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130+ American Muslim Imams, Scholars and Community Leaders Sign A Statement On The Ongoing Oppression of Uighur Muslims

Hena Zuberi

Published

In the Name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful,

All praise is due to Allahﷻ and may the Creator send His blessings and salutations upon our master, Muhammadﷺ, as well as upon his family and companions.

We, imams, scholars and community leaders, hereby affirm and declare the following fundamental points:

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We ask the People’s Republic of China to free Uighurs from its concentration camps, return children to their families, and restore their freedom of religion.

We call upon our neighbors of other faiths to support this demand.

We call upon fellow citizens to stop buying products produced through slave labor from these camps.

We thank the US government for raising the issue of human rights abuses and detainment in the concentration camps and ask the rest of the world to do the same.

We call upon all people to stand in solidarity with the Uighur people on April 6, 2019 in Washington DC.

Signed,

Dr Yasir Qadhi, The Islamic Seminary of America, TX
Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, The Islamic Society of Orange County, CA
Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda, TX
Mufti Mohammad Ibrahim Qureshi, Islamic Center of Northridge, CA
Imam Malik Mujahid, SoundVision, Burma Task Force
Shaykh Furhan Zubairi, Institute of Knowledge, CA
Shaykh Suleiman Hani, Islamic Center of Detroit, MI
Chaplain Bilal Ansari, Hartford Seminary, Williams College, MA
Ustadha Zainab Ansari, Tayseer Seminary, TN
Ameer Esedullah Uygur, Ummah Uyghur Awareness Coalition
Hena Zuberi, Justice For All, Muslimmatters.org
Shaykh Hasib Noor, The Legacy Institute
Ashfaq Taufique, Birmingham Islamic Society, AL
Imam Yaser Birjas, Valley Ranch Islamic Center, TX
Imam Khalid Fattah Grigg, Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, NC
Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SF, CA
Ameer Mustapha Elturk, Islamic Organization of North America (IONA),
Imam Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, Muslim Center of Long Island, NY
Jenny Yanez MSW, Jefferson Muslim Association, LA
Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, San Francisco Muslim Community Center, CA
Dr. Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, CA
Imam Mohamed Magid, VA
Sayyid M. Syeed, Islamic Society of North America
Shaykh Abdel Hamid, Noor Al Islam Society, NY
Dr Omar Shahin, Graduate Theological Foundation & North American Imams Federation (NAIF)
Khidr Nassam Bamba, Masjid Taqwa Bronx, NY
Dr. Hamud Al-Silwi, Bronx Muslim Center, NY
Imam Faisal Ahmad, The Fiqh & Dawah Center of America, NY
Adel Elmorsi, The Islamic Center of Morris County, NJ
Imam Ibrahim Atasoy, North East Islamic Community Center, NY
Shaykh AbdurRahman Ahmad , Islamic Center of New England, MA
Omar Kawam, Williams College Muslim Students’ Union, MA
Dr Ossama Bahloul, Islamic Center of Nashville, TN
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, Mosque Without Borders
Dr Ahmad M. Hemaya, New Haven Islamic Center, CT
Imam Reda A Sallam, Masjid Almostafa, Waterbury, CT
Shaykh Hani Salem, Paradise Hajj & Umrah/Baitulmaal
Imam ibn Al-Saeed Fouad Al-Balawi, ICNEO, OH
Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego, CA
Imam Imad Enchassi, ISGOC, CA
Imam Tamer Abdelaziz, Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin, WI
Imam Ibrahim Ezghair, Clear Lake Islamic Center, TX
Basem Hamid, Wasat Institute, Shadow Creek Muslim Community Center, TX
Imam Fateen Seifullah, Masjid As Sabur, NV
Shaykh Abdeljalil Mezgouri, Islamic Center of San Diego, CA
Mohamad Adam El Sheikh, Dar Al Noor Islamic Community Center, North American Imams Federation
Abdul Jebrin, Muslim American Society
Haj Dawoud S Abdullah, Islamic Cultural Center of Niagara Falls, NY
Imam Nadim Ali, Community Masjid of Atlanta, GA
Imam Ayman Soliman, AIC Masjid, IL
Imam Amr Dabour, Bay County Islamic Society, FL
Imam Amin Azim, Islamic Center of Yakima, WA
Imam Hussein Nasser, IL
Dr Yunus Adetunji Fasasi, Islamic Community of Puerto Rico, PR
Imam Mohamed Musa, IL
Moustafa Kamel, West Coast Islamic Center, CA
Wafaa Wahabi, AMC Everett Masjid, WA
Dr Mohammad Siddiqi, Kalamazoo Islamic Center, MI
Imam Obair Katchi, Islamic Society of Corona-NorCo, CA
Shaykh Abdelmoniem Elamin, Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center, VA
Abdallah Ddumba, Justice for All, Burma Task Force
Imam Azfar Uddin, Islamic Foundation North, IL
Mawlana Bilal Ali Ansari, Khalil Center, IL
Isam Zaiem, CAIR-Ohio
Imam Abdelghader Ould Siyam, Islamic Association of Cincinnati, OH
Ahmad Banna, MACE Islamic Center, OH
Imam Ashraf Ibrahim, Omar Islamic Center, MN
Mahgiub El-Arabi, Al-Umma Center of Santa Clarita Valley, CA
Naveed Ahmed, Helping Hand for Relief and Development; ICNA
Sheik Housein, Islamic Society of Washington Area, MD
Mohammed Saber Odeh, Mizquita Al Farouq, PR
Amir Al Hajj Khalid Samad, The International Council For Peace, Justice And Empowerment
Rudwan Abu-rumman, Anne Arundel County Muslim Council. MD
Shaykh Suhail Mulla, Islamic Society West Valley, CA
Dr Imam Khalid Nasr, Islamic Center of New England, MA
Imam Abdelsalam Abounar, Dareleman Educational Center, TX
Kadeer Ainiwaer, Ummah Uyghur Awareness Coalition
Salih Hudayar, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement
Zainab Chaudry, CAIR- Maryland
Waheedah Muhammad, CAIR-Kentucky
Ibrahim Sheikh, Islamic Society of Annapolis, MD
Imam Mohamed Elagami, Elhedaya Islamic Society, TX
Imam Ismail Bryant, National Amirate of Baytul Khaliq, NJ
Mahmoud Shalash, Islamic Center of Lexington, KY
Shaikh Joe Bradford, Houston Muslim Community, TX
Waqas Syed, Islamic Circle of North America
Yusuf Hanif, Dawah Brings Faith
Babatunde Ibrahim Tiamiyu, DeenUp Athletics
Imam Abdullah Sahin
Daoud Nassimi, Professor of Religion, NOVA Community College, VA
Imam Ismail Fenni, Yusuf Mosque, MA
Nihad Awad, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Imam Asif Hirani, Worcester Islamic Center, MA
Imam Adil Khan, ICCL – Islamic Community Center of Laurel, MD
Imam Mahmoud Harmoush, Islamic Center of Riverside, CA
Imam Obair Katchi, Islamic Society of Corona, Norco,CA
Imam Djilali Kacem, Ph.D, Dar-Aljalal Masjid, MO
Imam Ali M Bagegni, Ph.D, Northwest Islamic Center, MO
Imam Eldin Susa, St Louis Islamic Center Masjid Nur, MO
Dr Dris Djermoun, Islamic Council of New England, MA
Imam Ahmad H Durrani, Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, MO
Shaykh Saleh Saleh, Imam Council of Metro St. Louis, MO
Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali, Northeast Denver Islamic Center, CO
Imam M. A. Azeez, Tarbiya Institute, CA
Chaplain Nada El-Alami, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA
Hasan Hammad, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MD
Dr. Ed Tori, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MD
Shaykh Tarik Ata, Orange County Islamic Foundation, CA
Zahid Bukhari, ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ)
Ismet Akcin, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MD
Saleem Ahmad, Baltimore County Muslim Council, MD
Adileh Sharieff, Islamic Center of Maryland, MD
Amin Ezzeddine, MAS Maryland
Saqib Ali, Former State Delegate Maryland
Jameel Aalim-Johnson, Prince George’s County Muslim Council, MD
Yusufi Vali, Islamic Society of Boston, MA
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik Ibn Seale, Muslim Society of Washington, DC
Mohamed Helmy, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, VA
Nasser Saleh, Al Firdaus Jinnaza Service, VA
Hossein Gosl, Dar Al Hijrah, VA
Mirvais Ayubi, Dar Al Hijrah, VA
Kuzzat Altay, Uyghur Entrepreneurs Network
Rafi Uddin Ahmed, Muslim Association of Virginia, Dar Al Noor Islamic Center, VA
Shaykh Omar Suleiman, Yaqeen Institute, TX
Khalid M. Mirza, Muslim Communities Association of South Florida, FL
Naveed Alvi, Chino Valley Islamic Center, CA
Mohamed Almasmari, Muslim Unity Center, MI
Chaplain Saffet A. Catovic, Drew University, NJ
Muhammad Farooq, Islamic Center of Northern Virginia Trust, VA
Shaykh Ismet Akcin, Islamic Society of Baltimore, MDImam M. Musa Azam-Ibrahimi Majlis Daawatul Haqq of America, IN
Imam Ayman Soliman, AIC, IL
Sr. Erin Ogborn, Tri-State Islamic Center, Dubuque, IA
Memet Emin, Columbia University, NY
Sahar Alsahlani, Religions for Peace, USA, NY
Qutaibah J. Abbasi, Duncanville Islamic Center, TX
Aneelah Afzali, MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network), WA
Rafik Beekun, University of Nevada and AMSS, NV
Jawad Rasul, Islamic Society of Augusta, GA
Imam Nadim Bashir, East Plano Islamic Center, TX
Morsy Salem At-Tawheed Islamic Center, MI
Imam Ali Siddiqui, Muslim Institute – Interfaith Studies & Understanding, D.C.
Zohra Lasania, CAIR Pittsburgh
Linda Sarsour, MPower Change, NY
Dr. Jobeh Nasser, Muslim Brotherhood, MI
Imam Qasim ibn Ali Khan, Masjid At-Tawhid, TX
Imam Qasim ibn Ali Khan, Masjid At-Tawhid, TX
Chaplain Bilal Mirza, Babson College, MA
Mufti Mohammed Uddin Kawthar, Rihlatul Ilm Foundation, PA
Imam Mahad, AMCC, FL
Imam Mohammad Kibria, Darul Uloom New York, NY
Imam Qarib Ur Rahman, Manassas Muslim Association, VA
Imam Ibrahim Ahmad, Masjid Noor, Huntington, NY
Imam Nihad Yesil,The Islamic Institute, Dallas, TX
Ahmed Abdurrab Rabbani, Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, MI
Mufti Sulaiman Yusufi, ICMC, NJ
Chaplain Kaiser Aslam, Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University, NJ
Shaykh Burhan, Peace Children Academy, Brooklyn, NY
Mohammad Kawser, Darus Sunnah USA, NY
Imam Lateef Rahman, Islamic Society Of Tracy, CA
Chaplain Mohammed Shahid, Somerville Masjid,MA
Fathi Alam, Darul Uloom New York, NY
Mahdi Baitul Hamd Institute, NY
Imam Abdurrahman, DQWS, NY
Shaykh Osman Umarji, UC Irvine, CA
Imam Omar Khan, Khatme Nubuwwat Center, VA
Shaykh Afzal Sheikh Jr, Islamic center of Deer Park, NY
Imam Abrar Malik, Masjid Alfalah New York City, NY
Imam Mufti Shazad M. Hussain, A.I.M. Masjid Noor VA
Shaykh Afzal Sheikh Jr, Islamic Center of Deer Park, NY
Ismail Hossain, Islamic Foundation of NJ, NJ
Amir Ali Muwallif Muhammad, The Islamic Freedom Foundation, MD
Imam Sabur Abdul-Salaam, New York State Department of Correction, NY
Aisha H.L. al-Adawiya, Women In Islam, inc.
Shaikh Hafiz Abu Sufian, United Imam and Ulama Council USA, NY

If you are a scholar, imam, an organizational or a masjid leader and would like to sign the statement please do so here 

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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    pa.Mohmed Ameen

    February 7, 2019 at 11:10 PM

    What China should try is to give full autonomy to the region where these people live as China has done to Hong Kong

    The region of of Xinjiang is also called as East Turkestan and inhabited by Uyghurs who are culturally and geography near to the Central Asians

    China has illegally occupied East Turkestan along with region of Inner Mongolia and Tibet and has secured them by establishing close ties with some of neighboring countries , Pakistan and Tajikistan being one of them.

    China has close military ties with Pakistan and has been assisting them in areas of infrastructure development and technology transfer of military equipment. Pakistan should help to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict

    The Uyghurs are not religious bigot all they want is independence from Chinese Oppression. They look towards Tajikistan , Afghanistan and People of Pakistan to stand for them but none of these nation are match to China since they are too weak.

    Thus they are fighting for their independence which is looked by Chinese as ‘terrorism’. The casualties and losses in these attacks are negligible and the intensity is very low

  2. Avatar

    pa.Mohmed Ameen

    February 7, 2019 at 11:13 PM

    In the Muslim world some big nations like Indonesia , Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh are close friends of China many are impressive still, and the political leaders of these nations have the deceptive capacity shouting Islamic unity and but keeping silent about the oppression of Muslims in China and to some extent in Burma

    They ignore the Islamophobia raging in their most favoured state called China .

    That’s real unacceptable politik from the point of view of Islamic brotherhood .

    How does the Ummah react to the anti-Muslim bigotry across Europe and North America .

    The Ummah suppose that the Pakistani Prime Minister’s will make the next passionate speech on Sino-Pak friendship over the sound of the invisible elephant making a loud noise in the room.

    Islam is a priority but for many Muslim nations politics though injustice is given priority

    The game is Americans or Chinese Or Russians?NOT ISLAM and its followers

    https://www.dawn.com/news/1173034

  3. Avatar

    pa.mohamedameen

    February 7, 2019 at 11:22 PM

    Every man made ideologies like communism will be thrown into the dust bin of history

    China will get disintegrated as USSR if China persists in its oppression of Uyghor Muslims on the pretext of preventing the advance of Islam in China

    This is what the imam meant in his letter to Gorbachev It did happen

    http://en.imam-khomeini.ir/en/n29211/Revisiting-Imam-Khomeini-s-Letter-to-Gorbachev

    mam Khomeini, Letter to President Gorbachev, January 3, 1988

    Now a country, such as the Soviet Union, that was a military powerhouse, that had its own industry, culture and strength; while having its share of economic problems due to crippling sanctions, could – with some sensible restructuring and reform (that didn’t compromise its ideology) – become self-sufficient.

    How did such an entity succumb so catastrophically to the illusions presented by those who were instrumental in the soft war against her?

  4. Avatar

    Abu Muhaya

    February 8, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    Its not just the Uighurs, even the Hui are affected, my FIL was murdered by these animals, just 2 weeks after being detained, we don’t know what happened to him, he entered detention a healthy man and 2 weeks later, my MIL was contacted to meet him at hospital, unable to speak, a day later he died. He was a simple farmer, a 65 year old man who worked hard his whole life for his family. Yet these people tortured him to death, they MURDERED him, plain and simple! Half of my wife’s village was taken away including my brother-in-law, I don’t know how many thousands of Muslims were taken and tortured in these “reeducation” camps. Yet the silence of the Muslim world is deafening

  5. Avatar

    Bisma Jamil

    February 23, 2019 at 10:16 AM

    Thus they are fighting for their independence which is looked at by the Chinese as terrorism. Pakistan, iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries with Pakistan.

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#Society

Politics In Islam: On Muslims Partaking In Political Engagement In Non-Muslim Countries

Imam Asad Zaman, Guest Contributor

Published

Some Muslims are convinced that participation in the elections is forbidden. Some even worry that engaging in politics might cause someone to become a kāfir, because it is a matter of walāʾ. Their argument is that participation necessitates approval of and allegiance to unbelief, and thus this makes participants unbelievers. The main verse cited to reach such a position is that Allah, the Exalted, says: “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as awliyāʾ against other believers.” The claim that this verse prohibits Muslims from partaking in political engagement in non-Muslim countries is immensely consequential to our communities, and so we should take care to understand this ayah in detail.

We must first consider the meaning of the word ‘awliyāʾ. It is the plural of the Arabic word waliy. Many English translations of the Qur’an translate this word as “friend,” causing us to understand the ayah above as prohibiting us from taking the disbelievers as friends. But this meaning would directly contradict multiple verses of the Quran and the well-established practice of our noble Messenger .

Clearly we need to examine this verse more carefully. Most dictionaries variously translate the Arabic word waliy to mean custodian, protector, helper, or authority. Typically a waliy is someone who has responsibility, allegiance, or authority over somebody else. For example, in Islamic law, a father is titled the waliy of his children. The word wāli, which is a derivative of the same root, is also used as an administrative title such as governor or magistrate of a place or region.

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My preferred English word for the Arabic word waliy is “ally.” The word is used in English to describe two separate individuals or parties who participate in favor of each other. This word best fits the Quranic context for the word waliy.

According to the Quran, Allah is the waliy of the believers, and the believers are the waliy of Allah. Allah being the waliy of the believers is consistent with the meanings of “custodian,” “protector,” “helper,” or “authority.” Because clearly Allah is all these things to the believers. But these meanings are not consistent with us, the believers, in our relationship with Allah, the Exalted and Mighty.

But the word “ally” can apply to both the superior party and the inferior. Consider two countries who are allies in defense and military matters. While one might be stronger, more powerful, and even dictate its demands to the other, they are still allies with one another. And Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is far greater than any such comparison.

So when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) describes Himself as the waliy of the believers, it means that we seek His continual guidance, help, and protection. Our role and responsibility in this alliance is not the same, as nothing we do can ever benefit or harm Allah. Allah makes it clear that He is not in need of our protection or assistance, as He is All-Powerful and free from any weakness. We express our allegiance to him through our worship, obedience, reverence, and love. The awliyāʿ of Allah are those who dedicate themselves to perfecting these duties.

Clearly the alliance the believers have with Allah is completely unequal since there is no similarity between the Creator and the creation. While we take Allah as our ally out of our incompetence and dependence, He chooses us as allies purely out of mercy and kindness. And we desperately beg Allah to remain our ally, and to permit us to be allies of Him.

With this understanding of the word waliy, we can now better analyze the verse in question. Notice how the verse’s prohibition against taking unbelievers as allies is not unqualified; it specifies that we must not do so against other believers. We understand from this that it is permitted to make a treaty with unbelievers as long as it does not harm our fellow believers. Our beloved Messenger himself did this when he entered Madinah and made a treaty with the two major tribes of Aws and Khazraj, and with more than a dozen minor tribes pagan and Jewish tribes. The Muslims were expecting major attacks from the idolaters of Quraysh, and so their alliance with neighboring tribes was in the interest of the Muslim community as a whole.

This immediately forces us to question the validity of the military alliance between Israel and Egypt that deprives the people of Gaza of basic necessities. It is this sort of arrangement that the verse seems to warn so starkly against. Let those who partook take heed, as the verse ends with a stark threat: “And Allah warns you of Himself.”

Muslims can be friends with non-Muslims. Muslims can ally with non-Muslims. But a Muslim may never harm another Muslim. “It is enough of an evil for a person to belittle his Muslim brother. The entirety of one Muslim is sacred to another—his blood, his wealth, and his honor.”

And to Allah belongs all good.

Politics In Islam: Muslims Are Called To Pursue Justice

 


Quran 3:28ْ وَِريَنأَكافُِْمْؤِمنُوَنالِْخِذالَنتَتَّقُواِمْنُهْمتُقََّاليَتََّّالأَِسِمَنََّّللاِفِيَشْيٍءإْيِلَكفَلَْٰلذَُمْؤِمنِيَنَۖوَمنيَفْعََْمِليَاِصيُرَءِمندُوِنالْلَىََّّللاِالَِوإَسهُُِۗرُكُمََّّللاُنَفَْويَُحذاةًۗ

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever does that has nothing withAllah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the destination.

Quran 2: 25  7ِماِتإُُّظلْخِرُجُهمِمَنالَمنُوايُِذيَنآَُّّيالََّّللاُئَِكَوِلٰولََُماِتۗأُُّظللَىالُِهمِمَنالنُّوِرإْخِرُجونََّطاُغوُتيُْوِليَاُؤُهُمالَُرواأِذيَنَكفَََّهلاَىالنُّوِرَۖوالِرُۖهْمِفيْصَحاُبالنَّاَأَخاِلدُوَنAllah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into thelight. And those who disbelieve-their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.10Quran 10:62-64َوَالُهْمَيْحَزنُوَنِهْمْيَالَخْوٌفَعلََءََّّللاِْوِليَاََّنأَِالإأ-وَنََوَكانُوايَتَّقَُمنُواِذيَنآْوُزَّال-فَِْلَكُهَوالَٰماِتََّّللاِۚذَْْلِخَرةَِۚالتَْبِديَلِلَكِلَوفِياَحيَاةِالدُّْنيَاْبُْشَرٰىفِيالُْهُماللَُمعَِظيال-ْ

Unquestionably, [for] the allies of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those who believed and were fearing Allah. For them are good tidings in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. No change is there in the words of Allah. That is what is the great attainment

Quran 17:111ٌّيِمَوِلهَُُّكنلْميَِكَولَُْملْهَُشِريٌكفِيالَُّكنلْميََولََولَدًاِخذْْميَتَِّذيلََِّالَحْمدُِلِلَِّْلالَوقُِيًراِْرهُتَْكبلَِۖوَكبَنالذُّAnd say, “Praise to Allah, who hasnot taken a son and has had no partner in [His] dominion and has no [needof a] protector out of weakness; and glorify Him with [great] glorification.”12Forty Hadith, Imam al-Nawawi, #35َ،ُكُمْسِلمَْخاهُالََرأْنيَْحِقََِحْسِباْمِرٍئِمْنالَّشِرأٌمبِمَحَراُمْسِلِْمَعلَىالُمْسِلَْوِعْرُضُّلال:

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#Current Affairs

Politics In Islam: Muslims Are Called To Pursue Justice

Imam Asad Zaman, Guest Contributor

Published

The pursuit of justice is a core Islamic value. One of the important roles Allah, the Exalted, assigned to His messengers is the task of establishing justice among the people. Allah, the Almighty, emphasized the importance of justice when He prohibited Himself from oppression and declared it forbidden among us humans. Allah is the Lord of all justice and fairness. In His fairness, He commands us to not allow our anger or hatred towards any group lead us to injustice against them. “Be just,” He commands, “it is closer to righteousness.”

Allah, the Most High, commands us to be witnesses for justice, even against ourselves. The concept of “even against ourselves,” is an open call to all people of faith to rise to the occasion, especially where we see systemic or structural oppression. In most such cases, the oppression is carried out in our name, usually by our elected government.

Allah’s emphasis on justice leads many Muslims to worry that if they vote for a president who transgresses against another country, the fault falls on everyone who voted for him. This fear paralyzes Muslim engagement in the American political system. Let us examine the circumstances of responsibility in such cases.

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To be clear, the present governments of almost all countries on Earth, including the so-called Muslim countries operate with corruption and oppression. Taking Egypt as an example, the government’s domestic policies have led to the unjust death and imprisonment of thousands of Egyptian citizens, and their foreign policy enables the perpetuation of Gaza’s destruction. This, however, does not require the average Egyptian Muslim citizen to reject all relationship to the nation of Egypt. The question then arises: how responsible is the Muslim for the actions of his government? Likewise, when the American government acts with injustice at home and abroad, how responsible is the American Muslim for the actions of his government? When the average citizen is not consulted before the execution of military operations, to what degree are we held responsible?

Allah’s Messenger provided for us a balanced approach to engaging with the injustice around us. Abu Saʿīd al-Khudri narrates that he heard the Prophet say,

“Whoever sees evil should change it with his hand; and if he is unable to do so, then he should change it with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then he should hate it with his heart—that is the least of faith.”

Let us take a practical example:

In 2001, President George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. To justify his action, he invented a series of lies that Iraq possessed nuclear capabilities. It took him more than a year to align the power brokers in America and Europe to enable this evil action to occur. Neither the opinions nor the interests of the American population were taken into consideration.

Before the invasion, the public had two concerns: that the justification presented for the war was speculative and unfounded, and the war would result in countless unnecessary deaths. These worries quickly materialized into realities as time proved them to be true. However before the war, various politicians, pundits and opinion makers helped sell this unjust action to the people in order to gain their consent. They are undoubtedly guilty of murder and should be remembered as peddlers of death.

But what was the duty of an average American Muslim? The hadith mentioned above lists three levels of engagement:

Level One:

Someone who was part of the military or legislative authority had a duty in front of Allah to attempt to stop the invasion with action. If he was a congressman, he had a moral duty to vote against the war. If he was a member of the military, any intelligence agency, or government policy group, he had a moral duty to challenge the claims of the war’s proponent’s and provide information to the public so that they can know the truth. This duty applied to the person despite the likelihood that such a course of action would have probably jeopardized their career or their life.

Level Two:

Most Americans were not in the position described in level one. In their case, their duty was to speak out against this act of injustice. They could have written letters to their legislators, participated in protest rallies, held events in congress, and even spoken to their neighbors, classmates and colleagues about how wrong this action was. Any American Muslim who was not under threat of arrest for speaking out, but chose to remain silent still, failed to fulfill his duty to protest the evil.

Level Three:

There is little likelihood that the approach of silence would be justified for most American Muslims. There are countries (such as Saudi Arabia), where people can be arrested, tortured, even murdered if they speak out against the government. A Muslim living in one of these societies has a duty to at least engage with the injustices around them on an internal level, detesting the action from the core of their heart. As for the Muslim who does not detest that millions of innocent people are killed, they should check their heart; they would be missing what the Allah’s Messenger described as, “the least of faith.”

What faith is left in the heart of the Muslim who is not bothered by the death of more than a million Muslims?! Even if his mind is polluted with patriotism, tribalism, nationalism, or an inclination towards military culture, there is no excuse for the lack of humanity that is required for this level of apathy.

Considering the hadith above, our minimum duty is to stand and speak against the use of our tax dollars for such acts of injustice. There were indeed many Muslim and non-Muslim voices of dissent that protested the American invasion of Iraq. In addition to the spiritual duty of speaking out against injustice, it was clear to many what was later proven to be true: the invasion was not good for America. The financial and human loss incurred by this war has not made neither America, nor the world safer.

Many propose that Muslims should react to the injustices in their countries by leaving them. But this evasive approach fails to actually address the injustice. There is a greater, though more challenging, expectation of addressing the injustices from within, especially in a country like America where criticisms are tolerated and protest can lead to policy that is felt around the world. A large amount of the pain, and suffering that is happening to the Muslims today can be stopped from inside America. Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan are hoping that we will do something from our positions that will alleviate their suffering. They need our help.

Exonerating ourselves because our government acts without our consent may appease our consciences, but is of no benefit to our global Muslim community.

Such an approach is contradictory to the teaching of the Prophet as made clear by the hadith above. We have the opportunity and ability to speak out against evil, so passive dissent is not an option.

Allah tells us the story of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and al-Khadir 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)  in Surah al-Kahf (peace be upon them both). When they boarded a ship of some men who agreed to give them a ride to their destination, Khadir pierced the boat’s basin, damaging their source of livelihood. Confused, Musa criticized this action, as it seemed like an injustice towards people who readily did a favor for them. What Musa didn’t know was that the men would encounter a tyrant king who had sent his men to seize all boats that were sound and intact. And as these men had helped Musa and al-Khadir, he wished to help them evade this king’s oppressive policy; the minor damage saved them from losing their boat!

The king was an oppressive tyrant. Musa and al-Khadir (peace be upon both of them) did not possess the power to remove the king or prevent the king from his evil action, and so they took action according to their ability. They knew that though they could not save everyone from the injustice, it was still their duty to act within their capacity to reduce the king’s injustice.

The Story of The Secret Believer

Allah also tells us the beautiful story of the secret believer in the Quran, who worked in the unjust government of the Pharaoh at the time of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). We know he had a fairly high status in the government because he was part of their most confidential meetings. This secret believer did not exit the government after he saw the many evil deeds of the Pharaoh’s government. During the discussion in the Pharaoh’s cabinet where they decided that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was to be killed, this believer rose up and voiced his objections to the injustice, citing historical, logical, and emotional appeals. The meeting, however, concluded with the decision to execute Musa. Having been unable to stop this royal decree, he still made the effort to warn Musa so as to give him the chance to flee.

Allah tells us the beautiful story of the secret believer in the Quran, who worked in the unjust government of the Pharaoh at the time of Musa Click To Tweet

Instead of condemning him for participating in a government founded upon unbelief, Allah exalts his mention in His glorious book. He is our example of speaking truth to power, and the reason for Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)safety from Pharaoh’s plot. This man used his position to obstruct oppression, not perpetuate it.

As Muslim Americans, we live in a non-Muslim country. The decisions and actions of our government impacts all of us living in this country. Disengagement will allow selfish people to make decisions that will result in harm to our communities.

Participation will allow us to follow the examples of proactive engagement so as to prevent harm and ultimately change corrupt systems from within. An all-or-nothing approach will almost always lead to nothing.

Allah, the Exalted, provides these examples so that we can understand the practical role of Muslim in an overwhelmingly hostile society. Even though our environments have not reached that degree, we can still relate to the feelings of being oppressed and ostracized for our faith. Allah’s lesson to us in these stories is that our faith shouldn’t prevent us from trying to change these circumstances.

And to Allah is the end of all matters.

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#Current Affairs

Podcast: Muslims and The Fenty Fitnah | With Omar Usman and Khaled Nurhssein

Zeba Khan

Published

American Pop Star Rihanna, who owns luxury fashion line Fenty, featured a song with the voice of Mishary Rashid Al Afasi reciting a hadith from the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) about the end of times at recent lingerie fashion show.

Many are offended, but what’s the best way to respond to the situation?

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Join Zeba Khan as she discusses this with Omar Usman, executive director of MuslimMatters, and Khaled Nurhssein, a community organizer, a local khateeb, and an intermittent student of knowledge.

Many Muslims are offended by pop-star Rihanna's use of a hadith in the music for a lingerie fashion show. What is the right way to respond?Click To Tweet

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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