In a culture of heavy drinking, drug use and sex before marriage; what do Britain’s Muslim women have to say about living in a country that goes against everything Islam stands for?

You know it’s 3am on a Saturday night in Britain, when the cities are sprawling with thousands of students stumbling away from their local nightclubs to the nearest kebab shop.

Interestingly, among Britain’s 65 million people it is estimated that over 3 million are Muslim, with Islam being the second largest religion in the country.

 Muslim population in the United Kingdom according to the Office for National Statistics, 2015

Muslim population in the United Kingdom according to the Office for National Statistics, 2015

So how compatible is Islam in Britain? Four Muslim women from different parts of the country have explained what is and is not allowed in Islam.

“We’re not oppressed, we have a chapter in the Quaran that says women are the most important women in Islam.”
Amy Hussain

Belonging to a religion that have been stereotyped as oppressing women,  why does Islam forbid drinking, smoking and sex outside of marriage? The lifestyles many young Brit’s lead is forbidden, and is referred to as ‘haram’ in Arabic.


Prohibitions in Islam
Alcohol
Smoking
Drugs
Sex outside of marriage
Sex during menstruation
Gambling
Eating pork

One to never succumb to the pressures of alcoholism during her time at university is Muslim student Amy Hussain, 21, from Loughborough. Unlike her peers, she has never set foot in a nightclub or pub before.

Nadia Butt, 25, from Birmingham considers herself to be a devout Muslim, however she made the choice at a young age not to cover with the Hijab.

Not only this, but it seems Western culture has influenced Nadia, as she regularly goes clubbing. However she shares similar views to Amy about alcohol, and does not drink.

She said “I do go to clubs and bars on the weekends. But I do not drink, so that makes it okay.”

According to statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2012, it was estimated that  around 12 million people in the country have taken an illicit drug. Not only this, but binge drinking and alcoholism is highly prevalent in British society.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 2014

As alcohol, drugs and smoking are prohibited in Islam, this had led many to believe that Muslim women are oppressed. However Amy Hussain says: “We’re not oppressed, we have a chapter in the Quaran that says women are the most important women in islam.”

One to stop drinking in order to embrace Islam is Yvonne Ridley, 58, from Scotland. She is a well-known British journalist who after a 10 day kidnapping by the Taliban, returned home safe to England and converted to Islam.

She states: “I used to drink like a fish and smoke like a trooper”.

At a different part of the country, Alisina Abdah, 25, from Nottinghamshire believes not drinking and smoking is not the fundamental part of Islam.

She believes: “The problem with Western society is not drinking or drugs. It’s the way women dress. I wear the Nicab to protect my modesty.”

In 2013, Marks & Spencer revealed that they allow their Muslim staff to refuse to serve customers buying any pork or alcohol products. But later apologised after a massive public backlash.

Shuhajat Aslam, an Imam from Masjid Umar Mosque explains that British society has no restrictions. He says: “Alcohol is the root of all evil.”

Shuhajat Aslam, Imam at Masjid Umar Mosque
Shuhajat Aslam, Imam at Masjid Umar Mosque

“When you see people in the night, starting fights and throwing up on the floor. That is why we do not drink. There are no rules in society here.”


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