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Atheism and Islam with Dr.Shoaib Ahmed Malik

24th November 2020, file under Campus

written by Zadiq Oguntimehin

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It’s that time of the (holy) month

23rd May 2020, file under Youth

written by ISB

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By Imaan Irfan

16 minutes until Maghrib. The smell of fresh biryani floats in from the kitchen. The dates are nestled in a little dish, glistening in a way that tells you that the first bite will make it all worth it. A jug of ice-cold water glints mockingly at you from the table. Not long now. 16 minutes until Maghrib…and you discover your whole fast is invalid. It’s that time of the month.

Ya Rabb, you think, you couldn’t have spared me a few extra minutes?

Shark week, Aunt Flo, your ‘friend’…they’re all creative ways to circumvent the matter at hand. Dr Tamara Gray, the founder of Rabata, says she thinks of her week without salah as a ‘week of dhikr’ instead (an admirable sentiment, but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘praycation’, my euphemism of choice). Though sometimes stigmatised or just brushed under the prayer rug, the taboo doesn’t have any place in Islam, but can get in the way of frank discussions about how women explore spirituality. ‘A’isha (RA) said, ‘How good are the women of Ansar that their shyness does not prevent them from learning religion.’ (Sahih Muslim Book 3: Kitab al Haydh, the Book of Menstruation) There’s a conversation to be had about menstuating women struggling to feel as connected to God, especially towards the end of Ramadan when we should feel at our spiritual peak.

We know the exemption from fasting is a mercy. Periods can be bloody painful (ha), and intense cramps or constant thirst don’t really mesh well with having to focus on worship. Sure, you might have been denounced as a kafir by the little brother who caught you eating, but it’s a blessing nonetheless. Though, by the time those heavy painkillers have kicked in, and the hot water bottle has cooled down, one can’t help but miss being able to participate in Ramadan in the way we’ve become used to.

After all, Ramadan is the month of fasting (which we’re now cut off from), the month of extra salah (which is also off the table), as well as the month of the Quran (and good luck trying to navigate the fatwa minefield of whether or not you’re allowed to read/recite this week).

In a piece published by Amaliah, five female scholars wrote:

‘The sentiment that is also often expressed, is the wish for acts of worship during haydh [menstruation] to be optional. However, if this were the case, choosing to pray would still be considered the ideal or better option, with some women struggling to meet those standards. If the option to pray sal?h were available, refraining from prayer and taking a break would not be considered an act of obedience to God. Our struggle and reward is in obeying the commandment not to pray.’

Especially if it falls in the last ten nights, the idea of missing out on a lot of potential Ajr is a concern for some women, under the assumption that they’re being deprived of taqwa.

The article added, ‘Taqwa is not attained as a result of ‘ib?dah (worship). Taqwa is gained as a result of ‘it?’ah (obedience)…for women during haydh, the act of obedience to God is in refraining from the prayer, so this is how we attain taqwa during this time.’

Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed also wrote a reminder that ‘Verily actions are by intention. So Allah knows what is in your heart and what you intended or hoped to do of prayer etc, and He can reward you, as if you had done so’.

This can be a time of connecting with God in other ways. One friend told me that she takes a moment to remember Allah while her family is praying, even though she can’t join them, because ‘it’s good to keep the habit up, taking the time to reflect those five times a day, even if it’s not actually [performing salah]’. Some find a reciter they like and listen to the Quran more frequently (Omar Hisham Al Arabi on Youtube, Madinah Javed if you prefer a female qari, or of course, the OG Mishary Alfasy Rasheed). Making dua, doing more dhikr, giving charity, practicing tasawwuf (contemplation), listening to talks, or just making an extra effort to help the fasting people in your family, are all forms of worship that we might otherwise neglect in favour of other things. We are reminded of how fortunate we are in being able to partake in the Holy Month at all, when there are so many who are never able to fast, no matter how much they want to.

Fasting is a way to connect us not only with God, but with other people. During lockdown, many have been feeling disconnected from that aspect of community and collective struggle, in the same way some women feel on their ‘week out’. It can bring on the same feeling of detachment and longing that some of us felt upon realising that the mosques would be closed. Now all of us can empathise, having been given a taste of this month without the things we take for granted — from breaking our fasts with other people, to going to the masjid in the evenings for taraweeh. But, as with Ramadan in lockdown, what we think cuts us off from worship as we know it may actually be a time to bring us closer to God in a different way. We focus on other ways to connect to Allah, use the precious time we have for introspection, and can find ourselves transformed after it all. The end of Ramadan is in sight; whether you’re fasting or not, let’s try to go out on a spiritual high. Because menstruation should not keep us from God. Period.

The Amaliah ‘Alimahs Respond’ article mentioned: https://www.amaliah.com/post/52261/womens-rights-in-islam-marriage-in-islam-talaq-in-islam-inheritance-for-a-woman-in-islam-are-there-any-female-prophets-is-hijab-obligatory-hoor-al-ayn-can-a-muslim-woman-attend-a-burial-islam-islamqa

Election 2019 Statement

14th December 2019, file under Press releases

written by Abida

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Dear Brs and Srs

It is a monumental day in British politics and for our society. Across our nation many I know will be feeling upset, angry and deflated at the results- Politics has polarised not just opinions but people. The election results show that there are many who will see the results as a positive step for Britain, though many of us are genuinely fearful of the rise in hateful rhetoric and the divisions in our society.

At this time of real concern, it is essential that as individuals and as an organisation we do not lose hope but remember Allah and His Plans and our striving for equality and social justice. We must look for goodness and foster it, we must pray for the good of our country and its people. We must strive towards a political discourse that brings people with differences together to strive for the common good.

I believe we can be, we must be, a beacon of light for society as a whole to help move towards a brighter future.

We are in the midst of developing a work plan that must see ISB and all of us as relevant stakeholders in this conversation.

Hold firm, pray for one another and let’s dig deep… together Insha’Allah. Let US be the change.

Khalid Anis, ISB Chair

ISB Elects New Chair

17th October 2019, file under Press releases

written by Abida

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The Islamic Society of Britain Elects Dr Khalid Anis MBE as its new Chair

The Islamic Society of Britain welcomes the appointment of Dr Khalid Anis MBE as its new Chair. Society members elected Dr Anis at the Annual General Meeting, held on 12th October 2019.

Speaking about his new role, Dr Anis said: “I understand the heavy responsibility entrusted to me as Chair of Trustees for this unique organisation. The Islamic Society of Britain has always held an important position in standing for a positive vision for British Muslims, sometimes putting our head above the parapet. I am keen to renew this vision and help this organisation develop the kind of leadership that displays the courage, ethics and values that are important for healthy community relations right across Britain, today”

Dr Anis, a General Dental Practitioner, has held several senior positions in the organisation, including as Director of the Living Islam Festival, the charity’s flagship project. A former, school governor and consultant in Public Health, Dr Anis was awarded the MBE in 2007 for services to dentistry. He runs a NHS practice in Manchester, where he resides with his wife Sara and their 3 children.

The Tale of Two Civilisations

17th May 2019, file under Events

written by Abida

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Our next Campus residential is:

The Tale of Two Civilisations

At Markfield, Leicestershire

Interactive Workshops will explore the following topics:

-Islamic History and the Height of Islamic Civilisation
-The Growth of Western Civilisation
-Muslim Responses to Colonialism
-Loyalty and Belonging

There will also be:
Reminders, BBQ, bonfire, dhikr sessions, interactive discussions and plenty of time to make new friendships!!

Buy your tickets HERE

Book by 10th June to avail yourself of the Early Bird Discount!

On Meeting Miliband @ The Mosque

20th January 2013, file under Events

written by Sibt Ali

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Having attended the event at Regents Park Mosque on Thursday with Ed Miliband, I have been left feeling optimistic but reminded that a lot more still needs to be done. Read More…

‘Tis that time of year

7th December 2011, file under News

written by Sibt Ali

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“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little…Prophet Jesus, lay down his sweet head!” I sang out on the last day before the Christmas holidays in 1998… Read More…

Mitzvah Day reflections…

24th November 2011, file under Events

written by Sibt Ali

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Wow, what an amazing couple of days I’ve had! On Sunday I went with my husband and all four children to Maidenhead Synagogue as part of Mitzvah Day…

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London’s burning!

9th August 2011, file under News

written by Husman Khan

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Thoughts on the Summer riots as they were happening…

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