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    • Book Review by the Guardian’s Robert Ashton
      Reviewer: Robert Ashton – social entrepreneur and business author Book Title: Seven Secrets of Successful Fundraising – Amal Abdalhakim-Douglas ISBN: 978-0-9535993-4-9 Like most authors,... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social enterprise o […]
    • Banksta Rap
      My Name is Able GoldSteal The Original Banksta Rapper let me store all your gold for you (and give you back something certainly crapper) Bank charges and interest are not my greatest con’ even... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social enterp […]
    • Beyond Mary Portas – An Introduction to the Open Market
      Many months have passed sine the publication of the Mary Portas Revirew on the state of Britain’s High Street. Following on from that in recent days we have heard reports of the possible demise... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social enter […]
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      AVAILABLE NOW FROM THE PUBLISHERS: There is no reversal, no going back! That “second removal,” a mass migration from the Caribbean colonies of young men and women coming to help the ‘motherland’, to... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social […]
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      It will be obvious to many that £3,000 is not a lot of money for a big charity or major corporation. Conversely, for many very small organisations that may be  more than they raise in a whole year.... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social e […]
    • Let’s Not Leave any EU Money on the Table
       Do You Have a Mind To Access Some European Union Funding – Before It’s Too Late? If you and your organisation support young people in any way then you could be leaving accessible... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social enterprise or runn […]
    • How To Train Like an Olympic Athlete for Business Greatness
      I am not quite an obsessive sports fanatic, but I certainly love playing and watching an array of sports. From the pure sports of athletics and boxing to the more contrived sports of Formula 1 motor... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social […]
    • Business Psychology: Lessons from Formula 1 Racing
      In a recent post I stated that Formula 1 Racing was not a pure sport because of the heavy reliance on technology in terms of driver performance. However, despite that I still find it a fascinating... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social en […]
    • Five Immediate Actions to Increase Sales and Grow Your Business
      In terms of my physical health It’s not unknown to me that I really should exercise more and cut out certain foods. It takes very little effort to find that out. identifying the things I... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social enterprise o […]
    • WHERE’S YOUR BUSINESS AT? The Three Stages of a Commercial Enterprise
      Ask anyone to recommend you a business role model that you can emulate and you might get a range  of answers. From Richard Branson, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates, Alan Sugar, Aliko Dangote or George... Short, sharp and straight forward advice for anyone wanting to satisfy their enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit, whether through self-employment, social ente […]

Tommy Robinson: Muhammad’s Qur’an – Why Muslims Kill

One can assume that the primary purpose of writing and publishing a book with such a title at this time in the UK is for financial benefit. Nothing wrong with that. In fact the author’s EDL credentials may distinguish it from the glut of anti-Muslim and fearmongering literature that is being churned out. 

Is it a coincidence that Tommy Robinson developed such strong links with the Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim organisation with a widespread reputation of being itself very anti-Islam. Weird isn’t it? Or maybe not.

What will Mr Robinson say in his book? Presumably he will correct those who insist on saying, and those who believe that the word “islam” means “peace” when in fact it means “submission”.  He may even point out that submitting to the will of Allah does sometimes mean fighting. He may talk of capital punishment & executions. He may talk of floggings and amputations. No doubt he will take and even make interpretations from the Qur’an so similar to that of the wahabis/salafis. Can we blame him? Perhaps there will be also shia interpretations. 

We know that there will be no shortage of modern examples to back up his writing and that most of them will be attributed to ISIS, the al-Qaeda and mentally unstable individuals who have blown themselves up. 

With so many Muslims openly and vocally attacking those who celebrate the mawlid he will not be aware just how much Muslims across the world love and try to emulate the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

He won’t be able to mention the system of social and financial justice that Is inherent in Isam because he will not have heard Muslims talking about Zakat, Awqaf, markets, gold & silver currency and fair contracts. Mind you, how many Muslims talk about these things or understand their importance? So he won’t know that Islam really is the answer for those who want to put Britain first and that these characteristics of the deen naturally tackle the poverty trap, support entrepreneurship and both wealth creation and wealth distribution. That it tackles unemployment, financial justice, social exclusion, exploitation and encourages charity. Though to be honest Muslims in Libya, Yemen, Sudan and elsewhere and their savage treatment and exploitation of African migrants (muslim or not) has not been a great example but I doubt if these would warrant a mention in his book,  phew! Though he may have picked up on deeply embedded racist attitudes in many British muslim communities, but that shouldn’t bother him.

It is now time  to realise that Islam does in fact have teeth, it’s not about a utopian society but about establishing social and financial justice. It recognises that people do bad things, that there are in equalities and gives us a way to deal with these things justly and calls us to the highest of human behaviour. It recognises that forgiveness is great but retaliation is certainly acceptable and sometime advisable. He can’t know all this, and Muslims in the UK can only blame themselves. Firstly for not learning the transformative reality of the Deen. Secondly for separating the inward aspect of Islam (Ihsan/tazkiya/tassawuf) from the outward (fiqh/shariah), but also for not telling those we meet of the beauty of Islam while showing our fear and hope from Allah linked to our love of his noble prophet, peace be upon him. 

Allah is most certainly the Best of Planners and we ask that all of this be part of the spread of Islam in Britain and amongst the people who live there. 

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Brexit – One Muslim View

By now you’d think that just about everyone would know that politicians at the national level are, in general, not to be trusted. This is blatantly obvious with the likes of Blair/Cameron but this mistrust should also extend to those portraying a seemingly populist image such as Corbyn, Farage and Johnson. 

  
A warped, condensed and admittedly out of sync timeline of recent events might look something like this:

Day 1 the Prime Minister tells us how much a danger to the people, finances and fabric of Britain is Jeremy Corbyn.
Day 2 the Prime Minster is off to negotiate a better deal for Britain within the EU, presumably with the threat of a Brexit vote as leverage.
Day 3 the Prime Minster returns claiming a victory, but nobody gets excited by whatever obscure concessions he has negotiated 
Day 4 the Prime Minster denounces Sadiq Khan as a sharer of platforms with terrorist sympathisers.
Day 5 the Prime Minster himself shares platforms with both Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn as part of the REMAIN campaign.

Day 6 the increasing hostile and confrontational mood in the country is brutally demonstrated by the murder of female Labour Member of Parliament,  Jo Cox.  

Day 7
 the British vote to LEAVE the European Union. 

Day 8
 the Prime Minster bottles it and leaves it to someone else to say that on one hand we are honouring the vote, and on the other hand, to as much as possible keep the status quo.

The fact is that nobody told the truth. Nobody seemed remotely interested in telling the truth, the media knew this and perpetuated it with gusto. How can you blame people for whichever way they voted? For even if you believed only 30% of what you were told then the images conjured up still suggested the country was either facing economic meltdown, invasion by foreign hordes, isolation from the European continent, death of the NHS, death by EU legislation or any other equally frightening scenario depending on which way the vote went.

As Muslims let us firstly not forget that British politicians, mainly in conjunction with their ‘special’ American allies, have in recent times consistently sent British soldiers (and aircraft) across the world to ultimately kill many (very many) Muslim men, women and children. The additional outcomes being chaos, poverty, starvation and the displacement of millions of people. 

The EU or wider European track record with Muslims during this time has itself been abysmal whether this has been within countries (france), within wider Europe (the Balkans) or further afield. Far from getting better, the situation has been getting progressively worse and that trend looks set to continue with various nasty bits of legislation being mooted from some corners along with the distasteful verbal output coming from emerging key players within the EU.

Of course many people seem quite clear what the Muslim response to the referendum should have been, namely:
•  Vote Leave
•  Vote Remain
•  Abstain
•  Spoil Your Ballot
•  “Leave Me Alone, I’m Fasting”

For me it seemed much more of that fabled choice between “a rock and a hard place.”

So now that the vote has been won or lost, depending on your current viewpoint, there are three immediate questions we need to be asking and ensuring that we get answered.

1. What will be the UK government and also the media position to British and other Muslims post Brexit?

Let us assume the media coverage, misinformation, scaremongering, lies and outright attack will at least continue, if not get worse, as the country as a whole moves towards the extreme political right.

2. What are the opportunities available for British Muslims in a Britain outside the EU and how do we take advantage of them?

The more localised the political system, in some ways  the more influence the better organised citizens and groups within that locality can exert. Therefore it is obvious that Muslims organising in such a way that can influence the selection and decision of politicians is required. However, even a cursory look at the real “power behind the throne” will uncover big business, bankers and a corrupt financial elite who will continue to push the limits of their own existing control mechanisms. Therefore, the need here is not to challenge them head on but to create alternative and sometimes parallel commercial systems based on (1) real & tangible currencies, (2) fair & just contracts and (3) free access to the marketplace for anyone wishing to engage in commercial activity. These are the policies and actions that will regenerate communities across Britain, create wealth and directly tackle issues of rampant and rising unemployment, isolation & loneliness, lack of aspiration and a dying economy. Muslims spearheading these initiatives will be the new dawah

Often when it comes to an election (in this case a referendum) we our harangued on two fronts by vocal Muslims. One camp makes it clear that participating in the voting system is totally haram/forbidden and even equate it with shirk. The other camp go to the other extreme and tell us that it is fard/compulsory for us to participate fully in the system of the country we reside in. It seems that none of them have ever heard of terms like makruh/disliked or mustahab/recommended. The middle path is certainly not for them.

Therefore, it should go without saying that we need to organise and vote (or not) in future elections as one body in the localities where we live. Let no candidate or political party in ANY constituency take for granted the Muslim vote, or lack thereof, again. It means coming together to put in place a recognised and accepted local strategic Muslim leadership that may take different forms in different places.

3. What are our duties as Muslims living in Britain at this time?

1In one way the timing of this referendum could not have been better. It comes right on the middle of Ramadan, not only that, but smack in the middle of the middle ten days when many of us are busy seeking  Allah’s forgiveness and are especially conscious of fulfilling our individual acts of worship such as the prayer and fasting.

What we have to do now is extend that thinking. For we are ordered in the  Noble Qur’an not just to do our prayers but to “establish” the prayer. This means having places (mosques). This means having people educated in the deen and able to lead the prayer. It means appointing zakat collectors to take and receive the zakat from Muslims. It means knowing how to look for the moon in order to be able to announce the eids and the time of Ramadan. We can no longer view the five pillars as individual acts of worship when it is clear that leadership and community are needed in order to do them justice. Conversely, there are actions for which simple avoidance is not enough

Allah tells us that if you murder one person it is like you murdered the whole of humanity. Therefore, abstaining from committing murder is one thing, establishing a place where murders are rare or unknown is another. Then having a system in place that will bring murderers to justice is yet another.

The sins of the current bank based financial system and the hardship and suffering it creates and perpetuates cannot be exaggerated. It is riba/usury in action. Something so bad that  Allah, Himself and His Messenger have declared war on it. We are told to ‘abandon riba and establish lawful trade.’ To do this we again come back to currencies, contracts and markets.

Of course shirk is something Allah does not forgive, so  it stands to reason that we must have education systems in place that teach everyone the basic of aqida and fundamentals of prescribed worship so that we not, even inadvertently, fall into this trap.

No doubt there will be a lot of posturing and rhetoric over the coming weeks and months. In the meanwhile the bankers and their allies will be working furiously behind the scenes to maintain and strengthen their control. Our job as Muslims is to also act and to speak-up. We must consult those amongst us who understand the issues, articulate a response and then those we entrust with local leadership must make the necessary strategic decisions. We simply have to put in place what we can in the best way we can and the rest is up to Allah.  The Deen is Easy – Let’s Keep it That Way.

May Allah give us success in what we take on in this blessed month and between the two eids. 

Introducing the New British Islamic Silver Coin

The Deen is Easy – Let’s Keep it that Way

From Abu Hurairah ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Sakhr, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless with him and grant him peace, saying, “That which I forbid you, avoid it, and that which I command you, do of it that which you are able, for the only thing that destroyed the ones who were before you was their great numbers of questions and their disagreements with their prophets.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated it

So, there we have it. It’s simple! We just have to find those things Allah has commanded us to do and get on kelantan_1_dirham_backwith them and find out what Allah has prohibited and avoid them. A good starting point in terms of command is obviously the five pillars of Islam,namely: shahada, salat, zakat, sawm and hajj.

In terms of what to avoid the obvious starting point would be those things Allah is most fierce about such as shirk and riba. No need for constitutions or great policy statements. As individuals we declare the shahada, do our prayers in the right time & place, pay our zakat to the right person in the right form, fast on the correct dates and perform the hajj if able. In terms of prohibition we learn enough tawhid to avoid accidental shirk and we are careful about our speech, We are careful to not impose riba on anyone and we try and extract ourselves one step at a time from it.

However, for some that is not enough, we want more. This means teaching the deen and calling people to the burnedshahada. This means actually establishing the place of prayer and appointing imams to lead the prayer. It means establishing the local collection and distribution of zakat in gold and silver currency. It means putting in place the mechanisms that allow the correct announcement for the beginning of Ramadan, and it means hajj in jam’at.

Then in order to get the balance right we have to take on Ihsan. For in the famous Hadith of Gibril we are taught that the true deen consists of Islam, Iman and Ihsan. Through learning and the shahada we have had to take on the knowledge of iman or tawhid. Then with the five pillars and the prohibitions we are taking on the science of islam. So now we need to add ihsan, this worshipping Allah as if you see him. This taking on good behaviour and leaving behind bad behaviour, sometimes called the science of tazkiya or tasssawuf.

So now we can get on with it!

individually or collectively, as a ordinary person or a leader we know enough.

May Allah give us success.

Intellectuals, Scholars & Leaders

    From the wise man who sat with soldiers, princes, sultans and more
    With the lettered, the well read, and all the ones that people adore

    The scholar wants to demonstrate, by being put to the test
    What he sees as his intellectual prowess

    The intellectual, through his mental capability
    Knows that also as a leader, is where he ought to be

    The leader may have rank, authority, perhaps love and honour
    But deep down inside he also wants to be seen as a scholar

    The scholars most certainly don’t want to lead
    That would inhibit them very much indeed

    The intellectuals wouldn’t want to be scholars
    That would prohibit them, that would be a horror of horrors

    To be ‘would-be intellectuals’ is not the stuff of leaders
    For them that’s not a model for great and real achievers

    Written this day in Safar 1429 (February 2008)

Time for a New Song

“London’s Burning, London’s Burning”
“People Crying, People Dying
“Shariah! Shariah!”
“Call on Allah, Call on Allah”

On a recent internet forum there was the usual discussion of when Ramadan should begin in the UK. Those (like myself) who propose basing it on a confirmed sighting of the moon within a suitable defined geographic region, were seen as courting controversy. Of course, such criticism often comes from those who want to “modernise” Islam or from aspiring orientalists.

However, that’s not the real controversial view. The thing some of our critics will really baulk at is the fact that I can categorically state that we do actually have the answers to transforming societies for the better. The answers are all there within the deen of Allah and Sunna of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. So it will be a difficult pill to swallow for some.

It’s clear that critical issues that need to be addressed are enterprise & employment, monetary policy, real local leadership, critical education and social justice.

So this is a call to all Muslim activists, to get in touch and work with us to start with ourselves and begin to transform the societies where we live. This is a call to action!

Muslims in Support of Marks & Spencers (or maybe not)

A few days ago i was sitting in the Mosque, just after one of the prayers, having a conversation with some fellow worshippers. If you had seen us you might have described as a black Jamaican, two white Englishmen, an Eritrean and a Sudanese. Of course that is all irrelevant, as is the fact that we were talking about the historical significance of Ethiopia, or the fact that we were joined by a man of Bangladeshi origin. However, it just helps paints the picture and give a sense of anticipation.

The latest addition to the circle added his own input to what he knew about about Ethiopia (quite a lot as it happens) and then steered the conversation to what was foremost on his mind. he was concerned about some Muslims preaching hatred of the kuffar (non-Muslims). he felt that we should appreciate the good that is dome by countries like the UK and USA in terms of the aid they give to poor countries. I acknowledged that some humanitarian aid is of course very useful. Of course he couldn’t have known that some time back I delivered a lecture on the very topic of the negative impact of foreign aid on African countries. In a nutshell, my argument was that governments that rely on aid (often called “hand over of natural resources bribe money”) then have no need to rely on raising revenue from the people of the country so therefore do not invest heavily developing the infrastructure of the country. This means very little development of roadways, markets, manufacturing, telephone networks or the internet. In contrast, a lot of money is spent creating government jobs for supporters, (so a huge civil service), gifting mining contracts to friends of donor countries, and a huge army to protect the income stream.

Our sixth man then went on to condemn those that suggest Muslims should boycott Marks & Spencers (huge department store/supermarket chain in the UK). Supporters of such an action suggest that either all or a significant chunk of M&S’s Saturday takings are sent to support Israel, or in particular, to support the exploitation, brutality and “murder” of Palestinians by jews. No doubt we will all have our views one way or another on all parts of that statement and I offer no proof one way or another in this article about what that company does with “it’s” money.

Back to the sixth man. His contention was that such a boycott was ill-advised because M & S offer very good quality food, clothing and other products for sale at very reasonable prices, so where else was one to go for such service?.

Many people of my generation would have been staunch and active supporters of boycotting South African goods in protest against the apartheid regime in that country.Of course the difference was that, at least on the face of it, the UK and other governments supported at least some action against the regime (despite all the backdoor dealing that was really going on). Today, however the UK, USA and other governments bend over backwards to turn a blind eye. Yet the actions carried out and the brutality inflicted by Israelis on Palestinians is second to none, as they continually take barbarity to another level.

My reply to our companion was not to suggest that Muslims should (or indeed should not, boycott Marks & Spencers). The point I made was that for a number of reasons Muslims should indeed think about where and how they spend there money. I also pointed out that if the pillar of Zakat were implemented properly it would result in huge cash flows from the richer to the poorer Muslims in the UK. It would empower communities and lead to a whole host of social benefits. I made a point of pointing out that helping communities and individuals abroad is a great and noble act of sadaqa/charity that should continue, but that if we call it Zakat we are denying the true nature and practice of one of the great secrets Allah has given us.

The other point is of course that Palestinian Muslims are now becoming a minority. It is the shia who seem to be in control as well as large christian factions. Indeed it is the Muslims who seem to be suffering most across the Arab world despite appearances.It is hard for a non-Muslim to grasp the fact that Tunisian, Iraqi, Algerian, and Syrian governments could really be Anti-Muslim. In fact it’s hard for many Muslims to grasp that.

The truth is that our Creator, Allah, has given the Muslims all the answers to today’s problems, but we have to recognise it, want it, and as much as possible put it into place. It is precisely this attitude that the sixth man showed that has taken the deen away from the land of the Arabs.

Now, what we really did not get into was the concept of the Islamic/Open market in a community, but perhaps another time. The key thing is that whether individuals make the choice or not to be selective about where they spend their money, there is a much bigger picture to think about which is NOT about the convenience and price of my nylon underwear or ready made fish pie. It is about Muamalat

Success is only by Allah.