Category Archives: Politics

BBC: Great British Islam

Great British Islam ~(BBC)  looked at the lives of 3 Englishmen from the Victorian era who converted to Islam. These men were Quilliam, Pickthall and Headley. All 3 of these men were from privileged backgrounds, raised as Christians and were shown to be as much a part of their Victorian society as their fellow peers.

The programme focused on the lives of these three men, and went into some detail about their backgrounds, the circumstances of their conversion and life after embracing Islam.

All three men in their adulthood visited or lived in Muslim-dominant countries (Turkey, India, Egypt, Morocco) and converted shortly thereafter. Following their conversions, they were particularly displeased with Victorian Britains foreign policy and the demonisation of Islam and Muslims in their society – particularly Quilliam who had an open allegiance to the Ottoman caliphate (receiving the title of Shaykh-ul-Islam of the British Isles as a result of this).

In an attempt to dispell the stereotypes and myths of Islam, Quilliam began a publishing press and produced the monthly newsletter “The Crescent” which was widely distributed. It contained details of visits to the Islamic Centre (Liverpool) of notable personalities including representative of the Ottoman caliphate and academics speaking on scientific matters and research at the Liverpool Muslim Institute. He and his peers however were still at heads with larger Victorian society.

Pickthall’s greatest achievement was in translating the Quran from Arabic into English and was the first translation of its kind. He too had, like Quilliam, greivances with Britains foreign policy. Pickthall and Quilliam became acquaintances in Woking and frequented the Shah Jahan Mosque.

What is striking about these individuals and the Muslims of today is the disagreement with Britain foreign policy, a matter which people believe to be a contemporary issue and one that is largely voiced by Muslims of minority ethnic backgrounds. This it seems is an old greivance, and one that shows no signs of disippating anytime soon.

This short programme is available on BBC iplayer and most probably Youtube.

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Useless Anti Terror Fatwa launches in London

Tahir-ul Qadri, the leader of Minhaj al-Quran will be launching a 600 page fatwa tomorrow prohibiting terrorism and suicide bombing at a press conference in Westminster, London. The fatwa will be aimed at suicide bombers, condemning them to hell-fire.

Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for Minhaj ul Quran’s British wing, described the fatwa as an attempt to sow doubt in the minds of wannabe extremists.

“[Shaikh Dr Qadri] has hit hard on the terrorists as it prevents Islamists from considering suicide bombers as ‘martyrs’. This fatwa injects doubt into the minds of potential suicide bombers. Extremist groups based in Britain recruit the youth by brainwashing them that they will ‘with certainty’ be rewarded in the next life and Dr Qadri’s Fatwa has removed this key intellectual factor from their minds.”

The Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremist think thank comprised of former Islamists, described it as a “significant step” in countering Saudi and extremist rhetoric.

“Fatwas by Wahabi-influenced clerics and Islamist ideologues initiated modern terrorism against civilians,” a spokesperson said. “Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda continue to justify their mass killings with self-serving readings of religious scripture. Fatwas that demolish and expose such theological innovations will consign Islamist terrorism to the dustbin of history.”

Source: The Independent

So much controversy over nothing. How hard is to write a 600 page thesis on prohibition of killing innocent people? Common sense really. And what are the chances of any so called ‘extremist’, ‘Islamist’ type Muslims giving Tahir-ul Qadri the time of day especially when he’s being praised by menaces like the Quilliam Foundation? We all know what Quilliam Foundation is but here is a glimpse of Tahirul Qadri being entertained by his followers (which also goes to show the kind of followers he has).

Youtube Video : Watch the very last minute to see this individual break all rules of Sufism – money thrown at him, he throws money at singers, walks over a man with complete public display of arrogance and extravangance.

Who will take this individual and his crazy followers seriously?? Giving Tahirul Qadri this kind of platform is a complete waste of time and resources.

Swiss Minaret Ban Advocate – Converted to Islam

Quite recently there was some furore being made in Switzerland and beyond regarding the banning of minarets on mosques across the country. Much was made and discussed of the decision made by the so-called neutral state, who has a small minority of Muslims residing in its land.

A while ago, there has been news of the main advocate for the minaret ban, Daniel Streich – member of the Swiss People’s Party has converted to Islam. Supposedly Daniel had converted 2 years ago but this news remained secret until recently. The only coverage of this has been in the Nation and Jewish blog.

Pondering on this, I wonder about the issues this throws up in the air. Whilst being Muslim he was campaigning for a ban on minarets. Perhaps he had introduced this campaign prior to becoming Muslim, and in its duration changed his views.  Or maybe he subscribed to the strict Salafi understanding and wanted the minarets banned in accordance of forbidding “evil innovation -bidah”

Maybe the whole story is a hoax! More to come….

Useless Shia channels on TV

Whilst flicking through channels on our sky box, I couldn’t help notice the number of Muslim channels which have sprung up over the last year or so of which the most prominent being those running Shia themes. Muharram maybe over for most of us, but it seems for these handful of channels it may never be over. Day in day out, we have  programmes, documentaries, lectures and wailing continuously glorifying the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the events leading to Karbala and the aftermath.

Fair enough, if you have to mourn, dedicate a few days or even the whole month for this, but carrying on as if the  whole of Islam revolves around this particular incident is a bit too much. All of us, Sunnis and Shias recognise the brave steps Imam Hussain (ra) and the Ahlul Bayt took to protest, demand and protect their rights through a struggle which serves an example for the rest of Muslims and generations to come.  An example and practical guide for us when it comes to seeking  justice and freedom in times of tyranny and oppression. So why not use this time to learn and reflect upon these important lessons rather than to remain in constant state of mourning throughout Muharram and the rest of the year??

I don’t have a problem with the Shia channels, but what a waste of resources to dedicate most of the airtime narrating, glorifying, reproducing and might I add exaggerating events which took place over a thousand years ago. Events which have very little to do with the very basis of our belief in Islam, its legal maxims and laws which emanate from them. An event which has no relevance to the modern world, except the striking resemblances to the time of Imam Hussein, where Karbala today along with most of the Muslim world is run by tyrannical  despots, dictators implementing crude Capitalism and oppressors far worse than Yazid ibn Muawiyyah. In light of our current situation, what good is the constant wailing, self harm and being stuck in history?

The problems faced by Muslims in the modern world are far complex, with tremendous differences ranging from east to the west. For so long Muslims have cried for lack of Muslim run Media to unspin the biases of western Media and its misrepresenting and doctoring of facts. Isn’t it a shame that we now have so many Muslim run channels both Sunnis and Shias but they seriously lack all the qualities of Muslim Media, instead are engrossed in fueling sectarianism, preaching hate, presenting  feuds of political nature with an Islamic twist and spiritual/political agendas of their own.

A waste of resources? I think so.

Book: Mother Of The Believers by Kamran Pasha

 

Not so long ago, I came across a review on the book Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha. Initially I thought it would be typical of a myriad of books available which do little but villify, degrade and mock Islam and the wives of the Prophet (saw), such as Jewel of Medina.

It was therefore a pleasant surprise to come across a book which not only read as a novel from a first person narrative, who’s protagonist is Aisha (ra) herself , but also through this medium attempts to bring life and a voice to the popular wife of Muhammed (saw)

An excerpt from the opening chapter:

PROLOGUE – THE BEGINNING OF THE END

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

What is faith?

It is a question I have asked myself over the years, dear nephew, and I am no closer to the answer now then I was when my hair was still crimson like the rising dawn, not the pale silver of moonlight as it is today.

I write this for you, because I know I am dying. I do not complain, for there are times I wished I had died many years ago, or better yet, never have been born. My heart looks at the trees, whose life consists of no more than dreams of the sun and memories of the rain, and I envy them. There are times when I wish I were one of the rocks that line the hills beyond Medina, ignored and forgotten by those who tread upon them.

You will protest, I am sure. How could I, Aisha the daughter of Abu Bakr, the most famed woman of her time, wish to trade in my glorious memories for the sleep of the deaf and the dumb of the earth? That is the tricky thing with memories, dear Abdallah, son of my sister. They are like the wind. They come when they wish, and carry with them both the hope of life and the danger of death. We cannot master them. Nay, they are our masters, and rejoice in their capriciousness, carrying our hearts with them wherever they wish.

And now they have taken me, against my will, to this moment, where I sit in my tiny bedroom made of mud brick, only a few feet away from the grave of my beloved, writing this tale. There is much I do not want to recall, but my memories cry out to be recorded, so that they can live in the memories of others when I am gone. …..(To read the rest: source)

Safiyyah writes an insightful and eloquent review of the book at Muslimah Media Watch, where Kamran Pasha himself kindly addressed some of the questions posed by commentators about the themes and concepts.

I ordered the book a few weeks ago and have begun thumbing through it. I shall also post my thoughts on it when I finish reading.

h/t to Achelois for making me aware of the book in the first place!