We are a Muslim community of 35 000 to 40 000 members including all different sects. The people who make statistics do not make a difference between a Shiite, bahaa’i, Habashi and a Sunni! These Muslims are assimilated in a Christian country of around five million citizens. Even the flag of the country presents the symbol of Christianity, which is the cross. During these last months one group of recently converted Muslims (Sunnis) formed a political party and as their goals they have e.g. trying to stop selling alcohol in the shops, and they went even further to claim that they want to establish sharee’ah in this Christian country! It has to be taken in consideration that the Muslims do not have even their complete usual rights like own graveyard, right to do ritual sacrificing of animals and so on! Before we had a graveyard but it became full and because some errors had been committed in its handling additionally there is also some differing between the parties who will take charge of it, the authorities profited from all of that and made it difficult for us to have a new graveyard! So now if some one dies, he is buried in the same graveyard with the Christians and atheists!!! These recently converted Muslims try to be united between each other and to be far from the qabaliyyah and hizbiyyah of the Somalis, and far from the “talks of the Arabs and their assimilation”. Now the media is focusing on Islam and Muslims here in a negative way by bringing up subjects as: - Divorce is in the hand of the man and the women can not get her complete rights and be free in Islam if she does not want to stay married to her husband… - Corporal punishment of children in homes (because it is a crime in this country if you slap your children) - Muslim families try to isolate their children from the society and not let them to participate in swimming hours (boys and girls together) and attending the music hours… - And whether Muslims would like to follow Islamic law or the law of the country. The goal of the media is to distort the image of Islam and to grow hatred in the chests of the common people for they will hate Islam and Muslims: common people usually complain that we are taking their money and enjoying their services and now they will add to that the claim that we would like to apply here Sharee’ah which we do not even apply in our home countries! And among the Muslims those who practise their religion are a minority while the majority has become assimilated!!! The media and the researchers base their research results on the opinions of every Tom, Dick and Harry i.e. every common ignorant person is qualified to answer. Especially when the most of people nowadays are just running after fame and worldly gains and are enough fed up with their origin and their home countries which neglect their rights and do not appreciate them as citizens. So the appreciation of non-Muslims can make them to take whatever steps … even we heard some who gave up Islam for Christianity! When the head of this group that formed the political party was advised concerning the steps that he is taking, he merely answered that he is trying to get publicity to Islam… (this person was active in politics already in his youth). Now we ask from you to give a general advice to the Muslims in this country and especially to these recently converted Muslims, and to remind us all of our duty in a non-Muslim society and towards its citizens and authorities and to draw for us our limits for we will not be as a hammer that will be used to destroy our own homes or at least not to be a cause to stop even these few rights we enjoy because not everyone has got the possibility to emigrate to an Islamic country. Please if you need more details about the subject you can contact us and we will be pleased to give you more detailed information. I wish to get a quick answer still when there is time to lock doors of evil and before it is too late! Wa jazaakumullaah khayran! There can be some mistakes in our expressions and you are allowed to drop such things that do not fit da’wah and to shape it in the way that you want. The thing that concerns us is to get a complete advice.
We have read more about the country – Finland – in which you are living; some of it saddened us, but other things made us happy. We are saddened by the division that there is among you, and by the fact that many neglect to call people to Allaah or pay attention to their families and children. We are also saddened to learn that some Muslim women have married Christian men in that country, as these are invalid marriages; and that many people have failed to obey Allaah and adhere to His religion. All of that makes the burden of the people of knowledge and goodness even greater, and lays upon them a huge responsibility towards the Muslim community in that European land.
But what made us happy is the news that the number of Muslims in that country is increasing, and the Muslim community is now one hundred thousand strong, according to some reports, although we do not know how many of them are Sunnis. And we are happy to learn that many of the people of that country have entered the religion of Allaah.
What we advise you, and we hope that our words will have a good effect on your hearts and actions:
First and foremost, every Muslim should try to return to his homeland, and those who have become Muslim should move to a Muslim country where they can practise their religion safely. They should leave that country where the religious commitment, minds and hearts of many Muslims have been corrupted, whenever they are able to do so.
Those who cannot leave or who do not want to should fear Allaah with regard to themselves and the members of their household; they should advise them sincerely and take good care of them, and protect themselves and their families from the Fire of Allaah.
You must strive to establish study circles for learning Qur’aan and (Islamic) knowledge, in which the ignorant may be taught and the young Muslims (?) may learn to obey Allaah. It is not permissible for you to be careless about this matter. We have read how the Tatars in Finland preserved their language and culture; your Islam and Arabic language are more important and you must take great care of them in your daily lives.
Try to invite scholars and seekers of knowledge to come to you, so that they can undertake the duties of calling people to Islam, exhorting, guiding and teaching. Such meetings will play a part in uniting you and helping you adhere to the rulings of sharee’ah which have to do with the realities of your lives.
Do not leave any room for the devils among mankind and the jinn to cause division in your ranks and spread disunity among you. You have to be aware that you are living in a Christian society, a Christian country, whose flag bears the cross! You have to remember that what happens between Muslims who have differences is not like your differences with other religions. The difference between Muslims who pray in the same direction (ahl al-qiblah) is may be a difference between Sunnah and bid’ah, and in some cases it may be the difference between a correct view and a less correct view, but the difference between you and the other religions is the difference between Islam and kufr. These are two different issues.
With regard to this party that is trying to establish an Islamic state in Finland, they should think on the basis of reason and not emotion; they should look at reality and not turn a blind eye to it. You cannot even bury a Muslim in a graveyard that is just for Muslims, so would you be able to close liquor stores and establish an Islamic state there?!
What is this, O slaves of Allaah?! This is imaginary dreams and farfetched thinking, which may be excused in a man who does not know the reality of where you live and does not know anything about the difficulties that you face. But a man who sees what you see and knows what you know should think soundly on the basis of fitrah, sharee’ah and reason, and his efforts should be aimed at achieving whatever he is most able to of the Muslims’ interests in your country, and warding off whatever evils, harm and oppression he can.
Based on that, if those people have an Islamic party, they should invest their efforts in establishing Islamic institutions, schools, Muslim graveyards, and stop thinking about establishing an Islamic state, because in fact that is virtually impossible and is just an illusion, based on what we have seen of the Muslims’ inability to achieve that, even in their own countries, so how can they do it in a non-Muslim country? Just demanding an Islamic state will bring evil consequences such as only Allaah knows, so how about if they took practical steps towards it? If the state is unable to stop them – which is not the case – then let them imagine their fate if the European Union were to get involved in stopping that. What would be the fate of all the efforts that have been made for decades? We have read about the situation of Muslim men and women in your country after September 11th, so how about if the anti-Islam establishments were to spread the idea that the Muslims only want to rule in order to apply Islam and limit freedoms and oppress women? Yes, they are exaggerating and lying, but we are giving them the ammunition that they are throwing in our faces.
One of the priorities of that Islamic party should be to preserve Islamic identity and strive to spread the message of Islam, free of distortions; they should present it to the Muslims so as to bring them back to commitment and righteousness, and you should prove to non-Muslims that your religion is a religion of unity, brotherhood and cooperation in righteousness and piety.
The Muslim brothers who are of that land should continue to call people to Allaah among their families and relatives, and tell others of the joy they have found by entering Islam. It seems that they will have more impact on the people of that land than Muslims who have migrated from other countries.
Strive to buy a piece of land as soon as possible to be used for graves for Muslims who believe in Tawheed (the oneness of Allaah), and try to move the Muslims who were buried with non-Muslims to these Islamic graves.
It should be a priority of Islamic groups and political parties, especially those that are trying to establish an Islamic state, as we said, to preserve the identity of the Muslims who are living there. One of the most important means of preserving their identity is for Muslim men to marry Muslim women and to strive to create an Islamic atmosphere in their social lives. In the Islamic parties and organizations there should be people who direct the Muslims’ private matters such as marriage, divorce and social relationships in accordance with the laws of Allaah, without trying to impose that on everyone in the Christian country which, as we have said, is a very farfetched idea, the consequences of which will be bad for you.
We advise everyone to be gentle in calling people to Allaah and to follow the way of the Prophets and Messengers and successful daa’iyahs. You should direct your da’wah to leaders, politicians, decision makers, journalists, writers and all classes of people. Perhaps Allaah will guide one of them who will become very influential. And strive to remove evils from the lives of Muslims in the way that is best.
You should always be in contact with your Muslim brothers in Europe and in the Muslim world, so that you can consult them about your affairs and ask the scholars about issues and problems that you are facing. The Muslim is the mirror of his brother, and two brothers together are stronger than one on his own.
And Allaah knows best.