HMC eateries in London (2007-2013)

[This report is part of the London (UloomLon) Project which is an initiative to review resources available in Greater London for Muslims. This report is released under the creative common licence with added stipulations mentioned in the sharing policySaif]

This report is aimed at reviewing halal eateries (restaurants and takeaways) in Greater London which are monitored by an independent body. The primary focus is on the reliability of independent outlets selling cooked food to the consumers directly. At present monitoring of such outlets in London is done predominantly by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC). The outlets are highlighted in the map above and the current list in the inspectorate’s sites.1

Monitoring Halal

In London there are three strategies adopted in monitoring halal eateries; (1) self, (2) supplier, and (3) vendor regulation.

(1) The first strategy is self-regulation in which the eatery declares itself halal or presents a certificate of halal from its supplier. This method relies on the consumer’s personal judgment and is criticised for having a self-serving bias. (2) The second strategy is the regulation of the primary sector (abattoirs) or secondary sector (butchers) whilst binding the tertiary sector (eateries) to one of these regulated suppliers. In this method the first two sectors are inspected but it trusts the eatery to regulate itself in not buying from elsewhere. This method is viable for centralised large franchises with a single supplier but is problematic for medium to small firms as it suffers from the similar impediments of the first strategy. (3) The third strategy is the independent inspection of the eateries itself. This method is robust but is time consuming, costly and requires inspection of all three sectors simultaneously.

In terms of eateries, the vast majority in Greater London adopt the first strategy of self-certification in which the vendors rely on their own personal reputation and local standing. This is difficult to quantify and harder to discern for those not of the locality as such it will not be covered in this report at present2.

As for regulation by an independent body, there are predominantly two main organisations operating in Greater London; HFA (Halal Food Authority) and HMC (Halal Monitoring Committee)3. It is beyond the scope of this report to discuss the criteria for halal or the efficacy of the methods used by these organisations4. Suffice it to say that HFA uses the second strategy and does not certify eateries in London except for one corporate franchise which is relatively static. As such not subject to this review.

HMC uses the third strategy and monitors on a store by store basis irrespective of franchise. Due to the current nature of the market and the size of the business, the eateries are volatile and quick to change policies, suppliers, or even have multiple suppliers. This in turn requires regular review and frequent checks of the premises which is a forte of HMC5.

The spread

HMC was established in 2003 with its primary base in Leicester. In London, eateries were first certified between 2006- 2007 with there being 22 inspected eateries in May 2007; 7 in Newham, 7 in Whitechapel, 3 in Waltham Forest, 3 in Wandsworth, 1 in Hackney and 1 in Lambeth. Since then it has spread throughout London especially in areas with a large Muslim population understandably. Hence, 62% of eateries in 2013 (avg. 64% throughout the years) are in the four most Muslim populated boroughs in East London6; Newham has 49 (30%), Tower Hamlet has 23 (14%), Redbridge has 17 (10%) and Waltham Forest has 12 (7%). The proportion has remained similar throughout. Wandsworth, Hackney, and Ealing also have a sizable number with 10 (6%), 9 (5.5%) and 8 (4.9%) respectively.

In the southwest, most of the eateries are in Tooting road (SW17) and London Road (SW16) which interlink and connect the borders of Wandsworth, Lambeth, and Croydon. In Newham, although scattered throughout most can be found in the parallel roads that are Upton Lane, Green Street, Katherine Road, and High Street North as well as the roads that run through these namely Plashet Grove and Romford Road. Similarly, In Tower Hamlet, there is a concentration of HMC certified Eateries around East London and Brick Lane Mosque. In Redbridge, in addition to Goodmayes Road, the A123 stretch which goes from Gants Hill through Cranbrook Road to Ilford Lane has rows of HMC certified eateries. In Waltham Forest, most are on the long stretch of Leyton High Road which connects to Hoe Street via Leabridge Road. See the map above for the other small clusters.

There is no significant difference between the proportional representation of the boroughs between the years rather the year on year growth is strongly correlated albeit northwest London did not have a sizable amount of eateries until 2010. Most regions of London since 2010 are growing at an equal rate according to their respective sizes.

The growth

Currently, there are 164 eateries in Greater London which are inspected by HMC. There has been growth overall between the years with an increase of 15, 12, 33, 31, 32 and 19 eateries respectively. However, retention is a concern. Although the number of new eateries since 2010 has been above 40 each year, proportionally it has declined. Conversely, the decline of eateries has remained proportionally steady at 19 percent since 2010 which translates into steadily increased decline but stagnant proportional growth.

130508001_HMC_Eateries_in_London_2007_2013

The reason for removal from the list by HMC can be many. In the current economic climate, the risk of a new business (especially eateries) collapsing is high and eateries are deemed a luxury. Amongst current eateries being inspected 42% have been with the organisation for less than two years. This is, in fact, the case for many which had been listed in the dataset as they are longer in operation. HMC does not state the reason for the removal of an eatery in its site. Such as whether or not the vendor opted out if they were removed due to an infringement, non-payment of membership dues, change in management, or closure of business. Nevertheless, it still a growing organisation and has gained some traction in the last few years. It covers all regions except for the south-east of London.

It should be noted that the data is recorded of those eateries that were listed on the 5th of May of each of the years; those that may have been certified or removed in between were not included.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
24 Jumada II 1434
6 May 2013

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1. The current site since 2012 is http://www.halalhmc.org. Before 2012, the site was in http://www.halalmc.net

1. Some local masajid or institutions may maintain their own register and reviews of the eateries of their respective localities. Although the criteria for halal and efficacy may differ between these independent local registers, it nonetheless may provide evaluation of those who opted not to be voluntarily regulated by an organisation.

3. Lever, J, Bellacasa, M. P, Mielle, M, & Higgin, M. (2010) From the Slaughterhouse to the Consumer: Transparency and Information in the Distribution of Halal and Kosher Meat. Dialrel Reports No. 4.3.. Cardiff; University of Cardiff. p. 18. Available online at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/cplan/sites/default/files/Dialrel_report_43.pdf

4. Amongst few points of contention, there is a significant debate between HFA and HMC over permitting stunned chickens which the former approves and latter disapproves. See their respective sites for their current policies.

5. Nawhami, MSR (2013, Feb 23) Ml. Dudhwala [current chairman of HMC]: 250 people are employed by #HMC who try to check 4 times a week [Twitter post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Nawhami/status/305421900878839808

6. Nawhami, MSR (2013) Muslims in London, March 2011. The Nawhami Bulletin. Uloom. Report: 130508501 Available online http://nawhami.com/bulletin/130508501

[Cite key: 130506501]

Comparing to the bride and groom

Here I shall share some of my notes comparing the difference between the articles ‘To the groom’ and ‘To the bride’.

I wrote the article ‘To the groom’ first. Some female students requested the article so I thought it fair that in the interest of balance I should write one ‘To the bride’. To write the latter, I used the first as a template and changed parts that which I deemed necessary.

Both articles have seven parts. It starts with (1) an introduction in the form of a khutbah. It is followed by three scenarios; (2) there will be disputes amongst you so use shariah to resolve it, (3) there will be dispute amongst you which may seem irresolvable, and (4) there will be dispute amongst you which may persist. It finishes with the (5) highlights of their respective rights, (7) their duty to the new extended families and a (6) conclusion.

The khutbah has the same format but different qualities are emphasised. The husbands are reminded that Allah almighty is merciful and kind, the prophet is a mercy and kind, and the sahabah were devoted. The wives are reminded that Allah almighty is compassionate and appreciative, the prophet is a favour, and the sahabah were content. Men and women have different psyche and as such are reminded of the respective relevant qualities. The basic message to the husband is don’t be mean and the message to the wife is don’t be unthankful.

In the issue of resolving their dispute with the shariah as judge, they are reminded that the objective is to help each other but the man is warned against quenching his anger and the woman against quenching her annoyance. This is accompanied with an address to reducing the challenges arising from their respective roles. In terms of disputes which seem irresolvable, the husband is advised to share and talk to the wife and not shut her out whilst the wife is advised to be patient and not be incessant. The advice for the third scenario where they are faced with the irresolvable difference is the same for the husband and wife.

Naturally the part relating to the rights of the husband and wife is somewhat different but the inspiration is largely from one source – the final sermon of the prophet of Allah (صلي الله عليه و سلم) during the farewell pilgrimage. The message relating to the in-laws is the same in that they should be respectful to each other’s relatives whilst recognising the differences in their respective roles. The conclusion is the same for both.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
3 Jumada II 1434
14 April 2013

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[Cite key: 130414501]

Curriculum vitae – Alim

Curriculum Vitae - Alim

More and more today, the Ulama are required to provide a curriculum vitae (CV) to establish their credentials. In some cases it has become a legal requirement. I was requested to provide an outline of the Alim course. So I thought it may be beneficial to present a breakdown accompanied with the rationale. Additionally, I created an editable template of a CV which the reader may change at their own leisure for reuse.

The word document template for the CV is downloadable at the bottom of this article (below the signature). I pray it is of benefit. Editing guidance is at the document bottom of the template. Here, I shall mention a brief background of the certification process and content covered with a reference to National Qualification Framework (NQF) so that those unfamiliar may glean the depth.

A brief history

The practice of reviewing sanads (certificates) and following up references to check the calibre and conduct of an Alim has been present from the first century of Islam. This validation was done by specialist scholars, experts in their respective fields, who after close scrutiny would give their recommendation regarding the Alim both in terms of piety and competency. The lay in turn would then trust the Alim and turn to them for legal and moral guidance.

Historically, students would travel far and wide seeking pious experts to learn whole or parts of a subject. They would spend a sufficient amount of time in the service and move to the next pious expert and so on so forth until such time when they had gathered enough and the teacher gives them ijazah (certification) on a particular field; be it verbal or in writing. The trend of today of mere visitation is not enough rather acquisition and competence accompanied with piety and practice must be present for the ijazah to hold value. Otherwise, the ijazah will be of no use; worse yet it may even damage the teacher’s credibility due to the blemish of false or negligent testimony.

The rise of the madarsah allowed for the streamlining of the process by facilitating all the teachers to be in one location. This was later followed by a unified curriculum which allowed for the standardisation of learning across the region.

The objective of this article does not allow or calls for an elaboration on the variety, intricacies, and revisions of the standard curriculum. Suffice it to say that it was enough to say that they studied so and so curriculum for the whole corpus and depth of topics covered to come to mind. Similar to if we were to say, a person has completed their chartered qualification in law, accountancy or psychology.

Dars Nizami

The Dars Nizami was one such standard curriculum prevalent in the Indian subcontinent. It provided for a learner to acquire broad and deep knowledge all the while emphasising on the development of skills which would make the person an independent learner. Above is a sample of what one might expect the average Madarsah teaching the Dars Nizami to cover (give or take some core texts depending on the Madarsah’s specialism).

Madaris with a tafsir orientation may very well have Baydhawi and perhaps even al-Itqan in the curriculum. Coinciding closely with them will be the language orientated Madaris which will include Durus al-Balaghah, Talkhis, al-Kafi as well as high literature such as Mutanabbi and Hammasah amongst others. As for those with a stronger hadith orientation may include Mu’atta Imam Muhammad, Tadrib Rawi or even Muqaddima Ibn Salah. Furthermore, such madaris may adopt Nuqayah with Fath Bab al-‘Inayah rather than Sharh Wiqayah or Kanz or none of these at all. In contrast, those with a fiqh orientation will insist on an intermediary book between Quduri and Hidayah such as those mentioned [See The path to Hidayah]. Like the usul orientated Madaris, they may add Talwih after Nur al-Anwar perhaps going as far as to include Musallam thereafter. The usul orientated may further include more books of Mantiq such as Qutbi, Sullam or even Sadra or Shams Bazighah in addition to covering Nasafi fully.

The National Qualification Framework

The Dars Nizami is taught globally and pre-dates most qualification standards. Its objective does not call for government accreditation.Rather one may find that the constitution argues against that (See The Octet Principal). Autonomy is core to the curriculum, at the very least it should not be impacted due to external or populist pressure. Nevertheless, many have saw a need to make a comparison in order to continue education in other fields with varying declaration between undergraduate and masters. Using the National Qualification Framework (NQF) in the UK, I am arguing that it be classified as a MastersThis is the position taken by Pakistan and Bangladesh board of education albeit with some caveats.

130222002_NQF

The curriculum vitae illustrate the course of study in four stages, (1) The preparatory year, (2) Foundation Arabic (3) bachelors and (4) masters.

The preparatory stage may be considered equivalent to the NQF level 2 as the person fills all gaps in their Islamic knowledge and gains good knowledge and the subject area of work. The students develop advanced proficiency in Urdu and a good proficiency in Arabic so much so that they can write short prose.

The Foundation Arabic stage can be considered at NQF level 3. Graduates of this level have detailed working knowledge of Arabic with all its rules with the ability to decipher unseen text independently. They would also have broad and detailed knowledge of the Islamic legal code as well as the Islamic heritage. It is expected that at this stage learners would have become morally upright and focused in their prayer with an added sense of understanding.

The bachelor stage should be considererd at NQF levels 4-6. Some Madaris complete this phase in two years, considering the additional hours and intensity, it exceeds the hours of a normal university.

The subject matter is divided into two parts. The left column includes topics which are knowledge driven whilst the right column is largely skill driven although each covers the topics of the other also. At the end of this stage graduates have a highly developed and complex level of knowledge in Aqa’id, Tafsir, Fiqh, Hadith, and Usul which allows them to solve complex problems using analysis and research. This level allows a person to practice in the field. Historically, this was considered the terminal stage but the master stage was introduced to heighten spirituality and develop a connection with the prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) which is the source to acquiring ta’ammuq (depth).

The master’s stage or Dawrah as it is called can be considered as NQF level 7 depending on the grade of their graduate. The six famous hadith books are studied with the addition of Mu’atta and Tahawi which covers all that was covered from a source driven perspective. This stage provides complex levels of knowledge which enables the graduate to respond with in-depth and original responses complex problems. This is historically proven as that was the level of education of Allm. Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Mft. Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Ml. Qasim Nanotwi, Hakim al-Ummat Thanwi and Ml. Hussayn Ahmad Madani et al who provided in-depth solutions to complex problems. These are not exceptions rather the product of a curriculum which is robust enough to allow for such people to reach their potential unaided thereafter.

Note! The comparison between the National Qualification Framework (NQF) is being made in terms of the skill developed or else the sacred knowledge are considered far more deeper, broader and resilient than that which is limited to purely material benefits.

This is merely academic component and broadly so. The other components being amal and ihsan See Hadith Jibril for detail. The first focuses on development on discipline to live by the code and the latter on morality and character.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
11 Rabi II 1434
22 February 2013

Attachment: Curriculum Vitae Template (v1.1)

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[Cite key: 130222501]

1434

1434 Hijri Hex Calender (130104801)

The purpose of presenting this calendar is primarily for administrative purposes and not adherence. There is no doubt amongst the authoritative ulama that the new month is determined by the sighting of the new moon rather than pre-calculation. At present, I do not wish wade into the argument as to when and how sighting should happen. Suffice, it to say the calendar presented is subject to change by a margin of one to two days.

Notable days

1434 AH (1 Muharram) starts on 15 November 2012 and is predicted to end on 3 November 2013 (354 days).

Historic events are many but comparatively only a few need practical consideration in planning. The fasting of the 13, 14 and 15 (Ayyam Bidh) of every month is proven. However, due to its frequency, the actual dates in the Gregorian calendar will need to be determined month on month pending observation. The 10th of Muharram (Ashurah) is predicted to be on Saturday, 24 November 2012 (variable between Thurs 23th and Mon, 26th November).

Ramadhan is expected to start on Tuesday, 9th of July 2013 (variable between Sun 7th and Thurs 11th July); approximately, 12 days before the summer holidays. Pending 29 or 30 days it is expected to end on Wednesday, 7 August with a two-day margin of error.

The earliest Eid al-Fitr may be is on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th August with Wed 7th being the tentative day. As such Eid al-Fitr is expected to be on a weekday. Eid al-Adha is expected on Tuesday 15th October 2013 with also a possibility of it falling on the 13th (Sun), 14th (Mon), 16th (Wed) and 17th (Thu). The nine days before Eid al-Adha including Arafah naturally precede it.

Seasons

In the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year is expected to be on 21 Rajab (21 Dec) whilst the longest day on 12 Sha’ban (21 June). Muharram and Safar until the 7th (20 Dec) is in autumn. 9th Safar to the 7th Jumada I is in winter. 8th Jumada I (20 March) until 11th Sha’ban is in spring. 12th Sha’ban (21 Jun) until the 12 Dhul Qa’dah is in Summer. 13 Dhul Qa’dah (22 Sept) till the end of the Islamic year is in autumn.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman
London, UK
24 Safar 1434 (after maghrib)
6 January 2013

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Cite key: 130106501

London – Muslim Population 2011

Historically, London had a concentration of Muslim. This took a sharp rise in the 1960s with large immigration from the commonwealth particularly from South Asia who mostly Muslim. London became the home of many that arrived. The actual number is not known as religion was not systematically recorded nationally until 2001. The 2001 census included an optional choice of stating one’s religious affiliation. The census gives a snapshot of the state of the country in a given day which in the UK is conducted every 10 years. The last census day for England and Wales was 27 March 2011.

THE REGION

Population of Muslims in England and Wales, March 2011

The population of the England and Wales was 56,075,912 of which 2,706,066 affiliated themselves to Islam which accounts for 4.8% of the population. This is an increase of 3.9 percent since 2001. There are Muslims in all regions of England and Wales. Wales has 45950 (1.7%) Muslims, North East have 46764 (1.7%), South West have 51228 (1.9%), East Midlands have 140649 (5.2%), East have 148341 (5.5%), South East have 201651 (7.5%), Yorkshire and the Humber have 326050 (12%), North West have 356,458 (13.2%), and the West Midlands have 376,152 (13.9%). The largest number of Muslims is in London.

37.4% percent of the Muslim population of England and Wales live in London. The population of London is 8,173,941 of which 1,012,823 declared themselves as Muslim. Hence, 12.4% of the city are adherents of Islam. This is an increase of 3.9% since 2001 of London as a whole. In terms of the Muslim population it has increased 67% within London from 607083 to 1012823; a change of 405,740. This is high compared to the London’s general population growth of 14 percent. However, compared to the Muslims in the other regions it is the slowest as they saw increases between 72 to 111 percent. Overall, the Muslims in London represent 1.8% of the population (a rise of 0.6% in the past decade).

THE CITY

Population of Muslims in England and Wales, March 2011

London has 33 boroughs and has the River Thames running through the middle and then veering south towards Richmond and Kingston Upon Thames with only a few free accessible crossings2.

South London

81% of the Muslims live north of the river. Most boroughs directly south of a free crossing come above the 25th percentile such as Greenwich (1.7%), Lewisham (1.8%), Southwark (2.4%), and Wandsworth (2.4%). Richmond and Kingston are below the 25th percentile despite being directly south of a free crossing. Good links to Kingston is primarily through Richmond and Merton from the north. Richmond properties on average are more expensive3 than the neighbouring boroughs with Merton (1.6%) having cheaper flats and Hounslow and Ealing being comparatively cheaper in general with the M4 in between leading to Heathrow. Hence, Muslims seem to prefer Ealing over the neighbouring southern boroughs as it provides the easiest access to the North via the M1, the East via the A406 and the West through the M4.

Croydon is the only borough south of the river above the 50th percentile (2.9%). Croydon serves a major transport corridor especially through the A23 and A22 to the south of England as well as linking the south of the city. Consequently, due to significant strategic value and economic prospects, there is an increased Muslim concentration. Additionally, a further impetus comes due to the Qadiyanis being headquartered in the region.

East London

The median number of Muslims in the boroughs of London is 25,520 with the lower quartile at 16,262 and the upper quartile at 36,744. The lowest number is in the City of London with only 409 Muslims; 5.5% of the borough and 0.04% of the Muslims in London. The highest datum is 67,467. Redbridge, Tower Hamlet, and Newham are outliers with a Muslim population of 64999, 87696, and 98456 respectively. Redbridge represents 6.4%, Tower Hamlet 8.7%, and Newham 9.7% of the Muslims in London. Thus these three boroughs represent 24.8% of the Muslims in London.

Tower Hamlets and Newham have been the home of many Muslims for more than a century with the largest influx in the 1960s. Hence, they are the largest Muslim boroughs in the UK.

Although in terms of number Newham has the largest Muslim population, Tower Hamlet proportionally is higher. 23.3% of Redbridge, 32% of Newham and 34.5% of Tower Hamlet are Muslim. In the past decade, Tower Hamlet saw a 1.9% decrease in the proportion of Muslims in the borough despite an increase of 16307 (22.8%, 0.4% higher the Tower Hamlet’s average growth). The slow growth could be due to increase in flat prices and large family sizes amongst Muslim in Tower Hamlet. Larger and wealthier families of the borough seem to have moved to Redbridge whilst younger couples and family have moved to the more affordable Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The Muslim population of Redbridge grew by 128% (36512) and Barking and Dagenham by 257% (18372). Newham had a growth of 66% (39163) since 2001 significantly higher than the borough growth of 26.3%.

West London

In the north-west of London, the largest concentration of Muslims is in Brent (5.7%), Ealing (5.3%) and Westminster (4%) which combined account for 14.9% of the Muslims in London and are above the 75th percentile. These boroughs have grown 79.6% on average. The boroughs surrounding these three are above the 50th percentile with the average borough having 31600 (SD 4386) or 3.1%. The exception is south of the river as mentioned before and the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea as well as Hammersmith & Fulham. These have 15812 (1.6%) and 18242 (1.8%) Muslims respectively. Kensington & Chelsea has one of the highest property prices in the country. The same is for Camden (2.6%) and the City (0.4%). As such the average growth in these boroughs is 12%. Furthermore, Hammersmith & Fulham (1.8%) is also amongst the top five expensive areas although outside the congestion charge zone.

In the west, the largest growth is found in Harrow and Hillingdon with increases of 100.3% (14966) and 158.2% (17807) respectively. Correspondingly, in the east, the largest growth is found in Havering with an increase of 163% (3029) after Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham. Whether the trend will continue in the far east of the borough is still tentative as many residents are opting for Grays to the very far East, outside London, skipping Havering.

North London

North London accounted for 4.8% (SD 1%) of the Muslims in London. Enfield had 52141 (5.1%), Waltham Forest had 56541 (5.6%) and Barnet had 36744 (3.6%) Muslims. In term terms of the proportion of the borough, they represented 16.7%, 21.9%, and 10.3% respectively. All three boroughs are above the 75th percentile. The average increase is 86.6% with the fastest growth in Enfield at 98.2%. Haringey (3.4%) and Hackney (3.6%) are above the 50th percentile although they are amongst the slowest growing.

SUMMARY

12.4% of London (4.8% of the population) are Muslims. This represents 37.4% of the Muslims in England and Wales. The majority (81%) of the Muslims in London live north of the River Thames with the outer regions of the city growing at fast a pace. Amongst these most are concentrated in East of London particularly Redbridge, Tower Hamlet, and Newham with the Muslims spreading East towards Barking & Dagenham and Havering. In the west of London Muslims are the largest in Brent and Ealing with the Muslims spreading towards Hillingdon and Harrow. In the north of London such as Waltham Forest and Enfield are also on the rise partly from first generation migrants and influx from Hackney and Haringey amongst others. The strongest concentration in the south of the river is in Croydon. Most of the remaining boroughs with sizeable Muslim directly south of the River with easy access from the North.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
19 Safar 1434
2 January 2013

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1. The data states what the individuals perceive themselves to be rather than their actual belief or practice. It makes no distinction between Sunni, Shia, Qadiyani etcetera. The number may be higher or lower depending on the inclusion of illegal immigrants or the exclusion temporary residence. See Measuring religion by the ONS

2. To the east, there is Dartford, Blackwall, and Rotherhithe tunnel. The first has a toll whilst the latter two are only crossable with a car. There is also the Woolwich ferry and foot tunnel, however, these are somewhat slow and lengthy. In the center of London there are numerous bridges, however, only Tower bridge is outside of the congestion charge zone albeit on the border.

3. See UK House Prices by BBC

Cite Key:  130102501

A teacher’s wish

[This was an email written to a group of students]

I came across this printed booklet entitled Gulshan Falah Darayn. It is a wonderful speech of Ml. Saleem Dhorat (حفظه الله) to the students of Falah al-Darayn; the alma matta of our teacher, Hadrat Shaykh Ml. Saleem Nawab sahib. Ml. Saleem Dhorat says,1

A teacher is very caring, very caring. My very beloved mentor Hadrat Haji Muhammad Faruq Sahib (رحمة الله عليه) used to say, ‘A millionaire father wishes for his son to become a billionaire’. So he used to say, ‘Similarly, this is the same for a shaykh and teacher’. When the teacher sits to teach, the taught does not pass his mind that I am teaching Tirmidhi so my student should only teach until Mishkat. In his heart is the wish that, I have reached Tirmidhi, I wish my student reaches Bukhari. The spiritual level that a shaykh reaches, it never crosses their heart that my adherent should be lower than me. In his heart the wish is always there that may my adherent excel beyond me. They are very caring. They sometimes chastise us, become angry to gain attention, to warn us, to wake us from a neglectful dream. They are not our enemy.

There was once upon a time that when a teacher warned a student, rebuke them, the student will feel happy that the teacher notices me. The other students will see him with envy. Now the time is such that if the teacher rebukes we become sad and if he does not rebuke we feel happy. In the old days when an honourable student due to his honour was not rebuked by a teacher for two to three months, he would get worried that I am not being rectified in anything. [They would think], I hope the teacher have not stopped caring about me.

A point of note. Ponder on the objective of your study of the Din. Your success is not determined by how much you know but rather how much you practice. The increase of knowledge is praiseworthy only if your actions increases accordingly. The success of those under one’s remit is the success of those that are in charge. I pray that you excel beyond us.

The Sahabi asked the prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) one advice which will free of all other. He (صلي الله عليه و سلم) said, say ‘La ilaha illa Allah and then stay firm’. I beseech, stay firm and use the shariah as guidance in all things. We have invested within you for our hereafter. That will only come to fruition only if you end your life well and on istiqamah.

Above all else thank Allah with utterance and actions. If you wish to thank the teacher, then know this that more than gifts and food, it is your practice upon the shariah, which is ample thanks for that is a something insha-Allah will be shown to us in the hereafter. Pray for us and we shall pray especially that you excel. We are your past and you are our future.

Wassalam
Muhammad Saifur Rahman
13 Safar 1434
27 December 2012

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1. Gulshan Falah Darayn

[Cite key: 121227501]

Newham – Local Election 2010

The local council and mayor have a direct impact on the day to day life of Muslims. Amongst other things, they have oversight on education, libraries, social services, local planning, consumer protection, licensing, and cemeteries.

Since its inception, the council for the London borough of Newham has been under Labour control. As of 2 May 2002, the council has been led by a directly elected local mayor. The 2010 local election was on the 6 May. The next election is in 2014.

How they voted

From the 60 seats, Labour won all 60 seats in the council. Overall, 275960 people voted; 51% of the electorate. 65% voted for Labour, 19% for the conservatives, 8% for the Christian Alliance, 3% for the Liberal Democrats, 3% for the Respect Party and 2% for independent candidates. Labour gained 6 seats from the Christian Alliance (3 seats) and Respect (3 seats).

Labour, Conservatives, and the Christian Alliance contested all the wards whilst the Liberal Democrats contested 7 wards, Respect contested 5 wards, and the Greens contested Forest Gate North. Only 6 of the wards were not contested by independent candidates (Beckton, Canning Town South, Custom House, East Ham North, East Ham South, Green Street West, Royal Docks and Stratford).

Alternative votes

As with many deprived areas, the resident mostly favour leftist parties or more specifically Labour (Avg, 21.8% per ward, SD 2.4%). In Newham dissatisfied voters do not naturally vote Liberal democrat (Avg. 5.1% per ward, SD 1.5%) although they may be gaining some traction with the Hindus. Christian dissatisfied voters seem to have chosen the Christian Alliance (Avg. 2.8% per ward, SD 2%) whilst Muslims have chosen the Respect party (Avg. 5.2% per ward, SD 1.9%). The conservative attempted to maximise their votes also by selecting candidates representative of the local voters (Avg. 6.3% per ward, SD 2.1%).

Newham Local Election 2010 - Minor Parties (121216002)

 

Canning Town South (27%), and North (15%), Custom House (18%) have the strongest Christian Alliance support whilst Green Street East (13%). and West (24%), Little Ilford (14%), and Plaistow North (11%) have the strongest Respect support. The Christian Alliance have a concentration in the south-west region of Newham whilst Respect on the central and East of Newham. The Greens made some gains in Forest Gate North (6% with one candidate). The Liberal democrat are disparate with some gains in Wall End (11%), Beckton (12%), East Ham North (15%) and Plaistow North (9%). The Conservatives have performed quite evenly in all the boroughs with no significant gains except in Royal Docks (37%).

Muslim candidates

According to the 2001 census, Muslims represented 24.3% of Newham’s population. This no doubt has increased as is indicative in the 2011 census. Out of the 220 candidates who run for office approximately 48 were Muslims. That is 21.8% a few percentiles below the representative population. Furthermore, they are mostly concentrated around the North East of Newham namely Little Ilford, Manor Park, East Ham North, Forest Gate North and South, Green Street East and West, Boleyn and Plaistow North which contains 33.3%, 36.2%, 43.9%, 17.8%, 28.4%, 41.8%, and 47.3% of Muslim respectively. This is 64.5% of the Muslims in and 15.6% of Newham.

Although, Beckton (18.5%) has been addressed adequately but surprising Labour neglected Wall End (26.9%) and East Ham Central (31.8%). The conservatives made a concerted effort with two Muslim candidates at East Ham central but they left Wall End with the Liberal Democrats beating two of the conservative candidates with a Muslim candidate. These places represent above 9766 (16%) Muslim. Since there is one councilor to every 4065 (usually elected with 3000) there is an argument for Muslim representation especially in East Ham Central which has above 3872 Muslims.

The West of Newham and East Ham South has been abandoned by the major parties with the exception only one Muslim candidate running for the conservatives in Canning Town South (8.6%); his result (721) was similar to the other conservatives (794 and 858) and one CPA candidate (892). Canning Town South was Alan Craig’s (CPA leader) ward.

In 2001 there was 11268 in what was once the county borough of West Ham minus Green Street West, Plaistow North. This is 5% of Newham overall and 19% of the Muslims in Newham.

Parties and nominees

As the Muslims represent more than 24.3% of Newham, 15 of the 60 elected candidates should be Muslim to be broadly representative. The major parties, namely Labour and Conservative, should have at the least 15 Muslim nominees altogether, spread across the wards containing a significant amount of Muslim. Stratford, Wall End and East Ham Central

Labour had 12 Muslim nominees which accounted for 20% of their total candidates. This was 4% below the Muslim representation. Although, all got elected the spread was not optimal as stated above. All the other parties had good representation with the exception of Greens and CPA which had none. The conservative had 19 (32.2%), Liberal Democrats had 3 (30%), Respect had 8 (67.7%) Muslim nominees and there was 6 (31.6%) independent Muslim candidates.

There is one candidate allocated for every 1.6% of Newham. Alternatively, there is be one candidate for every 33.3% of the ward. Accordingly, based on the 2001 census, there should one candidate every 6.7% of Muslims. Ideally, there should be at least one elected representatives in the following 14 wards; Beckton, Boleyn, East Ham Central, East Ham North, Forest Gate North, Forest Gate South, Green Street East, Green Street West, Little Ilford, Manor Park, Plaistow North, Stratford and New Town, Wall End. Plaistow South and West Ham should arguably also have an elected representative. An argument also can be made for additional elected representatives for Green Street East, West, and Newham North. Furthermore, as the West of Newham (the old county borough of West Ham region) should have at least 3 Muslim nominees as it contains 19% of the Muslims.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
11 Safar 1434 (After Isha)
25 December 2012

Citation key: 121225501

Mufti Shafi Usmani’s day

The pious Ulama achieved greatness through dedication to Allah and maintenance of their duties to themselves and others for the sake of Allah. They made time for ibadat as well as fulfilling the rights of their body, family and meeting financial and social obligations. Here is a glimpse of one such man from the not too distant past.

In 24 Shawwal 1344 AH,1 the future grand Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani (d. 1399) wrote to Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi outlining his daily routine at the onset of the new academic year. He writes,

“As Hidayah generally goes unfinished during class hours I have planned to start teaching after the morning salah, an hour before the lesson, from Kitab al-Nikah and during the lesson from the beginning [of the Kitab]. [I will teach] Hidayah in the first period, preparation of Hidayah in the second, Arabic writing practice in the third, and Maqamat in the fourth. After this, [I will spend] one and a half to two hours in business2 and [then] an hour of rest (Qaylulah). After Zuhar Salah I will recite one juz of the Quran and thereafter write an article or thesis for an hour. [This will be] followed by one period of teaching Hammasa. After Asr I will go out for leisure. After Maghrib as per instruction zikr of Allah’s name; to which now [I] adhere to for twelve Tasbihs and sometimes more. After Isha, the reading of books.”3

Note how his timetable revolves around salah. After every salah there is a concrete action followed by a task that is flexible. The best actions are those that are measured and consistent.

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
9 Jumada II 1433
1 May 2012

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1. That would make him 30 years old at the time of writing
2. He used to run a book store
3. Hayat Mufti A’zam. (1415). Mufti Rafi Usmani. Idarat al-Ma’arif; Karachi, Pakistan. p. 60

Fieldnote on ijtima – Issue 101

Here is a brief background on the first edition of ijtima (issue 101) which can be read at ijtima.org.

The main theme of the edition is sincerity. The message is, “Dear students, the first lesson [is to] create weight in your actions”. Ironically, this edition actually was the last message given to those graduating from their studies. I wanted to allude to the concept of istiqamat with the point that the beginning and the end is same and hence they were on a straight line (صراط مستقيم). As a subtext, I wanted one message which will suffice for which I turned to the hadith in which a Sahabi asked the prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) give me an advice after which I will not need another. The prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) said, “قل لا اله الا فاستقم” (Say, there is none worthy of worship and stand firm).

It comprises of three articles, (1) Dear students…, (2) The first lesson, and (3) Create weight in your action. The first article was written on 13 Sha’ban 1432 AH (13 July 2011 CE) as a parting advice to graduates finishing their Alimah course. The second article was a speech I gave at a Khatm Bukhari graduation ceremony on 15 Sha’ban 1432 (15 July 2011). The third article is a translation of a segment from the lesson given by Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani during that ceremony. It highlights the possible dangers of the path for those who may have succeeded.

I present this set to students at the beginning and end of their study to plot their journey. ‘Dear students…‘ sets out the path for those seeking the pleasure of Allah. ‘The first lesson‘ highlights the dangers of falling from the path. ‘Create weight in your action‘ highlights the dangers of overshooting the path. The key is balance (istiqamat).

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
14 Zul Qa’da 1432
16 November 2011

Cite key: 111116501