Imam Jalal Uddin was a kind, gentle and thoughtful man; who was respected by many within all parts of the communities of Rochdale. He had the rare ability to reach out to parts of the Pakistani/ Kashmiri community which many Bengali scholars would struggle to do or even have the patience to try! As an accomplished Qari of the Quran, he was called upon by many parents to teach their children in their own homes and was a regular presence at religious or community events in many different Mosques around the town. I first met him around ten years ago, I remember his smile which could light up an empty room, when looking at his face you could see a man of peace and compassion. He was always bubbly and conscience about how he could help other people. The reason I set out these personal qualities of Imam Jalal Uddin is that you get an accurate and truthful account of who he was and not the lies and character assassination that Ajmal Masroor, his killers and some Salafis have been engaged in since the verdict was announced.
Prior to the murder of Imam Jalal Uddin, Mohammed Hussein Sayeedi who was convicted yesterday at Manchester Crown Court and his close friend Mohammed Kadir who was the one who attacked the Imam had made a self-described view about him. They had come to a conclusion that the Imam was dangerous as he was engaged in witchcraft and black magic; I on the other hand would argue that he was engaged in Taweez from the Quran and this was allowed. But ISIS and some Salafi scholars believe that all Taweez whether good or bad was deemed to be shirk and something had to be done about him. They knew that he was an over stayer as part of his visa and they devised to report him to the Home Office so that he could be deported. They covertly followed him, filmed him and gathered evidence of his movements. During the trial Sayeedi could not explain why they were doing such covert monitoring and accepted he did not view Imam Jalal Uddin as a Muslim because of the shirk.
At no stage did they discover any black magic because it never happened and Imam Jalal Uddin was not engaged in the act of black magic. His view and the view of Ahle Sunnat scholars is that Taweez with Duas taken from the Holy Quran and Hadith is permissible in Islam and I will later in this blog set out why it is permissible. Ahle Sunnat also say those engaged in black magic, witchcraft or voodoo are actions that take you out of the fold of Islam, so why would a man of Allah do such an action. During weekly circles at the Dawah Centre on Yorkshire Street which is a Salafi inspired bookshop Sayeedi and Kadir met and discussed issues which I am told by several present at the circles around Taweez, shirk and the punishment for those engaged in it. Whilst I do not have any video evidence of these circles two separate individuals have given me the same story. It looks like the central web was the Dawah Centre and there are serious answers the community need. Since February 2016 and Imam Jalal Uddin’s murder they have not uttered a single word of condemnation of the killing, no compassion for his family or encouragement for the community to come forward and give evidence. Why the silence?
The central premise should be that there is diversity and difference of opinions in the Muslim community, everyone should be free to live their lives according to their own choices. This mad Takfirism which started amongst Salafis and Wahabis and now sadly has spread to some Brelvis in recent months is dangerous and has led to what happened to Imam Jalal Uddin. Words matter and everyone should reflect on what they say and what might happen if people take what these Imams say as inspiration to kill people. No one has the right to take anyone’s life full stop, no excuses, no justification ever.
One such Imam is Ajmal Masroor from London. He is an accomplished TV presenter, charity worker and Imam. I have known him for many years as a moderate voice of reason and until today I would have described him as none sectarian. Like myself a few years ago we both appeared on a death threat list from Al Shabaab terrorist group and he has been pretty consistent against terrorism and extremism. So this morning when I woke up to dozens of text messages suggesting that I should read what Ajmal Masroor has said about Imam Jalal Uddin. I was disgusted firstly by the lies and untruths; the family had only just got justice for their father and less than a few hours later a prominent Imam of Bengali origin was describing him as engaged in Taweez, black magic and witchcraft. Purely on a human level he could have shown some compassion for his family, solidarity as they were trying to rebuild their lives but no Mr Masroor distorted the truth and lied about their father. He should be ashamed of himself, Islam is the faith of compassion and as a leader he has let himself down. You see in his Facebook post he didn’t provide any evidence for his assertion that Imam Jalal Uddin was engaged in witchcraft and black magic, how could anyone make such sweeping statements without being aware that you need evidence to accuse your fellow Muslim. I will briefly settle the Taweez matter which Ajmal and his Salafi supporters claim is Shirk and takes you out of the fold of Islam. I am not a scholar but I have shared this blog with a number of scholars who approve its contents.
The definition of a Taweez is simply a written Dua (pray) from the Quran or Hadith and is for people who cannot read or memorise the pray. It is often written on a piece of paper and is worn round the neck. The Ahle Sunnat view is that to wear a Taweez around the neck is permissible if the written Dua is from the Quran or Hadith. Anyone engaged in black magic, witchcraft is automatically out of the fold of Islam and the scholars through the times have been clear about this. There is no excuse or accommodation with anyone engaged in such actions. However putting the Duas from the Quran on a piece of paper and putting around your neck is allowed and not black magic or shirk. This is simply because the taweez is from the Quran and the person is calling out to Allah SWT. How can anyone doubt that Duas from the Quran or Hadith can cure the sick when Allah SWT in the Holy Quran says:
“We send down in Quran that which is a healing and a mercy for believers”
(Surah Banu Israil, verse 82)
Let’s look at what some of the classical Ulama of the Ummah have said about Taweez and its permissibility. First there is Imam Qadi Shawkani RA, a Yemeni scholar (1759-1839) in his Tafsir of the above verse said
“If the Quranic Duas are recited and blown on the sick, they will be cured“
(Source: Tafsir Fath Al Qadir, under Surah Bani Israil)
The Great scholars of Hadith Imam Bukhari RA and Imam Muslim RA write:
“When anyone was sick or in some pain they would come to the Prophet ﷺ who would then place their blessed hands and blow onto him”
(Source: Bukhari, Muslim, chapter of Tibb)
Imam Muslim RA also narrates a Hadith from the beloved mother of believers Hazrat Aisha RA.
“When the Holy Prophet ﷺ was ill for the last time, Hazrat Aisha RA recited Surah Al Falaq and Surah An Nas and then blow onto the Holy Prophet ﷺ blessed hands. The Prophet ﷺ then blew this onto their own face and body because their blessed hands were more blessed than any other human being.”
(Source: Muslim, chapter of Tibb)
Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya writes:
“It is permissible to recite Duas and then blow upon the sick in Islam, but the words must be from the Quran or Hadith. If the words are not, then it is not permissible.”
(Source: Ibn Taymiyya, At-Tawassul, chapter of blowing onto the sick)
Imam Al Qurtabi RA wrote in detail about these matters and what is permissible according to the Hadith:
“The Taweez that are forbidden are those from the time of ignorance – those which are satanic and contain an element of Shirk (mantar, voodoo and magic). The Taweez which are permitted are those written with Duas evidently from the Quran and Hadith only)
(Source: Al Qurtabi, At-Tadhkirat, chapter of Taweez)
Allama Alusi Al Hanafi RA, in his Tafsir of the Holy Quran writes:
“According to Imam Malik RA – it is permissible to put round the neck the Taweez written with the name of Allah. Imam Baqir RA also stated that it is permitted to put such a Taweez around the neck of a child”
(Ruh Al Mani, Chapter 15, under Sura Al Muminum, Verse 97)
As I have said already I am not a scholar but through my research today I wanted to be absolutely clear for the readers that the Taweez which Imam Jalal Uddin was giving out was in accordance with the Holy Quran, Hadith and Sharia; to suggest otherwise is an insult to our faith and you will be answerable for your lies. If I have made any mistakes in this research I ask Allah SWT to forgive me.
ISIS have accused many people during their barbaric rein in Syria and Iraq of black magic, done takfir against them and killed them. What Mohammed Hussein Sayeedi and Mohammed Kadir did was no different because it’s the same ideology and mind-set.
Ajmal Masroor without any evidence, maybe based on prejudice against certain people or any other reason said Imam Jalal Uddin was engaged in black magic, witchcraft, and Shirk – this is the worse allegation you can make against anyone and he now has an urgent duty to provide evidence to back this up according to Sharia principles. If he cannot provide any such evidence, he should retract his previous post, apologise to the family of Imam Jalal Uddin RA and seek forgiveness from Allah SWT.
In conclusion let us remember there is enough space within our world for differences without resorting to takfir. Whether it is coming from the likes of Ajmal Masroor, ISIS or Salafis or from modern day keyboard so called Brelvis we must reject their division and Takfirism; if we do not then more murders like this one will happen. Partial justice has been served with Sayeedi’s conviction but his family, friends and community wont rest until Mohammed Kadir is brought to justice. Imam Jalal Uddin was a good and decent man and he will live on in the hearts of many in Rochdale. Finally Ajmal it is okay to get things wrong Brother after all we are all human and makes mistakes, but the better person is he who accepts the mistake and corrects it. Will that be you or will you allow your prejudices to cloud you? Over to you Ajmal……