By Raiiq Ridwan | Based on a lecture by Br. Nouman Ali Khan
In light of the recent protests against Islam, or as coined by the West, “Islamophobia”, it is very important that we refer back to the Qur’an to seek guidance on this issue. Many times we have been played right into the hands of the enemies of Islam, and hence, with the right equipment derived from the book of Allah and the practice of His beloved Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him), we will insha’Allah be able to do what is right. For those who have followed the Ground Zero mosque controversy in New York, you will have learned that nearly two-thirds of Americans were against it, subhan’Allah. You would think that more cosmopolitan regions like New York would host less prejudice, but no, it is the same statistics nearly everywhere.
What we must remember is that the Islamophobes have certain values and principles. While we have our Islamic values and principles, they have their values and principles. However, when it comes to dealing with Muslims, they will compromise their own values. The Quraysh tribes during the Prophet’s ﷺ era would never attack one of their own; Tribal values meant everything to them, except when it came to Muhammad, the Messenger of God ﷺ, and those who were with him. So, instead of reacting by getting fired up, breaking down buildings and burning cars, as has become common in the Muslim world, we should expect this attitude. We cannot expect the enemies of Islam to treat us nicely; they will always keep doing the evil they are doing.
But instead of looking at what they are doing we should be looking at what we are doing. Pastor Terry Jones may say that he is “burning the Qur’an” but he is burning nothing but ink and paper. The Qur’an’s words are embedded onto the hearts of the believers. They would have to burn our hearts if they want to eliminate the Qur’an.
Let us go to a time in the life of the Messenger ﷺ when the Muslims suffered a very heavy defeat. It was during the Battle of Uhud, and the Muslims were beaten by the mushrikeen (rejectors/disbelievers). After defeating the Muslims, now the mushrikeen were planning on round two, so that they could finish off the Muslims once and for all. However, the Messenger ﷺ commanded that the Muslims attack the enemy first instead of waiting for another defeat, therefore in spite of the low morale and confidence, many of the injured and tired Sahabah (companions) stood strong beside the Messenger ﷺ. Allah records this in the Qur’an,
“Those [believers] who responded to Allah and the Messenger after injury had struck them. For those who did good among them and feared Allah is a great reward”. (3:172)
Here we get our first lesson. Even through the enemy attacked us, and hit us hard, we should continue responding to the call of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ. Instead of leaving salah (prayers) to appease our neighbours, we should rush to salah in the masjid. Instead of shaving our beards and taking off our hijab, we should hold onto it more tightly, courageously. We should learn from the persecution and project our faith and march on positively, in hope of the great reward of Allah for our struggle. Allah continues to explain the Battle of Uhud, and this shows something very relevant as we hear it very often,
“Those to whom people [i.e., hypocrites] said, ‘Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them’…” (Qur’an, 3:173)
“So fear them! Be afraid of them!” – Subhan’Allah, is this not what some Muslims say to us today? ‘They are against you, they will block your visa, please them, they are powerful, they can do this and that.’ Yet, what is the response of the true believers? Allah records their reaction in the same ayah,
“Buy it [merely] increased them in faith and they said ‘Hasbun’Allah wa ne`mal wakeel – Sufficient for us is Allah and [He] is the best disposer of affairs’.” (Qur’an, 3:173)
Subhan’Allah. When statements like this are said by the believer, his depression goes away. He feels near to Allah, protected by Allah, and his heart beats: ‘Hasbun’Allah wa ne`mal wakeel’ – Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best caretaker of our affairs.
When we talk about responding to the attacks on Islam, the first response should be in our hearts and not publicised in the media. Until and unless we firmly believe Islam’s truth in our heart, and say it with our tongue and prove it through our actions that ‘HasbunAllah wa ne`mal wakeel’, then no matter how many press releases we do, no matter how many articles we write about it, or Facebook events we open, the effort is pretty much useless. Are we doing the work out of fear that Islam will suffer or are we doing this to save our reputation, or are we trying to please the kuffar (disbelievers, rejecters of faith) who demonize the name of our beloved religion? Until our fear of other people is gone and we fear Allah alone, it will not help us, as Allah explains to us in Surah Al-Imran. Allah first shows the success of those who responded with bravery,
“So they returned with favour from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.” (Qur’an, 3:174)
This is what we will get once our hearts have firmly placed reliance upon Allah, and until that we will not be given Allah’s favor and bounty, but rather it will be humiliation. Allah also exposes the reasons why Muslims suffer this shame, in a bid to show the Muslims to abstain from such behavior, when He says:
“That is only Satan who frightens [you] of his supporters…” (Qur’an, 3:175)
So in reality it is nothing but Shaytaan who incites doubt and fear in the hearts of the believers. This is something we find hard to comprehend, thus Allah makes it clear to us, and now He gives more advice in the same verse:
“So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are indeed believers.” (3:175)
Allah says that we should not be concerned with anyone’s pleasure other than Him if we truly have faith in Him, as we are supposed to say ‘HasbunAllah wa ne`mal wakeel’! This was the same du`a’ (supplication) that cooled the fire that was burning for Ibrahim `alayhi assalam (may Allah send his peace and blessings on them). We will see how powerful this du`a’ is . While any attack on Islam should sadden us, we shouldn’t be saddened by their words because they cannot and will not be able to harm the religion of Allah. Allah gives us the consolation in the next verse of this amazing Surah:
“And do not be grieved, by those who hasten into disbelief. Indeed, they will never harm Allah AT ALL…” (Qur’an, 3:176)
However, we often have questions as to why such behavior from the disbelievers is allowed by Allah. Is Allah pleased with them that they have all this power and we have nothing similar to it? Allah answers such questions in the same verse,
“Allah intends that He should give them no share in the Hereafter, and for them is a great punishment.” (3:176)
And also in a later verse,
“And let not those who disbelieve ever think that [because] We extend their time [of enjoyment] it is better for them. We only extend it for them so that they may increase in sin, and for them is a humiliating punishment.” (Qur’an, 3:178)
In between these two verses, Allah addresses a particular sickness that has gripped certain aspects of this Ummah, and He said that the sickness bears no consequence upon the cause of Allah,
“Indeed, those who purchase disbelief [in exchange] for faith – never will they harm Allah at all, and for them is a painful punishment.” (Qur’an, 3:177)
Today we find Muslims who have converted to Christianity for money; they have left Islam because a particular church helps their visa applications. Muslim youth call themselves atheists cause it’s “cool” to be one. A more pressing issue is with those Muslims who do not apostate but attack Islam from within. They use these anti-Islamic situations to gain some rapport, some popularity in the media. They will deny the divine punishments ordained by Allah for “harmony”, they will even say that being a Jew and Christian can take you to Paradise, or that the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are “not our concern” and so on and so forth.
This is one of the reasons why Allah keeps us through these trials. Many of us ask: Why does Allah test us like this? He answers,
“Allah would not leave the believers in that [state] you are in [presently] until He separates the evil from the good…” (Qur’an, 3:179)
The word used “tayyameeza” is also used for the purification of gold. Gold can only be purified by heating at a very high temperature. This is what Allah is doing to the believers: He is testing us to extract the filth out of this Ummah and only keep the pristine clear believers, and bring out the hypocrites and expose them. Some of us also ask: When will this suffering end? When will we be free? Remember that Allah doesn’t love the oppressors, He is merely using them to test us and only Allah knows what will happen:
“Nor would Allah reveal to you the unseen…” (Qur’an, 3:179)
Allah will decide when it’s time for good to prevail, and that time will be when all the wicked are separeated from the good. Allah doesn’t intend to reveal it to us, so this uncertaintly is also part of the test. When tested and tried our duty is to fall back onto the legacy of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Allah tells us,
“…And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from the Mushrikeen much abuse…” (Qur’an, 3:186)
He informs us that yes, we are going to be tested, abused, tortured and imprisoned by the actions of these Islamophobes who attack the very religion that their Creator has ordained upon them. But Allah also reminds us of a noble response:
“But if you are patient and fear Allah, then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” (Qur’an, 3:186)
While our screaming is detrimental, our patience speaks volumes. Allah has clearly said our reaction ‘is a determining factor’. ‘All these are from the matters of determination’ and these are what we should hold on to. We should be patient, and also be aware of Allah. However, being patient doesn’t mean just shutting up. Patience is also to act in a calm, calculated manner, as did our beloved Messenger ﷺ. What we should do is counteract the spreading of lies in our universities, our masaajid, especially our homes, institutions, and our workplaces etc. We should do our best in conveying the correct image and true message. Only when the people know the entire truth to a situation and message, can they reject falsehood, or else they will get confused.
We must also work on purifying ourselves more often as we have to face and survive these trials as individuals inshaAllah. The greatest criminal against the book of Allah is the believer who abandons the Qur’an. Today we live in a society where the Qur’an is grossly misunderstood, misinterpreted and misquoted. And we have little knowledge in opening up the dialogue to clarify such issues. We need to come back to the book of Allah ourselves first, and then invite others to it. Media houses and powerful iconcs have instilled a tyrannical fear into the people. Shaytaan has done his job, and now we have to do a better job inshaAllah. So the first step is to fix our individual relationship with Allah, improve ourselves and then clarify the deen to our own people, before going out to teach the world.
Unless we accept Allah we will be cursed by Allah. We have read Allah’s words that no harm touched the believers (Qur’an, 3:173), so when will no harm touch us? When we “seek the good pleasure of Allah”, and we can say in our hearts firmly ‘HasbunAllah wa ne`mal wakeel’. Allah gives a stern promise in His Book twice, in (Qur’an, 9:32-33), and again in (Qur’an, 61:8-9):
“They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will that His light be perfected, no matter how much the Kaafiroon hate it. It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the way of truth, such that it will prevail over every other way of life, no matter how much the Mushrikoon hate it.”
No matter how many talk shows or how much money the anti-Islam people dedicate to discrediting the deen of Allah, Islam will always flourish. So the question is not whether Allah’s light will be perfected because we know it will. Rather the question is, are you and I going to be part of this?