For many years, Muslim students have been negatively affected by the current student loan system. There are various views and opinions regarding taking out a ‘student loan’ from the Islamic perspective, ranging from being impermissible and permissible based on necessity. This sometimes affects the psychology and mental health of students who do not know what to do.
The British Board of Imams and Scholars (BBSI), a national ecumenical board of religious scholars and Islamically literate academics, organised a symposium to explore and discuss the various approaches and views on this issue. It commissioned an internal survey with imams and scholars and a public student survey by Muslim Census that generated around 36,000 responses.
The symposia have proved to be an excellent tool for the professional and academic development of the imams, Muslim scholars and academics. At the same time, this was the first symposium after the lockdown that brought the Muslim scholarly circle of diverse doctrinal persuasions within the Sunni school to discuss a pressing issue concerning Student Loans.
This symposium on the Student Loans was “exceptional,” as Sheikh AbdalHaqq Bewley, Chair, The British Board of Scholars & Imams (BBSI), observed. It was so because of the interest and intellectual appeal it generated. It was also because of being interactive, diverse, allowing different opinions to be shared by the participants, expertly-led with the scholars’ ability to answer the questions head-on and academically.
Diverse scholarly views by those giving the presentation were put on the table, allowing the participants to weigh the arguments. There were occasional interjections and quizzing, which gave the event a broader outlook.
Umer Suliman, General Manager, Wahed Invest, who co-sponsored the symposium, said:
‘It was amazing to attend the session on student loans convened by BBSI that deconstructed from an Islamic, legal and practical perspective the student loan proposition and how it impacts the different communities they serve.’
Sheikha Selina Begum Ali, Chair, Gift of Knowledge, the other co-sponsor of the symposium, said:
‘Gift of Knowledge’s aim and vision is to support imams and scholars on their journey of spiritual, intellectual and academic development. It was our pleasure to support this unique symposium by the BBSI to tackle the important issue of student loans and the Islamic perspectives. We pray this brings some comfort and solace to the Muslim students.’
The BBSI will be publishing its findings and recommendations soon.
The BBSI is an apolitical national assembly of imams, traditional scholars and religiously learned academics formed to facilitate scholarly intra-Muslim research and dialogue and to provide authoritative ethico-theological guidance and leadership on matters relevant to Muslims whilst promoting wider community welfare. Through the academic symposiums, the BBSI will provide the opportunity for intellectual and practical problems and their solutions to be explored with the full resources available from within the Islamic and academic traditions.
Our diverse body of scholars believes that a new approach is needed to address the unprecedented challenges that face our community. This new approach needs to be deeply informed by Islamic theology, metaphysics, spirituality, ethics and our scholarly inheritance. Simultaneously, it must be receptive to multi-disciplinary academic and professional knowledge. Based upon this, this approach cannot be provided by one body or confessional group. Rather, a broad base of ulama, academics and experts are needed.
More details: BBSI-CallForPapers
The British Board of Scholars & Imams has joined a coalition of Muslim organisations and charities to highlight the growing problem of climate change. As a often over-looked area, climate change and care for the environment is essential as we move forward to protect our world and particularly for those already living in poverty and vulnerable communities. It is a role of the Imams and Scholars to remind and educate the community on this critical issue as viceregents of the Earth. It is for this reason we are encouraging all imams and khateebs to use the Friday sermon to address this important topic. We provide a template of a khutbah for all imams to use as a basis.
Khutbah Template: BBSI_Khutbah-BigGreenWeek_23.09.21
A one day symposium with experts, shariah scholars, policy makers and practitioners on the permissibility (or not) of benefiting from the student loan schemes. This one day symposium will explore the islamic rulings relating to student finance and provide guidance to the muslim community and recommendations to key stakeholders. A comprehensive guidance will be published thereafter.
Who Should Attend?
– Shariah Scholars and Graduates
– PhD in Islamic Studies, social sciences and the humanities
– Imams and Teachers of Islamic studies
– Policy Makers
– Head Teachers of Schools, Colleges and University lecturers
NB: if you do not meet any of the above crieria and would like to attend, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Only the above will be allowed to participate. If you do not meet any of the conditions above and you register, your ticket will not be refunded, and you will not be allowed to participate.
The exact venue detalils will be emailed few days before the symposium. Previous symposiums were held at the London Marriot Hotel, West India Quay, London, Docklands. We are hoping to hold it at the same place. If it is not possible, it will be held in a suitable venue in London, Insha’Allah.
Please follow the link for registration: https://studentloansymposium.eventbrite.co.uk
In the Name of Allah, Merciful to all, Compassionate to each!
All praise belongs to Allah, and may His peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
The British Board of Scholars and Imams (BBSI) would like to extend its congratulation to the British Muslim community in the UK and the Muslim Ummah around the world for the commencement of the special month of Ramadan 1442. Whichever day the communities begin the blessed month of Ramadan, it asks Allah almighty to help us to please Him and get closer Him.
Fasting in Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam. The Prophet ﷺ said that Islam is built upon five pillars: to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His final messenger; to establish Salah; to pay the Zakat; to carry out Hajj; and to fast the month of Ramadan.
Allah asserts in the Qur’an:
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” [2:183]
Fasting the month of Ramadan is a monumental opportunity for seeking the forgiveness of Allah. The Prophet ﷺ said, “He who fasts during Ramadan with conviction (iman) and anticipating his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; and he who passes Laylat al-Qadr [the Night of Decree] in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim.]
Therefore, the BBSI is appealing to British Muslims in particular and the Muslim Ummah at large to use this month as a means for their success in this life and the hereafter. The following are some recommendations to achieve the maximum this month.
- To establish the reality of the oneness of Allah in all aspects of their life, to establish their five daily prayers and to give the Zakat of their wealth.
“And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give Zakat. And that is the correct religion.” [98:5]
- To turn to Allah in repentance. This entails specifically to abandon the major sins and to have a sincere intention not to go back to them.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Avoid the seven destructive things.” It was asked: “What are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Associating anyone or anything with Allah in worship; practising sorcery, killing of someone without a just cause whom Allah has forbidden, devouring the property of an orphan, eating of usury, fleeing from the battlefield and slandering chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.” [Burkhari and Muslim]
Allah also says, “And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” [17:32]
- To maintain the highest aims and objects of the Sharia after worshiping Allah Almighty. These are summarised in this verse:
“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” [16:90]
- To establish the overall oneness of the Muslim ummah and to use their differences as a positive tool for the flourishment of the Ummah.
“The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.” [49:10]
- To turn more to the Book of Allah as the month of Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an.
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” [2:185]
- To maintain ties of kinship. This includes looking after relatives, forgiving them and starting a new chapter with them.
- To turn to the helpless and oppressed people to help them and stand up for them. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He should not oppress him nor should he hand him over (to his devil or to his self which is inclined to evil). Whoever fulfils the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
- To take all the needed means to empower the Muslim Ummah. That includes different levels of engagement—political, social and otherwise. It also includes using the available advanced technologies and management systems to improve the wellbeing of our Ummah.
May Allah the Mighty and Majestic accept from all of us, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Master Muhammad ﷺ.