American Muslims after 9/11

Question and answer details
American Muslims after 9/11
Dear Sheikh, As-Salamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuh. Since the latest incident of September 11 in New York and Washington, Muslims in the US have faced a lot of challenges and trials. Things have changed a lot. Suspicion and misunderstanding have become widespread. So, in the light of these circumstances, how do you think Muslims in the US should cope with this situation? Jazakum Allah khayran.
Muzammil Siddiqi
Wa`alykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, in Islam, thanks for the question you posed, it’s very interesting, and we hope you find the following answer very interesting and convincing.

In fact, Muslims all over the world sympathize with their fellow brothers in the US, for all know that the latest attacks will overburden them with many trials and challenges. However, it is the Muslims' duty, in the US and everywhere, to present the sound image of Islam to all people. Even in times of difficulty and trials, Muslims are required to set the example for others in terms of good morality and humanity.

Muslim should be active, wherever he lives, at any time. He should never give in to life travails. Besides, he should try all his best to contribute to the progress of the society he resides in. This point is further clarified in the following statement made by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, in his Khutbah at ISOC - Rajab 17, 1422/ October 4, 2001:

"The tragic and evil acts of terrorism that happened on September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington have created a lot of fear and suspicion in our minds and in the minds of many of our fellow Americans. For weeks and months people will be talking about this tragedy. For us Muslims, especially, there are many trials and challenges ahead. There are many things that we have to do. We have been here for many years, but for all these years we’ve remained very neglectful in making ourselves known to our neighbors and co-workers. We remained in isolation. Many people around us feel mysterious about us. They do not know us and do not know much about our religion and our values.

We have to understand that after September 11, America is not the same America. A lot of things have changed, are changing and will change. Now we have to assess ourselves and change some of our own ways of thinking and behavior. We must come out of our isolation. We must put aside our petty differences and work together. We have to introduce ourselves, our Islamic values and principles and we have to participate fully in this society for the sake of peace, harmony, good will and good community, not only for ourselves but for all Americans.

1. We have to emphasize that we human beings are all one family. Whites and Blacks, people of all races, colors and all nationalities are from one and the same parents. It is important to build good families and keep good family ties, but we must go beyond our own family and treat all people as one family.

Allah says in the Qur’an, "O people! Be conscious of your Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; be conscious of God, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for God ever watches over you." (An-Nisa': 1)

He also says, "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things)." (Al-Hujrat: 13)

2. Religion is not just some rituals but it is building good conduct and good morals. It is to care for the poor and needy. It is to love our neighbors and be good to them. Allah says,

"It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity, to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing." (Al-Baqarah: 177)

Also, He says, "Serve Allah, and make not any partners with Him in His divinity. Do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet) and those whom your right hands possess (your workers): for Allah loves not the arrogant, the vainglorious." (Anb-Nisa’: 36)

3. We must work for justice and harmony among all people. Our vision must be universal and not parochial. What do we mean by parochial vision? It is to say that if wrong is done to my people, I shall speak and act, but if it is done to someone else I do not care. It is to speak loud and criticize when someone else does something wrong, but to keep silent when someone from one’s own group does wrong.

Justice requires that the wrong should be corrected with right means. Injustice cannot be removed by another injustice. Two wrongs do not make one right and ends do not justify the means. The ends must be right and the means must be right. Justice requires that you should not do to others what you do not like others to do to yourself. Or in a positive way one can say, “Love for others what you love others to do to you.” Or even better is what the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

Allah says in the Qur'an, "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do." (An-Nisa': 134)

And, He says,"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all that you do." (Al-Ma'idah: 8)”.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://pakistanlink.com/religion.html