[Chapter 4] Copyright, Ijazah, Idhin and Uses of this Material

Dec 21, 2010

Chapter 4
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

Copyright, Ijazah, Idhin 
and Uses of this Material

Using any part of this material with proper permission – Ijazah – and due acknowledgment will bring Allah’s blessings – Barakah and Rahmah. Without Allah’s blessings no camp, program, effort or activity – individual or collective, Islamic or otherwise – can be truly successful.

Using any part of this material without express permission from the author or the copyright holder, and without proper acknowledgment, is Sariqah – theft. It is a sin.

In our new culture in the West, it is called plagiarism – something that can get us thrown out of universities and colleges if we are students and that could get us in deep trouble in our job if we are professors. Just because we are Muslims it does not make our mutual obligations in this regard any less – it only makes them more serious.

It caused me a great distress when I read what Muhammad Qutb wrote in the preface to one of the editions of Fi Zilalil Qur’an – how people had, without permission or authorization, printed and published it, and profited from it, without the family ever seeing a cent of that money.

It is theft and it is wrong and it is shameful.

Here is the simple solution: Every time you want to repeat or teach something that you read here, mention clearly and openly the source, the title and the author you got it from. That is all it takes when it comes to giving credit and making acknowledgments. When you want to make a broader use of it, contact the author or the copyright holder and ask them properly for their permission – not after the fact, but before you proceed with your first steps of doing it.

To give credit to the source and make proper acknowledgments is part of the wider cultural legacies of Islam that has now become commonplace requirement in civilized circles in the West.

From an Islamic point of view, part of giving credit – other than formal permission, recognition and acknowledgment – is to make Dua for the author, his family and his parents and teachers. When we do that, Allah surrounds us all with his blessings – Barakah and Rahmah.

Reproducing or using any of this material for commercial purposes without express permission from the author or copyright holder is punishable by law.

This is all part of an effort to create among Muslims an increased sensitivity to these issues – a proper Islamic consciousness on these matters. It is an attempt to change some of our cultural practices of the past – to create new values and habits among us Muslims with regard to these and a number of other similar issues.

It is an attempt to hold us Muslims to the common professional standards that are a part of the Western culture – and the Western environment that to us is now home – in these matters. But if you look at them carefully you will realize that these are not really values that the West invented all by itself. These values are in fact a part of what we taught the world – so long ago. They are a part of our own true and long-lost Islamic traditions and culture.

The Western culture, therefore, is now home to Muslims. Not only has Muslim life in the West been shaped by it, and is continually being shaped by it – especially outside mosques and Islamic gatherings and activities – but in the shaping and reshaping of it Muslims of the West themselves are playing a positive and significant role.

As teachers, professors, doctors, lawyers, social workers, business people, office workers, government servants, cab drivers, retirees and just plain ordinary citizens, Muslims are not mere bystanders and passive consumers with regard to Western culture, they are its active shapers and makers. They are its co-owners. They are not just in and of Britain, Europe and America. They are Britain, Europe and America. That is the burden Allah imposes on Muslims, wherever Muslims live.

The sooner the Muslims realize this, the sooner they will be able to get on with their lives, and the sooner they will find the true meaning of Islam in their own lives in the West. And also – the sooner will they be able to do something really positive and useful with regard to all those Muslim issues that agitate them so profoundly and dominate their consciousness from around the world.

This is what I have been trying to say for the past three decades.

But unfortunately this is also what, over these sad but epochal decades, Muslims in the West generally ignored in the heat of their theological disputations and organizational wrangling; in their linguistic, cultural, ethnic and racial chauvinism; in their pursuit of personal perfection in the name of Islam; in the earning of their own personal livelihood using Islamic enterprise as a business; in their adherence to half-baked and outmoded ideas on the relationship of Islam and the West; and in their unquestioning subservience to the opinions and directives of their favorite, “back-home,” Muslim-world based and Middle-East centered thinkers, leaders, scholars, parties and organizations or their local counterparts and surrogates right here in the West.

Sadly, it took a calamity of the magnitude and sweep of September 11, 2001 for many Muslims in the West – the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah – to realize that the West was now home to them and to the Deen of Islam, Western culture and all.

I hope this will be a clear message that you will take with you from this camp or seminar.

Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

© 2003 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

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