Posts filed under ‘Islam’

What should the environment mean to us?

 

By Mohammad Shakir

As part of a Muslims life – one is meant to take care of their bodies and the world around it. In this lifetime, Muslims as trustees are responsible for maintaining the unity of God’s creation, the integrity of the Earth, its flora and fauna, its wildlife and natural environment.

If you travel to different parts of the world, you can see that we have numerous natural beauty spots such as the Grand Canyon, rainforests in the Amazon, Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. All these places show the earth’s natural beauty. Even here in the UK we have the National Trust and English Heritage which conserves landmarks of natural beauty and places of interest.

There is logic in looking after the earth because in turn it looks after us. The oxygen we breathe comes primarily from plant life and in turn we expel our carbon dioxide which is absorbed by plant life.  The earth also protects us in other ways as well. The Ozone Layer, a protective layer of oxygen in the stratosphere, protects living creatures on earth from potentially harmful sun-rays which gets absorbed by this layer.

We cannot forget the role the earth plays in sustaining us through food as well. All fruit and vegetables are grown for nourishment and come from the earth through plants. It also sustains livestock similarly through plant life.

So it is a truly two way relationship – we protect the earth and the earth will protect us.

June 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

Does religion hold the values that all people should hold?

By Dr. Hany El-Banna

It is essential for us to understand that Allah created the universe and all its inherent attributes for our comfort. By His command, the seas have been tamed and we can traverse the planet to seek of His bounty. “And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect” 45:12-13*. He created the sun, without whose light and warmth we could not survive; the moon, a source of inspiration for poets and the stars and planets which move in galaxies. Without them, would life on this earth be possible. Of course not! “It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty), and measured out stages for it; that ye might know the number of years and the count (of time)” 10:5*.

All people should co-operate in matters upon which they agree and be magnanimous and understanding about matters on which they differ. For example, we all have common traditions, customs and terms. If we look to the different holy books we will find that they all agree on more than 90% of their content. Much of what they say is about worshipping the Creator who has created this universe and treating each other with respect. Religion I believe is a positive force that can do following:

  • Construct the earth not monopolize it
  • Make people happy not miserable
  • Participate in good initiatives
  • Understanding and cooperation not animosity or rancour
  • Harmony and friendship not hatred and alienation
  • Praying, not cursing

It is in this comfort that we live, living our everyday lives with the earth around us to sustain us. This is agreed upon by people of different faiths. We should look at what binds us together rather than divides us. If we look at the most basic level, we are all human – surely that should be enough.

*To read this verse you can visit Quran Explorer

January 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

The Platform

Every day throughout the daily train journey to work, I keep hearing the word “Platform”. According to the English dictionary the word platform means “a flat raised area or structure”. So what does this have to do with anything?

I discovered that my line of work involves building platforms in the UK – platforms for UK communities to interconnect together and support each other through sharing a common value system. I work in a building that is a platform for charities to develop and nurture their good work and  raise their own internal platforms in what they do best, which is to deliver goodness to their local community.

We also build platforms for individuals to further understand that working as volunteer means you are supporting a cause of which the rewards are out of this world.

The most important platform that I am currently building is my personal contribution to society, the electrifying feeling when I get out of a bed and go to work , the notion of supporting in one way or another a community, an individual, a mother, a child, grandmother within society.

Next time you board a train do remember that building a platform is a lifelong project that must be carried out every day of our life. Who knows someone somewhere might be building a platform for you?

By Abubaker Adam

November 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Doesn’t exist? Yeah right

By Mohamed Mohamed

Domestic violence exists in all quarters of our society. This is not to say domestic violence is a Muslim problem. In England domestic violence takes place every 2 minutes. Unfortunately men are also victims, the majority are women. To those of us who know Islam and the Quran, violence against women is against the teachings of Islam that we look at those who use our religion against us as misguided, misinformed or malicious.

Many sisters who come together and talk about their problems they are facing, often find they are not able to articulate themselves properly because the person listening doesn’t have enough experience to offer legal or emotional guidance or she is too shy to talk about it because she hasn’t built enough bridge of trust to talk about such personal issues.

Under no circumstances is violence against women encouraged or allowed in Islam. The holy Qur’an contains tens of verses extolling good treatment of women. The verse couldn’t be clearer that the relationship between men and women is to be one of kindness, mutual respect, and caring. Added to these verses is the inescapable fact that the Prophet vehemently disapproved of men hitting their wives, and that he never in his entire life hit any woman or child.

In his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad told us “O people, to be kind to women as you have rights over your wives, and they have rights over you.” He also said, “Treat your women well, and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers“. In a saying of the Prophet, he said, “The strong man is not the one who can use the force of physical strength, but the one who controls his anger” (Bukhari).

When I read stories in the newspapers about women being subject of domestic violence that even leads to them being mentally affected and scarred for life needing psychiatric help, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth and makes me think what the motive was? Was it greed, was it for power, was it pressure, and was it misunderstanding? Or could it be the fact that men feel a sense of insecurity and want to feel powerful so they subject women to mental and physical abuse. Or could it simply be he had a disagreement with his wife?

In any case we should have a zero tolerance approach against domestic violence whether it is against men, women or children.

All families should maintain open lines of communication between all of their members; by having regular family meetings where everyone is allowed to talk and convey themselves without any recriminations.

Marriage must be seen as a partnership, and marriage contracts should identify a vow to an abuse free and violence-free family. Extended families must bring to an end covering up mistreatment, abuse and violence in the name of “preserving the family honour”. Beyond all, the family, like the individual must keep Allah as its focal point.

This Ramadan, Zakat House is helping Nour DV fund-raise to raise awareness and stop domestic violence. You can donate to their project here.

August 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm 3 comments

The Life of Muhammad (PBUH) – Episode 3

By Mohammad Shakir

Last night, the BBC concluded their series of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). If you missed it, you can watch here on BBC iPlayer.

For a show that is one hour long, it covered a multitude of topics. Rageh Omar looked at the later period of Prophet Muhammad’s life as well as focusing on the Qur’anic revelations that form the basis of Sharia and the contemporary understanding and application of Sharia. Time was also devoted to the marriages of the Prophet especially to Aisha (RA). Most importantly the show gave a greater understanding of Jihad as a struggle rather than today’s misconception of “holy war”.

This show however reiterated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a man of peace. In the words of the documentary, “His greatest conquest was through peace, not war”.

Another point which I hope viewers got for the show was one about the context of the period in which the Prophet lived and how verses and instructions in the Qur’an related to the context in which they were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) .

All three shows have had a variety of contributors and commentators, who hold a variety of views. The BBC is beholden by a charter to show balance within their news and current affairs output.

As I mentioned in a post about the last episode, we should focus on the positives from this series. It has shown the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to a mainstream audience. It has shown and addressed controversial aspects with balance and poise. It may be seen that some don’t agree with points that commentators on the show holds, but much like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); we should look past this, as all people are allowed to hold their own views.

I hope that with Ramadan upon us, all Muslim aspire to message that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) left for us and the Qur’an and Sunnah.

July 26, 2011 at 10:02 am 1 comment

The Life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – Episode 2

By Mohammad Shakir

Last night, the BBC continued their series of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). If you missed it, you can watch here on BBC iPlayer.

The title of the episode  “Holy Wars”, is a bit of a misnomer, as less than half of the show focused on the battles in which the early Muslims fought.

This show began with a focus on a journey which took place in Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life, Al-Isra Wal Miraj (The Night Ascension), where the fundamental pillar of prayer was given to Muslims. The show also chronicled the Prophet Muhammad’s, Hijrah or migration to Yathrib (now known as Madinah) to create a new community following persecution in Makkah.

There was also a look at the building of the Masjid Al-Nabawi, the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, which was a focal point for the community offering more than just a place of worship – but a place for education and celebration.

Being the BBC, there was a semblance of balance when discussing certain aspects of the Prophet’s life, such as his governance of Madinah, the battles of Badr and Uhud and the interaction with the Jewish tribes in Madinah.

We have to remember that everyone has different points of view and that the fact that this show has attempted to cover the events of Prophet Muhammad’s life in a context that the audience today could understand. While some may not agree with this, we should take the positives and look forward to what else the show has to offer.

Let’s see what the last show brings.

July 19, 2011 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

The Life of Muhammad (PBUH) – Episode 1

By  Mohammad Shakir

Last night, the BBC started their three part look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In case you missed it, it is available on BBC iPlayer here.

Fronted by Rageh Omar, who famously covered the war in Iraq for the BBC, the first show covered Prophet Muhammad’s birth and the majority of time in Makkah, including his marriage to Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) and the first revelation in Mount Hira.

Amongst the notable commentators that took part in the show included Ziauddin Saradr, Tariq Ramadan, Karen Armstrong and Robert Spencer.

I found it to be a balanced show, not shying away from the more controversial interpretations of Islam including terror attacks that have taken place over the past decade.

Much filming took place in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey as well as locations and mosques around the United Kingdom. The use of Quranic recitation despite being clichéd, did work to massive effect bringing flavour and depth to the programme.

Overall, the show laid some very solid foundations for subsequent shows. It was a good primer which gave an easy introduction into Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his character and his early life.

Let’s see what the next show brings.

July 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm 4 comments


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