It’s a dark day in New Zealand as well as the rest of the world.
49 people were killed in a deadly attack during Jum’uah prayer on Friday, March 15, in the town of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Consequently, across the Muslim world people feel lost between anger, sadness, and the sharp reality that injustice has become a norm in our lives. There appears to be more hatred, more intolerance. People react first and then think, or don’t think at all. All over the world, gunmen are appearing in schools, countless women are saying #metoo, people are suffering not only at the hands of strangers acting in ignorance, but from oppression by their very own family members.
Especially as Muslims, what do we do when everything is consistently going wrong? How do we address injustice? The answer is simpler than we might think.
When it comes to the matter of injustice, it isn’t something new. Injustice and oppression have been around longer than Islam has. When the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)’s newborn son passed away in infancy, his own uncle taunted him and celebrated that he would now have no heir. It was then that Allah revealed Surah Kawthar, telling the
Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) that he would fulfill what Prophet Ibrahim’ started—that he may have lost a son, but every Muslim to ever live will love him more than anyone else, down to never even mentioning his name without sending blessings upon it.¹
Not so coincidentally, it was at the time on Friday that these attacks occurred yesterday that I was updating a post about Surah al-Kahf quoted and drawn from Nouman Ali Khan. And I think it says everything I’m trying to say now and is worth looking at: read here.
But the main point from it I’d like to share here is this:
The Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) warned that when the end of time comes, a believer will sleep as a believer, by the time he wakes up he’s not a believer anymore. And that’s happening now. It’s not ‘astaghfirullah, save us from when that time comes, hope we never see it..’ No. It’s already here right now, it’s happening.
But in these times, to fight this fitnah, Rasoolallah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) said you must recite which surah?: Surah al-Kahf.
In this surah, Prophet Musa alayhis salam sees things and doesn’t understand what’s going on—”why are u killing this child, why are u sinking this boat, etc.”
He learns the lesson that we don’t understand Allah’s plan. Would anyone say Prophet Musa alayhis salam’s mom putting her child in the river could have any logic? No one would say that. But it’s because Allah’s plan is way beyond us. So in terms of injustice and problems not being solved, there’s a plan there that we do not know. Just like when the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) was depressed about things not getting better and he went to the cave, the solution involved reading, something he (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) could not even do. How could he (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) have imagined that this was in Allah’s plan? Subhan Allah.²
The answers are in the universe around us. Fire cannot take out fire. Darkness cannot take out darkness. When faced with difficulty, we must look at the unthinkable, the opposite. In a time of so much sadness, so much injustice, we must hold onto hope. We must be positive. There will be ignorant remarks by an anomalous Australian senator blaming Muslims for this event. But that part is only noise and we must look above it. We must focus on the rest of the world that is expressing sadness and grief, we must focus on social media platforms that are rushing to remove disturbing footage, we must focus on newsfeeds filled with condolences and support from both Muslims and non-Muslim organizations.
Injustice and adversity for the person going through these tests mean nothing more than an avenue to infinite blessings, as will insha Allah be the fate of those that died in this incident and be taken straight to Heaven. But for everyone else, these terrible incidents are opportunities to learn, to come together, have even more hope, and grow. The Universe is designed in a spectacular paradox in which the worst-seeming things, bring out the best stuff.
As a result of the many incidents we face in today’s world, more and more people are aware of the true and positive image of Islam, a bill is being worked on in Congress to protect Muslims getting harassed, New Zealand’s gun laws although already strict will most likely be reassessed perhaps acting as precedent for other nations. There is simply no way to change an entire world. But we can change ourselves and spread positivity instead of fear.
It’s no coincidence Allah promises us in Surah ash-Sharh, that ease doesn’t come after difficulty, it comes with it. Allah even says it twice to make His point. Ease is not a natural state of this life. The human being itself comes about through labor and toil. The difficulty we go through is the only way to taste the sweetness of ease.³
The Muslim is not only supposed to be the most optimistic, he is to be the source of positivity for others in a time when everything is going wrong.
—Nouman Ali Khan
New Zealand will remain for Muslims as the most practically possible preservation of beauty, nature, and peace, not ever a place where we or anyone should feel afraid.Sources:
1. Nouman Ali Khan’s Juz Amma tafseer on Surah al-Kawthar
2. Nouman Ali Khan’s tafsir of surah al-Alaq and series: Quran & the Journey to Faith
3. Nouman Ali Khan’s Juz Amma tafseer on Surah ash-Sharh