There are some of the Muslims that complain about a lack of variety and the fact that the moment that a Muslim starts one business idea, a number of clones spring up in rank imitation. This indeed stifles creativity and does not give enough opportunity for niche businesses to be made.
But every so often, a good idea does indeed come along and the one that sees it hopes that it will catch on and be imitated. One such idea is the recently opened bookshop, Al-Hidayah. This bookshop deserves to be considered and given a careful look. I am loathe at giving endorsements, but every so often, there is someone or something that merits it. This is one such case.
There are three reasons why this shop deserves kudos:
1. It is an enterprise set up by young Muslim brothers. There are some bookshops that have been opened that are controlled and run by business and this is not wrong or a problem; the only issue is having their ear to the street and knowing exactly what Muslims in the under 30 age bracket are looking for and find interest in currently.
2. It is catering for the Muslims that use English as their lingua franca in addition to including books in Arabic and reference guides that facilitate the learning of Arabic. This is the only store in Nottingham and one of the few in the United Kingdom (I can say this with authority having traveled through all of the UK with the exception of Scotland).
3. The bookstore and its’ presentation are avowedly Sunni and non-sectarian. I have visited many bookstores and so many of them desire that the entrant into their establishment join their gang or subscribe to their spin off with the same ardent zeal as the missionary (i.e. deobandi, Barelwi, along with the numerous tariqah warriors demanding that potential devotees get bayah’d up to “complete their iman” while throwing out the old canard “whoever is not mureed of a shaykh, his shaykh is the shaitan!”)
I say all of this as this is precisely what the youth on the street from London all the way to Nottingham have said to me. The complaint I often here is that there is always, “Someone trying to get me to join something. Why can’t I just develop and grow and ask questions if I need answers and then take it from there?”
Point taken. I hope that the simple and humble effort that these brothers have started leads to not just bookshops, but places of worship in the same format. Self enterprise should always be supported, especially when it is the youth. They may have insights that we miss or be able to take things to the next level that we cannot. And with Allah is ever success.
Al-Hidayah is located in Nottingham on Radford Road and is open Monday-Saturday until 7pm.