May 27, 2018

SHARE AND SHARIA ALIKE:

Britain and Islam - the real special relationship: This country is fully Quran-compliant. And it has been since the Elizabethan era (Ed Husain, 26 May 2018, The Spectator)

The consolidation of Protestantism, free trade, and free inquiry in England that led to the Enlightenment had something to do with the Ottoman-Elizabethan pact. By the end of her reign, English traders, diplomats, adventurers, and others lived or travelled through places such as Istanbul, Damascus, Fallujah, Aleppo, Raqqa, Algiers, Baghdad and Tripoli. The Queen was said to like Moroccan sugar so much that her teeth became quite black with decay.

The merchants who left England, writes the historian Jerry Brotton, transformed Elizabethan homes. The wealthy filled their houses with Turkish carpets, silk quilts and embroidered tapestries. The language of 16th-century England was filled with Arabic: 'sugar' from sukkar, 'crimson' from kirmiz, 'tulip' from tulband. The English fascination with Islam and Muslims did not end with the Elizabethans. In 1650, a Greek-Turk named Pasqua Rosee opened the first coffee house in the City of London. It was pious Muslims from Yemen who spread the drinking of coffee within the Ottoman Empire, to help believers stay awake at night for worship of Allah. In Arabic, qahwah, or kehve in Turkish, became 'coffee' in English. Samuel Pepys visited the coffee house in 1660 and wrote 'the first time that ever I was there, and I found much pleasure in it'.

During the Victorian era, hundreds of thousands of Muslims served in the British armed forces. During the Crimean war, Ottoman Muslims fought together with the British against the Russians. It was in Constantinople that Florence Nightingale invented the art of nursing. Queen Victoria's government was proud to remind the Ottoman sultan that she was an empress of more Muslims than he. Britain's first purpose-built mosque was in 1889 in Woking, Surrey.

Most importantly, it was Queen Victoria's patronage of and closeness to Munshi Abdul Karim that shows a warmth at the highest levels of British society towards Muslims. As part of the royal household, this pious Indian taught her Urdu, the poetry of Rumi, and gave her spiritual comfort. The 2017 feature film Victoria and Abdul captured some of the depth of that relationship.

Too often, too, we forget that half a million Muslims fought with Britain in the first world war and died in the trenches for God, King and Empire. That generation held these values worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, almost four million Muslims from the Empire and then the Commonwealth have made Britain our home. The freedom to worship and thrive here in Britain is unmatched by any other country. It was this freedom that drew my Muslim parents to this country. The raison d'ĂȘtre of Islamic civilisations and the shariah for a thousand years was to provide five things: security, worship, preservation of the family, nourishment of the intellect and protection of property. These are called maqasid, or the higher objectives of the shariah. Britain provides these in multitudes for every Muslim today. There is no French tradition of laicitĂ© or hostility to Islam in modern British history.

Posted by at May 27, 2018 7:26 AM

  

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