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Imam of the Woking Mosque replies to question about Fascism/Nazism in 1939
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Imam of Woking Mosque replies to question about Fascism/Nazism in 1939

Declares these ideologies to be absolutely opposed to Islam

Discrimination against Jews in Germany is “inhuman and unjust”

In The Islamic Review, March 1940, the Imam of the Woking Mosque replies to a British reader who asked whether membership of the fascist British Union led by Sir Oswald Mosley was compatible with Islam. The Imam’s reply is reproduced below.

November 7, 1939.



I am thankful to you for your letter of the 3rd instant which you have written to us on having read our literature on Islam. I am glad of your appreciative remarks.

You wish to know if your membership of the British Union, whose Leader is Sir Oswald Mosley, is compatible with the teachings of Islam. Now, in reply to this, I write to say that I can only give some guiding principles as enunciated by Islam, leaving it for you to decide the issue. Islamic polity is controlled by certain guiding principles. The first and the most important is that God has no associates neither in His essence nor in His attributes and the stress laid upon this by Islam can be best understood when we remember that though we are expressly asked in the Quran to obey our parents implicitly it is enjoined upon us to disobey them at the risk of their displeasure, if they ever invited us to polytheism (the Quran, 17:23).

The second, as a corollary to the foregoing, teaches us to remember that all human beings are equal both spiritually and morally and are equal before the eyes of law. Even a king forms no exception. We Muslims do not believe in the myth which is embodied in the sentence “the king can do no wrong.” The Quran, consequently, teaches us that everything in the world is created by God for the service of man.

The third principle is that there should be no compulsion in matters religious (the Quran, 2:256); there should be absolute freedom of conscience and no one is to be persecuted because of his religious persuasions.

God alone is the source of our moral conduct; it is His attributes that are our watchword. Our Prophet Muhammad once said: “Imbue yourselves with the Divine Attributes;” that is to say, take Him for your prototype. According to Islam it is God who is the ruler and the chief of the world. His Will is the source of all legislation in Islam. Have we ever seen God making any distinction in the dispensation of His favours between a white and a black? We, therefore, have no right to be intolerant towards others or assume haughty airs towards those who do not belong to the same faith as we do or have not the same colour of skin as we have.

Now Nazism, as I understand it, is absolutely opposed to these fundamentals — the source of all conduct and legislation in Islam. The present-day legislation in Germany is inspired by racial discrimination and religious distinctions. It, to begin with, believes in racial superiority, it believes in exiling people for their religious opinions. It has actually pulled down synagogues. I have no idea if these are the aims of the British Union. In case they are, then there can be no two opinions on the matter. Islam has come to establish in reality the Brotherhood of Man which is the imperative need of the present-day world. Enough of dissensions. Let us talk of ways enabling us to treat each other as brothers and members of one family.

To illustrate further the foregoiug I cite to you the case of the Jews. I know the Jew is inassimilable and that there are many who believe that the present-day troubles are due to the financial machinations and control of the affairs of the world by the Jews. I need hardly point out to you that such statements are sweeping. It is not all the Jews who are guilty. There are good and honest Jews too. Why should they suffer for the misdeeds of their coreligionists?

As a Muslim, I would not persecute the whole community for the crime of the few; I would not exile the Jews bag and baggage in punishment of the few guilty ones. I would try instead to bring about changes in our economic system without persecuting the Jews as Jews. When you and I wish to introduce desired reforms in our own midst, we try to restrict the activities of such as obstruct our reforms and jeopardise their existence. A discrimination is made on the basis of the crime but not on the basis of the race or religion. Only those are made to suffer penalty who harm the interests of society; only those are brought to book who create trouble. It is not only inhuman and unjust, it is also irreligious to condemn a person because of his race or religion. In Islam there is no colour distinction; in Islam religious differences are not regarded as synonymous with lack of the existence of truth or goodness in those who are not Muslims. The Quran says: “Every one who does good shall have reward from his Lord (2:62; 5:48). The duty of a Muslim ends with his having pointed out to a non-Muslim the error in his belief.

Please do not hesitate to write to me if there is anything you would like to know about Islam.

With kind regards,

I am,
Yours sincerely,
Abdul Majid,

See also from the same issue of The Islamic Review: Report of ‘Id-ul-Fitr at Woking, 13 November 1939: Imam declares that Muslims must fight against the destruction of Jewish synagogues by Nazi Germany

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