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.
- What criteria do we look for in marriage? And how do we rank those criteria?
- 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)?
- Should we all sign up to be organ donars?
- 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:
- 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’?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.