Don’t forget those who are impoverished and the orphans during our Eids, for Islam stressed charity and helping any who are in need, for they too have the right to be happy, clean, to eat, play and to wear new clothes.
Nor should we ONLY be thinking of those less well off than ourselves during our Eids and Ramadan either, nor ONLY Muslims…
As Muslims we have a duty to help everyone who is suffering, in whatever degree to which we’re genuinely able. Nor should we forget, Allah SWT knows exactly whether we are doing our best, or withholding…. One day, He will inquire of us what we did, with that which He bestowed upon us.
Wishing everyone a blessed Eid, especially those who most forget…
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
“And strive hard in God’s cause with all the striving that is due to Him: it is He who has elected you [to carry His message], and has laid no hardship on you in [anything that pertains to] religion, [and made you follow] the creed of your forefather Abraham. It is He who has named you – in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ] – (al-muslimeen) ‘those who have surrendered themselves to God’, so that the Apostle might bear witness to the truth before you, and that you might bear witness to it before all mankind. Thus, be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and hold fast unto God. He is your Lord Supreme: and how excellent is this Lord Supreme, and how excellent this Giver of Succour!” – Holy Qur’an 22:78 (M. Asad)
Frequent questions one often gets asked these days, is whether one is Sunni or Shia, what school of thought (madhab) to which one belongs or which “methodology” one adheres to… Isn’t this a sad state of affairs? Are these really such pertinent questions? A good question would be, to which sect did Prophet Muhammad belong, peace be upon him, or any of his immediate companions? Many will then point to the fact that a political dispute arose during that first generation, over who was to be the rightful heir of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
However, while this is true, my own analysis indicates that what was understood then by the group of companions, who in later generations came to be understood as laying the foundation for Sunni Islam and the group later understood to have contributed to the foundation of Shia Islam, this was not the same as what is now meant by the terms Sunni and Shia today… Many of the earliest scholars of Islam, such as Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, may Allah bless them, are scholars relied upon by all schools of thought and sects.
“VERILY, as for those who have broken the unity of their faith and have become sects – thou hast nothing to do with them. Behold, their case rests with God: and in time He will make them understand what they were doing.”
- Holy Qur’an 6:159 (M. Asad)
How many Sunnis really understand the Sunni traditions in any great depth? The same likewise applies for the Shia. Before continuing these disputes over ever more generations, shouldn’t we first at least strive to be Muslims? Isn’t the foundation of Islam the pure belief in the Oneness of God? Whatever happened to the Kalima Shahada? Brothers and sisters of all different groups will state categorically in response, we haven’t forgotten the Kalima! Insha Allah, I pray this is true. However, if Muslims maintain the Kalima at the essence of their faith, how can the Ummah be divided?
La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur Rasul Allah
No god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God
At the heart of Islam lives this most profound of statements, the foundation of the beliefs of all Muslims. The only real god is God, Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final Prophet. If we truly believe this, how then can we be divided? I implore all brothers and sisters to reflect deeply on this point…
The Kalima Shahada and the Holy Qur’an are accepted by all Muslims, regardless of their school of thought or sect. These pre-date all other reference material on Islam, even that compiled by the earliest scholars. During these last days of Ramadan, wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people could transcend their differences, realising that at heart we’re all one. After all, what is our primary nature, are we not all human? Every other description we adorn ourselves with, whether pertaining to our spiritual beliefs, our tribe or nationality, surely come secondary to this. First and foremost we are human beings, the children of Adam and Eve, in essence we are One Human Family. How beautiful would it be if humanity started behaving like one?
“O YOU who have attained to faith! Remain conscious of God, and be among those who are true to their word!”
- Holy Qur’an 9:119 (M. Asad)
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and AOBM would like to make a small contribution to this important day. Here is a short correspondence between Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director of the Association of British Muslims and I, a British Muslim about LGBT people and faith, we hope it can help a spread a message of acceptance and understanding.
To Paul from I:
I also am against those posters that were put up in london. i dont see any benefit in them. i do not disagree with the content only the methodology used to preech that message. I hate the sin not the sinner
the BBC has quoted your organisation as saying that homosexuality is not forbidden in the Quran. “There is nothing in the Koran against Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) people,” said Mohammed Abbasi, co-director of the Association of British Muslims.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12526820 after reading this i began to read the articles on your website
below are quran ayats directly mentioning men having sex with men
“We also sent Lut : He said to his people : “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” Quran 7:80-81
Allah Most High says: “Do you approach the males of humanity, leaving the wives that Allah has created for you? But you are a people who transgress” Quran 26:165-66
To I from Paul:
Salaam alaikum I,
Thank you for getting in contact with us. I understand your perspective on this, it is indeed one shared by many Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. In reference to the Qur’anic ayats you’ve quoted, I have read the Qur’an and wasn’t unaware of these verses. However, the key as always is in the interpretation. If someone is already biased against LGBT people, it’s pretty obvious how they’re likely to interpret the verses. On the other hand, if one starts out with an open mind and reflects upon what the verses are actually saying, one can see there is far more to them than initially meets the eye…
Consider, “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?” – Homosexuality is not new and has been known to be around since the very earliest days. So, what could this sentence mean? Surely, the “lewdness” alluded to here, is something very much out of the ordinary, something far more strange than private relationships between LGBT people. No, this indicates something more akin to public orgies, in which it wouldn’t matter whether hetero or homosexual acts were taking place. Most people, gay or straight would find this offensive and completely unacceptable.
Another point to consider is the second part of the same ayat - would it be okay to practice our lusts on women? As in Judaism and Christianity, any kind of sex outside of marriage has traditionally been regarded as sinful in Islam. That is not to say it never happened of course, but this was the line scholars and clerics adopted in many religious traditions, not only Islam. The Qur’an doesn’t say anything specifically about “LGBT” people, the term isn’t even found in the Holy Qur’an. From what we read about the people of Lot (Lut), their society had a lot of issues… As the text implies, the people were basically having orgies in the streets, and not limiting their sexual practices in any respects – even wanting to have sex with the angels who were visiting Lot, basically wanting to rape them. I do not see how this remotely compares with civilised LGBT people today. The two scenarios are really quite different!
All the very best, wa Salaam,
From I to Paul:
The best thing for the both of us to do is to sit at the feet of a scholar of islam and learn from him. if we are unable to do that then we should use reliable (tafaseer) commentaries of the quran.
I have no bias as I used to be a athiest darwinian before becoming muslim and i hate the sin not the sinner.
Your approach of being open minded is an excellent one however we should not accept haram as halaal in this endevour.
From Paul to I:
Salaam alaikum I,
Masha Allah. I agree, we should learn from authentic scholars and reliable sources. I have myself been studying Islam for over 11 years, both sitting with scholars such as Shaykh Sufi Muhammad Abdullah Khan, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad, Imam Abdassamad Clarke, Shaykh Abdur-Raheem Green, Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri and Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, as well as studying the works of Imam Malik, Imam Ali, Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Ghazali and the writings of more contemporary scholars such as the ones I mentioned previously and others like Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, Shaykh Abu Muntasir etc. There is really no substitute for seeking knowledge and understanding oneself.
We should study and reflect as much as we are able, so that as far as is possible, we understand Islam ourselves and do not become overly reliant upon any particular scholars or groups. To err is human and the scholars are human. Each of these scholars also has a cultural background and has studied in particular cultural environments which may also affect their understanding of Islam. Which is why they themselves vary quite markedly in their views. A wise approach to studying the deen, is to ask Allah for guidance, study widely and always refer back to the Holy Qur’an, which is unique in being the divine, pure guidance from Allah. Everything else has been touched by human hands and is thus therefore prone to human error and other faults.
May Allah forgive me if anything I’ve said is wrong… All guidance comes only from Allah and any mistakes are my own.
All the best,
Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with those who are grieving, suffering pain, or who have been affected by the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
O Allah, may everyone sense Your loving compassion, which calms our troubled hearts and shelters our anxious souls. We remember those who have died and we pray for those who mourn for them. We pray for those who may be affected as the tsunami spreads across the Pacific. We pray with humility with our troubled and struggling brothers and sisters in our human family.
We pray for our brothers and sisters suffering in Japan, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, New Zealand and other countries. May we dare to hope that through the generosity of the privileged, the destitute will receive of Your blessings, to glimpse hope, warmth and life again.
We pray for Earth, may You rejuvenate her and protect her from harm, so she may continue to nurture life, especially our human family for generations to come. May we come to understand how to live in harmony with our planet and stop hurting her or harming Your other creations. Help us to walk lightly on Earth, with respect and compassion, conveying Your blessing, not being ourselves a burden.
We seek only Your divine Mercy and tender kindness and pray for the sake of Your beloved, Prophet Muhammad and his noble family, peace and blessings be upon them.
A devastating earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand on 22 February 2011, killing around 100 people and injuring around 2,500.
There is widespread destruction, including collapsed buildings in the centre of the city and damage to roads and bridges. The mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, has declared a state of emergency and aid is being co-ordinated by the National Crisis Management Centre.
The New Zealand Red Cross responded immediately, sending eight emergency response teams to conduct search and rescue and provide first aid.
Around 2,000 people have been displaced and Red Cross teams are helping set up welfare centres and distributing blankets, water containers and tents to affected families.
In conjunction with the New Zealand Police and Ministry of Civil Defence, the Red Cross has established a missing persons call centre. It has received more than 400 international requests to help restore family links.
Funds raised will be used towards the New Zealand Red Cross response to the disaster, including transport and provision of goods.
Please give what you can today to support the relief effort.
Shaykh Abu Muntasir speaking about justice and mercy at the recent JIMAS Conference