(Talib means a student. Muallim means a teacher)
© Muhammad Haniff Hassan, November 2001
Muallim: The principle of Islam states that those who condone any acts of evil are just as guilty as of committing the act. Hence when we condone the action of a person who commits murder, then we are just as guilty of committing murder!
Islam teaches us that a person who witnesses a transgression should try to stop it with his hands, or advise the person to stop the action or at the very least does not allow himself to approve of it. In Islam, those whose conscience are not affected by evil, are similar to those who are without faith.
Talib: What do you mean by this explanation?
Muallim: The scholars of Islam are united in condemning the attacks on the WTC in America because it is a transgression that is not permitted in Islam.
Talib: That is true.
Muallim: Given that premise, it is not right for Usamah bin Laden to praise and condone the perpetrators of the attacks. He has even asked that Allah receive the souls of the attackers in Paradise and encouraged others to similarly attack America and its allies.
His position is clear from the video recording that he distributed via Al-Jazeera and other networks that in this issue and it’s not something that should be admired or emulated.
Talib: But Usamah is a Mujahid. He has fought against Russia with his wealth and life, while the rest of the ummah was caught up in the affairs of this world!
Muallim: He shall certainly be rewarded for the good that he has done in the past and his contribution to jihad. Nevertheless he is an ordinary man who is not immune to a lapse in judgement. Allah has said in the Quran;
“Then should anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.” Az-Zalzalah: 7-8
Talib: But that’s not possible!
Muallim: There was a companion of the prophet named Kaab who participated in the Battle of Badr. Although, the prophet gave the promise of Paradise to all the participants of Badr, he was found to have divulged information on the prophet’s plan to take control of Mecca and captured. So despite the promise of Paradise, Kaab was still not immune from committing this treacherous act. Another companion was reprimanded by the prophet for killing his opponent in a battle in spite of the latter making the Shahadah.
The lesson for us is that if the companions of the Prophet can make such mistakes, then we are certainly just as likely to err in our eagerness to contribute to Islam.
As Muslims, we have to be objective and rational. We have to differentiate the right from the wrong. However, being wrong in our judgement does not mean that we are forever condemned without any recourse..
We should be clear that our main obligation is to Allah and His Messenger. Certainly we should not obey anyone in violation of God’s laws whether he is America, a scholar or Usama himself!
Talib: Are you then supporting America in this matter?
Muallim: While we condemn the attacks on America, we are also against the American policies. While we do not agree with Usama’s view, we can neither condone the reciprocal attacks by the Americans. In principle, one violation will not fix another.
The attacks on American are a violation that should not be condoned even if it is in opposition to America’s biased policies.
The American attacks on Afghanistan are also a violation on the lives of many innocent people, even though it was directed at the terrorists.
Going back to the principle, makes the attacks on America and Afghanistan, and the view held by Usama, unacceptable.
Talib: But the ummah is in need of a hero who is willing to challenge the oppressors. Usama has been able to fill that void. He has raised our spirits and put the dictators to shame.
Muallim: Is Usama the only voice in this world? Allah swt has given us the capacity to think and hundreds and thousands of Muslim scholars. With such resources, are we not able to find a solution or stand that is different from that of Usama’s in order to solve our present problems.
Why are we limiting our choices to either America or Usama only? Are we in the wrong if we do not side with either of them? Do we become transgressors?
Our challenge today is to create an alternative that is closer to the spirit of Islam.
Talib: I don’t know. I don’t know if I can accept it!
Muallim: Do not be carried away by your emotions – following the dictates of our emotions can be detrimental. This is a basic teaching in Islam. Should we let our anger towards America justify the call of our emotions and to ignore rational judgement and iman?
Have we forgotten that the Messenger (pbuh) has said that a person is strong not because he can wrestle, but because he can control his emotions and his anger.
Therefore those who fight in the streets in protest against America and in support of Usama are not necessarily brave and commendable, and those who are not with them are not necessarily cowards.
Talib: So what is your position with regards to Jihad today.
Muallim: Jihad has been obligatory since the ummah lost control over Masjid Al-Aqsa and the ruling stands until the Mosque is returned to Muslim hands. Even if America were not to attack Afghanistan, the ruling will still stand. Only those who are ignorant were the ones calling for jihad the moment Afghanistan was attacked.
The world that Allah has created is wide, while jihad is not limited to Afghanistan. Those who want to undertake jihad should do so in the appropriate place. Some religious commandment are appropriate at a certain place while not in others. Our problem is, performing jihad in a form of arm struggle not in the right place.
You shouldn’t ask about an obligation if you are not capable of carrying it out. Once the ruling is made known to you, it becomes a responsibility that you should fulfill.
Talib: Am I not worthy of jihad?
Muallim: It is more important to understand your emotions and mind, and to worship based on knowledge and not your emotions. Only then should you choose the form of deeds and your battle-field.