The 102nd Surah of the Holy Quran begins by informing us that “Rivalry amongst mankind does not cease, until they reach there graves” This is followed up with the repetition of a warning “They will come to know, They will surely come to know, If only they but knew now with certainty”

Two of his 99 beautiful names are Al- Wasi, The all comprehending and Al-Wali, The Protecting friend, so any warning this all comprehending and guiding friend of ours gives us through the Quran should be taken with great importance. But, when the lord of the worlds decides to repeat a warning back to back, surely the importance of the statement multiplies manifold.

I started to look for ways in which this competition and rivalry for things related to worldly matters manifested itself inside myself and although I wasn’t shocked that it did, what shocked me was the way it would come out in the most trivial of occasions.  Like noticing while driving, how the number plate of another vehicle was newer than my own vehicle or that someone had a slightly better version of the same phone as me. Silly little things like these are just a few examples but how did this competitiveness  come to manifest itself inside of me and how widespread has this become?

From a young age we are taught both covertly and openly that we are rivals and competitors of one another, that we are in a dog eat dog world where only the fittest survive and those who make it to the top of the pile are rewarded with great pleasures and honours that we should all aspire to achieving. Living in the freedoms of a capitalist culture we’re told life is all about pleasing ourselves, our own egos and desires, even if it’s in preference over the needs of others. You can see from the video below one example of how severely this competition and rivalry has manifested itself.



So who is responsible for the creation of these desires? Yes of course, it’s us who will be held to account for our own actions, but there is at the heart of our system, mechanisms that operate expressly for the sake of creating these desires within us and therefore making the practice of Islamic ethics and morality difficult for us.

“We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” PAUL MAZER, LEHMAN BROTHERS C.A 1930

Through advertising, marketing and the media, role models are created on our behalves to show us the definition of what ‘normality’ is. Advertising claims that these role models set us free but is the opposite actually true? Do they infact only act to trap us into a narrow minded view of what life is about and what we should hope to accomplish through it?

  • Cocacola – Open Happiness
  • Nike- Just do it
  • Adidas- Impossible is nothing
  • Mcdonalds- I’M loving it
  • Youtube- Broadcast YOURSELF
  • L’oreal- Because I’M worth it                      and on… and on… 

“Inside the Great Mystery that is, we don’t really own anything. What is this competition we feel then, before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?” (Rumi)

I think the lesson I take is that we need to be aware of the competition and rivalry that exists amongst us in regards to matters related to the temporary life of this world. At the same time we must not forget the words of the role model given to us as a gift from Allah, the prophet (pbuh) who told us

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

O Allah! Assist me in remembering You, in thanking You, and in worshipping You in the best of manners.
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and the lack of moderation in our doings, and make firm our steps and succour us against those who deny the truth. (3:147)
Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (2:201)

Peace, Mercy and Blessings

The recent meeting of the London Muslims Discussion and Debate group bought up the issue of Segregation and it’s interpretation within Islam, it’s usage in past and present Muslim societies and also how it is interpreted and used by Muslims living within secular societies such as the UK.

Hadith and Quran

There are no direct references to gender segregation in the Quran. In Surah Al Ahzab, Allah (SWT) instructs the people to address the wives of the prophet (PBUH) from behind a screen. This passage in particular has been used by many scholars to commit us to segregation between the genders in public, however, some would argue that it was meant in reference to the wives of the prophet alone. I would say that I somewhat agree with the latter as Allah has bought to us through the Quran and the Sunnah (actions) of the prophet clear instructions  as to how men and women should conduct themselves in public with regards to communicating with each other. Why would Allah mention the following if it was wished for us to separate ourselves from the opposite gender at all times?

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: this will be most conducive to their purity – (and,) verily, Allah is aware of all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms beyond what may be apparent thereof; hence let them draw their veils over their bosoms.”

—Qur’an, Sura 24 (An-Nur), ayat 30-31[7]

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”

—Qur’an, Sura 33 (Al-Ahzab), ayat 59[8]

My heart and my head lead me to believe that Segregation has not been enforced on us to such an extent that we should shun the other sex whenever they may be near. On the contrary, we have been taught to control our nafs (self) and our hawa (bad intentions), not through celibacy, but through practice of self control. The Quran and the Sunnah give us examples of how this self control should work:

How to speak to each other – Such as the tone of voice we use,

Where we should look when in each others company –  To lower our gaze

What to wear – Covering our beauty and modesty with our clothing

What not to wear –  There is a hadith where the prophet describes a woman who perfumes herself intentionally in the hope of seeking attention from men as a type of adulteress.

Where we should meet – We have been told to avoid meeting in private with each other as it may lead to uncontrollable actions (From both sexes)


Reasons for segregation: Controlling the Nafs

If it were meant that we should avoid each other at all times, there would have been no need for us to have been taught how to deal with a non mahrum. We should encourage men and women to communicate with one an other. However, this should not be in the form of ‘Free-Mixing’ because although women and men should mix, it should not be done ‘freely’. There must always be some reservation as this allows us to remain in control of our selves.  Quality over quantity. We should encourage both genders to be selective, be cautious and be wise when coming into contact with one another. I would also say that once a male or female knows someone (such as a family relative) and is able to trust him or her not to take advantage of them, that they can open up a little more, in terms of the way they communicate.

“I have not left behind me any temptation more harmful for men than women” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Segregation in certain environments such as weddings, restaurants, schools and work allows both genders to concentrate and focus on themselves, there responsibilities and on enjoying themselves without the worry of wondering about the other sex. Even though we might not like to admit it, when in the company of the opposite sex, I personally feel as though it effects my behaviour and character, even though it shouldn’t. Especially in today’s highly sexualised society where the mind quickly wanders away from being innocent and playful to being cheeky and conniving.

Extreme Segregation and it’s pitfalls: The example of  Catholic celibacy

Although segregation is important, it must be used sensibly in a balanced fashion. It’s extremes are clear to see within any religion where celibacy is practised. Catholic monks and nuns who are taught to avoid all contact with one another, in many cases have become frustrated sexually which leads them towards unthinkable actions with people of the same gender, opposite gender and with innocent children. This is slowly creeping into Muslim Society, particularly in the UK where many examples of teachers in mosques who abuse kids in there trust have been witnessed.  Segregation must not become extreme, and those who advocate it, must have there heads returned to the earth from the sky.


Segregation in a wider context- Sharing the Gift of Islam-

After connecting the entire debate of segregation with regards only to gender, we finally moved on to what I believe is a far greater issue, and an issue on which we would come to agree most points upon, This was the issue of segregation between Muslims themselves and is based on culture, class, age and nationality amongst other things. We would also discuss the segregation that exists between Muslims and Non- Muslims in the UK.

We asked the question of why many Muslims felt the need to keep Islam confined within our hearts, our homes and our masjids. We asked whether we have become secularised. We asked if and why secular Muslims may have become scared or afraid of our religion or in better words, how our religion may be perceived by others.

Perhaps we aren’t as confident as we once were to share our religion or actions as many of us have become slightly ignorant towards our religion and  our actions (such as prayer). We tend to read the Quran and complete Sunnah without comprehending or trying to comprehend the essence of revelation and the reasoning behind the Sunnah of our beautiful prophet of Islam.

I, like my parents, like there parents, became ignorant about my religion as I was bought up being taught what is right and what is wrong without an explanation or comprehension as to why it may be so. I prayed, fasted, etc but I was never told why. I was just told that it’s the right thing to do. So when someone such as a non Muslim, or a deviant Muslim would question my actions, the only answer I could give them was ‘because that’s what it says in the Quran innit’…

But, now, Alhamdulillah, there is no doubt. Because my ignorance of emotion has been balanced with reasoning and judgement, and both, BOTH, are in cohesion with my faith. Islam is an Art and a Science. What we say (which comes from our brains) is just as important as how we say it ( which, through emotion comes from the heart). It’s amazing how Allah placed the tongue in between the mind and the heart to create communication.

The best of judgement is a balance of emotion and reasoning. Believe in Allah, believe in the religion he has given us, and believe in yourselves. Not only because your heart tells you, but because you know it makes sense.

“Cest le ton que fait la Musique” ( French proverb)

We must not segregate from each other, from different nationalities, different cultures, different madhabs, different genders, different ages or even from non Muslims. We must connect with each other, but with respect. Discuss, debate, share and argue, but with respect. The best way to teach is not through speech, it is through action. Actions speak louder than words. Action is the Peak of Iman.





 “I was made to like Women” (Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon Him)

This is my conclusion for what i’ve learnt about feminism and women in general over the last few weeks while i’ve been researching the subject for a debate. This is the culmination of my emotions and thoughts.


Feminism, although ambiguous at times, is seen to have collective principles which are shared by most, if not all feminists. The ideals of gender equality are shared amongst most as are the characteristics of a feminist being a strong, pro active character in the family, in society or in a specific field. I decided to break down feminism into 3 main areas which I felt were most important.


Feminism in Popular opinion

This is how feminism is presented to us through the media. It was agreed in the debate that although there are serious issues around how females are sometimes treated in public and in private, the media have tried to use feminism as a tool to divide man and woman and try to make them independent of one another, or at least present to us an independence which we find appealing. Sometimes we like to think we can get everything done by ourselves and need no help, but no man and no woman is an island, and to think we can be independent of one another is just mind boggling. I take strength knowing that there’s a strong woman in my life who will help me when she feels that I need it and I hope that she feels the same. The prophet Muhammad took solace in Khadija when he came down from the mountain after having had the first ayah from the Quran revealed to him. She was his rock and in her he confided.

The media show us an image of women and uses them to entice us (both male and females) into consuming goods, services and entertainment. This is un-feminist, anti- feminist if you must. Yet the media still feel that they have the right to push there own ideals of feminism to the public whilst they promote an alternative agenda through there actual actions. Hypocrisy

Feminism in Society

This is where we see feminism in action. In our families, amongst our friends and in our communities. It is where we see females we know, stand up for there own rights and are strong enough to know how best to deal with the environment in which they live.

Women are home makers, but so are men. There cannot be an argument however, for a mothers connection to a child which far out way that of a father.

Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a person came to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and asked: “Who among people is the most deserving of my fine treatment?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Your mother.” He then asked, “Who next?” The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Your mother.” He asked again: “Who next?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said again, “Your mother.” He again asked, “Then who?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Your father.”


Feminism as a pro-active ideal, has been taken up by the white, middle class and is rarely seen amongst the working classes. Unfortunately, because feminism, whenever it has popped up throughout history, has led to action and eventually to change when working class females are involved. i.e the suffragette movement.

Feminism in Islam

“Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” (Prophet Muhammad) 

I feel that after the statement above, I really don’t need to elaborate any further on the status of women in Islam. Although there are some cultural issues with the mistreatment of women, issues such as forced marriage, forcing of hijab or honour killings, these are outside the fold of Islam and are issues which need to be tackled by the small groups of people who still hold backward, ignorant, cultural ideals that are incompatible with our religion.


I feel as if over the last two weeks, I have analysed and critiqued my own attitudes and beliefs on the role of women who are in my life. I like to think that I’m now more patient and softer towards women who I possibly took for granted previously. Although the issue of feminism is highly important, it plays a part of a much wider, connected web of judgement and attitudes based upon things we have no control over, such as our gender, race, height etc. It is wrong to judge a person based on factors over which we have no control and this is the final say on the subject. Need to look into how the media creates perceptions of others which then become our own perceptions. Read the next line and the first picture in your head will be the one created by the media. The second picture, I hope, is more Humane.


Black, Female, Immigrant


Love to my mum, Love to my sister, Love to my aunties, Love to my cousins, Love to my female friends and Love to Calcifer. You all guide me, my thoughts and my emotions.

May Allah keep me focused and keep my intentions pure.



It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s what keeps us going to our meaningless jobs, the reason we consume in ever increasing quantities. It ‘s the reason why we can’t get along. Why we look upon our peers as rivals in competing towards a finishing line that doesn’t  exist. It is all we know. It is our society. It is our Democratic, Socialist, Capitalist, Consumptionalist society. It is the machine.

The machine, like the generalised term  ‘Democracy’,  has many façades. You will hear it called the rat race, the bubble, the box or big brother amongst others. But call it what you wish, it is quite simply, the spectacle of ‘modern’ society through which we choose to define ourselves, those around us and the world in which we live. It has become the meaning to our existence.

A lot of you have heard it all before. The common gripes of groups such as the occupy movement have been well documented. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably only still here because you share some understanding of the issues that you perceive I will highlight. Like how there is currently an unjustified divide between the architects of society and those who just play the game. A divide that exists not only in terms of wealth, but in power, in knowledge and in opportunities. Although this is all true,what I am trying to unearth is not how the socio-economic environment around us changed, but how we, human beings have changed.

Power, Knowledge, Freedom, Justice and Truth were virtues that used to be valued highly by humans until we gave them up. But you have to understand that they were never taken away from us by force. The reason why power structures are the way they are today is because we gave away these facets of human life freely and willingly. And the reason we did so was because our faces were turned the other way, towards the bright lights of the rat race and towards competing with one another to consume as much as possible while leaving all that actually matters in the hands of imbeciles and buffoons.

One of the biggest lies on the face of the earth is telling humans that they can be anything they want to be. When in reality, we already know what the majority of humans want to be. The term ‘anything’ has become defined by our society and its definition usually has objectives that can only be achieved within the machine itself. The fact the lie is told to every child today, however, says more about us than it does about the machine which would like us to believe it.

But for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence, . . . truth is considered profane, and only illusion is sacred. Sacredness is in fact held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be seen as the highest degree of sacredness. (Ludwig Feuerbach)

Humans, in the machine have naturally become machines themselves.



The danger of the future is that men may become robots. True enough, robots do not rebel. But given man’s nature, robots cannot live and remain sane, they become “Golems,” they will destroy their world and themselves because they cannot stand any longer the boredom of a meaningless life.

ERICH FROMM, The Sane Society

What has become of the human being? Have we become Robots?