From Protest to Engagement Notes
Alhamdulillah, I’ve finally got round to writing my notes up. I’ve looked through notes that other people made and they’re along the same lines so Inshallah, I haven’t misquoted anyone. If I have let me know. Also, I’m hapsy to tell you that Islam channel will be broadcasting most of the talks from the event starting from tomorrow. I’ll put the dates and times for each talk under the relevant speaker. If you don’t have Islam channel then too bad. I keed, I keed. You can watch Islam Channel online. Just make sure you get the timings right if you’re not in the UK otherwise you’ll kick yourself 🙂
*** Talks will be uploaded onto RMW’s website as well as google inshallah 🙂
In the order they spoke we have:
SIDI MOEZ MASOUD
Moez Masoud began by talking about our state. We find ourselves living in times of extremes:
1) Religious- where Muslims sympathise (and possibly commit) acts of violence
2) Postmodern/Western in terms of the Dunya- we want Paradise on Earth .
During turbulent times we are the ones who are meant to see things from a clear heart.
People want “shahada” (martyrdom); they want the outward form but what about its inward reality?
If you can’t give fifteen minutes of your time to Allah in the morning (i.e Fajr) you really think you can give Him your life?
When you only perform the outward forms of the Religion, without sincerity, you don’t taste the sweetness of Iman. When we focus solely on the outward forms one of two things can happen:
1) We rebound back into the Dunya
2) We adopt a “holier than thou” attitude
The solution to our condition is Tazkiya (spiritual purification)- this is what the Prophet (saw) came for. How do we do this? From reputable and trust worthy sources. Tazkiya is a factor that is missing these days. He (Saw) was the master of purification.
The Hadith Jibrael- Islam, Iman and Ihsan– all three need to be equal.
We have shortcomings in our implementation.
We go on about “them” (“us and them”), whoever”they” are- Remember the Battle of Uhud when the believers were disobedient and left their posts and the kuffar who were sincere in what they were fighting for…who won that battle? The sincere kuffar. Point being- remember that everything that is happening to us as Muslims, as an Ummah is from Allah- sometimes Allah sends these things our way to wake us up. It hurts and is difficult, just like the seeing the morning light upon waking up, but what did Musa (as) say to his followers…“If you truly believe in Allah, then put your trust in him”.
**Inshallah to be broadcasted on 03/03/2007 at 21:30/22:30/01:00**
SHAYKH ABDAL HAKIM MURAD
Shaykh Abdal Hakim began by saying how he feels like a stranger among his fellow Muslims because of the way we have become so pessimist and carry negative attitudes around with us. This is not how Muslims should be. We have two possible solutions for this condition, either:
1) become a hedgehog and bury yourself somewhere away from everyone, or
2) engage and interact with whoever it is that will work with you.
Remember, the “worst of jahilliyah were the best in Islam”.
“La-illaha-illilah”- Shaykh Abdal Hakim narrated a story told by Rumi where a mother was being slowed down in her daily chores by the crying of her baby. She gave her baby some turkish delight but he did not stop crying. She then gave him some sweet coffee but this did not work either. She then tried some meat but it was to no avail. She then realised what the baby needed was her milk so she fed him and he was satisfied. Just like the baby in this story, we are crying, and it is the dhikr of Allah that will calm us down. We often turn to material things such as cars, houses, clothes etc to satisfy us but when we realise that it is “La-illaha-illilah” that we need, we will stop seeing all the kuffar as a potential threat but instead, as souls who also need “La-illaha-illilah”.
***To be broadcasted on the 04/03/2007 at 21:30/22:30/01:00***
PROFESSOR TARIQ RAMDAN
Tariq Ramadan began by contesting the title of the event “From protest to engagement“. He argued that to protest in itself is to engage.
Engaging means stop having the victim mentality (“everyone is against us, its because I’m a Muslim!” etc). He spoke of the Self-fulfilling prophecy- example: you’re driving to customs through border control. You see the guard and start thinking “I bet hes going to stop me. With a face like mine (i.e obviously Muslim) he’s going to stop me!”. So what happens? You get all worked up and the guard notices the tension on your face and so stops you and begins to question you. If you were the guard you would’ve stopped you!
Integration? Integration is over now. We now need to focus on CONTRIBUTION. what are contributing to our societies. Speak to the British people.
1) CONFIDENCE- what more do we need to make us confident than the fact that we had the Prophet (Saw) sent as Mercy to mankind
2) SENSE OF BELONGING- This country is my country. Think of your children. If your country is collapsing, your sons and daughters are falling with it.
3) KNOWLEDGE- Not everyone is required to become an alim, but everyone is required to seek knowledge.
The business of conferences is becoming a fashion, consumerism, it is not education. Education is to sit with the book of Allah everyday. We cry for an hour and then forget for two weeks.
Scholars are not stars, they are educators. Stars believe that the audience is there to serve them, whereas the scholars believe they are there to serve the audience (community).
Integration is to take the good from society and realise it’s weakneses and help to better society. The Zidane symptom– he gave so much to the French; a team leader, character player, no one asks him at the end of a match “where do you come from?”
When you give, your origin is forgotten, when you contribute to the betterment of society, where you come from doesn’t matter. When you are always seen as complaining and protesting that’s when people ask “where do you come from?!”
Zidane is the embodiment of Islamic Character.
Tariq Ramadan told us that before his father died, he told him that ever since Yusuf Islam became Muslim all he ever did is give and give to society.
What is your gift?
To serve Allah is to serve the people. The best of people are those who are of benefit to others. You can’t serve and be isolated. Need to have a visible presence.
Islam is a simple religion but life is complicated, so don’t make Islam harder. Make religion easy for the people.
Listen to the questions coming around from people, non Muslims. They don’t want superficial answers, they want deep answers so we need to contribute at an intellectual level. Be involved in all levels.
The education system is in crisis. Focus on the domestic issues, not always foreign policy. Justice is not only for Muslims. Justice is universal.
Be the voice for the voiceless. Be critically involved.
***To be broadcasted on the 05/03/2007 at 22:00/23:00/01:00***
(I didnt take many notes here)
Uncle Yusuf spoke of the way we (Muslims) are seen after a protest; angry, shouting, scary. The Prophet (saw) never shouted. When he (saw) arrived in Madina, the people shouted “AllahuAkbar!!” to which the Prophet(saw) replied “the One you are calling is neither deaf nor absent”. We don’t need to shout.
Education begins with knowing the fardh-knowing your Lord!
SHAYKH ABDALLAH BIN BAYYAH & SHAYKH HAMZA YUSUF
How do we move from the spirit of protest to one of engagement? Many people are creating immense problems in the world so how do we become part of the solution and not people who are part of creating the problem? How do we address the condition we find ourselves in?
1) Boycott the whole of the West?
2) Become the fundamentalist jihadists who say we need a war to end all this. A war that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight?
The only way to better our condition is with the values that are superior to the values we find ourselves in. Repel wrong with right; evil with good.
The shaykh began with the hadith of the Prophet (saw) where he (saw) gave the analogy of the people on the ship. You have the well off, posh passengers on the top and the not so well off ones at the bottom. The poorer passengers want water. They don’t want to bother the posher people and ask them for help so they start drilling a hole at the bottom of the ship to get some water. They think they’re doing everyone a favour by not bothering and asking those ontop for help; they believe what they are doing is correct. If the people ontop leave those on the bottom to carry on, they will ALL drown.
We are on a sinking ship.
There are two types of people in the world:
1) those drilling the hole in the ship and
2) and those who need to stop those fools drilling the hole; restrain their foolishness and save all of us
Example, there is a fire burning. Our concern is to put it out; we’re shouldn’t be bothered with who we are working with to put the fire out. Same with the ship. But how do we stop these fools from drilling the hole?
It’s not going to be easy, just like putting the fire out but don’t become perturbed by the opposition you may face because that is the nature of doing good. Like Prophet Yaqub (as) said to his sons “Go look for Yusuf (as) and do not despair”.
Never let the loathing of a people stop you from being just to them.
Allah has given us a solution to all our wrongs. “Repel evil with good”. But only people who have patience will be able to do that.
It’s dark, but don’t just sit there. Seek the dawn; seek the signs of dawn. Don’t despair of God’s Mercy.
Imam Shafi’ said that all civilizations agreed upon the right to life, property, dignity etc. We need to remind people that we share these values- What we share is greater than what we disagree upon.
It’s all well giving people thier rights but we need to love people. Love is an extraordinary virtue. The men who went to Habasha were good to all they met.
“None of you truly believes until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”- Imam Nawawi, Imam Hanbal and Malik (ra)all agreed that the “brother” referred to your fellow man, not brother-Muslim.
The way of Ihsan is to speak to people with ‘husna’.
“Greet those you know and those you don’t know”-can be applied to non Muslims aswell as Muslims. Don’t fall into harshness.
Recommendations for the way forward:
1) give people alternatives for their problems
2) form a group of firefighters
3) remember the boat and the be the people ontop
4) become involved in policy making
5) become ‘postal workers’ and deliver these messages to homes
6) pick up buckets of water and help put out the fire
Niyyah- don’t belittle this work. If the intention is sound, you can realise great things.
IMAM SUHAIB WEBB
Allah has called this ummah the ‘middle nation’ and the verse that describes the ummah as the middle nation is in the middle of the surah itself-Surah Baqarah verse 143
90% of the Shariah rulings come from the fuqaha. Imam Shatibi said that the shariah is moving, on a balance. When a person becomes extreme or shows signs of extremism, the shariah is there to pull the individual back into balance.
Can you imagine never having said “Alhumdulillah”? Can you fathom that there are people that have never said “Alhumdulillah” or “Sallalahualayhi wasalam”? Allah has chosen us to be able to say these words and worship Him. In a sound hadith, the Prophet (saw) said that when the name of Allah ceases to be mentioned the judgment will start.
The Qawaid/principles of Dawah:
1) escaping and fleeing from differences to protect the Ummah.
2) considering the sociological reality- we (the youth) come from a DMX madhab/mentality. This group mentality, “I’m Obi-Wan and you’re darth vader!”.
We’re waiting for the Messiah to come and sort our problems out but we have to work together in the meantime. How can we even think of working with the non Muslims when the sufis, salafis, Ikis and tableeghis don’t love each other?!
The torch is being passed down but shouldn’t be passed down to groups becasue this will cause them to envy each other. Just look at way we speak of scholars with hate on these forums.
SHAYKH HABIB ALI JIFRI
(He only spoke briefly and I didn’t note all of it down 😦 )
The oppressor can beat you, can take away your rights but he can never make you leave the path of serving your maker. Have patience. Why? Because the fruit of it is that you’ll be made into an example for others.
***to be broadcast 07/03/2007 at 22:30
SHAYKH HAMZA YUSUF
(Gave a fantastic talk to end the evening; he was tired, his guard was down and he was going to tell it like it was- and he missed his wife’s cooking!)
Shaykh Hamza didn’t want to come to this event ( 😦 ) but his shaykh asked him too because it was important and so he came 🙂
He began by clarifying some comments that are made by some against RMW, saying RMW is funded by the government etc etc. Well, “who exactly is your government?” he asked us. Civil servants. “Who pays the government?” he then asked. “You, the British public-there are 2 million Muslims in the UK, you don’t think they want a little refund?!” (Brraap Brrap!) Imam Abu Hanifa said if the non Muslims want to share thier money with you, then take it-there’s nothing wrong with that.
If people incline towards you with goodness, take it! If they have another motive and want to decieve you, then “hasbunallahi wa ni’mal wakeel”- don’t worry yourself about that, leave that to Allah; that’s how important keeping the peace is.
Shaykh Hamza said he never used to like the English. Thier cynicism and the way they rolled their eyes got to him. But now he has come to love the English-especially our TEA of which he takes back home with him :D. And he also loves the Welsh, Irish and the Scots.
He told us there are two ways we can live our lives:
1) having husn al dhann– a good opinion of others, like the Prophet (saw) or
2) having a bad opinion of others- Shaykh Hamza related that once he was sitting in the majlis of shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah in which someone said something about another. Shaykh Hamza said he never forgot the words of his teacher when he said “have a good opinion of the dead-we’ve tried having a bad opinion” i.e look at where having bad opinion of others has got us-nowhere.
He said we have to be weary of some of the laws that are being passed in this country. We need to remind the people that this is the country of the Magna Carta and people like John Wesley whom the hall was named after.
He also mentioned Florence Nightingale as an example of tolerance. She spent time in the Muslim world and had come to love them. She said the England should go to the Sufis and that there was always something in her heart saying “turn to Mecca, turn to Mecca! We are all one!”
He then asked us (but not the scholars) who Umar (ra)’s favourite poet was. It was Zuhair the father of Ka’ab ibn Zuhair (if I remember correctly)- and that yes, Umar (ra) liked poetry and didn’t always read the Qura’n only. Shaykh Hamza related a story about a war that lasted for 40 years over something really trivial. A woman of a high status married the leader of one of the tribes involved in the war but would not allow him to consumate the marriage until he ended the war by paying back in camels the equivalent of the dead as a result of the war. The total payment was 30,000 camels.
***to be broadcasted on the 07/03/2007 at 22:30
May Allah preserve and bless all of these scholars who are our sources of light and guidance in these times of darkness and confusion. May Allah continue to bless us with the presence of these people and may Allah bless all those involved in making this, and similar events possible.
I ask Allah and the people I have quoted to forgive me for any mistakes and shortcomings I made in writing what I have.
God Bless and Du’as