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Shaykh Riyad Nadwi responds to C4 show February 2, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Media, Queer Muslims, Responses, Shari'ah.

I’ve come across a number of blog posts and forum discussions commenting on the programme last week, to which I responded in two parts. Most of it has, sadly, been along the typical knee-jerk lines, with many people simply unable to get their heads around the idea that people like those portrayed in the documentary actually exist. While it is nice to know there is still a level of innocence among our youth, we really need to wise up to what’s going on, if we’re going to: (a) protect our religion from corruption; (b) help people with their very real dilemmas.

I draw your attention to the following detailed article by Dr. Riyad Nadwi of Dar al-Uloom Oxford. He attained a PhD in Psycholinguistics after in-depth Islamic studies in India, including with the phenomenal Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi.

Is this the Mountain that will Break the Back of Civilisation as we know it? 

Sh. Riyad’s think-tank, the Oxford Cross-Cultural Research Institute, “aims to cut through the ‘spin’ that surrounds contemporary debate to provide a fresh, independent commentary on current affairs.” It’s worth looking through his other articles.

Today’s article focuses mainly on the historical and scientific aspects of the issue, with comments on the agenda behind the movement and the documentary. Some excerpts:

Having recognised the futility of reliance on the genetic arguments in a society that accepted natural selection, the queer lobby, building on Wolfenden’s 1957 “condition” argument, diverted the focus of attention from “behaviour” to one of “rights”. Instead of seeking acceptance based on sexual preference, they managed to convince the media and politicians that their genetic assumptions were a foregone conclusion and they were now a “genetic entity” worthy of “minority” status.

In response to these embarrassing studies of monozygotic twins, the gay lobby has often resorted to claiming that “it is not all about genes”. Environment also plays a part. Our response to this schizophrenic escape should be that they cannot have their cake and eat it. The scientific community is in agreement that environmental influences on behaviour are, by and large, receptive to therapy. They are not like skin colour, which is identical in monozygotic twins. When the queer lobby campaigns on the basis that homosexual orientation is unchangeable because of genes and declares, “Just as a person cannot help being black, female, or Asian, we cannot help being homosexual. We were all born this way and as such we should be treated equally,” they cannot be allowed to seek refuge with “environmental factors” whenever the genetic evidence proves them wrong. Environmental influence is a door they have shut upon themselves by promoting this “gay-gene permanence” myth.

There is a difference of opinion on the punishment in Islamic law for individuals involved in rare and isolated homosexual acts, as indeed, there are different rules pertaining to people born with malformed sexual organs. But these differences should not be used, as they have been lately, to blind people from the fact that the Quran and the Scriptures before it are categorical about the sinful nature of this activity, especially if it turns into a mass movement with proselytising proficiency and a mission to claim a significant percentage (10%) of the population.

An interesting twist to this story is that these people, despite appearances, are not primarily concerned with gay rights per se. Just as the queer movement adopted the clothing of the civil rights movement to promote its own agenda, people like Dr Kugle and other so-called “Muslim intellectuals” are riding piggyback on the gay and feminist movements to further another agenda. Homosexuality is a crucial component in a coordinated mission to force a reformation on Islam.



1. Commentators - June 25, 2006

We have looked at this “Oxford Cross-Cultural Research Institute” website and made some enquiries.

Firstly, we are informed by Muslim and non-Muslim friends that Riyad Nadwi (I hear his name is Haniff) is not a qualified Islamic scholar, and is not entitled to represent himself as such. He apparently studied at a place called Nadwat al-Ulama in Lucknow in India, which is not a recognised Islamic university like others in the Middle East. He does not hold an degree or “ijaza” (licenciate) from an accredited Islamic university or college, and my Arab friends inform me that going to these places in India are not recognised qualifications in other Muslim countries.

Secondly, we are informed that “OCCRI” does not actually exist, but is just a virtual soapbox for Nadwi to make attacks against gay people, Israel and the Jewish community.

This guy is an vicious anti-semite and consistently makes attacks on Jewish people and Israel. He is well known to the Board of Deputies of British Jews defence division and the Community Security Trust of the Jewish community.

Most Muslims are willing to adapt to living in a plural British society, and don’t seek to impose an Islamic state, or to attack Jews, Christians and other communities in the UK.

2. Rasheed Eldin - June 26, 2006

I know about this sort of "enquiry" – were you engaged in it back when Sheikh Qaradawi last visited the UK? Have you found it useful in smearing other Muslim personalities and groups, such as the charity Interpal (to whom the Board of Deputies were required to pay an undisclosed sum, as well as publishing an apology on their homepage for accusing them of terrorist links)?

I know little about Nadwat al-Ulama: but let me just say that Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (may Allah have mercy on him) was recognised universally as a great scholar.

Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari singles him out for praise in this article, as well as his later glowing words about Nadwat al-Ulama.
"The late Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Nadwi (Allah have mercy on him) is a great example of this who took the world by storm. Scholars from around the globe admired and respected him and his works. Even the Salafis did not condemn him, and when he passed away recently, his Janaza prayer was offered in both the Harams of Makkah and Madinah…"

As to whether OCCRI exists – I imagine it exists in the same way that many thinktanks do. What do you want?

To be honest, I am against anti-Semitism yet I'm not particularly interested in what the UJS, Board of Deputies or Mossad have to say about Muslim scholars, based on what we've seen of your tactics so far.

3. Salaahuddin, A - June 26, 2006

Shaikh Riyad Nadwi is not only a qualified scholar with a large number of ijazaat in hadith and other Islamic sciences which I have seen, he is also one of those rare Muslim scholars who has a doctorate in a scientific field. These people who are trying to smear his name, should ask the Oxford Muslim community about the Sheikh. See the OMCA site. As for Nadwatul Ulama, “Commentators” (above) has demonstrated his total ignorance of Islamic scholarship because any Muslim with the slightest knowledge of Islam would know that Nadwatul Ulama is not only recognised in the Arab world but also in the Western world.

4. Talib al-Yaman - June 26, 2006

After studying the first comment carefully, I’ve come to the following conclusions:

First, this is not really about the qualifications of Shaikh Riyad Nadwi because anyone with internet access or know Muslims in Oxford can easily discover the truth. The Shaikh is known worldwide to most educated Muslims so it is useless to question his religious or academic credentials.

Second, the full of name of the Shaikh is Abu Yusuf Mohammad Riyad ibn al-Husain al-Haneef Amin Al-Bowni al-Husaini al-Nadwi which is too long for everyday use. To avoid burdening people with all of that he uses a shortened version, (Riyad Nadwi). He is not trying to conceal his identity as the “commentators” are trying to say.

Third, the real message is in a paragraph towards the end of comment which reads : “This guy is an vicious anti-semite and consistently makes attacks on Jewish people and Israel. He is well known to the Board of Deputies of British Jews defence division and the Community Security Trust of the Jewish community.”
The reason I say this is because, I know that “some people” have been trying for a long time to stop the Shaikh from writing his brilliant articles. They used threats and sent vicious letters but they failed to stop him. They even sent people to his house to try to scare him into leaving Britain. As I understand, he was told, stop writing about Israel and Neocons or we will make sure you disappear, from Britain. The Shaikh told them to “get lost” because he is not afraid of them, and so now they are trying to tell him that big national organizations are watching him and that they could harm him if they want. I hope he will continue to write his articles which is so needed in these difficult times when people are so confused. I think we should all pray for the Shaikh’s protection from these people who are trying to stop him from speaking the truth. The Shaikh is not an anti-Simite but when Pro-Israeli activists are attacking Islam and Muslims on a daily basis in the media some scholar has got to speak out. Shaik Riyad does it brilliantly.

5. talebhaqq - June 27, 2006

Hahahahaha ‘My Arab friends tell me that going to these places in India are not recognized qualifications in other Muslim countries…” Wow, who ARE these friends you speak of? This has got to be the most ludicrous statement I have heard in a while.

6. Imad - June 27, 2006

Whatever might be said about these stories from both sides, it is true, as Professor Abdel Haleem at SOAS says, that there are a lot of Indians in Britain calling themselves “Mufti” and “Shaikh” without any right to do so.

“Shaikh” means you have got an ‘alimiyah from al-Madina university or al-Azhar or Zaytouna university or Qarawiyyin. In Algeria and Morocco and Egypt, no one is allowed to call themselves “Shaikh” or be imam in a masjid, or give fatwa in a fatawiy office, or call themselves without proper qualifications from these specialist jamiat.

Professor Abdel Haleem explains very clearly that these Indians and Pakistani guys who come to Britain as “Imams” harm the ummah here. They can’t speak Arabic properly and have only studied in Urdu in some madrassa from their own country.

The shuyukh at the Islamic Cultural Centre in London are properly qualified imams from proper Islamic jamiat. There are also hundreds of “mawlanas” and “mauluvis” in London from India and Pakistan, and I guess they benefit their own communities because they can speak Urdu and know the culture. But now they are starting to put on jalabiyya and ‘imma and calling themselves “Shaikh” and putting themselves as equal to the real ‘ulama.

7. Rasheed Eldin - June 27, 2006

I think there are two aspects to knowing the difference between real scholars and those who wear the garb and/or titles.

One is to check the credentials – what and where did they study, and who gave them authorisation to speak as a scholar? Anyone who is sincere should not hesitate to offer this information when asked, even if it is not generally polite to ask.

The other is to observe the output. When I pray at a mosque where the Imam recites Qur’an in what doesn’t even sound like Arabic, I can no way accept that he is a scholar of the Qur’an, even if his congregation insist he is.

8. Imad - June 27, 2006

I agree brother. I feel strongly that there are different kinds of Muslim scholar. The real kind are those who have studied in a jamiah which is recognised by the Ministry of Waqf of Islamic countries, and throughout the Muslim countries the great jamiat of many centuries in Egypt, Tunis and Saudi Arabia are famous and widely known. There is also the newer jamiat like the Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur. These are the only ones who can call themselves “Shaikh” or “Mufti”.

The other kind are those who have some knowledge about Quran and hadith, but have not received authorisation from a recognised jamiah. They have studied in some madrassas in India and Pakistan or informally. They do not know Arabic and the Islamic ‘ulum as well as the real ulama.

It is good that we have both. It is no good having an Arabic speaking alim from Egypt in a masjid where there are Pakistanis and Indians, as he cannot advise them with sensitivity for their culture and personal problems.

But it is very wrong for these “maulanas” and “mauluvis” to start wearing Arabic clothing and start calling themselves “Shaikh”. In India and Pakistan I know they are called “Maulana” and that is fine, and they do a good service to their ethnic communities. So why all of a sudden when they come to Britain do they start wearing Arabic ‘abay and calling themselves “Shaikh”?

I have met various “shaikhs” in the masjids in this country, and they cannot speak Arabic properly and they have studied only a few things which any high school student of Islamic sciences in Algeria would know.

9. Rasheed Eldin - June 28, 2006

I think there are a number of distinct issues in what you’ve written, and there are a few things I certainly disagree with. I’ll make just two brief points:

1. Scholarship is dependent on continuous study with qualified teacher(s), not upon a particular education system or upon that system being recognised by a government. If that were so, we would have to conclude that most of the luminaries of our religious heritage were not proper scholars!

2. While “Mufti” has a specific meaning (one who issues fatwa, legal verdicts), terms like “Shaikh” and “Maulana” are open to being used in different ways, so I don’t agree with your assigning a particular requirement to people in using any such terms. Remember that “Shaikh” originally means “old man”.

10. Talib al-Yaman - September 27, 2006

It is actually absurd to suggest that Shaikh Riyad Nadwi does not know Arabic when he has actually appeared in Arabic discussion programmes on satelite TV and so many of his articles are written in a very high standard of Arabic (see occri.org.uk). As for the question about who gave him the authority as scholar (alimiyya), I have seen his alimiyya and his sanad of shuyukh which goes via Shaikh Abul Hasan Nadwi and the Grand Mufti of Yemen, all the way back to the Prophet (pbuh).

I think it is clear that the people who are raising questions about his scholarship do not know him or are willfully trying to undermine his reputation for ulterior motives. In both cases, they are very short sighted because they will be proven wrong over and over. Whenever someone meets the Shaikh they will realise that he does have scholarly authority maybe even stronger than some graduates from the other universities mentioned above.

I also want to issue a challenge to those who are claiming that he is not a recognised scholar and that the only the real scholars in the UK are in Central Mosque. Why don’t they write a letter to the Central Mosque and ask them if Shaikh Nadwi is a real scholar or not?

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