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Who are We and are We Proud to be British?

A Dialogue with the Muslim Community on Music, Culture, Identity and Britishness.

As we said in the beginning of this series of articles, the debate around music is not limited to the legality of using musical instruments as was the case in the past; it has became part of a broader discussion that includes culture and identity. Some argue that it is acceptable to make changes to Islamic principles or that Islam may take on new forms in order to adapt to European or other cultures. They also contend that many Islamic practices are cultural and have no basis in Islam.

These writers promote the notion of Britishness and claim that it does not contradict Islamic teachings. They – including Sami Yusuf in his article about music – promote statements of the sort, ‘I am proud to be British, American, Pakistani or even Saudi’ yet they do not mention the Islamic ruling regarding such statements and fail to mention any corroborating evidence to legitimise taking pride in one’s nationality. Surely this requires the works of Jurisprudence and Hadith to be investigated in order to assess its validity?

Our most immediate thought should be to recognise that one of the most appealing aspects of Islam is the abolishment of all types of schisms. The Prophet said, ‘He who calls to sectarianism is not of us.’ Unfortunately, such schisms exist in the Muslim world and it is not in our interest to introduce yet another schism, ironically embracing the very nationalism we once denounced. Within a few years, we will have British and French Muslims proud of their national identity, which will inevitably lead to conduct whereby a British father, for example, will refuse a marriage proposal from a French Muslim and vice versa. Do not ridicule this as this is exactly what we severely condemn and deal with when addressing marriage issues between Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. I accept that these writers hold no such intentions, however, it highlights the fact that usage and promotion of such statements can lead to undesired results.

For this reason, it is necessary to utilise Islamic terms when dealing with such issues. What does it mean to be proud of being British, and why must we proclaim this pride? Is it in order to demonstrate our loyalty to the land or is it for the satisfaction of a sector of society? Such ideas only seek to reinforce the notion that we have been colonialised to feel inferior, and consequently serve to introduce alien concepts into our belief system.

Furthermore, some articles such as Sami’s attempted to establish the validity of such statements by claiming that the Prophet was, ‘…shedding tears whilst migrating from Makkah – his beloved homeland to Madina despite the persecution he suffered at the hands of its people.’ No doubt that is true, but did the Prophet ever say that he is proud to be a Makkan? Where is the link between saying, ‘Britain is my home and I was raised here as a child, I went to school here, most of my friends – Muslims and non-Muslims are British and my earliest as well as fondest memories are rooted here’ and claiming pride for one’s nationality?

There is no denial that there is a natural bond between an individual and the land where he or she has spent most of their childhood. However, Islam does not sanctify pride for any ideology, nationality, sect or race, other than that of being a Muslim. The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Three are from the affairs of pre-Islamic ignorance: pride in one’s noble descent, discrediting someone’s lineage, and loud weeping for the dead’. The Islamic thinker, Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 A.H) said, ‘Everything which is outside the call of Islam and the Qur’an, with regard to lineage, land, nationality, schools of thoughts and paths, is from the calls of pre-Islamic ignorance. Indeed, even when the Muhajirun (the Companions who migrated from Makkah to Madinah) and the Ansar (the Companions who aided and supported those who migrated) argued, such that one of the Muhajirun said:’ O Muhajirun! (Implying; rally to my aid) ‘And one of the Ansar said: ‘O Ansar!’ The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Is it with the calls of pre-Islamic ignorance that you call, while I am still amongst you?!’ and he became very angry. Such scorn is due to the fact that the Prophet himself never utilised such slogans; on the contrary, the Prophet (pbuh) would say, ’I am the best of the children of Adam, and I say this without pride.’ This implies in a compelling manner that one should not be proud of what he or she is; rather, thankfulness and praise should be directed to Allah alone for His divine guidance to the state of Islam.

Terms such as Britishness, peace and love have been utilised contextually by writers and some may view them as being wholly reasonable from the outset; however, they are unsubstantiated ideas within Islam. For example, Sami mentioned in his article that Islam teaches him to be, ‘loyal towards my faith and my country’. This is a bizarre assumption that has no basis in the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of previous scholars. It is established however that a Muslim should be loyal to his faith and attain piety. Moreover, the term country itself is not Islamic as it reflects the boundaries that divide people solely upon a political and racial basis. Just as we condemn racism since it involves preferring one race over another, we should equally condemn other yet similar schisms. Allah, the Most High, states,

“It is He (Allah) who has named you Muslims both before and in this (i.e., the Qur’an), that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind.”

In other words, loyalty should be given to truth and justice wherever truth and justice reside.

Islam is the only system that can attain and maintain them in their absolute form. Moreover, Islam commanded us to stand up for justice even if this involves going against our own selves, let alone against our families and countries. Allah says in the Quran,

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.”

The Prophet (pbuh) taught us in a very powerful statement the right position one should take in all his affairs and relations with others; he said, ‘Aid your brother whether he is oppressed or the oppressor’. The companions of the Prophet were surprised and questioned, ‘We know how to aid him if he is oppressed, but how can we aid him if he is the oppressor?’ The Prophet gave the answer, ‘If he is the oppressor then stop him from oppressing’. Let us treat every individual, organisation and country in this manner, if they are oppressed then we need to aid them to remove the oppression and if they are the oppressors we need to stop them from oppressing. This means that we are faithful to the great value of justice and fairness and not to the political or sectarian entity. Actually, we are faithful to more than that: we are faithful to humanity as a whole and not to a group of people irrespective of who they are or what they are doing. All political entities should seek to maintain such a sublime standard within its system and people, as this will ensure confidence that it as a country or a nation that will never be involved in any illegal or unethical action or conflict. In addition, it will ensure that its population will never be involved in acts of injustice even if there are theological differences between its inhabitants.

What does it mean to be British?
Sami, as an example, illustrated his understanding of being British by stating, ‘Does being British mean I take pride in the oppressive and exploitative colonial past of Britain? Does it mean I support the British invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? Does it mean I support the Anti-Terrorism Act? Does it mean I support the erosion of civil liberties and human rights? Of course not!’ Inevitably, we agree with him, and further emphasise that the spectrum of differences between aspects of Islamic mode and behaviour and that of British are considerably great: we do not consume alcohol nor involve ourselves in the pub culture. Our women dress modestly, don the hijab, and play a complementary not competitive role in contrast to their western counterparts. Islamic matters of marriage and inheritance also differ. In terms of ethics and social values, we do not consent to homosexuality, our children are not allowed to disregard their parents when they have reached adulthood, and Islam does not condone premarital relationships. Islamic mercy and justice is divine, absolute and timeless, whereas secular law is man-made, and core secular principles are constantly subject to change. Many actions may be considered legal and ethical, but as norms and values are altered, such actions are regarded corrupt. Islamic law requires that we are not allowed to carry out abortions especially after 12 weeks of pregnancy as it is deemed murder, while some western non-Muslim countries have recently considered it legal. Our mercy does not allow us to accept euthanasia, while it remains a subject of discussion in the West. As a matter of fact the most crucial difference between Muslim and British society is submission to Allah, which dictates our way of life in its entirety.

After highlighting major differences, the question still remains, what exactly does it mean to be British, and how can one be proud of an identity which is yet to be defined? Let us suppose that the answer for this dilemma is along the lines of what Sami stated in his response to Yvonne, ‘But Yvonne, let us be fair and not forget that it was in Britain that the world witnessed the largest anti-war demonstration – a testimony to the moral consciousness of the British public. I too was in that demonstration voicing my discontent over the foreign policies of our government’. Hence, is the ability and freedom to oppose government policies the criteria for Britishness? Or should the nature and value of the British people to oppose injustice be the definition of Britishness? Both definitions are inclusive of other nations and can hardly be termed as Britishness. {quotes}I call upon readers to exercise a level of rationality and not be deceived by eloquent words or emotional speech.{/quotes}

Some friends from Canada continue to inform me that Canada is the best place to live. Others, living in the US (the heart of the so-called war on terror) inform me that the da’wah in the US is the best da’wah in the world. Both are opinions which cannot objectively be verified or even justified. We should not be gullible or easily persuaded, notwithstanding the fact that we highly appreciate the level of tolerance by both the public and government towards some Islamic practices. Additionally, the use of the term ‘British society’ must also be utilised with caution in that we must understand that a large sector of the British society within itself may be representative of the government. Some might argue that the government is elected by the people through a democratic process and therefore reflect a major part of the people and their views!

Reference criteria for evaluating a society
We are at liberty to scrutinise whether, ‘British society is amongst the most tolerant, open, liberal, multi-cultural and inclusive societies in the world’. Moreover, Britishness is a political term for many, representing one’s loyalty to political policies, both domestic and foreign. It is for this reason Yvonne seemed appalled and rejected such terms, as did many other Muslims and non-Muslims. In fact, this highly politicised term is not accepted by many Britains, as is evident through their detachment from British policies. If we argue that Britishness is not a political term, we are left with a term undefined. Further possible definitions which can be employed to define such a term include: living on this land (British Isles); speaking its language; carrying a red-passport; and utilising all due legal processes in order to achieve one’s objectives. A person who works legally in the UK for five consecutive years, has not been involved in criminal offenses and speaks English to a basic level has met the basic requirements to become a British citizen, which can be finalised after completing other formalities. It is obvious that if a person belongs to a certain land, an attachment develops to the land and its people. This is what our focus should be on: How can we instil young Muslims with a sense of positive and effective attachment? This is the crux of the matter. It is indeed a complex issue, which shall be discussed in the future.

I wish to reemphasise the main objective, which is the need to intellectually liberate ourselves through adherence to the guiding principles legislated by the Creator of the intellect. If we lack adherence to the guidelines set by Allah, we involuntarily adhere to principles set by creation, leading to the colonialisation of Muslims. For example, British Muslims have been accused of disloyalty and isolation, as it is argued that their lifestyles are incompatible with the norms of British society. Consequently, some have opted for a non-Islamic agenda, as opposed to an Islamic way of thinking, and have begun to adopt unIslamic practices and beliefs in order to prove their Britishness. Let us reflect comprehensively and analyse whether this situation is unique to British Muslims; are we acting intolerably towards particular secular norms simply because we dislike Britain in particular? Do not Indian Muslims seem to decline certain norms of Indian society? This would be the Islamic attitude in all countries including Muslim countries, and this is the only way in which we can live and contribute to any society we live in. The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Whoever sees an evil, then he should change it by his hand, if he is unable then he should change it by his tongue. If he is unable, then let him change it by his heart and that is the weakest of faith.’ As aforementioned, loyalty should be given to values and whoever upholds them and not to people irrespective of what values they hold. This kind of loyalty makes us loyal to the whole of humanity. In the next and final article I will explore further points pertaining to culture, citizenship and integration Allah willing.

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Notes:
Source: www.islam21c.com

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

52 comments

  1. Hmmm
    I think it’s quite simple

    If you heard a Muslim living in Israel say:

    “I’m proud to be an Israeli”

    How many of you would raise an eyebrow?

    And why would you raise an eyebrow? Is it because Israel is an oppressive and unjust regime?

    It says in the Quran “indeed, shirk (polytheism) is a great injustice”

    Yet, many of us will have no qualms saying they are proud to be American or British, when these countries are known to be polytheistic, Christian or atheistic countries.

    Do we regard killing Palestinians a bigger crime than polytheism or godlessness?

    Having said that, it may be permissible to say your proud due to specific actions of a country. For example:

    Britain contributed heavily to the floods and it made me proud to be British

    Or

    American hospitality is outta this world and it really makes me proud to be an American

    I think specific statements as such may be permissible, if the Shaikh can clarify, but general ones seem dubious.

    Allah knows best.

  2. criticisim
    A Saudi; born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Left his country and adopted a new nationality.

    I don’t intend to offend the person intended. Some things just need to be pointed out.

  3. Confused
    If you’re not willing to adapt to the host culture, British or whatever, then leave and live in a Muslim country where you would feel more at home. Muslims should stop trying to colonise the UK and change it into something it’s not. The UK did not become a great country by having laws based on Sharia or having an Islamic culture.

    Cheers.

  4. What wasnt said
    asawrwb,
    The title of this piece is in time with the calls of government and its associated press and many of its NGO’s and community sponsored educational bodies. It seems to mingle well with the steady flow of commentaries on how Muslims should feel towards a country, a land, a people. There seems to be some slight of hand in the lack of concentration on the position of the Muslims in respect to the blatant invasions and destructions of millions of lives in the Muslim lands, subjugation, backing of terrorist regimes, rendition to those regimes for torture that the British themselves are too “humane” to do themselves. A”cursory” study of modern history would rid us of such notions. I think the Muslims are tired of such diatribe, and are in a transitional state of fear themselves, as to even voice these opinions as Muslims is to invite attention and many scholars choose to walk the other side of the line. And this will become worse and we are already closer to the Egypt style of policing of Muslims 5 years on. Voices are muted, and speech changes. The speech that rings true is vilified and monitored by spooks in the mosque. This is a problem whiich has followed the sheikh so no doubt he may noptice it,. however slow and pervasive the change is.

  5. Your islamic laws are not divine. They are man-made as well. And so what if secular laws change? Why is that a bad thing?

  6. Social Change

    Social Change is what we need.
    Dear Abubakar,

    The point you make is a most valid one. I think what we need is a renewal of the sense of social transformation that Islam brought in its earlier days. A sense that the society we live in (be it a Muslim majority one or a non-Muslim majority one) has issues for which we all need to work. Social change must be a top priority in our discourse. Hence, what we need is not a pride in a nation but pride in its capacity to help the process of change, equity, and humanity. We must then take a much more nuanced and segmented view of “nations” since all nations contain good and bad; being proud of a nation (as a unified object) is meaningless. Social Change must become more pronounced on our tongues and in our actions.

  7. Social Change

    Social Change is what we need.
    Dear Abubakar,

    The point you make is a most valid one. I think what we need is a renewal of the sense of social transformation that Islam brought in its earlier days. A sense that the society we live in (be it a Muslim majority one or a non-Muslim majority one) has issues for which we all need to work. Social change must be a top priority in our discourse. Hence, what we need is not a pride in a nation but pride in its capacity to help the process of change, equity, and humanity. We must then take a much more nuanced and segmented view of “nations” since all nations contain good and bad; being proud of a nation (as a unified object) is meaningless. Social Change must become more pronounced on our tongues and in our actions.

  8. ABUBAKAR ALMAAWIY

    Who are We and are We Proud to be British?
    Many of the comments raised appear to me as paying lip servce and wishfull thinking on the issue of loyalty to Islam and fellow Muslims. And this is truely so not only in this forum but this charcterises us how we are universally. If we are truely loyal to Islam as Islam wants us to be and in the way the Sheikh has put it, there is no reasn why the Muslim Ummah all over the world do not seem to forge ahead? The reason is simple. we are not to put our all our good ideas into action. Loyalty to Islam has to be followed by some kind of action according to ones ability to improve the quality of life for Muslims within the Islamic scope. My friend who lives in Rhode Island was complaining about wide spread drug problem affecting the Muslim youth of the Coastal Kenya. I told him that one way of fighting this problem is to make sure we help our youth receive the highest education goals possible and that we have an organization that raise some funds to help the orphans and the poor to stay in school. All I got from him was Inshaallah. What we needed from him was 75 cents a day to help in this project but unfortunately that was too much for him to sacrifice.

    Allah wa Rasuluhu A’lam. I ask for Allah’s forgiveness for unintentional comment wrongly expressed.

    Shukran

    Abubakar Almaawiy

  9. ABUBAKAR ALMAAWIY

    Who are We and are We Proud to be British?
    Many of the comments raised appear to me as paying lip servce and wishfull thinking on the issue of loyalty to Islam and fellow Muslims. And this is truely so not only in this forum but this charcterises us how we are universally. If we are truely loyal to Islam as Islam wants us to be and in the way the Sheikh has put it, there is no reasn why the Muslim Ummah all over the world do not seem to forge ahead? The reason is simple. we are not to put our all our good ideas into action. Loyalty to Islam has to be followed by some kind of action according to ones ability to improve the quality of life for Muslims within the Islamic scope. My friend who lives in Rhode Island was complaining about wide spread drug problem affecting the Muslim youth of the Coastal Kenya. I told him that one way of fighting this problem is to make sure we help our youth receive the highest education goals possible and that we have an organization that raise some funds to help the orphans and the poor to stay in school. All I got from him was Inshaallah. What we needed from him was 75 cents a day to help in this project but unfortunately that was too much for him to sacrifice.

    Allah wa Rasuluhu A’lam. I ask for Allah’s forgiveness for unintentional comment wrongly expressed.

    Shukran

    Abubakar Almaawiy

  10. Hopefully not proud

    Is it right to be proud of anything?
    Is it correct in Islam to be proud about anything? Does the Quran or the sunnah ever praise people for saying ‘ We are proud to be Muslim?’

    On the contrary, even when the Bedoiuns came and declared that they are believer like they are doing a favour, they were reminded that it is Allah who has done them a favour by making them Muslims.

    But we are always instructed to be humble – even the greatest wealth and blessing – that of Islam – should huimble us that Allah guided us.

    If someone were to name themselves -‘PROUD MUSLIM’ surely that would be the greatest contradiction in terms!

    IF WE ARE NOT TO BE PROUD AS MUSLIMS, THERE IS NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD WORTHY OF BEING PROUD!

    Rather be a humble Muslim than a proud American!
    IF EVEN THE GREATEST BLESSING

  11. The problem I find with the ones who really try to convince everyone how proud they are of being american is and how great ‘Islamericanism’ is, is that there is something in them that is trying to appease, to pander to the white master – their language is just so ‘ look Sir, I do love bieng American – honest!’ –

    There is something Uncle Tom, something ‘house nigger’ like about ’em.

    Yesterday I was a proud Pakistani. Today I got an American passport, and overnight I am a proud American – in my beliefs and attitudes. Doesn’t make too much sense.

    The world belongs to Allah. My identity is Muslim. May Allah may take us and keep us wherever we can worship him in peace and not test us in our religion. Loyalty to countries chanage, actually countries change – and it is acceptable in the world today to be able to change your passport.

  12. … theories and realities
    I know many Indian Muslims who before the early 1990s were very proud of being Indian, and couldn’t understand why the Quran mentioned polytheists not liking Muslims. After Babari masjid, after their neighbours tried to burn their houses down (including my uncle), when people were being slaughtered on trains for being circumcised and when the bigots who flamed these fires won the elections ( the BJP), it all made sense.
    There were many proud Muslim Yugoslavians. They were so Yugoslavian , they forgot they were Muslim. They forgot, but their neighbours didn’t. It was then Muslim Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, African who did what they could for them.
    No one would have believed in 1990 that the The Bosnian war – 50 yrs after WWII – could happen min Europe. It did. A lot of wars are driven by nationalism,. and minorities are imprisoned and killed and tortured
    under the guise of nationalism.
    It is not impossible that the far right in Europe or in the US may rise again, and . May it not happen, but if it does many people may be swallowing their words… let no one be naive. what is happening in the world today should make people think a bit more. Don’t just think, ‘well I’m alright Jack, and proud of my stars and stripes in the backyard!’
    Let’s be sincere Muslims, good Muslims wherever we are and be just and good examples and be causes of good ; but let’s not be naive in our attitude.
    If anyone here with a sense of justice is proud of being American or British or European for the good that they have, they should be ashamed in equal measure of of that which is not so good ( disbelief in Allah, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Iraq War, propping up Israel, arrogance and greed etc etc) then weigh both sides up before deciding whether they are more proud or more ashamed.

    ” Whoever doesn’t learn from history is condemned to repeat it”

  13. Nationalist - I'm being ironic of course!

    Let’s not forget the all important “ism”
    The issue here is surely with the “ism” that is morphologically part of the word nationalism. Your pride in being American or mine in being British signifies little until we locate it in “national-ism”, that is, within the paradigm of nationalism which helps give sense to the statement: I am proud of being British/American. What is being said therefore is that the statement, I am proud of being British/American is already a determined statement, in a way in which saying I am proud of my daughter is not. For example, to say I am proud of being a capitalist cannot be taken as a neutral statement, but one laden with problems since it is an unambiguous alignment of the self with the ethos of capitalism. Contrastingly, if I were to say, ‘I am proud to be a man’, that statement is vacuous because it lacks a grounding in a specific paradigm/narrative. Similarly, being an American I am sure you would hesistate to ever use the term nigger, which you know is inappropriate due to being located within a historical narrative that shapes its meanings etc.

    Now, since the issue is with the “ism” inherent within claims of being proud of such and such a country, the arguement is to dislocate the statement “I am proud of” from “British” or to qualify that statement in a much more careful way.

    And Allah knows best, and of course Sheikh Haitham may wish to clarify 🙂

  14. Nationalist - I'm being ironic of course!

    Let’s not forget the all important “ism”
    The issue here is surely with the “ism” that is morphologically part of the word nationalism. Your pride in being American or mine in being British signifies little until we locate it in “national-ism”, that is, within the paradigm of nationalism which helps give sense to the statement: I am proud of being British/American. What is being said therefore is that the statement, I am proud of being British/American is already a determined statement, in a way in which saying I am proud of my daughter is not. For example, to say I am proud of being a capitalist cannot be taken as a neutral statement, but one laden with problems since it is an unambiguous alignment of the self with the ethos of capitalism. Contrastingly, if I were to say, ‘I am proud to be a man’, that statement is vacuous because it lacks a grounding in a specific paradigm/narrative. Similarly, being an American I am sure you would hesistate to ever use the term nigger, which you know is inappropriate due to being located within a historical narrative that shapes its meanings etc.

    Now, since the issue is with the “ism” inherent within claims of being proud of such and such a country, the arguement is to dislocate the statement “I am proud of” from “British” or to qualify that statement in a much more careful way.

    And Allah knows best, and of course Sheikh Haitham may wish to clarify 🙂

  15. ABUBAKAR ALMAAWIY

    Assalamu Aleikum,

    Along side other meanings, one meaning of the word pride according to an English dictionary is : a reasonable or justifiable self-respect. And this is the meaning I would like us all to go along with. If to me my pride of being an American means ego or better than any other let alone Islam than I believe I am doomed. Or as Sami said supporting all policies of American government wholeheartedly regardless of whether they are good or not, contradicts Islam or not then the Sheikh is absolutely right. But to my best understanding a true Muslim his/her faith in Allah and His prophet always comes first.

    The Quran says INNAA KHALNAAKUM MIN DHAKARIN WA UNTHA WA JAALNAAKUM SHUUBAN WA QABAAILA LITAARAFUU INNA AKRAMAKUM I’NDALLAHI ATQAAKUM. Nationalities and tribal backgrounds are so to speak natural phenomena. If there were to be no inclination to tribes and nationalities whatsoever as what the Sheikh is saying then there would not have been such a verse in the Quran. When tribes were giving ba’ay to Rasulullah (saw) they would for example say we are from the tribe of khazraji or such and such, we are brave and fierce fighters, we will stand by you in times of war and peace etc. Although there is no mention of the word pride but it is explicitly implied to mean reasonable and justifiable self-respect. If the Prophet (saw) meant that kind of sectarianism as the Sheikh mentioned in that hadith, are tribes not part of it? If pride is to be solely interpreted in the Sheikh Haddad’s context only, then I cannot even say I am proud of my daughter for her outstanding or excellent performance in school because that will be tantamount to mean arrogance. I am not a scholar and I say this in the literal sense but the Sheikh is rather taking the issue on the extreme side. Many years ago my uncle told me that he heard my cousin say that you have to wash your hands when you shake hands with a mushrik because the Quran said innamal mushrikuuna najas, Sheikh is this true? Or is it one of those things that are taken out of context. Sometimes great sahabis like Abubakar (ra) would question their LOYALTY AND IMAN based on how the Quranic revelations and the prophet’s teachings but Rasulullah (saw) would always assure them that its not them the Quran is talking about. Why, because Allah subhana wa taala is at war with transgressors – dhalimuun and kaafirun. Therefore in this regard transgressors would be those Muslims whose loyalty is to their NATIONALITY first and not Islam and fellow Muslims. An issue such as this has serious consequences as it amounts to KUFR.

    In conclusion Muslims have tough fights to fight and I believe this is not one of them. The tough fight is to bring the ummah together through grassroots compaign all over the world. Allah(swt) has already set it up for us through the five times jamaa prayers. We would like to have leaders who practice what they preach. For example as a challenge to our imams and khatibs who talk about unity, do they know each and every person who pray behind them in the masjid regularly by their names? If one person stopped coming to the masjid would the imam make an effort of knowing why? I believe these were some of the practices of our Prophet (saw) which endeared him to his followers. We want our leaders to do exactly this. I have seen some of our leaders here encouraging the congregation just this past Ramadhan to continue with fajr and Isha prayers after Ramadhan while they don’t do it themselves, especially the Fajr time. They may think their actions go unnoticed but they are wrong.

    I sincerely ask for your forgiveness Sheikh Al-haddad for any possible offense in what I have said.

    Allah wa rasuluhuu a’alam. I ask Allah to forgive us all our wrongs and show us the truth and help us follow inshallah.

    Shukran.

    Your Brother in Islam.

    Abubakar Almaawiy,

    Dllas, TX.

    Thanks

  16. ABUBAKAR ALMAAWIY

    Assalamu Aleikum,

    Along side other meanings, one meaning of the word pride according to an English dictionary is : a reasonable or justifiable self-respect. And this is the meaning I would like us all to go along with. If to me my pride of being an American means ego or better than any other let alone Islam than I believe I am doomed. Or as Sami said supporting all policies of American government wholeheartedly regardless of whether they are good or not, contradicts Islam or not then the Sheikh is absolutely right. But to my best understanding a true Muslim his/her faith in Allah and His prophet always comes first.

    The Quran says INNAA KHALNAAKUM MIN DHAKARIN WA UNTHA WA JAALNAAKUM SHUUBAN WA QABAAILA LITAARAFUU INNA AKRAMAKUM I’NDALLAHI ATQAAKUM. Nationalities and tribal backgrounds are so to speak natural phenomena. If there were to be no inclination to tribes and nationalities whatsoever as what the Sheikh is saying then there would not have been such a verse in the Quran. When tribes were giving ba’ay to Rasulullah (saw) they would for example say we are from the tribe of khazraji or such and such, we are brave and fierce fighters, we will stand by you in times of war and peace etc. Although there is no mention of the word pride but it is explicitly implied to mean reasonable and justifiable self-respect. If the Prophet (saw) meant that kind of sectarianism as the Sheikh mentioned in that hadith, are tribes not part of it? If pride is to be solely interpreted in the Sheikh Haddad’s context only, then I cannot even say I am proud of my daughter for her outstanding or excellent performance in school because that will be tantamount to mean arrogance. I am not a scholar and I say this in the literal sense but the Sheikh is rather taking the issue on the extreme side. Many years ago my uncle told me that he heard my cousin say that you have to wash your hands when you shake hands with a mushrik because the Quran said innamal mushrikuuna najas, Sheikh is this true? Or is it one of those things that are taken out of context. Sometimes great sahabis like Abubakar (ra) would question their LOYALTY AND IMAN based on how the Quranic revelations and the prophet’s teachings but Rasulullah (saw) would always assure them that its not them the Quran is talking about. Why, because Allah subhana wa taala is at war with transgressors – dhalimuun and kaafirun. Therefore in this regard transgressors would be those Muslims whose loyalty is to their NATIONALITY first and not Islam and fellow Muslims. An issue such as this has serious consequences as it amounts to KUFR.

    In conclusion Muslims have tough fights to fight and I believe this is not one of them. The tough fight is to bring the ummah together through grassroots compaign all over the world. Allah(swt) has already set it up for us through the five times jamaa prayers. We would like to have leaders who practice what they preach. For example as a challenge to our imams and khatibs who talk about unity, do they know each and every person who pray behind them in the masjid regularly by their names? If one person stopped coming to the masjid would the imam make an effort of knowing why? I believe these were some of the practices of our Prophet (saw) which endeared him to his followers. We want our leaders to do exactly this. I have seen some of our leaders here encouraging the congregation just this past Ramadhan to continue with fajr and Isha prayers after Ramadhan while they don’t do it themselves, especially the Fajr time. They may think their actions go unnoticed but they are wrong.

    I sincerely ask for your forgiveness Sheikh Al-haddad for any possible offense in what I have said.

    Allah wa rasuluhuu a’alam. I ask Allah to forgive us all our wrongs and show us the truth and help us follow inshallah.

    Shukran.

    Your Brother in Islam.

    Abubakar Almaawiy,

    Dllas, TX.

    Thanks

  17. Mohamed Ahmed

    Nothing wrong with American-Islam
    Asamalum Alaikum,

    I enjoyed your article with a lot of reservations. I googled your name to get a better understanding of who you are. What I found out was a bit interesting and I wonder if you have a problem with being defined as a Palestinian, who grew up in Saudi Arabia and schooled in Egypt. Can we say that your idea of pride would have been different if you were a Saudi national or you had full citizenship in Palestine? I hope you don’t see my view as a personal attach, but just an honest individual observation

    I am not a scholar to claim there has been a study, but it is a fact that many non-Saudi Muslims who were born and raised in that “Muslim country” have a negative feeling towards expressions of national pride. When it comes to British citizens (Christian and European) many would say that, the British are proud of their Britishness, but they don’t throw it in your face and treat others with disgust. It is true there might be some lingering racism, but it is a FACT the British have basic HUMAN respect. The British do recognize your citizenship even if you are a Hindu. Comparing that to Saudi citizens (white, brown and black) I don’t think you would disagree with what many born and raised non-Saudi Muslims would say. I am not claiming you were born in Saudi Arabia, but just in case you were, I can imagine how good it would feel if you were recognized and respected as a Saudi national.

    The point I am trying to make is not to disagree with your theological explanation, but to bring you to what OUR MUSLIM reality looks like in the so-called Christian WEST. Could you or any of those Muslim scholars make a similar argument in the outskirts of Makka or Madina. There is nothing wrong with promoting and teaching our religion, but once in a while we have to be honest with the reality we are in. Quite often we select issues and hot topics that do not serve Muslims well, but put many of us on the wrong side of “fighting social justice for all.”

    Is it wrong for an Indian Muslim to say, “Yes, I live in the Dubai and I am very proud of the Muslim-British cricket team captain.” For someone in your position, I totally believe your priorities are off the “Serving-Muslim Well” mark. Please do read my letter with the understanding that, we are on the same side and want the best for Humanity, Muslim or non-Muslim. Let me conclude by saying that I am a proud naturalized American citizen and a proud father raising two American kids. I cannot allow anyone to take that away from them.

    Interesting vindication and not all Muslims are on the “Us Vs Them” train. At a Muslim conference in the USA, “Dr. Alkhawaga, a psychiatrist, said the rhetoric is “very troubling.” In fact, he proposed that the integration of pure Islam with American culture at its best would make “a perfect marriage.”

    Read the rest of “From the emotional to educational, topics vary at Muslim confab.”
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08307/924770-85.stm

    Proud American Muslim,

    Mohamed Ahmed

  18. Mohamed Ahmed

    Nothing wrong with American-Islam
    Asamalum Alaikum,

    I enjoyed your article with a lot of reservations. I googled your name to get a better understanding of who you are. What I found out was a bit interesting and I wonder if you have a problem with being defined as a Palestinian, who grew up in Saudi Arabia and schooled in Egypt. Can we say that your idea of pride would have been different if you were a Saudi national or you had full citizenship in Palestine? I hope you don’t see my view as a personal attach, but just an honest individual observation

    I am not a scholar to claim there has been a study, but it is a fact that many non-Saudi Muslims who were born and raised in that “Muslim country” have a negative feeling towards expressions of national pride. When it comes to British citizens (Christian and European) many would say that, the British are proud of their Britishness, but they don’t throw it in your face and treat others with disgust. It is true there might be some lingering racism, but it is a FACT the British have basic HUMAN respect. The British do recognize your citizenship even if you are a Hindu. Comparing that to Saudi citizens (white, brown and black) I don’t think you would disagree with what many born and raised non-Saudi Muslims would say. I am not claiming you were born in Saudi Arabia, but just in case you were, I can imagine how good it would feel if you were recognized and respected as a Saudi national.

    The point I am trying to make is not to disagree with your theological explanation, but to bring you to what OUR MUSLIM reality looks like in the so-called Christian WEST. Could you or any of those Muslim scholars make a similar argument in the outskirts of Makka or Madina. There is nothing wrong with promoting and teaching our religion, but once in a while we have to be honest with the reality we are in. Quite often we select issues and hot topics that do not serve Muslims well, but put many of us on the wrong side of “fighting social justice for all.”

    Is it wrong for an Indian Muslim to say, “Yes, I live in the Dubai and I am very proud of the Muslim-British cricket team captain.” For someone in your position, I totally believe your priorities are off the “Serving-Muslim Well” mark. Please do read my letter with the understanding that, we are on the same side and want the best for Humanity, Muslim or non-Muslim. Let me conclude by saying that I am a proud naturalized American citizen and a proud father raising two American kids. I cannot allow anyone to take that away from them.

    Interesting vindication and not all Muslims are on the “Us Vs Them” train. At a Muslim conference in the USA, “Dr. Alkhawaga, a psychiatrist, said the rhetoric is “very troubling.” In fact, he proposed that the integration of pure Islam with American culture at its best would make “a perfect marriage.”

    Read the rest of “From the emotional to educational, topics vary at Muslim confab.”
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08307/924770-85.stm

    Proud American Muslim,

    Mohamed Ahmed

  19. Concise and coherent
    Excellent article. I finally managed to read it after some severe procrastination! Concise and explained very coherently. Unfortunately many ignorant muslims, and some who purport to be intellectuals just quickly reach conclusion without giving thought to their words.

  20. Concise and coherent
    Excellent article. I finally managed to read it after some severe procrastination! Concise and explained very coherently. Unfortunately many ignorant muslims, and some who purport to be intellectuals just quickly reach conclusion without giving thought to their words.

  21. Mohammed from bradford

    Be firm on this way
    JazakAllahu khairan ya Shaikh. unfortunately many of muslims have been trapped because of our scholars who are giving Fatwa without deep knowledge. Any a tiny issue in Islam must be judge based on Quran and sunna. it is not acceptable from whom living in the 21 century to ignore what Umma has agreed on for more than 1400 years.

  22. Mohammed from bradford

    Be firm on this way
    JazakAllahu khairan ya Shaikh. unfortunately many of muslims have been trapped because of our scholars who are giving Fatwa without deep knowledge. Any a tiny issue in Islam must be judge based on Quran and sunna. it is not acceptable from whom living in the 21 century to ignore what Umma has agreed on for more than 1400 years.

  23. Natural Loyalties & Religious Loyalties
    sorry, here is the actual link

    http://islamtoday.com/showme_weekly_2006.cfm?cat_id=30&sub_cat_id=911

  24. Natural Loyalties & Religious Loyalties
    sorry, here is the actual link

    http://islamtoday.com/showme_weekly_2006.cfm?cat_id=30&sub_cat_id=911

  25. Natural Loyalties & Religious Loyalties
    Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Every child is born upon a natural disposition.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

    All people share a certain amount of knowledge regarding their relationships and dealings with others. They relate to each other in a purely natural and spontaneous way. Islam came to govern and refine this web of relationships, not to bar people from them. Islam does not seek to cut people off from each other. Indeed, the Qur’ân declares that cutting off one’s ties to others is a characteristic of people who are astray. It never declares it a mistake or a crime to uphold one’s ties with others.

    Allah says: “Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah Has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 27]

    The love that one feel’s for a relative, a spouse, or a friend – or for one’s country or people – constitute part of the general, natural loyalties that a person has. This does not contradict the loyalty in faith that Muslims have regarding their religion. The first generation of Muslims used to interact with others according to what was natural and with complete liberality. Their behavior was a far cry form the strictness that some people adopted in later generations, people whose norms of behavior were an admixture of misconceptions, a blend of extremes in both harshness and negligence.

    The meaning of Islamic loyalty is a faith-based loyalty by feeling affection for the believers and closeness to them. It constitutes a sense of fraternity between them, a mutual attachment, and a willingness to help each other. Without this, there would be no meaning to the concept of a Muslim community. The Muslim community exists by virtue of the ties that bind the Muslim’s hearts together with a sense of common loyalty.

    http://islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=29&sub_cat_id=607

  26. Natural Loyalties & Religious Loyalties
    Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Every child is born upon a natural disposition.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

    All people share a certain amount of knowledge regarding their relationships and dealings with others. They relate to each other in a purely natural and spontaneous way. Islam came to govern and refine this web of relationships, not to bar people from them. Islam does not seek to cut people off from each other. Indeed, the Qur’ân declares that cutting off one’s ties to others is a characteristic of people who are astray. It never declares it a mistake or a crime to uphold one’s ties with others.

    Allah says: “Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah Has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 27]

    The love that one feel’s for a relative, a spouse, or a friend – or for one’s country or people – constitute part of the general, natural loyalties that a person has. This does not contradict the loyalty in faith that Muslims have regarding their religion. The first generation of Muslims used to interact with others according to what was natural and with complete liberality. Their behavior was a far cry form the strictness that some people adopted in later generations, people whose norms of behavior were an admixture of misconceptions, a blend of extremes in both harshness and negligence.

    The meaning of Islamic loyalty is a faith-based loyalty by feeling affection for the believers and closeness to them. It constitutes a sense of fraternity between them, a mutual attachment, and a willingness to help each other. Without this, there would be no meaning to the concept of a Muslim community. The Muslim community exists by virtue of the ties that bind the Muslim’s hearts together with a sense of common loyalty.

    http://islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=29&sub_cat_id=607

  27. The Nation State
    An earlier comment mentioned that ‘the concept of the nation state is a thing of the past’ is entirely wrong. Indeed the nation state is fairing all too well and is probably one of the most enduring political institutions over the last few hundred years (perhaps ever) as any cursory reading will reveal. Further, the concept of globalsation requires a deeper understanding and indeed it should be viewed with a large measure of scepticism as the stance that it is a myth is not without serious merit.

    Additionally, whilst definitions of loyalty and identity may be changing, they are not something new under the sun, they are merely changing and are not genuine indicators of state disintegration. If we think that a minority immigrant population can grant us the solid ground with which to make claims about identity that hold universally then we are misled. The numbers of migrants involved in the world today are actually somewhat smaller than say at the beginning of migration to the Americas.Further, it is clear that there are more inhibitors to migration today than at any other time in history, so it is false to claim that the numbers of migrants is reflecting some kind of sea-change in state composition and state loyalty. It may well be that some migrants in some places face an identity crisis of some sort, but this is really an insignificant minority of a minority to concern us here. IWhat is more, the notion of a unified Europe is something of a pipe-dream at the very best. If we think that there exists a truly unified Europe then why do we not have a truly unified currency or laws or political institutions? It is ridiculous to think that Europe has any sway over any of its members in reality. For example, Britain requires only a simple act of Parliament to completely disabuse itself of the European Union. What is common to all in Europe? A currency, a political system, a legal framework, our economies? The answer is a simple ‘no’ to all these and other points. For the number f similarities do not outweigh the gravity of the differences. The view that we are one big global village, one global nation is predominantly a white middle class male view. It does not account for the hostility the migrants face at nearly every level and in almost every aspect of life in a host country.

    Anyway, notions of identity and belonging are very complex and extremely difficult to pin down due to the nature of humans and their extraordinarily varied and divergent experiences. Our questions are more about establishing the normative account for Muslims and then marrying that with our real world interactions. I feel that some of the comments posted here have been very insightful ( I am especially struck by ‘A’s’ first comment) and have added fruitfully to an ongoing and almost organic debate that we should all continue to think about as deeply as we are able. These are some of the hot topics of the day and regardless of the justice of holding only Muslims to account for their loyalties or not (the historical facts tell us that Muslims are just the latest in a long line of minorities being questioned about such matters – Jews, Indians, West Indians and Chinese have preceded us for sure), we do have to answer these types of questions even if only for our own sense of who and what we are and who and what we want to be, and it is from Allah that all help is sought, may He guide us in ease to that which pleases Him.

  28. The Nation State
    An earlier comment mentioned that ‘the concept of the nation state is a thing of the past’ is entirely wrong. Indeed the nation state is fairing all too well and is probably one of the most enduring political institutions over the last few hundred years (perhaps ever) as any cursory reading will reveal. Further, the concept of globalsation requires a deeper understanding and indeed it should be viewed with a large measure of scepticism as the stance that it is a myth is not without serious merit.

    Additionally, whilst definitions of loyalty and identity may be changing, they are not something new under the sun, they are merely changing and are not genuine indicators of state disintegration. If we think that a minority immigrant population can grant us the solid ground with which to make claims about identity that hold universally then we are misled. The numbers of migrants involved in the world today are actually somewhat smaller than say at the beginning of migration to the Americas.Further, it is clear that there are more inhibitors to migration today than at any other time in history, so it is false to claim that the numbers of migrants is reflecting some kind of sea-change in state composition and state loyalty. It may well be that some migrants in some places face an identity crisis of some sort, but this is really an insignificant minority of a minority to concern us here. IWhat is more, the notion of a unified Europe is something of a pipe-dream at the very best. If we think that there exists a truly unified Europe then why do we not have a truly unified currency or laws or political institutions? It is ridiculous to think that Europe has any sway over any of its members in reality. For example, Britain requires only a simple act of Parliament to completely disabuse itself of the European Union. What is common to all in Europe? A currency, a political system, a legal framework, our economies? The answer is a simple ‘no’ to all these and other points. For the number f similarities do not outweigh the gravity of the differences. The view that we are one big global village, one global nation is predominantly a white middle class male view. It does not account for the hostility the migrants face at nearly every level and in almost every aspect of life in a host country.

    Anyway, notions of identity and belonging are very complex and extremely difficult to pin down due to the nature of humans and their extraordinarily varied and divergent experiences. Our questions are more about establishing the normative account for Muslims and then marrying that with our real world interactions. I feel that some of the comments posted here have been very insightful ( I am especially struck by ‘A’s’ first comment) and have added fruitfully to an ongoing and almost organic debate that we should all continue to think about as deeply as we are able. These are some of the hot topics of the day and regardless of the justice of holding only Muslims to account for their loyalties or not (the historical facts tell us that Muslims are just the latest in a long line of minorities being questioned about such matters – Jews, Indians, West Indians and Chinese have preceded us for sure), we do have to answer these types of questions even if only for our own sense of who and what we are and who and what we want to be, and it is from Allah that all help is sought, may He guide us in ease to that which pleases Him.

  29. Recognition vs Loyalty
    The Prophet (saw) was from the Quraysh, from Hijaz, and from the arabs. They were known for some very praiseworthy characteristics, such as chivalry, honour, courage, family values, etc. Many of these things agreed with the teachings that came from Allah in the Quran and Sunnah. Yet, despite these parts which agreed with our Islamic values, the Prophet (saw) was the same person who rejected the ‘calls of jahilliyyah’, i.e. the calls of nationality and other types of group loyalties. He never expressed his pride in being an arab, but rather said ‘there is no virtue for the arab over a non-arab…except in Taqwa’.

    Yes, he expressed the natural bond to one’s homeland when he looked back at Makkah (even to this some scholars say it was only because Allah had given it special status, not that it was his home), and he recognised the Quraysh as his people, but he never recognised loyalty to them nor to the arabs. So we recognise our national identities (“We have created you in tribes and nations so that you may know one another” – Hujuraat), but we don’t make this our points of loyalty and pride, but rather “You’re waliyy is none but Allah and His messenger and the ones who believe, the ones that establish prayer, give zakah and are bowing in ruku” (Maaidah).

  30. Recognition vs Loyalty
    The Prophet (saw) was from the Quraysh, from Hijaz, and from the arabs. They were known for some very praiseworthy characteristics, such as chivalry, honour, courage, family values, etc. Many of these things agreed with the teachings that came from Allah in the Quran and Sunnah. Yet, despite these parts which agreed with our Islamic values, the Prophet (saw) was the same person who rejected the ‘calls of jahilliyyah’, i.e. the calls of nationality and other types of group loyalties. He never expressed his pride in being an arab, but rather said ‘there is no virtue for the arab over a non-arab…except in Taqwa’.

    Yes, he expressed the natural bond to one’s homeland when he looked back at Makkah (even to this some scholars say it was only because Allah had given it special status, not that it was his home), and he recognised the Quraysh as his people, but he never recognised loyalty to them nor to the arabs. So we recognise our national identities (“We have created you in tribes and nations so that you may know one another” – Hujuraat), but we don’t make this our points of loyalty and pride, but rather “You’re waliyy is none but Allah and His messenger and the ones who believe, the ones that establish prayer, give zakah and are bowing in ruku” (Maaidah).

  31. “…those things that are great about Britain that doesn’t harm anyone.” The problem is the those things that AREN’T great about Britian that DOES harm many. Tony blair for example. or take a lot of British colonial history or the mischief they are upto now in Iraq and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the Britsh have a reputation of being mischief makers and terrible tourists. Even what was uniquely British and good is no more Britsh – Rolls Royce, Harrods, etc!

  32. “…those things that are great about Britain that doesn’t harm anyone.” The problem is the those things that AREN’T great about Britian that DOES harm many. Tony blair for example. or take a lot of British colonial history or the mischief they are upto now in Iraq and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the Britsh have a reputation of being mischief makers and terrible tourists. Even what was uniquely British and good is no more Britsh – Rolls Royce, Harrods, etc!

  33. Q Why so much talk of Britishness?
    A. The Muslims. Muslims have to show their Britishness which is what so many are at pains of doing.
    A jewish colleague I know once volunteered to tell me that if Britain went to war with Israel he isn’t sure which side he would be on.
    I suggest no Muslim discuss these questions till the following questions and demands have been posed to the Jewish British Board of Deputies, the Hindu federations, the Irish, the Jamaicans, the Chinese in Chinatown and leftist Marxists and they give their answers:
    – Whose side will you be on if Britian fights a war with Israel/India/Ireland/West Indies/China/Cuba
    – Will you continue to declare your loyalty and pride in Britain in the above circumstance?
    – Can you please declare that in any situation where Britain demands of you to go against your faith, belief or conviction, you do so as a sign of loyalty to the crown and country?
    – Can you please declare that your ties of Britishness with fellow Brits will supercede all other ties either in the UK or elsewhere of Jewry/hinduism/Catholicism/ Marxism etc.

  34. Q Why so much talk of Britishness?
    A. The Muslims. Muslims have to show their Britishness which is what so many are at pains of doing.
    A jewish colleague I know once volunteered to tell me that if Britain went to war with Israel he isn’t sure which side he would be on.
    I suggest no Muslim discuss these questions till the following questions and demands have been posed to the Jewish British Board of Deputies, the Hindu federations, the Irish, the Jamaicans, the Chinese in Chinatown and leftist Marxists and they give their answers:
    – Whose side will you be on if Britian fights a war with Israel/India/Ireland/West Indies/China/Cuba
    – Will you continue to declare your loyalty and pride in Britain in the above circumstance?
    – Can you please declare that in any situation where Britain demands of you to go against your faith, belief or conviction, you do so as a sign of loyalty to the crown and country?
    – Can you please declare that your ties of Britishness with fellow Brits will supercede all other ties either in the UK or elsewhere of Jewry/hinduism/Catholicism/ Marxism etc.

  35. Is there any place for national loyalties and national pride in the 21st century, as the concept of the nation state becomes a thing of the past? So who does a European born in Poland living in London be proud of or loyal to in a unified Europe? The Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan is supposed to have called himself a citizen of Europe, only to be told, by his own account, that there is no such thing. We live in a globalised world, where people have dual, maybe even triple, nationality – so dual loyalties that countries allow you to have. An ever larger numer of Brits have chosen to leave Britain to live where it is sunnier, cheaper and less taxing – in more ways than one. with greater mobility and the ability to live where you want, national loyalties have been replaced by corporate loyalties or loyalty to their personal interests – be it financial, social, or even idealogical – that may play more of a part in people’s lives than loyalty or pride in a nation.

  36. Is there any place for national loyalties and national pride in the 21st century, as the concept of the nation state becomes a thing of the past? So who does a European born in Poland living in London be proud of or loyal to in a unified Europe? The Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan is supposed to have called himself a citizen of Europe, only to be told, by his own account, that there is no such thing. We live in a globalised world, where people have dual, maybe even triple, nationality – so dual loyalties that countries allow you to have. An ever larger numer of Brits have chosen to leave Britain to live where it is sunnier, cheaper and less taxing – in more ways than one. with greater mobility and the ability to live where you want, national loyalties have been replaced by corporate loyalties or loyalty to their personal interests – be it financial, social, or even idealogical – that may play more of a part in people’s lives than loyalty or pride in a nation.

  37. GQ said
    ‘We are known for being just, for fighting oppression, speaking out, having good manners and caring about other people…’
    Who are you talking about – Brits or Muislims? If you say Brits, then I think not even the British would recognise these characteristics in themselves. To know what Brits are known for then travel through Europe, then Africa then Asia, round to America (oops – no not America … they probably haven’t met a Brit or know where Britain is) and ask people to describe the British and their thoughts about them. Or just open a history book. Or the foreign news pages of the newspaper.Then decide if you are still proud to be British.
    If you mean the Muslims by these characteristics then , if anything, you should be proud to be Muslim.

  38. GQ said
    ‘We are known for being just, for fighting oppression, speaking out, having good manners and caring about other people…’
    Who are you talking about – Brits or Muislims? If you say Brits, then I think not even the British would recognise these characteristics in themselves. To know what Brits are known for then travel through Europe, then Africa then Asia, round to America (oops – no not America … they probably haven’t met a Brit or know where Britain is) and ask people to describe the British and their thoughts about them. Or just open a history book. Or the foreign news pages of the newspaper.Then decide if you are still proud to be British.
    If you mean the Muslims by these characteristics then , if anything, you should be proud to be Muslim.

  39. Yes but being proud to be british – those things that are great about Britain doesn’t harm anyone. We are known for being just, for fighting oppression, speaking out, having good manners and caring about other people, why do we HAVE to neglect these qualities? Being a proud Briton doesn’t have to mean that you agree with the government, but it means you are proud to be from among Britains peoples. We can also be loyal without going against Islam – we accept what is good and reject what is bad.

  40. Yes but being proud to be british – those things that are great about Britain doesn’t harm anyone. We are known for being just, for fighting oppression, speaking out, having good manners and caring about other people, why do we HAVE to neglect these qualities? Being a proud Briton doesn’t have to mean that you agree with the government, but it means you are proud to be from among Britains peoples. We can also be loyal without going against Islam – we accept what is good and reject what is bad.

  41. Nazi soldiers were also proud of and loyal to their country
    Assalam alaikum wa RahmatUllahi wa barakatuh

    JazakAllahu khairan ya Shaikh. Actually, even many ordinary Brits do not seem to have this obsession about Britishness and Christians I have met and read are quite categoric in making clear that Britian is not a Christian country and their faith and allegience to their faith comes first.

    Pride in one’s nationality is actually a very primitive instinct and tendency – there is no rational reason why you should be proud of an identity that you just happened to be born with, and that was not of your choosing. Every one is proud of their nationality – but can they rationalise it? It is pride that clouds one’s better sense of judgement, which is why it can be so dangerous. What if the BNP comes to government and decides to wage war against all less-than-whites. NO ONE can guarantee that this cannot happen. Does loyalty still demand that you stand in their ranks and be proud of being British. Many Brits of all colours and faiths were ashamed of being British when the Iraq war happened. How can you then blame the Nazi soldier for being loyal to his country when they went around killing Jews and gypsies. How then can you critice the Japanese soldier for being loyal to his flag and country when they went around killing and torturing half of East Asia. The world actually demands that Germans and Japanese be ashamed and apologise for their loyalty. Why? Because the actions were WRONG. It is such pride that leads to wars and injustice, that perverse governments want to instill in people so they can rally to unjust war cries.
    So whether a person is British, Indian, Arab; Muslim , Christian or anything else, loyalty should always be to what is right and just. This is what Islam teaches – ‘There can be no obedience to the the created in the disobedience of the Creator.’

  42. Nazi soldiers were also proud of and loyal to their country
    Assalam alaikum wa RahmatUllahi wa barakatuh

    JazakAllahu khairan ya Shaikh. Actually, even many ordinary Brits do not seem to have this obsession about Britishness and Christians I have met and read are quite categoric in making clear that Britian is not a Christian country and their faith and allegience to their faith comes first.

    Pride in one’s nationality is actually a very primitive instinct and tendency – there is no rational reason why you should be proud of an identity that you just happened to be born with, and that was not of your choosing. Every one is proud of their nationality – but can they rationalise it? It is pride that clouds one’s better sense of judgement, which is why it can be so dangerous. What if the BNP comes to government and decides to wage war against all less-than-whites. NO ONE can guarantee that this cannot happen. Does loyalty still demand that you stand in their ranks and be proud of being British. Many Brits of all colours and faiths were ashamed of being British when the Iraq war happened. How can you then blame the Nazi soldier for being loyal to his country when they went around killing Jews and gypsies. How then can you critice the Japanese soldier for being loyal to his flag and country when they went around killing and torturing half of East Asia. The world actually demands that Germans and Japanese be ashamed and apologise for their loyalty. Why? Because the actions were WRONG. It is such pride that leads to wars and injustice, that perverse governments want to instill in people so they can rally to unjust war cries.
    So whether a person is British, Indian, Arab; Muslim , Christian or anything else, loyalty should always be to what is right and just. This is what Islam teaches – ‘There can be no obedience to the the created in the disobedience of the Creator.’

  43. LOYALTY and PRIDE?
    Yes, along with other comments, i suppose it does come down to what ‘loyalty’ means? if it means to choose the view/ruling of another person, or people or country over Islam, then it is out of the question, but if there is no such conflict?
    And ‘Pride’ what does that actually mean?

  44. LOYALTY and PRIDE?
    Yes, along with other comments, i suppose it does come down to what ‘loyalty’ means? if it means to choose the view/ruling of another person, or people or country over Islam, then it is out of the question, but if there is no such conflict?
    And ‘Pride’ what does that actually mean?

  45. “Best Wishes!”
    Some thoughts:

    The anbiyaa have shown us the greatest lesson in identity. In suratul A’raaf (versees 59-68), we see the Prophets Nuh and Hud (alaihimassalaam) calling their people “O My people, worship Allah…”, and at the same time, telling them that they wish the best for them “…And I wish well for you” and “I am for you a well-wisher (Naasih)” – so they agreed that their disbelieving people were their own and at the same time they wished well for their people. They didnt make their identification with their people a reason to simply live and do exactly the way their society did and wanted. In fact, these prophets, out of their well-wishing for their people, did the opposite and broke the norm of shirk and forbade this practice. So as the author pointed out, their loyalty was to the values of justice (as shirk is the greatest oppression), and at the same time, they held that natural link with their land and people, so let their be no contradiction.

    Thus, I believe that this ‘well-wishing’ is the ultimate baseline for one to be defined as ‘British’, or at least what today’s society expects. It isn’t necessarily full conformity and acceptance of British society and policies, as say parliament is full of British parties all with their own criticisms of Britain today. But what gathers them together, and why their criticisms are not considered ‘un-British’, is that their stances are understood to be in good intention, out of wishing well for their land. In social norms, I’m sure no one has yet said that Goths for example, or hippies/gypsies, beacuse they break social norms, are not British. As Muslims, we also live differently like other minorities, and we might disagree with practices and policies as others do, AND like them, we wish well for them also. But How? It is exactly by our da’wah, by calling them to Allah, and our ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’ -whether that be through opposition to gov policies or calling for removal of teaching about homosexuality to children – as ultimately, this is what is best for them. And if there is one thing being overlooked in our discourse, it’s this aspect. Currently, our actions are being seen as actions of hatred for Britain, from which you hear comments like “if you don’t like this country, you can leave”, and maybe (sadly) this might be true for some. If it is, then our stance should be clear: the British people are our people and we wish good for them, which is exactly the reason why we call them to Allah and disagree with some of their practices (NB: Wishing well should not be mistaken for walaa or loyalty – exaplained earlier -as their is a difference).

    If after this they choose still to argue, then at least we have done our part in front of Allah, and it will be CRYSTAL clear to all then that they dislike us merely because we call to Allah and believe in Him, and it will be one step closer to our success.

    And Allah knows best

  46. “Best Wishes!”
    Some thoughts:

    The anbiyaa have shown us the greatest lesson in identity. In suratul A’raaf (versees 59-68), we see the Prophets Nuh and Hud (alaihimassalaam) calling their people “O My people, worship Allah…”, and at the same time, telling them that they wish the best for them “…And I wish well for you” and “I am for you a well-wisher (Naasih)” – so they agreed that their disbelieving people were their own and at the same time they wished well for their people. They didnt make their identification with their people a reason to simply live and do exactly the way their society did and wanted. In fact, these prophets, out of their well-wishing for their people, did the opposite and broke the norm of shirk and forbade this practice. So as the author pointed out, their loyalty was to the values of justice (as shirk is the greatest oppression), and at the same time, they held that natural link with their land and people, so let their be no contradiction.

    Thus, I believe that this ‘well-wishing’ is the ultimate baseline for one to be defined as ‘British’, or at least what today’s society expects. It isn’t necessarily full conformity and acceptance of British society and policies, as say parliament is full of British parties all with their own criticisms of Britain today. But what gathers them together, and why their criticisms are not considered ‘un-British’, is that their stances are understood to be in good intention, out of wishing well for their land. In social norms, I’m sure no one has yet said that Goths for example, or hippies/gypsies, beacuse they break social norms, are not British. As Muslims, we also live differently like other minorities, and we might disagree with practices and policies as others do, AND like them, we wish well for them also. But How? It is exactly by our da’wah, by calling them to Allah, and our ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’ -whether that be through opposition to gov policies or calling for removal of teaching about homosexuality to children – as ultimately, this is what is best for them. And if there is one thing being overlooked in our discourse, it’s this aspect. Currently, our actions are being seen as actions of hatred for Britain, from which you hear comments like “if you don’t like this country, you can leave”, and maybe (sadly) this might be true for some. If it is, then our stance should be clear: the British people are our people and we wish good for them, which is exactly the reason why we call them to Allah and disagree with some of their practices (NB: Wishing well should not be mistaken for walaa or loyalty – exaplained earlier -as their is a difference).

    If after this they choose still to argue, then at least we have done our part in front of Allah, and it will be CRYSTAL clear to all then that they dislike us merely because we call to Allah and believe in Him, and it will be one step closer to our success.

    And Allah knows best

  47. Further distinctions
    Confounding a definition of ‘Britishness’ still further are those distinctions between Englishness, Scottishness, Welsh and Irishness which have substantial differences which are not necessarily compatible with each other or an overarching term such as ‘British.’

    It is still a little unclear to me the problem of being say, a ‘proud Scot’ who is even more proud to be Muslim. I don’t think when we are proud of our national heritage we are necessarily proud of all of it (although this may be true for some); don’t we subscribe to only those parts that we view as worthy of our patriotism, which in turn for a Muslim must be subservient to our Islamic outlook/fikr above all else – there are no grounds for true conflict as we can only subscribe to those things our Islam allows. It is the same for Muslims more generally, who might wish to be proud of a particular Muslim heritage but which cannot be absolute for obvious reasons, or rather exactly the same reasons outlined in the article.

    I guess I am asking whether there is any scope for any ‘national identity’ for Muslims, which is not necessarily the same as loyalty? If Muslims are not allowed to express any feeling of patriotism/ nationalism to any notion of state as such (including Muslim states through history), then is their loyalty meant to be directed to an abstract unbounded ummah, that is to an idealist identity of universal comunity? If this is so, then do we need to define and inculcate a loyalty amongst Muslims to such an ummah? If this is along the right track, could the Shaykh clarify what this might look like and how we might set about achieving it, for in moments of (international) crises I think we see something of this albeit in a diluted or disparate form, and Allah knows best? (Naturally I assume this is something different from the next proposed article in this series)

  48. Further distinctions
    Confounding a definition of ‘Britishness’ still further are those distinctions between Englishness, Scottishness, Welsh and Irishness which have substantial differences which are not necessarily compatible with each other or an overarching term such as ‘British.’

    It is still a little unclear to me the problem of being say, a ‘proud Scot’ who is even more proud to be Muslim. I don’t think when we are proud of our national heritage we are necessarily proud of all of it (although this may be true for some); don’t we subscribe to only those parts that we view as worthy of our patriotism, which in turn for a Muslim must be subservient to our Islamic outlook/fikr above all else – there are no grounds for true conflict as we can only subscribe to those things our Islam allows. It is the same for Muslims more generally, who might wish to be proud of a particular Muslim heritage but which cannot be absolute for obvious reasons, or rather exactly the same reasons outlined in the article.

    I guess I am asking whether there is any scope for any ‘national identity’ for Muslims, which is not necessarily the same as loyalty? If Muslims are not allowed to express any feeling of patriotism/ nationalism to any notion of state as such (including Muslim states through history), then is their loyalty meant to be directed to an abstract unbounded ummah, that is to an idealist identity of universal comunity? If this is so, then do we need to define and inculcate a loyalty amongst Muslims to such an ummah? If this is along the right track, could the Shaykh clarify what this might look like and how we might set about achieving it, for in moments of (international) crises I think we see something of this albeit in a diluted or disparate form, and Allah knows best? (Naturally I assume this is something different from the next proposed article in this series)

  49. Abu Abdul Wahhaab

    British or Bakistani?
    Well written article by the Shaykh, May Allah increase his knowledge… This highlights the plans of the shayateen clearly, but most appalling is the fact that muslims are falling into this trap. I thank Allah and then the Shaykh for giving me this knowledge and not following my emotions.

    Wasalam
    Abu Abdul Wahhaab
    Bradford

  50. Abu Abdul Wahhaab

    British or Bakistani?
    Well written article by the Shaykh, May Allah increase his knowledge… This highlights the plans of the shayateen clearly, but most appalling is the fact that muslims are falling into this trap. I thank Allah and then the Shaykh for giving me this knowledge and not following my emotions.

    Wasalam
    Abu Abdul Wahhaab
    Bradford

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