Happy British Muslims Video

QUESTION

There’s been a recent video released and participated in by many notable British ‘practising’ Muslims termed ‘Happy British Muslims’.

Perhaps the most concerning feature (for some of us at least)  is that a prominent UK scholar is featured in it. He has since gone on record to say,”I’m delighted to see the outcome of the Happy British Muslims video, which has unlocked a remarkable tide of goodwill around the world, and significantly tilted the image of Muslims among many sceptics. Islamophobes must be grinding their teeth to see Muslims of different races and age-groups united by happiness. No one will produce a Sharia argument against jumping for joy!”

Could you please explain if there are any ‘sharia arguments’ that are violated in this video?

ANSWER

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. 

The Happy British Muslims video is an unfortunate example of the moral ambivalence of many of today’s Muslims and their detachment from the true tradition and spirit of Islām. The Shar‘ī violations contained in the video are not in need of any explanation as they are obvious to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Islām. The bigger problem that lies at its heart is the unfortunate reality that common Muslims today are at a crossroads between accepting the beautiful and pristine orthodox teachings of Islām and succumbing to the pressures of accepting western liberal values. Due to an entrenched inferiority complex in many Muslims, they capitulate to this pressure, and believe that the norms and values promoted by western liberal society are superior to those of Islām. This is not to claim that there is always a clash between Islāmic values and those of western liberalism, but that there are certainly some areas where they are at odds. A few examples are as follows:

  • Homosexuality and homosexual acts are not only acceptable in liberal ethics, but same sex relationships/marriage must be honoured and respected just like a normal marriage. On the other hand, Islām regards homosexuality as a sexual perversion that is looked down upon[1], and same sex relationships are certainly not encouraged.
  • Women, according to liberal values, are encouraged to be in the public eye and to assume public leadership roles. Islām, on the other hand, understands a woman’s innate nature of modesty and innocence, and thus exhorts her to remain fixed to her home which she should not leave without genuine need[2], in order that she is kept away from the public gaze and is concealed from non-relative male onlookers, and she can devote herself to the worship and remembrance of Allāh and to the wellbeing of her family.
  • In the name of artistic talent, music, filmmaking etc. are encouraged in western liberalism. According to Islām, musical instruments that excite the outward passions of man are regarded as a hedonistic and potentially addictive distraction that drives man away from his true purpose and makes him susceptible to the invitations of his base self (nafs) and shaytān, and are thus prohibited.[3]
  • Liberal values encourage free expression, and that an individual should be whoever he wants to be, and encourage enjoyment, amusement and fun. Islām, on the other hand, tells man that he must control his base desires[4] and consider the moral good of society and give preference to the laws sent down by Allāh over his own wants and desires.

Due to the obvious clash between liberal western values and Islāmic values in these and other aspects, many people will find Islām’s view “strange” or even “backwards” and “immoral”, because all people, religious or otherwise, are pressured (covertly and overtly) into accepting western liberal norms, by means of the media, and through other channels (legal, political etc.). The standard of morality is therefore shifted to these so-called “enlightened values” and not what our revealed source call us towards. Islām is a religion that is conducive to a sound human nature that has not been contaminated by corrupt external influences[5]. Allāh Ta‘ālā says:

أفحكم الجاهلية يبغون، ومن أحسن من الله حكما لقوم يوقنون

Is it the decree of ignorance that they seek? And who is more beautiful in decree than Allāh for people with true conviction?Qur’ān, 5:50

Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) prophesised this reality in the following words:

بدأ الإسلام غريبا وسيعود كما بدأ غريبا فطوبى للغرباء

Islām began as something strange and it will return, just as it began, to something strange. So blessed are the strangers!Sahīh Muslim

Muslims have adopted two approaches to this imposition of western liberal values:

  1. Some Muslims succumb to the pressure and try to claim that these very values are Islāmic or at least have some basis in Islāmic tradition, either by distorting Islāmic texts, employing false interpretations or attempting to normalise marginal views
  2. Other Muslims realise that there is a clash in some of these values, like those mentioned above, and thus make an attempt in their own lives to live according to the ideals of Islām, even if they are not always successful. The challenge for Muslims today, both individually and collectively, is to be honest with themselves and strong enough to adopt this attitude.

The Happy British Muslims video and other acts of Muslim appeasement to the west are a consequence of adopting the first mistaken attitude. What is the solution to this trend? Certainly we must educate and explain to the common Muslims that these things are impermissible in the Sharī‘ah. Musical instruments are certainly prohibited according to clear texts of Sharī‘ah and the unanimous view of Muslim jurists.[6]  Similarly, the vast majority of scholars regard dancing impermissible for men.[7] Moreover, the prohibition of women without hijāb dancing in the presence of non-relative men needs no explanation. These are obvious factors that make the video impermissible in light of the Sharī‘ah. Furthermore, although it may be argued from one angle that this video challenges stereotypes about Muslims, from another perspective, the video plays right into western stereotypes of what is viewed as the standards of happiness, which assume that those who do not dance to pop music are somehow grumpy or unhappy. Islām does not support the view that happiness rests in dancing to pop music. Rather, true happiness rests in the heart of a believer who is connected to Allāh at all times. Dancing in this way to pop music is not an expression of true internal happiness but of a short-lived fulfilment of base pleasure. Islām discourages vain acts of amusement because human beings are created as creatures of purpose, intellect and wisdom and vain acts of amusement have no purpose, rationale or wisdom.

Educating Muslims about this, however, is only one small step that conscientious Muslims must make. This needs to be accompanied by a sustained effort to connect the common Muslims to their local mashāyikh and ‘ulamā’. Efforts of tasawwuf and tablīgh need to be extended to the masses to reconnect them with the true legacy of their dīn, so the spirit and joy of carrying out each and every order of Allāh Ta‘ālā, and acting on the Sunnah of Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his noble Sahābah, permeates the heart. Moreover, books like Pearls from the Pathand Hayāt al-Sahābah, which relate incidents from the lives of purified souls of a bygone time, should be promoted, so Muslims are able to see and take inspiration from examples of how Islām is truly internalised and practised.

The dīn of Islām is the purest expression of humanity, balancing the spiritual and bodily dimensions of human nature, without extremes or pretentions. It is a religion that exhorts its adherents towards compassion, gentleness, honesty, justice, moral consciousness and good character. If it is embraced without succumbing to pressures to “reinterpret” dīn, it will fill one’s life with beauty and happiness. Allāh Ta‘ālā says:

منْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

Whoever, male or female, has acted righteously, while being a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and shall give such people their reward for the best of what they used to do.[8]Qur’ān, 16:97

We make du‘ā that Allāh Ta‘ālā brings the love of His dīn into our hearts and keeps us steadfast on haqq.

And Allah Ta‘ālā Knows Best

Zameelur Rahman

Student Darul Iftaa
UK

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai


[1]

 وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَتَأْتُونَ الْفَاحِشَةَ وَأَنتُمْ تُبْصِرُونَ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّن دُونِ النِّسَاء بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ تَجْهَلُونَ (سورة النمل)

[2]

وقرن في بيوتكن (سورة الأحزاب)
المرأة عورة فإذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان (الجامع الكبير للترمذي، دار الغرب الإسلامي، ج٢ ص٤٦٣ وقال: هذا حديث حسن صحيح)

الْمَرْأَةَ تَحْتَاجُ إلَى الْمَاءِ لِلْوُضُوءِ وَالشُّرْبِ، وَإِنْ تَيَمَّمَتْ لِلْوُضُوءِ احْتَاجَتْ إلَى الْمَاءِ لِتَشْرَبَ، وَلَا يُمْكِنُهَا أَنْ تَخْرُجَ تَسْتَقِي الْمَاءَ مِنْ الْأَنْهَارِ وَالْآبَارِ وَالْحِيَاضِ، فَإِنَّهَا أُمِرَتْ بِالْقَرَارِ فِي بَيْتِهَا قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى {وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ} [الأحزاب: 33] فَعَلَى الرَّجُلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَهَا بِذَلِكَ؛ لِأَنَّ الشَّرْعَ أَلْزَمَهُ حَاجَتَهَا كَالنَّفَقَةِ، وَلَا يُمْكِنُهُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَهَا بِكَفِّهِ فَلَا بُدَّ أَنْ يَتَّخِذَ وِعَاءً لِذَلِكَ؛ لِأَنَّ مَا لَا يَتَأَتَّى إقَامَةُ الْمُسْتَحَقِّ إلَّا بِهِ يَكُونُ مُسْتَحَقًّا (المبسوط، دار المعرفة ٣٠:٢٦٦)

وَأَمَّا النِّسْوَةُ فَهَلْ يُرَخَّصُ لَهُنَّ أَنْ يَخْرُجْنَ فِي الْعِيدَيْنِ؟ أَجْمَعُوا عَلَى أَنَّهُ لَا يُرَخَّصُ لِلشَّوَابِّ مِنْهُنَّ الْخُرُوجُ فِي الْجُمُعَةِ وَالْعِيدَيْنِ وَشَيْءٍ مِنْ الصَّلَاةِ؛ لِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى {وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ} [الأحزاب: 33] وَالْأَمْرُ بِالْقَرَارِ نَهْيٌ عَنْ الِانْتِقَالِ وَلِأَنَّ خُرُوجَهُنَّ سَبَبُ الْفِتْنَةِ بِلَا شَكٍّ، وَالْفِتْنَةُ حَرَامٌ، وَمَا أَدَّى إلَى الْحَرَامِ فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ (بدائع الصنائع، دار الكتب العلمية، ج.٢ ص.٢٣٧-٨)

وَالْمَرْأَةُ كَذَلِكَ مَشْغُولَةٌ بِخِدْمَةِ الزَّوْجِ مَنْهِيَّةٌ عَنْ الْخُرُوجِ شَرْعًا لِمَا فِي خُرُوجِهَا إلَى مَجْمَعِ الرِّجَالِ مِنْ الْفِتْنَةِ (المبسوط، ٢:٢٢)

قال الفقيه أبو الليث: حق المرأة على الزوج أن يخدمها (بقضاء حوائجها خارج البيت) ولا يدعها أن تخرج من الستر، فإنها عورة، وخروجها إثم (الدرر المباحة، دار ابن حزم، ص ٢٨٦)

[3]

 قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ليكونن من أمتي اقوام يستحلون الحر والحرير والخمر والمعازف (صحيح البخاري، فتح الباري، دار السلام، ج١٠ ص٦٥)
وقال: صوتان ملعونان فى الدنيا والآخرة: مزمار عند نعمة ورنة عند مصيبة (مسند البزار، قال الهيثمي: رواه البزار ورجاله ثقات، مجمع الزوائد، دار الفكر، ج٣ ص١٠٠)
وقال: بعثت بهدم المزمار والطبل (الفوائد لتمام الرازي، مكتبة الرشيد، ج١ ص٤٩، وتلبيس إبليس لابن الجوزي، دار القلم، ص٢٢٦، بسند حسن)
وقال: إن الله حرم الخمر والميسر والكوبة (مسند أحمد، مؤسسة الرسالة، ج٤ ص٢٧٩-٨٠، بإسناد صحيح)
قال الإمام البغوي: واتفقوا على تحريم المزامير والملاهي والمعازف (شرح السنة، المكتب الإسلامي، ١٢:٣٨٣) فلا يعتد بقول من شذ من الصوفية والظاهرية

[4]

وأما من خاف مقام ربه ونهى النفس عن الهوى فإن الجنة هي المأوى (سورة النازعات)

[5]

 قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ما من مولود إلا يولد على الفطرة، فأبواه يهودانه أونصرانه أويمجسانه (صحيح البخاري، فتح الباري، ج٢ ص٢٧٩) ولم يقل ويسلمانه لأن الإسلام ليس مخالفا للفطرة البشرية بخلاف غيره من الأديان

[6]

 انظر التعليق الثالث

[7]

 وما ذكره البزازي من الإجماع عن تحريم الرقص محمول على ما إذا اقترن بشيء من اللهو كالدفِّ والشبَّابة ، ونحو ذلك  ، أو بالتكسر والتمايل ، وأمَّـا مجرد الرقص فمختلف في حرمته ، مذهبنا ومذهب الجمهور أنه حرام لما تقدم من الأدلة ، فإنه داخل في اللهو والعبث واللعب غير مستثنى ، وعن بعض الشافعية إباحته بشرط أن لا يكون فيه تكسر و بشرط أنْ لا يعتاده (الرهص والوقص)

[8]

 هذا وعد من الله تعالى لمن عمل صالحاً، وهو العمل المتابع لكتاب الله تعالى وسنة نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلممن ذكر أو أنثى، من بني آدم، وقلبه مؤمن بالله ورسوله، وأن هذا العمل المأمور به مشروع من عند الله بأن يحييه الله حياة طيبة في الدنيا، وأن يجزيه بأحسن ما عمله في الدار الآخرة، والحياة الطيبة تشمل وجوه الراحة من أي جهة كانت. وقد روي عن ابن عباس وجماعة أنهم فسروها بالرزق الحلال الطيب. وعن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه: أنه فسرها بالقناعة، وكذا قال ابن عباس وعكرمة ووهب بن منبه، وقال علي بن أبي طلحة عن ابن عباس: أنها هي السعادة. وقال الحسن ومجاهد وقتادة: لا يطيب لأحد حياة إلا في الجنة. وقال الضحاك: هي الرزق الحلال والعبادة في الدنيا، وقال الضحاك أيضاً: هي العمل بالطاعة والانشراح بها، والصحيح أن الحياة الطيبة تشمل هذا كله (تفسير ابن كثير، دار ابن حزم، ١٠٧٥-٦).

Mawlana Zameelur Rahman

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