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Haady Mohammed holds a degree and masters in Law, with specialism in public international law and arbitration. He has worked for five years

Allawi visit to Iran, Hakim visit to Israel, Sadr visit to US

Now that I have your attention….

***WARNING: This is not about Iraqi politics.  Please do not read any further if you are looking for a rant about whether Maliki or Allawi should form the Iraqi government – your mind may not be able to handle something apolitical.***

For those whose brains haven’t exploded at the thought of something not relating to Iraqi-government formation, your opinions are sought on the following:

I have been asked quite a lot about these issues and therefore feel that they merit discussion.  I know they are more ‘religious’ in nature, but we British-Iraqis are on one hand trying to reconcile our two cultures, yet also, the Muslims amongst us, face religious issues.

  1. What criteria do we look for in marriage? And how do we rank those criteria?
  2. Do you believe that you should defend this country (the UK)? Or that you should only serve your religious leader (E.g. Imam al-Mehdi, according to the Sunni and Shi’a school of thoughts)? Or are the two compatible? Or should you serve your country of origin (Iraq)?
  3. Should we all sign up to be organ donars?
  4. Some of the above can be considered to be ‘Fiqhi’ questions, yet do Islamic scholars understand enough of the society we live in to make fiqhi decisions?  Or should we start to interpret Islam ourselves?  Or should we invest in creating home-grown scholars?

To kick-start, I will answer with some views (which are not necessarily my own) that can hopefully create a discussion to help in developing our ideas about issues which British-Iraqis face:

  1. The only thing to look for in marriage is religiousness.  If you seek anything material, you will not find it.  If religiousness is good, then everything else will fall into place – God will make sure of that!  But how do you define religiousness?  Is it prayers & fasting, or is it as the Prophet Muhammad (S) said ‘I was sent down to perfect [man’s] moral traits?’ (إنما بعثت لأُتمم مكارم الأخلاق)  Or are prayer & fasting and the like an indivisible part of ‘moral traits’?
  2. If you are a British citizen, then you have entered into an implied contract (sometimes an express contract/oath) with this country that they are to defend Her Majesty and the country of Great Britain.  If say, a pesky neighbour on the continent was to launch a mass-scale invasion of Europe and was headed for the UK, then it is your legal AND Islamic duty to defend this country.  By defending this country you are abiding by the contract between you and British state, your are defending your right to practice your religion freely here, you are defending your brothers-in-humanity (ie. Everyone who resides here), and you are defending your brothers-in-faith.
  3. Yes – even though your organs may go to a non-Muslim and your body will be late for burial, you are helping somebody.  Even if your organs may go to someone who is need of them because of their drinking or drug addiction, but you cannot choose in this country who they do and don’t go to – you only choose whether you want to donate your organs and if so, which ones.   Since you will not benefit from your organs in death, you may as well donate to those who need them.
  4. Considering many social ‘Fiqhi’ issues are dependant upon the society in which a person lives, how do scholars  understand the society in which we live?  Or do they not need to understand societies, but only make general rulings and leave application down to the individual?   Certainly, at the very least, the interpretation of Islam should be made more open to the people (there is at least one effort I am aware of that will bring a lot of light as to what are the accurate hadith/narrations), but then again interpretation of Islam is a dangerous thing – you can end up with a peace-loving, law-abiding, citizen, or a dangerous, fanatical, terrorist.  Home-grown scholars sounds like a very inviting idea – but where does one start?

There are so many issues discussed above, and the issues certainly are relevant to more than just British-Iraqis, but they are also potentially relevant to most British-Iraqis.  I think its time we touched on the controversial in religion, as the controversial in politics is rarely discussed objectively (at least not on BIF), hardly affects the day-to-day lives of writers and readers, and frankly-speaking, with lack of intellectual discussion discussing the philosophical concepts that underlie political thought and only with concentration on the superficial, is just getting boring.  Hopefully religious discussion makes people think on a deeper plane.  Who knows where this may lead?  Maybe one day we can discuss the role of religion in politics.

3 Comments on “Allawi visit to Iran, Hakim visit to Israel, Sadr visit to US”

  1. Ali D August 15, 2010 at 5:25 am #

    I liked this article quite a lot actually. It is very heart-lifting to see an attempt at tackling issues that are actually relevant- all too often it seems that much of what is written around these parts is very narrowly political and riddled with rhetoric and logical fallacies. It gives hope to read an article every once in a while where the personal views of individuals are not presented rigidly and in a form that is clouded by tints of one bias or another. Many of my comments on this site have, sadly, been reactionary in nature and driven by complete shock or distaste. Unfortunately, and perhaps this is true for others, it is for this reason that the really useful and objectively written articles are often read happily but don’t receive much in the way of comments. Rant aside, I will try to break this personal trend and will make an attempt at abstinence from responding to that which does not warrant response but go to extra effort to discuss that which is presented as this article has been: objectively and without bias.

    You raised four points, and I will make an attempt at answering two with the hope that others may have further input to enlighten us.

    Question three- Organ donation:

    I do think we should all be organ donors. You are correct in highlighting the dilemma that inevitably occurs when one considers the possibility of your organs going on to someone who will go on ‘to do more bad than good’, for want of a less simplistic way of putting it. I do think, however, that the very nature of our being dictates that we can only act, and consequently only be judged, on our actions as they are to be taken in their specific context. If I see an unfamiliar individual in need of help in public, I will attempt to help them. If a hospital in my area (specifics of our healthcare system aside) is in need of funding, I will donate what I can to them. Thoughts regarding the future repercussions of a seemingly positive action are all brushed aside as ‘irrelevant’ in all of these cases.

    If we are looking for a specifically religious viewpoint as to the issue of ‘good actions with negative consequences’, we find that even prophets could err on some levels. Three distinct ‘types’ of infallibility are presented. The argument goes that all prophets were infallible on the first and most basic level; they had infallibility of ‘actions’. Some, those who had reached the level of ‘imam’ on top of the level of prophethood (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed pbut) were infallible in all actions committed as well as with the consequences of their actions. Lastly, there exists infallibility that stretches across three levels; actions, consequences and ‘future repercussions of actions’ and we are only shown one example of a prophet who had this type of infallibility. To simplify, us mere ‘common folk’ cannot be expected to account for much more than our imminent actions- if an action is good, do it…if not, don’t do it. Organ donation? I think it is something we should all do- but I eagerly await any opposing views!

    Question four- Islamic scholars:

    With regards to this issue, I don’t believe that the principle can or should be established from the context i.e. we should not decide on the suitability of the concept of Islamic scholarship (or ijtihaad) based on our perception of its effects. Either the principle is established, in which case we should accept it and only look to improve the system within the structure that the principle permits, or it is not established, in which case we should not look to accepting it in any form to begin with, until (and if) we accept it.

    Hope that what I have written was of some use. Let me know what you think.

  2. Safwan Mudhafar August 15, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    What?! Allawi went to Iran, Hakim to Israel and Sadr to the US?? More details please!


  1. I can have yours, but you can’t have mine « British Iraqi Forum - September 29, 2010

    […] where I think we do not contribute enough is Organ Donation. Haady Mohammed raised this in his last post, and a brief discussion […]

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