Introduction to the formation of the United Kingdom Crescent Review Forum (UK CRF)
In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-Ṣalāmu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi wa Barakātuh
My name is Hanif Dudhwala, resident of Blackburn Lancashire. Born in 1967, I recall my early days of Ramaḍān in the mid-70s when, on a number of occasions, we used to receive the news for ‘Eid ul-Fiṭr very late at night, into the early hours of the morning. As children, we used to look forward to ‘Eid; therefore, those sweet memories are well embedded in my heart and mind.
I must have been around 10 years old when I first heard of Morocco. The elders and those responsible in the Daisyfield Masjid (Daisy Street), used to mention Morocco at the time of Ramaḍān and ‘Eid. The people of another Masjid in the area, on Derby Street, were not doing Ramaḍān and ‘Eid with us. If I remember correctly, I was told they were following India.
In 1982, I enrolled at the Dārul-Uloom in Bury and during my visits home, and particularly at my local Masjid (Troy Street, off Whalley Range), Masjid-e-Anīsul Islām, I remember hearing that some Blackburn Masjids were following Saudi Arabia for Moon Sighting, whilst others were following Morocco. This must have been around 1983/84.
My recollection is that the Masjids which were under the management of people from Surat (Gujarāt, India) were following Saudi Arabia whilst the Masjids which were being managed by those from Bharūch (Gujarāt) were following Morocco. I think there were differences in ‘Ishā Jamā’ah times as well, and Suḥūr used to end very early in the morning.
However, this paper is related to Moon Sighting. Those following Saudi Arabia were following Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā, and those following Morocco were following Ḥizb-ul-‘Ulamā.
In 1983, I recall Qāri Muḥammad Sulaimān was appointed Imām at Masjid-e-Anīsul Islām, and around the same time, Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī was appointed as president of the Masjid committee. They were both best of friends, having studied together in Jalālābād (UP, India). As a student of Dārul Uloom Bury living in the local area, I became very close to both and enjoyed a very special friendship with them.
In the Ramaḍān of 1986, I was blessed with the opportunity to perform ‘Umrah in the auspicious company of Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Yūsuf Motālā Ṣāḥib, نور ﷲ مرقده, Shaykh ul-Ḥadīth Marḥūm Mawlānā Islām ul-Haq Ṣāḥib, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, Marḥūm Qāri Ismā’īl Samniwālā, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, and fellow Dārul Uloom students. If my memory serves me correctly, it was in this year when the followers of Morocco fell into a dilemma.
The story as narrated to me at that time is that, on the 29th of Ramaḍān, Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā announced ‘Eid the next day, and as Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā did not receive any news from Morocco, they started their 30th fast. In the early morning, Marḥūm Ḥāji Muḥammad Munshī Ṣāḥib saw a fax that had arrived from Morocco which stated that Morocco had also sighted the moon; i.e. Ramaḍān had 29 days and next day was ‘Eid.
Members of Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā, who had (in following Morocco) continued to fast, got together. They decided to break the fast around Ẓuhr time and celebrate ‘Eid the next day. I do also recall that during the Ramaḍān of 1986 Mufti Sa’īd Aḥmed Pālanpūrī of Deoband (UP, India) was in the UK. A senior founder member of Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā, Mawlānā Yā’qūb Kāvi of Dewsbury, decided not to break his fast (I was not sure why, at the time). Along with his followers, the fast was kept until Maghrib.
Due to the above incident, a number of meetings of ‘Ulamā took place and, to the best of my understanding, Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā and Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā joined together to form the Central Moon Sighting Committee of the UK (CMSC). A key point to keep in mind here is that although Mawlānā Yā’qūb Kāvi and a number of his supporters did not break their fast, they decided to remain with Morocco’s Moon Sighting info.
During my visits home from 1987-91, and after graduation (1991), until 1998, when our Imām (Qāri Sulaimān) passed away, I enjoyed a very special relationship and friendship with Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī. Mawlānā explained the whole issue to me regarding Moon Sighting and how they had united on the criteria of local Moon Sighting, and if no local sighting, then to follow Saudi Arabia. I was very interested in the subject and spent a lot of time with Mawlānā discussing the topic.
After graduating from Bury, I was virtually Mawlānā Yā’qūb’s right-hand man. Mawlānā used to take me to Moon Sighting meetings in Bradford and we would regularly talk about this issue.
I do not correctly recall which year it was when I drove Mawlānā Yā’qūb to Bradford on the 29th of Ramaḍān when, just after Maghrib, a call was received from Zakarīyā Masjid (Bolton) reporting that 2 people had claimed to sight the moon. Everyone was very excited with phone calls taking place left, right and centre. Finally, either an ‘Ālim or Imām in Bolton took the shahādah of the 2 witnesses, who both verified to Mawlānā, over the phone, that they had seen the moon. We returned that night via Dewsbury, conveying the information to Mawlānā Mūsā Karmādi Ṣāḥib, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, the head of Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā, who lived in Dewsbury at the time.
As time went on, I noticed that Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā were still not fully united on the criteria adopted by the CMSC in 1987. Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī shared with me that a few ‘Ulamā, including Mawlānā Yā’qūb Kāvi, did not accept the criteria since day one. I did not understand the reason at that time, but if I recall correctly, Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī said to me that, according to the astronomical calculations, it was not possible for Morocco to have sighted the moon on the 29th of Ramaḍān in 1986. Therefore, Mawlānā Yā’qūb Kāvi rejected the news and continued with the fast, taking it to be the 30th of Ramaḍān.
This opened up a new chapter for me. I was thrilled to learn a few things about astronomical calculations and asked Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī more and more questions, and also started to research the issue myself. Mawlānā Yā’qūb explained a Ḥadīth about Moon Sighting to me saying that as we are a nation that is unlettered, astronomical calculations cannot be taken into consideration. As I was so close to Mawlānā, I had no reason to doubt what he had explained, and took his word as being final.
Once during a conversation, Mawlānā Yā’qūb mentioned the name of Mawlānā Samīruddīn Qāsmī of Burnley, saying that this particular Mawlānā was so engrossed in astronomical calculations and Moon Sighting that he was going up and down the country meeting ‘Ulamā to convince them that Moon Sighting reports from Saudi Arabia cannot be relied upon due to astronomical data.
My views were so entrenched that I personally phoned Mawlānā Samīruddīn and had a very heated conversation with him regarding his stance against Saudi Moon Sighting, etc. The discussion became so intense that Mawlānā’s wife actually took the phone from him saying to me, ‘How you dare insult my husband in such a way over the phone.‘ Alas, those were my days of ignorance, but I did apologise to Mawlānā Samīruddīn later on in life.
However, that particular phone call, and discussions with a few other ‘Ulamā got me thinking more deeply into the issue. Why are some ‘Ulamā so vehemently against the CMSC? The CMSC are taking info from Saudi Arabia and Muftiyān-e-Kirām from around the world have given the verdict that it is permissible, so then what is the issue? I became more inquisitive and started to probe Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī further.
I asked if he could provide me with :
- A fax every month received directly from Saudi Arabia confirming the time when the new moon had been sighted?
- The names of the mushāhidīn (sighters)?
- The location of the sighting, e.g. Makkah, Madīnah, Riyādh, Jeddah, etc.
The answer I got from Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī was the eye opener. Mawlānā said to me very clearly in Gujarātī, ‘Dar mahiney chānd jowāno koi khās ehtemām nathi Saudi mey,’ meaning ‘there is no particular emphasis on Moon Sighting every month in Saudi Arabia.’ This must have been in the late 90s.
This prompted me to then start looking at this issue in a lot more depth. I very clearly noticed that the announcement from the CMSC on the 29th of Shābān and 29th of Ramaḍān was almost immediately after Maghrib, but in the other months, maybe after 1, 2, or even, 3 days, and that usually occurred upon receiving the monthly Moon Sighting newsletter. I found this difficult to understand.
In the late 90s, Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī’s family moved to London, and Mawlānā was also spending a lot of time in London. He was still the president of the Masjid committee at Anīsul-Islām. In 1998, our Imām, Qāri Muḥammad Sulaimān, passed away in the cemetery, whilst attending a Janāzah of a relative in Bradford.
As we moved on into 2001 and 2002, I was learning that the number of ‘Ulamā from the Deobandī school of thought not following the CMSC was increasing all the time to the extent that, a few years later, another organisation was formed by the Deobandī scholars, by the name of Wifāq ul-‘Ulamā.
Some very senior UK scholars, like Marḥūm Mawlānā Ḥasan Ṣāḥib, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, (Walsall) and Mawlānā Ayyūb Surti (Leicester), were leading the Wifāq ul-‘Ulamā and quickly gaining strength and credibility. They had chosen the criteria of local Moon Sighting, and if that was not possible, then accept verified news from either Morocco or South Africa.
Soon after the formation of Wifāq ul-‘Ulamā, the ‘Ulamā of Batley moved away from the CMSC and formed a criterion very similar to Wifāq ul-‘Ulamā. I had also got to know that one of our highly respected teachers at Dārul-Uloom Bury, Mawlānā Bilāl Ṣāḥib, was also not following the CMSC, along with a number of other ‘Ulamā.
Somewhere around 2010, in partnership with the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM), I invited Wifāq ul-‘Ulamā and the Batley ‘Ulamā to Blackburn to speak with the ‘Ulamā of Blackburn. The meeting did not go down well at all, with all the Blackburn Deobandī Masājid not wanting to even start a discussion on, never mind reviewing, the 1986 criteria. Difficult as it was, this did not deter me.
All the while, I was researching and reading more and more into the issue, and constantly in touch with Wifāq ul-‘Ulamā. Although I was getting to understand astronomical calculations and moon visibility a lot more, I could not agree with their stance of claiming that Saudi Arabia was not reliable, and that their Moon Sighting reports were false, etc. I couldn’t comprehend what Saudi Arabia was hoping to achieve by putting the worship of millions of Muslims at risk. It just did not make sense to me.
In 2011-12, I started to notice that the CMSC personnel were changing, and the responsibility of informing the masses regarding Moon Sighting was handed over to members of Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā. The name that started appearing on the monthly calendars was Mufti Aslam Ṣāḥib (Rotherham).
Of the various books I had read on the subject, I found an Urdu kitāb written by Mawlānā Musa Karmādi, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, in 2007, one of the most informative. In one of the chapters, it lays out the whole history of Moon Sighting in the UK as written by Mawlānā, who was the head of Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā at the time. A lot of questions came to mind, but whenever I touched upon the issue, no one was willing to discuss it, which was very annoying.
My firm belief was, and still is, that if the CMSC is representing the Masjids of the UK then they should be ready to answer questions and talk about the issues. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The majority of the ‘Ulamā I spoke with said to me that the Moon Sighting issue is a very hot and sensitive issue, should not be touched, and left as it is, etc. My heart could not accept this.
Coming to the last 15 months, in May 2018, I was in Rotherham for my charity work, with a group of ‘Ulamā, and met with Mufti Aslam Ṣāḥib. We had a very frank and open informal discussion during which Mufti Aslam Ṣāḥib very clearly informed us that for 8 or 9 months of the year, Saudi Arabia was following the Umm ul-Qura (UQ) calendar, hence the CMSC also informs the masses for the 8 to 9 months according to the UQ calendar. I had heard about this many times previously from various sources, but this was the first time I heard it from such a senior official of the CMSC, and Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā (secretary).
I asked Mufti Aslam, ‘Why are we following UQ for 8 or 9 months when we can actually follow local Moon Sighting or even Morocco or South Africa, not for 3 or 4 months of the year but for the full 12 months?‘ As I had fully researched the issue, and had all the history and information at hand, Mufti Aslam replied saying, ‘It is too close to Ramaḍān at this moment in time, and then we have Ḥajj, so let’s leave this issue to one side for now and we will open up the discussion in Muḥarram.‘ I accepted Mufti Aslam’s proposal and waited until Muḥarram.
From Muḥarram 1440 to Rajab 1440, I must have made at least 10 phone calls to Mufti Aslam. Most of the time the reply was, ‘I will let you know when we will sit down and discuss,‘ and on a few occasions, he was out of the country. I just could not understand why there was such reluctance. To try and expedite matters, I contacted Mawlānā Aḥmed Sidāt in Blackburn and requested him to set up this meeting. Despite numerous attempts, Mawlānā Aḥmed failed as well.
During Shābān 1440 (April 2019), there was a lot of discussion regarding the starting date of Shābān. When I phoned Mufti Aslam and asked him, ‘If the CMSC had started Shābān by the UQ calendar or actual sighting,’ I was told that, ‘It was by actual sighting.’ Upon requesting proof, Mufti Ṣāḥib promised to provide me with the evidence, but nothing came through.
My phone calls were not being responded to, so I said to myself, enough is enough. This issue now needs to be brought into the public limelight and needs urgent and open discussion.
I started a discussion on WhatsApp with some concerned individuals, including prominent ‘Ulamā, informing them about the meeting with Mufti Aslam in April 2018 and the subsequent efforts, etc. After looking into the original 1986 agreement forming the CMSC, I contacted the majority of the signatories (bear in mind that a number have either passed away, or aren’t in the best of health) and only a few responded, out of whom one was Mawlānā Osman of Nuneaton, who had signed the original agreement on behalf of both organisations, Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā and Ḥizb ul-‘Ulamā.
Mawlānā Osman was the first and only scholar present at the 1986 meeting, who was so approachable and welcoming. He made my day, appreciating the efforts I was making and offering his full support in setting up a forum to review the Moon Sighting criteria set in 1986.
Having never met him, I did not know Mawlānā Osman, but his response on the first phone call, subsequent discussions, and a brief personal meeting in June will be moments I will never forget, اِنْ شَاءَ َّ ﷲُ. Mawlānā believes very strongly that it is time for a review of the 1986 agreement, as 33 years have passed, and the world has moved on so much. If we cannot even sit down to discuss an agreement made 33 years ago, then it really is a sad state of affairs.
With the support of Mawlānā Osman, I went from strength to strength. Very soon, a UK Crescent Review Forum (UK CRF) was created which, to date, has approximately 50 participants, the majority of whom are ‘Ulamā, some serving Imāms, as well as a few professionals; a number are followers of CMSC. Many have not been added to the forum due their very strong anti-CMSC stance (a stance which I now totally understand).
The two most notable participants on the forum are Mawlānā Zubayr Makkī (Madīnah al-Munawwarah), brother of Marḥūm Mawlānā ‘Ābdul Hafīz Makkī, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, and Ḥāfiẓ Ayyūb, a biochemist, originally from Dewsbury, but working as a professor at a university and living in Abhā (Saudi Arabia) for nearly 20 years.
Towards the end of Shābān, I was in Rotherham again for my charity work, along with the same ‘Ulamā as the previous year, and met with Mufti Aslam. This time, the meeting started very seriously. Mufti Aslam had been informed of my WhatsApp messages and he was not happy at all that I shared the discussions on an open social media platform. I apologised to Mufti Ṣāḥib but at the same time informed him that I had waited one year for a meeting and that things had come to a standstill and their not providing evidence of actual sighting for Shābān had not helped.
Again we had lengthy discussions and this time round Mufti Aslam changed his version by saying that Moon Sighting does take place throughout the year in Saudi Arabia but it is not openly announced and not as widely publicised as the months of worship. I asked Mufti Ṣāḥib, ‘What is the point of sighting, if it is not going to be publicised?‘ Also, ‘If no announcement is made then how will we find out?‘ ‘What is the logic of not announcing?‘ Once again, Mufti Ṣāḥib, said, ‘Let’s revisit this after Ramaḍān.‘
This time, I made sure there was some hard evidence. Our request for a review meeting was put in writing, and once authorised by all members of the forum, I put down all the names and presented the request letter with all the names, by hand, to Mufti Ṣāḥib, on Friday 3rd May 2019, in Blackburn.
Since then, I have made a number of phone calls to Mufti Ṣāḥib. Some calls were taken, with Mufti Ṣāḥib saying ‘I am busy,’ and others went unanswered. As I write this, in July 2019, I am still awaiting a response to our letter. A very humble request was made to Mufti Aslam to grant 5 of us permission to attend the monthly Moon Sighting meetings on 29th Shābān and 29th Ramaḍān, but Mufti Ṣāḥib said, ‘No, you cannot attend.’ I did not request on the occasion of 29th Shawwal, but intend to do so for the 29th of Ẓūl Qā’dah meeting which corresponds to Thursday 1st August 2019.
I have researched this subject to the best of my ability and really feel that it is not a very difficult issue to resolve at all. It should be stressed that I do not believe in the blame game; there is no one here at fault. All who are involved have genuinely tried to address the issue to the best of their abilities.
Having looked at the situation, it is my understanding that, at present, the majority of UK Muslims are following local Moon Sighting backed up by Morocco and South Africa. This, I believe, is not just for the 3 months of worship, but for the full 12 months. On the other hand we, the followers of CMSC, are following the Umm ul-Qura calendar for 8 or 9 months of the year, and actual Moon Sighting for only 3 or 4 months, and that too, from Saudi Arabia, and not after local attempts to sight the moon.
During my research and discussions with members of the CMSC, I have been told again and again that CMSC, first and foremost, advocate local sighting. In fact, this particular point is also mentioned in the 1986 agreement that if the moon is not sighted locally, then information will be taken from Saudi Arabia, through official channels, and then the start of the month will be declared.
Does the CMSC support local sighting? This is the precise reason why I requested Mufti Aslam Ṣāḥib to allow us to attend the Moon Sighting meetings on the 29th of each month. We were refused on the 29th of Shābān and also on the 29th of Ramaḍān. Why?
We are all aware of the fact that the time difference between the UK and Saudi Arabia is 2 hours in summer and 3 hours in winter, and that sunset in Saudi Arabia is approximately 2 hours earlier than sunset in the UK. Therefore, Saudi Arabia will declare the new month at least 4 or 5 hours before sunset in the UK. Once Saudi Arabia declares, local Moon Sighting is irrelevant; the next day will be the first, regardless.
Mufti Aslam Ṣāḥib informs me that the CMSC never declares the new month before Maghrib. My reply was, ‘There is no need for CMSC to declare the new month; with social media and live TV channels, the Muslims throughout the whole world know the result, well before Maghrib in their respective countries.‘ The US is 5 hours behind the UK. They will know at the start of the day when the new month has been announced. Is there any point in local Moon Sighting?
It is very concerning that CMSC officials routinely ignore requests from its members. My understanding is that CMSC represents each and every Masjid, and each and every individual, that follows its criteria. I am most definitely one of them and, as mentioned above, I was Mawlānā Yā’qūb Miftāḥī’s right hand man in the 90s.
To date, I have the utmost respect for each and every scholar. In fact I have spoken with a number of scholars, some of whom are signatories on the 1986 agreement. Due to promises made to maintain confidentiality, I am unable to disclose what I have been told. I am more than happy to communicate with any scholar. What is there to hide? Let’s have an open and honest frank discussion and see if there is anything we can all do collectively to observe Ramaḍān and ‘Eid together.
My heart bleeds when I see children who all attend the same school for years and years. They study together, play together, eat together, and enjoy life together for so many years. Alas, come ‘Eid day, they cannot celebrate together. Why?
I live on a street which has 9 houses, of which 2 follow the CMSC and 7 do not. I know of so many families that are associated with Masjids following the CMSC, who have children attending the Madrasahs which are associated with Masjids affiliated with the CMSC but, on the day of ‘Eid, they do not follow the CMSC because their immediate and extended families do not follow CMSC.
I have been trying for a number of years to start a dialogue to just review the whole situation. Changes have not been demanded, nor has a particular criteria been criticised. I hold Saudi Arabia and Ḥaramain Sharīfayn in utmost respect and honour. Which Muslim doesn’t? We should detach the two – the love and respect for the Ḥaramain shouldn’t cloud our judgement with regards Moon Sighting.
On Thursday 11th July 2019, while visiting Cyprus in the esteemed company of Shaykh ul-Islām Mufti Muḥammad Taqī Usmānī Ṣāḥib, I asked Mufti Ṣāḥib regarding the most memorable moments of his life. Mufti Ṣāḥib started with, ‘My first visit to Ḥaramain Sharīfayn, once I became of understanding age’. For a personality like Mufti Ṣāḥib who has travelled 80 countries of the world, his first visit to Ḥaramiyn Sharīfayn is the most memorable time in his life. It must be the most memorable for so many people.
Although having tried a number of times previously to start a dialogue and failed, and despite having had setbacks, I have never ever lost hope in The Almighty. Mosques are not forthcoming to support a review, Imāms and ‘Ulamā do not want to touch the issue, and Akābirīn and the most respected, are silent.
The UK Dārul Iftās, as Institutes of Islamic Jurisprudence, will gladly answer both simple and complex queries on everyday life issues affecting Muslims, but will not readily answer questions related to Moon Sighting. The Muftiyān-e-Kirām appear to have taken a back-seat. Why is this? Why?
Our beautiful religion has taught us the etiquettes of life. Can we not sit down and discuss such an important religious issue? No one has any personal benefits and no conflict of interest, then why the reluctance? I started this paper thinking it will be 2 or, maximum, 4 pages, but here we are on page 9. Therefore, I do need to conclude.
In order to get a review meeting with the CMSC, which is led by Mufti Aslam Ṣāḥib, who is also one of the signatories of the 1986 agreement, and having exhausted all direct avenues, I have made a humble request to Janāb Ṭāhā Qurayshī Ṣāḥib who is leading the Khatm-e-Nubūwwat Centre (KNC) in London, at present, to mediate on behalf of the UK CRF.
Having gotten to know Janāb Ṭāhā Qurayshī Ṣāḥib through Shaykh ul-Islām Mufti Muḥammad Taqī Usmānī Ṣāḥib, I was very impressed with his ability to bring people together. He had managed to get some of the UK’s leading scholars from both Barēlwī and Deobandī schools of thought round the table, in the presence of Mufti Taqī Ṣāḥib, in Birmingham, on Saturday 6th July, over lunch hosted by a very close associate, Janāb Shabbir Nawāb, of Birmingham.
Although the subject was on how scholars of both schools of thought can work together on the common aqīdah of Khatm-e-Nubūwwat, one of the Barēlwī scholars present, Professor Hazārwī of Luton, touched upon the Moon Sighting issue and requested Ḥaḍrat Shaykh ul-Islām to work towards uniting the Deobandī sect, similar to Mufti Munīb ur-Raḥmān Ṣāḥib uniting the Barēlwī sect. This was of course, ‘music to my ears.’
A week later, on Sunday 14th July 2019, I made a request to Janāb Ṭāhā Qurayshī to help facilitate this review meeting between the CMSC and the UK CRF. He promised me that he will do everything within his means to facilitate this meeting, but first, he wanted to know as much as possible about my involvement in and knowledge of the issue, the efforts made thus far, and what I wanted to achieve.
The intention of this paper is to provide the requested information. Therefore, to progress the matter, I started writing almost immediately, aiming to present the completed document to Janāb Ṭāhā Qurayshī on Wednesday 31st July (28 Ẓūl Qā’dah, according to the CMSC). Having nothing to hide, I have been, and will continue to be very open and transparent.
A number of people have told me that the CMSC will never move away from Saudi Arabia. When I ask why they are so sure about it the answer is, ‘there are both financial and strategic benefits for CMSC,’ which I found very difficult to digest. Upon asking them to elaborate, I have been told that one reason is the financial assistance being provided by Saudi to CMSC to represent UK Muslims at international gatherings & conferences, and the strategic benefit of maintaining a pro-Saudi stance is that it will deter many Barēlwī organisations from becoming involved.
I do not believe this, and sincerely hope this is not the case. However, the reluctance of CMSC to engage in discussion, and a review of their criteria, undoubtedly leads to speculation and assumptions which have no basis or justification.
With The Almighty as my witness, I have no ulterior motives, and no conflict of interest whatsoever in this issue. I have no hatred or malice for anyone in my heart and I have no hidden agendas. My dream is to see all of the Muslims of the UK observing Ramaḍān and celebrating ‘Eid ul-Fiṭr and ‘Eid ul-Aḍḥā on the same day.
We are blessed with such a diverse range of talents, languages, cultures, fiqhī learnings and spiritual interpretations that can be presented to the West as beautiful colours of the rainbow, and that our presence here is a beneficial unifying force to the nation spiritually and economically.
Innocent schoolchildren, Muslim students at college and university, simple men and women in the workplace face ridicule by non-Muslims on the issue of multiple ‘Eids. Sadly, they and their parents feel helpless in providing a convincing explanation. They feel demoralised by their inability to explain our beautiful religion to outsiders.
Our Masājid, Dārul-Ulooms, Khanqāhs, Makātibs, Fiqhī institutions, ‘Ulamā-e-Kirām, and Community Activists, all have a crucial role in defending and promoting Islām and Muslims, especially within the hostile climate we find ourselves in.
Despite numerous efforts on the part of many, the reluctance by CMSC to engage with the community on such an important topic does not bode well. The glaring absence of ‘Ulamā, Muslim professionals, and relevant organisations active in taking a lead on issues that impact our collective identity as Muslims is very worrying. This could well lead to further weakening of the bonds between ordinary Muslims and our religious institutions.
What I have presented are experiences and challenges within the Deobandī community. These may or may not mirror experiences and challenges within the Barēlwī community and indeed others. So what do we do?
Mine are mere small efforts, similar to the aspirations and sacrifices of others up and down the country. If we succeed in our aim then all praise is to The Almighty. The results we leave with Allāh Almighty.
Was-Ṣalāmu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi wa Barakātuh!
Hanif Dudhwala – Blackburn (UK)
Wednesday 28th Ẓūl Qā’dah 1440 AH c/t 31st July 2019