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A student's recap and reflection after listening to a talk given by Shaykh Waleed Basyouni on the recent events unfolding in Egypt.

Waleed Basyouni on Recent Events in Egypt

Sh. Waleed Basyouni on recent events in Egypt, audio available here

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By Alima Ashfaq

I'm not sure about you, but when I saw the pictures of Egypt, I was rather disturbed and intrigued, however more than this – I was confused. As a Muslim living in the West, I asked myself, what stance should I take? What is the right thing to do? Then I quietly asked myself, do I even really care? The answer is that I do care, therefore, I did some research to equip myself with the basics of what was happening right now in Egypt.

alḥamdulillāh, we have been blessed to host Shaykh Waleed Basyouni for Fiqh of Love soon, and after much planning we prepared for our up and coming Ilminar hoping  to help bring our community knowledge that would equip them to master one aspect of their lives. Subhan'Allāh, lo and behold, a few hours before our Ilminar was to take place we received news from Shaykh Waleed that he wished to change the topic to Egypt.

At that moment, I asked myself, why now, why not tomorrow… When we can spread the word further? However Allāh willed that the Shaykh would speak about two subjects dear to his heart, love and Egypt. As Shaykh Waleed switched topics from the fiqh of love to the fiqh of his homeland, he said:

“My heart is just hurt, I can't talk about this…yet, I'm full of optimism and certain, that things will be much better in the Middle East, especially after what happened in Tunisia.”

Looking back now it was a blessing, wa lilahil hamd.

Hence, the question arises again; As a Muslim living in the West, I asked myself; what stance should I take? What is the right thing to do and what lessons can I learn from this?

The Shaykh started with us, me and you – looking at ourselves and how each one of us fit into the picture of these events.

“Every Muslim in the world is watching and paying attention to what is happening in Egypt and it makes the person think about these instances…what does it mean to us? How do we contemplate on this matter? What lessons can we learn from it as Muslims?  We should ask ourselves; is our ṣalāh different at this moment in time? Are we making du‘ā’? If our ṣalāh is not different, then there is something wrong with us, why are we not feeling the pain of our brothers and sisters?”

Only after the matter is corrected within ourselves, can we move onto the next stage of obtaining a clearer picture of what are we dealing with.

“Currently we're dealing with injustice, and this action of oppression is UGLY, and dhulm portrays darkness, as the Prophet Muḥammad (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said; 'Ad-dhulm dhulumat yawmal qiyamah.' Injustice is so terrible and evil that it will turn to darkness on the Day of Judgment when the tyrants will come into presence. It is reported in a hadith al-qudsi that Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) says: 'O my servants, I have forbidden oppression on myself, so forth I have made it forbidden on you as well.'” (Muslim)

Shaykh Waleed then expressed how this statement of Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) forbidding injustice and oppression should be acted out in our daily lives.

“No one should treat each other with injustice… It's agreed upon in all systems, whether constitutions, religions, secular systems and man made laws – when you see this injustice, you will recognise the ugliness of it… Injustice is ugly in every matter and against everyone. You cannot treat someone with fairness and then not be fair with the others. You have to be just with every matter, and with everyone. You cannot be fair with Muslims and not with non-Muslims.”

Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) says: “O you who believe stand before Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta'āla) with justice and do not be unfair to people who you hate” (referring to the people of Mecca, even after they have repeatedly wronged you).

Then Sh. Waleed highlighted how justice should be implemented in our daily lives, he touched upon how those in authority should respect their positions.

“Injustice becomes so ugly when it comes from the people of power, when it comes from those who you expect to uphold justice in society, because their injustice is much more powerful than that of the average people, because when the people of power do good their goodness is more than the average person. It's exactly the opposite, when they do bad it will be much worser than the average person.”

The discussion then moved on those who have been oppressed for so many years, the Egyptians.

“Subhan'Allāh, the citizens of Egypt have been so patient with all of this [injustice] for so long. Eight million people have come to express the injustice, the basic rights that they have been deprived of for years.

The citizens have been abused for decades and they've been taking it and have been patient with it, and now after all these years of patience, the situation has been reversed. Now the public is putting peaceful pressure on them, yet these dictators cannot take the pressure for one day, but these people have been taking it for years. This happens because the people of injustice are so weak, they cannot take this pressure for even a week.”

After discussing the plight of the oppressed, Shaykh Waleed went into an important and often misunderstood topic. What is the role of government in Islam?

The government was never supposed to be a dictatorship that controlled the lives of its people, not at all, rather they are supposed to serve the public, serve them and make their lives easy – not to control their lives and enslave them… I'm saying this because even today we have a debate even in the West in regards to; how much of a role the government should play in peoples lives.

In the time of the Prophet (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) a man came to the Prophet and said; “I have committed a sin that I will need to be punished for.” The Prophet (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) turned his head from him and went to pray 'isha. Later on in the evening, the man came back to the Prophet and repeated his question. The Prophet asked him; “Did you pray 'isha with us?” To which the man replied; “Yes.” To this the Prophet replied; “Then this is enough” and they both parted.

The Prophet (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) didn't ask the man what sin he had committed, because if he had, the man may have been worthy of the punishment like Ma'iz who came to the Prophet (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and admitted that he committed adultery. Subhan'Allāh, in the case of Ma'iz there was man that insisted that Ma'iz turn himself in. Hence, after insisting to the Prophet, he (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had the punishment applied. However, after it was applied, the Prophet (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) turned to the man that had advised Ma'iz to turn himself in and said; “Even if you had seen Ma'iz having intercourse with that woman with your own eyes and you covered him with your garment, it would have been better then coming and telling me about it.”

Subhan'Allāh, how little have we learnt and understood the true meanings of our religion. I once heard Sh. Ṣalāh as-Sawy say that the true 'ālim does not seek to oppress, constrict, and punish people but seeks to make an out or an escape for people.

“It is not the government's job to spy on people, to punish them or lash them. The government is not there to control our lives…”

“In the time of 'Umar he was walking in the streets of Madīnah with Abdurrahman bin 'Awf and they passed by a house where the people were busy drinking alcohol and partying. Abdurrahman turned to 'Umar and said; “what shall we do?” At this 'Umar who was the Khalifa turned to him and said; “we should repent to Allāh, as we should not be spying on the people.” Allāh said; “Don't spy on people.” Even the government shouldn't spy on people, the role of government is very limited and it shouldn't seek to go into the personal lives of people. If we look at what is happening today when even the internet, television, Facebook, and Twitter can be controlled, this should not be the picture Islam presents about the government.”

Then Shaykh Waleed specifically mentioned the case of Egypt and Mubarak.

When I look at what is happening in the world and you see that people are scared of Islam and Islamists, it makes me ask the question; was Mubarak ruling Egypt with Islam? They were ruling Egypt with secularism that came from the West. The Ummah has been trying every system, and they've been beating their people, and losing economically, yet it doesn't work.  Isn't it the right of people that they live with Islam, their religion and allow it to guide them? The failure of these systems is an excellent example that these secular systems don't work. It created corrupt dictatorships in these regions.

Shaykh Waleed then derived lessons from the current situation, in comparison to what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The change always comes from inside and when it comes from within it's a powerful change which is real. Look at the change in Tunisia and the change which is happening in Egypt. Look at the cost of this change versus the change in Iraq, look at Afghanistan – where is the change?! It seems like the media is blind to this comparison. This change has to come from within, it's meaningful and less costly in all aspects! You don't need to bring aircraft from all over the world to make it happen.

We shouldn't underestimate the power of the masses, of individuals. Look at the people of Egypt, who thought they'd make this change? Women in their old age, men who are unemployed, young women who perhaps don't even wear hijab, men and women who are from all walks of life. These are people who are not part of any religious or political movements, they are the true shakers of society. We shouldn't underestimate their role. We should care about those individuals who live amongst us in society. We should not ignore the importance and role of people. Welcome people them to our masajids and centres. Care about their education, their rights as a citizen in your neighbourhood, and social rights. This applies to Egypt and all other places.

When I look at them I remembered the Prophets, I remembered that most of the followers of the Prophets were the average people of society.

He continued the discussion in regards to being proactive in the West using many means.

We should remember the obligation of naseeha – “Ad-Deen an Naseeha; to Allāh, to the leaders and to the public.” Islam is based on this and it doesn't go against unity when we do this. We can advise leaders, and this can be done in many ways by writing to them, speeches, openly in public, etc…

Part of being proactive in the West is that we have to be active in giving advice with good manners, we should contribute positively to society… so what is happening in Egypt doesn't happen here or anywhere else. We should immediately talk about issues and keep the channel of communication open.

What differentiates Islam from others? It's the outlook of society and public property in the time of conflict, alḥamdulillāh,  Shaykh Waleed clarified the Islamic stance on it.

It is very clear in our religion, that public property is forbidden for people to touch, to destroy and terrify people and it doesn't matter if you are from the police or from the protesters. We are allowed to protest as long as it's done peacefully. A story comes to mind when the guard of Ibn Taymiyyah's cell asked him, “Am I doing something wrong by guarding your cell?” He was hoping he would be let off in the excuse of obeying the authority. However, Ibn Taymiyyah turned to him and said; “I think you are one of the transgressors!” Hence, if a person is given an order by the authority and it is incorrect, they're not allowed to carry it out. There is no excuse for someone to kill a innocent soul and destroy buildings.

You're allowed to express your opinions, and there is nothing from Islam to prevent this as it is based on the benefit on that moment of time, and this changes in different times and places. At this moment of time there is some disadvantages to the situation, yet the greater benefit of expressing their opinions is more valid at this moment of time.

Something that touched me personally about the whole lecture, was the stance of the people on the ground. I can't feel the pain as they do, and who better to express their feelings than Shaykh Waleed's father, who is currently in Egypt.

“Yes son, we may have some shortages, yet we don't mind the shortage of food, as long as this regime will change. This is what my own father has said to me.”

These instances show us the importance of the leadership of the Muslim world that it has to be wise, and wise enough to know what is best for the Muslim Ummah, and securing a bright future for the them. Most of the religious movements at the present moment are based around one leader who speaks in the masājid, and who doesn't have enough experience to be able to be part of a movement that will play a major role in such situations. alḥamdulillāh, two major scholars Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Muḥammad Salim Al-Awa have spoken out.

Shaykh Waleed ended on looking at ourselves and what we can do in the meantime.

We should turn to Allāh at this time, in all of our salawat and sincerely turn to Allāh for those people who as we speak are falling in their blood.

Subhan'Allāh, as a student listening in, it was enlightening to learn about these lessons and the justice of Islam which is often misunderstood. Now it's time to… Take Action!

alhamdulillah alim allah du'a makkah masajid medina muhammad salah subhanahu wa ta 'ala

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28 comments

  1. It’s amazing how true knowledge inculcates a sense of humility within its carrier. I also remember that statement from Sh. Salah about the alim always looking for an escape for the people and looking toward the long-term benefits for the people and society. Some amazing leadership gems in the talk from the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and Umar ibn al-Khattab.

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  2. Allahu Akbar! Wonderful words!

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  3. May Allah have mercy upon the Muslims in Egypt and everywhere else.

    One wonders that even after so much sacrifice, what will be the government like. Will it be foloowing Islam or at least giving freedom of practicing and propagating Islam? Will it not be just a change of face with another coterie cowtowing Washington and hobnobbing with Israel and partnering Israel in doing dhulm on the Palestinians? Can the Egyptian army and Washington be trusted to allow someone more upright and just individual to lead Egypt? I hope there is a very fundamental change brought about in the political system of Egypt. These brave protesters and their supporters deserve that.
    Otherwise these sacrifices will go in vain.

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  4. Here is an amazing account of someone’s experience, subhanAllah

    http://stillpoint.tumblr.com/post/3097617702/square-of-angels

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  5. This is the first time in my life that I am witnessing the people of the a muslim country coming together for justice and freedom. Our brothers and sisters have been oppressed by muslim leaders and the outside forces for multiple decades. The struggles in Egypt will restore the honor and dignity of all muslims. O muslims, don’t sleep anymore. With Allah’s help, unity is the key to victory over the Oppressors.
    May Allah unites the Ummah, protect our honor and dignity, and grants victory over the oppressors. Ameen!

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  6. Bismillah

    A very important and timely reminder. JazakAllah khair for taking the time to post this. SubhanAllah when we see oppression and injustice we dont always realise how this is a test for us also and that we have a role to play. JazakAllah khair!

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  7. Jazakumallahu khairaan kaseera .May Allah have mercy on the people of Egypt and Tunisia .

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  8. In the time of ‘Umar he was walking in the streets of Medina with Abdurrahman bin ‘Awf and they passed by a house where the people were busy drinking alcohol and partying. Abdurrahman turned to ‘Umar and said; “what shall we do?” At this ‘Umar who was the Khalifa turned to him and said; “we should repent to Allah, as we should not be spying on the people.” Allah said; “Don’t spy on people.”

    SubhanAllah, this actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m not even sure why… maybe because of the way shariah and Islamic governance is constantly maligned by the people of ignorance. And also because no-one in the world has experienced such humility in government for centuries – whether they live in the East or West, or are ruled by Muslims or non-Muslims. We all live under governments that seek to control and manipulate the masses, rather than serve and liberate them.

    Of course, we only get the leaders we deserve – may Allah help us to be people of taqwa so our leaders in turn are people of taqwa, ameen.

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    • SubhanAllah, exactly – The whole talk was a great comparison of what things should be like, and what they are like, and this is not only reflective on what is happening, rather also in our intellect and what we percieve the right thing to be.

      Alhamdulillah, the lessons in this lecture was not only about Egyot, rather they represented the lessons that we need to learn in order to become a proactive society.

      I feel certain that things will turn around for the better, not only in Egypt, rather in the West as well inshaAllah. As long as we start being proactive about it.

      Ok, so… This post was for us all to take some proactive action inshaAllah.

      Hence, please tell us what you did… It can be Qiyaam night with the family, attending a protest (if you deem it permissable), writing letters, etc, etc…

      As they say; Think Global, Act Local. inshaAllah. Or if my father spoke; “You got the Power!”

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    • Salam

      So this mean that all the recent,modern attempts to implement shariah, with the perceived emphasis on trying to find people to punish, are wrong Islamically?

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      • wa ‘alaykumasalaam wa rahmatullah,

        Sorry, I’m not sure of the specifics of your question, as the second part didn’t click with me, hence it may be the same for others.

        Perhaps you can word it better – if you don’t mind. This way perhaps you will get clarity on your question inshaAllah.

        JazakAllahu khayrun.

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      • salam
        good point Middle Ground. That would mean that protests and attempts by the people with the intention to introduce islamic law is impermissible too.
        Or all those protests that happen whenever some muslim was mistreated in a western country (the “Marwa” demonstrations for instance)

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    • This is very confusing!!

      I heard from many major scholars that one of the duties of a govt is to have a department of “prohibition of vice and promotion of virtue”. This is why some countries have this department where people are forced to shut down shops during prayers, women are forced to cover if they are not covered, music is banned, mixing of the sexes is strictly enforced etc.

      So does this mean all that is un-Islamic? Should people be free to indulge in these things and the govt turn a blind eye ot these activities?

      Are we swinging from one extreme (Govt. dictates all aspects fo our lives) to another (free to party all we want) without any action from govt.?

      I wish the shaykh could explain.

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      • The Muttawas can stop what’s going on in public or if someone brings a complaint but not go around spying without any probable cause. That’s the jist of the message.

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        • In the time of ‘Umar he was walking in the streets of Medina with Abdurrahman bin ‘Awf and they passed by a house where the people were busy drinking alcohol and partying.

          This seemed to have been going on in public. Again:

          in the streets of Medina

          So how is that spying?

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          • “by a house where the people were busy drinking alcohol and partying.”

            Looks like what was going on was inside the house. And Im sure that it needed barging in there to ensure that there was actually partying going on.It cant have been public – that would lead to actual punishment no doubt.

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          • Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

            Good discussion points mashaAllah.

            I also wanted to add – I wouldn’t advise picking the words of this transcript and basing opinions around it, as these are just words, hence they don’t represent a deeper meaning that the Shaykh perhaps didn’t portray due to the limited time, and the point of this article is just as a reminder and general overview, and not a lesson in fiqh. InshaAllah, these will come in due time and your questions will be answered, and tbh… I had and have some of them them too.

            Also, lets look at the jist of what is being said and that is; the government are here to serve us, to assist us and help us become better citizens, rather than being dictators, which is happening in the world at this moment of time. We have gone to two extremes, and personally for me this does represent balance, as we know ‘Umar radiAllahu ‘anhu was a tough guy mashaAllah, he did implement the the laws, yet there were times when he was soft, and this shows his care and concern for the citizens and his piety, which sadly has been lost today.

            When you run a country, you’re ultimately giving da’wah, and with da’wah comes wisdom, and even now – there have been times we’ve been harsh and it hasn’t worked, yet when it’s done well. Soft at times and firm in others… We flourish.

            This is just what I gained from the the lecture, and inshaAllah I will be doing more research, and I hope the same for you.

            wAllahu ta ‘ala ‘alem.

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      • I think the point of the shariah is to not *look* for people to punish with these hadd laws but to improve the character of the society as a whole.

        I know that a person who sins inside his home and not in public may be better than the one who does ”jahr” or publicizes his/her sin. Because the latter shows pride and gives encouragement for others. And also because he removes the ”sitr” or covering of Allah over his sin. In both cases(private and public) the sin is bad, but in the latter case the person neither shows hayaa towards Allah nor shame towards the creation.
        Even when a sin is taking place in public it would not be just the gov.’s responsibility it becomes the peoples’ too who, will have to stop it -with the hand or the tongue or the heart- as in the hadith.

        Wallahu ‘Alem.This is just a collection of whatever I remember and can’t provide the reference.

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  9. The tragedy is not the Brutality of the Evil but the Silence of the Good, which allows the Evil to flourish. To all sisters and brothers with your own websites and blogs, please record your support in your home page to all our brothers and sisters in the front line of the struggle against injustice. Jazakallah.

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  10. just because it is attributed to the prophet (saw) just wish to correct that the hadith should be transliterated as: ad-dhulm DHULUMAAT yawm al-qiyamah”…and not ‘Ad-dhulm ADH-dhulumat yawmal qiyamah.’

    jazakillahu khayran for this timely article sister alima and baarak Allahu feek ya shaykh!

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    • Hey Assalaamu ‘alaykum Sister,

      BarakAllahu feeki for the correction :)

      InshaAllah we will get it changed. If you see anything else like the above, please let us know.

      Shukran for posting.

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  11. Anybody watched AC 360 on CNN tonight?

    I think I like CNN now =)

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  12. Asalamu Alaikum Wa Rehmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.

    I think the above article was mostly revolving around the lecture given by Waleed Baysouni but I think one point was missing and I found it missing in what was said by Qardawi and other scholars of Al-Azhar University Cairo, and that is BEING UNITED UNDER THE FLAG OF ISLAM.

    In my opinion, at this moment of time EGYPTIANS only need SOLUTION and if you look at the gathering at TAHRIR square, you can easily find people having different views about the future regime, Some saying it should be Islamic and some asking for democratic system. And its is the best time to show them the failure of SECULAR and DEMOCRATIC systems and can present what ISLAM offers as a law of the state.

    Alhumdolillah they are Muslims and I was amazed and moved by seeing my Brothers and Sisters praying in congregation at Tahrir Square, facing WATER CANONS at Nile Bridge while praying and I am my many brothers and sisters in ISLAM must have gone emotional watching those scenes but that was the best example of unity. And it shows clearly how firm they are on their demands and needs.

    The same gathering reminded me of HAJJ where people of different races and disciplines of life get together having only one aim and intention in their heart and that is to do every thing for the sake of Allah(SWT) and the same unity I witnessed at TAHRIR square but unfortunately I think our scholars are saying a lot and specially scholars from Al-Azhar University including Qardawi saying it in public for the first time but missing some key points which if they use can turn the whole situation, and that is presenting ISLAM as the law of state.
    One statement I heard from Ayatullah Khameeni from IRAN and he said this is the best time for the Muslims to be united for Islam and under the flag of ISLAM. I think this should have been said by our beloved scholars. But this was not only my opinion as I am in discussion with many brothers for last one week on this topic and majority are feeling this GAP.

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  13. How important is Islam to most protesters in Egypt anyway? Those are largely not Islamic protests, it seems, but nationalistic protests, by and large.

    Let’s not attach an Islamic label to those protesters so quickly, no matter how peaceful their approach may be, as it may not reflect the truth of what’s happening on the ground.

    MK

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  14. Asslam u alaikum , Living in Pakistan, another country created in the name of islam, I am filled with anger and hurt at what our ruling elite has done to this beautiful country. The Egyptian revolution is something we can relate to in so many ways. I just pray that their sacrifices are not in vain and that ALLAH Replaces their unjust rulers with those that have mercy on them. ameen

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  15. May Allah subhana wa taala grant patience to muslims around the world and replace the tyrants with righteous leaders.

    It seems to me that there is a big plan in action at the moment. First Tunisia, now egypt and yemen as well. Though im saddened to see my brothers and sisters being oppressed but at the same time i feel content that inshAllah something good will come out of all this. Like the recent earthquake in Pakistan was a dire warning to us, these events are leading to something major.

    and Allah knows best.

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  16. Where were you all O brothers and Sisters when the same happened in the 100 percent Muslim Maldives?

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  17. ALLAHU AKBAR! DO YOU KNOW WHY THE REST OF THE CORRUPT LEADERS OF THE MIDDLE EAST SCARED? JUST WATCH THE MIRACLES UNFOLDING IN EGYPT…..EVERY ARAB RULER WILL SEE A DAY LIKE TODAY WHEN THEIR OPPRESSED PPL OVERTURN THEM…….

    ALHDMULILLAH MUBARAK LEFT! WAIT TIL HE DIES, IT’S NOT OVER FOR HIM YET!

    WATCH OUT SAUDI, JORDAN, SYRIA, ALGERIA, GULF, ETC….IT’S GONNA B UR TURN NEXT, INSHA ALLAH YA RABB

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