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Friday, December 3, 2010

MY DEAR FAROUK ABDULMUTALLAB


Though you are not altogether without fault, I do not entirely blame you for what happened. The people who misrepresented the concept of jihad in Islaam to you are blameworthy. They succeeded in exploiting your feeble understanding of, and your immense love for Islaam.
In an open letter I wrote to President Obama on this column after his Cairo speech to the Muslim world, I said: “Your speech was devoid of Mr. Bush’s polarising phrases of us-against-them or ‘war on terror’. You are worthy of the mandate you got from the American people in as much as you recognise the fact that America, like each one of us, is not perfect. Whenever a nation derails from its values, its leaders are duty bound to bring the ship of State back on its intended course. Since you have acknowledged past mistakes in US foreign policy, you should be bold enough to change and correct them. Doing that will guarantee America’s security and defeat those you called ‘extremists’... Uneven and unconditional support of Israel, invasion of Iraq/Afghanistan, establishing military bases in all parts of a so-called free world to police sovereign nations, applying multiple standards in administering justice and the Palestinian debacle are legitimate grievances oft-repeated by Usama Bin Laden and people of that ilk to recruit new mujahids who relish in hampering America’s security and interests around the world. A viable Palestinian State, as you have rightly pointed out, is in the interest of the USA, Israel and the world at large. Unless this problem is properly addressed by concrete action all these fine words about democracy, human rights and peace will be meaningless!”
My Dear Farouk, to protest the above injustice by committing suicide and killing innocent people in the process is both illegitimate and un-Islamic. The Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Hell Fire falling down into it and abiding therein forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the Hell Fire wherein he will abide eternally; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the Hell Fire wherein he will abide eternally.” (Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 7, pp. 450-451, no. 670)
In Sayyid Saabiq’s monumental work; Fiqh-us-Sunnah it is stated that Salaatul Janaazah – funeral prayers – could be offered on a person sentenced to death for a crime; but Ahmad said: “We know of no cases where the Prophet, peace be upon him, refused to offer funeral prayer for anyone except in cases of one convicted of embezzlement of public funds and a person who committed suicide.” (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, vol.4, book 62, fiqh.4, 049)
They are perverse and have strayed from the even way, those who think that a Muslim could be a martyr and be admitted into Paradise by killing himself and others. There is no proof in the text of the Glorious Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, for anybody to cause mass murder of innocent people by committing suicide in order to protest the evil of America’s foreign policies against the Muslim world. The analogy they try to draw in Islamic history with what they teach you is of the true Mujahid at war whose leader allows him to fight beyond enemy lines knowing fully well he would be martyred in the process. What they forget to mention in this warped analogy is that there has to be a war and the war has to be between combatant forces not people who are minding their own business on a plane, in a train or in a market where you will find both Muslims and non-Muslims. They also forget to inform you that this extreme step is only taken if it is the key to winning the battle and that the commander of the Muslim army would consult widely and choose carefully a brave and experienced soldier to carry out the near suicidal mission.
My Dear Farouk, Prophetic traditions have taught us that dutifulness to parents is a shortcut to Paradise for one who desires martyrdom. Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him: I asked Allah’s Apostle, peace and blessings be upon him, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the best deed?” He replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” I asked, “What is next?” He replied, “To be good and dutiful to your parents.” I further asked, “What is next?” He replied, “To participate in jihad in Allah’s Cause.” (Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 4, p.35, hadith. 41)
In the above hadeeth, jihad, whatever meaning one may attach to that, came after obedience to parents. If your parents are averse to your going to jihad, you have to forsake the idea and stay with them; talk less of when it was not even remotely a Jihad. Narrated by Abu Sa’eed al Khudree, may Allah be pleased with him: A man emigrated to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) from Yemen. He asked (him): Have you anyone (of your relatives) in the Yemen? He replied: My parents. He asked: Did they permit you? He replied: No. He said: Go back to them and ask for their permission. If they permit you, then fight (in the path of Allah), otherwise be devoted to them. (Sunan Abu Dawud, book 8, hadith 2, 524)
There came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) a person and said: I owe (pledge of) allegiance to you for migration and Jihad seeking reward only from Allah. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Is one from amongst your parents living? He said: Yes, of course, both are living. He further asked: Do you want to seek reward from Allah? He said: Yes. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Go back to your parents and accord them benevolent treatment. (Sahih Muslim, book 32, hadith 6, 186)
My Dear Farouk, you should not have travelled in the first place when your parents took exception to the journey. As you can see from the above authorities, your parents’ preferences take precedence over yours and you are duty-bound to respect them in that regard if you truly desire the reward of the Hereafter. You have put your parents in great distress by your refusal to hearken to their good counsel, and by switching off your mobile telephone for a long period of time. A man came to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) and said: I came to you to take the oath of allegiance to you on emigration, and I left my parents weeping. He (the Prophet) said: Return to them and make them laugh as you made them weep. (Sunan Abu Dawud, book 8, hadith 2, 522)
I look forward to the day that you will return to put a smile on the faces of your parents, and seek for their forgiveness. I believe that day will come. In other climes young people like you from the infamous Guantanamo Bay are not despised forever because of their mistakes. They are rehabilitated in four months or so in reprogramming centres manned by Muslim scholars and psychologists. Unfortunately, your country has not learnt this lesson. In times of crises, Muslim trouble makers in their prime age are mown down by heavy artillery. But the Niger Delta Militants who threaten the country’s lifeline with weapons of terror are offered amnesty and rehabilitation programme. Allah is watching!
My Dear Farouk, having once erred, man should not despair forever. After all, you remain innocent until proven guilty. Use the period of your confinement in America to reflect deeply on the consequences of what you attempted to do, and how that will now affect your country, the Muslim Ummah and your parents. At the earliest possible opportunity ask for pardon from your parents. Allah will forgive you. I believe you can do better things in your life than what you attempted to do. Your brothers in faith will not desert you at the hour of need; we shall swallow our anger, show restraint and pray for you to be a better person.
In a good and Islamic way, I love you,

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