In the last few months, Muslims in Britain have witnessed an unprecedented rise in attacks on Islam.
Whether it is Muslim family outings; separate seating for men and women in Universities; or defaming prominent Islamic scholars, Islam has been singled-out for criticism by the media and politicians alike. Charities and Muslims who have travelled to Syria have faced a crackdown that has culminated in arrests across the country. The mayor of London called for the children of ‘radicalising’ Muslim parents to be taken into care. Late last year, a government taskforce broadened its definition of ‘extremism’ to include anyone who opposed the West’s liberal values, and recommended even more draconian powers for the state.
Islamic values are now openly criticised. This is the underlying theme that underpins all these events. Whether it is responding to oppression in the Muslim world, education, family-life or simply giving charity, Muslims are expected to conform to Western secular liberal values with little regard for Islam. They are being bullied into accepting a sanitised liberal version of Islam that will bend with the liberal public opinion, and told anything contrary to this is ‘extremism’ or ‘radical’ Islam.
The aim of these attacks is to pressure Muslims into adopting ideas and stances that are often incompatible with Islam; to create a climate of fear that silences the Islamic call and any dissent against devastating Western policies in the Muslim world. Ordinary citizens too are constantly being bombarded by anti-Islamic sentiments, creating animosity between them and Muslims; the common person is being forced to take a stance against Islam and Muslims.
Muslims have a duty to challenge this attack, expose its lies and point people to the truth. For this, Muslims in Britain must be clear on the following:
1. Western secular liberal values – not Islamic values – should be on trial: Western secular liberals are in no position to lecture Muslims. Whilst Islamic social values are criticised, images of Western celebrities on trial for scandalous sexual offences fill the newspapers. Whilst Muslims send their charity and raise their voice for the oppressed, Western governments collude with the most detestable regimes in the Muslim world. A Muslim parent raises their child to uphold the noblest values; broken Britain issues ASBOs in a desperate attempt to get to grips with the epidemic levels of youth anti-social behaviour. Islam is intolerant we are told, yet bigots are free to spew hate against Islam in the media. Muslim women are criticised for their modesty, yet 1 in 3 women in Europe report being physically or sexually abused since the age of 15. Capitalism has caused global financial suffering and Western societies have hit record levels of unhappiness. The list could go on.
It is ironic that those who vehemently attack Islamic beliefs and values fail to see this crumbling society; or that it is a consequence of their secular liberal values.
2. Hold onto the Islamic Values and Identity: Muslims must recognise these attacks are an attack on core Islamic beliefs and values – not on a handful of Muslims. We must stand firm and not allow this climate of fear push us to relinquish these noble values. The onslaught aims to encourage Muslims to remain silent, to concede Islam may be at fault, to distance ourselves from other Muslims or even to re-consider the pursuit of following an Islamic way of life. This would clearly be the path of error; abandoning what pleases Allah سبحانه comes with heavy consequences.
On the contrary, Muslims must continue their efforts to embrace and preserve their Islamic values, allow them to enter their lives and conduct in all walks of life. Moreover they must shun un-Islamic practices, whether from the eastern or western traditions, that dangerously compromise our Islamic identity.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ
“You who have iman! safeguard yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones.” [Translated meaning of the Qur’an At-Tahrim: 6].
To hold onto Islam in these difficult times is an act of great honour and follows the example of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم who endured in the face of opposition. Our noble Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
من أرضى الناس بسخط الله وكله الله إلى الناس ومن أسخط الناس برضا الله كفاه الله مؤنة الناس
“The one who wants to please people by displeasing Allah, Allah will turn his affairs to the people, and the one who displeases people in order to please Allah, Allah will protect him from the people’s wrath.”
3. Stand with our Ummah: We must not abandon those families who have become victims of policies that have made Britain a police state for Muslims. The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
المسلم أخو المسلم، لا يظلمه، ولا يخذله، ولا يحقره، التقوى ههنا التقوى ههنا، ويشير إلى صدره، بحسب امرئ من الشر أن يحقر أخاه المسلم، كل المسلم على المسلم حرام دمه وعرضه وماله»
“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he neither oppresses him nor does he fail him, he neither lies to him nor does he hold him in contempt. Piety is right here-and he pointed to his breast twice. It is evil enough for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim for another Muslim is inviolable: his blood, his honour, and his property.”
It is also our duty to care for Muslims suffering in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Myanmar and elsewhere. The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
«مثل المؤمنين في توادهم وتراحمهم وتعاطفهم مثل الجسد، إذا اشتكى منه عضو تداعى له سائر الجسد بالسهر والحمى».
“The example of the believers in their mutual love, compassion and empathy is like that of a body. If one part is hurt then the rest of the body calls out in sleeplessness and fever.”
Muslims must continue their dua for their brothers and sisters and, moreover, speak-out when they are harmed. They must not be deterred by the scare-mongering rhetoric from sending sadaqah. Muslims must not give-up their desire to seek nearness to Allah سبحانه by speaking the word of truth over the oppression that engulfs the Muslim world, to work for the return of the Islamic solution – the Khilafah – in the Muslim world.
4. Stand as Ambassadors for Islam: Allah سبحانه says:
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
“Who could say anything better than someone who summons to Allah and acts rightly and says, ‘I am one of the Muslims’?” [Translated meaning of the Qur’an Fussilat: 33]
Muslims must not apologise for Islam, but rather spread the Islamic message to demonstrate the divine nature of its values. Unlike the secular liberal attacks we have witnessed recently, Muslims do not hide behind bigotry and sensationalism and are ready to have an honest, respectful debate with anyone regarding Islamic beliefs and values. Moreover, the troubles of western society have led many to look for an alternative. Muslims have a responsibility to explain and invite others to Islam, by word and deed. The Islamic message must also be heard by Muslims, so that they follow its guidance and call for its solutions in all walks of life.
Muslims in Britain must remain steadfast and must not be intimidated by these attacks on our Deen. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم faced slander, lies and vilification. Yet he صلى الله عليه وسلم and his companions remained steadfast, trusting in Allah سبحانه, in whom they sought help and protection. Muslims must stand firm, for Islam and avoid being pressured into treading the path of abandoning their Islamic values. Moreover, the Muslim community must embrace Islam and, particularly during these relentless attacks on its values, become ambassadors for its message.
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ
“You are the best ummah singled out for mankind: you enjoin what is right (ma’roof), forbid what is wrong (munkar), and believe in Allah.” [Translated meaning of the Qur’an aal-Imraan 3:110]
14th March 2014