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Bomb Threat At My School – A Striking Similarity

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depaul_loop.JPGAccounting 350 this week was the same as usual, slow and unexciting. There I was stuck in a three hour night class, slightly bored and fiddling with my phone. All of that changed 48 minutes into the class when I received the following text message from a Muslim brother in another building on campus also in a night class.

         From: Mofees
         Bomb threat, my class
         was just evacuated. Tell
         ur teacher
         6:48pm 4/21/08

At around 6:40pm, DePaul University began to evacuate its two downtown Chicago Loop campus buildings after receiving a phone call of a bomb threat. The building I was in was not amongst those officially evacuated, but people like myself began receiving text messages from friends with classes in the evacuated buildings about the bomb threat. All the while, my class was in the middle of presentations and there I was unsure of what to do.

Although our building wasn’t officially evacuating, I still thought that we should do so, just in case of any potential danger. I showed the text to the student next to me so as to ask him what to do. The student, scared out of his mind, began panicking before we even devised a solution. I suggested to him we should go check outside the room to see if anything was going on in the school, and if there really was an evacuation so we can inform our professor. Within seconds, he collected his belongings and headed for the door, before I even had a chance to follow him.

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Although I was busy thinking about the situation at hand, I couldn’t help but notice the reaction of the student at hearing this news. He was scared out of his mind, seemingly 110% convinced with full certainty that there was in fact a bomb in the building, and that he was just seconds from meeting his doom.

“This is crazy, man,” he said ready to escape the building as soon as our lift reached the lobby. As I went to talk to the security guard, the classmate was already headed towards the exit and on his way home. I was now on my own.

I found a security guard and confirmed the evacuation order, and headed back to the elevators to go back to my room and warn my professor.

As I walked back through the lobby, dozens of students were leaving the building, dazed and confused, checking their text messages, and all in dispute over what exactly was going on. People seemed to have heard about the bomb threat, but confusion clouded certainty as students slowly poured out of the building. Was this bomb threat for real, or just some dumb prank?

Upon walking into the elevator, it hit me that this scene was one which we are all too familiar with. Allah subhana wa ta’ala says in His Book.

About what are they asking one another? About the great news. That over which they are in disagreement. No! They are going to know. Then, no! They are going to know. [78:1-5]

The news of this bomb threat was the greatest news of the day, and probably even for the entire academic year for DePaul University. Within minutes of the evacuation, the building was surrounded with hundreds of evacuated students, police cars, security teams, and major media news outlets.

From 6:48pm until around 6:55pm, so many people were unsure if there really was a bomb threat on the building, let alone a order for evacuation. But as soon as all professors received word and move their students out of the building, not a single person had a ounce of doubt about the situation.

What struck me on that day was that this scenario is exactly what is going to happen on the Day of Judgment. The threat of its upcoming presence has clearly been made for humanity by Allah ‘azza wa jal. We’ve been told the procedure of evacuation from sin and disobedience, as well as the way out to safety from the explosive punishment it will bring. It is indeed a reality that everyone will come to know.

Yet in our day-to-day lives, it’s as if we ourselves are unsure if that Day is really coming. Day in and day out we disobey and ignore Allah, knowing we can do better. We tell ourselves we’re going to change and start a needed good habit or drop a bad deed, but we delay that change until tomorrow. All the while, we’re living in a way as if we are disputing over whether the Day of Judgment really is going to happen, or if it’s just some made up fairytale from a Book.

The Day of Judgment is real, and as Allah subhana wa ta’ala said, we will come to fully know its reality. The question is will we realize it now and move towards change immediately until then, or will we continue to do nothing until it’s too late?

It’s time to get a move on with Islam in our lives, drop our sins, start doing those good deeds that we put off until tomorrow, and begin acting like we really believe the Day of Judgment is, in fact, forreal.

May Allah subhana wa ta’ala give us unbreakable yaqīn in the coming of the Day of Judgment, of our death and life in the grave, help us give up our sins and begin to obey Him immediately, and protect us from our heedlessness before its too late.

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SaqibSaab is an average Desi Muslim guy living in Chicago. He enjoys videography and design as side hobbies, and helps out with AlMaghrib Institute in Chicago, Wasat Studios, and other projects here and there. His go-around vehicle is a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta 5-speed Wolfburg Edition. Originally born in Michigan, he and his wife reside in Chicagoland with his parents who come from Bangalore, India. He blogs personally at SaqibSaab.com.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Dawud Israel

    April 22, 2008 at 3:10 PM

    Man Saqib where’s your bravery!? Ya should’ve interrupted the class instantly!!!

    I remember some kid pulled the fire alarm at a AlMaghrib seminar and everybody was soooooo slow to leave–one kid getting a drink of water.
    Hey, even shaykh YQ said, (paraphrased) “Oh comeon, I’m not that boring that someone would pull the alarm!” So maybe that added to it…

    And I look at people’s attitude during these scenarios and am thinking: So what if it’s a fake? If it’s real you better get outta there! Better safe than sorry but the thing is people are such followers they aren’t willing to take the lead. I imagine if that false fire alarm was not false at all what would happen to all those Muslims? We’re a minority and would lose sooo many of our people in that scenario. Smart bunch we are!

    I think they call it “Diffusion of Responsibility” in psychology…google it.

  2. SaqibSaab

    April 22, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Totally true, dude.

    Thing is, I forgot to mention that the brother who texted me had class in another building nearby, and no alarm had been sound in ours (I’m going to add that bit into the post now). That’s why I was confused and wanted to check up if our building was actually evacuating. Check out this Email sent from my professor this morning…

    Well, wasn’t last night exciting? As you may or may not know, our building, the DePaul Center, was never officially evacuated. However, I think that we did the right thing in terms of getting out. In a situation like what occurred last night it is always better to err or the side of safety. Memories of Northern Illinois and Virgina Tech are still all too fresh. Anyway, fortunately, everyone got out safely.

    Also, the brother who texted me actually left class to go pray Asr shortly before his building was evactuated. Right when he finished, a police officer found him and told him to tell his teacher about the evacuation. When he went in to class to tell her, she didn’t believe him! She hesitated, asking if he was just trying to mess around, and tried to continue teaching class. It was then that the same police officer came and in and urged the students in their class to get out.

    Considering I was in a different building, I figured it would be best to get the official okay from a security officer to evacuate, and actually found another professor to go in with me to inform my teacher.

    But looking back, I think you’re right. If there ever is a next time, just speak out regardless of whether the professor will believe you or not. JazakAllah khair.

  3. AnonyMouse

    April 22, 2008 at 3:35 PM

    SubhanAllah… deep stuff, man. AlHamdulillaah that you all are safe Dunya-wise – more importantly, may Allah keep us safe from His Punishment and His Wrath in the Aakhirah!

  4. Mr GQ

    April 22, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    “The news of this bomb threat was the greatest news of the day, and probably even for the entire academic year for DePaul University.”

    LOL It almost sounds as if you were waiting for Depaul to blow up. Imagine if some kaffir read it – he’d press his speed dial to FBI.

    May Allah protect you. Ameen

  5. Faiez

    April 22, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    I don’t think many of us think straight in these situations dawud. How often are we told what to do in a bomb threat situation? It’s like they say, hindsight is 20/20. Think about the kid next to Saqib, he just straight up ran out (i.e. the hell with everyone else).

    “If there ever is a next time, just speak out regardless of whether the professor will believe you or not. JazakAllah khair.”

    Hopefully there won’t be a next time, who will i make wise cracks to at RSI then? Although, if I were in your shoes, I would’ve found any reason to evacuate class hehe ;)

  6. Mohammed Irshad

    April 23, 2008 at 12:30 AM

    ASAK, Al hamdulilla you all are safe and in this situation its our primary resposilbility to be on the safer side and also ensure that other people also safe. And this applies same when we talk about Akhirat. As Hadith describes like “Allah Subhanna Talah says I have send the humanity to earth only to Obey and pray me, and so specially these Ummet-e-Mohammade for doing go things and guding others to do so and stop doing bad things and tell others to stop the bad deeds”. May Allah Subhana Talah give us the akheen that the things that are described in Quran about Akhirat is definetly going to happen, and we should get prepaired for it by doing the good things in our life so that we should not get cought by Allah Subhan Talah at the day of judgement.

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  9. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 24, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    Saqib, good parallel there you drew there between an-Nabaa and the Depaul bomb threat.

    Siraaj

  10. AbdelRahman Murphy

    April 24, 2008 at 12:53 PM

    LOL It almost sounds as if you were waiting for Depaul to blow up. Imagine if some kaffir read it – he’d press his speed dial to FBI.

    I believe he was using the word greatest with a different meaning.

    3: remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness (great bloodshed)

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/greatest

  11. Faiez

    April 24, 2008 at 2:34 PM

    So did they find out who actually did it?

    blockquote

  12. SaqibSaab

    April 24, 2008 at 3:11 PM

    Not to my knowledge, nope. We went back to school the next day like it was nothing.

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