Politics & Society

We Need to Progress; But to Where Exactly? (Pt.2)

Posted by on Nov 19, 2008 in Politics & Society | 1 comment

We Need to Progress; But to Where Exactly? (Pt.2)

As Britain and the rest of Europe grow ever more insistent that to truly belong we must be liberals, and as liberal intolerance of Islam on both sides of the Atlantic rises to alarming levels, the second part of this blog piece asks: Can Islam adapt? Split into six reflection, the first part covered the first three reflections: (i) Islamic law does have the capacity to adapt and expand. (ii) The test to measure the value of progress is to see if it promotes piety – awareness of the divine presence – or does it diminish it? (iii) Muslim responses to change, thus far. Abu Aaliyah’s fourth reflection continues here.

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We Need to Progress; But to Where Exactly? (Pt.1)

Posted by on Oct 16, 2008 in Politics & Society | 1 comment

We Need to Progress; But to Where Exactly? (Pt.1)

‘Islam must reform and adapt to the modern world’, is the almost ubiquitous demand sought of Muslims by the world at large. ‘Muslims must progress’, not in the sense of accepting modern technology, but by embracing modern philosophical values: democracy, a free-market economy, and liberal freedoms; to be more specific. Muslims must join in the jihad against the shari‘ah to prove their modern credentials, is the Monoculture’s first article of faith. Can an authentic modern Muslim way of life ever be compatible with liberal ideals? This is the first article of three, by Abu Aaliyah, that attempts to address the question.

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More Fish Please!

Posted by on May 18, 2008 in Politics & Society | 22 comments

More Fish Please!

Not too long ago, the United Nations World Health Organisation said: ‘Globally, there is enough food to feed the world. But to our shame we live in a world where food rots and people starve.’ Sh. Abu Aaliyah reminds us here about the prophetic remedy for this grotesque greed and consumption: zuhd – “worldly detachment.” Wealth, says our received wisdom, ‘is to be seen like the toilet: in that we have need for it, use it whenever necessary, but it has no place in our hearts.’ Our story begins with a simple Mexican fisherman and a sophisticated Harvard business graduate.

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The Earth’s Complaint

Posted by on Apr 15, 2008 in Politics & Society | Comments Off

The Earth’s Complaint

Nearly seven billion people on the planet, and rising. Wars over resource scarcity (oil, gas, drinking water, precious minerals) increasing. The global economy destabilising. The arms trade (led by the USA, then Britain, France and Russia) thriving. Environmental degradation intensifying. Divide between rich and poor widening. Civilian casualties of war worsening. Planet Earth weeping! This being so, and before it’s too late, we must reinstate in our lives the six pillars of Islam’s social vision: respect for human dignity; cartakership of the earth; trusteeship of its resources; sanctity for life; establishing justice; and nurturing sincere and immediate concern for human welfare under a compassionate God.

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Zakat: A Dereliction of Duty?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2008 in Politics & Society | 2 comments

Zakat: A Dereliction of Duty?

The third pillar of Islam is the wealth-tax, or zakat (from tazkiyah – “to purify, cleanse, bless, increase, improve.”) Explaining who should give zakat, and to what categories of the poor, needy and vulnerable it is due, Abu Aaliyah raises the issue of whether there is a need for zakat to be distributed right here in our own country? Yet given the dire poverty and hunger millions of Muslims around the world currently live in, is it even a feasible consideration?

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British Muslims & their Leadership

Posted by on Nov 30, 2007 in Politics & Society | 3 comments

British Muslims & their Leadership

“When three people go out on a journey, let one of them be put in charge,” says one hadith. If that is so with a small band of people, insisted Ibn Taymiyyah, moreso the case when larger numbers are involved. The implications for Muslims in Britain are clear. But who can or should represent the Muslims of Britain is an issue that is fiercely debated and contested. Yet amidst the din and commotion, a consensus seems to be emerging about what type of leadership British Muslims wish to see representing their concerns, interests, hopes and aspirations. Shaykh Abu Aaliyah discusses the issue.

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Islam, Beauty & Balance

Posted by on Oct 21, 2007 in Politics & Society | Comments Off

Islam, Beauty & Balance

The Qur’an says: ‘And He has set the balance, that you may not overstep the balance.’ The idea of not upsetting or overstepping the “balance” – or put another way, moderation – lies at the heart of Islam. But what is moderation? How is it defined in Islam? And what is extremism? Abu Aaliyah discusses such questions and observes that we can’t speak against religious extremism without exposing another type of imbalance: religious laxity – the failure to fulfill even the most basic duties demanded by faith. The Prophet’s Sunnah, peace be upon him, has a profound sense of proportion to it. So for balance to be restored, the Sunnah must be reinstated.

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Lifting the Veil: A Consideration of Circumstances

Posted by on Oct 13, 2007 in Politics & Society | Comments Off

Lifting the Veil: A Consideration of Circumstances

Hijab (to conceal, cover, protect) refers to modesty in dress and behaviour for Muslim women; a mark of piety for them. Muslim women are not expected to display their sexual charms in public. Revealing or sexually provocative clothing is seen, not just as immodest, but as pandering to the lowest instincts of men and encouraging them to objectify women. Differences arise only over the extent of how much should be covered. Shaykh Sami al-Majid discusses one aspect of the hijab – the face veil, or niqab – and explains its ruling in Islamic law, the difference of opinion that exists over its prescription, and also the need to consider the circumstances in which it is worn.

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The Three R’s of Ramadan

Posted by on Sep 10, 2007 in Politics & Society | 6 comments

The Three R’s of Ramadan

Ramadan yields to the faithful an array of timely lessons to help steer them through what is rapidly becoming a vulnerable and volatile world. Three lessons, above all others, lie at the core; and may be termed as the Three R’s: reverence, restraint and responsibility. Abu Aaliyah explains what exactly they mean, how fasting helps nurture these virtues and how necessary they are to believers as they navigate their way through the turbulence of life.

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Role Models, Respect and …Flopping Plants?

Posted by on Sep 2, 2007 in Politics & Society | 7 comments

Role Models, Respect and …Flopping Plants?

“Manners maketh man,” said the fourteenth century William of Wykeham. This wisdom was adopted as the motto for Winchester College, Oxford, reflecting the ethos envisioned for its pupils. For six centuries it has stood as a reminder that a person’s true worth is to be assesed by their ethical existence and moral achievements. Currently, argues Sh. Abu Aaliyah, it isn’t the economy that is causing our society to come apart at the seems, but our behaviour. If we do not recover our moral ecology soon, the already thinning glue that now tentatively holds our society intact runs the risk of dissolving altogether.

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