Columns's Our Families

October 2001

Too Many Silent Voices

by Siddiqua Haswarey

Afghan refugee listens for news

This month, I couldn't resist writing at least one article on the recent events around the world - but from a humanitarian point of view instead of political perspective. As I sit here and think back on all that has happened last week through this week, I can't help but feel sad and scared. Sad because the innocent must be the scapegoats, and scared because I dread what will happen in the coming days. Undeniably, the death of five thousand or more people was the most terrible thing that could happen to any country. Many innocent people lost their lives; children lost their parents, brothers, and sisters; other people lost friends.

That was a week ago.

I am writing this on the 19th of September, 2001. As days pass by it is becoming more and more evident that more people will die. No one knows what the figures will look like. It could be thousands more, greater in number or lesser, and again, they are innocent - just as innocent as those who died in the attacks on America. They will be children who won't be able to enjoy their childhoods like you or I did, or people who probably don't even understand the sick political games being played in which they are the pawns.

Another great worry is that few people are addressing these concerns. I don't hear enough voices crying out, saying that we have to do something to stop a war because of the innocent people who will be caught in between these war machines. I did hear about the soldiers who will lose their lives and I realize this may just be the way the media portrays the picture. But, honestly - I can't help feeling responsible. When the Gulf war broke out, thousands of civilians lost their lives. That included women, children and men just like in the attacks against America, the only difference being that the number was larger, much larger. One other significant fact is that Iraq is still being bombed and civilians are still dying today.

The number of civilians dying is not the issue. Each human life is just as precious as mine and yours. Children still suffer the aftereffects of the previous wars that were fought. There are deformed babies being born in the Gulf even today, some seven years after the war. Just like with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People in Japan are still suffering the aftereffects of World War II. Sure they have been apologized to and compensated for what happened in the past. But, will that change their future? Will that guarantee them healthier lives or babies?

Who is going to bemoan the lives that have been lost and will be lost outside of America?

I am not making any effort to justify the actions of the terrorists who did what they did in New York and Washington. They should be punished for what they did. Islamically as well as legally, they must be held accountable for their actions. But, there is a clear difference between justice and blind revenge. What I am saying is to carefully consider what is to come. Ask the governments to stop their games, sacrificing innocent people in the name of democracy. Do the people who lost their families want others to feel pain and loss as they have? Are we going to sit in our homes, safe and secure while others suffer and are being oppressed?

We are Muslims. We are Muslims before being American, Indian, Pakistani, or Arab. Our duties towards our brethren are greater than our duties towards our countries. If we see injustice being done to a Muslim or even non-Muslim, it is our obligation to speak out strongly to try to stop it.

It was narrated by An Nu'man bin Bashir (radhi Allahu anhu): Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.40)

And it was narrated by Abdullah bin Umar (radhi Allahu anhu): Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection." (Al-Bukhari 3.622)

Have our hearts grown so cold, that the death of another has turned into just another meaningless figure? Don't we see death and murder as a grave crime anymore, even if that of a single person? Or have we grown so selfish that our personal safety and security is what matters and what happens elsewhere is of no concern to us!

Narrated by Anas (Radhi Allahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself." (Al-Bukhari 1.12)

I am sure a lot of people in war-torn countries like Palestine, Afghanistan and Chechnya realize the gravity of the situation. No doubt they wonder why the rest of the world does not understand their predicament, or why the rest of the Muslims don't see the truth and help them. We are not helpless, if that is our excuse. We all can contribute in little ways to help the situation. But, the fact of the matter is that we have to first have the intention and everything else follows. That is a personal choice for each of us. I say this again, I am by no means saying that you should go and bomb a building or kill innocent civilians. I am saying, "Speak up!" Let the presidents who think they are invincible know that they can't go on doing this forever. It has to stop as some point. And I am personally praying and hoping that more and more people will see the truth and the violence will stop soon. InshaAllahu Ta'ala.

O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you, O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My servants were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other that blame no one but himself. (Hadith Qudsi 17)

Say: "Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector)." And in Allah let the believers put their trust. {Surah At-Tawbah 9: Verse-51)

Please remember to supplicate for all the Muslims around the world, to be guided to the Truth, protected by His (Tabaarak wa Ta'ala) Mercy and to be provided for from His (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) Provision and for those of the non-Muslims whom Allah chooses to be from amongst us. InshaAllahu Ta'ala.

Subhanaka `Allahumma wa bihamdika, wa `ash-hadu `an laa `Illaaha `illaa `anta, `astaghfiruka wa `atoobu `ilayka. (Glorified are You O' Allah and I am in Your praise, I testify that there is no deity except You, I ask Your forgiveness and repent unto You).

Siddiqua Hassan Haswarey

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