New Zealand killings – some reminders for Muslims

Armed police guard a mosque in Christchurch, NZ.  (picture: CBC News)

New Zealand killings: some reminders for Muslims

Arshad Gamiet / Jurgens Centre  2019

“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem

Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh

All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh,  is truly guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, sws, is His servant, and His messenger.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”

O You who believe, – be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, and die not except as Muslims.

Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”

O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.

In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:

O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

In New Zealand two Fridays ago, two mosques were attacked during Jumuah prayers. Dozens were killed and dozens were injured. We ask Allah to reward those who died as martyrs. They deserve a high place in Al Jannah Firdaws. We also ask Allah to help the injured to a quick and complete recovery. We know that the trauma, the emotional wounds will take longer to heal. We ask Allah to give their families and their friends the strength and patience that’s needed in this time of loss. We also ask Allah to reward those who stood up to condemn this hate crime, like the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has shown the kind of leadership that is so lacking in the world today.

Hate crimes like this are intended to divide people, but in New Zealand it has united them. It has brought so much empathy, so much love and respect to the Muslims there. In a crisis you really get to know who your friends are.

The poet, Jalaluddin Rumi, wrote that “Suffering is a gift. In it is a hidden mercy.” Just think about it: “Suffering is a gift. In it is a hidden mercy.”

Out of this great suffering, Muslims have found so much mercy and respect. An Imam was asked to recite the Quran at the opening of New Zealand’s parliament. New gun laws were passed, and the adhan was broadcast live over national TV and radio. Burial expenses were paid by the government and the country had a national ‘Hijab Day.’ One old lady was asked why she was wearing a hijab, and she replied: “I’m here to protect my Muslim neighbours. If anyone wants to shoot, they’ll have to kill me first.” Allahu Akbar! Allah is great! Imagine that, my dear brothers and sisters. Before the shooting, who could have foreseen this tremendous response from our non-Muslim neighbours?

Over here, Father John Dickson, the Roman Catholic Chaplain at Royal Holloway University, sent me his condolences. In our duah, let’s ask Allah to bless those who express their love and support to us at this time of grief.

These criminal acts are designed to provoke fear and panic. But they will never shake the true Believers. We should never be afraid, and we should never panic. We put our trust in Allah, swt, and we follow the perfect example of Rasool-Allah sws. From the very earliest times, the Believers were warned that a huge army was on the way to destroy them. But instead of fear and panic, it only increased their faith. They replied:

“Hasbun Allah wa neya’mal Wakeel, neya’mal mawlaa, wa neya’mal naseer!” (3:173)

Allah is sufficient for us. He is the best disposer of our affairs!

This is how the Muslims reacted when the Quraish approached them with a mighty army after the Battle of Uhud. Even though many of them were badly injured and utterly exhausted, they rallied to the call when Prophet Muhammad sws heard that the enemy was regrouping for a final assault. When the Quraish saw the Muslims’ fearless determination, they backed off and went home.

We should always remember this. Don’t fear anyone except Allah. Don’t panic. Be Islamic! Remember that Allah is fully in control at all times. The future is safe in Allah’s hands. Trust Allah. Have faith. What hit you could not have missed you. What missed you could not have hit you.

These words are from an authentic Hadith (Saheeh) related by Ibn Abbas:

Remember Allah in times of ease, and He will recognise you in times of distress. What hit you could not have missed you; what missed you could not have hit you. Remember that victory comes with patience relief comes after distress and ease always comes after hardship.

The Quran also reminds us that “Inna ma al usri yusra. Inna ma al usri yusra.”

After hardship comes ease. After every hardship comes ease.” (Quran 94:5)

So let us not despair, my dear sisters and brothers. To despair of Allah’s mercy is a great sin. Good times and hard times come round in cycles. It’s a test from Allah. And Allah is always in control. Don’t worry. History is in good hands!

 “Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim.Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”

“Allah and His angels send greetings on Prophet Muhammad, O you who believe, send greetings on him, and salute him with a worthy salutation! O Allah, send peace on Muhammad and his family, just as you sent peace on Abraham and his family. O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and his family, just as you sent blessings on Abraham and his family. In both worlds, You are Praiseworthy and Exalted.”

Second Khutbah:

“Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem”

Glory to Allah!  Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!

My dear sisters and brothers,

Whenever we get news of someone’s death, we always say:

Inna lil laahi wa inna ilayhir raaji oon.” – “From Allah we came, and to Allah we will return.

These words are from Sura Al Baqara 2:156. But let’s see what comes before and what comes after this verse:

“Wa lanb’luwan nakum bi shay in minal khowfi wal joo’i wanaqsin minal amwaali wal anfusi wath-thamaraat. Wa bash-shiris-saabireen. (2:155)

“Al latheena ithaa asaabat hum-museebatun qaaloo inna lil Laahi wa inna ilayhir raaji oon.”

Ulaa ika ‘alayhim salawaatun min Rabbikum wa rahma. Wa ulaa ika humul muhta doon. (2:157)

Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your hard work), but send good news to those who are patient, those who say, whenever disaster strikes them, “Truly, we belong to Allah , and indeed to Allah we will return.”

They are the ones who receive blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.

So there we have it, my dear Sisters and Brothers. Guidance from Allah only comes to those who put their complete trust in their generous Life-Giver. When we trust Allah and when we invoke His holy Names in constant remembrance (dhikr), Allah raises us to a higher station. We become more resilient. We don’t get anxiety attacks. We’re calm. We take all the ups and downs of life with a smile. Our hearts are always in a state of peace, tranquillity (sakeena). That’s when our inner peace can shine outwardly to light up our relations with others.

Hate crimes should never provoke us to take revenge. That’s the work of tormented souls who allow themselves to be influenced by Shaitaan.

Allah reminds us that “The Good deed and the evil deed are not equal. Repel evil with something better; then you will find that your enemy will become, as it were, your intimate friend.” (Al Fussillat 41:34)

If we retaliate, then we simply “give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This behaviour only prolongs a circle of violence until everyone is blind and toothless. Revenge only massages our bruised egos, our damaged pride and self-esteem, but it doesn’t solve the problem. The real problem isn’t just the killer. It’s the whole toxic climate that enabled him to do the killing.

By the way, Imam Muhammad Mahmoud of Finsbury Park Mosque, was at Buckingham Palace yesterday. He was awarded an OBE for saving the life of a terrorist who hates Muslims. In 2019 this man drove his van onto a crowded pavement outside the mosque. He killed one and injured nine others. The angry crowd tried to attack the man, but the Imam protected him, saying that we shouldn’t respond to a cowardly act in the same way. We are not cowards, we are Muslims. The man was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum 43 years. My dear brothers and sisters, this Imam truly shows us how to return a bad deed with something better.

We Muslims must of course, take what steps we can to keep safe. But we must never be provoked to retaliate. It really takes a lot more courage and self-discipline to resist provocation. Remember that when you control your anger, when you restrain our desire for revenge, then Allah opens the doors to His Mercy.

The dignity and forbearance of Imam Muhammad Mahmoud and of our brothers and sisters in New Zealand have shown us how best to win respect and support from our neighbours. This would never happen if we allow others to push our buttons, to provoke us into behaving badly

But what must we do to make things better?

Dear Sisters and Brothers, we must engage more with our non-Muslim neighbours. You and I have to get outside of our ‘comfort zone’ and start to build good relations with others. Join inter-faith groups and volunteer for work in the wider community. Let’s make Islam visible! Spread peace, not violence. Spread love, not hate! The poet Jalaluddin Rumi said that “The Way (to Allah’s good pleasure) is not by holy robes and prayer beads, but by service to others.”

When we give our time and effort to helping others then Allah will soften their hearts and turn our enemies into friends. That’s the reward for “returning an evil deed with something better.” That’s Allah’s promise. And Allah never breaks His promise.

Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:

InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90),

“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”

Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].

“and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”

wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].

“and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”

Ameen.                   Aqeemus salaah