A brief report on Al Habib’s UK tour in May 2012, organized by Radical Middle Way.
Habib Ali arrived in London on 2nd May after a three year absence. The tour was being organised by Radical Middle Way, a nonprofit organisation based in London that works with the Muslim community in the UK. Habib Ali visited numerous cities, including London, Leicester, Birmingham, Bradford, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge and Cardiff.
The tour included a two day intensive course in the newly built Harrow Mosque, in north-west London, on book 20 of the Ihya ulum al-Din of Imam al-Ghazali, titled “The Etiquettes of Living and Prophetic Character.” As part of Habib Ali’s continued outreach to other faith communities, a number of interfaith meetings were arranged, including a frank discussion on the future of Christian minorities in the Middle East, which took place at Lambeth Palace and was attended by representatives of the Anglican, Catholic and Coptic Churches, as well as various leaders from the Muslim community. In Leicester, Habib Ali spoke at the St. Philip’s Centre, a Church that is well renowned for it’s extensive interfaith work and which is located next to the Umar ibn al-Khattab Mosque. The topic was lessons to be learnt from the life the Prophet Jesus on being a good neighbor and coexistence.
The theme of the tour was “Muhammad: Master of Change, Upon him be Peace,” and a number of talks and reminders were offered on this topic in the various cities. You can hear some of them through the audio page. As part of the cultural aspect of the tour, Habib Ali delivered a discourse on poetry and spirituality at the “Day of Poetry” event at SOAS university in London. There were also presentations by Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad and Shaykh Muhammad Bashuaib, as well as recitals of classical and contemporary poetry by various artists.
As part of the community outreach aspect of the tour, visits were made to the Cambridge Muslim College which was founded by Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad, a new mosque being built by Shaykh Habib al-Rahman in Bradford, Jamia al-Karam Institution in Nottingham, and the Yemeni Mosque in Cardiff, where Habib Ali also took part in the revival of the community procession, a tradition that had been started by the scholars and community of Cardiff in the previous century but had been stopped for over 50 years. You can view photos of the event below.
Habib Ali also took part in the first dedicated conference on Muslim nonprofit work in the UK, organised jointly by Radical Middle Way and An-Nisa Society at the Muslim College in Ealing, London. Habib Ali delivered a lecture on the concept of faith (iman) and service (khidma) and sought to address the needs and requirements of those who work in the field. He also met with Elizabeth Huntley at the event, director of Theos, a think thank based in London dedicated to creating dialogue around faith and society, and shared perspectives with her on Tabah Foundation and it’s mission.
After the conclusion of the tour Habib Ali participated in the launch of Tabah Foundation’s new release, “Muhammad Shahrur’s Cargo Cult,” in Oxford University. He delivered a presentation on Tabah Foundation and it’s vision. The trip was brought to a close thereafter and Habib Ali departed for Brussels.