Islamic Renaissance

A Voice for the Muslim Freedom Struggle

Thoughts on ‘Is Islam Being Criminalised?’ Event

is islam being criminalised

I was unable to attend the Is Islam Being Criminalised? event due to the location, however, just as the event was starting, I realised it was being streamed live so I decided to tune in and jot down some of my thoughts.

Firstly, I must commend every speaker that attended; each played their part to educate the Muslim Ummah on different aspects on the war against Islam.

Before I provide my thoughts on the event, I would like to quickly recall, to the best of my ability, what each speaker spoke about:

  • The first speaker, Nasir Hafezi, outlined government strategy,
  • The second speaker, Abdullah Andalusia, gave examples of current affairs and offered practical steps Muslims can take, comparing us to the civil rights movement in America, and stating that we must take political action such as peaceful protests, civil disobedience, debates and engage with the community,
  • The third speaker, Sheikh Suleiman, gave Islamic arguments to prove it was necessary to stop the demonisation and oppression of our community,
  • The fourth speaker, Muhammad Jhangir, gave practical examples of how government strategy works,
  • The fifth speaker, Moazzam Begg, explained that this is not a war on terror, but a war on Islam – this is apparent from the fact that no other community is being demonised and sidelined other than us,
  • The sixth speaker, Imam Haitham, spoke about the importance of being patient in times of tribulation,
  • The last speaker, Reza Pankhurst, gave practical steps we can take as individuals. He explained that Hizb Ut Tahrir are providing media training for Muslims to help us on how we can deal with responding to the media,

As we can see, it was a brilliant overview of what we face as a community and this event really helped raise awareness of the need for action.

Now at this stage, I would like to offer some of my thoughts that I believe can help solidify the message of this event, and include certain components, which I believe to be necessary. Please note that my intention is to share my analysis, and I would encourage others to also critique my thoughts, so that we can move forward and build understanding.

As an Ummah, we are well aware of the oppression facing us, every individual, to some extent, understands we are being demonised and oppressed around the world. This event helped to create urgency and a need for action.

However, I felt we could have used more detail on the practical steps and milestones that we must aim to achieve, as a community, if we are to create a movement for our freedom.

As a community, we do not have a strategic solution based upon the geopolitical context of our time. In order for people to act, they must believe that their actions will have a positive impact; they must understand how their individual roles, and their individual actions, fit in to the bigger picture.

Currently, we are individual activist trying to do ‘some good work,’ not an organised movement demanding our freedom and self-determination.

There is a process through which a movement is formed, where people are able to demand their rights, as a single unified body. The first step in creating a movement is to create a cause.

Currently, there is no CAUSE for Muslims to join, thus, we are only individual activists. To create a movement we must have a narrative. What makes a narrative different from a story is that it has a vision and thus a pathway.

Currently our story is a suicidal one, it is all about our oppression and what we have lost, but a narrative empowers a community by creating demands, a vision, inspiring them to reclaim their greatness. If this vision is broad enough, it will mean that despite our differences, we will for the first time, be able to agree on something and galvanise ourselves into a movement.

In order to galvanise their people into a movement, other oppressed communities have also used narratives in the past, thus this is a tried and tested tool that works. I was pleased to see Abdullah Andalusia mention the Civil Rights Movement, because we really need to analyse this period of history and learn from it.

Malcolm X once said, “the greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organise a sleeping people around specific goals, you have to wake the people up first and then you’ll get action.” Therefore, before our movement can become a reality, we must ensure we have awakened our people. Without politicising our community, our community will be too asleep to take action.

This event helped to do just that, to awaken our community, however, the audience were not urged to educate each other further. As we know, our community is apolitical, we are a sleeping people, asking us to take political action is futile at this stage.

We appreciate the milestones to the road to freedom is not a linear process, however, our main priority at this stage should be to create a cause, a narrative and tackle any obstacles preventing us from unifying into a movement.

Therefore, we must critically analyse what is preventing Muslims from demanding their freedom and self-determination. Upon a closer inspection, we realise that many ‘practicing’ Muslims use Islam to justify their passivity. Though Islam is a faith that demands we strive against injustice, there is a widespread belief in the Muslim community that demands that they “perfect themselves first” or “do the basics first.”

This idea is closer to western individualism, than it is to Islam. Though speakers like Sheikh Suleiman spoke about the Islamic obligation for standing up for justice and the oppressed, there were no direct refutations of such ideas, and more importantly, as part of the solutions, the audience, which was approximately 500 people at the event and another 1500 watching online, were not told about the urgency of tackling such beliefs within the Muslim community.

You see, most of the Muslim community is disillusioned by the thought that anything practical can be achieved whilst living in Britain. As we understand, this is due to a lack of our understanding of the geopolitical context we live in and the importance of the ideological war. If Muslims were to be part of a greater movement and understand how their individual roles fit into a global struggle for freedom, we would find the Muslim community more willing to act.

I hope my thoughts have benefitted the organisers of the event, and also those who attended.

Islamic Renaissance has also put forward a lecture that attempts to map out the road to freedom, and the solutions that we can work towards as a community. We would also appreciate your feedback, so that we can find a common ground as a community.

Abdel Kader Mollah has been hung by the Bangladeshi authorities

abdel kader mollah

This article is by Irfan Badshah, a political activist and thinker.

has been hung by the Bangladeshi authorities; the result of a trial over the ‘atrocities committed’ during the bitter Bangladeshi war of independence in 1971. An Islamic teacher for 30 years and a towering figure in the Jamaat e Islami party, his execution will, no doubt, further polarize the Muslim population in the country. This turn (no other leader has been hung) in events follows on from an earlier outbreak of violence in the capital Dhaka, where the Bangladeshi police force, at the behest of the Prime Minister: Shiekh Hasina, gunned down civilians in total darkness after severing electricity and water from their camps — they were protesting against the sentence issued on another Jamaat leader .

Mullah’s hanging is the child of the ‘Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal’. It has been labelled a ‘kangaroo court’ and has been criticized for its political motivations. The president, Sheikh Hasina, has been accused of stirring sentiment in the wake of the Shabagh protests in Dhaka. The scale of the protests, and outpouring of thousands — spurred by social media — unnerved the government in Dhaka and led it to amend the law to allow prosecutors to appeal against sentences handed down by the courts. Until that point, prosecutors could only appeal if a court acquitted a defendant.

“Never before in the history of Bangladesh, when a trial court refused to give the death sentence [has] the final court [then] given the death sentence,” Mullah’s main lawyer, Abdur Razzaq, told The Independent.

Toby Cadman, an international lawyer, said “The trial process has been shown to be nothing short of a political show trial aimed at removing an Islamist political party, suppressing the opposition and securing the next election for the present Awami League government”

The crux of this conflict lies in its nationalist roots. The Jamaat E Islami party was opposed to the separation of what is now known as Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, from West Pakistan, now known as Pakistan. The creation of Pakistan was a result of the British colonization of India, in the aftermath of which, in 1947, it was born.

This brouhaha is no aberration to the western method of divide and conquer. The Sykes-Picot agreement, the master plan for the division of the Arab World; the propping up of dictators such as the Al Saud family (occupying Arabia) and the Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain and in virtually every Arab country, coupled with a demographic disaster, has given rise to a sectarian bloodbath. Should we expect any different? In the famous words of Napoleon ‘Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.’

The construct of a nationalist identity, previously unknown to Muslims under the Islamic Caliphate, led to people spilling their blood for flags, dug in the ground literally by ‘lines drawn in the sand.’ In the case of the Indian Subcontinent, in the muddy marshes. As an extension, the construct of nationalist identity suppressed the right to self-determination as breaking away from the concept of nation states is near impossible as organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations, have ossified this global power structure. It is designed to perpetually keep people in poverty and oppression. Why are there only five veto seats in the United Nations (and all by white, western nations) when it is supposed to encompass the ‘international community’?

Many a people have attempted to break free of this structure and many a people have failed. Take Egypt where very recently a western-backed (and financed) military junta has slaughtered hundreds of people in broad daylight on national television after forcefully ousting and imprisoning an elected president — Mohammed Morsi — who won a landslide majority.

What about Palestine? When the Palestinian people — in an election described by Bill Clinton as ‘crystal clear’ — voted for Hamas, an Islamic party, were punished by punitive sanctions, blockade and bombing. However, it doesn’t end there, in Algeria, when the Front Islamique du Salut, won a mammoth majority in the 1991 elections was subsequently booted in a bloody coup d etat in 1992, no cries from the west.

Think that’s all? Mohammed Mosadegh, the democratically elected president of the Iranian republic was overthrown in an operation planned by the CIA and M.I.6 in 1953. Replacing him was the Shah, his brutal crackdown on opposition and repressing of the freedoms of the Iranian people were carried out with the tacit complicity of the western governments.

In short, the denial of our self-determination has gone on long enough. We must eradicate the venom of nationalism from our blood and re-claim our right to justice, equality and freedom — ideals pertinent to all human beings but denied to Muslims. One people, under one God, in one struggle

130 Slave Imams Urge Muslims not to Travel to Iraq and Syria

letter

By Allah, I refuse to respect a single Imam who signed the letter urging Muslims not to go to Syria. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I endorse the idea of going to Syria to fight, let me clarify that I don’t.

Personally, I think the Syrian crisis may be what the Prophet was referring to when he said: “A time will come when the murderer will not know why he has committed the murder, and the victim will not know why he has been killed” (Sahih Muslim, 41: 6949)

However, this is not the reason why these Imams signed this open letter. They did not sign this letter out of concern for the Ummah, they signed this letter out of fear of their slave master. They were afraid of being labelled an extremist, afraid of being labelled an Islamist, afraid for their lives.

They behaved like the ‘house negroes’ during slavery; who did not speak out to help their fellow slaves against a whipping, but rather spoke out to be better accommodated inside their master’s home.

You see, remaining silent isn’t an option anymore. Thanks to our passivity as a community, Islamophobia has reached a point where even silence is translated as rebelling against the slave master.

Now I know that some of you reading this will disagree. You will argue that I’m not in a position to know what’s in their hearts. You’re right, I don’t know what’s in their hearts and I cannot judge their intentions based on assumptions. What I can do however, is judge them based on their actions, and their actions prove everything I’m saying.

I’ll prove it to you. Tell me, where were these hundreds of Imams when Iraq was being invaded? Where were they when Palestinians were being ethnically cleansed? When drones were flying over the holy cities of Mecca to detonate the children of this Ummah, where was their open letter? Did I miss the memo?

Where were the open letters from the various denominations of Shia and Sunni Muslims to support a unified cause for freedom during the Muslim Spring?

I’ll tell you, there were none. So dig deep into your conscience and answer these questions, is it possible that these imams aren’t the God-fearing noble men you expected them to be? Is it possible that these Imams fear the wrath of our oppressors so much that they have sold out on our religion and sold out on our Ummah. Is it possible that they have chosen the life of this world over the life of the hereafter?

Now if these proofs are still not convincing you, fair enough. I have a challenge for you. If you are truly sincere in seeking the truth, ask these Imams to write an alternative letter condemning our oppressors for their crimes against humanity, and urging the Muslim community to unite as one people in the struggle for our freedom. If they write an alternative letter, we will retract this article and replace it with a formal apology to these Imams. But they must come forth and prove themselves with an alternative letter. As Allah says in the Quran: “Produce your proof if you are truthful!” [2:111]

But even you know deep in your hearts, they will not. They fear the slave master more than they fear the creator of the heavens and earth.

You see, in a climate where Islamophobia is growing faster than our ability to counter it, we need solutions. When our Imams show us that they are more than capable of uniting for a cause that further justifies our oppression, but refuse to unite in the cause for our freedom, they must be held to account and they must be questioned.

Our Ummah needs less selling out and more solutions.

Islamic Renaissance has attempted to put together the way forward for our Ummah and we welcome all feedback, critical or otherwise.

In the meantime, here is the list of the Imams that signed the open letter. Contact them and ask them why similar initiatives have not been seen in the face of our oppression?

  • Sheikh Ahmed Babikir, Islamic Advisor Islamiyyah School Network, London
  • Qari Mohammed Asim MBE, Senior Imam Makkah Masjid, Leeds
  • Sheikh Muhammad Manwar Ali, JIMAS, Norwich
  • Mualana Shahid Raza OBE, Leicester Central Mosque, Leicester
  • Imam Rafiq Sufi Patel, Vice Chairman Lancashire of Mosque, Blackburn
  • Mufti Zymer Salihi, Chairman Albanian and Turkish Islamic Foundation, London
  • Prof Masood Akhtar Hazarvi, Al Hira Education Centre, Luton
  • Dr Musharraf Hussain, Director Karima Foundation, Nottingham
  • Sheikh Mohamed el Sharkawy, Al Azhar Academy, London
  • Sheikh Tahir Fayyaz, Abu Bakr Masjid, Southall London
  • Sheikh Sabazada Jeelani, Wycombe Islamic Mission/ South East Imams Forum, High Wycombe
  • Chairman Abdul Hameed Qurashi, Lancashire Council of Mosque, Preston
  • Moulana Ghulam Rasool, Trustee Sultan Bahu Trust, Birmingham
  • Sheikh Sayed Ali Raza, Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, London
  • Sheikh Mustafa Jaffar, Masjid, London
  • Imam Asif Ali, Karima, Nottingham
  • Mr Dilwar Hussain, New Horizons, Leicester
  • Dr A Majid Katme, Brent Maglis, London
  • Shaykh Sulaiman Egeh, Brent Muslim Multicultural Centre, London
  • Shaykh Talat, Palmers Green Mosque, London
  • Shaykh Haythim Al-Sahlani, Al Khoei Foundation, London
  • Shaykh Salah Bilal, Al Khoei Foundation, London
  • Imam Shakil Ahmed, Ayesha Masjid and School, London
  • Imam Mohammad Talha Bokhari, Birmingham Central Mosque, Birmingham
  • Maulana Amir Hussain, YEME, Bradford
  • Maulana Swaleey Khan, YEME, Bradford
  • Qari Abdul Latif, Jammia, Alyesbury
  • Hafiz Khush Bakht, Jamia Ramania, High Wycombe
  • Mufti Muhammad Arif, Saeedi Ashrafi, Chesham
  • Maulana Muhammad Sarfraz Madni, Black Heath Mosque, Birmingham
  • Imam Hafiz Hamid Uddin, Castlefield Mosque, High Wycombe
  • Imam Sultan Mahmud, Totteridge Mosque, High Wycombe
  • Qari Tariq Mahmud Qadri, Al Hira Education Centre, London
  • Muft Riaz Ahmed, Samdani Anjuman Islamia, London
  • Imam Ihsanullah Nazshbandi, Ilford Islamic Centre, London
  • Imam Sheikh Muhammad Ismail Al-Rashid, Birmingham Central Mosque, Birmingham
  • Maulana Ejaz Ahmed,Nairvi Siqqiqia, London
  • Mulana Sayed Noor Ahmed Shah, Barking Masjid, London
  • Hafiz Muhammed Yaqoob, Canning Town Mosque, London
  • Qari Muhammad Amin Chidhti, Southall Islamic Centre, Ealing London
  • Maulana Iqbal Awan, Madina Masjid, Luton
  • Hafiz Naseerullah Naqshbandi, Mohi-ul-Din Trust, Birmingham
  • Hafiz Arshad Jamil,  Masjid, London
  • Allama Abdul Bari, Masjid Centre, Milton Keynes
  • Imam Hafiz Hafiz Ahmed Ibrahim Patel, Birmingham Central Mosque, Birmingham
  • Mulana Mehrban, Chesterfield Mosque, Chesterfield
  • Mulana Mohsin,  Islamic Centre, Derby
  • Mulana Sohail Bawa, Stepney Centre, London
  • Mulana Aslam, Southall Islamic Circle, London
  • Imam Abu Sayeed, Darul Ummah, London
  • Mulana Hafiz Rehman, West Drayton Mosque, London
  • Imam Professor Hafiz Muhammad Akram – Harrow Central Mosque, Harrow – Middlesex
  • Mulana Attaaa Ullah Khan, Oxford Mosque, Oxford
  • Mulana Tahir Awan, Abu Bakr Masjid, London
  • Maulana Jamshaid Ahmed, East London Mosque Forum, London
  • Mulana Kasim, Central Jamia Masjid, Ealing London
  • Mulana Bismillah, Central Jamia Masjid, Ealing London
  • Mulana Sadath, Abu Bakr Masjid, Ealing London
  • Ustahd Yahya Birt, Interfaith Forum, Ilkley
  • Ustahd Mahbub Nazir, The Good Deeds Project, Leeds
  • Molana Rayan Mahmud, Iqra TV, London
  • Imam Yaseen Mohammed, Bradford Council of Mosques, Bradford
  • Imam Rafiq Sehgal, Bradford Council of Mosques, Bradford
  • Shah Fazal Karim, Council for Mosques, Bradford
  • Imam Iftikhar Ali, Jammat Tableegul Islam, Bradford
  • Mr Zulfiqar Ali, Jammat Tableegul Islam, Bradford
  • Mr Amjad Pervez, Bradford Council of Mosques, Bradford
  • Imam Sayed Tariq Masud, Shah Redbridge Islamic Centre, London
  • Mr Abdul  Sattar, Kanzul Iman Mosque
  • Shaykh Dr Abbas Mohammed, Islamic Unity Forum
  • Imam Mohammad Saddiq, Khanzul Iman
  • Imam Rafiqur Rehman, Jamia Mosque Newport, South Wales
  • Mr Ghulam Mohayuddin Hafiz, Medina Mosque Trust, Southampton
  • Hafiz Mohammad Sajaad, Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira, Leeds
  • Mulana Abdul Khaliq, Hayes Islamic Centre / Hayes Muslim Centre, London
  • Sh Mr Tarik Nasrullah,  Mosque, London
  • Mr Zia ul-Haq, Madina Masjid, Walsall
  • Imam Irfan Chishti MBE, Light of Islam Academy, Rochdale
  • Mr Choudhary Noor-Hussain, Dudley Central Mosque, Dudley
  • Mulana Aqram, Hayes Masjid / Hayes Muslim Centre, London
  • Imam Shokat, Abu Bakr Mosque, Southampton
  • Imam Azizurehman, Abu Bakr Mosque, Southampton
  • Dr Ataf Sabir, Community Member, Dudley
  • Molana Ahmad Nisar Beg Qadri, British Muslim Forum
  • Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, The Muslim Council of Britain, Leciester
  • Director and Imam Anas Al-Korj, Taqwah Mosque Trust, Southampton
  • Alqadri Muhammad Ikhlaq Mubarak, Islamic Society Jamia Mosque Al Madina, Middlesbrough
  • Mr Mahmood Hussain, Dudley Muslim Association, Dudley
  • Mr M Ammar Khan, Dudley Central Mosque, Dudley
  • Mr Muhammad Fazal, Al-noor Educational, London
  • Imam Monawar Hussain, The Oxford Foundation
  • Chairman Ragih Muflihi, Muslim Inclusive Action Network IMAN, Sandwell
  • Sahibzada Naeem Rabbani, Black Country Sunni Ulema Council
  • Imam Hafiz Abdul Rehman Sultani, Qamarul Islam Masjid, Birmingham
  • Mr Naseerullah, Siddiquia Education Trust, Birmingham
  • Mr Khurshid Drabu, Chairman, Southampton Medina Mosque Trust Ltd, Southampton
  • Imam Hamid Qudoos Hashmi, Dudley Central Mosque, Dudley
  • Qaril Noman Yousaf, Head Teacher – Harem Academy, Coventry
  • Hafiz Abdul Satar, Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust (HSBT), Sandwell
  • Imam Shaikh Sajid Mahmood, Aminah Trust, Bradford
  • Yousef  Hansa, Noor Ul Islam Trust, London
  • Hafiz Zaheer Shabir, Bristol Council of Mosques, Bristol
  • Dr Sheikh Omer El-Hamdoon, Muslim Association of Britain
  • Maulana Muhammad Sarfraz Madni, Black Heath Mosque, Birmingham
  • Mufti Muhammd Farooq Alwi, Jammia Masjid, Birmingham
  • Mufti Abdual Majid Nadeem, Alum Rock Mosque, Birmingham
  • Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Jammia Masjid, Birmingham
  • Maulana Muhammd Iqbal, Masjid Oldham, Oldham
  • Hafiz Rahmat Aziz Salik, Hull Islamic Centre, Hull
  • Molana Wajid Ali Ansari, Kariamia Masjid, Nottingham
  • Sadat Qadri, Kariamia Masjid, Nottingham
  • Imam Muhammad Hussain Sajid, Ghousia Masjid, Burnley
  • Imam Muhammed Arshad, Masjid e Ibrahim, Burnley
  • Qari Blouch, Armley Welfare Society, Leeds
  • Molana Sadat Ahmed, Kariamia Masjid, Nottingham
  • Helen Zehra Taskiran,  Muslimah of the UK London
  • Julian Bond, Christian Muslim Forum, London
  • Tehmina Kazi, Human rights activist, London
  • Hassan Rabbani, Zia-Ul-Quran, Glasgow
  • Shahzad Hussain,  Iqra Centre,  Leeds
  • Zara Islam, London
  • Mohsin Malik, 313, Oslo
  • Sean Haran, Couples for Christ – Wales Swansea
  • Ahmad Ayaz Ur-Rahman Irfani, Jamia Masjid Hanfia Ghousia,  Bedford
  • Suleman Nagdi MBE DL, Federation of Muslim Organisations, Leicester
  • Professor Hafiz Akram, Harrow Central Mosque,  Harrow
  • Amanda Jane, Price Women Against Ukip, Cheltenham
  • Sharmeen Ahmed,  Bristol
  • General Secretary Talib Hussain,  Jamiyat Tabligh-Ul-Islam, Bradford
  • Abdul Raheem, Leeds

Let us know if you receive a response, and we will keep you posted too.

 

 

If God exists, why does poverty?

poverty

From time to time we hear those who are in doubt of God’s existence, ask the question; If God exists, why does poverty? How can God, if He exists, the creator of the heaven and earth, not eradicate poverty? Since poverty exists, it must mean God doesn’t. The answer to many will be difficult to accept, as the reason lies somewhere much closer to home.

First of all, we must ask ourselves if there is enough food on the planet to feed its population, or did God create the circumstances for poverty to always exist? Currently, the estimated population of the world is approximately 7 billion, and there is enough food in the world in this moment of time, to be able to feed 10 billion people.

So if there is enough food in the world to fulfill the need of every human being, and more, then why does poverty exist? Nelson Mandela would like to answer the question: “Poverty is not an accident, like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”

You see, in 2012 alone, the world’s top 100 richest people earned enough money to eradicate extreme poverty four times over. Poverty does not exist because God does not exist. Poverty exists because of the actions of human beings, because of your action. Yes, you. “Did you think you would enter the Garden without God first proving which of you would struggle for His cause and remain steadfast?” [Quran 3:142]

There is a reason you and I are here. There is a reason we exist: “Did you think we had created you in vain, and that you would not be brought back to Us?” [23:115] There is a mission we must fulfill. What is that mission? It is the same mission that the Prophets of God were sent with; “We sent the Messengers with clear signs, the scripture and the balance, so people could uphold justice.” [57:25] Our purpose on earth is to live for a cause greater than ourselves, a cause for justice. This is our purpose, our mission on earth.

If human beings strove to fulfill this purpose then poverty would not exist. If we strove to implement institutions that safeguarded the basic rights of every human being then justice would prevail. This is why the institution of Zakaat (the redistribution of wealth) is a central component of Islam. It is ordained “So that wealth does not circulate among your rich people only” [59:7]

The institution of Zakaat has the potential to solve the problem of global poverty, just as it did in the 8th century under Umar Ibn Abdulaziz, who had eradicated poverty from society, to such an extent that when there was no one left to claim Zakaat, the money was used to feed the birds of his empire.

It’s time we stop blaming the Creator for problems we have created ourselves, and strive to restore the balance we have disturbed.

 

Has Western Individualism Affected Our Understanding of Islam?

 

western individualism

As Muslims, we must be a living manifestation of the Quran and our outlook on life must be defined by Islamic principles. This is what it means to be a believer. However, in my experience, from interacting with the Muslim community over the years, specifically ‘practicing’ Muslims, I have come to the conclusion that our schema, which in psychology is a cognitive framework that helps the human mind to organise and interpret information, is defined by Western individualism, rather than Islam. Thus, it has also affected the very way we interpret Islam.

Let us first explore what Western Individualism is before I explain the premise of my argument. In a nutshell, Western individualism puts the individuals before society. It has come to a stage where it is all about us. Especially with the advent of social media, it is has made more and more people self-centred and self-obsessed. This has also led to a decrease in our care for humanity.

As Muslims – the vicegerents of God on earth – we must partake in the mission entrusted to us: “We sent the Messengers with clear signs, the scriptures and the balance, so that people can uphold justice.” Quran [57:25]. From many verses in the Quran including the above verse, it is clear that our primary duty is to strive for justice.

Yet we live in a time where those who are supposed to uphold justice, are the greatest victims of injustices. And the worst part is that there is a widespread belief among the Muslim community that they must ‘perfect themselves first’ or ‘do the basics first’ before helping the oppressed. This idea is alien to Islam; it contradicts the Quran, Hadith and the verdicts of every classical scholar. This belief represents Western individualism, rather than, Islam.

This has affected our entire understanding of Islam, it has led us to interpret Islam in a more individualistic manner. Let us take the famous Hadith of the prophet (pbuh) as an example: “Not one of you truly believes till he wants for his brother what he wants for himself.” This is another example that should lead Muslims to strive for the betterment of humanity. However, it is interpreted as the Christian saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” The difference between the two sayings is that the latter demands we be nice to anyone we come into contact with, whereas the former demands we go out of our way to strive for a better world. Do you see the difference? By interpreting the Hadith along the lines of the Christian saying, we are a limiting ourselves to only be nice to those we come into contact with, whilst ignoring the cries and screams of our Ummah on the other side of the world.

Though I have experienced this behaviour everywhere among Muslims, the personal experience that epitomised it for me was when I was in Egypt. I have never met Muslims like the ones I did Egypt. The Muslims of Egypt treated me as if I was their own blood brother. Yet, those very Muslims, when talking about Palestine, were complaining that Muhammad Morsi (former President of Egypt) was giving free gas to the Palestinians. Absurd right? Those who treated me like their blood brother were ignoring the cries of their brothers and sisters across the border.

The above example is that of a ‘good’ Muslim. Unfortunately, there are many Muslims that would not even treat others as they wish to be treated. They would not treat their brother in Islam as if it was their own blood brother. They are too concerned with their rituals and their personal ticket to heaven.

You see, Islam has become a checklist, rather than a way of life:

  • Salah
  • Zakaat
  • Fasting
  • Hajj

Alhamdulillah, I now have my ticket to heaven!

This individualistic attitude, which teaches us to focus only on rituals and ignore the ethics of Islam, has caused us to ignore the oppression and demonisation of our community. Thus, it led us to catch hell in this life, and possibly the next for ignoring the commandments of God: “And fight them on until there is no more oppression, and justice and faith in Allah prevails; but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.” (2:193)

The Remorse I Feel Over Ariel Sharon’s Death

The greatest pharaoh of our time is dead! Let’s celebrate! No, that’s not exactly how I felt when I heard the news of his death. I felt remorse.

You see, I remember the face of Ariel Sharon from when I was 10 years old, when I received my first flyer that woke me up to the plight of our Ummah – when I first saw the vicious images of the crimes that he had committed in Sabra and Shatila.

But I felt remorse – not because an oppressor had just died, but because of the reaction that followed his death. Just as I write, I have seen many updates from Muslims that are expressing relief at the news of his death; they are proudly speaking of the punishment he received during his eight-year coma, and speculating the punishment that waits him in hell.

Great! Natural justice has been served! I guess it makes us all feel a little better, knowing the world has been ridden of another evil pharaoh, but is there more to our reaction? Is this enough to explain our relief?

Maybe underneath the sighs of our relief, underneath the feelings of gratitude, lies a guilty conscience. A guilty conscience burdened with years of inaction. Maybe we felt relief not because the world had been ridden of evil, but because we were ridden of some guilt, because our burden of inaction became that much easier to carry.

And that’s what fills me with feelings of remorse. Our relief helps us to justify our inaction. But for how long will we justify our inaction? Whilst we are singing the hymns of hell for Ariel Sharon, what we have forgotten is that we are as guilty as him. Natural justice has sent him to where he belongs, but we are on the road to the same place.

And no, I’m not being hysterical, I am simply making you aware of what our Prophet (PBUH) said so eloquently: “Verily, if the people see an oppressor and they do not seize his hand, then Allah will soon send punishment upon all of them”.

And I’m afraid. I’m afraid that in the midst of celebrating the punishment that awaits Ariel Sharon, we are ignoring the punishment that awaits us. I’m afraid that the sighs of our relief will justify our inaction to us, but won’t justify our inaction to our creator. I’m afraid that we are headed towards the same fate as the greatest oppressor of our time.

The ‘Arab’ spring was doomed to fail

tahrir square

That’s right. It was doomed to fail. Right from the beginning, we had lost what had barely started.

Apart from the fact that as a community, we are the most oppressed people on earth but also the most mute about our oppression, whenever we speak out, we are quick to state how Western governments have installed, armed and funded dictators in the Muslim world that have suppressed all of our revolutions.

But how often do we ask ourselves what we could have done differently? Or rather, what we must do differently?

I was also a victim of the same mentality; I was too quick to point at how bad our oppressors are. But what does that achieve? We can’t change their actions, but we can change ours. You see, I was reading an article on the situation in Egypt; Muslims protesting in Egypt are being shot in the face, imprisoned for at least 5 years, abducted and tortured. And I thought to myself, only a year ago the Muslims of Egypt democratically elected their own leader – and then the penny dropped.

The problem was right there: Muslims in Egypt were fighting for their freedom, whilst Muslims in Libya were fighting for their freedom, whilst Muslims in Palestine were fighting for their freedom – there was no unified struggle for freedom.

If we go back to 1916, we realise that Britain and France had a secret agreement that divided up the Muslim world – literally carved our lands up. And ever since then, we have been thinking and acting within these borders. We have stopped thinking and behaving as an Ummah, instead we think and behave as nationalists– divide and conquer, the oldest trick in the book and we’re still falling for it.

However, that is not all. As some of you may have wondered, in the title of this article I said Arab Spring in inverted commas. This is because although it is known as the ‘Arab’ spring it was actually a Muslim spring! The term ‘Arab spring’ was coined by our oppressors to ensure it is not associated directly with Muslims, as Muslims demanding their freedom directly contradicts their Islamophobic narrative that justifies their crimes.

In other words, the moment our oppressors defined our revolutions, we had already lost. From that moment onwards, they could directly or indirectly intervene to protect their imperial interests – and they did.

However, imagine if Muslims in the West had told the world that the Muslim spring was part of a Global Muslim Freedom Struggle.  Imagine if we had told the world that we were rising up against the very dictators that were armed and funded by Western governments, that the Muslim spring was a revolution to demand self-determination, that the Muslim spring was a revolution that rejected foreign control and exploitation – the American government would not have been able to label the military coup against our democratically elected leader in Egypt an action that ‘restored democracy,’ when we know too well that it was an act that destroyed democracy.

The revolutions would have only been successful if Muslims in the West played their part whilst Muslims in the East were rising up to demand their freedom. It had to be a global struggle. To prevent this from happening again, Islamic Renaissance has put together a lecture that explains the road map to freedom, where we define our struggle, we define our roles, and we make sure the world understands our demands. The Arab spring was doomed to fail, but the Muslim Spring is bound to succeed.

Educational Modules

Islamic Renaissance is an educational movement aimed at Muslims all over the world. We believe that the first step towards the liberation of our Ummah is education. Fredrick Douglas once said, “knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave”. We strongly believe in this principle and are therefore providing you with educational modules that will ideologically free the Ummah, and lead to The Global Muslim Freedom Struggle. Please use these modules to educate yourself and educate others.

The Missing Muslim Narrative

Allah’s Just Social Order

When We Were Kings

Dismantlement

Colonisation

Colonised Islam