(In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate)
لسَّلاَمُعَلَيْكُمْوَرَحْمَةُاللهِوَبَرَكَاتُهُ to all
(May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be with you)
I know deep within me that I have a drive to make a difference in the world. To help my fellow human beings, and in so doing to help myself, my soul, and my ailing relationship with my Creator. Of course, I would love to make a sweeping difference to the illnesses we face in our time, to the terror and injustice that surrounds us, overt and insidious in its many forms, but I must start somewhere and accept that it is my intention and my journey that is more important than my success.
I have been pondering the current ill-repute that befalls Muslims, who have replaced the late nineteenth and early twentieth century red devil called “Communism”. The stigma of “Communist” has of course long since been replaced by the noun “terrorist”. Muslims have become the new target of global bullying. The antics of extremist groups have no doubt created a convenient excuse for this onslaught and there are many accounts, theories and exposés about the sophisticated machinery behind it all. My focus is less on the manipulations of the world order and the unscrupulous behaviour of those in power, not because it is any less important, but because I wish to look at other less explored angles around the phenomenon of oppression, terrorism and injustice in the world today. Instead of focusing on who to blame for our condition, we could explore how to rise out of the oppression by correcting ourselves.
Allah ﷻ says in the Holy Quran
8:53 Al Anfaal (The Spoils of war)
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِّعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
That is because Allah would not change a favour which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
13:11 Ar-Ra”d (The Thunder)
لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ –
For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.
These Ayat (verses) make me think that perhaps we are engaging from the wrong starting point. We seem all too ready to look at what the Ruling nations are doing to us. We have much evidence that they are orchestrating and manipulating a grand façade to demonise the Muslims. The extraordinary smoke screen around 9/11 is one such example. The physical evidence supporting the inside job theory is palpable. The shenanigans in Syria where the US/ NATO alliance are leading the world to believe all manner of falsehoods about the war. You just need to search on You tube for several exposés on the subject. To add to our woes, there is the carefully orchestrated ISIS, pre-ceded by Alqaeeda, whose ideology detonates the fibre of our deen(religion) in a way that makes one wonder whether we indeed follow the same religion. There are theories that they are well organised terror mongers some set up by the super powers. All this is common place already. I am reminded of a narrative I once heard about Gengis Khan, when he came upon a Muslim group he was about to conquer, and he was alleged to have said to them “What have you Muslims done that God caused a tyrant like me to come upon you”. I don’t know whether this story is true, but it certainly rings true for the situation that the Muslims face in the 21stcentury. I ask myself What have we done to cause the tyranny against us?
Palestine has been under siege since 1948, with no end in sight. Maybe we need to revisit our premise. The fight against this oppression has yielded no success for close 70 years. Is it because the enemy is too strong for us? How can this be if Allah ﷻhas given us the armament of truth and displayed its efficacy? During the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ), when Islam was under attack, battles were won with the odds stacked against the Muslims. These battles were always in responseto aggression. In each of these battles the Muslims followed the Universal law of never losing control of their Imaan. (hope and belief in the metaphysical aspects of Islam). The ethical codes were adhered to – not harming women and children and women, [i]non-combatants such as old people, monks and workers, [ii]disabled and infirm,[iii]not mutilating dead combatants,[iv]showing mercy to combatants who surrender,[v]treating prisoners of war humanely,[vi]not cutting of trees, destroying surroundings and killing animals without reason,[vii]and no forced conversion to Islam.[viii]
Let us not forget that when the Muslims exceeded the ethical bounds and they almost lost at the battle of Uhud. About fifty combatants, were keeping watch on a hilly narrow pass where the enemy might cross the hill and attack from behind. Despite the prophet’s (ﷺ) recommendations, they left the place to collect spoils when the enemy was running away. The enemy seized the opportunity and attacked the Muslims at the rear. A slip-up of ill-discipline, almost caused a defeat on that day, but the battle ended in a draw. Ali ibn Abu Talib in the battle of Uhud was said to have been on the brink of conquering an opponent and before a final blow, his conquered opponent is said to have spat on him. Instead of finishing him off, Ali (R.A) rose put his sword into the scabbard and walked back to his own lines. He refused to kill for personal satisfaction, anger, vindication or revenge, in a mortal combat situation.
We have these examples, yet we fight against oppression with the cloak of vengeance and justify almost any act of defiance, no matter how heinous. How can anger be our motivator.
Why is it that when bad things happen to other groups of people we are all too ready to attribute it to their own wrong-doing, but when these things happen to the Muslims, it is always someone else’s fault, or it is simply a “test”, but it can never be our fault. Why would we assume that we are immune from the ayaat(verses) in Surahs(chapters) Al An-Faal and Ar-Raad (referred to above)? Is it because we think we’re special and superior in some way? What isspecial, and superior is the Quran and the messages of His Rasool (ﷺ) and not by default its human errant followers. Are we not all trying and struggling to meet our obligations daily? Are we not supposed to be engaged in the Jihad of our nafs(ego) and most often failing? How many of us can say we never speak ill of others, or forgive people who harm us, or forgo the debts owed to us, or suppress our anger and resentment even when we are emotionally triggered? Yet we always feel that we are right and better than anyone else. We treat non-Muslims as if they are lesser beings. We treat Shi’a Muslims as if they are heretics that should be exterminated, yet we stand next to them at the Haram and commemorate with them at the House of our Rabb. Allah ﷻ invites them, despite their differences. Does He not say that He will sort out the differences between us? We disparage anyone who has a different perspective of deen(religion) even if they are Sunni Muslims. Arabs disparage non-Arabs. Barelvis and Deobandis disparage each other. The list is endless. Each group firmly holds on to the fixed mind-set of that only they are right in every way and that any deviation (even the slightest) is heretical. There is a frightening resemblance to the ideology of the Crusades.
Is this the superiority we lay claim to?
We shun others who are different and now the world shuns us. Allah allows this condition to prevail. Perhaps we need to heed His message? Our condition will not change until we change within ourselves. The narrations and revelations in the Quran is the purest guide for humanity
We have been spinning in this vortex of self-destruction feeding into the global agenda for decades and it only gets worse. When it comes to the enemy, I often hear expressions like, they will get their day! Allah will mete out justice and they will see. I too express these sentiments and indeed believe it to be true. My thoughts are that here and now, we Muslims are experiencing adversity – Is this not our warning from Him about our own injustice? Perhaps we have been oppressors and now become oppressed? If we do not change from within, He, most merciful most affectionate will not change our condition. How will we know what that condition is if we do not question ourselves? Perhaps if we make that change, the tools against oppression will become manifest and lead us to success?
I leave you with the reminder of the beloved prophet (ﷺ)’s experience at Taa’if. This community humiliated and harmed him in a way that brings me to tears, and when Allah ﷻ gave him the option, nay the right to have them destroyed. He (ﷺ), chose the noble path, recognising his purpose in this world. What is ourpurpose here?
With love Radia💚
[i]Anas ibn Malik reports that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) forbade the killing of women and children. [Muslim: 4320]
[ii]Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to an outgoing army, “Leave in the name of God, and upon the way of his messenger. Do not kill any old person”. [Al-Bayhaqi: 16689]
Ibn Abbas also narrates from the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “Do not ever kill the people living in towers (i.e. monks). [Nayl al-Awtar: 3324] Rabah ibn Rabee’ says he left in an expedition with the prophet (peace be upon him), who went up to Khalid ibn Walid [his general] and said “Do not kill the workers / wage earners [i.e. those workers not fighting you]”. [Ahmad: 15562]
[iii]The blind, the infirm and the monks are not to be killed according to Islamic legal scholars as they are not from among the combatants, similar to the old person. [Al-Mugni: 7612]
[iv]Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father reports that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as a leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say:
“Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah… do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. [Muslim 4294]
[v]And if one of the disbelievers surrenders and pleads mercy, then show mercy so that they can hear the words of Allah, and then allow him to go back to his place of safety. [Qur’an 9: 5]
[vi]And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the Miskeen (the poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): ‘We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you”. [Qur’an 76:8-9]
Ibn ‘Abbas said: in those days their prisoners were mushrikeen (polytheists; on the day of Badr the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) commanded them to be kind to their prisoners, so they used to put them before themselves when it came to food… Mujahid said, this refers to the one who is detained, i.e., they would give food to these prisoners even though they themselves desired it and loved it. [Tafsir ibn Kathir: Al-Insan]
[vii]Abu Bakr said, “I advise you, do not cut the fruitful trees, or destroy homes. And do not wound the sheep, goats or cattle except to for eating”. [Al-Muwatta: 949]
[viii]Let there be no compulsion in religion – Truth stands out clear from Error! Whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. [Quran 2: 256]
All references from https://ilmfeed.com/8-rules-of-engagement-taught-by-the-prophet-muhammad/