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By the students of Imam Zakariya Academy under the guidance of Mufti Shah Sadruddin Online version available at:

Miswak: Nature’s Toothbrush By Dr Suheil Patel (6th Year student)

‘The use of Miswak brings cleanliness of the mouth and the pleasure of Allah c’ (Bukhari). The Miswak, a twig from the Peelo tree, has been the Sunnah (practice) of all the Ambiyaa p. For centuries, Miswak was known to be affective against tooth decay and gum disease, yet scientific research has only recently validated this age-old tradition. In fact, as more research is carried out into its miraculous properties, oral health researchers are identifying many more benefits of using the Miswak and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. In this article, I aim to present some contemporary research into the benefits of Miswak and maintaining good oral health in general. It has been shown that only a couple of minutes after tooth brushing, decay causing bacteria firmly adhere to the tooth surface. If these bacteria are allowed to remain for 3 hours or more, the initial tooth decay damage will begin and even more harmful bacteria will attach to the tooth surface. These bacteria then attack the tiny blood vessels on the gum and make them susceptible to bleeding. They can only be removed by effective brushing with abrasive fibres, such as Miswak or even a toothbrush. However, unlike brushing with a standard toothbrush, the Miswak has been found to inhibit this initial bacterial growth and retard the build-up of plaque, helping to improve oral health and freshen breath; thus providing dual benefit by acting as an anti-microbial and retardant. Studies on Miswak In 1986, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the use of Miswak, concluding that Miswak is “as effective as tooth-brushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis (early gum disease), and that the antimicrob-ial effect of S. persica is beneficial for prevention

and treatment of periodontal disease.” (Swedish Dental Journal; 2004). Further, a Scientific study (2003) which compared the use of Miswak with ordinary toothbrushes found results to be in clear favour of the users of Miswak, provided they had been given proper instruction in how to brush using it. It is here that we can glimpse the beauty of the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad g of using the Miswak at every opportunity. We also get a scope of the wisdom behind beautiful narrations extolling the Miswak’s virtues such as: “Make a regular practice of Miswak for verily it is the purification for the mouth and a means of the pleasure of the Lord” (Bukhari). It is quite unfortunate that we Muslims who should be leading by example, in fact have some of the worst oral hygiene indices in the country; a matter of great emba-rrassment and shame. The NHS has recently been working on a project to help the Asian community (with particular attention to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities) to improve oral health. How can we Muslims invite others to this beneficial Sunnah when we in fact neglect oral health? There are serious implications of neglecting oral health. Leading researchers have identified 2 major lines of enquiry currently being analysed. These include the harmful effects of neglecting oral health on heart disease. Harmful decay causing bacteria also damage the heart and lead to general ill health. Research has also shown poor oral health leading to premature births and difficult pregnancies in women. Did you know there are more bacteria in your mouth than the number of people in the world!!! Even more astounding is the fact that minerals in Miswak are effective against every single harmful one of these!!! In light of the above discussion I would like to highlight a -1-

few points. The first is that the research illustrates two themes: 1, the importance of oral health and 2, the clear physical benefits of using Miswak- also recognised by the medical world. As Muslims who claim to follow the teachings of the Qur’an and the way of Muhammad g, these two facts should already be well known to us. It is hoped that the few benefits outlined above will encourage more of us to utilise the Miswak, but I would like to make one further point. As Muslims we should see the physical benefits of Miswak as secondary and should be prepared to use the Miswak out of the love of our prophet g. It should be enough for us to use the Miswak that the Messenger himself used it and instructed us to use it. Our primary goal for using the Miswak should be to attain the pleasure of Allah c by following the teachings of His Messenger g.The physical benefits are an example of the abundant wisdom behind this practice which would be unknown to the common individual. What is more compelling about the Miswak is the spiritual benefit to be attained in the hereafter. The reward of salah offered after one has used a Miswak is 70 times superior to the salah offered without it. (Musnad Ahmad). We must make a sincere effort to implement this beautiful Sunnah into our lives and benefit not only from tremendous rewards but also excellent general health. The Miswak should become one of our necessities remaining with us wherever we go. It should be kept alongside a toothbrush in the bathroom so it can be used when brushing teeth, before going to bed etc. A small Miswak should also be kept in one’s pocket/bag so that it can be used when performing wudhu at university, work, and outdoors. A little effort with the right intention can reap huge rewards.

The Book on Our Shelves By Naeem Hussain (2nd Year Student) Has it come to a point where Muslims are inevitably falling into a ditch of woeful ignorance in regards to the Book which sits comfortably in its nicely sewn cover on our lofty shelves? Our community is becoming exponentially ignorant to the hidden gems in this Book. We claim and believe that there is nothing like it, for over 1400 hundred years it hasn’t been changed and no one can change it. Yet at the same time we remain hidden from the points which make the Qur’an unique. The question then follows is; what are these gems? Many of us are aware of the miracles of the Holy Qur’an, and are familiar with various works which highlight how the Qur’an contains knowledge being proven by Science now. However, was it the miracles of science which captivated the tongues and minds of the 7th century Arabs? Obviously not! Why was it, that the eloquent Arabs of that time, who would pride themselves upon the ability to recite poetry at will, and would even hold competitions to decide the best amongst them in language, could find no response to the beauty of the Qur’an. Experts of their time, such as Utba ibn Rabi’a, famed for his ability to manipulate the Arabic language to bolster his ideas, was left dumbfounded by the poetic nature of a single verse of the Qur’an, to such an extent that he had to admit defeat and accept this was not the word of a man. The message which was recited unto him was no ordinary message, rather a message from a source with no fault, absolute perfection and whose words, structured and chosen in such a manner rendering hearts to melt, eyes to weep, and foreheads to submit. It was delivered to him in the same tongue which he had mastered yet the words overcame him. How the Qur’an delivers its message to mankind are the very gems which are the cause of its inimitability, the cause of a revolution which was the most paramount in history and is an area which is lost to most of us. Its literary

form shamed the masters of Arabic and is a subject which needs to be revived so we can view and understand the Qur’an from an angle which we’re not used to seeing.

Book’ (only in one instance is the phrase “this Book” used). So when Allah c uses the word ‘Book’, He c puts it further away because he says ‘THAT Book’ and when He says Qur’an he puts it near because He says ‘THIS Qur’an’. Why then has Allah c made such a distinction?

“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain” (Surah Al Hashr)

The word Book, ‘al-kitaab’, comes from the word to write and ‘al-kitaab’ is something which is written or documented. Was the Qur’an already written in its complete form during the process of its revelation? Yes, the entire Qur’an was already written in the Preserved Tablet. And this Preserved Tablet is with Allah c, so the actual book is far. Hence the most appropriate word to use in this instance is THAT Book.

“That Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil)” (Surah Al Baqarah)

Another reason for using the phrase ‘THAT BOOK’, is that the association of the word ‘THIS’ with the word ‘Book’ may be taken to mean that the Book is from this planet. To negate the possibility of this incorrect view, Allah c has used the phrase ‘THAT BOOK’ so as to make clear that the origin of the Qur’an is from Allah c. As for the word Qur’an, one of its root meanings is ‘to recite’ and as the recitation of the Qur’an takes place on the earth, it is more appropriate to say THIS Qur’an, indicating it being close. One aspect which makes the Qur’an a literary marvel is the choice of words used by Allah c. Consider the following highlighted portions of these verses. The meaning of ‘dhalika’ is ‘that’ and the meaning of ‘hadha’ is ‘this’. The phrase ‘this book’ clearly indicates the book being closer than the phrase ‘that book’. So when we want to describe an object which is far we say ‘that’ or ’dhalika’ and for something which is close we say ‘this’ or ‘hadha’. What we find in the Qur’an is, on multiple instances, the phrase “this Qur’an” is used and “That book” is used, never “that Qur’an” and rarely ‘this -2-

This is only one example as to how Allah communicates with the people and the intricacy in which he delivers the manual for leading our lives. It is therefore no surprise why non Muslim scholars of the Qur’an, those who do not believe in its message, yet after studying the miraculous nature of the words and the cohesive sentence structure are compelled to say: “As tangible signs, Qur’anic verses are expressive of an inexhaustible truth; they signify meaning layered with meaning, light upon light, miracle after miracle.” May Allah c give us the ability to attach ourselves with the Qur’an, and realise the truly miraculous nature of its verses. Aameen

The tongue is a potent gift from Allah c, through which we enter into the fold of Islam and can also leave the fold of Islam. So powerful can be the influence of the tongue that the result of its movement can bear consequences for the rest of the body. The Qur’an provides us with excellent guidance on how to utilise the tongue in a good manner, and I would like to share some of these advices with you. Allah c tells us in the Quran, in Surah Qaaf (v18): ‘Not a single word is uttered by one but there is a watcher near him, ready (to record)’. This verse is extremely clear and teaches us to take guard against our tongues, for every word of ours is written down. Consider this example. If a person today gets into trouble with the law and is arrested by police, he will be told: ‘anything you say may be held against you’. Then, if he is asked to answer regarding his crime he may remain silent or respond by asking for a lawyer. He will ensure that he controls his tongue to refrain from landing any form of penalty or prison sentence. One will go to great lengths to avoid this punishment. Do we then fail to control our speech fearless of being penalised in the court of Allah on the day of reckoning; a penalty that can drag one into the hell fire for eternity? Allah c advises us to make our speech upright, full of dignity, truthfulness and justice; He c says in Suratul Ahzaab (v70-71): ‘O you who believe, fear Allah, and speak in straightforward words. (If you do so) Allah will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you.’ Again these beautiful verses could not be clearer in their command of speaking the

embodiment of purity and honour and her voice should reflect this.

clear truth; the result of which is the acceptance of our deeds and forgiveness of sins. With regards to lying, so much has been written about this evil trait that a whole publication can be made on it. Among the major sins, lying is one which Allah c has prohibited many a time in the Qur’an. Allah c also writes about those whose speech is contrary to their actions in Surah Saff (v2-3): ‘O you who believe, why do you say what you do not do? Most Hateful it is to Allah that you say what you do not do.’ There is a stern warning here against those who engage in hypocrisy, therefore our words must personify our actions. May Allah c protect us from such sins, ameen. Another key lesson on speaking is in Surah Kahf (v23-24): ‘And never say about anything, “I will do this tomorrow,” Unless (you say - ‘if) Allah wills.’ We learn here that a Muslim’s speech should also be an expression of his dependence on the creator. Truly nothing in this world occurs without the will of Allah c therefore when intending an action, small or big, say insha‘Allah. For our beloved sisters in Islam, Allah c tells them not to beautify their voices in the presence of strange men. Allah c says in Suratul Ahzab (v32): ‘So, do not be too soft in your speech, lest someone having disease in his heart should develop fancies (about you); and do speak with appropriate words.’ Our sisters are to take a central lesson from here. Be polite but at the same time do not utter words that are provocative. A Muslim woman is the -3-

Allah c also teaches us the etiquettes of conversing with our parents. In Suratul Isra’ (v23) Allah c says: ‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them: uff (a word or expression of anger or contempt).’ How beautiful are the teachings of Islam. When parent’s command their children for something, there should be no sign of disobedience at all, not in their actions and neither in their tone of voice. Further in this verse Allah c says: “Walaa Tanhar-humaa”- ‘and do not scold them.’ Don’t be repulsive, quick to answer back or shout at them as this can have major repercussions and remember that Allah c has brought you into existence through them. And this verse is completed with: “Waqul-lahumaa Qawlan Kareemaa”- ‘and address them with respectful words.’ May Allah c grant us the ability to respect and serve our parents in accordance with the teachings of the Qur’an. In conclusion, we have seen in this brief discourse that the tongue is a doubleedged sword. It has the ability to incur sin but it also has the ability to increase a person’s reward. To earn this reward one must train and control the tongue. We must speak less and contemplate before we speak. Speak only the truth, with politeness and wisdom. I leave you with the following statement of Allah c in Surah Ibrahim (v27): ‘Allah keeps the believers firm with the stable word in the worldly life and in the Hereafter.’ Speak the truth and Allah c guarantees that he will inspire you with the most valuable statement at the time of death: Laa ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah

Sunnah Page Blessed Features The Messenger of Allah g was very handsome as has been reported by many of his companions. Below are some narrations of his noble features: Its is related from Jaabir ibn Abdullah h that he said: “I once saw Rasulullah g on the night of a full moon. On that night he wore red clothing. At times I looked at the full moon and at times (I looked) at Rasulullah (saw). Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that Rasulullah g was more handsome, beautiful and radiant than the full moon.” (Tirmidhi) Ibn Abbas h says: The blessed teeth of the Messenger of Allah g were a bit wide. They were (nicely) spaced and not closely stuck together . Whenever the Messenger of Allah g spoke, a light emitting from his blessed teeth could be seen.” Blessed Possessions Despite being the greatest, finest and most beloved of all creation, The prophet g lived a life of uppermost simplicity. Ummul Mu-mineen, Umm Salamah i relates: “Of all the clothing, Rasulullah g preferred wearing the Thobe the most” (Tirmidhi)

Bayjuri has written that Sayyiduna Rasulullah g had only one thobe. It is also reported from ‘Aayeshah i that:

asked him whether it was forbidden to eat garlic.’ He said ‘No, but I dislike to eat it because of it’s smell.’ Abu Ayoob said to him: ‘I dislike what you dislike’. “Rasulullah g only possessed one lower (Ahmad, Muslim and Tirmidhi). garment, thobe, sheet, or any other clothing. He g did not have a pair of Some Sunan of our Beloved g any of these”. Before commencing to eat Rasulullah g Likes and Dislikes used to recite ‘Bismillah’ (Bukhari) The prophet g liked to eat many types of food, one of which was gourd. This can be seen in a hadith where Anas Bin Malik h states that a tailor invited the Prophet g to meals. He prepared the barley bread and meat with gourd. The Prophet g very affectionately ate the pieces of gourd from the curry. (Bukhari, Muslim).

Kaab ibn Mailk h narrates:

When the prophet would eat a dish he would eat the gourd before meat. As well as being the sunnah method this is the best way to help digest the food; eating the vegetables before the meat. The food which the prophet did not like to eat are those which has a foul smell, in particular; garlic. Abu Ayoob Al-Ansari h reports: ‘When the prophet was given some food, he would eat of it and send me what is left. Once he sent me a dish and I realised that he did not eat of it because it contained garlic. I

May Allah gives us the ability to become a true follower of his beloved Messenger g and remain steadfast upon his Sunan.


Rasoolullah (saw) licked his fingers thrice (after eating) (Muslim) Abu Juhayfah h narrates that Rasoolullah g said: “I do not lean and eat” (Shamaail Tirmidhi)


Covering the Head By Zeeshan Ahmed (6th Year Student)


The Sunan (practices) of the Prophet g are divided into two; Sunan al-Huda and Sunan alZawaa’id. Sunan al-Huda are those acts legislated by the Prophet g i.e. Adhaan, Iqaamah etc. This type is also known as Sunan al-Ibaadah. As for Sunan alZawaa’id, they are the personal likes and habits of the Messenger of Allah i.e. the way he would dress etc. This type is also known as Sunan al-Aadiyah. (For more detail and other types see Radd al-Muhtar 1/103).

Imam al-Tahawi mentioned the same narration in Sharh Ma’ani al-Aathaar (1170) and also explains how the Hanafis have understood this Hadith. These narrations show that different styles were worn when covering the head and there are various methods of covering reported in other Ahadith. A point of note is that no authentic Hadith has been narrated from the

“(Covering the head) has been acted upon from the beginning of Islam until today. And no one has seen, in any time or place, individuals making a row (in Salah) bareheaded.” Shaykh al-Albani (d.1420 AH), after mentioning that uncovering the head was not from the habit of the early Muslims (Tamaam al-Minnah fi Ta’leeq ala Fiqh al-Sunnah 1/164) said:

With the above basic definition in mind, we must consider which category covering of the head comes under and what its significance is. Before we begin, we must clarify that it was the practice of the Prophet g, his companions and the early Muslims to cover the head. It is recorded in Saheeh Muslim (1358), from Jabir Ibn Abdullah h: “The Prophet g entered on the day of the conquest of Makkah, wearing a black turban’’. Imam al-Bukhari reports from Hasan al-Basri (under the chapter of prostrating upon clothes at the time of extreme heat) “The people (companions) used to prostrate upon their turbans and hats.’’ We also find that the Prophet g and his companions would wear hooded clothes. It is authentically reported in Abu Dawud (728) from Wa’il Ibn Hujr h: “I saw the Prophet g when he would begin Salah; he would raise his hands level with his ears. Then I came to them and saw them raising their hands up till their chests in the beginning of Salah. They were wearing Baraanis (hooded clothes)’’.

Prophet g in which he has commanded for the covering of the head (mentioned by Sheikh Yunus in his book Alyawaaqeet al-ghaliyah 1/373). Rather what we find are narrations wherein the Prophet g and the early Muslims would simply cover their heads. Therefore, covering of the head falls under the category of Sunan al-Aadiyah. And the ruling of this type of Sunnah is that there will be no sin if it is left out, but it will carry a reward if practiced with the intention of impersonating the Prophet g. However, the issue of covering the head is not as simple as that, because it was an action practiced by Muslims from all centuries. The great Hanafi scholar Imam Zahid al-Kawthari (d.1371 AH) mentions (Maqaalaat al-Kawthari p136):


Rather this (uncovering the head) is an unknown custom which has seeped into many Muslim countries. (This happened) when the disbelievers entered the Muslim countries and brought with them their corrupt customs, and the Muslims blindly followed them therein. Both Imam Zahid al-Kawthari and Shaykh al-Albani have considered covering the head as a Mustahabb (encouraged) action, specifically in Salah. They have produced various evidences, amongst them being that uncovering the head is imitating the way Christians worship. And we should make utmost effort to distinguish from their religious practices. (See Imam Zahid al-Kawthari in Maqaalat al-Kawthari p136 and Shaykh al-Albani in Asl Sifatu Salati alNabi 1/166). They also sought evidence from the narration of Ibn Umar (Sunan

al-Kubra of Imam al-Bayhaqi no. 3272) “Allah is more entitled that He c be adorned for (in Salah)’’. Therefore one should cover the head when praying, as it is seen as an adornment for a Muslim. (Maqalaat al-Kawthari p165) This is supported by many scholars from various schools of thought. For example, many Hanafi texts have said: “Praying Salah bareheaded is disliked, if done out of laziness’’ (Maraqi al-Falah sharh Nur al-Idhaah 1/131) It has also been mentioned in various Fiqh texts that it is Mustahab to wear a

head. And if the society doesn’t see any harm in it, then there would be no harm. One of the scholars who held this stance was the great Maliki scholar, Imam alShatibi (d.790 AH). He mentioned in his magnum opus ‘’al-Muwaffaqaat’’ (2/489), giving an example of those things which can change by the dictates of culture: “here are those things which change in societal customs from good to abhorrent and vice versa. An example (for that) is uncovering the head. Indeed it changes according to the places at their period. So it would be, for the upright men, abhorrent in the Eastern lands and it

example (if he is) a musician, dancer, he eats in the market places or he walks bareheaded in a place where uncovering one’s head is not the custom…’’ According to the above, uncovering the head will only be considered as a defect if it is done in a place where it is seen as such. Other later scholars who have taken this view are Shaykh Mustafa al-Zarqa (d.1420 AH), Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (d.1421 AH, see Sharh al-Mumti’ ala Zaad al-Mustaqni’ 6/109). Although the above views mentioned may sound contradictory, there is a common ground which can be achieved. Covering the head without a doubt was practiced by the Prophet g and the early Muslims and this is a fact which no one disagrees with. With that in mind, Imam al-Bukhari narrates in his Saheeh (2902) a Hadith in which Anas ibn Malik h saw the Prophet g eating gourd, to which Anas ibn Malik h said: “I have continued to love gourd since that day’’

turban at the time of Salah. (‘’al-Binayah Sharh al-Hidayah’’ of al-Ayni 2/447 a Hanafi text, al-Mughni of Ibn Qudamah 1/417 a Hanbali text, ‘’al-Majmu’’ of Imam al-Nawawi 3/172 a Shafi’ee text) This shows that many scholars have considered covering the head an encouraged action. Other scholars have looked at the issue differently. They also agree that the Prophet g and the companions covered their heads, but they have regarded that as a cultural dress, rather than an Islamic garment. They say therefore, as covering of the head is not something commanded by Allah or the Prophet g, its ruling depends on the society where Muslims reside. If (like in the early Muslim communities) uncovering the head is seen as something inappropriate, then it would be inappropriate to uncover the

would not be abhorrent in the Western lands. So the Shari’ee (Islamic) ruling will change according to that. Thus it would be for the people in the East, a defect in his uprightness and it would not be a defect for the people of the West.’’ Imam al-Shatibi is giving a general principle in his day, between the Western and Eastern lands. This doesn’t mean it is strictly the case today, but it is clear that he only saw virtue in the hat (in and of itself ) when the customs deem it as such. Similarly, the famous Shafi’ee jurist, Imam al-Shayrazi (d.476 AH) indicated to this (al-Muhadhab fi fiqh al-Shafi’ee 3/438) “The witness of a man who is not upright, will not be accepted; for


Eating gourd was a personal like of the Prophet g and Anas ibn Malik, out of love and zealousness, wanted to follow the Prophet g even in those things which fall under Sunan al-Aadiyah. Due to this, scholars have mentioned if someone was to follow one of these Sunan because of his love and zealousness to imitate the Prophet g, then he would be rewarded (see ’’The Principles and Codes of Law in the Hanafi Fiqh’’ by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi p126 and more specifically to the topic ‘’Sharh Zaad al-Mustaqni’’’ of Shaykh alShanqeeti 14/34). To conclude, despite scholars holding various views, we as Muslims should make it our aim to impersonate the Prophet g as much as possible whether the actions come under Sunan al-Aadiyah or Sunan al-Huda (obviously giving more importance to the latter). This was the way the companions followed the Prophet g and we should try to adopt this way. Allahu A’lam

Palestine & Political Empowerment By Zakir Umar (5th Year Student)

Recent events in Gaza Death. Terror. Destruction. One of the most traumatic recent events for many people around the globe to witness was the barbaric act of terrorism by the state of Israel, who under ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’, rained down bombs on the defenceless population of Gaza. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Israeli attack murdered 103 civilians, injured 1,399 and destroyed or severely damaged 450 homes. In addition, causing huge destruction to the Gazan infrastructure, from the obliteration of hospitals, UN shelters, schools and Masajid to water, electricity and sewage networks. Costing the Gazan economy at least $1.2 billion – a population, 80% of who, were already receiving humanitarian assistance prior to the attack. In case you think this was collateral damage, consider a statement in the Jerusalem Post by Gilad Sharon (major in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reserves and son of the war criminal, Ariel Sharon) who encouraged the IDF soldiers to “flatten all of Gaza”. Israel’s Deputy

Prime Minister, Eli Yishai also publicly urged the IDF soldiers to “…blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages...”. Even after the attack, Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon unashamedly on radio remarked that the Gazans “deserved it”. There are plenty more examples of such statements too, from many Israeli politicians and military personnel, past and present. But of course, Israel was merely “defending” its citizens against Palestinian rockets (!) Rockets that had actually only cost the lives of 23 Israelis between June 2004 and Israel’s brutal bombardment from 14 to 21 November 2012. In fact, for a whole year before the attack by Israel, not even one Israeli had died from a Palestinian rocket. Typically though, much of the media portrayed Israel as only reacting to Palestinian fire, echoing the likes of Obama who proclaimed that the US was “fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself ”. Yet, it is Israel who, since 2006, still controls Gaza’s airspace, territorial waters and border crossings (with the exception of the land border with Egypt). Resulting in squashing 1.7 million Palestinians into just 140 square miles, one of the


most crowded places on earth. Described once by even David Cameron as an “open-air prison”, and a siege considered illegal by many international lawyers, including the International Committee of the Red Cross. At one stage, Israel even stopped coriander, ginger, nutmeg and newspapers amongst many other things coming into the Strip, aimed at only humiliating the Gazan population. In 2006, Dov Weissglass, former chief of staff to Israeli PM Ariel Sharon confessed, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” In 2008, Israeli defense officials in charge of food supplies to Gaza went as far as “to calculate how many calories would be needed to avert a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished Palestinian territory...” This has had many devastating effects on the population, for example around 10% of children in Gaza have had their growth stunted due to malnutrition, and the World Health Organisation reported six months before the attack of this possibly only getting worse. Also before Israel’s brutal assault, according to award-winning Palestinian psychiatrist Dr Eyad El-Sarraj, already one in every five Gazan children under the age of 5 suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At the time of Israel’s assault, recent unemployment figures in Gaza were at 28% and stood at 58% amongst 20-24 year olds. The UN also reported around the time that 80% of Gazan households relied upon some sort of financial assistance whilst 39% of the people lived below the poverty line. Even in the previous offensive on Gaza by Israel in December 2008, labelled ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Israel used the banned chemical agent White Phosphorous on the civilian population, massacring 762 Palestinian innocents including more than 300 children, compared to only three Israelis. So really, is it Israel that had the right to defend itself or the Palestinians?

Moreover, ultimately, it is 78% of historic Palestinian land that was stolen for the creation of Israel in 1948 through ethnically cleansing 530 Palestinian villages. Known as The Nakba, the Zionists butchered thousands of Palestinians and made 75% of the population flee, turning around 750,00 Palestinians homeless. Till this very day, the Palestinians are still being denied of their basic human right to return to their rightfully owned homes, in accordance with Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as UN resolution 194. In 1967, 350,000 more Palestinians became refugees when Israel occupied further land in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria as well as East Jerusalem, which includes Masjid Al-Aqsa. Even today, Israel not only ignores UN resolution 242 which calls upon Israel to withdraw from these territories it has occupied since 1967, but Israel actually continues to build more settlements. The truth is, there are more than 4.5 million Palestinian refugees around the world who have lost their homes and jobs due to Israel’s continued occupation. Yet, the above doesn’t even amount to a snippet of the oppression the Palestinians continue to face daily. Hence, the dire need to properly educate ourselves on the issue so that we can stand up for their rights. Furthermore, Palestine is considered holy in Islam, and at the epicentre of its sanctity stands Masjid Al-Aqsa where the Prophet g visited on his night journey to the heavens in order to lead all the previous Prophets p in prayer. This is a Masjid the Quran mentions by name, “Glorious is He Who made his servant travel by night from Al-Masjidul-Haram to Al-Masjid-ul-Aqsa whose environs We have blessed…” [17:1]. Political Empowerment Unfortunately, despite our deep Islamic ties with Palestine and its people, there is very little organised institutional effort to educate and empower Muslims in light of Islamic teaching to get politically active in order to help the Palestinians and support Muslims who are suffering in other countries, as well as the UK. For exam-

ple, the Babar Ahmed campaign only managed to receive less than 150,000 signatures against his extradition to the US, even though there are 2.7 million Muslims in Britain; yet the Prophet g said, “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the prisoner”. Indeed, there are numerous Muslim organisations with a political motive; but the question is, why do these organisations struggle so much to make Muslims politically engage in the same way many Muslims pray, fast, perform Hajj and grow a beard? It seems ‘piety’ has been socially constructed to ideologically include many things, but not political action. Moreover, politics is often on a macro level actively opposed or it is relegated to a status where everything else is considered much more important and virtuous. This structure can be the only explanation why many Muslims often stubbornly defend their right to remain politically supine, to the extent their agency is often underpinned by a theological minefield for anyone who tries to convince them otherwise. On the contrary, many commonly labelled ‘non-practising Muslims’ as well as non-Muslims are much more receptive in doing something politically constructive, simply as an instinctive act of humanity in trying to defend people who are suffering from the greatest


crimes on earth. So what an absurd delusion it is for some to assume that this great religion, which has been revealed as the religion of mercy, wants you to do nothing about people being killed, imprisoned, tortured and humiliated on a daily basis! It only reminds one of the verse, “...Thus they are deceived in their faith by what they themselves used to invent.” [3:24]. However, the Quran and Ahadeeth could not be clearer about the pinnacle role of humanity and compassion which Islam advocates as well as the assertive command of justice our faith demands. In one such verse, which truly demonstrates Islam’s higher moral force, Allah announces, “…and whoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind.” [5:32]. In one of the most profound teachings of empathy, the Prophet g also states, “The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari]. In another narration, the Prophet g informs us, “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari & Muslim]; and in a Hadeeth which thorns itself as an antithesis to a politically passive ideol-

ogy, the Prophet g warns, “If people see an oppressor and don’t prevent him, then it is very likely that Allah will include all of them in the punishment.” [Sunan Tirmidhi & Sunan Abu Dawud]. And as a further trembling warning, the Prophet g said, “If a believer is being humiliated in front of an individual, and he despite having the capability of preventing this humiliation, abstains from doing so, Allah will humiliate him (on the day of resurrection) in the presence of all the creation.” [Jam alFawa’id, 2/51]. Hence, leading contemporary scholars from around the world have highlighted that a Muslim would be at sin for failing to vote or participate in a particular form of political action in order to stop an open oppression and transgression despite having the capability to do so. In fact, politics has a very big impact on Muslims and the whole society in many ways, to the extent government policies that determine what our children are taught at school have a direct effect on their Imaan. This is why politics serves as a foundation to preserve all aspects of our Deen, even our right to be Muslim in the UK. Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya writes in Al-Siyasa Al-Shariah about political engagement, that it is “…the most important obligation of Islam, without it, Islam will perish.” Shah Waliullah states, “If the Muslims discard the political affairs then their opponents will be more powerful and stronger, and Muslims will become disgraced and poor.” [Izalatul Khafaa’]. Yet ironically, one of the most common excuses certain Muslims use to not engage in politics is their claim to be ‘focusing on the basics of Islam’! So, what can we do to help? Well, we need to use the power of our vote combined with long-term, effective lobbying of our MPs who make decisions in our name. Britain has a very longstanding political and economic relationship with Israel, from the Balfour Declaration that promised the creation of the Zionist state to Britain’s recent abstention from voting at the UN in order to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. In fact, many global issues effecting Muslims – as well

as national issues of course - are decided by our MPs, right here, in London, at the corridors of power in Westminster. And yes, we can make a difference! For instance, when Muslims and the wider community in Rochdale mobilised a campaign against pro-war, pro-Israeli MP Lorna Fitzsimmons in 2005, she was booted out of parliament, losing by only just over 400 votes. In the same year, a campaign against pro-war Labour MP Oona King who had a 10,000 majority in Bethnal Green & Bow saw her humiliatingly defeated by MP George Galloway. Similarly, when Muslims and the community got together in 2003, they helped anti-war Lib-Dem MP Sarah Teather in the Brent East by-election smash the 13,000 vote Labour majority. Even in the media, a collective effort by Muslims in 2004 ensured Robert Kilroy-Silk was forced off the BBC for his Islamophobic comments describing Arabs as “suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors”. Likewise, the BBC were forced to publicly apologise for describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel through a vigorous campaign by only a few Muslims, and another example is when Channel 4 were supported in keeping on air ‘Ramallah Daily’ despite huge pressure from pro-Israeli groups. Like politics, media also has an impact on our religion from every aspect, to the extent that TV documentaries that undermine the integrity of our beliefs have a direct impact on the confidence the youth have in Islam, which ultimately affects their Imaan. Another way to help Palestine is by joining the global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The many successes of this campaign include, significantly contributing towards the liquidation of Agrexco, Israel’s former largest exporter of agricultural produce, as well as the UK Co-Operative Group’s policy to end trade with companies that source products from Israel’s illegal settlements. Even at an academic level, the University of Johannesburg severed ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University in 2011, following a campaign backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and over 400 South African academics. Social media also has a great impact too, little wonder why the


IDF has its very own Facebook and Twitter presence and a YouTube channel in order to reach millions of people worldwide. However, spreading the Palestinian narrative, the truth, is also at the tip of our fingertips too. Yet, these are only a few random examples and achievements. If the aforementioned is what a minority of a minority can achieve, think about what Muslims can do by using their potential in numbers against the Islomphobic, pro-Israeli and pro-war lobbies that work relentlessly in every domain, and often succeed. To concisely conclude, let us never forget the people of Palestine and the sanctity of this land - particularly Masjid Al-Aqsa - and the fact that Israel is a country that was created in 1948 on a great injustice by ethnically cleansing another people from their homes. Let it not just stop at this article, I hope the few facts that have been highlighted fuel in us the zeal to learn further, and more importantly bestow in us the determination to actually combine our Duas with political participation. Finally, it cannot be ignored that there is a dire need for an institutional reform that incorporates – without of course getting into dirty party politics - the prioritisation of educating and empowering Muslims in light of Islamic teaching to recognise political action as an integral aspect of their faith, on par with other religious obligations and responsibilities. Otherwise - taking an example of our own constituency - how else are Muslims in their numbers going to be instilled with the religious motivation to influence or defeat local pro-war MP Stephen Timms who, with 70.4% of the local vote, has the safest and largest majority of any sitting MP in the country? Or for example Newham Mayor Robin Wales, whose council in December 2012, arrogantly rejected plans to build the Riverine Centre Masjid in Stratford despite trying since 1996. What an embarrassment this is for a borough that boasts 90,000 Muslims, yet fails miserably to defend its faith due to a lack political leadership. For a referenced version of this article’s Internet sources, please visit

One Ummah By Abdullah (1st Year Student)

It is early evening in the holy city of Makkah Al Mukarramah. The dusty sun wearied streets are filled, swarming with the bodies of faithful pilgrims gathered together from the four corners of the earth, to visit the house of Allah and fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam. For the time being, the hardship and discomfort of travel is forgotten and the diverse millions have become one. One in garb, one in hope, one in intention and one in voice. “Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk!” A chorus of voices ascend to the firmament sanctifying the arid Makkan air. It is like time has stopped. Differences have been put aside. The believers are unified. How wonderful it would be if we could live in this moment. How groundbreaking. How awe inspiring. Unfortunately we are living in a time where vision has been replaced with short sightedness, serenity with irritation and solidarity with disharmony. And yet all is not lost. Allah c says in his book “This Ummah of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord, so worship me” (Surah Al-Anbiya, Verse 92) I humbly implore you, the reader, to take a moment to ponder this truth. Allow it to affect your heart, stir your emotions, fill you with joy! The Muslim Ummah is one. It has always been one and will always be one. Naturally we won’t always agree, but why should that be seen as something negative. The most beautiful of gardens in its entire God given splendour shares its beauty all the more for its diversity; right or wrong? Man is

a multi faceted creation of incalculable depth. To be intolerant of our differences simply shows a naivety and a superficial understanding of the human condition. Oh Muslims, let us truly submit! Let us not make fear our master. It is time to take the long overdue exodus out of our heads and move definitively into our hearts. Our master, the messenger of Allah g said “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”. (Bukhari & Muslim) So let us take heed of these simple yet profound words, banish darkness and let the transformation begin. We must not settle for nominality! Let us become people of light, dynamic, visionary, true Muslims, holistic, profound beacons of light and hope. Finally, I would like to offer a thought and make an attempt to sum up what I’ve been trying to say. I would like you to imagine the whole Ummah, all 2 billion of us, prostrating to our Lord c, an act reserved solely for him. Contemplate that moment, for in that moment we are perfectly submissive and perfectly synchronised. In that moment, our hearts move up through space, reaching closer to our Lord. In that moment, our differences are set aside. In that moment.... we are one. “Verily, Allah does not look to your bodies, nor to your faces, he looks to your hearts”. (Muslim)

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The Founder of Darul Uloom Deoband: Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi r

Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi was born in the year 1832 (1248AH) in Nanota, a small village 12 miles west of Deoband. He was a descendant of the first Khalifah of Islam, Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), hence he is known as a Siddiqi. As a young boy he was known to be very bright and intelligent, outshining his peers in all subjects. His primary Islamic education of Arabic, Hadith, and Tafseer etc was attained under the supervision of Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali. After completing his initial studies he travelled with his companion, Maulana Rashid Gangohi, to Delhi in 1843 to acquire Hadith from the world renowned scholar of his time Shah Abdul Ghani Muhaddith Dehlawi. Delhi was the centre of learning and it was to Shah Abdul Ghani to whom students from all over the world would come in order to acquire their Sanad in Hadith from him. After graduating, Maulana Qasim went on to become a scribe. The first script he wrote and corrected was the Bukhari Sharif of Maulana Ahmad Ali Saharanpuri. Along with teaching, he continued this profession for a number of years in Meerut and Delhi. Despite his vast knowledge and expertise, Maulana did not take up the post of Imamat and refrained from delivering lectures too. He would however, when the

need arose, take part in debates against Christian missionaries that were sent to India to propagate Christianity. During one such occasion a debate was organised with the missionaries and Maulana Qasim was invited. He delivered such a great endorsement of Islam, the missionaries and world famous debaters were defeated. He also took part in the struggle against the British colonialists. The fall of the Mughal Empire in India and the rise of the British saw a general massacre of Muslims in which many ‘Ulamah were martyred and Islamic institutions, one by one, were destroyed. Others had to close down because of the confiscation and denial of the funds that were used to finance the institutions in the time of the Mughals. Islam and Muslims were under constant attack, coupled with the spreading of the Christian missionaries throughout India exhorting Muslims to convert to Christianity. Haji Imdaadullah Makki was made leader of Muslims at the time, with Maulana Qasim there too at his service. He participated alongside Haji Imdaadullah and Maulana Rashid Gangohi in the 1857 battle of Shamli against the British wherein the Muslims suffered great losses. It was after this that the struggle changed its course. It was now about protecting and preserving Islam from the onslaught of Christianity and atheism that had arrived in the wake of British rule. Maulana Qasim along with

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some colleagues began to discuss the situation at the time, and it was agreed that a chain of religious educational institutions be established, with the cost borne by those running them. It was thus in a small town by the name of Deoband on the 21st of May 1866 that the foundations of the grand institution for the preservation of the Deen were laid, Darul Uloom Deoband. Maulana Qasim was however a very simple and humble person; upon seeing him, one would easily mistake him for a villager. It was this simplicity in his appearance that deceived the officer who was tipped off regarding the whereabouts of Maulana Qasim at the time when there was an arrest warrant for him. When informed that Maulana Qasim was in a particular Masjid, he approached a person who looked like a farmer, asking for Maulana Qasim. The person took a few steps back and replied, “He was here just a little while ago,” with the officer not realising the man he was standing opposite was the very man he was in pursuit of. He was given the title Hujjat ul Islam (Proof of Islam) in his life and is also know as the Father of Darul Uloom Deoband. He passed away at the tender age of 49 in Deoband, yet his recognition suggests he lived a longer life due to his accomplishments. May Allah enlighten his grave and enable the world to benefit from his efforts for the Deen.

Q&A Q1. Can one trim/shape the eyebrows to make it look better or neat and tidy? The removal of hair from the eyebrows is haram for men and women. (Fatawa mahmoodiyah 5/181) Q2. Is it permissible for women to remove hair from their bodies and if yes then which areas are allowed and which areas are forbidden? Are they allowed to use the different creams and other substances that are available to remove hair? It is permissible for women to remove hair from all parts of the body except the hair on the head and the eyebrows. Waxing, epilating, or using hair removal

creams/lotions are all permissible and constitute to plucking and shaving, which is not only a permissible act in shariah, but in some instances recommended. (Imdaadul Fatawa 4/223-224 also Behesti zewar cp11/p116)

It is haram and impermissible for: men to wear any type of jewellery. Men are only allowed to wear rings which are made from only silver weighing no more than 4.374 g; (Sunan Tirmizi baabu ma jaa’a fi khaatamil hadeed H.1785)

Q3 Can a person pray salah wearing contact lenses?

It is also unlawful for women to wear rings not made from gold or silver. However, the wearing of any other type of jewellery such as necklaces, ear rings etc, even if made from other than gold or silver is permissible. (Sunan e nasai Kitabuz zeena H.5195 )

It is permissible to pray salah with contact lenses on as it is not made from anything that is considered impure in Islaam i.e. Urine, stool, alcohol, animal skin etc.

This prohibition applies both inside and outside salah. Q4. What is the ruling for wearing jewellery that is not made from gold or silver e.g. rings (for men & women), ear rings etc?

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