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Islamic Society between Dogma, Reaction and Realism

Lecture/Workshop by
Hujjatul Islam Ibrahim Kazerooni
Islamic Centre, London England 31st Jan. 2000

Listen to lecture (real audio, 50mins)
Download (shift-click) lecture (3.2Mb)

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Video (PAL VHS) or Audio Tape of the event



The 50 minute lecture workshop starts with the question:

What is the present status of Muslims in the world ?

  • Disunited
  • Oppressed
  • Lack of Identity
  • Lack of Education
  • Lack of Power
  • Lack of Faith
  • ...
"I remember a discussion with Shaheed Mutahhari in Tehran, may god bless his soul, he said the Christians developed when they left Christianity, why? Because the spirit of Christianity was restrictive and dogmatic. We Muslims deteriorated as soon as we left Islam, why? Because we became dogmatic."

Then asks what will it take to elevate Muslims out of this bleak condition?

  • Faith
  • Leadership
  • Self-sacrifice
  • Education
  • ...

What chance do we have of putting these into practice?

Then he explains the historical background to what caused the Muslims to be in this present poor state.

"Leadership was not in tune with society - they were blind and narrow visioned - the classical example of the Iranian monarchs during the Mongol attack: He was informed that the Mongols had taken Khorasan - he didn't do anything. They had taken northern Iran - he didn't do anything. They are still far from Isfahan where he lives and They came and circled Isfahan - still I've got my own palace. Once they got to the gate of the palace he started taking istikhara to see if he should do something or not - by then it was too late they were already inside."

"We are not prepared to self-sacrifice - putting Allah first. Friday Prayer starts - we all know the importance of Friday Prayer, but we are not prepared to participate, why? Because in that one hour we can make extra bucks - why should we go to Friday Prayer."


And then he moves to the history of revivalist movements in Islam:

  • Modernist movement
  • Salafi movement
  • Mahdi movement
  • Intellectual movement

The lecture concludes on the subject of "hope for the future".


Question-Answer Session

The lecture is followed by 60 sizzling minutes of Questions and brutally honest Answers - absolutely unmissable!

Contact us if you wish to obtain a
Video (PAL VHS) or Audio Tape of the event


"A friend of mine went to Shepherds Bush Mosque about two weeks ago, morning prayer he went to sajud, another brother came and put a chair over his head. Because he was Shia in a Sunni mosque. This is what happens if we don't have unity."


Question: Sunni-Shia divide, is there any bases for us to unite?

"We cannot let the west abuse us and turn one against the other. At the moment the Shia-Sunni case has become the easiest way of creating disharmony between the Muslims. You only need to send a representative to the Afghanis and tell them that on the other side of the mountain the Iranians are coming that's it, or go even within Karachi in Pakistan, tell one mosque that the Shias are coming to kill you and go tell the Shias that the Sunnis are coming - that's all it takes -as easy as that. Its because there is general ignorance about each others point of view."

"We have to confront injustice no matter who that person is, if you see individuals within your own community trying to destroy unity you have to work to stop them if you see a scholar saying the Shias are this the Shias are that or the Sunnis are this and that then stand up.."

"Last April, I was invited to give a lecture in Newcastle. After the magrib prayer a brother came to me and said "Maulana, I am a Shafi, could I ask you to tell me how you really pray?". I had just done the magrib prayer, he said "no, tell me how you REALLY pray". "This IS how I pray". "No we have been told that you pray differently ..."

These kind of problems can be resolved on a personal interaction where the Sunni brothers and sisters come to my house and they see in close quarters the way we live I go to their house and see in close quarters the way they live, my children associate with their children and their children associate with my children then we will be able to understand each other that most of the problems that have been created for us - this illusion of animosity, doesn't exist. What we need is to interact, believe me unity will not be possible if we sit here and talk for eternity and expect someone else to create unity."


Question: Its the maulanas that cause the disunity - what do we do?

"Who pays for the maulanas? The fault lies with you who select the maulanas and pay for them. I mean no disrespect to any maulana, but there is an expression "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys". If you get the cheapest one around - you don't want to sacrifice any of your wealth for it, so what do you get? Second, third rate maulanas that do nothing else but motivate dogma."

"How many of you who have children actually motivated them to go to university and become maulana after?

--- audience silent ---

Not even one - this is the problem that you are automatically giving higher priority to other kinds of jobs rather than being a maulana. It doesn't mean that if you tell your children to become maulanas that he isn't well developed but you don't, that's the impression that you have got from this job - its the lowest of the low, the eccentrics they will do and become maulanas when they have nothing else to do. If that it the impression then this is what you get."

"We are facing a number of problems with traditional Islamic centres. We need to reorganise our selves, even the elders require education that they are living in a different world in a different environment in a different culture and require a different attitude towards things and if they are not prepared to adjust and somehow educate themselves its better for them to stand aside for a younger generation to come in where they will be able to work better."