The last week has seen riots across British cities on an unprecedented scale. Such breakdown of law and order has not been seen for decades. The shooting of a man by police in Tottenham sparked local unrest, which escalated into widespread disturbances around the country: the looting of shops; attacks on the police; the burning of cars, businesses and residential properties and intimidation of ordinary people. What chaotic scenes we have witnessed this week.
People have been asking what is the cause of this rioting? Is it because of police racism? Or because a generation of young people have been abandoned by the state? Or because of a deep sense of injustice – seeing that taxpayers were forced to pay for the mistakes of greedy bankers, but funding is being cut for youth projects? Or is it the parents who have failed to bring up their youth properly?
While all these issues no doubt have played a part, few are willing to point the finger at the system that has created the values the youth have adopted. Whatever problems youth may be facing nothing justifies such violent and criminal actions. But what ideas and values drive such youth to these actions?
The secular society we live in instils the values of individualism and freedom, to do whatever one wants as long as it is fun. These are the values that people grow up with in this society. It is these values that have driven these youth to create such chaos in the country.
The rioters are from a whole generation of youth in the West without any clear moral compass, no structure, no discipline, no hope, no feeling of responsibility to a community, no feeling of accountability to any higher or lower authority except themselves. They have been brought up in a broken society, where family structures have fallen apart. They have been given appetites for material goods: including video games, music and movies that glorify robbery, murder and a gangster lifestyle.
What we see of the youth today is the crude manifestation of these values. But these are the same secular values that have driven the bankers to loot the wealth of the people, politicians to fiddle their expenses and Murdoch’s business empire to hack the phones of murder victims to sell newspapers!
These are the values that Cameron, Blair and other mainstream Western politicians have been preaching to the Muslim community to adopt and become integrated with. What a travesty! These values of freedom and individualism are now breaking apart these western societies. Instead of addressing the extremism of secularism these politicians have been busy attacking Islam for the greater part of a decade.
The Muslim community wholeheartedly rejects such values that have caused the breakdown of family, loss of basic morality and discipline in society. The images of the last week show how uncivilised human beings become when they live their lives unaccountable to no one.
These youth have been raised by a society where man’s desires are his god. He does whatever he pleases as long as it is pleasurable. This can only bring fitnah to a society.
Allah SWT tells us in Surah al Tin
“We have indeed created man in the best of moulds. Then We do abase him to be the lowest of the low. Except those who believe and do good deeds.”(TMQ 94:4-5)
Dear Brothers and Sisters and Respected Parents – Our youth are not immune from this lifestyle and these values. They are exposed to the same environment and society – in schools and through the media. There is nothing that secures our youth from such behaviour – except Islam. This blessed month of Ramadhan teaches us Taqwa – consciousness and fear of Allah SWT. Allah SWT tells us in Surah al Baqarah
“Fasting has been prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you might learn taqwa.” (TMQ 2:183)
The month of Ramadhan teaches us how to control our desires for the sake of Allah SWT and the life to come in the Akhirah. It thus elevates man from becoming a slave to his material desires and allows him to control his desires and actions for the betterment of himself and his society.
It is essential we instil the noble Islamic values of accountability to Allah, halal and haram, respect and discipline in our youth, to protect them from this kind of behaviour; so that they can be of those who grow up in the worship of Allah alone and please Him SWT.
But not only this, we must reach out to the wider society and engage with people debating and discussing what Islam brought for humanity and how Islam built a decent society bringing harmony amongst people of different colours, races and languages.
This Dawah is an essential duty upon us as we witness the effects of jahillayah in the society around us.
Allah SWT tells us in Surah al Imran
“You are the best Ummah sent for mankind. You enjoin what is good, forbid what is evil and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Book believed, it would have been better for them.” (TMQ 3:110)
9th Ramadhan 1432 / 9th August 2011