Each year, when the Poppy Appeal is launched, a raging debate ensues regarding the true meaning and symbolism of the poppy and whether – given modern circumstances – it is right or moral to wear it. Some claim that to wear the poppy implies a tacit approval of British foreign policy, including Western foreign interventions of the past decade. Many Muslims, even of an otherwise moderate religious disposition, regard supporting the Poppy Appeal as a betrayal of their fellow Muslims who have been killed or displaced as a result of recent military conflicts.
As a young British Muslim, I look to the example of the Prophet Muhammad to help me in cases of moral dilemma. And on this issue, I believe that he would have supported the Poppy Appeal. Why? Because the time of remembrance is not representative of a particular political mindset; rather, it reflects the silence that marked the cessation of hostilities after the First World War – the silence of peace after a catastrophic global conflict.
The money raised by the Royal British Legion (RBL) does not go to buy arms or weapons, but to help those in the military and their families. The Poppy Appeal is not about politics, but about people. And helping people in need was exactly what the founder of Islam taught and practised.
The Prophet taught that loyalty towards ones country of residence is an essential part of one’s faith.