Fresh thinking about Islam

Topic: Introductory speech, British Islam Conference 2018

Speaker: Dilwar Hussein

Current events, Russia, Trump, Brexit, Grenfell tower and the like, are challenging and provoking us. Some of the issues include the Muslim sphere such as sexual abuse allegations against a prominent scholar. We are not merely observing from a distance. It challenges us to ask ourselves what does it mean to be a Muslim?

You must step back from these issues and not let them define you. If you allow your reaction to be defined by the issues then you are part of the problem. You lose the moral agency to find a solution. Faith enables you to rise above the pain and look towards a better way.

We need fresh thinking about Islam to address contemporary issues of our time. This isn’t changing Islam to fit the environment. We are saying something is wrong and you can’t keep doing things the same way.

Three key messages:

  1. The Quran is clear that your state will not change unless you change what is in your heart. You must start with yourself first. I can’t stop Donald Trump from Tweeting but I can change what I Tweet
  2. Islam is like an ever flowing stream. You have to keep engaging with revelation. Interpreting and asking questions as the environment changes. Don’t be satisfied with interpretations from 300 years ago or earlier
  3. The current challenges we face are so huge and complex that we must reach out beyond our community for collective action. Dealing with this ourselves is not an option. We need to work together as believers and non-believers in collective action to address the issues we face. Most of the time the Quran addresses the whole of mankind and not simply the believers. Our approach has to match this inclusive outlook


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