The British Board of Scholars & Imams

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HOLDING ONTO FAITH

HOLDING ONTO FAITH

The British Board of Scholars & Imams presents..

HOLDING ONTO FAITH – from Shu’ab al Iman

Daily reminders from the celebrated book, Shu’ab al iman – covering mental health, spirituality, community welfare and other important topics.

Join a scholar or imam from the BBSI every night at 8pm- 8:30pm (during this crisis) for LIVE webinars through the BBSI facebook page.

STARTING FROM FRIDAY 20th March 2020

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THE FRIDAY BAYAN

THE FRIDAY BAYAN

The British Board of Scholars & Imams presents

THE FRIDAY BAYAN

Fridays (during this temp crisis) a Scholar or Imam will deliver LIVE Facebook webinar via the BBSI page from 1-1:30pm.

Join us to watch inspirational words and continue the connection with God.

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UK COMMUNITY BRIEFING PAPER FOR IMAMS, MOSQUES, AND MADRASAS FOR THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

UK COMMUNITY BRIEFING PAPER FOR IMAMS, MOSQUES, AND MADRASAS FOR THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

In the Name of God, Merciful to all, Compassionate to each!

Executive Summary

  1. The coronavirus pandemic constitutes a highly significant danger to the world health, and necessitates immediate action to prevent or slow its transmission, especially to those at risk of severe consequences. Critical to this are social distancing measures.
  2. This guidance is supported by a number of Muslim organisations (theological and community), and is based on sound empirical and theological reasoning, while practical in application. It is intended as advisory, and to assist local religious organisations in taking decisions in the best interests of their communities.
  3. It balances between the worldly and next-worldly interests of people, and recognizes the importance of taking precautionary measures whilst maintaining dignity, serenity and neighbourly compassion.
  4. We fundamentally affirm that all that transpires does so according to God’s decree, and provides an opportunity to deepen our connection with Him, either directly through patience and prayer, or indirectly through serving His creation.
  5. Individuals are ethically required to take all appropriate measures to prevent transmission – whether relating to hygiene or social distancing, including self-isolation if medically indicated – and to assist others in doing the same.
  6. In recognition of the fact that enclosed public spaces facilitate the spread of the virus, we advise that the recommended mosque congregations for the daily prayers be suspended and performed at home. We further strongly affirm that high risk individuals should avoid (or be precluded from) attendance at mosques, because of the manifest danger they might pose to themselves and others.
  7. Supplementary educational classes in mosques and other centres need to consider alternative teaching arrangements, such as online, as children would appear to be at high risk of transmitting the virus to others.
  8. It is the preliminary view of the majority of BBSI members consulted, as well as a number of institutions and international bodies, that the individual obligation to perform Jumua in mosque congregations be temporarily lifted. The contrary opinion is also noted, and this is a recommendation that will be regularly reviewed.
  9. Institutions such as mosques or religious schools have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their attendees, and should be supported by the community to discharge it. This guidance should be considered advisory to them, and to provide them with a framework with which to take an informed decision.
  10. As a community, we have a collective responsibility to one another – whether keeping each other safe, coming together to identify and assist the vulnerable in a coordinated and strategic way, to avoid harming others (by, for example, hoarding necessities), or being a source of comfort and solace in distress.
  11. Finally, we urge the community to remain calm, take precautions, and assist others.

Preliminaries

Along with many of you, the British Board of Scholars and Imams have observed with much concern the deepening crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the equally dangerous communal panic that has accompanied it. We have engaged in continuous deliberation among our members, partners, and senior medical experts, kept abreast of updates to official advice (as well as the concern among scientists that this advice is insufficient), and engaged in heartfelt prayer for guidance (istikhara).

 

In collaboration with Wifaqul Ulama and MINAB, we are issuing holistic guidance on community resilience with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, based on the spread of opinion within this ecumenical fellowship of scholars. This guidance supersedes any previous guidance and will be regularly updated in the future, consequent to any changes on the ground. We will issue any changes via our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/bbsionline/ and bbsi.org.uk/coronavirus

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Principles underlying the guidance
  3. Theological and spiritual considerations
  4. Moral and ethical responsibilities for individuals
  5. The Jumua Prayer
  6. Institutional Responsibilities
  7. Collective responsibilities
  8. Miscellaneous points
  9. Parting Counsel

1 Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic is of particular concern because of the combination of a number of factors:

  • It is both highly infective and much more severe than the seasonal flu,[1] especially but not exclusively to the elderly and infirm;
  • It is most often spread by those who show no symptoms, making it virtually impossible to prevent without drastic lockdown measures;
  • It has the potential to overwhelm the resources of an already stretched National Health Service (NHS), and;
  • It is a novel virus, meaning that we are still learning about its nature, means of spread, and potential consequences.

All of this and more has been clearly evidenced by medical experts worldwide and need not be repeated here.

In addition to this, the demographics of the UK Muslim community – specifically the frequency of extended family domestic environments and the pervasiveness of chronic illness – put the older generation of Muslims at particular risk of contracting the virus and suffering the most severe consequences. These risks also extend to the wider community; the absolute obligation to protect the most vulnerable members of the British community is what animates the majority of this guidance.

2 Principles underlying this Guidance

  1. The BBSI is an ecumenical fellowship of Imams, religious scholars, and Islamically literate Muslim academics with diverse outlooks and different opinions. As such this document attempts to broadly represent that range of perspective, and is proffered, with humility, as advisory recommendations.
  2. Our guidance adheres to three conditions that entail it should be
    1. based on solid evidence, be it scriptural, jurisprudential, or empirical;
    2. structured with clear rationales linking that evidence to our conclusions;
    3. comprised of practical and actionable steps to be applied.
  3. We take seriously our responsibility to minister to the welfare of the community – both worldly and next-worldly. This involves a recognition of the serious importance that our religion places on life, health, community, and spiritual well-being. To trivialise any aspect of this would be an error. As our scholarly tradition demands, our approach in the guidance is directed by consideration of what is essential, recommended, and desirable. This includes a keen understanding of when (and which) religious rulings may be suspended due to temporary harms or hardship.
  4. The concern within this guidance does not merely relate to the risk of becoming infected with coronavirus, but more so to the risk of transmitting it to others, especially the old and infirm. To choose to put oneself in harm’s way may be acceptable, unwise, or even prohibited; to put others in harm’s way is always more severely censured. The guidance utilises a risk matrix approach that considers both likelihood of infection/transmission and consequence of infection, from mild to severe.
  5. In the event that government directives are issued overriding any part of the guidance relating to gathering in public or private spaces, then the government directives would take priority.
  6. This document is intended to provide specific guidance to individuals, but a general framework of decision-making for institutions and mosques. Given that each mosque and institution is different (size, resources, region affected etc), we call for local Imams, scholars, and mosques to decide on what is in the best interests of their communities. However, our advice is that this should be done when all parties are properly informed and have considered all the principles outlined in this document.

3 Theological and spiritual considerations

At the outset, it is important to reorient ourselves and ensure that our individual and collective responses, whether internal or external, are informed by a transcendent theological and spiritual outlook. As believers, we have faith that all benefit and harm comes from God, and that all proceeds exactly in accordance with His pre-eternal Decree. We must remember that no soul can be taken ‘before its time’, and let this certain knowledge inspire tranquillity amid the panic and chaos around us.  Trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of the life of this world – decreed as part of the Divine wisdom to develop within us blessed characteristics such as: patience, endurance, gratitude, remembrance of God, faith and trust, mercy, generosity and compassion for one another, and contentment with the Divine decree.

This current crisis is an opportunity to draw nearer to our Lord with prayerful supplication, remembrance of the life beyond death, meditation on the frailty of the human condition, deepening our connection with the Divine, supporting one another towards patient endurance and ultimate truth, and thankfulness for the many blessings that often go unremembered.

We encourage ourselves and others to abide this current state of hardship in accordance with the elevated Prophetic character, shining a light of guidance, serenity, and beauty to the people of this land. That includes taking precautions, but fundamentally – as the Prophet Muhammad exemplified – it is being a mercy to creation, and loving for each other in humanity what we would love for ourselves.

Acts of worship that are particularly recommended, in this time and others, would include: passing a portion of the night in worship; the recitation of Quran abundantly; dhikr/remembrance; increase in charitable works; paying due attention to the rights of your family and neighbours; reading Salat al-Hajah (the prayer of need), performing voluntary fasts, beseeching God for His mercy and subtle bliss for yourself and others; deepening bonds of compassion with those around you; and tending to the unwell in appropriate ways.

Lastly, do not be afraid, and do not panic. All will unfold according to God’s decree, and we are all returning to Him. Have trust in the workings of the Lord of the Worlds, and recognise, as the most elementary studies in our religious theology dictate: He is the All-Powerful, the Ever-Decreeing, the All-Merciful, the Healer, the Compassionate, and the Bestower of Grace.

4 Individual Moral and Ethical Responsibilities

This section, which includes the bulk of the guidance offered to the community by the BBSI – as informed by our scholarly tradition, our understanding of the nature of the virus, and expert advice – relates to three categories: the individual, the institutional, and the community.

Our individual religious responsibility entails (1) the obligation to keep oneself safe from significant harm, and (2) the prohibition of causing harm to others – whether significant or minor. Bearing this in mind:

(a) Prevention of Infection/Transmission – Hygiene & Public Interaction

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds, especially when having been outdoors or in a public space. Increase the frequency of making wudu (ritual ablution) – though not to the point of obsessiveness.
  2. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (or similar) and discard immediately. If no tissues are available, use your scarf or the sleeves of your shirt.
  • Avoid opening doors with your hands. Use your elbows if you are able to.
  1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth until you have cleaned your hands properly with soap and water, preferably, or with hand sanitizer if water and soap are not available.
  2. Do not spit or discard any bodily fluid including saliva and mucus in the open, instead use the sink and wash it down immediately. If you use a tissue, dispose of it carefully.[2]
  3. Give the recommended salam when you meet people, but avoid physical contact, such as shaking hands or hugging. Maintain a safe distance – six feet is advised.
  • Being particularly careful about your interactions with (and care of) elderly or infirm members of your family, so as to ensure a reduced risk of transmission to them.

 

(b) Congregating in Enclosed Spaces, including Prayers in the Mosque

In terms of contagion, a mosque is merely an enclosed space where people congregate; as such, the guidance in this section is applicable to any similar public space. However, our focus is on religious spaces, and it should be noted that there are additional risks associated specifically with mosques, including: the possibility of acquiring the virus from hard surfaces in the mosque, such as ablution areas, or from carpets during prostration; spreading the virus within the mosque when entering, exiting, and congregating; the usage of water and presence of bodily fluids; and the difficulty of managing attendance. As such, and given the religious importance of the mosque, the following advice is intended for individual attendance.

The BBSI advises that, as a general principle and until further notice, individuals in the UK should avoid congregating in such enclosed spaces, which includes general congregational prayers at the mosque. The larger the potential congregation, the more strongly this is recommended. We recognise the acute sensitivity of this position, but feel we must prioritise the health of the community, especially the elderly amongst us.

Importantly, any individuals who fit any one of the following descriptions are specifically required to avoid such congregations:

  1. Someone who has flu symptoms, even if minor
  2. Someone who has been around an individual with flu symptoms, even if minor
  • Someone in an area where the authorities have temporarily banned public gatherings and one’s congregation/mosque would fall under the ban, in which case it is obligatory to follow the advice of the government until further notice
  1. Someone in a local area where there are confirmed cases of coronavirus and evidence of community spread
  2. Someone who fits the description of those who the authorities have advised to enter self-isolation, such as people who have recently visited countries where the risk of coronavirus is high (China, Italy, Iran, Japan, Spain, etc.),
  3. Lastly and most importantly, the elderly (60 plus) and those with an underlying health condition, or those frequently in contact with the aforementioned even if otherwise healthy (e.g. family-carers, nursing home workers).

This advice, collated by the BBSI from its members, is based on the following considerations:

  • The majority opinion that identifies the performance of congregational prayer in the mosque as recommended, not obligatory. The sunna of congregation can be fulfilled in non-mosque settings, such as the home with one’s family.
  • The many principles related to avoiding harm including:
    • The harm aversion principle: “Harm must be prevented” and “let there be neither inflicting nor reciprocating harm.”
    • The prioritisation principle: “Averting harm takes precedence over acquiring benefit.”
    • The mercy principle: “Averting harm from others takes absolute priority.”
    • The facilitation principle: “Hardship engenders facilitation, to the extent required to avert that hardship.
    • The reasonable fear principle: “Reasonable fear of harm is taken into consideration by the shariah.”
    • The self-preservation principle: “Do not destroy yourself with your own hands, rather do good.” (2:195)
    • The contagion principle: “Neither enter nor leave a land where an epidemic has spread,” (Bukhari 3473) and “let the [contagiously] sick not mingle with the healthy.” (Muslim 4235)
  • The need for precaution (ihtiyat) in order to prevent harm and the spread of illness, which is specifically demanded in the current context given:
    • the ease by which the virus is transmitted from person to person, with transmission potential in even asymptomatic patients,
    • the difficulty and delay in detecting the presence of this illness in people,
    • the difficulty in tracking those who are affected by it,
    • the difficulty in guaranteeing the mosque as an infection-free environment
    • the pronounced threat posed by the illness to the elderly and vulnerable people
    • the social and economic disruption occurring from the spread of this virus

All of these render it an obligation to take any means – small or large – to curb its spread: especially in terms of protecting the vulnerable and reducing the rate of contagion. This effectively renders attempts to connect rulings on this issue to the legal definition of ‘reasonable surety’ (al-zann al-ghalib) unproductive, unfeasible, and potentially dangerous.

In light of the above, and considering that the general ruling of congregational prayers in mosques is one of desirability, we recommend that individuals perform congregational prayers at home while this crisis unfolds and (as is likely) enters into a more aggressive stage. This is in keeping with increasingly prevalent measures relating to workplaces, educational institutes and public transport being undertaken by wider society.

(c) Tarawih Prayers

The ruling recommended for the Tarawih prayers is the same as that of general congregational prayers. In fact, tarawih in the mosque is a lesser emphasized recommendation than the normal congregation prayers, and the sunna is also fulfilled by individuals praying it at home. Nonetheless, it is acknowledged that this is something very dear to the hearts of communities and mosques. Further guidance on this is forthcoming in the coming days and weeks.

5 The Jumua Prayer

It is understood that this is the most contentious question within this guidance, and it has been the subject of significant and vigorous debate among religious scholarship and among the members of the BBSI in particular. Jumua is both an obligation on healthy adult males and a clarion sign of Islam; lifting or suspending that obligation from the community at large is not a step that can or should be taken lightly.  Nonetheless, we reiterate that the prime directive animating this briefing paper is people’s health and welfare, particularly protecting the elderly and infirm. Given these factors, the question of Jumua will be explored in some detail. Equally, it should be noted that this section primarily refers to the norm of performing Jumua in the mosques.

Two points of consensus emerged from the discussions: (1) if the government issues a directive banning public gatherings, this needs to be adhered to, and (2) ‘high risk’ individuals (as previously identified in the congregational prayers section) should NOT attend: not only is the obligation of Jumua is lifted from them, but their attendance, if any congregation does occur, should be severely and proactively precluded. If they are at high risk of transmitting the virus to vulnerable people, it should be unambiguously clarified that their attendance would be immoral and sinful.

With this being understood, two broad opinions were articulated by BBSI members: that of the continuing obligation of Jumua, and the position that individuals in the UK are generally exempt from the obligation of Jumua prayers.

Strenuous efforts were made, given the extremely short timescales and the difficulty of engaging in detailed legal argumentation remotely, to survey the opinions of over 100 members of the BBSI on their basic stance regarding these two positions[3]. A clear majority of those consulted opined that – at this time and until further notice – the obligation of Jumua should be lifted from the generality of UK Muslims. These guidelines will be regularly reviewed for continuing relevance and proportionality.

Further Explanation

Both these positions were ultimately based on a risk-benefit analysis: whether the risks posed by coronavirus were sufficiently severe to warrant a blanket lifting of the obligation, and whether effective steps could be taken to mitigate the risks.  Supporters of the former position opined that either the current level of risk was not sufficiently high and/or that effective steps could be taken, such as interdicting high-risk individuals from attending the congregation, limiting congregation sizes, and so forth.

They also proposed a ‘subjective opinion’ approach, where individuals are given the option to determine for themselves which ruling applies to them. This opinion is held by a number of scholars and is valid – except in the specific context where it is promoted in ignorance.  In this context, this means anyone (scholar or not) who clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the coronavirus threat and consequently places the community at risk. Examples of this would be obliging the elderly who show no symptoms of coronavirus to attend a normal Jumua, continuing to insist on large and concentrated congregations, and so forth. To follow such an unqualified opinion in such a circumstance would be impermissible.

The supporters of lifting the obligation of Jumua, on the other hand, argued the opposite, especially given the developments and trajectory of the pandemic both globally and nationally. The potential spread and danger of the virus, and the inevitability of mitigating steps failing, along with scholarly precedent, were sufficient to lift the obligation.  The evidences guiding this position were the same as those mentioned in the section on congregational prayers, with the following additional considerations:

  • The precedent of classical Islamic scholars to exempt individuals from Jumua for reasons including excessive rain or cold, heavy snow, fear of an enemy, and others, which are premised on relatively minor degrees of harm, inconvenience, and/or difficulty.
  • The precedent of some classical Islamic scholars to exempt individuals from Jumua due to fear of illness, which – given the nature of coronavirus, the level of difficulty in tracking its spread, and the inability to predict who may be affected by it and how – is effectively realized for the community at large, and hence a form of umum al-balwa (widespread hardship).
  • The minority position of some classical Islamic scholars that Jumua is a collective obligation rather than an individually binding one, so some people establishing a congregation lifts the obligation from everyone.
  • The classical option to perform very small (less than 20 people) Jumua gatherings where the risk of transmission is minimized, and which more resemble private gatherings. This is to understood in keeping with the idea that the norm in Islamic societies throughout history has always been to perform Jumua in a public prayer space, specifically the mosque. Personal obligation was not generally premised on the ability of an individual to create his own mini-congregation when an excuse existed to exempt him from attending Jumua. Thus the only option in such cases was to replace Jumua with the Dhuhr. This however is no longer the case.

This is explicitly not the same thing as stating that the mosques should be shut, which should only be countenanced in the circumstance that those responsible felt unable to manage the health and safety of attendees appropriately.  It should also be noted that this opinion is expressed in a context where the vast majority of people perform Jumua in public mosques.  The concern here is about the risk of contagion in public spaces, especially enclosed ones with poor air circulation like mosques.

There are alternative circumstances where the risk of contagion is clearly low (for example, health professionals who are deemed safe to come together to work are also safe to come together for Jumua prayer in the same environment). These would retain the ruling of obligation. However, the opinion of non-obligation has been left general, in keeping with the legal maxims: “The majority takes the ruling of the whole” (al-ghalib fi hukm al-kull) and “Rulings are given in view to what is the preponderant case” (al-hukm lil-ghalib). For details, one should consult conscientious and reliable scholars.

The ‘subjective opinion’ approach, where people decide for themselves, was also rejected on the grounds that many people (out of religious zeal) are likely to underestimate the risks posed to them – or by them to others. They may downplay or minimise: possible symptoms, their interactions with potentially affected people, the nature and seriousness of the illness, the need to take what they perceive as ‘extreme’ actions to confront this threat, and more. This could harm the larger community: it takes only one individual to disregard isolation and social-distancing guidelines to create a cluster of cases as clearly evidenced recently in some South Korean churches.[4]

Another issue raised in favour of the majority opinion is that of practicality. The minority ‘subjective opinion’ approach has the potential to lead to increased numbers of people going to the mosque based on their personal determination that they are obligated to do so. This will pose a difficulty for mosques attempting to manage congregation size, or screen out symptomatic/elderly individuals, and expose them to unmanageable situations. While a mosque can implement control mechanisms, the general exemption for individuals would provide a further control and make the work of mosques easier.

Given this, and the reasonable basis underpinning the view that coronavirus constitutes a universally-applicable excuse, the BBSI has opted to highlight the opinion of general exemption from the Jumua prayers for individuals within the UK, while acknowledging that other scholars validly disagree.

Nonetheless, the BBSI is not a directive body, and this guidance constitutes advice to the community.  As such, it is recognised that there are individuals who believe that Jumua remains a binding obligation upon them despite coronavirus.  For such individuals, we offer the following recommendations:

  • According to a completely valid opinion in classical Islam, the minimal obligations of Jumua can be fulfilled with three congregants and does not require an Imam. The two khutbas need only consist of a formula of dhikr (subhanallah, walhamdulillah, wa la ilaha illAllah w’Allahu akbar. Allahuma Salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammad would suffice in both khutbas). The two rakat prayer is performed as any normal prayer.
  • We emphasize the importance of religious precaution: it is obligatory to take steps to minimize transmission of the virus. We strongly advise that they only establish Jumua in a minimalist and tightly controlled setting, while strictly adhering to all social-distancing, self-isolation, and hygiene guidelines.
  • If there is any chance that these guidelines cannot be effectively implemented, or any doubt regarding the safety of even one congregant – even in the most minimalist of settings where transmission can still occur – or that of the broader community connected to the congregants or their prayer space (as they may transmit it to others if infected or contaminate surfaces that people may touch), the congregation and Jumua must not go ahead.
  • Lastly, we strongly advise such individuals to consult the guidelines we have mentioned earlier regarding congregational prayers in enclosed spaces and those required to avoid them.

6 Institutional Responsibility

The BBSI are deeply aware of the general imperatives within our religion to seek knowledge, and to come together in learning, as well as worship collectively – indeed, we are often at the forefront of delivering them. Such activities are usually coordinated via responsible figures within the community: mosques, institutions and individual scholars.

However, there are many specific imperatives that delineate when these general prescriptions – the recommended, but even the obligatory – can be suspended or put aside temporarily. Due to the very specific health threat that is currently facing our communities, it is the humbly submitted advice of BBSI that those in positions of authority over teaching institutions – whether in mosques, community centres, or otherwise – consider the previously mentioned recommendations regarding the risks of congregation, infection, and the vulnerable. Additionally, we advise all those in authority within the management of these spaces:

  1. That large teaching commitments (like maktabs) be moved online or suspended for the time being.
  2. If, and only if: the teaching area is not used for prayer (i.e., where people may put their faces to the ground, and thus expose themselves to infection), and two metre distancing is instituted between all individual students and the teachers; then small classes such as hifz or ‘alamiyya may be continued.
  • If those in authority do not do so, we strenuously advise that those who are particularly at risk, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, excuse themselves from teaching circles or congregational prayers for the time being as directed in the “Individuals” section. This is for their own health and also for the health of others that they might come into contact with, if they do become infected.
  1. The management of these spaces should be aware of the great responsibility that they have in protecting all that utilise them, as well as those to whom they may transmit the infection.
  2. If and when the above recommendations, including those related to congregational prayer, are implemented, we advise the mosque management to consider what active steps might be required to facilitate the safe reintroduction of activities in the mosque, whether regular disinfectant regimes or others, as well as how to proactively engage their communities absent the congregational prayer times. We also advise that the adhan continue to be called from the mosque.
  3. We strongly advise mosques in an area, of whatever denomination, to cooperate and coordinate activities with each other, including decisions about congregational prayer, in order to ensure a joined up approach to protect public health effectively.

Finally: it is recognised that the restrictions we are recommending will put a great deal of stress on our teachers as well as our students. We strongly advise that the community at large be very cognisant of this, and provide additional resources to mosque and community teachers, so that they might be able to invest in options for alternative learning; and also so that they are not further impacted by any restrictions that take place. Many of our teachers depend on the very limited funds that come to them to provide teaching – we need to address this more generally, but especially during such a difficult time.

7 Collective Responsibility

In these difficult days, it is the responsibility of any moral human being to assist the vulnerable. If we have an elderly parent, we should tend to them more than before.  To build resilience within our communities, we need to act now and develop mechanisms to take care of the vulnerable and support one another. Our Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) said ‘God assists his servants as long as His servants are assisting their fellows’. Respecting and helping the elderly and vulnerable is a centerpiece of the Prophetic Sunna and constantly encouraged in the Islamic tradition. In order to protect those at high risk from Coronavirus, they should be encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. We strongly recommend the following:

  1. Establish a network of healthy volunteers with local partners
  1. Mosques should use their communication channels (social media, WhatsApp etc.) to recruit healthy volunteers to shop for the vulnerable and socially isolated. It is especially important that the vulnerable do not leave their homes.
  2. If communication channels do not yet exist, they need to be instituted immediately. Not everybody will have access to technology. Utilise your local network of volunteers to disseminate information by checking on friends and neighbors through phone calls.
  3. Liaise with other local places of worship, community centres, local charities and your MP. Combine resources and volunteers with these groups and coordinate tightly in good faith. A number of mutual support groups have been established across the UK.
  4. Muslim charities have a great responsibility to provide support to the affected where they can. They may provide financial assistance who may be out of work is not receiving sick pay, provide food parcels to families affected etc.
  5. Consider establishing ‘anti-hoarding’: advising people to buy extra of essentials for storage in mosques and community centres for distribution to the needy and vulnerable.
  6. The psychological impact of the coronavirus will be immense; people will experience anxiety, loneliness and depression. We urge trained counsellors and therapists – as well as the public at large – to volunteer their services to people over the phone/skype etc and provide the much needed psychological support and befriending to the community.
  1. The logistics of volunteering
  1. Keep the following vulnerable groups in mind: the elderly, the infirm, the socially isolated, the underprivileged and those who don’t have shelter. The homeless and the underprivileged may not have the means to purchase sanitary equipment.
  2. Keep shopping trips to a minimum by coordinating with others. Rather than there being a large number of shopping trips, make a small number of trips by compiling multiple shopping requests into a single trip.
  3. Wipe down shopping items where possible before delivering them.
  4. Take care when delivering them; ensure that contact with the vulnerable or socially isolated is kept to a minimum. You may wish to leave the shopping at their doorstep.
  5. Consider using a fundraising platform if necessary.
  6. Volunteers should complete the WHO Coronavirus online training.
  7. Take care of volunteers, and workers more generally.
  1. Responsibilities towards neighbours
  1. Everybody should regularly check on their neighbours. Support them by carrying out shopping trips for them if required, or notify your local volunteer network if you are unable to do so.
  2. If everyone does this, the community and volunteer network will be well aware of those who need assistance. Do not assume that they already have support in place.
  3. If you are even mildly unwell, or are socially isolating, then do not check on your neighbours in person
  1. Upholding Islamic behaviour during the outbreak
  1. Helping and supporting one another is an essential part of our religious practice.
  2. The Prophet (may God’s blessings be upon him) condemned and reprimanded those who hoarded. We should be satisfied with our share and let others have their share. Besides being immoral, hoarding sanitary products will worsen the spread of the virus.
  3. Stay positive and spread positivity; ‘Behold! Allah’s help is indeed near’ (Quran 2:214). Consider taking breaks from social media to maintain your mental wellbeing.
  4. Be very cautious about spreading unverified information on social media or to your friends and family. There is much misinformation going around via social media – only spread around that which can be verified via a reliable website, rather than forwards that cannot be verified.
  5. Business owners and shops should not increase prices of goods simply to make profit and take advantage of the desperation of people. If this is done without extenuating circumstances, it would be considered reprehensible in the sight of Allah.

8 Miscellaneous Issues

Infection control in hospital and healthcare settings is vitally important, and it is part of our holistic religious responsibility to ensure that we safeguard the vulnerable – as has been repeatedly noted. This may include a ‘bare below the elbows’ policy, which can affect Muslim professionals who are observant of the hijab, as well as, potentially, the requirement to shave or trim the beard in order to ensure tight fit of face masks. Accordingly, please note:

  1. BBE: many hospitals provide elbow length gloves, which can be worn over clothes to comply with the policy. If not available, there is a valid and followable legal opinion that permits women to uncover their arms to their elbows for reasons as trivial as working in the fields or cooking in large pots. This is a fortiori permissible in this circumstance, as well as others such as prevention of transmission of MRSA and other very serious hospital acquired infections.
  2. Trimming the beard: it is acknowledged and well-known that the position of the majority is that keeping a beard is – at minimum – a highly recommended Sunna, if not legally obligatory. All safe options should be considered and explored to fulfill this in the work context. However, if alternative arrangements cannot be found, then one may follow the valid (and relied upon Shafi’i) position that trimming or shaving the beard is disapproved of, and thus without sin to do so.  It remains obligatory (contractually and therefore ethically) for such Muslim males working in the health sector to remain at work and fully participate in providing treatment to the public.
  3. Both these recommendations are offered as advice only: please liaise with reliable and conscientious scholarship for further information and specific guidance in your circumstance.
  4. Re Funeral: please refer to the National Burial Council for specific updates and recommendations: nbc.org.uk

9 Parting Counsel

In these difficult times that we are experiencing, we are afforded the opportunity to reflect on our ultimate purpose, and the meaning of our sojourn in this world. The spectre of death, an inescapable reality, is so often clouded by the vanities and trivialities of this passing life that it goes forgotten. But this world is merely a seeding ground for the Life Eternal – so let us look to what we sow now, and what we shall reap after death.  God says that “this world is nothing but play and heedlessness, while the life to come is truly better for those who are mindful of Him” (6:32), and the Blessed Prophet said, “remember often [death], the destroyer of sweetness” (Tirmidhi).  May Allah help us to remember the eternal life-to-come, and prepare for it with faith and good works, hope and fear, joy and yearning, patience and gratitude, faith and trust.

Let us remember also those in these times those who are far less fortunate than ourselves, who are undergoing trials of nature – and the evil of human oppression – far more severe than anything we are experiencing, and with far fewer resources, save their faith in God. May Allah grant relief, serenity, reward undying and the ultimate return to Him – well-pleased and well-pleasing, among His beloveds and into His gardens of bliss.

And may peace and blessings everlastingly be upon our beloved, the Last Prophet Muhammad, his folk and companions. Praise is for God, Lord of the Worlds.

[1] https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200306-sitrep-46-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=96b04adf_2

[2] All from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

[3] The limitations of this approach are acknowledged; as with many other bodies, the urgency of the need to provide guidance on this rapidly changing situation necessitated a deviation from the BBSI’s usual mechanisms of deliberation and decision making. It is the exception rather than the rule.

[4] https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-SOUTHKOREA-CLUSTERS/0100B5G33SB/index.html

British Imams & Scholars condemn Finsbury Park terror attack & Call for communal solidarity

British Imams & Scholars condemn Finsbury Park terror attack & Call for communal solidarity

This statement was initiated by some of the members of the BBSI.

We, the undersigned, an independent group of Muslim Imams and religious scholars, are heartbroken and appalled at the terrorist attack on worshippers outside the Muslim Welfare House in the Finsbury Park area of London.Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to the deceased, the injured, their families, and all those affected by this tragic incident.

At this time, we urge everyone to remain calm, vigilant, Read More

Imams & Scholars Statement on the Paris attack

Imams & Scholars Statement on the Paris attack Featured

This statement was initiated by some of the members of the BBSI.

Following the shocking murders in Paris, condemned by Muslims all over the world, and subsequent moves to depict the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once again, Imams from around the world have come together to issue the following advice to those concerned about the depiction.

1.    For Muslims, love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a NECESSARY part of our FAITH. He is dearer to us than our parents and children. We prefer him to our own self.

2.    Accordingly we regret and are naturally hurt by the depiction of our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), a great personality held in high esteem by 1.8 billion Muslims and millions more, in such a manner.

3.    Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, freedom of speech should not be translated in to a duty to offend. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that absolute freedom of speech does not exist. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge governments, civil society and our media to foster a culture of mutual respect and unity, not one of division and disdain.

4.    Most Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset by the republication of the cartoons. But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the Prophet (peace be upon him).  Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond. With dignified nobility we must be restrained, as the Quran says “And when the ignorant speak to them, they say words of Peace.”

Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions. Repel harm with goodness is the Qur’anic imperative and by which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived. If we feel strongly, the only course of action to us is with reasoned debate, civil activism and other legal avenues, God willing.

5.Muslims have to remember that by depicting the Prophet (peace be upon him) no one can ever tarnish his image, as he is way beyond what is depicted, as Allah says, ‘We have elevated your remembrance’. We should spend such regrettable moments in supplicating with many litanies and prayers of blessings on the Prophet; may Allah’s mercy, peace and blessing be upon his soul.

6. Engage with others about your feelings. Speak of your love for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and do not be shy to let your non-Muslim friends know your justified displeasure at the mockery that is made of our faith. People need to know how much love we have for our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

7.  Learn more and share more about the greatness of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Hassaan bin Thaabit (may Allah be pleased with him) describes him with the following couplets:

“My eyes have never seen anyone more perfect than you
No woman has given birth to anyone more handsome than you
You have been created free from all defects
As if you were created the way you wished”

8. We should, through our actions and deeds, display the sublime character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet faced many great challenges but he exhibited impeccable beauty of character in his actions. He did not react inhumanely or violently. He was attacked verbally and physically in Taif but he forgave the people. His uncle and companions were murdered but he reacted peacefully and in a humane manner. And there are many such examples from the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) we must display.

9. As citizens of our respective countries, we must not allow hate to creep into our hearts due to the horrific incidents of Paris. Muslims, non-Muslims and people of all backgrounds must come together and show unity and solidarity and not let it divide our communities. We must remember the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) such as: “Someone who unjustly kills a non-Muslim citizen cannot attain a whiff of Heaven, even though its fragrance is felt from a distance of forty years. (Bukhari), or, “He who hurts a non-Muslim citizen hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys Allah.” (Tabarani) And many other similar hadiths highlighting that Muslims are not allowed to hurt their non-Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity.

10. We must continuously supplicate to Allah that He rectifies our situation. Pray to Him that the chaos, injustice and oppression is lifted from all societies. We should pray to Allah so that He makes Britain, Nigeria, United States, India, United Kingdom, Australia, better, fairer and just countries for all. Pray to Him to aid the oppressed and the victims of the oppressors all over the world. Pray that He allows us to contribute to a more peaceful and just world. Sincerely pray at night and beseech Him to protect our honour and our dignity.

May Allah give us the ability to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. May Allah protect the whole of humanity from trials and tribulations.

SIGNED:

1. Mawlana Yunus Dudhwala (Head of Chaplaincy, Barts Health NHS Trust)
2. Dr Omer al Hamdoon (Muslim Association of Britain)
3. Imam Abdullah Hasan (Imams Against Domestic Abuse)
4. Imam Irfan Chishti (Chishtia Mosque, Rochdale)
5. Imam Shams ad Duha (Ebrahim College)
6. Sheikh Abdur Raheem Limbada (Tafseer-raheemi.com)
7. Imam Shafiur Rahman (Jibreel Institute)
8. Imam Ibrahim Mogra (MCB)
9. Imam Zuber Karim (Dundee Mosque)
10. Imam Abdul Wahhab (Plashet Grove Mosque)
11. Muhammad Ashraf Hansrot (Thornton Heath Islamic Centre)
12. Mawlana Abdul Mateen (Head teacher and Muslim Chaplain Quwwatul Islam Society London)
13. Mawlana Khalil Laher (Quwwat-ul-Islam Society, London)
14. Imam Sulaiman Gani (Chaplain and Presenter on Iqra TV)
15. Imam Wasim Kempson, West London Islamic Cultural Centre, UK
16. Imam Yahya Adel Ibrahim, Al Kauthar Institute, Australia
17. Imam Ghulam Moyhuddin, Ashton Central Mosque
18. Mawlana Mujahid Ali (Hafs Academy)
19. Imam Saeed Algadi (Almuntada Trust)
20. Dr Abul Kalam Azad (Khateeb, Dockland Community Mosque)
21. Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera, Scholar and Founder Zam Zam Academy, UK
22. Sheikh Zahir Mahmood (As Suffa Institute)
23. Shaykh Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri, Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational & Cultural Centre, Ireland
24. Mawlana Adnan Qurayshi (Al-Ashraaf Secondary School)
25. Mawlana Zakaria Maljee (Stamford Hill)
26. Imam Ahmed Desai, Masjid Quba, Bradford, UK
27. Mawlana Abdullah Rawat, Musallah an Noor Stoke Newington, London, UK
28. Mufti Sajid (Azhar Academy Ltd/Quwwatul Islam Mosque)
29. Imam Tahir Talati (Imam Zakariya Academy)
30. Imam Ilyas Amin (Azhar Masjid)
31. Mawlana Muhammad Saleem  (Quwwat ul Islam)
32. Mawlana Zenulabedin Yakub (Masjid e Tauheed)
33. Mawlana Said Ahmed (Masjid e Salaam, Preston)
34. Mawlana Ilyas (Masjid e Mahad, Preston)
35. Imam Yusuf Rios, Muslim Chaplain, The Shaukani Institute, United States
36. Mawlana Muhammad ibn Ismail (Newham Ulama Forum)
38. Imam Qari Asim, Makkah Masjid, Leeds, UK
38. Mawlana Imran Ali, BMACC Bearsden, Glasgow, Scotland
39. Dr Mansur Ali (Cardiff University)
40. Imam Imtiyaz Damiel (Abu Hanifah Foundation)
41. Sheikh Jaffer Ali Ladak (Hyderi Islamic Cente)
42. Imam Shabir Moosa Adam, Masjid Ibrahim, Australia
43. Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain (Al-Mahdi Institute)
44. Shaykh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour (Resident scholar, Islamic Centre of England)
45. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli (Noor Trust)
46. Ayatollah Seyed Milani (AlKhoie Islamic Centre)
47. Mufti Salim Ismail (Upton Park Islamic Centre)
48. Moulana Mohammad Shahid Raza, Leicester Central Mosque, UK
49. Sheikh Abdul Qayyum, East London Mosque, UK
50. Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi (World Ahlulbayt Islamic League)
51. Imam Fahimul Anam (Beacon Institute)
52..Imam Fadel Soliman (Bridges Foundation)
53. Dr Jasser Auda, Qatar
54. Imam Muhammad Mustaqeem Shah, Al Mustaqeem Centre, Bradford, UK
55. Imam Abdur Rahman Anwar (Imam, London)
56. Imam Amer Jamil (iSyllabus, Scotland)
57. Mufti Mohammad Ibrahim Qureshi (Islamic Center Northridge), Los Angles, CA, USA
58. Imam Yasuf iban Steven Deardorff
59. Maulana Mohammed Mota, Jame  Masjid  Batley, Birmingham, UK
60. Imam Omar Suleiman- Resident Scholar -Valley Ranch Islamic Center, TX, USA
61. Imam Ajmal Masroor (Palmers Green Mosque)
62. Imam Muhammad Tahir Kiyani, Batley, Birmingham, UK
63. Shybatu Hassan Ibrahim-Bayero University Kano, Nigeria
64. Barrister Unusa Karimu, Banjong Mosque
65. Mawlana Idris Abdus Salam, Darul Hidayah
65. Syed Zafar Mahmood, Zakat Foundation of India
66. Imam Abdul Hakim HamidMuslim Community of Palm Beach County
67. A Mushahid Kadir, Shadwell Jame Masjid
68. Kasali Kehinde, Asst Ameer Akinmorin Jamaa (Adeyemi College Mosque, Ondo) Muslim Student Society Of Nigeria
69. Javaid Ali Khan, Millat
70. Bro. Nassib Said (Abushureim), Director of Outreach,  Coast Muslim Youth Forum (Kenya)
71. Imam Ajmal Masroor (Palmers Green Mosque)
72. Imam Muhammad Tahir Kiyani (Batley, Birmingham)
73. Imam Hassan Rabbani (Zia ul-Quran Mosque)
74.Imam Adil Rehman (Beyond Boundaries)
75. Ustadh Abdur Raheem Green (iERA)
76. Imam Fahim Hammadur Rahman (European Islamic Centre, Oldham)
77. Imam Shams Tameez (Aylesbury Masjid)
78. Imam Abdul Malik Sheikh (Khateeb, Holborn Mosque)
79. Sheikh Shouaib Ahmed  Mirpuri (Abdul aziz ibn bazz masjid banbury)
80. Sheikh Abdul Hadi (Ameer Markazi Jamiat Ahlehadith, UK)
81. Imam Mohammed Ibrahim Mirpuri (Muhammadi Masjid, Bham)
82. Sheikh Hafiz Sharrif Ullah (Al Huda Masjid, Bradford)
83. Imam Hafiz Akhlaq Ahmed (Masjid Ahlehadith, Bradford)
84. Hafiz Abdul Aala (Masjid Muhammadi, Keighly)
85. Hafiz Hamood Ur Rahman (Makki Masjid, Manchester)
86. Sheikh Mustafidh Gani (Beyond Boundaries)
87. Imam Aziz Ibraheeem (Imaan Trust Community Centre, Saint Helens, Merseyside)
88. Imam Rizwan Hussain Al azhari (Imam Bashir Ahmed masjid, Southampton)
89. Mawlana Munawar (Khateeb, Balham Mosque)
90. Qari Ashraf (Tooting Islamic Centre)
91. Imam Choukri Majouli (Finsbury Park Mosque)
92. Imam Mubarak Manya (Zakariyya Jaame Masjid, Bolton)
93. Imam Ashraf Ali, Muslim Welfare Association of Port Talbot, Wales
94. Dato Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj, Chairperson JIHAD for JUSTICE, Malaysia
95. Shaykh Muiz Bukhary (Sakeenah Institute)
Quasi-tamlīk to Tamlīk-proper and the Principle of the ‘Subordinate Following the Principle’: An Adaptation of Zakat Principles for a British Context

Quasi-tamlīk to Tamlīk-proper and the Principle of the ‘Subordinate Following the Principle’: An Adaptation of Zakat Principles for a British Context

Abstract

The principle aim of this paper will look at the concept of tamlīk (or possession of zakat-money) from two dimensions: tamlīk by the recipient of zakat and tamlīk by the plenipotentiary, to wit, the organisation deputised to distribute the zakat-money. Hence there are two aspects pertaining to this: firstly how the legal institution of tamlīk has been adapted to fit a particular method of distribution in a British context. This is in particular reference to two methods: 1- providing victims of domestic violence refuge, the cost of which will be picked up by the British zakat-payer. 2- the distribution of zakat in the form of foodstuff or other identical necessities without rendering any cash. Further to this, the notion of tamlīk will be compared with social enterprise ideas, that is to say, using zakat funds to finance socioeconomic infrastructures and religious propagation.

The second aspect is to identify the legal status of Gift Aid in relation to zakat donations using the juristic maxim ‘the subordinate follows the principle’. With regards to the former, the problem is that the money is not given direct to the deserving recipients but paid directly to providers of the service, thus begging the question has ‘tamlīk’ taken place. Also the conversion of zakat-money to foodstuff and the like begs the question of with what authority does the zakat-distributor do this and does it suffice as tamlīk by the recipient?  With regards to the latter, is Gift Aid a part of zakat or is it a separate entity and nothing to do with zakat. In both cases the body deputised to distribute has a religio-ethical duty of distributing the zakat-money it has taken possession of, in order to meet the allocative function outlined in the Qur’an. This paper will hopefully exhibit a nuanced commonsensical and rational approach towards balancing the different juristic interpretations with a meticulous care to present as objectively as possible the views of opposing legal doctrines before embarking to refute weaker claims and to argue for the strongest view. I personally find this blending of traditional and rational argument (al-istidlāl wa’l ihtijāj bi’l manqūl wa’l ma‘qūl) the best approach to understanding classical issues in a contemporary context.

 

Dr Shahrul Hussain

Lecturer in Islamic Studies

Markfield Institute for Higher Education

shahrulhussain@yahoo.co.uk

Islam & Pluralistic Structure in the Western Societies

Islam & Pluralistic Structure in the Western Societies Featured

Islam & Pluralistic Structure in the Western Societies

A principled response after the Charlie Hebdo saga

Introduction

From the Prophet migration to Madinah Munawwarah to the present, throughout the history the Ummah has enjoyed a pluralistic society whose structure and modus operandi are well entrenched in the Qur’an, Sunnah and Sīrah.

 

The Aim

The aim of this paper is to clarify the Pluralistic mechanisms of Islam which facilitate their implementation in our western societies.

 

The objectives

The objectives are to convey the pluralistic structure to the audience and allow the participants to activate them in their daily lives.

 

Mission

The mission is to learn Islamic pluralism enshrined in its sacred sources and to implement it.

 

Vision

By embedding the pluralistic structure learned from Islam and Muslims into the Society, it is envisaged to create a far harmonised global society.

 

Benefits

  1. By grasping them, it will enhance our nature of engagement with the government, different institutions and other faiths.2. They will form principles of upholding the pluralist backbone which existed in the Ummah from the hijrah, migration till the present day.3. It will allow us to raise the canopy of Islam even higher than the present where we naïvely nowadays submit to every governmental legislative changes (such as hate speech laws), decided by a handful people of our community against the majority.4. Understanding Islamic pluralism gives us a greater strategic advantage and grants us the optimum modus operandi when dealing with the society and a better principled leverage with the government.

    6. It will enhance our vision and mission for the future in the western hemisphere.

    7. It allows us to create a dynamic Muslim community.

    8. It will enhance harmony with other faith and non faith groups including the government.

    9. It will encourage the Imams and Du’at (preachers) to employ positive thinking regarding the fluidity, rigidity and progressiveness of the Ummah at all times including challenging periods.

    10. It will enhance our leadership as an Ummah and leading members of the Ummah.

 

Building equity based Islamic financial institutions

Building equity based Islamic financial institutions

Session 1: Conceptual Framework

______________________________________________________________________

Part 1: Introduction

______________________________________________________________________

1.1 Objectives for the day

  • What do we want to achieve from today’s discussion?
  • What practical action points can we take away from today?
  • Individually?
  • Collectively as a group?

______________________________________________________________________

1.2 Rules of engagement

  • What is my role?
  • I’m here to facilitate discussion and raise important questions.
  • My role is not to opine or pontificate.

 

  • It is possible to spend the whole day discussing minute points of law
  • If we discuss any point, the conclusions should lead to clear objectives
  • g. if we discuss whether a unilateral promise (wa’d) can be enforceable according to Shariah, what objective would such a discussion serve?

______________________________________________________________________

1.3 Ingredients of success

For a movement to be materially successful, it must be successful in harnessing three principal things:

  1. Education
  2. Perception
  3. Finance

______________________________________________________________________

1.4 Ingredients of a system

Any system has three key components:

  1. Conceptual framework / methodology
  2. Bodies of knowledge
  3. Institutions

For example, the Islamic legal system:

  1. Conceptual framework: Aqidah, Usul al-fiqh
  2. Bodies of knowledge: Fiqh (law), akhlaq (ethics) etc.
  3. Institutions: madaris, dur al-ifta (knowledge production), ‘amil al-suq (commercial/financial regulator/supervisor), mahakim (adjudication), shurta (enforcement) etc.

______________________________________________________________________

1.5 Integrated approach

Focusing on only one level and not the others can lead to fragmented thinking and outcomes. Focusing just on:

  • Conceptual framework can lead to à pedantic scholasticism / schism / etc.
  • Bodies of knowledge can lead to à terse polemics / “Islamic” knowledge framed in alien paradigms / etc.
  • Institutions can lead to à political artifice / misdirected (hyper)activity /etc.

Need an approach that integrates three levels of conceptual framework, bodies of knowledge and institutions to establish institutions that are authentic and have longevity.

______________________________________________________________________

1.6 Our situation

– Our conceptual framework (aqida/usul) has been preserved intact for centuries.

– Previous generations have developed bodies of knowledge (fiqh) that served in their time and are useful reference in our time.

– But our institutions in the Muslim world were damaged or destroyed by upheaval and occupation.

______________________________________________________________________

1.7 Our experience in the UK

Early generations who came to the West built various institutions to support the Muslim community e.g.

  • Religious – masjids etc.
  • Educational – madaris etc.
  • Social/cultural – community clubs, Muslim scouts etc.
  • Political – global, local etc.
  • Welfare/charity – Aid agencies, women’s shelters etc.

We have achieved successes in some of the above e.g. charities

Muslims are commended for being prolific is establishing charities and also for being charitable.

We have not achieved significant success in establishing Islamic financial institutions in the UK except on a small scale e.g. Funeral co-operatives (“committees”)

Initially, some people bought into non-Islamic financial institutions e.g. by taking out a mortgage. Others opted out and chose to be “financially excluded” for many years. Some of the latter group have subsequently subscribed to the conventional financial system in various ways for various reasons.

______________________________________________________________________

 

1.8 Diagnosis

Why have we not built home grown Islamic financial institutions in the UK? Where is the shortcoming?

Conceptual framework?

Body of knowledge?

Institution building?

Suppose when Muslims first came to the UK, the Church said: “well, we don’t use our churches much except on Sundays if at all. You need space to pray five times a day. Why don’t you pray in the churces?” If we had accepted this offer, would we have built masjids?

Are we relying on alien:                                – conceptual frameworks?

– Bodies of knowledge?

– Institutions?

 

 

______________________________________________________________________

Part 2: Conceptual framework

______________________________________________________________________

2.1 Mixing and matching

Is talfiq allowed to address modern day financial questions?

E.g. taking the doctrine of ‘wa’d mulzim’ from the Maliki madhab and the allowance of ‘bay’ al-‘eenah’ from the Shafi’I madhab.

Or must there be a consistent set of usuli principles upon which our answers to modern day financial questions must be based?

Is Talfiq tantamount to dealing with the question at the knowledge level without grounding it in the conceptual framework level?

______________________________________________________________________

2.2 Case Study: Pakistan Highway Sukuk Fatwa

Please read attached fatwa in pdf in full

Consider the following language:

“Whilst it would be highly recommended that the Exercise Price for the purchase of the Highway Land pursuant to the Purchase Undertaking should be equal to the market price of the Highway Land at the time of such purchase, the undersigned scholars are mindful of the prevailing circumstances and constraints referred to below and, therefore, do not consider the predetermined calculation of the Exercise Price as being in contravention of Shariah principles.

Each undersigned scholar is of the view that, given the prevailing circumstances, the structure and mechanism as set out above is acceptable within the principles of Shariah and that the above documentation reflects the above structure and mechanism and each undersigned scholar, on behalf of its respective Shariah Board, hereby approves the proposed issue of the Sukuk.

Each undersigned scholar also took into consideration (i) the legal constraints under which this product is being developed; (ii) the need to further develop the emerging Islamic finance industry as an alternative and viable financing system; (iii) the need to facilitate and bring ease to Muslim countries and others who are determined to raise financing according to Shariah principles; (iv) the various existing constraints and restrictions imposed under the various conventional financing techniques available in many Muslim countries; and (v) the prevailing conditions and affairs of the Ummah and the need to remove them from the shackles of riba.”

______________________________________________________________________

2.3 Discussion

Consider the role of the following in the fatwa:

  • Maqasid (e.g. bringing ease) and noble intentions (e.g. developing an Islamic financial industry)

E.g. can noble intentions override legal considerations?

E.g. can the “substance / effect” of riba be tolerated to give Muslims comfort of avoiding the “form” of riba?

 

E.g Can political/social considerations override legal considerations?

 

  • Tolerating imperfections when compelled to work within constraints of hostile legal/political/social circumstances and applying the doctrine of darurah

E.g. Can darurah apply in a context of investment where there is no direct fear of loss of life or limb?

Paradox of darurah: If darurah exists, then simple riba would become permissible and there would be no need for an Islamic finance alternative. If darurah does not exist, then what’s all the fuss about?

 

  • Is there a tension between competing political/social considerations?

E.g. Serving the Ummah by developing an Islamic finance industry -v- “dis-serving” the ummah by allowing the effect and outcome of the non-Islamic banking system to prevail in Muslim countries under the guise of the Islamic finance industry (e.g. by creating Islamic banking products that give fixed returns to the provider of finance using combinations of contracts such as ijara, musharaka and wa’ds).

 

  • Is there a paradox of maqasid? i.e. objective is to give strength to the Muslim Ummah by growing an Islamic finance industry (albeit by making compromises) but people soon realise that the Islamic finance industry lacks authenticity and are deterred by it rather than attracted to it.

 

  • Can ends justify the means?

 

  • Are we moving in the right direction?

 

 

 

Session 2: Knowledge Framework

______________________________________________________________________

Part 3: Islamic financial principles

______________________________________________________________________

3.1 Core doctrines

– Freedom of contract

– Prohibitions

– Gharar

– Riba

– Al-Kharaj bi al-Daman

______________________________________________________________________

3.2 What is Gharar?

نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن بيع الغرر …

What is gharar? – Pure trading of risk

Every trade involves a transfer of risk e.g. hiring a bodyguard. The risk of physical harm is transferred to the bodyguard. Is the payment made to the bodyguard therefore bay’ al-gharar? No. Because the bodyguard is hired and paid for his work (i.e. working from 9am to 5pm standing guard, pre-empting danger, providing security advice, etc.). The transfer of risk is incidental to the primary service contract. However, if the risk of physical harm were to be separated from the service contract and sold separately e.g. I pay you £10 now and if I am attacked and suffer x degree of physical harm, you will pay me £1000, that would be a pure risk trade and would be bay’ al-gharar.

______________________________________________________________________

3.3 Why is bay’ al-gharar prohibited?

Risk cannot be priced because only Allah knows the future.

Therefore trading risk inevitably leads to a mispricing of risk and therefore some undeserved gain for one party.

ولا تأكلوا أموالكم بينكم بالباطل

Achieving correct prices in a market is called “efficiency” by economists.

Is achieving market efficiency one of the objectives of Islamic law?

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________

3.4 What is Riba?

 

عن سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيّ رَضِي اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ:

 جَاءَ بِلالٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِتَمْرٍ بَرْنِيٍّ، فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: مِنْ أَيْنَ هَذَا قَالَ بلالٌ كَانَ عِنْدَنَا تَمْرٌ رَدِيٌّ فَبِعْتُ مِنْهُ صَاعَيْنِ بِصَاعٍ لِنُطْعِمَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ أَوَّهْ أَوَّهْ عَيْنُ الرِّبَا عَيْنُ الرِّبَا لا تَفْعَلْ وَلَكِنْ إِذَا أَرَدْتَ أَنْ تَشْتَرِيَ فَبِعِ التَّمْرَ بِبَيْعٍ آخَرَ ثُمَّ اشْتَرِهِ

البخارى ) )

Bilal visited the Messenger of God (pbuh) with some high quality dates, and the Prophet (pbuh) inquired about their source. Bil¯al explained that he traded two volumes of lower quality dates for one volume of higher quality. The Messenger of God (pbuh) said: “this is precisely the forbidden Riba! Do not do this. Instead, sell the first type of dates, and use the proceeds to buy the other.

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3.5 Marking to market

Is the process of selling one type of dates in the market only to use the proceeds to buy the other type a ritualistic heela?

Ibn Rushd (Bidayat Al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat Al-Muqtasid, vol.3, p.184):

“It is thus apparent from the law that what is intended by the prohibition of Riba is what it contains of excessive injustice (ghubn fahish). In this regard, justice in transactions is achieved by approaching equality. Since the attainment of such equality in items of different kinds is difficult, their values are determined instead in monetary terms (with the Dirham and the Dinar). For things which are not measured by weight and volume, justice can be determined by means of proportionality. I mean, the ratio between the value of one item to its kind should be equal to the ratio of the value of the other item to its kind. For example, if a person sells a horse in exchange for clothes, justice is attained by making the ratio of the price of the horse to other horses the same as the ratio of the price of the clothes [for which it is traded] to other clothes. Thus, if the value of the horse is fifty, the value of the clothes should be fifty. [If each piece of clothing’s value is five], then the horse should be exchanged for 10 pieces of clothing.

As for [fungible] goods measured by volume or weight, they are relatively homogenous, and thus have similar benefits [utilities]. Since it is not necessary for a person owning one type of those goods to exchange it for the exact same type, justice in this case is achieved by equating volume or weight since the benefits [utilities] are very similar…”

Thus it is as if the Shariah is saying: “you believe that your one quantity of dates is worth two quantities of the other person’s dates. How can you be sure you have the right price? Why don’t you prove it by exchanging your dates in the market for another monetary commodity (e.g. gold/money/salt) and then seeing whether the other person will accept that amount of gold/money for his two quantities of dates. You may find that using the gold/money you obtain, you can buy the two quantities of dates and have some gold/money left over or you may find that it is not enough and you have to top it up with some gold/money from another source. If you do this, your trade will be “marked to market”. You will avoid inefficiency and mispricing in the market and will avoid devouring the wealth of others without right.”

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3.6 Riba and Gharar

Is lending money for interest a pure trading of risk i.e. is riba like an investment and then a swap?

e.g. if the bank invests in the business of the customer, the bank bears the risk of variable profit or loss. The bank then says to the customer: “Let’s do a swap. I will give the variable amount I get from the investment to you and you give me a fixed amount in return.” The effect of this swap is an interest bearing loan by which the commercial risk of the business is transferred from the bank to the customer.

Is Riba an extreme example of a pure trade of risk (bay’ al-gharar)?

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3.7 What is Al-Kharaj bi al-Daman?

أن رجلا ابتاع عبدا ، فأقام عنده ما شاء الله أن يقيم ، ثم وجد به عيبا ، فخاصمه إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ; فرده عليه ، فقال الرجل : يا رسول الله ، قد استعمل غلامي . فقال : الخراج بالضمان

If you buy goods and find that the seller has deceived you by selling you defected goods, you are entitled to return the goods upon discovering the defect, recover from the seller the “full” purchase price and you do not have to pay the seller for its use between the time of the sale and your discovery of its defects. The reason for this is “al-Kharaj bi al-Daman” or “al-Ghunm bi al-Ghurm”, meaning if the goods were destroyed in your possession – before you returned them to the seller, then notwithstanding the deception of the seller – you would be held responsible for its loss. Thus since you carried the risk of loss, you – and not the seller – are entitled to its yield.

The al-Kharaj bi al-Daman and al-Ghunm bi al-Ghurm principle:

  • Means that assuming risk of ownership/loss of an asset entitles the owner to the fruits of its produce.
  • Is opposite to bay’ al-gharar and Riba

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3.8 What is al-Ghurm bi al-Ghunm?

Conversely, al-Gurm bi al-Ghunm means that if you are entitled to the yields of something, you must be liable for its loss and held responsible for losses caused by it.

e.g If you are entitled to the benefit of an animal and the animal causes the loss to someone’s property, you  can be held liable for that loss.

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3.9 Application in financial transactions

  • g. Landlord and tenant

 

The landlord must be responsible for major (structural) maintenance of the property. Tenant can be responsible for minor maintenance (usage/wear and tear).

 

Because as owner, the landlord is entitled to receive the rent so he must be responsible for loss of the asset and for bringing it back to working condition if there is major damage.

 

Would making the tenant pay for major maintenance by incorporating the cost of major maintenance in the next rental payment be contrary to the Al-Kharaj bi al-Daman principle?

 

  • g. Disconnecting the income earned from an asset from the performance of the asset

 

The bank buys a property and requires the customer to buy it from the bank in the future at a price determined now. This gives the bank a guaranteed price for the property no matter what happens to the property price in future.

 

Is this contrary to the Al-Kharaj bi al-Daman principle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Part 4:            Islamic financial product case study:

 Musharaka Mutanaqisa (Diminishing Musharaka)

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4.1 The product

Step 1: Musharaka Agreement and Wa’d

The Bank enters into a Musharaka (partnership) contract with the Customer to combine their investment to purchase a property.

At the same time, the Bank requires the Customer to sign a Wa’d (promise) to purchase a portion of the Bank’s share of the property each month for the duration of the musharaka. This creates an amortised repayment of the Bank’s capital. Often the Bank signs a similar Wa’d to sell portions of its share of the property in the same way to the Customer.

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Step 2: Ijara Agreement

 

Simultaneously to Step 1, the Bank leases its portion of the property to the Customer who pays rent. Rent is typically not based on market rental rates but is calculated in exactly the same way that interest would be calculated in a non-Islamic mortgage i.e.

 

No. of days in rental period

Rent  =  Capital amount outstanding   X   (Margin + LIBOR)    X

360

 

The Capital amount outstanding is the amount of the Bank’s original investment that has not yet been paid back to the Bank through the monthly purchases described in Step 1.

Margin in a percentage e.g. 3%.

LIBOR is the London Inter Bank Offered Rate which is the interest rate at which banks in London lend money to each other. Banks will typically use the LIBOR rate every 3 or 6 months, which means that the bank will announce a new Rental Amount every 3 or 6 months by issuing the customer a new Rental Notice.

The number of days in a rental period will usually be 30 days for a home mortgage product.

360 represents the number of days in a banking year.

 

 

The Wa’d to Purchase allows the Bank to require the Customer to immediately purchase all of the Bank’s share in certain circumstances e.g. if the Customer refuses to accept the revised Rental Amount provided in a new Rental Payment Notice. This is the mechanism by which the Bank can terminate the lease and effectively “accelerate” or “foreclose” the financing and gives the Customer a choice of either accepting the new Rental Amount, whatever it is, or being compelled to buy the Bank’s share of the property at the original price, no matter what the current market price is.

The Wa’d to Sell can be exercised by the Customer to require the Bank to sell its share at the end of the lease period or during the lease period if it wishes to make “early repayment”. The Wa’ds to Purchase and Sell render what is in principle an operating lease, into a finance lease.

There are also provisions in the Ijara Agreement that allow the Bank to pass on its property insurance costs and costs of major maintenance to the Customer in the form of “Additional” or “Supplemental” rent.

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4.2 Shariah Issues

4.2.1 The Wa’d to purchase the bank’s share in the future at a price fixed in advance

Shariah scholars in the Islamic finance industry have allowed the use of wa’ds in Islamic financial transactions to create future obligations on condition that they are (i) unilateral and (ii) documented separately from the main contract, stating that if these two conditions are met, wa’ds do not constitute a bilateral contract.

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(i) To be binding or not to be binding … that is the question

The Wa’d is a weapon of mass construction and a weapon of mass destruction. If wa’ds (promises) can be legally enforceable, then one has a very powerful instrument in one’s hands that can be used to effectively engineer the effect of any prohibited transaction. In such a case where any transaction can be engineered using wa’ds, does the question of which transactions are permitted and which are prohibited stop being a juristic determination and become a matter of policy (or perhaps politics)?

If so, there is an issue of separation of powers as in secular legal systems.

Should jurists/judges/lawyers make laws or should that be the job of politicians?

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Juristic opinions on Wa’ds

Jurists have three positions on the enforceability of a unilateral promise (wa’d):

  1. For the majority of jurists, it is not legally enforceable, though morally encouraged.
  2. For Ibn Shubrimah and others, it is legally enforceable except where it is justified not to enforce it.
  3. For the Maliki school, it is enforceable if the beneficiary of the promise relies on the promise and incurs a cost. For instance, if the promisor says to the beneficiary: “Get married, I unilaterally promise (wa’d) you £10,000.” If the beneficiary marries in reliance on the promise, then the promise can be legally enforced against the promisor.

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Questions on Wa’ds

  • Rationale for the majority opinion: If a unilateral wa’d were legally enforceable, an interest bearing loan could be replicated by Party A providing Party B with an interest free loan of GBP100 repayable in a year’s time and Party B simultaneously providing Party A with a “unilateral” promise to give a gift of GBP10 in a year’s time, (representing an effective 10% “interest rate”).

 

  • What is the rationale for the Maliki opinion? Does the Maliki madhab intend that their opinion to legally enforce a plain unilateral promise (wa’d) (i.e. where there is no collateral contractual relationship between the promisor and beneficiary of the promise) can be extended to a situation where there is a collateral contractual relationship between the two?

i.e. can the following two promises be treated as equally binding if the beneficiary of the promise relies on it?

  1. a) “If you climb this mountain, I promise to give you £100.” (There is no contractual relationship)
  2. b) “If you unilaterally promise to buy the house off me in a year’s time for £100, I agree to enter into a partnership with you now to purchase the house for £90” (There is a contractual relationship)

 

  • Is a binding unilateral promise (wa’d) analogous to a bilateral contract?

 

  • If a binding bilateral contract is prohibited in a given situation e.g. in a future sale, then can a binding unilateral promise (wa’d) that produces the same effect be allowed in the same situation?

 

  • Is it the bindingness of the bilateral contract that makes it prohibited in the situation of a future sale? If so, does making it a unilateral promise but equally binding make any difference?

 

  • Note that the Maliki position only provides the beneficiary of the promise with an indemnity (reimbursement for loss) in the specific circumstance where it suffers an actual loss as a result of relying on the promise. Is this a sufficient jurisprudential basis for the widespread use of wa’ds documented to be binding all circumstances?

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Are promises binding in English law?

English law requirements for valid contract:

(i) offer

(ii) Acceptance

(iii) Consideration (something of value going both ways)

(iv) Intention to create legal relations

Consideration makes a contract bilateral. Without consideration, it remains a unilateral promise which English law considers unenforceable (unless specifically drafted as a deed).

Was the English law requirement for consideration to flow both ways before a contract is binding taken from Islamic law as a way of preventing usuary?

Documenting promises as deeds – Shariah arbitrage?

Wa’ds (promises) in Islamic financial transactions are usually documented as deeds. Here there is a degree of jurisdictional arbitrage. The Wa’d is permitted by some Shariah scholars on the basis that it is unilateral. On the other hand, it is often documented in the Islamic finance industry as a deed which effectively makes it binding and enforceable under English law.

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(ii) Fixing the price in the Wa’d

AAOIFI Shariah Standard 12 on Sharika (Musharaka) states at Clause 5/7 in relation to diminishing musharaka:

“It is permissible for one of the partners to give a binding promise that entitles the other partner to acquire, on the basis of a sale contract, his equity share gradually, according to the market value or a price agreed at the time of acquisition. However, it is not permitted to stipulate that the equity share be acquired at their original or face value, as this would constitute a guarantee of the value of the equity shares of one partner (the institution) by the other partner, which is prohibited by Shari’a.”

The Shariah basis for the above ruling is expressed on page 225:

“The basis for the impermissibility of a promise by one of the partners to buy assets of the partnership at face value is that this constitutes a guarantee of the capital which is prohibited by Shari’a. The basis for the permissibility of a promise to buy the assets of partnership at the market value is that this does not constitute a guarantee of capital.”

Does fixing the price in the Wa’d contradict the principle of profit and loss sharing in a Musharaka partnership?

In practice, the above prohibition has not been applied consistently in the Islamic finance industry and the practice of using wa’ds (promises) to require the Customer to purchase the Islamic Bank’s share of the musharaka assets at face value continues to be widely approved in the industry, even by Shariah scholars who sit on the AAOIFI Shariah Board e.g. in the IBB Islamic mortgage product. What is the basis/reason for this?

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(iii) Is the Wa’d independent and separate?

Does the AAOIFI Shariah Standard 12 imply that even if the wa’d (promise) to purchase is documented as a separate instrument, there is a question as to whether such a wa’d is really independent of the main musharaka contract?

If the wa’d were truly independent, what would be the basis for placing restrictions on the way the purchase or sale price is determined?

Is placing such restrictions in order to prevent one partner guaranteeing the other partner’s capital an admission that the wa’d is inextricably connected with the main musharaka contract?

Would the continuous use of the wa’d in the same manner between counterparties in the Islamic finance industry create a specific customary practice (‘urf khas)?

On the basis of an ‘urf khas, if a certain course of conduct is known and expected by both parties when entering into a contract but not expressly stipulated, Shariah law will nevertheless treat it as an express and operative term of that contract. This maxim is akin to the “reasonable expectations of the parties” test applied in English law when implying terms that are not expressly stipulated in contracts (e.g. Attorney General of Belize v Belize Telecom Ltd [2009] UKPC 10) i.e. is the performance of the wa’d part of the reasonable expectation of the parties when entering into the musharaka contract?

On the above bases, should the facts of the matter be interpreted such that the provision of the Wa’d is seen to be part of a sequence of events and therefore part of the same transaction as the musharaka contract? If so, would the musharaka transaction as a whole be vitiated for containing a provision illegal in Shariah?

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The Single Transaction Principle

In Thabo Meli v R ([1954] 1 All ER 373; [1954] 1 WLR 288) the defendants attacked their victim with the intention of murder. The victim appeared dead but was not in fact dead. So far, the defendants had not committed muder. Although they possessed the necessary intent (mens rea), they had not in fact committed the act of killing (actus reus). Having thought that they had already killed their victim they then began to think about how to dispose of the “body”. Now with the intent of disposing of a dead body they threw the victim over a cliff. Thus, the act actually causing death was performed when the defendants did not have the intention to kill, such that the requirement that the actus reus and mens rea must coincide in point of time was not met. Nevertheless the conviction was confirmed by the English court on the basis of the “single transaction principle” which allows a conviction where the defendant has both actus reus (act of killing) and mens rea (intention to kill) together during the sequence of events leading to death.

What would a Shariah court conclude?

 

 

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When do intentions count?

العبرة في العقود بالمقاصد والمعاني لا بلألفاظ والمباني

Is a musharaka contract with a wa’d to purchase documented on a separate piece of paper two separate transactions or one single transaction?

Are the parties’ intentions part of the transaction?

What if they are not expressly stated but are determinable from the conduct of the parties?

What if they are expressed verbally but not in writing?

What if they are expressed in writing but on a separate piece of paper?

What if they are written on the same piece of paper as the main contract and then the paper is torn to separate them?

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Paradox of intentions:

Good intentions are claimed to justify allowing prohibited or doubtful practices at a macro level

e.g. “Creating cash flows using Commodity Murabaha and Wa’ds is not ideal but our intention is to make things easier and better and to allow the Islamic finance industry to grow”.

But intentions are denied at a micro level to get Shariah approval

e.g. in a dimishing musharaka mortgage, the bank leases the property to the customer. The bank also requires the customer to sign a wa’d promising to buy the bank’s share of the property in the future at a price fixed now. An onlooker would say that the intention is to protect the bank’s capital and not subject it to the price risk of the property. However, this transaction is approved on the basis that the wa’d is on a separate piece of paper and is therefore a separate transaction without looking at the intention of the parties to conclude that the musharaka and the wa’d are a single transaction.

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Question of law or question of fact: The “But for” test

Is a wa’d given in the context of a bilateral contract unilateral or bilateral?

Is this a question of law or a question of fact?

A question of law is determined by looking at the law in the textbook. A question of fact is determined by looking at what is actually happening e.g. one would determine whether traffic on a road is actually going one way or two ways not by reading a road sign or driving manual but by simply observing what is happening on the road.

A practical test to determine whether the wa’d is unilateral or bilateral is the “but for” test: “but for the wa’d given by the Customer to purchase the property at a fixed price, would the Islamic Bank enter into the mushara contract? The Islamic Bank would be asked: “would you enter into the musharaka contract if the Customer does not give you a wa’d (promise) to purchase?” If the Bank’s answer is “No” in other words, that the Bank would not enter into the musharaka agreement if the Customer does not promise to purchase the property, then can it be denied that the musharaka contract is connected to, and contingent upon, the Customer’s promise?

Does this make the wa’d bilateral?

Does this make the musharaka agreement and the wa’d together into one transaction?

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4.2.2 The Ijara Agreement

Is benchmarking the rent to an interest rate a problem? Is it a symptom of a systemic problem?

Is it permissible for a Landlord to require a tenant to purchase the Landlord’s house if the tenant refuses to accept an increase in rent?

Can a landlord require the tenant to pay the cost of major maintenance, even if it is bundled into the “rent”?

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4.2.3 Shariah compliant versus Shariah based

Is there such a distinction in Islamic law?

Can a transaction be Shariah compliant (i.e. comply technically with the letter of Islamic law) but not be Shariah based (i.e. conflict with the spirit of Islamic law)?

Can the law of Allah be so open to manipulation that it can be used to achieve the opposite of Allah’s intention? If so, then what is the point of divine law?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session 3: Institutional Framework

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Part 5: Building successful Islamic financial institutions

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Consensus      –             Ulama disagree on many issues. But is there a glutinous core that we can all agree on?

e.g. mutual financial institutions

                                            e.g. equity based products with pure profit and loss sharing

 

Authenticity   –             Many people, including non-Muslims, are sceptical about Islamic finance and question its authenticity. Can we address this crisis of confidence by going back to basics?

 

Simplicity        –             The ordinary public find current Islamic financial products complex and esoteric. Can we keep things simple?

 

Mainstream   –             Islamic finance has mainly targeting Muslims in the UK. Can we have a proposition that benefits all people whether Muslim or non-Muslim?

 

Leadership      –             How can the ulama, imams and community leaders give leadership and inspire confidence in the community to make this successful? Is there a role of this multaqa in this process?

 

Partnership    –             Can we partner or share knowledge with institutions in mainstream British society who share similar values and aspirations as us? E.g. mutuals and friendly societies, JAK Bank etc.

 

 

 

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Part 6:            Equity based solutions case study:

 Musharaka Mutanaqisa (Diminishing Musharaka)

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6.1 The product

 

A True Diminishing Partnership

 

  • There is a true partnership between the Finance Company (who may also be the developer) and the Home Buyer.

 

  • There are no wa’ds requiring the Home Buyer to purchase the Finance Company’s shares or to purchase the property if the rent is increased.

 

  • Rent is charged at market rental rates.

 

  • At intervals, the Home Buyer may make an offer to the Finance Company to purchase a portion of the Finance Company’s share. The price of the sale will be negotiated between the parties and not fixed in advance.

 

  • If the Home Buyer can no longer afford to live in the property, they can move out to a cheaper place and begin to receive rent from this property.

 

6.2 What are the challenges to setting up such a model?