Women and Shariah

22 02 2008

A very good discussion on the treatment of women under the shariah following comments by Dr Rowan Williams.

Joan Bakewell (Broadcaster) and Dr Nazreen Nawaz (Muslim activist)

Enjoy with a cup of tea 🙂


‘If you don’t like it here… go back home’

17 02 2008

I really hate it when I get into discussion with certain people about what being a Muslim means to me… the discussion often concludes with one sentence, and more than often since Dr Rowan William’s comments. ‘If you don’t like it here, go back HOME.’ Go back home, where? I don’t have a ‘back home’. I find this kind of response annoying more than offensive because of ignorance and narrow mindedness involved, and that coming from people depicted as the most progressive and civilised people on earth. I am not shy to discuss what I believe in, and I dont’t have a problem presenting it to people as an alternative way of life, why can’t people do the same? I don’t know.

If we were to explore the idea of going back home, which unlike me, most immigrant Muslims living in the West can do so…would it solve anyones problem? Well, not really. Most Muslim countries which have abundance of resources are run by tyrant despotic rulers installed and supported by the West working to secure those resources for the West. Regimes changes only occur when the Western interests are at risk of being fulfilled, one dictator is simply replaced by another and sometimes at the cost of thousand of innocent lives such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most problems of the Muslim world, however complex, can sometimes be narrowed down to the presence of these idiot rulers and their puppet regimes working against Islam and Muslims in cahoots with the Western rulers. And when any neo Islamic party termed ‘Islamist’ comes close to power even through fair electoral process, who feels the first itch? Sometimes it seems almost impossible for Muslim world to free itself from the shackles of Imperialism/colonialism and the constant interference from the West to be able to decide its own political destiny.  So what are they suppose to do? Perhaps, it would sound reasonable to send people back home if they were going to bring back their own troops, stop interfering in their lands and allow them to live however they wish to. But that I don’t see happening, not when this hypocritical theory of ‘one law for all’ will soon be applicable to the world.

Regardless of all that, the ‘if you don’t like it here, go back home’ attitude clearly highlights the strength of ideas people hold and their views towards minorities. Muslims are accused of being emotional, ready to explode the minute their faith is questioned, but didn’t those accusers explode with emotions of anger at the speech made by Dr Rowan Williams? Is it understandable for people to react in such way? Isn’t it clear that it is not only some Muslims, but narrow-mindedness, ignorance, intolerance very much prevails in the West too?

Stuff going on

4 02 2008

There is lots going on. To start with, it was revealed on Sunday that Sadiq Khan MP for Tooting was bugged twice by the Metropolitan Police which may have shocked government ministers and members of Parliament but comes as little surprise to British Muslims who for some time have felt that they are living in a “Police State.” Sadiq Khan is a lawyer by profession and was bugged twice on his visits to Woodhill prison to discuss legal matters with his constituent Babar Ahmed.

Bugging of MP ‘ordered by Police officer’

PRESS RELEASE: Reaction by Family to Police Bugging of MP’s Visit.

Egypt-Gaza border is being sealed again causing confusion, havoc and casualties on both sides. Palestinian shot dead after Egypt-Gaza border sealed

On the issue of Iraq, a very good article discussing facts and trends on the ground. – The State of the (Iraq) union.

Divorce Sharia Style was a documentary shown on Ch4 last Sunday. The documentary centered around the London based Islamic Sharia Council and the kind of challenges it faces in being officially recognized. Aside from that, it also highlighted lack of understanding of shariah rules by Muslims showing exactly how stupid and naive some Muslims living in Britain can be! A more lengthy discussion on this can be found at Sumera’s Inner Reflections Transcribed.

In the blog sphere, Shahrzad and Unique Muslimah are working on a brand new blog project called: Empowered Muslim Youth. Please take a look and support their project by giving your input.

I have also been reading Dr Marranci‘s rather interesting blog: Islam, Muslims and an Anthropologist.

Oh and Pakistani Spectator was kind enough to send me bunch of interview questions which they have now published on their site. I must admit I knew nothing about this excellent blog until I’d seen it.. and what can I say? If you like to know anything about Pakistan, its people, culture and particularly Political analysis… it’s the one stop blog for all.

Dark Stars of Islam

2 12 2007

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said, “The scholars on earth are like the stars in the sky. People are guided by them in the darkness of the land and the sea. If the stars are covered, people would get lost.” [Ahmad]

The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) tells us of the important role the scholars play in guiding the Ummah and championing its cause. The position of a Mufti is a position of great responsibility, dignity and authority. Those who achieve such a position are endowed with such knowledge and wisdom that the very fate and progression of the Ummah may rest on their shoulders. The entire Islamic world including its leader looks to such men with awe and respect and the words of such a man have the weight to change the progress of history. Or at least that’s how it used to be.

The grand Mufti of Egypt, Mufti Ali Gomaa’, one of the highest religious authorities of Sunni Islam is found to be almost opposite of what his title stands for. But not only him, those at al-Azhar and those running the shariah based judiciary in places like Sudan and Saudi Arabia have proven themselves to be incompetent time and time again. Far from being stars in the Sky guiding the Muslims, at a time when division and fragmentation pervade the Muslims, they have only added to the darkness by their feckless counterproductive fataawa. Take for example:

Egypt’s top Muslim scholar has defended himself against criticism for a series of controversial fatwas he has issued.

With tears in his eyes, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa told reporters his religious edicts were never influenced by pressure from the authorities.

Fierce criticism followed his recent ruling that speeding drivers cannot be condemned for killing people who deliberately stand in their way.

It became public days after just such a case involving a police car. 


A committee of scholars at al-Azhar university, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious institution, called the ruling “abhorrent” and something “even the devil himself hadn’t thought of”. Source

this man from al-Azhar solved the segregation issue at work by issuing a fatwa allowing women to breadfeed thier male colleagues 😮

Dr Izzat Atiya of Egypt’s al-Azhar University said it offered a way around segregation of the sexes at work.

His fatwa stated the act would make the man symbolically related to the woman and preclude any sexual relations.  Source

And last but not least

Turkish Muslims will be allowed to pray only three times a day from Wednesday instead of the usual five – without fear of committing a sin.

A member of the scientific council of Istanbul University, Muhammad Nour Dughan, has issued a controversial fatwa or religious edict cutting Islamic prayer requirements from five to three times a day.  Source

There are many more examples of such blatant ‘juristic’ errors which are often shown to discredit the Shariah.  Anyone with eyes to see can discern the irresponsible attitude of Muslim scholars throughout the world, who have turned Islam and its powerful infallable Shariah into an academic experiement. The scholars are to be blamed for the problems of the ummah, I know there are some good scholars, but they are also to be blamed for not taking government appointed feckless Muftis to task. The stars in the sky, as described by the Prophet (saw) are desperately needed now to show us how to live by Islam and the Shariah without having to reform or alter it.

Imam Ali (ra) is reported to have said, “Two types of people I cannot tolerate are – a scholar who is shameless and an ignorant worshiper. The ignorant worshipper fools the people with his worship and the scholar with his shamelessness.”

see also: End of Ulema

Muslim and Spy!

30 11 2007

The current political climate in the West has placed Muslims in awkward situations. Muslims are becoming victim of stop and search on daily basis, missing their flights at airports or having spooky people turn up at their doorstep for a cup of tea is just tip of the iceberg. Many Muslims are now being recruited by the intelligence services to keep taps on who does what. To some it may sound like an exciting job being an informant. You don’t have to do much except keep your ears up and report any suspicious behavior to the spymasters. Some are blackmailed or offered rewards which cannot be rejected by those in desperate needs, such as citizenship to immigrants. And some are interested in the general good that may come out of it or as a great career opportunity like the Man from Britz.

A news article from The Times  today reads, “Informant who risked his life to fight extremists ‘betrayed by MI5’. “An undercover agent who risked his life to infiltrate the extremist networks at Abu Hamza’s Finsbury Park mosque claims he has been betrayed by MI5 and Scotland Yard.” Source. Nothing new there. There are spies and informants all around us, in places we would least imagine, in Universities and even mosques. However, regardless of it being such a hot topic its rarely discussed amongst Muslims, in sermons, talks, lectures or Q&A’s.

In my opinion, one of the most relevant discussions Muslims in the West should be having is regarding their roles and responsibilities towards the people and society they live in. But this discussion must take place with the Islamic viewpoint in mind. I have come across discussions about joining the police force or even the Army, but almost all of these discussions turn into the age old argument of ‘identity’ and ‘loyalty’. Often I find Muslims confuse themselves over terms like ‘identity’ and ‘loyalty’, which have become centre of debate between the so called ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’. Amidst all of this, very little effort is made by those qualified to view such scenarios from a purely Islamic legal perspective to determine roles and responsibilities of Muslims living in the West.

With this in mind, we shall look at what Islam says about Spying (At-Tajassus):

Oh you who believe! Avoid many suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins.And spy not, nor backbite one another. [Surah Al-Hujurât verse 12:]

Abdullahi ibn Fuduye’, said in his Diya `t-Ta’weel Fee Ma`ana at-Tanzeel: “This verse means to be with regard to suspicion in the same state of avoidance that one avoids any evil. That is, he should be far from suspicion, stay away from it and object to it strongly, so as not to commit any form of suspicion except the type of suspicion that induces researched insight and independent judgment…” This statement is important because, suspicion, is a blameworthy quality that opens the door to spying. The Intelligence- gathering agency builds its investigation upon suspicion. Most times, there is no suspicion of a crime, but `cause is cooked up’ in order to justify harassment, arrest and detainment of Muslims.

Ibn Kathir, said in his Tafsir commenting upon this Ayah: “Allâh said ‘and spy not’ on each other. Tajassus, usually harbors ill intentions, and the spy is called a Jasus….In the Sahih it is recorded that the Messenger of Allâh said: “Neither commit Tajassus nor Tahassus nor hate each other nor commit Tadabur. And be brothers Oh servants of Allâh.”  Al-Awza’i said: ‘Tajassus means, to search for something, while Tahassus means listening to people when they are talking without their permission, or eavesdropping at their doors. Tadabur refers to shunning each other.’ Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement.
[Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr, Vol. 9, pp. 201 / 202]

Allah prohibited spying in the ayah. This prohibition is general covering all types of spying, whether it is spying for himself or anyone, whether it is for the State or individuals or groups, and whether the one performing it i.e. the spying is the ruler or the ruled. The speech is unambiguous in its condemnation of any Muslim who searches into the secret affairs, or open affairs of the Muslims, for themselves or for others from among the Muslims.

Abu Huraira reported Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) as saying: Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the gravest lie in talk and do not be inquisitive about one another and do not spy upon one another and do not feel envy with the other, and nurse no malice, and nurse no aversion and hostility against one another. And be felow-brothers and servants of Alâh.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 32, No. 6214]

This tradition is a profound prophetic tradition and is evidence of the comprehensive speech (jamaam` `l-kalim) of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This statement combines in its meaning everything Sayduna Issa, upon him be peace, said on the Sermon on the mount, where he outlined the true nature of those who follow him and the traits needed to be redeemed in the Hereafter. The above prophetic tradition not only deals with character, virtue and ethics, but it also delineates the foundation of politics (siyaasa) and uncovers the nature of the hypocrite, that individual whose existence undermines the very nature of Islam and the Muslim society.

Imam al-Khataabi said that meaning of the Prophet’s statement: “Beware of suspicion… “, this does not mean to avoid acting on the derived opinions upon which the majority of the legal judgments are dependent. Rather, it means you should avoid corroborating any suspicion that may bring harm to the person that is suspect. It also includes avoiding those suspicions that occur to the heart without sound proof. This is because the start of false suspicion begins with thoughts and notions which occur to the mind which are not possible to ward off.” It is for this reason relying upon these suspicions is not permissible.

Imam al-Khataabi, said about the meaning of the Prophet’s statement: “Do not spy on one another”; it means do not investigate or examine the faults of people, nor pursue them.” This word spying (yahisuu) takes its etymological root from the Arabic word the senses (al-haasa), like the senses of sight, hearing, tasting, and touching. Allah ta`ala uses this word on the tongue of Prophet Ya`qub, when He said:

“Go and investigate regarding Joseph and his brother.” That is, go and use your eyes and ears, and ask to inquire about their situation or condition. This type of investigation can only be done by means of inquiry with the eyes and ears, thus it is a scrutiny conducted with one or two of the senses. This was the opinion of Imam al-Qurtubi. Imam Ibn al-Anbari said: “This type of investigation means to listen to the words of the common people.” This was also the opinion of al-Awza`I taken from Yahya ibn Abi Kathir. Imam at-Tha`labi said: “It means to search into someone else’s affairs for oneself.” In modern terminology, these are called informants, while on the streets, they are called `rats’, while in our beloved Infallible shari`a, they are called munaafiquun.

Imam Tha`labi, said that the meaning of the Prophet’s saying, upon him be blessings and peace: “Do not inform on one another”; means do not search into someone else’s affairs on behalf of someone else; in other words, do not search into their affairs to inform someone else about them.. Imam al-Khataabi said: “This means to select something with the hand, which is one of the senses, which makes it more specific than spying (yahisuu).” Although Imam Ibrahim al-Harbi maintained that both spying (yahisuu) and informing (yajasuu) were the same. Some of the scholars say that informing means to investigate into the hidden aspect of affairs, but mainly to search into what is hidden of evil actions. In Islamic State it is permissible to investigate into the corruption of those who manifest their evils in society.

Shaykh Abu Muhammad ibn Abd’s-Salaam, said in his al-Qawa`id: “Among the major sins is guiding the disbelievers to the imperfections and faults of the Muslims, knowing that by means of their assistance the disbelievers will be able to accomplish their goals over those Muslims.”

What we have here is a brief study of an Ayah and Hadith and some opinions of classical scholars on at-Tajjassus (spying). What this should demonstate to us is the guidelines Islam has laid down for our conduct in any society we live in. Furthermore, the need to raise discussions amongst Muslims and pressuring the Ulema/scholars to address real issues facing the Muslims.

Gillian Gibbons and Samina Malik

26 11 2007

Gillian Gibbons, a British school teacher working in Sudan was arrested yesterday for naming a teddy bear. It is reported that she allowed 6 year olds at the expensive English school to name the bear after Prophet Mohammed (saw). According to the Sudanese law a non-Muslim could face a maximum penalty of lashes, prison, a fine and deportation if found guilty of Blasphemy. (More on this at the bbc)

To some this may just be an innocent mistake, a mistake made by a 54 year old school teacher. But can she be excused for ignorance? I believe, anyone taking up a teaching profession or else in an hostile region like Sudan must at least make some effort to understand the sensitivities of the people. This level of ignorance can conveniently be interpreted as hatred by those waiting to be offended and being a minority means they are guilty until proven innocent. At least that was the case with the 23 year old Muslim girl charged with ‘Terrorism” for possessing a book, here in the UK.

Samina Malik, is a young Muslim woman who worked in a stationary shop. Her crime, she wrote poems under the alias ‘Lyrical Terrorist’ of somewhat graphical nature and out of sheer curiosity downloaded some articles from the internet. As a teenager she wrote love poems according to her viewpoint of life at the time, later her purpose of life or viewpoint changed as she turned to Islam and so did her subjects of poetry. Reading and watching atrocities against Muslims day and day out, she wrote poems to express her anger like most other anti-establishment teenagers. However, what she did not know was that one day her very writings will put her behind bars for six years, for unlike most other teenagers who are into violence, she is a Muslim.

Can we assume that both women have made innocent mistakes and they had no real intentions of harming anyone? They became victims of their own ignorance or should they be treated as guilty until proven innocent due to their minority status?? There are high chances of Gillian Gibbons facing deportation only… depending upon Sudan’s inability to withstand pressure from the West because she is a British national in Sudan. Whereas Samina Malik has no such chance, being a Muslim in Britain she is accused of embracing an ‘evil ideology’ according to Blair, where ‘all terrorists are Muslim’. But there is a striking difference between Sudan – a war torn third world country facing serious humanitarian crisis with no rule of law, and Britain.

further readings on Samina Malik case:

An attack on liberty

Think no evil? are you serious?

Terror Stricken

Has Islam been Hijacked in the UK?

3 11 2007

Policy Exchange is a center-right think tank based in London. Recently they have published a report entitled: The hijacking of British Islam. Far from an extensive honest research it appears to be an agenda document propagating a campaign against Islam and Muslims in the UK. Policy exchange has previously published reports and researches on similar lines which can be deemed as material spreading hatred towards Muslim members of society. Although they don’t advocate violence, they are hell-bent on taking their hateful extreme version of liberal democracy to the world at the cost of innocent lives…which would inevitably lead to violence and chaos as we see in parts of the world.

The author of the recent report is a Dr. Denis MacEoin, Wikipedia article describes him as:

a novelist and a former lecturer in Islamic studies. His academic specializations are Shi‘ism, Shaykhism, Bábism, and the Bahá’í Faith, on all of which he has written extensively. His novels are written under the pen names Daniel Easterman and Jonathan Aycliffe.

The article also mentions:

In recent years, he has become active in pro-Israel advocacy (hasbara), chiefly in his capacity as a writer. He continues to work on Islamic issues, particularly the development of radical Islam.

I think reports such as these should serve as a wakeup call for the advocates of liberal democracy who are quick to address extremism elsewhere, when they have such dangerous form of extremism growing inside. Perhaps one day we will see the moderate voices condemn these hate-filled extremists from mainstream think tanks and British politics for sake of a peaceful progressive future. I am not counting on it!

The video below contain an interesting interview by Riz Khan (al-Jazeera) with guests from Policy Exchange and the Muslim council of Britain.