The Watford based Imam Hussain Foundation held a ground breaking programme honouring the Shia Ulama in Britain and particularly in honour of Hujatulislam Sheikh Mahmud Al Fayaz ( son of Grand Ayatullah al Uzma, Sheikh Eshaaq Al Fayaz )
In attendance were Ayatollah Kashmiri, representative of Grand Ayatollah Sistani in the UK, and Ayatollah Dr Fadhil Milani who both gave key note speeches relating the history of service delivered by Shia scholars in Britain which they highlighted such as addressing new emerging issues such as stem cell implantation, organ donation, ethical economics and many other jurisprudential matters. Ayatollah Milani went on to praise the work of ulama in over two hundred and forty plus Shia centres and Mosques in Britain which included a broad range of functions from ritual funeral, marriage and majalis to counselling teaching and even community management. Hashim Nowrozadde, however, brought attention to how poorly funded most of our Ulama are and how huge the scale of investment in the anti religious hedonism materialism narcissism movement is. However he said “with strategic planning, visionary solutions and commitment to hard work and together with the Ulama all problems could be resolved”
Whilst celebrating the Shia scholarship in Britain the occassion was also used to “touch upon and raise just some of the problems and challenges that the Ummah in UK face.”
Hashim said “In essence, it was an opportunity to thank our Ulama for their hard work in guiding the British Muslim community but also whilst we had the prescence of prominent Ulama we brought to their attention serious concerns we as communities are facing and to ask them to suggest ways of tackling the issues and to let them take the lead in initiating solutions to the growing social and religious crisis in large parts of the British Shia community.” Hashim Nowrozadde also reiterated that “unless we keep pace with the rapidly changing socio religious political and cultural threats and dangers, to the youth in particular, without keeping the Ulama in the loop about contemporary solutions there could be internal misunderstandings and we could shoot ourselves in the foot through disunity and misprioritization of work needed and resource allocations.”
Hashim added “the challenges facing our communities are ever growing. Let’s go back to basics. In the old days when there was a problem ,whatever it was , the first point of call was the local Alim. Nowadays the first port of call is either the police , the solicitor , the accountant , online marriage bureaus , the debt collector agency , etc,. and invariably the person with the problems ends up worse off.”
The organisers asked “what is the solution ? More importantly, what kind of a community will we seeing in the five years time ?” He argues passionately that “we need to empower our youth with traditional values, the values and akhlaq of Ahlulbayt. The voice of Ahlubayt is the Lebass – the Ulama and our Maraja are living evidence of this fact.”
The meeting convenors proposed a practical community social development programme or process to be implemented through Ulama in UK in partnership with other academics activists,the grassroot communities and Centre managements. The suggestion was well received by the Ulama and wull be raised at forthcoming Ulama conventions.
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