Dr Riyaz Timol

Dr Riyaz Timol

I'm a Research Associate in British Muslim Studies at Cardiff University where I teach the MA module 'History and Development of Muslim Communities in Britain': https://cardiff.academia.edu/RiyazTimol

Location UK

Activity

  • Hi Philipp - fascinating insights, thanks! If you've not come across it, you might find the concept of 'intersectionality' interesting: https://www.thoughtco.com/intersectionality-definition-3026353

  • Dear Jocelyn - lovely to have you on board! Karen Armstrong's book 'A Short History of Islam' is great; I read it many years ago but still recommend it to students for its succinct condensing of 1400 years into a mere 150 pages! I hope you find the course useful and a hospitable place to continue your learning journey...

  • Dear Helen - thanks for your feedback. In preparing the course content, we face the challenge of catering to a very diverse range of audience requirements and try to focus on the basic essentials of faith and practice that most Muslims agree upon. However, as you rightly point out, there are many 'denominations' within the world of Islam and these have their...

  • Hi Judy - please see below. Thanks...

  • @NicolaJames

    Hi Nicola - I'm not sure what you mean when you say "the shahada gives no choice for Muslims in the UK"? The shahada is certainly supposed to be an act of choice; you choose to make the testimony of faith if these are propositions you feel you can subscribe to. In another post, I've talked about the separate issue of religious socialisation,...

  • Hi Lorraine - another good question which shows you're really thinking about this! Menstruating women are actually completely exempt from the prayer and fasting - and it absolutely doesn't count against them; its generally seen as a 'mercy' from God to lessen their load. If prayers are ordinarily missed without any valid reason, then they need to be made up...

  • Hi Graham - you touch on an important point. There is a huge spectrum of diversity in both practice and understanding across the world of Islam. So, with respect to the prayers, some Muslims pray once a day, while others three. Some attend the mosque only on a Friday while others do so several times a day. Some pray only at home, while others while they're...

  • Dear Graham - thanks for your comments and sorry the course is not living up to your expectations. I would take issue with your contention that the course is not rooted in social science. We are ethnographers by trade, and engage in a type of social science that is grounded in an empathetic engagement with human subjectivity as a necessary precondition to...

  • Yes of course. There are four key components to wudu: 1) washing the face 2) washing the arms up to the elbows 3) wiping a wet hand over the head 4) washing the feet up to the ankles. It is this last one that makes wudu difficult in some situations - for example, when stopping to pray at a service station during a long journey (if one doesn;t already have...

  • @MikWisniewski Hi Mik - yes, but through the prism of a very specific Islamic revivalist movement called the Tablighi Jama'at. I captured my findings in the term 'intra-religious conversion.' In other words, many of the people I spoke to experienced a reawakening of faith and commitment later in life, usually triggered by specific biographical events. ...

  • Hi Mik - really interesting point thanks. My PhD specifically examined the evolution of Muslim identity not just as it shifts across continents (which I termed 'horizontal' transmission) but also as it changes across generations (which I termed 'vertical' transmission). I unpacked this by examining three specific markers of cultural identity: food, language...

  • Hi Lorraine - many mosques do have dedicated ladies areas that are separate from the men. For men, its a ritual obligation to attend the mosque but women have the option; they don't lose any 'reward' by praying at home whereas men do if they pray at home regularly without a good reason...

  • Hi Lorraine - lovely to have you on board. Ritual purity (or wudu) is a necessary pre-requisite of all the prayers. However its not necessary to do it before each individual prayer. So, for example, one may wash at lunchtime then offer the next two or three prayers without making a new wudu. Going to the loo, falling asleep, bleeding - these are some of...

  • Dear all - here are 100 aphorisms from the pen of Abdullah Quilliam which I always enjoy returning to each year: http://masud.co.uk/the-sheikhs-passing-thoughts/

    Here are some of my favourites; please also share yours!

    20. Some people preach more religion in one hour than they practice during the whole of their life.

    47. What appears to be a...

  • Dear Mik

    The Department of Communities and Local Government published a series of reports in 2009 titled 'Understanding Ethnic Muslim Communities' that examined the experiences of 13 ethnic groups originating from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Turkey. While a separate...

  • Thank you Mik and Tony.

    @MikWisniewski I can see the confusion arising from my choice of phrasing, sorry! I think historically, in the case of Muslim-majority regions, state apparatuses administered the collection of zakat (this certainly happened at the time of the Prophet). More recently, and certainly in the case of Muslims living as a minority in...

  • Hi all - Islamic scholars generally deduce 8 categories of people that can receive zakat. These include travellers who have run out of funds, recent converts in need of help, slaves who need freeing, people mired in debt or those 'in the Path of Allah' (a broad phrase that is multiply interpreted). Some of these categories are archaic and, in practice today,...

  • Dear all

    Abraham (or Ibrahim in Arabic) is an important religious figure in Islam (there is a chapter of the Qur'an named after him). He is considered to be one of the key patriarchs of monotheism in history. His two sons, Ishaq (or Isaac - son of Sarah) and Ishmael (Ism'aeel in Arabic - and son of Hagar) are considered to be the progenitors of Judaism,...

  • Hi both - some interesting points! Much of my work has focussed on 'religious socialisation' - I'm very interested in the way people come to hold a certain perspective as being authoritative, especially in a taken-for-granted way. Sociologists distinguish between 'primary socialisation' which usually takes place in the home with parents during childhood, and...

  • Dear all, my name is Dr Riyaz Timol and I've been with Cardiff University's Islam-UK Centre since 2012 when I began my PhD. It examined, among other things, the evolution of British Muslim identity as it shifts across continents (specifically South Asia to the UK) and also across generations (from the first post-war generation to their British-born offspring)....

  • @SafaeElHaddaoui Dear Safae - thanks for your message. The lecture will be recorded and uploaded to the Islam-UK Centre YouTube channel, where you can view all previous lectures too (going back to 2009!): http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/islamukcentre/virtual-centre/public-lectures/

    Best wishes

  • Hi - if anyone's interested in finding out more about the new hybridised forms of identity emerging among British-born generations alluded to at the end of this article, I would recommend Shelina Janmohamed's excellent recent book 'Generation M' - you can read a review...

  • Thanks for sharing that Ol. Henry Abdullah Quilliam, whom we met in 2.6, penned a comprehensive article back in 1916 in which he assessed different speculations about the provenance of the coin. It's a bit of a long read but worth the effort if you're interested: http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/bmh/BMH-AQ-offa.htm

  • Dear all

    Here are 100 'aphorisms' from the pen of Shaykh Abdullah Quilliam which I thoroughly enjoy returning to:

    http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/bmh/BMH-AQ_passing_thoughts.htm

  • Hi Janet - an authoritative and comprehensive study of key figures in the early convert communities, and reactions to them, was recently published by Jamie Gilham called 'Loyal Enemies: British Converts to Islam, 1850–1950' - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Loyal-Enemies-British-Converts-1850-1950/dp/1849042756

    I reviewed the book here:...

  • I should add (if anyone's interested) Professor Peter Adamson has recently published an accessible introduction to this topic: https://global.oup.com/ukhe/product/philosophy-in-the-islamic-world-a-very-short-introduction-9780199683673?cc=gb&lang=en&

    And you can hear him lecture on the same here: https://youtu.be/_NKi-XRZ4KI

  • Thanks Vivienne. The 'House of Wisdom', patronised by the Caliph Mamun ar-Rashid (d. 833) was a particularly important institution in terms of the grand translation project you mention, and translators (usually working under the Nestorian Christian Hunayn Ibn Ishaq, d. 873) would often be paid the weight of their work in gold!

    Later Muslim scholars who...

  • @AlanCook
    Hi Alan - "It would be even more interesting to read about the reaction to their conversions and their influence" - an authoritative and comprehensive study of key figures in the early convert communities, and reactions to them, was recently published by Jamie Gilham called 'Loyal Enemies: British Converts to Islam, 1850–1950'.

    I reviewed the...

  • Hi all and thanks for a lovely exchange! @ShiranWZ Must say I found the Torah chanting in Yemen fascinating, reminded me a bit of Mel Gibson's Passion of The Christ! As Semitic, root-based languages the similarities between Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic are striking - Shalom and Salam being an obvious example. Sura Duha is a great choice to begin with: as a child I...

  • @JennyB Hi Jenny - children are not obliged to fast (nor observe any of the other rituals of Islam) until the onset of puberty - though many often choose to on weekends, or for half a day. Other exemptions are for pregnant or breastfeeding women, diabetics, anybody whom doctors advise not to fast or travellers. My father-in-law is diabetic so doesn't fast in...

  • Dear all - you might find the paper of Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, a respected American Muslim imam, on this matter useful. It's called 'One God: Many Names' and you can download it here: https://www.cubefoundation.org/app/download/5636167010/Dr+Umar+Faruq+Abdullah+-+One+God+Many+Names.pdf?t=1476051514

    Best wishes

  • Hi Robin - thanks for sharing this. Sociologists of religion often identify 'ritual' as a key component of religion that functions to order human life. Some go further to posit that religion in its entirety functions as a 'sacred canopy' that encompasses the mystery and vastness of the cosmos within its comforting shelter. If at bottom we (as some claim)...

  • Thanks Alan - some really perceptive comments here. In sociological terms the 'plausibility structure' of Islam was vitiated by the act of migrating from a Muslim-majority country to somewhere without an established presence. Religion often resides in social constructs that reinforce its plausibility, a certain taken-for-granted aura, for believers - such as...

  • Hi all - I visited Finland a few years ago during summer when it was perpetually daylight, the sun never set! The small Muslim community there was getting worried about Ramadan and, after consulting Islamic scholars, worked out a number of workarounds. These included recording the last time the sun did set and using this throughout the time it didn't,...

  • Thanks for your comments Janet and I'm glad you're enjoying the course!

  • Hi Melissa - generally most of the larger mosques have a designated individual or two who share the responsibility between them, given that the call to prayer precedes each of the five daily prayers. The name given to them has now been incorporated into English: muezzin. But, as Astrid points out, it can technically be called out by any worshipper though I...

  • Hi Peter / Janet - you might be interested in looking at this short video produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales about helping create workplaces that are more 'faith-friendly': https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/creating-faith-friendly-workplace-muslims

  • Thanks Emma - some really perceptive comments here. You might be interested in seeing the efforts made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to help create 'faith-friendly' workplaces in Wales; their strap-line was 'fairness not favours' and there's a nice little video here:...

  • Hi both - thanks for these fascinating reflections. If you've not come across it, you may be interested in Professor Linda Woodhead's work with those who self-identify as "nones" rather than tick the box of a particular religion in the UK census. In the last few years, for the first time, they apparently outnumbered Christians thus representing a new...

  • Dear Janet - lovely to have you on board and thank you for sharing your personal, and very wise I think, reflections!

  • Hi Ol - you make an important point. To put it simply, I think its highly inadvisable to access the Qur'an without reference to "outside documentation". Its not like an ordinary self-contained book but rather one which is ensconced within the events that unfolded in the Prophet's life and his companions. For instance, somebody would ask the Prophet a...

  • Hi Daler - thanks for pointing this out. The Suhuf are not considered to be a book as such, but a set of scrolls or scriptures. And other than Ibrahim / Abraham, other prophets - according to Muslim belief - are also said to be recipients such as Seth (Sheeth in Arabic - the third son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel), Idrees (generally...

  • Hi Kathleen

    As Mark rightly pointed out, these - according to Muslim belief - have been lost to history. However, there is a hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad (s)) in which one of the Prophet's companions asked him about the contents of the Suhuf given to previous prophets. He replied (and I'm quoting from a text of Islamic theology here):

    They...

  • Hi Robin and welcome on board. Thanks for sharing these fascinating reflections, I hope you have a positive experience of the course!

    Best wishes

  • Hi Jenny - lovely to have you on board. I hope you have a positive and edifying experience!

  • Hi everybody and welcome on board! I've helped deliver this course over past years and must say I've immensely enjoyed the experience. Glad to be back again for another year. I recently completed my PhD at Cardiff University, based on qualitative research with British Muslims, and now work as a Research Associate at the Islam-UK Centre. You can find out...

  • Dear all

    It's been a pleasure sharing the journey of the past 4 weeks with you. Reading your comments below, it seems many of you were pleased with the course content and your expectations have, by and large, been met. This is, of course, satisfying for us to hear and I apologise for any shortcomings. I'm also sorry if I wasn't able to respond to all the...

  • "...you have always conducted yourself in a most gentlemanly fashion."

    Dear John - just to say I fully concur with Robert's comment above. Your contributions were not only incisive but a model of good manners and respectful tolerance. It was a pleasure learning this from you.

    With very best wishes

  • Dear all - thanks for this interesting discussion. It reminded me of an incident during the "Danish cartoon controversy" when some Muslims, during a protest march, publicly burnt a Danish flag. The American Muslim imam Shaykh Hamza Yusuf condemned this act citing a Qur'anic verse that commands Muslims not to denigrate the sacred symbols of other people. He...

  • Hi Robert / John

    You might find the American Muslim theologian, Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah's, reflections on this topic interesting in an article called "Islam and the Cultural Imperative" - http://www.nawawi.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Article3.pdf

    Best wishes

  • Hi Judy - that's a good point. The 2011 Census found around 60% of the population self-identifying as Christians. However subsequent research has questioned whether the Christian majority still holds. I know Professor Linda Woodhead is particularly interested in this topic, you might enjoy her article "Why ‘no religion’ is the new religion" -...

  • Thanks Robin for that useful overview of the Runnymede Report. Just to say I personally prefer the term "anti-Muslim hostility" to Islamophobia as it clearly distinguishes between criticism of Islam as a religion and (unwarranted) hostility directed towards Muslims. However the term Islamophobia, for better or worse, has gained currency which makes it...

  • Hi Lorna - you might find the following quote from Callum Brown's provocatively titled book "The Death of Christian Britain" useful:

    "Indeed, one of the hallmarks of Britain in the year 2000 is the recent growth of ethnic diversity, largely through immigration, and the rise of a multi-faith society in which Christianity has been joined by Islam, Hinduism...

  • Hi both - great reflections. Some researchers have pointed out that the migration process itself contributed to the salience of religious identities. In other words what was taken-for-granted in the country of origin had to be consciously cultivated in the new context.

    Others have pointed out what's termed the phenomenon of "double alienation" that...

  • Hi Paul

    I was recently reading Professor Grace Davie's book "Religion in Britain: A Persistent Paradox" in which she makes the point:

    “…it must be argued, surely, that the religiously active of whatever Christian denomination have more in common with each other than any of them do with the majority of the population – a statement that should perhaps be...

  • Hi Mostafa

    Chaplaincy has historically been a role that evolved out of Christian institutions in the West. Generally the role of the chaplain was incorporated into the work expected of an imam, for example, but to my knowledge there was no specific equivalent in Muslim-majority countries. The fact that we now have "Muslim Chaplains" in Britain is an...

  • Hi Mostafa

    Generally, chaplains will have studied Islamic theology and jurisprudence extensively to be aware of the nuanced rulings on a variety of issues and to be able to lead prayers, etc correctly. Further, many choose to supplement this through undertaking the following course/s offered by The Markfield Institute of Higher Education that provides them...

  • Dear John and Michel - thanks for your very helpful responses.

    Rawan - you might be interested to know that two of the lead educators on this course - Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray and Dr Mansur Ali (along with another colleague Stephen Pattison) - conducted what is probably the most exhaustive study of Muslim Chaplaincy in Britain to date. The results were...

  • Thanks for sharing Malcolm. I've used Mead's work at several points in my own studies; particularly his distinction between the "I" and the "Me"...

    Best wishes

  • Hi Zoe - glad you've found the course an engaging experience and thanks for your reflections.

    Regarding the "Contrasting viewpoints of what it is "to be British", ideas of identity and nation..." - you might find the Cambridge Muslim academic Tim Winter's reflections on this topic interesting:...

  • Hi Julie - thanks for these fascinating reflections. You might be interested in the eminent sociologist of religion, Professor Peter Berger's, recent ruminations on 'Islamic modesty': http://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/01/25/thinking-about-islamic-modesty-on-martin-luther-king-day/

    Best wishes

  • Dr Riyaz Timol made a comment

    Dear all

    For those of you (many, it seems) who enjoyed Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor's lecture, you may be interested in her book: 'Muslim Women in Britain: De-Mystifying the Muslimah'

    An exploration of the lives of British Muslim women, this book examines issues of femininity, Britishness, inter-communal relations and social cohesion. Presenting the...

  • Thanks both - glad you're enjoying it!

  • Hi Carol

    Dress codes, as an expression of culture, vary hugely from country to country and can be recognisably 'Islamic' in a variety of ways. For a generic exploration of the relationship between Islam and culture, I would recommend the American Muslim theologian Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah's paper 'Islam & The Cultural Imperative':...

  • Dear Peter

    I would recommend my colleague Abdul-Azim's article on the various denominations within British Islam that includes a section on the Ahmadiyya: http://www.onreligion.co.uk/who-are-britains-muslims/

    Best wishes

  • Dear Andrew

    You might find the eminent sociologist of religion Professor Peter Berger's reflections on this topic useful: http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/12/14/does-islam-belong/

    Best wishes

  • Hi Paul - yes, it is relevant but please bear in mind that the Casey Report is very recent and the course content was prepared a while ago! Nevertheless, here are a few selections relevant to this section:

    48. Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic populations live disproportionately in the most deprived areas in England compared with other groups – with the...