The British Board of Scholars & Imams

Month: June 2020

BBSI Statement on Mosque Re-opening

BBSI Statement on Mosque Re-opening

In the Name of God, Merciful to all, Compassionate to each! And peace and blessings upon the Best of Creation, Muhammad al-Mustafa, his family and companions.

Summary:

  1. Mosques have been allowed to re-open from 15th June for individual prayer, but NOT congregational prayer yet.
  2. The BBSI continues to work with the government to allow for congregational prayers to be held as soon and as safely as possible.
  3. Before Mosques re-open to the public, they must ensure risk assessment is carried out etc.
  4. This guidance applies only in England. Scotland, Wales and N Ireland should refer to their own governmental advice.

Since the middle of Ramadan, the BBSI, on behalf of the Muslim community, has been working diligently on the government task force and liaising widely with various Mosque Councils and Muslim organisations. We have advocated for the centrality of spirituality in the lives of individuals, and thus ensuring the opening of our sacred places of worship as safely and as soon as possible.

The Government has now announced that places of worship will be allowed to open on the 15th of June for individual worship only, though not congregational prayers. Though this is not everything that we were advocating for, it is a positive step in the right direction. We continue to advocate for a stepwise approach that will permit congregational worship in a safe manner, and are hopeful that this will follow soon.

It should be noted, however, that this positive step comes with challenges. Foremost of these is ensuring that attendance at our mosques is safe. We are seeking clarification from the government about the health and safety regulations that will permit the safe use of places of worship, along with any accompanying guidance. This is so mosques and communities can plan their next steps in line with regulations, and also so we can feedback comments and suggestions to the government.

Equally important is the ability of individual mosques to ensure that worshippers keep to statutory requirements, which we recognise will be a significant challenge for some. We continue to be mindful that the Muslim community has suffered disproportionately from the COVID pandemic, and remind all that our eagerness to return to the mosques should not be at the expense of the lives of our congregants or their families.

In light of this we are urging mosques, trustees, Imams, committee members and the community to immediately carry out risk assessment and contingency plans at a local level, in close collaboration with Local Authorities and other relevant agencies. We must ensure that these are all in line with the government policies. We will continue to work with Mosque Councils and Muslim organisations to facilitate this and work towards further steps in the safe and timely opening of our mosques. We pray we remain in your duas in this endeavour.

Standing up against Racism

Standing up against Racism

In the name of God, merciful to all, compassionate to each! 

Many of us have observed with increasing consternation and dismay the events following the appalling murder of George Floyd, a tragic incident which is yet another example of the historic discrimination and racism that black people have and continue to suffer from. We pray for the family of the deceased and send our deepest and heartfelt condolences.

Islam – from its very scriptural basis – is clearly against racism and explicitly discusses issues of ethnic and colour difference, as well as the essential humanity that binds all of us together. The BBSI, however, recognises that prejudice and racial discrimination is widespread in societies and that proactive measures need to be taken to confront this issue.

Eradicating racism from our society will not be achieved by simple citations of scripture or identifying black Muslim figures in our history. We as the BBSI recognise that it requires deep introspection, learning and education, reaching out, listening to, and working with black communities, and religious transformation on an individual and communal level.

We, as imams, scholars and academics are dedicated to playing our part in this by providing spiritual leadership in standing against oppression and instilling Islamic values of concern and active respect for one another. We urge scholars and leaders in the community to do the same.

We pray for peace, justice and harmony for the world. And we implore the Almighty to shower us with His eternal grace and ceaseless mercy.