Abdullah Quilliam titled ‘Shaykh-ul-Islam of the British Isles’ by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, was a 19th century convert of English descent, and was also the Turkish Consul and Persian Vice- Consul to Liverpool by the Shah. A solicitor by trade, he had travelled across the Muslim world learning about Islam and striving to call people to the truth while seeking unity between the ummah. During the British Empire’s attempt to colonialise the entire Muslim world, Quilliam stood up in defence of Jihad, the Khilafah and opposition to Western colonialism, to the extent that he wrote (in a letter):
Know ye, O Muslims, that the British Government has decided to commence military and warlike operations against the Muslims of the Soudan, who have taken up arms to defend their country and their faith. And it is in contemplation to employ Muslim soldiers to fight against these Muslims of the Soudan. For any True Believer to take up arms and fight against another Muslim is contrary to the Shariat, and against the law of God and his holy prophet. I warn every True-Believer that if he gives the slightest assistance in this projected expedition against the Muslims of the Soudan, even to the extent of carrying a parcel, or giving a bite of bread to eat or a drink of water to any person taking part in the expedition against these Muslims that he thereby helps the Giaour against the Muslim, and his name will be unworthy to be continued upon the roll of the faithful.1
Additionally, he wrote on the ummah and khilafah,
Among Muslims none should be known as Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Ajem, Afghans, Indians or English. They are all Muslims, and verily the True-Believers are brethren. Islam is erected on the Unity of God, the unity of His religion, and the unity of the Muslims. History demonstrates that the True-Believers were never defeated while they remained united, but only when disunion crept into their ranks. At the present time, union is more than ever necessary among Muslims. The Christian powers are preparing a new crusade in order to shatter the Muslim powers, under the pretext that they desire to civilise the world.
This is nothing but hypocrisy, but armed as they are with the resources of Western civilisation it will be impossible to resist them unless the Muslims stand united in one solid phalanx.
O Muslims, do not be deceived by this hypocrisy. Unite yourselves as one man. Let us no longer be separated. The rendevous of Islam is under the shadow of the Khalifate. The Khebla of the True-Believer who desires happiness for himself and prosperity to Islam is the holy seat of the Khalifate. It is with the deepest regret that we see some persons seeking to disseminate disunion among Muslims by publications issued in Egypt, Paris and London. “Verily, they are in a manifest error.”
If their object – as they allege it – be the welfare of Islam, then let them reconsider their action and they will perceive that instead of bringing a blessing to Islam their actions will have a contrary effect, and only further disseminate disunion where it is – alas that it should be said – only too apparent. We fraternally invite these brethren to return their allegiance, and call them to the sacred name of Islam to re-unite with the Faithful.
Muslims all! Arsh is under the standard of the Khalifate. Let us unite there, one and all, and at once!2
Quite interestingly, his tract on the ummah and khilafah holds a certain resonance with contemporary Britain and through his writing, it is clearly evident that the sheikh-ul-Islam not only rejected sectarian nationalism, but also affirmed the unity of the ummah and allegiance to Muslims. Thus, it seems quite ridiculous that the Quilliam Foundation, an organisation calling for secularism, the westernisation of Islam, the end to notions such as Jihad, and extremely opposed to the notion of a global ummah and khilafah would have chosen the Shaykh’s name as the title of their foundation. The foundation was formed to ‘tackle extremism’, ‘fundamentalism’ and ‘radicalism’ in the Muslim community, and they have assumed that this goal can be achieved by claiming that Islam is non-political. In actuality, they are openly attempting to promote a form of Sufism, claiming that it is the ‘mainstream understanding’ of the deen. Members of the foundation frequently quote their notions of ‘mainstream Islam’ making extraordinary large claims about the way Islam is, and should be practised in the UK, while all the time maintaining a call for a radical secularist outlook.
I make no qualms about it, they disgust me. Not only because of their contrived views, which stem either from baseless opinions or constructed notions of Islamic law, but also due to the fact that every nuance from their mouths is steeped in ignorance (though they claim to have a mujhtahid amongst them!), while they foolishly manage to contradict themselves at every turn. The lack of true scholarship is clearly manifest in every argument they present, as well as the lack of Islam in their actions. However, the good news is that they have been exposed for all their depraved attempts (possibly unintentionally) to corrupt the deen of Allah the Most Sublime Preserver and those who believe in Him. The truth of the matter is that they are insignificant, with most of their pasts and intentions extremely questionable. But then again, ‘these are good times to be in the “moderate Muslim” business. If you press the right buttons on integration and “radicalisation” and hold your tongue on western foreign policy, there are rich pickings to be had – from both private and government coffers.’3
Ed Hussain, an unknown individual until recently, when his book ‘The Islamist’ was published, is co-director (along with Majid Nawaz) of this fraudulent front for the government. Many individuals who went to college with him question the events he relates in his novel (though more styled like a biography). Even if the contents are true, his period in Hizb ut Tahrir (HuT) didn’t last very long and sounded more like a ‘phase’ he went through while a teenager. As a result, he has become an ‘Islamaphobic Muslim’ who has in public criticised the Shari’ah, ‘I don’t want Camilla’s (Ed’s daughter) generation to suffer the indignities of scripturally justified attitudes of domestic violence, or her testimony to be worth half that of a Muslim man in court, or her legal inheritance in a Muslim country to be one-third of a man’s.’4 Additionally, he mocks the Qur’an, ‘Just as in Leviticus we find references to stoning sinners, in Muslim scripture there are some unpalatable references’5. Ed, as he likes to call himself (shortened from Mohammed), has made it his mission to denounce every aspect of Islam that does not fall in accordance with governmental agenda’s and is not ‘palatable’ for non-Muslims, forgetting the fact that they’re non-Muslims for exactly that reason: they don’t agree with fundamental aspects of Islam!
However, Ed is not the only shameful facet within the foundation of deceit; Majid has also been caught being up to no good indulging in abysmal unIslamic activities. Not exactly the best way to encourage people away from extremism now is it? The irony is that the pictures informing of such conduct were not displayed by his critics, but by himself, on Facebook! This is the workings of an individual who claims to be ‘specialised in the Arabic language’, ‘Islamic jurisprudence’ as well as ‘Hadith historiography’. Apparently it seems that his studies led him to the following comments in his talk on the City Circle Forum, ‘Islamism is an ideology that believes sovereignty belongs to God, that legislation belongs to God…Those notions are alien to Islam’ and ‘I don’t think that in the realm of politics, we should be defining our political policies using scripture, because it is unhelpful.’6 It seems Majid can’t make up his mind, either the notions are alien to him or unhelpful. If he truly believes they are alien, I suggest he read the Qur’an again, especially,
To you We have sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to you. To each among you we have prescribed a law (shir’ah) and an open way (minhaj). If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute; And this (He commands): Judge you (Muhammad) between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they beguile you from any of that (teaching) which Allah hath sent down to thee. And if they turn away, be assured that for some of their crime it is Allah’s purpose to punish them. And truly most men are rebellious.7
This is one verse of many which establishes the precedent for the implementation of Islamic law whether in public or private life.
It is lamentable that we have come to a time where sciences such as the ‘Aims of Shari’ah’ are misused and given more priority and preference than the Qur’an and Sunnah. As a point of clarification, for a British Muslim to show preference for Shari’ah and opt for it when he is able to do so does not in any way imply that he strives to overthrow the British government, blow up parts of the UK or even replace British law with Shari’ah. It does however mean that as an article of faith, the believer acknowledges that he/she has no right to contradict that which Allah the Most High has legislated, just as the Orthodox Jews recognise the superiority (according to him/her) of Judaic law over the British one. This is one of the greatest falsifications of the Quilliam Foundation, in that they have espoused to the British public that Muslims who believe in the establishment and application of Shari’ah are ‘extremists’. However, what they fail to consider is that there has never been a scholar in the British Isles that has called for the complete establishment of Shari’ah in the UK and demolition of British law. These agitators have resorted to scaremongering among non-Muslims in order to gain approval from the government and the neocon’s in particular.
Additionally, the Quilliam Foundation has sought to baffle the laity by confusing them with Arabic terminology and Western philosophy. Through rhetoric they make abstract references to Shari’ah and divine legislation, using examples such as traffic laws, the education system, safety regulations etc. in an attempt to argue that Allah has not legislated any divine rules for modern systems, and thus legislation, according to them, cannot be for Allah alone. However, this has only sought to expose their weakness in the field of Shari’ah; its aims, principles and application. For example, in terms of traffic laws, namely driving through a red light (indicating stop),8 many scholars have expressed its impermissibility due to the hadith related by Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, where the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, ‘There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm’.9 Thus, driving through a red traffic light puts one’s life as well as others in danger, which effectively harms one’s self and others. Although Allah has not directly legislated traffic laws in the Qur’an, he has legislated obedience to the Prophet: ‘Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.’10 And ‘You should accept whatever the Messenger gives you and abandon whatever he tells you to abandon’.11 Is the prohibition of driving through a red traffic light able to be rooted in and substantiated by divine law? Yes, as Allah the Most High inspired the Prophet to inform man about the general prohibition of causing harm, and thus by implementing and obeying this command we are in actual fact obeying the command of Allah and his Messenger. There are many principles from both the Qur’an and Sunnah that are drawn upon in Islamic law, and to contradict these principles is to go against the spirit of Islamic law, the way of the earliest generations and general consensus of Islamic scholars. Another principle from the Qur’an and Sunnah which has warranted the consensus of the Islamic scholars past and present has been that of Khilafah.
Allah the Most High states,
Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors (caliph’s) in the earth, as He made Successors (caliph’s) from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.12
Additionally, the Prophet stated, ‘Prophethood will remain among you as long as Allah wills. Then Khilafah on the lines of Prophethood shall commence, and remain as long as Allah wills. Then corrupt (or erosive) monarchies will take place, and it will remain as long as Allah wills. After that, despotic kingships shall emerge, and it will remain as long as Allah wills. Then, Khilafah shall come once again based on the precept of Prophethood.’13 As is clearly displayed by the verse of the Holy Qur’an, not only is khilafah legitimised, but also discussed as the method by which corruption is dissolved, justice realised, and the religion of God established (the right to worship Allah alone with no partners and obey His laws). Furthermore, the hadith not only clearly distinguishes between khilafah, monarchies and dictatorships, but legitimises the khilafah on religious grounds (on the lines of prophethood), but maintains the corruption of monarchies and kingships. Based on the Qur’an and Sunnah, the scholars of Islam have concluded that the establishment of the khilafah is an obligation upon Muslims, and that the caliph can only be one. As-Shatibi stated, ‘…in the absence of the khilafah, a state of anarchy and lawlessness would prevail and this would usher in a great corruption and disorder. And it is evident, that the establishment of the Din is quite impossible in a state of anarchy and disorder’.14 Ibn Taymiyyah wrote, ‘It is obligatory to know that the office in charge of commanding over the people (ie: the post of the Khaleefah) is one of the greatest obligations of the Deen. In fact, there is no establishment of the Deen except by it….this is the opinion of the salaf, such as al-Fadl ibn ‘Iyaad, Ahmed ibn Hanbal and others’.15 The principle of khilafah is so established in Islamic law and legal understanding that scholars referred to by the Quilliam gang are also in agreement.
The great scholar An-Nawawi stated, ‘The scholars agreed that it is an obligation upon the Muslims to select a caliph…’16 and commenting on the potential loss of the khilafah, Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali said, ‘The judges will be suspended, the Wilayat (provinces) will be nullified, … the decrees of those in authority will not be executed and all the people will be on the verge of Haraam…’17. Even Ibn Khaldun, a scholar fondly referred to by a Quillam Foundation advisor, using him as a source to establish his false view of ‘Islamic secularism’, affirms the establishment of Shari’ah and khilafah, to the extent he states, ‘The best kind of state is the Khilafah, which is a system based on the Shari’ah. This is the only system based on the Shari’ah. This is the only system which guarantees the fulfillment of all natural and genuine human needs both in this world and in the hereafter. It also guarantees full equality between the ruler and the ruled. The Khilafah is the divine method of politics. Initially it is established by the Prophets and Apostles of God and then run by their successors – the Khulafaa. This is the system which has been laid down by God the Almighty Himself, and, hence, no other system can be at par with it.’18 Majid Nawaz has attempted to bring more of an Islamic spin to his arguments claiming that the view of the necessity of khilafah is a matter of ijhtihad, and thus, to deny it (the necessity of khilafah) is another point of ijhtihad over which takfeer or repudiation cannot be made. However, if it is a matter of ijhtihad, why has Majid and co. formed a think tank to repudiate the notion of the establishment of a caliph branding it as an un-Islamic notion causing ‘extremism’? It has seemed from most of their discourse that their main aim is to refute HuT and ‘Wahhabism’, but so far they have only managed to contradict themselves at every turn. Majid tried to refute the established consensus with regards to khilafah by attempting to put forward the arguements of unknown ‘scholars’, despite the fact that scholarly consensus is not brought into disrepute due to a few irregular opinions.19
Although I have attempted to provide the reader with an extremely basic overview, the main point here is not to argue the legitimacy of the notion of khilafah or Shari’ah (although I do believe it is evidently clear), but to show that although the foundation claims ‘mainstream Islam’, they outrightly reject and contradict the ‘mainstream’ scholars who they refer to at times of convenience. In reality, the Quilliam foundation has neither standing in the community or in Islamic scholarship (as is evident) and inevitably will cause many more problems than actually solving them. Already, as has been discussed, the foundation has created a false sense of ‘moderation’ and ‘mainstream-ism’ within Islam among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, which has resulted in the vilification of any individual who accepts the authority of Islamic law, believes in the revival of the khilafah, or maintains a belief in the notion of jihad.
Another false claim made by Ed is that excommunication (takfeer) is the foundation of ‘radicalism’ and ‘extremism’, yet he contradicts his own claims when making reference to ‘extremists’ by himself excommunicating them when stating, ‘Call them jihadists, Islamists, but I wouldn’t call them Muslim’20. The foundation regularly chants its contrived creed of making Islam liberal and British, stating, ‘Just as Muslims across the globe have adopted from and adapted to local cultures and traditions, while remaining true to the essence of their faith, Western Muslims should pioneer new thinking for our new times. Here, Muslim scholastic giants, such as the noble Abdullah bin Bayyah and Shaikh Ali Goma (Mufti of Egypt), have provided ample guidance.’21 They state they want new thinking for Western Muslims yet refer to Eastern scholars, an action (referring to scholars from the East) they censure others for. Additionally, Ed stated about the Egyptian scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, ‘He is a man who speaks two languages. There should be no exceptions in condemning the deaths of innocent people. When it comes to Jews, he thinks it is favourable to kill.’22 However, his inconsistency again manifests itself by referring to Ali Goma, a strong supporter of a pro-Western dictatorship, as a ‘Muslim scholastic giant’ that should be sought as a reference point. Ali Goma himself has said when asked about the rule of an Egyptian man illegally entering Palestine and carrying out a ‘martyrdom’ operation without the express permission of the head of state, he replied that, ‘he is a Shahid [martyr], because Palestine is a special case and not the ordinary case existing in the world… This is because in Palestine there is an enemy that rules the land. This rule is considered a crime by international conventions and resolutions… The world has let the Jews spread corruption throughout the land and they have succeeded in obtaining international legitimacy to territories that were conquered after 1967…Israel is a special case that does not exist [anywhere else] on the face of the earth. We are facing a criminal occupation that is the source of terror.’23 In the same interview he also said, ‘The Zionists themselves do not differentiate between civilian and military personnel. They have set the entire people to military service. The civilian settler who occupies land in a state of war is a Harbi [that is, a non-Muslim living in an area regarded as ‘Dar Al-harb,’ the ‘domain of war,’ in which Islam does not dominate]. Besides, everyone in Israel, civilians and military personnel, bear arms. That is, they are ‘Ahl Al-Qital'[that is, those who deserve to be fought]’. When the Mufti was asked as to whether it is permitted to kill an Israeli travelling outside the borders of his land, Goma replied, ‘Yes, it is permitted to kill him, because he is a Harbi and the Harbi spreads corruption throughout the face of the earth.’ Individuals such as Hamza Yusuf and Abdullah bin Bayyah have not voiced their support for the foundation, and on the contrary, Hamza Yusuf has purportedly been recorded in lectures as speaking (positively) about Shari’ah and khilafah.
Belief in the superiority of secularism over Shari’ah according to the consensus of scholars is tantamount to heresy, and the notion of ‘Islamic secularism’ is very much a misnomer. Contrary to liberalistic views about ‘Islamism’ (a term generally understood as those who accept and encourage the application of Shari’ah), preferring the law’s of God does not lead to suicide bombers on trains and buses. What actually does lead to suicide bombers are a few Muslims who are ignorant of Islamic law and espouse an extreme hate for disbelievers due to images of murdered Muslim women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and other Muslim countries all over the world. What incites them even more is the contradictory nonsense spewed by British and American politicians. There is no shadow of a doubt that the media has been involved in a full scale attack on Islam and Muslims which only serves to stoke the flames among young Muslim men.
The core matter of the fact is that there are problems that the Muslim community is facing, such as incorrect understandings and interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunnah in reference to jihad and the implementation of Shari’ah. However, there are other problems which exist such as forced marriages, the usurped rights of women, racism, imported Imams and ‘scholars’ not understanding issues facing young British Muslims nor the finer complexities of Islam practiced in a Western society, leaders not being able to cater to intellectual enquiring minds, etc. These are not problems that are either found in Islam or a cause of belief in its principles, but are rooted in either backward cultural practices that people have conflated with Islam. Thus, what is the solution? Liberalising and westernising the faith or returning to its core fundamentals which were revealed to free men and women from the shackles of oppression and ignorance (backward cultural practices)?
Members of the Quilliam Foundation have fallen into the perennial problem of jumping from one quagmire into another. For example, Majid shows his loathing for ‘political Islam’ through politicising his current stance, while creating a political arena in which to draw in disillusioned laymen to his rhetoric, and then going on to using politically loaded terms such as ‘extremists’, ‘radicalists’ and ‘jihadists’. As Saleem Chagtai correctly stated24, Majid has made the same mistake all over again, in that he has only moved from one political position to the another, the former being Hizb ut-Tahreer and the latter being that of a pro-government anti-shari’ah group. The other director of the foundation, Ed, has argued through the medium of his book, radio broadcasts, and TV interviews that his former life (with HuT) lacked spirituality and detracted from a spiritual understanding of God. Thus, he went through a so called process of spiritual reformation and change, until he came to advocate Sufism25, although many Sufi’s themselves have rejected most if not all of his claims and ideas.’
As many before him, Ed traversed the path of ignorance, only to move on to another form of ignorance (although he believes he was guided). The first path of ignorance was political in which he had no relationship with Allah the Most High, neither loved Him nor turn to Him in servitude and obedience yet called for the establishment of His most perfect laws. As a result of this lack of spiritual awareness of God, he found contradictions in his path and wondered lost, until he found himself at the door of Sufism. In his practice of mysticism, he rejected all that he had formerly believed and strived against it due to his conviction that it was ‘political belief’ that led him astray. However, crucially it was his own ignorance that fooled him then, and is also fooling him now as he has returned to the political scene, but this time on the other side.
Unfortunately many members of Muslim groups tend to get extremely entangled with the aims of their respective group, or constantly attempt to debate others on scholarly matters to the extent that they seemingly lose focus on the most fundamental issues such as their departure from this worldly life, the deeds that they send before them to the Hereafter, and their relationship with Allah the most High. Frequently Muslims get caught up in debates about khilafah and jihad, yet have not established the Shari’ah in their hearts; argue about religious points based on the authenticity of ahaadith yet have no idea as how to strengthen one’s relationship with God; or are caught up in deep discussion about loving God yet forget to actualise that love in their hearts and in their actions.. However, does this mean that in and of itself khilafah, jihad, the authentification of ahaadith or understanding the ways by which to realise love of the divine is wrong and should be rejected. Of course not, but it does inform us that as Muslims we must be holistic in our view and be able to prioritise.
The Shari’ah of Allah the Most High is divine legislation and guidance sent to man for the purpose of rectification, peace, and to create an environment of righteousness which facilitates the belief and good works of the believer. To this end, Shaikh-al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah stated, ‘The aim and objective of politics is to seek nearness to Allah. A Muslim adopts politics only to establish the deen which guarantees such a nearness by providing a suitable psychological and spiritual climate in which man achieves a spiritual perfection and, hence, the Divine Nearness. That is why a political activity divorced from the guidance of the deen is a curse for humanity and entails all sorts of evils and immoralities.’26
Islam is a complete religion perfected in every way, and owing to its perfection the believer is commanded by Allah the Most High,
“O you who believe! Enter into submission (Islam) completely, and do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is a manifest enemy for you.”27
An inherent part of the culture of the deen is the conception that ‘life is test’, and by this it is meant that all people will one day face their Creator and be accountable for their actions during their lives. This essential part of the Islamic creed is common to many religions; however an interesting exceptional element within Islam is that the method for success in this endeavour is given within the name of the religion, in that those who will be successful are those who have submitted to the will of God. In reference to Shari’ah, Allah the Most High states,
“So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to you. To each among you we have prescribed a law (shir’ah) and an open way (minhaj). If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you…”28
Among the things that we are given is the Shari’ah and minhaj, and thus to reject that which Allah has manifestly honoured man with, in essence, is to fail the test. In order to attain paradise, one must accept all facets of the faith regardless of whether it is palatable or not. The reality of Islamic law is that the path to ultimate success in heaven is also the path to social peace between all people, and the path to personal peace or contentment. This path is the path leading to the Most Merciful, the moderate path which is middle-way, in which we surrender to Allah’s timeless commands and ardently abstain from his prohibitions.
Thus, if that is the middle-way, we may argue that extremism does exist among Muslims, but on both sides of the scale. The indiscriminate mass killing of every disbeliever is extremism, just as also is the negation of jihad and Shari’ah. Jihad, divine legislation and khilafah are all established concepts in Islam found in the Qur’an, Sunnah, consensus of Sahabah, the salaf and scholars that proceeded after them. Furthermore, it is extremely ridiculous and naive to assume that the underlying causes for ‘extremism’ are a belief in the superiority and application of Shari’ah, or the desire for a caliph and Islamic state to protect and establish Islam, or an acceptance of jihad as a commandment.
The Muslim community must be left to deal with beliefs and ideologies through their own scholars, who must make it a priority to impress upon Muslims the importance of security, making the UK a safe place to live. Such change comes through real scholars who seek change, justice and righteousness for the sake of Allah alone, not because the British government is pushing for it. Although misguided individuals generally lack any type of scholarship, they can sniff out sincerity and easily tell the difference between and governmental neo-con agent and a true scholar. Thus, does the Quilliam foundation truly believe that ‘extremists’ will be willing to dialogue with a group viewed as a government agency built to destroy Islamic principles? In truth the Muslim community as a whole must discuss issues of jihad, wala’ wal bara’ (allegiance and enmity), Shari’ah and secularism openly in order to overcome fraudulent beliefs with authentic one’s based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. Sincere debates with real scholars, not those promoted by the government and the Quilliam Foundation as they will never be accepted among mainstream Muslims.29 However, if independent scholars who strive for the sake of Allah alone aim to make mistaken individuals with erroneous ideas re-address their views, the Muslim community will let down boundaries and address this crisis of ignorance, and thereafter ennoble knowledge of the religion, especially Shari’ah, which will consequently enable Muslims to effectively and positively contribute to wider society.
However, the government also has a major part to play; it is illogical to declare war on a man but not expect his brother to incline to him. American foreign policy is in no way favourable to Muslims, and time and again we see unjustified attacks on Muslim countries, where democracy is used as an excuse to establish pro-Western dictatorships. Britain has continually sought to enforce the USA’s oppressive policies which have reinforced opinions in Muslim minds that the West seeks to subjugate the Muslim East. There are some who claim that foreign policy is irrelevant to ‘extremists’ and that their sole intention is to destroy ‘our way of life’. This is not only the view of George W. Bush and his cronies, but also rhetoric being espoused by the Quilliam Foundation. However, we must sincerely ask ourselves, if the United Kingdom had remained neutral, refusing to illegally invade Afghanistan and occupy Iraq for the sake of the USA, would the bombings on the 7th of July have taken place? Seamus Milne, a journalist for the Guardian writes, ‘This is a perilous game. Those like Quilliam and its friends who claim that terror attacks are all about a rejection of our way of life rather than western war-making and support for dictatorships in the Muslim world may help get the government off the hook of its own responsibility. But if we want to stop such attacks in Britain, rather than indulge in shadow boxing with an elastically-defined extremism, there needs to be engagement with – not ostracism of – credible Islamist groups, as the former head of Scotland Yard Special Branch’s Muslim contact unit has argued. Earlier this month, the chairman of the National Association of Muslim Police, Zaheer Ahmad, warned in Jane’s Police Review Community that while Husain had “few supporters within the Muslim community”, some senior officers had been “seduced” by his “celebrity status” and “taken in by the stereotypical image of Islam he portray”. The dangers of trying to impose the voices you want to hear on the Muslim community should be obvious.’30 Additionally, the media has continually reported extremely biased reports on Muslims, claiming them to be fanatics for preferring Islamic law and the like, although such nonsense would never be reiterated about Orthodox Jews who undoubtedly prefer Judaic law. This bias is continually perpetuated, often to the same degree to that of the Nazi propaganda machine which spewed out fabricated stories about the Jews in order to incite hatred towards them.
In conclusion, the noble religion of Islam is multifaceted, and unlike claims that the prophets of Allah only came to provide man with spiritual morals, we find many verses from the Qur’an, and ahaadith from the Sunnah, which discuss the role of Islam in public and private life. The Prophet of Allah was a messenger from his Lord who not only corrected the beliefs, morals and behaviour of the pagan Arabs, but also ruled over them by the law that Allah had prescribed for them. Contrary to the Quilliam lads this was not something new or invented, but the application of Shari’ah was enjoined on all of the prophets. The Quilliam gang are not only attempting to mislead the masses, but also forge a new ‘British Islam’. By this they do not mean the application of fiqh (jurisprudence) will be distinct, but that they will interpret as they see fit, accepting parts and rejecting others, as Allah has stated,
“Do you believe in parts of the scripture and disbelieve in others?”31
Their beliefs are false and so are their interpretations,
“He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses which constitute the essence of the scripture, as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. As for those who have a disease in their hearts (harbour doubts) pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. But none knows the true meaning thereof except Allah and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in it, all of it comes from our Lord.”Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.”32
To claim that Quillam Foundation sincerely wants to benefit the community and protect the deen of Allah is not something I argue against as Allah alone has knowledge of what is apparent and what is hidden in the breasts of men and women, but one’s actions must be held to account (and to an extent a display of one’s intention). Every sincere individual believes what he/she is doing is correct, for if they knew that they were wrong and continued in their way they wouldn’t actually be sincere. However, sincerity does not lead to correct beliefs and opinions as in the saying, ‘the path to hell is paved with good intentions’. The Khawaarij were described by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with) as a people who had renounced the worldly life with visible marks on their body due to their constant worship of God. However, this godly sight did not mean that if they were left to do as they pleased they would not have destroyed the religion of Allah. Quillam Foundation must look into their falsehood, and as Abdullah Quilliam quoted from the Qur’an in his tract on the khilafah, ‘Verily, they are in manifest error’.
We call these individuals, who have chosen to estrange themselves from us, to return to the straight path, and as Abdullah Quilliam advised, ‘If their object – as they allege it – be the welfare of Islam, then let them reconsider their action and they will perceive that instead of bringing a blessing to Islam their actions will have a contrary effect, and only further disseminate disunion where it is – alas that it should be said – only too apparent. We fraternally invite these brethren to return their allegiance, and call them to the sacred name of Islam to re-unite with the Faithful.’33
O’ Allah the Guide, most Merciful, forgive us of our sins and guide us to the path that is straight. O’ Turner of Hearts, turn our hearts toward obeying you until our breath betakes us.
2. The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171.
8. Something which did not exist at the time of the Prophet
9. Classified Hasan, and narrated by Ibn Majah and Ad-Daraqutni. It was classified by other than them two as musnad (complete chain from the narrator back to the prophet). Also narrated by Malik ibn Anas in Muwatt’a as a mursal hadith (the chain of narrators ends with a tabi’ee relating from theProphet) with a chain from Amr ibn Yahya – from his father – from the Prophet, but leaving out Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudari. He also has other ways (chains) which strengthen one another. This hadith is also used by the scholars of ‘maqaasid Ash-Shari’ah’ to establish ‘decreasing harms’ as one the aims of Islamic law.
13. Related by Hudhaifah ibn Al-Yaman. Narrated in Musnad Ahmad.
14. Kitab Al-Deen
15. As-Siyyasah Ash-Shari’ah
16. Sharh Sahih Muslim
17. Al-Iqtisaad fil I’tiqaad.
18. I have been informed by one of the scholars of Egypt that this quote is from Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah, though it is yet to be verified
19. See https://www.islam21c.com/british-affairs/consensus-ijtihad.html
23. Al-Hayat (London), September 30, 2003. See http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP58003#_edn1
25. http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/politicsphilosophyandsociety/story/0,,2078103,00.html, also refer to Ed’s book The Islamist.
26. As-Siyasa Ash-Shariyyah. His student Ibn Al-Qayyim also espoused the same opinion, see I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in
29. We are always told that ‘extremism’ is a problem that the Muslim community must rectify yet we are never left alone to do so!
33. The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171.
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