Almighty Allah says:
And We sent not the signs except to warn” [al-Israa’ 17:59]
“We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’aan) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?” [Fussilat 41:53]“Say: ‘He has power to send torment on you from above or from under your feet, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, and make you to taste the violence of one another.’” [al-An’aam 6:65]
Maney hadeeth scholars has interpreted about theses ayaths in their khithabs. Imam bukhari narrated in his Saheeh from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when the aayah (interpretation of the meaning) “Say: ‘He has power to send torment on you from above” was revealed, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “A’oodhu bi wajhika (I seek refuge in Your Face”; “or from under your feet”, he said, “A’oodhu bi wajhika (I seek refuge in Your Face).” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 5/193). “
The earthquake or tsunami which caused thousands of people to die, caused loss of wealth and properties, and forced people to seek refuge outside of their dwellings. Happenings of earthquakes and the like from other destructive and disastrous events are the greatest evidence of the astonishing power of almighty Allah. The earthquakes and tsunami that are happening these days are among the signs which Allaah uses to frighten His slaves. All the earthquakes and other things which happen and cause harm and injury to people are because of their shirk and sins activities , as Allaah says: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much” [al-Shoora 42:30]“Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allaah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself” [al-Nisaa’ 4:79]
These natural disasters reminds us the day judgment, almighty allaaha says: “O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one shall drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state. Yet they will not be drunken, but the Torment of Allah will be severe.” (22:1-2) Allah ta`ala warns His servants with this earthquake to learn a lesson and be admonished, and to be ready and prepare themselves for the Day of sorting out, the day of the great earthquake, that will shake all of the earth.
The revision of President Trump’s travel ban continues his (gradual) trajectory away from bombast toward moderation. Even his seven-nation ban wasn’t the blanket ban he’d “suggested“ during the campaign, since Pakistanis and other Muslims weren’t covered. Though manifesting more a tonal than a substantial change, his first speech to Congress did mention “our allies in the Muslim world”. The elephant-in-the-room question now is this: Will Trump move toward his predecessors’ moderate stance and embrace the warmer, fuzzier rhetoric about not being “at war” with Islam?
One senses this is bound to happen eventually, and it isn’t necessarily “politically correct” to say it should. In the current global ideological war, America should abandon the Obama administration’s political correctness in large measure. In eight years, Obama wouldn’t even use the term “Islamist“ to refer to the terrorist threat emanating from groups like ISIS. It was as if he either hadn’t pondered the notion or just thought the lowbrow US public, “clinging to guns or religion“, wouldn’t understand. Obama’s chief diplomat John Kerry favoured the term “Daesh” for the so-called Islamic State, one suspects because it let him avoid the word “Islamic”. But “Daesh” is simply Arabic for “ISIS”, and one also suspects Kerry may not have known that. Hillary Clinton cautiously used the term “Islamism” quite late in her campaign, by which time Trump had stolen so much of her fire that her star was fast fading. The Obama administration’s refusal to call a spade a spade was an amazing display of homegrown American PC. Even the BBC – tribune of political correctness – has been using “Islamist” in its reports for years.
That said, whether or not Trump wants to keep up the “tough guy” persona, he – like all Western leaders – will have to conduct his offensive in a thoughtful and civil way. Any leader worth his or her salt should be able to clarify a threat to society while resisting the temptation to frighten their citizenry. In this vein, we’re once again reminded of Trump’s ill-fated first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose successor heralds a significant policy shift. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, supposedly known for “respecting Muslims“, is a disappointment to many Trump supporters, who see him as another kowtower to PC tyranny. But McMaster need not be seen this way, and in the interests of optimism, it might be more useful to deconstruct Flynn’s controversial ideas on Islam – and safely dismiss them.
At times during the presidential campaign, Flynn appeared to acknowledge Islam as a religion, describing Islamism (a supremacist sectarian or theocratic political ideology) as “a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion [Muslims]” that must be “excised”. But elsewhere he took a more extreme view, saying he did “not view Islam as a religion” at all, but as a “political ideology that will mask itself as a religion globally” to “hide behind freedom of religion.”
Flynn’s book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, notes:
“I firmly believe that Radical Islam is a tribal cult and must be crushed. Critics get buried in the details of sunna, hadiths, the umma, and the musings of countless Muslim clerics and imams. These so-called Islamic scholars keep their message so complicated so as to create chaos, to confuse in order to control. Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Mussolini were more transparent. Sharia is a violent law that is buried in barbaric convictions.”
In reality, the “message” isn’t complicated, and some of Flynn’s “so-called Islamic scholars” were making the point long before he ever started talking about “Radical Islam” (a tragic misnomer, but now the Trump administration’s anointed phrase to identify the “cancer”). Bluntly put, the challenge facing the West is to see Shari’a (Islamic law) removed from the public realm throughout the world.
Conceived and developed from the 8th to 10th centuries, Shari’a was never designed to be the public or constitutional law of a nation-state, since no “nation-state” existed at the time. But the “divinity” of Shari’a became an enduring historical misconception. The ancient legal corpus isn’t part of the “revelation” or the Prophet Muhammad’s utterances, meaning Shari’a isn’t “divine”, even by the yardstick of Islam itself.
The credibility of Shari’a suffers further from the fact that, in the 10th century, all juridical analysis, reasoning and development of the law (progressive for its time) was halted by the top legal scholars of the day, who somehow felt no need to develop any more rules, principles or precedent, as happens naturally in modern legal systems. We are thus faced with the curious museum piece that is Shari’a today.
Also significant, while the Medinan verses of the Qur’an took precedence in interpreting and implementing Shari’a because they were “revealed” later than the Meccan verses, the Meccan are more than three times as numerous and arguably contain Islam’s basic principles. When Shari’a was being devised, the violent Medinan parts “abrogated” the “warm and fuzzy” Meccan bits. This was to the grave misfortune of Muslim-majority countries whose regimes superimposed Shari’a on their states.
In The Field of Fight, co-authored with scholar and prolific author Michael Ledeen (himself a former adviser to Reagan’s National Security Council), Flynn describes as “incredibly brave and bold” Egyptian President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi’s call for “de-sacralizing” Islamic texts and ideas. This is fine, of course. But what Flynn doesn’t do is bring pressure to bear on all Shari’a-governed countries, especially those he views as allies in the war against “Radical Islam”. In this, he is almost certainly being deliberately selective.
For example, Flynn doesn’t mention “Wahhabism”, a sect of Sunni Islam originating in Saudi Arabia and a highly puritanical, literalist strand of the already-draconian Hanbali school of Shari’a. Yet since the 18th century, the dynasty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has openly allied itself with Wahhabism and today funds the construction and operation of Wahhabi mosques worldwide, including in non-Muslim majority countries. Does Saudi Arabia – a “vital ally” for Flynn – merit no scrutiny, particularly if its mosques contribute to the “radicalization” of attendees? Oddly, while Saudi Arabia officially opposes ISIS, the Islamic State’s leaders embrace Wahhabism and disseminate Wahhabi literature. Wahhabi textbooks are used in the schools ISIS controls.
The main focus for pundits like Flynn (they are many in America) is the Shi’a Muslim-majority, Shari’a-governed, Islamic Republic of Iran. While all of Shari’a is better suited to glass museum cases than current-day legal code books, the Shi’a Islamic legal corpus is also bound up with a belief in the “infallibility” of the “imam”, the religious and political leader of the Muslim community. As if the “infallibility” of anyone wielding political and military power in the modern age weren’t disturbing enough, the historic brutality and misdeeds of imams over the past several centuries certainly should be.
Iran’s official Shi’a doctrine – the “Twelver” school of Shari’a – holds that the “Twelfth Imam” (twelfth caliph after the Prophet to Shi’ites) disappeared in a cave as a boy in 847 A.D. This imam – the Mahdi – is the “Messiah”: he is not dead but only invisible, and will reappear at the end of time to redeem the Earth as it is being destroyed. The Iranian regime, led by Twelver clerics with ultimate authority on what is legal, has designs on the holy lands not only of Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medina) but also of Israel and Palestine (Jerusalem). The “self-fulfilling prophecy” potential of the Messianist worldview, combined with the Teheran’s regional ambitions, makes Iranian Islamism worryingly unpredictable.
David Cameron clashed with a BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter this morning over the broadcaster’s policy of using the term ‘Islamic State’ rather than ‘Daesh’.
The BBC has been under pressure to adopt the term ‘Daesh’ rather than ‘Islamic State’, ‘Isis’ or ‘Isil’ as some say it helps draw a distinction between Islam as a religion and the militant group.
In an interview with Sarah Montague, the prime minister announced immigrants would have to demonstrate they were improving their English language skills after being in the country for two-and-a-half years or face being deported.
“I’m not saying there is some sort of causal connection between not speaking English and becoming an extremist, of course not, that would be a ridiculous thing to say,” he said.
“But if you’re not able to speak English, not able to integrate, you might find therefore, you have challenges understanding what your identity is and therefore you could be more susceptible to the extremist message from Daesh.”
And he criticised the BBC: “Muslim families around the country would have held their heads in despair this morning when, once again, you just called it ‘Islamic State’, you didn’t even say ‘so-called Islamic State’ it’s so important this.”
Montegue told Cameron to “take that up with the upper echelons of the BBC” rather than with her. Cameron said he would do as she suggested. “Well I will,” he said.
A spokesperson for the BBC told The Huffington Post UK: “The BBC uses the name the group itself uses, using additional descriptions to help make it clear we are referring to the group as they refer to themselves, such as ‘so-called Islamic State’ or ‘Islamic State group’.”
The BBC has previously rejected a demand by MPs that it use the term ‘Daesh’.
In December, as he set out the case for RAF airstrikes against Isis in Syria, Cameron said he would use the term ‘Daesh’ rather than ‘Isis’ or ‘Isil’ as he previously had done.
Speaking to Today, Cameron said women who come to the UK to join husbands will face tests after two and a half years – with failure meaning “they can’t guarantee they will be able to stay” even if they have children.
“You have to be able to speak a basic level of English now to come into the country as a husband or a wife,” he said.
“We have made that change already and we are now going to toughen that up so halfway through the five-year spousal settlement programme, there will be another opportunity to make sure your English is improving. You can’t guarantee you will be able to stay if you are not improving your language.
“It is tough. But in the end it is not enough just to say the government is going to spend more money and it is our responsibility. People coming to our country, they have responsibilities too.”
He said: “I am not blaming the people who can’t speak English. Some of these people have come to our country from quite patriarchal societies where perhaps the menfolk haven’t wanted them to learn English, haven’t wanted them to integrate.
“Where there is segregation, it is holding people back, it is not in tune with British values and it needs to go. We need to be more assertive.”
Andy Burnhham, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said: “Cameron’s simplistic, headline-driven approach to extremism risks unfairly stigmatising a whole community, thereby making the problem worse.”
Courtesy : http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk
The Messenger of Allah (peace and salutations be upon him said, “Islam began as something strange and will return as something strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers”.
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: بدأ الإسلام غريبا وسيعود كما بدأ غريبا فطوبى للغرباء
The outward of the Hadith is inclusiveness. Verily Islam began among individuals and very few people and it then gradually spread and arose. However, thereafter it will be afflicted with paucity and disruption to the extent that once again it will remain only in individuals and few people just as it began.
So it is the returning time. Wahhabi, Al-Qaidah, ISIS, Ikhwanul Muslimeen, etc .. there are many Muslims by name only. So don’t judge Islam with the activities done by Muslims by name….
Queen Elizabeth I had bad teeth. The snaggle-toothed sovereign owed her decay to copious amounts of sugar that began flowing into England from Morocco in the 16th century. Candied fruits were her absolute favorite.
The story of Elizabeth’s unfortunate smile is but one facet of a much larger and far more important history of economic, cultural and political relations between the queen’s rather negligible island, the sultan of Morocco and the fabulously wealthy Muslim world that dominated half of the Mediterranean and controlled Europe’s access to the east. Jerry Brotton’s wonderful book reveals this instructive history of Protestant England’s intense interactions with Islam, showing how Muslims shaped English culture, consumerism and literature during the half-millennium between the Crusades and the rise of the British Empire in the Middle East.
It was the pope who made possible this fruitful relationship between Protestantism and Islam. Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth in 1570. Cutting her out of the Catholic Church separated England from most of Europe. Denied the markets of Spain, Italy and France, Elizabeth had to look beyond the continent for trading partners. She tried first with Russia. This worked for a time, but the White Sea proved ice-locked for too much of the year. Stretching her gaze even farther, she set her sights first on Morocco, then for a moment Iran and eventually the largest Muslim state in the world, the Ottoman Empire.
The queen started sending her merchants and diplomats to Marrakesh for sugar and saltpeter, to Istanbul for cotton and indigo and to Aleppo for Iranian silks and Indian spices, and Mr. Brotton follows the often harrowing stories of many of these English merchant-diplomat-spies (the lines were not always clear) as they pursued goods, cash and markets. Relying mostly on these figures’ travel writings, Mr. Brotton walks us through places that have become tragically familiar of late, cities such as Raqqa and Fallujah, which were centers of wealth in the 16th century.
Trade with the east eventually led to the invention of a new financial instrument: the joint-stock company. Moving money and merchandise over such great distances with peoples whose trustworthiness and religion were both suspect proved far too risky for Elizabeth or any merchant to attempt on her or his own. The joint-stock company allowed them to share the risk and reward. As trade between east and west ballooned under Elizabeth, England remained a junior partner. Still, silks, rhubarb, currants, spices, sweet wines and sugar were soon streaming into England, changing tastes, creating new fads and making a lucky few a lot of money.
As Mr. Brotton tells it, for England economic necessity nearly always trumped anxieties about trading with Christianity’s perceived enemies. Both Catholics and Protestants—but especially the latter, given their relative political and economic precarity in the 16th century—undertook all sorts of theological gymnastics to justify their deepening relations with Islam.
From the very start, Martin Luther regarded the pope as a scourge far worse than the Ottoman sultan. The Turk may have been a devil, but the pope was the antichrist himself. As Protestantism developed, first in Germany and then as Elizabeth’s state religion, Protestants refined their ideas about Islam. The Turk came to be seen as a test from God—a challenge to the believer’s faith that, if endured, would help forge the purity of his soul. The word “Turk” itself came to mean greed, envy and worldliness—all that Protestantism was to overcome.
In Luther’s worldview, the pope killed the eternal Christian soul, while the Turk could only destroy the fleeting body. Thus a Protestant could much more easily justify his economic relations with Muslims than with Catholics, who were Protestantism’s irredeemable enemy. Plus, Islam and Protestantism shared an iconoclasm and anti-clericalism that separated both faiths from Catholicism’s perceived excesses.
For Catholics, Luther’s writings about Turks and Catholics, the growing alignment of English and Muslim trade interests, and Protestantism’s apparent love affair with the overwhelming power of the Ottomans all proved the dangers of Elizabeth’s overtures to the east.
The Catholic powers weren’t wrong. Elizabeth wanted much more from the Muslim Ottomans than sweets: She wanted ships and guns to help her war against the Catholic powers. Both before and after she crushed the Spanish Armada in 1588, Elizabeth coveted a military alliance with the Ottomans to deal Spain the deathblow she so desperately craved. England had a strong navy, but not strong enough. And unfortunately for Elizabeth, all of the ambassadors she dispatched to Istanbul in the 1580s and 1590s left the sultan’s court empty-handed. From an Ottoman perspective, the petty bickering of the weaker powers of Western Europe was not worth the time or effort. The Ottomans had far more pressing concerns with the Safavids in Iran to their east and on the Hungarian frontier in the west.
The second half of Mr. Brotton’s account takes us from the world of high-seas economic and military intrigue to the London stage to show the cultural impact of Islam—or, more accurately, the cultural impact of Western ideas about Islam. This transition from the theater of war and trade to the literal theater may at first seem abrupt, but Mr. Brotton proves adept at tracing the ways in which Elizabeth’s relations with the Muslim world not only brought new goods and tastes to England but also a flood of new ideas, characters and storylines for writers like Christopher Marlowe, George Peele, Robert Greene and, of course, William Shakespeare.
The literary culmination of Elizabethan England’s fascination with Islam was “Othello.” Modeled perhaps on the Moroccan ambassador Muhammad al-Annuri, who was visiting England in 1600, Shakespeare’s character represented the crushing contradictions of early modern identities and the ultimate impossibility of reconciling them. He is called a Moor, thus both black and Muslim. He is a former slave who remains not quite free; a convert who was somehow just still a bit too Muslim; and an outsider who secretly marries the white, Christian European Desdemona. “I am not what I am,” Iago says for Othello. One must choose—Christian or Muslim, free or slave, white or black, European or Ottoman. A Christian Moor, the black husband of a white wife, a former Muslim fighting for Catholic Venice, Othello stages all of these simultaneous differences, inevitably failing to resolve them as he finally succumbs to the only resolution possible: He stabs himself in front of his rapt audience.
Elizabeth herself died before the play was ever staged. With her perished England’s momentary dalliance with the Muslim world. Her successor, James I, negotiated a rapprochement with Spain, bringing Protestant England back into a still mostly Catholic Europe. In the years that have followed, the impossibilities of reconciling Othello’s differences, of Christianity and Islam and of the east and the west have endured, while Islam’s formative role in English history and the lessons of constructive Christian-Muslim interactions has mostly been forgotten.
—Mr. Mikhail, a professor of history at Yale, is the author of the forthcoming “Under Osman’s Tree.”
One day while we were sitting with the messenger of Allah there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black.
No signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said:”O Muhammed, tell me about Islam”. The messenger of Allah said: “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.
” He said:”You have spoken rightly”, and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He said: “Then tell me about eman.”He said:”It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof.” He said:”You have spoken rightly”. He said: ” Then tell me about ehsan.” He said: “It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you”. He said: “Then tell me about the Hour”. He said: “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.” He said: “Then tell me about its signs.” He said: “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman competing in constructing lofty buildings.” Then he took himself off and I stayed for a time. Then he said: “O Omar, do you know who the questioner was?” I said: “Allah and His messenger know best”. He said: “He was Jebreel (Gabriel), who came to you to teach you your religion.” narrated by Muslim
Islamic tradition is a process evergreen. It cannot be separated into watertight compartments as visualized by some modern pseudo spiritualists. They calim that they are followers of Makhdoom tradition where as they reject the luminous tradition of Ibn Hajar (r) and Imam Gazzali (r). They don’t think both are one and same and are unable to connect both together into one process. Actually they misinterpret the Islamic tradition as mutually conflicting varieties in accordance with their vested interest. Without doing much to the society they want to create shortcuts to the leadership the society. In order to succeed in the attempt they want first , to split the leaders in to various groups ; good and bad. they want some are to be branded as low class scholar and rejected by laymen. And also they speculate replacement of rejected leaders with these pseudo spiritualists. The can do nothing towards the uplifting of the society other than to protect their vested interest.
The recommended things of stay in Arafa are:
1- To go from Mina after the sunrise.
2- To go to Arafa through the way of Al Dhabb (Name of a mountain near Masjid Al Khaif) and to return through the way of Al Ma’azimein (Two mountains between Arafa and Muzdalifa).
3- To alight in Namira and stay there till the passing of noon and to stand in the very place of the stay of The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and to take bath there for the stay in Arafa.
4- To go after noon to the Masjid Ibrahim and to perform the Salats of Zuhr and Asr (with Jam’a and Qasr if he is traveller).
5- To rush After Salat to Arafa.
6- The male is to stay (on the vehicle) in Arafa at the very place where The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam did stay and the female to stay sitting on sides of The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam’s stay.
7- He should not take fast and should be pure and cover Aurat and face Ka’aba while he is open to Sun.
8- To increase Talbiyyat and the recitation of Quraan and the Salat on The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and Dikr and seeking forgiveness and crying and Duas for himself and for his family and relatives and friends and his well wishers and for all the Muslims. And the best of the Dikr came from The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is ????? ??????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ????.
9- To gather both day and night. So he should not return before sunset.
10-If one did not gather day and night it is recommended to him to do slaughter as for the Tamattu’a.
A tendency of suicide emerged worldwide. These tendency is best utilized by Da’ish (ISIS). The peculiarity of these suicidal persons are ready to kill and to be killed brutally. They are radical before they embrace ‘Islam’(?). Actually they are not embracing Islam totally. Because the recruiters themselves are not real Muslims. Islam is only shield to theorize their brutality.
Islamic State applicants are asked to fill out a jihad employment form in which they are asked to rate how much they know about Islam and Islamic Law, among other things. An analysis of these entry form documents showed that out of 4,030 foreign recruits who wanted to join the radical group between 2013 and 2014, as much as 70 percent have been shown to exhibit very basic knowledge of Islam. In addition, only 5 percent were considered as having advanced knowledge.
“If martyrdom is seen as the highest religious calling, then a reasonable expectation would be that the people with the most knowledge about Islamic law (Shariah) would desire to carry out these operations with greater frequency,” notes the Associated Press report. So the suicide they are committing is not all religious martyrdom but only an action coming out of their disordered mind set.
The study also found that “those with the most religious knowledge within the organization itself are the least likely to volunteer to be suicide bombers.” This is in stark contrast with the organization’s religious justifications for its jihadi suicide missions.
These results reflect the fact that most of the ISIS recruits today could not be considered as the “radical Islamists” as many believe them to be. They are actually more likely “Islamized radicals” or those that already have thoughts of inciting terror even without the puritanical promises of ISIS. These are the loners, socially maladjusted youths and misfits who are more likely to embrace the nihilistic agenda of the Islamic State and more than willing to participate in war and suicide missions.
“We are now facing individuals, who are responding positively to the messages issued by the Islamic State without having had any special training and without having access to weapons that allow them to commit mass murder,” said French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, as quoted by the Washington Post.
FP published an article titled “Islam Is (Also) a Religion of Peace” . Title contains on bracket for an adverb ‘also’. It is a confusing adverb. When one says Islam is also a religion of peace he implies there is some other quality for Islam that violate the quality of peace. Actually this implication is against fact. Islam doesn’t promote any kind of quality compromising peace. It is promoting only peace. But the writer of the article was , I think, constrained to add this confusing adverb ‘also’ as he cannot refute the stereotype allegation against Islam that is Islam is the religion of violence.
Actually he tried much to substantiate that there are various occasions in which Muslims worked hard for selflessness. The write up was “ Humayun Khan was a devoted patriot. But if he wasn’t a devout Muslim, he might not have become a hero”. It implies that the real Islamic devotion of the person promoted him toward his heroism.
The article commenced like this “Since July 28, when they first appeared on stage at the Democratic National Convention, Capt. Humayun Khan’s parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, have tried to explain for the American public their son’s service and sacrifice to his country. On June 8, 2004, the 27-year-old Capt. Khan died in the line of duty in Iraq when he ordered his subordinates to stand back while he inspected a suspicious vehicle that then exploded, taking his life as he sheltered his compatriots. It was an act of heroism for which the Army posthumously awarded him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Capt. Khan’s parents have attributed their son’s sacrifice to his sense of duty, patriotism, and love of the United States — an explanation that has doubled as an eloquent riposte to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s repeated insults about the loyalty and trustworthiness of Muslim Americans.
But there’s another possible motivation for their son’s heroism that bears examination — not least because it serves as the most direct possible rebuttal to Trump. The selfless service of Capt. Khan, who was reportedly a devout Muslim, may also have been directly inspired by his faith. There’s good reason to believe that Islam was an essential, rather than incidental, aspect of his heroism.
A prevailing recent narrative about Islam in the United States and abroad is that it is a “religion of violence.” Extremist Muslims have inarguably been responsible for perpetrating many horrific mass killings over the past two decades. And terrorists have exploited certain Quranic verses to try to justify their heinous crimes. Since the 9/11 attacks, Islamophobia has skyrocketed in the United States and around the world. More recent assaults — in the United States, France, India, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, throughout the Middle East, and elsewhere — have helped reinforce such stereotypes. The resulting racism and xenophobia have bled into politics and policy. One need only consider Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims, at least temporarily, from immigrating to the United States.
But history demonstrates that Islamic teaching and practice offer their adherents laudable resources to encourage extraordinary selflessness, empathy, and courage.
When odious crimes against humanity have taken place, Muslims have often drawn on their faith to rescue people of other religions, including Christians and Jews.
When odious crimes against humanity have taken place, Muslims have often drawn on their faith to rescue people of other religions, including Christians and Jews.
Consider Abd el-Kader, a devout Muslim leader who saved thousands of Christians in Damascus in 1860 from marauding murderers. He explained his conduct as following an Islamic duty to protect innocents; indeed, the Quran states that “to save a life would be as great a virtue as to save all of mankind.” Kader’s efforts were so admired that Abraham Lincoln sent him a gift of Colt pistols and a town in Iowa was named after him. The New York Times wrote at the time that Kader “deserves to be ranked among the foremost of the few great men of the [19th] century.”
Although some Muslims, such as the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, conspired with Nazis during the Holocaust, other Muslims in Albania, Bosnia, Germany, the former Soviet Union, and Turkey, in fact, saved Jews. Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has officially recognized more than 70 Muslims as “Righteous Among the Nations” — non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during that genocide. For example, in Albania (Europe’s only Muslim-majority country at the time), almost all of the approximately 200 indigenous Jews and 1,800 Jewish refugees survived. An Albanian code of honor, “besa,” compelled all residents to safeguard those in need. This code was based on Islamic tenets characterizing as blessed conduct the saving of a life. The son of an Albanian man recognized by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations” explained that his father sheltered four Jewish families because as “devout Muslims we extended our protection and humanism to the Jews. Why? Besa, friendship and the holy Koran.” Even Albert Einstein benefited from Albanian assistance in his emigration from Europe to the United States.
Some Muslims heroically rescued Tutsis — Muslims and non-Muslims alike — during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and, as in Damascus and Albania, attributed such conduct to their religious principles. Muslims hid Tutsis in, among other places, their mosques, which proved much safer than churches. Yahya Msengiyuma, for one, saved as many as 50 Tutsis. Far from the way the term has typically been used and understood since 9/11, “jihad,” or holy struggle, has been employed by some Muslim leaders in Rwanda to refer to “our war against ignorance between Hutu and Tutsi. It is our struggle to heal.” In the years immediately following the genocide, thousands of appreciative Rwandans converted to Islam, doubling the number of such religious adherents in the country. “If it weren’t for the Muslims, my whole family would be dead,” said Aisha Uwimbabazi, one such grateful convert.
The list of Muslim heroes goes on and on. Just this past December, al-Shabab militants, who have a history of killing non-Muslims, stormed a bus in Kenya. When ordered to separate by religion, the Muslim passengers refused, gave the Christian women hijabs to wear, and helped others hide behind luggage. The gunmen left; the mass killing of Christians was thwarted. A Kenyan cabinet secretary praised the Muslim passengers for their display of religious unity, saying, “This is a very good message from my brothers and sisters from the Muslim community.” And last month, in a restaurant in Bangladesh, Faraz Hossain, a Bangladeshi Muslim studying at Emory University, was among the casualties when armed militants invaded. Seeking to kill foreigners, the militants had given Hossain the opportunity to leave unharmed. He refused to abandon his two female friends who were clad in Western attire and who identified themselves as hailing from India and the United States.
These Muslim men and women all sought to protect others at great risk to themselves, their families, and their communities — not in spite of, but often inspired by their faith. At a time when Western leaders seek to enlist Muslims in their fight against violent extremists, a campaign that builds momentum around this protective instinct in Islam would support ongoing efforts of “moderate Muslims” to condemn and combat the radicals in their midst.
The significant yet underappreciated and seldom celebrated role of Muslims as rescuers during conflicts, including genocide and other mass atrocities, should remind us that Muslims, like other religious groups, are not homogenous. Similarly, the Quran, like other religious texts, can be interpreted in multiple ways — sometimes for ill, but often also for good. Human actions are individual choices, and heroes may exist even in groups that are vilified.
Policymakers, if they hope to be effective, must understand that people are more complicated than the stereotypes about the groups to which they belong. Indeed, if anything, officials ought to go out of their way to highlight instances of courageous conduct by devout Muslims. That would not only provide a more complete record of history; it could also motivate other individuals — including, but not limited to, their religious compatriots — to follow the example set in times of crisis by these heroic Muslims.
Capt. Khan bravely made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. In doing so, he joined a long line of Muslims who have selflessly sought to save others. Besides reading the U.S. Constitution, as Khizr Khan recommended, Trump would do well to read more history about Islam’s role in the country, and world, he hopes to lead.
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