All praise belongs to Allāh, may His blessings and salutations be upon His final Messenger, Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).
Last week an article in the Telegraph entitled “Worried about Muslims in Britain? Here’s the answer…” caused quite an uproar. The headline has since been changed as well as the poll being removed, presumably due to too many negative votes. However, it was not just the reckless headline that was the problem, but the article was full of hidden and overt ignorant presumptions and fallacies, representing a blind arrogance and condescension towards Islām and Muslims.
In keeping with the caricature right wing readership’s tastes, the article attempted to paint the rising Muslim numbers in Britain as some kind of problem—if those Muslims refuse to abandon their principles and values. It skilfully played with figures from a recent MCB report, cherry-picking and interpreting them to prove the writer’s preconceptions. It is well known that facts and figures can be spun from any angle depending on one’s outlook, as the optimist’s proverbial glass half full becomes the pessimist’s glass half empty.
Although it is tempting to be drawn into refuting individual fallacies and false presumptions, I am writing in particular to discuss what we, as British citizens, should be worried about more: Islamic values or the opposite? I would not be so arrogant and bigoted to suggest why we should be “worried about non-Muslims” per se, but would rather be more civilised and objective and suggest why we should be worried about those practises and values which go against Islamic ones. In other words, I would rather focus on concepts rather than those who hold them.
Britain is ours, too
Despite the slogans coming out of Whitehall currently, the notion of “British values” is little more than a distraction. To suggest that there are universal, unchanging inherently British values that transcend geography, class and time is clearly problematic. Many forget that the landscape of Britain has been changing due to foreign and domestic influences for hundreds of years. Of course, those who would have objected to the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta 800 years ago would have done so claiming they were against the (then) British values. If those strange, alien concepts throughout history were not incorporated into the melting pot of British values we would still be hunting witches and drowning or setting fire to those accused of crimes.
Those who presume they have a right to suggest what British values actually are, therefore, must realise that British Muslims have just as much a right as well. Those that refuse to do so are in fact the ones who are guilty of a divisive “us and them” worldview.
One of the biggest problems of non-Islamic values is the rejection of the authority of the Creator of the universe and denial of His rights.
“And Allāh presents an example: a city which was safe and secure, its provision coming to it in abundance from every location, but it denied the favours of Allāh . So Allāh made it taste the envelopment of hunger and fear for what they had been doing.” [Al-Qur’ān 16:112]
This arrogance leads to countless problems in people’s lives, families, societies, countries and even the environment. Of course, from the perspective of those who have studied the claim to divine origins of the authentic Sharīʿah of Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with a sound, unbiased mind, the great dangers both in this life and the next are clearly proven. However, even if we look at things purely from a material, worldly angle we can see the harm that non-Islamic values and practises lead to, and simultaneously the eminence of Islamic values.
Let us take for example the high birth rates of Muslim families that the Telegraph article picked up on. This is something that many have brought up in the past to whip up a frenzy against Muslims taking over Britain, such as suggestions that by 2050 Britain will be a majority Muslim country. Although this is spun as a “problem” regarding Muslims, it is in fact a depiction of the widespread non-Muslim problem of declining birth rates and natural family structures.
To put it bluntly, this is due to selfishness. Muslims get married, have faithful relationships and have children because it is from their values to do so. Those non-Islamic worldviews that view the aim of this life as solely the pursuit of ephemeral pleasures and amusement are antithetical to procreation and sustaining populations; children and families hinder men and women from having what they perceive to be ‘fun’—at least until they regret it is too late.
This leads to many problems, such as the rising average age of the population, putting a strain on resources such as the NHS, especially since people are living longer with more medical conditions requiring treatment. If people are delaying or abandoning having children then who will pay their pensions and look after the elderly? Who will run the country tomorrow?
Economic prosperity ≠ success as a nation
One of the many false underlying presumptions of the Telegraph article was that economic prosperity means success. Not only did the writer conflate these issues, he made up a story that those Muslims who have been to university, are in higher paying jobs and live in more affluent areas are somehow less “socially conservative” (read: Islamic) than your average Muslim. In fact his entire point seems to be reassuring those who dislike Islām:
“Really, turn more Muslims into fully paid-up members of the Waitrose-shopping, Audi-driving, Boden-wearing middle-classes and their values will take care of themselves.”
Although it is true that there are concerted efforts to secularise and de-Islamicise many young Muslims by many of the elite whose pyramid power structures are threatened by the flourishing of Islām in Britain, anyone who knows Muslims knows that the more educated are often some of the most observant Muslims.
The nature of universities and students is that they are able to question and challenge ideas and, as a result, thousands of young, well-educated Muslims experience an Islamic awakening during university life. To cite an example of perhaps the biggest protest to the assimilationists, I have seen hundreds of sisters in universities who reject widespread non-Islamic notions of femininity and expectations of women and begin to wear niqāb, despite none of their families doing so. It is no wonder that these power structures are working their hardest in universities to police Islamic societies and prevent them from challenging their cultural and intellectual hegemony—under the farcical pretexts of “extremism” and “radicalisation”.
The assumption that material wealth is a sign of success is a deeply rooted one in the public psyche, and has been throughout history. Often when even evil people are blessed with wealth they presume it is a sign that they are superior or that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is pleased with them—when it could in fact be the opposite. If economic prosperity necessitated wellbeing and happiness then arguably we would not see more economically developed countries as a whole suffering from staggering rates of suicides and crime—both in numbers and in barbarity.
“Have they not travelled through the land and observed how was the end of those who were before them? They were greater than them in strength and in impression on the land, but Allāh seized them for their sins. And they had not from Allāh any protector.” [Al-Qur’ān 40:21]
No doubt, economic stability is one factor which leads to the stability of the overall nation. In his first public address as leader of Madīna the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) commanded his citizens:
“O People! Spread Salām (peace, salutations), feed each other food, join the ties of kinship, pray whilst others are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise with Salām (free from any disturbance).”
Likewise, his ancestor Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām) beseeched Allāh:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish the prayer, so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allāh) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.”
As is clear, a base level of economic prosperity is necessary for any people to avoid poverty and hunger, but it is only ever one of many more important factors. The problem is with using material wealth as a benchmark for a successful people, and it seems that in Britain’s case this is a myth that is actively propagated to distract the masses from the unsustainable establishments that serve the ruling elite, whilst putting more and more burden on everyone else, plunging the country deeper and deeper into debt. If we think of other benchmarks for the success of a people or society then we seem to find that things are getting measurably worse.
If we suggest ‘happiness’ as a benchmark then we will be forced to look at the soaring rates of drug abuse and clinical depression. If we suggest how the vulnerable and weak are treated as a benchmark then we will be faced with epidemics from institutional child abuse to the heart-breaking treatment of our elderly. Even if we suggest a more accurate economic benchmark such as the distribution of wealth, we are faced with the “ticking timebomb” of growing wealth inequality in the UK, with the difference between the richest and poorest being greater than ever before.
Islām is a mercy
Even if we ignore all of the above, and presume economic prosperity—which it is argued we do not have anyway in the UK—as a benchmark for success, we cannot ignore the fact that Islamic values, if practised, would be an undeniable benefit to the economy as well as people’s lives in general. The following are only a few practical examples of how Islamic values would contribute to society.
The cost of alcohol-related harm in England alone is estimated between £20 billion and £50 billion per year. To put this in perspective, the entire annual health budget for the NHS is around £100 billion. The total number of alcohol-related violent crimes in the UK is annually around 1 million, representing 50% of total violent crimes!
The destructive effects of un-Islamic financial practices such as riba (interest), money creation and speculation that has led to crisis after crisis is well known. 90% of British citizens are net interest payers and 10% are net interest earners. In other words, the entire economic system is set up to transfer wealth from the majority in order to circulate it among a minority. The financial crises caused by these unsustainable manmade systems are also accompanied by numerous problems such as rises in unemployment and the shrinking of the economy.
An oft-attacked symbol of Islām is its family values and high regulation of the relationship between men and women, prohibiting sexual relations outside of marriage and those things which lead to it. According to a consortium called the Relationships Alliance, the estimated cost of marriage and family breakdown to the UK economy is almost £50 billion per year, and it is increasing year upon year. They also cite that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, and “27% of couples that were cohabiting when their child was born will have separated by the time their child is aged 5.”
“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” [Al-Qur’ān 30:41]
Are these the “British values” that the Telegraph would have us adopt?
Of course, I am not implying that there is something specifically British about marriage breakdown or alcoholism. Any sensible person with remnants of the sound disposition he or she was created upon would recognise that these are vices, and they can plague any society—even if everyone were Muslims who did not put Islam into practice. The point I am making however is that obviously, if Islamic values were encouraged then these costs to the economy would be far lower, if exist at all.
I have not even mentioned the array of social and political harms that Islām protects us from, from the soaring rates of sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases, to political and economic elitism, to mundane issues of personal health and hygiene. It is safe to say that anyone looking into the matter with an open mind would agree that if Islamic values were promoted in Britain, it would be better for Britain. Quite often when you present these matters to non-Muslims they agree to their supremacy, it is only when they realise that it is from Islām that many people become automatically resentful—as they have been programmed to do so by the media and the political establishment.
Remember, we are not talking about races or ethnicities here, but concepts and values.
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may identify one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allāh is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allāh is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Al-Qur’ān 49:13]
Of course, there are Muslims who partake in all manner of un-Islamic practices, and likewise non-Muslims who partake in some Islamic practices—even without realising. We are not talking about an “us versus them” dichotomy but one of “Islamic versus non-Islamic” ideas, principles and values. Failure to identify this is what gives us charged articles such as that cited earlier, providing a rudimentary and immature discussion on the notion of “integration” without thinking of values first. We do not want Muslims to “integrate” to the extent that they abandon their values and instead adopt the sins and crimes of those around them—a profound case being of grooming gangs consisting of Muslims in the West Midlands, who began partaking in this hitherto majority “English” crime.
Muslims and Islām are part of the British and European landscape, and it seems like they are here to stay. True Islamic values have proven throughout history to be a far better way than other known attempts at structuring a civilised society; this is clear for any open-minded person with the ability to see through the propagandistic media smokescreen. With the Muslim population growing, the pyramid power structures that serve the elite are in danger. They therefore wish to make the Muslims ‘secularise’ and abandon their values in favour of those values and systems that are conducive to the status quo.
Muslims need to recognise and learn deeply the eminence of Islamic values and let their friends, neighbours and colleagues know likewise. Islām was sent as a mercy and they have just as much right to enjoy this mercy as we do.
“And we have not sent you [O Muḥammad] except as a mercy to the worlds…” [Al-Qur’ān 21:107]
A final word: Truth will always prevail despite all plots against it.
“He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam. And from that [ore] which they heat in the fire, desiring adornments and utensils, is a foam like it. Thus Allāh presents [the example of] truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, [being] cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allāh present examples.” [Al-Qur’ān 13:17]
 Narrated by ‘Abd Allāh b. Salām (rA), recorded in al-Tirmidhi
 Al-Qur’ān 14:37
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.