God has sent down direct Guidance through various prophets throughout time. Among them, several have brought books of Revelation and Law with them; because of this, these prophets are also considered messengers. The followers of these books are referred to in the Qur’an as “People of the Book” and are indeed from the same source of Light. Let us examine the 5 books of revelation.
The Recitation (Qur’an)
The Qur’an, literally meaning to read or recite, was revealed in the Arabic language to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the 6th century. It was compiled during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad and remains in its original form, which is a perpetual miracle in itself. The Qur’an contains themes describing God’s nature, guidance for daily living, stories from history and their moral messages, inspiration for believers, and warnings for disbelievers.
This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah; Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. [Qur'an, The Cow, 2:2-4]
Gospel of Jesus (Injeel)
Jesus is an honored prophet of God and is mentioned several times in the Qur’an. His native language was Syriac or Aramaic, and the revelation given to Jesus was conveyed and shared among his disciples orally. Jesus preached to his people about monotheism (the Oneness of God) and how to live a righteous life. The revelation given to Jesus from Allah is known as the Injeel (Gospel).
Unfortunately, Jesus’ pure message has been lost, mixed with others’ interpretations of his life and teachings. The current Bible has an unclear chain of transmission and no proven authorship. The actual words of Jesus were indeed Divinely inspired, yet they have not been preserved in writing.
And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. [Qur'an, The Table Spread, 5:46]
Psalms of David (Zabur)
The Qur’an mentions that revelation was given to the Prophet Dawud (David). Not much is known about this revelation, but Islam confirms that the Psalms were recited much like poetry or hymns. The Arabic word “zabur” comes from a root word meaning song or music. All of Allah’s prophets brought the same message, so the Psalms also contain praises of God, teachings about monotheism, and guidance for righteous living.
And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms. [Qur'an, The Night Journey, 17:55]
Torah of Moses (Tawrat)
The Tawrat (Torah) was given to the Prophet Musa (Moses). Like all revelation, it included teachings about monotheism, righteous living, and religious law. The exact text of the Tawrat generally corresponds to the first five books of the Jewish Bible. Many Biblical scholars concede, however, that the current version of the Torah was written by numerous authors over several centuries. The exact words of the revelation to Moses are not preserved.
It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. [Qur'an, The Table Spread, 5:44]
Scrolls of Abraham (Suhuf)
The Qur’an mentions a revelation called the Suhuf Ibrahim, or the Scrolls of Abraham. They were reportedly written by Ibrahim himself, as well as his scribes and followers. However, this holy book is considered to be lost forever. The Qur’an refers to the scrolls of Abraham several times, including the following verse:
And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),- The Books of Abraham and Moses. [Qur'an, The Most High, 87:18-19]
Why Not a Single Book?
The Qur’an itself answers this question:
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute; [Qur'an, The Table Spread, 5:48]
What is unique about Islam is that it is the last religion sent by the last prophet in a long chain of messengers – the Final Testament converging all walks of life. In addition, the Qur’an remains unchanged and in its original form. This is indeed a living Mercy and Miracle from God; a promise to be preserved by God forever and still stands today.
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). [Qur'an, The Rocky Tract, 15:9]
Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute. [Qur'an, Family of Imran, 3:55]
Monotheism is the root of all true religions, whether it be inspiration sent to Noah, Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon, David, Muhammad, and even other prophets not documented in history (peace and blessings be upon them all). So why the sudden change with modern-day Christianity? The concept of “Trinity” has clearly derailed Christianity from Monotheism. Now it has become necessary to warn against this oddity and revive Jesus’s original message.
They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. [Qur'an, The Table Spread, 5:72]
The Origins of “Trinity”
It is important to note that the word “Trinity” does not appear anywhere in the New Testament. The notion of Jesus as son of God is something that was established under the influence of Paul of Tarsus. Originally named Saul the former Pharisee, he had been an enemy of Jesus, but later changed course and joined the disciples after the departure of Jesus.
Later, however, he initiated a number of changes into early Christian teachings, in contradiction, for instance, to disciples like Barnabas, who believed in the Oneness of God and who had actually lived and met with Jesus.
Paul is considered by a number of Christian scholars to be the father of modern-day Christianity due to his additions of the following ideas:
- that Jesus is the son of God,
- the concept of Atonement,
- the renunciation of the Law of the Torah
His letters are another of the primary sources of information on Jesus according to the Christian tradition. In fact, there are twenty seven books in the Bible and thirteen, or about half of them, were written entirely by Paul. This is despite ever meeting Jesus, nor receiving any authority from him.
Furthermore, the original followers of Prophet Jesus opposed these blatant misrepresentations of the message of Jesus and opposed Paul for injecting into Christianity doctrines of the pagan Roman religion and Platonic philosophy. They struggled to reject the notion of the Divinity of Jesus for close to 200 years.
In 325 (CE), a council of Christian leaders met at Nicaea and made Paul’s beliefs officially part of Christian doctrine. It also ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script which contradicted Paul’s beliefs should be destroyed. An edict was issued that anyone in possession of these Gospels would be put to death.
There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, “That is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it! [Qur'an, Family of Imran, 3:78]
Despite the vicious campaign to distort or destroy most of the original texts in Christianity, The Gospel of Barnabas has miraculously survived though.
The Debate Continues
Brutal punishments and even death did not stop the controversy over the doctrine of the Trinity. The majority of Christians, when asked to explain this fundamental doctrine of their faith, can offer nothing more than mysterious or confusing answers not consistent with teachings of other prophets. This is despite the Bible saying “… God is not the author of confusion …” [Corinthians 14:33].
Such was Jesus, the son of Mary; it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute. It is not befitting to the majesty of God, that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be’ and it is. [Qur'an, Mary, 19:34-35]
Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion. Monotheism, however, has as its fundamental belief that God is One; the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God being Three-in-One, is seen by Islam as a form of polytheism. Christians don’t revere just One God, they revere three.
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”. And he was. [Qur'an, Family of Imran, 3:59]
The relation between man and God has been in existence since the beginning. This relationship came through scriptures and teachings of prophets throughout time, starting with Adam. As prophets passed away, their original message were changed or forgotten. It became Divine pattern for God to revive the relationship with man by sending new prophets with the same message of “One God”, all the way down to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Although the word “Trinity” does not appear anywhere in the New Testament, it is ironic that it does indeed appear in the Final Testament:
O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. [Qur'an, The Women, 4:171]
We see that the doctrine of the Trinity is a concept conceived entirely by man; a concept not compatible or consistent with Monotheism. Christianity has digressed from the Oneness of God into a vague and mysterious doctrine that was formulated after Jesus’s departure.
It is not (possible) that a man, to whom is given the Book, and Wisdom, and the prophetic office, should say to people: “Be ye my worshippers rather than Allah’s”: on the contrary (He would say) “Be ye worshippers of Him Who is truly the Cherisher of all: For ye have taught the Book and ye have studied it earnestly.” Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons. What! would he bid you to unbelief after ye have bowed your will (To Allah in Islam)? [Qur'an, The Family of Imran, 3:79-80]
There is still hope; the Unitarian denomination of Christianity has kept alive the teachings of Jesus in saying that God is One; they do not believe in the Trinity. As a result, mainstream Christians have outcast them, and the National Council of Churches has refused their admittance. In Unitarianism, the hope is kept alive that Christians will someday return to the preachings of Jesus.
Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will). [Qur'an, The Family of Imran, 3:64]
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ
Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near! [Qur'an, Al-Baqarah, 2:214]
Perhaps not out of impatience, but out of despair we ask this question almost every day. It is difficult to see human beings around the world massacred, imprisoned, and tortured while the propaganda machine makes the victim look like the oppressor and the oppressor look like the victim. So hasn’t it been long enough? How much longer will we be tested? How much more can we take?
First of all, I am not going to tell you to be patient. What I am going to tell is to be grateful. Thank Allah for the countless blessings he has give you. Also thank Allah for making you live during Islam. We have been chosen to be part of the Final Chapter. Did you think this gift would be easy? If so, you should probably find another religion because the Ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is not for the weak.
وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith. [Qur'an, 'Āli `Imrān, 3:139]
The victory from Allah has it is own requirements. The Qur’an gives us a formula to follow for attaining this. As an Ummah though, we veered away from this formula and cut straight to despair and ask, “when will the help of Allah come?” Realize this is a sickness and below is the cure.
This is the first requirement. As basic as this sounds, faith is the one we overlook the most. When we look at the sophistication and strength of the enemies of Islam, we get discouraged and give up. Faith dies a bit when thinking like this. This is because the world is no longer seen with the heart, but seen with the mind.
Do not let the numbers, media, money, weapons, and sophistication of the enemies of Islam dazzle you. Remember that is not the formula of victory, but faith is.
ٱلَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّ ٱلنَّاسَ قَدۡ جَمَعُواْ لَكُمۡ فَٱخۡشَوۡهُمۡ فَزَادَهُمۡ إِيمَـٰنً۬ا وَقَالُواْ حَسۡبُنَا ٱللَّهُ وَنِعۡمَ ٱلۡوَڪِيلُ (١٧٣) فَٱنقَلَبُواْ بِنِعۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَفَضۡلٍ۬ لَّمۡ يَمۡسَسۡہُمۡ سُوٓءٌ۬ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ رِضۡوَٲنَ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ ذُو فَضۡلٍ عَظِيمٍ (١٧٤) إِنَّمَا ذَٲلِكُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوۡلِيَآءَهُ ۥ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمۡ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ (١٧٥)
Men said to them: “A great army is gathering against you, so fear them”: but it (only) increased their Faith. They said: “For us Allah sufficeth, and He is the best disposer of affairs.” And they returned with Grace and Bounty from Allah: no harm ever touched them; for they followed the good pleasure of Allah: and Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded. It is only the Evil One that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: be ye not afraid of them, but fear Me, if ye have Faith. [Qur'an, 'Āli `Imrān, 173:175]
If you want proof of this, look to the past instead of trying to predict the future:
وَلَقَدۡ نَصَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِبَدۡرٍ۬ وَأَنتُمۡ أَذِلَّةٌ۬ۖ فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ (١٢٣) إِذۡ تَقُولُ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ أَلَن يَكۡفِيَكُمۡ أَن يُمِدَّكُمۡ رَبُّكُم بِثَلَـٰثَةِ ءَالَـٰفٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ مُنزَلِينَ (١٢٤) بَلَىٰٓۚ إِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَيَأۡتُوكُم مِّن فَوۡرِهِمۡ هَـٰذَا يُمۡدِدۡكُمۡ رَبُّكُم بِخَمۡسَةِ ءَالَـٰفٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ (١٢٥
Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus may ye show your gratitude. Remember thou saidst to the Faithful: Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (specially) sent down? “Yea”― if ye remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels making a terrific onslaught. [Qur'an, 'Āli `Imrān, 123:125]
More examples of this was during the battles with the Persian Empire. Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqaas was checking on his army as to why they were being defeated. Even though they were outnumbered by the Persians, this is not what he focused on. Nor did he focus on their training or weaponry. Instead, he passed by the tent of one group of soldiers at night and found the men inside praying Qiyaam, or voluntary night-prayer, and remarked: ‘Victory comes from such a tent’ then he passed by another tent and found the men inside sleeping and remarked: ‘Defeat comes from such a tent.’ This was despite the fact that the men who were sleeping only missed a recommended prayer and not an obligatory one; yet Sa’d considered missing this recommended act to be a reason for defeat.
Another example of how the Ummah should be thinking is the story of Qutaybah Ibn Muslim, who was a great Muslim conqueror. He was the leader of Khurasaan when it was being attacked. He passed by Muhammad Ibn Waasi’, who was one of the Taabi’een, while he had his finger raised towards the heavens supplicating to Allah. Thereupon Qutaybah remarked: ‘That finger is dearer to me than thirty thousand soldiers’.
A large percentage of the defeats of the Ummah have been due to the inner disputes and hypocrites dismantling from within. This continues to be the biggest threat. Until we overcome this, we will continue to be our worst enemy for fragmentation, division, and disunity leads to weakness:
وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ وَلَا تَنَـٰزَعُواْ فَتَفۡشَلُواْ وَتَذۡهَبَ رِيحُكُمۡۖ وَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. [Qur'an, Al-Anfal, 8:46]
Unity is an important piece of the formula and we cannot succeed without it. This is why we are the largest and weakest nation in the world.
وَٱعۡتَصِمُواْ بِحَبۡلِ ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعً۬ا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُواْۚ وَٱذۡكُرُواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ إِذۡ كُنتُمۡ أَعۡدَآءً۬ فَأَلَّفَ بَيۡنَ قُلُوبِكُمۡ فَأَصۡبَحۡتُم بِنِعۡمَتِهِۦۤ إِخۡوَٲنً۬ا وَكُنتُمۡ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفۡرَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنۡہَاۗ كَذَٲلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَہۡتَدُونَ
And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided. [Qur'an, 'Āli `Imrān, 3:103]
Did you think we can sit and pray, then wait for Allah’s victory to arrive? The mind, body, and soul must be proactively aligned for the sake of Allah. You cannot just focus on 2 of the 3. We even see prayer involves physical motion in order to be performed. In the same way, victory must involve physical motion in order to be attained. It is not you who should wait for Allah, but Allah is waiting on you.
ـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِن تَنصُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ يَنصُرۡكُمۡ وَيُثَبِّتۡ أَقۡدَامَكُمۡ
O ye who believe! if ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly. [Qur'an, Muhammad, 47:7]
The faith in Allah should be translated into positive action, into preparing, planning and making ready all means of power. In every fight, physical, moral or spiritual we should arm ourselves with the best weapons and the best arms against our enemy. The power is not intended for oppression nor aggression. It is a defensive power, a deterrent against aggression and tyranny, and for the protection of peace and justice.
Even Gandhi said, ‘I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.’ Unfortunately, Muslims would take more heed to Gandhi’s words if they knew this, even though they know it is written in the Qur’an. This is because they fear the media and political-correctness more than the truth.
وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ۬ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ ٱلۡخَيۡلِ تُرۡهِبُونَ بِهِۦ عَدُوَّ ٱللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّڪُمۡ وَءَاخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُهُمۡۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُونَ
And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war to threaten the enemy of Allâh and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allâh does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allâh shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly. [Qur'an, Al-Anfal, 8:60]
It may be that we are measuring “victory” in the wrong way. Perhaps victory is already happening, but it is beyond our perception:
إِذَا جَآءَ نَصۡرُ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡفَتۡحُ (١) وَرَأَيۡتَ ٱلنَّاسَ يَدۡخُلُونَ فِى دِينِ ٱللَّهِ أَفۡوَاجً۬ا (٢) فَسَبِّحۡ بِحَمۡدِ رَبِّكَ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡهُۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ ڪَانَ تَوَّابَۢا (٣)
When, comes the Help of Allah, and Victory, And thou dost see the People enter Allah’s Religion in crowds, Celebrate the Praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: for He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy). [Qur'an, An-Nasr, 110]
The above verses state people will be entering Islam by the masses and this is when Allah’s victory arrives. Is this not what we are seeing now? Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. The Qur’an continues to be the “best-seller” book. All this despite the poisonous lies against Islam. The enemies of Islam are spreading Islam more than destroying it. At the same time, they are strengthening the hearts of the Ummah and uniting us. And do not be sad for all those who have fallen:
وَلَا تَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ أَمۡوَٲتَۢاۚ بَلۡ أَحۡيَآءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ يُرۡزَقُونَ (١٦٩) فَرِحِينَ بِمَآ ءَاتَٮٰهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ وَيَسۡتَبۡشِرُونَ بِٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يَلۡحَقُواْ بِہِم مِّنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ أَلَّا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ (١٧٠) ۞ يَسۡتَبۡشِرُونَ بِنِعۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَفَضۡلٍ۬ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ (١٧١)
Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay they live finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord. They rejoice in the Bounty provided by Allah: and with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them (in their bliss), the (martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve. They glory in the Grace and the Bounty from Allah, and in the fact that Allah suffereth not the reward of the Faithful to be lost (in the least). [Qur'an, 'Āli `Imrān, 3:169-171]
Realize that Allah’s victory is for all of creation and not just for you. Because of this, does it even matter if you see Allah’s victory manifest in your lifetime? Victory is already promised and it will happen with or without you. Our main concern should be if we will be marked down as those who contributed to it or not.
Indeed the Ummah is being oppressed more and more everyday. From Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Kashmere, China, Sudan, France, Mali, Algeria, Russia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the list goes on and on and on.
Don’t despair because the Prophets of Allah went through more troubles than what we face. The question is not when will Allah’s help come, but what are you doing in the meantime?
وَلَقَدۡ كُذِّبَتۡ رُسُلٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَصَبَرُواْ عَلَىٰ مَا كُذِّبُواْ وَأُوذُواْ حَتَّىٰٓ أَتَٮٰهُمۡ نَصۡرُنَاۚ وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَكَ مِن نَّبَإِىْ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
Rejected were the Messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the Words (and Decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those Messengers. [Qur'an, Al-Anaam, 6:34]
A lecture titled “20 Points to Love” by Shaykh Riad Ouarzazi:
- Exchanging gifts, (It develops love between you two) it does not have to be materialistic.
- Spend time together. Just you and your wife. (Vise versa)
- “The look of love”. Just by looking at your wife you should know what she likes.
- Warm greetings.
- Praise the wife. Never compare her with someone else. Applies both ways
- Participate together in the household chorus. Your work is not only outside!!
- Kind words, they are Sadaqah.
- Spend time OUT together.
- Peaceful gatherings.
- Husband has to be balanced with the YES/NO.
- Show your interest, support, and care.
- Change your routine. Surprise her/him.
- Pamper her/him.
- Don’t hide your feelings. You should be able to talk to each other (Never in front of the children).
- Call her/him by her/him beautiful names
- Don’t talk about your problems before bed.
- Show THANKS…Jazakallahu Khair
- Contemplate the Seerah.
You always hear patience is the key to life. However, there is better advise than this. Being grateful to God in times of ease and hardship will first allow you to accept what Allah has destined, then it will spawn patience in you. It does not work the other way around though. Patience does not breed gratefulness, but gratefulness does breed patience.
To further prove that gratitude is better than patience, the Qur’an exposes the devil’s promise made to Allah. The devil’s promise was to show mankind’s ingratitude to Allah despite the Mercies:
It is We who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfilment of your life: small are the thanks that ye give! It is We who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated, not so Iblis; he refused to be of those who bow down. (Allah) said: “what prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?” He said: “I am better than he: thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.” (Allah) said: “Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).” He said: “Give me respite till the day they are raised up.” (Allah) said: “Be thou amongst those who have respite.” He said: “Because thou hast thrown me out of the Way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on Thy straight Way. “Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor wilt Thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for Thy mercies). [Qur'an, Al A'râf (The Heights), 7:10-17]
Because of this, we must overcome the devil’s work on us by having gratitude to Allah in all situations. This does not mean to thank Allah blindly, which has a different meaning. “Praising Allah” is the correct term and what Allah has destined for you should be accepted by “praising Allah”. Alhamdulillah! Most of the bad things that happens to us is because of ourselves or the devil, not because of Allah. It is Allah’s Mercy that helps us elevate above it. Be strong and praise Allah at all times for the Mercies. It is better for you than to “just be patient”. And have faith in Allah’s Decree:
Allah! there is no Allah but He―the living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. For He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). [Qur'an, Ayat Al-Kursi, 2:255]
And when it is said to them “Come, the Messenger of Allah will pray for your forgiveness”, they turn aside their heads, and thou wouldst see them turning away their faces in arrogance. [Qur'an, The Hypocrites, 63:5]
Today, many Western educated people in Islamic circles claim to be able to reinterpret Islam by reference to the Holy Qur’an only, disregarding the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) entirely. They strike at the very foundation of Islam on which it has been firmly based for the last fourteen centuries. In vain, they attempt to derive the vast way of life from their own conception, to enable them to live a life patterned on western Europe while fixing the label of Islam to it.
The spread of these so-called “modern” ideas would have incalculably disastrous effects on the thought and practice, and collective life of the world of Islam. This sect has gone further by innovating ideas even stranger to Islam to the extent that they seek to reinterpret even basic worship like prayer and fasting. These innovations pave a way where well established Islamic beliefs and acts of worship were questioned and argued about, then distorted or abandoned.
There is a driving force behind rejecting all ahadith; it comes from the disease of hypocrisy. It is a perfect balance of belief and disbelief in the religion. On one hand, the Qur’an is believed. Yet on the other hand, the Messenger is repelled. This insinuates a new social and religious order for the Muslims which is justified by misinterpreting the Book of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). They sometimes refer to themselves as “Quranists”. This is misleading because all Muslims believe in the Qur’an. So their distinction is not in affirming the Qur’an, but in rejecting the Hadith.
We shall comment on the most outrageous antics of present-day ‘progressives’, expose their hatred for Islamic teachings and report on the complete failure of their call.
Origins of the Sect
When it is said to them: ‘Come to what Allah hath revealed and to the Messenger’: thou seest the Hypocrites avert their faces from thee in disgust. [Qur'an, The Women, 4:61]
One of the movements within the hypocrites, even in the time of the Prophet, was to separate the Qur’an from the Messenger. When the Prophet would instruct something, the hypocrites would ask if it was in the Qur’an because they would not listen to it otherwise. They would even say this to the face of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).
These movements later formed sects that indulged in this practice, such as the Mu’tazilah from the 3rd Islamic Century. They gave precedence to intellect over the revealed texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The argumentation based on Greek philosophy is among innovations in the religion that created intellectual schisms in the Muslim nation and initiated deviant trends. This attitude set a precedent for all later groups who sought to make intellect and desire decisive over the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Later on, the history of these ideas took root in Orientalist critiques and attacks on Islam’s textual sources. One strategy of Orientalists has been to try to portray the hadith as inauthentic, thereby casting doubt onto the legitimacy of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). This paves a way to misinterpret Islamic texts in light of rational thought, modern values and even feelings and desires.
We can even look before the time of the Prophet to find sources of these ideas. A stark resemblance can be realized with the modernist movement in Christianity and Judaism. As a matter of fact, European modernist movements continue to provide much inspiration to their ‘Muslim’ counterparts, and therefore understanding the western-modernist helps us understand the objectives of those who seek to modernize Islamic teachings and values.
The modernist movement has origins in medieval Europe, whose basic view is that the religion should change according to circumstance. Modernism initiated a rationalist approach to the Bible that took a skeptical view of miracles and the historicity of biblical narratives. This approach attempted to evaluate the meaning of the Bible by focusing on the text alone and ignoring what the Church fathers had historically taught about it. The excesses of the Christian church in Medieval Europe and the view that the Church was a hurdle to social, scientific and cultural progress gave strength to the idea of the separation of the Church and the State – giving rise to secularism.
Modern European philosophers played an important role in forwarding Modernism, by using philosophy to integrate the Christian and Jewish scriptures with secular learning. Collectively these trends were seen as ‘progressive thinking,’ and it was forcefully argued that religion must be primarily caused and centered on the feelings of believers.
Modernist, neo-philosophers and secularists have succeeded in changing the face of Christianity to its very core. They have forced it to give into unlimited concessions, until even the most scandalous heretical action or statement is ignored. Everything seems to be permitted for everyone until there remains little to distinguish between a Christian and a secular humanist.
Modernists look to the West and try to reinterpret the “old religion” with modern science and modern times; however, their premises and assumptions are wrong. They fail to realize that Islamically, an advanced society is not measured by material progress, but rather the one that shows the most obedience to the commands of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and has a better understanding of the Deen. This is why in matters of the Deen, the later generations have to refer back to the understanding of the first generations of Islam, which were much more advanced and pure in their religious understanding. In fact, the current societies have the things of the old societies (such as homosexuality, etc.) as mentioned in the Qur’an.
Lost in Translation
The people did not become ignorant and begin to differ until they abandoned Arabic terminology and adopted the terminology of Aristotle. It should be well understood that this sect is entirely devoid of the essential knowledge required for expressing any opinion about Islam. The Qur’an has been studied in translation without any solid grounding in the Arabic language. The books of Hadith and the earliest sources of Islamic Law have not been studied at all; even Islamic history is only known at third or fourth hand. History is blatantly contradicted and logic is flouted, as if these two essentials of intelligent human thinking are of no value. Indeed, they are of no value to those who wish to put forward pure fictions of their imagination as truth, for history and logic are their worst enemies.
A Complete Religion
Hadith-rejectors usually use the below verse to say that the Qur’an alone is sufficient:
One day We shall raise from all peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide a Mercy and Glad Tidings to Muslims. [Qur'an, The Bee, 16:89]
The problem is they usually leave out the first part of this verse, leaving the verse out of context. Prophet Muhammad is a witness against his people. So his understanding of the Qur’an is the true understanding that was intended by Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Indeed the Qur’an is complete, but are we complete? This is why Allah illustrated the Qur’an through the Messenger. We are commanded to follow his examples and interpretations of the Qur’an to understand the true inner meanings as it was intended.
Allah has told us of four functions of the Prophet, of which only the first refers to the Qur’an, “reciting His revelations”; the other three are “purifying”, “teaching the Book” and “teaching Wisdom”. These four functions have been described as the purpose for which God has sent the Messenger, and God’s guidance to man will be fulfilled and completed by all and not by one only.
A similar (favour have ye already received) in that We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, rehearsing to you Our Signs, and sanctifying you, and instructing you in Scripture and Wisdom, and in new knowledge. [Qur'an, The Cow, 2:151]
The explanation by the Messenger is not only needed by people at the time of the Prophet, but by all subsequent generations until the last day. Rather, the greater the distance in age from the time of the Prophet, the greater the need to solve differences in understanding by reference to the original state of affairs.
(We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought. [Qur'an, The Bee, 16:44]
Furthermore, the above verse also gives instructions about the order in which the Qur’an should be understood. First the Messenger explains Allah’s revelation clearly to mankind and then they give thought. People are not free to let loose their thoughts and speculate about the message of the Qur’an whilst ignoring the teachings of the Messenger.
Our religion is truly complete and this includes everything that came with it: Qur’an and Sunnah. Anything that came after the death of the Messenger is innovation.
Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine-flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Qur'an, The Table Spread, 5:3
Best of Nations
''And We have made you the best nation so that you bear testimony against mankind.'' [2:143]
Allah (glorified and exalted be He) states in the Qur’an that we are the best of nations and a witness over humanity. This implies that there should be no possibility of agreeing on a mistake in a fashion of collective consensus of the Ummah (ijma`). Hadith-rejectors would have you believe that their ideas are logical and normal, but their marginal ideas are outside the collective reasoning of the Ummah.
Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear signs; for them is a dreadful penalty.― [Qur'an, The Women, 3:105]
Authenticity of Hadith
Hadith-rejectors shed doubts on the validity of the process by which ahadith are declared as authentic or fabricated. Their uncertainty is a result of their ignorance or lack of correct appreciation for the science of hadith verification, which is more comprehensive than information brought forth by western literature of modern times.
To accept the Qur’an and reject the Hadith on the basis of reliability defies reason. We have received both the Qur’an and the Hadith through the same channels. The same people who transmitted the Qur’an from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also transmitted the Hadith. They are reliable believers, to say the least, who are actually protected until the Day of Judgement in the Qur’an.
The vanguard (of Islam)― the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds― well― pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He prepared Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the Supreme Felicity. [Qur'an, The Repentance, 9:100]
In this verse, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is saying that the Muhajirin (those who migrated from Mecca to Medina) and the Ansar (the people of Medina) and those righteous people that came after them have been promised heaven. If these people supposedly fabricated the Hadith, how can Allah promise heaven to them? As a matter of fact, they are the same people who also passed the Qur’an down to us.
It is important to note that the Hadith is passed on to us by “Mutawattir” narrations. Mutawattir narrations are narrations that have been transmitted by so many people that it would be impossible for all of the transmitters to fabricate such a narration. It is not believable that ALL those Muslims could have corrupted Islam, especially if they were promised paradise by Allah (glorified and exalted be He).
Follow the Leader
Lo! those who disbelieve and turn from the way of Allah and oppose the messenger after the guidance hath been manifested unto them, they hurt Allah not a jot, and He will make their actions fruitless. O ye who believe! Obey Allah and obey the messenger, and render not your actions vain. [Qur'an, Surah Muhammad, 47:32-33]
Allah (glorified and exalted be He) tells us in the Qur’an that we have no real faith unless we obey the Messenger without any doubts. We know the Qur’an is timeless and for Muslims until the Day of Judgement, so following the Messenger includes us.
We sent not a Messenger but to be obeyed, in accordance with the Will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. But no, by thy Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. [Qur'an, The Women, 4:64-65]
Prophet Muhammad did not come just to hand us the Qur’an like some delivery person. Allah (glorified and exalted be He) could have dropped the Qur’an on a mountain and have mankind stumble on it if this was the case.
Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, verily, thou would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah, such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect. [Qur'an, The Exile, 59:21]
Instead, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) sent down the Qur’an on Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and indeed it humbled him to be the best example to walk the face of the earth. How can anyone think they can practice or understand the Qur’an better than the Messenger?
Say: “O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believed in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided.” [Qur'an, The Heights, 7:158]
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah. [Qur'an, The Combined Forces, 33:21]
Say: “If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur'an, The Family of Imran, 3:31]
The Messenger was sent as a leader of the Ummah until the Day of Judgement. Modernists put themselves and their logic as their leader instead; an arrogant practice that results in the idolization of oneself.
No, by your Lord, they will not become true believers until they put you [Muhammad] as a ruler in that which they dispute. [Qur'an, The Women, 4:65]
O ye who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination. [Qur'an, The Women, 4:59]
The Messenger of Allah plays a vital role in Islam even today. Without this, we are left with nothing but opinions of moderate, extremist and arrogant “scholars” who try to elevate themselves over the Messenger.
O Ye who believe! Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger; but fear Allah: for Allah is He Who hears and knows all things. O ye who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not. [Qur'an, The Rooms, 49:1-2]
Not only are we commanded to follow and emulate the Prophet, but to also respect and honor him. The hypocrites say disgusting things about the Prophet in public and in private. This contradiction with the Qur’an proves they do not read or understand it.
“In order that ye (o men) may believe in Allah and His Messenger that ye may assist and honour Him and celebrate His praises morning and evening.” [Qur'an, The Victory, 48:9]
Allah and His angels, send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! send ye blessings on him and salute him, with all respect. [Qur'an, The Combined Forces, 33:56]
And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. [Qur'an, The Pen, 68:4]
It is quite clear from the numerous above-mentioned verses that there is no room in the Qur’an to disregard the teachings and examples of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The movement of hadith-rejectors is nothing more than a movement of hypocrites trying to destroy Islam, as was done to other religions. The Qur’an cannot be changed, which drives the enemies of Islam to other tactics.
If you wish to be firm upon the truth and upon the way of the Ahlus-Sunnah before you; beware of the theological rhetoric and of disputation, arguing, analogy and debating about the religion with hadith-rejectors. Listening to them, even if you do not accept from them, throws doubts into the heart. This is sufficient for you to be destroyed. There has never been any heresy, innovation, innovated sect or misguidance except through rhetoric, disputation, argumentation and analogy. These are the gates of innovation, doubt and heresy.
They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds. [Qur'an, The Hypocrites, 49:1]
“Hadith Rejectors Quranists are a Hypocrites Movement by Nouman Ali Khan”
You cannot get into any discussion about hadith with anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, without eventually encountering the widely quoted, and incessantly justified hadith which claims that A’isha [ra] was betrothed (engaged) to the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] at the age of 6, and later married to him at the age of 9.
It is reported from A’isha that she said: The Prophet entered into marriage with me when I was a girl of six … and at the time [of joining his household] I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 58:234)
Because this hadith is found in the Sahih Bukhari collection, Muslims have managed to accept it as pure fact, without any real investigation, and have even gone as far as dancing around it so much, that they have essentially found ways to rationalize and justify its truth.
The explanation that I remember hearing when I was younger went something like this:
A’isha [ra] was an exceptionally intelligent, young woman, with an excellent, precise memory, and could be raised to absorb the teachings of the prophet, in order to convey that knowledge to a wider audience, even after he passed away.
Now, although I listened to my teachers and believed the explanation – after all, it mostly makes sense, and we know that the Prophet [pbuh] doesn’t act out of his own whims or desires (Qur’an 53:2-3) - the hadith still never sat well with me.
And if it hasn’t sat well with you either, I’m here to tell you that there is a good reason for that – this widely-quoted hadith is just simply not true! It can’t be true! Not if we look at the cold, hard facts. In an online discussion/debate with another Muslim, I happened upon some very interesting information with regards to this hadith. After further research, I also came across this article which continues the discussion and lays this unholy myth to rest, once and for all.
What Are the Facts?
If we look at the undisputed, well-documented historical facts, we can immediately deduce that A’isha was NOT a child when she married the Prophet [pbuh]. She was actually 16 at the time of her betrothal (engagement) to the Prophet, and 19 when she married and moved in with him.
A chronological documentation of major events in A’isha’s life is as follows:
- A’isha was born before Islam was revealed in 610, and accepted Islam shortly after it was revealed.
- The Hijra occurred in 622
- A’isha’s older sister (of 10 years), Asmaa, was 27 at the time of Hijra, making A’isha 17 at the time of Hijra.
- A’isha was betrothed to the Prophet two years after the death of Khadijah, or a year before the Hijrah.
- A’isha moved in with the Prophet a year or two after the Hijrah, or two to four years after her betrothal. (Various reports are unclear, but all agree as to the general time frame.)
- A’isha was involved in the battles of Badr (624) and Uhud (625), in neither of which was anyone under the age of 15 allowed.
- A’isha was widowed in 633
- A’isha died in 672 at the age of 67. (We know that her older sister, Asmaa, died at the age of 100 in the year 695, which means she was 77 at the time of A’isha’s death.)
So again, based on the timeline above, we can conclude that A’isha was 16 at the time of her engagement to the Prophet [pbuh], and 19 when she married and moved in with him.
So Where Did This Come From?
The real questions now are, where did this hadith come from and why has it become so widely accepted? Here are some more uncontested facts:
- All of the reports that say that A’isha was 6 at the time of her engagement, and 9 at the time of her marriage, come from Iraq.
- Most of these reports come from Asmaa’s grandson, Hisham bin ‘Urwa (born in 683).
- None of the reports come from Mecca or Medina, where Hisham bin ‘Urwa spent the first 70 years of his life.
- Hisham spent the last 15 years of his life in Iraq, where all of the reports come from.
- It is reported that as he became older, Hisham’s memory suffered quite badly.
When we look at this information, we learn some very interesting facts. Hisham bin ‘Urwa (who was born after A’isha died) spent the majority of his life in Madina, and yet no one else from Madina ever confirmed his reports about A’isha’s age at the time of her marriage.
One of Hisham’s most well known students was Malik ibn Anas, and even he objected on the narratives of Hisham which were reported by the people of Iraq.
So essentially what we’re dealing with here is a false hadith which was misreported by an elderly man with a bad memory. That’s understandable, but that brings us to the next question: Why wasn’t this hadith checked, double-checked, and triple-checked? Especially since it is included in Sahih Bukhari, the most widely accepted hadith collection!
How Could This Happen & What Do We Do About It?
According to this article, the compilers of hadith didn’t apply the same stringent tests to hadiths which dealt with historical matters, as they did with those that dealt with the rulings and laws of Islam. Why? Because the historical matters were just that – historical and academic in nature. They don’t really affect the way Muslims live their lives in accordance with Islam. The hadiths that dealt with the fundamental teachings, on the other hand, do indeed affect the way Muslims live their lives and in deciding what is halal and haram. So finding reports, like the one about A’isha’s age at marriage, in the hadith does not necessarily make them true, even if they’re found in Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim!
So what do we do now? The one semblance of hope in the reliability of hadith that many of us hold onto, is that reports found in Bukhari and Muslim are the go-to hadiths. The ones you can quote with very little doubt. And if that’s no longer true, where does that leave us? Do we negate, undermine, and completely reject the hadiths in Bukhari and Muslim? And if we do that, do we just reject ALL hadiths while we’re at it?
Of course not! To do so would go against the commands of Allah in the Qur’an, when he continuously orders us to obey the messenger (5:92), (4:59), (4:13), (33:71), (4:64). We are supposed to obey all of Allah’s messengers, of course, but Allah (glorified and exalted be He) also makes it very clear that we are to specifically follow Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]:
Say: “If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 3:31)
How Do We Decipher the Hadith?
Our prophet’s sunnah is very important. It, along with the Qur’an, are our only pieces of guidance in this world. But unlike the Qur’an, the hadith of course can be flawed, since it relies on word-of-mouth and memory.
Based on what we’ve learned above, we have to be very careful when deciding which hadiths are undisputed fact, and which should be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak. How do we decipher the hadith and decide which is which?
If a hadith is purely historical in nature, conveying a story, with no actual rulings or laws to be applied to one’s life, it should be taken just as a report of a possible event that may or may not have happened, and that’s it.
If a hadith clearly provides a ruling or a law to be applied to one’s life and the way he or she lives his or her life in accordance with Islam teachings, it should be approached with caution still, and all attempts should be made to verify it with multiple sources, to be sure that it is indeed factual.
Heed Allah’s Warning About False Hadiths!
Although Hisham ibn ‘Urwa was not malicious in his intentions when falsely reporting the hadiths about A’isha’s age at the time of her marriage, it’s not difficult to believe that over the centuries, others may have intentionally made false reports, and passed them off as hadiths, in order to undermine the message. Allah (glorified and exalted be He) warns us about these indviduals in the following verse:
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَشۡتَرِى لَهۡوَ ٱلۡحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ بِغَيۡرِ عِلۡمٍ۬ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًاۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ۬ مُّهِينٌ۬
But there are, among men those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty.
The Arabic word for ‘idle tales’ in the verse above, is actually ‘hadith,’ as shown in the green text! So we must heed His warning and take precautions when deciding what is fact, and what is falsehood.
We ask Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to continue to guide us on the straight path. May He helps do all that pleases Him, and avoid all that displeases Him. We ask Allah [set] to help us properly follow His commandments and the sunnah of the prophet Muhammad [pbuh].
“Our Lord! condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; help us against those who stand against faith.” (Qur’an 2:286)
Yes, you read that right – the term “halal meat” is a scam, which is why I’m a semi-vegetarian. By semi-vegetarian, I mean that I only eat meat on certain occasions, under specific circumstances, and following very strict guidelines. I would say in a given month, I eat meat twice, maybe three times (if that). “But whyyy?” you might ask? Simple. I’m following the commands of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) in the Qur’an, and the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).
What’s the Problem?
Let me just say, this post has been in my drafts for over a week. Then yesterday, I saw this post from Hijabman, in which he quoted the following, which was my sign to finish and publish this piece already:
“75 percent of Halal meat in America produced in the year 2000 came from pork fed cows, according to Dr. Stephen Emanuel, from Agway Feed Company.” – SoundVision
In the Muslim world (and the Arab world, in general), meat has become a staple at the dinner table…and the lunch table…and the breakfast table. From kebabs (meat cubes) and koftas (ground beef kabob), to shawarma (minced meat) sandwiches and sujouk (beef sausage), our community has built an unhealthy obsession around meat. It’s everywhere; weddings, funerals, birthday parties, aqeeqas, Eid feasts…if there is a gathering of Muslims for any reason, you better believe, there will be meat!
Because Allah (glorified and exalted be He) made meat lawful for us in the Qur’an, and because Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ate meat, we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s our God-given right to consume as much meat as we possibly can on any given day. Ahh, the Qur’an and the Sunnah – the pinnacles of all Islamic law and jurisprudence…let’s take a look at what these two sources have to say about the consumption of meat, and compare that to what’s taking place in Muslim homes across the globe.
Halal in the Qur’an
The Qur’an contains verse after verse telling us to eat only that which is lawful and good. Here are just a few of those verses:
O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the Evil One, for he is to you an avowed enemy. (Al-Baqarah:168)
O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah)! Eat of the good things that We have provided you, and be grateful to Allah if it is (indeed) He Whom you worship. (Al-Baqarah:172)
Eat of that which Allah hath provided for you lawful and good; but fear Allah, in Whom ye believe. (Al Maidah:88)
As we see from these verses, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) tells us to eat that which is lawful AND good – not lawful OR good. In Arabic, these terms are halal and tayyib. But what does that really mean?
Islamic law states that in order for meat to be considered halal, very specific conditions must be met:
- An animal must not be beaten, mutilated, or branded.
- An animal must be killed in accordance to very specific guidelines, which ensure the quickest slaughter, and the least amount of pain.
- Muslims are strictly forbidden from eating the flesh of carnivorous animals.
- The name of Allah must be invoked over each animal before it is killed.
What is Tayyib?
“There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth nor a being that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Rabb (Lord) in the end.” (Al-An’am:38)
“Halal” Factory Farms are NOT Halal
Isn’t that beautiful? Allah (glorified and exalted be He) likens the animals on this earth to us humans, with communities and an ultimate return to their Lord! If Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has elevated these creatures to such a high status, why then, are Muslims not outraged by the inhumane and downright evil treatment to which animals are subjected on today’s factory farms? I won’t go into every detail (you can read more at this article), but here are just a few of those heinous treatments:
- Factory farms are over-crowded, putting the animals under a great deal of stress, leading to behaviors like cannibalism and fighting. These behaviors are prevented by debeaking chickens, and dehorning and castrating cows, without the use of anesthetics. [Mutilation]
- Cows are killed using electric shock so that their throats are easier to cut. There have been reports that some animals are still alive by the time they make it down the line to be dismembered. [Slow and Painful Death]
- Natural herbivores are fed slaughterhouse waste, including fat, blood, meat, and bone meal. Dairy cows are given feed with ground pork bones in it. “Animal cannibalism” is also common, with cows being fed the blood and meat of other cattle as protein supplements. [Carnivorous]
Even Muslim farms have been known to undermine the law that Allah’s name be invoked over each animal before it is killed. Some of them just recite it once at the beginning of the day, others have it playing on a tape recorder over and over, as they slaughter each animal. Others, more, practice the use of “blessed blades“, wherein they either inscribe Bismillah Allahu Akbar on the blades or someone says the phrase and blows on the blades, thereby “blessing” the blades for the slaughter…nevermind the fact that machine-slaughter is against Islamic law in the first place! They’ve turned into a simple, ritualistic behavior…as if this is all that’s necessary in order for it to be considered halal.
What is the real Halal?
Saying Bismillah Allahu Akbar before slaughtering an animal is not simply a ritual, as these farms have reduced it; when we invoke Allah’s name on an animal that will be slaughtered, we are speaking directly to Him, thanking Him for His bounty and asking Him to accept the animal’s sacrifice. We are acknowledging that the animal is His divine creation, that we have done our best to provide it with a healthy, happy life, and that we will sacrifice it in order to feed and nourish our family.
How many of us remember all of these things before we dig into the lamb kebab or that chicken biryani? My guess is very few. But that’s only because we have been conditioned and desensitized to the sacred meaning of eating meat. With the growth of factory farming in the past few decades, meat has become an expendable resource, like sugar or flour. It’s just always there, it’s not going anywhere, so we don’t really think too much of it.
This is where we’ve failed – failed the animals, failed ourselves, failed our communities. We are supposed to be ‘ahlus sunnah wal jama’ah’, but when we look at the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), we immediately see that factory farming is not something he would have approved of:
It behooves you to treat the animals gently. (Muslim 4:2593)
Allah has ordained kindness (and excellence) in everything. If the killing (of animals) is to be done, do it in the best manner, and when you slaughter, do it in the best manner by first sharpening the knife, and putting the animal at ease.” (Muslim 2:156)
There is a reward for acts of charity to every beast alive.” (Bukhari 3:322; Muslim 4:2244)
raised tortured on factory farms are NOT treated gently, are NOT put at ease, and are NOT provided with acts of charity from their handlers. Instead, they are subjected to awful, cruel conditions just for the mere fact that they are animals, and somehow subhuman and unworthy of love, affection, and respect.
So, now what?
I’ve decided I’ve had enough. I cannot continue to support this atrocity any longer. Basem and I have been living a simpler, more eco-friendly lifestyle for the past couple years, and along with eating more organic, whole foods, we’ve also cut our meat consumption by a lot! Like I said, we only eat meat a couple times a month now. And with all the highly accessible halal options here in Toronto, there’s no lack of choice when deciding what we’re having on those two nights of the month.
But we’ve got to be real here, the “Halal Meat” label doesn’t mean anything anymore. I don’t care if it was certified by ISNA or whoever; it seems that all they are concerned with is how the animals are slaughtered, without any concern for how the animals were treated during their short life. If an animal lived its entire life in misery, stress, and depression, I don’t care if it was slaughtered properly or not. How can these farmers/butchers say Bismillah before slaughtering an animal which was subjected to such unethical treatment under their watch? Oh yeah, they don’t…they just use a tape recorder or “bless the blade”.
Do you see how feeble our understanding and implementation of halal has become? Just because something is halal, that doesn’t give us the right to do it all the time, by any means necessary. Moderation is key. Conscience is integral. Education is necessary.
Is there a solution?
We need more halal meat companies that use organic farming practices. That means no antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides. That means allowing cattle to graze in open fields of grass (instead of grains, which are difficult to digest). That means letting chickens bask in the sun, while munching on weeds and insects.
Here in Toronto, we are blessed, alhamdulillah, to have the wonderful company, Blossom Pure - a truly halal, organic foods company. They work with the Amish and Mennonite farmers just outside the city, who raise all the meat on their organic farms. The slaughterer goes out to the farms, transports the animals to a federally-approved slaughterhouse (within 2-3 miles) where they are then slaughtered one by one (kindly, gently, separated, not witnessing others) and then transported back to the store to be packaged. From the very beginning, these animals are treated with respect; by slaughtering them at a site close to the farms (as opposed to driving them back to the store), the burden and stress of travel is completely removed from the animal, and placed on the slaughterer.
The Prophet was a semi-vegetarian
Yes, organic meat is much more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s a simple tip: don’t eat so much of it! Of course it will be expensive if you eat meat 4, 5, 6 nights a week. But here’s a radical idea: cut it down to just once a week! Then once a month. Then just on special occasions. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) didn’t eat meat everyday, or every week, or barely every month! It was saved for special occasions; something to celebrate and enjoy.
If your meat is not organic, it’s NOT HALAL – simple as that! If I have to choose between “halal” and organic, I choose organic. This, of course, is only if I trust the source of the meat (ie: small, local farmers, and NOT chain supermarkets!), and if I’m 100% sure that it wasn’t sacrificed in the name of anyone other than Allah (glorified and exalted be He) (or in anyone’s name at all, which is usually the case today). Furthermore, if the farmer is a Christian or a Jew (People of the Book), then I feel comfortable eating it. Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:
This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time― when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (Ma’ida:5)
He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits―then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful. (Al-Baqarah:173)
If I don’t feel comfortable making that decision and cannot find meat that is both organic AND halal, guess what? I just don’t eat meat. You know what we can eat freely, and is in utter abundance? All the creatures of the sea! Fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, etc. All of these are healthy alternatives (if caught using sustainable fishing methods). Again, moderation is key, so let’s not aim to replace all the beef in our diet with salmon, for example.
And if we are going to strive to follow the sunnah of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), we MUST include his sunnah for eating (in general), and consuming meat (in particular). Even Umar ibn al Khattab [ra], during his khilafa, prohibited eating meat everyday. He said:
Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine. (Malik)
The video below is from last year’s Reviving the Islamic Sprit conference, which took place here in Toronto (I highly encourage you to attend this year, if you can). In it, Hamza Yusuf discusses the importance of knowing where our food comes from, the fair-trade movement, and around 35 minutes in, he discusses organic farming and animal rights.
Let’s Make A Change!
Let us take the lessons from the Qur’an and the Sunnah and really, truly apply them to our lives. Let us stand up for what is right and just, and denounce that which is wrong and unjust. Let us enjoin the good and forbid the evil, as Allah (glorified and exalted be He) states in surat Ali ‘Imran (3:110).
We all know the current practices of the “halal meat” industry are wrong, and we all can do something about it. Take that first step, however small it may be. Just renew your intentions, take that first step, and Allah (glorified and exalted be He) will take care of the rest. I’m not here to tell you what to do; only you know what you need to do. But I can say that making a change is possible, however difficult or inconvenient it may be. Say a little prayer, ask Allah (glorified and exalted be He) for guidance and strength, and just do it!
بِسْــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِالرَّحْمَنِ اارَّحِيم
Our mosques have been paralyzed by governments and “scholars for dollars” for the last century. These where once centers of communities; a place for Muslims to pray, to educate, to find shelter, battle poverty, a think-tank, strategize military, initiate political campaigns, economic planning, set up agriculture, celebrate, and so much more. Today, mosques are just a place to pray on Friday’s. This atrophy of the mosques worldwide is no doubt tied to the atrophy of the Muslim mind. The oppression and calamities facing the Ummah are only symptoms of this problem. This proposal is aimed to target the source of the problem rather than getting distracted by the symptoms.
Reviving the mosques can be quite an overwhelming topic. For this reason, revival will be categorized into 3 areas: housing, permaculture, and economy. These areas have been chosen due to the self-sustaining aspect of this mission. Our Muslim communities should not have to go to governments, banks, or corporations to fulfill their needs. Instead, the mosques will be molded to facilitate the needs of the community in a self-sustaining manner.
To grasp the impact of this area, ask yourself how many Muslims do you know that are renting, mortgaging, or investing in real estate? Probably all. Now ask yourself how many are neighbors of one another. Probably none. This sad reality translates into being a major factor in the disunity of the Ummah. Muslims need to be living in the same communities to actually build their community. So the first step of this proposal is a call for all Muslims to live as close as possible to the mosques. This will naturally result in the cultivation of Muslim communities with the masjid as its nucleus. With the economic downfall, Muslims should use this opportunity and find foreclosed homes around mosques… better yet, MULTI-FAMILY HOMES around the mosques. There is no sense for Muslims to be buying million dollar homes when a few quad-plexes or apartments buildings around the moques will do just fine. Live like the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the sahaba. This will result in lower housing costs and shared expenses while more importantly, build Muslim communities around the mosques. It is important to note here that there should be at least one learned scholar from amongst the community since these Muslims will be responsible for their masjid in the form of a working group committee.
With shelter taken care of above, next comes food. Permaculture is an important concept that you need to be familiar with. It is an ecological design which attempts to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. It draws from several other disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. The primary agenda of this area is to assist Muslims to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms around housing and the masjid itself. This will ensure the long-term survival of the Muslim community without the need of poisonous corporations.
The diversity of businesses amongst the congregations of mosques is staggering. Developing an economy for the congregation can render itself self-sufficient. Selling, bartering, and donating outside the masjid but from amongst the congregation can help promote the livelihood of our Muslim community without the need of government currency or bank lending. Furthermore, mosques can trade and procure with one another on a local and international scale.
The areas mentioned about are the means to the goal. What is the goal? First is unity. Without unity, we will continue to be numerous, but as weak as foam of the sea. This will channel our numbers through the mosques to empower us. Second goal is sovereignty. If Muslims depended on mosques rather than the institutions of our oppressors, our Islamic sovereignty will naturally be established worldwide through the network of mosques and will only help build a landscape for the Khilafah.
There are steps we need to make this a reality:
- Talk to the sheikh at your masjid about this proposal
- Talk to your Muslim peers about this proposal
- Talk to Muslim real estate agents about this proposal
- Advocate for free Wifi Internet in your masjid
- Advocate for keeping the masjid open 24/7 (raise extra funds and rotate occupiers)
- Create a Facebook page for your masjid if not done already
- Create a Twitter account for your masjid if not done already
- Register your masjid at Occupy Masjid
- Notify Occupy Masjid if your masjid does NOT have a website
- Discuss this proposal on various masjid and imam Facebook pages
- Organize general assemblies at the masjid (a global assembly is in the works)
- Discuss your progress on Occupy Masjid’s Facebook page
- Copy and redistribute this proposal on emails, blogs, websites, etc
*Only Muslims can join this religious-based movement (draw inspiration from Masjid Al-Aqsa).
*Women must make up 50% of the working group committee.
*One learned scholar must be in the working group committee.
*This is a working draft. Please leave comments, feedback and ideas below.
And who are more unjust than those who forbid that Allah’s Name be glorified and mentioned much in Allah’s mosques? ―Whose zeal are (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter Allah’s Mosques except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter. [Qur'an 2:114]
And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, signs, revelations, etc) clear to you, that you may be guided. And let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity. [Qur'an 3:103-104]
Read to Judge O’Toole during his sentencing, April 12th 2012.
In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful
Exactly four years ago this month I was finishing my work shift at a local hospital. As I was walking to my car I was approached by two federal agents. They said that I had a choice to make: I could do things the easy way, or I could do them the hard way. The “easy “ way, as they explained, was that I would become an informant for the government, and if I did so I would never see the inside of a courtroom or a prison cell. As for the hard way, this is it. Here I am, having spent the majority of the four years since then in a solitary cell the size of a small closet, in which I am locked down for 23 hours each day. The FBI and these prosecutors worked very hard—and the government spent millions of tax dollars – to put me in that cell, keep me there, put me on trial, and finally to have me stand here before you today to be sentenced to even more time in a cell.
In the weeks leading up to this moment, many people have offered suggestions as to what I should say to you. Some said I should plead for mercy in hopes of a light sentence, while others suggested I would be hit hard either way. But what I want to do is just talk about myself for a few minutes.
When I refused to become an informant, the government responded by charging me with the “crime” of supporting the mujahideen fighting the occupation of Muslim countries around the world. Or as they like to call them, “terrorists.” I wasn’t born in a Muslim country, though. I was born and raised right here in America and this angers many people: how is it that I can be an American and believe the things I believe, take the positions I take? Everything a man is exposed to in his environment becomes an ingredient that shapes his outlook, and I’m no different. So, in more ways than one, it’s because of America that I am who I am.
When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ethical dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.
By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III. I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces – an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and the civil rights struggle. I learned about Ho Chi Minh, and how the Vietnamese fought for decades to liberate themselves from one invader after another. I learned about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Everything I learned in those years confirmed what I was beginning to learn when I was six: that throughout history, there has been a constant struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. With each struggle I learned about, I found myself consistently siding with the oppressed, and consistently respecting those who stepped up to defend them -regardless of nationality, regardless of religion. And I never threw my class notes away. As I stand here speaking, they are in a neat pile in my bedroom closet at home.
From all the historical figures I learned about, one stood out above the rest. I was impressed by many things about Malcolm X, but above all, I was fascinated by the idea of transformation, his transformation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “X” by Spike Lee, it’s over three and a half hours long, and the Malcolm at the beginning is different from the Malcolm at the end. He starts off as an illiterate criminal, but ends up a husband, a father, a protective and eloquent leader for his people, a disciplined Muslim performing the Hajj in Makkah, and finally, a martyr. Malcolm’s life taught me that Islam is not something inherited; it’s not a culture or ethnicity. It’s a way of life, a state of mind anyone can choose no matter where they come from or how they were raised. This led me to look deeper into Islam, and I was hooked. I was just a teenager, but Islam answered the question that the greatest scientific minds were clueless about, the question that drives the rich & famous to depression and suicide from being unable to answer: what is the purpose of life? Why do we exist in this Universe? But it also answered the question of how we’re supposed to exist. And since there’s no hierarchy or priesthood, I could directly and immediately begin digging into the texts of the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to begin the journey of understanding what this was all about, the implications of Islam for me as a human being, as an individual, for the people around me, for the world; and the more I learned, the more I valued Islam like a piece of gold. This was when I was a teen, but even today, despite the pressures of the last few years, I stand here before you, and everyone else in this courtroom, as a very proud Muslim.
With that, my attention turned to what was happening to other Muslims in different parts of the world. And everywhere I looked, I saw the powers that be trying to destroy what I loved. I learned what the Soviets had done to the Muslims of Afghanistan. I learned what the Serbs had done to the Muslims of Bosnia. I learned what the Russians were doing to the Muslims of Chechnya. I learned what Israel had done in Lebanon – and what it continues to do in Palestine – with the full backing of the United States. And I learned what America itself was doing to Muslims. I learned about the Gulf War, and the depleted uranium bombs that killed thousands and caused cancer rates to skyrocket across Iraq. I learned about the American-led sanctions that prevented food, medicine, and medical equipment from entering Iraq, and how – according to the United Nations – over half a million children perished as a result. I remember a clip from a ‘60 Minutes’ interview of Madeline Albright where she expressed her view that these dead children were “worth it.” I watched on September 11th as a group of people felt driven to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings from their outrage at the deaths of these children. I watched as America then attacked and invaded Iraq directly. I saw the effects of ‘Shock & Awe’ in the opening day of the invasion – the children in hospital wards with shrapnel from American missiles sticking out of their foreheads (of course, none of this was shown on CNN). I learned about the town of Haditha, where 24 Muslims – including a 76-year old man in a wheelchair, women, and even toddlers – were shot up and blown up in their bedclothes as the slept by US Marines. I learned about Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses. I just want to point out, as you can see, Muslim women don’t even show their hair to unrelated men. So try to imagine this young girl from a conservative village with her dress torn off, being sexually assaulted by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five soldiers. Even today, as I sit in my jail cell, I read about the drone strikes which continue to kill Muslims daily in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Just last month, we all heard about the seventeen Afghan Muslims – mostly mothers and their kids – shot to death by an American soldier, who also set fire to their corpses. These are just the stories that make it to the headlines, but one of the first concepts I learned in Islam is that of loyalty, of brotherhood – that each Muslim woman is my sister, each man is my brother, and together, we are one large body who must protect each other. In other words, I couldn’t see these things beings done to my brothers & sisters – including by America – and remain neutral. My sympathy for the oppressed continued, but was now more personal, as was my respect for those defending them.
I mentioned Paul Revere – when he went on his midnight ride, it was for the purpose of warning the people that the British were marching to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons stored there by the Minuteman. By the time they got to Concord, they found the Minuteman waiting for them, weapons in hand. They fired at the British, fought them, and beat them. From that battle came the American Revolution. There’s an Arabic word to describe what those Minutemen did that day. That word is: JIHAD, and this is what my trial was about. All those videos and translations and childish bickering over ‘Oh, he translated this paragraph’ and ‘Oh, he edited that sentence,’ and all those exhibits revolved around a single issue: Muslims who were defending themselves against American soldiers doing to them exactly what the British did to America. It was made crystal clear at trial that I never, ever plotted to “kill Americans” at shopping malls or whatever the story was. The government’s own witnesses contradicted this claim, and we put expert after expert up on that stand, who spent hours dissecting my every written word, who explained my beliefs. Further, when I was free, the government sent an undercover agent to prod me into one of their little “terror plots,” but I refused to participate. Mysteriously, however, the jury never heard this.
So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. it’s the simple logic of self-defense. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home. But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed “terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are “killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism. When Sgt. Bales shot those Afghans to death last month, all of the focus in the media was on him—his life, his stress, his PTSD, the mortgage on his home—as if he was the victim. Very little sympathy was expressed for the people he actually killed, as if they’re not real, they’re not humans. Unfortunately, this mentality trickles down to everyone in society, whether or not they realize it. Even with my lawyers, it took nearly two years of discussing, explaining, and clarifying before they were finally able to think outside the box and at least ostensibly accept the logic in what I was saying. Two years! If it took that long for people so intelligent, whose job it is to defend me, to de-program themselves, then to throw me in front of a randomly selected jury under the premise that they’re my “impartial peers,” I mean, come on. I wasn’t tried before a jury of my peers because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers. Counting on this fact, the government prosecuted me – not because they needed to, but simply because they could.
I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities – practices that were even protected by the law – only to look back later and ask: ‘what were we thinking?’ Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II – each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked ‘What were we thinking?’ Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective – even this whole business of “terrorism” and who is a “terrorist.” It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.
In your eyes, I’m a terrorist, I’m the only one standing here in an orange jumpsuit and it’s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I’m the one going to prison for “conspiring to kill and maim” in those countries – because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a “terrorist,” yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the “terrorists” are, she sure wouldn’t be pointing at me.
The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with “killing Americans.” But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic.
While the real terrorists roam free…