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Issue 19

May 2014

Fair Trade is Islamic Trade! Saving our Allotments Interview: MADE in Europe Young and Suicidal

Interview: Ruby and Lutfi Radwan Live Below the Line How Vulnerable is the Food System? “True to Life?” Art Exhibition

Fifteen21 inspires young Muslims to be proud of their British Muslim identity. The name Fifteen21 is derived from both the 15th century of the Islamic Hijri year and the 21st century of the Common era. Fifteen21 aims to reconcile both Muslim and British identity.


Editor Fozia Parveen Designed by Hafizur Rahman Contact Fifteen21 All views are of the authors alone and not necessarily of those held by Fifteen21

Painting by artish Huda


Guest Editorial Ethical Eating Asalamu Alaykum, Ethical eating is about recognising the moral dimensions of our food choices, our lives are so fast paced and hectic that we seldom get time to reflect on the manner in which our societies raise, buy and consume our food and the direct impact this has on our environment, plants and animals and even the people involved in producing the food. There are strong moral implications attached to food as well, as I learnt from speaking to Tim Aldred, head of policy and research at The Fairtrade Foundation. The choices we make as shoppers can have an impact on thousands of lives, livelihoods and futures, you can find out more how your shopping can build or break futures by reading my interview with Tim, which is featured in this issue.

All too often, food is treated as a ‘fuel’, and a source of nourishment but I feel that food has a strong relationship with spirituality too which cannot be disregarded. This issue is even more relevant with the holy month of Ramadan around the corner, where we will all fast from dawn to dusk and concentrate on feeding our souls, on strengthening our relationship with God and on bettering ourselves as people. In this issue you will find insightful articles ranging from Fair Trade is Islamic Trade, to How Vulnerable is the Food System, in addition there is the MADE in Europe interview and a focus on Willowbrook Farm, in addition to poetry, art and tips on when you are feeling stressed about life. Apologies for the delay in bringing you this issue, but I am sure you will agree that the wait was worth it. I do hope you enjoy this issue, as much as we all have at the Fifteen21 team in bringing it to you. Wishing you all a blessed month Ramadan Mubarak!

Soleha Khawar

Contents 6-7 8 9 10-12 13 14-15 16 17 18-20 21 22-26 27 28-30 31 32-33

Prophets of Islam: Prophet Jacob (AS) 100 Less One: Al Wahab Muslim Youth Helpline MADE in Europe: Trade Justice Live Below the Line Can You Live on £1 a Day? Young and Suicidal 10 Tips to Stress Less Healthy Living: Books, Covers, Content Child Line Interview: Willowbrook Farm Live Below the Line Benefits of Allotment Gardening Muslim Youth Helpline Interview: The Fairtrade Foundation

34 35 36-38 39 40-41 42-43 44 45 46-51 52-53 54-55 56-57 58 59

Dua: When Studying Something Difficult Fifteen21 YOU Are What YOU Read! The Fairtrade Product Journey A Day in the Life of Prophet Muhammed (saw) Islamic Help in Tanzania Nominate a Role Model In the Next Issue… Interview: MADE in Europe Islamic Art: True to Life Poetry: Complications Recipes: Mint Lemonade with Agave Nectar National Events Child Line

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28 80

46 56

Prophet Jacob (Ya’qub) (AS) was the son of Isaac (Ishaq) (AS) who was the son of Abraham (AS).


of Islam

Prophet Jacob (AS) Ehsan Khan

AS - alayhi salaam Upon him/her be peace SWT - subhanahu wa taala Glorious is He and He is Exalted SAW - sallallahu alayhi wa salaam - May God’s blessings and peace be with him BIN - in Arabic ‘son of’


Children of Israel are related to Jacob (AS).

It is said that Isaac (AS) loved Esau Allah (SWT) conveyed to Prophet more than Jacob (AS) because he was Abraham (AS) glad tidings regarding the the firstborn. However, Rebekah loved birth of the elite Prophets, Ishaq (Isaac) Jacob (AS) more because he was the and Ya’qub (Jacob) (AS). youngest. When Isaac (AS) grew old and The Holy Qur’an says: “We gave him Ishaq his eyesight became weak, he expressed and Ya’qub. Each of them We made a his desire for some tasty food to Esau. Prophet. And We gave them of Our mercy Isaac asked Esau (who was a hunter) to and assigned to them a high and true go hunt a wild animal and then cook it renown.” (Qur’an 19: 49-50). for him so he could give him blessings and pray for him. Rebekah overhead this Jacob (AS) and his father Isaac (AS) are and told Jacob (AS) about his father’s also honoured in a hadith of Prophet desire. Thus, Rebekah asked Jacob (AS) Muhammad (SAW) which states: “The to bring her two well chosen young goats noble son of the noble son of the noble so she could cook for Isaac (AS) according son of the noble is Joseph bin Jacob bin to his wish. Jacob (AS) returned having Isaac bin Abraham.” (Ahmad). slaughtered a fine healthy goat before his brother. Rebekah prepared the food Prophet Jacob (AS) and his twin Esau according to how Isaac (AS) desired and (Al-Ais) were born to Isaac (AS) and his then decided to dress Jacob (AS). She took wife Rifqa (Rebekah). They were both a the best clothes of Esau and put them on result of Isaac’s duas to Allah (SWT) as his her younger son. Esau had hairy skin whilst wife was barren. The Romans are known Jacob was of smooth skin, so she decided to have descended from Esau whilst the to put goatskin on Jacobs’s (AS) hands and

Thus, Rebekah asked Jacob (AS) to bring her two well chosen young goats so she could cook for Isaac (AS) according to his wish.

the smooth parts of his neck. As Jacob (AS) proceeded to his father with the food, Isaac inquired (AS) “Who are you?” He answered: “Your son.” So Isaac (AS) asked him to come closer; as he touched him, he said “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” However, Isaac (AS) ate the food, supplicated for him to be more honourable amongst his brothers, for his authority to be extended upon all nations and that he may get abundance of provision. As soon as Jacob (AS) left after receiving his father’s blessings, Esau came in from hunting. He prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. His father inquired, “What is this, my son?” Esau replied: “This is the food you

desired.” Isaac (AS), confused, asked “Didn’t you come to me a little while ago (with food), and I ate from it and blessed you?” “By Allah, it wasn’t me,” and it was then that Esau realised that his brother had took his blessings. Esau now held a grudge against Jacob (AS) and threatened to kill him when his father died. When his mother Rebekah heard this, she asked Jacob (AS) to leave at once and go to her brother Laban in Haran (modern-day Turkey) until Esau calmed down. She then asked for Isaacs’s (AS) permission and blessings on allowing Jacob (AS) to go to her brother and marry one of his daughters. Permission was granted! To be continued..

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Al Wahab The Bestower, the All Giver Allah (SWT) is Al-Wahab, the Bestower. The One who blesses people with numerous gifts free from recompense and self-interest is truly the Bestower. This is not likened to how human beings bestow their loved ones with gifts; because when we give, we are often motivated by something; whether this is self interest in the form of desiring recognition, appreciation or even the desire to attain the reward of Paradise.

(SWT) we can acknowledge that Allah (SWT) loves us without conditions and without the need to please a hierarchy (for no-one is higher than Him).

Since we only know giving gifts and receiving gifts within the paradigm of our own experiences of giving and receiving, we cannot assume to know what it is like to give completely freely. Even when we love for the sake of Allah (SWT), the objective is to attain the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Thus, as there is no-one Greater than Allah

This ayah asks us to imagine if Allah (SWT) was to seal up our sense of hearing and sight (some of His countless gifts), is there anyone or thing that can restore them? Certainly this highlights the nature of human beings, and this is beautifully described in the Arabic root meaning of the word for human being ‘Insaan’; the root aa-ni-

Say: “Do you think if Allah took away your hearing and your sight and sealed up your hearts which god other than Allah could restore them to you? See how We explain the Signs by various (symbols): Yet they turn aside. (Qur’an 6: 46)

Shanaz Ali

sa, refers to commonality and being close with others, emphasizing the innate social nature of human beings and also the desire to be more close to the Divine. More interestingly, another meaning which is also closely related to the word ‘insaan’ is to ‘forget’ (from the trilateral root ‘na-siya’), which points to the innate nature of human beings to forget and make mistakes. As this is the case, we do become ungrateful and blind to all the blessings that Allah (SWT) has granted us.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 SWT – subhanahu wa taala - Glorious is He and He is Exalted 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 8

TRADEJUSTICE Throughout the ages, man has occupied his mind with the concept of justice. Our ancestors including the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans all pondered on this principle leading to numerous definitions. In recent years, there has been a rise in the use of the term ‘trade justice’ and ‘trade injustice’ as it has become clear that many of the world’s poor are being harmed by policies relating to trade. The FairTrade movement has at its heart the right of producers to earn the income that they deserve. Many developing countries are coerced into buying into the trade liberalisation doctrine in return for aid, loans and other forms of assistance, at the detriment of their own people. These policies can mean that tariffs are lifted and subsidies are reduced, and


against world competition, domestic farmers are unable to compete and suffer huge losses. Injustice in this sense occurs when individuals are harmed due to no fault of their own but because of the whims of others, usually the relatively rich and powerful. The prevalent system allows barriers to be put in place to stop people from alleviating their own poverty, making them reliant on aid. It is for this reason FairTrade has gathered wide support, as more and more people want to see producers receive a fair deal, to be able to improve their living standards and work themselves and their families out of poverty. As Muslims we have to be involved in this discourse, because in Islam,

justice is key. Harvard University has displayed a verse from the Qur’an saying that it is one of the best expressions of justice that exists: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” (Qur’an 4: 135) Allah (SWT) commands us to be just in all matters and justice in trade is no exception. In Surah Nisa, verse 29, we are told not to consume each other’s wealth unjustly but trade by mutual consent or goodwill. This means both

parties should be content and happy. But today, we can see clearly, wealth is being extrapolated unjustly at the cost of one of the parties. In Surah Rahman, Allah (SWT) further says; “He has raised up the sky. He has set the balance so that you may not exceed in the balance. Weigh with justice and do not fall short in the balance.” (Qur’an 55: 7-9) This includes any balance or ‘mizan’. There is a moral balance, and an economic balance. We also have a trade balance, but in economics, this refers to the difference between a country’s exports and imports. The balance we should be concerned with is the balance of utility or contentment of both the producer and consumer.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, before he was a prophet was a merchant. Being a merchant teaches good character or ‘akhlaq’. If a merchant was known to be a liar, he would lose customers. On the other hand if the merchant was known to be trustworthy, he would receive customers on a regular basis. This is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, was known for his character and truthfulness. Without getting into too much detail, the lesson we can derive here, is that trade should be freespirited and in goodwill. If our trade today is ripping people off, then this goes against the nature of goodwill. MADE In Europe is a youth-led organisation which is dedicated to mobilising Muslim communities to restore the ‘mizan’, working

across a broad spectrum of areas concerning social justice, poverty and the environment. MADE in Europe is working in partnership with Zaytoun CIC, a Palestinian co-operative, to raise the profile of Fairtrade products among Muslim communities. Zaytoun’s products, which range from medjoul dates to organic olive oil, guarantee fair wages for Palestinian farmers. By supporting such initiatives we are making a positive contribution to supporting Palestine itself by enabling farmers to produce and sell products from their own land. Such initiatives go towards helping us as Muslims consume both what is halal and tayyib (wholesome) as Allah (SWT) has commanded us to in the Holy Qur’an. That is why we hope that the work

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Zaytoun and MADE in Europe carry out opens the doors for further provisions and alternatives for Muslims to consume and avoid goods which are produced unethically. Whether we call it ethical trade, trade justice or fair trade, the important point is to realise its significance. Ultimate justice is from the Divine, but Allah (SWT), Exalted is He, has put within us a sense of morality, of good, what is right and what is just. But when we become oblivious to injustices and crime, and when we do nothing about it, perhaps our own perceptions become distorted, and we become blinded and desensitised. This is when our spiritual state will suffer, and not only do we contribute to other peoples’ misery but we contribute to our own. That is why it is fundamental


as Muslims that we do our best to take greater concern in regards to where our products come from. We should all do our part to support movements like Fair Trade, which aim to bring us back to an ethical balance.

Tahmid Dewan







Sounds harder than fasting, right?

MADE in Europe – a Muslim-led movement of young people leading the fight against globThat’s the struggle 13 million people in the UK al poverty and injustice is calling YOU to be have to face. The UK is the world’s sixth larg- part of this challenge. est economy, yet 1 in 5 people in the UK live below our official poverty line. It’s a shocking By living on just £5 for five days (£1 per day) statistic and hard to fathom that UK citizens you will gain a better understanding of why are living under such dire circumstances. So we need to fight against global poverty and imagine what it’s like on a global scale? hunger. The LBL challenge will make you more conscious of poverty and hunger in a world Almost 50% of the world’s population – over which is increasingly technologically ad3 billion people - survive on less than $2.50 vanced but failing to even provide the bare a day (approx. £1.49). Over 1.3 billion peo- necessities for its inhabitants. ple live in extreme poverty, which is less than $1.25 a day (approx. 75p). The signs of poverty are prominent in our society. The Trussell Trust, the biggest netWith these facts in mind, what actions can you work of food banks in the UK, said that it take to raise more awareness about global fed 346,992 people nationwide between poverty and see an end to it? You can be one 2012 and 2013. From April 2013 – Septemof the 50,000 participants globally who have ber 2013 alone they fed 350,000 people. taken the Live Below the Line (LBL) challenge. Alarmingly, this is triple the amount of people they fed during the same period in 2012. Live Below the Line is an annual anti-poverty campaign which challenges participants to Our neglect and complacency about global feed themselves on the equivalent of the ex- hunger has an impact on other people across treme poverty line for five days. This year LBL the globe, as well as those just down the will run from 28 April 2014 – 2 May 2014. street. Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon

him, advised us to eat in moderation: to fill our stomach with one-third food, one-third drink, and one-third air. How many of us reading this can say that we actually adhere to that today?

by selling lunches which cost under £1 to make, but are sold for suggested donations. Feel free to use your creativity to fundraise! Last year Muslims across the UK took the challenge with MADE in Europe, including The Eco Muslim:

Nearly 50% of the food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. That’s over 7 million tonnes of food and drink that we throw away every year at home, and “I think it’s unfair that there is a single perover half of this is food and drink we could son in my affluent town who cannot afford have consumed. three meals a day. Allah provides for all but He also gives us the `Aql, the intellect, Now is the time to make long-term changes to share our provisions. This is part of the to our lifestyle so that we live more reeco-Jihad. The test is whether I’m willing to sponsibly and ethically. By living on just give up what I want, for someone else.” £5 for five days, you will experience why it’s absolutely paramount to fight against Sign up online with MADE in Europe now: global poverty and hunger. You can take part as a team - ask your family and friends to experience the LBL challenge with you. Not only will you have moral support from one another but you can pool your £5 budgets and buy food together, rationing it amongst yourselves. You can also fundraise for MADE in Europe

Ayesha Latif

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Young and Suicidal The latest suicide statistics have just been published, showing a welcome decrease in the number of young people under 35 who took their own life in 2012 (1,625), compared with 2011 (1,746). The charity PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) emphasises that while this is good news, there is no room for complacency. It is calling for more focus, additional resources and increased awareness among young people.

You might feel that no-one understands or that there is no way out. It is important to seek help. If you call the charity’s helpline HOPELineUK 0800 068 41 41, it is confidential and anonymous. You’ll speak with an experienced team member who will discuss your needs for coping and give you the practical advice and support to help you decide what to do.

You can also find helpful hints and tips at and never hesitate to call HOPELineUK 0800 068 41 41 you can also text 07786 209 697 or email

You can also call to ask help about The charity says that the main concerns supporting a friend who you may be raised by callers to its helpline over the worried about. They may have shared last few weeks have been relationship suicidal thoughts with you and you are worries, bullying and stress over study. concerned that talking with a tutor or PAPYRUS is the national charity At this time of year dissertations need to family member might betray your friend’s dedicated to preventing young suicides be ready for handing in; for some it is confidence. across the UK. revision time and generally there can be Above all it is important not to do considerable pressure over school and anything on the spur of the moment when college work. you’re upset. Be careful; drugs and We all feel stressed, worried or sad from alcohol can make you do things without Rosemary Vaux time to time. Lots of us feel like this, but thinking them through. sometimes it just feels a whole lot worse. 16

I’d like to share a true story, I learned about from Catherine Toyin Labinjo – The Excellence Coach; “I was sat on a bus and we stopped at a bus stop where there were quite a lot of people including a group of young boys in their midteens having a laugh and a joke, with hoods up and acting very boisterously. There was also a man in a wheelchair looking to get on the bus. As the ramp lowered from the bus to the pavement, one of the boys immediately went up to the man in the wheelchair and gestured to him (I couldn’t hear what was said). The man in the wheelchair nodded and the boy manoeuvred himself behind the wheelchair and began to push it towards the edge of the pavement and the ramp. As the wheelchair got to the ramp the boy struggled to align the wheelchair with the ramp, as it was obviously quite heavy for him and he struggled to overcome the incline of the ramp. One of his friends called out to him to reverse the wheelchair. As he did so, all the boys came towards the wheelchair and took a hold of it. Together, they straightened it up and aligned it with the ramp and


Healthy Living Books…Covers… Content Saira Nisa

Saira Nisa is the Founding Director of Living Wellbeing Ltd (, providing Women’s Motivational Training Courses, Life and Business Coaching and is also a Trainer for a London based firm. Saira is also a member of the Institute of Entrepreneurs and Enterprise. Originally from the West Midlands, born and raised in Birmingham, she now spends her time skillfully enjoying juggling family, friends, work and business between Birmingham and London.

together they pushed the wheelchair and they have been recognised as Muslims by the thankful gentleman on to the bus. Then the way they dress. There are others who they proceeded to wait for their own bus. are non-Muslim yet due to the colour of their skin or ethnic dress they too have put I was inspired by their teamwork, kind up with ill-treatment by the arrogant and nature, courteous manner and respect. ignorant for many reasons including being To look at them they would easily have mistaken for Muslims. been misjudged by their appearance and earlier mannerisms when having a laugh So what’s the point of sharing this story together. A closer look at them and each with you? was holding a bag for football boots and a couple were wearing football shorts. Catherine’s story actually contained a few They were on their way to do something more details which I have omitted. The productive with their Saturday morning. details give away the ethnic background of these youths and I have done this I was so encouraged and felt so happy deliberately. Why? Because this detail in that I had been able to witness their good particular is actually irrelevant, but what nature in action.” I can tell you is that just like many of your Muslim brothers and sisters, they too will I wanted to share Catherine’s story with have been judged by their skin colour and you as it is so relevant to the Muslim by the way of their dress… and then their community young and old. There are mannerisms. many people within the Ummah who, since the events of September 11th 2001, have How does this then apply to the Ummah? been subjected to abuse, both verbal and physical,and who have had to put up It’s simple. Beard or no beard, hijab or no with dirty looks from passers-by or other hijab, dark skin or light skin, people will passengers on the bus and all because always be judged, however our actions, to

determine the content of our character. If we remain conscious of the image that we portray of ourselves we would realise that is not necessarily that others need to change their perceptions of Muslims but rather that us Muslims must first and foremost better ourselves and ensure that every deed that we perform portrays the best of our character no matter where we are in the world and no matter what we do. We simply need to act in the best of ways and insha-Allah the other person’s reaction towards the Ummah will slowly start to change for the better; Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. (Qur’an 13: 11). My favourite quote, above from the Qur’an, holds so true and is relevant every day to each and every single one of us. We are so busy being Salafis, Ahmedis, Shias, Sunnis, Sufis as well as Pakistanis, Bengalis, Middle Eastern, Turkish or Arab, that we seem to have

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all forgotten how to simply be Muslim; one who submits to His Will. It doesn’t even have to start with something so big or difficult; it can start off with something so simple, yet effective enough to make a good, first impression. “And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an 4: 86) I would like to end by sharing what Catherine had to say about the youth, all of you; “There is goodness, in fact GREATNESS in the youth of today. They have great potential and the ability to be the leaders of tomorrow.” To Your Success! Saira


Life has its ups and downs You can talk confidentially online or by phone whenever you need to. Whatever your worry, it’s better out than in. ChildLine is a service provided by the NSPCC. Registered charity numbers 216401 and SC037717. 7244/11



Asiyla Radwan Willowbrook Farm mum Ruby taught Psychology at both Secondary and Adult Education. So the jump from highly theoretical careers to the practicality of the farm was a big move! But the environment and healthy eating was always an important issue in our household, so in a way, it was a logical continuation of their search for tayyib, halal food.

of rose-tinted idealism at play! For the benefit of our young readers, could you please describe the difference between organic and non-organic food?

In its simplest sense, organic means Thank you for agreeing to be natural. It means you don’t add or change interviewed for Fifteen21 youth anything in the natural environment. No magazine. How are you? chemical pesticides to kill off bugs, no My parents grew up in London, and all my herbicides full of hormones to force plants Very well, thank you, it’s a pleasure! childhood we’ve lived in increasingly rural to grow unnaturally fast or unnaturally areas, so I guess, ending up on a farm is big. No hormones and artificial additives the end of a journey that started in an in livestock feed either. Just like parents Could you please tell us more about inner city terrace! want their kids to stick to fresh fruit and yourselves; what are your backgrounds veg and cut out the crisps and chocolates, and how did owning a farm come It was a big change for all of us, and organic is the same kind of thing, only with about? it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why we our plants and animals. The healthier they started looking for land and a place to are, the healthier we will be. My parents both have a history in build our house. But I guess it was a desire academia, my dad Lutfi was a Geography to get in touch with nature, get back to the Non-Organic food is all about being the lecturer at Oxford University, and my basic, simple life. Certainly there was a lot biggest and most productive, having the


biggest animals, the most crops and the fastest growing. Organic is about putting the ethics back in farming, about caring for the land itself as much as the plants you grow or animals you raise on it. You have been at Willowbrook Farm since 2002, could you explain some of the challenges you have faced in raising the awareness of animal welfare amongst meat eaters, in particular Muslim consumers?

possible because the Muslim community has started to look for answers themselves. The struggle we’re facing now is reminding people how important the life of the animal is. Halal is only half the equation, as Muslims, we must make sure the animal has also had a tayyib, (wholesome) life, as well as a halal slaughter.

There is so much information available now about the intensive big industrial I think we’re lucky that interest in animal farming practices. People are certainly welfare has risen in recent years along starting to become more aware, and with the work we’re doing, so we’ve question how the super-cheap intensively managed to tap into a debate that is farmed meat can really be sustainable. already starting to spread. It’s nice to At the end of the day, when it comes to think we might have played a part in caring for ourselves and our families, raising awareness about where our meat we simply can’t afford to cut corners. comes from, but it’s certainly only been People are increasingly cutting down support us by joining our page on


meat intake, so that they can afford the healthier, natural option. It is a difficult choice to make, and everyone has to find where their own balance lies. The super-cheap options certainly look enticing, but deep down we know someone must be paying the true cost, whether that’s the small farmers pushed out of business, the animals themselves, or the land.

its own legs broken from the weight of its over-sized hormone fed body? Even if we give that a halal kill, how can we even consider an animal that has been through such an awful life as halal?

Similarly over-farming is a serious concern to meet demand. In some parts of the country you can purchase 3 chickens for £10! A significant proportion of Muslims eat meat every day. To many this would be considered Surely all halal meat is prepared in the as unethical and decadent; what are same ritual method, to the same Islamic your feelings on this? principles; does it really matter where our meat comes from? Again, everyone has to find their own balance on this issue, whether that’s eating Like I said above, halal is only part of the less meat entirely, or aiming to eat more equation. As Muslims we must look at how ethical meat where possible, or even the animal has lived. Consider a battery turning completely vegetarian (a radical hen, kept in a cage the size of an A4 option for many Muslims, myself included!). piece of paper for the whole of its life, We should also consider whether eating featherless from the cramped conditions, so much meat is healthy for us. A healthy 24

balanced diet doesn’t necessarily mean meat every day. Perhaps we could stand to eat less meat and set aside our budget for quality rather than quantity. Do you feel the food system is vulnerable as a result of over farming? What are the implications and solutions in your opinion? Oh Definitely! Over-farming sucks the nutrients out of the land. Farmers then pour chemicals into the ground to force their plants to grow big. These chemicals are washed out into our waterways. It’s easy to see the effects with weeds that clog our rivers and streams, and the decline in natural fish populations. Monoculture means a decline in natural plants and wild flowers, and fewer habitats for wild animals. These unnatural plants are fed to us, or

fed to livestock, they’re the first part in the chain. Then we have intensively farmed animals, living in awful conditions, existing only to grow and be sold. And of course, since they can be farmed on such a massive scale (all cramped in with each other) they can be sold cheaply, which means any small businesses, like ours, trying to cut out all those terrible practices and farm naturally, are very easily undercut. As for solutions, it can only be to stop intensive farming entirely. Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand to fix everything. But individual farmers can take on the responsibility to care for the environment and their livestock, and consumers can do their part in finding out where their food comes from. What was the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) in

the treatment of animals and farming of produce? There’s a lot of Hadith that makes clear the importance of not overburdening or treating animals harshly. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was adamant that animals that come under our control should be well treated. In fact, it is haram to kill and consume an animal that was damaged through the rearing process. In terms of farming produce, maintaining clean water supplies was obviously an important issue considering the environment the Prophet (peace be upon him) lived in. And there are Hadith that show the importance of avoiding pollution of waterways by domestic waste. While they obviously didn’t face the same problems we have with pollution and chemicals nowadays, even

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at that early stage they essentially lived an organic lifestyle and the Prophet (peace be upon herself) made sure extra care was taken to conserve and protect the natural environment. Not just that, but in the Qur’an, halal is always mentioned along with tayyib, which can be translated as natural, organic, or wholesome. And this shows the emphasis put on the raising/growing side of farming as well. Could you tell our readers more about your Open Days? We hope to organise an Open Day every month (InshaAllah). You can find information about dates and stay updated by checking out our blog or joining our mailing list. As for what we have on offer, we’re currently in lambing season, so our baby lambs are here to be fed and petted. In addition, our baby chicks are just getting big enough now to start thinking about venturing outside because when chicks are very small they have to stay inside 26

the barn near a heater to stay warm! We also have Gracie, our pony, who is always muddy in this weather and will be available for a bit of grooming and feeding. Don’t forget we are a farm and have the other animals you would expect, such as sheep, chickens, geese, turkeys and rabbits. Furthermore, there are guided farm walks with information on what we do on the farm and how we got here, as well as a tour of our eco cob building, our green energy (solar panels and wind turbines) and how our green ethics inform the way we live and farm. We also have our gourmet BBQ, as well as home-made cakes available in the cafe to keep everyone’s energy up! They should be fun-packed days. InshaAllah it doesn’t rain – but even if it does you will have a great time!

1 2 N E E FIFT

Benefits of Allotment Gardening and Growing Your Own Food In a 2011 survey of National Allotment Society members, nearly every person said their love of allotment gardening comes from the fresh air, home grown produce, healthy lifestyle and like-minded people that this activity offers. In a recent survey by Natural England, that looked at aspects of well-being, in relation to engagement with, and attitudes to, the natural environment and outdoor activities it was found that overall the wellbeing scores were highest amongst those who took part in gardening and those who buy seasonal or locally grown food. If managed properly, an allotment can produce enough food to significantly supplement a family’s weekly shop, with fresh fruit and vegetables over the entire year. This does require 28

hard work and dedication, but even the smallest crop grown, is money saved from the supermarket. Many allotment owners also grow fruit and vegetables that are either difficult to find in the supermarket or very expensive.

cancer, especially on very hot, sunny days. Did you know that just 30 minutes of gardening on your allotment can burn around 150 calories? That is the same as doing low impact aerobics.

Often located near housing developments, allotments are Spending as little as 15 minutes essential habitats for wildlife. a day out in the summer sunshine By cultivating an allotment you can build up your levels of are helping to keep biodiversity vitamin D, if you are fair skinned. levels buoyant. Without these And for those whose skin is ‘green corridors’ wildlife would naturally darker, anywhere up become stranded by impassable to 90 minutes of sun exposure concrete, meaning our ecosystem will help your vitamin levels. would suffer, crop yields would So working your allotment fall and the world would be effectively helps your body to a poorer place. Just 1 square ward off some illnesses and raise metre of land can support your serotonin levels, making hundreds of different species, you happier and healthier! But including the vitally important please be sensible and don’t bees and other pollinators who forget about the risks of skin help us to produce our own food.

Even though supermarkets are making more of an effort to source local and sustainable produce, you can’t beat growing your own; no longer will you be talking about food miles, but instead food metres.

and even today we operate as an Industrial and Provident Society, whereby we are owned, managed and funded by our members.

section and useful leaflets. We produce a quarterly magazine for our members and joining the NAS gives plot-holders access to discounts on quality seeds and other benefits. Allotment gardening is the We are a small but dynamic only recreational activity organisation, comprising of six The National Allotment enshrined in law, meaning paid staff members based at Society that through our in-house our head office in Corby, plus lawyer, we fight for the rights a Management Committee Here at the National Society of allotment holders and comprising of our ten Regional of Allotment and Leisure advise in regards to tenancy Representatives (including our Gardeners (NSALG), we agreements, land disputes, rent Chairman) and three Local serve over 125,000 members, rises and misunderstandings. Authority Reps, a President and assisting them to acquire, On a national level we serve Treasurer – all of whom are maintain, manage and the allotment movement by volunteers. In 2011, His Royal enjoy allotments across the lobbying the Government, Highness the Prince of Wales country. We are the national to ensure the provision of kindly agreed to become representative body for the allotments is met and statutory the Patron of the Society. allotment movement in the UK allotment sites are not sold The Society is also a founder and have recently adopted off or developed without member of the International the working name of ‘The consultation. Office which represents over National Allotment Society’, to 3.5million allotment gardeners help people better understand We have a dynamic new in Northern Europe and who we are and what we do. website full of the latest news Scandinavia. Our origins date from 1901, and events, it also contains an as a members’ co-operative, expanding growing advice support us by joining our page on


What is an Allotment?

long, but in the first instance you should contact your local Allotments have been in existence authority – this will be your for hundreds of years, with Parish, Town, Borough, City or evidence pointing back to Anglo- District Council. They will be able Saxon times. But the system we to provide you with a directory recognise today has its roots of local sites, from where you’ll in the nineteenth-century, when be able to add your name to a land was given over to the list for your nearest site. labouring poor for the provision of food growing. This measure Other allotment sites are was desperately needed thanks provided by private landlords, to the rapid industrialisation of including organisations like the the country and the lack of a Church of England. Hunt out welfare state. In 1908 the Small your local allotment society and Holdings and Allotments Act ask them if they know of any came into force, placing a duty available plots or who manages on local authorities to provide the land which they use if it’s not sufficient allotments, according to owned by the local authority. demand. If there appears to be a shortage of allotments in your How Do You Get An area, then we recommend you Allotment? find five like-minded people who would like an allotment and are Getting an allotment registered council tax payers. can take time as All local authorities have a waiting lists are mandatory obligation to provide


allotments and, if there are at least six of you, you are entitled to write to the council and ask them to increase or provide local provision. If you form an association you may be able to work together with your council to find land and obtain funding for a new site. The NAS has been around for over a hundred years and we hope to be around for the next hundred years, we are working hard to reach our membership, to recruit new younger members and to encourage children and young people to be aware of where their food comes from and acquire the skills needed to grow their own food. Di Appleyard



Tim Aldred Head of Policy and Research at the Fairtrade Foundation “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese proverb

empowering communities from the ground up. For him, Fairtrade is not just a job, “it’s a real privilege.”

“People have no idea how much impact ‘Charity’ itself is not a sustainable means the contents of their shopping basket can of helping people because charity itself have on someone thousands of miles away,” is defined as “the voluntary giving of says Tim. “Fairtrade is about collective help, typically in the form of money, to power which means that local farmers are those in need” (Oxford English Dictionary). in a position to negotiate their own prices Fairtrade is different. It creates and sustains for their own produce with multi-national livelihoods, strengthens education and corporations”. supports and invests in local communities. Fairtrade is a unique organisation because The model sounds simple; as consumers we it works at the grassroots. It works to create have power, power to influence businesses dignified relationships of equality and is through what we choose to buy. Tim went absolutely committed to the implementation on to explain the important role that we all of fair terms of trade for farmers and have as consumers and that we must exercise workers in the developing world. our “shopper’s power, because ultimately Tim Aldred, Head of Policy and Research at it is our shopping choices that determine the Fairtrade Foundation, is dedicated to livelihoods around the world”.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a phrase we have witnessed being thrown about by corporations to attract customers. Over the last few years Corporate Social Responsibility used to be about social projects run by businesses from the profits they made, but things are changing. Social benefits are now at the heart of businesses and not a surplus PR activity as they once used to be.

however, there is more to fairtrade than just bananas.

When asked about challenges, Tim went on to explain that the “biggest challenge that Fairtrade faces is that people think the work is done - but there is so much more to do.” The issues surrounding ethical trade and business are vast and complex, because they include issues such as human rights, the environment and social Thanks to organisations like the Fairtrade issues - for example, education and even Foundation, businesses are now beginning sustainability of produce itself. “The fair to realise that we - the consumers - do wages are a step in the right direction but not want tainted goods; we do not want that’s not where our work stops, because products and services from businesses that there are so many farmers out there who cannot demonstrate ethics and values. are not a part of the Fairtrade network Fairtrade is a movement - a movement and are being exploited.” which is growing and thriving, with more than 550 Fairtrade Towns, over 1,000 The Fairtrade system currently works Fairtrade Schools and 170 Fairtrade with 1.3 million people - farmers and Universities, and more than 7,000 workers - across more than 70 developing Fairtrade Faith Groups. Their impact is countries. The road to equality has been huge and the difference they make in paved but it is not complete. individual lives is tangible. Currently a third of bananas in supermarket shelves A personal success story for Tim is the are sourced ethically with fairtrade school that Fairtrade was able to open principles and are a success symbol; recently in Columbia because “a school

is a means for education and education means we help to keep children off the streets, away from drugs and violence. Seeing this school in Columbia inspired me and reminded me of the real tangible difference Fairtrade makes to individuals”. There are currently 1.8 billion fairtrade goods, but we need to increase that number, Tim went on to explain that people need to buy fairtrade so that more businesses are pressured to adopt ethics and fairtrade practices. He also thanked the supporters who make the work of Fairtrade possible – us, the consumers. Support Fairtrade and support their campaigns. Fairtrade. Real people. Real livelihoods. Equality. Respect. Education. What is there not to support? Interview conducted by Soleha Khawar

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Rumaysa Malik

When Studying Something Difficult

Allâhumma lâ sahla illâ mâ ja‘altahu sahlâ wa anta taj‘alu al-hazana idhâ shi’ta sahlâ Oh Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy.


FREE Online Magazine

for Young Muslims of the 21st Century

Stories of the Prophets (pbut) Book Reviews & Poetry Inspiring Role Models Muslim Heritage ...and much more!

What is your current read?

leave this world.

Do you have your very own ‘Current-Read’ list?

Every day there is something new to learn.

Or do you dislike reading?

We need to exercise our mind daily – just like we exercise our body.

Well, my guess is that if YOU are reading this then you do enjoy reading! Not just reading, but learning!

YOU Are What YOU


I know that when we’re at school, college or university we have so much to read for our lessons or projects and sometimes we don’t like what we read. Maybe that puts us off reading things which we will enjoy? “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” (Joseph Addiso) Learning does not end at formal schooling but continues until we


We know that the first word of the Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was READ. There is clearly a reason why Allah (SWT) revealed this word. It is through reading that we understand who we are, life and the world we live in. Reading also expands our knowledge and our minds, and helps us to understand our fellow humans as well as different cultures. Right now is the perfect time for

you to create your very own ‘Current Read’ list.

read what you want.

Make the sincere intention to read, read, and read, then apply, implement and teach others what you learn.

No one is restricting you from reading You may be saying; ‘But Nadia, I already something that is not part of your current have so much to read and I don’t have course of study. It is time to unleash the hidden genius any more time to add in more books!’ within YOU! I mean, just because you may be studying Actually, that is incorrect! law doesn’t mean you can’t read a history book, or language book or even Follow the 7 steps below to start and We think that we don’t have enough time; computer programming. create your very own ‘Current-Read’ List. however each human who has ever lived and will ever live has the same exact “Read and your Lord is the most 1. Qur’an – This is our guide and our selfnumber of hours in the day – 24 hours. Generous” (Qur’an; 96: 3) help book. It is up to us to utilise this time effectively Geniuses are not created overnight and If we don’t start the day with the Qur’an (this is a whole topic for another article no-one achieved greatness without being and end it with the Qur’an then we are insha’Allah). learned. losing out and no amount of self-help books can help us. We will still be empty. If you start reading now then you’ll be You have a lot to offer the world with opening up doors to treasures that you your unique skills, abilities and talents. 2. Tafsir – Get a good tafsir book and at thought never existed. least once a week schedule in 30 minutes Nurture that and delve into books. to study the tafsir and take notes. You’ll also be ahead of your peers too! Make it your very own personal To be more effective read the tafsir of But since we’re not selfish here – we’ll get development mission to learn and read the current juz you are reading – it will them involved too. at least one book a week (okay then, one help you greatly insha’Allah. a month!). Reading is fun – especially when you So, here is my challenge for you today. 3. Get out your journal and write down support us by joining our page on


all the different areas of your life you want to master and learn. Nadia Leona Lewis

Our pious predecessors were learned in so many different disciplines and we can too. 4. Go to the library and get one book in each area you want to master. 5. Do a Google search for the bestsellers in each of those areas. 6. Start your own home library – save money and get those books – they will help you in years to come insha’Allah. 7. Start a book club with your friends and commit to reading one book from everyone’s chosen area each month – you’ll be amazed at all the knowledge you’ll gain! I personally have done and still do the above seven steps – so it is a proven method! Now go get on it and READ!


SWT subhanahu wa taala Glorious is He and He is exalted


A Day in the Life of… Prophet Muhammed (saw) - Rebuilding the House of Allah (SWT)

Ten years after the Prophet (SAW)’s marriage to Khadijah (RA), there was a great flood in Makkah that swept towards the Ka’bah that Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) first built, almost demolishing it. The walls were now exposed to the wearing factors of nature that weakened and cracked its wall. It was a low building of white stones no more than nine arms length. It was also roofless leaving thieves’ easy access to its treasures inside.

on in harmony until the time came to put the sacred Black Stone in its proper place. Argument and strife broke out among the chiefs that lasted for days, each tribe contesting for the honour of placing the stone in its position.

The whole conflict got to a point where there were tribes ready to draw swords against each other, when the oldest among the chiefs, Abu Umaiyah bin Mughirah, made a proposal. He said, “Let him, who enters the Sanctuary first At first, the Quraish were reluctant to of all, decide on the point”. Luckily, rebuild the Ka’bah but soon felt that everyone agreed and accepted this rebuilding it would safeguard its holiness proposal. and position. They came to the conclusion that they would only use money from By the will of Allah (SWT), it was the pure sources for this great task. Messenger of Allah (SAW) who was to be the first to enter the mosque the next Each tribe was responsible for rebuilding day. On seeing him, people present a part of the Ka’bah and the work went cried out “Al-Ameen (the trustworthy)


Maulana Sayful Alam

SWT subhanahu wa taala Glorious is He and He is exalted

Each tribe was responsible for rebuilding a part of the Ka’bah and the work went on in harmony until the time came to put the sacred Black Stone in its proper place...

has come. We are content to abide by his decision”. Even before prophethood, the Prophet (SAW) was known as Al-Ameen by the people of Makkah. Such was the status Allah (SWT) granted Muhammad (SAW), that even after the dawn of Islam, the arch-enemies that tortured and fought against him, could not deny his trustworthiness.

its proper place. Then Muhammad (SAW) with his own hands lifted the Black Stone and fixed it in the same position that it still remains today. Unfortunately, the Quraish ran out of the licit money they had collected, so they ended up having to eliminate an area covering six arms length on the northern side of the Ka’bah, which today is known as Al-Hateem. This is still considered to be part of the Ka’bah and The Prophet (SAW) requested that the praying here, one can be sure of great Black Stone was to be placed in the centre reward, Insha-Allah. of a sheet, and that the sheet was to be lifted by different representatives of different tribes and then carried towards

SAW sallallahu alayhi wa salaam May God’s blessings and peace be with him

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AS alayhi salaam Upon him/her be peace RA radi Allahu ‘anha May God be pleased with her


Islamic Help in Tanzania Standing by the check in, a little after 5pm, on a cold and windy Thursday evening, I don’t think any of us truly knew what to expect. It was hard to imagine that after all of those months of fundraising, from standing in town centres asking for donations to organising charity dinners, we were finally on our way. On the way to Africa, taking part in Mission Possible went further than just raising the money, it meant delivering it too.

the days until we left but now she’d fallen ill and was going to be travelling with a heavy head and a horrid cough. She knew that this trip would test her physically and mentally, but that ultimately it would be worth it. Sabia had mixed emotions, there was the

Back to the airport, where our team of both volunteers and staff had gathered, it was exciting to be surrounded by so many different personalities. There was Tanzeela, who admittedly was getting a little frustrated because some members were yet to arrive. There was the anticipation too, the eagerness but also the feeling of uncertainty because Africa seemed like a world away. Usamah was excited, literally, he couldn’t stop jumping slight anxiety of leaving her baby son in around. Nahida had been counting down the care of his dad and the excitement 42

of what was ahead. And me, Mehvish? I just wanted to get there and meet the people for whom we’d spent so many months fundraising for. I wanted to take everything in, from the climate to the stories that they shared. The journey, to put it simply, was long. It took six hours to get to Dubai, where we stopped for two hours, and then another six hours to Dar as Salaam. We arrived on Valentine’s Day and all of the girls were given roses which was really sweet of the staff there. The journey wasn’t complete yet though, there was also the 13-seater plane and then the car journeys as we travelled towards our accommodation. The journey was exhausting and tiresome but we were finally here. Africa. As we looked around, I think collectively, we all felt as though it was surreal. It was beautiful, humid beyond even our imagination but also calm. Serene. As though everything that

we are usually stressed about at home, such as work, university and exams, suddenly didn’t matter anymore. So here we go. Africa. 2014. Mission Possible.

Tanzania Mission Possible Team

And luckily, we’re taking you guys along with us so keep reading and we’ll keep you posted. For now, Asalaamu Alaykum support us by joining our page on


Nominate a Role Model! Over the past 19 issues Fifteen21 has showcased many inspirational role-models from the Muslim community in the UK. From youth activists like Neelam Rose, to Humza Yousaf, a trail-blazing young politician in Glasgow to Aisha Yasmin, a young aspiring designer from Birmingham hoping to make it big in the Big Apple! If you would like to nominate an inspiring role-model to be featured in a future issue of Fifteen21 please email us at with the following details;

e m a il N a l l m u E F e ls er / d b o m M u N le e o n n R o o h s r P e • p ct s a i t h n t o t ou b • C k n o w n ) a u yo s f i e ( r i p ins t s) a d r h o W 0w 5 • 1 x ma (

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

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Out on Monday 30th June 2014



MADE in Europe Monowara Gani Are you the first Muslim youth-led charity in the fight against poverty and injustice? Yes we are the first Muslim youth-led charity dedicated to campaigning on poverty and injustice. We feel it is very important that we equip our future generations of young people with the tools and the knowledge to campaign and stand up against poverty and injustice from the root in order to break the cycle of poverty which we see all over the world. Giving financial charity is important, but without tackling the problem at its core means that we will continue to pour money into a neverending hole. The alternative option that should go hand in hand with giving charity, is to understand why poverty and injustice is happening and look at ways in which we can campaign and change


policies that continue the injustice we see today. We want our future generations to be the leaders against these issues, with truly Islamic solutions. In addition to your many projects on leading an ethical life from ‘Drinking Tap’ to Ethical Fashion, and greener living, you are also raising awareness on eating tayyib. Could you explain what you mean by tayyib to our readers? The word ‘Tayyib’ encompasses many meanings related to something being pure, wholesome and good. In the Qur’an when Allah (SWT) talks about consuming halal, he couples it with tayyib meaning that what we eat or consume or purchase should have a purity to it in that from the start to the end, the product is not only halal, but

has been sourced without harm, injustice or oppression. In the Qur’an, Muslims are ordered by Allah (SWT) to eat that which is Halal (permissible) and Tayyib (good and pure). Whilst most of us are conscious of whether or not our food is halal e.g. whether our meat is slaughtered according to Islamic Law, very few of us investigate whether our food is (1) good and pure (2) whether it has been traded ethically or not (3) whether any person or animal has been exploited or treated unfairly during its production. Allah (SWT) has mentioned these ethics for us beautifully in the Qur’an where He says: “Give full measure and full weight in justice, and wrong not people in respect of their goods” [Qur’an, chapter 11, verse 85] and He also says: “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is

to you a clear enemy” [Qur’an, chapter 2, verse 168].

responsibility to ensure the ethics are maintained are as follows:

You say ‘Fair Trade is Islamic Trade’. Why do you feel Muslims living in the West have lost sight of this Islamic ethic of buying and selling?

Farmer [producer/seller] – to ensure the quality of the produce is sold at the price it is worth and that he/she is not selling poor quality or diseased beans under the disguise of good quality beans.

There are many reasons for this and to understand this better, we need to look at it on two levels; (1) the business level (2) the consumer level. On the business level, the ethics of buying and selling is the responsibility of those individuals who are exchanging goods in order to make it available to the consumers. For example coffee beans. If a farmer [producer/seller] is producing a certain number of tonnes of coffee beans to sell to a buyer who will then sell them to a company [such as Nescafe], the

Buyer [middle person] – to ensure he/ she gives a fair price to the farmer for his coffee beans without undercutting or purchasing below the actual value. This can cause the farmer to not only get into debt, but the farmer is being forced to sell his produce at below-market value which is a form of oppression and injustice since the farmer has to sell his coffee beans, otherwise they will start to deteriorate and then have to be thrown

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away. 2nd Buyer [Nescafe] – to ensure that they are not undercutting the farmers by demanding cheaper produce which forces the buyer [middle person] to offset his/her cost or profits by forcing them onto the farmer. The most money is made by companies like Nescafe [and retailers] and if they are not fair in their dealings, then this trickles down to the farmer who is the biggest loser of all the individuals in this chain of buying and selling. Companies like Nescafe have the power to ensure farmers get a fair price by either refusing to purchase from a buyer [middle person] that has undercut a farmer, or buying directly from the farmer at the real market value. On the consumer level, we do not get to witness the dealings of buying and


selling that happens behind the scenes and the most we know or are concerned with is the price of the product on the shop shelf. We are surrounded by a lot of products which are not only abundant, but the shelves never get empty and are continuously stocked up. Consequently, we want more and we are constantly mesmerised by the cheap offers, buy one get one free, buy two get the third free which continue to fuel our demand for more. When shelves are full and there are always cheap deals to be had, we as consumers never get to experience or realise that somewhere down the line, someone is being unjustly affected by our desire for more and cheaper products. We never truly understand the Islamic ethics of buying and selling because we are only experiencing this process at the consumer level. This can change if we are more

aware and conscious about how food is produced, what it requires to produce food, the level of waste that occurs due to our consumerist behaviour, and not demanding everything to be sold cheaply, and unethically, which results in injustice and oppression to the very people who we rely on to produce our foods. One of the biggest issues today is the level of food waste. Every year, the world wastes or bins nearly 50% of the food it produces, despite the fact that all this food is actually edible! That’s basically around 1.3 – 2 billion tonnes of food. Shockingly, nearly 1 billion people go hungry to bed every day and this food could easily feed all these people that go hungry. The world has enough food to feed everyone, but not everyone has enough food to eat. The root issue here is that if we had ethics in buying and selling, we could eradicate hunger

today. What is the reality for many farmers who are underpaid for their produce? The reality is that if farmers are underpaid for their produce, which they have every right to be paid the right amount for, then farmers will start to go into debt and borrow money from loan sharks just to be able to meet the costs to grow, irrigate and cultivate their land. Many farmers have already abandoned their farms because they are unable to maintain them due to the undercutting and underpayment of their produce. Their families suffer as a result, because they are unable to meet the basic costs of living, let alone education and healthcare. This then continues the cycle of poverty for that family as their children are unable to grow up healthy

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and get an education to change the situation of their family. The biggest killer for farmers is the poverty cycle which they are unable to break through. If sellers had true ethics in buying/selling, they would not undercut farmers for their own greedy, selfish ends.

particularly the ethics taught in the Qur’an as a preventative measure [rather than solution driven which requires the problem to have happened in the first place, whereas Islam teaches ethics that avoid the problem from even occurring] then we will go a long way in achieving change against market forces of supply Can anything really be achieved against and demand. Take for example carrots. market forces of supply and demand? Farmers in the UK are driven by consumers This is a huge issue for farmers in the who require perfectly shaped carrots. UK too. The market surely dictates How many of us would eat a carrot that prices? is bent in the middle or a bit twisted? Farmers grow at least a third more carrots Yes, absolutely. This all boils down to from their original quota than what education. The more we are aware of supermarkets will buy simply because what happens behind the scenes for they need to replace the poorly formed farmers, how deals are done, unethical carrots with the perfect shaped carrots practices on the part of companies who in case they get a bad yield, or that the make the most profits, the demands from carrots are not all perfect. If farmers are supermarket chains, how our consumerist able to meet the quota they need then demands drives the whole cycle, and those extra carrots they have grown will


have to be binned. This is food waste on a large scale simply because the consumer demands a perfect shaped carrot. Now if we were to say that we would eat carrots no matter what shape they came out of the earth, then not only would we reduce the waste of food, but we will push the market force. Allah (SWT) teaches us the ethics of not being wasteful in the Qur’an and He tells us that He does not love those who are wasteful “…eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters. [Qur’an, 7:31]. If we followed these ethics that we are commanded to practice, we would not see the waste we see today and it becomes a preventative measure rather than finding solutions post production of too many carrots. The best example we can see that has worked today is caged eggs versus free range eggs. Our demand for better quality life for chickens has resulted in what was once

a 95% dominated caged-egg market, to a 50-50 split now, if not most of the eggs being free range/barn and a limited variety being caged eggs. If young people would like to raise awareness amongst their fellow students and family, what can they do? They can get in touch with MADE in Europe and we can provide various toolkits on campaigning on these issues as well as material/resources that can be used, and advice on making change happen. We are always happy to hear from young people, and welcome any questions, support or opportunities to keep the cause MADE stands for, continuing for generations to come.

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True to Life An exhibition of incredible contemporary photographs by internationallyacclaimed artists from the Middle East opens at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on 7th June 2014. ‘True to Life? New Photography from the Middle East’ encourages visitors to question the authenticity of what appears to be represented in photography, and explores what is real, staged or imaginary. The exhibition features a selection of loaned works from the British Museum and Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum’s fascinating collection of major names and emerging talents in photography from the Middle East. These will be shown alongside works from Birmingham’s own collection. From Tunisia to Iran, True to Life? takes visitors on a journey investigating the role of photography in the Middle East and considers


debates surrounding migration and the representation of women. Rebecca Bridgman, Curator of Islamic & South Asian Art at Birmingham Museums comments; “We are delighted to be displaying this incredible collection of photography to our visitors. The exhibition showcases one of the most exciting artistic mediums emerging from the Middle East, providing an insight into the region’s rapidly-evolving social and political landscapes. The Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography was a 2011 Art Fund initiative for the British Museum and V&A to acquire a collection of 20th century and contemporary photography and digital images by artists from the Middle East (whether living in their countries of origin or outside). The Art Fund awarded the two museums, grants of over £150,000 each for the collection and additional support for the tour of the collection.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said; “This initiative by the Birmingham curators responds brilliantly to the diversity of the city’s young public. We are very pleased to see this important collection being deployed in such an imaginative way.” ‘True to Life? New Photography from the Middle East’ is at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from 7 June to 2 November 2014. Entry to the exhibition is free of charge.

Najma Jahan


Isl mic support us by joining our page on



poetry 54

Do you wanna know her?

Do you still wanna know her?

Do you wanna try?

Do you still wanna try?

Her life’s a little complicated

Her life’s still a little complicated

Let me tell you why,

Let me tell you why,

She feels unloved unwanted

Besides her scars from cutting

She cries 6 times a day

She’s got bruises everywhere

Her heart is nearly broken

Her mother tends to hit her

She’s in a lot of pain

And doesn’t even care

She cuts herself to feel

Her dads an alcoholic

That’s how she plays her games

He screams and yells at night

She smiles at the blade

And when he’s finally finished

Like blood is summer rain

He says she’ll be alright

Maureen LeFanue

So are you scared to know her?

So are you still scared to know her?

Are you scared to try?

Are you still scared to try?

Do you think her life’s a little complicated?

You think her life’s complicated?

If not let me tell you why,

Too late that girl died,

She screams and cries for help

They found her on her bed

Maybe a way out

Her throat slit every which way

She’s trapped in a world of hate

They waved her death away

A world of lies and tears

Like it was an everyday thing

She lies on her bed at night

She didn’t deserve to die

And wonders “Why am I still here?”

She deserved to live

And when she falls asleep

But I guess when you live in Hell

Nightmares haunt her dreams

Heaven always wins.

Free and confidential advice

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HopeLineUK 0800 068 41 41

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Recipes Nusayba Malik

Mint Lemonade with Agave Nectar

Ingredients: •1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice •1/2 cup raw agave nectar (health food e.g. Holland and Barrett) •1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves • 6 to 8 cups water


Preparation Blend the lemon juice, agave nectar, and mint leaves on high speed for 10 to 15 seconds or until the mint leaves are well blended. Pour into a pitcher and add 6 cups of the water. Keep adding water until it reaches your desired strength. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices and refrigerate for 1 hour. Enjoy your fresh sugar-free lemonade!

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