All praise is due to God and may His peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, (who was) indeed a mercy onto mankind (rahmatun lil-'alamin).
What we feared most has happened.
The terrorists have hit our capital, intending nothing but the indiscriminate massacre of thousands of innocent men, women and children, regardless of colour, race or religion.
It is only by the grace and mercy of God that circumstances allowed us to minimise the loss of life for it could have been so much horribly worse.
Our sincerest condolences and prayers must be with those who have been affected by this tragedy. I doubt there is a single Muslim in the entire UK who doesn't know someone caught up either directly or indirectly in the mayhem and chaos of London yesterday morning. The mixed emotions of intense relief upon receiving confirmation of safety from loved ones and friends coupled with the grief felt for those who have lost fathers, husbands, wives and other beloved ones can only have left the hearts heaving under the weight of feeling.
The Muslims find themselves in a state of confusion - what should they believe? What does Islamic Law (ash-shari'ah) say? What should they tell other Muslims? What should they tell other non-Muslims?
Let all Muslims be in no doubt whatsoever. This attack in London against innocent civilians cannot be justified under Islamic Law.
The evidences are now well known to this fact and only the most stubborn and ignorant of Islamic Law and its aims and objectives can refuse to believe this. For those who wish to still debate the legal 'permissibility' of such an atrocity, let them refer to the English version of The Sanctity of Human Life (this book will be posted, God Willing, on this site).
As Muslims, if we don't feel an utter revulsion at such attacks, then we must seriously consider our level and quality of faith (iman). It does not befit those who carry the divine message of peace and justice that is Islam to have such hatred and disregard against our fellow neighbours and human beings.
There are no ifs and buts about this, regardless of international events and foreign policies. The heart which rejoices in the massacre of innocent people is anything but a heart, whatever 'justification' it might find from the continuing massacres and injustices in foreign Muslim lands.
Whoever wants Islam to be promoted throughout the world only does so because they wish for justice and divine knowledge to prevail over the oppression we witness today. Is what we have seen yesterday the precursor of justice and knowledge or rather ignorance and oppression? Will we also, those who claim to bring the panacea to this utter chaos, descend to the same depths of the same depraved fanatics that are orchestrating the destruction of our Community ('ummah)?
This is not the Prophetic Guidance (al-hady an-nabawi). Rather we are as our guide and leader, the Prophet Muhammad, described himself, peace be upon him, that, "Of a surety, I was not sent as a Bringer of curses; indeed I was sent as a Mercy." [Recorded by Muslim]
Advice to Muslims
One feels it is vital to consider the following points in response to the tragedy to have hit our capital city:
- Be normal. Be real. Be sincere. If you find that you are having to put a show on, that you have underlying feelings of doubt and confusion over these attacks then please consult the people of knowledge, for we fear for your heart and your Islam. If from your sincere real self you cannot bring about a basic level of compassion to fight against this terrorism and to help those affected in every way possible, then your heart needs urgent help and guidance.
- For all Muslims to now recoil back into their homes, their mosques, their ghettos etc as has been suggested by some Muslim leaders would be the biggest mistake possible. Indeed, the safety of Muslim women and children is of concern but to exhibit a siege mentality will only worsen things and allow the extremist fanatics of both 'sides' to gain a moral victory. Rather, we should come out more confident than ever, in all our varying walks of life to indeed show our fellow British citizens that we are as normal and human as ever. We were their friends, assistants, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, builders and neighbours before the terrorist attacks, and we will be the very same to them after these attacks. Our friendship, co-operation and mutual compassion has not suddenly dissolved into thin air despite the concerted attempts of fanatics from all quarters.
- We must afford our fellow non-Muslim citizens more honour and dignity than we currently do. To rather patronisingly assume that we are suddenly about to come under attack from our neighbours is both naïve and insulting. They have looked after us well in this country, as we have them, and we must not let the threats of the scaremongering right-wing groups destroy this relationship. The Muslims have always been under the threat of abuse and physical attack from such a fringe, before 9/11, after 9/11 and it will continue as long as ignorance remains – we should always have been alert to this fact as a very visible minority and that shouldn't change any further now.
- Let those who believe that by letting our Islamic identity slip and amalgamate even further into disbelief (kufr) do so. They will not only disgrace themselves in the eyes of God but also in the eyes of the wider community as a people who live on their knees to terrorism. We are not such a people, rather we are people of God, a people who accept the tests and trials thrown at them whilst asking our Lord for steadfastness and a strong back to bear the burden – that is the way of the people of faith. God says in His Final Testament:
"Do not weaken and do not despair, for you shall be uppermost if you are indeed people of faith."
Do not engage in pointless recriminations and ‘justification' against the rhetoric being espoused by some at these sensitive times. All people with common sense and justice recognise the real roots of terrorism but we do not need to be reminded about it in our times of difficulty and pain. We know that this chaos and oppression of the innocent in our 'Western' world will continue as long as the said continues in the rest of the world. These are the unfortunate times we live in, but now is a time for help, solidarity, healing and unity. Do not let your misplaced emotions ruin this delicate equilibrium.
Advice to non-Muslims
- Above all, be reassured that we Muslims as fellow British citizens stand side by side with you in your times of pain, for it is our pain. We are as British as you are. Don't think any different simply because we may not join in at the pub, celebrate the same religious festivals, dress differently, have beards and have Muslim women who maintain a modest covering of their bodies.
- Forgive us if you start to get fed up of all the 'mercy' and 'compassion' (rhetoric you may feel) you will hear from many Muslim public figures. They truly and honestly have no real other idea on how to explain their collective embarrassment and 'guilt' for that which has affected us all. In these times of suspicion and confusion, how exactly do a people condemn such an atrocity 'properly'? How does one best exhibit their 'solidarity' to their fellow general public with whom we have always assumed that we were in solidarity with anyway! We simply can't understand how we can be viewed any differently from before and we are struggling to represent ourselves in the best possible light. Please bear with us.
- Please also remember, if you still have any remaining doubts, that these were attacks aimed at not only innocent British citizens, but in particular one might add, British Muslim citizens. Not only are Aldgate and Edgware Road well known Muslim areas in London, but there are a high percentage of Muslim employees of the London Underground who man the various London stations as is well known to London commuters. Hence your indignation is our indignation, your suffering our suffering and your desire for peace is our absolute desire for peace.
And God knows best.