Monday 10 March 2008

Prayer For My Brothers.

It is with sadness that I note that Brother Umar Lee has decided to stop blogging. His blog provided an interesting insight into the way brothers might think and also a voice that might appeal to some of our more wayward brothers far better than that of a haranguing or crying sister might have done.

Brother Umar often joked about the soft desi’s (people of South Asian origin) he came across on his travels. Here we have a slightly different problem. Much of the South Asian community in the UK is located in the inner cities and has to deal with issues such as high unemployment, higher rates of poor health and lower rates of educational attainment. Whereas the Indian-origin community including the Muslims have fared fairly well in education, employment and business, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community have lagged behind in all of these fields and also have the added accolade of being one of the most over-represented communities in prison. Of course there are exceptions and also excellent role models for these communities, but it doesn’t alter the fact that both of these communities (two of the largest groups of Muslims in the UK ) have major problems.

One of the biggest of these has been the way out youth is developing. I am seeing a real “rude-boy” culture emerge amongst many of the young men of both communities. I have seen it at school with my peers showing a lack of respect for education and their teachers and many young brothers feeling that education leads to nothing if you are Asian or black (they think this without even trying?). I also recall a distinct lack of respect for women; you were either ugly, pretty enough to fool around with or nice enough to marry and therefore should be left alone (I had a big mouth and never got my head out of a book so was just intimidating and impossible to understand). This along with the mischief that many young men engage in the classroom and the street, evolving into something a little more alarming.

As an adult, I now look around me and see brothers who have worked hard and created careers for themselves, are active in the community and take their responsibilities seriously whether to their parents, their wives or their children. I do find though, that they are a distinct minority. Ask any sister round theses parts looking to marry and she will confirm this.

What I am seeing though is my young brothers in trouble with the police, having dropped their studies and unable to find a career that is fulfilling enough to stick to for long. I am seeing a desire to copy rappers and footballers but no inclination to imitate the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). I am finding these brothers largely absent from the mosques and the imam of the mosque unaware what a massive problem we have. I am also, terrifyingly, seeing that many brothers are turning to drug addiction and when their parents realise that no-one here will marry them they are shipped off “back home” to import an unsuspecting bride.

According to Professor Tariq Ramadan’s Two-Parent theory, young British Muslims have two parents, one is their Muslim community and the other British society. He blames both parents for their problems. Both of them have not and are still not able to develop a British Islamic Identity. Their children consequently do not know where they belong. They are misfits not only for the host society because of the colour of their skin but also for the Muslim community because they are unable to communicate with their parents and elders in their own languages.

So what will happen to our community? What is the future for our young men? How can our youth stand shoulder to shoulder in the mosque and in the community if they can’t even stand up straight for fear of the pants hanging half-way down their backsides falling off? We worry, especially as mothers, but being Muslims we never lose hope.

I performed Hajj in January 2007 and I remember a day when I sat in Allah’s house and cried because I believed that the guys in my neighbourhood were no good and that my community would fall apart. I prayed to Allah to guide us all, but still felt hopeless. I left the masjid to meet my husband outside and we were approached by two young men we knew from my neighbourhood (one in my year at school and one in my year below). I recalled one of them particularly to be trouble. Both were in ihram (the pilgrims white sheets) and complaining to my husband about flights, hotels and exhaustion. Whilst they complained, I stood there stunned and with my heart soaring, trying to hide my tears. I felt Al-Wadud was trying to tell me not to lose hope and that when I pray for something, to do it with the assumption that he will accept my supplication.

British Boy Scouts performing Hajj

1 comment:

  1. may God help us.
    every culture has a transformation period, its highs and lows. It is difficult when there is a mix of two cultures, the clash of east and west(bolly/hollywood etc)and then RELIGION somewhat distressed in between.
    Like my teacher strongly propagates we need to get communities going, just start small flickers of light and then spread. Like the prophet at first he had three different groups of muslims to spread and practice their faith and once they became even a little strong they spread. Cos every brother or sister needs support. Its amazing how we, i, being in a kind of same needy, bad position of my sister,brother look down on them and (may) think 'nah they aint going to stop that..,' there not going to do this,that..' 'they're not going to be 'religious' (whatever it actually means)
    But like in, its amazing how for me, there's no (Watch shall i say) real services for a brother or sister out there to help them if they screamed for help!
    And from the brothers (and maybe sisters) its the 'my group, 'my masjid' mentality.what happened to 'we are all one body...' hadith?
    Alhamdullilah i think blogs and other means just like most pieces of technologies has its pro's and cons, and we use it to do good,so is all good.
    Oh and I think your dua in Arafat is definitely working round here!
    We must supplicate cos its a powerful tool, powerful!
    We first and foremost gota make firm, and pure intentions for Allah and god willingly watch the actions blossoms!