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School and College issues

Below are a selection of questions that have been answered by Dr Musharraf Hussain, if you have a question, then please use the contact form to get in touch.

Q: I was forwarded a video from a friend. The person in the video (who’s quoting several Islamic terms to bring across his point). Anyway, his message was, he is a Muslim CANNOT make dua for his deceased mother because she was NOT a Muslim. Is there any merit in his statement?

A: The glorious Quran teaches “do not hold prayers for any of them if they die, and do not stand by their graves, they disbelieved in God and His Messenger and died rebellious” (Tauba: 84). This is a categorical verdict by the Almighty, so we shouldn’t pray for the unbelievers when they die, however, when they are alive we can pray for their guidance.

Q: How does one initially engage with other faiths, I find it very difficult to get people around a table and discuss things.

A: The glorious Quran presents Allah almighty as a loving and wise creator of the universe, He sustains it, develops and evolves it as He likes. He is the mighty King who has authority over all things and controls the world, man is created to worship Him, obey his commands so that they are given eternal life in the hereafter. The general awareness of Muslims and Christians or people of other religions ought to be developed until the truthfulness of the common base and moral desirability are recognised. As far as Muslim understanding of Christians is concerned there are some misunderstandings, for example, Colonialism, Christian missionaries and Orientalists. Muslims must make a distinction between excesses of these and Christianity, these western activities and Christianity are not the same thing. This will go a long way in helping Muslims better understand their Christian friends. Similarly, the Christian’s awareness of Muslim concepts of Prophethood and Jihad, status and role of women will help Christians overcome the misunderstandings about Muslims.

Q: This has kind of come out actually last year there was a school that cancelled a school trip to a synagogue because of what Muslim parents were saying. So are Muslim children allowed to visit other places of worship?

A: I am appalled to hear that parents would stop children from visiting places of worship; this is a squeamish and parochial mindset. Visiting churches, synagogues and temples is a good way of learning to accept other religions and to overcome stereotypes, how else are we to break down the barriers of discrimination and prejudice? I urge parents to be tolerant and open-minded in this matter and let the school do what is right.

Q: Is it appropriate for girls to wear headscarves to school?

A: It is necessary for teenage girls to wear a modest dress that covers them, this includes a head scarf. The Quran orders women to do so, read; “And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what is acceptable to reveal; they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands and their husband’s fathers…they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper” (An Nur: 31). This verse lays out the rules for a modest dress for women as:

  1. To cover the whole body including the head except for face, hands and feet.
  2. Dress should be loose, not tight-fit nor see-through.
  3. These rules are relaxed for immediate family members known as Mahrams in light of this, it is clear that Muslim girls must develop the habit of modesty early on in their life, this is not a choice but a compulsory duty ordained by the Lord.

Q: I attend a state school where they say Christian prayers, is this allowed?

A: One way of looking at this is that Muslim children in such schools should really be given the choice of going to a Muslim and Islamic assembly. Most of the hymns are very good actually, they praise Allah and Christ and there are some very beautiful prayers. But it’s not just about the content of these hymns and prayers, which to some extent can be compatible with our Islamic belief. It’s also about children of other faith having the right to practice their own faith as well.

Q: As part of the school curriculum I have to take part in sports which is a mixed activity, is this allowed?

A: I think up to primary school it is fine, around the age of 10 to 11 years old. But certainly not in secondary school. I think it has been normal for quite a while to have separate sports for girls and boys and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Q: If young people ask the following questions, what should our response be? 1) Should I respect the Union Jack and flag of St George? Can I join in any national celebrations? 2) Can I join the British armed forces and what do I do if I am sent to fight in a Muslim country? 3) Should I sing ‘God Save the Queen’ and any other patriotic song? 4) Can I disagree with the government’s foreign policy?

A: 1. Yes, as it is a symbol of our country, respect for the flag is respect for fellow citizens, law, leaders and its traditions, every Muslim must respect all of these. One can join national celebrations, however, a Muslim will not compromise the sharia.

  1. Yes, Muslims should join the armed forces, a British Muslim soldier should abstain from fighting against Muslims, however, if he goes to a Muslim country for peaceful purposes that is commendable.
  2. I think this is a good dua, a sincere prayer to God to protect the queen, it could also mean that the Muslim is praying for the guidance of the queen, this is a duty of every Muslim. we pray that may Allah guide her on the straight path and keep her safe.
  3. As a Muslim, we are expected to stand up for the truth and justice, even if that means turning against your parents and loved ones. So if the government’s foreign policy is unjust, tyrannical, oppressive and against human rights, we should oppose it vehemently.