years and passing through some of the most distinguished centres of Islamic knowledge in the world.
Like many terms I suppose, the term “British Islam” can mean different things to different people. I have never seen it used by believing proponents to mean a “version” of Islam, though I hear this type of comment often.
Islam thrives when it is challenged. British Islam will end up as Islam in Britain spreading faster than expected insha’Allah.
I think British Islam is something to look forward to. Muslims will eventually become more accepting of western values as time goes on. The west has many great values which Muslims need to adopt themselves and stop hitting out at everything British.
Thanks ‘Abu’ for your pointless trolling comment.
Moving swiftly on, the main punch of the article for me was that we must be steadfast and consistent with our defence of Islam and not shy away from our role as the light of nations guiding people to what is better. And when they intend to victimise or scandalise our knowledgeable scholars, our leaders, our speakers and our activists, that we vigorously defend them and let them know we wont abandon them or be divided. This is a game that ends with success with Allah and this generation of Muslims is resourceful, quick and more than up to the challenge!
Absolutely agree with you Zulfiqan Shah, it is only by being United as a Ummah and following the deen correctly, supporting those with the correct knowledge (scholars) that we will get out of this awful situation.
Tawwakul in Allah is also essential if we want His help. if those in power knew what was good for them , they wiould wish this too and realise that Islam is not something to fear, on the contrary they would find a lot of benefit for them too by being part of a society where Muslims follow their religion as it should be followed that is according to the Quran and the Sunnah and not a wishful version from those who have no understanding
I sincerely hope that all Muslims take seriously note of this excellent article from Muhammad Thomson IA. may Allah guide us all in behaving according to His wishes and not of those of men Ameen
It was the Labour Party under Blair who tried to create the “Mosque of England” as the only official and respectable sect of Islam and one which supported liberal social values and British foreign policy.
The article was not a call to reject British values some of which are very fine indeed and many are not inconsistent with Islamic values. I am born and bred British and know them well enough. But i also know this is not a perfect system, at the very least it lacks detail in a few areas, so would prefer the option in this supposedly plural society to do something different if i choose. Not a problem if i was a Hindu or a Buddhist but the Muslims are currently scrutinized and harassed for anything out of the ordinary even if it is completely harmless. Feels worryingly like an inquisition coming.
Oh dear Muhammad, what victimhood! No wonder you didn’t find your place within any of the many British non-Muslim value systems.
A bit of honesty about the difference between some Muslims and “Hindu or Buddhist” members of our country would be in order.
Questions: When did a Buddhist last blow up a train here?
When did a Hindu do that?
Maybe that’s why they are not “scrutinised and harassed for anything out of the ordinary, even if it’s completely harmless”. How do the police know it’s harmless if they don’t check it out? Members of their religions are peaceful here, and they haven’t taken part in terrorism here. Some Muslims have. It’s not brain surgery.
You made your bed, choosing a religion that cannot adjust to a democratic system, even an imperfect one like ours. Lie in it. Perhaps you’re living in denial.
By the way, the Inquisition was carried out before democracy existed, by intolerant religious fanatics. Sound familiar?
What a stupendously unintelligent thing to say. Comparing Muslims to Buddhists and Hindus, instead of a sound analogy.
This is why this man’s ancestors resisted the scientific method (YET another gift from the Islamicate, of course, including democracy) for hundreds of years.
A scientifically literate person would have asked the question: what would hindus/buddhist/other people do if THEY were subjected to the same illegal wars and imperialism – as was the EXPLICIT AND VERBATIM cause for a few out of 3 million Muslims blowing themselves up. Oh…unfortunately when you DO compare like for like then you come out with the IRA which no one wants to compare Muslims to, because we are such a shining example of not having our fair share of terrorists when had any other people been subjected to 1% of what we have all hell broke loose (look at hindu terrorism in india, buddhist terrorism in burma, for example).
But alas the problems with such imbeciles is that it takes inevitably 10 times longer to highlight, expose and refute/ridicule their propaganda and lies, which automatically puts the John Simpsons of the world at an advantage.
Good try Ibn, only the analogy was not mine, but Muhammad’s, when he asked why Buddhists and Hindus are not scrutinised etc. as are Muslims in the UK, to which I gave the obvious reply. I’ll try to address your tangled points seriatim, as the Greeks don’t say.
Your next claim, that Islam created democracy, is so self-evidently ludicrous that it beggars belief. Have you read the Quran lately? Why is the vast majority of the Muslim world still patently undemocratic now? The only ones who are trying to create a nascent democracy are where we’ve stepped into their civil strife to allow democratic elections.
Your third point is easy to answer. What would Buddhists etc. do if they were subjected to the same illegal wars and imperialism….? They WERE subject to these things by the British and others, including, for example, the Islamic destruction of the Buddhist civilisation in Afganistan. The Taliban finished the job by destroying some of the most exquisite archaeological remains in the world, just as ISIS is doing in Syria, apart from the people.
People of these religions don’t seek revenge in Britain for our ancestors’ past sins, but get on with building lives in a (fairly) democratic country.
I can’t disentangle your next bunch of points, they’re so incoherent, containing clause after clause tangled up with assumptions and asides about my political beliefs and history etc.
IRA, I never mentioned, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma, the whole imperialism bit , of which I am NOT proud, in contrast to the many Moslems on Islam21c who openly boast and applaud the Islamic conquests and massacres over the last 1500 years, and never, ever admit any sins.
Your last point, that I’m an imbecile, is probably true, or I wouldn’t be wasting my breath arguing with someone who uses personal abuse to try to make a point. This “John Simpson”, who left school aged 15, has one advantage over you. I can write coherently without insults about the eight Muslim lands that I’ve visited over the years.
One more obvious fact Ibn, following your abusive piece abot me. Following the Manchester terrorist attack do you need any more evidence of why Muslims (most of them innocent of course) are targeted by the authorities when Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs etc. are not. As I said before, it ain’t brain surgery .
I had an vey good Irish friend, members of whose family were Republicans, and some of them were interned as part of the battle against the bombers. It’s inevitable.
MashaAllah, excellent article.
Nice title, we have Sister Aisha Bewleys explanation of Tafisr Jalalayn and her Translation of the Quran, which is a big leap forward in that direction. May Allah reward her service and benefit us from her hard work.