Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
Series: Fatima Barkatulla - Ummah Talk
Welcome to the oma talk podcast with me, Fatima Baraka Tula be led the
In this podcast, I speak to scholars, experts, leaders in their field about some of the big issues facing the Muslim community worldwide, as well as your local Muslim community here, especially in the West. So, please tune in, you can catch the podcast on Muslim Central podcasts, which is available on all sorts of audio platforms. The podcast episodes will also be available on YouTube. So do share the episodes. Let me know what you think about the ideas and the topics that we discuss in the episodes.
The revival of the message of Islam. The revival of the oma of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is a responsibility and it's the responsibility of every single generation to strengthen and pass on something better to the next generation. And I hope that we can begin to do that.
This Mila and how Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah dear brothers and sisters as salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato and welcome to another episode of On my talk. Today, I'm really pleased to have CEO and founder of the Cordoba foundation with me, brother Anis antiquity,
Salaam Alaikum brother ns alaikum Salaam Rahmatullah able to catch this problem. It's a pleasure being with you today.
For the unece I see on the kotoba, I call it the Cordova Foundation, says Cordova, of course, website that your vision is reviving the spirit of Cordoba, the Spanish city, civilization and people as a symbol of human excellence and intellectual ingenuity, where cultures, civilizations, thoughts, and lifestyles thrived and striving for the common goal of understanding, respecting, accepting and celebrating our commonalities and diversities in a spirit of advancement and success.
And I see that he also says, you know that you reject the idea of a clash of civilizations, right? I thought was quite interesting.
Could you please expand on that a little bit and tell us a little bit about
what that vision really means to you like in tangible terms?
it sounds quite tiring when you when you read it.
But, but generally speaking, the Chordoma foundation founded in January 2005, so 16 and a half years ago, and at that time, some of your listeners who were old enough will remember that we were at the very height of what was then coined the war on terror. And
the, the narrative was that, you know, the the theory of the clash of civilizations, which was, which came many, many years before, proposed by Samuel Huntington, the early 90s.
Basically, it's it got it got revived, and all of a sudden, once again, we were referring to the clash of civilizations as inevitable as something that that had to happen. And it was extremely worrying because that was the narrative that dominated our new screens, our,
our, you know, our, the papers, the headlines, and, and that was quite dangerous in terms of what it was, you know, what, when, when everyone feels or starts to believe that there is inevitably going to be a clash, that everyone becomes on high alert, and whether it be governments, whether it be authorities, whether it be the courts, whether it be security, where you know, every everyone becomes on very high alert and become extremely sensitive to anything thinking along the mode, that a clash is inevitable. So something needed to be done in order to counter that. And, and I,
I think that the idea at the time, was not only important, it was also safeguarding all of us from from the inevitability of clash. Imagine if you go to bed, every
You know, thinking that, you know, clashes somewhere down the road, it's inevitable, it's not a matter of if it's very much a matter of one. I mean, imagine the kind of state of, you know, the psyche, the thinking, the approach, it would all be skewed. So something needed to be done in order to counter that. And, and at the time, I, you know, when thinking about the idea, and the necessity of the of the idea, I didn't have a name or didn't have a shape in mind. And I was traveling at the time, and I was meeting with some colleagues and friends from across the Middle East as well as North America. And we met in Cordoba. And, and although before, you know, previously, I had read
about Andalusia about the Islamic civilization, in in Liberia, in Iberia and throughout southern Spain.
being there and witnessing the remnants of that civilization is a totally different experience, and hearing from those who are the descendants, the grandkids and great grandkids of those who lived in those cities, and actually experienced,
you know, what had been the effects of those, those Muslims who came from either North North Africa or from the Arabian Peninsula, and settled and created a civilization that till now 10s of millions of people around the world flock in order to see and to witness and to touch and to smell, and to read about constituting quite quite a significant part of Spain's GDP every single year,
was something that actually gripped me. So the Cordoba became something that I thought was going to be a leading light in in what was I was trying to pursue, and then reading about how, in some of the Golden Ages of Spain, there's a there's a particular century in which even today, the Spanish historians coined the golden century of the Spanish civilization. And it was, you know, on the Muslim rule, there was the foremost minister was a Jew, there were many Christians serving in the government. And people prospered and not only prospered and tolerated each other, but actually created one of the leading civilized you know, leading civilizations at the time and left remnants
that we still flock to Spain in order to see.
So that spirit of coexistence is what I think your, your your speaking of, right? Like, I think I think we we do ourselves a disservice when we speak about coexistence, or we speak about tolerance, I think we can do far more than that. And Cordoba is is testament to that we can prosper, we can see this as a richness, the fact that we are diverse, that we are different, that we do come from different backgrounds, culturally, religiously, ethnically, racially, that is a source of strength, it's not something that we need to suffer the existence of, which is the actual definition of tolerance, we don't need to suffer each other's existence, we can actually create something that is,
that is, you know, quite, quite beautiful and quite useful for for those societies and, and countries and nations that don't have the same level of diversity that we do.
I guess it was George W. Bush, who really kind of re re ignited that spirit of division, right when he said, You're either with us or, you know, with the Yes, I mean, it's, it was actually I mean, you point to, obviously, the events of 911 2001. And I, I've written an article many years ago and published it in The Guardian. And it was about how for a few minutes after 911, when an opportunity like never before emerged, and that is that the entire world united the entire world united in horror, shock, disgust, and condemnation. But that was quickly dispelled by the the aforementioned statements by the American President then, who said, Well, you know what, we are going to seek
revenge and retribution. And everyone around the world, you're either with us in seeking that revenge and retribution, or we will regard you as amongst the terrorists, and that that precious minutes that precious minutes was totally dispelled. And it turned into a moment where division like never before was created.
And of course, there are people even amongst the Muslim community, right, who
who do believe in that division and that Clash of Civilizations
Carry on. I was gonna say and that is evident in, you know, the events of 911. And, and things that happened after that.
So would you say that the vision that you're promoting is one that seeks to win them around as well.
I remember listening to a child psychologist when I was when I was a young father. And, and I remember one thing that he said. And to be honest, I found that resonating throughout my career, and even in my political research and pursuit, you know, one of the things I do is hostage negotiations, and I found found that extremely true, and that is that if you continue to tell your kid,
you know, for instance, you're naughty, you're naughty or naughty, ultimately, they will become naughty. If you tell someone that they're a liar, you're a liar, you're a liar, you're a liar. Ultimately, they will most likely turn into lying as a habit. And it goes the same when you continue calling people, your terrorists, your terrorists, you're not with us in seeking revenge, and bombing a country like Afghanistan, which had nothing to do nothing to do with 911 whatsoever. Unless you're with us, 100%, then we will regard you as terrorists. And by the way, I encountered many discussions along those lines. I remember being with some American colleagues, I would say I wouldn't say
friends at the time, I thought they were friends. But let's say they were colleagues and we were having this discussion. I said to them, Listen, I absolutely condemn and denounce the killing of any particular any any life whatsoever, including the 1000s that were killed on 911. And that that is a shocking, apparent moment. And I condemn it absolutely. But your pursuits of bombing a country that had nothing to do with this is also condemn hon. And in some something that I also denounced, and they said, Listen, you're against us, you're we have to, we will have no choice but to regard you as amongst the terrorists. So you continue to peddle that kind of narrative. And ultimately, people
say, you know, what the heck with it, you want to consider me a terrorist. Okay, fine, consider me a terrorist. And some will even go far as to say, you know, we will prove to you that, you know, we have that kind of ability, we have that kind of tenacity to be So, and it's extremely problematic. It's very, very problematic. And like I said, it came after a moment when the entire world united in watching the images in absolute horror, and condemnation, it was such a poor choice of policy, but it was a policy, it was a policy, and it took a decade, at least, for those who created that policy to announce and declare that it was probably not in everyone's best interest, but it took a decade.
And during that decade, millions died. We managed to,
to render two countries and two nations in, you know, into very backward, regressive,
rubber like states of understanding iraq thereafter. And all under the guise of this particular policy. It was, I believe, one of the greatest crimes committed against the human race of recent times.
Absolutely, I was watching a documentary all about the Iraq War and the,
the building up to it and Subhanallah it's always like years later, isn't it when they when these documentaries come out, with all the kind of details and and you realize how much corruption how much dirty politics takes place, right behind the scenes, and it's all kind of presented through propaganda, etc. to the public as if it's a noble cause, right.
So Pamela, and but, brothers, I want to ask you like, how did you get into this like, sorry, I don't know much about your background as in did you grow up in the UK?
I was a REIT originally. Yes. Yes. My father, my both my parents are from Iraq. My father was born and he went to school in Tikrit to greet
famously, too many of your younger listeners will. They will recognize the kids as being the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, and also the city in which from which the bath ideology emerged in Iraq, and therefore more senior bath plan bath party officials were were frantically to or there abouts. But his
directly to creators more renowned or more famous and more appropriately, I would suggest, by being the birthplace of Salahuddin illumi.
His father served as the commander of the forts that was protecting that particular region from the attacks and incursions of the, of the Crusades. And Salahuddin lay up was born in that fort, which, which my father as a child used to go and visit during, especially during ait.
so my foot my parents were from Iraq. I was born in 1968, in September of 1968, in, in Baghdad.
But when I was about two years old, in 1970, my father had to leave Iraq, he was, if you wish, he was more of an in, I'm not sure about the term, but today, we call him an Islamist, I'm not sure that that's appropriate, but and that was at opposite extremes from the Baptist ideology. So he was harassed.
Yeah, I mean, he had to leave, he had to leave. And he never returned to Iraq until the fall of the back regime in in 2008 2003. So So I spent, you know, I'm this year in September, I'll be 53. So 50 years of my life I've spent in this country, and it's been where I've grown up my memories, his child, my school, that my friends. So I'm not entirely sure how you classify the other day, someone said, So would you classify yourself as a as a, as a migrant as a first generation? And to be honest, I'm I'm actually at a loss. I don't exactly know where I fit under which label?
Yeah, I think I think a lot of us feel that way. Really. Even those of us who were, who were born and brought up here, you know, we've all had
questions of identity, that have kind of
sometimes bothered us sometimes, you know, confused us, I think, throughout our lives. You know, you know, it's interesting, you say that, because I recall, as, as a child, my father, who was who was a doctor, and he was preparing for his fellowship, so he had to spend, you know, a year and a half to two years, doing different parts of medicine in various hospitals. So we moved a lot during my, my, my early years, and I remember, you know, when your children, you're colorblind, you don't see people differently, just, you know, you just mixed with kids, and that's, but I remember I was about seven or eight years old, and my father was, was an A part of the UK in which there were very few,
let's say, non whites. And, and I did, I didn't see myself as, as any different from anyone else. But I recall, for the very first time someone said to me, you know, you have a funny name, and, you know, where do you come from? And I was thinking to myself, well, I come from just down the road, but, but all of a sudden, that triggered a series of questions that I then started asking my own parents, about, you know, where are we from? And why are we here? And, you know, how do so? So yes, you're absolutely right. This is a big question. It's a generational question. But, but, you know, we'll get over it as a society but also as individuals, I think we have the, the perseverance and
the fitness in order to do so.
Yeah, and I think sometimes having the question, having, being forced to ask the question helps you to become clear, right, on who you actually are. And that's also a blessing, right? Very much so. And it also, it also helps you identify others, and also recognize the struggles of others and the questions that they may be, you know, asking themselves or asking, their parents are asking even, you know, their own children. So it's me it makes you more human. It makes you more empathetic because the nature of humanities is diversity. That's there's no question about that. But I also mean it for me anyway, it makes you like when I was in Egypt, people were always asking us and
whenever I go abroad, like Muslim majority countries, they'll say Wow, you Muslims in Britain, you're so you know, strong You seem so like Islamic You know, you're so like you hold on to your deen like something so valuable. And I guess a part of that is the fact that you had to choose to do so. Right. Like it wasn't just the the norm all around you.
So for you when when would you say or how would you say you got involved in I would say the Islamic movement or you know, this line of work. What what woke you to that? I grew up in a religious household. Both my parents are practicing the
Muslims. My father, like I said he was, although a doctor that he was politically engaged, especially politics in Iraq, and, and he's he based that he based his position very much so squarely within the domains and principles of Islam. We, our Arabic was nurtured through reading the Quran, and, you know, our community, our close community who we would meet frequently, and we were, you know, around the local, the closest nearest mosque and Islamic center.
So, so I guess that's the understanding of Islam that my father particularly instilled in myself and my siblings was an Islam that wasn't
wasn't rigid. It wasn't fixed. It was, it was a call to action. It was okay, fine. So you pray five times a day? How does that impact your life? How does that make you a better person? So you fast the month of Ramadan? Perfect, fine, you've ticked that box, but how does that impact your character? How does that benefits others who might not know about either your faith or your religion or where you come from? So it was always about Okay, so what have you done today to help others. So that kind of feeling and, and alignment with activism, let's just let's call it was was clean? innately it came naturally to us. I think, you know, he was quite organic with that within our upbringing. But
in terms of actual,
let's say, work campaigning, and the such, there were two things that happened when I was about 16 years old.
I was about to start doing my a levels in Manchester at the time. And there were two things happening, there was a general election coming up. And there was the the boycotts of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Which, which, you know, I actually latched on to, and it created a lot of my initial awareness of the political spectrum and the political scene. But the first issue was quite interesting, because I remember, you know, in my Friday, Friday prayer, listening to the, to the Habib to the, to the speaker, deliver the speech, and there was nothing about the fact that in a month's time, there was going to be general election. And, you know, I started asking people, and
they said, Oh, we don't, you know, voting that doesn't concern us. And, and that troubled me a lot. Because I, you know, I was listening to people on radio, particularly i was i was a big radio listener, about how this will impact people's lives, livings about their futures about education.
Correct? Correct. Correct. Yes, he was right. Yeah, it was a third day, it was a second term. We're approaching a second term at the time. And, and I was absolutely astounded. So from the Students Union, my college, I got a few flyers, and I started standing outside the mosque after every prayer and giving them out. And I have to say, the time I got,
I got physically attacked at one stage, when people you know, kept telling me stop doing that, stop doing that. And,
you know, I ultimately someone sort of clipped me around the year and old uncle. So if that started, let's say my actual activism and campaigning and the such, and then obviously, it was many things. It was, you know, the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the bombing of Iraq, and then the sanctions that were imposed on Iraq for about 13 years, and during that it was the bosnia crisis. And, you know, things just spiraled until it became my, let's say, my second interest at the time, my main career was focused on linguistics. I was a linguist. I was an interpreter from Arabic into English, and I was quite good at it. I was the top of my class on successive years, and I
graduated early I, it was something that I enjoy doing. And then I enjoyed doing academically, I then lectured my my supervisor during my master's degree.
He was taking a secondment abroad and he called me and he said, Why don't you come and, you know, lecturing instead of me. This was just a year, two years after I had myself graduated. So it was something that I took on too, but politics was always part of me. And even I remember when choosing the textbook for the students, it was always going to be of political sorts.
Nature and I had to force myself to find something of an artistic or cultural dimension, because it was always politics that I was interested in, I had several newspapers delivered to my doorstep, that those were the days without the internet, every day, right, left, you know, the times the telegraph as well as the Guardian, the, the observer, the observer, and, and, you know, it was something that I grew into. And when it came to 911, it just had to take, you know, a full place in my, in my work, as well as my concern, as well as my dedication, and, and many things that I thought I knew out of, you know, reading papers and listening to political programs and commentators
analysis and the such, I had to re educate myself on how things work in reality, because it's totally different.
Hearing about stuff thinking that you know, about stuff, but then doing it yourself. And I had to give me in the end, what changed what exactly changed?
You know, when, when you listen to, and, you know, the time the 10 O'Clock News, which was the main feature of the day, for those who follow the news,
you know, for about two, three minutes, you what you were told about an incident that happened either within the country or outside. Yeah, but you have to imagine that that incident has absolutely consumed 1000s, if not hundreds of 1000s of lives. It's been, you know, that everything it's been, what they've they're breathing, what the seeing what they're touching what they're smelling. And yet, we were told the story in less than three minutes, we were showing a few clips,
either one sided, or, you know, vaguely impartial. And to ask that said, and as soon as we moved on to the, you know, to the, to the sort of amusing bits of the news or to the sports bulletin, it's over. It's done with where we've forgotten about it. But like I said, you realize, once you work, and you actually get your hands dirty in this is that these two minute segments that occupy almost nothing of our lives, they absolutely consume entire societies, probably even generations. And I mentioned in particular, for instance, the the Bosnian crisis, and the massacre of stripper Nita, which will be commemorating in a month's time. Exactly. And, you know, the fact that everyone sort
of heard that there was something going on in Bosnia, it was portrayed to us as though it was some sort of sectarian clash between the Muslims of Bosnia and the Christians of Croatia. And it was, it was put as that. But then, you know, you find out that things were far more intense, they were far more atrocious, they were far more terrible and terrifying. And that there were generations that were impacted by this. In fact, up until recently, a group of colleagues who went to visit Bosnia, and to attend these rubber meets and Memorial,
they were handed out sort of a list of guidelines of what to do and what not to do. And one of the things they were asked not to do was, don't
just randomly go up to people on the street and ask them about their memories of, of what's happened, because many of them, in fact, the overwhelming majority,
suffered horrifically. And many women were raped. Many children were beaten and abused, and they still carry that around. And therefore, you don't just go on up to anyone. And ask them that, although it might be out of concern and compassion, and sympathy, but, but the impact might be quite, quite significant and in a negative way. So that's what you learn. And so you know, what you read in textbooks, what you read on the newspaper, what you listen to on news, all that is fine and proper. But it's very, very secondary to actually being that to actually seeing things. So it's abstract. But the reality on the ground is very, very real for the for the people it affects. Right.
And I guess that brings us on to a topic that's related to that because another topic, another area where things are very real on the ground is in Palestine, and I really wanted to ask you what you're like now that there's a ceasefire.
Or even though it looks like this, oh,
Still plenty going on. Um,
I would really like to hear what your reflections are, like how you frame this. First of all, the entire
This is quite a big ask I think but, um, like, the entire subject of Palestine and like, how we as Muslims should should view it in our times. And then this recent,
so called clash, right, this recent the recent problems that have been happening, and, you know, what are your reflections on
the result and what it means, you know, the result as in what has happened, what has taken place and what it means. Sorry for brother and I just want to
elaborate that, you know, like, when we started talking about 911. And one of the things, one of the recurring themes that even even the West is very conscious about, right, in terms of a massive grievance that Muslims have all over the world is regarding the issue of Palestine, right, the occupation of Palestine, the, you know, just the the terrible things that took place in 1948. And the, the way in which it was, you know, occupied, and then
all of the politics and the history behind it, but then also everything that's happened ever since the supporting of a of the brutal regime that we're really wouldn't be able to stand up on its own right.
All of that is stuff that causes Muslims a lot of pain all over the world. And even when it comes to, you know, terrorists and terrorist attacks, and one of the one of the biggest grievances is related to Palestine, right.
I think I've, I've articulated that correctly. It's so yeah, so given all of that, I'd love to hear your like, take on it.
A few things needs to be said, first and foremost, Father, no, I,
I understand the way that you framed your question. But I would actually argue that terrorists in the various forms that we find them
have, despite the claims, despite some even being sincere, but they have done the greatest disservice to Palestine, and in fact, of the Muslim cause than anyone else. And I would include even the invaders, the occupiers the presses. And that's something that I think needs to be said, and it needs to be said quite clearly and loudly. And for anyone, anyone who is even for an inkling of a moment contemplating somehow joining these, these mops, these GaNS
thinking that by that they would be serving either Palestine or any other just cause, then I would tell them that that path is a sure way to do it at an absolute disservice to causes that are just and that are pure, like the case. So that needs to be set the other point? And once Yes, this is an extensive subject and probably needs, you know, days if, if not, if not even more to actually get to grips with but to be perfectly honest, I'd like to start off by saying that whenever throughout the decades that I've argued for the cause of Palestine, and I've confronted pro Israel commentators or analysts are such,
either in the media and conferences and meetings and the such, the, there is always constantly
something thrown somewhere down the line of the discussion saying, Oh, well, you know, it's it's really complicated. And I, if, you know, many years ago, I started telling those who attend my training courses and workshops on the site. It's far from being complicated. It's actually quite simple. And that's the beauty of the cause of Palestine. It's incredibly simple. It's a case of
a nation and a country. That was stone. And that's the that's the end of it. It was stone, and it was stolen. And this is why to be perfectly honest, it's something that not only It doesn't just relate to Muslims, or to Arabs, or to Palestinians, either. It's something that concerns every single human being and I mean, what's what I'm saying here, every single, sane, rational just
Freedom seeking human being must be concerned with Palestine. Why? Because it is almost a unique case in our history in our modern history. When, under international law, under the watchful eyes of the entire world, a nation in a land called Palestine, which had existed for 1000s of years, which was sacred to all the Abrahamic faiths, Islam, Christianity and Judaism,
in which people lived side by side being Muslims, Christians and even Jews, for centuries,
was simply taken away from its inhabitants, the inhabitants were kicked out. And it was handed to a people, the vast majority, the overwhelming majority 99% of whom had never set foot in their lives on this land. And the only reason why was that the world and particularly Europe,
was unable to address the horrors that were delivered to the Jewish people within their midst European Jews for decades, who harassed or abused, who were tormented, were killed with gas.
They were unable to deal with the legacy, the shameful legacies of Europe in how they led down and surrendered their Jewish communities, to the most obscene ideologies, including narcissism, in order to be prosecuted in ways that you know, are absolutely unimaginable. So how do they cleanse that particular stain? How do they wash their hands of that particular disgrace? Well, they kick out of the Palestinians, and they tell those Jews, there you go, that's your Promised Land. It's, it's as simple as that. Everything that follows by the way, is is secondary to that main premise. Palestine is the cause, and is the case. And it's the story of a land stolen from a people now in their
millions scattered around the world, either as refugees, or as dissidents, you know, people who have nowhere else to go.
And seeing their homeland, the land of their fathers and their grandfathers being trumped up bit by bit taken over bit by bit, and handed over simply because of the doctrine of these really state being a Jewish state. Everyone who's not a Jew is a second probably even a third class citizen. And therefore, as soon as any Jew from anywhere around the world arrives at Israel, Israeli borders, or ports or airports, are immediately handed them Israeli citizenship. And given the right to take over a part of land that was previously owned by a Palestinian. It's as simple as that everything else, we can talk about politics, we can talk about asthma, we can talk about the settlements, we can talk
about, you know, all of these things, and that's fine, improper, and that will take days. But the simple fact must be recognized, and it must be told, and by the way,
it's absolutely absolutely clear. And it must be said time and again, Palestine, and the struggle in Palestine is not a struggle between Muslims and Jews. It is not a struggle between Arabs and is and, and Jews. It is a struggle for humanity, it's a struggle for justice. The thing about taking over someone, I mean, let's put, you know, given analogy, this is far simpler. And anyone can can understand. If someone came into my house for a cup of tea, and then said, You know what, I'm not going to leave, I'm just going to take this front room, and you can have the rest of your house. Okay, I'm just going to take this small front room here. And this is going to be mined from now on
and you're not going to be allowed to enter it. any sane, rational, just human being will absolutely reject this and refuse this and see this as an atrocious act of robbery. So what if the entire neighborhood came also together and said, No, no, no, no, it's fine. You know, she should stay. The fact that the entire neighborhood comes to that rubbers defense does not make his action any more legitimate or excusable or acceptable and it does not make my stand in rejecting that occupation, any less justifiable or just so the simple case of Palestine is this and letson
Never, ever get lost in the details. It's great if someone has the tenacity, the time, and the aptitude to go over the history of Palestine, the history of Zionism, the history of the State of Israel. And since then, since 1940, is actually since 1917, when the Balfour Declaration was issued just a few miles from where I sit today, you know, from then on reading all that history, is that fine and proper, but ultimately, it all boils down to that simple fact. And we must never, ever forget it.
I'm gonna play advocate, if you don't mind. Sure. And I'm going to ask you something that I heard somebody saying, Well, you know, if Britain conquered
Didn't Britain just do what nations have done throughout time in the sense that if you conquer a place you do with it, what you will? And what you wish? So Isn't it just a case of
a nation being conquered? And then, you know, being given almost a spoils of war to somebody else? Not that that justifies it. But I'm just saying like,
isn't that one way that people might conceptualize it? And so for example, we have Muslims in Turkey now, right? tuck used to be a Christian country. Muslims conquered Turkey, right? So like, the idea of conquering has gone on, right, throughout history. What would you say to somebody who, who puts it to you like that?
Well, the argument is flawed, with all due respect that I know that you're playing advocates here. But the whole reason why the world fought in World War One, and the second world war was in order to bring bring to an end, the the advent of conquer of conquering other countries, or just basically, having your army marched across the borders, and just taking over the next nation. The whole point of the United Nations, and the new international order that was set up in the aftermath of the Second World War was to establish that these borders Now, you may, you know, you may disagree with them, you may dispute them, you may do but you do them within the framework of international law. So
the issue of competition, the conquering and the conquests. They they don't they're not relevant anymore. It doesn't work anymore.
It's not justifiable. It's not accepted by international law parameters. I'm not talking here about Islamic parameters or by a law that was invented somewhere else. I'm talking about international law, to which Britain is a signatory. So so that's the first argument, it's, I would, I would say, the other thing is that
even conquest, you know, any talk about Turkey and Muslims, throughout the, the era of Islamic conquests,
no people were kicked out of their land. No people were displaced. No, people were told that you have to change your religion. And that's why, even under the Ottoman Empire, there were Christians and they were Jews, as they were people of other sects and faiths, and as such, they they weren't forced to leave their, their religion and faith, even in the Holy Land. That was taken over by Muslims during the time of Ramadan, blah, blah, blah, run around the 30, year, 30, year 30th year for hegira.
there remained Christians, and they will thriving, and the Jerusalem families of Christian origins are still there. And they are extremely prominent, and they they are an integral part of the social fabric of Palestinian society, and many of them are also victims of Zionism. And the the Israeli state. So so the whole argument is absolutely wrong. Plus, What is wrong? You know, what starts being wrong does not justify anything after that, meaning? That let's just assume that Britain had overall authority over Palestine. Is that something were willing to say? Yeah, that was fine. It was okay. And therefore, any decisions that the British Empire made or took at the time, they're
justifiable and therefore upheld by law, it's it's wrong because occupation is wrong. occupation is wrong today. It was. It was wrong 73 years ago, it was wrong before that, so it's wrong. And anything built on that wrong basis must be condemned and must be fought and must be changed. So
the argument itself is is false.
who proposes tonight I understand and appreciate that there are people who propose it are entirely wrong. And from not a not, I would stress not from a purely Islamic perspective. But from the perspective international law. This is what international law was set in order to do and to protect societies from that no one now with a greater and mightier army has the right to march on to another lesser equipped and defended country and say, You're ours. Now, that doesn't happen any.
And further, up to now, most Muslim majority countries have refused to normalize relations or even recognize Israel. Right.
But that's changing, or it seems to have changed with us with about four nations, I believe.
Do you think there's an again, I'm playing advocate? Is there any excuse? Is there any reasoning,
Islamic or political even right, like in terms of strategy
that you think could justify that normalization? And do you think it is motivated by
strategy? You know, so for example, you know, okay, look, this entity of Israel exists now, there's no point. You know, I don't know, making enemies of our neighbors or something. I'm just trying to think of like the argument, right.
For the sake of peace for the sake of preventing fitna, I don't know, right? Let's, let's make peace, and then work to defend the rights of Palestinians within that state or something, something like that. Like, I don't even know how to argue it, right, because it's such a bad argument. But
I'm just thinking like, Is it only for dunya? We reasons, basically, that these countries have normalized relations? Or could there be any other excuse?
Well, I think that the mere fact that you struggled so hard, in order to present any damages, I think that that's testament to, to how ludicrous this whole thing is, once again, I mean, go back to the analogy about someone coming and taking over your front room.
And about the whole neighborhood saying, Well, you know, that's okay, that's fine. We're gonna defend that occupation of your front room, and you have, you know, three more rooms upstairs. So you know, Why you so bothered,
it doesn't matter, there's nothing that justifies it. There's nothing that makes this acceptable. But it's not it's not that they accept what happened. It's that, look, this is the status quo now. So what's the point of having, you know, well, they're there, they're seeing, obviously some reason for normalizing relations. So I'm talking about the normalizing relations aspect. Right. It's, it's, it's, it's, it's all folly. Fatima, I'll tell you how there is, it's fine. When
when a country says, Listen, you know, my economic strategy, my statistics are, and by the way, I'm not saying it's fine, meaning I agree with it, but it's fine, meaning it's understandable, it's something that you could sort of promote with, with with a straight face.
So you can say, okay, you know, I, you know, for strategic reasons, for economic reasons, because I want to really focus on my infrastructure and educational infrastructure for the next 20 years. You know, I'm have to I'll have to divert those funds and those efforts that I do in, in resisting normalization
to that particular strategic project, so I'll need to break this particular chain of animosity and I'll need to reach out Okay, fine. But that does not justify in any way that you immediately round up the Palestinians were working in your land and either imprison them, or kick them out with 48 hours notice, some of whom have been there for 4050 years.
And it does not justify that within a matter of hours, probably days at most, that you have an array a playlist of songs that glorify this newly found relationship and friendship, that you immediately have
flight paths and you have plane routes, and you have touring companies glorifying how brilliant holidaying would be in, you know, in Israel and Tel Aviv and the
And the various hotspots
that attract tourists from from around the region. They it doesn't work, it doesn't work that all of a sudden, you have these fantastic, but it doesn't work that with that kind of justification that I said, Okay, fine that that sort of you can rationalize that, that within a matter of days you have the largest synagogue outside of Israel and in the entire region. It doesn't make sense. The fact is that these countries have not only said, Okay, fine, we're going to have relations with is we're going to normalize with Israel, these countries have posed has stood against Palestine, against the Palestinians have made a mockery of the cause of their call for justice to be reinstated for their
homes to be returned to the refugees to be reinstated. That's that's the pleasure.
These countries are now 100%, behind Israel. And if anything, the United Arab Emirates, for instance, said it's no secret, are actively providing intelligence to the Israelis, through their so called either trade missions to Gaza, or their relief efforts, or they're rebuilding teams, reconstruction teams, who are going so kinda heartedly to Gaza in order to help with the reconstruction of what Israel has demolished, only then to be found to be carrying GPS signals that tell about where the strategic points within the city of Gaza are. These people have have not only created normal relations with Israel, they have stood firmly against Palestine, by the way, I'm
talking about regimes here, the peoples of those countries are 100% 100%, behind Palestine, they have not changed an iota. But the regimes unfortunately, and that's another thing for another day, probably, those regimes have no legitimacy within their own countries, their only legitimacy comes from the fact that they are backed. And they are supported to the hilt, by let's face it our own country here in the UK, as well as the United States as well as other European powers through trading contracts and business and immense wealth.
Which they deprive their own nations from. So they themselves don't have any legitimacy.
Do you know, for the unece, I always used to think about this when I lived in Egypt. And it makes me think about it now.
I don't know if it's a naive way of looking at things. But I always wondered, like, when I looked at, for example, the Muhammad Ali mosque in Cairo, and, you know, some of the great, amazing buildings and infrastructure built by great leaders of the past, right, you think, wow, you know, they had a sense, okay. Even if there might have been corruption within them, etc, they had this sense of, I want to leave my mark on this country, I want to, you know, I have a sense of honor, I have a sense of my own People's History, etc. Right.
I really don't understand why, in modern times, so many of the Muslim majority countries, okay. Don't have leadership that has any kind of, it feels like any kind of allegiance to eat its own history, forget about any, you know, any kind of wider feelings of brotherhood and, you know, to the amo and think, even for its own people, you know, even on a nationalistic level. It's as if
they either don't care about their own history, they, they can live with the they don't have any, any feeling of guilt.
Do you know what I mean? Like I do, I do. And, you know, I really the other day, I was, I was on a radio show, talking about Iraq, and how Iraq is, is an utterly shambolic in an utterly shambolic state. And one of the things I mentioned, I said, you know, what, what drives me crazy is that none of the leaders has even gone and built either around about a small park that they could say, you know, I just named after yourself nothing after yourself if you have nothing, nothing. And, and it's because of the deep corruption that runs through the political systems throughout the Arab world. I'll be honest, I mean, someone who has no legitimacy cannot create. The only thing they can
continue to do is to subjugate and to oppress, because they don't want people showing them up. You know, when when more
Barack was ousted. And you heard about the billions that he had been hoarding, right. Yeah. And then just remembering what it was like to live in Egypt and Cairo, which should be Cairo should be like the, the jewel in Egypt's crown, right. But unfortunately, it's like a very trashy city, that's the only way to kind of describe it, you know, it's like, it's terrible, the the things that the people have to go through just to live ordinary lives, like the trash, the rubbish, the, you know, the lack of facilities. And you'd think, you know, if you had billions, you would at least want to be proud of the Little Kingdom that you are building, you know, but it's as if it's as if the leadership
don't even have that, you know, there's not even that sense that, you know, okay, I want to live like a king. But I want a kingdom that's worth being king off, right? That, like, there's not even that, which I really, you know, I it's, it's funny, I mean, you, I had a friend of mine, who, who was a former former robber, and spend time in jail, is now in handlers is now in a far better place. And he tells me, he tells me, he says, you know, these people that steal in siphon, you know, the riches of countries like Iraq, for instance, we're talking about Iraq. He said, you know, even as a robber, I know that the thing that will keep me going is to leave a little bit for others, not to
steal everything, don't steal everything. You know, you go to a buffet, for instance, and open buffet and you take a few things, but don't take everything, because that will show you up. The problem is that there's even some stupidity even in the way that corruption is run. But also, there was
quite an amusing, but quite relevant story that was relayed by a German specialist, one of the top German specialists in the in the 90s. When he was told that in his Ward today was the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak back then.
And his comment to his staff was, if he's the president of Egypt, why is he coming to Germany? To get treatment? Why hadn't he created the health center, which makes him proud and feel safe and secure? in his own country today, in his own country? Why is he created Germany? And that that just I think, within that question, lays, you know, essays and essays about the problem, the problem of corruption.
I mean, well, I think the thing I'm trying to highlight is the lack of, I mean, even from an egotistical perspective, you know,
the inability to serve your own people have a lack of allegiance to your own, you know, to your own nation is is staggering is, is
essentially, when you arrive at the top, like 90% of Arab leaders, you know, when you arrive at the top in the way that you arrive at the top,
you feel that everyone is in it for you, you have absolutely no trust in anyone around you. In fact, if anything, you surround yourself right, by the same crooks that got you there in the first place. And those crooks can only do one thing well, and that is to steal and to lie. They can't build, they can't construct, they can't plan. They can't strategize. You'd think that and by the way, we have a living experience of someone whom upon arrival was seen as, you know, a glimmer of hope, in the darkness of oppression throughout the Arab world. It only took him a few months, then to understand that, you know, if you wanted to stay where he was, he needed to act like an oppressor. And he
started, you know, gathering authorities and powers on the such and started to dispel or try to dispel democratic institutions. And he just became your run of the mill Arab dictator. So it's it's a, it's layer upon layer that you need to disentangle in order to try to understand but you're absolutely right. Those who unfortunately run Arab countries today at the helm have, they never arrived through the will the free will of their people, and therefore they can never ever rely on their own people for their own protection. If someone was elected democratically and freely, they can always say Listen, I was elected democratically and freely and I will serve because you elected
me democratically and free, but someone who wasn't they can only look at America or
Britain or China, Russia, for protection from their own people. And, you know, you ultimately end up seeing your nation as being the enemy. So why would you care about, you know, doing up their dreams or doing up the the houses or getting them jobs are the such?
there? Isn't that benevolent father figure even feeling? Right? There's none of that. And it seems, it seems as though you know, sometimes there's a switch, I think, you know, maybe it will take mothers, you know, who will raise it? Because sometimes I think this is an emotional connection, isn't it, there's a lack of emotional connection to your own people in history.
I see what you're getting at, and you're probably right. But I'd like to also add an addendum that we, we have our fair bit of female dictators, as well, by the way.
Some of those male dictators are
hovering behind them, is a wife or a mother or the such who eggs the mom. So it's not as simple as that. I think that I think it's something that we need to deconstruct. But, you know, the first step would I, you know, if I was to say this to any run of the mill, Arab citizen of any country that you could name, they would say, you know, what, as we don't want those parts, we don't want those houses, we don't want those streets and roads that sell decent enough for a bike to, to run on. We just want the prison cells to be closed down. Let them just not imprison us and torture us. If they do that, that we will, we will regard that as a very big step forward.
So Pamela, by the way, before we move to the next bit, who was the leader that you said, Who when he got into place, he realized very quickly that
he's, he's the president of Tunisia, who was elected just a few months ago. And I was someone who actually was quite pleased that he was elected, because he didn't come from your, your normal, mainstream political establishment. So we had a lot of hope in Him. But over recent weeks, it's been revealed how he was how he was writing to his close advisers about the spending Parliament's and about gathering all the authorities and around and the same old, same old, same old so. Yeah, I mean, I think that we're in for the long haul, until real change, real change comes to the Arab world.
And brother, unless in a talk that you gave a little while back, that I heard about, you identified four areas.
There might be more that you mentioned as areas that we could focus on as Muslims, because, you know, obviously, I want to leave people with a positive, I guess, empowered mindset
for areas that you felt that we as Muslims should focus on, that would bring about real change to the Muslim ummah.
Could you go through those four areas? Would you like me to mention the headlines or where you're going? Yeah. So I think the first was, and I haven't heard the talk myself. I just have the bullet points. So the first was,
that change only comes about when decreed by Allah? Can I can I address that? Yes.
The reason I mentioned this was that ultimately in all that we do in everything that we say everything that we campaign, for, we strive for we struggle for, we must understand, that we all that we need to do is to do our best. Otherwise, it's Allah subhanho wa Taala, who delivers the results and the outcomes. I could be working, let's say for the liberation of Iraq. But then Allah decrees, through, you know, my endeavor and efforts decrease the firstly and more preferably, that another country is liberated, which then leads to the liberation of Iraq. So the how, the when is decided by Allah subhanho wa Taala. And that's what I meant. So it's not that you know, has just sit
down, your effort is almost insignificant and worthless. What you need to do and in the verse why I do level master classroom, empower and prepare for them, whatever you can, or your utmost in terms of power, or influence or impact or capacity. So what we are commanded to do is to prepare do our best get education, learn our facts, know how to be better know how
To develop and grow, know how to inherit this knowledge and this experience to the younger generations work, you know, transparently work truthfully work with, with sincerity.
that is what you are ordered to do the end result, the deliverance, of the moment of change of transformation and victory of whatever you may call it. That is decided by Allah subhana wa Tada.
So, in other words, do your work?
Don't become impatient. Yeah. The change will come when Allah Subhana Allah has decreed for it to come. Yes. And we have to do the work anyway. Absolutely. We need to do the work. Absolutely. We need to do.
The second point you mentioned was we need to be ready to deal with the aftermath in the change. Yeah. And I think and you will know more about this Fatima from your own experience in Egypt is that sometimes, you know, we can be so engulfed in working for change that we forget to also plan for Okay, so what if change was delivered tomorrow? or next week? What's what is the number one going to be looking like, what am I going to be doing then? There are unfortunately, some people who get so engrossed in the struggle that they don't know anything else. And therefore, when times of change come when the actual objective that they were working so hard and diligently for comes, they have no
idea what to do. Because they haven't thought of that process. There are some people who are totally dedicated to the struggle. And therefore
I guess, what could go wrong as well? Right? They had it full? Yeah.
Oh, what, what, what, what could go wrong? Or what could go, right? I mean, it's just like, you know, when we were students, and we were preparing so hard for the final exams, but on, you know, the day that we have the final exams, where it lost us to what were going to do, and therefore, we ended up wasting most of the subsequent days or weeks and doing absolutely nothing, because we hadn't planned for that time in that. And again, that's a very simplified analogy, but it's, it's the same and what happened, I would suggest, in many cases, such as the one in Egypt, for instance, I think that whilst the effort to galvanize the revolution in order to create the momentum that then
became the Arab Spring, and to bring down the dictator of Egypt, after almost 30 years of rule.
After that, people were in a in a state of being used moments, almost bewilderment, and sometimes even at losses to Okay, so now, what do we do? So, and I feel and this is, by the way, no judgment on what happened, because, you know, I was watching from afar, just like millions of others. So I, I have no right to judge people. However, my observation is that what came easiest to the revolutionaries was to hand it back to the
the sculptor, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. And hence, we got loss of MOBA, we, you know, we, we got rid of Mubarak, but we never really got rid of the regime. And that was what I believe was the prelude to what happened in 2013. That is the military coup. So that's just an example. So we have to was struggling for change. We have to also prepare ourselves mentally, psychologically, also from the planning perspective for what's going to come thereafter.
So how could do you think they have been? I'm just thinking, you know, now it's like, how could people have been more prepared, for example, in the Egypt situation?
And no, I don't think they could have because it all came just so suddenly, I mean, remember that that all of this happened within the matter of two, three weeks, everyone was was transfixed to their screens watching what was unfolding in Tunisia. And then all of a sudden, people started heading towards the highest square in Egypt. And within a matter of two weeks, three weeks, the guy was gone. So I don't think that at the time, and within that context, people could have done much more. But it's something that we need to learn from.
Yeah, definitely. And the third point you mentioned was, we need to think of, I think it's we need to think of change comprehensively. Yeah, that's exactly my points when I mentioned Egypt as an example, once again, I'm not I'm not sure
But going after you for the COVID. But yes, I mean Egypt because it's it's a classic example. It's, it's, it's, you know, it has its entails 1000s, if not hundreds of 1000s of lessons for us in whatever capacity we are. And that is that, you know, changing mobilock as monumental as that was,
it didn't really change things, ultimately. And the reason was that I think that most revolutionaries thought that by getting rid of Mubarak and his family, that their work was done. And,
and therefore, I think the lesson is the next time, and there will be a next time when allow them, I don't know. But next, there will be a next time, we need to think of radical change, and no remnants of the old system must be in place. No remnants, and I'm not sure. And by the way, I once gave a talk about this in in Dublin, I believe. And afterwards, someone wrote that, whether I was promoting a bloodbath out the window or not, of course not. What I'm saying is that the remnants of, of the old regimes, whether they be institutions, whether they be the kind of media that that
the back them through whatever they did, the judiciary that is corrupt, the security forces that were targeting the people, rather than targeting the, you know, the threats against the nation, those need to be changed, people need to be retired, they need to be changed, new, new blood needs to be
introduced within the system so that people can actually move on. So trans. Complete change is very important. By the way, I'm focusing here today on the political. But I would also say that the same applies even on an individual level, you know, when each and every one of us when Ramadan comes, you know, we all declare that we are going to do things differently, we're going to be different people, every every single Ramadan, I know that I do.
But the fact is that ultimately, most of us through various reasons, either because of laziness, or because of reluctance, or because whatever it is, we end up changing some superficial elements within our lives.
But ultimately, it's not a radical transformation. It's not a comprehensive transformation in everything in my Outlook, towards myself towards my life towards my family, towards Allah subhanho wa Taala, upon which I then base everything that follows whether it be fasting or reading the Quran, or praying at night or making dua.
So it's that radical transformation that I think we all need as individuals, as communities. And I include the Muslim community here in the UK, as societies, as well, as you know, when we look at international incidents, such as the example that I just gave in terms of political upheavals,
or the one of us you who's saying, I don't know what you think about this, he was saying that,
you know, this idea of having even half the population support you, okay. And half the population being kind of wanting Islamic leadership and Islamic change is not enough. And he was saying that, you know, we get too excited when, you know, there's a bit of progress, but actually, in order for that progress to be lasting, the groundswell of support from the public needs to be at least I think he said, 75%, or something like that. What do you think about that? Like, do you think, yeah, I would go against trying to quantify these things.
Because, you know, if you look at the seal of the Prophet sallallahu, Alayhi, wasallam, even after 13 years of making vow to his own people, and upon making Angela, throughout those 13 years, he managed to get around 60 to 70 people to follow him. But those 6070 were the were the
Yeah, and they were the, the pinic that they were the very pillar of what then came, you see, so it's not about quantifying. I would, I would, you know, even love to have an argue, a discussion
about the issue of imposing
You know, I'm not gonna I'm not gonna answer this, because this is a total category, but let me give you this. I mean, going back to the issue of radical change, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam in his early years when he when it was clear, despite the fact that he was only surrounded by a handful of companions.
But it was clear that he was an existential threat to everything that berish who were ruling Mecca that the largest tribe by none, that were ruling Mecca and ruling the Kava and ruling its trade routes, its caravans and the such and therefore, there was much economic benefits and much political expediency and much, you know, cultural reference and all of that, when they saw that the Prophet sallallahu Sallam was calling to this, you know, thing that was, they saw as an existential threat. You know, they, they tried everything. They tried cursing him, they tried, belittling him, they tried tarnishing his reputation. And then when they, they, they felt that all of this was not
working, they sent a delegation of the highest of the high in order to negotiate with it. And everyone knows the story, how they said, Listen, if it's after power, we will declare you King, if it's a wealth, we will give you you know, we'll make you the richest man in Babylon. If it's, you know, you want to marry, we will give you the most beautiful of our daughters.
At that moment, if you think about it, the Prophet sallallahu Sallam could have said, Well, you know, yeah, I mean, if I get to be king, if I get to be the richest, if I get, you know, I didn't, I get one. But the profits, I would send them responded with an unequivocal rejection, saying that's trying what you mean, even if you manage somehow to place the entire sun
on my rights and the entire moon on my left, I will not leave this call.
And the reason why was because the Prophet salallahu, alayhi wasallam was seeking a totally different kind of transformation. It wasn't just about getting rich, or becoming called King, that that is all superficial. It's about Yes, radically changing people's perspectives regarding themselves, their surroundings, and their relationship to Allah subhanho wa Taala. And that's what ultimately transpired.
So I think what you're saying is that,
or one of the things that you're saying is that, you know, sometimes we can get very fixated on who's in charge, right.
And whether it's looks Islamic, or whether it, you know, has all the kind of superficial features of being Islamic. Yeah. But
in reality, the reality of the nature of the society is the is the more important
consideration is that,
yes, I mean, that's one way of looking at it. I always tell people that whenever I read the seer of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and we read about how the greats are Hobbes, who came to him and declared the man, I don't recall ever reading about him asking anyone to grow their beards or shorten their dress, or to change their clothes or to change the way they walked or talk to the such. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam always concentrated on their minds and their hearts, and that kind of transformation. So, to me, once again, I think that the oma has gone through ages, or certain areas and phases of its lifetime, in which we were totally obsessed about
superficialities about how people looked how they dressed, how they ate, how they, you know, Dawn, the certain fabric or dress or whatever, rather than on essence, rather than on what's true, what's the, what's the substance? And, and I would suggest the same goes for
you know, when when each one of us dreams about, you know, our utopian sort of image of what we would like for ourselves and others.
And unfortunately, it's overwritten by stereotypes, by all women being wearing Hijab by all men having beards and you know, shortened the dresses and trousers by
the Sharia being reduced to punishments, right? That's exactly, exactly. And but you know, during prayer times, everyone closes down and all the men are in the mosque and all the women are doing, you know, and it's not like that Allah subhanaw taala had didn't create us like that. Allah subhanho wa Taala instilled in us in the message of the Prophet salallahu idea was send them values, if those values become true, regardless of where they are implemented, be they in Ireland, be they in Japan, be they in Egypt, the that is what Allah subhana wa Taala wants. Allah subhanho wa Taala wants us to be truthful wants us to be free to make our own decisions. wants us to be just wants us to be fair.
He wants us to be accountable and responsible for our own
decisions whether personal or public, Allah subhanaw taala wants us not to deceive, not to cheat, to be trustworthy. Allah subhanho wa Taala wants us to be kind, not only to ourselves and our families, but to our neighbors, those who we meet, Allah wants us to be kind to the animals. Allah wants us to be kind to the nature of the environment around us. Allah subhana wa, tada wants all of this, Believe you me, I don't think that Allah in in his might, in his glory is really concerned about the length of my beard, or how long or short my trousers my trouser cuffs are. It's, it's absolutely, to me at least I you know, with all respect to everyone out there who believes differently. But to me
at least, I see this as image and superficiality.
One of the things that is a problem in the Muslim community is the tendency for groups to either focus on the mining shy, right, and all the very detailed aspects of FERPA and, you know, and almost get lost in those aspects of fic. Right?
Or the tendency to over generalize, which I think sometimes leads to, you know, bigger problems. So, for example,
you know, in my experience, people who I've met who kind of who are quite dismissive of fake and who are quite dismissive of some of the more detailed rulings, you know, to do with the Sunnah, or to do with enough, you know, things that are not, you could say, like, obligatory, right, or not haraam, but the things that the profits are seldom encouraged, well, with the beard, for example, they would say, Well, you know, he actually commanded his Sahaba to, to allow the beards to grow right, and to differ from other nations.
So, I think there's a tendency to either be so general that you kind of say, oh, none of the, you know, those detailed matters matter. And then what happens is people who overgeneralize and then I think sometimes
it's actually symptomatic of an attitude that they have towards other more important aspects of Islam as well, right? Because, you know, obviously, as a Muslim,
as you become more devout, you will want to follow more and more of the detailed aspects of the Sunnah, even if it's things like, you know, your dress, and, you know, like dressing like the prophets, Arsalan, for example, or we might not regard as to be, you know, like, the major aspects of,
you know, Islamic practice or Islamic belief. Of course, I agree with you. Absolutely. Of course, there needs to be that kind of balance, so that we take all the aspects of Islam
whether we regard them as major or whether we regard them as details, but they all come together.
The point that I was trying to make, and by the way, you know, I'm All my life I've, I've had the beard, and since I was a young adult,
and my, the women folk in my family all wear hijab.
I try my best not to wear too lengthy films whenever I'm wearing that in either doing camera or hedge.
But the point I was trying to make was that
in one of the problems that we face as an oma right now,
is the problem that our priorities are mixed up. And because we seem to be unable to create the kind of conditions that serve, you know, the the major goals, we zone in, and we sort of double down on what I would regard as secondary.
But secondary doesn't mean it either unimportant or meaningless. Audible, of course not. And the following of the way of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam in the way that he dress in the way that he ate. And the way that he talked in the way is, is part of our devotion to the oneness of Allah subhanho wa Taala. So I think it's important that
we understand where these issues fit within the whole paradigm of what's most important and what's less important. So when I say that
I may have a lengthy beard, but that would not hold me in any kind of good state before Allah subhanho wa Taala. If I was a cheat, or I deceived, or I lied, or I committed sins, for instance, it would have no bearing whatsoever. Well, Allahu Allah, I'm of course, I'm not an alert, alert and Allah, I don't decide on behalf of Allah subhanho wa Taala for Allah, Allah subhana wa Subhana, Allah to Allah wants us to take a different outlook to have a different outlook to ourselves and our life in accordance in accordance to our devotion to Allah subhanho wa Taala. And that takes more than just looking in a particular way, or maybe speaking in a particular way it takes acting and
behaving for the betterment of ourselves, everyone and everything around us. That is what I think it's true Islam.
And then, by the way, just to end on this, we don't then need to label it. I don't need to say, oh, a golden Islamia, or the Islamic community, I don't need to call it that I can call it whatever it is. I can call it London. Pero. I don't need to call it. But as long as the substance is that I think every everything else is, is detail. Absolutely.
That's interesting. Some of your reflections actually resonate with me a lot, because I've been studying Islamic law at masters SOS. And we've been looking at the different the way in which Islamic law interacts with different legal systems in the world. And
it's quite interesting how sometimes Muslims, we have a caricature of Islamic law that we are, we believe is Islamic law. But, you know, it's actually almost like a figment of our imagination that, that somebody has, like, just passed down to us. Yeah, let me let me add to what you just said. Because that's, that's absolutely fascinating. Let me add to this. How about that next time we think about maybe someone would call an Islamic Society, others would call you to utopians? How about, we think about an islamically driven society, as being as having the best of schools, the best of hospitals, the best of roads, the best of transport systems, the best of media, the best of the
jury, the you know, the the legal system, the best political, so how about we think along those terms, how about we think of it as something that everyone, everyone everyone would like to imitate, regardless of them being Muslims or otherwise? So let's think coding, how, you know, it's, it's a, it's a, I have to say, and this might be a side issue, but what I mean is we need to think differently about these things, you know, for instance, I, you know, for years now, decades, attending hot water Juma Friday prayers, and listening to the Doom of the hupy, or of speakers on TV in the such, and ultimately, I feel that the Doha is, has become very monotonous, it's become the
same old, same old, same old and we all know it. I'm yet to hear a Habib say, Allah.
Make, you know, our schools, provide the best of education. Allah make our hospitals provide the best of health service, Allah, make us as Muslims always meet our promises. Oh, Allah, make us never late for our appointments. Oh, Allah, you know, I don't hear that. Yeah, that is what we need. That is what we need. And that sort of reflects a little bit of what I mean by having a totally different outlook. I was challenged a couple of years ago when I appeared on
on a show on a podcast again. And I at the time, the headline that the snippet that was shown was NSL security says that we don't need Sharia, and I did say those words. But the what I want to say is, what we need is the values of Islam to be instilled in our lives personally, before it is society wise. If Allah subhanho wa Taala, somehow, by some miracle
found us a piece of land and that was run by Muslims. And we call this the Islam if I go to that land, bringing my baggage Oh, yes. Yeah. The baggage of you know, not being totally truthful or not
Being able to really deliver being perfect in everything that I do like, like the Prophet sallallahu Sallam commanded, if I, you know, ultimately, ultimately, I will manifest exactly what that sort of Islamic quote unquote, state will become. Right? into a hell anyway, right? It's Whoo.
I do understand what you're saying. And I think sometimes when we articulate it in that way, even our own brothers and sisters can get a bit like,
reduction reductionist about it, you know.
But that's because this is what I mean by this caricature of what an Islamic
revival means, you know,
that is in people's minds.
That I don't know how we're going to change that, though, because it's so embedded.
It is, and by the way, it's extremely dangerous. I mean, because how many societies were cheated or manipulated by their oppressors and dictators because one day they woke up and said, You know what, how we're going to make people happy. I'm going to implement, I'm going to force all women to a hedger. Oh, and all of a sudden, everyone's you know, what, hamdulillah you know, the ruler is now a good Muslim, despite the fact that they may be lying. They may have 1000s of people in prisons, they may be cheating, they may be selling the country that source resources down the river. But oh, now because he's implementing Sharia, as people would happily say, I remember the same happened. I was a
youngster. And there was a an Sudanese president who one day who was who is a known leftist. One day woke up and said that from now on, we're going to implement Islamic Sharia, we're going to chop the hands of, of robbers, and we're going to with the backs of those who consume alcohol, and we're going to impose hijab and our recall, you know, my friends, their fathers, you know, all being Oh, my shot love fantastic. The country was dying a death. It was a it was riddled with problems with issues that's, you know, it couldn't it couldn't read from suffocating from the corruption from the oppression from the dictatorship in the sun. And we must now assume and adopt a totally different
outtake outlook to what it really means to be a Muslim. What it really means to be a Muslim is that when we meet Allah subhana wa Taala, that we have pure hearts, a lemon at Allah be a Colombian Saleem, apart from those who come to Allah with pure hearts, it's the hearts not the images, not even the actions, you know, we read, it fascinates me that the people who sometimes take home those beliefs they themselves know the Hadith of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam about a woman and Israelites, a woman who was actually who was a prostitute
one day walking past a well and next to it was a dog who's you know,
who's extremely thirsty and about to die. So she climbs down this world, and in her slipper brings up several times some you know, drops of water so that the the dogs this could be quenched. Allah the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam says, Allah gave her forgave her and and read with her as within the people of Paradise, that women in the in the mosque of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam, that woman who stayed for days and nights and these nights and when the Prophet asked about this, a hammer praised her, Oh, she loves Allah, she loves the Prophet, she loves doing all this a bother the profits that I was sending was told by God, that she had a major issue and that rendered her
amongst those that whom with Allah was displeased. In fact, he said enough now, when the when the Sahaba were astounded How could that be? He said, because he, she hurts her neighbors. She was a bad neighbor. It's these things that are sometimes equal to nights and nights of prayer, or days and days of fasting, or many verses of have been put on we need to change our perspective. The question when I was introducing myself and my family earlier, Father, I told you that the question that was given to me was okay, fine, you pray, well done and hamdulillah that's, that's your, you know, that's your obligation. How will now that put that prayer that you've just performed, influenced you
as a character as a person? How will that impact those who with whom you play, those who whom you socialize those with
You meet? How will they themselves feel the impact of your prayer? You see, it's that kind of how does this transform? How does this changing? How does this make me a better character? talking about is easy everyone can do that. It's doing the work is hard, because it's painstaking. And it's, it starts at the individual level. And it's so much easier for us to blame other people and, you know, look for superficial change outward outwardly or outside of ourselves. Right? And I guess that's what,
that's the human condition, right? When we're when we're not careful.
That's what we're suffering from. Absolutely, absolutely. One of my friends, one of my you know, he's, he's been a good friend, it's been a, we've been friends now for more than 35 years, every animal bond comes by, he goes to one of his, his,
his bags in the attic, and he brings down he takes out the dishdasha, I thought, okay, and the washes it, he is it and you know, we put some rude perfume on it. And to him. That is a very important part of Ramadan. As soon as Ramadan is over, he falls it, he puts it back in the bag, and he takes it back into the attic. These things are simple, they're easy, they're convenient, they make us feel a sense of fulfillment, but I think we should just think totally differently about the message of our last panel that is far more important than that.
And you'll get rewarded for dress.
Um, I was just thinking, you know, Allah says to wear your good clothes, right to the masjid. Because obviously, trying to do that is doing that. Yes.
So, brother, I think you've pretty much covered the fourth point, which is our vision has to be based on values that are divine guidance. Yes, I think I think you've pretty much encapsulate that. I'm very aware of time, the one thing that we didn't finish your thought on and inshallah we can finish with this was the current, the latest, you know, situation that happened in Palestine. And like, what you think people were celebrating, people saw it, people are seeing it as some kind of pivotal moment. Do you see as that? Absolutely. What's happened in the last weeks of Ramadan
was monumental. And this generation, it's nothing like they've ever seen.
It's like, you know, that boxing match between the heavyweight champion and some underdog unknown. And all of a sudden that underdog starts to really strike blows, that are really unsettling the heavyweight champion. And we all love it. We all you know, this is why we follow let's say sports for and in the case of what's happened in Palestine, this people that had been under occupation for 73 years that are being literally literally and we saw what was happening and shadow job, like being kicked out of their houses, some as they were having dinner, some as they were sleeping in their beds, only to be replaced instantly, by the
Sackler family, who will then you know, get into the same beds and finish up the same food most likely.
And that, you know, we saw that happen yet those people, all of a sudden, not only
man managed to reach out to the world in order to show the ugliness and the reprehensible policies of, of the Zionist State of Israel, but also to respond, to respond and to show that they have, they have developed in terms of their tactics, techniques and tactics of how to resist occupation. And that's something which I think, to everyone and by the way, those who were watching with amazement weren't just the Palestinians around the world, one, just the Muslims around the world, all of my friends, none of them Muslims, you know, a group of my colleagues, none of them Muslims. were texting me like crazy. You know, this has happened, this has happened. They were following, you
know, they were on tenterhooks with what's happening. So the dynamics have totally shifted the the reputation of Israel as being the infallible, unbeatable
army is, has been rocked and shaken to the core. The Palestinians is peace
People who only claim victimhood appealing to the world only through the lens of their victimhood was changed. Now, yes, they continue to be victims of an incredible justice, but they are now more than capable of standing up for themselves. And if the world decides to desert them, let them desert that they will do this on their own. And they proved that they are more than capable, to the extent that by the seventh day a day, Israel started pleading to its allies Egypt as well as other Gulf countries in order to appeal to the Palestinians to stop. So the dynamics is starting to stop what is it time retaliations from just to stop the retaliations to stop the the blocking the Palestinians
in Jerusalem, we're blocking the highways. Because these railings said no one can come from, from the surrounding villages and towns to measure their uptime, the final days of Ramadan. So the policies of Jerusalem said fine, okay, we're going to actually block the highway so that no one if the palette if our brothers and sisters from the neighboring towns or villages can't make it to Jerusalem, no one will make it to Jerusalem. And it was it brought Israel to a standstill? Absolutely, absolutely. So So, you know, these rails found themselves opposing what they thought at first, as you know, something akin to an insect which they could crush it at the will. But all of a
sudden, that turned out to be far more powerful. And what was really, really clear, was the world responded in a way that the Israelis could never have imagined, you know, the 1000s upon 1000s, the old
was not working anymore, right? It wasn't working anymore. Well, we're now in the midst of a new generation, on both sides, who have a different take on justice, who have a different take on equality, on freedoms on human rights. And the you know, whenever you talk clearly about human rights, the Palestinians will definitely inevitably come on top. And intellectuals the media, politicians were listening. And they, they, they sensed the kind of change and transformation on the streets, and they have no other choice but to respond accordingly. So I think and then we saw our demonstrations. I mean, I was here in London, in the demonstration that had one had 150,000 people
and the other had 200,000 people. And there were people from all sections of society, the Jews, that joined us in their 1000s, condemning the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians was, as you know, it was uplifting, it was joyful. It was lovely. And it proved that Palestine is a huge, humane humanitarian cause that everyone should rally behind.
Does that kind of happen, but unless, inshallah, in the future, I would love to interview you again. And speak to you, from a parent's perspective, you know, about what we need to do with our children, you know, in terms of like, raising a generation that can bring about change. But I think that's, that's going to be a whole, a whole other topic, and I look forward to speaking to you on that in the future, but just not gonna have you really given us insights is, there were so many issues that I was thinking, I don't get it, I don't get this, you know, so you've really given us a lot of clarity. And I hope that brothers and sisters who are listening will also feel that, you know, I
think it's really important for public intellectuals to engage with the public because sometimes, there are things that we haven't really been thinking about, you know, and we don't really know what the answers are to and we don't know who to who to really ask to clarify. So just click here and I really appreciate your conversation with me today. It's been an absolute pleasure, Fatima, thank you so much for inviting me. I enjoyed our discussion and I'd be more than willing to come back sometime in the future to talk about anything that's the teachers Thank you. But by the way, do you know my dad I just wondering like if we've got any other type of connection, he's moving?
Of course, of course, of course, Mashallah. Mashallah. So, so, you know, we're somehow connected the, you know, spiritually from the intellectual perspective from our backgrounds. That's, that's a great blessing. humbling. Thank you for telling me this variant and thank you, oh, sorry. Sometimes I just assumed that because my surname is Baraka law people will just know you know, but But, yes, please deliver my salons and the best wishes and do it.
Insha Allah while he calls Salaam brothers and sisters desert Camilla Heron, please do share this episode with others. Leave your comments. Tell us what you think about some of the things that we've discussed. I think there were some things that maybe would have made you asked some questions or maybe even challenge the way you might have been thinking about some issues. Please share the episode and
tell somebody about it today. Sharla jackal no Heron was Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato subhanak. Allah home ob handig eyeshadow Allah ilaha illa, anta as the heruka were to like
You've been listening to all my talk with Fatima Baraka Tila, please share this episode. Please leave a comment. And let us know what you think about the issues that we've discussed. Joseph Camillo Heron was Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh