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Ramadan: The Month of Fasting Or Is It More Than That?

19 August 2010

By El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan

Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace) & Ramadan Mubarak:

Over the course of the next few days, very important initiatives will unfold ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC for our sister-in-Islam, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. We have the petition drive already underway; followed by the delegation of activists (and concerned citizens') visit to the Pakistani Mission in New York City on Saturday, August 14, at 12 noon; and then there is a thought-provoking rally and tawareeh program in London scheduled for Sunday, August 15, insha'Allah.

A release went out on the U.S. part of the transatlantic initiative earlier today. For the London initiative, we invite you to read the highly informative, and passionately written, commentary below...straight out of London!

In the struggle,


Ramadan is almost upon us. Our beloved has returned, this most blessed month - typically a time of fasting, family gatherings, eating rich foods and meeting our loved ones. And without question this is from the blessings of Ramadan. During this month, we will all enjoy some great times, great food and great company.

Or will we?

The reality is that this is not the case for many of the Muslims around the world, and without doubt this is not the case for our sister, Aafia Siddiqui, may Allah have mercy on her.

Aafia is in solitary confinement, cut off from her family, her lawyers, denied all communication rights and systematically mentally assaulted. This Ramadhan, she will have no congregational prayer, no one to share iftaar with and the genuine fear of being strip searched or assaulted, day in, night out - just as she has for the best part of this decade.

This is Ramadhan for Aafia. This is Ramadhan for your sister.

Now, why do we remind you of this? You may ask, what can I do? I am here, you may feel, with no ability to influence her case, no army at my disposal, and no powers to even articulate my disgust at this situation. Well, I guess this is exactly why we stand here to remind you of your sister, as you have something far more powerful than all the aforementioned. You have the one thing that can save her. You possess the one weapon her enemies don’t. You have the one thing that if used correctly has throughout the history of the Muslims brought victory to the believers. You ask what is that one thing?

Let’s take you back a few years. Let us take you back to Badr. Let us take you back to the night before the battle was to be fought. The 313 believers gathered to meet in battle the finest of Arabian warriors and knights, who out numbered them close to four to one. The night before the battle commenced, their leader, our Prophet, stood in solitude and unleashed his most amazing and powerful weapon before the battle even begun. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, the reviver of Tawhid, the leader of the faithful, stood firm and tall, with his men behind him and his enemies fast approaching, Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, raised his hands to the heavens to invoke his Lord, Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, and made a genuine du’a to the All Magnificent. He knew with some confidence that this is beloved to his Lord. As Allah Himself says,

I answer the prayer of the supplicant when He calls on Me. (2:186)

He, the finest of creation, raised his hands to the sky and invoked his Creator, beseeching him to grant the believers victory. This Prophet of Allah, contrary to military precedent, did not spent the night going over his plans or getting in the final bit of rest before the greatest battle of his time, rather he went to war that very night, by preparing his arms, and by invoking his Lord, the one in whose hands is both victory and loss.

The Messenger of Allah, spent that night in du’a, through his firm understanding that only Allah is the one who can decide the fate of any affair, therefore one’s focus has to be on asking Allah for what it is we sincerely want. As, if we do that, without any doubt whatsoever, we will find that what it is we pray for, if good for us, will come to pass, as this is the promise of Allah, Jalla wa’al.

And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!" Noble Qur'an (40:60)

Therefore it should be apparent that the power of du’a is tremendous, and is prescribed by the Lord, All Mighty himself. This is why when we when tread through the pages of history, when we take the companions as our guides, and when we take the example of the righteous, we find that all turned only to their Creator to win their victories. All turned only to their Lord, to invoke him, and trade their sincerity to this religion for success where they sought it.

So here we are, and it just seems that how can we let this most beloved time, Ramadan, the jewel of the Islamic calendar go, without ensuring that every single one of us unsheathes our weapons? Those of us that say we care for Aafia, (and all those like her) that we wish to honor the ties of brotherhood to her and we wish to not let her blood, sweat, honor continue to be sacrificed, we arise this month, and just like Musa beseeched his Lord, with the sea in front of him and the most powerful army in the world behind him, we ask Allah to emancipate our sister Aafia from the trial she currently faces. We must make a commitment to raise our hands to the heavens, and beseech Allah, the All Mighty, the All Powerful, the All Merciful to have mercy on our dearest sister.

This month is a time when most of us will increase in our reading the book of Allah, praying Salah in the masjid, and rising for Qiyam, and as these are all endeavors during/ after which the acceptability of du’a is enhanced, it is of paramount importance that we remember Ukhti Aafia in our dua when engaging these religious practices.

As our sister’s case is again delayed,; with the date for her next hearing moving forward, again and she is further abused, we stand here and appeal not to her captors, not to the oppressors, not to those who sold her, and not to those who fail to speak for her, but rather we stand here, appealing to their Lord, her Lord and our Lord. We ask him, with his most beautiful names, to have Mercy on our sister, to free her from her oppressors, to give her justice, to reward her faith and to have justice with those who have sought to destroy her.

We shall seek to do this every blessed night of this month, and request your company on just one of the 30 nights of this month. On 15th August 2010, we have organised a rally for our sister outside the US embassy, London, to remind ourselves of her plight, to raise our voice in protest and our hands to the sky - and we invite you to join us as we remember our sister, raising our hands, and with our fasting mouths invoke the Lord of the Worlds, to have mercy on her and release her from the fetters of captivity.

Whilst this is the month of the Qur’an, of qiyaam and siyaam, it is equally part of our history and our tradition, that it was the month of enjoining the good and forbidding the munkar; the month in which the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi was-salam), his beloved companions and the subsequent generations stood up, in defence of the believers and the oppressed. Ramadhan is rather a time of increased activity where we, lightened by the burdens of constant eating and drinking, are rejuvenated to strive and struggle for Allah. From the destruction of Masjid ad-Dirar, the mosque of the hypocrities of Madinah, in the first year hijrah (1 AH), to Badr (3 AH), Wadi Al Qura (6AH), the Conquest of Makkah (8AH), and detachments dispatched to cleanse the Arabian peninsula of the major centres of polytheism therein - such was the month of Ramadhan in the time of the Prophet. Ramadhan was the month in which, 92 years after the Hijrah, Tariq ibn Ziyad was confronted with an army of 90,000 strong yet succeeded in liberating the whole of Spain, Sicily and parts of France, marking the start of the Golden Age of Andalus. It was again in this blessed month that Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi finally drove the Crusaders out of Syria and that the Muslims headed by Saifuddin Qutz administered a crushing blow to the Mongols at Ain Jalut in 458 AH). This was the spirit of Ramadhan that enabled our forefathers to spend the day in the saddle and the night in prayer.

Today, this ummah is in need of believers who will walk in the footsteps of our illustrious predecessors, who do not fear the blame or threats of the oppressors; who will not forget the cries of our sister oppressed in this month but rather stand in solidarity and support with her on a day and night when the reward for our deeds are multiplied.

We look not at the judge who presides over her case; rather we look to the Judge of Judges who determines all affairs in this world and the next, and on that day ask you to come and break fast with us, and invoke our Lord to have mercy on our sister; so that perhaps we may have some excuse on our own Day of Judgement to lift the burden and sin from our neck for failing our sister; so that we will not be forsaken at a time when we will love to have His Help -

“No man forsakes a Muslim when his rights are being violated or his honour is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a Muslim at a time when his honour is being belittled or his rights violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help”.

Join us. After all, how can you refuse the angels making du’a for you for joining the effort?

The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "The du’a of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother the appointed angel says, 'Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.”[Sahih Muslim]




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