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Islamic scholar urges Muslims to stay away from extremism, become model western citizens


Shaykh Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman addressing attendees at an event in the UK. Pic by the author

LONDON: A religious scholar has called on Muslims in the West to abide by the local laws and stay away from extremist ideology and negative influences to protect themselves against the Islamophobic onslaught to become successful model citizens.

Shaykh Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, the custodian of the Eidgah Sharif shrine in Rawalpindi, has been addressing large crowds across cities in the United Kingdom as part of his annual tour to engage with the British Muslim youth — mainly of Pakistani and Kashmiri origin.

In the United Kingdom, the peers of Eidgah Sharif have a large following and several mosques and Islamic centres are considered affiliates of Rawalpindi’s Eidgah Sharif.

At an event in East London, attended by hundreds of Muslims, Shaykh Rehman said that those who preach extremist ideology are involved in defaming Islam and do so for their personal interests, which does not serve Islam in any way. 

He also called on British Muslim youth to stay away from drugs and focus on positivity to become model Muslim citizens.

“Islam has no place for any kind of extremism. If someone commits a crime in the name of Islam or preaching extremism, you should report him to the local government. Those who defame the religion through their extremism are not among us,” the scholar said.

The 29-year-old spoke at length about the Muslim identity in the modern ages. He said that the identity of Muslims is not identified through mere appearances — turbans, beard, and clothes — but through one’s character.

The scholar told the gathering that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that a true Muslim is one who is a safe-keeper of others’ respect and dignity.

“The one who respects other human beings, protects their honour and humanity is a true Muslim and anyone who doesn’t respect other human beings is not among us.”

“The Prophet (PBUH) didn’t say that about Muslims, but about human beings. He (PBUH) told us that our character is our identity,” Shaykh Rehman said addressing the congregation.

The scholar from Rawalpindi asked his followers to try and become true ambassadors of the Prophet’s (PBUH) teachings. 

He also lamented that a disproportionate number of Muslim youths were in UK jails and convicted of serious crimes and called on them to turn toward Islam, pledge to stay away from drugs and not commit crimes, but stop the commission of crimes.

The scholar said that Islam is all about harmony and multi-culturalism as practised in several western countries.

“It was Islam that introduced multi-culturalism and model citizenship by introducing rights and responsibilities for all human beings on an equal basis. These are our shared values. The Prophet (PBUH) didn’t come as a source of mercy for just Muslims but for the entire humanity,” he stated.

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