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March 4, 2022

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، وبعد:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّٰمِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَآءَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ
وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا۟
ٱعْدِلُوا۟ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O believers! Stand firm for Allah as witnesses to equity. Do not let the hatred of a people lead you to injustice. Be just! That is closer to righteousness. And be mindful of Allah. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what you do.

(Al-Quran 5:8)

Islam is a complete way of life given to us as the greatest blessing of all by Allah (SWT). The word “Islam” can be translated as “submission” (to the will and command of Allah) and is derived from the word for peace, “salaam”. A Muslim therefore always and consistently aspires to be - through obedience and righteousness - at peace with the Almighty, with themselves and with everybody and everything around them. Their objectives as believers include, for themselves and for others, to live a tranquil life in order to protect and preserve their faith, their lives, their families, their honor and dignity, and their property, and to prosper in these aspects. This is what we know as the ‘maqaasid al-shari’ah’ (مقاصد الشريعة), or the goals of Islamic legislation.

However, for peace and prosperity to prevail, Muslims as an ummah (community) must also ensure that justice, fairness and equity for all pervade the societies in which they live. They are compelled to be the standard bearers of right and justice, striving for its triumph. The beautiful and pristine teachings of Islam ensure that there be justice for all, irrespective of their color, creed/religion or ethnicity, a fact that attracted so many nations and people into the deen of Islam over the centuries - and will continue to do so, by the Will of Allah. (The concept in Islam of justice for all is, in essence, one of the most powerful tools for da’wah - the call to Islam.)

And thus it is not enough for Muslims to uphold justice only for themselves or to practice it in their own dealings only. We are obligated by our commitment to Allah to be the “witnesses”, or leaders, establishing equity for all, and to be in the forefront of all causes to eradicate injustice and oppression (ظلم). This often requires us to build bridges and coalesce with other groups in alliances and partnerships, especially where we live as minorities. And we should do so conspicuously as Muslims, under the banner of Islam and within the framework of its noble guidelines.

Allah Almighty (SWT) in the Quranic ayah above commands us to what is essentially fundamental in Islam and part of its bedrock: establishing proactively the basis of equity and fairness (QisT/قسط) and, when that is violated or absent, striving for and reinstituting justice (‘Adl/عدل) reactively. There is so much emphasis (and richness) in Islam on justice that we have multiple terminology and different dimensions of its reality and application, in the realm of the political, social and economic, Both of above mentioned concepts (القسط والعدل) are predicated on the idea that there be fairness and a balance (of rights, opportunities, expression, etc). It is not surprising then that we see scales (of weight and balance) used ubiquitously as a symbol for justice.

And so it is that in this week when yet another war has erupted and when, more significantly for us as Muslims, we commemorate the miraculous night journey (Isra) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to Jerusalem in Palestine and his ascension (Mi’raj) from there into the Heavens above, that our hearts and minds reflect on the importance of peace and justice for all, and we are compelled to highlight (YET AGAIN) the plight of the downtrodden and innocent. In particular of our fellow Muslims and others who are suffering from the worst types of humanitarian crises, possibly in the history of mankind. They are not far from our thoughts and prayers.

We reserve special duaas (supplications) for those who have been forgotten, many of them after decades of invasions, occupation, apartheid, injustice, oppression, starvation, etc. Those who have no access to a decent life, to stability and security, and those who have lost limbs, loved ones, and their livelihoods and their homes. Those who have been stripped of their honor and dignity. Those who have been unjustly evicted, expelled and/or made to flee to foreign lands and alien cultures. Abandoned or received with disdain, contempt and mistrust. “Merely because they say our Lord is Allah!” (Al-Quran, 22:40), and because of the color of their skin and the country of their birth.

Compare this inhumane posture mentioned herein above with our own Islamic values and we come to appreciate the moral and ethical foundation of the true deen of Allah, of our great legacy and our timeless Islamic civilization. Ours is arguably the best type of liberation theology there is, all Praises are indeed due to Allah.

We pray to Allah, the Sovereign, the Supreme, the Majestic, the Essence of Peace (as-Salaam), The Guardian, the Almighty, to bestow on us all peace and grant safety and security to all Your servants and Your creation.

We beseech You Almighty Allah to come to the aid of those who are suffering all types of injustice and oppression, and to instill fear, awe and genuine mindfulness of You in the hearts of the tyrants and oppressors, bring them to their knees in submission and guide them to the truth.

We beg You Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, to forgive our shortcomings and our mistakes, and our ignorance and apathy, and to give us strength, courage and moral conviction to stand firmly for justice and to establish it on Your earth.

Allah, Exalted and Revered, send peace and salutations on our Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his family. Ameen, O Lord of the Universe.

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