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Just curious - how many muslims are on mumsnet?

(1000 Posts)
Galvanise Sat 01-Dec-12 00:21:53


I know mumsnet has a wide and diverse population and I tend to recognise some MN usernames as regulars. Just intrigued to know how big/small a community it may be.

Of course, I respect that there may be those who do not wish to even identify themselves for various reasons - which is fine too.

I am not asking for 'religiousness' levels or any vital stats! Nor is this a muslim-only thread or an 'no non-muslims' thread.
If you really wish to tell me that you are not a muslim, that is fine too smile

<Waves enthusiastically to all muslims and non-muslims> smile

HardlyEverHoovers Tue 25-Dec-12 09:57:15

Wow, you turn your back for a few days and a thread explodes!
Have really enjoyed catching up with this thread. Asalam u alikum Nailak, it's lovely to see you here, I remember your kind advice to me from a previous thread.
Crescent, sooo lovely to read about your familys history with Sufism, what a lovely connection to have. Are your grandparents still alive and have you spoken to them much about these things?

crescentmoon Tue 25-Dec-12 12:18:56

salams hardly, my grandmother was the only grandparent i ever got to be around. she had a beautiful character, very loving and very careful of other peoples dignity and respect. she was very humble and clement, but when it came to dealing with husbands she used to quote the hadith 'the strong muslim is better than the weak muslim' wink. though i tried i found that it was difficult to apply the high ideals of sufism in my marriage grin and i went back to my grandmothers advice!

my grandparents grandparents were also murids i dont know how far it goes back. my parents broke with the qadirriya, they just wanted to keep things simple - but their siblings - who are alive - still keep some of the wirds and the traditions once a week.

the Virgin Mary - called Maryam in Arabic - is the only woman named in the Quran as well as being one of the 4 most important women in Islam.

She has a chapter in the Quran named after her as well - Surah Maryam - and many muslim pregnant women read it everyday in the months coming upto their due date so that their labour would be easy. i used to read Surah Luqman every day in my first trimester (for wisdom), Surah Yusuf every day second trimester (for beauty) and Surah Maryam every day third trimester (for an easy delivery). i read it for my relatives and friends too when i hear they are going into labour, my friend's mum used to read Surah Maryam outside the labour room when she would go into labour. do any of you have that tradition either?

Islamic views of the Virgin Mary

HardlyEverHoovers Tue 25-Dec-12 14:08:56

Nailak, I wanted to say something more about the concept of bidah you mentioned in relation to collective dhikr (remembrance of God). We know that in Islam bidah (innovation-bringing something new into the religion), is not always bad, and there are different levels of bidah, which are obligatory, lawful, recommended, offensive, and permissable, which are set out in detail in this article:
When I first came to Islam I was taught a very simple concept, which is that if something has not been specifically mentioned in the Quran and the sayings of Muhammad (pbuh) then you should look at its' component parts, and if none of the component parts of are forbidden in Islam, the thing is OK. Also, as you mentioned, anything can be worship if done with the right intention, so singing nasheeds together (Islamic poetry)seems like it would fall under this. This has been my guide and has led me away from some Sufi groups and towards others, though I have found lovely people and some benefit in all of the experiences I've had of Sufis.
However, the hadith that Crescentmoon quoted, regarding the angels who look for gatherings of dhikr, seems to suggest that it is specifically allowed.
English words in brackets for the sake of non-Muslims reading! I hope I'm not telling my grandmother how to suck eggs, I realise from your previous posts that you are very knowledgable, but as you said you didn't know much about sufism I thought this might be worth mentioning.
Crescentmoon your first paragraph in your last post really made me laugh! Actually, my experiences of American Sufi women who I had the pleasure of meeting helped me to realise that being a Sufi woman isn't just about being calm and sweet. They were much more outspoken that women I've met here, but it was very much within keeping with the teachings of tasawwuf.

crescentmoon Wed 26-Dec-12 14:35:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crescentmoon Wed 26-Dec-12 14:37:21

otherwise, im sweetness and light to the rest of humanity grin

nailak Wed 26-Dec-12 16:24:08

Lol, you know sometimes people say things and confuse you and you don't know what to say in retaliation. So collective dhikr is a Sunnah. Many people say khatams and stuff for dead are bid ah? ( when people get together and recite Quran in honour of those who have died).

My dhs gf is a pir, they have a 'kabah' at his grave. Every year they have procession through streets, change cloth, put mounds of flower petals, have feast etc. me and dh think is bid ah, but maybe not all of it is then?

HardlyEverHoovers Wed 26-Dec-12 19:27:07

Laughing once again Crescentmoon, I don't speak the same language as my in-laws so it's quite easy to sit and smile sweetly and pretend I haven't got a clue what's going on (and I haven't most of the time).
Well Nailak,kabas at gravestones and processions certainly sound rather odd but Allahu alim!
But I thought reciting Quran for the deceased was fairly standard, have no idea of the evidence for that though.

crescentmoon Thu 27-Dec-12 10:46:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HardlyEverHoovers Thu 27-Dec-12 13:23:22

There is a word in my husbands native tongue, 'miskeen' or for a woman 'miskeena', which roughly translated means 'poor thing'. It might as well be my name when I'm there. It seems to have multiple meanings, including:
'poor thing, her cats just died'
'poor thing, she's so kind'
'poor thing, she means well'
'poor thing, she hasn't got a clue'

I suspect the latter meaning is the one which is normally directed at me...

Anyway, rather off topic sorry!

mariammama Thu 27-Dec-12 15:06:04

Crescent, I think your granny and mine were cut from the same pattern wink.

Re the Trinity, the times I have doubted were based on the argument commonly known amongst Catholics as "thinking about it just gives me a headache" wink. The Al-Ghazali argument presumes the concept of 3 separate gods with different views, which would be heresy in our faith too.

The Maryam surah is lovely. We have a tradition of using prayer beads (rosary) which I think was an Islamic influence originally. The mental prayers traditionally used on Mondays and Thursdays are based on Jibreel/Gabriel coming to Mary, her visit to her cousin (Yahya/John's mother, whose husband was struck dumb), the Nativity taking place in a far-off town, Mary returning to present her son in public, and then his debates with the religious scholars.

It's interesting to read about controversy about praying for the deceased in Islam. This is something which separates Catholics/Orthodox (who do) from Evangelials/Protestants (who don't). Culturally based features added in and giving the whole practice a suspect flavour also sound familiar wink

HardlyEverHoovers Thu 27-Dec-12 20:31:27

mariammama, it's interesting to hear your comments about catholicism. I used to live in a very Catholic area (abroad). A lovely old lady used to live next door and we would sometimes both be sitting on the patio using our prayer beads at the same time!
The imagery used in Catholicism is very strong and quite alien to Muslims, for example many people had nativity scenes built into their houses (permanent, not just for Christmas!). It was interesting to see a very public faith in action, which is not very obvious in the UK these days.
The country we lived in has an Islamic past, so there was quite a bit of Islamic influence, for example a lot of Churches faced Mecca as they were previously mosques.

crescentmoon Fri 28-Dec-12 09:14:12

yes i used to live in a catholic country too hardly and i found the very public faith very interesting. we're so used to the anglican quiet type of christianity - i went to a c of e primary and that was my 'normal' view of xtianity - but there i would see people cross themselves walking past those nativity type scenes many times even while on the bus! even young people! after growing up in the UK it really surprised me.

the 'visualness' of catholicism is very alien to me - perhaps the simplicity i find in Islam a catholic would call that same quality 'austerity'.

but the 'justification by works' concept in catholicism is something that muslims readily recognise and understand - much more so than the 'justification by faith' position of the protestants.

as for praying for the deceased i think its a very new thing to disagree over. what the prophet (pbuh) prohibited was the professional type of mourning where people would scream and tear at their clothes and wail for the deceased person - all whilst their eyes are dry! they still do that in pats of libya and egypt btw. a friend told me in her country people would get paid to stand outside the deceased persons house and cry loudly just to let it be known to the neighbours and everyone that the person who died was greatly important and beloved and missed! but the quiet type of visiting and praying with the bereaved, either reading the Quran together or using the prayer beads to count the names of God is absolutely normal in orthodox islam.

we have something abit like a catholic wake when someone dies, right after the news is heard people start to visit the family of the bereaved to console them and pray with them. completely the opposite of the normal 'leave them alone to grieve quietly' that wider society has. this custom might seem intrusive but perhaps it is because of the wider british protestant influenced culture then? that continues for about 3 days, then after 40 days people meet again and read the quran and make prayers for the person who passed away. as for khatams: they are when a group of people read the quran for someone who has died and each make the intention that the reward for reciting it goes to the deceased person. they normally split the 30 parts of the Quran between them and people volunteer to read whichever hizb they can.

crescentmoon Fri 28-Dec-12 09:18:11

as for 'thinking about it gives me a headache' i laughed when i read that, thats how i feel about predestination and free will. though i came to a peace about it not through reading the works of philosophers but of neuroscientists.

mariammama Fri 28-Dec-12 10:24:25

Very interesting, thinking about your posts, Crescent and Hardly, the faith-as-daily-life commonalities are probably why I often peek at the Islamic boards. Will go back to lurking for a bit now, but hope it's ok to pop back up when relevant. And nailak, thanks again re veil thoughts.

HardlyEverHoovers Fri 28-Dec-12 13:38:23

It was also my impression that praying for the dead, and reading Quran for them, was fairly orthodox. As for the other things that Nailak mentioned I have no knowledge of those.
I wonder crescentmoon if we lived in the same Catholic country?
Mariammama enjoy your lurking and please come back any time, it's really nice to hear a different perspective.

Cuddledup Fri 28-Dec-12 20:46:14

I've just written a long post but it disappeared into the ether.... hmm.

ANyway I just wanted to say how interesting I've found what you've been posting about attitudes to death. My dear father died on Sunday and I"ve been flabbergasted at how people have assumed we should just carry on as if nothing has happened. (Ok so he was 90 and in failing health but it's still a great loss >>>)

The idea that a bereaved family sits for 3 days and receives guests/ mourners seems totally compassionate and humane. In my case it's been business as usual: Xmas, house guests, lots of running around after everyone and really all I've wanted to do is to sit quietly and talk about my dad. (However DH and his family are all atheists so it's to be expected I guess).

Crescent thank you again for your kind PM, the kindness of strangers at this difficult time is what I will remember most.

Finally I'd be v grateful if someone could point me in the direction of a web link to the Muslim attitude to death and life after death. thanks

HardlyEverHoovers Sat 29-Dec-12 08:44:33

Cuddleup, so sorry to hear of the loss of your father, and that you have not been given time and space to grieve for him. I hope now the festive period is coming to a close you will have the time and space you need to think and reflect on your fathers life and death.
I lost my grandmother last summer, she was also very old and in bad health, and in some ways we felt relieved for her that her suffering in this life was over, but that doesn't take away from the feeling of loss of someone who has always been in your life.
This link, has some good information about the Islamic view of death:
It contains and answer to a question and below that there is a lovely article.

HardlyEverHoovers Sat 29-Dec-12 10:48:46

Sorry, forgot to tick the box to make it into a link.

HardlyEverHoovers Sat 29-Dec-12 11:34:38

and this one contains references to a couple of good books which I think are available on Amazon:

Cuddledup Sat 29-Dec-12 14:01:58

Thank you Hardly for your kindness. The links are interesting. Thank you for your sympathy. thanks

crescentmoon Sun 30-Dec-12 09:09:27

salam alaikum all,

dear cuddleup, im so glad that i didnt overstep by pm'ing you. im so sorry that you are not getting that space to grieve for your father, i hope this next week is less fraught and busy and you have time to think.

it is important for the bereaved to have someone to talk to about the loved one who passed away, just to sit with them and hold their hand as they talk about the last few days, their plans, the last moments, etc is really helpful for them and a reminder to everyone else. as visitors leave other visitors arrive to pass their condolences. a few years ago my friend's husband died, such a good man and she loved him so much. my friends and i went to visit her and as she wept we wept as well and consoled her and talked through how transient this life is and how none of us know what will happen to us tomorrow. in fact it shouldnt just be for 3 days people feel fresh grief over a death for many weeks and months after, but the wider community should at least give that much.

crescentmoon Sun 30-Dec-12 09:13:13

Abu Hurayra said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, will say on the Day of Rising,
'Son of Adam, I was ill and you did not visit Me.' The man will say, 'O Lord, how could I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?' He will say, 'Do you not know that My slave so-and-so was ill and you did not visit him? Do you not know that if you had visited him, you would have found Me with him?
O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you did not feed Me' he will say, 'O Lord, how could I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds?' He will say, 'Do you not know that My slave so-and-so asked you for food and you did not feed him? Do you not know that if you had fed him, you would have found that with Me?
O son of Adam, I asked you for water and you did not give it to Me.' He will say, 'O Lord, how could I give You water when You are the Lord of the worlds?' He will say, 'My slave so-and-so asked you for water and you did not give it to him. Do you not know that if you had given him water, you would have found that with Me?'" [Muslim]

(hadith Qudsi)

crescentmoon Sun 30-Dec-12 14:35:43

when i talk about God with muslims i use the word Allah because that is the more intimate word for me. so on this thread im using Allah more because i think it is generally sisters who are reading it. when i talk about religion with non muslims i use the word God because the word Allah seems to spook some people, though christian and jewish arabs use the word Allah as its the arabic for God.

and so because i think it is more sisters who are reading this i wanted to talk about wahhabis....

the wahhabis are the most widely known and have so much money and support behind them because that was their terms for helping the ambitions of the Saud the 18th century the Sauds wanted to gain leadership of arabia from the Rashidi royal family who were supported by the ottomans. the wahhabis came along with this ultra simplistic type of islam and the sauds saw that as their chance to usurp the rashidis because the wahhabis saw any muslims who did not practise like them as apostates/ renegades. the royal rashidis were SUFIS and the wahhabis made takfir on them and on anyone who supported them.

all this bullcrap about do not rebel against your leaders, its haram to revolt etc that the wahhabi scholars write about and spread to keep the civilian population cowed is actually a complete hypocrisy if you read about how the saud royal family and the wahhabis came to prominence.

it was their unholy alliance that allowed the sauds to gain control over arabia and name it after themselves: Saudi Arabia. then they started this fictitious history that the rashidis were innovators and how there were idolators in Mecca and grave worshippers etc. to justify themselves. and - against the wider ottoman empire - they began the Arabisation of Islam. they wanted to delegitimise the Turks by saying 'we are arabian arabs we are the real inheritors of the Prophet (pbuh) and no one else is legitimate.
the Prophet (pbuh) said in his final sermon:

"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action."

but the wahhabis then tried to claim authority and legitimacy because of being arabian arabs. therefore using the same argument as the Shias who they despise. centres of islamic knowledge in north and sub saharan africa: Cairo, Timbuktu, the Levant: Damascus, the Subcontinent: , the Far East and South East Asia: the Wahhabis declared that they were all practising a suboptimal form of Islam - going as far as to call them heretics.

and on the egalitarian nature of sunni islam they then sought to impose this alien structure. the first thing that gets the back up of muslims when we talk with wahhabis is this view that only arabian arabs can understand the Quran and Sunnah properly. that isnt what the prophet (pbuh) said. think how prominent the companions Salman Al Farsi (the persian), Suhaib Ar Rumi (the Roman) and Bilal al Habshi (the african) are to the story of Islam.

i started a thread a few months ago about authority in (sunni) islam but so few sisters replied - i think defuse did, that i thought perhaps its not the right time! but firefly raised it a page ago and naila you said sometimes people say things to confuse and you dont know what to say in reply.

i think this shows how much the wahhabis are at the back of everyones thoughts that the first time we hear of anything different its when a wahhabi is making a point of calling it a bidah. iv been going to classes recently and though we are all sufi sunnis sometimes the questions that are asked show that we are unsure of ourselves because the wahhabis have done such a good job of claiming quran and sunnah for themselves that we feel we are the interlopers!

the thing is, the wahhabis are schismatic. and muscular. and they find it very very very easy to criticise other muslims and make takfir on them. and mainstream muslims dont know how to deal with that effectively - we hold different opinions and believe that is okay because the prophet (pbuh) said "differences of opinion in my ummah are a mercy".

the Quran tells us that we were created from different nations and tribes so as to show the glory of God. not as a punishment on some tower of babel thing.. and that we may know each other. we have different mentalities and experiences and that is a good thing. the prophet (pbuh) gave different advice to different people depending on their intellectual ability, understanding and resolve. some he told them it is enough to love God and some he told they are not completely unless they do the night prayers!

but the wahhabis they just want to beat us down into a very small tiny box and though they claim it is the true islam it is only a specifically saudi arabised version.

so as Christianity accomodated european paganism which made it spread peacefully through europe but by the sword everywhere else, now the wahhabis wish to arabise islam which cannot work because there are too many cultures in islam that only converted when they were reassured 'you do not have to bow your neck to the arab'.

the good thing about the wahhabis is that they made us all go back to the texts. orthodox, traditional, liberal, secular, etc by constantly trying to drive our backs against the wall with a finger in our chests saying 'where is your evidence/who is your scholar? that is not authentic..' etc you know what? it backfired on them because we realised how selectively they treat the quran and hadith. on politics, on race issues, on women etc they said 'you people only follow scholars we are the only ones who read the quran and hadith ourselves' and now that we read it too we realise the closed door to ijtihad is now being blown wide open by everybody.

the quran hasnt been altered and has stayed consistent for 1400 plus years. but not the hadith. the hadith collections have had the wahhabi treatment - ostensibly to sift out which are authentic and which are not but really, to screen out any proof that the sufis, the shias, or other muslims have legitimacy. sahih bukhari published in 2012 does not contain the same hadith as sahih bukhari 1912, all under our noses too. ...

and breathe. rant over.

nailak Sun 30-Dec-12 17:33:34

I found this fan page for rumi v=

I have a question though, there is a quote that says something aout when you loose all sense of self the bonds will vanish and you will return the root of your soul,

there is almost exact thing in bhagvad gita where it says when you loose all sense of ego like "I, me and mine" then you will achieve enlightenment"

How do you reconcile this? do you say parts of Hinduism are true but it has been corrupted? Dis Rumi get his ideas from Hindu spirituality?

ok off to read the thread now.

nailak Sun 30-Dec-12 17:33:49


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