Khutba – Keep Mosques Independent

The following is a Khutba that provides information on the current government’s proposal to register and monitor mosques/Madrassas under the guise of registering “out-of-school settings.”

It also provides advise as to how Muslims can respond to these proposals. 

Brothers in Islam!

Throughout the Islamic history- Muslims have travelled and settled in all corners of the Earth. Maybe this has been due to economic reasons, or maybe it has been due to safety or maybe it has been just to find a new home. 

But one thing is certain- wherever they have settled- they have worked hard to build for themselves and the Muslim community Masajids. Mosques where the Salah can take place, the stories of the Prophet saw can be heard and the lessons of Islam can be taught. 

A mosque is the best of places. It is more blessed and virtuous than all other places. 

Allah سبحانه وتعالى said in the Quran

فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ، رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًاتَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ

“[Such niches are] in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings. [Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about.” (An-Nur: 36-37)

The Prophet (saw) said: “The most beloved of places to Allah is the mosque, and the most detested of places to Allah is the marketplace.” [Sahîh Muslim] 

It is also narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever builds a mosque for Allah – be it large or small – Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî]

The Prophet (saw) said: “Among what continues to accrue for a believer of his good works after death are the following: knowledge that he learned and then imparted to others, a pious child whom he left behind, a copy of the Qur’ân that he bequeathed, a mosque that he built, a guest house he built for travelers, a river that he made to flow, and charity he spends from his wealth when he is in good health – all of this continues to avail him after his death.” [Sunan Ibn Majah and Sunan al-Bayhaqî – and graded as good (hasan)]. 

Al-Shawkânî comments on this hadîth in Nayl al-Awtâr (2/213), saying: “This shows that the blessings which are mentioned are for the actual construction of a mosque. It is not enough to designate land as a mosque – or to demarcate the land in some way – without building a structure on it.” 

Historically, mosques were places of education, where Muslims were taught how to live life by acquiring knowledge and education.  

The mosque played a great part in the spread of education in Islam.  The link of the mosque with education remains one of its main characteristics throughout history.  

From the start, the mosque was the center of the Islamic community, a place for prayer, meditation, religious instruction, political discussion, and a school.

In every place, where Islam took hold, mosques were established, and basic instruction began. Once established, such mosques could develop into well-known places of learning, often with hundreds, sometimes with thousands of students, and frequently contained important libraries. Notable examples are the Mosques in Madina, Cairo (Al-Ahzar) and Damascus.

Some of the Madrasas attached to the mosques were world-class centres of learning at their time. The world-renowned Al-Azhar University is the oldest university in the world. It was established as a mosque in 358AH/ 969CE. Now, one can find over a hundred thousand students studying in it.

Throughout the history of Islam, the mosque has always played an important social role.

However for the Muslims in Britain there are tremendous challenges and one of them is the agenda to reform Islam.

Even though Allah Azza wa Jall said in the Quran: 

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإسْلامَ دِينًا

This day, I have perfected your deen for you and completed My blessing upon you and have chosen Islam as the deen for you.” 

(TMQ Surah Al Maidah: 3)

There are many who aggressively say to the Ummah in Britain that this is false and instead of sitting and discussing with Muslims, they have decided to say we want to control what you talk about in Mosques in case it is too ‘extreme’.

They have tried to blame the haram actions of Paris and other atrocities on all Muslims- even though those that understand Islam have made it clear that Islam does not allow these horrific actions. 

But they continue to blame and now its the turn of the Mosques across this country. 

On Wednesday 7th October 2015, David Cameron made his keynote speech to the Conservative Party Conference. 

Speaking in Manchester, Mr Cameron told delegates: “Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at a madrassa?

“Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it’s at madrassas, Sunday schools or Jewish yeshivas.

“But in some madrassas, we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

“These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened, not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.

“So I can announce this today: if an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected.

“And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.”

Brothers in Islam!

Make no mistake

The agenda is about Masajids and Madrassas and nothing else

The issue of madrassas is one that has been high up the agenda not recent months, but a decade at least. In July 2015, Cameron delivered a speech in Birmingham on the subject of extremism, and focussed on the need to improve integration in the education system, and dismantle religious emphasis. It was this speech where he first signalled the intent to crackdown on the ‘radicalisation’ which he believed takes place in madrassas. 

There is a whole new policy that is going through consultation now where mosques need to comply with ‘British values’ at the expense of ‘Islamic values’. 

Downing Street said that the new inspection regime would apply to religious institutions offering eight or more hours of study a week to children in England. This could include a minute number of Christian Sunday schools and Jewish yeshivas, but it is more likely to cover up to 2,000 Muslim madrassas in England.

The Government continues to try and reform Islam into a ‘British Islam’ that interprets this way of life in a secular manner and not as a holistic way of life. 

We can imagine what type of Islam they wish to see being taught; one which sees all religions as being essentially the same, that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle choice, that there shouldn’t be any segregation between the genders, or that adhering to Islam or not is simply a personal choice etc. This is in addition to being taught that there is no political system in Islam nor that the Muslims here are apart of the global Ummah, or that the ultimately loyalty is to Britain and the crown.

The Government has a problem with Muslims having a distinct value system that encompasses political opinions and values that they do not agree with. The problem is that Muslims would rather use Islam as a reference point, than what David Cameron and Theresa May want to teach.

Mosques, Islamic community centres and Islamic learning institutes will be monitored and forced to only convey Islamic beliefs that are acceptable to British secular liberal standards, until a new generation of Muslims adopt a secular version of Islam that ignores Islam’s distinct and comprehensive way of life. 

Brothers in Islam!

We need to be informed of discriminatory government designs and counter the counter-extremism policies in order to safeguard the Muslim community in the UK. Muslims also have a duty to develop the madrassa system to address the contemporary challenges facing Muslim youths living in Britain with the aggressive attempts to secularise and change their Deen.

Gone are stories of good days in the past when and how our Fathers and Uncles built these mosques- we have some serious challenges that need to be tackled now which risks the actual iman of our children and their children. There are tens of thousands of our children that attend madrassa.

Could there be a situation in the future where indirectly Muslims will send their children to Mosque which produces the opposite result?

For the Muslims that have settled in this country- we must keep our mosques independent. 

There is not one legitimate piece of evidence to suggest that Mosques have produced people who commit atrocities

Neither is there any evidence to suggest that Mosques produce people that cannot live in wider society

Rather what this agenda is to interfere into the places of worship of Muslims so that the curriculum of Islam can be changed in order to fit into a value system that is more in line with liberal values, not Islam. 

Islam has its own values when it comes to identity, marriage, relationships and politics. These are strong values not just for Muslims but for all people. 

Brothers in Islam!

It is this excellent month of Rabi ul Awwal, we are reminded about who brought these values and it was the Best of Creation- the Prophet saw. 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا .وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا

 “O Prophet. We have you sent as a witness, as a bearer of good news and as a Warner. And as one to calls to Allah, by His Permission, and as a lamp spreading light “ [Surah 33:45-46 ]

Brothers in Islam!

We ask our respected jama’ah to undertake the following actions 

  1. Raise awareness of the government’s plans to register the mosques 
  2. Sign the petition found on the website www.keepmosquesindependent.org
  3. We recommend that you don’t respond to the Government’s consultation document on their website which ends on 11th January 2016 but instead sign the detailed joint response to the Government’s proposal found on the above website.

In addition we also ask you to: 

To discuss this policy with wider society 

Invite all people to come and discuss with us the Islamic values. All people including non Muslim neighbours and colleagues. 

Open up our mosques and Madrassas so that wider society can gain a better appreciation of Islam and our institutions. 

We welcome discussion and even debate however it seems that those who want to close discussion feel they cannot defeat the Islamic values by speech. So they now want to force the masajid to conform to their value system. 

We need to carry on keeping the tradition of our mosques teaching Islam and its values. It requires no intervention by anybody- except by what Allah and His Messenger saw have dictated. 

Let us be clear that we will keep our mosques independent and we will continue to say this loud and clear.  

Indeed this is a great responsibility on us as Muslims in Britain today. 

أدْعُ إِلَى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” (An-Nahl: 125)