Vision 2020 Nuitt Report For Circulation


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Vision 2020 Nuitt Report For Circulation

  1. 1. Vision 2020 Muslims making a positive change to Waltham Forest Noor Ul Islam Think Tank  
  2. 2.  
  3. 3. All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His aid, and ask His forgiveness. We also seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls, and from our impious deeds. Indeed, whoever Allah guides, none can misguide, and whoever He misguides, there is none that can guide him. We bear witness and testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, all glory be to Him, and we bear witness and testify that Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is His final Messenger, and His perfect worshipper. 3   
  4. 4. Noor ul Islam Trust 713 High Road Leyton London E10 5AB Tel: 020 8558 0786 Fax: 020 8923 7860 Email: Website: 4   
  5. 5. Contents About Us 7 Executive Summary 9 Introduction 13 1. Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour 17 2. Mosques as centres of the community 23 3. Making education matter 29 4. Increasing financial responsibility 37 5. Strengthening the role of the family 43 Annex: Survey Results 51 Glossary of Terms 61 5   
  6. 6. 6   
  7. 7. About Us • Educational Classes for women. There are different classes especially for women ranging from Tafseer ul-Quran, Quran reading and Alimah classes taking Noor Ul Islam Trust place each week • Tuition Service. Noor Ul Islam The Noor Ul Islam Trust is a Registered Academy offers pupils with excellent Charity based in London, UK and is run by tuition during the weekend local Muslims. The Trust provides a whole • A range of sporting activities including range of services to the community. Since its karate, boxing, football and swimming opening in 1990, the Trust has provided the local, national and international community Noor Ul Islam also supports the following with welfare services. Originally the Trust activities run by a neighbouring group. started as a place of worship which has evolved into a community centre to meet • Weekday Madrassa Monday to Friday the wider needs of local Muslims. • Saturday Madrassa • Segregated swimming sessions for men Approaching its 20th year, Noor Ul Islam and women currently provides the following services Noor Ul Islam sits on advisory bodies to • Mosque (five daily prayers in help the local authority identify the needs of congregation). the Muslims in the area. Working with other • Jumu'ah at the Mosque and the organisations, Noor Ul Islam is trying to Community Centres build a stronger Ummah. • Two Hifz classes at the Mosque • Arabic language classes for men and Noor Ul Islam Think Tank women by qualified teachers • Pre-school nursery running morning & The Think Tank was established by Noor Ul afternoon sessions, five days a week Islam in May 2007 to develop proposals, • Full time Islamic Primary School policies and projects aimed at enabling local • Funeral Services Muslims to positively contribute to society. • Circumcision Service at the Centre • Lectures and seminars held on a regular The Think Tank works within the wider basis community to ensure that our policies and • Youth Club vision, which are guided by Islamic teaching, • Zakaat collection and distribution reflect the diverse cultural mix in which we service operate. • Advisory and information service 7   
  8. 8. The Think Tank will ensure that all its runs a small business. efforts are in line with its key values: Faisal Raja is the Vice Chair of the • Reaching out to build a community Waltham Forest Faith Communities Forum based on tolerance, understanding and and also the secretary of the Waltham responsibility Forest council of mosques. He is a • Tackling social problems through open Chartered Accountant by profession and debate and Islamic guidance has been involved in community work including drugs awareness and charity About the authors fundraising. Yusuf Hansa is Chairman of the Noor Ul Aslam Hansa is the office manager of Islam Think Tank in addition to being Noor Ul Islam Head Office. He has worked Chairman of Noor Ul Islam Trust and the in education throughout his career and was Chairman of the Waltham Forest Council of a primary school head teacher for seven Mosques. He is a well known community years. He is now a governor at Noor Ul leader who is active in promoting the Islam Primary School. interests of Islam and Muslims within Waltham Forest. Acknowledgment Ahad Rawat has public sector experience in We would like to thank all those who policy development, stakeholder assisted the preparation of this report and management and customer service delivery. the survey. May Allah Most High reward Ahad is also a trained personal development you greatly for your efforts. coach who is an associate member of the Association of Coaching. Abdul Kareem is a Muslim revert. He is Secretary of the Noor Ul Islam Think Tank and has been involved in organising many Muslim community activities within Waltham Forest. He is an IT Consultant by profession. Salim Hansa is a Muslim scout leader and Tesol teacher (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). He is Secretary of Noor Ul Islam Trust and also 8   
  9. 9. Executive should be placed on dealing with the culture behind criminal behaviour from an early age. Summary The accountability to Allah of individuals for their actions is the greatest deterrent for any practicing Muslim. The importance of legal punishment, based on fair and Only Allah Most High knows what the unbiased court proceedings, is also cited as future holds in 2020. However, as with any another deterrent. action within our sphere of influence we rely Some of the suggested recommendation for on Allah Most High and then perform the the eventual reduction in criminal action. behaviour: Based on our research we aim to achieve • Innovative and practical cultural (taqwa) certain changes primarily within the Muslim programmes established in mosques or community that will help in protecting the community centres. The primary aim is Islamic identity and contribute to the well- strengthening the Islamic personality being of Waltham Forest and the wider within the youth, and getting them to community. become responsible individuals. We envisage that by implementing these recommendations Waltham Forest should, • Every mosque has a trained drugs by 2020, be a community where young officer who can provide mentoring to adults have a sense of civic and financial those involved in drugs and advice to responsibility and where parents are parents. confident in engaging with educators to create a more tolerant and respectful • More youth clubs established in generation. mosques. These should be managed by well-respected young Muslim role Reducing crime and anti-social models. behaviour In recent years we have seen a surge in • Counselling programme for Muslim crime and anti-social behaviour, prisoners both whilst in prison and predominantly, although not exclusively, when they are released aimed at linked to the youth. The report looks at the preventing their re-offending. many measures introduced to tackle these problems, with questionable results and comes to the conclusion that emphasis 9   
  10. 10. Mosques as centres of the Islam places great emphasis on the need to community be educated and the responsibility is on the individual to seek knowledge. The child, Mosques should be the hub of the Muslim through Islamic teaching, should recognise Community. Although Mosques are used their duty to acquire knowledge. Parents, primarily for prayer other services needed by with the assistance of the community, also the community should also be made have a great responsibility in providing available. Islamic education for their child. A series of measures are outlined to Recommendations include: improve the running and development of Mosques including: • Establishment of a local Islamic advisory group working for greater • Mosque family counselling services cooperation with local schools, LEA, relating to teenage issues, debt issues, SACRE, Governors and non- drugs and bereavement. Governors. • Development of welfare activities within • “Every Child Matters” initiative to Mosques. include all agencies. • Media representative for each Mosque. • Local Authority to promote the achievements of all pupils regardless of • Greater participation in Youth the school they attend (private or state). Development schemes and the creation of Youth groups for every mosque. • Maintain and increase single sex schools in Waltham Forest. • A Think Tank group for every Mosque. • Develop parenting coaching Making Education Matter programmes. The general lack of respect in society has • School Governor training within the made the task for teachers more challenging Mosques. with the result of more children underachieving in school. Parental • Local Madrassa council set up to share involvement in their children’s education resources and best practice. falls short of what is required and greater collaboration with educational bodies is • Muslim professionals to provide careers required. advice to local community. 10   
  11. 11. • Governor training for 16+ Muslim contribute any effort to the business. pupils to encourage a return to their The body partner provides his/her own school as a Governor after effort only but no capital. He is not graduating. liable for the business debts. Increasing financial responsibility • Courses on Financial Literacy and debt awareness run by mosques and schools The report looks at the global financial crisis for the whole community. and comes to the conclusion that the general acceptance of capitalist ideals is viewed as the main factor behind the Strengthening the role of the current crisis. It highlights the family responsibilities of Muslims in financial The report looks at the importance of the issues. The Islamic perspective is simply that family and its declining role in society, due all wealth belongs to Allah and we are to growing individualism, and also takes an simply in temporary possession of it and will in-depth look at marriage, parenting, inter be accountable for the way we use and share generational communication, the elderly and this wealth. the role of the parents. The following recommendations are put Islam believes that the family is the key to forward for greater financial responsibilities building a strong community. It teaches by individuals within the community: respect in all circumstances and to deal • Mosque becomes an advice centre to justly with one another. Great emphasis is local major employers and job centres placed on children respecting their parents on Islamic issues. and elders, which should be reciprocated. Islam sees the role of the parents as being • Use debit cards or pre-paid credit cards the caring educator and friend. for transactions not interest bearing The following recommendations are credit cards. suggested to strengthen the family: • Promote the Al-Mudarabah business • Mosque family counselling services model as a means to bring together relating to teenage issues, debt issues, wealthy business investors with drugs and bereavement. unemployed people. Al-Mudarabah is a • Pre-marital training and marriage business consisting of a capital partner counselling service to be established by and a body or effort partner. The capital mosques. partner(s) provides the initial start up money for the business and is liable for all the business debts. He does not 11   
  12. 12. • Mosques working in partnership with Local Authorities to develop care strategy programmes for the elderly. • Encourage greater parental participation in schools. • Provision of pre-natal training. • Provision of post – natal support groups. • Development of parenting skill workshops. 12   
  13. 13. Introduction described the stabbings as “shocking and tragic.”   The London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “We Thursday July 10th 2008 was one of the are in this together, and we all need to take worst days of violence to hit North London responsibility.” and Waltham Forest in recent times. Over a 24 hour period four people were stabbed to In response to these tragic killings and a death, three of them less than 21 years of host of other problems facing the people of age, and two of them Muslim. Waltham Forest, both Muslim and non- Muslim, the Noor Ul Islam Think Tank It all started at 4am when the body of 42 presents this 2020 vision document. year old Genadijs Jaronis was found with knife wounds behind a disused pub on Responsibility within the Tottenham High Road. Community Then at 2:30pm 18-year-old man Melvin Communities are made up of individuals Bryan was stabbed in a confrontation at a with responsibilities to themselves, their bedsit in Edmonton. families, and the people around them. Three hours later, in Leyton, a 20-year-old From whichever background, religion, and Muslim Adnan Patel died from a stab race one is from, the level of responsibility wound to his chest after being chased down shown to the community determines how by a gang. successfully the community functions. It has become apparent in recent years that At around 8.30pm, another 20-year-old a great proportion of the problems are due Muslim Yusufu Miiro was found with stab to weakening community values. It is human wounds to his head and chest in a street in nature that people will contribute to Walthamstow, less than two miles away something in which there is a personal from where Adnan Patel was killed. He died interest. It can appear that some individuals an hour later. no longer value the importance of having a community or are not aware of the role The Metropolitan police commissioner at he/she is expected to play. the time, Sir Ian Blair said the spate of attacks illustrated “the need for everyone to pull Apparent to all is the degrading state of our together to put an end to this unacceptable violence.” communities with continuing and increasing violent crimes, anti-social behaviour, The Prime Minister Gordon Brown disrespect and a very disjointed community. It would appear that individualism has, 13   
  14. 14. maybe unwittingly, been condoned due to Every person in society has responsibilities the thirst for commercialisation, which has that must be fulfilled. First and foremost had an ever increasing effect on our daily there is a responsibility to the Creator Allah lives. The present financial crisis, if not Most High and then to the family, totally, is certainly caused in part by the neighbours, community and wider Muslim individualism embedded in our lives and the Ummah. greed that stems from it. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him A responsible approach is needed by and give him peace) said: “Each of you is a individuals, communities, local and central guardian and is responsible for those government, to steer clear of the present whom he is in charge of. So the ruler is a situation with long term measures to guardian and is responsible for his improve the fabric of our community and subjects; a man is the guardian of his restore higher moral ethics in the daily lives family and is responsible for those under of individuals. his care; a woman is a guardian of her Islam and Responsibility husband's home and is responsible for those under her care; a servant is the Responsibility underpins every action a guardian of his master's wealth and is Muslim undertakes in his/her life. Muslims responsible for that which he is believe that when people die and are raised entrusted with; and a man is the up again on the Day of Judgement they will guardian of his father's wealth and is be accountable for every good and bad responsible for what is under his care. So action no matter how small. each one of you is a guardian and is responsible for what he is entrusted Allah Most High says: with.” 2 ُ ‫ﻓﻤَﻦ َﻳﻌﻤﻞ ﻣﹾﺜﻘﹶﺎﻝ ﺫﺭﺓ ﺧْﻴﺮًﺍ َﻳﺮ‬ ‫ﹶ ْ َ ﹾ ِ ﹶ ﹶ ﱠ ٍ َ َﻩ‬ Islam does not believe in individualism and that society and communities are simply ُ ‫ﺍ َﻳﺮ‬ ‫ ﻭﻣَﻦ َﻳﻌﻤﻞ ﻣﹾﺜﻘﹶﺎﻝ ﺫﺭﺓ ﺷ‬ ‫َ ْ َ ﹾ ِ ﹶ ﹶ ﱠ ٍ َﺮ َﻩ‬ composed of self-interested individuals. Rather there must be values and a system to “Whoever has done an atom’s-weight of bind members of the community together good will see it, but whoever has done otherwise the entire community will an atom’s-weight of evil will see that.” 1 degenerate into chaos. This breads a mentality of self-accountability The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and ensuring that responsibilities are and give him peace) said: “The example of fulfilled to the best of the person’s ability. those who maintain Allah’s limits and                                                              2                                                               Narrated by Ibn Umar in hadith books Bukhari  1  Holy Qur’an. Chapter Al‐Zalzala, verses 7‐8  and Muslim  14   
  15. 15. those who surpass them is like the good works, and should these be example of those who share a boat. exhausted before his obligation is Some would occupy its upper deck and discharged, then he shall be assigned some its lower deck. The occupants of some of their sins, which will be heaped the lower deck would have to go to the upon him. Then he shall be cast into upper deck to have access to the water. Hell."' 2 If they said, why don’t we drill a hole in It is also the responsibility for each our part (to directly access the water) individual to make others aware of the and not cause any inconvenience to meaning and understanding of Islam and those above us. If those on the upper the best way to achieve this is by being a deck let them do what they wanted then living example of Islam – an important all the passengers would sink. However, aspect the Muslim community needs to if they prevented them from doing so exhibit. then all would be saved.” 1 Rebuilding a responsible community entails It is not enough that a Muslim fulfils mosques, schools, families, individuals, his/her responsibility to Allah alone, but institutions and organisations taking when it comes to dealing with people they responsibility to act and behave in a positive must conduct themselves in a responsible manner towards bettering community life. manner. Our Aim Abu Hurayra said: ‘The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him The primary aim of this document is to peace) once said, "Do you know who is initiate thinking among the Muslim the bankrupt?" And we replied, "The community and their institutions on how bankrupt among us, O Messenger of Muslims can contribute to bettering the Allah, is he that has neither dirham nor quality of life for the inhabitants of dinar to his name, nor any property." Waltham Forest. But he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "The bankrupt of my ummah is he We recognise that Muslims are fallible that shall come forward on the Day of human beings and from time to time may Arising with the Prayer, the Fast and the perform actions not in accordance with Tithe, but having insulted his man, and Islamic teachings. It’s for this very reason abused that man, and having consumed that we have undertaken this initiative in an another's wealth, and shed another's attempt to address the conduct of those blood, and struck yet another. Each one Muslims involved in drugs, crime and anti- of these shall be given a portion of his social behaviour which are contributing to                                                              1  Narrated by Nu’man bin Basheer in hadith book                                                               2 Bukhari   Hadith book Sahih Muslim  15   
  16. 16. the deterioration of the community. We present a number of recommendations that contribute towards our 2020 vision, that we hope will be adopted. These recommendations are the result of extensive thinking on the major issues facing those living within Waltham Forest. As part of this study we undertook a survey of local people, from different age groups and comprising of both Muslims and non- Muslims. The outcome of the survey showed concerns by all elements of the community regarding the breakdown of the family, crime and anti-social behaviour, and the need to improve educational standards. For Muslims, the negative perception of Islam within the wider community was also a major issue. This document is by no means exhaustive of all the issues facing the community but we hope it will provoke some thinking within the Muslim community and for others to build and improve upon the recommendations made. Any good we have written is from Allah and any mistakes are from ourselves. 16   
  17. 17. 1. Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour ‫ﹺﺑﺴﻢ ﺍﷲ ﺍﻟﺮﺣْﻤﻦ ﺍﻟﺮﺣِﻴﻢ‬ ‫ْﹺ ِ ﱠ ﹺ ﱠ ﹺ‬ ‫ﻳَﺎ ﹶﺃﱡﻳﻬَﺎ ﺍﻟﱠﺎ ُ ﺍﱠﺗ ﹸﻮﺍ ﺭﱠﺑﻜﻢ ﹺﺇ ﱠ ﺯﹾﻟﺰﹶﻟﺔ ﺍﻟ ﱠﺎﻋﺔ ﺷﻲﺀ ﻋﻈِﻴﻢ‬ ٌ َ ٌْ َ ِ َ ‫ﻨ ﺱ ﻘ َ ﹸ ْ ﻥ َ َ ﹶ ﺴ‬ ‫َﻳﻮﻡ ﺗَﺮَﻭْﻧَﻬَﺎ َﺗﺬﻫ ﹸ ﻛ ﱡ ﻣُﺮْﺿﻌﺔ ﻋَ ﱠﺎ ﹶﺃﺭﺿﻌﺖ ﻭَﺗﻀﻊُ ﻛ ﱡ ﺫﹶﺍﺕ ﺣﻤﻞ ﺣﻤﻠﻬَﺎ‬ ‫ﹾ َﻞ ﹸﻞ ِ َ ٍ ﻤ ْ َ َ ْ َ َ ﹸﻞ ِ َ ْ ﹴ َ ْﹶ‬ َْ ‫ﻭَﺗﺮَﻯ ﺍﻟﱠﺎﺱ ﺳﻜﹶﺎﺭَﻯ ﻭﻣَﺎ ُﻢ ﹺﺑ ُ ﹶﺎﺭَﻯ ﻭﹶﻟﻜﻦ ﻋﺬﹶﺍﺏ ﺍﻟﱠﻪ ﺷﺪِﻳﺪ‬ ٌ َ ِ‫َ ِ ﱠ َ َ ﻠ‬ ‫َ ﻫ ﺴﻜ‬ ُ َ ‫ﻨ‬ َ “O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the Torment of Allah.” Holy Qur’an, 22:1-2 17   
  18. 18. “They know there is such a thing as society. They to 6,855 a year. 3 want the society of respect. They want the society of responsibility. They want the community where the Despite a decade-long government drive to decent, law-abiding majority are in charge. Where cut youth offending an independent study those who play by the rules do well, and those who by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies don't get punished.” Tony Blair, ex-British (CCJS) at King's College said this drive has PM. 1 had “no measurable impact.” 4 Violent crime Crime affects everyone Violent crime in London has reached Londoners want to feel safe and resolving epidemic levels. Scores of teenagers over the the problem of crime and anti-social past few years have been shot or stabbed behaviour is at the top of most ordinary with many of these deaths linked to people’s agendas. Crime was a major American-style gang violence. campaign issue in the 2008 London Mayoral election and will feature high on the agenda Alcohol fuelled yob culture has made many of the next general election. city centres no-go areas for ordinary people after dark, leading one prominent MP - The problem of crime and anti-social Edward Leigh to describe yobs as behaving behaviour is not specific to one ethnic or like “an occupying army loose in the streets.” 2 religious community. This is a problem that affects all communities of all ethnicities and According to figures published by the religious backgrounds whether Muslim or Youth Justice Board in May 2008 violent non-Muslim. The perpetrators of crime are crime by young people has risen by nearly also from all ethnicities and religious 40% in the past three years. The Board said backgrounds. Muslims in particular now violence against the person by under-18s make up a significant proportion of the increased by 39%, from just over 40,000 prison population in the UK. offences in 2003-04 to more than 56,000 in 2006-07. Robberies committed by under-18s The Think Tank survey showed that ‘Lack also saw a large rise - up by 45%, from 4,740 of mutual respect and tolerance’, ‘Drug abuse and gang culture’ and ‘Violent Youth Crime’ were the top three problems felt by                                                                                                                           1 3  Tony Blair. 2004, Speech on the launch of the   Guardian Newspaper, 16 May 2008, ‘40% rise in  five‐year strategy for crime. http://www.number‐ violent crime by under‐18s,’ 2  Guardian Newspaper, 24 July 2007, ‘Yobs making  ime.gender  4 town centres no‐go zones,’   BBC News Online, 21 May 2008, ‘Youth crime drive has no impact,’  me.prisonsandprobation  18   
  19. 19. all those surveyed. See figure 1. Figure 1 Current solutions to crime • National DNA database • Hand-held weapon scanners and knife- The majority of the solutions brought detecting “arches” for police forward to deal with crime and anti-social • Introduction of tazar guns behaviour revolve around better policing and better methods of detecting crimes. None of these measures have had a These are meant to act as deterrents for significant impact on reducing crime. The those thinking of committing an offence. increase in CCTV cameras for example has Measures implemented in recent times by made no major difference to crime in the both the government and London Mayor capital despite the huge investment in new includes: cameras. Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville said a Metropolitan Police pilot • 24 hour live CCTV cameras on London project found just three per cent of street buses robberies in London were solved using • Ban on alcohol on all London public CCTV images. In 2007 it emerged the transport £200m spent on 10,000 crime-fighting • More CCTV cameras in trouble hot- cameras in London had little effect on spots reducing offending. 1 • Higher visibility policing in the form of                                                              1  Daily Mail, 6 May 2008, 'Billions spent on CCTV  Police Community Support Officers have failed to cut crime and led to an 'utter fiasco',  (PCSO’s) and the establishment of Safer says Scotland Yard surveillance chief,'‐ Neighbourhood police teams in every 564240/Billions‐spent‐CCTV‐failed‐cut‐crime‐led‐ London ward utter‐fiasco‐says‐Scotland‐Yard‐surveillance‐ chief.html  19   
  20. 20. breakthrough in terms of freedom of expression, of lifestyle, of the individual's right to live their own Criminal Culture personal life in the way they choose… But with this change in the 1960s came something else, not The reason these attempts at crime necessarily because of it but alongside it. It was John prevention have failed is because there is no Stuart Mill who articulated the modern concept that emphasis placed on tackling the culture with freedom comes responsibility. But in the 1960's behind criminal behaviour. revolution, that didn't always happen.” Criminal gangs and drug dealers are all ‘Freedom with responsibility’ is a dying “respected” on the streets by many youth. concept nowadays. Secularism has eroded The music they listen to feed them a diet of religious morals of responsibility and as get rich quick or die tryin’, named after rap such the growing trend is towards ‘freedom artist 50cent’s bestselling album. The from responsibility’, where freedom is popularity of websites such as YouTube mandatory and responsibility is at best means anyone can now be famous. Anti- optional, and at worst totally ignored. social behaviour is frequently filmed on mobile phones and then uploaded to Drug and Alcohol Abuse websites specifically setup for glorifying bullying and violence. Computer games Closely linked with crime and the criminal have a huge influence on the mentality of culture is drug and alcohol abuse. The the youth. The latest games consoles and Home Office clearly states, that “the links their high definition graphics are incredibly between drug use and crime are clearly realistic and totally absorbing. Grand Theft established” 1 and “the links between alcohol and Auto IV was the best selling game of 2008 violence are well established.” 2 and to win the game you need to progress through the criminal underworld becoming The statistics speak for themselves in a gangster and committing the worst crimes proving this link. possible. • Around three-quarters of crack and This culture is breeding a mentality of heroin users claim they commit crime to rampant individualism where an individual is feed their habit. 3 not accountable or responsible to anyone • In nearly half (45%) of all violent except themselves.                                                              1  Home Office, ‘Drug‐related crime,’‐ Tony Blair alluded to this at the launch of victims/reducing‐crime/drug‐related‐crime  2 his 5 year strategy on crime back in July  Home Office, ‘Alcohol‐related crime,’‐ 2004 when he said: “The 1960s saw a huge victims/reducing‐crime/alcohol‐related‐crime/  3  Home Office, ‘Drug‐related crime,’ Op. Cit  20   
  21. 21. incidents, victims believed offenders to resort Islam believes in punishing those who be under the influence of alcohol, this have disobeyed the law if found guilty in a figure rose to 58% in cases of attacks by court of law. The Islamic punishments are people they did not know out of scope in the UK since this is a non- • 37% of domestic violence cases involve Islamic society. However addressing the alcohol underlying concepts behind criminal • In nearly a million violent attacks in behaviour is something Islam can make a 2007-08, the aggressors were believed to significant impact upon. be drunk 1 Islam’s approach to changing a person’s Islamic Approach behaviour was summed up by the mother of the believers - Aisha, who was one of the Islam believes in responsibility and Prophet Muhammad’s (Allah bless him and accountability for ones actions and takes a give him peace) blessed wives. two pronged approach to addressing criminal behaviour. Aisha said: that if the first verses to be revealed in the Qur’an were ‘Do not Firstly, it creates a culture of God drink alcoholic drinks,’ people would Consciousness (taqwa) and community have said, ‘We will never leave alcoholic responsibility among the society. Even when drinks.’ And if the first verses to be no police are watching them, Muslims revealed were, ‘Do not commit illegal should still obey the law because they know sexual intercourse,’ ‘they would have Allah is watching them and will account said, ‘We will never give up illegal sexual them for all their actions no matter how intercourse.’” The first verses revealed in small when they die. the Qur’an were from Al-Mufassal (last section of the Qur’an) whose verses Allah Most High says: contain detail descriptions of Paradise and Hellfire. Once the people embraced ‫ﻭَﻧﺤ ُ ﹶﺃﻗﺮ ُ ﹺﺇﹶﻟْﻴﻪ ﻣﻦ ﺣْﺒﻞ ﺍﹾﻟﻮﺭﹺﻳﺪ‬ ِ َ ‫َ ْﻦ ﹾ َﺏ ِ ِ ْ َ ﹺ‬ Islam and their conviction in Paradise and Hellfire was established then the “And We are nearer to him than his verses regarding halal and haram were jugular vein.” 2 revealed. 3 Secondly, Islam recognises human beings One of the objectives (maqasid) of the are not angels and criminal behaviour in Islamic Shariah is the protection of the society is inevitable to some degree. As a last mind. Islam has completely forbidden all                                                                                                                           1 3  Home Office, ‘Alcohol‐related crime,’ Op. Cit   Narrated by Yusuf bin Mahk in Hadith book  2  Holy Qur’an. Chapter Qaf, verse 16.  Bukhari. Volume 6, Book 61, Number 515.  21   
  22. 22. forms of intoxicants a fact that is well offences the youth mentors in the known among Muslims and non-Muslims mosque can aid in rehabilitation efforts. alike. • More youth clubs established in The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him mosques. These should be managed by and give him peace) said: “Every well-respected young Muslim role intoxicant is khamr (wine) and every models. intoxicant is forbidden.” 1 • More awareness programmes for Recommendations parents so they can see the tell-tale signs of drugs, gang membership and criminal • Innovative and practical cultural (taqwa) behaviour. programmes established in mosques or community centres. The primary aim is • Establishment of a gang reconciliation strengthening the Islamic character unit where truces and dialogue between within the youth, and getting them to gangs can take place. become responsible individuals. • Counselling programme for Muslim • Publicise stories of how Islam changes prisoners both whilst in prison and the behaviour of individuals. Muslim ex- when they are released aimed at criminals, gang members and drug preventing their reoffending. dealers who changed their behaviour can speak or write on their experiences. These stories can be publicised at various outlets: mosques, community centres, Muslim media, youth clubs and in the cultural programme above. • Every mosque has a trained drugs officer who can provide mentoring to those involved in drugs and advice to parents. • Every mosque has a liaison with the Police Safer Neighbourhoods team. For those Muslims convicted of minor                                                              1  Hadith book Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith 3672.  Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Abbas.  22   
  23. 23. 2. Mosques as centres of the community                             ‫ﻓِﻲ ُﺑُﻮﺕ ﹶﺃﺫﻥ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺃﹶﻥ ُﺮﻓﻊ ﻭﻳُﺬﹾﻛﺮ ﻓِﻴﻬَﺎ ﺍﺳﻤﻪ ُﻳﺴﱢﺢ ﹶﻟ ُ ﻓِﻴﻬَﺎ ﺑﹺﺎﹾﻟﻐﺪ ﱢ‬ ‫ُ ُﻭ‬ ‫ْ ُ ُ َﺒ ُ ﻪ‬ َ ‫ﻴ ٍ ِ ﹶ ﱠ ُ ﺗ ْﹶ َ َ ﹶ‬ ‫ ﻭَﺍﻟﹾﺂﺻَﺎﻝﹺ‬ “Shining out in houses of worship (mosques). Allah has ordained that they be raised high and that His name be remembered in them, with men in them celebrating His glory morning and evening.” Holy Qur’an, 24:36   23   
  24. 24. Mosques are a vital and pivotal part of mosques in Egypt such as the Abou El Muslim communities. There is no special Azayem mosque in Cairo. 2 design or structure for a Mosque as any building used for the congregational prayers In Waltham Forest Noor Ul Islam Trust has can be classified as a Mosque. established a pre-school, primary school, youth club, funeral service, health advice When the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless surgery, men and women’s sporting him and give him peace) migrated to Medina activities in addition to congregational in 622CE, one of his first actions was to prayers and a madrassa. build a Mosque there. This is now known as the Prophet's Mosque or (Masjid-e-Nabawi). Mosques are therefore, not only for the This Mosque became the centre of all purpose of prayer alone but also serve as the Muslim activities. As an example, centre for all social, cultural and political delegations from other states were received activities. and accommodated in this Mosque such as the group of Christians who came from Current Issues Naijran. This Mosque also served as the centre for education, learning, and training. With the exception of a few mosques, unfortunately most mosques within the UK Throughout Islamic history the mosque has and Waltham Forest do not fulfil this played a central role in the implementation function within the community. of Islam upon society. During the Ottoman rule of Bosnia (15th – 19th century) they Here are currently some of the key issues established many Kulliye 1 Mosques. This was with Mosques: a group of social and municipal service buildings that acted as a community centre Funding as well as the focal point of Friday prayers. The founder would establish a public The majority of mosques are only financed kitchen (Imaret), to feed the needy or the through the contributions of their traveller, a college (medresa), a hospital congregations. They do not have the (darusifa), a public fountain (cesma), a guest resources to provide valuable services to the house for travellers (musafirhana or konak- community other than using the mosque as han) and a tomb (turbe). a place of worship. With the adequate More recently there have been examples of                                                              2  Dr. Jamal Madi Abut Azayem, 'Role of The  drug rehabilitation clinics attached to Mosque in Confronting The Epidemic of Substance  Abuse,'                                                      1  Kulliye is an Ottomanized Arabic word that  sych/role_of_mosque_in_confronting_substance_ means comprehensive, complete, or all‐inclusive.  abuse.htm  24   
  25. 25. funding and expertise this can be resolved. Nationalism Limited facilities for youth Mosques tend to be divided on nationalistic grounds e.g. a Pakistani or Bengali mosque. There are very limited activities for youth in Other nationalities can feel excluded when most mosques. This is a missed opportunity attending mosques dominated by one as many young people frequent the mosques section of the community on Fridays and during Ramadan. Engagement with youth should be a priority. Alienation Limited access for women Mosques can be perceived by non-Muslims as isolated and distant. Mosques need to The mother is the centre of the household engage more with the communities in which and instrumental in bringing up the children they reside. and imparting key values and morals to them. Mosques can play a key role in Lack of social activities supporting this. Unfortunately many mosques only have limited facilities for Some Mosques are only used as places of women. prayer when there is scope for them to be used for a wider range of activities. Governance Recommendations Lack of management and administrative skills within mosque committees can lead to Throughout this document there have been inefficiencies in the way mosques are run. numerous recommendations aimed at the There is a view that some mosques are not mosques. The diagrams 1 below summarises managed as professional institutions with a the different elements that a modern day lack of accountability to members of the mosque should focus upon. congregation. Non-English speaking imams Some imams cannot relate to their congregations due to language barriers and a lack of awareness of the key issues affecting their local community.                                                              1  25   
  26. 26. • The welfare activities within the mosque should help to make the mosque more of a focal point in the community. The mosque can provide a safe and trustworthy environment to provide support for people’s day to day problems. 3) Education 1) Operations • The mosque should have an office which acts as a central point for organising the affairs of the mosque. The mosque should encourage a strong base of volunteers and hence should look to develop a database containing details of these volunteers especially those with specific skills. This will assist the mosque when a particular need is required. 2) Welfare • Education is a key element of everyday activities within mosque such as Friday Khutbah, study circles, Qur’an classes, and information for new Muslims to ease their transition into the religion. • Academic education should also be promoted and facilitated within the mosque. An Islamic reference library should be established as a resource for the community. 26   
  27. 27. negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims 4) Media by mainstream media was overwhelmingly seen as the major • The Think Tank survey found that the problem by Muslims. See figure 2. Figure 2 • Each mosque should have a designated media representative who is responsible • The mosque should also be active online for maintaining links with the local and have a regularly updated website. A media and other key organisations. wider media team should be established which promotes the true message of Islam. 5) Funding • Mosques should employ a fundraising manager who will look at tax efficient donations and regular donations. • The manager would seek additional funding to finance services offered by the mosque. 27   
  28. 28. 6) Political Awareness 7) Youth Politics in Islam means looking after the Youth participation is essential in ensuring a affairs of people. The Mosque should play a vibrant future for the mosque and should key role in creating a forum for people to help to eliminate some of the discuss current local, national and intergenerational barriers. Young Muslims international issues. This allows them to need to be encouraged to be active within express their viewpoints and to explore the mosque and should have representation solutions. on the committees. Activities such as youth clubs, Islamic education and regular sports Islam places great emphasis on unity and sessions should be organised. refers to the Muslim Ummah as one body. 8) Think Tank The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "You see the A think tank is vital for developing a believers as regards their being merciful strategic direction and to ensure that the among themselves and showing love mosque continues to address the changing among themselves and being kind, environment in which it resides. The think resembling one body, so that, if any part tank should be aware of the key issues that of the body is not well then the whole are on the horizon and develop innovative body shares the sleeplessness policies that can help solve the problems (insomnia) and fever with it." 1 that are faced by the people. It should also help to develop progressive thinking within Therefore the international element should the community and serve as an ideas forum not be ignored as most Muslims have links for the mosque. to different parts of the world and are likely to be affected by problems that are occurring overseas. Natural disasters such as the earthquake in Kashmir and the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are examples that demonstrate this.                                                              1  Hadith book Bukhari  28   
  29. 29. 3. Making education matter ‫ﺍﻗﺮﹾﺃ ﺑﹺﺎﺳﻢ ﺭﱢﺑﻚ ﺍﱠﻟﺬِﻱ ﺧﻠﻖ‬ َ ‫َﹶ‬ َ َ ‫ﹾَ ْ ﹺ‬ ‫ﺧﻠﻖ ﺍﹾﻟﺈﹺﻧﺴَﺎﻥ ﻣﻦ ﻋﻠﻖ‬ ‫ﹶ ِ ْ َﹶ ﹴ‬ َ ‫َﹶ‬ ُ ‫ﺍﻗﺮﹾﺃ ﻭﺭﱡﺑﻚ ﺍﹾﻟﺄﻛﺮ‬ ‫ﹾ َ َ َ َ ﹶ ﹾ َﻡ‬ ‫ﺍﱠﻟﺬِﻱ ﻋﱠﻢ ﺑﹺﺎﹾﻟﻘﻠﻢ‬ ‫َﻠ َ ﹶﹶ ﹺ‬ ‫ﻋﱠﻢ ﺍﹾﻟﺈﹺﻧﺴَﺎﻥ ﻣَﺎ ﹶﻟﻢ َﻳﻌﻠﻢ‬ ْ ‫ﹶ ْ ْﹶ‬ َ ‫َﻠ‬ “Read! In the name of your Lord who created: He created man from a clinging form. Read! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One who taught by [means of] the pen, who taught man what he did not know.” Holy Qur’an, 96:1-5 29   
  30. 30. “It takes an entire village to raise a child” African proverb. Teachers now face low morale due to difficult pupils and a lack of respect. Parents Islam attaches great importance to too are concerned with the diminishing knowledge and education. The Holy Qur'an moral fibre in the community. Agencies repeatedly asks human beings to observe the need to work together to develop strategies physical creation around them. and share good practice in order that a concerted effort is made to improve respect ‫ﹺﺇ ﱠ ﻓِﻲ ﺧﻠﻖ ﺍﻟﺴﻤَﺎﻭَﺍﺕ ﻭَﺍﻷﺭﺽ‬ ‫ِ َْ ﹺ‬ ‫ﻥ َﹾ ﹺ ﱠ‬ and responsibility in Waltham Forest. ‫ﻭَﺍﺧِﺘﻼﻑ ﺍﻟﱠﻴْﻞ ﻭَﺍﻟﱠﻨﻬَﺎﺭ ﻵﻳَﺎﺕ‬ ٍ ‫ﹺ‬ ‫ْ ﹶ ِ ﻠ ﹺ‬ The Think Tank’s research shows that gang activity, bullying and availability of drugs are ‫ﱢﹸﻭْﻟِﻲ ﺍﻷﻟﹾﺒَﺎﺏ‬ ‫ﹺ‬ ‫ﻟﺄ‬ concerns that residents have. These can occur in school leaving parents with great worry over their child’s safety. See figure 3. “There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding.” 1 This instils in people the desire to learn about the universe they live in and the natural sciences. The first word revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the Qur’an was 'Iqra!' (Read). Learning is thus the starting point of every successful human activity. A growing and more diverse population needs to work together and provide a first class education system for all those living in the borough. With many Muslims living in Waltham Forest their needs are of great importance to schools and the Local Education Authority (LEA).                                                              1  Holy Qur’an. Chapter Al‐Imran, verse 190  30   
  31. 31. Figure 3 Building the personality The vast majority of pupils in Waltham Forest attend mainstream (state) schools. Islam defines Education as more than The local authority shoulders a great deal of academic studies and qualifications. Early responsibility when it comes to educating experiences will influence a person for the our younger generation. With a lack of rest of their life. Therefore it is of educational choice the local authority may paramount importance that Muslims in be seen as a monopoly. However parents Waltham Forest promote well-being, respect are now demanding greater choice in their and responsibility to all, including children. children’s education. Demand for places at Independent Independent schools may increase in Islamic Schools numbers to satisfy demand. It is therefore important that the local authority starts to The two Independent Islamic schools in work with independent schools to ensure Waltham Forest are growing in popularity. similar strategies are promoted through the The Noor Ul Islam Primary School which borough by all educational providers. has a capacity of 160 pupils, currently has over 300 pupils on its waiting list. With a growing Muslim population in the borough and more families wishing for their Despite the Government initiative of ‘Every children to be educated in a school with an Child Matters’ the LEA has not been able to Islamic Ethos, the likelihood of more effectively work with local Islamic Schools Islamic schools opening in the area is high. due to them being seen as independent The local authority needs to work together entities. with Islamic schools, recognising not only the financial benefits to the LEA but also 31   
  32. 32. that the wishes of many residents is met by pupils perform better when studying in a these schools. single-sex school only adds to the desire for pupils to be taught this way. Support for Home Education Recent research by Durham University on Some parents within the borough prefer to GCSE performance at independent schools teach their children at home or in small states: “Almost without exception, when ability groups. This may be for a number of variation is taken into account...the average reasons but the lack of single-sex schools is performance of pupils of both genders in single-sex one major factor. The local authority needs schools is better than the average performance of their to recognise this possible trend and agree to counterparts in mixed schools by a significant provide a support network to assist these margin.” 1 parents. Madrassas Single-sex schools Madrassas are after school classes where The LEA must seek the views of the some Muslim pupils from around five years community, including Muslims when old typically spend two hours each weekday formulating education strategies. There is a evening learning about Islam. The syllabi fear that there will be no single sex state and quality of teaching in the madrassas vary schools left in Waltham Forest, a prospect although recently many improvements have that worries many in the borough both taken place. Muslim and non-Muslim. Further co-operation and training between Islam provides great emphasis on these organisations will help improve the segregation of the genders and this also state of supplementary education provided. applies to studying. This is in no way ‘sexist’ or because women are deemed inferior to Responsibility of parents men as some commentators try to suggest. Rather Islam believes that it is the creator of Parents now cite lack of time to either be both men and women – Allah Most High involved with their child’s education or who decides which is the best way for them actively help their child’s school. This has to live together that creates harmony in                                                              society. 1  John Charnley, 'THE GCSE PERFORMANCE OF  INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PUPILS: GENDER AND  SCHOOLTYPE DIFFERENCES,' Curriculum,  Muslims therefore request that their Evaluation and Management (CEM) Centre at  children are taught in a suitable Durham University, p. 12 environment. Recent research that shows CSE%20performance%20of%20independent%20sc hool.pdf  32   
  33. 33. had an effect on parenting skills as work Islamic Approach patterns and more single parent families have resulted in less quality time between Islam makes self-improvement of the parent and child. individual and the betterment of society a religious duty. This has inspired individuals The responsibility of raising a child and in a multitude of ways, above all in the giving him/her a good education lies with search for knowledge. Throughout the the parents and the community at large, Muslim World, the search for knowledge including schools. This shared responsibility and science was undertaken in an effort to requires joint effort by all parties and improve society as a form of worship. The common strategies. A single message must development of medicine, the construction be presented by all stakeholders. Currently and provision of hospitals, the building of there are mixed messages being absorbed by hundreds of libraries and schools, the children. Work must be undertaken to planting of beautiful gardens and green ensure all parents present the same positive parks, and so much else, made the Muslim message to children. World an oasis of light in a dark surrounding. Islam’s stress on excellence Lifelong learning and its search for perfection was crucial to the progress of its civilisation. It is recognised that Muslims must get involved, support and promote lifelong This explains the advanced levels of learning. This involvement must extend to knowledge that the Muslims reached in existing and new areas of education. astronomy, surgery, ophthalmology, and map making. It explains why the Muslims Apart from the traditional curriculum for developed the empirical method, education, there are wider possibilities for mathematics and physics and extremely building a sense of respect from within and accurate instruments. This is also why in partnership with the school system. Muslim gardens, libraries and hospitals were run to standards unequalled today in most Local institutions, including mosques, must of the Muslim world. And this is why the promote good quality learning to all its Muslims wrote scientific and scholarly stakeholders. Staff, imams and worshippers works of the greatest detail, precision and must be encouraged to undertake formal excellence. 1 and informal studies regardless of age. Those who have not had access to the In addition, all the books of hadith have a internet and the latest technology should be chapter on knowledge (ilm). In Sahih encouraged to complete relevant studies.                                                              1  Muslim Heritage, Topics Section,  33   
  34. 34. Bukhari, one of the most famous collections, there is a chapter entitled, “The ‫ﻳَﺎ ﹶﺃﱡﻳﻬَﺎ ﺍﱠﻟﺬِﻳﻦ ﺁﻣُﻮﺍ ﹸﻮﺍ ﺃﹶﻧ ﹸﺴ ﹸﻢ‬ ْ ‫َ َﻨ ﻗ ﻔ َﻜ‬ virtue of one who acquires ilm (learning) and imparts it to others.” In the hadith, the scholar ُ ‫ﻭﹶﺃﻫﻠِﻴﻜﻢ ﻧَﺎﺭًﺍ ﻭﹸﻮ ُﻫَﺎ ﺍﻟﱠﺎ‬ ‫َﻗ ﺩ ﻨ ﺱ‬ ْ‫َ ْ ﹸ‬ is accorded great respect due to the benefit the ummah derives from such intellects. ‫ﻭَﺍﹾﻟﺤﺠَﺎﺭﺓ‬ ‫ِ َﹸ‬ "O you who believe! Save yourselves and The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him your families from a Fire whose fuel is and give him peace) said: “He is not from men and stones!" 2 my Ummah who does not acknowledge the honour due to our elders, who shows Parents must realise that what they teach no mercy to our younger ones and nor their children is not in isolation to what is recognises the right of our scholars.” 1 being taught at school. Parental involvement in the school not only allows parents to be Student responsibility well informed with what is happening but also provides the school with a much Islam teaches individuals to be accountable needed contribution. for their actions from an early age. Training students to manage their time, studies, Muslim parents must be taught the finances and social lives will encourage a importance of all concerned for their more responsible approach to life. This will participation in school life. Parents can play result in borough-wide benefits as young an essential role within a school’s PTA or people understand the importance of self- even Board of Governors. It is believed that management. a campaign to get parents involved in school life is needed, especially for ethnic Parental Responsibility communities where traditionally they have shied away from this. The Qur’an warns people to protect their families from the hellfire. This warning Collective Responsibility demonstrates that individuals must take responsibility for the actions of their Some youngsters in the area have learnt that families. there is more to life than materialism. Whilst this goes against the grain, many people, especially Muslims are being taught more about spirituality and about collective responsibility.                                                              1  Narrated by 'Ubaadah b. as‐Saamit in hadith                                                               2 books Ahmad and Tabaraani   Holy Qur'an. Chapter Tahreem, verse 6  34   
  35. 35. Muslims, as parents and teachers, have been • Local Authority to promote the at the forefront of teaching children as well achievements of all pupils regardless of as adults, which has showed their the school they attend (private or state). willingness to take responsibility in local matters. The notion of collective • Maintain and increase single sex schools responsibility is greatly emphasized in Islam in Waltham Forest. and none more important than instructing one another on being accountable for all our • Develop parenting coaching actions to Allah Most High. By doing so, we programmes. feel an environment of respect will prevail. • School Governor training within the Mosques. Recommendations • Local Madrassa council set up to share resources and best practice. • Establishment of a Local Islamic Advisory group working for greater • Muslim professionals to provide careers cooperation with local schools, LEA, advice to local community. SACRE, Governors and non- Governors. • Governor training for 16+ Muslim pupils to encourage a return to their • “Every Child Matters” initiative to own school as a Governor after include all agencies. graduating. 35   
  36. 36. 36   
  37. 37. 4. Increasing financial responsibility ‫ﻭَﺍْﺑَﺘﻎ ﻓِﻴﻤَﺎ ﺁﺗَﺎﻙ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺍﻟ ﱠﺍﺭ ﺍﻟﹾﺂﺧﺮﺓ ﻭَﻟﹶﺎ ﺗَﻨﺲ َﻧﺼِﻴَﺒﻚ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟ ﱡﻧْﻴَﺎ ﻭﹶﺃﺣْﺴِﻦ ﻛﹶﻤَﺎ‬ َ ‫َ َِ ﺪ‬ َ ‫َ ﱠُ ﺪ َ ِ َﹶ‬ ‫ﹺ‬ ‫ﹶﺃﺣﺴﻦ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﹺﺇﹶﻟْﻴﻚ ﻭَﻟﹶﺎ َﺗْﺒﻎ ﺍﹾﻟﻔﺴَﺎﺩ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﹾﻟﺄﺭﺽ ﹺﺇ ﱠ ﺍﻟﱠﻪ ﻟﹶﺎ ُﻳﺤ ﱡ ﺍﹾﻟﻤﻔﺴﺪِﻳﻦ‬ َ ِ ‫ﹶ ْ ﹺ ﻥ ﻠ َ ِﺐ ُ ﹾ‬ َ ‫ﹺ ﹶ‬ َ ُ‫ْ َ َ ﱠ‬ “Seek the life to come by means of what Allah has granted you, but do not neglect your rightful share in this world. Do good to others as Allah has done good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for Allah does not love those who do this.” Holy Qur’an, 28:77 37   
  38. 38. The Global Financial Crisis towards wealth and the concept of success. “In the abstract it is absurd and monstrous for Capitalist view of wealth society to pay the commercial banking system interest for multiplying severalfold the quantity of the Capitalism is an economic system in which medium of exchange when a) a public agency could wealth, and the means of producing wealth, do it all at negligible cost, b) there is no sense in are privately owned and controlled as having it done at all, since the effect is merely to raise opposed to state ownership and control as the price level, and c) important evils result, notably found in Communism. Classical economists the frightful instability of the whole economic such as Adam Smith who laid the system.” 1 foundations for today’s economic systems Frank Knight, Economist at the University believed in what is known as the “invisible of Chicago, 1927 hand”. This is a metaphor to describe the self-regulating nature of the market, where The current financial crisis is essentially a the pursuit of individual self-interest also banking crisis that began in August 2007 produces a collective good for society. and which came to a head in September 2008 with the entire banking system on the In his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’ Smith brink of collapse. Hundreds of billions of provides an example that illustrates this pounds were pumped into the economy to principle: prop up the financial system. With this unprecedented market intervention, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the nationalisation of banks, and interest rates at brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but near zero, people are beginning to question from their regard to their own self interest. We the capitalist free market model. address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own Understandably, people are looking to necessities but of their advantages.” blame someone for the current financial mess. The finger has pointed at the “greedy This ‘self-interest’ is exactly what the banks bankers”, incompetent financial regulators were following when they gave sub-prime and governments who allowed the situation mortgages to some of the poorest people in to spiral out of control. However, if we look society who they knew could never pay beyond the individuals and institutions we these loans back. When they defaulted on find some very basic human concepts at the the loans the banks would simply repossess root of the problem. These are the views the houses and make back their money since house prices were rising like never before.                                                              1 This ‘self-interest’ gave no consideration to   Tarek El Diwany, “The Problem with Interest,” Ta  Ha Publishers, First Edition, p. 55 the poor families who would end up losing   38   
  39. 39. their home and on the street. ownership to Himself, by saying: ‘the property of Allah’ (Maalillah). Although sub-prime mortgages triggered the current crisis the same ‘self-interest’ can be This concept that wealth is given to people applied across many financial activities such by their Creator has a profound effect on an as derivatives, securitisation, short-selling individual’s economic activity. Instead of and market speculation. simply pursuing self-interest, they will realise that this wealth is a trust and cannot be Islamic view of wealth misused. People will believe in responsibility and ultimately accountability to the one who There is a common saying that money is the assigned them this wealth in the first place, root of all evil. Many people believe that the Creator Allah Most High. being wealthy is incompatible with being religious. This is based mainly on the The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him discussion above concerning the concept of and give him peace) said: “The feet of a ‘self-interest’ towards generating wealth. servant will not move on the Day of Islam however does not hold this view that Judgment until he has been questioned money and wealth are inherently ‘evil’. about four things: his life - how he spent it, his knowledge - how he acted upon it, Islam believes that all wealth belongs to his wealth - where he earned it and how Allah Most High since He Most High is the he spent it, and his body - how he used Owner of all the Dominion (Malik al-Mulk). it.” 2 The Holy Qur’an states clearly that wealth Islam is not against people becoming rich or and property (Maal) belongs to Allah Most businesses making profits as long as the High and that He Most High is the one who economic transactions that generated this gives wealth to people. wealth conform to the Islamic shariah. This is summarised in the following verse of the ‫ﻭَﺁُﻮ ُﻢ ﱢﻦ ﱠﺎﻝ ﺍﻟﱠﻪ ﺍﱠﻟﺬِﻱ ﺁﺗَﺎﻛﻢ‬ ْ‫ﹸ‬ ِ‫ﺗ ﻫ ﻣ ﻣ ﹺ ﻠ‬ Holy Qur’an. “And give them from the property of Allah (Maalillah), which He gave to ‫ﻭﹶﺃﺣﻞﱠ ﺍﻟﹼﻪ ﺍﹾﻟَﺒْﻴﻊ ﻭﺣﺮﻡ ﺍﻟ ﱢﺑَﺎ‬ ‫َ َ ﻠُ َ َ َ ﱠَ ﺮ‬ you.” 1 “Allah has permitted trade (al-bai’) and forbidden usury (riba).” 3 When Allah Most High addresses the issue of the origin of property, He attributes its                                                              2   Hadith book Tirmidhi, Kitab sifat al Qiyamah wal                                                               Raqa’iq 1  Holy Qur’an. Chapter An‐Noor, verse 33    3    Holy Qur’an. Chapter Al‐Baqara, verse 275  39   
  40. 40. From this verse and its practical ordinary people look up to and try to implementation by the Prophet Muhammad emulate their success. (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions the scholars of Islam derived a It’s this view of success which caused the detailed understanding of halal and haram housing bubble and drove the record levels financial transactions. The early Muslims of debt and the ‘buy now pay later’ culture. implemented these rules in the lands they ruled over and in their international trade From the poor sub-prime mortgage buyer with other nations. In fact the first contact who was sold the dream of home ownership with Islam by many non-Muslims was to the CEO’s of the banks that gambled through Muslim traders such as in South people’s money on risky financial dealings, East Asia. all share the same concept of what it means to be successful and ultimately happy. A businessman and trader who abides by the Islamic Shariah in his financial dealings Islamic view of success was praised by the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) when Despite western societies having a high he said: “The truthful and trustworthy standard of living and being the most merchant will be in the company of the materially advanced in the world, the rates Prophets, the upright and the martyrs.” 1 of depression and suicides are much higher than some of the poorest countries on earth. Capitalist view of success If success is truly material then this shouldn’t be the case. Moreover the The concept of success and happiness is celebrities who have reached this pinnacle of fundamental to every human beings life. It material success are actually the ones who gives a sense of purpose and a goal to strive suffer the most from drug abuse, alcoholism for. What it means to be successful may vary and depression. This proves that there is among people but the general view in more to happiness than simply materialistic western societies is that success is measured pleasures. by the amount of wealth and sensual pleasure a person attains. Those celebrities Islam defines the purpose in life for every who are deemed to be successful are the human being as worshipping Allah Most wealthy politicians, pop stars and billionaire High. businessman with their private jets, luxury mansions and fleets of sports cars. These people become the role models from which                                                              1  Hadith book Tirmidhi  40