Today marks the 7th anniversary of the day that scarred and changed the lives of Americans forever. On September 11, 2001, suicide bombers flew planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, killing thousands in the name of religious beliefs.
Six months later, a group of friends and I visited the site where the Twin Towers once stood. Smoke was still coming out of the piles of rubble. Buildings beside the Twin Towers that still stood were severely damaged. But, it wasn’t until I was walking around the site myself did I feel the incredible sense of sadness and death. And what was really strange about it was that you didn’t feel it until you came directly on the site. It was like this line was drawn and once you crossed over it, the ghosts of the once alive were still there, their spirits crying out yet no one could hear them.
But this blog post today isn’t about my experiences. I asked Amir Makin, author of A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice to give his us his thoughts and he has agreed to do so.
Here’s a little background on Amir:
Amir Makin found Al Islam on an unexpected yet fruitful journey to Africa. Having always been intrigued with issues of the oppressed masses, he quickly learned how this way of life directed all to defend and protect the indigent from tyranny while preserving the dignity of the dispossessed. Since that time, he has instilled in himself and advanced the type of analysis that leads to positive change throughout society. He is the author of A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice and you can visit him on the net at www.unworthymuslim.com.
Amir has agreed to share his thoughts and I’d like to share them with you:
On today’s anniversary of September 11, 2001 we must reflect not only on that fateful day, but also its immediate aftermath which culminated in the marketing and selling of fear. Non Muslims were taught that every Muslim was a bloodthirsty savage with no regard for anything or anyone. As a result some Muslims who had done everything possible to assimilate with the American ethos had become enemies of the state. The litmus test of American patriotism was redefined by the amount of anger one could mount against any proclaiming themselves Muslim. Many had been given the impression that Islam was to blame. Others stated something else. Whether one believes in a different theory that some would classify as conspiratorial or not is an argument which will continue ad nauseum, but I do believe that when evaluating how a tragedy like this can occur on American soil and how best to commemorate this day it is often useful to look at the stated principles that helped form this nation.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” When one reads the words of this hallowed Declaration of Independence, one cannot escape a euphoric feeling not only for the power conveyed in these words, but the affirmation of man’s inherent freedom which was bestowed upon him by his Creator. This original formula for society would probably be anyone’s ideal country.
“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government . . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. . .” After reading such marvelous eloquence, one may ask, from what standard would these men derive their “future security”? Since they have made it clear these rights come from the Creator, why not investigate what the Creator has said concerning this?
“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded”. Qur’an 16:90
. . . whoever kills a soul unless for a soul (legal retribution for murder) or for corruption (done) in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely . . . Qur’an 5:32
After reading the Declaration of Independence with the Scripture, one could appreciate the beauty of the stated intentions in the formation of this country. No one including myself would ever oppose either. But how could it be that a country called Great Britain which in 2008 is a great friend to America could have once been an indicted and convicted criminal to that same nation during its formation? But, as the Declaration answers, “the history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.” What these men opposed was not the land of their fathers, not its resources, and definitely not its citizens. No, these Americans opposed the corruption of an evil tyrant who had “plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people . . . in every stage of the oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” They didn’t oppose the position of king but instead opposed this particular king because he became an oppressor while occupying a seat of power to exercise injustice.
These acts of oppression made the founding fathers of America understand that a connection with the system of justice established by their Creator was necessary to distinguish what was just from what was unjust in order for them to stand against the one responsible for their oppression. Since they found themselves in a state of oppression by one who was only interested in serving himself, they stated the need to affirm their connection with the Creator’s command for justice and liberty for all. Al Islam wants the same.
Practicing Muslims don’t hate Americans. Practicing Jews don’t hate Americans. Practicing Christians don’t hate Americans. Instead what is opposed by each is the same type of oppressive behavior originally opposed by the founding fathers of America. There is no Quranic verse that advocates the absence of justice. There is nothing in this Declaration that advocates the absence of justice. Some of the principles of America expressed in several government documents, though not all of the practices of its authors, are more harmonious to Al Islam than many are aware of.
“O you who believe! Stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or your parents or your relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not (personal) inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort (your testimony) or refuse (to give it) then indeed Allah is ever with what you do well acquainted.” Qur’an 4:135
According to the Declaration of Independence, before this land became the superpower it is today, this was how the founding fathers defined patriotism. In a climate where fear is marketed, this definition must hold fast to prevent what is unjust from becoming an acceptable norm. Since all the writers of the Declaration agreed that the standards of always adhering to justice through dedicated worship is epitomized by prophets commissioned by the Creator from Adam to Noah to Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon all of them), so to must those who say these men are their paragons of human excellence meet these same standards. For any Muslim, Jew, Christian or other to fall short of this is to show a true lack of patriotism.
This all too brief recap is necessary so that no one is allowed to forget that terrorism did not initially arrive in America on September 11, 2001 and the heinous act which occurred this fateful day is no more repugnant due to the skin color or lack thereof of the perpetrators, conspirators and patsies. If we all are American citizens united in true patriotism, we should begin to acknowledge, address and admit every one’s pain who has ever found themselves the victims or survivors of terror on an equal unified basis. Truly standing for justice for everyone is the best way to commemorate each day of the year, not just one. Making the transition to doing that is the true challenge. A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice was written in part to address subjects such as this.
Amir Makin is the author of A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice. His blog is http://aworthymuslimovercomes.blogspot.com