Hard hitting friday sermon given in Glasgow immediately after the murder in Woolwich touching on the incident itself and its wider context of the state of religious learning and leadership in the Muslim community.
Maternal healthcare: Statement by scholars and community leaders
GLOBAL — October 9, 2012 -
"Be at your mother's feet and there is paradise" - Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
We address this letter to our brothers and sisters in humanity: assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah: peace be upon you all.
There is a crisis occurring in the world today. A crisis which affects almost every community and every country in the world. A crisis which devastates families and leaves young children vulnerable to poverty, illiteracy and death.
1000 mothers are dying every day during pregnancy or childbirth because they cannot access basic care - that's one every 90 seconds. Over 7 million more women every year are left with disabilities and injuries from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in the developing world, in countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and Pakistan.
But 8 out of 10 women could survive if they had better access to basic healthcare, such as a hospital, basic medication, or trained health workers. This is not expensive or difficult to provide: a package of maternal health services costing about £1 per person could make significant improvements in women's health.
Islam teaches us to honour our mothers for the hardships they endure, and the central role they play in society. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said "Be at your mother's feet and there is Paradise" (Ibn Majah). The Qur'an repeatedly speaks of the rights of mothers to be cared for during pregnancy and childbirth, commanding "...and if they are pregnant, then spend on them until they deliver" (65:6). Islam gives women the right to education, healthcare, marital choice and financial support. We must ensure that these rights are being respected around the world.
Education and family planning are life-saving. 150,000 women could be saved every year by spacing out births and through effective family planning. Encouraging young girls to stay in education and delay their first pregnancy would also prevent many needless deaths, as girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than girls in their 20s. Educated girls are also more likely to make healthier choices during pregnancy and childbirth, which significantly reduce their risk of dying.
Muslim communities have the power to make a difference. Our communities and charities have links with countries where maternal mortality is highest, such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan. This means we're in a unique position to influence attitudes, share life-saving knowledge, and provide vital healthcare to women around the world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith" (Muslim).
We call on Muslims in the UK to lead the campaign to promote maternal healthcare across the globe. You can do this by raising awareness within the UK; by sharing your knowledge with friends and family in developing countries; and by supporting charities and governments to increase their work on maternal healthcare. Join the At Our Mothers' Feet campaign now to celebrate motherhood; let us do our duty in honouring and supporting mothers around the world and make saving mothers' lives a priority.
Shaykh Ruzwan Muhammad, Co-Founder, Solas Foundation
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, 1st Ethical Charitable Trust
Imam Suliman Gani, Imam of Tooting Islamic Centre
Mufti Barkatullah, Ibrahim College
Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury, Al Kauthar Institute and Mercy Mission
Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari, Dar Ul Iftaa
Maulana Abdul Basit, Unity Welfare Foundation
Abul Barakat Mishkat, East London Academy
Farhana Kapasi, Al-Mahdi Institute
Imam Hussein Ahmed, Shah Jalal Mosque
Maulana Abdur-Rahman Madani, Principal of Jamiatul Ummah Sixth Form College
Dr. Usama Hasan, Al-Tawhid Mosque and City Circle
Saiyyidah Zaidi, Working Muslim
Khola Hasan, Albatross Consultancy
Imam Qasim Rashid Ali, Al Khair Foundation
Mahmood Hasan, Chairman, Islamic Aid
Dr. Husna Ahmad OBE, CEO, Faith Regen Foundation
A.G. Karim, Chairman, Lady Fatemah Charitable Trust
Abdurahman Sharif, Coordinator, Muslim Charities Forum
Shaykh Muhammad Hilli
Humera Khan, An-Nisa Society
Ruby Azad, Muslimaat
Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari OBE, CEO and Chief Imam, Karimia Institute
Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Fredericks
Abu Eesa Niamatullah, Al Maghrib Institute
Shaykha Halima Krausen, An-Nisa Society
Shah Muhammad Anas, Principal, Imam Zakariya Academy
Sabooh Uddin, Managing Director, Muslim Charity
Dilowar Khan, Director of East London Mosque Trust/London Muslim Centre
Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain, Director, Al-Mahdi Institute
Syed Lakhte Hassanain, Muslim Hands International
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy & Bereavement, Newham University Hospital Trust
Farooq Murad, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
Jehangir Malik OBE, Director, Islamic Relief UK
Selina Begum Ali, Oak Education and Beacon Institute
Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, Founder, Greensville Trust
Imam Monawar Hussein, Eton College Imam
Shaykh M. Manwar Ali (Abu Muntasir), CEO of JIMAS
Khalid Sofi, Chairman of the Board, MADE in Europe
Ustadha Bint Ahmed, Al Zahra UK
Mohammed Sarwar, Chairman, UCare Foundation (former Member of Parliament)
Munawer Rattansey, Vice President, The World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities