Happy Eid al Fitr 1435! Whichever day you are celebrating, may your Eid be joyous & full of Grace!
Statement on the Humanitarian Emergency in Palestine.
Bism’Allah al Rahman al Raheem.
We express our deepest condolences to Palestinian families who have lost loved ones due to Israeli attacks in some of the most densely populated residential areas in the world. Whatever the Israeli government’s purported motivations, there is no excuse for killing children or bombing hospitals! Life is Sacred, a teaching common to all three Abrahamic faiths, and the lives of children especially Sacred.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has stated that the humanitarian emergency in Gaza, following a severe escalation in hostilities involving intense Israeli aerial and navy bombardment, has claimed the lives of at least 697 Palestinians, of whom 170 were children and 86 women. Over 3,993 people have been wounded and 140,000 have been displaced, currently staying at 83 UNRWA schools. 32 Israelis have lost their lives, including 3 civilians and 29 soldiers.
The Association of British Muslims expresses our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of all those who have lost their lives and call upon everyone to support and stand in solidarity with the People of Palestine. The Israeli government and IDF are demonstrating a complete lack of concern for the civilian population of Palestine, that verges on unjustified cruelty.
Israel claims to be responding to rocket attacks launched from Palestine, but a genuine response would be proportional to the threat. The returned fire from the IDF takes the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, including 170 children, unprotected women and elderly people. Over 697 people so far, and still counting…
We are living in dark times, with tragic events occurring in neighbouring Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region. Like the Prophet, peace be upon him warned, the day has come where Jews and Muslims are fighting and Muslims are fighting each other, where everyone claims that they are on the path of “jihad” (struggle/striving), and no one really knows why they are killing one another. This is not the meaning or way of jihad, or even the modern concept of a “Just War”.
In these times of jahiliyya, widespread ignorance, corruption and confusion, it is absolutely imperative we make Education, Culture, Science and Spirituality our jihad.
In this most holy month of Ramadan, we join our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, along with every concerned soul in our Human Family (Bani Adam), in prayer and remembrance of the children and innocent people who have lost their lives in Palestine, and those still suffering under the onslaught of military operations.
We pray for the restoration of Peace, Security and Justice in Palestine and call upon the Israeli government to end the war against Palestinians forthwith, including the blockade against Gaza. All sides must fully and sincerely commit to meaningful negotiations to find ways for an authentic sustainable peaceful solution.
Shaykh Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.
Mr Mohammed Abbasi, Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.
Mr Muhammad Hamzah, Cultural Director, The Association of British Muslims.
RIP To The Passengers Of MH17, Gone But Not Forgotten.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of passengers of MH17. A truly horrific tragedy.
Happy Ramadan! 1435 / 2014
Fatwa On Fasting In Ramadan In The UK During Summer
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
FATWA (RULING) ON FASTING IN RAMADAN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM DURING SUMMER
1. A number of people have asked me since last year about the excessive length of fasting during UK summer months.
2. This has included those new to the practice of fasting, elderly and middle-aged people, who wish to fast but simply cannot manage the very long days. Since last year, I’ve heard reports of such people in hospital, as well as of children falling seriously ill, due to fasting more than 18 hours per day.
3. The day length in London this year during Ramadan is almost 17 hours *sunrise-sunset*. Since there is no agreed beginning of dawn, the dawn-sunset timings vary from 19 to 20.5 hours.
4. The timings increase as we go further north, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
a) E.g. I visited Dublin in June 2000: sunset prayers at the Dublin Islamic Centre (Clonskeagh Mosque) were held at 10.30pm, followed by night prayers at 12am and dawn prayers at 2am. Assuming dawn at 1am, this gives a 21.5-hour dawn-sunset fast.
b) On the other hand, I visited Stockholm in December 1999: sunrise was at 10.30am and sunset at 3.30pm. In winter there, the dawn-sunset fast is barely 6-7 hours, whereas it is 9-10 hours in the southern UK.
5. To reduce the fasting length, note that some of the Sahaba (Prophet’s Companions), including Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman, and Successors ate until sunrise or just before. Tabari and Ibn Kathir mention numerous narrations proving this under Qur’an 2:187, although both of them reject the practice based on a literalist reading of the verse (they lived in moderate climes). Ibn Hazm also approves the practice in his Al-Muhalla.
6. The jurists have discussed this matter for high latitudes. As Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, Grand Mufti of Egypt, mentions in Tafsir al-Manar, classically they mentioned two possibilities to follow more moderate timings:
a) follow timings of the lands of revelation, viz. Mecca and Medina (Hijaz) – throughout the year, the dawn-sunset fast here is 12-15 hours
b) follow timings of the nearest “moderate land”
Abduh adds, “Both of these are valid, since it is a matter of judgment (ijtihad), and there is no unequivocal text (nass) about it.”
7. Note that following timings of the nearest “moderate land” is similar to following timings of the nearest “moderate time” in your own land, e.g. spring or autumn timings, when the days and nights are approximately of equal length.
8. Abduh is not alone in the above fatwa: he is quoting from centuries of earlier jurists. After him, his fatwa has been echoed by Muhammad Hamidullah, Mustafa Zarqa, Sayyid Tantawi, Jad al-Haqq, and Ali Gomaa amongst others. Texts and discussions of these fatwas may be found on the internet, e.g. see: http://alrukn.com/long-fasts-fiqh/
9. The above fatwa implies partially decoupling fasting from dawn/sunset.
10. The spirit of fasting is clearly “from morning until evening” and to focus on its inner aspects, without hair-splitting about external matters.
11. The famous Qur’anic passage about fasting 2:183-7 begins and ends with taqwa (God-consciousness), and includes the memorable wisdom, “God wishes ease for you, not hardship … that you complete the course, magnify God for guiding you, and that you give thanks.”
This verse is in fact the basis of the numerous hadiths about making matters in religion relatively easy and not difficult, of the classical Hanafi principle of istihsan (attaining goodness, even if opposed to analogical reasoning) along with 39:17-18, cf. the first page of Kitab al-Istihsan in Al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi, and of contemporary jurists’ emphasis on taysir (easing matters), part of the Prophetic spirit and one of the principles of jurisprudence.
12. In exceptional circumstances, the Prophet (peace be upon him) understood that “morning” and “evening” were relative to people’s habits and culture.
Hadith: Safwan bin Mu’attal, who as a virgin was caught up with Aisha, Mother of the Believers, in the scandalous rumours that rocked Medina after the Mustaliq expedition, eventually got married. His wife once came to the Prophet and complained about her husband on three counts. (The Prophet defended and made excuses for him regarding all three matters.) One of these was that “he does not get up for the dawn prayer, and only offers it after sunrise when he rises.” When the Prophet asked him about this, he replied that his people or tribe customarily rose after sunrise, and not at the crack of dawn. The Prophet’s wise answer was, “In that case, pray when you wake up.” (Fa idha-stayqazta fa salli, a sound hadith in the Sunan, rated as authentic by Albani in his evaluation of the hadiths of Mishkat al-Masabih.)
Thus, for example, those who work night-shifts, working throughout the night and sleeping during the day, should fast during the night. This is because night has become day for them and vice-versa. The Qur’an that encourages fasting during the day also states that night is for sleep whilst the day is for work (e.g. 78:9-11).
13. An Azhari sheikh recently suggested to me that 12 hours’ fasting was sufficient, based on the average length of a day over a whole year: this is true of the sunrise-sunset day, for every place on earth. If we use dawn-sunset instead, we get 13-14 hours’ fasting. Note that this approach implies keeping a similar-length fast irrespective of the season in which Ramadan falls: in the winter, fasting would be much longer than the dawn-sunset timing, and some of us do follow that approach. This has an element of “continuous fasting” (sawm al-wisal, where fasting continues by night) about it: the Prophet practiced this regularly for several days at a time, but disallowed it for his followers, unless they were sure they could manage it.
14. I am reliably informed that Muslims in Norway use a 14-hour fasting timetable in the summer.
15. A case may be made for 16-hour fasts, based on Imam Ghazzali’s view that the maximum a person should sleep at night is a third of the day and night, i.e. 8 hours.
16. Insisting that those unable to complete long fasts should make them up at another time is practically equivalent to moving Ramadan out of the summer and into the seasons of autumn, winter or spring.
CONCLUSION / FATWA
All Praise belongs to God. Peace and Blessings be upon the Messengers of God.
1. Those who wish to follow dawn-sunset timings of 18-21 hour fasts and can do so safely, are free to do so.
2. Those who find this genuinely unbearable, or are convinced of the non-literalist approach of “morning to evening” rather than the literalist “dawn to sunset”, may wish to fast for 12 or preferably 14-16 hours, beginning from dawn, sunrise or even their usual morning meal (breakfast!). Such moderate timings are based on the fatwas of jurists over many centuries for high latitudes.
3. Whatever length a person fasts, they should not feel superior to others. The spirit of Ramadan and fasting includes God-consciousness, patience, perseverance, gratitude, prayer, worship, charity, generosity, humility, self-purification, self-development, helping others, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, lowering the gaze (of the eyes from lustful glances and of the heart from other than God) and the remembrance and love of God.
May Allah, the One and Unique having Infinite Beautiful Names, bless all of humanity during this month, and shower upon us its internal and external grace.
Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan (London, UK)
1st Ramadan 1435 / 29th June 2014 (updated: 4th Ramadan / 2ndJuly)
Ramadan 1435 / 2014
Reliable astronomical data from HM Nautical Almanac Office and Crescentwatch.org indicates the crescent moon is likely to be visible in the Americas, Africa and parts of Australia on Saturday night, 28th June, and in all regions on Sunday night, 29th June.
Hence, the first day of fasting in the Americas and Africa should be on Sunday, 29th June, while in the United Kingdom, most of Europe and Asia, the first day of fasting will be Monday, 30th June.
Islam: Sunni/Shia Conflict?
Ahl al Sunnah wal Jamaat (Sunni) and Ahl al Bayt (Shia) are the two largest denominations of Islam, themselves comprised of many subgroups and schools of thought (madhab). Contrary to some media reports, the two denominations are not at war with one another.
While it’s true a profound disagreement over who should lead the Muslims after Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the root that caused this split; that was nearly one and a half millennia ago!
Until relatively recently, there was no conflict at all between any Sunnis and Shias. When scholars got together, they debated and discussed with proper adab. Renowned scholars of each denomination respect one another to this day, regardless whether or not they disagree on some matters.
Any conflict attributed to sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia is between extremist factions, who have nothing to do with mainstream Sunni/Shia Islam.
We must be on our guard against this fitnah, and encourage people to return to the teachings of Allah SWT in the Holy Qur’an, which all Muslims believe to be the revelation of Allah SWT to his messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims Director, KhilafahOnline —
Islam and Life: Danger of Takfiri ideology for Islam
The rise of Takfiri movements has caused outrage all across traditionally majority Muslim regions of the world and elsewhere. Tariq Ramadan discusses this frightening phenomenon with Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director of the Association of British Muslims.
What does Islam mean?
MUSLIM SCHOLARS FATWA (RULING) ON FGM
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
MUSLIM SCHOLARS FATWA (RULING) ON FGM
My problem is that I feel angry and get mad at everything other than my three children. I cannot stand to see my husband, who loves me. I cannot stand touch him or to go to bed with him. I cannot stand him. I cannot stand him. I hate men. I hate sex. I find no satisfaction in it whatsoever. I am not moved at all, when I have intercourse with my husband as happens with other couples.[i] The above quote is from a victim of the appalling practice of Female genital Mutilation which is destroying the lives of many people across the world. The World Health Organization estimates that between 100 and 140 million women and girls have been subjected to FGM worldwide and that each year a further 2 million girls are at risk. In the UK it is estimated that over 100 thousand women have undergone FGM and that some 25 thousand girls are at risk. More shockingly is that London has become the place where “Girls are being cut”.[ii] The public health minister, Jane Ellison states that “FGM is child abuse but because of cultural sensitivity we have failed to protect vulnerable young girls”.[iii] FGM is practiced by community members who are Muslims, Christians, and people of no faith. Those Muslims who practise FGM rationalise it as a religious obligation in spite of the fact that FGM predates Islam. Continue reading…
The letter Khalifah Ali ibn Abi Talib wrote to Malik Ashtar
While it may have been written 14 centuries ago, the letter Khalifah Ali ibn Abi Talib wrote to Malik Ashtar is just as, if not even more relevant to us today.
May Allah SWT help us return to the noble wisdom of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his loyal companions, may Allah bless them.
Sheikh Daoud Rosser-Owen, on the AOBM
Sheikh Daoud Rosser-Owen, Amir of the Association of British Muslims (AOBM) summarises its history and objectives.
Our appreciation to Stephen Sizer, pastor of Christ Church, Virginia Water (see http://cc-vw.org) for recording this interview. (1 September 2011).