SHARI`AH LAW: BROUGHT TO YOU WORLDLY RECONCILIATION
The United Kingdom was embroiled in a terrible storm this year, so much so that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the deputy and also a few judges have been asked to resign due to what some have perceived as their ‘overstepping the bounds’ and ‘surrendering to the terrorists’.
The fire was seemingly kindled by the Bishop of Rochdale, Michael Nizar-Ali.  In an article at the beginning of the Christian year 2008, he remarked that the Judeo-Christian values that the United Kingdom was founded upon were being eroded by multiculturalism. But a more serious threat was looming. There were ‘no-go areas,’ places were people who were not Muslim were not welcome, these places in the very heart of the United Kingdom. 
This country was increasingly being made more Islamic, due in part to the large influx of immigrants as well as the artificial amplification of the Adhan in certain areas. This strange, foreign and un-Christian culture was on a collision course with the already shared values of Christendom.
The bishop of Rochdale went on to declare that if something more was not done, Christianity would be lost in the increasing environment of ‘Shari`ah Compliant’ bank loans, Islamic intrusion into civil law and almost far-right intimidation tactics being used for advancing their cause; all of this at the behest of multiculturalism.
His article, although terse and unlettered in its’ overall delivery and presentation, brought condemnation from some quarters but was able to re-ignite the flame of some church officials and congregants who have watched the vultures circle over the fetid corpse of Anglicanism for the best part of a century and hoped for revival. But the ignited flame for some reason died down, the news reports and national attention re-directed to new stories.
But then the fuel that would not only ignite the embers, but would bring the flames as high as a mountain arrived. Dr. Rowan Williams, titular head of the Anglican Church, on 7 February 2008 stated that incorporating certain laws from the Shari`ah into UK law was ‘unavoidable,’ indeed ‘appropriate’ and that Muslims should not have to choose between the two stark realities of ‘cultural loyalty or state loyalty.’
He went on to explain that these laws included marriage, divorce, commercial law, child custody and also banking codes. It would be these that could, would and should be incorporated for the sake of cultural cohesion, greater acceptance of Muslims as contributors to British society and also cultural sensitivities to certain religious scruples that the followers of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, possess in their daily life. 
The reaction from religious and secular circles was as raw as that in the national newspapers. Dr. Williams had surrendered himself and handed the entire United Kingdom to extremists on a platter. Calls came for him to be publicly rebuked, with even some voices demanding his immediate resignation.
Repeatedly, it was stated how ‘alien’ and ‘utterly incompatible’ Shari`ah was with the way of life and espoused freedoms that people had come to know in the UK, United States, Canada and other secular countries who could weigh in on the topic.
And to illustrate the point and make sure the people knew what was at stake, articles were printed with how many hands and heads were chopped, adulterers stoned and democrats in infancy silenced in majority Muslim countries throughout the world ruled by ‘total Shari`ah.’
Keeping the current climate in mind, then understanding how Muslims have always been and are now viewed, all the reactions given to the Archbishop would be of no surprise.
The only exception to the unanimity of condemnation of the prelate’s musings was the government of the United Kingdom. When it came to be prodded for its’ opinion on the now open fracas in its’ midst, rather than condemn the embattled Archbishop or call for his swift removal, Downing Street refused to denounce him and then at the same instant said it would be willing to change some laws ‘to reflect Muslim sensitivities’ when necessary, but that ‘the general position is that the Shari`ah cannot be used as justification for committing breaches of English law nor can its’ principles be used in civil courts.’  We then fast forward to the Lord Chief of Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, who waded right into the dark, murky waters and offered a statement just as brazen as that of Downing Street while speaking at the East London Muslim Centre (read masjid), in Whitechapel. 
He remarked candidly to the assembly that, “It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.” 
The analogy of throwing water on a grease fire is not sufficient to describe the hysterics engaged in by think tanks, civil rights bodies, conservative Christian councils and advocates of secularism upon the airing of Phillips’ avalanche statement.
Although Dr. Rowan Williams sought to soften his words by citing misinterpretation of his assertions, the UK government and Phillips have been resolute in what they delivered with very little modification.
There can be reconciliation between Islam and earthly governments that accommodates the best of both. The temporal governments state that their purpose is to rule-and they intend to-while at the same time offering an opportunity for other religions to be tolerated, even accepted and made state religions.
This is based upon the presumption that there will be certain allowances granted that regulate that religion, thus making it palatable with the particular government holding the reigns of power.
And once this happens, Islam can easily become a state religion, with subsidies, grants, sponsorships and legal protection included. To the cursory observer, such news is reason for joy and exulting. Islam has finally come to the point where it is mainstream.
It is now part of public life in such a way that it is undeniably indigenous. One would not be able to tell the difference between whether one was a Muslim, Christian or Jew under such freedom felt as these religions have coalesced and melted into one another.
The Prince of Wales and his mother the Queen are increasingly being referred to as ‘Defender of the Faiths,’ as ‘faith’ is no longer singular it is plural, just like the multicultural societies that we are supposed to currently occupy.
But what of the winds that are blowing us in this direction? Are they winds of change for the better? Or are they perhaps a cautionary wind, alerting the wise to a larger storm brewing for which we must brace ourselves?
The way to access the designs of earthly rulers and their governments on the believers is the look at the past examples we have when Islam has been a ‘state religion,’ an accepted religion on ‘selected civil issues.’
There have been many examples throughout history, but the most thorough example of this phenomenon-and one that could resonate more and be more easily apprehended by a researcher as it is present amongst us-is found in none other than Egypt’s Al-Azhar university.
It ranks alongside of the Al-Qarawiyyin University as the oldest consistently functioning university in the world. Both are centres of Sunni or Orthodox learning; the only difference being that in the case of Al-Azhar, Orthodoxy was not always the case.
The first foundation stone for a large seminary in Egypt was laid by the Fatimiyyah rulers in 359 AH (AD 969). These were Shi`ah of such a hue that there are still some masjids in Egypt and other places that had been under their dominion that are facing away from Makkah and towards Iraq, which contains the compound of Karbalah.
The Fatimiyyah were vigorous builders and sought to leave an imprint upon Egypt, North Africa and Sham and the other places they ruled for all eternity.
The best way to do this was to leave a shrine or similar buildings that testified to their power. So from359-361 AH (AD 969-971), they built the Al-Azhar Masjid and dedicated it to Our Lady Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, the youngest daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
She was also the wife of `Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him and through their lineage all Shi`ah claim to have some connection, by authority and through theology.
The Al-Azhar seminary was built next to it in 378 AH (AD 988), although classes began in earnest 364 AH (AD 975) on such diverse topics as creed, grammar, fiqh, mathematics, inheritance, governmental policy and more.
Al-Azhar continued to be the core university in North Africa and Sham for Shi`ah learning and rule until the Sunni ruler, Salah ud-Din al-Ayyubi removed them in 562 AH (AD 1169) and expelled them from Al-Azhar.
He revamped the entire curriculum and Al-Azhar quickly began to become the leading Sunni university for people to flock to, again second only to Al-Qarawiyyin. So many scholars throughout history passed through its’ doors, to recount all of the names would not be possible in this short piece.
But great scholars such as Imams Mansur al-Buhuti, Muhammad ibn Muhammad as-Sa`di, Taqi ud-Din al-Futuhi and others are more than enough evidence of the greatness that was brought to the university upon its’ being commandeered from the Shi`ah.
Al-Azhar, according to its’ name, ‘the shining star,’ continued to be just that for centuries, independent but able to address the needs of the government by passing rulings when asked or giving them impromptu. This often brought difficulty to the scholars as the rulings would be divergent from oppressive policies or even misappropriation of funds that would occur at the hands of lavish rulers.
The takeover of Egypt by the British in the colonial period brought a new dynamic to the country. It came to the attention of the Earl of Cromer, British Counsel-General in Egypt, the respect that people had for Qadis, Muftis, hadith scholars, theologians and other high ranking scholars and people of knowledge. He reasoned that if there could be a way to harness this, rule over ‘this oriental people’ would run more smoothly and he and British colonial authorities would be less likely to meet with revolt.
The Earl started this process by grooming and preparing ‘men of religion’ for this role, the most famous of them being a young man by the name of Muhammad `Abduh. He was the first government Mufti used by the British Empire in Egypt and his rulings were made to coincide with government policy and practice.
These ‘eerie coincidences’ were always broadcast widely, knowing that the laity respects scholarship and the people of knowledge. The phrase Shaykh ul-Azhar was used in popular parlance and every chief scholar of the institution was no longer chosen by the scholars (who would decide who was the best amongst them), but rather by appointment of the British Counsel-General, who would make the decision after looking into the matter. Thus scholars became ministers in the government and could likewise recommend ‘men of religion’ that they found particularly suited for serving the cause or modernisation.
And if there were differences in understanding, any people fomenting sedition against the new Al-Azhar programme were suppressed or marginalised by a much more organised, streamlined and well funded panel of government paid charlatans.
`Abduh, for his service, soon had the job of Shaykh ul-Azhar and chief Mufti combined into one office all at once. He was now the most senior and authoritative force in Egypt under the directive of the government. He had two main disciples,
Muhammad Rashid Rida, who represented the most conservative arm of his thinking and `Ali `Abdur-Raziq, who went further than his teacher in many of his pronouncements. Raziq wrote in the year 1335 AH (AD 1919) that the Qur’an and the Sunnah, as the two sources of law mention nothing about a particular type of government.
Furthermore, there is no consensus that the khilafah, Shari’ah or any such government should be established or re-established in light of its’ collapse. Although weakened, there was still enough strength left in some of the non-governmental forces of Al-Azhar to have him removed from his judgeship for suggesting such a thing. But these paid informants were not defeated yet.
Governments had sought to bring this mammoth institution to heel, but none was as successful as the Free Officers revolution brought about by Col. Gamal Abdun-Nasir in 1371 AH (AD 1952).
Once they came to power, the Free Officers fully secularised Al-Azhar, brought it into line with socialist policies and promoted ‘freedom of thought,’ which meant ideas of any stream, be they evolution, uniformitarianism or catastrophism, were free to be taught without interruption. Few remained who could try to keep the tide from engulfing everyone.
The state religion of Egypt was declared to be Islam and a policy of capitulation between the scholars and rulers was introduced. Dire consequences were promised to anyone who flouted the new directives.
The infamous `Ali `Abdur-Raziq’s writings were widespread as the open door policy on dissent was encouraged. And Raziq was good to his employers in that he sought to theologically stifle any opposition to their rule.
Consider his words, “From this, the reader can see that it is not only the Qur’an which prohibits us from thinking that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was calling us, along with his religious message, to found a political state. Nor is it only the Sunnah which also prohibits us from doing so.
Rather, along with the Book and the Sunna comes the wisdom of reason and what the meaning of the message and its’ nature reveal. For the trusteeship of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, over the believers is the trusteeship of the message, untainted by anything that has to do with government. Away with all of this government talk!
There was no government, no state, and nothing of the tendencies to politics, nor of the aims of kings and commanders. Perhaps, the reader has by now been guided to what he had been questioning in the beginning about the lack of any aspect of government or the aims of a state during the prophetic epoch. The reader now knows that there was no government organisation, nor were there trustees or judges, a seat of government, and so on.
Hopefully, the darkness of this dilemma which the reader faced has now been transformed into light, and fire has been transformed into coolness and peace of mind.” 
The next government scholar that stepped onto the scene was Muhammad Ahmad Khalafullah. As with any government hostile to revelation, the easiest way to stop conflict was to spiritualise it. Khalafullah began by stating that the Qur’an is not an exact replica of history, facts or historical people.
Rather, its’ message was focused on metaphors, storytelling, sacred fables (or also known as sacred mythology) and so forth to draw the readers attention to moral truths.
Furthermore, there was the battle between the scholars and the government that was continuing. The Egyptian government, which was courting the people to believe that authority rested in popular opinion based upon the vote (which was vested in and legitimised the governance of the regime), needed the help of Al-Azhar and its’ well oiled religious machine.
They found this in Khalafullah, who, hearkening back to theological ancestor Muhammad `Abduh, mouthed his progenitor’s words, “The teacher and imam, Shaykh Muhammad `Abduh stated, ‘Those in authority in our time are: the great scholars, the commanders of soldiers, judges, big agriculturalists and merchants, the owners of public interest,
heads of corporations and companies, heads of political parties, the most intelligent people among the writers, physicians and lawyers. And this also includes those whom the Ummah trusts and refer their problems to, no matter who they are and where they are at any moment.’ ” 
Thus by widening who ‘those in authority’ were, it made it possibly to overwhelm what the scholars were teaching and preaching simply by sheer numbers. But there were still righteous scholars in Al-Azhar, small they may be, but they were present.
So what would one do if they began to express their authority, nay their right to authority as those in authority? Khalafullah again used his role model `Abduh, who faced the same opposition in the beginning. The reader must examine carefully to follow the logic:
“The teacher, the imam, Muhammad `Abduh, speaks on the issue of ‘those in authority’ and their authority, which the Noble Qur’an has given them, that ‘if they were to agree on a matter or a ruling, they must be obeyed, provided that they be from among us; that they do not contradict the Laws of Allah or the Sunnah of His Messenger which was given to us;
that they should be selected to look into matters…the people must accept these judgements and submit to them in secret and in public. ’ ” We therefore see a number of points from these two quotes given by Khalafullah to cement his and the government’s position.
a. Those in authority are a huge throng of people, in contradiction to the ayah and those who understood the ayah from the first three generations and after.
b. No matter who those in authority are, it is binding to follow them.
c. Those in authority can only be chosen by `Abduh and those already in authority.
d. What those in authority command are to be obeyed in private and public.
e. The above four points laid the foundation for authoritarian and oppressive government that we see in Egypt.
A careful look at the matter will reinforce the previous points in our minds. When one seeks to question or examine the position of the government, it immediately assumes the garb of scholarship, hiding behind its’ clerical establishment.
They echo the same authoritarian words of the regime of choice, but couch it in the smoke and incense of pious chivalry and serene displays of religiosity.
It then becomes the case that the religious establishment bolstered by the government becomes so powerful; it makes decisions of self preservation in favour of the government and itself without prompting.
It may teach and preach blasphemy but is so far above reproach, who can reach it to protest without going to jail, losing their funding, being exiled or being labelled extremist?
But even in all this tribulation, Allah still brings about His Affair. The first non-Egyptian head of Al-Azhar and one of the few Malikis, Shaikh Muhammad al-Khidr Hussain, may Allah have mercy on him, somehow slipped through the screening process.
Rather than being appointed by the government, he was chosen by scholars and began to make his way through the ranks. Before long, he was in the head position. Both the government and worldly scholars sought to tempt the great Maliki scholar, but they were rebuffed, in spite of them calling him Shaykh ul-Azhar.
He resigned when the pressure of the government restructure at Al-Azhar became too great to weather. He made his way back to his native land of Tunisia but also returned to Egypt from time to time. It was there he was buried when he died. But these are relative rainbows during heavy rain storms. And the Ummah was forecast to have more rain and sadness from an establishment that esteems itself as Sunni.
Enter into the picture Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut.  When he was appointed to his new position of Shaykh ul-Azhar by the government, he gave this ruling about usurious bank loans and transactions, the first of its’ type of be simultaneously endorsed by both government and scholars in the Muslim world:
“And it is my conviction that the necessity of the one taking the loan and his need lifts any sin from him in doing that action.” He also said further, “And the government, as we know, has great need to rectify the circumstances of the Ummah at large and to protect it from its’ enemies who may harm it. And the traders have greater need of it due to their commerce and commodities and the fact of market use that can help the Ummah.
And we see this and the machinery and building equipment as of like necessity which the Ummah cannot do without and it is a help to the Ummah and the people to be able to improve their standard of living and circumstances. And the basis of Islam is ease and removing hardship.” 
This same Shaykh Shaltut gave a ruling regarding the Shi`ah, in which he said, “That which is also known as ‘Imam based’ or ‘Twelver Shi`ah’ is a school that is correct to follow in worship just as other Sunni schools of law. Muslims must know this, and ought to refrain from unjust prejudice to any particular school of thought, since the religion of Allah and His Revealed Law was never restricted to a particular school.
All mujtahids are accepted by Allah the Exalted and the one who is not a mujtahid is allowed to follow them and practice what they proscribe in their fiqh, and there is no difference in that regarding worship or transactions.”
He then promptly opened up a faculty to host and help organise and facilitate matters for Shi`ah theologians, stating that they share the same belief about the Qur’an being created and so forth. He was instrumental to the Ahmadiyyah Movement as well when he pronounced the Prophet `Isa, peace be upon him, dead, stating that there is no authentic text for his living on.
It now seems that the Shi`ah, which are growing in ever increasing numbers at Al-Azhar, are gradually reclaiming what was once their school. 
Shaykh ul-Azhar also mentioned about apostasy that “it carries no punishment in this life and that Allah only mentions punishment in the Hereafter.”  The entire Al-Azhar institution later fell in step by boldly announcing,
“The Islamic Research Department of Al-Azhar University has hereby decreed the penalty for apostasy as null and void and that the ways of repentance are open for the apostate at any time in his earthly life.” 
And such treasonous behaviour would not be complete without equalising the world’s various false religions and holding them in equal value to Islam. Shaykh Jad al-Haq `Ali Jad, government appointed grand mufti who in 1982 was proclaimed the 42nd Shaykh al-Azhar, gave his ruling that all religions were of heavenly origin and strove for the same cause and the same outcome. 
This ruling of his was so abhorrent at the time, even some cultists opposed him and there were protests in the streets. There was still no way to unseat the Shaykh ul-Azhar, the titular head of state sponsored Sunni Islam.
And with each successive stage, they became emboldened by their power, realising they could not be hampered by any earthly means. All divorces, marriages, inheritance, business or any other documents of an Islamic nature are not valid unless ratified by the government first and then rubber stamped by Al-Azhar.
Muhammad Sayyid at-Tantawi, Shaykh ul-Azhar, stated that, “There is no difference between the Sunni and the Shi`ah and whoever should declare there is no god but Allah is a Muslim. And the difference, if any, is in branches, not fundamentals and foundational principles.” 
The Shaykh is also know to have welcomed the Pope to Al-Azhar in 24 February 2000, stating about the Roman Catholic pontiff that, “The Pope’s efforts for peace, love, and moral values and virtues are precisely the goal of all the revealed religions.”
Yet again, there were huge protests, but little could be done to combat the dry rot that has become so common of Egypt’s scholars and theologians.
In the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, the same reality is emerging; that reality being of a state religion Islam. The decree is “you may have your Ramadan, your `Eid (whichever day your Imams have decided for you), some aspects of civil law, but we will decide the scope, breadth and depth of the entire discourse.”
And this is the basis of the matter that we are being presented with currently. How is that possible when ‘Islamic Revival’ is so prevalent in ‘the West’? Why would such a diabolical thing become possible when so many of us are working for the common good of Muslims and are alert to clear and present danger? Are we?
How far have Muslim institutions reached to resemble their Al-Azhar counterparts would first need to be assessed in order to realise the gravity of the challenge that we must stare in the face. It is of use to remind the reader that Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut is the teacher of most the of the South Asian,
sub-Saharan African and Malay students that flocked to Al-Azhar during his tenure, so this explains the malady in Muslim communities of that type and the reason for the remarkable similarity in speech. The words of these imams coinciding and matching verbatim are not by chance, they were programmed.
There are three steps to Islam becoming a ‘state religion,’ controlled and malleable in the hands of earthly forces, which rotate the puppet strings that make their scholars dance:
a. Co-dependency of ‘men of religion’ on these forces by way of belief that there can be a reconciliation between the way of Allah and those who oppose what was revealed.
b. A legitimacy that is either self-imposed or accepted by Muslims that are looking for spiritual guidance.
c. Parallel agendas that are first fluid become hard between the two parties until one of them, the men of religion, are completely subservient to the other.
In the United States, the dominant organisations depend on the government for guidance, bringing their masjids and places of teaching in line with that system in the great majority of cases. The writer has seen this in masjids on the West Coast and in Texas, New York, West Virginia and other locations where the United States flag hangs just in back of the place where the Imam preaches.
The writer has been witness to and has seen the culture of the ‘shahadah certificate.’ In these masjids controlled by the ‘Islamic organisations,’ when someone walks in, deep in the throws of pain and sorrow due to their idolatry, they are ushered into the back room. They are told about Islam, given the basic breakdown and then they are made to repeat the testimony of faith in Arabic and English.
All seems well and good, but there is a sinister back drop that the unsuspecting convert did not envisage. He is presented with a certificate noting the date, time and place of his entrance into Islam, along with the person that has given him the testimony of faith.
Then just under his name is his home address, taken for ‘administrative purposes.’ The writer and the brothers, upon further investigation, came to know that these certificates were being copied and one was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a security measure agreed when the organisation and the US security forces made this agreement in the early 1990s at their annual meetings.
These certificates are not only disturbing from the angle of the security services having a log of new Muslims with so much free information that unsuspecting persons do not know is being used. But this culture has been perpetuated in marriage, study abroad, hajj and many other things.
Converts who are in the United States and desire to study abroad find themselves rebuffed and rebuked for the absence of one of these certificates. Some of them suffer the humiliation of having to re-take their testimony of faith in front of witnesses.
Still others refuse this on principle, believing that what was done in front of Allah is sufficient and no masjid or organisation may mandate that. They remain in the hinterland, finding difficulties going on hajj, studying Islam, getting married, being accepted within communities and sometimes attending congregational prayers.
Those that refuse the certificate culture are deemed untrustworthy and are sometimes reported to the authorities due to their seemingly suspicious behaviour.
It is these bodies, helped by the government that decide what legitimacy is and is not in Islam. Things that are popularly known of Islam are treated as if they never existed or that the movement of the Gregorian calendar dictates their validity.
In the United Kingdom, a young lady Shabina Begum, refused to go to school without wearing the khimar and jilbab outfit that she had become convinced Muslim women must wear. Her school, which required school uniforms but made concessions for the Pakistani national dress of shalwar kameez, would not accept such a sweeping change and promptly suspended her.
Over the next few years, a battle raged between this reserved, unassuming woman and her entire school board over whether she had the right to cover everything of her person except the face and hands with long clothes. It was expected that the host culture and its’ established institutions would protest against something they saw as alien.
But it was the Muslim institutions that were more scathing in the condemnation, bending their theological backs in servile submission to their overlords. When Miss Begum was pronounced victorious after the battle, Yasin Rehman, representative of the Luton Council of Mosques, which supported the school during the first court challenge, said:
“There is no prescribed Islamic dress code. People of Islam, like other religions, say that you should dress modestly. How do you define that? This will create a lot of complications.” Another organisation was slightly more charitable when it remarked, “The British Muslim community is a diverse community in terms of the interpretation and understanding of their faith and its practice.
And within this broad spectrum, those that believe and choose to wear the jilbab and consider it to be part of their faith requirement for modest attire should be respected.”  In 2002, while the court battle was still in full swing, the masjids of Luton, Regents Park and the Islamic Cultural Centre weighed in by saying that the clothing that was being enjoined at the school was valid, thus sealing the youngster’s fate at bringing a case. “They are Muslim theologians,” the legal teams grinned. “They should know.”
The government had both spoken and proved a point. The first was that they could allow flexibility in the rule as long as there was no standard. Islam did not require any modest dress, only loose clothes, and the leading Islamic centres had backed them explicitly or implicitly.
Further to that, the United Kingdom proved that these Islamic bodies were so integrated and in subjection that they would contradict their own religion (and fight with one another on how far or obvious that contradiction should be) rather than risk social backlash, something that Shabina Begum was left to do on her lonesome.
And with every state religion or panel of government scholars, loyalties must at times be tested to make sure that they are real and authentic. After the actions of Tuesday 11 September 2001 and the Friday 7 July 2005 bombings in London, Downing Street began to quicken its’ pace with the governing bodies purporting to represent Muslims.
They began propagating initiatives or a series of roadshows to counter ‘extremist ideas’ amongst Muslims. This was set up after the government had summoned a number of Muslim groups to its’ doors to set up events and organise bringing various scholars and Muslim celebrities into the UK from abroad to present what the government desired to see as an acceptable form of Islam.
The Foreign Office quickly used its’ influence to mould and shape the Young Muslim Organisation, Federation of Students Islamic Societies and Q-News Magazine into workable think tanks that could implement their strategies. 
So in order to show loyalty, dedication, fidelity, sacrifice and unbending devotion towards the earthly governments that are believed by their devotees to have the power to deliver safety and security, Islam must be reduced to ‘religion’ or ‘state religion’ and follow in the same path, sandal strap, footstep and all as the temporal government of the time.
Consider the case of a Mr Abdul Qadir Barkatullah, head of the UK Islamic Shariah Council and senior official at London’s Finchley Masjid. Barkatullah, seeking to syncronise British and Islamic law, has drawn up a marriage contract that effectively bans polygamy in any form.
Those who are British would state that there is already a law on the canon that outlaws “bigamy,” so there should be no concern about such things happening at registry offices with official sanction. But what Barkatullah is aiming for is not strengthening the civil laws, but making Islamic marriages, religious marriages not done at registry offices, subservient to English law.
The ‘mufti’ stated without any reservations, “Practically speaking, a second, parallel marriage is frowned on.” The draft of what he has brought is being considered by ministers and thus marriages at masjids without British mandate would be null and void and the children illegitimate, according to Barkatullah when he declares, “No Muslim should seek to contract a marriage without the full protection of the law of the land.
Persons most likely to be harmed by avoiding the civil registration would be the wives, who would only then have the status in the United Kingdom of unmarried partners, a status forbidden in Islam. The children would be illegitimate. No Muslim man should wish to put his spouse or offspring in such a dishonourable position.”
For him it is not enough that the children of Muslims, their marriage ceremonies, the sacred rites of divorce and so many other Revealed Laws are seen as worthless, but it has to be the case that masjids will also persecute Muslims in the nikah or be shut down themselves for non-conformist practices. 
The writer would then advise the reader that the United States, United Kingdom, Canada have their institutions and their Shaykh ul-Azhars in every corner, their lips puckered in ready to kiss the rings of rulers who rise and fall for nothing but earthly riches.
Orthodox Muslims should be wary and wise at the same time; wary of the seeming pleasantness shown by lawmakers and judges towards certain ‘spokesmen for Islam’ and ‘traditional ways of Islam.’ They should also be wise to history and choose their teachers, role models and sages carefully.
If this is not done, a great punishment could result in which more innocent are injured than the guilty, who have brought the wrath in the first place. And may Allah keep us safe and guard the hearts, minds and decisions of the rightly guided scholars.
Brother in Islam,
Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali
 b. 19 August 1949, in Karachi, Pakistan to Christian parents (although his father James converted from Islam), he began identifying himself as a Christian during his teenage years and was formally accepted by the Church of Pakistan at the age of 20 years old.
 When challenged to give examples of this and substantiate his point, the Bishop was less than forthcoming and spoke of a ‘general concern’ that he had on the subject. Such specific information would also be of interest to the writer, who has lived in Ireland (Northern and Southern), England, France and a number of other locations for the past ten years and has not witnessed such occurrences in not only the United Kingdom but Europe.
It is also difficult to gauge how much travelling, assessing and concluding he could have done on such areas in between his active work at the parish, officiating at services, commissioning inter-faith work with scholars of Al-Azhar in Egypt, raising a family and being the 106th Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.
And if it was a second hand source, then the veracity of their claims would have to be checked by the listener or by referencing eye-witness accounts that would have intimate knowledge of the area (s).
 Please see article from 7 January 2008 article in the Sunday Telegraph.
 Please see full coverage of the story in the The Daily Express (8 February 2008), pp. 1, 5, 10-11; The Daily Mail (9 February 2008), pp. 1, 2, 10, 16.
 Please see The Daily Express (8 February 2008), pp. 4-5
 This is the very same centre with members of staff and congregation that physically assaulted Muslims (with their hands and blunt objects to boot) working as drug counsellors in the Tower Hamlets housing estate (statistically the worse location in the UK for heroin abuse, suicide, adolescent abortion and murder) who came to question why some of the money funnelled into the Centre was not being used for more outreach to the youth.
One of the soft-spoken brothers of Bengali origin, Manzoor (a close friend of the writer who invited him to speak to the youth and do presentations against gang violence), received a concussion in the melee. The reasons why were never revealed and there was great effort to paint drugs counsellors, planned parenthood advisors and GPs as extremists who were trying to wreck the lives of ‘moderate Muslims.’
 Please see The Independent (4 July 2008), pp. 1-2 under the article Sharia Law ‘Coming to Britain’; The Daily Express (4 July 2008), pp. 1 and 9 under Sharia Law is Backed by Top Judge.
 Est. 245 AH (AD 859) by the noble woman Fatimah al-Fihri, may Allah be pleased with her, who fasted during its’ building to make sure her intention was sincere. T
he family had migrated from Qarawiyyin in Tunisia to Fes and named the university after their former locale. The university has hosted scores of scholars from around the world and is the world’s oldest, continuously functioning university on earth and is in the Guinness Books of Records for that very fact. And this Sunni institution remains an inspiration to all who go there or hearken to look at the oldest extent Sunni edifice to scholarship.
 Rule lasting from 296-567 AH (AD 909-1171). An Isma`ili Shi`ah dynasty founded by Sa`id ibn al-Husain al-Mahdi Billah [d. 323 AH (AD 934)] and ended after the defeat and expulsion of Al-Adid [d. 567 AH (AD 1171)], Fatimiyyah rule spread from Morocco all the way to and including Sham, which is today’s Syria Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel and also Sicily.
Their rulers were prolific builders and popularised their unorthodox beliefs by building Al-Azhar University and sending out missionaries to various districts. It is an interesting historical note that they were not able to convert these areas to their religion, every after a century or more of their rule.
 This is a sacred and tragic site for Shi`ah people, a cult of some 165 million or more people, who were one of the early cults that broke away from Muslim Orthodoxy centuries ago.
Karbalah is the site where many of the family of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, were wrongly killed and their blood spread by oppressive means. Shi`ah re-enact these events in passion plays and processions throughout the year, with some of them making pilgrimage to Iraq and other places to pay homage to slain companions.
Those who are especially devoted can be seen on the news, crawling from the homes all the way to Karbalah in the hope that these deprivations, flagellations and emulations to themselves will bring ultimate redemption in the Hereafter. Let the righteous believer beware of being caught in the snare of innovated worship and the cults who propagate it.
 This refers to the countries today known as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.
 532-589 AH (AD 1137-1193). The protector of the faith, the hero to millions and military genius, he was a rallying point for the Sunnis who were suffering under the rise of the Shi`ah cult and false religion of Christianity, in all of this forms.
It was in his time that Jerusalem was taken back and the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Masjids (which the Christian Crusaders transformed into a church and a horse stable respectively) were re-consecrated and restored to their former greatness. And it is to this day because of his legacy that the Christians of the Holy Sepulchre Church have stopped murdering each other due to their various sects regarding who should open the door to the church.
Indeed for the past 1,000 years, a descendant of Salah ud-Din al-Ayyubi, has assisted in resolving these squabbles. Throughout Egypt, north and south, seminaries and monuments in great numbers were been built by him or at his insistence.
 d. 1051 AH (AD 1641). Judge, preacher, codifier and renewer of the faith, he was one of the most faithful students to the sons of Imam Musa al-Hajjawi, may Allah be pleased with him, and wrote several classic texts on creed, fiqh and grammar.
 d. 900 AH (AD 1495). Historian, theologian and hadith scholar, he lived most of his life in Cairo and taught at his home, in the University and even at the masjid in between prayers. He lived the life of one who loved to teach and learn at all times, not just sometimes.
 d. 972 AH (AD 1565). Judge, jurist and renewer of the faith, he was so loved that when he died, Cairo came to a standstill. He had one of the largest funerals on record, a testament to the greatness of his legacy.
 1256-1335 AH (AD 1849-1917). Born Evelyn Baring, he was agent counsel in Egypt from AD 1889-1907. During the foreclosure of Egypt by the British for their failing to pay back the principle and interest on debts, Baring was a keeper of the peace and systematically selected the scholars he found suitable and advantageous towards the British cause and goals.
His memoirs, Modern Egypt, a collection of his declassified files and remarks chronicling the events of his post in Egypt is some of the most revealing documentation on how scholars and Al-Azhar were subverted in the early stages. His bank rolling of the Salafi movement also gives us insight into the amazing foresight the British had about the future of the fledgling cult that had made it to Egypt only recently.
 1265-1323 AH/AD 1849-1905. Shaykh ul-Azhar, Government scholar on behalf of the British Empire and borderline agnostic, the continued shaping and restructuring of the movement was given to him by his mentor, Jamal ud-Din al-Afghani.
This same Al-Afghani-a former Twelver Shi`a, guru to the Babi cult in Iran and one time pseudo-Mahdi-spent much time influencing the malleable `Abduh. And it is this man, `Abduh, who was first one to subvert Al-Azhar curriculum, reintroduce non-Sunni theology (although by stealth) and handsomely assist in the lengthy process of secularisation at Al-Azhar.
Every government scholar with his hand out to be fed by his voracious regime (in this age of the last 100 years) owes a debt to Muhammad `Abduh for his ability to deceive, twist, lie but still wear the cloak of Islam and impose his authority through the executive arm of the government of his particular locale and appear almost legitimate.
For further reading on this interesting individual, please see, Jamil Abun-Nasr’s The Salafiyya Movement in Morocco: The Religious Basis of the Moroccan Nationalist Movement. (1963); the Earl of Cromer’s Modern Egypt, Vol. 2, pp. 178-179; 180-183 and also David Cummin’s Islamic Reform: Politics and SocialChange in Late Ottoman Syria. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
 This word carries two meanings. One is that of an old man, usually someone atleast forty years old. The second meaning, one who is learned in the faith and senior in knowledge amongst their peers, is the meaning most commonly intended and in vogue in our midst.
Those who abuse their office and are given this title (many apply it to themselves and often use it as one would use their first name) are yielded a form of authority over their flock that is more clandestine than the priest over his parish or the pastor over his congregation.
A basic Muslim should be weary when people can wield absolute power without responsibility. We have differentiated between two spellings of the word, those being ‘shaykh’ and ‘shaikh.’ The former refers to the counterfeit teachers and preachers selling confessional Islam while the latter denotes those preaching Orthodox faith from the past or now.
 1282-1354 AH/AD 1865-1935. An almost carbon copy of his master, self taught and claiming to be an absolute mujtahid, armed with nothing but the Qur’an, the Sunnah, al-Mughni and al-Muhalla, he sought to “revive the sciences of the Ummah” that he believed had been dead for some 1200 years or more.
By re-examining the texts and coming to new conclusions, this could rectify the state of the Ummah, which had forgotten Tawhid and also forgotten ijtihad. It was ‘blind-following’ that had affected them, in addition to the fact that the scholars of the four madhhabs were only popular due to the fact that these were the only jobs available.
Thus they had to promote the madhhabs (this is indeed audacious coming from the student of and advocate of government scholars and informants) and stifle free thought. He left behind numerous books, continued to assist and give a friendlier face to the Salafi movement and completed `Abduh’s commentary, Al-Manar. A loyal disciple, he was only known to have differed with his master on a few points, one of them the status of the Bahais, who `Abduh considered confused Muslims.
 1306-1386 AH/AD 1888-1966. Al-Azhar judge and professor of theology and in many ways considered the true successor of `Abduh, he was a leading proponent of the new Al-Azhar curriculum upon the Free Officer take over. He continued to keep people from obeying the rightly guided scholars and to cast authentic
Qadis and Muftis as seditious when they resisted the rule of Socialism by stating, in his work, al-Islamu wa Usul ul-Hukm, that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, had only come to teach a spiritual message and that neither he nor his successors had anything to do with political life. Such was the providence of rulers and scholars need not concern themselves with such matters.
 The speaker of these words seems to forget when the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, chose Qadis to carry out his will and dispense justice on his behalf, as in the case of the judges Mu`adh ibn Jabal and `Ali ibn Abi Talib. Please see Al-Jami` us-Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari, Book of Asking the Apostates and Renegades to Repent or Fighting Them under the chapter of Asking the Male and Female Apostate to Repent.
 Al-Islamu wa Usul ul-Hukm, book 2, part 3, pp. 1+, Cairo, 1925
 1335-1417 AH (AD 1916-1997). In many ways, he was the inheritor and full proclaimer of the gospel of Muhammad `Abduh, relentless in the proclamation of the Qur’an as historical literature and that all people mentioned therein were only parables and not historical figures.
This member of the new Al-Azhar culture stated categorically that Islam was not only compatible with the values espoused by the government, but that it was the progenitor. Thus whatever new changes, be they socialism, democracy or secularism, Islam was the founder, basis and foundation of all these systems. Thus there was on contradiction. But it was the other scholars who had misunderstood the matter.
 Please see Al-Qur’an wad-Dawlah, pp. 55-79, Published by Maktabat ul-Anjl ul-Masriyyah, 1973. This twist of all things righteous has been snatched out of context from where Allah revealed, You who believe! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority amongst you. Surat un-Nisa’ (4), ayah 59.
But what these reformers and government scholars fail to quote to the laymen is the following clause that comes immediately after in the same ayah: And if you differ in anything, then refer it back to Allah and His Messenger. That is the right way and most befitting, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.
The only ones who would know how to refer it back to Allah and His Messenger would be the authentic theologians, judges and jurists who are the inheritors of the prophets, peace be upon them. The writer, the banker, the civil servant, the politician with evil designs on his secretary would not know how to derive rulings when disputes arose.
And this is further strengthened by what Allah said, And if they had referred it back to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those who know and do istinbat, would have known the answer. Surat un-Nisa’ (4), ayah 83 Istinbat is a synonym for ijtihad; both are terms used in the revelation that have specific meanings.
And there is no meaning in any of the commentaries or scholarly literature from the first three generations or those who came after that would include anyone but the scholars of advanced or restricted juridical reasoning.
 Al-Qur’an wad-Dawlah, pp. 55-79
 Al-Azhar tends to style itself an institution mainly Ash`ari in creed and Shafi`ii in fiqh. But the commonality between the institution as we know it and the claims is so great a gulf so as to have the onlooker rubbing his or her eyes in an attempt to find any similarity.
 1293-1373 AH (AD 1876-1957). Tunisian by birth, he came to Egypt to study in more detail and soon came to Al-Azhar University. His scholarship was of such great rank, many in the cabinet and amongst the scholars feared him. Students of his include Imams Muhammad Matuwali ash-Sha`rawi, `Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah and more. He is also famously known for his enmity to the cults, specifically Salafiyyah and the Shi`ah.
 1310-1378 AH (AD 1893-1963). Shaykh ul-Azhar, Hanafi scholar par excellance but bearing Mu`tazilah characteristics in creed, he was famous in his pronouncements that the Prophet `Isa, peace be upon him, is dead, the Qur’an is created, usury by necessity has become necessary and permissible, the Shi`ah are members of Muslim Orthodoxy and much more.
The damage he did to Muslim scholarship along with young Muslim students in the 1960s can neither be fully known nor under-estimated by any human being that has contemplated on this affair. He was appointed by the government as Shaykh ul-Azhar from 1373-1378 AH (AD 1958-1963).
 Al-Fatawa, pp. 353-355
 This was announced on 6 July 1959 from the Head of al-Azhar University, and was subsequently published in ash-Sha`ab newspaper, 7 July 1959 issue.
 Al-Fatawa, pp. 59-60.
 Perhaps Orthodox Muslims should consider letting the fetid carcass of this rotten institution finally die and close it as this building or set of buildings have come to show the evidence that if the foundation is rotten, grafting branches is futile.
 Please see Al-Islam: `Aqidah wash-Shari`ah, pp. 292-93.
 This seems strange indeed, as they speak as if there is no previous precedent of the matter. The fact of the matter, is that the Lord has spoken on this matter and gave it to his Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who in turn taught his judges, one of them being Mu`adh ibn Jabal, who executed a man who apostated after becoming a Muslim.
The same ruling was carried out by another judge, `Ali ibn Abi Talib when a similar case was brought to his attention (please see the Al-Jami` us-Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari, Book of Asking the Apostates and Renegades to Repent or Fighting Them under the chapter of Asking the Male and Female Apostate to Repent).
Then there are also the wars of apostasy regarding those who rejected paying zakah, the proclamation of three false prophets and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq crushing them (Please refer to Al-Jami` us-Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari, Book of Asking the Apostates and Renegades to Repent or Fighting Them under the chapter of Fighting Whoever Refused to Discharge the Obligations and Calling that Apostasy).
We also have the example from the tabi`un, the students and followers of the companions, may Allah be pleased with them, in which Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, remarked that whoever should abandon the prayer should be called back to it, but if he does not, he has become an unbeliever and it is permissible to kill him. Al-I`tiqad, pp. 119-120.
Keeping this in mind, it should be understand by the reader that only sentencing Qadis or their appointed representatives may carry out judicial penalties as this is not the providence of the laymen. Further to that, there are some cases where apostasy laws could not be instituted due to mental illness, words said in a state of grief and also misunderstanding of certain texts by people who are Muslims.
The end result of this, however, is that in spite of the exception, there is a law of apostasy that has been implemented by prophets, peace be upon them, passed to their inheritors the scholars, may Allah be pleased with them and may still be carried out until the end of time in any location under the rule of the Revelation of Allah, who as Owner of All Dominion may legislate as He Wills, Glorified be He! But as per the standard with state religion Islam, it is not what Allah revealed but ‘what Islam says.’
One can often hear radio, television or DVD programmes discussing what ‘Islam says’ without a single verse, hadith or practice of the first three generations being presented. This euphemism is nothing more than the broadcast of the words, “I believe Islam should be…” and then the objective is stated.
And with men such as these making pronouncements about what is ‘null and void’ or no longer binding in revelation, fear for them falling under eternal judgement for committing kufr should be paramount in our minds and we should avoid their ways.
 Al-Alamul Islami, 23 August 2002.
 AD 1917-1996
 `Alaqat ul-Islami bil-Adyan il-Ukhra, 5 Jumada al-Uwla 1415.
 One may advocate that Muslims should boycott the straying university with their cheque books, debit cards, fixed and variable direct debits and standing orders. This is a noble intention, but Shaitan and his allies had anticipated this already. The University is not in need of the donations of the righteous laymen from Muslim Orthodoxy when it is joined at the hip in bondage to the parasitic government that scavenges from its’ carcass.
The real change and real boycott would be a global Muslim boycott in which overseas students refused to attend. Perhaps such a sudden and cataclysmic drop in attendance might awaken this ‘Islamic Vatican’ and either bring reforms or perhaps let it be left to the people who founded it originally: the Shi`ah cult.
 The writer knows this all too well when he desired for some recent publications to be sold at certain bookstores in the UK and the United States. Those at the counter asked if a stamp could be produced from Al-Azhar, in which case if they found it viable, the book would be stocked.
I then asked if I had an all Arabic copy of the Qur’an, whether that as well would require the stamp, hoping to appeal to his sense of righteousness that truth is not copyrighted. But the answer also came in the affirmative, so the author left promptly. And it is this magisterial monopoly, second only to the Holy See in Rome or Qom Seminary in Iran that is so alarming.
 b. 1347 AH (AD 1928). Declared Mufti by the government in 1986 and on 1996 was declared Shaykh ul-Azhar, he is a regular speaker at international inter-faith events, inter-religious dialogues and government events of the President of Egypt.
He remains and perhaps will remain as one of history’s most prolific and strident government scholars who distorted the school of Imam ash-Shafi`ii, may Allah be pleased with him, in such a way as to be obscene.
 Please see Sawt ul-Azhar, 11 Muharram 1424 (28 November 2003).
 CMW News 28 February 2000.The writer tearfully witnessed this disgrace (as a Muslim brother showed the recorded image to him by way of video) as the Pope shuffled by these ancient men of Islamic wisdom, who did three quarter bows and curtsies like bridesmaids to a man who is believed (and believes in himself) to take the place of the second part of the Trinity on Earth. Please see the work, Be not Afraid for a full account of how the Pope is seen by the Catholic Church, written by a faithful biography and translated into English from the original Italian.
 May Allah reward the noble men who resisted this visit and refused to bow or kiss the ring of the Pope, but actually met him and invited the Parkinson’s ravaged Pontifex Maximus to the faith without any hesitation, remarking that salvation is not found in an institution but in Allah.
These men knew they were in trouble and that they would suffer, but they held to the standards in spite of the ecumenical climate of compromise we are hounded into by certain quarters. And these men are worthy of mention: judges such as Imams `Abdur-Rahim an-Nabulsi of Nablus, Muhammad Sa`id al-Jamal and Ra`d Salah of Jerusalem, Isma`il Badran, Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti, Salih ash-Shami and Wahbah az-Zuhaili of Damascus and so many more.
Dear scholars, we applaud your bravery in the face of all of this and have not forgotten your sacrifices. You do this Ummah proud and have served it with distinction and we know you to be the inheritors of the prophets, peace be upon them.
 If it is deemed necessary to challenge the writer, he will meet who is necessary in person, discuss in detail regarding names, places, organisations and people in detail.
 These certificates often require a notary seal, an expense the convert is expected to burden. May Allah extirpate this cursed practice from our ranks! Amin!
 A dear brother of mine was close to rejection of faith when relentlessly badgered to produce his written proof of Islam. His frustration was so great, when prompted for his certificate one day, he asked the Arab inquisitor, “And where’s your certificate? How do I know you’re a Muslim and not one of the Arabs from the time of ignorance?”
The rage was palpably present and the questioner could only look on dumbly, accusing the brother of bad adab and query further as to how long he had been a Muslim. But Allah favoured this brother (who is also white, thus he is ‘double doomed’ according to some circles) with a great wife, wonderful kids and opportunities to study. He has continued his rejection of the ‘shahadah certificate’ and to this day will not and has never kept one.
 Whether she was influenced by any external factors has been debated much in the news. This is not the point of the article, but rather the presentation of the incident to show the issue with the institutions at work.
 And to return to the point of Egypt, the government there and Al-Azhar have done such a good job that Muslims in Egypt have revulsion towards revelation at times.
The Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments, Hamdi Zaqzuq, expelled a woman wearing niqab from his presence and denounced her and other women for wearing it. He then banned it at the University of Helwan around the time that women wearing niqab were banned from driving in the 95% Muslim population of Zanzibar. Please see The Muslim News, 23 February 2007, pp. 6-7.
 Her legal representation was none other than QC Cherie Blair, wife of then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
 During the unfolding of the whole case, the writer found it interesting that these organisations, presenting themselves to the world like theological powerhouses, conveniently failed to mention that Allah uses the words khimar [Surat un-Nur (24), ayah 31] and jilbab [Surat ul-Ahzab (33), ayah 59] in His Revelation not as a choice or a wide spectrum of interpretation, but as His Command.
But the presentation that the girl in question was not an example or illustration of anything normative about Islam was crucial to continue to receive support from the government and to also present the Islam that they are expected to show the world.
 BBC News, Schoolgirl Wins Muslim Gown Case, Wednesday 2 March 2005.
 Please see The Muslim News, Government Scholar Muslim Roadshows, 27 January 2006, pp. 2-3.
 Mr Barkatullah is often given the title “mufti,” holding the post of senior imam of Finchley masjid in London and an economist and financial manager by trade. He received an MPhil in Informatics from the University of Wales, acquired a Mufti diploma in Islamic law and Fazil (Bachelor of Islamic Studies) from the Islamic University, India. He is a member of the Shariah supervisory boards for several UK financial institutions.
 These very sycophants to earthly rulers fail to remember themselves that new legislation is being passed to accept unmarried partners who have lived together for a certain period of time as if they are husband and wife. In certain states on the West Coast of the United States, if you stay together longer than 24 hours in the same house and consummate the event, you are common law husband and wife.
Thus if they were seeking to please these people of earthly pleasures by opposing what contradicted the laws of the host country, would it not be a contradiction to rail against concessions already made by their masters? The absurdity of such opportunists is left for the reader to ponder.
 Please see American Renaissance, Muslims Said to Practice Polygamy in Britain, 25 October 2004; Inside the Harem, 13 October 2004.