Resisting Injustice

Jum'ah khutba (Friday sermon) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - date unknown - 32 mins 38 secs

Although this sermon was delivered some time ago, it makes a thought-provoking companion to the last one posted on the credit crunch. In it the sheikh recites the famous verse of the Qur'an about the necessity of bearing witness to justice, even if it be against oneself or one's family. He goes to to explain the place of this call to justice at the heart of the Divine Revelation. The journey to the next world for the Muslim goes through this one, not around it; the message and example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not intended to cause people to reject this world, but to change it for the better in accordance with God's guidance. To act with justice is in itself to bear witness to God's Unity (tawhid) because to internalise and live according to La ilaha illa Allah is the most potent weapon against injustice. The sheikh gives examples from the sira (life of the Prophet) that show this transformative power and how it overturned oppression in the Prophet's time, and encourages us to aspire to achieving some fraction of that transformation in ourselves and in the world around us.

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A Common Word in Cambridge

Various lectures & talks - Cambridge - 11 & 14 October 2008

Cambridge was very lucky recently to host a gathering of highly respected scholars and theologians for the second inter-faith dialogue meeting of the A Common Word initiative.

Before the conference proper began, the Radical Middle Way project took advantage of this event to organise a remarkable panel of Muslim scholars to talk about A Common Word and why Muslims should support it - Habib 'Umar bin Hafiz; Grand Mufti Sheikh 'Ali Goma'a; Grand Mufti Dr. Mustafa Ceric; Dr. Ingrid Mattson; and Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad. The talks are being uploaded to the RMW website here; needless to say, they are very well worth a wider audience.

In conjunction with the RMW, Cambridge University Islamic Society also hosted a special open Q & A session with Sheikh 'Ali Goma'a, which should also be posted on the RMW site. We will post the link as soon as it is available, God willing.

To open the conference itself, Sheikh 'Ali Goma'a and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, each addressed the delegates with their thoughts on the future of inter-faith dialgoue between Christians and Muslims. These talks, introduced by Prof. David Ford and Sheikh Abdal Hakim, both of the Divinity Faculty at Cambridge, are available below.

Listen to the lectures of Dr. Rowan Williams and Sheikh 'Ali Goma'a (1hr 10 mins 36 secs)

Download the lectures (MP3, 64.6 MB)

Accounting, Here & Hereafter

Jumu'ah khutba (Friday sermon) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - 17 October 2008 - 28 minutes 45 seconds

Worldwide shares tumbling,
Where do we put our trust now?
Return to The One!

A very topical sermon this time as the sheikh relates the Qur'anic injunction against riba' (interest) to the current problems of the world financial system. Although of course the Qur'an and the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) validate and even valorise trade, they present a radically different ethical approach to business than the dehumanised modern economic system. Highly recommended listening to anyone seeking a sound framework to think about the economic crisis.

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Gender & Gentility

Friday sermon (khutba) by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - May 2008 - 24 mins 54 secs

Continuing the theme of the previous post from another aspect, the sheikh in this sermon encourages us to consider the importance of decorous and respectful relations between the sexes, and to reflect on the characteristic modesty (haya') of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Influenced by the relentlessly immodest and hyper-sexualised world of mass entertainment and advertising, it can often seem to us today that the limits of the shari'a (Islamic law) on this issue are too rigid and that 'a good intention' will be sufficient to guard us in all situations. However, the sheikh warns us that this issue is far from the marginal, even faintly risible, question we sometimes risk making it. He points to the impact in British society - the home in earlier times of the quintessential gentleman - when respectability was abandoned as a serious concern, and how this relates to declining religious observance. To illustrate this point, he recites some of the poetry of John Betjeman - not something, it must be admitted, you will hear at the mosque every Friday.

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Some Islamic Perspectives on Gender

Talk by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - date unknown - 45 mins 37 secs


In this talk the sheikh discusses that crucial but perenially prickly issue of gender. He doesn't offer a comprehensive 'Muslim view' or really touch on the topics that are often discussed in this context such as women's rights in divorce and inheritance. Rather he offers a series of reflections on some of the underlying structures that underpin Islamic approaches to gender, offering some comparative remarks also on recent Christian theology. One main element relates to how we gain knowledge of God through His Divine Names, and how these can be seen to offer some insight into the relationship of 'masculine' and 'feminine' principles or virtues. The second element considers the females role models or ideals found in Islam, including: Hajar (Hagar), mother of Ismail (peace be upon him) and spiritual and physical ancestress to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); Asiya, wife of Pharoah and adoptive mother of Musa (Moses - peace be upon him); Khadija, first wife and also employer of the Prophet; and Aisha, his later wife and an archetype of Islamic scholarship and teaching (may God be pleased with all of them.)

Questions follow the talk at 38 mins 19 secs.

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Talk by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Islamic Society Freshers' Dinner, Cambridge - October 2006 - 34 mins 22 secs


The sheikh begins this talk by considering the mystery of the relationship between self-knowledge and knowledge of God, referring to the Qu'ranic verse in which He promises to show us signs within ourselves. The sheikh contrasts this type of vision or perception granted by God with modern exhortations toward self-discovery. The latter are frustrated by the confusion which surrounds material definitions of human consciousness; modern man is told to fulfil himself without really knowing what the self is. From an Islamic perspective, the efforts of a disembodied intellect can never overcome this problem: rather, the body, mind and spirit are integrated and their effects on one another absolutely connected. Different aspects of the religion illustrate this, such as the physical dimensions of different acts of worship ('ibada) and bodily resurrection after death. The sheikh relates this idea in particular to the mi'raj, the ascent to Heaven of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and contrasts it with the rebellion of Iblis, who refused to act on the signs shown to him by God. Self-transcendence or self-knowledge from an Islamic point of view is presented not as abandoning the body or as some kind of 'out-of-body experience', but as a model of spiritual practice that keeps us in the world while granting us surer comprehension of our place in it.

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