“The tribulations a man faces with regard to his family, wealth and neighbors, are expiated by prayer, charity, and the act of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.” – Prophet Mohammed Sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam
Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):
Insha’Allah, we are no more than two days from the start of the sacred month of Ramadan, the month in which the last divinely sent Messenger from ALLAH, Prophet Mohammed ibn Abdullah (peace and blessings be upon him), began receiving the final revelation to all humanity (The Qur’an). Ramadan also marks the internal jihad for Muslims around the world (the struggle to subdue our appetites and passions, and to engage our energies and resources in more charitable work)…a most fitting time for a message of this nature.
The first part of this message begins with a letter of thanks from the Family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
In the name of God, The Beneficent, The Merciful
Dear Br. Mauri:
We have learned of the unfortunate difficulties and, at times, hostile circumstances that you have recently had to confront in your efforts to highlight the case of our sister Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Please know that based on what we have observed, the persistent efforts of the Peace Thru Justice Foundation (PTJF) have contributed positively to yielding results. It is organizations such as yours and others in the US, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, UK and other parts of the world that have demonstrated steadfast commitment in conveying the truth about this case and exposing the horrific official treatment of Aafia. The difference made is especially remarkable given the limited resources available.
Despite all the roadblocks and the resistance that you and others have faced, the efforts have yielded some of the most tangible outcomes for us. For example, family visitation was allowed only after a rally organized by PTJF outside Carswell. The persistent education and public information campaign has informed many people who had incorrect information. Many of them have now become ardent supporters and some are actively joining the legal battle to get Aafia reunited with her children.
The struggle to get Aafia home and reunited with her children is one that has gone beyond the plight of one individual or family. It is not a cause of one group or segment or political party. It is a highly charged political case rooted in officially sanctioned torture and rendition and one that exposes the gross inequities of the prevailing global “justice” systems. It also raises the disturbing questions of the relative value of human beings and how official treatment differs simply by virtue of religious belief, race or national origin. This is why this case is so relevant to all who believe in a civilization based on fairness and justice for ALL human beings without fear or favor. We believe that support for these principles is the reason why PTJF has remained committed to this case. Getting Aafia home has emerged as a key metric to see if the global system starts to make a correction or continues to move dangerously towards the resurrection of a draconian medieval era.
It is our hope that people who support these principles will support the straightforward and peaceful efforts of PTJF and all groups committed to securing freedom for Aafia and those imprisoned like her, and for the fair treatment of all human beings.
May God bless you.
Family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
A Message of Solidarity with Global Defenders of Aafia
In the three years that I have personally been involved in the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, I’ve noted four basic reasons given for the poor lack of communal support for this long suffering political prisoner (and prisoner of war). I would like to briefly address all four of these stated rationales at this time.
1. She’s being punished for something she did (or, she must have done something).
While Aafia is not a sinless saint (she is a human being with human failings just like the rest of us), those who hold this arrogant view of her should be reminded that some of the most pure and noble men and women throughout history (including divinely sent Messengers and Prophets of ALLAH) were tried with tribulations. It has been written that the best way to determine if a trial is a test or a punishment is by examining the person’s response to the ordeal through the prism of something called muhasabah – is the ordeal bringing the person closer to ALLAH, or driving him/her further away from ALLAH.
From what those of us who were fortunate enough to be in the courtroom during the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui witnessed from her (from start to finish), and from the reports that I’ve received on Aafia since she’s been imprisoned at FMC Carswell – esp. the reports on what she says to her beloved mother in an attempt to console her during those all too infrequent phone calls – I think any reasonable person would have to conclude that Aafia is someone who has become even closer to The One who created her. (Surely ALLAH knows best!)
2. There’s really nothing that we can do to change her situation (or, wouldn’t public agitation make things worse for her? It’s better to be quiet and let the system work things out).
History and world culture has shown that quietude in the face of oppression has NEVER been the cure for “man’s inhumanity to man.” Almighty ALLAH has ordered: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to ALLAH, even as against yourselves...” (4: 135 ); and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) stated clearly in a verified hadith: “When you see an evil action you must change it with your hand; if you cannot do so, with your tongue; if you cannot do so, detest it within your heart – that is the weakest degree of faith.”
Quietude also inevitably makes matters worse for everyone in society, and exposes those of us who should know better to the probability of ALLAH’s punishment. On the authority of Hudhayfa (r), it is reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “By the One in whose Hand rests my soul, you must surely enjoin the good and forbid the evil, otherwise it is expected that ALLAH will send against you a punishment from Him; and then you will supplicate Him, but your supplication will not be answered.”
3. He/She/They are profiting from Aafia’s misery. Where is the money that’s being raised going?
If the person(s) leading the campaign for Aafia’s release and repatriation (in any locale) are known to be practicing Muslims with good reputations (or even non-Muslims with good reputations), and you can actually see the work being done on Aafia’s behalf, they should be given the benefit of the doubt – with the knowledge that ALLAH is The All Knower; and ALLAH will hold each of us accountable for what we do with the trust invested in us.
4. We have to be careful because we have too much to lose – i.e. this masjid, this school, this center/community.
Abd Allah b. Umar reported, “Once I saw the Messenger of ALLAH (pbuh) circumambulating the Ka’ba and he was addressing it: ‘How excellent you are and how sweet your smell is! How grand your sacredness is! By the One in Whose Hand is Muhammad’s soul, the inviolability of a believer’s blood and property is greater in the sight of ALLAH than your sacredness. We must think only well of a believer.”
– Narrated by Ibn Majah in al-Sunan: Kitab al-fitan [The Book of Tribulations].
Beyond this powerful hadith, I would only add the following: the way that we as individuals and groups respond to the challenges of life crystalizes the meaning of faith and the measure of character - two critical qualities that many of our “religious leaders” could use much more of.
In conclusion, ALLAH says:
“Let those fight in the cause of ALLAH who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of ALLAH – whether he [or she] is slain or gets victory – soon shall We give him a reward of great value.” (S. 4: 74)
I am convinced that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is spiritually in a much better place than most of us – despite the horrific and deliberate assaults on her mind and body. I encourage my brothers and sisters already in the struggle in the UK, South Africa, and other corners of the globe, to stay the course! Let NO ONE distract you from this noble cause! As for the fence sitters and procrastinators, I strongly encourage you to take a stand NOW before it’s too late and the opportunity passes you by.
As it is written: “Indeed from my Ummah there are a folk who will receive rewards equivalent to the rewards of the early ones [my companions] – because they forbid the evil.” (As narrated by Ahmad b. Hanbal in al-Musnad; what a wonderful promise for those who work and strive!)
In the eternal struggle for peace thru justice,
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.