On Friday, 15th March 2019 at 1:40 pm in Christchurch, New Zealand, a gunman entered a masjid and massacred fifty one people. When the gunman entered the masjid, he was greeted by a musallee who told him “Hello Brother”. Imagine, a person is entering your place of worship with the intention of violence and this person knowing this, still chose to welcome him in kinship. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden stood firm and called this shooting out for what it was, a terrorist attack. She says to the shooter, “you may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.”
I remember reading a few weeks later that the cars of the martyrs were outside the masjid and when the families of the martyrs went to get them, Surah Yaseen was playing on the radio in one of them. “It was said, “Enter Paradise.”” – Surah Yaseen, verse 26. I cried. The terrorist went in the masjid to kill them out of hate, but the reward of those who were killed was that all of their sins were forgiven before even one drop of their blood touched the ground. Not only that, a person who passes away on the day of Jummah, will be saved from the punishment of the grave. Unknowingly, the terrorist gave these fifty one people, a death all of us are in awe of.
On Monday, 3rd June 2019, in Khartoum, Sudan, military armed forces used gunfire and teargas to try and disperse a sit-in by protestors. More than one hundred people are estimated to have been killed, though this number is difficult to estimate as at least forty bodies were thrown into the River Nile, hundreds of unarmed civilians were injured and arrested, families across Sudan were terrorised, at least seventy men and women were raped and the internet was completed blocked out in Sudan in the days following the massacre. But the people would not be silenced and our generation took to social media and went Blue for Sudan to raise awareness. For anyone who thought that changing a display picture doesn’t help, celebrities like Demi Lovato and Rihanna got involved and raised awareness to the millions of followers.
In the past week, repression in Indian occupied Kashmir has heightened. An additional thirty five thousand troops were deployed to the existing five hundred thousand troops. Tourists and pilgrims were ordered to leave and a curfew is currently imposed. An army takeover in schools and colleges. Businesses, schools and offices are closed and public gatherings are banned. There’s queues for fuel, food and basic supplies and tensions are rising across the border with Pakistan. Patients were asked to leave hospitals and fear, anxiety and uncertainty is rife. People are scared. The Indian government is basically doing to Kashmir what the British did to India, they are trying to colonise it and strip away its identity by revoking Article 370. Kashmir bleeds.
Why have I chosen these three incidents? What do they have in common? The majority of people in these three cases are Muslim. Muslim people on the daily are assaulted. We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to practice our religion to the fullest extent. We walk with scarves on our head without fear, we are free to pray salaah in public areas with repercussion, in some places, the athaan is called out loudly for the entire community to hear, we have masjids in every locality, sometimes more than one in the same locality, we are allowed religious concessions in school, university and work for the most part. But muslims in other countries aren’t as lucky and their tests with regard to faith are continuously tested.
Growing up, our parents teach us to follow in the footsteps of our Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H). This means that every Muslim is taught to do everything the way the Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H) did it. The way he slept: facing the right side with your right palm under your cheek, the way he ate: with three fingers, the way he prayed: 5 times daily, the way he lived: following the Qur’aan. The Prophet Muhammed’s (P.B.U.H) life is a mirror of the Qur’aan. He lived the way the Qur’aan taught us too with peace, love, happiness and honor obeying the commands of the Almighty.
In Islam, Muslims greet each other by saying “Assalamu Alaykum” which means “Peace be upon you.” The word ‘Islam’ comes from the root word “Salaam” which means peace. Islam is a religion of peace. The Qur’aan says ‘O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace. Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” -Chapter 2, Verse 208. The word peace is mentioned in the Qur’aan 67 times. So why is the word ‘terrorism’ so closely associated to the word ‘peace’? Why are people scared to sit next to a muslim on a plane? Are the terrorists the children who sit on the road eating crumbs in Syria, the family who’s gathering what’s left of their home in Palestine, the mother comforting her crying baby in Afganistan or the girl wearing hijab to school in the United Kingdom?
In a world filled with senseless wars, the killing of innocent children and the deafening silence of world leaders, we need to find a reason to believe in good. Because “Can the reward for good be anything but good?” (55:60) // هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَان