Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Imam said. . .

Thought it might be nice to give a flavour of some of the positive stuff that Imams say, particularly when they might have a wider appeal.

The following are comments that BFTF has heard from Imams (from a number of different mosques). Hope you find them interesting.

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"7 Things a kid needs to hear
A local Imam posted this image on Facebook recently :

What  kids need to hear

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"Organ donation is a gesture of generosity.
Extracts from this article

"The purpose of this article is to dispel fears and concerns of the Muslim community with regards to organ donation. I believe it is a responsibility of Muslim scholars to show that organ transplant is compatible with the teachings of Islam and encourage Muslims to register as organ donors."

"...Most Muslim countries have a National Council of Scholars that present Islamic viewpoints on many contemporary issues, many of the national councils have accepted the permissibility of organ transplants. Al Azhar Academy of Egypt, the Jordanian Council of scholars, some scholars from Pakistan like Maulana Muhammad Hussain Naeemi and the Iranian Council of Shia scholars, Islamic Fiqh Council of Jeddah, the European Council for Fatwa and Research, the UK Shariah Council, the National fatwa Council of Malaysia, the Islamic medical Association of North America, the Islamic and religious Council of Singapore and the Fatwa committee of Kuwait..."

"...Muslims believe in the spiritual creation of life, which invests it with inviolable dignity and sanctity. On the other hand, we also believe in the right of a sick person to be given opportunity to improve his or her quality of life by organ donation. Now that organ transplant is a relatively successful medical procedure and adds enormously to the quality of life of sick people we should accept it just as you would be willing to receive an organ if you were ill..."

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Jan2016: Helping a troubled youth
Via the National Zakat Foundation

"Ali was sinking further and further into the depths of despair. His drug problem was no longer a private matter but one that everyone who came to visit his parents would discuss at great length with a reprimanding tone...Eventually, the social pressures overcame them and Ali’s family decided to disown him..."

"...Circumstances forced him to pluck up the courage to seek help at his local mosque. Unsurprisingly, community elders present at the mosque shunned. However, the young Imam at the mosque was pleased to see him and could see that Ali genuinely wanted to change. As Ali was unemployed, the chances of finding a Landlord to accept his tenancy were slim, as they would require proof that he would be able to keep up with rent payments. The Imam initially gave Ali money for essentials from his own pocket but knowing this was not a long term solution he knew that he had to get Ali back on his own two feet. He managed to find a place for Ali to stay through a personal contact. To help pay for his rent deposit, the Imam contacted National Zakat Foundation (NZF) and made an application for a hardship grant..."

"...With compassion and timely support, Ali has managed to turn his life around. He has maintained contact with his family and would like to rekindle the relationship with them in the near future."


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Dec 2015: Neighbours
Interesting sermon from an Imam today (25th Dec) talking about:
i)The respect that Muslims should have for Jesus and his disciples
ii) That the UK has a great tradition of volunteers, that Muslims should spend more time volunteering and that volunteering has many benefits for the volunteer (increased confidence, sense of satisfaction, technical skills)
iii) That Muslims need to be accepting of others and to be wary of the narrow minded attitudes of extremists.
iv) That the mosque was working with a Christian organisation to provide a Christmas Day meal for some of the homeless in Nottingham.

Also worth mentioning that, after the prayers, there were free meals available at the mosque for anyone who wanted one. This happens every Friday.

Free Community Meal at a local Mosque every Friday

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Jul2014: Neighbours
Just heard a short talk by a local Imam who asked Muslims to "give a thought to your neighbours, do you know their names? Those to the left, to the right and opposite you? It's really important that we get to know our neighbours..." adding that "..your faith is dependant on your relationship with your neighbours" and that it was important to "be kind, caring and loving to your neighbours".

And finally, that it was a good thing if you remembered to "share your food, no matter how plain, with your neighbours"

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Apr2014: Can Muslims be British?
An email circular from a local Imam asked this question, and then responded with :
Of course they can!.....

and then discussing a fascinating CRE report on Britishness (see here)

The Imam closed out by asking :
The big question is how do we promote ‘Britishness’? How do we develop and nurture ‘Britishness’? Amongst the eight dimensions of ‘Britishness’ the most promising is the development of values and attitudes. Here is a scope for nurturing moral values of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, justice and respect for others. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “On the day of judgment, nothing will weigh heavier upon the scales than good character” (Abu Dawud). Let us work on building good character in our children, so we have just, loving, caring and respectful British Muslim citizens.


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Feb2014: 12 ways to motivate children
An email newsletter from a local Imam contained some advice on how to encourage and motivate children. A condensed version is the message is shown below:

1. Help children choose their own goals
2. Help children visualise the positive results of achieving their own goals & the negative results of not achieving their goals
3. Remember the power of praise
4. Expose children to a variety of activities
5. Believe your children can achieve great things
6. Reward your children
7. Expose your children to people you admire
8. Be enthusiastic
9. Use contracts
10. Encouragement from peers
11. Tender, Touching & Listening
12. Pray for your children

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Feb 2104 : Embracing Differences and Promoting Tolerance
An email newsletter from a local Imam contained the following comments:

"...the Quran explains the path to success and the path to failure by mentioning the three characteristics of successful people, these are:

1. Generosity: This is to give to others without them asking for it, to provide support, service and provisions to the needy. The generous give these out of love and kindness. Parents are generous to their children as they feed, clothe and care for them.

2. God Consciousness (Taqwa): This means to fear God and be aware of the Lord’s presence all the time and in all places. This God consciousness is expressed through prayer, charity and works of goodness.

3. Openness: This means accepting all that is good and beautiful. This is about recognising the good ideas and concepts such as good habits and practices etc.

By developing these characteristics of generosity, God consciousness and openness, British Muslims can play an important role in society. These characteristics really broaden the outlook of a person. This makes it possible to accept different opinions and views. They encourage tolerance of people who are different. As we integrate into the wider society (speaking English, wearing suits and ties, eating fish and chips, supporting Manchester United) and begin to live like the British what will distinguish us from the rest? Taqwa – this will be the hallmark of a true British Muslim....

The Quran then turns to three characteristics which are opposite of these namely:
- Miserliness opposite of generosity
- Heedlessness opposite of Taqwa
- Close mindedness opposite of openness

By comparing good characteristics with the evil ones it’s emphasising the need for developing good traits. Let’s resolve to embrace the good in British Society: Civil rights, democracy, freedom of religion, justice, hard-working, creativity and tolerance. Historically Muslims have always comfortably lived in multicultural societies, contributing to the society and benefiting it by displaying the beautiful moral and spiritual values of Islam."

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Unselfishness (Feb 2013)
BFTF happened visited a local mosque recently to talk to the Imam about holding a second "Bring A Tin" event there and heard him giving a short talk to the yougnsters at the Quran class. The talk was about "unselfishness" and it was quite touching to see the way he engaged with the kids (who were perhaps 7-11yrs old). After explaining what it meant to be unselfish, the Imam asked the kids if they had any examples from their own lives.

One child said that he once went shopping with his parents and had two sweets so he gave one to his mum and one to his dad.

Another child said that they had leant an item of clothing to a friend who had forgotton theirs for PE.

The Imam commended these children but added, with respect to the latter comment, that the children should take care of their own needs first when it came to schooling and ensure that they had the kid they needed when they went to school, saying that they should "never, ever, do anything that will make your education suffer".

The Imam added that examples of unselfishness and being considerate were opening the door for someone, offering to carry the bags of someoene or doing chores when your parents are tired.

A small lad, noting these words, piped up to remark that he had once helped his parents by doing the laundry and not only folding the clothes as they came out of the washing machine, but also folding them, winningly, as he put them INTO the washing machine.

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The wise non-Muslim neighbour (Aug 2012)
Parking can be a big issue at many mosques, especially as latecomers have a tendency to put getting to prayers on time above parking courteously.

Heard an Imam recounting how someone had (in this case unknowingly) parked in such a way as to block access to house close to the mosque. The houseowner had discussed this with the Imam, in a perfectly reasonable tone is should be stressed and asked what was the point of people praying if they were parking was causing difficulties for neighbours, surely this inconsiderate behaviour would negate the rewards of their prayer? The Imam had to agree and pointed out to the congregation that it was a shame that it was taking a non-muslim to teach Muslims how to behave.

The same householder also mentioned that people were talking loudly in the street as they walked home after late evening prayers. Is this what Islam teaches? he asked rhetorically, to wake sleeping people up as you walk home from the mosque? Again, the Imam agreed that this was bad manners on the part of those talking in the street. And again he told the congregation in the mosque that it was a shame a non-Muslim had to make these very valid points, telling the congregation that they had responsibilities to their neighbours and one of these was not to disturb them.

NB: Just to be clear, the title of this note does not mean that there is anything unusual about non-Muslims being wise - as any glance at the list of Nobel Prize Winners will reveal.

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The Three T's (Aug 2012)
Heard an Imam call on the congregation to offer their community at least one of the "Three T's" - Time, Talent and Treasure.

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Where is the Upside? (Aug 2012)
Was talking to an Imam (at a relatively new mosque) about their relations with their local non-Muslim neighbours and mentioned that, for the neighbours, there was no "upside" to the presence of the mosque, and wondered whether the mosque should consider ways in which it cobute to the local community (Muslim and non-Muslim alike). The Imam commented that he "really wanted to offer something practical to the community" and asked for suggestions as to what services might be of most use to them, and could be done in a professional way.

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